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Traffic blockade, dharna mark cremation of murdered youths
Killer cop arrested, booked for murder
Tribune News Service

The wailing widow of Beant Singh and her mother
The wailing widow of Beant Singh and her mother in Ludhiana on Monday.
— Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 5
A petty fight between woman members of the families of the victims and accused is the root cause for the last night’s shootout case in which three persons were killed.
Jarnail Singh, a constable and bodyguard of Superintendent of Police (City-I) Mandeep Singh, had opened fire on two brothers, Beant Singh (24) and Bhagwant Singh (22), late last evening after they had a minor fight with the former over a trivial issue in the afternoon. Both victims died on the spot. A migrant grocer, Kalandar, also became a victim and died later on.

Both youths were cremated today amidst protests and slogans. Hundreds of residents from various parts of the city attended the cremation. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the cremation ground, where the two bodies were consigned to flames. The protesters, including women, were not allowing the relatives to lit the pyres earlier. Finally, after the intervention of some senior police officials, the youths were cremated amidst unrest and anger.

Policemen try to control agitators, who had blocked trafficon the GT Road, near Haibowal
Policemen try to control agitators, who had blocked traffic on the GT Road, near Haibowal, in Ludhiana on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

The irate mob, upset over the murder of two brothers, later blocked the traffic on the busy GT Road near Basti Jodhewal for about two hours by sitting on a dharna. The district administration had to post a riot control team on the spot. Expressing their anger, the agitators, which included a large number of women, raised slogans against the Punjab police.

Shopkeepers of Basti Jodhewal market downed the shutters of their shops in protest. Various senior officials of the police and district administration reached the spot and convinced the mob to lift the dharna.

The accused, Jarnail Singh, who was arrested by the police late last evening only, was presented before mediapersons by the district police today. He said that the womenfolk of both the families used to pick up fight every other day over the drainage of water. He said on Holi last year, they had a fight over the same issue.

He said yesterday also there was a fight and when he was going for work on a motor cycle, the two brothers, who ran a hair-cutting saloon in the area, collided with him on their scooter. He added that they had a verbal duel but he decided to finish the matter once and for all. In the evening he waited for both of them near the spot. When they, after closing their shop at around 10 pm, were buying vegetables from a roadside grocer, he opened fire at them with his AK-47. Three persons, including the two brothers, died on the spot and two were injured. Their condition was stated to be stable.

Later, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, said a case under Sections 302, 307 and 120 B of the IPC and Sections 24, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act was registered against him. He said all four demands of the victims family including a compensatory government job to a relative, monetary compensation, rigorous punishment to the accused and action against the conspirators in the case, would be fulfilled. He added that he would himself inquire into the case. Regarding the love angle to the cold-blooded murders, that was being quoted to be a reason in the area, the SSP said he would look into the matter as preliminary investigation had not revealed anything like that.

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Celebrations turn sour in Subash Nagar
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Mrs Malkiat Kaur, mother of the brothers who were murdered, being taken to the cremation ground in Ludhiana
Mrs Malkiat Kaur, mother of the brothers who were murdered, being taken to the cremation ground in Ludhiana on Monday. — Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, July 5
Celebrations turned into mourning and a pall of gloom descended on the local Subash Nagar after the news of cold-blooded murder of two brothers, who were allegedly shot dead by a gunman of SP, City-I, Mandeep Singh, poured in late last evening.

The families of both the accused and the victims were in celebrations at their neighbouring houses a few hours before the tragic incident. Bhagwant Singh, on of the victims, had got engaged to a girl in the evening and Jarnail Singh, the accused policeman, had celebrated the birth of his son by organising a function yesterday. But happiness soon turned into sorrow. Two sons of a family were killed and the only son (accused) of another family was thrown behind bars.

Beant Singh (24) and Bhagwant Singh (22) were the youngest of four children of an aged couple, a septuagenarian, Mr Harbans Singh and Ms Malkiat Kaur. Their two daughters, who were elder to the duo, were married in different cities. The elderly parents were looked after by both of them.

Yesterday, little had Bhagwant, who had got engaged to a girl in the afternoon, known that he was going to be killed along with his brother. The family members said the match was decided yesterday and the marriage ceremony was to be organised after some days.

Dressed in his best, after meeting the parents of his would-be, Bhagwant, fondly addressed as Jassi by his family members, left the house forever in the evening. Only his body returned in the morning after a post-mortem examination. As the destiny would have it, both brothers, who were known for their love for one another, were brought dead together.

“They loved one another very much. They used to study together during their school days and recently they had opened a salon together. Jassi would tell his elder brother that he would never leave him. Even death could not part them,” said a relative.

Beant, the other victim, left his young wife Raju and her six-month-old son, besides his mother and father to fight their own battle for survival. She was married to him one and half years ago.

As anger ran high in the minds of residents of the area, the parents of the brothers were seen in mourning. Ms Malkiat Kaur said both her sons were born to her in her middle age. She said she had been worried about them all these years about their upbringing and only lately had she started feeling secure about their future. But the destiny had a tragedy in store.

The house of Jarnail Singh, the accused policeman, wore an eerie silence. The main door of his house remained locked. Neighbours said they had last seen his parents, wife and some relatives last evening when he had organised a party to celebrate the birth of his son, who was born a fortnight ago.

Neighbours said they had seen them dance and celebrate only to receive the news of the killings.

Area residents raised slogans against the policeman. The neighbours, however, said the policeman had never indulged in any crime.

His colleagues said Jarnail was a God-fearing man and they had never expected this out of him. They said he was known to be a well behaved, polite and generous policeman. He had worked with many senior officers, who were always full of praise for him.

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Fake PU certificate racket busted
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, July 5
The Ludhiana police has unearthed a major racket involving in the supply of fake certificates of Panjab University. In what may turn out to be the tip of an iceberg, the police here has detected fake university certificates in the possession of students. The police is hoping to unearth a big scam in Panjab University, where certain employees are said to be issuing fake certificates in return of financial gratification. The police station Division No 4 has registered a case of cheating against one such university employee. It hopes that his arrest will lead to exposure of a big scandal involving senior university employees as well.

It was only after some certificates, received by local students after re-evaluation in university sealed envelopes, bearing seals of the Registrar and signatures of senior officials turned out to be fake that the police realised the involvement of university insiders in what is now being termed as a “marksheet scam”.

Four students of Kamla Lotia College have so far been found to be in possession of fake certificates. They had all applied for re-evaluation and received certificates in which they were shown to have passed the examination. When these students applied for admission to the higher class, the college authorities sent the certificates to the university for verification. Much to the horror of the students, the university confirmed that these certificates were fake, but also debarred the students from seeking admission in any course for the next five years for trying to seek admission, based on fake certificates.

According to DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar, parents of these students approached the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr. Narinderpal Singh, who ordered an inquiry to ascertain the genuineness of the certificates. During the course of investigations, the two students of BA I, namely Naresh Kumar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar, and Gurcharan Rai, a resident of Sunder Nagar, disclosed that they had handed over their certificates to a university employee who had promised to help them.

The two students, according to Mr Brar, had gone to Chandigarh to apply for re-evaluation where they met one Amarjit Singh, who claimed to be working in the section concerned. Amarjit Singh promised to get the re-evaluation work done in a few days time and demanded no extra money for the work. He asked them to pay Rs 1000 as re-evaluation fee and another Rs 500 for postage, etc. The two other students also met the same person and had a similar interaction with him.

In a few days all the students got back new marksheets in university sealed envelopes and there was no reason for any suspicion of any sort. The students sought admission into the higher class based on these certificates that bore the seal of the Registrar and signatures of senior officials. When the college concerned sent a list of students to the university as a routine procedure for verification, the university called for the certificates and certified them to be fake. Subsequently all four students were penalised.

DSP Brar said investigations were on, but indication so far pointed towards a big scam. The police is in the process of ascertaining from the university whether the certificates (that have serial numbers) were original and may have been stolen from the university or were printed by the accused using some computer. In one case the certificate has a covering letter from a senior official of the university stating that the old certificate was being retained by the university as it had a computer error and that a new marksheet was being attached.

The police is still investigating the case, but preliminary findings indicate that no forgery was committed by the students nor did they try to use forged documents claiming them to be true. The students, according to Mr Brar, genuinely believed that their certificates were genuine till the certificates evoked penal action from the university.

The accused, Amarjit Singh, has been absconding and was not found at his residence when a police team raided his house in Chandigarh. The police is working on the theory that more than one person is involved in the racket. The students are deliberately being charged close to the actual fee to avoid detection.

The incident has sent shock waves among the student community and the police is expecting several other similar cases to come to light after the culprit is arrested under Sections 420 and 468 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, in another incident, a Junior Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was caught red handed by a team of Vigilance officials led by DSP Narinder Pal Singh Ruby at Bassian village in the Raikot Subdivision of Ludhiana district today. The JE Kans Raj, was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs 1000 for changing the meter of Mr Rajwant Singh of the same village.

Mr Rajwant Singh told the Vigilance officials that the JE was unnecessarily harassing him and was unwilling to change faulty electricity meter. A sting operation was then planned by the Vigilance staff and Rs 1000 marked notes were given to the JE by Mr Rajwant Singh. Soon after the bribe was accepted, the Vigilance swung into action and recovered the money from the possession of the JE. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the JE.

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Kanwaljit ‘supporting’ rival candidate
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 5
With the SGPC poll approaching, infighting between the supporters of SAD General Secretary Capt Kanwaljit Singh and followers of SAD Chief Parkash Singh Badal has come to the fore.

In a written statement released to the press here today, former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi has alleged that Capt Kanwaljit Singh has tried to oppose the SAD candidate, Mr Ram Dayal Singh, from Bhadson (reserved) constituency by fielding his supporter Lal Singh of Ranjitgarh village as an Independent candidate. Mr Lal Singh had aspired for the SAD ticket but after he failed to get the ticket, he decided to contest election against the SAD candidate.

The former minister further said he had tried to impress upon the General Secretary through Mr Badal to withdraw the rival candidate at a meeting held recently at Bhadson near here, which was attended by former minister Raja Narender Singh, MP, Sukhdev Singh Libra and other leaders. Also, Mr Ram Dayal Singh approached his rival candidate seeking his withdrawal from the election but the candidate suggested to consult Capt Kanwaljit Singh on the matter.

Mr Pandhi has urged Mr Badal to intervene in the interest of the party and take appropriate action against those working against party’s interest.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, however, has refuted the allegations and said that he had never asked Mr Lal Singh to contest the election.

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Akali leader against honorary degree to Sonia
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 5
Senior Akali leader and former minister Daleep Singh Pandhi in a communication to the Governor of Punjab, who is also Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, has sought his attention towards the decision of the university to confer an honorary degree of D.Lit on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

In the letter, he said she had not made any contribution to the development of Punjabi literature, culture and people of Punjab. He said under Section 4(2), (5) of the Punjabi University Act, 1961, and its chapter LXXXII, it was mandatory for the university to promote Punjabi studies to provide for research in Punjabi literature, to take measures for the development of Punjabi and to progressively adopt as a medium of instruction and examination for as many subjects as possible and to confer honorary degrees in the manner laid down by the statutes in Chapter 7 (by reasons of eminent position and attainment a fit and proper person to receive such degrees).

He said the university had failed to perform its duties in the preparation of monographs on Punjab and translations of books in Punjabi under various schemes for the development of Punjabi. There was a time when the Vice-Chancellors were appointed on the basis of teaching experience and integrity. But now retired bureaucrats, who do not have any experience of the university affairs, were being appointed Vice-Chancellors, Mr Pandhi asserted.

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Awareness drive planned against tobacco
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
The district administration has decided to start an awareness programme involving NGOs to educate the people about the provisions of the new “Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Probation of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production. Supply and Distribution) Act 2003, with a view to checking the rising trend of smoking and use of other tobacco products among the people.

This decision was taken at the first meeting of the District-level Cigarettes and Tobacco Eradication Committee held at Mini Secretariat under the chairmanship of Mr Ajmer Singh Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana (General) here today.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Ajmer Singh said as per the new act, smoking had been prohibited at public places, advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products had been banned, sale of tobacco had been prohibited to persons below 18 years and no cigarettes and tobacco shop could be run within an area of 100 yards from any education institutions.

Expressing his serious concern over the rising trend of smoking of cigarettes and chewing of tobacco (gutka) particularly among the youth and students, the Additional Deputy Commissioner said a continuous awareness campaign involving NGOs, management and staff of educational institutions and religious organisations would be carried out in both urban and rural areas. He said the educational institutions would be asked to identity all the shops and kiosks of cigarettes and tobacco products within an area of 100 yards from the educational institutions and send the report to the administration, so that action could be taken to stop such sale at the earliest. The ADC has also assured that the administration would ask the Railway authorities to make regular announcements regarding the prohibition of smoking at railway stations and also asked the cinema owners to ensure that nobody should smoke in the cinema halls during the intervals of cinema shows. He said that the Restaurants and clubs would also be asked to put up warnings to check smoking in the presence of other customers. He told the GMs of Punjab Roadways and PRTC to direct the drivers not to allow anybody to smoke in the buses.

Dr Deepinder Singh, Director, Social Health Services Directorate of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle (GGSSC) gave a slide presentation regarding the alarming situation created due to the rising trend of smoking and use of other tobacco products in the society. He informed that in the world, 5 million deaths occurred every year due to tobacco-related illnesses and said that if the present trend continued, the number of deaths would rise to 10 millions by the year 2030. He further informed that in India alone, one million lives were being claimed by the tobacco-related ailments and said that as per a new study 60 per cent men and 3 per cent women were smoking and 51 per cent men and 30 per cent women are in the habit of chewing tobacco.

Dr Charan Kamal Singh, chief secretary, GGSSC, raising a point regarding chewing of tobacco, suggested that the cigarettes and tobacco shops within 100 yards of educational institutions should be closed immediately as provisioned in the new law.

Mr Sarabjeet Singh, deputy chief organizer, GGSSC, elaborated on various awareness related programes, including seminars, conferences, slide shows and lectures organised by the GGSSC in collaboration with other NGOs in the past to educate the masses regarding the fatal affects of smoking and use of other intoxicants.

Mr Inderpreet Singh, District Revenue Officer, Mr S.S. Kahalon DSP(H), Mr Balwinder Singh Sahi CIT Railway Station, Mr Charanjit Singh Traffic Manager, Punjab Roadways, and Mr O.P. Khichhi, General Manager, PRTC also attended the meeting.

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Indian Mayor of Hounslow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
An Indian is now the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow. Councillor Dalbir Singh Cheema was appointed Mayor at a meeting of the Borough recently.
Mr Dalbir Singh Cheema was born in Banka Cheema, Gujranwala district (Pakistan). After partition, his family moved to Karnal where his brothers currently reside. He is also a close friend and relative of social worker and senior Punjab Congress leader Jagjeet Singh Mukandpuri.

Mr Mukandpuri said his friend has been living in Hounslow since 1968 and had been a Councillor for the Hounslow Health Ward Since 1994.

He revealed that Dalbir had been married to Mrs Jagdish Kaur for over 37 years. The couple worked locally and had brought up three children. They all attended the Heathland School of which he is a Governor.

His eldest son is an accountant practising in Canada, his eldest daughter is a barrister who studied at Cambridge and now lives in New York while his youngest daughter, after completing her degree, now works for a marketing firm in London.

Mr Mukandpuri said Dalbir had called him and had said that he was delighted and honoured to take on the role of Mayor of the Borough. He also added that the Mayor was looking forward to a year where he could do his best to promote the Borough and serve the community and work towards a safe and harmonious Hounslow.

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Ravi Dass mission submits memo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
The Vishwa Guru Ravi Dass Mission has expressed its concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and the recent incidents of violence targeting Dalits and those belonging to the lower sections of society.

A memorandum in this context was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner by a delegation, led by Mr Jaswant Kataria, chairman of the outfit. The members were of the view that although they were always at the receiving end, the police always sided with the perpetrators by refusing to register their complaints.

Citing recent examples, the members said there was a lot of tension in Rattipur village of Samrala where the sarpanch, who wanted to encroach upon a dumping ground of Dalits, assaulted a widow who dared to resist the move.

Referring to the role of the police, the delegation pointed out that Division number 2 SHO Gurmit Kaur allegedly picked up Asha Rani at midnight and assaulted her at the police station. She was admitted to the Civil Hospital. The cops also allegedly snatched her earrings.

The members urged the Chief Minister to direct the police to exercise restraint and try to develop more cordial relations with the public so that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

A secretary of the PPCC, Mr Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri, has also urged the government to take serious note of the rising crime graph in the state.

He said the need of the hour was to bring far reaching changes in the police setup which should be made more people friendly and responsive. The living standard of the cops should be raised and better facilities should be provided at police stations. It has been seen that at present the cops work round the year and are suffering from stress-related disorders. They should at least be given a weekly off, he added.

Mr Mukandpuri said in the absence of state-of-the-art equipment and obsolete police rules, crime detection was taking a beating. There was also great need to sensitise the policemen on gender issues and the problems of the poorer sections of society. He also urged the various NGOs in the state to help in creating a tolerant and
crime-free society. 

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3 arrested, stolen vehicles recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
The police has arrested three persons and recovered a stolen motor cycle and a scooter from their possession.
According to police sources, SHO Gurpreet Singh of Division No: 7 deputed his men to put up special nakas to check the vehicles. During one such naka near Bhammian village, cops saw four persons coming towards them.

On seeing the naka, they tried to drive back but were overpowered.

A country-made .303 bore pistol was recovered from Gian Parshad, while two knives from Raj Kumar and Rakesh Kumar. Their fourth accomplice, Gurdev Singh, escaped.

During interrogation, they revealed that they had stolen the motor cycle (PB 02A 1933) from Amritsar and the scooter (PB 08 A 7782) from Ludhiana. A case has been registered under Section 25 of the Arms Act.

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Minor gangraped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 5
A minor girl aged 15 was raped by four persons and the local police registered a case today under Section 363, 366, 376, 34, IPC.
According to the victim, a resident of mohalla Kabir Nagar, she was going in a rickshaw to board the bus for Nanaksar while her younger sister was in the house and her parents were away. On the way two young boys on a scooter intercepted her and enquired about her name and where she was going. Later they offered to take her to Nanaksar but later took her to a studio on Sidhwan-Bet road where two other persons were already present. Three of them then allegedly raped under threat and later put her in truck (No Pb-04-9975) going towards Ludhiana and the trio again raped her along with the driver of the truck. The four accused have been identified as Paramjit Singh Pamma, Sunil Sood, Jagroop Singh, and Hardip Singh.

According to the victim, she was later left near the cattle mandi on the GT Road and warned against disclosing the incident to anyone.

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Demand for hike in IT exemption limit
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 5
The Indian National Bank Employees Congress (INBEC) and the labour and employment wing of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee have urged the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chiadambram, to raise the income tax exemption limit to Rs 1.5 lakh, abolish surcharge on income tax and suitably increase interest rates on bank deposits, EPF and other saving instruments.

In a joint pre-Budget memorandum, the two bodies have demanded that the income tax structure needed both simplification and rationalisation. The government should retain only two slabs of income for taxation purpose with a reasonable rate of 10 per cent tax for income up to Rs 5 lakh and 20 per cent beyond this limit. Further, they called for cent per cent exemption for repayment of housing loans and interest thereon without any ceiling. The interest rates on fixed deposits in banks and post offices, National Savings Certificates and Public Provident Fund ought to be raised to promote national savings.

The INBEC and the PPCC wing, while recalling the poll promises of ruling Congress asked the Union Government not to impose any burden of taxation on essential commodities like kerosene oil, edible oils, pulses, rice, sugar, wheat flour, soaps, textile and life saving drugs and medicines. They also urged the government to ensure that benefits of any reduction in excise duty or import duty were passed on to the actual consumers and prices were proportionately reduced.

Other demands made in the memorandum included abolition of octroi throughout the country, simultaneous implementation of VAT in all the states, free travel facilities by train or bus to senior citizens, an end to contract labour system, privatisation and disinvestment in profit earning private sector undertakings.

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Industrialists incur losses by using generators
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
While several small-scale industrial units had either cut down production or shut down after the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) introduced weekly off, some middle and large-scale units have also started incurring massive losses on account of increased expenditure on fuel for generating their own power. Unit owners have to bear not only the extra expenditure on fuel, but also the harassment by PSEB officials for running their own generators.

A leading industrialist disclosed that his average daily fuel expenditure had gone up to Rs 1 lakh. He disclosed that since it was the peak production season for the winter wear it was practically impossible to shut down the factory for two days in case it depended for power on the PSEB alone. 

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