P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Defiance a challenge to Akal Takht’s 
supremacy: Dhindsa
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
The new SGPC team must address the issue of defiance to the Akal Takht supremacy by the jathedars of Takht Sri Patna Sahib and Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib on the Nanakshahi calendar issue.

This was stated here today by SAD General Secretary, Leader of Akali Dal Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha and a former Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. He was talking to select newsmen at the residence of party leader Baljinder Singh Samra in presence of SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid here. Mr Dhindsa had come to condole the demise of Sushil Kaur, wife of Akali leader Malkiat Singh Samra and aunt of Baljinder Singh Samra.

Mr Dhindsa said the challenge given by Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Patna Sahib, to the supremacy of Akal Takht Sahib was unfortunate.. The Jathedar had yesterday announced at Amritsar that both Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib Takhts would observe the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib’s installation on September 15 as per the traditional Bikrami calendar while the SGPC was observing it on September 1 as per Nanakshahi calendar that had the stamp of Akal Takht.

Giani Iqbal Singh had also asserted that Takht Patna Sahib could also issue hukamnamas as Guru Gobind Singh had issued one from there. The high priest had also justified the hukamnama issued by him about the controversial book ‘Mundavani’ authored by Giani Gurdit Singh who was asked to appear before Patna Sahib Takht bringing Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti Jathedar of Akal Takht along as it was reportedly on latter’s recommendations that the author was accorded access to rare manuscripts for compilation of the books. Giani Iqbal Singh had also declared that the two takhts which were out of Punjab were as important as the three in Punjab and no one should dare undermine their role. These statements had embarrassed Jathedar Vedanti who had all along been claiming that the Nanakshahi calendar had the approval of all five takht Jathedars and that Akal Takht had the sole authority to issue hukamnama on Panthic matters.

Mr Dhindsa regretted that not only Giani Iqbal Singh but even ordinary Sikhs were also defying the supremacy of Akal Takht. The SGPC would have to settle it once and for all so that the supremacy of the Akal Takht was upheld all Sikhs should join hands and rise above party politics to maintain the maryada of the Panth, pleaded Mr Dhindsa.

On power crisis, Mr Dhindsa demanded that either Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should improve the situation in two or three days or step down. Agriculture was in ruins and farmers were committing suicides while industry was shifting from Punjab due to power and water crisis, alleged Dhindsa. He asked the Centre to declare Punjab as a drought-hit state and treat the crisis as a national calamity by waiving to loans of farmers and giving economic package to industry.


Denial of minority status to SGPC colleges
takes new turn

Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The last word is still to be heard on the future status of the two Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run medical colleges in Punjab.

The sudden volte-face by Dr K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, one of the three members constituting the majority view in the judgement, which ruled in favour of withdrawal of minority status, has started a fresh controversy on the issue.

Ironically, Dr Pathak has "dissented" only after the judgement, approved by him, was made public.

"Yes, he (Mr Pathak) has written to me to express his dissent on the issue of minority status issue. I will place the letter before Justice G.R. Majithia on Monday. The committee will deal with it," Mr Satish Chandra, Secretary, Punjab Medical Education Department, who is also member-secretary of the committee, told The Tribune.

Interestingly, Mr Chandra is one of the two members of the Committee for Overseeing the Entrance Test Conducted by the Association of Private Professional Colleges who dissented with the majority opinion on the issue. The second dissenting member was Dr J.S. Gujral, Principal of Baba Farid Medical College, Faridkot.

Apart from Chairman Justice G.R. Majithia (retd), Dr K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, and Dr S.K. Sharma, a former Director of the PGI, Chandigarh, constituted the majority view.

The claim of Dr Pathak is that he did not go through the judgement thoroughly and signed it without reading it properly.

"The issue of minority status was not discussed at the meetings of the committee, at least as far as I recall. I had talked only about reservations to weaker sections of society in such institutions. While signing, if I had an idea about the minority status thing, I would not have signed. On this issue, I am in complete agreement with Mr Chandra and Dr Gujral," says Dr Pathak.

The five-member committee, headed by retired High Court Judge G.R. Majithia, had on July 23 ordered withdrawal of the minority status granted to Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Amritsar, and Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, Amritsar.

In similar dissenting notes, dated July 21, Mr Chandra and Dr Gujral had dissented with the majority view on the issue of withdrawal of minority status of the two colleges.

The draft judgement had been circulated among all members on July 19 by Justice Majithia for "perusal, approval and signature".

However, while Mr Chandra and Dr Gujral sent their dissenting notes, Dr Pathak went with the contents of the judgement.

The dissenting members had said that the committee could not have dealt with the issue of minority status of the two institutions, which had been granted minority status by the Punjab Government on April 3, 2001.

They were of the view that the Supreme Court had not given any power to the committee to decide the question of grant/withdrawal of minority status to such institutions.

"We are going to consult the Punjab Advocate General on the judgement. Dr Pathak's dissent also reached me after the judgement had been passed," said Mr Chandra.


Vedanti to release Thai translation of
Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 25
The Thai translation of Guru Granth Sahib and brief history of Sikhism will be released on August 15 in Bangkok by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht. The ceremony will be part of ‘Guru Maanyo Granth’ function to be held there from August 13.

This was disclosed by Mr Narotam Singh Narang, who has been appointed chairman of an International Committee to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib by the SGPC, here today. The translation is being done by Mr Mohinder Singh Champi from an English book authored by Justice Chuhar Singh. Mr Narang said the book was being published to benefit Thai people, who had lately evinced interest in Sikhism.

The function will be organised with the support of the Young Thai-Sikh Association of Bangkok. Mr Narang said it would be for the first time when Sikh religious personalities from India and all over the world would participate in any such function in Bangkok. He said Sikhism had become one of the five religions duly recognised by the King! The Queen had recently appreciated Sikhs as the most peace loving citizens of that country, he said.


Talks only solution to inter-state disputes,
says Venod Sharma
Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
In an upbeat mood after his appointment as special invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) of the All-Indian Congress Committee, local Congress leader, Venod Sharma, who was in the city yesterday, said table talks were the only solution to inter-state disputes of the region.

Without directly referring to the stand of the Punjab Government on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) issue, Mr Sharma said: “In 1966, when Punjab got divided into various states, it left many lingering problems, right from territorial matters to water disputes. Since these problems are the outcome of division and not disputes by design, they can be resolved through a ‘give-and-take’ policy which is to the satisfaction of all political parties. All parties are responsible enough to understand the need of cohesive action to handle such issues.”

A former Union Minister and the only leader from the region to be chosen as member of the CWC apart from Ms Ambika Soni, Mr Sharma said he would press for arriving at a consensus on all such contentious issues through negotiations.

Stating that the sacrifice made by Congress President Sonia Gandhi was “rare and unprecedented”, Mr Sharma emphasised that it had infused new life into the rank and file of the party.

“It takes a lot of courage to decline power. Through her actions, she has shown that politics is certainly not synonymous with power but is more about working for the masses,” he claimed while rubbishing all BJP allegations of Ms Gandhi being “Super Prime Minister”.

“The BJP is unable to digest the fact that they are not in power. Their leaders ought to realise that there was no stopping Ms Gandhi had she chosen to head the government. She didn’t want to be PM then and she doesn’t want to be PM now,” Mr Sharma clarified.

Specifying that the Congress party was committed to cultivating young leaders, Mr Sharma said there was enough representation to the youth in the various bodies of the Congress. “We have young leaders like Randeep Singh Surjewala and Manish Tewari among many others who have been made Secretaries in the recently reconstituted AICC. This concept of ‘Team Rahul’, focussing on a famous few, was the concoction of the media. There are enough youngsters and the average age of leadership within the party is down to 50 years,” he asserted.

Two-time president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), Mr Sharma was evasive on the controversy surrounding the induction of Mr Devinder Singh Babla. “Whether he is a primary member of the local unit of the party or not is a matter of record. When the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, says he had the permission of top leaders to induct Mr Babla, I have no reason to disbelieve him,” he maintained.


News Analysis
Captain builds case for farmers
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, July 25
Many problems beset Punjab agriculture. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, presented these to the 12th Finance Commission on July 22.

These problems have contributed to low and slow growth of economy, particularly in the 1990s. The Green Revolution of the mid-60s brought prosperity to the state. Some miseries that farmers face now have their roots in the revolution. Capt Amarinder Singh focused on these issues and quoted from the latest World Bank Punjab Development Report to support his demand for a higher financial allocation from the Commission.

This allocation is required to break the wheat-rice crop pattern — harming both economy and ecology. Despite that, Punjab continues to contribute 45 per cent of the total rice and wheat to the Central food-pool.

The problems listed by the Chief Minister and mentioned in the World Bank report are, decline in production, deteriorating soil health, depleting water-table due to over exploitation of ground water through tube-wells, shrinking of land holdings, inadequate post-harvest technology; marketing infrastructure and the absence of processing industry.

Punjab has the most input-incentive agriculture in terms of tractors, fertilizers and pesticides, largest proportion of irrigated area and highest cropping intensity. This impacts land and water resources. The state has the highest percentage of over-exploited and dark groundwater exploitation in the country. The intensive use of nitrogenous fertilizers and pesticides, says the World Bank report, has led to increasing nitrate concentration and accumulation of pesticide residues in soil, food, feed and other products, often above tolerance limits.

Burning of nearly 16 million tonnes of rice straw every year result in smog-like conditions in many parts of the state.

Another sidelight of the World Report is that direct benefits of output price support and in put subsidies accrued to agricultural households who cultivate some land. Subsidies are likely to be “regressive” as cultivators by and large are among richer sections of the rural population. And rural indebtedness of farmers is also a serious issue, which has led to suicides. A cash-strapped Punjab is today struggling to find money, Rs 14 crore to Rs 25 crore every day to buy power to sustain paddy, as monsoon has failed. Drought-like situation is developing in several parts of the state.

Punjab, therefore, genuinely needs financial support in terms of public investment in infrastructure, price incentive and even diversification from rice and wheat to cash crops. This is the reason why Capt Amarinder Singh has demanded Rs 1,250 crore to reduce one million hectares cultivated area under rice and wheat by paying farmers Rs 12,500 per hectare for keeping their land fallow. In addition, he has sought Rs 25 crore for panchayats to implement diversification and Rs 5 crore to meet administration and management costs. Punjab is keeping country’s food security in mind even as its own farm environment and economy is getting from bad to worse.

Moreover, this would benefit the Centre to the extent of Rs 5,000 crore net, annually by not procuring, handling, transporting and storing eight million tonnes of foodgrain. Benefits would accrue to the state, as well, thereby mitigating most of the listed problems. Hence, his appeal to the Commission for Rs 1,280 crore per year for sustaining agriculture.

Thus, in the absence of rains, over exploitation of underground water through tube-wells, absence of canal water in several parts, buying power at high cost from outside due to the lower water level in the three hydro-electric project reservoirs that has effected power generation, Punjab has a case for central financial bailout to keep up its food production and fill hungry bellies!


Punjab wins sympathy of Finance Commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Punjab has succeeded in winning “sympathy’’ of the 12th Finance Commission, given the cogent and convincing presentation the state made on its financial needs on Thursday.

While appreciating Punjab’s performance in several social and economic indicators, the commission Chairman, Dr C. Rangarajan, did express concern over deficit fiscal indicators. Nevertheless, he promised to “examine sympathetically’’ the state’s specific concerns and problems. These included waiver of Rs 3,772-crore special term loan, sufficient funds for civic services, maintenance of existing infrastructure, more money for Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies, including of pests and water logging in natural calamities and enhancing size of calamity funds to the state.

Dr Rangarajan assured Punjab that devolution of Central funds to the states would serve the objective of “equity and efficiency’’ and not equity alone, as was done by the previous commissions. A member of the commission told TNS, “Our approach will be different from that of preceding commissions and not confined to mere statistics or percentages on reducing revenue and fiscal deficits, which in any way were not achieved. We will endeavour for realistic objectives and goals in our report to be read by November, next. Within the assigned parameters, we will protect the interests of the states performing well.’’

To a specific question on Punjab seeking special financial package for industrialisation and diversification of agriculture besides demanding waiver on loan, the member said, “We will take into account macro-economy of the country and do justice to Punjab. But any special financial favour will not be without certain strings.’’

Replying to another question, he said there was a reference to Article 355 of the Constitution during discussions. “We will examine that too’’. This reference had come up in relation to Punjab seeking a waiver on the special term loan, Rs 3,772 crore, for which repayment commences, April 1, next.


Inside Babudom
Punjab Police applies two sets of rules
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Already caught in a plethora of controversies, the Home Department has put the Punjab Police in a piquant situation. In the infamous wireless scam, the Home Department has ordered the suspension of Mr Malvinder Singh Sidhu, Superintendent of Police, while action is yet to be initiated against the then head of the wireless section, Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional Director-General of Police.

Only last week, the Home Department informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that both Mr Bhatti and Mr Sidhu were being chargesheeted in the case. Yesterday, the Home Department suspended Mr Sidhu, shifting his headquarters from Chandigarh to the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy (PPA) at Phillaur. He has been suspended under Section 4.1 of Punjab Police Rules in contemplation of disciplinary proceedings against him.

The wireless scam hit the headlines after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Interestingly, the PIL was filed for alleged "bunglings and irregularities" committed in the purchase of wireless sets during 200--2001 and 2001-2002. Quality of wireless sets and their warranty were also questioned.

Subsequently, an enquiry conducted by Mr R.K. Gupta, Additional Director-General of Police, cleared the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 purchases but raised doubts about subsequent purchases made in 2002-2003. It is here where Mr Bhatti and Mr Sidhu were indicted.

Now the government has reportedly acted partially and suspended Mr Sidhu. His headquarters have been shifted from Chandigarh to Phillaur. Mr Sidhu belongs to the Punjab Police Service (PPS).

There have been instances when different sets of rules have been followed for policemen at different levels even when they are involved in similar cases. A policeman not connected with the election duty was suspended even when he asked for medical leave while officers were sanctioned leave to defy Election Commission's directive of shifting them.

Action against PPS officer and government's silence against senior IPS officer in the same case is one point which has been agitating the PPS Officers Association. Though IPS officers have been accusing the PPS officers that they, using their political clout, have gobbled up a number of cadre posts which were meant for those belonging to the central civil service.

Meanwhile, the move to de-cadrise 11 posts held by PPS officers has fallen through.


Deputy Speaker to attend Ottawa conference
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
The Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, today disclosed he or the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Som Nath Chatterjee, would attend the 10-day conference of the presiding officers, to be organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Ottawa in September.

Mr Atwal was here to attend a private function. “Either of us would attend the conference that includes a four-day executive meeting of the association and six days of deliberations,” disclosed Mr Atwal.

He informed that he had taken up the matter of delay in the completion of the overbridge at Satnampura railway crossing with the Union Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Parsad.

Saying that discussion and not disruption should be the benchmark of parliamentary democracy, he said both treasury benches and the Opposition parties should jointly make efforts for the smooth functioning of both Houses of Parliament. SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid, Akali leaders Jatinderpal Singh Palahi and Sarwan Singh Kular were also present on the occasion.

Later, Mr Atwal called on former Punjab Minister and state BJP vice-president Chaudhary Swarna Ram at a local private hospital who had suffered a heart attack last night.


Pak built bunkers with Indian cement, says J&K Dy CM
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 25
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma revealed that Indian cement and iron was used for the construction of bunkers by enemy troops on Kargil heights.

Mr Sharma told The Tribune that cement and iron was supplied to enemy troops, for bunkers on Tiger Hill and adjoining hills, from the Indian side in Kashmir with the connivance of some “Junior” level Indian officials. “I have come to know that they set up bunkers with our cement and iron, supplied to them from this side, but, nothing was done to prevent such supplies. Such supplies materialised with the help of some junior level officials from our side,” said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma said that it was “collective” failure of the central and state intelligence agencies to detect such developments to avert the Kargil conflict. “A deep probe in this aspect could bring about more truths,” said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma, attacked two times in a week by terrorists in J&K, also revealed that his security has not been strengthened despite two attacks on him.

“I think I am waiting for the third one,” said Mr Sharma in a lighter vein. He said he had just 12 security officials, headed by two ASIs, while he was on move in the state. “Despite several requests to the CM, nothing has been done in this regard.

On the other hand, some leaders including Mr Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba has more security,” said Mr Sharma.

Expressing concern over drought-like situation in the Kathua region, Mr Sharma said despite an agreement effected in 1975 when Mr Parkash Singh Badal was Chief Minister.

“We are not getting our share of 430 cusecs of water. I have already talked to Punjab minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and other ministers apart from writing to Ms Sonia Gandhi and Ms Ambika Soni,” said Mr Mangat Ram Sharma.


Take care of the poor: Shekhawat
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 25
Terming the 26 per cent below poverty line population of the country as fifth pillar of democracy, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Vice-President of India, stressed to strengthen democracy by taking care of this segment of people and solving their problems on priority.

Mr Shekhawat, speaking at the 91st relief distribution function organised by the Hind Samachar group of newspapers, lauded the group for giving relief to thousands of victims of militancy and natural calamities. He said though such efforts, could generate zealousy, but also inspired people to do something for countrymen. “There is no element of repentance in donation,” said the Vice-President asserting that the money had been utilised properly in right direction by the group.

Mr Shekhawat, who was attending the relief distribution function for the second time, said though it is said that democracy had four pillars, but, in his view it had fifth pillar also and it were the poor. Who formed 26 per cent of country’s population and were increasingly becoming aware that they could change the country’s governments or could have strong bearing on the governments. “We have ignored this fifth pillar. As Rajiv Gandhi once said only 15 per cent of approved funds reached them because of corruption. The situation is not different now.

The Punjab Governor lauded the Chopra family supporting families of militants’ victims. Punjab minister Avtaar Henry, said terrorism, which claimed 26000 lives in Punjab, was eliminated with strong political will. “He also praised the Hind Samachar Group for helping the victims of terrorism. Mr Henry, also contributed Rs 31,000 and offered Rs 1 lakh on the behalf of the Punjab Chief Minister.

Akali leader Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa hoped that Indo-Pakistan relations would improve. Mr Dhindsa recalled his association with the Chopra family.

Himachal BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal, said terrorism was a long-drawn-out battle of the civilised world against people.”The fund is an effort to help terrorist victims for so long,” said Mr Dhumal. Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker Punjab, Ms Preneet Kaur, who received Rs 1 lakh from Ms Sudesh Chopra, Director of the Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers, for the CM Relief Fund, Rana Gurjit Singh, both Punjab MPs, and Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, former Union Minister of state, also addressed the gathering.


Notice issued to IG (Prisons)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Taking note of a news report - Inhuman conditions for juvenile offenders - published in The Tribune recently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Inspector General of Prisons, Punjab.

The IG (Prisons) has been asked to respond within four weeks to the facts mentioned in the report. The report was sent in a complaint to the NHRC by human rights activist and lawyer Charanjit Singh Bakhshi.

In his complaint, referring to the news report, Mr Bakhshi has stated that despite the Juvenile Justice Act and the conventions on the rights of a child, about 30 juvenile offenders lodged in an observation home in Faridkot have been deprived of basic civil and human rights.

He has pointed out that according to the news report, the children are being kept behind bars.

The report also said that many inmates suffered from serious ailments due to unhygienic living conditions. The children had been put in two small rooms, which were closed with iron rods.


Condition  of jails deplorable, says minister

Amritsar, July 25
Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Minister for Prisons, admitted here today that condition of jails in the state was deplorable.

He said was due to paucity of funds. He said Rs. 11.5 crore was given every year by the Central government for improving the condition of prisons. However, as the state government had not been able to contribute its own share for the past two years, it could not use the funds.

Answering the reasons for the incidents, which happened in Amritsar and Jalandhar jails, where some prisoners alleged of having been inscribed objectionable words on their bodies, he said that it did not seem to have been done by jail officials. He said it was quite obvious to every official that such crimes could not be hidden for long and could jeopardise their careers. He added that almost all officers in Jalandhar jails were from the Scheduled Caste category so how could they had written such objectionable words against their own caste.

The minister said all prisons in the state would have a separate cell for women prisoners. As there is only one women jail in the state at Ludhiana.


Burning dolls’ prayer to rain god
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Even as the monsoon has been playing truant so far, a large section of farmers and women of Bathinda and Mansa districts have started holding prayers to please the rain god as paddy and cotton crop have started wilting. Not only farmers and women folk, but businessmen and a large section of urbanites have too joined the prayers.

Yajnas are being held and the practice of burning dolls has been started in rural and urban areas.

When I was young I was told by the elderly that by carrying out the above ritual the rain god gets pleased and this will lead to heavy rains and so we are observing the same today,” pointed out an elderly woman of Bathinda town, who along with other women today performed the ritual of burning dolls in one of the residential areas near Rose Garden.

A large section of farmers pointed out that as the canal water level had receded electric supply to their tubewells had become erratic.

They added that farmers of Bathinda and Mansa districts were doubly cursed as on one hand they had been facing frequent power cuts which had rendered their tubewells virtually non-functional while on the other the canal water supply was insufficient as the region located at the tail end of the canal.

State Agriculture Department officials pointed out that there were reports of farmers ploughing paddy crop after the same got dried up to acute shortage of water.

Moreover, due to absence of rains and erratic power supply, a large number of farmers had reportedly started resorting to canal water theft in this area. The farmers were finding it difficult to buy diesel for running tubewells.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh Brar, president, Punjab Young Farmers Federation, Punjab, said the state government should seek a special package from the Centre to compensate those farmers who had suffered loss on account of drought-like conditions.


No diarrhoea case in Sultanwind
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
The district administration claimed that no diarrhoea case was found in Sultanwind village.

The Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Sardool Singh Bandala, visited the village along with officials of the district administration and the Head Department today.

Making a statement, the minister said the problem of drainage of the village would be solved on priority.

The Deputy Commissioner Raminder Singh said potable water was being supplied to the villagers through tankers. Chlorine tablets, were also being supplied to them.

Meanwhile, the All-India Youth Association, in a statement released here today, appealed to the corporation to continue sending tankers of water till the area was given the clean chit over contamination of water supply.


Malout resident killed during Amarnath Yatra
Tribune News Service

Malout, July 25
A Malout resident was killed and three others were injured as their car fell into a deep gorge at Ramgarh while returning to the base camp at Jammu after paying their obeisance at the Amarnath cave.

According to reports received here, the deceased and the injured were cousins and had gone in their own car.

The deceased has been identified as Bharat Bhushan (27) of Malout Camp, near Jhandewala Chowk. He died on the spot. The injured have been identified as Deepak Kumar (23), Sunil Kumar (22) and Chintu Bathla (21).


Revoke transfer orders of doctors, demands IMA
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 25
To discuss in detail the agitation by doctors of the local Rajindra Hospital a meeting of the state council of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) was held here today.

While addressing the gathering, state president of the IMA Dr O.P.S Kande demanded that the state government should immediately revoke the transfer orders of the six doctors who had been shifted under pressure of Municipal Corporation employees.

He further appealed to the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to intervene and take immediate action against the culprit of the acid attack. He added the state government should constitute a high-level committee to probe the issue and if there was a system failure in the hospital then action should be taken the Secretary of Medical Education Department. He further threatened to intensify the struggle if the state government failed to resolve the issue shortly.


Authority urged to stop communal activity
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Villagers of Bhucho Kalan have urged the civil and police authorities to check outsiders from delivering explosive speeches and holding religious rallies.

In the representation to the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, a section of the residents alleged that certain people had been trying to disturb peace by making explosive speeches based on caste and religion.

They added a religious dera, which was located near the village and had been following its tradition for the past many decades, was the target of the outsiders.


Blood donation camp organised
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
As many as 63 units of blood were collected at a camp held at the local Goodwill Hospital by the Goodwill Society to mark its silver jubilee year.

In a statement issued here today, Mr K.K. Garg, general secretary, Goodwill Society, said a number of employees of Punjab National Bank also donated blood in the camp.


Sexual harassment case against principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
A case of sexual harassment has been reported from Kendriya Vidyalya (I), Amritsar cantonment, against the principal. The English teacher of the school in her complaints to the Chairman of the school, the General Officer Commanding, the Assistant Commissioner, Jammu KV Sangathan, the Commissioner, KV in Delhi, the National Human Rights Commission and the Human Resource Development Ministry alleged “sexual harassment” by the Principal Mr A.K. Upadhyay.

She stated in a written statement here today, “The principal makes sarcastic comments in the morning assembly, harasses teachers and then compels them to enter his office on their knees where he would make suggestive remarks”.

However, the principal said that the teacher made a false complaint as she was denied leave and was negligent in her duties as she had lost the school register in 1999. The English teacher refuted these allegations.

Reportedly an inquiry is under way by the Chairman of school and senior officers are likely to arrive for further probe into the matter.


Woman kills husband with paramour’s help
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 25
The police has solved the case in which a woman belonging to Kot Ise Khan killed her husband in alleged connivance with her lover.

According to police sources, the father of the victim said his son, Darshan Lal, was working with the Railways and residing at Kot Ise Khan. Balwant Singh, with whom Darshan’s wife developed illicit relations, was staying near his house. He said his son went missing on April 4. Later, his body was found in the jurisdiction of Sadar police station, Ferozepore. “We cremated him thinking it to be a case of accident,” he said.

The mystery behind his death was resolved when younger son of Darshan Lal, Sohan Lal, told the family members that his mother and Balwant had killed his father, he added. Sohan Lal told the family that Darshan was made to drink liquor and after that the two accused hit him on his head with sticks killing him on the spot. “They took away his body and threatened me not to disclose this to anyone,” Sohan said.


ASI caught taking bribe, booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Continuing with its drive against corruption, Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths today caught another public servant on the allegations of accepting a bribe. Acting on a complaint, the sleuths nabbed ASI Sukhwinder Singh who had allegedly demanded Rs 20,000 from the son of suspect in a drug-trafficking case and another person for not implicating them in the matter. The ASI, investigating the case, was posted at Sardulgarh police station in Bathinda district.

According to information, Gurdeep Singh was booked under the provisions of the NDPS Act on the allegations of possessing 1 kg of opium on July 13. The ASI was allegedly demanding money from his son Kulwant Singh and businessman Bhajan Lal for not implications them. The two were associated with each other professionally.

Instead of paying him the money, Bhajan Lal reportedly approached the Vigilance Bureau after which the sleuths caught the ASI. The operation was carried out under the supervision of the DIG (Vigilance), Mr N.S. Dhillon.

Though Mr Dhillon was not available for comments, sources in his department said the accused had been arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He is the eighth person to be nabbed in just over a fortnight. The bureau had earlier apprehended Punjab Mandi Board’s General Manager (Marketing) Sikander Singh and State Transport Commission employee Vijay Kumar.

Sikander Singh was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from an employee for letting him off. Vijay Kumar was apprehended while accepting Rs 1,000 from Surinder Singh who wanted the issuance of a no-objection certificate for plying vehicles. A Junior Engineer with the PSEB, Gurcharan Singh, was also nabbed. Posted at Sunam subdivision, he had allegedly demanded Rs 2,000 from Mahinder Singh of Biggerwal village for shifting a transformer.


ASI suspended for beating up employees
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
ASI Tirlochan Singh had been suspended and sent to Kapurthala Police Lines Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police following reports of beating up of four employees of a petrol station here on July 23 by the ASI and his juniors. When the employees had refused to supply them fuel on the directions of their employer. A probe had also been ordered into the episode, police sources said here today. The employees reportedly had refused station to fill fuel in the vehicles of the ASI and cops as the police owed huge amount to the petrol owners for the fuel supplied.

The Kapurthala District Petrol Diesel Association at a meeting criticised the police high-handedness with the petrol station station. The meeting also threatened not to supply fuel to police vehicles. It alleged Rs 10 lakh was to be paid by the local police for the fuel supplied.

Police officials denied that Rs 10 lakh was due from the police. Some amount could be out standing for fuel supplied to PCR motor cycles, added police officials.


No arrest in hand severing case
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 25
The Kapurthala police is yet to make any headway in the shocking incident in which a group of young boys had chopped off both hands of a 22-year-old youth in a clash at Pandori village of Bhulath subdivision, on July 5.

Although a case has been registered against six youths and few other unidentified men, no arrest has been made even 20 days after the incident.

Sandeep, a resident of Dyalpur village of Subhanpur subdivision, was going to Bhulath with his friend, Satnam Singh, on a scooter when a group of boys going by a car rounded him up on the way and attacked them with sharp-edged weapons allegedly over some old dispute. While Satnam received minor injuries, both hands of Sandeep got severed in the clash.

They were rushed to a hospital at Bhulath. Later Sandeep was referred to the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Ludhiana, for surgical treatment. He is still admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital.

On the statement of Sandeep, the police Surjeet registered a case under Sections 307 and 326 of the IPC against Narayan Dutt Sharma, Varun Sharma, Malkiat Singh, Sarabjeet Singh, Hardev Singh and Rajinder Singh and some other unidentified members of the group.

However, the police officials claim that a preliminary inquiry has revealed that the six persons against whom the case has been registered were not involved in the case. The police believes that Sandeep has named them in the case keeping in mind an ongoing legal battle against him.

The police suspects that Satnam was the main culprit in the incident.


Bathinda emerging as centre for fake CDs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Beware while buying an audio musical compact disc (CD). A casual approach while buying a musical CD on your part can cause you financial loss and loss to your music system as fake CDs have flooded the markets of urban and rural areas of the district.

The menace of sale of fake CDs seems to have assumed alarming dimensions in this district having close proximity to Sirsa and Hanumangarh districts of Haryana and Rajasthan, respectively, as more than 20 criminal cases were registered in different police stations till July 22.

Known as the heartland of the Malwa region, this town has been fast emerging as a centre for fake CDs for the past few months. With the rise in demand of CDs by the retail shopkeepers, the unscrupulous elements, who have been manufacturing fake CDs, have been minting money by supplying the same to unsuspecting and innocent buyers.

Though the police authorities have launched a campaign against these elements, the gravity of the problem being created by them could be judged from the fact that in the past two days the police had registered three criminal cases against those who have been manufacturing and selling fake CDs.

Having the advantage of its close proximity to Haryana and Rajasthan, the district has become a paradise for those who have been indulging in making fake goods under the famous brand names. The fake goods being manufactured in this district have been finding their way to various markets in the two states.

As per the data available with The Tribune, the district police has so far registered more than 20 criminal cases against about 30 persons for their alleged involvement in manufacturing and sale of fake CDs. Out of these 30 accused, except one or two, all have been arrested. Various audio CDs manufacturing companies have been lodging regular complaints in this connection with the district police for the past many months.

Police sources said that so far about 14,000 fake CDs have been seized from the unscrupulous elements. The CD manufacturing machines, wrappers of famous brand names and other raw material in large quantities had also been seized.

Not only fake CDs, the police has also seized fake washing powder, fake chewing tobacco, fake watches, fake television sets, fake oil filters, fake driving licences and registration certificates, fake vegetable and cooking oil in the district.


Gang of criminals busted, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
The Majitha Police yesterday arrested Ajmer Singh, a member of a gang involved in several crimes committed in the area. However, Jagtar Singh Kala, Harjot Singh Jota, Ranjit Singh Rana and Kamaljit Singh Lada, other members of the gang are still on the run.

Ajmer Singh of Dabawalan village in Batala was arrested during a naka at Bashambarpura village and seized a .315-bore pistol, three rounds and 40 fake notes of 500 denomination each from him.

Mr Roopinderpal Singh Bajwa, SSP, Majitha, at a press conference organised here today said they had come to know that the leader of the gang, Satnam Singh, who had fled from police custody, had reportedly surrendered in a Gurdaspur court. He said during interrogation Ajmer Singh had confessed to having committed crimes along with Satta.


Minor girl abducted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Paramjit Kaur, a minor girl from Kaur Singh Wala village, was allegedly abducted by Kaur Singh and Talwinder Singh, both residents of Bada Bhai Ka village of Faridkot district. The police said the accused used a motor cycle. Both the victim and her mother, Ms Amarjit Kaur, were working as labourers in the village.

A case has been registered under Sections 363, 366 and 34 of the IPC at Dyal Pura Police station. No arrest has been made so far.

Another case was registered against unknown persons for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Mr Sampooran Singh, a local resident at the city police station. The case was registered on the complaint of Ms Malkit Kaur, mother of the victim.

A case was registered against Sukhchain Singh, Jugraj Singh, Mander Singh and Kaka Singh, all residents of Faridkot district, for their alleged involvement in making an attempt to kidnap Mr Balraj Singh, a local resident. The case was registered at the city police station on the complaint of Ms Surinder Kaur, mother of the victim.


Deaf and dumb girl gangraped
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 25
The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 376 and 34, IPC, of gangrape of an 18-year-old deaf and dumb girl of Anear village.

Mr Narinder Buargav, SSP, said that the girl was gangraped in a village, near here yesterday. He said a complaint had been lodged by a resident of the village, Mr Ram Chand.

He said that three accused had been identified as Surinder Singh, Veer Singh and Som Raj. Police teams had been dispatched to arrest the culprits.


Head teacher murdered
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 25
Darshan Kaur (53), head teacher, Government Primary School, Asron, and a resident of Jamitgarh village, about 25 km from here, was killed and her daughter Amandeep Kaur (22) was seriously injured reportedly in an attack by some unknown persons last night. Amandeep Kaur has been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Darshan Kaur was living with her son Gurvinder Singh (32), daughter-in-law and two daughters at Jamitgarh village. The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 148, 149, and 120-B of the IPC on the basis of the statement of Mr Kirpal Singh, brother of the deceased.

Mr M.F. Farooqui, SSP, said the motive behind the murder seemed to be personal enmity rather than a case of burglary.


Dental institute dares govt on fee structure
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 25
The management committee of the local Dashmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences has dared the Punjab Government to change the fee structure for students who have already got admission in the four-year BDS courses last year in state colleges as recommended by the fee fixation and admission supervision committees.

In a written representation to the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, yesterday, Dr Gursewak, director of the committee of the local institution, claimed that it was not under the purview of the abovesaid committees to take up fee issue notified by the state government. This has to remain in order for four years up to 2006-07. Moreover, the fee structure once notified could not be changed mid-stream, he said.

He further said the management of the institution was also not asked by the state government about the income and expenditure, including development charges, of each college, which was in a violation of a Supreme Court order. Under the same the government was also not empowered to disallow development charges to the institution, Dr Gursewak Singh added. He made it clear that his institution was adhering to the rules, regulations and directions of the state government and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, and the arbitrary orders regarding fee reduction was an unjustified step.

The state government a few months back on the directions of the Supreme Court had constitued fee fixation and admission committees led by Justice G.R. Majithia to review the fee structures of about 40 medical, dental, ayurvedic and homoeopathic colleges affiliated with Baba Farid University of Medical and Health Sciences.


GND varsity changes timings
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
Guru Nanak Dev University has changed the timings of its administrative block and non-teaching departments as per orders of the state government.

According to a press note, the new timings will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from tomorrow till further orders. However, no change in the timings of the teachings departments has been made.


Sunday car bazar banned
Tribune News Service

Malout, July 25
One will now not be able to buy or sell cars at the car bazar which used to be organised on the premises of the grain market for the past several years at Malout on every Sunday. The Malout police has asked car dealers not to use the market committee land for the purpose. Malout DSP Hargobind Singh said the police had received a written request in this regard from the secretary, Market Committee, to stop dealers from organising car bazars on its land.

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