L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Kidnap bid foiled; five nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Ludhiana police today busted a six-member gang of criminals engaged in various criminal activities. The gang leader, who was a former employee with a Doraha-based company was allegedly planning to kidnap a two-and-half year old son of the family when he landed in the police net.

While five members of the gang, including the leader, Deepak Sharma, a native of Patna, Mohammad Shahid, alias Khan of Malerkotla, Satpal alias Bittu, a resident of Gurthalli village near Payal, Gurpreet Singh alias Sonu, a tailor from Rampur, Payal and Vinod Kumar of Payal were nabbed by the police, their sixth accomplice is still at large.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Toor, SP (D), while addressing mediapersons claimed that Deepak was employed with a Doraha-based factory, Kashmir Honey, five years ago and was thrown out by his employer after he was allegedly caught with a pistol.

After knowing that the factory owners were rich people, Deepak planned to abduct the son of Mr Raja Kapoor, the owner. He had taken a salesman of the factory, Bharti in confidence, who was assigned the task of bringing the boy out of the house. From there, he was to be picked up by Deepak and his aide, who is at large. When the time of execution of the plan arrived, Bharti refused to help them as he said he could not ditch his employers. He went back on a month’s leave to Bihar and is yet to return.

Deepak told mediapersons that he had already planned to demand a ransom of Rs 10 lakh and had even decided to keep the boy in an abandoned tubewell shed in Doraha. However, the plan could not be executed.

Mr Toor said he had planned the kidnapping a year ago also but could not do so as one of his aides, Bablu, was picked up by the police and he had threatened to spill the beans if they went ahead with the abduction. He alleged that when Bablu came back from police custody, Deepak thought of eliminating Bablu and asked him to accompany him to a gurudwara. He was shot dead by another aide of Deepak with a pistol on Raul bridge at night and was thrown into the canal. Mr Toor said that the murder came to light during investigation.

The gang robbed Rs 10,000 from a soda factory in Doraha by injuring an employee in March last year. A case was also registered in this regard under Section 394 IPC. Mohammed Shahin was involved in a robbery of cigarettes worth Rs 2.5 lakh when he had robbed a cigarette trader of Malerkotla a year ago. Deepak had also robbed some women near Gurthali bridge after wearing a mask a year ago. He also robbed a truck driver of Rs 35,000 by firing a shot at him from the rear of the truck.

They were nabbed by the police following secret information. They were now planning to commit robberies at dairy farms in Haibowal. A case under Section 399, 402 IPC and Sections 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act has been registered against them. Two 0.315 bore country-made pistols and two cartridges each were recovered from the possession of Deepak and Khan, respectively. Deepak said he had purchased the pistol from Patna by paying Rs 600. An iron rod was recovered from Satpal.

Interestingly, Deepak ran a tea shop near Gurthalli bridge and had made a strong network by coming in contact with other youths through friends. A criminal mind, he had even killed his best friend, Bablu, when he had tried to stop him from indulging in crime. Bablu used to iron clothes on the bridge, Gurpreet Singh was a tailor while Khan worked in Malerkotla.



SC notice to Centre, states on SYL
cheers CM’s supporters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Today’s order of the apex court on the SYL canal issue has cheered supporters of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. They have started describing it as a vindication of the stand taken by Capt Amarinder Singh in the interest of the people of the state.

Taking up the case after it was referred to it by the President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the Supreme Court issued notices to five states including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, besides the Centre. The All-India Congress Committee secretary, Mr Manish Tewari, who was one of the counsels for Punjab, today observed that the court had given sufficient time and chance to all the states to present their view point.

Mr Pawan Dewan, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, observed that with the SC indicating that it was going to examine the issue threadbare and asking for the stand of other states also, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s stand has been vindicated as he has been consistently maintaining that Punjab’s viewpoint was being overlooked.

The PYC leader said the Chief Minister had endeared himself to the masses by this daring act. He pointed out that no Chief Minister or even the Akalis, who were self-proclaimed votaries of Punjab’s interests, had never ventured to take such a bold measure to save Punjab from going dry. Mr Dewan condemned the malicious campaign launched against Capt Amarinder Singh by some vested interests to serve their own interests.

Another youth Congress leader, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, said the Shiromani Akali Dal should cooperate with the Chief Minister at least on this issue as it was in the greater interest of the Punjabis. He observed that this was a testing time for all political parties of Punjab to fix their priorities and preferences and announce their stand on the issue.

Mr Tikka observed that with the Supreme Court appreciating the stand taken by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, all those people who had been trying to malign the CM had been silenced. He claimed that all such leaders should not harm the interest of Punjab for selfish motives. He observed that it was probably for the first time that the Congress was more popular among the villagers and farmers than any other political party, just because Capt Amarinder Singh took a daring step. 



Churches divided on CMC issue
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 2
With the Supreme Court deferring the hearing of a petition on admissions to undergraduate medical and dental courses of the local Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) to August 9, the admission process, which was to start today, has been postponed till then.

As the management of the minority institution is still hoping for a last-minute relief from the apex court, representatives of churches with different views on the issue are involved in fierce lobbying and war of words.

While the convenor of the local Churches Coordination Committee, Rev Ram Lal, has made a forceful plea for restoring the rights of the minority community in the matter of admissions to MBBS and BDS courses in CMCH, the United Church of Northern India (UCNI) has lauded the state government decision, saying that the move to scrap sponsored seats of particular churches would make more Christian students eligible for admissions on the basis of merit.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Rev Ram Lal said it was regrettable that the committee headed by Justice G.R. Majithia, which was set up by the state government on the directions of the Supreme Court to safeguard the rights of the minority communities, had overstepped its brief. Not only had the CMCH been asked to surrender 50 per cent of its seats to be filled through open merit drawn from the entrance test conducted by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences but the Punjab-domicile church-sponsored category had also been scrapped.

He said the unwarranted government interference in the admission to the Christian minority institution would have an adverse effect. While on one hand the quota of Christian students stood reduced, on the other the interests of Punjabi students were also hit.

With an opposing view, Rev Clarence Bansi Lal, Moderator of the UCNI (Punjab Synod), has taken exception to the agitation and provocative statements against the filling of 50 per cent seats in MBBS and BDS courses through open merit in accordance with the government decision. He said the CMC Society, which was the sole decision-taking body for the institution, had given the sponsorship rights to a select few (4 or 5) churches that nominated candidates for 31 seats.

Claiming that the churches with the right of sponsorship did not represent more than 25 per cent of the Christian population in the country, he said that with the open merit category of Christian candidates for the 50 per cent seats, a large number of deserving students, who otherwise could not manage church sponsorship, would stand to benefit. The rationalisation of the fee structure for medical, dental and nursing courses by the state government was also a welcome step that would bring the courses within reach of economically weaker sections, he added.



Blocking roads to please gods
D. B. Chopra

LUDHIANA: Among the various factors causing traffic jams on the busy city roads, religious events stand out as the most prominent. The city has no dearth of shobha yatras, nagar kirtans and other similar processions organised by a variety of religious and charity organisations.

Various religious committees in different parts of the city take out separate shobha yatras in connection with festivals like Janamashtmi, Shivaratri, Ram Navami, Dasehra, etc. However, these organisations use common tableaux. As a result, they hold their processions on different dates, adding to the number of shobha yatras.

Similarly, nagar kirtans in connection with martyrdom days and birthdays of the Gurus are taken out by various gurdwara managements in their respective areas on different dates for the sake of maximum participation of devotees.

During these shobha yatras and nagar kirtans, the police is deployed in strength along the routes and, at several places, traffic is diverted to narrow lanes, which get blocked for hours together. Only when the main roads are reopened does the traffic become normal.

Apart from these shobha yatras and nagar kirtans, the city also witnesses several other religious processions taken out by the managements of deras and samadhis on anniversaries connected with the birth or nirvana of their sect’s founder, etc.

Other religious activities like jagrans and bhandaras also interfere in the
normal flow of traffic in residential areas all over the city.

On such occasions tents are put up right on the road, forcing commuters to take a detour and, possibly, make a small donation as well.

While in most cases commuters tolerate the trouble as the time wasted is not much, there are instances when a person trying to push his way gets manhandled.

At one such function recently, this correspondent saw boys of a locality in the old city moving around with sticks in their hands to frighten away scooterists and others. Since the alternative route was tedious, some of the people forced back by the mob of boys approached a nearby police station. Two policemen were sent to the site. Seeing the cops, the boys beat a hasty retreat and the policemen reported that everything was “alright”.

Though blocking a public road and hampering the flow of traffic is an offence under the law, the police in such cases hesitates to take any strong action because religious sentiments being involved.



Farmers’ dharna at Ahmedgarh station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
On a statewide call given by the Bhartiya Kisan Union, (EKTA) and Kisan Sangarsh Committee to stop the rail traffic, leaders of the Ludhiana chapter of the union supported by some farmers staged a dharna on the tracks at Mandi Ahmedgarh railway station today.

Led by Mr Darshan Singh Poohli, president of Ludhiana unit of BKU(Ekta), the farmers staged the demonstration for three hours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and raised slogans against the charging of electricity bill at Mandi Ahmedgarh railway station.

After passing of Ludhiana-Jakhal mail, the rail traffic was diverted from Nabha and no train was allowed to reach the Mandi Ahmedgarh station till 4 p.m. Heavy police force was posted at all the railway stations of the district fearing action by the demonstrators.

Mr Darshan Singh Ghudani, a farmer said that as many as 1 lakh 11 thousand farmers had boycotted the power bills and the Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh, had in a meeting with the union on April 28, promised that he would waive some bills of farmers but no action was taken.

The farmers also demanded that the wife of Angrez Singh, a farmer who had died during agitation at Manawala, should be compensated with a job. 



Traffic jam near Sabzi Mandi

Ludhiana, August 2
There was a traffic jam near Sabzi Mandi on the Jalandhar road for nearly two hours last evening.
The cause of this hold-up was a religious procession moving from the Mata Rani temple near the municipal corporation headquarters to the other side of the Buddha Nullah, where a pooja was to be held.

Part of the slow-moving procession were a group of devotees from the South, with parts of their bodies pierced with rods.



Faith makes them perform daring feats
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
Even if one has left his native place, he continues to perform ritualistic practices at his present living place. South Indians settled in Ludhiana yesterday observed Mariamma's festival. They take out procession in sawan’ and they fast before performing daring feats.

Though a new generation of South Indians has sprung up in the city, yet they have not forgotten their rites and rituals. With regularity they take out religious processions dedicated to Mariamma, their benevolent Goddess also known as Sheetla Mata every year. They revere their goddess, Sheetla Mata and prove it by performing heroic feats otherwise unimaginable. The devotees walk on coals without suffering burns and pierce their bodies with sharp-edged iron rods.

They took out a procession in honour of their deity from Daresi Grounds yesterday. It was seen that many had pierced their cheeks with iron rods. On enquiry, they said neither did they feel any pain nor did they develop any wounds after removing rods from their cheeks.

A man in the procession had hooks put into his back. Shankar, a 45-year-old man was pulling a Maruti car tied with rope and looped into those hooks. They are training their children to perform these unique feats of faith. 



Bhog ceremony for gastro victims
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
Residents of several colonies on the Daba road here performed a bhog ceremony in the memory of victims of gastroenteritis, which had broken out in the Mauji Colony and some surrounding areas in the city.

Speaking at the bhog ceremony held at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, several speakers including Mr Pritam Singh, president, Mauji Colony Mohalla Sudhar Committee, regretted that no councillor, civic body official or district official has attended the prayer meeting, nor promised financial assistance to next of the kin of the victims so far. He also called for making fool-proof arrangements for supply of safe drinking water in the area to avoid recurrence of water-borne diseases.

Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and trade union activist Mr Harjinder Singh lauded the efforts made by the Indian Medical Association, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, and the local unit of the Medical Practitioners’ Association, Punjab for holding a medical camp for days together and providing medical assistance to the people of the affected colonies.

Representatives of the Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Hosiery Workers Union, Istri Bhalai Sabha and the Mazdoor Committee also paid homage to the victims on the occasion.



Anthology of poems released 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
Prof N.S. Tasneem released a collection of poems, "Dil da Karvan," by Davinder Dilroop at Punjabi Bhavan here yesterday.
Dilroop is an Assistant Professor in zoology in Punjab Agricultural University. Prof Tasneem, commenting on the book, said, "Her anthology contains love poems, and love poetry written by women should be viewed differently. Some of her poems rise above the common themes and there is mysticism in them.

"In her poems, we find the longing of the moth for the star, of the night for morn, and her own desire for eternal love. Her spontaneity of expression shows purity of thought," said Dr Surjit Patar, president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi.



Weed eradication drive launched
Our Correspondent

The SDM, Mr J.S. Jassi, inaugurates a weed eradication campaign at Samrala on Monday
The SDM, Mr J.S. Jassi, inaugurates a weed eradication campaign at Samrala on Monday.

Samrala, August 2
A campaign to remove weed was inaugurated by the SDM, Mr J.S Jassi, on the premises of agriculture office here today.
Mr Jassi was welcomed by Mr Satnam Singh Swatch, in charge of the office, in which more than 50 farmers, panches, sarpanches and lambardars participated. Dr Rajinder Singh Pandher, Chief Agriculture Officer, Ludhiana, was present, among others. Dr Sajjan Singh, ADO, Samrala, and Dr Gurmeet Singh talked about problems caused by the weed.



Nanda re-elected chief of hotel association
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Mr N.S. Nanda has been re-elected president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab for the sixth consecutive time for a term of two years. He was elected unanimously to the post at the general body meeting of the association held here yesterday.

Mr Joginder Singh of Green Hotel, Patiala, was elected as senior vice-president. Mr Nanda was authorised to nominate other office-bearers and executive body members with the consultation of an advisory committee headed by Mr Suresh Kapoor, Chairman, along with other five members.



Labourer dies as earth caves in
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 2
Kuldip Singh, 23, a labourer of Bajurg village, 6 km from here, was killed when he along with Rana Singh of the same village was working on a centrifugal pump. Kuldip Singh was killed when the earth caved in. People who were nearby, reached the scene to save them.

Rana Singh was rescued but Kuldip Singh was killed. The body of the deceased has been brought to the Civil Hospital here for postmortem and the police has registered a case under Section 174, CrPC.


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