L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Students go on rampage at Gurdas Mann nite
Several injured in police lathi charge
Tribune News Service

Policemen take stock of situation at the Thapar hall, PAU, Ludhiana
Policemen take stock of situation at the Thapar hall, PAU, Ludhiana, on Saturday evening. — Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, October 17
A musical night, “Nachda Punjab”, organised at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) by a vernacular daily late last evening, took an ugly turn when the police personnel posted at the PAU mela grounds did not let some students enter the venue.

The agitated students, who wanted to listen to Punjabi singer, Gurdas Mann, went on a rampage and broke windowpanes of the M.S. Randhawa Library and Thapar Hall after the police resorted to a mild cane charge to disperse them when they were holding a dharna near the venue.

The students have announced that they would boycott the classes and go on an indefinite strike from Monday to protest against the alleged highhandedness of the police.

They threatened that they would continue agitation till they got justice.

Dr Amritpal Singh Mann, Dean, Students Welfare, PAU, and DSP Ravcharan Brar reached the spot and pacified the students. The students alleged that they had shown their identity cards to the policemen but they were not allowed entry.

They added that when they were airing their grievances by staging a dharna, they were beaten up and some of them, including girls, received injuries.

In a written statement issued by office-bearers of the PAU Students Association, the students claimed that they tried to contact the PAU authorities but nobody was available.

Holding Dr A.S. Sandhu, Director, Extension Education, PAU, responsible for the last night’s episode, the students demanded his resignation.

They said while the PAU did not allow even a DJ to play music on the campus a musical night was being organised during the examination days.

A statement signed by Sandeep Singh, Khushwant Singh, Harmeet Singh Gill, Manjot Singh Riar and Jaswinder Kaur Jassi demanded an inquiry into the permission given to the organisers of the event.



Another stock of explosives found
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 17
The police has found another stock of explosives from the Doraha-Sidhwan canal near Sangowal village, the spot where a large quantity of the material was found yesterday. The police claimed to have shifted the material to a safe and unknown place but a team of experts from the armed police was yet to arrive and diffuse the explosives.

While the people of the area were yet to come in terms with the environment of constant and ever increasing fear of explosives being found from the canals the police found another stock of explosives enclosed in bags. Weighing around 2-3 quintals, the explosive included mortar shells, rockets, and anti-aircraft rockets.

After receiving the fresh reports of seizure of the explosives, police personnel rushed to the spot and started taking out the explosives from the canals. Unlike the explosives found yesterday from dry bed of the Sidhwan canal near Jaspal Bangar, the material found near Sangowal was enclosed in bags.

Simlapuri (Ludhiana) SHO, who was busy handling the explosives, said they had received information about the explosives from their sources. These had been shifted to a safe and untold place where the team of the experts and a bomb disposal squad from the Panjab Armed Police would diffuse the live explosives, if any. The squad had not reached the spot by evening.

It was suspected that some scrap dealer had thrown the explosives into the canal due to fear of explosion and police action. People of the area fear that more explosives might be found after the bed of the canal becomes visible again. The bank of the canals in the area which used to be crowded with the people from all walks of life wore a deserted look after the police concluded the operation today.



One held in migrant’s murder case
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 17
The Jagraon district police has claimed to have solved the murder case of a migrant labourer whose body was found near a tubewell on the periphery of Majri village. The main suspect arrested by the Dehlon police has been sent to judicial custody.

The suspect, also a migrant labourer, was arrested as he could not explain the presence of a blood stain on his shirt which had been seized by the police along with many other garments collected from the houses of various labourers during a search.

According to Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, Rajiv Ahir, Villey Mukhia of Gidriani village of Madhubani district in Bihar was found dead in the field of his master Surjit Singh Lambardar on September 10.

The Dehlon police got information from the lambardar. His blood-stained body was found lying on the cot on which he was sleeping.

The police had found blood stains on one of the shirts which were later reported to be of Ganesh Bahadur, another labourer of Seori village of Chhape block in Essam (Nepal). Ganesh Bahadur lived near the house of the lambardar. Eyewitnesses said they had overheard noises in the house of the suspect, suggesting an altercation.

When the suspect insisted that the stain was that of katha (an ingredient of pan) the police sent the shirt for chemical examination of the stain. The suspect was arrested only after the forensic laboratory sent the report that it was a blood stain. The stain was not adequate for performing a DNA test.

Though the police have succeeded in arresting one of the suspects, they could not establish any link between the deceased and the suspect.



City groundwater unfit for consumption
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Ground water in Ludhiana is believed to be “unfit” for human consumption. Because the water has been found to be contaminated. The contamination levels, however, vary from place to place. The worst hit are learnt to be the areas in the vicinity of the Budda Nullah. The contamination level goes down progressively as one moves away from the Budda Nullah.

These revelations were made during a random survey conducted by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The survey was, however, restricted to public institutions like schools and hospitals only. Interestingly, water supplied in some sect deras has also been found contaminated.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, while in the first phase, houses were not included in the survey, the second phase will mainly focus on the drinking water consumed in houses. The survey will be conducted among those households, which take out the water of their own from the ground by way of tubewells or submersible pumps.

The previous survey revealed that institutions falling in the vicinity of the Budda Nullah were having more and higher contamination levels. This is apparently due to the polluted water of the Nullah which goes deep into the ground. It gets mixed with the natural water and contaminates it. The corporation is yet to analyze the contaminating substances in the water.

However, it is believed that the contamination may be primarily because of the waste that comes out from dyeing units, which are located on the both sides of the nullah.

Mr Sharma said the corporation had been taking extra care in ensuring that the water supplied by it was purified and chlorinated to make it fit for human consumption. The corporation on its own had been conducting random checks of the water without the knowledge of officials responsible for its supply. He asserted that anybody could take a water sample supplied by the corporation to check its purity. He agreed that the corporation was also supplying the same ground water, but he ensured that it was treated “properly and adequately” before being supplied to houses.

The Commissioner said, the problem was that people take it for granted that the ground water they took out of their own was pure and fit for human consumption which was quite a misconception. He pointed out, given the level of industrialisation and the emission of toxic wastes, which found their way straight into the ground, the water was most likely to get contaminated. But it could always be treated and made fit for consumption.

The best way to ensure consumption of pure water was to treat it for contamination. He said, the corporation was already carrying out awareness drive among people for preventing contamination water. He pointed out, while the Corporation enjoyed the credit of being first to supply drinking water to all people living within its limits, it would also ensure that the water was clean and fit for human consumption.



Tributes to a peacemaker
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 17
It was September 21, 1981, when a mob of more than 20,000 had collected at Gurdwara Kalgidhar at around 10 a.m. A large number of youths were carrying lathis and bamboos. They had collected to protest against the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale on the previous night at Chowk Mehta in connection with the murder of Lala Jagat Narain, editor in-chief, Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers. He was gunned down on September 9, 1981, near Amaltas Motel on the national highway when he was returning to Jalandhar from Patiala. The warrants for the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were issued by a Ludhiana court.

Sant Bhindranwale had fixed September 20 as the date for surrender at Chowk Mehta, headquarters of Damdami Taksal. There was police firing at Chowk Mehta at the time of his surrender and six persons were killed. The state government had to later order a judicial enquiry into the episode.

The crowd at gurdwara Kalgidhar was not allowed to move by Thekedar Surjan Singh and he asked the youths to lay down arms The veteran Akali leader announced on the public address system that “(Whom do you want to kill. The procession will not move unless you leave the lathis and bamboos)”. The youths laid down arms and the procession went to the district administrative complex without any disturbance. Thus Thekedar Surjan Singh saved Ludhiana from communal riots not once but for many times during his life. During the worst days of militancy Thekedar Surjan Singh was on the forefront in maintaining communal peace in the town and the district. He was always the first to take oath in maintaining peace at the district peace committee meetings.

Dewan Jagdish Chander an octogenarian freedom fighter and former MLA once said,’ the credit for maintaining peace in Ludhiana during these days of disturbance must go to Thekedar Surjan Singh.” He acknowledged that the city could be disturbed if Thekedar would not have taken upon himself the responsibility of keeping the Sikh youth under the check.

Thekedar Surjan Singh migrated from Nankana Sahib after partition and settled at Ludhiana. His biggest qualification was that he never left his followers in the lurch. He chose to go with Master Tara Singh and remained with him till his death. After the death of Master Tara Singh, he accepted Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra as his leader and stood by him throughout his difficult days. He was given many temptations but he never fumbled.

Thekedar Surjan Singh was a supreme leader of the Sikh in his own humble way as he served the community with all zeal and never expected rewards in return. He was a great fighter for the cause of Akali workers and downtrodden.

He faced all difficulties with grace and never showed any weakness. Immediately after the operation Bluestar when all senior leaders, including Sant Harchand Singh Longowal who was then the dictator of the Dharam Yudh Morcha, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Jathedar Tohra, were detained the responsibility of running the affairs of the Shiromani Akali Dal fell on his shoulders. Sant Longowal after his release straightway came to see Thekedar in the CMC Hospital as he had fallen sick and was admitted there. Sant Longowal thanked him for leading the community at a very critical time.

After the arrest, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was brought to Ludhiana and was first kept in a rest house near Sidhwan Bet and then moved to canal rest house at Garhi Bridge on Sirhind canal near Machhiwara. He looked after Sant Jarnail Singh for 15 days before he was shifted to the Ferozepur jail.

Thekedar Surjan Singh was also instrumental in organising the All-India Akali Conference at Ludhiana in October, 1978, when Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi was the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal during the SAD-Janata Government in Punjab after the emergency. He also led a jatha and offered himself for arrest during the emergency.

It goes without saying that Thekedar Surjan Singh spent his life for the Sikh community but he was not rewarded in keeping with his sacrifice because he did not happen to be a Jat Sikh and above all he never fought for his personal glorification as the present day leaders do.

The Sikh cannot repay the debt for his sacrifices and they must raise suitable memorial so that the coming Sikh generation can learn about the sacrifices and follow his footsteps.



K.L. Jain falls sick, admitted to hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Local industrialist Kimti Lal Jain, who was arrested by the proclaimed offender staff of the police in three cases registered in 2001, today got admitted to the Civil Hospital claiming he was ill.

He was sent to the judicial custody by a local court. However, the industrialist, whose assets are pegged at over Rs 20 crore and is the owner of a chain of Arihant Industries, avoiding the jail by getting admitted to the hospital.

He was heavily guarded by friends and relatives who kept mediapersons at bay for most part of the day. However, when photographers managed to sneak into the room, the accused covered himself with a blanket and did not remove it till the photographers left the place.

Hospital sources said the accused complained of uneasiness, besides being a diabetic. He was referred to the Civil Hospital by doctors in the Central jail.



Kapoor Hospital committee dissolved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The rumblings between employees and management of B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital, Daresi, here today led to the dissolving of the management committee which had been running the affairs for the past several years.

The parent body, the Lahore Hospital Society, Pusa Road, Delhi, has formed the new committee. Four of the six members nominated in the committee, including the Chairman, belong to Delhi while earlier the majority was from the city only. The new committee has started functioning.

The parent organisation has apparently taken the management to the task for the controversies engulfing the institution.

The hospital is situated in the old city and caters to the need of a large number of residents.

The parent body has also accepted the resignation of former Chairman K.L. Malhotra and Medical Superintendent, Dr T.S. Cheema. It has, however, told Dr Cheema to continue holding the post till further orders.

Mr Mohan Lal Jhanji, an advocate from Delhi, has been appointed the chairman of the new management committee. Other members are Baljit K. Kapoor, Dalbir K. Kapoor, Ms Rita Chowdhry, Mr G S Chopra and Mr Pramod Dada.



MLA’s son fined
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The son of a local MLA was fined today for not purchasing a platform ticket by the railway authorities here. The offender’s gunmen tried to create a ruckus at the railway station but relented when the officials stuck to their stand.

The youth had gone to the railway station to receive some guests. However, he was shocked when a railway official asked him his platform ticket. The youth tried to show off his influence but the official refused to budge.



Spice subscribers complain of poor services
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Spice cellular services seem to have gone haywire. Hundreds of people have been complaining about the deteriorating services of the company as the network invariably remains busy.

Sometimes when a call is made to a Spice number, the answer is “the mobile phone is switched off”, even when it is on.

Spice subscribers maintained that during peak hours, it is difficult to connect to a Spice number.

“It is also difficult to make a call from a Spice number,” said Dr Grusharan Singh, national vice-president of the Indian Medical Association.

He said when he contacted the customer care executive on the helpline he was told it was because of congestion.

Sometimes it takes at least two attempts to contact a number.

Even if the call gets through, it gets disconnected and the customer has to make another call. Such complaints are frequent.

A customer care executive said it might be due to problems with handsets.

There was no such problem with the services of the company, he claimed. He, however, admitted that during rush hours, there was some problem in the network but the services did not remain suspended for longer durations.

On Friday, the Spice services remained suspended for about an hour in the Gurdev Nagar area. People could not make calls from their Spice numbers, nor could they receive calls between 7 pm and 8.10 pm.

No such problem was reported from other parts. The customer care executive said no such complaint had come to their notice.



Karva Chauth function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
The Ramgarhia Ladies Club had organised a special function in connection with Karva Chauth titled Deepak Jalta Rahe here. Members had decided to celebrate the function with group dance, a talent show, skits etc. Women danced on the occasion. Club members Sweetie Hunjan, Parvinder Kalsi, Pinki Saundh, Khushboo, Manjit Lal, Sarabjit Kaur, Gurdip Khare and Ruby Bhawarana presented songs.

In the talent show, the women had displayed various articles made by themselves and showcased their talent. There were embroidered articles and many articles of household use.


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