P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



French Sikhs in India to mobilise support on turban issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
He left his nationality for changing name to that of a Sikh. Now Darshan Singh was in India, all the way from France, along with other Sikhs, for creating awareness and mobilising support on the turban issue.

The problem — Darshan Singh and other members of the French delegation believed — was far from over as claimed by the French authorities. “In fact, it has just started”, they asserted.

The delegation planned to file a petition before the high court in France. They claimed that the issue was a part of a deep rooted conspiracy. “Political groups in France did not want people with religious bent of mind to control schools, churches and other institutions.

The groups rather wanted people to forget their identity and be alike before adopting the French way of existence,” they said.

Going into the background of the problem, the delegation members claimed that school and churches before the French revolution were under the control of religious leaders.

“But following a drastic change in the way of thinking after the revolution, the groups tried to ensure that there was no interference by religious parties in the affairs of education”, they asserted.

Giving details, the members said the controversy erupted following the French Government’s order asking people not to wear anything on their heads, besides donning other symbols that would differentiate them from others. In all, there were around 7,000 Sikhs in France, they added further.

Explaining the reason behind their visit to India, the members said that they were trying to pressurise the Indian Government to exert pressure on the French Government. “We are also meeting the Punjab Governor”, they said. The intention is to ask the Indian authorities not to forget the Sikhs in France and to keep the “awareness alive”.

Addressing a press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club, Darshan Singh — once a French national now an Englishman — said, “Living in France, it was not possible for me to change my name”.

Elaborating upon his contention, he said, “The law in France does not permit anyone to do so for religious considerations. That’s the reason why I went to England. There I managed to change my name to that of a Sikh because the English are more tolerant”.

He said, “That is, perhaps, why school students in England know what Divali is. But in France, it is different. Even after revolution, the government believes in following laws of the Napoleon era”.

“In France, you can practice any religion that you want to, but discretely. There is hardly any difference between the French and the Taliban. After taking all these facts into consideration, I gave up French nationality and became an English national”, he said.

Sharing similar sentiments, another “French Sikh” Kudrat Singh asserted, “We are not struggling for the rights of a minority community. But are fighting for a social system so that norms can be created for entire Europe”.

Kudrat Singh said, “Despite pressures, we are determined to fight for our constitutional, conventional and fundamental rights.” He clarified, “We are not fighting the law, but a decision taken by following the law. In case we do not succeed in the high court, we will move the European court and then the international court.... The whole world has to wake up to need of peace between human beings”, he said.


Ponty Chadha maintains supremacy in liquor trade
Govt loses Rs 17.80 cr in re-auction
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 5
On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the liquor vends falling in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts were auctioned again here today. The government suffered a shortfall of revenue to the tune of about Rs 17.80 crore at the auction even as liquor baron Ponty Chadha maintained its supremacy in the trade by bagging the licences for most of the groups.

Mr Sanjeev Bhandari, who led legal battle against the state government to seek nullifying of the auctions held on March 3, failed to turn up at the auction even as the authorities concerned announced his name repeatedly.

The auction had assumed political overtones during the Lok Sabha elections and the recent byelections for two Assembly segments. The Akali Dal had alleged that the auction had been subverted to in favour of a particular group of liquor contractors and causing loss to the state exchequer.

The auction was conducted smoothly and in a fairly transparent manner as the mediapersons were specially invited by the Excise and Taxation Department to cover the event.

The liquor vends falling in Jalandhar-I district fetched Rs 14.30 crore as against 15.43 crore, thus, causing a revenue shortfall of Rs 1.13 crore. Similarly, the vends in Jalandhar-II too failed to attract heavy bidding as these were awarded for a sum of Rs 22.83 crore against Rs 31.67 crore during the March 3 auction.

For Hoshiarpur district vends, the hammer was struck for a bid of Rs 11.19 crore against Rs 14.13 crore to incur a loss of Rs 2.94 crore while for Nawanshahr liquor vends, the highest bid was of Rs 21.39 crore against Rs 26.27 crore.

The auction was conducted under the supervision of a three-member committee of observers, including Mr S.C. Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Industries, Mr D.S. Jaspal, Principal Secretary, Transport, and Mr J.R. Kundal, Principal Secretary.

A senior official, said the shortfall would have to be made good by the petitioner, Mr Sanjeev Bhandari, who had deposited Rs 6 crore as security in the court. "We are going to issue a notice to Mr Bhandari to deposit remaining amount to the tune of about Rs 11.80 crore with the department at the earliest," he added.


Eight farmers being treated for fractures
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, November 5
While the district police chief, Ms V. Neerja, has claimed that BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan) activists arrested in connection with the November 3 attack on the police at Ralle village suffered minor injuries in the lathi charge, eight activists have suffered fractures.

Of the 12 activists receiving treatment at the local Civil Hospital since November 3 after they were arrested, eight had suffered fractures in their arms, shoulders and hands.

Those with such injuries are Santokh Singh, an 80-year-old activist, Gurdial Singh, Kartar Singh, Malkeet Singh, Gurmail Singh, Gurjant Singh, Kahan Singh and Karnail Singh.

Entry to the orthopaedic ward of the hospital, where the activists are admitted, has been restricted. The police is not allowing any outsider in the ward, including the activists' relatives and mediapersons.

Ms Neerja, when contacted, said mediapersons were not being allowed as any photograph of theirs in newspapers would affect the image of the police adversely. She claimed that only two activists out of the 12 had difficulties in walking, the rest had only minor injuries.

Of the 11 policemen injured in the attack by BKU activists, Mr Jangir Singh, DSP, and two others suffered fractures.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, who visited the hospital today, said he had passed instructions that the food and clothes provided by the activists' relatives should be passed on to them.

When asked if he had instituted any inquiry into this incident, he said it was purely a police case and he had not ordered any inquiry. He said he was told that nobody was being allowed in the ward due to security reasons.


DC orders probe into Sanghera college affairs
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 5
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Husan Lal, has ordered an inquiry into the alleged mismanagement and financial affairs of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera, near Barnala. Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Husan Lal said the inquiry would be conducted by the SDM, Barnala. He said he had ordered the inquiry on the representation submitted to him some time ago by the college unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union.

In the representation it had been alleged by the president and secretary of the college unit of the PCCTU that the college staff had not been paid salaries for the past 11 months since November, 2003, besides there was no transparency in the financial affairs of the college. No internal audit had been made in the college for the past many years. In view of this, Mahant Sukhdev Muni, secretary of the College Management Committee, had resigned recently on the issue of internal audit demand. Besides, the municipal councillors of Sanghera, too, had represented to the Deputy Commissioner last year in connection with the fiscal mismanagement in the college, they added.

They also alleged that there was a diversion of resources from constructive to negative-destructive tendencies. The staff strength was seven, but five cases were going on between the management and the staff. There was also no involvement of the village as the college was not run as per the constitution. There had been no development, no faculty added for the last 30 years and the staff strength remained seven since the beginning of the college.

They urged the Deputy Commissioner to intervene and take personal interest to ensure smooth running of the college.


Ex-Indian spy fights legal battle for justice
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 5
He was an avid reader of detective novels and the world of spies fascinated him. He started spying for India in Pakistan at an early age of 18, but his career was cut short owing to his arrest in Pakistan within three months of its launch. Today, he is fighting a legal battle for compensation from the Union Government.

Onkar Nath Budhwar, a 55-year-old clerk working at a local advocate’s office, claims to have worked for the Central Intelligence Bureau in 1968. Talking to The Tribune here today, Budhwar said after doing B.A. (Hindi) in Ferozepore Cantonment he came in contact with an IB official Parkash Singh Bajwa, who was a tenant at his friend’s home. He handed over an application for a job in IB to Bajwa who forwarded the same to higher authorities. According to Budhwar, after a few days Bajwa told him verbally that he had been recruited and his training would start shortly. He went on training in August, 1968, where he was taught Urdu and Arabian languages, besides reading Kuran, performing Namaz and spying skills.

He crossed over to Pakistan for the first time in October, 1968, from a border village called Shateerwala, which is 10-12 km from Fazilka, through a canal route. “During this mission, I gathered information on military strength of Pakistan in Bahawalnagar,” he claimed. In November, he went to Okada Cantonment and Multan in Pakistan after crossing the border from Pakka village near Fazilka. However, he wasn’t lucky third time, as in December he was arrested at Jajjasadu post on Pakistan border.

His classmate, Sadajeet Singh, who, according to him, was also spying for India, was also arrested along with him. He said Sadajeet had gone on a separate mission and they came across each other in Lahore, from where they headed towards the border together.

Following his arrest, he was shifted to various jails, including Lahore Fort and Sheikupura Jail, and was brutally tortured. He didn’t spill the beans and continued repeating that he had only strayed into Pakistan territory, but Pakistan soon came to know about his identity through its intelligence agents spying in India. Later, he was booked under Section 3A of the Official Secrets Act and Foreigners Act, 1942. He said his case was heard at Sahewal Session Court and in 1972, Sessions Judge Syed Mohammad Abbas Shah sentenced him to death. The jail officials got his signatures on the court verdict after which he was kept in a cell made for those getting capital punishment.

Budhwar recalled that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited Mianwali Jail in 1969 and assured Indian prisoners that if he came to power he would send them back to their country. He languished in jail for six years.

His sufferings came to an end as Bhutto kept his word and the Shimla Agreement reached between him and the then Indian PM Indira Gandhi paved the way for his repatriation.

Budhwar was finally released on December 9, 1974, and it took him three months to recover from the trauma he underwent in Pakistan jails. He got a cold response when he approached the officials concerned for resuming his job. He was promised a job in Indian Embassy and other government departments, but nothing happened. Since then Budhwar, who is a heart patient and spends over Rs 1,000 a month on his medicines, had been taking up small jobs. Today, his postgraduate daughter takes tuitions at home, while his matriculate son works in a grocery shop to make both ends meet. Budhwar claimed that a couple of years back he had received the copy of a letter written by the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to the Ministry of Home Affairs, directing it to give him compensation and his son a job.

Budhwar decided to fight a legal battle last year and filed a writ in Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 28. However, the HC dismissed his petition on April 2, 2004, as withdrawn while allowing him to file a civil suit in this connection. He filed a civil suit in a local court on October 9 this year, seeking pensionary and other benefits. The Civil Jugde, Mr Vijay Kumar, has asked the Union Government to reply on the matter before December 8.


SAD (A) workers show black flags to Bibi
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 5
A minor scuffle took place between members of the SAD (Badal) and the SAD (Amritsar) in front of Guru Nanak College for Girls when the latter tried to gherao SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur and the former tried to prevent them from doing so.

Though the situation was tense as the SAD (A) and SAD (B) workers raised slogans against each other. However, the heavy security arrangements made by the district police prevented the situation from taking an ugly turn.

The scuffle took place when Bibi Jagir Kaur was entering the college premises where she was to preside over a function. The SAD (A) workers who were carrying placards against Bibi Jagir Kaur also showed her black flags. They raised slogans against her and demanded her resignation as SGPC chief for her alleged involvement in the murder of her daughter.

Bibi Jagir Kaur was provided a safe passage to the college campus by policemen.

The SAD (A) workers led by its district-level leaders alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur had brought bad name to Sikhism and hence she had no moral right to head any of its religious institutions.


Deploy CRPF for SGPC poll: SAD
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 5
The Punjab Chief Minister is using the police to stop voters from casting their votes in favour of the SAD candidates in the SGPC elections in three constituencies. The allegation was levelled by, Mr Sharanjit Singh, president of the All India Youth Akali Dal (Badal) and an MP while talking to mediapersons here.

He said that SGPC elections were being held in Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Dhariwal and the ruling party in the state wanted that the candidates of the SAD should face defeat. To achieve this target, the Congress was indulging in various irregularities.

He said the SAD had always believed in holding peaceful and fair elections but the Congress was interfering in religious matter of the Sikhs.

He said that he would approach the President and Prime Minister of India and request him to deploy the CRPF in the areas where the SGPC elections were to be held so that the polls could be held in a fair manner.


Supply clean water, DC tells officials
Rajbir Sekhon

Bathinda, November 5
Taking note of plight of rural waterworks, dirty inlet channels and supply of contaminated water to rural and urban consumers, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, today gave an ultimatum to the officials of the Public Health Department and the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board to set the things right within seven days or face the music.

Mr Sinha, who presided over the district development committee meeting, also indicated that if the conditions were not set right, many heads would roll. He said it had come into his notice that contaminated water was being supplied to the rural and urban people. He said the officials concerned were failing to keep the water tanks and inlet channels clean despite the fact that they were having enough funds.

He ordered a probe into the collapsing of the newly constructed water tank at Nandgarh village. Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, ADC (D), was asked to conduct the inquiry.

While talking to this correspondent, he said various schools being run by the state government had been facing acute shortage of teachers. He said he had asked the official concerned to give him a detailed report in this connection within three days so that he could take up the matter with the government. He said he had directed the department to get the water samples examined. He said a grant of Rs 10 lakh had been released by the government for the renovation of government houses located in this town.


Plea on Vatican-like status for Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 5
The Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO) has decided to file a petition with the President of India to demand granting of Vatican-like status to Amritsar and also take up the issue of granting of the same status to Nankana Sahib with the Pakistan 

SNO president Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa said a mass movement had been chalked out on the issue. Addressing a gathering at Dukhniwaran gurdwara, Dr Randhawa said he was convinced that only granting of Vatican-like status to the two holy towns would ensure their well being and development.

Dr Randhawa said the organisation had also highlighted the discrimination being faced by Sikh students in France at various forums.

He said the Indian Government had only made a half-hearted attempt to take up this issue with the French Government.

He said even the political leadership of the state was not doing anything about this problem.


BSNL vehicle ‘misused’ by employee’s son
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 5
In an alleged gross misuse of official vehicle of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the son of an accounts official in the public sector telecom giant has been using the official Gypsy along with the driver for commuting from his home to the office of a private firm, where he had been employed.

The official Gypsy (PB-08N-6246), with the word “Telecom” on the number plate and “Govt. of India” written near the front and the rear mirror, has been allegedly used by him for nearly half-an-hour every morning.

Photographs of the son of the employee, sitting in the front seat of the official Gypsy along with the driver, are in the possession of The Tribune. A copy of the video CD depicting the vehicle being used for the purpose is also in the possession of The Tribune.

The CD depicts how the vehicle has been (mis)used by the official’s son on several days in August, September as well as in October for the convenience of the official’s son. The first video clipping depicts how he is picked from his official residence near Football Chowk, then taken to his office in Industrial Area, where he had been employed earlier. The second clipping shows that he is dropped at the office of a motor vehicle company where he has been recently employed. The third clipping shows that the vehicle, with the son of the official seated, is stopped by the PCR cops at Rama Mandi Chowk.

A copy of the CD reportedly prepared by the officials of the BSNL has been sent to the Chief Managing Director of the BSNL Corporate Office at New Delhi for taking suitable action. The officials have also complained that the consumption of the fuel in the vehicle had been so much that it exceeded that used by the route vehicles meant to attend the faults for keeping the telecom system fault-free.

According to the sources in the telecom department, the Gypsy that had been used has been withdrawn from the officer after it was rounded up by the PCR cops. They said the vehicle was currently not being used for any kind of official purpose.

Mr Puran Chand, DGM (Maintenance), under whom the official had been working, said he was not aware of such an action on the part of his subordinate. He would try to gather information regarding the matter since it had now been brought to his notice, he added.

The official, whose son had allegedly been using the BSNL vehicle, when contacted, seemed to be aware of the fact that some photographs of his son sitting in the Gypsy had been taken. He said it was a deliberate attempt of some officials of his department who wanted to malign him. “In fact, they forced my son to sit in the Gypsy and then they took his pictures,” he added.

When asked about three half-an-hour movies that showed his son using the vehicle for commuting purposes, he said it was not possible as none of his family member had ever used the vehicle for any private reasons. He, however, confirmed that his son had been working in the Industrial Area and was now employed with a motor vehicle company.


Translated novel not published for 30 years
Kamlesh Sharma

Barnala, November 5
Sahitya Akadmi awardee Ram Sarup Ankhi has been waiting for the past 30 years for the publication of the Punjabi version of “Manas Ka Hans” novel translated by him in 1974. The translation work of the novel, penned by Hindi writer Amrit Lal Nagar, was assigned to Ankhi by the Languages Department, Punjab.

“Manas Ka Hans” is the life profile of poet Tulsi Dass. It contains many “chaupayees” in Sanskrit. Ankhi took the help of Master Ram Sharan to get the Sanskrit “chaupayees” translated.

Ankhi, who worked hard for two years to translate the novel, approached the department several times to get the work published, but to no avail.

Ankhi (73), who was given the Sahitya Akadmi award for his novel “Kothe Khadag Singh” in 1987 by the Central Government, is still hopeful that his work will see the light of the day.

Keeping in view the organisation of the World Punjabi Conference at Punjabi University, Patiala, in the first week of December, Dr Tejwant Mann, secretary-general of the Kendriya Likhari Sabha (Sekho), said the state government was emphasising on the organisation of conferences and festivals than on paying attention to writers’ needs.

When contacted, Mr Mohan Ram Banga, Director, Languages Department, said the “Manas Ka Hans” in Punjabi could not be published because of a financial crunch, but during the current fiscal year the department had earmarked Rs 1.5 lakh for the publication of pending works.


Rights panel takes notice of stone crushers near school
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 5
Acting on a news item ‘Stone Crushers Stifle Tiny Tots’ published in Chandigarh Tribune on Thursday, the human rights body today wrote to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Chandigarh, demanding necessary action against the violators of the Human Rights.

The human rights body said that the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, and Mr S P Sharma, founder director of Shiv Mandir Shivalik Bharti Public School, Mubarikpur, had violated the human rights. The body also demanded probe by an agency headed by some official of the Commission and action be taken against the violators.

A complaint filed by Arvind Thakur, general secretary, Chandigarh unit of the Human Rights International, states that the stone crushers had created a hazardous situation around the school thus affecting the health of students apart from the residents of the area.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board authorities also failed to control the pollution havoc being caused by the industrial units in this area.

It is also mentioned that the school management was equally responsible in spoiling the health of tiny students had not tackled the menace.


Ex-MP to head Safai Karamchari Commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Ms Santosh Chawdhary, former Member of Parliament, has been appointed Chairperson of National Commission for Safai Karamchari by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Her tenure span will be from September 1 , 2004 to December 31, 2007. She will have the rank of Minister of State.

Ms Chawdhary has held important assignments in the administration and politics. 


Protest against show-cause notices
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 5
The district administration yesterday faced an unusual situation when about 15 of employees of the DRDO met the chairman of Zila Parishad to protest against the ADC (Development). The employees gathered in the Zila Parishad office in the morning protesting against the ADC who had issued show cause notices to some of the employees to explain why they were absent without taking leave. Despite a number of calls from the chairman of the Zila Parishad, the ADC did not reach there.

When contacted the ADC (Development) Mr H.P.H. Garcha said there was no protest.

Three of the employees had gone on leave. He added that some of the employees had been issued show-cause notices which caused resentment among them.

He said none of the employees met him or the Deputy Commissioner.


PSEB holds vigilance week function
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 5
The Vigilance wing of the PSEB yesterday held a Vigilance Week function with Additional Director General of Police Lalit Bhatia directing PSEB vigilance staff to give technical and legal inputs within 15 days of receipt of query.

Mr Bhatia also directed the Superintendent of Police of the Vigilance wing to monitor each case under investigation every month. He said the Vigilance staff should understand that the dragging of Vigilance inquiries only served to help the accused.

Mr Bhatia also exhorted the Vigilance staff of the PSEB to maintain moral values.


DA enhanced for pensioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Punjab Government today enhanced the dearness allowance of all pensioners from the existing rate of 11 per cent to 14 per cent, effective from July 1, 2004, to compensate for the rise in the cost of living.


Seminar on female foeticide at Bathinda
Our Correspondent

Barnala , November 5
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to organise a state-level convention-cum- seminar entitled “ Female foeticide-a national shame “at Bathinda on November 14.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Dr R.C. Garg, secretary, IMA, Punjab, informed that the Bathinda branch of the IMA would host this convention-cum- seminar at SSD Girls College, Bathinda.

Dr Garg intimated that Mr D.S. Guru, Principal Secretary, Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department, would be the chief guest.

He said Prof (Mrs ) Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP leader and Mr. N.K. Arora, a member of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission would be the starspeakers.


First Osho meditation camp in town
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 5
Ma Yoga Neelam, Osho’s former secretary, conducted the first Osho meditation camp at the Osho Prem Dhyan Kendra here today. The first day of a three- day event, Ma Yoga Neelam shared her magical moments and mystical experiences of the days spent by her with Osho. 

She taught some meditation techniques of Osho that included active meditations like Dynamic and Kundalini, dance meditations like natraj, kirtan, etc.


PRTC staff threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 5
The worker unions of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) today threatened a one-day strike in case the corporation management gave reemployment to recently retired Automobile Engineer-cum-Technical Adviser P.S. Sodhi.

In a press note here, PRTC Workers Union general secretary Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of all unions of the corporation, comprising the PRTC Workers Union (AITUC), the PRTC Employees Union (INTUC), the Karamchari Dal, the PRTC Motor Mazdoor Union (CITU), the PRTC Employees Union (SC and BC) and the Ministerial Services Union. He said they were of the unanimous view that such a controversial and “tainted” officer should not be given reemployment.


Seminar on free legal aid
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 5
A seminar on providing awareness about the free legal aid to the poor and needy was organised at sub-jail here today. It was presided over by Mr Fatehdeep Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Fatehdeep Singh said that the motive of the seminar was to educate the inmates and other people about the government policies of imparting free legal aid to eight Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, handicapped, women, children, mentally challenged, people of low income group , inmates and labourers .

He said the most of the inmates were not aware of the Free Legal Services Act. Prominent among those present on the occasion were Additional Civil Judge Karnail Singh, SDM Jora Singh , Superintendent Jail Joga Singh, and Civil Judge Ajaib Singh.


Protesters loot, damage property
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 5
The district police today remained a mute spectator even as a group of protesters, belonging to Valmiki Samaj, went to rampage at a protest rally outside Hall Gate here. According to eyewitnesses and owners of newspapers and lottery stalls, the unruly mob indulged in looting and burnt newspaper bundles despite the presence of an ASP and other police officials.

The agitators were protesting against some alleged objectionable remarks against their Guru reportedly published in two Hindi news dailies Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran. Leaders of the religious sect of the protesters had yesterday given a call for a rally.

Four mediapersons, including one Parvesh Kakkar of a Hindi news daily, and camera team of a local TV channel, were also roughed up by the mob.

According to shopkeepers, the protest started around 2 pm. After holding a rally from Hall Gate to Bhandari Bridge, the mob blocked traffic for a couple of hours on the bridge. Later the activists returned to Hall Gate and indulged in rampant looting. The shopkeepers alleged that the mob took away a large number of bumper lootery tickets worth several lakhs and also burnt newspaper bundles at the stalls of Narang Advertising, Bansal News Agency and Subash News Agency, situated just outside Hall Gate. They further alleged that the activists also looted watches and mobile phones of nearby shops.

The shopkeepers protested against police inaction and alleged that the police did not take any stern action despite the fact that the Valmiki Samaj had given a call to hold a rally four days ago. The matter could be settled only when the Kotwali police station registered a case against some activists in the mob in this regard. However, no arrests were made. This angered the shopkeepers till the evening despite their strong protest with the district administration.

It may be mentioned that some activists had ransacked the office of Amar Ujala on November 1, regarding which the police had registered a case under Sections 452, 427, 160, 506, 148, 149 of the IPC at the Rambagh police station against six persons on the complaint of Mr Satish Chander Srivastav, bureau chief of the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers association threatened that if the police failed to take any action till 5 pm tomorrow in this regard, it would resort to a protest dharna along with other associations outside Hall Gate.


Seminar in jail on free legal aid
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 5
A seminar was organised yesterday at maximum security jail, Nabha, under the directions of the Punjab Legal Services Authority which was presided over by District and Sessions Judge M.S. Mahil.

Jail inmates were told in detail about free legal aid provided to them as per Section 12 of legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and Lok Adalats. They were told that they could move an application to the District and Sessions Judge of their respective districts and to the Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) concerned.

The seminar organised in the Nabha jail was presided over by Mr H.S. Grewal, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Nabha, who is also Chairman, Subdivisional Legal Services Committee, Nabha. Nabha SDM Navtej Singh, DSP Nabha S.S. Boparai and a number of advocates were present.


Two killed as motorcycle falls into canal
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 5
Two persons, including a teenager, were killed last night when their motorcycle, fell into a canal, while a boy had a narrow escape as he managed to jump in time. Sources said that Gurwinder Singh was driving the motorbike and 14-year-old Anmoldeep Singh and 10-year-old Bikramjit Singh were riding pillion.

The body of Anmoldeep has been recovered and it has been handed over to his family members after a post-mortem examination.

Bikramjeet is in a state of shock and has not been able to reveal as to how the accident occurred.


Two hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Lalru, November 5
Two persons were injured, one of them seriously, when a Maruti car collided with the cycles they were riding on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Dappar village this morning.

The victims — Karamjit Singh of Pandwala village and Gurdeep Singh of Dera Bassi - were riding their cycles to their office when the car (CH-01U-7633) heading from the Ambala side collided with the cycles leaving the riders crushed on the spot.

The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital Dera Bassi. Seriously injured Gurdeep Singh was referred by the doctors to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh. Mr Gurdeep Singh, who received head-injuries and multiple fractures on this one leg, is struggling  for life.

According to the police, the victims are employees of Ammunition Depot, Dappar, and were riding their way to the office when they met with the accident.

The car occupant helped the injured in taking to the hospitals, claimed eyewitnesses.

The police has impounded the vehicle and but no case was registered.



Two Punjabi movies on anvil
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 5
Producer Director Baldev Deep, who belongs to the city, announced that Deep Movie International was coming out with two Punjabi films ‘ O Jind Mahi Baajh Tere’ and ‘Jodhay Putt Punjab De’.

Mr Deep said while the first film was a musical aimed at promoting Punjabi folk culture, the second had patriotic flavour and was a film on the anger of the youth at the way their country was being managed. He said both films would be shot in Punjab.


Villagers block traffic

Ropar, November 5
Hundreds of villagers today blocked the Nurpur Bedi-Ropar road at Bains village for more than two hours in protest against the non-completion of the Saran-Patan bridge in the Nurpur Bedi block.

The protesters said they were facing problems in commuting due to the temporary Saran-Patan bridge. They said the administration had failed to solve their problem despite a number of representations. TNS


IT clerks sent to judicial custody
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 5
Two IT clerks, who were caught on October 30 while accepting Rs 4,000 from Mr Jagdish Lal Bhatia, have been sent to judicial custody till November 16.Posted at Ludhiana, these clerks have also been placed under suspension.

It may be mentioned here that the duo had visited Bhatia Department Store on October 26 and 28 telling the owner that there was a complaint against the owner and that it could be settled in case he gave them Rs 15,000. Both were caught red-handed by the police under the Prevention of Corruption Act while accepting Rs 4000 Mr Bhatia on October 30. The complaint was fake and the duo had posed as senior officials of the Income Tax Department, it may be added.


National conference of lawyers begins
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 5
A three-day national conference of the All-India Lawyers Union (AILU) began at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today. More than 600 delegates from nearly 20 states of India had assembled to deliberate on the issues concerning the judicial system.

They said that corruption in the judiciary was rampant and nepotism was order of the day. They said that there was a need to constitute a national judiciary commission for appointment, removal and transfer of the members of the higher judiciary.

The flag-hoisting ceremony on the occasion was performed by Mr Nishit Adhikari, Law Minister, West Bengal. The conference was inaugurated by Justice R.P. Sethi, former Judge of the Supreme Court.


SHO assaulted by relative of IPS officer
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 5
In a sensational case, Mr Pyare Lal, SHO, Islamabad police station, was injured when he was attacked by a group of armed persons led by constable Nirwair Singh, a close relative of Chandigarh-based senior IPS officer, here today.

Another accused Sarwan Singh, is said to be the brother of the Personal Security Officer of a former DGP. The SHO had reached the spot on hearing that certain armed persons had thrown out the luggage of a resident here. When the SHO tried to intervene, the relative of the IPS officer injured him with a lathi. The accused persons had reportedly come in police vehicles. It is learnt that the SHO was discharged from Civil Hospital under pressure from the police high-ups.

However, the police was under pressure to hush up the case. After initial hiccups, the FIR was lodged and five persons, including the relative of the IPS officer, were arrested .

When contacted, Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill said five accused involved in the case had been arrested. He, however, denied that there was any pressure to hush up the case.


Marriage party member hit by bus
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 5
Mr Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Mansa, who had come here to attend a wedding at a marriage palace on Bathinda-Barnala bypass road was hit by a bus yesterday. His legs were crushed in the accident.

After the accident other members of the marriage party became agitated and shattered the windowpanes and front glass of the bus, which belonged to a tourist company. Whether the bus, which was being plied between Ludhiana and Bikaner, was having a valid permit or not could not be known.

According to the police Mr Gurcharan Singh, who had suffered other injuries too, was immediately taken to the Civil Hospital. Later, he was shifted to Ludhiana as his condition was stated to be serious.

A case in this connection was registered against the driver of the bus under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC. However, the driver of the bus has not been arrested so far.


Proclaimed offender arrested
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 5
The police arrested Sadhu Deen, a resident of Sultanpur village near Raipur Rani. He was declared a proclaimed offender by a Rajpura Court.

Sadhu Deen was booked by the Dera Bassi police in May 1997.


7 industrial employees arrested
Our Correspondent

Lalru, November 5
The police arrested seven workers of Anand Nishikava, an industrial unit, for assaulting driver of a bus carrying some employees near here today. Mr Vikramjit Singh, driver of the bus, alleged that some factory workers who were protesting outside the main gate of the unit assaulted him.

The police has arrested seven — Vinod Chug, M. Vishwas, Kuldeep Singh, Davinder Singh, Jasbir Singh, Pawan Singh and Ramnarayan — of the protesting workers. A case under Sections 379, 341, 506, 427, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against them at Lalru police station.

Mr Vinod Kumar, vice-president of the Factory Workers Union, alleged that the management of the unit stopped the workers from entering the main gate of the industry and implicated them in false cases.


3 teachers sacked for violating dress code
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, November 5
The Gandhi Memorial Girls College has sacked three teachers for violating the dress code. The college management had implemented a dress code for teachers in September under which women employees had to wear sarees on Saturdays.

The dress code had some Sikh teachers in a fix, as they had never worn sarees. They took up the matter with the management committee, but to no avail.

The committee reportedly asked them to take leave without pay on Saturdays if they could not follow the dress code after which Punjabi lecturer Narinder Kaur, sewing teacher Karamjeet Kaur and computer lecturer Rajwant Kaur started taking leave on Saturdays and mentioned the dress code as the reason for leave.

Addressing a press conference here today, these teachers complained that there was no dress code when they joined the college, but now they were being “harassed”.

They alleged that they were being pressurised to sign an agreement under which they could be removed any time.

They said that when they denied signing the agreement they were marked absent for four days and were not allowed to take classes.

They said that they would take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner and other officials.

School Principal Devichha Garg said that neither a dress code had been implemented nor any teacher had been removed. She said that these teachers were only told to complete their documents.


Students block Punjabi University gate
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 5
The Punjabi University Students Confederation, comprising most of the student bodies of the university, today blocked the main gate of the university for several hours, disrupting teaching work. The students also held a rally in front of the gate and urged the Punjab Government to intervene and prevent Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai from pursuing “dictatorial” policies.

The students contended that despite assurances, three students who were accused of being involved in a fight on the campus and another one of consuming liquor, were not being reinstated.

The suspended students — Gurnam Virk, Sukhjit Chahal, Bikramjit Singh Jattana and Kartar Cheema — also addressed the rally.

Student leaders claimed that even though they had reached a compromise with the students of Physical Education Department, with whom they were involved in a fight, the university authorities had been deliberately keeping them out of the campus for the past two months.

The students also alleged that university security personnel today roughed up two students — Dharmender Patran and Kuldeep Pinki — who were standing at the gate near Botanical Garden, close to the Vice-Chancellor’s residence.

They alleged that the two were roughed up by the security staff when the VC exited from the gate, as the main gate was barricaded.

Spokesperson for the university, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, however, claimed the incident never happened and that the students were cooking up a story.

The university authorities claimed that students forcibly prevented teachers, non-teaching staff and employees of the State Bank of Patiala and employees of the Employment Exchange in the university from entering the campus.

Speaking on the issue of reinstatement of the four students, the university spokesperson said there was no reason to review the disciplinary action taken against them.

He said the students of the Physical Education Department who had been beaten up by the three students had given in writing that no compromise had been reached.


Pbi varsity Professors deliver lectures
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 5
Government Mohindra College hosted lectures by Dr Jodh Singh and Prof G.R. Kataria, both of Punjabi University, on Wednesday to mark the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at Harmandir Sahib.

Dr Jodh Singh, Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, said Guru Granth Sahib made us introspect about our relations with the divine so that the quest for divine truth was fulfilled without intervention.

He dwelt on the historical circumstances leading to the creation of Guru Granth Sahib, emphasising how ideological mystification of religion had made religion a tool of enslavement and how it had driven people away from religion.

Prof Kataria delivered a lecture on “Aristolians Canons and the Modern Drama”. He emphasised on how in the modern times, founders of the Theatre of the Absurd and Theatre of the Epic had rejected the classical tenets of theatre laid down by Aristole. He said Aristole emphasised on a coherent plot and on action but that modern drama had done away with the plot.

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