C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fog claims life, leaves 3 injured
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 23
Dense fog claimed a life and left three others seriously injured in three accidents on the Kalka-Ambala and the Zirakpur-Patiala highways this morning.

Mr Pratap Singh Katoch was crushed to death while his wife Sunita Devi sustained serious injuries when a truck hit their scooter on the Kalka-Ambala highway at Singhpura village, about 2 km from here, this morning.

Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, the couple was going on their scooter (CHE-7221) from Lalru to Chandigarh when a truck (HR-39-2872), loaded with gravel, hit the scooter from behind. Mr Katoch died on the spot while Mrs Sunita Devi sustained serious injuries on her legs.

She was taken to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32, Chandigarh.

According to the police, Mr Katoch was residing in Lalru for the past over a year along with his family. A retired JCO, Mr Katoch was re-employed with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited as a gateman at Lalru.

He was wearing a helmet when the mishap occurred.

The driver of the truck fled the scene, leaving behind the truck. The police has impounded the vehicles and a case under Sections 279, 338 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the truck driver.

In another head-on collision involving a scooter and a truck (tipper) on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway, two youths Inderjit Singh and Sukhbir Singh, of Khuijargarh village near Banur were injured.

Inderjit Singh, who was critically injured, was taken to the GMCH, Chandigarh.

According to the police, the youths were heading towards Chandigarh on their scooter (PB-65A-0542) when the tipper (HR-68-3343) coming from the opposite direction collided head on, leaving the two injured.

The police has booked the tipper driver, Amrik Singh, and a case of negligent driving has been registered against him at the Lohgarh police post.

In a similar accident on the Kalka-Ambala highway, a car driver, who was allegedly using his mobile phone while driving, rammed into a bus of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CH-01G-5837) near the Ghaggar bridge.

The driver of the car (CH-01-8223) had a miraculous escape. The vehicle was damaged badly. The car driver fled the spot, leaving behind the car.

The police has registered a case against the car driver, besides impounding the vehicle involved in the accident. The bus passengers were put to great inconvenience and had to take other buses to reach their destinations.



Celebrating the genius of Kaifi Azmi
Shabana, Javed, Baba, Tanvi Azmi make it to the show
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Very few creations live up to their source. Rani Balbir Kaur’s production spanning the life and times of Kaifi Azmi is one such show that shines with theatrical class and directorial elegance alike. And what better occasion to stage the play than when Kaifi Azmi’s own people are there to watch his life being played out on the space of performance.

The day was made significant by the presence of Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Tanvi and Baba Azmi who shared space with the audience at Tagore Theatre here this evening. Surprisingly, the foursome made it to Chandigarh despite the cancellation of their Jet Airways flight from Delhi. And worn out though they appeared after a long and tedious road journey, they sat till the very end of the two-and-a-half-hour-long production, “Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Hasin Sitam”, watching the poet behind the man being unveiled on stage bit by bit, and brilliantly so.

Against the backdrop of Kaifi Azmi’s earth-bound, star-gazing poetry, the play flowed from one act into another. Drawn from Rani Balbir Kaur’s personal experiences with the poet, Shaukat autobiography, “Yaad ki Rahguzar”, Shabana’s articles about her revered father and Javed’s poem, the script inspired tears, to say the least. Through remarkably sensitive choice of verses to suit the intensity of the script, Rani Balbir drove home the persona of Kaifi Azmi, as and how he was.

Kaifi’s poetry spoke for all his moods from timid to rebellious, from romantic to communistic. His simmering verses endeared one and all, whether they were meant to celebrate love as in “Pyar ka jashn nai tarah manana hoga…Dukh kisi dil mein ho, dukh ko mitana hoga…” or to deride religious fundamentalism as in “Ik na ik but to hare ik dil mein chhupa hota hai…Uske sau naamon mein ek naam-e-Khuda hota hai…”

Through apt references to the legendary poet’s life, Rani Balbir managed to paint his pen sketch for the audience today. Small wonder then that everyone forgot the inconvenience which the late commencement of the show had earlier caused. The actors had actually been waiting for the arrival of the Azmis, who were the guests of honour on the occasion. The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, was the chief guest.

Among the most sensitive sections of the play was the one that dealt with the Kaifi-Shaukat relationship. Weathering all storms the two lovers meet in matrimony to live the joy of togetherness and learn the meaning of love. Interwoven into the script were Kaifi’s incredibly heartfelt couplets that even made the mention of “tea” legendary as the poet wrote a full “nazm” on the moments he shared with his better half over a cup of tea.

Alternating between hope and despair, between joy and sorrow, Kaifi and Shaukat came a long way until Kaifi gave way in the course of life. But an optimist that he was, he lauded hope even in the face of death. His immortal verse summed up the production, “Diwananavar chand se aage nikal gaye…thehra na dil kahin bhi tere anjuman ke baad…”

Sponsored by Haryana Urdu Academy and Haryana Cultural Affairs Department, the play was made memorable by fine performances by its actors. Support in diction work was offered by poet-writer Dr K.L. Zakir, L.H. Naqvi and Shamstabrezi.



Transfer CBSE officer, says rights body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh December 23
The local unit of the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) today demanded a judicial inquiry into the allegations of sexual harassment made by certain staff members against the Regional Officer of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Mr P.I. Sabu.

The demand was raised after an on-the-spot investigation by the LHRI team comprising Mr Tejinder Singh Sudan, Mr Arvind Thakur, Mr Neelam Singh and Manisha Singh. The report demanded the constitution of a complaints committee at the 
regional office of the CBSE to look into the complaints of sexual harassment.

The report regretted that the inquiry by the CBSE team, which conducted the probe on December 20, could not be fair until Mr Sabu was transferred from here. Some female staff members told the team that it was becoming difficult to work with Mr Sabu.

Though the team members tried to contact Mr Sabu for his version, he refused to come on record, saying that he had been asked by the CBSE head office not to comment on the issue, the report claimed.

During the course of investigation the team also interviewed Mr Harpreet Singh Gill and the husband of one of the complainants, who demanded that the inquiry proceedings should be recorded.



Sons of banker held for snatching mobile
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 23
The police arrested two brothers a few minutes after they snatched a mobile phone from a student in the Sector 20-C market, last evening.

According to the police, complainant Dilpreet Singh, a resident of Phase II, Mohali, came to Sector 20 for tuition. He was attending to a call on his mobile phone around 8 p.m, when Ashish Talwar and Anmol Talwar snatched it and sped away on their scooter (CH-01-Y-3936).

Dilpreet immediately reported the incident to the police and a message was flashed. After about two hours, the police was able to arrest the accused from Sector 20-21 lights point. The complainant identified them and the police recovered the mobile.

The SHO of the Sector 19 police station, said the accused were residents of Sector 40. Ashish Kumar told the police that he was a drug addict two years ago. Their father, Sudesh Talwar is a senior branch manager of the State Bank of India and their mother runs a beauty parlor in Sector 40.

The police said the accused would be produced in the court.

A case has been registered.



UT police review ignores Burail jailbreak
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 23
Taking its annual report on crime in 2004 in a flippant manner, the Chandigarh police today failed to even mention a word about the sensational Burail jailbreak case, which shook the nation. However, surprisingly, claims about even solving petty crime have found mention in the review.

The police released its 31-page review at a press conference today. The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, when grilled by mediapersons on the Burail jailbreak case admitted: “The jailbreak was our failure.” He also added that the police had no clue about Jagtar Hawara, Jagtar Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, the three alleged assassins of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, who escaped from jail on January 21, this year.

The review seems like an effort to undermine the jailbreak case. The police also claimed that the crime situation was “well under control”. As evidence, it has stated that a total of 3,770 cases were registered till December 15, whereas the number of cases was 3,931 in 2003.

The city police also ignored the flourishing flesh trade in the city and the steps taken, if any, to curb it. The sensational Simran murder case of Sector 22 of July, 2003, still remains unsolved.

The report said the city police had registered a total of 2,754 cases under the IPC, which were 52 less than last year’s figure of 2,806. There were 19 attempt-to-murder cases in 2004 while last year 15 such cases were reported. This year, the police claims to have worked out all cases, while last year, it had failed to solve two cases. The police has registered 42 cases of rioting, while the figures of last year were 46.

There was a rise in incidents of theft and kidnapping in the city. A total of 1,384 cases were registered till December 15 this year, while last year 1,238 cases were registered with the UT police in this regard. Fiftythree incidents of kidnapping were reported this year, while the figure for last year was 11.

The traffic police issued challans to owners of one lakh vehicles and added Rs 1.82 crore to its revenue, an increase of 125 per cent over the last year figures. 



All flights to Chandigarh cancelled
Temperatures drops significantly in region
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Cold wave gripped the north western region as the temperature dropped significantly in comparison to the last few days. As the blanket of fog remained firmly in place, air and rail traffic across the entire stretch from Amritsar to Delhi was disrupted severely for the second day in a row.

Visibility dropped considerably in almost the entire meteorological zone with Pathankot and Suratgarh reporting nil visibility today.

Sources in the Railways informed The Tribune that as many as 450 detonator checks were applied in the fog-sensitive zones of the region to alert the drivers and regulate the speed of trains. The areas where fog poses formidable challenges to train drivers include the Ambala-Sriganganagar track, Ambala-Saharanpur track, Ambala-Ghaggar track and Ambala-Ludhiana track.

Almost all the locations within the north western zone recorded very poor visibility today. Himachal Pradesh, however remained bright and sunny at all major locations including Shimla, Sundernagar and Bhuntar.

Low lying areas had low visibility including Karnal and Ludhiana which had 300 metre fog. Ambala, Chandigarh, Bathinda and Hindan had meager visibility with all the four stations reporting 500 metre fog. While Adampur had a visibility of just 600 metre, in Halwara and Sirsa people could not see beyond 800 metres.

Amritsar also had a poor visibility record with 400 metre fog. However flights schedules at Raja Sansi Airport were not affected much. In Chandigarh where fog measured by the Met Department was thick, with just about 500-metre visibility, all the flights landing at Chandigarh Airport were cancelled.

While Jet Airways announced the cancellation of its flights from Delhi well in time today, preventing timely arrival of celebrity couple Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar to the city, the Indian Airlines called off its Delhi-Chandigarh flight only at 1.30 pm.

Several families bound for Mumbai and other places via Delhi were stranded at the Chandigarh Airport for long before proceeding to Delhi by road. An Indian Airlines official informed that the visibility was a poor 600 to 800 metres as against the required three km for normal flying. Apart from throwing normal life out of gear, the altered weather conditions also caused huge revenue losses to the flight operators who had cancelled the fights yesterday also.

Not so cold as yet as last year

If the data collected from the Met office is anything to go by, the winter this year is yet to get as chilly as the last. Whereas last year the formation of fog had started from December 17 and had lasted till December 31 with the exception of December 28, this year, fog has begun to take form only since Wednesday. This may well have something to do with more rain last year.

About 15.2 mm rainfall had already been recorded in Chandigarh till December 19 last year as against a meager 3.4 mm this time. Also, the minimum temperature recorded till December 23 last year was 5.4 degree Celsius (taken on December 1), whereas this year the lowest temperature recorded until December 23 has been 7 degree Celsius (as on December 10). Thursday’s minimum temperature was 9.8 degree Celsius.



The year gave GMCH regular head, new block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The long-pending inauguration of Block C of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, was the highlight of 2004.

The Union Health Minister, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, finally inaugurated the Block C of the hospital in September. While the block had been constructed for several months, the inauguration remained due for a long time for want of a VIP. The minister, on his maiden visit, assured the college of continued assistance and mooted the proposal of increasing the number of seats for students in the college.

The block, built at a cost of Rs 38.9 crore, houses operating theatres, wards for various specialities, an intensive care unit and a cardiac care unit, besides other facilities. The bed strength of the hospital will increase to 500 by the functioning of the block.

After remaining the acting Director-Principal of the college for more than a year, Prof H. M. Swami was appointed the regular Director-Principal of the GMCH by the UPSC this year. The hospital also got a new Medical Superintendent, Prof J. K. Dass, as a regular appointee.

The hospital got an oxygen plant worth Rs 40 lakh for direct supply of oxygen. A poisonous gas leak in the CSSD unit of the hospital caused panic among employees.

The child-swapping incident dominated the General Hospital, Sector 16, when a city-based couple blamed the hospital for swapping their male child with a female child. The raucous led to the Director, Health Services Dr C. P. Bansal, to order an inquiry into the incident. A DNA test was also conducted. While the DNA ruled out swapping, the hospital accepted that a clerical error by the nursing staff led to the embarrassing episode. On a positive note, postgraduate courses in paediatrics were started in the hospital this year.

Cholera once again remained an issue for the city and the scare got real when nearly 60 suspect cases of cholera were reported at the GH-16 from slum colonies. The distribution of chlorine tablets and umpteen rounds of Health Department officials were not enough to control the situation as unhygienic conditions in urban slums provided the cradle for the spread of the disease.



Police busted flesh trade rackets as other crime cases rose
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 23
The year 2004 would be best remembered for the police overdrive in busting flesh trade rackets and failing to control the spate of burglaries and snatchings in the district.

As many as 94 persons were arrested, including 63 women, and 17 call girl rackets were busted during the year. In comparison, the police failed to control burglaries and snatchings. No gang involved in incidents of chain snatching was busted other than a gang of youth involved in burglaries in Mansa Devi Complex. Most of the cases of burglaries too remained unsolved.

One of the biggest achievements of the police was the solving of the triple murder case of K.D. Arora, his widowed daughter-in-law Parveen Arora and grandson Anmol Arora. A 16-year-old Bihari teenager who was arrested by the police for the triple muder that took place in December 2003 also confessed to several other cases of murder and robbery in Panchkula. The police also solved the robbery case in Sector 16 by arresting Anil Kumar.

The number of murder cases registered this year were much less (seven) as compared to 11 last year. However, other than the murder of a Sector 2 resident, Rajan, the other murders remained unsolved. The police managed to solve all cases of drug trafficking, and two foreign nationals arrested by the police in 2001 and 2002 were convicted in the district courts.

The figures provided by the police show that the crime graph in the district has gone down. The police’s inability to solve cases of burglaries and chain snatchings was a major cause of concern for residents here. Locked houses and buildings were targeted by burglars, while old women out for a walk alone were targets for chain snatchers. The police claimed to intensify their patrolling everytime there were a spate of burglaries or chain snatchings, but no arrests were made.

Till the end of the year, the residents kept on waiting for the ambitious welfare scheme for senior citizens to be implemented, announced by the police in the first week of September, but it was not launched.

The strength of the traffic police was increased this year, and Superintendent of Police, Mamta Singh posted women to man various traffic check points in the town.

However, traffic chaos on a majority of roads, especially on the road leading to the town from Housing Board chowk in Chandigarh, continued.



Harpal suggests free flow of medicines between India, Pak
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
“Free flow of patients, medical samples and medicines will not only help promote medical tourism between India and Pakistan but also help the two neighbours to further improve their healthcare systems,” says Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Fortis Healthcare Limited.

Mr Harpal Singh, who has just returned from Pakistan after visiting Aga Khan Foundation in Karachi and public sector hospitals in Lahore, says that patients on either side of the border should have freedom to choose their doctor as well as the hospital for their treatment.

“We would also like that there should be no restriction on taking of medical samples for analysis across the border. We in Fortis are regularly analysing medical samples from Middle east and other countries. Soon we will be doing medical samples from the UK also. Once free flow of medical samples is allowed between India and Pakistan, it will help in further improving pathological faculties.

“Other area which can carry forward the goodwill and bonhomie generated by recent exchange of visits between politicians, lawyers, judges, doctors, teachers, sportsmen, writers and artists of the two countries is permission for free flow of medicines. This will not only bring down the cost of medicare but also bring people closer,” says Mr Harpal Singh.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, he said that he had discussed these issues with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and requested him to take up these with the Centre.

“I also discussed these issues with the Chief Minister of West Punjab, Mr Pevaiz Elahi,” he said, describing the visit by Fortis team to Pakistan to be “an overwhelming success as we got unprecedented welcome everywhere.”

“During our two-day stay in Karachi, the Aga Khan Foundation opened everything, including their hospitals, medical and nursing colleges and all other facilities, to us.

“The areas which engaged our attention include mother and child programme. Besides, Aga Khan foundation has an excellent Nursing College whose curriculum has been crafted keeping in view South Asian needs. Though we also have an excellent nursing school, but still this is an area where collaboration can benefit both institutions.

“Another area which engaged our attention was their medical care system which has been designed to meet local requirements. Since the two countries have more or less same lifestyle and same diseases, mutual exchange of doctors and tele-links, especially in case of complex procedures, would be of benefit to both.

“We are also considering allowing exchange of our medicos, especially interns, for training in each other’s institutes.

“In pathology we may be slightly ahead of Aga Khan foundation and this is another field of sharing knowledge and expertise. Besides, there are common areas of interest to both for research and further development,” said Mr Singh.

The Fortis chief said that to further consolidate gains of this visit, both Fortis and Aga Khan Foundation have named key persons — Mr Shivinder Singh and Dr Nadir — to work out modalities so that the respective boards of the two institutions give a final shape to a draft before a Memorandum of Understanding is signed. “We want this MoU to be signed within next six to eight weeks,” said Mr Harpal Singh.



The meaning of Christmas

IN any enactment of the Biblical story of Jesus’ birth, you will not miss the three wise men who came from the East and presented the baby in the manger (in Bethlehem) gifts-gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:12)

In this Christmas season, it is wise still not to focus on the trappings but to look deeper into the purpose of His coming into our world. That is what persuaded those wise men to follow the star. They had come looking for the Saviour born in Bethlehem.

Why do we need a saviour? Are we so helpless and unwise that we need someone to save us? Most scriptures agree that we are bound for ruin because of certain built-in features in our constitution: our inner desires and cravings can lead us astray and cause havoc with our lives.

It is in man’s fundamental nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. In other words, he is seeking happiness. Everyone is trying to build for himself/herself a heaven of joy by ordering everything to one’s taste-good education, a brilliant career, marital bliss and a lot of wealth. Many are successful and many fail in this task. Significantly, the Bible adds, “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

Everything in our civilisation seems to fall short of that perfection, which even the human mind yearns for. No wonder there is so much emptiness in the world today.

The Christmas story is made up of real substance that fills this emptiness. Christ came into this world declaring “Peace on earth and goodwill towards men!” He added: “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

So He Himself is the answer to man’s emptiness. He is the holy seed from heaven which, implanted in the human heart, will restore the lost image of God, the light in the intellect, and the holiness in the will. Thus man receives his sight, delivered from the stranglehold of sin and indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus, becomes a saint.

The Bible says of the faithful that they are saints-so because God has called them to be saints. They are “sanctified in Christ”—made a saint by participating in the life of the only true holy one, Jesus Christ.

Those who have responded to His call have found what they need: hope when all hope seems broken, courage when you are terrified, light when you are in darkness, forgiveness when you have blundered badly and, friendship when you are feeling lonely and forsaken. What is more a wonderful welcome awaits at our real home when the sun is setting on our days.

Christianity, as theologian J.B. Phillips put it, is not a religion but a way of life, a falling in love with God, and, through Him, a falling in love with our fellows. Of course, such a way is hard and costly, but it is also joyous and rewarding even in the here-and-now.

And Christmas consists in light from heaven entering the soul of man transforming him, a sinner into a saint. That alone is the cause for all the celebration.

— M.P.K. Kutty



Leopard cub dies due to alleged negligence
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), December 23
Deeya, a female leopard cub, that was bought by Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park located in Chhat village, 20 km from Chandigarh, for rehabilitation from the Wild Life Institute of India, Dehra Dun, has died.

The cub was rescued by scientists of the institute from a forest area after being abandoned by its mother. The death of the cub has raised doubts on the functioning of the zoo authorities in the rearing and bringing up of the animal.

Since the animal was covered under Schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the CZA had asked the Chhat Bir Zoo authorities to take Deeya from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, for her safe rehabilitation.

Sources revealed that the cat had developed a hair-line fracture on her right hind leg after it fell from the hands of its caretaker at the zoo. The zoo authorities noticed the injury after a fortnight of its arrival from Dehra Dun.

Noticing Deeya limping, the zoo authorities had got her medically examined at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, on December 9 and the veterinary scientists had detected a hair line fracture on her leg. The doctors were of the view that the fracture had developed since the bones of the animal were brittle due to lack of calcium.

The animal was noticed dead in its isolated room by the veterinary staff on December 18 but the zoo authorities remained tightlipped about the incident.

The death of the cat came to light after The Tribune enquired from the zoo officials about the health of the animal this morning. The zoo veterinary doctor Mr Nirmaljit Singh, confirmed that Deeya died a week ago.

When contacted Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Director of the zoo, first expressed his ignorance about the reasons due to which the two-and-a-half-month-old leopard cub died.

He later claimed that the Deeya had died because of pneumonia. The Director denied any negligence by the zoo staffers in rearing the animal. Mr Kuldeep Kumar said that the postmortem reports confirmed that the cub died a normal death.

Abandoned by her mother just after birth, Deeya, after arriving at the Chhat Bir Zoo, had become the blue-eyed baby of the zoo employees.



Pak military stumbling block: seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
While the people of Pakistan are all for friendly and cordial bilateral relations with India, it is the military in that country which is proving to be the stumbling block. Though the recently introduced peace initiatives are a step in the right direction, peace and an amiable environment between the two countries could be a long way off.

This was brought out at a seminar, “India-Pakistan Peace Process — Developments and Prospects”, organised under the aegis of the United Services Institution here today. Two sessions were held, with the first on an analysis of recent developments and stances of the two countries bring chaired by former Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi. The other session on “India-Pakistan relations — the Way Ahead” was chaired by former GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lieut-Gen Surinder Singh.

Stating that there is no quick solution to the Indo-Pak problem, Major-Gen Rajendra Nath suggested that lines of communication also be opened up with the Shia-dominated northern areas of Pakistan held Kashmir, which in some quarters is described as the last colony in Asia. Welcoming the opening up of trade and land routes between the two countries, he said that India should ask Pakistan to allow its trade convoys to pass through its territory to Iran and Central Asia in return for some similar concessions.

Pointing out that Jammu and Kashmir problem, which is also linked to cross border terrorism, remains centric to bilateral relations, Mr Kanwar Sandhu, Resident Editor of Hindustan Times, said that disengagement in Siachen, boundary dispute in Rann of Kutch and missile tests are other problem areas. Former Director General of Police, Punjab, P.C. Dogra, opined that in the Pakistani mind India is an obsession and that its endeavour for control over Pakistan is ideological rather than strategic.

Former GOC of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Major-Gen J.S. Dhillon, remarked that the problem in Kashmir was India’s own creation and the leadership had taken issues concerning the state lightly. The administration in the state, he said, had failed to function over a period of time despite there being no dearth of funds since Independence.

Stating that “We have failed to integrate Jammu and Kashmir into the national mainstream”, former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Harwant Singh, said that the situation in J&K continues to be created by political forces and the uncertainty prevailing in the state seems to suit the interests of certain people.

Brigadier Kiran Krishan (retd) was of the opinion that the key to the solution lies not in India, but in Pakistan, where the political situation is in a state of flux. The idea of a permanent peace between the two countries, he added, is an illusionary hope and “we should work at reducing tensions.”

Recounting his interaction with people of POK and northern areas during his recent visit to Pakistan, Senior Associate Editor of The Tribune, Mr A.J. Philip said that people in those areas feel that the Indo-Pak problem is bleeding them and if relations between the two countries improve, money saved could be used for social development. Kashmiris on both sides, he added, were keen to visit each other and a via-media for this should be established.

Stating that now is the time to strike a deal with Pakistan as the Pakistani military realised that it cannot wrest Kashmir from India by force and that the military has been leashed in by the United States for the time-being, former Director General, Perspective Planning, Air Marshal R.S. Bedi that there had been a number of occasion in the past where the problem could have been solved permanently.



Anti-terrorist front mourns Rao’s death
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 23
The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) in an emergency meeting held at front office here today a former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Mr Rajesh Sharma, president of the Chandigarh state of the front, expressing shock over the death, said: “We have lost a great leader, a noble human being, a statesman, a linguist, a scholar and a true democratic leader”.

Those who attended the condolence meeting included Mr Vikram Chopra, senior vice-president of the front; Mr Ashwini Pandu and Mr Pramod Khaneja, vice-presidents; Mr Satwinder Singh, general secretary; Mr Chaitan Bedi, organising secretary; and Mr Ashok Sharma, secretary.



Firing over property dispute
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 23
A dispute over property led to firing at Daon village near here. No one was, however, injured.

The police has booked five persons, four of one family, on the charge of attempt to murder. All five persons and the complainant are residents of Green Enclave.

A case has been registered against Harjaap Singh Nagi, his two sons Jatinder Pal Singh and Satinder Pal Singh, his wife Harjinder Kaur, and his Nephew Parvinder Singh.

According to the police, the incident took place when Raghbir Singh, the complainant was standing outside Gurdwara Singh Sabha in the area and talking to a person. Harjaap came in a car along with one of his sons and nephew and allegedly abused Raghbir and also beat him up. Raghbir sustained minor injuries in the fight.

On hearing some noise Jatinder and his mother came out of their house, which was close by. Jatinder, who was allegedly carrying a .32-bore revolver, fired one shot in the air while the second was aimed at Raghbir, but missed him.

The police further said some dispute over property was going on between the two families living in the colony. Raghbir was backing the other family which had annoyed Harjaap and his family.

The SP, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, said a case under Section 307 of the IPC was registered in this regard.



Boy hurt in blast dies
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 23
Mr Vinod Kumar, a 10-year-old boy, who was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, with serious head injuries he received in an explosion at Bhabhat village near Zirakpur yesterday, succumbed to injuries this morning.

The body of the boy was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination this afternoon.

Vinod Kumar along with three friends - Swaraj, Lakush and Pramod - had sustained injuries when they were extracting some metal from a substance on a kutcha road leading to Gurdwara Nabha Sahib from Bhabhat village.

Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, Station House Officer, Dera Bassi, said the defence authorities have been informed about the finding of the explosives. He said the explosive experts from the Army would identify the substance.

Meanwhile, the police has started inquest proceedings after registering a case under Sections 174 of the CrPC at the Dera Bassi police station.



9 bags of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 23
The police seized nine bags of poppy husk, worth Rs 1.5 lakh, at Tangori village here today.

According to the police, these bags were lying near a dhaba that had closed down some time ago. The bags were discovered by the DSP, Mohali, and his team.

1 hurt in mishap

Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Phase XI, was seriously injured when his scooty was hit by an Esteem car near Kumbra chowk. Sukhwant was coming from Phase XI, while the car was coming from Sector 70 side. Sukhwant Singh was rushed to the GMCH-32 in a critical condition. The car driver managed to flee. However, the police has managed to get the number of the car.



5 women shoplift suits worth Rs 30,000
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 23
Five women shoplifted six heavily embroidered suits, costing more than Rs 30,000, from a boutique in Phase II, here last evening.

The theft came to the notice of the owner only when suits lying on the counter were being kept back in the almirahs.

Some of the suits were found missing. Efforts were made to trace the culprits in the market, but to no avail.

It is learnt that five customers, all new faces, came to the boutique at about 6.30 last evening. Three of them were young while other two were middle-aged. One of them asked the salesman to show them heavily embroidered unstitched suits.

They saw many suits and even tried to bargain on one or two suits.

They tried to create a commotion to divert the attention of the salesman and succeeded in shoplifting.

A complaint to the police has been made in this regard.



Gang of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 23
The police has busted a gang involved in chain snatchings in the district and recovered six gold chains from the three gang members.

While Ajay and Pawan Kumar were arrested by the police on December 16 and remanded in police custody till December 24, another accomplice, Kishore was arrested by the police today.

BOOKED: The police has booked Mohinder Singh of Raipur Rani on charges of making indecent remarks against women. He was later released on bail.


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