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Police flouts law, parades juveniles before media
Minors charged with theft, pick-pocketing
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
In a blatant violation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2002, the city police today presented three minor boys, arrested for theft and pick-pocketing, before mediapersons, got them photographed and allowed their bytes to the media.

Interestingly, the kingpin of the gang, Hira Singh, a middle-aged resident of Islam Gunj, is yet to be arrested.

On the directions of police officials, one of the accused demonstrated the technique of picking pocket on a cop as the media captured it in its cameras.

The juveniles claimed that they resorted to crime as they felt that children of rich families had all the pleasures of life while they struggled for square meals.

Ironically, the police has been shying away from providing the photographs of some adults accused of heinous crime in the past.

In a recent example, the police did not present the accused in the infamous honour killing case of a couple before the media or hand out their pictures.

Violating the law laid down to protect the identity of juvenile offenders, the police instead went gaga over the “success” and paraded the three in front of the media.

Mr Charanjit Bakshi, a Chandigarh-based human rights activist and advocate, said the entire foundation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2002 was based upon not only preventing crime among juveniles but also reforming them by protecting their identity.

“Any exhibition of a juvenile by investigating agencies before the media wipes out the very intention of the legislature, which enacted the Juvenile Justice Act,” he said.

Addressing a press conference, SP City I.R.K. Jaiswal and DSP Mohan Lal said the gang comprising three children had committed thefts at several marriage palaces in the city over the past one year. The accused allegedly admitted to their involvement in seven such cases.

The police claimed that the three admitted to stealing Rs 50,000 from Saggar palace, Rs 2,000 from Kaka palace, Rs 3,000 from Kumra palace, Rs 4,000 from Embassy palace, Rs 50,000 from Maharaj palace, a mobile phone from Haibowal, Rs 3,000 from Samrat palace and Rs 4,000 from Maharaj palace.

The police officials said they were publicising the case to alert the residents about the activities of such gangs. They said they wanted to highlight that children were also indulging in crime.

The parents of the three accused are labourers and the police suspects their involvement in crime too.

The children claimed that they were poverty-stricken and used to spend the money on good food, mobile phones, movies and even playing video games.

The children claimed that the major portion of their booty was taken away by Hira Singh.



Local singer out of Indian Idol contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
When Ravinder Ravi, city-based house painter, made it to the top 10 and kept clearing rounds after rounds of the Indian Idol contest, city residents had high hopes that he would make it. But hopes crashed yesterday when Ravi was voted out of the contest.

Ravinder, who had become extremely popular in the city during the contest, was among the top five contestants. It was on the basis on public voting due to which Ravi managed to reach this position and emerged as a strong contender for the Indian Idol position.

Says cousin Dara, who spoke to Ravinder after yesterday’s contest: “We consider him very lucky that he reached last five and got national exposure, which probably he would have not got otherwise. It was the people who voted for him and if things are on his side, he will have a bright future in singing.”

Ravinder, who eked out a living by whitewashing houses in Ludhiana, became public’s favourite after he sang Rafi’s ‘Khuda bhi aasman se jab zamin pe dekhta hoga’. Even Farah Khan, renowned choreographer who is one of the jury members for the competition, said she felt proud to be a part of the Indian Idol show due to participants like Ravinder Ravi. Anu Malik said during one of the episodes that Ravi’s days of oblivion were over.

However, as Ravinder lacked any training in music, last few weeks witnessed unhappy judges stressing on lack of ‘sur’. Comments changed. Anu Malik said it was luck that was favouring him whereas Sonu Nigam did not hesitate to say that he could not even think of Ravinder Ravi singing beyond that round for the contest. Hosts of the show asked questions like how he felt as highly talented contestants were being voted out due to him.

As per the rules of the contest, every week, based on public polling, one contestant who gets the minimum votes, has to leave. The contestant who would be declared as Indian Idol, a contest by Sony TV, would bag a contract of Rs 1 crore from the channel.

And yesterday, Ravinder and Prajakta, another contestant, were among the last two and finally Ravinder had to go out as he got least number of votes.

Disappointed by this result, city residents even blamed jury members for being partial. “In the last few weeks judges had passed really nasty comments. I am sure Ravinder did not get the minimum votes. They have been partial,” said Sheena Moudgil, a resident.

Sharad Sharma, another resident, said the television channel had played a marketing gimmick. “They could have voted him out even before he reached top 10 if they had found him not as talented as others. But they included him and now that judges were unhappy, they said he had got minimum votes.”

However, Ravinder’s cousin Dara refused to subscribe to such comments. He said if they had to turn him out, they could have done so earlier.

Dara disclosed that Ravinder would come out with a music album soon. “Simran Audios will release Ravinder’s cassette that was recorded before he went for this contest. We had not marketed the cassette but now we plan to market it.”



Two get life term

Ludhiana, February 5
The Court of Sessions Judge has sentenced a contractor Narinder Singh(22) and Inderjit Kumar (24) of Shimlapuri on a charge of murdering a chowkidar Giana Parshad of Bihar, in 2003.

Pronouncing the judgement, Mr Harbans Lal, Sessions Judge, held that the prosecution had been able to prove the guilt of duo. The judge declined the plea of leniency raised by the accused and also imposed fine of Rs 10,500 each.

An FIR was registered at Model Town Police Station, on March 16, 2003, under Section 302 of IPC, following a complaint by employer of deceased, Gurbhej Singh, owner of Ludhiana Steel Shuttering, Model Town Extension. The complainant had stated to the police that Giana Parshad was working at his office-cum-godown for over five years. On March 16, 2003, at about 10.30 am his manager, Subash Chander told him that he had knocked the shutter of office but it had not been opened by anyone. OC



Armed gang robs 7 shops
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 5
Around 15 armed robbers broke into at least seven shops situated near Gurdwara Karamsar (Rara Sahib) and took away goods worth lakhs. The exact loss, however, has not been estimated yet. Residents of the locality said that alertness of the watchman had averted a major loss to the shopkeepers. The watchman had alerted people who then gathered at the spot and robbers had to flee.

The police, on the contrary, termed the incident as minor and said that case would be registered after investigations. But the residents resented the police attitude and alleged that the police had been ignoring their complaints regarding incidents of theft.

According to Sangam Thapa, the watchman, a group of armed persons with guns, rifles and swords came to the market at around 2.30 a.m. They started breaking open the shutters of the shops. Two of them aimed guns at him when he resisted their attempt.

But the watchman managed to warn the people who later gathered at the market and the robbers had to flee. In the meantime the robbers had broken open the shutters of J.P. Karyana Store, Longowal Sanitary Store, G.S. Plywood, Khatra Kheti Sewa Centre, Janta Trading Co, Ghangas Medical Store, Deol Medical Store and Saran Plywood Store.

Residents of the area resented the police inaction about the theft incidents.

Mr Shashi Pal Garg, a shopkeeper alleged that the police had not registered a case in connection with burglary that had taken place at his house last year. Paramjit Garg said the thieves had taken away around Rs 35,000 from his shop no case was registered.

Mr Ragbag Chan Zurich, president of the Tracheal Society, alleged that the police had been protecting the miscreants and the residents had no where to go. “What to talk of catching thieves but the police had been setting free those nabbed by the public,” lamented Mr Zurich.



City population increasing at ‘alarming rate’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Rapid increase in population is sounding alarm bells among the urban development experts. The rate at which the city’s population growing, it needs infrastructure in terms of roads, bridges, flyovers, electricity, drinking water, drainage system and parking space at least double of what it is right now.

The in house estimates reportedly conducted by various agencies involved in the urban development have found that the population of the city has more than doubled in the past two decades, more so in the last decade, while infrastructural facilities (if these may be called so) still remain the same. There is an increased pressure on the existing infrastructure which needs massive expansion.

It is learnt that the surveys conducted from time to time by the development agencies have observed that Ludhiana needed at least 12 overbridges and flyovers for smooth flow of traffic. This needs to be coupled with the expansion of roads. Some locations have also been identified for the flyovers.

Other major problem identified in the city is that of parking in major markets. The surveys have suggested that there must be several more multi-storeyed parking lots like one constructed adjacent Chaura bazar. Moreover, it wants stringent measures for the wrong parking which leads to frequent traffic jams and at time accidents.

The city does not have sufficient electricity supply which results to frequent power shutdowns. It has been observed that in a city prosperous like Ludhiana which pays taxes and is an important business and industrial centre in the north, there is not viable arrangement for regular and uninterrupted power supply. The cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and others have far better electricity supply while Ludhiana remains shut down in darkness too frequently and for longer durations.

It has been observed that the city’s population has already crossed 2 lakh mark, while some unofficial estimates put it around 30 lakh. This is said to be because of the unregulated flow of migrant labourers who keep on coming to and going out of the city.

However, the surveys have not assessed any cost that would be incurred on these development projects. But for resource mobilisation the surveys have suggest in house resource mobilisation by these agencies and the local bodies which would be involved in developing these.



3 labourers suffer burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Three labourers suffered burn injuries under mysterious circumstances at Mukesh Steels Ltd. in Phase-VII, Focal Point, last evening.

Though it was suspected that the labourers-Chote Lal, Luvkush and Kamal had suffered the injuries in a blast in a furnace of the factory but the police claimed today that a small quantity of the molten iron had fallen on the labourers.

The labourers were admitted to the Civil Hospital and were under treatment.



Youth Akali Dal seeks transfer of MC chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Activists of the Youth Akali Dal today threatened to demonstrate outside the residence of the Commissioner of the local municipal corporation (MC) to oppose the “pick and choose” policy in demolition and demanded his transfer out of the city. They would also show black flags to the Chief Minister whenever he visits the city to lodge their protest.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Simarjit Singh Bains, a councillor of the corporation and an activist of the Youth Akali Dal, said they had decided to lodge the protest after the alleged manhandling of an elderly NRI couple, who was injured by a demolition squad here last evening. The demonstration would be staged on February 25 outside the residence of the Commissioner.

Mr Jodh Singh (80) and his wife, Dayal Kaur, both NRIs, had allegedly received injuries after they were pushed by a Building Inspector, who was accompanying the demolition squad to raze their newly constructed house in Labour Colony on Gill Road.

While Mr Jodh Singh received injuries on his forehead, his wife who had been recently operated upon for a hip repair surgery, dislocated her hip bone and was rushed to Civil Hospital. She is still in the hospital.

Mr Bains, who was accompanied by a former minister and MLA from Kila Raipur, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, accused the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, of indulging in the “pick and choose” policy as far as demolitions in the city were concerned.

He alleged that the encroachments by the influential and rich were being legalised by amending the Town Planning Act and those who were poor were being punished by him. He stated that the house, which had been under construction for the past six months, was demolished yesterday while there were as many as 250 houses constructed in a similar manner and no action was taken against the violators.

The Akali leaders said they would intensify their protest if the officials responsible for manhandling the elderly couple were not suspended.

Accusing the corporation of not doing anything for the development of the city, Mr Bains said it was ironical that while the local corporation was the richest MC in the state, no development work had been taken up for the last three years.

Mr Garcha, while addressing mediapersons, said it was the worst-ever period when the city had not seen any development. He added that all the flyovers announced with great fanfare were suffering because of the delays.

Meanwhile, a press note by Mr Sohan Singh Goga, another SAD councillor, thanked the Commissioner and Mayor for taking a “bold” step by demolishing the building. He said by razing the illegal structure, the MC had proved that nobody was above the law and violators were punished.



Bitta for strict action against Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Chairman of the All India Anti Terrorist Front, Maninderjit Singh Bitta has demanded strict action against Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan and others for hoisting the Khalistani flag on Akal Takht on the Republic Day. He said such actions needed to be “nipped in the bud” lest these turned into some serious problem for the state and the country.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Bitta warned against such “anti-national activities”. “You can dismiss these off as insignificant and isolated only at the peril of peace in the state,” he observed, while demanding that he (Dr Chauhan) should be “sent back to London”. He regretted that the Indian legal system was too soft to convict criminals and they were taking the advantage of the soft state.

The former Indian Youth Congress leader feared that certain elements within the Indian political system were backing people like Chauhan, who were bent upon sabotaging peace in the state. He said, as of now Punjab was the most peaceful and progressive state in the country and the enemies of peace were looking at it with ill will and malice. He said, while Pakistan definitely helped these people, but these were the creation of “our own political follies”.

About the Naxalite problem, he said, it was wrong to grant “political status” to any terrorist outfit irrespective of the “cause these were claiming to hold”. He observed that the terrorist acts should be viewed as such and dealt as such. “Otherwise the entire Indian state would be held to ransom”, he warned, while holding that soverignity of the nation was beyond negotiations.

Claiming himself to be the part of the Congress, Mr Bitta suggested that the Congress must not enter into any alliance with the RJD chief, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav. “The Congress should look for alternate options other than Laloo as he had turned Bihar into a lawless state,” he said.



Goa Governor’s action flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The district unit of the BJP has condemned the dismissal of the Manohar Parrikar government by the Governor S.C. Jamir in Goa.

The party alleged that Mr Jamir had acted in most partisan manner by dismissing the Parrikar government even after it had won the vote of confidence in the state legislature.

In a statement issued here the press secretary of the party, Mr Rajinder Khatry, regretted that Mr Jamir, while occupying the august office of the Governor, had acted as if he was a leader of the Congress.



Faulty printing in Rs 50 bill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Ruing the bad printing of notes by the Reserve Bank of India, a local resident said that he had received a Rs 50 note which looked like a duplicate note as it had faulty printing.

Mr Anil Kumar, owner of a Evershine showroom on Mall Road, said that he had withdrawn Rs 5000 from a local bank on Thursday and one of the Rs 50 notes in the wad had bad printing.

The Rs 50 note bearing number-7CB 883400 was produced by Mr Anil Kumar.



Five years gone, ducks await new abode
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Mini Zoo in Nehru Rose Garden here was closed almost five years ago and many animals shifted to other zoos, but the ducks which were left in the garden at that time, continue to wait for someone to adopt them. The state Wildlife Department cannot take their possession as the species does not come under the wild animal category.

Many ducks have mysteriously gone missing over the years with their number falling to less than 20. Five years ago these were 50. The birds continue to be forced to live in a small enclosure in the rose garden for want of proper space, water and food. The water level in the pond for the ducks is a few inches only, rendering it impossible for the ducks to swim. The rose garden is managed by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and it is the duty of the corporation to find a house for these ducks.

A visit to the site today revealed that the ducks were crammed into the enclosure and fighting with each other for the little food available in the scanty water whose colour had changed to black. Attendants present near the ducks said they were given no food by the corporation and the ducks depended on the food offered by the visitors to the zoo. An attendant on the condition of anonymity said there was no head under the budget of the corporation that provided funds for the ducks’ food.

The attendants added that the ducks were let out of the enclosure also at times and these could be eaten by dogs or may be taken away by anybody.

Activists of the People For Animals (PFA) here had tried their level best to arrange for the adoption of these ducks, but the lack of interest shown by the corporation authorities proved their efforts to be futile.

Dr Sandeep Jain, president of the local chapter of the PFA, said they had spoken to the owners of farm houses in the district, who were ready to adopt these ducks but the corporation authorities did not decide about these.

He said it was shocking that out of the 50 ducks only 14 were seen in the garden today. He said nobody was keeping an account of the eggs laid and chicks produced by the ducks. Stating that these should have multiplied over the years, but it was really surprising that there number reduced to such an extent.

He added that the Mini Zoo was set up in the rose garden for the entertainment of the visitors, especially children, about 20 years ago. But later, a number of animal lovers and organisations like the PFA complained to the Central Zoo Authority about the inhuman conditions of the existence of the animals in the zoo. Not only were they improperly kept in small enclosures but proper care for food and shelter was also not taken.

Following these complaints, the zoo authorities ordered its closure in early 1999. Subsequently, monkeys, sambar, cheetah, spotted deer and birds like parrots, black pigeon and peacocks were shifted either to Chhat Bir Zoo or Deer Park, Patiala. However, as the ducks do not come under the Wildlife Animal Act, the Wildlife Authority, Punjab, expressed its reservation in keeping the ducks at one of its zoos in the state.



2 held for theft, gold, cash recovered
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 5
The Khanna police has arrested two persons on a charge of theft and recovered 290 gms of gold and Rs 20,000 in cash from them.

The SHO, City police station, Mr Rajan Parminder, in a press note here today said that a case was registered at city police station on January 19,2005 that some persons had stolen gold ornaments weighing 290 gm and cash amount of Rs 20,000 from the house of Ram Parkash, a resident of Krishna Nagar. ASI Rajneesh Kumar was deputed to investigate into the case. ASI Rajneesh Kumar and his team then arrested the thieves on last evening near old bus stand. The police also recovered the gold and cash from them.

The arrested were identified as Dalbir Singh and Satpal both residents of Himmat Nagar, Samrala. They were produced in a local court here today. The court sent them for two days’ police remand.

2 INJURED: Kesar Singh and Kuldeep Singh, father and son, were injured near Kaulgarh village on Thursday when their scooter collided with a car. The car overturned but the passengers escaped, while the scooterists received serious injuries. Both were admitted to the Civil Hospital here. OC

SATTA OPERATOR HELD: The Khanna police has arrested a satta operator and recovered Rs 410 and some satta slips from his possession. The accused was identified as Balkar Singh, son of Avtar Singh, a resident of Bagli Kalan village. OC

TWO HELD: The police arrested two persons from two different places on Wednesday evening on charges of smuggling poppy husk, ASI Baljinder Singh, in charge, Doraha police post, stopped a man at a make-shift police post near Gurthali Bridge. During his search 8 kg of poppy husk was recovered from his bag. The accused was identified as Raju, a resident of Bihar. In another Head Constable Pritam Singh arrested a man from the T. point of Rauni village at Malerkotla Road. The police also seized 8 kg of poppy husk from his possession. Case have been registered against them.

House burgled:
Cash, jewellery and other domestic articles have allegedly been stolen from a house in Mohalla Loharian, here.

According to Mr Kapil Dev Sharma, he along with his family members had gone to Dehra Dun and on return found his house locks broken and Rs 35,000 apart from jewellery and household items valuing more than Rs 70,000 stolen.



Boy commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 5
Gobind Singh (16) of Sidwan Bet allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his house last evening.

Govind Singh was the youngest among four brothers and two sisters. His parents and other members of the family were away when he committed suicide. The body of the deceased has been sent to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem.

Pokhar Singh, who was riding pillion fled away.

A case under section 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered and the motorcycle impounded.



One held with opium
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 5
Sub-Inspector Karnail Singh intercepted a motor cycle near new grain market and arrested Harjinder Singh of Leelan Megh Singh and recovered 100gm of opium from him.

Pokhar Singh, who was riding pillion fled away.

A case under section 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered and the motorcycle impounded.



Revise licence fee of bars, urges hotel panel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab has urged the state government to revise the licence fee of bars in view of the slump in the sector for the past many years.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the organisation, said they had submitted a memorandum in this context to Mr D P Reddy, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, highlighting their problems. They requested the Commissioner to take stock of the situation and recommend certain remedial measures.

He said the licence fee of hard liquor bars had been increased from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh and the assessment fee of IMFL and beer had been enhanced substantially in the last year. Since the volume of sale of IMFL and beer had considerably decreased due to heavy slump in the market, it was therefore very difficult for bar owners to meet the expenses of running the bars.

Mr Nanda also pointed out that in the past couple of years the prices of all brands of whisky had been hiked continuously as the result a majority of customers preferred to purchase their quota from L-2 vends and did not visit bars.

He said that in light of the above mentioned circumstances, the hotel industry urged that the enhanced licence fee and assessment fee on IMFL and beer should be rolled back to provide relief to the ailing industry.

He also said that the assessment fee of beer at Rs 8 per bottle was exorbitant. Most of the beer bars were on the verge of closure as they were finding it difficult to pay the requisite licence fee.

It would be a great revenue loss to the government, if some bars were closed, he added.

The association felt that the government should meet a deputation of the Hotel and Restaurant Association before finalising the Excise Policy for the next financial year, he said.



Winter clearance sales galore in city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
The city markets are full of winter clearance sales these days. Be it the big shopping malls or small shops inside the city, sale banners on woolen garments can be seen everywhere. The city residents are having gala time as the products are being sold at quite cheap prices.

The sales on products ranging from designer sweaters, jackets, pullovers to shawls, stoles, caps etc are crowd pulling. To woo customers, the showroom owners are offering discount up to 60 per cent on the items. The shopping lovers, least bothered to know whether the sales are genuine or not, step in to the shops to get things of their choice at affordable prices.

The sales and ‘sale on sale’ banners are on at various outlets. These showrooms are offering discounts up to 50 per cent on certain items. Sale on woolens are on at many other markets, including Chaura Bazar, Ghumar Mandi, Dandi Swami Chowk, Field Ganj area, Model Town, Kitchlu Nagar and various factory outlets.

A salesman at a leading departmental store on Mall Road said mostly clients preferred to buy things in sales only. “Most regular buyers know the rates of branded clothes. We can not make fool of them through ingenuine sales. When there is 30 to 40 per cent discount, customers buy woolens in bulk to use in next season. A pullover which cost around Rs 1000 otherwise, is available during sales at about Rs 600 or Rs 700 only”, he said.

By putting up sales, the shopkeepers try to clear their stocks. One of the shopkeepers at Chaura Bazar said the trends keep on changing every year. He said, “We put up sales to clear the stock. Next season, the style, trend and colours in demand would be different. So why dump the products. Our money comes back in to circulation we sell the products. The customers too benefit from the genuine sales”.

The sales on woolens are organised for every section of the society. Ramdheer Yadav, a migrant labourer from Bihar, said that he too desired to purchase new clothes. He said,”But since I can not afford to buy expensive clothes, I have bought two sweaters for myself and one each for my children for just Rs 600 in sales. I am very happy with my shopping”, he added.

Though, many people feel that sales are nothing but marketing gimmicks. “The shopkeepers know the pulse of the buyers. To avoid the headache of bargaining and to lure the customers, they put the ‘sale tag’ on the products and people fall in to their trap”, said Mr Vishnu Datta, a senior citizen.


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