P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



K.P.S. Gill visited Khalra in jail, says witness
Recounts tale of police brutality before his ‘murder’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 16
The disappearance of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra has taken a new turn with the sole witness who claims to have witnessed the murder of the activist, alleging that he had seen former Punjab Police Director-General of Police K.P.S. Gill go into a room in which Khalra was being kept at Manawala in Taran Tarn.

The witness, Kuldeep Singh, is a former Special Police Officer who claims he was recruited into the police by former Taran Tarn Senior Superintendent of Police Ajit Singh Sandhu. He told the court of the Additional Sessions Judge here that it was Sandhu’s house in Manawala village in Taran Tarn which was visited by K.P.S. Gill and other “clean shaven official” a few days before Khalra was murdered in 1995.

The witness who told TNS after stepping out of the court that he was happy he had finally been able to tell the truth, said during his deposition that he was taken to the residence of the Taran Tarn, SSP, by Jhabal Police Station SHO Satnam Singh who was keeping Khalra locked in illegal confinement. He further alleged that Mr K.P.S. Gill remained in the room where Khalra was being kept for half an hour adding that during the journey back to the Jhabal police station, SHO Satnam Singh told Khalra that he would have saved himself if he had listened to the “advice” of the DGP.

Giving a lengthy deposition, the former SPO said he came into contact with Mr Ajit Singh Sandhu, who was a prime accused in the Khalra disappearance case before he committed suicide in 1994. He said when Sandhu was posted to Taran Tarn in 1995 he accompanied him as a gun man.

The witness said he was posted to the Jhabal police station in the police district subsequently and it was here that he was handed over the keys of a room in which Khalra was being kept.

The SPO said his responsibility was to provide food to Khalra and it was during this time that DSP Jaspal Singh and his body guard Arvinder besides Sarhali SHO Surinderpal Singh, Manochahal SHO Jasbir Singh, Prithipal Singh and Balwinder Singh Gora came to the police station in separate cars.

He alleged that the police officials started beating up Khalra and’’I was asked to get a glass of hot water by SHO Satnam Singh’’.

The SPO said even as he was heating up the water he heard the sound of two shots and when he rushed towards the room, he was told by Satnam Singh to go where the cars were parked.

“Subsequently Balwinder Singh Gora reversed the Maruti van in which he had come and he and Arvinder took hold of Khalra’s legs and arms to dump him into the boot of the vehicle. I saw blood oozing out of Khalra’s chest,” he claimed. Kuldeep said while he sat in SHO Satnam Singh’s vehicle the two other cars containing the same police officials moved ahead.

At around 10 pm the cavalcade reached Harike where Arvinder and Balwinder Singh Gora took out Khalra’s body and threw it into a canal, he alleged.

Telling a gory tale of brutality, the SPO alleged that all cars proceeded to the Harike guest house after the act where other police officials, including Mr Ajit Singh Sandhu, were present.

He said while the officers went inside he, Arvinder and Balwinder were given two bottles of liquor which they consumed in the lawns of the rest house.

Kuldeep Singh said he had a change of heart on the issue after listening to a human rights activist speaking about the disappearance of Khalra and decided to tell his tale. “It has taken several years to do so during which time I have resisted severe pressure from the accused police officials,” he added.


Stir on turban gains momentum
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 16
The Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO) today said the decision of a French court which ruled that no violation of human rights had taken place by asking a French Sikh to remove his turban to be photographed for obtaining his driving licence, was a “blot on the fair image of the French system of 

In a statement here, SNO president Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa said the SNO would intensify its global stir on the French turban ban. He said Sikh men, women and children would organise a token public protest in India, Europe and America from February 25 to March 25 and would submit memorandums to French Embassies and the United Nations. Dr Randhawa appealed to Sikhs living in different countries to wear saffron headgear during these protests and to register effective protests on every Thursday on the issue of the turban ban.

Dr Randhawa disclosed that the administrative court had ruled that no violation of human rights was made out in asking Mr Singh to remove his turban, to be photographed for obtaining his driving licence afresh. He said the court ruled that the petitioner would have to agree to pose with naked head for a lawful photograph of identify, to obtain a driving licence. However, Mr Shingara Singh Mann maintained that it was impossible for him to remove the turban.

Dr Randhawa said Mr Mann insisted that it would be shameful and against Sikh tenets and that the turban was an inseparable part of his religious identity. Mr E. Jacquot, his lawyer, argued that the practice of wearing the turban had been ritualised over a period of three centuries and it was a religious privilege of Sikhs recognised worldwide.

The state did not have to enter into interpretation of religion. Moreover, for the past 25 years, Mr Singh had worn his turban on all photographs of his official permits, and the administration had always permitted it in the past.


Abhi murder case: eyebrows raised over police role
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 16
The million-dollar question in the Abhi Verma kidnapping and murder case is how the kidnappers managed to enter Jalandhar district from Hoshiarpur, crossing all nakas and evading the much publicised red alert, which the Punjab police claimed to have sounded.

Though the police theory that the kidnappers might have killed Abhi after making the last call to his father around 7.45 pm on Monday seems to hold a lot of water, what remains a mystery is how they managed to cross all police nakas if any.

Moreover, as the situation became fluid after the kidnapping of Abhi on Monday morning, the Punjab police had claimed to have sounded a red alert immediately after the incident and intensified vigil. But if the police was alert, how did the kidnappers manage to enter Jalandhar district without any checking? How did a big car like the black Chevrolet used by them to ferry the body of Abhi uptil Daulatpur near Alawalpur township in Jalandhar escape being checked at any point?

Moreover, the postmortem of the body that hints that the boy might have been killed between 4 pm and 5 pm on Monday by the kidnappers has further confounded the situation.

If it was so the kidnappers were making calls to the parents of Abhi even after killing him. If they called up Abhi’s parents a number of times why was any action not taken to detect the number from where the calls were made?


Police watch in schools
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 16
After having failed to get any clue in connection with the sensational kidnapping of Amritsar-based Prabir Singh and the brutal killing of Hoshiarpur Abhi Verma, the state police authorities have decided to adopt new strategies to check the menace.

The state police authorities, which are under tremendous pressure after Punjab witnessed a spate of kidnappings, have now decided to contact members of inter-state gangs involved in kidnappings and abduction, lodged in different jails. Special police teams will visit different jails to question such gang members. The police may also take such gang members in custody.

The state police authorities are also collecting information and data in connection with the kidnappings and abductions, which have taken place in Punjab since 1995.

A senior police official while talking to The Tribune on the condition of anonymity pointed out that intelligence inputs had revealed that some UP, Delhi and Bihar-based gangs might be involved in the kidnappings, which had taken place in Punjab in the past and hence members of the gangs including one led by Bablu Shrivastva, who were lodged in different jails in Punjab, would be questioned in connection with their modus operandi to solve these cases.

Two residents, one each of Ferozepore and Faridkot districts, who had earned notoriety in kidnapping and abduction of business tycoons and were lodged in different jails, would also be questioned in connection with the spate of kidnappings witnessed in Punjab in the recent past. The state police authorities are also scanning information pertaining to gangs involved in contract killings in Punjab and gangs involved in illegal arms deals.

A senior official pointed out that Mr J. P. Virdi, ADGP (Law and Order), who is camping in Amritsar ever since Prabir Singh was kidnapped, is monitoring the working of policemen.

Information revealed that state police authorities had also sought information from district authorities regarding terrorists, who were released from jails in the past 10 years to verify whether a section of them had taken to crime again.

Police sources said mock exercises of kidnapping and abduction had been started in various parts of Punjab to make the parents, school authorities and others alert.

Policemen in plain clothes had also been deployed around different schools in the state. This had been done to instil confidence among school children and parents.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG, Border Range, when contacted, said a list of dismissed police personnel, and jawans of Punjab home guards was also being prepared to verify whether they were involved in any crime. Every vehicle arousing suspicion was being checked and every stranger was being watched.


Kidnapping case: Khanna cops rush to Bihar
Tribune reporters

Machhiwara, February 16
A team of Khanna police today rushed to Bihar following reports that the two missing children from this town had been found there.

Briefing mediapersons, Mr Dilbagh Singh, SP(D), said the children had left the town with a migrant labourer, Sikander, who lived in their neighbourhood. The minor girl is reported to have had an affair with the labourer and her younger brother, Gurmeet, knew about their relation, he further added.

The police rounded up a migrant labourers’ contractor in a local rice mill. Having confirmed the whereabouts of the accused, the police planned to apprehend him, the police said.

The SP (D) further said the girl being a minor a case of kidnapping under Sections, 363 and 366 of the India Penal code was registered against Sikander today.


NRI impressed by talent of rural girls in Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Mr Nanak Singh Kohli explains about his project for the empowerment of rural girls in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Mr Nanak Singh Kohli explains about his project for the empowerment of rural girls in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 16
Mr Nanak S Kohli, a Punjabi NRI from the USA, who has launched a project for the empowerment of rural girls, says that he has been amazed by the talent and will power of girls in the countryside in Punjab.

" Girls who have joined our project at various villages are doing exceedingly well. There is a visible change detectable in the attitude of these girls at Garuan, Mahadian and Landran village covered under the project. They are quick learners", says Mr Kohli.

" But we are a long way to go. Their shyness and certain inhibitions, especially with regard to communicating in English, is to be removed. We want to see them stand on their own feet in this competitive world", he adds.

Mr Kohli is looking for more villages to start the project. " I want to cover at least 100 villages in the shortest possible time. I have the money and am not asking for donations from any one. I just want a dedicated group of people, who could take the responsibility to run such centres in their villages", he adds.

" I would provide all the funds for the setting up computer centres to train girls, salaries for their teachers and other facilities required for the girls joining the project. But without the involvement of locals, success of such project is not possible", he adds.

He said that public spirited people should come forward and cooperate with him and other officials working to launch the project in various villages so that training centres could be set up for the girls at the desired number of village.

Mr Kohli said that he had already talked to various companies to provide business to the centres where girls would earn money after successfully completing their training.


Rai Sikhs declared Scheduled Castes
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
A long-standing demand of Rai Sikhs, considered to be a tribe of migrants living as hunters and fowlers, for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Castes of Punjab has been conceded by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Union Government has issued a communication agreeing to include Rai Sikhs---Mahatams --- in the Scheduled Castes list rather than treat them as synonym of Sirkibands. Rai Sikhs are mostly concentrated in Bet areas of border districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore. They number a couple of lakhs.

Though the Rai Sikh community has been fighting for its identification as a Scheduled Caste for over 20 years, the decision has come at a time when byelection to the Ajnala Assembly constituency is just seven days away. Incidentally, Ajnala has about 15 to 20 per cent of Rai Sikh voters.

Rai Sikhs had been represented in Parliament before as their foremost leader, Mr Mohan Singh Phalianwala, was elected from the Ferozepore parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha once. Though the community is considered the backbone of Bahujan movement in the state, there have been instances when it supported both Congress and Akalis in different electoral battles.

The Punjab Government had been pleading that Rai Sikhs---Mahatams--- fall within the boundaries of the traditional caste system, besides being extremely backward, dispossessed and stigmatised, and should be declared synonym with Sirkibands. It was argued that Rai Sikhs and Mahatams along with Sirkibands were three different flows of the same fountain.

The Union Government, however, took no decision on the reference made by the Punjab Government for lack of adequate ethnographic studies.

The present Congress Government, however, got comprehensive ethnographic studies conducted by taking into account indication of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation and their economic backwardness.

These studies supported by other parameters helped the state government to forward yet another "foolproof proposal" to the Centre. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, followed it up with his meetings with the Union Ministers. He maintained that these castes deserve a considered, sympathetic and humane treatment as they are extremely backward and stigmatised.

The Union Government forwarded the latest reference to the Registrar General of India, who agreed to declare Rai Sikhs---Mahatams---as Scheduled Castes instead of treating them as synonym of Sirkibands.


Badal flays CM on Rai Sikhs’ issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 16
Decrying attempts of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to cash in on the issue of Scheduled Class status to ‘Rai Sikhs’, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, claimed that it was the SAD-BJP combine which had mooted and cleared the proposal.

Addressing several public meetings at Panj Garaian, Teri, Rajia, Bhoewali, Kiampura, Tera Kalaan and Tera Khurd in Ajnala today, Mr Badal accused the ruling party of delaying the proposal for nearly three-and-a-half years.


Fernandes woos Christian voters
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Kariyal (Ajnala), February 16
Even as Christian votes are a deciding factor in the crucial Ajnala byelection, Mr Oscar Fernandes, a Member Parliament and general secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, today held a closed door meeting with the priests in the presence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, on church premises in this remote border village, here today.

Before addressing an election rally, Fr Franco (Jalandhar), Fr Paul and Fr Thomas Valia (Ajnala) apparently got a promise from Mr Fernandes and the Chief Minister that the genuine demands of the Christian community would be accepted after the byelection.

The local Christian leaders urged the Chief Minister and Mr Fernandes that the members of the community belonging to the economically weaker sections should be given all facilities given to other Scheduled Castes. They also demanded that one Assembly constituency should be reserved for Christians candidate in the state. However, they appreciated the state government for declaring ‘’Good Friday’’, as a gazetted holiday.

Amid slogans of ‘Halleluia’ (praise for the Almighty), Fr Franco, openly sought votes for the Congress candidate, Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala, He said the Christian votes were a factor which could tilt the balance in the byelection.

Mr Fernandes, said Christian community had always reposed faith in the policies and programmes of the Congress. He said the Congress was the only party that had been instrumental in the overall development of the downtrodden and fought for the common interests of the underprivileged section of the society. He said the Union Government had already decided in principal to give all economic and social facilities equivalent to the reserved categories. He said the state government too was committed to give due representation to the representatives of the Christians. He complimented the people of Punjab in general and Christians in particular for their unflinching support to the party which was evident from the verdict given during the byelections of Malout, Garhshankar and Kapurthala.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, PPCC, while addressing the Congress rally said the state government was fully determined to grant minority status to the educational institutions run by Christians and would provide all financial assistance so that these temples of learning may continue to provide quality education to the children.

Speaking on the occasion, Capt Amarinder Singh said the state government was committed to uplift the downtrodden. He said all efforts would be made for the overall development of the border constituency.


Father Mark laid to rest
Jalandhar diocese abstains
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, February 16
The body of Christian missionary, Father Mark (74), was finally laid to rest on the premises of St. Marry Church School, Gumtala, 24 hours after his death . Father Mark had been running this school for a long time. The Jalandhar Diocese, however, abstained from the burial.

The controversy over the last resting place for the Christian missionary of Ajnala ended with the arrival of his England-based sister, Ms Anne Waikling, who sided with his ardent followers for burying the Father on the school premises where he had spent more than 40 years of his life.

Controversy had erupted after the Jalandhar Diocese insisted that the coffin of Father Mark be taken to Jalandhar for burial but Fathers’ followers insisted on burying him at Gumtala where they plan a suitable memorial for him.

Talking to The Tribune, Ms Waikling said her brother lived for the upliftment of the people of the border area. She said she had never seen such upsurge of love and passion for anyone . “After being overwhelmed by the emotions , I decided to accept the appeal of the local people “, she said.

Father Mark had 11 brothers and sisters who were born at Sabarmati Ashram (Gujarat). After Partition Father Mark preferred to stay in Ajnala and decided to continue as a missionary in the most backward area near the Indo-Pak border.

Father Mark, who succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital here yesterday, had been visiting Canada and England from where he used to collect donations for the welfare of people of Ajnala whom he considered like his own children.

A high drama was enacted at St. Francis Church here last evening when both factions tried to outwit each other in their bid to take possession of the body. However, the district administration later intervened and persuaded them to come to an amicable solution and later said the final decision on the family who were expected to participate in his last rites. The administration in its bid to diffuse the tense situation at St. Francis Church took the body to Escort Hospital mortuary late last night.

Large number of disciples gathered outside the Escort Multi-Specialty Hospital at Verka bypass here for taking the body for burial. However, their representatives said they would abide by the decision of the Sister Anne, who arrived in the afternoon. They were shouting slogans ‘father mark Amar rahe’, ‘Father mark sade hun’ besides religious slogans.

She emotionally wept while meeting with women disciples outside the hospital who hugged her and expressed their grief. She interacted with them for about five minutes.

The police had made elaborate arrangements in wake of large number of disciples present outside the hospital to ward off any untoward incident.

The representatives of disciples from Ajnala, including Priest Surjit said Father Mark, a Canadian Christian missionary, was residing here for the past four decades. He alleged that the diocese at Jalandhar ignored him totally during this period. He said they would urge Sister Anne to bury Father Mark’s body at St. Mary Church at Ajnala. 


Roadways staff protest against illegal plying of buses
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, February 16
The true face of the anti-corruption drive of the Congress government was virtually exposed today when the district transport authorities allegedly refused to challan private buses owned by two Congress ministers and transporters owing allegiance to the ruling party. The buses were plying on different routes without valid permits causing a loss of lakhs of rupees daily to the state exchequer.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Punjab Roadways employees, which has launched a drive to stop plying of private buses in an unauthorised manner from the inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) here since yesterday, announced to launch an agitation against the authorities concerned for latter’s refusal to take action against the erring private transporters.

The JAC members detained two private buses from the ISBT complex: one of Malwa Bus Service (PB 29 E 5666) bound for Ludhiana, and another of PBS Transport (PB 09 B 4191) bound for Kapurthala. Though the JAC informed the local transport authorities in this regard, but the latter allegedly refused to take action without assigning any valid reasons. This infuriated JAC members, who laters laid seige to the ISBT for refusal of the authorities to challan private buses.

The agitating Punjab Roadways employees did not allow any bus to either enter or exit the ISBT for more than two hours, thus, resulting in blockade of traffic on the G.T. road. The commuters and vehicle owners kept stranded for hours together. The blockade was lifted when the DTO reached the spot and assured the agitating employees to take action against such transporters.

The JAC had detained four such private buses yesterday and reportedly informed the District Transport Officer (DTO) here for initiation of legal action against the owners of the buses. According to the convener of the JAC, Mr Jagtar Singh, the DTO, instead of visiting the ISBT where buses were detained for carrying passengers without valid permits, tried to avoid the situation for obvious reasons.

The DTO, Mr Jasbir Singh, refuted the allegations and said that they were conducting routine inspection on different routes on daily basis to curb plying of such private buses. “We definitely take action against owners of such buses for violating the prescribed norms,” He added.


Mansar Sarpanch gets Laloo’s grant
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 16
A grant of Rs 10 lakh announced by Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, Railway Minister, for the development of Mansar village was received by Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, from Mr Randhir Singh Gera, Senior Divisional Safety Officer, Northern Railway, Ferozepore, yesterday.

The cheque was handed over by the Deputy Commissioner to Mr Tara Singh, Sarpanch of the village, in the presence of members of the panchayat.

Mr Yadav had announced the grant as an appreciation for the courage and concern shown by the village residents for the injured passengers and railway goods during the recent train accident near the village.


A tribute to Sahibzadas
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 16
Harpal Tiwana’s theatrical class was recreated at Old Moti Bagh Palace today. As the legendary thespian’s historical play ‘Sirhind di Diwar” opened to a rousing welcome, it was time for the gathering to trace the genesis of a conspiracy that scarred the sensibility of Sikhs.

The production deals with the martyrdom of Sahibzadas and records developments that led to the tragedy. Its presentation was significant in the wake of 300th year of Sahibzada’s martyrdom.

As for Manpal Tiwana, the man behind the restructured ‘Sirhind di Diwar’, the journey without his father has hardly been easy. No wonder he has taken years to rise to the occasion by enriching the production with rich elements, music being prime. Jagjit Singh’s classic touch has made the play legendary so has Manpal Tiwana’s cautious handling of the theme.

The highlight of the production is the rich musical line composed and rendered by Jagjit Singh for whom the project is a tribute to a friend. No wonder he was present for the opening of the play in which he has presented three “shabads”. Other compositions are equally engrossing, the production being the first ever in which Jagjit Singh has offered music. It has a piece to go with every act and every feeling.

Manpal Tiwana explains, “It was a challenge to do justice to this play, which is easily my father’s best. For me, it has been a nostalgic trip. For 22 times with my father I used to play the role of Zafad Beg, the second main villain who cajoles Wazir Khan into passing the wrenching order against Sahibzadas. Now I play Wazir Khan which my father used to play in original productions.”

The play is unique in many other ways. It has been mounted on an epic scale, its music has been professionally recorded, its actors have been carefully chosen. The role of Sher Mohd Khan, the Nawab of Malerkotla who criticised Wazir Khan’s order, has been played by Girija Shankar, the Dhritrashtra of “Mahabharata”. Elated, he told The Tribune today, “It has been fulfilling to play this role after 27 years, that too in my home town.”

Girija Shankar is now directing a film titled ‘Banana Brothers”. Featuring Anupam Kher and Gursewak Mann, the film deals with the struggles of NRIs. But coming back to Patiala was more than cathartic for the actor who, along with Neena Tiwana and Nirmal Rishi, cast a spell with his performance today.

In the three acts, the production spanned an entire era, recreating the horror of Sahibzada’s martyrdom.


Dance fusion enthrals
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 16
But for the venue, everything about yesterday’s classical music and dance presentations was inspiring. In a unique experiment of fusion, two exponents of distinct dance idioms – Odissi and Mohiniattam – exemplified the character of their respective forms.

The success of the choreography lay in its brilliant conception, its awe-inspiring synchronisation and its ability to create a historical perspective. As both Kiran Segal and Bharati Shivaji had promised, their respective traditions of Odissi and Mohiniattam captured the imagination of the gathering and stirred its soul.

The dancers, however, regretted that the rain had robbed them of an opportunity to perform against the backdrop of Quila Mubarak. They had to finally settle for the Central Library.

The distraction, however, did not deter the artistes from abiding by the principles of fusion dance. Not even once did they violate each other’s space. Instead, they gestured in coherence to familiarise the audiences with the nuances of the forms. And once the basic introduction was made through pure dance pieces, they presented impressive bits to delineate the uniqueness of their traditions.

On stage, Odissi and Mohiniattam came across as sister forms – thoroughly lyrical in nature and pattern, but purely distinct in movement and throw.

While Bharati Shivaji made a brilliant mythological and historical presentation of Mohiniattam, Kiran Segal exhibited how Odissi was commanded by postures.

Elegant and enchanting, both the forms held their own on stage, delicately baring their myriad tones. And as it was, the audience did not have any difficulty in distinguishing one from the other. While Mohiniattam movements were clearly circular and outward, Odissi’s slant was sideways from the centre of the body. The stress in the latter was on the formidability of posture and in the former on the graceful, rounded gestures.

At the heart of the composition was spring, as the two friends and artistes danced on the eternal ‘Geeta Govindam’, which has been translated into every classical dance tradition of India. Through Oriya poet Jayadeva’s ‘ashtapadi’, Kiran Segal reflected the Vaishnavite philosophy of the Bhakti era.

The piece revolved around Radha and Krishna and their romantic encounters on the eve of spring. The “raas leela’ finally became a symbol of divine love, even as the significance of spring was reflected in the lyricism of dance forms.

Earlier, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt spilled the charm of mohan veena.


Festival Diary
Show goes on after Bhairavi

Having made her musical offering, Savita Devi suggested the accompanying artiste Pt Anant Lal to play raag Bhairavi on the shehnai. And this she did to the surprise of connoisseurs and Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma who was to perform after her. In the true classical tradition, raag Bhairavi best qualifies as the last offering of the evening. No purist is comfortable making an offering once raag Bharavi has been played. Small wonder that Pt Anant Lal looked confused and Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma remarked backstage, “Ab to Bhairavi baj gayi, ab hum kya sunayen…’ Nevertheless the show went on.

Nostalgia revisited

For Harpal Tiwana fans, it was time to retrace the Jagjit Singh-Harpal Tiwana bond. As the Harpal Tiwana production ‘Sirhind di Diwar” rolled on the stage of Old Moti Bagh Palace with Jagjit Singh in presence, people could not help referring to the long standing friendship between the two artistes. The very fact that Jagjit Singh has composed and sung for the production speaks volumes about his affection for Harpal Tiwana. It is well known that the two began their artistic journey together from the youth festivals in Punjab. While Harpal Tiwana used to represent bhangra, Jagjit Singh used to represent the music troupe. And during good old days, both the friends sported beards and were “Gursikhs”!

Patta chitras on tsunami

Montu chitrkaar from West Bengal has struck a good rapport with the visitors to the crafts mela. Thanks to his off-beat work, he has managed a good revenue even while others are struggling to break even. On the display in his stall are patta chitras on contemporary themes like tsunami, AIDS scare, child labour and Gujarat earthquake. The seemingly illiterate artist also has a good knowledge of historic events like the French Revolution. He has also created another patta chitra on the devastation caused by America’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tragedies are selling well!

No short cuts for Pt Bhatt

Unlike musicians who relish short-cut presentations, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt gave a thoroughly inspiring recital on the mohan veena last night. Paying attention to minute details, he went through the tradition of jod, jhala, aalaap and bandish. And though tough to be struck on his instrument, each musical piece evolved well, establishing the artiste’s expertise. When asked why he presented every traditional piece, he answered, ‘Because Patiala is rich with musical sense and I didn’t want to take its discerning listeners for granted.’

Dhruv Pandove Stadium shines

In the wake of Indo-Pak cricket match to be organised as part of the heritage festival celebrations, the Dhruv Pandove Stadium in Baradari has been renovated. The new look stadium has a fresh coating of paint, a sporting pitch to help both sides and a sparkling clean Clock Tower end. Security has been tightened and regular meetings of the Patiala Cricket Association, hosts of the match, are being held to delegate responsibility.


SGPC acting beyond its powers, alleges Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Coming down heavily on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for its move to seek heritage status for the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) president Prem Singh Chandumajra today said it would dissolve the independent entity of Akal Takht.

Addressing a press conference yesterday morning, Mr Chandumajra said the SGPC was acting beyond its powers by trying to implement the proposal. It was the custodian of the Panth’s property and not its owner. Moreover, there were other organisations also which were concerned about the welfare of the Panth and the Golden Temple.

Otherwise also, the Golden Temple was not a monument as being projected. Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht were torch-bearers of the Sikh philosophy, ideology and ethos, he added.

Describing it as a conspiracy, he added that the ‘nomination dossier’ was deliberately not being made public by the SGPC. The same, he said, was prepared by a committee which had 90 per cent non-Sikhs. No Sikh scholar was associated with its preparation, he added.

Mr Chandumajra said there were certain controversial references with regard to the Golden Temple and Gurbani in the dossier. Even the wordings were objectionable. The dossier had wrongly stated that some concepts had been borrowed from Hinduism and Islam.

Elaborating upon his contention, Mohali’s SGPC member Hardeep Singh said the dossier had reportedly mentioned that the concept of “sacrifice” was borrowed from Islam, while the same was not true.


Exploitation rife as rules are ‘bent’ to fell trees
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 16
A number of people being granted relaxation in the forest felling rules by the government was leading to the exploitation of farmers and illegal felling of trees in the Dhar forest area of the district. The sources in the department of forests told The Tribune that there has been a sudden spurt in the number of applications being filed for relaxation in forest rules from the Dhar area recently.

Interestingly, these applications are being marked by the political leaders, including the MLAs and ministers, and are being approved by the Minister for Forests. Recently deviation permission has been granted for Bhakatpur village about six years after the lapse of notified period.

As per the felling rules the cutting of trees in the private forest areas conserved under Sections 4 and 5 of the Forest Act was allowed once in 10 years. If someone fails to cut his forest during the notified year he would have to seek permission for felling from the local DFO within one year of the notified period as a deviation of the forest felling rules. Generally after one year of the notified area deviation was not granted for felling the trees.

However, a nexus of forest contractors and local politicians has now devised a new method to cut especially valuable khair trees. They have allegedly contacted poor farmers of the Dhar area who failed to get sanction for cutting their trees during the notified year. A paltry sum of Rs 500 to 1000 was being handed over to the owners to get an application for deviation. The contractors then get the application approved and cut the trees without paying anything extra to the poor landowners.

Sources in the department of forests alleged that in an unprecedented manner deviations were being allowed even four to five years after the lapse of notified felling period. In addition to that deviations were being granted for even 50 to 100 trees that was not the practice earlier.

The sources told that besides Gurdaspur the deviation cases were also being pursued vigorously in Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts by a nexus of politicians and contractors.

Apprehensions are also being expressed regarding the exploitation of the farmers by the nexus of forest officials, politicians and contractors in the areas where felling has been allowed this year. The modus operandi of the contractors involved the collection of permits for cutting directly from the forest department. The trees are felled without intimating or giving proper payment to the farmers. Though in other parts of the state the farmers are paid about Rs 1,500 per Khair tree in the Dhar forest they are paid an amount ranging just from Rs 300 to 500 per tree.

This year permit has been granted by the forest department to fell 1,800 khair and 200 other trees falling under revenue limits of Sukret and Salari villages in Dhar block.


Trench causes scare
Our Correspondent

Nabha, February 16
For residents of Bhai Vir Singh Colony and dozens of villages around the town, the construction of a stretch of a link road to Mehs Bridge has made them vulnerable to mishaps.

The PWD (B&R) has dug up a trench to meet their requirement of earth to raise the level of the road. The rainwater has filled up the trench. The road is the main route to almost 25 densely populated villages from Nabha. Residents fear it can lead to accidents.

There was no provision of earth work in the sanctioned estimate. PWD officials repeatedly asked the SDM, Nabha, Mr Navtej Singh for help. The SDM assigned the BDO, Nabha, to persuade the villagers to extend their free services to raise the level of the road.

When this appeal failed to generate response, officers involved in this construction work asked the people residing along side the road to arrange the remaining quantity of loose earth and threatened of digging up in front of their houses.

The project in charge, Mr Manohar Lal, said that arrangement of loose earth was the duty of BDO Jagvinderjit Singh Sandhu and he provided the machine to dig up the trench so that the requirement of loose earth could be met.


700 dam staff fail to draw salary for 2 months
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 16
As many as 700 employees of the Ranjit Sagar Dam have not drawn salaries for the past two months. With reports that many Class IV employees of the dam were working as servants in the houses of serving and retired officers of the dam, residences of ministers and senior bureaucrats, the Director Treasury, Mr Krishan Kumar, ordered that about 5000 Class IV employees of the dam should open their accounts with a bank at Shahpur Kandi so that they were paid salaries.

Earlier, the employees used to be paid through the local treasury. According to sources, certain financers used to lend money at a hefty interest to the labourers. They used to take the signatures of the employees on revenue stamps and withdrew the salaries on their own.

The Chief Engineer, Ranjit Sagar Dam, Mr Bhalinder Singh, said the financial advisor was ascertaining the possibility of fake workers.


Plan to connect Golden Temple with G.T. Road
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 16
To ease traffic chaos on the road leading to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Punjab Government has decided to construct a 7.5-km-long elevated road connecting the Delhi-Amritsar GT Road with the Temple Complex directly.

The Rs 70-crore project is likely to take off some time in April. Negotiations between the Punjab Government and a Malasiyan company are on. “Malasiyan experts have been invited for a dialogue with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and senior officers in March.

“Parleys are already on with the PJI, a Malaysian company for this purpose,” said Mr Malkit Singh, Punjab Minister for Jails and Defence Welfare Services while talking to this correspondent here on Monday.

In addition to this, the Punjab Chief Minister has also taken the issue of the construction of a road up to Gobind Dham on way to Hemkunt Sahib. “The Chief Minister has assured the Uttaranchal Chief Minister that if there was any financial problem with that state, the Punjab Government could offer funds for the purpose. The Uttaranchal Chief Minister has also been assured that a large number of Sikhs could participate in the process of the construction of the road in the form of ‘kar seva’”, said Mr Parminder Singh, General Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, who was accompanying Mr Birmi.


Malwa roads in bad shape
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 16
It took more than five hours to shift a patient from Bathinda to Ludhiana as the vehicle could not run at its normal speed, thanks to the bad condition of the Barnala-Mullanpur stretch of the Bathinda-Ludhiana main road. Normally it takes about three hours to reach Ludhiana which is about 140 km from the town.

Residents of the area prefer other routes, covering more distance, to reach Kotkapura, Faridkot and other towns of Ferozepore district instead of taking the shortest route of the Goniana-Jaitu stretch. The stretch has virtually become unmotorable.

A section of people have started using link roads instead of main roads. The condition of main roads, including a few stretches of the national highway passing through a large part of the Malwa region, which has produced a maximum number of Chief Ministers after the greater Punjab was reorganised in 1966, have become the worst as no maintenance work has been undertaken over the past few years.

Potholes, encroachments, slush and broken edges have been a major source of road accidents in this region.

Officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) said the condition of almost all main roads, including planned roads, was deteriorating as the state government was facing a shortage of funds. Almost all roads criss-crossing Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepore, Moga, Muktsar, Sangrur and Faridkot districts have failed to attract attention of the authorities concerned.

The main roads whose condition has become the worst are the Barnala-Sangera, Bajakhana-Bhagta Bhai Ka, Muktsar-Kotkapura, Muktsar-Jalalabad, Talwandi Sabo-Maur Mandi, Malerkotla-Sangrur, Ferozepore-Fazilka, Goniana-Jaitu, Mansa-Sardulgarh and Sardulgarh-Ratia stretches.

Some of the link roads, which had been repaired in the past few years, have developed, cracks and potholes after the diversion of heavy vehicles on them.

Mr P.L. Dhawan, Superintendent Engineer (SE), PWD, said a meeting of higher officials of the department was held at Moga on February 9 and presided over by Mr R.S. Sandhu, Secretary, PWD (B&R) where the condition of each road was discussed.

He said the state government would raise a loan from Nabard for strengthening the roads. The work would be done in a phased manner.

Mr D.P.S. Sandhu, SE, National Highways, Ferozepore, said by March each stretch of the national highway passing through Bathinda, Muktsar and Ferozepore would be repaired. The department was likely to get Rs 32 crore to carry out the repair of the Fazilka-Ferozepore road, he said.


Workshop stresses on media ethics
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 16
US Embassy Media Outreach Officer Bob Richard said today India and the USA had a lot in common as far as journalistic practises were concerned.

Addressing a workshop on “Media Ethics” on the Punjabi University campus here, Mr Richard said both nations had long history of democracy, concern for human rights values and freedom of expression.

Mr Bob emphasised that in every democratic nation enjoying freedom of the Press, its Responsibility to take care of even the micro-level effects of human psyche become more important.

He hoped that the Indian media was mature enough to take care of all aspects and basic needs of society in every possible manner.

Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai said the USA had made the best and most effective use of its media for strengthening its democratic roots.

The power of US journalists lies in their practice of not loosening the grip till hauling up the criminals.

He said the American society commands full credit for using the media as the best weapon to safeguard their interests.

He cautioned journalism students to refrain from petty allurement, and prejudices.

Earlier, Dr H.P.S.Walia while welcoming the guests introduced the theme of the workshop.

Dr Shakuntala Rao, a scholar from New York, also shared her views with the budding journalists. Dr S.P.S.Virdi proposed the vote of thanks. bright scholar from New York also shared her views with the budding journalists. Dr. S.P.S. Virdi proposed a vote of thanks.


Widening of Chandigarh-Ropar road mooted
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 16
The Grievance Removal Committee headed by Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar yesterday decided to take up the widening of the National Highway-21 from Chandigarh to Ropar. He took the decision at a meeting with the MLA from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, and Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, an MLA from Anandpur Sahib, besides an official of the administration.

Mr Johar directed the administrative official to prepare a plan regarding the widening of the roads which would soon be sent to the Central Government for approval. He also directed the administration to shift all dairy farms functioning in the Mohali subdivision to other areas. 


Probe ordered into custodial death of youth
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 16
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered investigation by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police of the Crime Branch of a 13-year-old case relating to alleged custodial death of a Rajpura youth.

In its order, the Bench also directed that the final report in the matter be submitted within six months. The Bench also ordered interim compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh to the family of the deceased.

In her petition, Ms Ajmer Kaur, a Dalit, had alleged that her son, Baljeet Ram, who was employed in the office of Chief Architect, Patiala, was picked up by the Rajpura police on July 11, 1992, for his alleged involvement in a kidnapping case.

However, when her son was not presented before a court till July 14, 1992, she filed an application seeking production of her son.

However, in the court, the police denied having arrested her son. On July 19, 1992, the body of the petitioner's son was taken to an Ambala hospital by SHO Balkar Singh and SI Bahadur Singh. It was later established that the cause of the death was damage to bladder.

On July 22, both the officers were booked but were not arrested. After waiting for over three years, the mother moved the court when the SDM, Rajpura, absolved the deceased of any role in the kidnapping.


Court again reserves order on Goyal’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 16
A local court today reserved its order on the Punjab Police plea, seeking arrest warrant against Mr Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Shiv Sena’s north India president, in a case pertaining to the attack on the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on February 10, which is to host an Indo-Pak test match next month.

Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Poonam Ratti adjourned the hearing in the case till March 1 since the investigating officer did not appear in the court today.

On February 11 the Mohali police booked Mr Goyal for allegedly masterminding the attack.

Preliminary interrogation of six activists arrested that day had revealed that all of these were identity card holders of the Shiv Sena and office-bearers of the Haryana unit of the party. The bid to dig up the pitch was allegedly planned by Mr Goyal in Delhi early this month, the police had claimed.

On March 12 the court had remanded the six in 14-day judicial custody. The SDM, Ms Poonam Ratti, directed the police to produce the accused again before the court here on February 26.

The SDJM also reserved orders on the Punjab Police plea seeking arrest warrant against Mr Goyal till February 14.


Regional Kisan Mela on March 16
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 16
The regional Kisan Mela of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) would be organised here on March 16.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Dulcha Singh Brar, Director, PAU, Regional Station, Bathinda, said that to formulate different committees for the successful conduct of the mela, a meeting of all the scientists of PAU was convened on February 10.

Mr Brar said that in addition to distribution of quality seeds of recommended varieties of different crops for the kharif season, the produce competitions in different crops would also be organised to encourage the farmers. He appealed to all the farmers of this region to participate in the mela. 


Farmers stop MC workers from digging nullah
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 16
Employees of the municipal council were stopped from digging a nullah along the Randhawa road here today by farmers. The farmers, who gathered after the employees started digging, said the nullah would damage their crops.

The nullah, according to an earlier plan, was to be constructed from the Randhawa road towards the Khanpur choe but later the plan was changed.

It is learnt that the farmers had even approached the SDM in this regard.

The work on the nullah was started on October 27 but the council had to stop work as the farmers had staged a protest even then.


Date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The Punjab Transport Department yesterday extended the last date for the receipt of applications to February 21 to allocate permits to unemployed youth under the Sonia Gandhi Golden Rozgar Bus Scheme.

The scheme has been introduced by the department to provide employment to youth, particularly those belonging to Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes, ex-servicemen and terrorist- affected families for whom special reservation has been made. Initially the proposal is to introduce 250 buses under this scheme.


Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 16
Jethu Ram was today arrested along with his three accomplices in connection with six burglary cases committed at different places in the district despite the fact that he was on bail in a theft case registered against him at Barnala.

The three other accomplices of Jethu Ram, also residents of this town, are Pawan Kumar, Amrik Singh and Lala.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, in a press note issued here today said the police had recovered Rs 22,150 along with stolen articles, including a computer, a tape-recorder, a printer, a colour television set, two CD players and gold and silver ornaments. The total recovery was valued at Rs 1.50 lakh.

He said that Jethu Ram had been on bail since October 29, 2004 in another criminal case against him.

With the arrest of Jethu Ram and his accomplices, six burglary cases registered in this district have been solved.


8,000 illegal power connections detected, lineman suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has detected 8000 illegal power connections in some areas of the city including the Focal Point, Industrial Area, Tajpur Road and the Police Colony, Jamalpur. One lineman has also been suspended for collusion in facilitating the illegal power supply to these households.

The PSEB has neither imposed any penalty nor initiated any action against the defaulters. Instead all these connections have been regularised. The board officials maintained that it was found advisable to generate regular revenue after getting these regularised.

Superintending Engineer of the PSEB K.B. Chaudhary, said here today that the board had launched an intensive campaign to find out the illegal connections in these areas as the transmission losses were going up. With the legalisation of these connections, the board expects to bring down the losses from 60 to five per cent only.

Mr Chaudhary disclosed that the board had found that the lineman of the particular area was also involved in facilitating the illegal electricity supply to the defaulters. Surprisingly the illegal connections had been found in some households which had telephone connection and also owned cars but did not get the electric connections legalised as they were managing it unauthorisedly.

During investigation it was found that the lineman used to help the defaulters by intimating them about the possible raids in advance.

The lineman would also instal meters at these households to mislead the raiding parties as they could never doubt that these meters were installed temporarily only. During a raid on his house several meters and wire were recovered from his possession.

Mr Chaudhary said that now individual meters have been installed on a common board for all households found getting electricity illegally. These meters cannot be tampered with, the SE said, while adding that the board hopes to generate additional revenue.


11 chemists nabbed for selling intoxicants
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 16
The Faridkot police has nabbed 11 unauthorised chemists for allegedly selling intoxicants in the district.

They include Sudhir Kumar, Arvash Kumar and Rajesh Kumar all from Faridkot, Gurlal Singh, Narinder Kumar and Manpreet Singh (Jaito), Inderjit Singh and Mohinder Pal (Kotkapura) and Daljit Singh, Nadam Singh and Daljit Kataria of villages Wadadaraka, Madak and Harinau, respectively.

A case has been registered against all of them. Similarly, cases have also been registered against 24 more dealers.

As many as 19 police teams conducted simultaneous raids on a large number of chemists shops in the district on Monday evening and seized 449 different kinds of injections, 234 capsules, 2468 tablets of lamotin and sancrolate, 12 Corex and Brown corex bottles.

Meanwhile, more than 400 chemists observed a strike in the district to register their protest against the police action. They also held a meeting at Geeta Bhavan here yesterday.


Campaign against drug peddlers launched
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 16
The district police has launched a campaign to curb the menace of drug smuggling and sale of illicit liquor in the district.

The police has arrested about 168 persons in the past one month who were involved in the village trades.

It has recovered about 18 kg of opium, 480 kg of poppy husk, 73 gm of smack, 7 working stills, 5075 kg of lahan, 530 litres of illicit liquor, 22 litres of country liquor, during the past about 45 days.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, while talking to this correspondent said the latest success achieved by the police when it recovered 4.20 kg of opium from Sehjad Singh, a resident of Haryana, near local Reond Chowk.

The district has been prone to all types of smuggling due to its close proximity with Haryana and Rajasthan states. Poor economic conditions and low literacy rate has been the major causes for involvement of people into smuggling and illicit sale of drugs in the district.

Out of the total 168 arrested, the district police has booked about 30 persons under the NDPS Act, 104 persons under the Excise Act and 34 persons under the Gambling Act in the past one month.

It also recovered about Rs 32,000 from gamblers during its campaign.

About 151 cases have been registered against the drug smugglers and gamblers, out of which 22 cases have been registered against those arrested under the NDPS Act, 101 cases under the Excise Act while 28 cases have been registered under the Gambling Act.


Suicide: Lucky had not submitted form, claims school
Tribune Reporter

Patiala, February 16
A class VIII student who committed suicide apparently did not submit his form to the Punjab School Education Board in order to give his paper as a private candidate.

Disclosing this here today, Bhai Kishan Singh School Chairman Chamkaur Singh said Lucky could not give details about his form or the receipt obtained by him when questioned about the same a few days ago.

He claimed that the boy also did not know about the examination centre allotted to him, indicating that he had not submitted the form.

Asked why Lucky had been compelled to take his papers as a private student, he said this was done after an internal test.

He said some other students had also been asked to appear privately and that Lucky had not been targeted in any manner. Sources said Lucky had earlier failed twice during his academic career.

Lucky’s family is reticent on the subject. His father Bhupinder Singh declined to answer any question about whether Lucky had submitted the form.

MOHALI: The Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Prof Harbans Singh Sidhu, said the case relating to the suicide by Lucky was a school affair.

He, however, said he would, try to find out the status of the case and it would take a day or two.

Asked why some private schools compelled students, who were weak in studies, to appear privately to save the image of the school, Mr Sidhu said the school could ask a student to appear privately for various reasons.

He, however, agreed that some schools were more interested in their own image than the welfare of the students.

He said this issue could be brought under consideration and the opinion of educationists could be sought in this regard.


Body of trader found

Batala February 16
The police today found the body of a local trader, Rashpal Singh, who had been missing for the past three days. Sources said the body of the trader was found near Panchayat Bhavan of his native village, Shikar Machian.

His family members told the police that he had gone to Amritsar with Rs 1.30 lakh to clear the bills of his grocery shop. However, when he did not return. It was suspected that somebody might had kidnapped Rashpal and looted the cash available with him.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Rashpal Singh was killed due to some poisonous substance. His body bore no marks of physical assault. — TNS


Woman commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 16
Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Jodhpur Pakhar village of this district, was allegedly forced to commit suicide by her husband and mother-in-law for bringing inadequate dowry.

Police sources said Mr Amar Singh, brother of the deceased, said her sister, Paramjit Kaur was married to Major Singh, a resident of Jodhpur Pakhar village about 9 years ago.

He alleged that her husband and her mother-in-law, Surjit Kaur, harassed her for bringing inadequate dowry. She was beaten up by her in-laws once and that time the concerned panchayats of both sides intervened and managed to bring a compromise between them.

He said yesterday he got a call from her in-laws. When he reached her house, he found the dead body of his sister.

A case has been registered.


Man found dead after 2 days of marriage
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 16
A young man who got married two days ago allegedly committed suicide yesterday. The body of 23-year-old Jarnail Singh was found hanging from a tree by a rope in a field at Jhandpur village near here, yesterday.

Sources stated that Jarnail got married on February 13 to Harinder Kaur of Balongi village. The celebrations had just ended last evening and Jarnail Singh was in a good mood, his family said. They also told the police that he went out of the house for a walk and came back home within a few minutes. He then received a call on his telephone following which he again left.

When he did not return for a long time the family members went out looking for him at his friends, place but in vain. The search continued till yesterday morning when the villagers found his body hanging from a tree.

However, the family of the victim alleged foul play in his death. They told the police that the gold ornaments he was wearing were found missing from the body.


BJP leader, father booked in fraud case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 16
A case against Mr Mohit Gupta, president, BJP, district unit (rural) and his father Mr Pawan Kumar was registered at Nathana police station on the complaint of Mr Baljit Singh for allegedly frauding the complainant and others.

Meanwhile Pawan Kumar registered a case of fraud against Mr Baljit Singh in the same police station yesterday.

Police sources said that the seven accused, against whom two separate cases were registered under Sections 420, 465, 468, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC in Nathana police station were directors of a company running the bottling plant at Jhandu Ke.

Sources added that while Mr Mohit Gupta belonged to the BJP, a section of the accused against whom the case was registered on the complaint of Mr Pawan Kumar belonged to the SAD (Badal). None has been arrested so far.


4 girls freed from father’s clutches
Tribune News Service

Jaito, February 16
Four sisters, who had appeared before the SDM and alleged that their father had held them hostage, have been freed from his clutches.

According to sources, their release came after the SDM recorded statements of both the parties a couple of days back. Following this he issued orders that these girls would stay with their mother at an old-age home and the household goods would be equally distributed between the couple. However, their father, Harbans Singh, made an attempt to flee with all household items, which was foiled after his daughters approached the officials at the SDM office.


NFL Area Manager arrested
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 16
An Area Manager of National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) has been arrested while accepting Rs 10,000 as bribe for releasing urea to a private trader. According to vigilance sources, they received a complaint from Sanjay Goel stating that NFL Area Manager Adesh Bharti was demanding Rs 10,000 from him to release urea to him. He said the urea was stored at the residence of the Area Manager in 20-D, Model Town.

The sources said the NFL official was caught red-handed while accepting the bribe and the money was recovered from his possession by Deputy Superintendent of Police Jaipal Singh. They said further inquiries were being conducted and the Vigilance Department was expected to verify the property and other assets of the official.


Rs 1.20 lakh stolen from car
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, February 16
Thieves broke window pane of a car and took away Rs 1.20 lakh in broad day light from a densely populated area in old Rajpura this afternoon.

The car owner, Mr Darshan Singh, had parked the car in front of his house in the area and found the money missing from the vehicle when he returned after 15 minutes.

The police has registered a case on his complaint.


Labourer beaten to death
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 16
A migrant labourer was beaten to death by two persons at Bamnada village in Morinda town yesterday.

The labourer, Ram Yadav, was brutally beaten up allegedly by a girl’s mother and a relative on suspicion that he had a relationship with the girl.

The police has registered a case of murder against the two persons Gurmail Singh and Karamjit Kaur and is investigating the matter.

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