P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong govt in Haryana will help settle issues: Amarinder
No revenue district status for Barnala
Tribune Reporters

Lehra Mohobbat/Barnala, February 28
The state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the installation of Congress government in Haryana would pave the way to settle all outstanding issues of Punjab with it.

Capt Amarinder Singh said while the issue pertaining to the completion of the SYL, canal would be settled as per the decision of the apex court where the matter was sub judiced, the other issues pertaining to the transfer of Punjabi-speaking areas and Chandigarh to Punjab would be settled through negotiations with the party concerned and with the help of Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

The Chief Minister, who was here to lay the foundation stone of the stage-II of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), said in a democratic set up the matters could be solved through talks and negotiations and hence he would make efforts to settle down all the outstanding issues at the earliest.

While talking to mediapersons, he said to provide cheaper and continuous electricity to people, the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in three parts was in its final stage. While the private parties would be invited to participate in its generation part, the transmission and distribution would be kept intact. Some private and public sector concerns had been identified by the PSEB authorities for bringing them into power generation.

“I would like to make it clear that no employee of the PSEB will be retrenched or displaced after the PSEB is unbundled,” he pointed out, adding that the PSEB had been talking with the Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal governments to set up hydel projects with them in joint venture. About 4500 MW more electricity would be available to Punjab by the end of next Five Year Plan, he added.

The Chief Minister said a two-member panel sent by the Election Commission to the Ajnala Assembly segment in connection with the complaints about the poll process had given its report that election had been held in free and fair manner.

He said though the Election Commission had ordered repoll in 14 booths, the authorities would do the same as per the directions.

While expressing his displeasure over the delay caused by the authorities in conducting the trials of BT cotton, the Chief Minister said he had called a meeting of the agencies concerned in the first week of March and he hoped that BT cotton was likely to be introduced in Punjab in the current year. He added that he was surprised that when BT cotton was being cultivated in all states of country then why Punjab was being denied the same facility.

To a question, he said the Punjab government was trying to replace the octroi with some other sort of tax.

To another question, he said he would not like to make any comment on the repeated statements of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar. He added that the demand of expulsion of Mr Brar from the party by dubbing him a Khalistan supporter, raised by Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, was his (Mr Singla’s) own view and he had nothing to do with the same.

The Chief Minister said he would visit Pakistan in March to make the relations of India and Pakistan more cordial and to work out a strategy to increase trade between the two countries through the Punjab border.

He said that he would ask Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh to take up the matter pertaining to the propaganda of Khalistan being done by the Pakistani radio, whenever he (Prime Minister) met his Pakistani counterpart.

Earlier, while addressing a state-level function organised in connection to mark the completion of three years of the Congress government in Punjab and to mark the laying of foundation stone of stage-11 of the GHTP here, the Chief Minister said he had asked Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, to make arrangements to give compensation to those farmers whose agriculture lands had been acquired for the project as per the decision of Punjab and Haryana High Court at the earliest.

He added that apart from it, the PSEB would give job to one member of each family, which had been affected due to the acquisition of land for the project. The families would be given power connections for their tube well motors on priority basis.

Capt Amarinder Singh further said he had no dispute either with Haryana or its Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala, except for the protection of Punjab waters, which he had done by getting the Termination of Agreements Act passed in the Punjab Assembly.

He said this after inaugurating the Rs 350 crore Terry Towel Plant of Abhishek Industries Limited, a concern of Trident Group, here today. This plant is now ranked amongst the top five terry towel plants in the world.


CM's security vehicle meets with accident, nine injured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 28
Nine persons, including six security personnel, were injured when a Gypsy vehicle leading Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh's security detail to Barnala collided with a Bolero jeep a little ahead of Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district.

The accident occurred at the “tee” point, 1 km ahead of Bhawanigarh. The security detail was going to Barnala to join the Chief Minister who was reaching there by helicopter. The accident occurred at 8 a.m.

According to sources, the Gypsy, which was running at a high speed, collided with a Bolero jeep coming from the other side.

The injured were rushed to Government Rajindra Hospital where all of them were stated to be out of danger.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Amarjit Singh Rai visited the hospital to oversee the medication being provided to the injured.

The injured security personnel have been identified as Head Constable Dilbagh Singh and Constables Gurmail Singh (driver), another Gurmail Singh, Lakhbir Singh, Balbir Singh and Baldev Singh. The three persons, who were travelling in the Bolero jeep, have been identified as Harbans Singh, Hakim Singh and Kuldeep Singh.

Hospital sources said most of the injured had suffered concussions with a few of them also suffering bone injuries. They said Gypsy driver Gurmail Singh and Harbans Singh, who was travelling in the other vehicle, had suffered multiple injuries, but were out of danger.


Badal decries Budget as anti-farmer, anti-employee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Sharply reacting against the Union Budget, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said it was anti-farmer, anti-employee and anti-middle class and anti-poor.

In a joint press note, Mr Badal and the general secretary of the SAD and former Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, had made his intention clear in his Budget speech to do away the procurement of food grains and also the fixing of minimum support price. Both Akali leaders said any step taken by the Union Government in this regard would be opposed by their party. Mr Badal said some pro- people policies started by the previous NDA government had been thrown in the dustbin by the UPA government.

By removing the provision of standard deduction, which were available to employees to save income tax, the Union Finance Minister had hit employees hard. He had closed all doors for savings which employees used to make under the provisions of standard deduction.

The Akali leaders said the most shocking was the new proposal that those withdrawing Rs 10,000 in a day from their accounts in banks would have to pay tax. Mr Chidambaram had claimed that this step had been taken to check black money. The Akali leaders said Mr Chidambaram should be aware that money kept in banks by people was white money. They could be asked the source of such money any time as its entries were available in bank records and ledgers. No one keeps black money in banks and put it on record of banks.

No provision in the Budget had been kept for diversification in agriculture, food processing and encouraging new research in the farming sector. “All talk about boosting the agriculture sector was meaningless in absence of budgetary provisions,” the Akali leaders said.

While the Union Government had made provision of special package for states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, states like Punjab, which had been feeding the country, had been completely ignored by the Centre, the Akali leaders added.


Another worry for Sikhs on turban issue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Another worry has started troubling the minds of European Sikhs, who have been shocked by the ban imposed by the French Government on turban in schools there.

As France is an important player in the European Union, apprehension among European Sikhs is growing that France may get the same provision of ban incorporated in the European Constitution, that is under preparation at present. After a debate among the member countries of the European Union(EU), the common Constitution by the EU is to be adopted next year.

In fact, the French President, Mr Jacques Chirac, has been authorised to decide dates for referendum on the European Constitution. “Sikhs should be prepared to face another challenge as there is all possibility that France may try its best to get the legal provisions with regard the turban incorporated in the European Constitution”, says Dr M.S. Rahi, a Supreme Court advocate, who has been to France recently and is preparing the petition to file the case in the European Human Rights Commission and the European Court of Justice for the removal of ban on turban.

Dr Rahi says certain Sikh organisations have been diluting the turban issue in France. He says setting up a school by Sikhs in France is not an issue, but the issue is the turban. “Suppose, If tomorrow any other country, following the footsteps of France, imposes a similar ban, what will Sikhs do? Will they open another school in that country? In how many countries will Sikhs set up separate schools for their own children,” he asks.

He says if the French Government can impose a ban on turban, it can also deny permission to Sikhs to set up a school, which will be difficult as requisite number of students in each class, as per legal provisions of France, will not be available. While granting permission, the French Government can also put the rider that the school will have to be run as per the existing legal provisions of the French law, he adds. Will it be advisable to provide Sikh students education in isolation by separating them from mainstream French schools, he questiones.

Dr Rahi says Sikhs should fight a legal battle and mobilise public opinion at all important world forums against the ban imposed by the French Government. “That will be the right course”, he adds.


Canada more liberal than France: Sikh Judge
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, February 28
“Even as France has come under strong criticism for imposing ban on wearing of turban in schools, Canada is more tolerant of religious traditions.” These were the observations of Mr Inderpaul Singh Chandhoke, first Baptised Sikh Judge in Ontario court of justice.

He said all Sikh prisoners in Canada are provided with “keski” (small turban) whenever they appear in court in adherence with his religious traditions. Mr Chandhoke was here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple today.

About the positive approach of Canada, the Sikh judge said the Ontario court adopted a new reformatory stance in dealing with drug users that were menace to society there. The new stance by the Canadian government gave option to the drug users, and not drug peddlers, to enrol themselves in de-addiction centres under court observation.

Mr Chandhoke, honoured with “Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Award” by Canada last year and a special recognition award that year for distinguished service to the province for 25 years, said the only drawback that India faced was the lack of effective implementation of plans.


International flights keep Punjab airspace busy
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Introduction of a new international air route passing over Chandigarh has been keeping the airspace over Punjab busier than ever. The new route was made operational about three months ago.

According to sources, the new Air Traffic Service (ATS) route is used by aircraft flying in from the Gulf and Central Asian countries overflying Indian territory on their way to East Asia.

Though exact statistics are unavailable, sources in the aviation sector say that on some days at least 10 international flights pass over Chandigarh. Besides international air traffic, the airspace over Chandigarh has also witnessed a significant increase in domestic traffic over the past few years.

Aircraft flying west touch Saharanpur before overflying Chandigarh. The next checkpoint in Nakodar, referred to as LAKET on the charts, before the aircraft enter Pakistani airspace and make contact at Samar, south of Lahore. From Samar the route splits into different directions.

The minimum altitude to be maintained on this route by international overhead traffic is 30,000 feet and aircraft using this flight path do not touch down at any Indian airport. India has air services agreement with 100 countries, though only 52 countries have aircraft operating from India.

This is the second international ATS route passing over Punjab, the other stipulated route being over Moga (ASARI). This, however, is little used.

The new route was introduced to segregate air traffic passing over Delhi from that was bound for Delhi, sources said. With increase in operations by domestic and foreign operators, the airspace over Delhi is said to be overcrowded. Often aircraft have to circle overhead for a long time before permission is granted by air traffic control (ATC) to land.

Though ATC services as well as advanced navigational aids are available in Chandigarh, international overhead traffic is controlled by the Delhi ATC, which is the designated controlling authority for international air traffic in the western region. Foreign airliners do not make contact with Chandigarh airfield.

Most of the overhead international traffic is at night. A Very High Frequency Omni-directional Radio Beacon (VOR) was set up by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at Chandigarh a few years ago. This is a very accurate navigational aid, but is switched on by the AAI for a limited period each day when some commercial flights operate from the civilian terminal.

Switching it on for 24 hours, sources said, would benefit not only the international traffic, but also other civilian, government and air force aircraft operating in the region.


Khalra’s widow wants to save Gill, alleges witness
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, February 28
After giving a chilling account of the killing of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra in the court of Additional Session Judge, Patiala, Kuldip Singh, special police officer (SPO) of Punjab Police and a key witness, today alleged that Khalra’s widow wanted to save K.P.S. Gill, the then DGP.

In a recorded interview, the SPO, who is in hiding, said he would go to Akal Takht tomorrow for “ardas”.

He alleged that Mrs Khalra and persons surrounding her were compelling him not to name Gill during his next appearance in the court.

The Patiala court has already issued non-bailable warrants against Kuldip Singh. The CBI has been asked to produce the SPO on March 2 in the court.

The SPO, while deposing before the court, had alleged that Gill had met Khalra a few days before the Punjab Police killed him. He alleged that Khalra was killed by a group of Punjab Police personnel in 1995 and his body was thrown into a canal.

Kuldip had also accused some other police officers of their involvement in the crime.

However, Parmjit Kaur Khalra, widow of Khalra, denied that she was trying to save Gill. She said she would make all out efforts to see Gill in the dock and ensure that he was prosecuted.

She said Kuldip Singh should give account in the court of whatever he had witnessed and not act like a “leader”.

Mrs Khalra said she had already sacrificed her university job and would not rest till the accused were brought to justice. She said a certain lobby wanted to defame her.

Kuldip Singh alleged that the CBI had not yet given him an award of Rs 1 lakh announced for giving information on the killing of Khalra.


Jagmeet loyalists dub Singla communal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 28
Openly coming to his support, a section of Congressmen and loyalists of Mr Jagmeet Brar today made an attack on the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, by dubbing him communal and responsible for creating the problem of terrorism in the state.

While senior Congress leader and former chairman, Punjab Communication Limited (PCL), Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, claimed that Mr Singla had labelled Mr Brar as “Khalistani” as he (Mr Singla) did not relish his (Mr Brar) love for Punjab’s issue, another senior leader, Mr Gurdas Girdhar, dubbed Mr Singla of an agent of business tycoons.

A section of the Congress leaders today held press conferences, meetings and passed resolutions and issued press notes to express their reaction to the statement of Mr Singla made at Chandigarh yesterday in which he demanded expulsion of Mr Brar from the party for his support to the cause of creation of “Khalistan.”

While Mr Girdhar demanded that a CBI probe should be conducted into the disproportionate assets acquired by Mr Singla by acting as an agent of various companies, Mr Sidhu alleged that Mr Singla was trying to create communal trouble in Punjab where the peace was won by making thousands of sacrifices by the Congressmen and other people.

Mr Sidhu alleged that Mr Singla tried to trigger communal riots in Punjab. Not only this, Mr Singla tried his best to create a wedge between commission agents and farmers for his vested interests.

He further alleged that Mr Singla had started “saffronisation” of the Congress Party as he (Mr Singla) had been hating those party workers who used turban as headgear.

Mr Singla also opposed AICC chief Sonia Gandhi by throwing his weight with late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

He said that Mr Singla should tell the people about his relations with former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and SAD MP Sukhbir Badal with whom he (Mr Singla) had been meeting secretly.


Hanspal writes to Sonia on party wranglings
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 28
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president H.S. Hanspal has sent a report to All-India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and Union Defence Minister and in charge of the Punjab Congress affairs Pranab Mukherjee, regarding press statements of Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla and PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa against former Congress MP and AICC member Jagmeet Singh Brar.

Talking to this correspondent here today, Mr Hanspal said he urged the Congress high command to restrain them from giving such statements in media, which could harm the party and its discipline.

He advised all senior Congress leaders not to go to media to highlight their personal differences.

When asked,whether he will take any disciplinary action against the leaders for disobeying his guidelines, Mr Hanspal said party rules did not allow him to take any action.

When asked about a separate Sikh school being opened by the Sikh community in France, after a ban on the wearing of turban by Sikh students in France, Mr Hanspal alleged that the real issue was to take permission for turban in France schools, but Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) could not do much for the issue.

Mr Hanspaul, however, refused to comment on the controversy risen between Malerkotla MLA Razia Sultana and IPS officer Izhar Alam and said he had received the versions of both sides and would decide on the issue after the completion of the Ajnala byelections.

He described the Union Budget as the best presented in the last few years.


Badal plans to unleash violence, alleges Cong
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 28
The Congress today wrote to the Chief Election Commission, highlighting the call for violence, allegedly given by SAD president Parkash Singh Badal in some villages, near booth 14, in Ajanala for which re-polling had been ordered.

Mr Jasbir isngh Gill, media in charge of the party alleged that the SAD president used village Gurdwaras and addressed public meetings to exhort the gathering to resort to violence in Madhu Shanga, Gagomahal, Kamalpur, Tera Rajputana, Jaffarkot, Chak Balaand Van Wasan villages.

The in charge said the former CM had hatched a plan to get the election countermanded in the area and blame the ruling party for large scale violence, including a plan for kidnapping polling parties and damage to voting machines.


Paramilitary forces to man booths in Ajnala
Tribune News Service

Ajnala (Amritsar), February 28
The paramilitary forces, the BSF and the Rajasthan Home Guards, would be manning the 14 booths where the re-polling would be held tomorrow. The Presiding Officers on these booths would be from the Central Government departments.

In all, 15520 voters would exercise their right to franchise again tomorrow. According to Mr Narinder Singh Bath, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Ajnala, who is also the Returning Officer of this border constituency, the poll staff had left for their destinations of their poll duty under strict security.

As many as eight supervisors would be on duty to maintain strict supervision. He claimed that paramilitary force would be adequately deployed at all booths.

The central observers, Mr Jyoti Kalash and Mr Ram Bilas Meena, would also be keeping vigil on the poll process. The Returning Officer said the voting would take place from 8 am to 5 pm tomorrow, while the counting would be held on March 2.

The police has put up nakas on all roads leading to Ajnala as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident.


Heritage status to Golden Temple hangs fire
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 28
The heritage status to the Golden Temple, proposed to be given this year, may run into rough weather even as the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has written to the Director of UNESSCO to keep the process in abeyance, following objections raised by a section of Sikh panth.

Meanwhile, immediately after the protest dharna, staged by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), headed by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and other senior leaders, including Mr Inderjit Singh Zeera, Mr Hardip Singh Mohali, Mr Baldev Singh Mann and Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, the SGPC today put the dossier of Golden Temple on its website.

The SAD (Longowal) and other leaders demanded making the dossier public so that the Sikh community could give suggestions before the Golden Temple was accorded the heritage status.

The SGPC members, Mr Mohali, Mr Panjoli and Mr Sanmukh Singh, said it was a matter of great concern that even the members of the Shiromani Committee did not have access to the dossier of the Golden Temple which was sent to UNESCO for granting the status.

A press note bearing the signatures of Mr Chandumajra, Mr Zeera, Mr Mann and three SGPC members alleged that the dossier had glaring distortions which were inserted at the behest of BJP/RSS.

It alleged that the dossier attempted to compromise on sovereignty of Akal Takht which could not be tolerated.


Jaundice cases on the rise in Pathankot
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, February 28
Despite claims by the Municipal Council and district health authorities regarding the remedial measures, the number of jaundice cases here is increasing even more than one week after the outbreak of epidemic was reported.

According to information, the number of jaundice patients admitted in the Civil Hospital has increased to 24. Four new patients suffering from jaundice were admitted to the hospital today.

Sources said till date about 50 patients suffering from jaundice had taken treatment from the hospital. Many others were approaching private hospitals.

Dr V.K. Jaswal, a local paediatrician, said he had received two to three patients daily suffering from jaundice. Reports of death of a pregnant lady due to jaundice infection had also been received. He said infection from Hepatitis A and E virus was found to have caused jaundice.

Jaundice has spread in many areas of Pathankot after the recent spell of rain. The sources of the jaundice was the supply of contaminated water by the Municipal Council.

As per data collected by The Tribune, more than 50 per cent residents of Pathankot were being supplied raw water. Water was being supplied to residents directly after pumping it out from the tubewells without any treatment.


Councillors come out in support of Health Officer
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 28
All Congress councillors of the Municipal Corporation yesterday came out in support of its Health Officer, Dr Karamjit Singh, who is presently facing a protest from a section of employees following the death of a sweeper after he was injured while working in the ‘ganda nala’ in the city.

A section of the employees have been holding protests against the Health Officer after the death of a sweeper Devraj who was transferred to the job of cleaning the ‘ganda nala’ by the Health Officer. The employees have alleged that the sweeper was victimised and that Dr Karamjit should be personally held responsible for the death and a police case should be registered against him.

The councillors today appealed to Patiala MP Preneet Kaur not to be swayed by the protest by a section of employees claiming that these employees were leading an agitation against the Health Officer because they were being investigated on charges of wrong doing by him. The councillors said the investigation had been thrust upon the Health Officer by the Municipal Commissioner and that this fact was not to the liking of the “corrupt” employees.

Giving details of the case, the councillors said there were complaints about the sweeper from the residents of Rajpura Colony where he was earlier stationed that he was collecting Rs 50 as bribe from each household. The councillors said the sweeper was warned about this and even admitted his fault. However, they said, when Devraj did not mend his ways he was transferred to do duty on cleaning of the ‘ganda nala’. They said it was during this duty that he was injured when he stepped on a poisonous substance and had to be first admitted to the Government Rajindra Hospital and when gangrene set in his wound he was referred to the PGI at Chandigarh where he died. The councillors said it was a natural occurrence and no motive could be attributed to the Health Officer for the death of the employee.


PSEB workers show black flags to US consultant
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 28
Employees of the PSEB today showed black flags to a consultant from a US firm, Ms International Executive Corporation, suspecting him to be a representative of the World Bank to facilitate the privatisation of the PSEB.

The president of the firm, Mr Bill Griffan, was shown black flags at the local circle office of the PSEB by over 100 employees.

The employees raised slogans against the World Bank and the Punjab Government. The officers accompanying Mr Griffan had to take him out from the rear of the building to the PSEB rest house.

The representatives of the employees union of the PSEB alleged that the government was bringing in consultants from the World Bank to get loans.

In turn, the World Bank was demanding unbundling and privatisation of the board.

A senior leader of the PSEB engineers’ association, on the condition of anonymity, said the World Bank had proposed to give loans for restructuring the Orissa power sector on the condition that the board of the state would be unbundled and later privatised.


Electricity employees observe black day
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 28
On a call given by the joint struggle coordination committee, employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in Punjab today observed black day and burnt the effigy of its Chairman to register their protest against the board for giving the four micro hydel projects on contract.

In a press note issued, Mr Gurdial Singh Bhangal, state convener of the committee, said that the government and the board management had been preparing ground for the privatisation of the PSEB by giving these micro hydel projects located at Nidampur, Dodar, Thuhi and Rahodi on contract. He said that these projects had been generating electricity at a very low cost.

Mr Bhangal said that all the PSEB employees’ unions should unite and launch a struggle against the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned. He said that the management had been ignoring their various other demands, including decrease in workload, recruiting more staff, giving jobs to the dependent of the deceased employees, etc.

He said that activists of the various unions of the PSEB would reach Chandigarh on March 15 to save the PSEB from being privatised.


Two travel agents arrested
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 28
The district police has arrested two travel agents who allegedly duped a person of Rs 7,20,000 on the pretext of sending him to England. In a press note issued here today, the SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Ishwar Singh, said Mr Randhir Singh, a resident of Ghot Pokhar, complained that two agents of his village, Inderjit Singh and Gian Singh, had duped him.

The accused promised to send Mr Randhir Singh to England. Randhir reportedly paid Rs 50,000 and later Rs 6,70,000 to them in the presence of the village panch. However, when the duo failed to send him abroad, he asked for the money. The accused failed to return his money and he lodged the complaint.

The police during the course of inquiry found the charges against the agents to be true. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

In another case, the police arrested Ravinder Kumar and Suneel Dutt, residents of Purewal village. The accused have been arrested on the charge of snatching the scooter and looting Mr Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Gotar Lehri village.


Migrant labourer kills another
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, February 28
A migrant labourer has been murdered at Panjgarai Kalan village, 9 km from here.

According to sources, the deceased, Lalu Parsad, was engaged in farm work on the field of Ranjit Singh and was a close friend of a Nepalese labourer, Shambu, who was working on the field of Pala Singh.

Sources said both the friends had liquor on Friday evening, following which they had an altercation over some issue. In a fit of rage Shambu killed Lalu Parsad and fled.

When Lalu didn’t reach Ranjit Singh’s home to feed the cattle, his family members started looking for him.

They found his body lying on the field, and informed the police.

The Kotkapura DSP, Mr Randhir Singh Uppal, visited the crime scene.

The police has registered a murder case and launched a manhunt to nab the culprit.


Five booked for ‘kidnapping’ minor
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 28
Five persons have been booked for kidnapping a minor hailing from Bhekha village, near Baghapurana.

In his complaint, the girl’s father, Gurdeep Singh, alleged that Gurpreet Singh belonging to the same village, with the aid of his brother, mother and other family members, misled his daughter on the pretext of marrying her and took her away.

The police has registered a case against Gurpreet Singh, his mother Balvir Kaur, his brother Manjit Singh, Inder Singh and Baldev Singh under Sections 363, 366, and 120-B of the IPC. A search is on for the “kidnapped” girl.


Nine hurt in group clashes
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 28
At least nine persons, including a couple, were injured in two incidents of group clash and assault in Daon and Teor villages, near here, late last night. A longstanding rivalry, according to the police, was the cause of both incidents.

In Teor village, Prem Singh and his wife Shiksha Rani were injured when they were reportedly attacked by Darshan, Satish Kumar, Kuku and two others of the same village. Prem Singh told the police that the attackers, laced with lathis, accosted him when he was returning home from work last night.

They abused him and hit him with lathis. The villagers informed his wife who rushed to save him but she was also hit by the attackers, alleged Prem Singh. He also told the police that the attackers had been harbouring a grudge against his family for many years now over small household issues. Prem Kumar has been admitted to the Kharar Civil Hospital. His wife was discharged today.

In village Daon, seven persons were injured when two groups, including three persons on one side and four on the other, clashed in the village last night. According to the police, both groups have blamed each other for the clash.

Prem Singh, Gurmit Singh, Dharminder Singh, who have been admitted to the Kharar Civil Hospital, told the police that members of the other group stopped them outside their house and started hurling abuses at them. After a while the two groups attacked each other with sharp-edged weapons.

The members of the other group, Khushal Singh, Sukhvinder Singh, have been admitted to same hospital. They told the police that they along with Kulwant Singh and Gurvinder Singh were sleeping when the three started abusing them and attacked them.

No case has been registered.


Man held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 28
Acting on a tip off the city police today arrested a person on the charge of stealing a car minutes before he was to board a train at the city railway station.

The accused, Raja, a resident of Gungtoor, Andhra Pradesh, was attempting to flee the city when he was arrested by the police. It recovered Rs 10,000, a cheque book and other stolen documents from his possession.

During preliminary interrogation, the accused admitted to stealing a blue Maruti car number PB-11-H-0693 from Safabadi Gate in the city. A case has been registered against Raja under the Arms Act.


World Year of Physics celebrated
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 28
The World Year of Physics was celebrated at Punjabi University today with the Department of Physics holding a gallery — exhibition of more than 40 celebrities in Physics starting from Aryabhatta, who developed mathematical astronomy in India to C.V. Raman, who was awarded Nobel prize for his pioneering work in this subject. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai.

Prof P.K. Ahluwalia, Professor of Physics and Director of the Himachal Pradesh University Institute of Information Technology, was the chief guest. He delivered a lecture on the life and scientific achievements of Albert Einstein. He said Einstein’s works had not only changed the fundamental understanding of space, time and matter through their unification, but also revolutionised the fields of physics, space and time.

Prof S.P.S. Virdi, Dean, Academic Affairs, said the gallery displaying portraits of great scientists would inspire budding scientists. He congratulated the Physics Department for this endeavour.

Prof R.C. Verma, Head, Department of Physics, highlighted the achievements of India in astronomy and physics starting from the Vedic to modern times.


Raipur students’ strike enters fifth day
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 28
The ongoing strike by students of the Punjab College of Education Raipur, entered the fifth day today with students urging the Punjabi University authorities to intervene immediately to solve the problems being faced by the students.

The strike by the students, which is being spearheaded by the Students Federation of India (SFI), today saw the students reaching the office of the Dean, (Academics) of the university after lodging their protest in front of the main gate of the college.

SFI state joint secretary Ravinder Singh Nathumajra in a statement here said the college authorities were not allowing the students to even drink water from the college premises. He said instead of trying to resolve the matter, the college authorities were ringing up the residences of the students, including girls, and making false complaints against them.

Mr Nathumajra said the Dean (Academics) had earlier also been apprised of the position and had even assured that the issue would be resolved by February 24. He said the university had already served a legal notice on the college which did not have the requisite facilities and that in case the college did not fufil the conditions it could be derecognised. He said now the SFI had again requested the university to intervene to resolve the matter. He said if this was not done, the students would further intensify their strike.

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