P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



2 shot dead in broad daylight
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 5
In a gruesome incident here this afternoon, a man shot dead his ex-business associate and the latter’s friend. The incident took place behind Multani Mal Modi College when the two men were sitting in their car.

Rajinder Singh, alias Pappu, first shot dead Gurjeet Singh by firing at him from a point-blank range and then aimed his. 12 bore gun at Teja Singh, who was also sitting in the car with Gurjeet. Realising the intentions of Pappu, Teja Singh got out of the Maruti car and started running, shouting “Pappu mere naa mari”. However, his cries had no effect on the gunman, who fired at his back to bring him down.

Both Gurjeet and Teja had come to Buddha Dal School to take home the former’s children and were waiting in the car as the two boys were making some purchases at a nearby bakery. Both children ran away on hearing the shots and were found in a dazed state only an hour later.

Surprisingly, even though the incident occurred at a public place and some girls of Modi College who witnessed it informed the police personnel on duty at a nearby chowk, the police took more than half an hour to reach the spot. All this while Teja was lying on the ground and wailing for help but none came to him. Police personnel from both the Kotwali and Civil Lines police station later reached the spot and took Teja to Government Rajindra Hospital.

However, the delay in taking Teja to hospital proved fatal for him. He had lost a lot of blood while lying in the open. Teja, who had started complaining of breathing problems while being taken to the hospital, died a little after reaching the hospital.

Meanwhile, the assailant Rajinder Pappu, who had fled the scene of crime, himself reached the same hospital and was admitted there when he complained of chest pain. It took some time for the police to establish his identity as he was intoxicated and could not speak coherently. The SSP A.S. Rai said Pappu seemed to have taken some drug and that he would be questioned about the case once the effect of the drug ceased.

The police officer said preliminary investigations had revealed that both Pappu and Gurjeet were earlier running a finance business. He said after differences cropped up between them they parted ways. There was a dispute over money between them, which might have resulted in the murder of Gurjeet. Both victims are from Panjola village, while the assailant is from the nearby Narnaul village in Cheeka in Haryana. The police has seized the firearm used in the incident, besides registering a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Pappu.


Principal found helping students during exam
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 5
A flying squad of Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) today recommended cancellation of two examination centres in Government Senior Secondary School, Baba Dip Singh (number 56 and 57), following detection of large-scale mass copying during the English (compulsory) paper of plus two, here today.

A large number of parents, relatives and teachers were seen inside and outside the examination centres, situated just opposite the Police Station, B Division, in gross violation of the prohibitory orders, under Section 144 banning the assembly of four or more persons within the radius of 200 meters of the examination centres. The order of the District Magistrate, issued here today, admitted that crowd of parents and other persons assembled outside the centres thereby caused hurdles in smooth conduct of the examinations.

The flying squad comprising of Prof Ajit Singh Shahi (in charge), Prof Amrik Singh and Prof Amninder Singh, both members, found ‘planned mass copying’. The principal-cum-controller of the examination centres had allegedly bolted the room from inside where certain parents and teachers were preparing the helping material for the students. When the flying squad pushed the door repeatedly, they were allowed inside.

The members of the flying squad said that policemen, posted at the center, too were seen helping parents/teachers to send the copying material to the students. The flying squad collected a lot of copying material, including guides and textbooks, from inside the centers.

The flying squad immediately faxed its report to the Controller Examination, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Chandigarh, for taking immediate action in this regard.

The flying squad said in the report, that most of the staff with whose alleged connivance the mass copying was being done, fled the centres after being discovered. Some of the teachers were preparing ‘copying material’ in a separate room. In a room adjoining the Principal’s office, some teachers and parents of the students were also seen sitting. However, they refused to reveal their identity to the flying squad.

Dr Harbans Singh Sidhu, Chairman, PSEB, said that he would immediately order re-conducting of the examinations from wherever complaints of mass copying were reported. He said Principals/ controllers and staff, found sending helping material to the students, would also be placed under suspension, on the basis of the reports by the flying staff.

Our Correspondents add:

MOHALI: Mrs Sukwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations, said here that three students were booked under the unfair means regulation.

One student appearing privately in the examination at Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, was caught copying in the examination. Two students of a school at Budhladha had also been booked on a charge of cheating. The centre superintendent had been asked to get an FIR registered against the two.

She said that she had inspected nine schools in Ludhiana during a flying visit. She said that the seals on the question papers at all the nine centers were intact.

Mrs Saroya said that the Ludhiana SSP had been requested to register a case against persons who had tried to play a mischief or make money by copying an old question paper of the board for the Hindi subject and later circulating claiming that the board paper had leaked.

BATALA: Mass scale copying was on today in almost all the rural and sub-urban centres of Punjab School Education Board.

A large numbers of supporters of examinees had gathered at Centre No 144(Government Senior Secondary School, Dialgarh (5 km from here) and at Centre Nos.-Batala-4, Batala-8, Batala-9. They were seen tearing pages from the help books and sending it to students.


School ‘embezzles’ exam fee
40 students lose year
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 5
A entire academic year of around 40 Class X students has been ruined due to alleged misappropriation of examination fee by authorities of Guru Nanak Dev Public School, Ajitwal, near here.

These students could not appear in the board examination, which began a few days back, as the school authorities reportedly failed to deposit their examination fee to the school board.

Talking to The Tribune today, Chand Singh, whose son Jagdev Singh is one of the affected students, said he had deposited Rs 1,850 as admission fee and Rs 950 as examination fee, but they failed to receive the admit card even a day before the examination. He along with other parents approached the school authorities but they did not answer their queries.

He said his son had been studying hard for the examination but his efforts had gone waste. A septuagenarian, Chand Singh alleged that when he confronted the school management over the issue, one of the relatives of the school owner misbehaved with him and also warned him against approaching anyone in this regard.

Sukhdeep Singh, a student, alleged that the school authorities had also charged Rs 350 as bus fare for taking them to the examination centre at Kot Ise Khan, besides Rs 500 for “ensuring positive result of exams”.

Amar Singh, father of another student Pardeep Singh, demanded stern legal action against the school authorities, return of fee and free education to their children in the coming year.

Sources said a group of students and their angry parents had decided to approach the Deputy Commissioner on the issue but a local political leader intervened and assured them of “redressing their grievances”.

Sources said the parents would take up the issue with the DC and the SSP if the leader failed to take any action.

Meanwhile, the school authorities said 33 private candidates had filled out examination forms from their school, out of whom 12 were rejected due to their age.

Dismissing the allegations, the authorities said they had submitted the forms to a government school in Kot Ise Khan, which is also the examination centre, along with the examination fee and they had not embezzled any fee.


Cong politician’s bid to grab land
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, March 5
In gross violation of municipal laws, a local politician, in connivance with top Municipal Corporation officials, is reportedly trying to grab a prime piece of land worth lakhs of rupees.

Mr I.S Chawla, a politician having links with the local Congress, is trying to encroach upon a chunk of land, which in fact is a passage leading to a residential area located in the Sheranwala Gate part of the city.

Mr Chawla had a shop, located within the Sheranwala gate, which was later demolished by the local authorities due to floods in 1988. Later the Department of Local Bodies compensated him by allotting him a shop (No 68) in the Chotti Baradari area.

However, despite the allotment, the local MC authorities are all set to allot him yet another piece of land and that too in the heart of the city where real estate prices are spiralling with every passing day.

For the past two years encroachers seem to be having a field day in this city which is also the Punjab Chief Minister’s home town. That politicians of all hues are trying to grab a slice of the cake is reflected from a secret report on encroachments prepared by the MC recently in which more than 200 encroachments have been recorded.

Most of these encroachments, worth crores of rupees, have been allegedly supported by lower rung local politicians, including Municipal Councillors and other officials of the MC.

In the case pertaining to Mr I.S Chawla, both the Mayor, and the Commissioner are at variance with each other. When contacted the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, admitted the fact that Mr Chawla had already been allotted a shop in lieu of the one demolished by the MC in 1988 and added that he would not allow Mr Chawla to raise the structure.

However, the Commissioner, Mr Manvesh Sidhu, said the MC had passed a resolution in 1994 in which it had been mentioned that Mr Chawla may be allotted a shop in the busy Sheranwala Gate area.

However, the Commis-sioner seems to be oblivious to the fact that the Secretary (Local Bodies), Mr S.K Naik, way back in 1990, had passed an order (22062-22065) under the Punjab Town Improvement (Utilisation of Land) (Rules, 1983) in which he had clearly mentioned that “the President of India is pleased to allot shop No 68 in Chotti Baradari lieu of the one demolished by the Administration in 1988 due to floods.”

Despite Mr Naik’s clear noting, the local MC seems to be on a fast mode to please the politician for reasons best know to its top brass.

Mr Manvesh Sidhu feigned ignorance of the fact that Mr Chawla had reportedly already been allotted a shop in lieu of the Mr Chawla’s demolished structure.

He is also turning a blind eye to a communication signed by the Secretary, Local Bodies and on the contrary, sources reveal, he has given the green signal to Mr Chawla to take possession of the land much against the Mayor’s wishes.


Seven held for killing 28 truck drivers, cleaners
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 5
The Patiala police has arrested seven members of a gang which was engaged in looting trucks after killing drivers and cleaners since 1990 in Punjab and Haryana. The gang members have already admitted to having committed 28 murders.

Giving details of the case, the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said the gang could survive for so long because all its members were also in the transport trade and that they owned a truck, a Tata 407 van and a Tata Sumo which they used to deadly effect in committing crimes and also transporting goods.

The modus operandi of the gang was to move with the three vehicles. The van and Tata Sumo were used to stop the targeted vehicles and the truck was used to load the stolen goods. The victims were usually dropped off in canals, rivers and ‘khuds’ while the trucks used to be driven off and parked in secluded areas.

The Patiala police got after the gang when two bodies were found near Theri village in December, 2004. The deceased were identified as truck drivers when the truck they were driving was recovered from the Swaraghat barrier near Himachal Pradesh. Following this investigation conducted by SP (Detective) Pritpal Singh Virk led to the arrest of members of the gang by CIA In charge Jassa Singh near Sham Bagh Palace during checking last night.

The SSP said that the gang had started looting truck drivers since 1990 when in the first instance of crime it killed the driver and cleaner of a truck which was taking steel rods to Gobindgarh near Morinda. The gang did not stop after that killing two persons and looting a truck filled with scrap near the Shambhu barrier in 1996, killing another two persons while looting a truck on the Patiala-Sirhind road in 1998 and a number of other incidents after that. Truck loads of sugar, wheat, scrap and other goods were looted by them during this period.

Mr Rai said the gang members who had been arrested had been identified as Gurmukh Singh, Kaka Singh and Gurcharan Singh, all of Sultanpur Bet police station in Ropar district, Jasbir Singh Seera, Gurdeep Singh and Avtar Singh Taari, all of Fatehgarh Bet village in Ludhiana district and Gurdeep Singh, Avtar Singh, alias Taari and Husna, all of Raipur Bet village in Ludhiana district.

He said four members of the gang were still absconding.

The police has recovered a Tata Sumo, a Tata 407 van and two trucks from the gang besides a country-made pistol and iron weapons.

A case under Sections 399, 400 and 402 read with Section 25 (a) of the Arms Act has been registered against the accused at the Rajpura Sadar Police Station. All accused were presented before a local court and have been remanded to police custody for 10 days.


Honeymooners cancel hotel bookings
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
He has just cancelled reservation for two in a Shimla hotel. Fifty-year-old Amanjot Singh of Amritsar was planning to celebrate his 25th marriage anniversary by going in for a second honeymoon. But after flipping through the newspapers, he has changed his mind.

“I don’t want to pay for getting myself caught in a camera, and an embarrassing situation,” is his simple logic.

In fact, the garment house owner is cursing himself for going to a hotel in Chail last year with his wife for a three day sojourn. “I am just praying that the staff was not indulging in nefarious activities.”

Amanjot Singh is not alone. There are others also under similar tension after reading news about attempts by employees of a Ludhiana hotel to film couples with hidden cameras. No wonder, the newly weds are changing their plans now.

Though hoteliers are not willing to be quoted, they admit that honeymooning couples, even others, have started cancelling their reservations in less than 24 hours after the incident.

A hotelier in Shimla claims that at least three couples have called him up since morning to cancel their bookings. They are apparently planning to stay with acquaintances, or rent out accommodations on weekly basis. Managers of other hotels in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar have similar stories to narrate.

Chandigarh-based hotelier A.S. Mann says that the effect will be felt in the entire industry in the region. “Ninetyfive per cent of the couples will stay away from the hotels. Others will look for pinhole cameras all around the room before settling down. Still they will not be able to relax because the fear of exposing their privacy would always haunt them.”

He adds that the residents had all along been reading about the filming of adult movies, with the help of mobile phones and hidden web cams, in the newspapers. Rather, they had been watching news about betrayal of innocent girls by their boy friends, besides call girls getting trapped in scams.

This is not all. They have been seeing snaps on the Internet of girls caught by hidden cameras while changing clothes. The Ludhiana incident has only confirmed their fears that anyone can get caught, off guard and unawares.

Describing it as intrusion of privacy, criminal lawyer Dr Surya Parkash says the relationship between the hotelier and the client is based on faith. Any violation of the same should be viewed seriously.


Ludhiana hub of porn CD business
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 5
From the clandestine videofilming of girl by her boyfriend in Jalandhar two years ago to the Delhi Public School incident to the Anara Gupta episode and finally to the shocking videofilming case in Hotel Park Plaza here yesterday, the camera has invaded the privacy of people to such an extent that even the wedding night, considered to be the most private moment in one’s life, is not safe.

While the accused in these cases are either already facing the consequences or might be brought to book sooner or later, the real culprit is the roaring business such video CDs bring to those who make several copies and circulate these further. No specific operation has been conducted against such an exercise.

Ludhiana has in fact become the epicentre of such activity. Three CDs named Ludhiana scandals are available in the market. One of these is titled ‘CMC’, other Park Plaza while the third is available in a combo packet consisting of the Jalandhar, Batala, Phagwara, Anara Gupta, Gujarat and many other such episodes.

According to sources, the CDs fetch a good price as these involve local people.

The police has found itself helpless in checking this growing menace. The availability of highly sophisticated cameras, bugs and mikes in the market and easy copy of the CDs in addition to the ready market makes it difficult for the police to check the menace.


Pollution board denies giving NOC to Quark
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 5
The Punjab Pollution Control Board, Patiala, has denied granting a no objection certificate (NOC) to Quark, a multinational Information Technology company that has established an IT City in Mohali. The company claims to invest Rs 100 crore in the township that would employ thousands of persons. It will have residential and commercial components other than the IT-based industrial component.

The board has refused to give Quark an NOC on the grounds that the company does not have the requisite Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance from the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests, in compliance with a July, 2004, notification of the Government of India.

The said notification issued on July 7, 2004, has to be complied with by all construction projects in the country with an investment of Rs 50 crore and above or which would employ over a 1000 persons or which would discharge 50000 litres of sewage every day.

The pollution board officials alleged that the Punjab Industries Department had been, on Quark’s behalf, taking the plea that since Quark City was spread over less than 50 hectares, it did not require the environment impact assessment clearance from the Government of India. “This is not the issue at all. The Quark City project is a self claimed Rs 100 crore project that would employ thousands of persons, again self claimed, so how can they say that they do not fall within the criteria laid in the notification? They should have taken the GOI clearance before they started construction,” said a pollution board official.

Interestingly, the Industries Department of the state does seem to be on Quark’s side. Justifying that the Quark City project does not come under the purview of the notification, the Secretary, Industries, Mr S.C. Agarwal, said the IT city project was okayed before the notification of the Government of India was issued on July 7, 2004. The pollution board authorities, however, were quick to point that the notification clearly stated that new construction projects which were undertaken without obtaining the clearance required under the notification, and where construction work had not come up to plinth level, would require clearance under this notification.

While the Quark City’s media incharge was not available for comments, sources in the company pointed out that the company had begun with the first stage of getting the (EIA) clearance. Sources added that the EIA study had been completed and the company was now planning to organise a public hearing which was the next stage in the process.

Once an OK from the public is given to Quark, the pollution board would be granting the company an NOC and forwarding Quark’s case to a special committee that has been constituted to consider project that are covered under the GOI notification.


Trains with Pak cricket fans arrive today
Our Correspondent

Wagah/Attari, March 5
A Pakistan train carrying cricket lovers will arrive tomorrow at the Attari railway station at 11:10 a.m. while another one will reach at 12:35 p.m.

A special Indian train will leave for Chandigarh at 2: 15 p.m. while another one will depart at 4: 30 p.m. The same schedule will be repeated on March 7.

The Indian Railways has deployed extra staff, including an Assistant Traffic Manager, five ticket collectors, five TTEs and three clerks at the railway station to expedite the process.

For the convenience of cricket fans, four categories of fares have been decided — Rs 690 for AC II tier, Rs 443 for AC III tier, Rs 169 for second class sleeper and Rs 104 for second class.

Besides, the Railways has carried out a cleanliness drive at the station. It has whitewashed it and put up bunting, welcoming Pakistan cricket enthusiasts.

The Customs Department has made a provision for 20 counters to handle the rush of visas at the joint check-post. It has even put up counters under ‘shamianas’. Separate counters have been made for diplomats, mediapersons and the handicapped.

Mr Kiran Deep Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner, said nearly 60 buses had also been arranged by the PCA to ferry fans to Chandigarh from the border.


SAD calls PAC meeting
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Rattled by the massive defeat in the Ajnala byelection, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has called a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee on March 7 to take stock of the situation.

The poll defeat is the third in a row. Earlier, the SAD, after doing well in the Lok Sabha elections, had lost the Kapurthala and Garshankar Assembly byelections. Following the defeat in Ajnala, senior leaders of the party are feeling uneasy. It will be the first meeting of the PAC, the party’s apex body on political and organisational issues, after the defeat of the SAD candidate in Ajnala.

Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, secretary of the SAD, said that the party President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would preside over the meeting which would be held at the local Kalgidhar Nivas.

An important question before the party is why it lost in a purely rural constituency, which is considered its stronghold. Has the SAD leadership failed to inspire the party’s rank and file in the countryside or has the party’s base among the youth been eroded? The SAD has failed so far to get a clear picture of why it is suffering defeat after defeat. It has been levelling allegations of rigging, massive use of official machinery.

However, such allegations have failed to convince people by and large, who are well aware of the fact that all major political parties resort to such practices while in power and even when out of power. There is always only a difference of degree in such actions of parties in the poll fray.

One of the major reasons is said to be that the SAD leadership, which was pushed to the wall by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, by the launching of an anti-corruption drive against it, has been just targeting him and failed to raise issues of public concern.


Probe ordered into Akali workers' clash
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Almost four-and-a-half months after certain supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal(Amritsar) were beaten up by supporters of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee(SGPC) President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, in the judicial complex at Patiala, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission(PSHRC) has taken cognisance of the incident.

The PSHRC Member, Mr BC Rajput, has asked the Zonal IG, Patiala, to submit the report by April 22 into the incident, which had left several SAD supporters, including women, injured.

The SAD(A) supporters were beaten up by Bibi's supporters

on October 19 last year when they were waving black flags at Bibi Jagir Kaur, who had come to appear in a court case at Patiala.

It was free-for-all on the court premises with stones and bricks being used by the two parties. Terror prevailed for a few minutes with the advocates and litigants also being at the receiving end.

On October 21, a local human rights activist, Mr Arvind Thakur, had moved an application against Bibi Jagir Kaur and the Patiala SSP, Mr AS Rai, in the commission for the violation of the human rights of the litigants coming to the court.

Demanding strict action against the guilty, Mr Thakur had demanded a probe either by the DGP of the commission or by an independent investigative agency.

However, the commission, in its wisdom, dilly-dallied on the application. However, later the commission asked Mr Thakur to establish that prima facie it was a case of human rights violations. Mr Thakur contended that whenever VVIPs appeared in the courts the general public was greatly inconvenienced.


PPCC chief for action against Jagmeet

Ropar, March 5
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has urged the All India Congress Committee to take disciplinary action against the senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar for making defamatory statements against the state Congress. This was stated by the president of the PPCC, Mr H.S. Hanspal, while interacting with the Press after inaugurating a free eye check-up camp organised at Ropar, Civil Hospital. — TNS


Beware! your milk may be poisonous
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 5
Hundreds of local residents, who have been relying on their age-old “loyal” milkmen, are not only getting adulterated and substandard milk but chances are that they might have been paying through the nose for unsafe and poisonous milk.

A large number of milkmen are allegedly adding poisonous substances and harmful preservatives such as soda bicarbonate and formalin to preserve milk for longer periods. Soda bicarbonate and formalin can have disasterous effects on one’s health if taken regularly and for a longer period.

According to an estimate, 51 per cent of the total milk supply to the city is pure, while 39 per cent of milk has water and skimmed milk. The remaining 10 per cent of milk mixed with soda bicarbonate and formalin to enhance its shelf life. Soda is harmful if taken for long, while formalin is poisonous. It has a poisonous effect on the intestines. An overdose can even lead to unconsciousness in a person,” said Dr H.J. Singh, a local chest specialist.

The city and its outskirts, it is estimated, are getting a daily milk supply of about 1 lakh litres, mainly from three sources — from milkmen, directly from dairies and pasturised and packed milk processed by the Jalandhar milk plant. The share of the Jalandhar milk plant is around 48,000 litres daily. The quality control wing had also found during its survey conducted from April to October last year that of a total of 2,499 milk samples of milkmen, 981 were found to be substandard and 249 were adulterated with alarming quantities of formalin and soda bicarbonate.


Work on Khalsa Heritage Complex to restart
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

A view of the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex at Anandpur Sahib
A view of the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex at Anandpur Sahib. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Anandpur Sahib, March 5
After a seven-month delay, construction work on the prestigious Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex at Anandpur Sabib will finally restart within a week. As the PNB-led consortium of five banks yesterday agreed to release a Rs 100-crore loan to the Anandpur Sahib Foundation for the project.

Sources said the five banks had agreed to release the loan at an interest rate of 7.5 per cent per annum and had signed an agreement with senior officials of the Anandpur Sahib Foundation in Chandigarh.

Besides, the Central Government had also approved Rs 48 crore to the Anandpur Sahib Foundation for the project.

The work on the project had come to a halt for the past several months due to paucity of funds. Even though the Punjab Government had given the requisite guarantee to the banks, the loan was not released earlier as the banks had demanded more interest rate.

The sources said the CEO of the Anandpur Sahib Foundation, Mr D.S. Jaspal, had already held a meeting with officials of Larsen and Toubro and the NID, Ahmedabad, to restart the work at the project site. The meeting was held in Chandigarh on February 22. Larsen and Toubro are involved in the construction work of the project while the NID is involved in the design.

It is estimated that at present Rs 145 crore would be required to complete the project. To meet the expenditure, the state government and the Central Government have agreed to contribute one-third of the share. Funds for the project will also be collected by way of public contributions. An amount of Rs 79 crore has already been spent on the project.

As per the new plan, the Central Government will contribute Rs 48 crore, the state government Rs 49 crore within two years and the rest Rs 48 crore will be collected from the public.

The state government had requested the Central Government to release Rs 40 crore for this project this year and Rs 8 crore in the next financial year. However, the Central Government has agreed to release Rs 2 crore this year and Rs 46 crore next year.

The project will depict stories of courage and sacrifice, which constitute a glorious chapter of the heritage of Sikhs and the history of Punjab for the past 500 years. The project was designed at world-renowned architect, Moshe Safdie.


Police dancing to Randhawa’s tunes, says Safdipur
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 5
Congress leader Balwinder Singh Safdipur today alleged that the police was dancing to the tunes of Cooperation Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa and had wrongly booked him under a fresh case immediately after he was released on bail in a case of criminal conspiracy.

Mr Safdipur’s supporters have been protesting against Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa for more than a month since the Bahadurgarh police removed hoardings and other material of a social organisation formed by Mr Safdipur. The minister had claimed that he was forced to take this step as Safdipur was encroaching on government land. After this incident, Safdipur was booked along with his nephew and others following the alleged attack on the nephew of the Bahadurgarh sarpanch.

Mr Safdipur held a press conference here and alleged that the police was not functioning in a transparent manner. He said after being released from jail he had in the company of a few thousand people gone to the Bahadurgarh gurdwara and had also been felicitated by the people of Bahadurgarh. The Congress leader said the public upsurge in his favour was probably not to the liking of the Cooperation Minister who had again used the police to register a case against him stating that he and his supporters had fired in the air.

The Congress leader said nothing could be further from the truth. He was also being victimised by the Cooperation Minister who was not letting his organisation, International Bhau Bhaichara, continue with camps during which ration was being distributed free of cost to more than 5,000 persons.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police A. S. Rai said a case had been registered against Mr Safdipur and few others for firing in the air in Bahadurgarh. “We cannot let people take the law in their own hands”, saying there was no political angle to the incident. He said the police had not arrested Mr Safdipur yet because it wanted to verify whether the leader had also fired in the air or not. “If it is proved that Mr Safdipur has not fired himself, the case against him will be withdrawn”, he added. 


Action against poll presiding officers recommended
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, March 5
The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Election Tribunal, Nawanshahr, Mr HIS Grewal, has recommended strict disciplinary action against two teachers-cum-presiding officers for election of Sarpanch and Panch of Kangna Bet and Aur villages, respectively in 2003 for declaring “wrong” candidates as elected. This was done under “political” pressure.

Mr Ranjit Kaur and Mr Mandip Kumar, the petitioners, who, had challenged the election of Sarpanch and Panch of Kangna Bet and Aur villages, have been declared as Sarpanch and Panch of two villages, respectively.

Mr Parminder Singh, a science teacher of Doabad Sikh National High School Nawanshahr and Mr Sital Singh, a teacher at the Government Senior Secondary School, Kahma village, were appointed as presiding officers for conducting election of Sarpanch and Panch in June 2003.

Challenging the election of Ms Balbir Kaur, who had been declared elected as a Sarpanch of Kangna Bet village Ms Ranjit Kaur of the same village in a petition before the tribunal, alleged that the presiding officer Mr Parminder Singh had connived with Ms Balbir Kaur. He did not carry the counting in a proper and fair manner. Subsequently, recounting was done in presense of the Election Tribunal, with Mr Grewal as its head, on February 25, revealed that Ms Ranjit Kaur had secured 442 votes and hence, she was declared elected as Sarpanch by the Tribunal.

Similarly, election of Mr Chaman Lal, Mr Tirath Ram and Mr Jagar Ram as panches of Aur village and conducted on June 29, 2003 under presiding officer Mr Sital Singh, was challenged by Mr Mandip Kumar. This was followed by recounting, on February 15, 2005, which, revealed that Mandip Kumar had secured 131 votes, highest among all seven candidates in the fray.

Mr Grewal, has asked the state EC for action


Panchayat poll: 2 officers face action
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 5
Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, while disposing of petitions in connection with the election for the post of sarpanch of Kangna Bet village and the posts of SC panches of Aur village on June 29, 2003, has recommended strict action against Presiding Officers Parminder Singh and Sital Singh in his report to the State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains.

The recounting of votes was held on February 25 in the presence of the Deputy Commissioner.

In the election for the post of sarpanch of Kangna Bet, the Presiding Officer had declared Ms Balbir Kaur as elected, showing that she had secured 458 votes as against 375 votes secured by her nearest rival, Ms Ranjit Kaur, who had filed an election petition challenging the election.

In the recounting of votes, it was found that the petitioner had actually secured 442 votes while Ms Balbir Kaur had secured 365 votes.

In the election for the three posts of SC panches at Aur, Mr Mandip Kumar, was shown securing the highest 130 votes in the list, but was declared unelected. It was found that the petitioner had secured 131 votes.

In his statement, Mr Sital Singh, Presiding Officer, said the polling continued till 7 p.m. and the counting till 2 a.m. The staff was extremely exhausted and the error could have occurred inadvertently. It was a clerical error, he said. But the DC rejected the explanation and recommended disciplinary action against him.


J&K children visit Ranjit Sagar Dam
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, March 5
The Army has launched a programme “Sadbhavana Yatra” to expose children from the remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir to the culture of other parts of the country.

Under the programme, 36 children from Udhampur and Rajouri districts of J&K were brought to Pathankot today.

The group included children from Bakarwal and Gujjar tribes. Army personnel showed the children Ranjit Sagar Dam.


Wakf Board settles 93 pension cases
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 5
Mufti Fuzail-ur-Rahman, member, Punjab Wakf Board, said today that 93 cases of pension to senior citizens, widows, destitutes, orphans and the poor were cleared at a meeting organised at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind, today. Members of the board unanimously decided to give those falling in these categories monthly pension of Rs 300. About 63 students were sanctioned monthly scholarships worth Rs 400 to Rs 2000.

Members also decided to give help of Rs 10,000 per Anjuman to Muslim associations for performing their religious rights. A sum of Rs 40,000 was sanctioned to four such organisations. He said cases for 2004-2005 would be decided in the next meeting.

Mufti Fuzail-ur-Rahman said the meeting was called to decide various pending issues as well as to implement the recent stay orders of the High Court regarding the reshuffle and transfers of employees.

Strongly criticising the recent transfer orders issued by the board’s chairperson, Ms Razia Sultana, MLA, the members said the High Court had stayed the transfers and directed her to personally appear in the court. They said to run the affairs of board smoothly and disburse salaries of staff Dr Nashir Naqvi had been given administrative powers to deal with day-to-day work.


115 cases decided at Lok Adalat
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 5
A quarterly Lok Adalat, presided over by Mr S.M.S. Mahil, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman, District Legal Services authority, was organised in the Judicial courts complex here today. The adalat was held under the guidance of Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh and Executive Chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority Chandigarh.

At today’s Lok Adalat as many as 218 cases were taken up and most of them were related to matrimonial disputes. Some of the cases decided were under the Negotiable Instruments Act and others related to motor accident claims. For the disposal of these cases 11 benches of the Lok Adalat were constituted each of which was presided over by a Judicial officer. An eminent social worker a senior lawyer were also nominated to each Bench.

Observing National Legal Aid Week for Women, the District Legal Services Authority also invited law students from Punjabi University to increase awareness regarding the rights of women.

As many as 115 cases were decided and an amount of nearly Rs 28.25 was settled.

Mr S.M.S. Mahil apprised people about the schemes of the Legal Services Authority Act.


Fast-track courts for NRIs soon

Chandigarh, March 5
For expeditious disposal of revenue cases relating to NRIs, the Punjab Government will set up two fast- track courts in Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur. The courts will take up matters pertaining to Partition, mutation and correction of “khasra girdawari.”

This was stated by Punjab’s Revenue and Rehabilitation, Relief and Resettlement and NRI Affairs Minister Amarjit Singh Samra. — TNS


Blind murder solved
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 5
The Ferozepore police has reportedly solved a blind murder 12 days after recovery of a body.

The police had recovered a body lying under a small bridge near Peerkhan Shekh village on the Ferozepore-Fazilka road on February 23.

The police registered a case and started investigations.

Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP said the police yesterday arrested two persons in this connection along with the wife of the deceased who was identified as Bilt alias Mohinder resident of Bharwahi village in Madhopur district of Bihar.

Mr Sudhanshu said Ranju Devi, widow of the deceased, had illicit relations with Ashok Mandal and Hira Lal, to which Mohinder often objected.

She, along with Ashok and Hira, hatched a conspirary to eliminate her husband.

On the evening of February 22, Ashok and Hira invited Mohinder to drinks.

The three went towards Fazilka road through Basti Bhattianwala on a rickshaw which was being pulled by Ashok only.

On the way, Ashok purchased two bottles of liquor from a liquor shop near Khai Khemeke.

Later, Ashok and Hira persuaded Mohinder to consume the liquor and when he got drunk, the duo killed him by tying a cloth around his neck and then dragged his body down the small bridge near Peerkhan Shekh on the Fazilka road.

Mr Sarbjit Singh, SHO who investigated the case, said one of Mohinder’s friends got suspicious when he noticed Ranjo Devi along with two others heading for the railway station to catch a train.

He immediately informed the police.

The police arrested the three of them and during interrogation, they confessed to the crime.


Jalandhar girl was given celphos: report
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 5
“Medicine” given to a 17-year-old girl by three boys of her village near Jalandhar three months ago after they allegedly raped her, was an insecticide which is known as celphos.

The girl of Reru village, under the Jalandhar Sadar police station, was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Jalandhar, on January 6 as a case of suspected poisoning. She died within a few hours.

The girl had, during a declaration before her death to the police, claimed that she had been raped by three boys of her village on October 9 in a vacant house in Baba Deep Singh Nagar. She claimed that they had threatened her with dire consequences in case she told anybody about the incident.

The declaration also stated that one boy met her on January 6 and gave her some “medicine”, stating that she would be alright after taking it. The declaration, however, did not state why the “medicine” was offered to the girl so long after the rape incident. The girl’s health started deteriorating soon after she took the “medicine” and died within a few hours in the hospital.


Gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 5
The Barnala police has busted a five member gang of robbers headed by Maghar Singh, and arrested four of them. Mr Gurmail Singh Sidhu, SP (Detective) Barnala, today said a patrol party of the CIA staff on Thursday, stopped a Tata Sumo vehicle. During checking the police found two fake number plates under the driver’s seat and a country-made 303 pistol, along with two live cartridges.

During interrogation it was found the gang had been instrumental in looting petrol pumps. The gang had looted Rs 37,000 from a petrol pump near Sanghera on the Barnala-Ludhiana road recently. They also had looted cash from petrol pumps of Tandoori Maanan village of Moga. Mr Sidhu said they admitted of stealing pigs from Ambala, Jalalabad, Khanna, and Sirhind. The arrested members have been identified as Maghar Singh, Kulwinder Singh, Laali and Kaali.


Woman killed, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 5
The Sadulshehar police has arrested Lekh Ram and Jagdish for the murder of Jaspal Kaur (44) at Dholipal village, located on the Abohar-Sadulshehar road.

They were arrested from Phulekhan village last evening. They had reportedly intruded into Jaspal Kaur’s house after midnight. She is said to have resisted their assault.

A court has remanded them in police custody till March 11. Monu, five-year-old daughter of the victim, will be asked to identify the suspects. She was the only witness to the murder, the police said.


Woman commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 5
A newly-married woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her parents house in Didar Nagar here today.

It is learnt that Amandeep Kaur, who got married only about a month ago, took the extreme step when no one was at home. The deceased, who worked in the Department of Fisheries, Punjab, had allegedly sent her mother on some work before ending her life.

It is learnt that the incident came to the notice of her husband who came to meet her. The door was bolted from inside and nobody opened it even when it had been knocked several times.

Amandeep Kaur was taken to the Civil Hospital here where she was declared brought dead.


Old students’ assn offers to run Dashmesh Academy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Sri Dashmesh Academy Old Students Association has made an offer to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to run the academy, which is on the verge of closure, on its own.

Mr Devinder Sandhu, president of the association, in a letter to the Chief Minister, stated that old students of the academy had been feeling upset on reading news reports that the institution would be closed down by March-end.

He said the former students had a plan to revamp the institution. He did not seek any financial help from the government in this connection.

Mr Sandhu said that he, being the treasurer of the CIIS Educational Services Society, had the expertise to run such institutions successfully. The society was running an educational institution with 700 students at Mohali.

Mr Sandhu said the management of the academy should be handed over to the society with complete autonomy to run its affairs. The academy campus should be given to the society on perpetual lease for 99 years.


Tohra institute on Sikhism likely
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 5
The SGPC proposes to establish a Gurcharan Singh Tohra Institute of Advance Studies in Sikhism which will serve as the apex body for the organisation, management and modernisation of Sikh missionary education.

A committee comprising Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Darshan Singh, former Chairman, Guru Nanak Studies, Panjab University, Mr Bachan Singh Bachan, former secretary SGPC, and Mr Sarbjinder Singh of Punjabi University was set up to submit a project report for this purpose.

It is understood that the committee has submitted its report and it will be approved by the SGPC Dharam Prachar Committee to pave the way for the early establishment of the institute. The institute is likely to be set up at Gurdwara Amb Sahib, Mohali.

The institute will be run by an autonomous body and will institute fellowships to broaden authenticated literature on Sikhism so as to serve as basic material for the missionaries engaged by the SGPC and other Sikh organisation. It will also undertake instructions for diploma certificate course for the benefit of children of Sikhs living abroad and outside Punjab.

Future programmes outlined for the institute envisage refresher courses for granthis and such other personnel managing gurdwaras and also distance education programme on Sikhism.

It may be mentioned here that the earlier proposal was to set up an institute of advance studies on Sikhism on the pattern of Institute of Advance Studies located in Shimla. But this was shelved for reasons not known.


30 students taken ill after dinner
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 5
As many as 30 students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya at Masitan village in Sultanpur Lodhi fell ill yesterday after having dinner in the mess.

The students said they had cheese and kheer in the dinner on Thursday night, following which they fell ill the next day. They started complaining of nausea, vomiting and stomach ache. Since doctor, working in the school, was also away on leave, the students were taken to a nearby dispensary at Tibba village. Parents of 12 students, who were infected, seriously were called up who took them to their home.

The parents demanded an inquiry into the incident and said the mess in charge should punished. They said their wards had been complaining of unhygienic, food that they were being served for long.

Kamaldeep, Baljit Sandeep, Usha and Baksho, all students, said they were still feeling uneasy and undergoing treatment.


Grant for school building
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 5
A grant of Rs 4.35 lakh was given to Government Senior Secondary School, Gharuan, by the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

The money was given for the construction of four rooms and toilet block. The MLA also appealed to the gathering, at a function organised in connection with the celebration of Women’s Day to contribute for the installation of a submersible pump in the school. He was able to collect a sum of Rs 50,000 from people in no time.

Mr Piyara Singh, DEO, Ropar, who presided over the function, honoured Jaspreet Kaur with a cash award of Rs 2,500 for securing 25th rank in the state merit list in the matriculation examination.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |