P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Cops raid houses of terror suspects
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, March 7
The district police yesterday detained six persons, including a woman and three minor girls, to inquire about the alleged involvement of their landlord in terror activities during the early nineties.

Sources revealed that they received information about two former Punjab militants living in New Anand Nagar under assumed identities. Subsequently, in a major exercise 100 police personnel, wearing bulletproof jackets and led by senior police officials, simultaneously raided residences of Kulwant Singh Chahal and his brother-in-law Sukhpal Singh Chahal in New Anand Nagar.

Eyewitnesses maintained that the police personnel broke open the doors of the house of Kulwant Singh Chahal. Nobody was found inside the house. The police detained two youths, identified as Mandeep and Gurdeep, putting up at the first floor of the house.

The entire house was searched and the police, according to the sources, confiscated incriminatory documents from the spot.

During the raid at the residence of Sukhpal Singh Chahal, the police detained Sukhwinder Kaur, her two minor daughters and 15-year-old Sukho, working as a maid for the Chahal family.

The police recovered some documents and related items. None of the members of Chahal families was present during the raid. The SSP, Mr Satish Kumar Asthana, supervised the entire operation.

Though most senior police officials were not available for comment, the sources revealed that the operation was conducted to nab two Punjab militants, living under assumed identities here for the past more than eight years.

Sources close to family, however, maintained that the Chahal families belonged to Chahal village in Batala, where they owned agricultural properties worth crores. The families were abroad and were scheduled to return by March 15.

The detained persons were shifted to the interrogation cell at Police Division No. 2. Later, Sukhwinder and her two daughters were released while Gurdeep, Mandeep and Sukho were taken into custody for further questioning.

Sukhwinder Kaur has been a tenant of Sukhpal Singh Chahal for four years. Sukhwinder’s husband is a retired Indian Air Force employee and is on a visit to Canada. The police has sealed both houses.


Mass copying goes on unabated
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Uggar Aulakh (Ajnala), March 7
A flying squad of the Punjab School Education Board today recommended the cancellation of yet another examination centre after Class XII students at that centre were found indulging in mass copying here today.

Mass copying has been going on unabated despite the prohibitory orders that banned the gathering of four or more persons in the radius of 200 m of the examination centres.

Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, Chairman of the board, said at least five examination centres had been cancelled and re-examination would be conducted at these centres. He said many unfair means cases had come to notice at different centres in the state. However examinations were going on smoothly at most of the centres.

Teams, headed by SDMs and District Education Officers had submitted ‘satisfactory reports’ about most of the centres, he said. The media was highlighting the issue out of proportion despite the fact that cases of mass copying had decreased this year.

The flying squad of Prof Ajit Singh Shahi (in charge), Prof Amrik Singh and Prof Amninder Singh found girls preparing helping material at the residence of an employee, on the school complex. On spotting the flying squad, the employee and girls tried to flee. The scenario inside the examination hall presented a dismal look. Mass copying was going on in the alleged connivance of the staff. The policemen posted at the centre were also helping the abettors in supplying reference material to students.

During a raid at Jagdev Khurd Senior Secondary School, the flying squad found that a number of relatives, friends and parents of students had gathered outside the examination centre in violation of the prohibitory orders.


Another salary scam at Ranjit Sagar Dam
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 7
The Department of Finance, Punjab, is probing if salaries were being drawn against fake employees at the Shahpur Kandi project.

Even three months after the transfer of salaries of Class IV employees from treasuries to banks, about 100 employees have failed to open accounts. These employees have failed to get their salaries, which are likely to be returned to the treasuries this month.

Finance Department officials want to know that when all employees were regularly drawing salaries from the treasuries, why have they failed to draw the same through banks.

Smelling a rat, the department has ordered the transfer of salaries of all Class IV employees working at the Ranjit Sagar Dam project through bank. About 4,600 employees of the dam were paid salary in cash by the dam authorities.

Sources said some oustees from Jammu and Kashmir had filed cases in court to get jobs. A few of them later found out that they were “already on job”. Similarly, a few of the employees are suspected to have gone abroad but their salaries are being drawn here through the treasuries.

Earlier also some scams were detected in the payment of salaries at the dam. In one incident, 25 fake employees were approved by the drawing and disbursing officers. The anomaly was detected on time by a cashier and the payment were stopped. In another case, the payments of some deceased employees were made. Later the payments were recovered from erring employees but action is yet to be taken against them.

The Financial Adviser at the Shahpur Kandi dam when asked about the reason for about 100 employees not opening the accounts, said he was on leave and could comment on the recent development.

Finance Department officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they had received muster roles of all Class IV employees who were being paid salaries. If some fake employees were detected, it would be the responsibility of officers who had approved the muster of attendance roles.


SGPC for 50 cr aid for tsunami-hit
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 7
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has urged the Central government to announce a Rs 50 crore special economic and rehabilitation package for tsunami-affected Punjabi families settled in Campbell Bay.

Talking to mediapersons at her residence in Begowal, near here the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, revealed that a high level delegation of the SGPC would meet the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the last week of March to impress upon him to sanction a special package for 209 Punjabi families who had been badly affected due to tsunami.

She said most of the affected families belonging to ex-servicemen category had expressed their willingness to settle in Punjab due to complete devastation of the island and meagre facilities available there. "The Campbell Bay island is strategically located as far as India's defence policy is concerned. We are ready to bring them here but migration of those families was not advisable from security point of view," she said.

The SGPC chief said they were without any shelter and their land holdings were immersed in waters. "The Central government should immediately release funds under a special package for construction of their houses, laying of new roads, raising of requisite medical and educational infrastructure," she said adding that the SGPC had already distributed relief material worth more than Rs 5 crore and monetary grant worth Rs 1 crore among the affected families.

She said that communication facilities like Internet and telephone facility should also be provided to them so that they could be in touch. She said the committee had also decided to adopt 40 children from the coming academic session. She said the SGPC would bear all the expenses on their education in school and college, including those of their hostel and mess facilities.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said she had already visited the island twice and was planning to visit again in the first week of April.


Camera may have been destroyed: SSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The police today said that it was investigating the possibility that the camera allegedly used in the video-filming of a couple in hotel Park Plaza could have been destroyed by the accused before their arrest.

The SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, said the police hoped to recover the camera. The accused are in police remand till March 9. The police was also investigating the angle that the camera might have been destroyed.

He said the investigation was transparent and that there was no pressure from any politician or senior official. He said the accused were definitely peeping inside the room, which was crime enough as it invaded the privacy of the couple.

The bridegroom, Harpreet Singh, had alleged that the police was under pressure from a DGP who was close to persons in the management of the hotel. He alleged that the police official was influencing investigation because of which the camera had not been recovered so far.

Meanwhile, the BJP leadership in Ludhiana has demanded a CBI probe into the case. It has threatened to launch an agitation if efforts were made to hush-up the case.

In a joint statement here today, senior leaders of the BJP, including former Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Satpal Gosain and former ministers, Master Manohar Lal, Mr Manoranjan Kalia and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, said it was shameful that such a thing had taken place in a five-star hotel.


Hoteliers decry Plaza ‘voyeurism’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 7
Expressing deep concern at an alleged attempt to violate the privacy of guests by the staff of the Park Plaza hotel in Ludhiana, the Amritsar Hotel and Restaurant Association has said it was the primary duty of the hotel management and staff to protect the privacy of their guests.

The general secretary of the association, Mr A. P. S. Chatha, told The Tribune that the emergency meeting of the members had been called to discuss the sordid episode which had tarnished the image of the hotel industry in this region.

Mr Chatha said that in view of this incident a large number of cancellations had been made which had left the hotel industry shaken.

He added that it had taken a number of years to establish the reputation of the hotel industry but these errant staff members had eroded the credibility of the hospitality industry causing an immense loss of business.

Mr Chatha added that he had advised the members of the hotel industry to beef up internal security and remain vigilant about the activities of the staff who might indulge in similar acts of voyeurism.


Pak SC Judge gets nostalgic, visits ancestral village
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kariam (Nawanshahr), March 7
Mr Justice Halil Ramdey, a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan got emotional when he visited his ancestral village here.

As he and his wife Quarat-ul-Aim stepped out of their vehicle, a large number of villagers greeted them with Mohammed Rafi’s number, “Baharon phul barsaao, mera mahboob aaya hai.” He was escorted by the SSP, Mr M.F. Farooqui.

Mr Justice Ramdey hugged people and touched the feet of elderly women.

His father Mohammed Siddique, also a judge, had about 40 acres in this village before Partition.

“Eyes of my father-in-law Mohammed Saddique would get moist when he tried to relive the old days at Kariam. Ramdey grew up listening to stories from here,” said an equally emotional Quarat.

She asked if people still played gatka here? My father-in-law used to tell us that most of the people of the village played gatka,” she added.

“I cannot explain my feelings. I am overjoyed,” was all what Mr Justice Ramdey could say while moving towards his family’s old “haveli, which is now crumbled.

He touched the earth and smeared it on his forehead. He then removed an old brick from the structure and put it inside a polythene bag to take it back to Pakistan.

Sunder Ram, an 85 year-old villager and a worker with the Ramdeys said he was given a hug by Mr Justice Ramdey, who also enquired about his health and family. “I worked with them for years. Mohammed Saddique sahib was an advocate and then the got elevated as a judge,” he said.

Before visiting the mosque-turned-gurdwara, Mr Justice Ramdey was cornered by mediapersons and despite his effort to skirt queries, he was asked to say something on democracy, human rights and the role of the Supreme Court in Pakistan.

“Political questions should have been directed to Pravez Ilahi and not me. Legally, Pakistani women have the same rights which Indian women have and the Supreme Court has been coming down heavily upon people who have been accused of tormenting them. There is no big difference as far as the status of women and crime in the two Punjabs is concerned,” he said.

Ms Quarat, an office-bearer of the All-Pakistan Women’s Association, said her organisation was doing a lot to improve the condition of women.


Farooque, Sonali get standing ovation
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, March 7
Standing ovation by the jampacked audience was the testimony to the powerful performance by actors, Farooque Sheikh and Sonali Bendre which cast a spell during the play “Aapki Soniya” staged here late last evening.

The play was presented by the Durga Das Foundation and Spice telecom in association with The Tribune group of newspapers.

The plot revolved around a young Indian girl living in France searching for her roots in India through the exchange of letters with her late mother’s lover (Farooque Sheikh).

The presentation of dialogues through letters stretches from disrespect and hatred for Zulfiqar Haidar to the depth of her despair. Soniya wants to know the reality about her mother who gave her birth and left her with her French husband. Soniya blamed Zulfiqar for keeping her mother away from her.

In the twilight of his career, Zulfiqar, a former governor and an important muslim leader is shaken out of his wits by the venom spewed by Soniya. The Urdu dialogues are well-narrated throughout the play as Soniya creates an upheaval in his life to find out the truth about the relationship he enjoyed with her high-profile painter mother.

The play is a sequel to the famous play, “Tumahri Amrita written by Javed Saddiqi.

The director of the play, Salim Arif, talking to The Tribune, said it was amazing that Sonali Bendre who had never done theatre before had agreed to play the role of Soniya. He said they were looking for new face that could fit into the mould of Soniya. He said it took three months to rehearse the play which had already been performed in eight Indian cities, besides Dubai, Singapore and Muscat.

He said he hoped to stage more Hindustani play across the world.


Artistes, know no barriers: Aamir

Amritsar, March 7
Artistes and sportspersons should try to bring the people of India and Pakistan together. This could create a congenial atmosphere between the two countries, said Aamir Khan, renowned Bollywood actorproducer while interacting with mediapersons here last evening.

He said artistes and sportspersons did not recognise boundaries. Aamir Khan was here for shooting of his Hindi film “Rang De Basanti” in which he plays the role of a Punjabi youth.


Third front will uproot Cong, SAD, says Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

Dharamkot, March 7
People are fed up with the misrule of successive state governments led by the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress and now a third front would emerge in Punjab. SAD (Longowal) President Prem Singh Chandumajra stated this while addressing a party rally organised as part of its Mukti Andolan here today.

Mr Chandumajra said his party had launched this campaign to rid the people of unemployment, drug menace, female foeticide, nepotism and economic crisis. He said the party would sensitise common people about the “misdeeds” of the Congress and Akali regimes so as to uproot both the forces from the state’s politics.

He said till now the SAD and the Congress were exploiting power for their interests as there was no alternative, but now with the Lok Bhalai Party and the SAD (Ravi Inder) joining hands with him, the scenario would change for better.

Lamenting the present state of affairs in Punjab, Mr Chandumajra said cane farmers were not paid their dues and farmers had to line up for DAP.

He said roads were in bad shape, while there were no doctors in hospitals and no teachers in schools. He termed the policies of the Congress government as anti-people and flayed the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for not voicing people’s concern during the last three years of the Congress “misrule”. He expressed the confidence of building a third front that could challenge the SAD as well as the Congress.

Condemning the new procurement policy, Mr Chandumajra said it was aimed at decentralisation of paddy and wheat procurement and it was an indication that the Centre wanted to get rid of the minimum support price (MSP). He said the policy would prove to be death knell for Punjab’s farmers who were already reeling under a financial crunch.

He alleged that the state government had done nothing to take up the matter with the Centre. He demanded that an all-party meeting should be called and the state should give representation to the Union Government on the issue.

He said, if implemented, the policy would break the backbone of Punjab’s economy, which is mainly dependent on agriculture.

He said instead of advocating such a policy the Centre should give the maximum support to the farming community in the form of subsidies. He said the privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board would lead to costly power and increase in unemployment.

SAD (Ravi Inder) President Ravi Inder Singh and Lok Bhalai Party leaders also participated in the rally.


Capt ‘reneged on’ Amritsar declaration
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 7
Mr Gursewak Singh Jawahar Ke, general secretary, Youth Akali Dal (Amritsar), today alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had cheated the Sikhs by back-tracking from the stand taken by him when he signed the Amritsar declaration, demanding a separate Sikh state at Akal Takht in 1994.

He became the Chief Minister despite the fact that he had been alleging that it was the Congress that had denied a separate state to the Sikhs, said Mr Jawahar Ke, addressing mediapersons at a press conference here today.

He said the declaration was signed by Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Jasmair Singh Bala, Bhai Manjit Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala.

He said Mr Mann, president of the SAD (Amritsar), was firm on his stand.

He said whenever Capt Amarinder Singh was questioned about Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, he refused to answer and had been alleging that Mr Mann could not keep his words.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh should not name Mr Mann in Mr Jagmeet Brar’s connection. He asked him to give a clarification for what he had said about Mr Mann.


MLA’s plea to high command

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 7
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, while talking to mediapersons here today, urged the Congress high command to intervene immediately in the Jagmeet Brar case and direct both parties to observe restraint, as the images of the Congress and the government were suffering. He refused to comment on who was right and who was wrong but said that it was an unfortunate issue.

Lashing out at the state bureaucracy, he said the government had lost its control over officers. OC


Five old trees axed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 7
Five old and fully grown trees, situated on Santpura Road near local Vishal Nagar area, were felled by the authorities to wider the road for the smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

It is not for the first time that trees have been axed in this city. Earlier also, trees were cut at Thandi Sadak to make it wide. Then trees were axed near Deputy Commissioner’s office for the construction of district administrative complex.

According to some residents, the trees were in the middle of the road and were cut to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic despite the fact that they tried to resist the action of authorities.

They said though the authorities had cut the trees to clear the obstructions in smooth flow of traffic, their stumps had not been cleared yet. They said it had added more to their worries, as during nights the stumps could cause accidents in the absence of streetlights. They said these trees were acting as natural dividers on the road. Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that these trees had been there since the time of Britishers and were not causing any obstacle in the traffic. Mr Sanjay Bansal, Divisional Forest Officer, could not be contacted despite the repeated efforts.


No clue to missing farmer, family
Our Correspondent

Chhaapa (Barnala), March 7
There is no clue to the family of farmer Jang Singh that went missing from this village around 15 days ago.

The local BJP unit today expressed concern over the incident and demanded a high-level probe into it. It also demanded that kisan cells should be formed in police wings on the pattern of women cells to redress grievances of the farming.

BJP state general secretary Harjeet Singh Garewal visited Chhaapa village and met the village panchayat in connection with the missing family case.

According to sources, 11 members of the family of Jang Singh, along with his two sons, have been missing from Chhaapa village since the intervening night of February 20 and 21. In the morning, the people found the house vacant. It was unlocked.

Those missing include head of the family Jang Singh (70), his wife Mahinder Kaur (65), son Buta Singh (30), his wife Sarbjeet Kaur, Joga Singh (27), his wife Manpreet Kaur, Pardeep (7), Joti (5) and 3-month-old baby Gujaljeet.

Mr Garewal said the family owned 25 bigha land a few years back. It took a loan of Rs 20 lakh to carry on agriculture and family affairs. The family disposed of 12 bighas and paid Rs 13 lakh towards repayment of the loan. It sold another 8 bighas last year. During the current year, it had to sell the remaining 3 bighas.

So, the family members were left with nothing to work. Their tractor-trailer and 16 buffaloes were also sold.

They took a few acre land on contract, but failed to pay the contract fee. The landowner took the possession of the fields along with the standing crops.

Surrendering to the circumstances, the family left the village in the midnight.


Bank staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 7
On a call given by the All-India PNB Employees’ Federation, employees working in various branches of the PNB in the district abstained from work while participating in the one-day countrywide strike.

More than 200 striking employees assembled in front of the Sirhind branch of the Punjab National Bank and shouted slogans against Finance t Finance Minister and Chairman IBA and held a massive rally opposing the alleged pro-capitalist and anti-people policies being adopted by the government in the name of banking sector reforms.

Addressing the rally, B.K. Jethi, regional secretary, PNB Staff Union, said the stir had been launched against further reducing the government’s holding of equity capital in the largest and profit earning public sector undertaking, Punjab National Bank, from the existing 80 per cent to 57.8 per cent which he alleged is, indubitably, a step towards privatisation. While flaying the government’s move for allowing the PNB to raise capital from the private market, he said this was not good in the context of increasing mismanagement and failure of various private banks in our country. Since banks represent common people’s money, the control and ownership should be with the government alone. He cautioned that the policy would not subserve any national interest but result in monopoly and the grip of private interest over the bank and its vast resources would increase. Union spokesman claimed the strike evoked a total response in the Chandigarh-B region of the bank comprising Patiala, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.


Labourer saves newly married woman from drowning
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 7
A labourer saved the life of a 25-year-old newly married Shashi Rani who had jumped into Sirhind canal in the morning. The girl Nisha Rani hails from Nawanshahr jumped from bridge over the canal at 10.30 am.

A large number of people who spotted the girl crying for help rushed to the spot. But, no one dared to jump into the canal to rescue the girl. Finally a Kashmiri labourer, Guljar Ahmad Mir, who was passing through the road risked his life and pull her out of the canal. Later the police called girl parents and asked them to take her home.

The police sources informed that the girl, Nisha Rani, took extreme step due to difference with her in laws. She married on February 6 but returned to her parent’s house soon after the marriage and has been staying with them.

A 28-year-old Guljar Ahmad told The Tribune that he had worked throughout the night and going for his home to get rest when the incident took place.

“I heard from people that some girl had jumped into canal. I just jumped into canal and took her outside. Later other people helped her and called the police”.

“I have five children and limited resources in Kashmir to run family. Therefore I am staying here for the past many years with other five persons in the city”, he added.


Women’s Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 7
International Women’s Day was celebrated by Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali at its field office in Sahoran village here today. Fifty women participated. Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, programme officer said women had made tremendous progress in various spheres of life after independence.

In the past few years, rapid changes have taken place in our society which have provided many opportunities to women for development. But society’s attitudes towards women have not changed with the same pace. They are still discriminated against in education, health, nutrition and many other fields. The need is to fight against these discriminations and build a just society.

Another programme was organised by the Sansthan at its campus in Mohali where 350 students participated. Prof Asha Sethi of JSS explained the importance of the day. She said it provided an opportunity to reflect on various issues touching women. She traced the history of the progress of women’s position in Indian society.

Mrs Zehra Zaidi, senior research fellow, said that empowerment of women is meaningfully possible only when Indian women themselves realise the need for and relevance of education for their own development and the development of their children particularly girls.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, said International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the challenges women face. He also referred to the adverse female sex ratio and the problem of female foeticide in Punjab.


Rs 246-cr MC budget passed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 7
The Municipal Corporation (MC) here today passed the budget estimates worth Rs 246 crore for 2005-2006.

Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, MC, said that the corporation expected to generate an income of Rs 128 crore, out of which income from octroi would account for Rs 51.50 crore, while the MC would collect Rs 14 crore from water supply and sewerage charges. Besides, Rs 23 crore would come from their share in excise duty.

The expenditure heads for establishment are Rs 55 crore, while the other expenses included Rs 3.62 crore for health, and Rs 9.4 crore for water supply and sewerage system. The corporation would spend Rs 3.93 crore on the maintenance of streetlights.

The MC had earmarked Rs 11.30 crore for the maintenance of roads, while Rs 6.38 crore had been allocated for the construction of streets and Rs 2 crore for the development of slum areas. The MC would pay back loans amounting to Rs 12.12 crore to HUDCO.


Drainage system demanded
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 7
The Ropar unit of the Rice Shellers Association has demanded that a proper storm water drainage system be provided by the authorities concerned along the Kharar-Banur road, failing which it will be compelled to file to public interest litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Sudershan Verma, president of the association, said the Kharar - Banur road was strengthened about six months ago by the Department for Public works. At that time, the level of the road was raised quite a bit but no arrangement for the storm water drainage had been made by officials concerned. As such whenever it rained heavily, water entered rice shellers that were located along the road leading to a lot of damage.


High court
Plea on Dashmesh Academy dismissed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 7
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) of the Dasmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib, in which the association had sought directions to the Punjab Government to ensure that the school is not closed.

A Division Bench of the acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal dismissed the petition.

In its public interest litigation (PIL), the association had prayed that the high-profile institution in Anandpur Sahib should either be taken over by the State Government or alternative arrangements be made so that it continues to function and is not closed.

The petition stated that the closure of school would put at risk future of about 400 students on the rolls of the school.

The petition had also pointed out how it was established as one of the most prestigious schools in the country and land worth crores of rupees was acquired to establish the school. However, with the government deciding to close it, all efforts in the establishment of the school would go waste, the petitioner said.


Plea against PCA on passes dismissed
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 7
A court here today dismissed a petition challenging the Punjab Cricket Association’s right to issue complimentary passes for the India-Pakistan Cricket match that begins at the PCA stadium tomorrow.

On February 28, the court had issued notice to the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) following a case filed by the Federation of Lawyers against Corruption. On March 4, The Punjab Cricket Association has asserted its right to issue passes in its reply filed before the Kharar Court.

In the application, the court was urged to restrain the PCA from issuing the complimentary passes for the cricket match as it amounted to corruption.

A large number of complimentary passes amounting to thousands of rupees each were being distributed among the bureaucrats, politicians and other influential persons, which inconvenienced the ticket buyers.


Khalra case witness cross-examined
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 7
The prime witness in the case of the disappearance of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra was cross-examined in the court of Mr S. P. Bangar, Additional Sessions Judge, here today.

Kuldeep Singh, the main witness, was asked by the defence counsel about the details of the complaint he had filed in front of a magistrate at Patti (Amritsar) recently.

Kuldeep Singh, replying to the queries of the defence counsel, disclosed that he had filed the complaint under duress as he was being threatened by the accused including the now deceased Ashok Kumar and Rachpal Singh.

The cross examination of Kuldeep Singh would continue on March 9.


Woman nabbed with pistol
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 7
Secret information that some international smugglers were living in New Anand Nagar, near Maqsudan, made the Jalandhar police stumble upon a woman from whom, a 7.65 mm piston has been seized.

The woman has been identified as Amandeep Kaur, originally hailing from Kohala village in Amritsar district.

Secret information was received by the SSP, Mr S.K. Asthana, that some international smugglers, with possible terrorist links, were putting up in New Anand Nagar. A raid was conducted under the supervision of Mr Asthana. The search of a house led to recovery of a loaded 7.65-mm pistol with nine live cartridges from its lady occupant.

During preliminary investigation of the woman, it was found that some international smugglers, who have been operating within and outside the country for years, were expected to bring some narcotics and weapons to Jalandhar. The woman, according to Mr Asthana, revealed that the expected smugglers could be armed with lethal weapons and would be travelling in a Maruti Zen car. Accordingly, nakabandi was done and a Zen car was signalled to stop near Kartarpur yesterday. The car sped away but was finally stopped. The verification of the occupants, however, showed that they were carrying nothing incriminating.

But today, the police intercepted another Zen car with a Ludhiana registration number and arrested four persons, who have been identified as Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Majitha, Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Dhardeo village of Amritsar, Harjit Singh, a resident of Rajasansi, and Kulwinder Singh Bittu, a resident of Sathiala, and heroine worth Rs 2 crore has been seized from them.


Pvt college teachers to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 7
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), at its state executive meeting at R.K. Arya College here yesterday, decided to intensify its stir to protest against the “indifferent” attitude of the state government towards the grievances of thousands of private college teachers in Punjab.

Prof R.S. Brar and Dr Jagwant Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the PCCTU, in a press note, said private college teachers would observe a daylong fast on March 17 and 18 in their respective colleges.

The state executive of the PCCTU would stage protest dharnas in front of the office of the DPI (C), Punjab, in Chandigarh on March 22, 23 and 24. Besides, the PCCTU activists would court arrest at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, on March 29.

The main demands of the PCCTU are release of fourth quarter grant worth Rs 18.68 crore, merger of 50 per cent DA with basic pay, implementation of the Johl Committee report, grant of pension and gratuity scheme, grant of HRA for rural private colleges, relaxation in refresher courses and adjustment of teachers affected by shifting of plus two classes from colleges to schools.


Govt Polytechnic emerges overall champion at
youth fest

Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 7
Amidst the roaring hometown support, the students of the local Government Polytechnic College lifted the overall trophy in the three-day seventh
inter-polytechnic youth festival, which concluded here on Saturday.

The ‘champion’ college scored 35 points, while the Punjab Institute of Textile Technology, Amritsar, succeeded in getting the second position with 21 points and Mehar Chand Polytechnic, Jalandhar, stood third with 18 points.

The boys from about 35 polytechnic colleges of the state participated in the three-day inter-polytechnic youth festival for boys.

The boys of the local Government Polytechnic College and LLRM Polytechnic, Ajitwal (Moga) shared first position in the Bhangra event while Government Polytechnic, Amritsar, and R & D Centre, Ludhiana, shared the second prize.

In the fancy dress competition, Vikas of Mehar Chand Polytechnic, Jalandhar, got the first place, while Amanjot of J.R. Polytechnic, Hoshiarpur, and Lakhwinder of Government Polytechnic College, Bathinda, shared the second spot.

Eminent television artists Nirmal Jaura, Nirmal Rishi and Vipan Kapoor were the judges at the last day of the event.


Free counselling at Psychofest-2005
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), March 7
On the second day of the week-long Guru Kashi Utsav being celebrated at the local Punjabi University Guru Kashi campus, the students of the Department of Psychology, Punjabi university, Patiala, organised “Psychofest-2005” here yesterday.

This one-day event was organised to provide free psychological testing and counselling services to the students of the campus. Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi university, Patiala, inaugurated the fest.

Mr Baldev Singh, head, Department of Psychology, Punjabi University, said the fest was an effort to help the youth to attain mature personality through self-understanding and confidence building exercises aimed at inculcating positive attitude in every sphere of life.

The students of the Department of Theatre and Television gave a colourful start to the Natak Mela by staging a play, “Hina Dunduv aur Lati Sharjang”.


Heroics of Banda Bahadur brought alive
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 7
The Department of Theatre and Television, Punjabi University, brought alive the heroics of the great warrior, Lachman Das, aka, Banda Bahadur, at Punjabi University’s Talwandi Sabo centre today.

A Punjabi play written by Gurdial Singh Phull, was the third presentation of the ongoing natak mela as part of the Guru Kashi Utsav being held at the Punjabi University Guru Kashi campus, Talwandi Sabo.

Directed by Lakha Lehri, the play had the lead roles played by actors Harman, Harpreet Gill, Vandana Kapoor, Jagtar Jaggi. Girl students from the department played many male roles in the play. The character of Lachman Das, who became a saint by the name of Madho Das, and later joined the forces of Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh to register one of the most significant wins for the Sikh forces was brought alive by way of narrative and music.

Tejinder Gill and Shamim Iqbal gave music of the play.

A special short documentary film made on Yadvindra College of Engineering and the vision of the university was also shown.


Play on female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 7
The District Cultural Society organised a cultural programme on the eve of Women’s Day celebrations. Students of APJ College of Fine Arts Jalandhar, gave an impressive performance in the auditorium of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here today. All the items, including a Hindi play “Aap Biti,” based on female foeticide, were highly appreciated by the audience.

Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary was the chief guest, Dr D.S. Heera, Principal BBSB Engineering College, presided over the function and Dr Sucharita Sharma, Principal, APJ College, was the guest of honour.

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