P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Capt rules out Cabinet reshuffle
Crosses over to Pak with 60-member delegation
Tribune News Service

Wagah, March 14
Ruling out any Cabinet reshuffle in the next two years, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, today announced that his party would contest and win the forthcoming Assembly elections with the same team.

Before crossing over to Pakistan, the Chief Minister said he was extremely satisfied with the present team and saw no reason for a reshuffle. He denied news published in a section of the Press indicating that he was reshuffling his Cabinet in the coming days. Terming the news item as politically motivated, the Chief Minister said he was fully satisfied with the work of his Council of Ministers.

In yet another statement, Capt Amarinder Singh said the proposed bus service between Amritsar and Lahore was likely to be launched before Baisakhi (April 13) this year, as per the announcement by the Indian Foreign Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, and the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Shaukat Aziz, on February 15 in Islamabad. The delay could be due to a public interest litigation (PIL) pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

However, the Chief Minister expressed confidence that opening of bilateral trade with Pakistan through Wagah would usher in economic prosperity in both Punjabs (East and West).

Speaking about his itinerary in Pakistan, the Chief Minister said he, along with Mr Pervaiz Elahi, would lay the foundation stone of the Mangtaawala-Sri Nankana Sahib road, which would facilitate devotees to visit Nankana Sahib, bypassing Lahore.

Later, a rousing welcome was accorded in Pakistan to a 60-member Indian delegation led by Capt Amarinder Singh, at zero line on the Wagah border even as Pakistani counterpart, Mr Pervaiz Elahi “travelled hand in hand on the road to peace and economic prosperity”.

Thousands of children from different colleges and schools of Lahore and neighbouring towns waved national flags of India and Pakistan raising slogans like “Hind -Pak dosti zindabad”. Groups of dancers attired in folk costumes danced to folk tunes to welcome Capt Amarinder Singh and members of his delegation.

Capt Amarinder Singh said his government was making a humble attempt to create a conductive environment for opening trade barriers through road between the neighbouring countries. He said he had sown a seed and it would fructify with the efforts and goodwill of people from both sides of the border.

Speaking about steps taken for improving trade relations between the two countries through the road route, the Chief Minister said it had to be done by the Union Governments of both the countries through bilateral agreement and he was just trying to create a conducive environment for this.

The Chief Minister said he would also be meeting the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan during his three-day visit to Pakistan and would utilise the opportunity to pay obeisance at Sri Panja Sahib and Katasraj Shiv Mandir in Chakwal district in Pakistan.


Civil Secretariat remains deserted
From Mohali, scene shifts to Lahore, Delhi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
At the massive Civil Secretariat building, which used to be a busy place on all working days, things have changed drastically during the past few years in general and last week in particular.

Now it remains deserted. Last week, it was the first Test match between India and Pakistan at the Mohali cricket stadium that took away not only senior bureaucrats and members of their personal staff but also Ministers.

This week, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, accompanied by three members of his Council of Ministers — Ch Jagjit Singh, Mr Lal Singh and Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee — and two Parliamentary Secretaries - Mr Ashwani Shekhri and Rana K.P. Singh — are on a tour of Pakistan. Accompanying them are the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, the Industry Secretary, Mr S.C. Aggarwal, and the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Suresh Kumar.

On the other hand, the main Opposition party in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Shiromani Akali Dal, has given a call to its senior leaders, including Members of the Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly and office-bearers, to be in the Union Capital tomorrow for a daylong dharna outside Parliament House.

The Akalis are to protest against attempts by the Congress-led UPA Government to “subvert democracy,” “growing corruption” in the Congress government in Punjab and alleged misuse of official machinery in the Ajnala byelection.

These developments apart, the 10-storeyed Civil Secretariat building has been losing its sheen over the years. If the low turnout of the common man at the Civil Secretariat for the redress of grievances is any indication, then it is no more the destination for such purposes.

In 1992 when the Congress government led by Beant Singh assumed office, there was a multifold increase in the inflow of persons from all over Punjab to this centre of governance.

According to an estimate, on working days 2,000 to 3,000 visitors used to frequent the Secretariat every day. But now the number of such visitors has dropped drastically. It seldom crosses a few hundreds mark now.

Frequent absence of senior functionaries, including the Chief Minister, members of his Council of Ministers and also bureaucrats, appears to be the main reason for this major drop in number of visitors to the Secretariat.

Tighter security arrangements and difficulty in obtaining entry passes may be contributory factors.

At times, people coming from far-flung places have to return disappointed on being told that the Minister or bureaucrat they wanted to meet was out of station or on leave.

Desertion of the Secretariat just a few days before the start of the Budget session is unprecedented. Normally, the pre-Budget session days witness increased activity in the corridors of the Civil Secretariat with the Finance Department virtually becoming inaccessible for obvious reasons.

The Budget session is to start on the afternoon of March 18, a day after the Chief Minister and his entourage returns from Pakistan. An administrative reshuffle in the Police Department which was delayed because of the Ajnala byelection, now awaits the Chief Minister's return.

It is not only the Akalis who have decided to take their political battle to Delhi but also the Bharti Kisan Union which is planning a demonstration in the Union Capital on March 16, a day after the Akalis’ protest.

The BKU, which had sided with the Congress in the last Assembly elections, is up in arms against the UPA government for its “apathy” towards farmers of Punjab and Haryana.

“The UPA government has not only frozen the minimum support price for wheat and other crops but also kept unchanged the diesel price in spite of a steep fall in the international prices of petroleum products.

The MSP of Rs 630 for wheat is unacceptable,” says Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general Secretary, BKU.

Farmers from Punjab and Haryana will go in procession from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib to Parliament House on March 16, adds Mr Rajewal.


High Court
Razia seeks CBI probe into ‘locking’ incident
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 14
Ms Razia Sultana, Congress MLA from Malerkotla, who is also Chairperson of the Punjab Wakf Board, has sought CBI inquiry into her complaint that she was forcibly kept locked at her Chandigarh office by cops to prevent her from attending a meeting of the board. Ms Sultana is the wife of Mr Mohammad Mustafa, Inspector-General of Police.

The act, she had alleged, was the handiwork of Punjab Police ADGP Mohd Izhar Alam, with whom she as a running feud over the control of the board. Mr Alam is the official member of the board.

Stating that though she has complained to everybody who matters but no action has been initiated against the accused. Ms Sultana has prayed that the investigation be handed over to the CBI.

Ms Sultana had lodged a complaint with the Chandigarh Police, alleging that the Chandigarh Police had locked her up at her Waqf Board office for three hours at the instance of Mr Alam.

When the application came up before a Bench, it was adjourned to be put up before the appropriate Bench on March 17.

On her petition, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also stayed the operation of the decisions taken by the members of the board at the meeting held on February 11.

The petition challenged the legality of the meeting in which all powers of the board were vested in Mr Alam.

In her petition, she had stated that the meeting was unconstitutional and illegal as it was requisitioned illegally and without the notice or consent of the Chairperson.

Mr Alam's appointment as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the board had also been stayed by the High Court. The petition challenging his appointment as CEO was filed by Ludhiana resident Alamudin.

Bail granted

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court on Monday granted bail to Kanwarpal Singh, secretary-general of the Dal Khalsa, and other accused in a case of relating to alleged raising of anti-national slogans on January 26 this year.

According to the FIR registered against Kanwarpal and 12 others, they raised anti-national slogans and fired in the air at Gurdwara Shaheedan, Amritsar. All accused are presently lodged in Central Jail, Amritsar.

Taking up the petition filed by them seeking bail, the Judge allowed their request.

Affidavit filed

The Government of India has filed a fresh affidavit in the High Court in a PIL filed by advocate Malwinder Singh Waraich seeking inclusion of the Kuka movement of 1872 in the list of movements recognised for pension under the Swatantarta Sainik Pension Scheme, 1980.

The government has stuck to its original stand that since none of the eligible dependents was expected to be alive now, it has also stated that its non-inclusion in the list was fully justified. Unlike in the past, the government has, however, not challenged that the Kuka movement was part of the freedom movement.

The Union Government had earlier rejected the prayer by raising two objections. It ha said that the movement was religious and that none of the eligible dependents of Kukas of 1872, that is, their widows or unmarried daughters was expected to be alive to qualify for pension.


RSS had secret meetings with Sikh hardliners

New Delhi, March 14
Before the Akali-BJP combine took power in Punjab in 1998, the RSS began a dialogue with Sikh hardliners to understand their mindset and to checkmate the recurrence of the turmoil in the state, according to an RSS report.

The Akali leadership, it says, dissociated itself from Sikh militants, but the RSS acted aggressively on a "long-term perspective", before and during the Akali-BJP rule in Punjab to woo the community hurt by more than a decade of unrest.

A documented RSS report talks of the sangh’s moves at understanding the Sikh psyche and ideas that led to the demand for “Khalistan”.

The Sangh Parivar first held a meeting with those who mattered a great deal in Damdami Taksal of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale in 1998, the report said.

RSS chief Sudarshan had voiced reservations at the meeting over some “provocative” pictures in the taksal’s yearly diary in 1998.

The documents, however, describe the meeting as a successful beginning of the RSS dialogue with the Sikh militants as the taksal leaders not only agreed to withdraw the diary, but also agreed to hold regular interaction with the RSS chief.

The RSS initiative was taken by Mr Rulda Singh, founder and member of the Shiromani Samiti of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat.

He claims to have received religious education from Damdami Taksal when Sant Kartar Singh was its chief and Sant Bhinderanwale was one of its students.

The meetings, denied by taksal leaders stoutly, were, however, secret at that time.

Even now when contacted, the taksal dubbed RSS documents an attempt to “bring discredit to the seat headed once by Sikh martyr Baba Deep Singh of the 18th century”.

With Mr Rulda Singh in the forefront, the documents say, the RSS leaders held a series of meetings with Sant Samaj leaders, including Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, a former Akal Takht Jathedar, senior Akali leader and several "sants" of various deras and sects in Punjab.

A series of interactions culminated in a bigger session at Mehta Chowk on December 26, 1999, which was attended by top Sikh religious leaders and RSS leaders, including a Governor of a Northeastern state and RSS chief Sudarshan, the papers reveal.

On the basis of inputs from the meetings, punctuated with discussions with Sikh scholars over two years, the RSS finalised a 14-point agenda on Sikh grudges and demands in the session, which it agreed to take up with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and at the state level also.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, sources said, was not inclined to take up any of these issues fearing that the release of TADA detainees could lead to the resurgence of militancy and may demoralise the police and the paramilitary forces whose “heavy anti-insurgency measures succeeded in suppressing the ‘Khalistan’ movement”.

At one juncture, persuaded by the RSS, Mr Advani was ready to resolve Sikh prisoners’ cases when Mr Badal opposed it and even approached the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with a plea that "such a move would create difficulties for me to rule", sources said.

In a document circulated among Sikh scholars, the RSS claims credit for getting Sikh prisoners under TADA in UP released, securing second language status to Punjabi in Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and according of ownership rights to Sikh farmers in UP. — UNI


One detained as girl ends life over ‘doctored’ photos
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 14
Twentyone-year-old Rajni, who consumed poisonous tablets yesterday as she was disturbed over the distribution of her ‘doctored’ pictures in the nude in her locality, allegedly by a young man whom she had refused to marry, died today. The police detained the accused, Sarbjit Sabi, and a probe was initiated to ascertain from where Sabi had got the face of the girl ‘superimposed’ on the photographs.

In her statement to the police after being admitted to the local Civil Hospital, Rajni said Sabi, who had been harassing her repeatedly, saying he was in love with her, got enraged after her refusal to marry him. According to Rajni’s statement, Sabi sent a packet, containing the ‘doctored pictures’, to her home.

She alleged that Sabi showed the ‘doctored’ photographs to youngsters in the locality. She added that she got so upset that she consumed poisonous tablets.

When residents of the locality came to know about the episode, they thrashed up Sarbjit, a resident of Madhojhad village in Kapurthala district. Rajni was admitted to a private hospital, from where she was referred to the Civil Hospital, where she died today.

Family members of Rajni believed that Rajni’s face was ‘superimposed’ by the accused with the help of a computer. The police detained Sarbjit Sabi at Civil Hospital in Kapurthala, where he had been admitted.


Examinations at 10 centres cancelled
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 14
The examinations of classes X and XII held at 10 centres have been cancelled by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) due to complaints of mass copying.

In a press note issued here today, Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations, said that the sanctity of the examinations had not been maintained at various centres as complaints of mass copying had been made by members of the flying squads. The complaints have been also received that there was outside interference at these examination centres. The Chairman of PSEB, Prof Harbans Singh Sidhu, cancelled the examination exercising the powers conferred on him under chapter 6 of the General Regulation of Examinations. The date, place and time for re-examination would be intimated by the board later.

The board has cancelled seven following examinations of class X held at the following centres. These are Hindi paper held at Government Senior Secondary School, Ramdas, Amritsar, on March 4, Mathematics paper held on March 7 at Government High School, Ugar Aulakh, Amritsar, Dashmesh Public High School, Tahli Sahib, Amritsar, Government High School, Chogawan, Amritsar, Government Senior Secondary School (B-1), Jakhepal-1, Sangrur, Government Senior Secondary School (B-2), Jakhepal-2, Sangrur, Government High School, Sikri, Hoshiarpur. The examination of class XII for English held on March 5 at three centres has been cancelled. These centres are Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Bhargav Nagar, Jalandhar 24, Government Senior Secondary, Kot Baba Deep Singh (B-1), Amritsar 56, Government Senior Secondary School, Kot Baba Deep Singh (B-2), Amritsar 57.


Row over PG medical entrance test
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 14
The future of hundreds of meritorious medical and dental graduates, who are residents and domicile of Punjab but have passed their MBBS/BDS degree courses from institutions situated outside Punjab, looks bleak in the light of the prospectus and notification issued by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, and the Department of Medical Education and Research (Health III Branch), Punjab, respectively, regarding the postgraduate entrance test (PGET)-2005 for admission to MD/MS/MDS courses and postgraduate diploma.

Giving this information to The Tribune today, Dr Vikram Sharma, President of the Punjab Private Unaided Self-Financed Dental Colleges Association, said in the prospectus it had been stated that the test would be open to candidates, who were residents of Punjab and had passed their MBBS/BDS courses from an institution situated in Punjab. However, children/wards/ dependants of Punjab Government employees serving outside Punjab, Central Government employees, military and paramilitary personnel, who were born in Punjab, had been allowed to appear in the PGET-2005, he added.

Dr Sharma also said as per the notification all seats in the post-graduate courses, except the seats to be filled by the Central Government, in all government and private institutions in the state would be filled out of eligible candidates, who were bona fide residents of Punjab and had passed their MBBS/BDS courses from an institution situated in Punjab. However, the condition of having passed MBBS/BDS courses from an institution situated in Punjab was not applicable to children/ wards/dependants of Punjab Government employees serving outside Punjab, Central Government employees/military and paramilitary personnel, who were born in Punjab, he added.

Dr Sharma said with this decision of the Punjab Government, meritorious Punjab domicile MBBS/BDS students, who had cleared the common entrance test (CET) conducted by the CBSE, the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, and AIIMS, New Delhi, and had passed their MBBS/BDS degrees from these institutions outside the state in the past years, would not be able to appear in the PGET-2005 for admission to MD/MS/MDS courses in government and private colleges of Punjab. He said most of these doctors were registered with the Punjab Medical Council or the Punjab Dental Council, Chandigarh, and were working in Punjab. He said this decision of the government had emerged as a great shock for the meritorious students, as they were not eligible even to apply for the PGET-2005, for which the last date for submitting application forms was March 19 and the test date April 3.

Dr Sharma said the association had received a number of queries regarding clarification about the notification, which was nowadays in the thick of controversy because a large number of MBBS/BDS doctors of Punjab could not appear in the PGET-2005 as they had passed their degrees from outside Punjab. He said the association had urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into the matter at the earliest in the interests of the medical fraternity and allow all MBBS/BDS doctors, who were residents and domicile of Punjab, to compete in the PGET-2005.


9 Bangladeshis arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
The Kotwali police today nabbed nine Bangladeshi nationals without proper documents from near the Golden Temple here. The police registered a case under Sections 3, 34, 20 Indian Passport Act and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act for entering the country without valid visa.

The accused were identified as Abdullah, Ahmad, Nur-ul-Din, Abdul Mian, Jalal Mian, Rasiq-ul-Mian, Raj Kamal, Mahiram and Gauriuddin.

According to the police, they were duped by travel agents who had assured them of a safe passage to Pakistan.


Punjab surgeon shows laparoscopy skill in Pak
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Dr Kuldip Singh, Professor of Surgery at DMC, Ludhiana, demonstrated his technique of laparoscopic-assisted hysterectomy in Lahore during the 10th International Conference of Surgeons of Pakistan held last week. More than 600 surgeons participated in the conference.

Back from the neighbouring country, Dr Kuldip Singh in a talk with TNS said Pakistan is way behind India in the medical field.

Dr Kuldip Singh is one of the pioneer surgeons of laparoscopy in India. He has innovated a technique of safe and cost-effective surgery by using suturing and knotting with simple sutures.

Removal of uterus with fibroids is indicated in cases of symptoms and if the ovaries look apparently healthy, are left as such in the younger age group. With large size fibroids in the uterus in patients of 40 to 50 years of age, total hysterectomy is advised.

He said while laparoscopic gynaecology surgery is well established in India, there is hardly any centre in Pakistan, which does this surgery because of limitations of training, encouragement from seniors and financial constraints.

Dr Kuldip Singh, who is president-elect of the Indian Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons, says that India is on par with the advancing word in laparoscopic technique.

In Pakistan, he demonstrated his technique of doing difficult gall bladder surgery laparoscopically. While surgeons from the developing countries appreciated his results, Pakistani doctors invited him to come again and train surgeons to promote this surgery there.


Sons meet father after 20 years
Neeraj Bagga

Wagah, March 14
The Mohali Test between India and Pakistan provided the opportunity to reunite father and his three sons after a gap of 20 years. The Pakistanis expressed their delight over the decision of the Government of India to allow them to visit other cities of Punjab, which made it possible for them to see Amritsar.

Partition had separated Mr Ibrahim, 95, resident of Chabbal, nearly 20 km away from Amritsar, and his three sons, Najib Ahmad, Bashir Ahmad and Munir Ahmad, who had migrated to Pakistan. Mr Ibrahim had opted to stay back in India along with his fourth son and two daughters.

Najib, Bashir and Munir returned home today and the parting of the family became quite painful.

Mr Ibrahim thanked Allah for making it possible for him to meet his sons at the twilight of his life.

He said visa restrictions and bitter relations between the two countries had prevented the family reunion. He pleaded to both governments to ease visa restrictions, especially for blood relations, so that they could visit one other more frequently.

The visitors were delirious over the shopping opportunity and bought gifts, artificial jewellery, souvenirs and sarees. Helmets were perhaps the most favourite among them.


Pak to landscape Hindu, Sikh shrines
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, March 14
The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) under the Federal Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs, Pakistan, has made a unique proposal of incorporating sacred plants in the surrounding landscapes of shrines.

Mr Syed Faraz Abbas, Deputy Administrator, Shrines and Horticulture, ETPB, while talking to TNS in Pakistan said the ETPB agenda on landscaping would have special features for Hindu and Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

The proposal included planting sacred plants in the shrines’ open spaces and gardens.

Although the proposal is awaiting formal sanction, work is being done to study and innumerate such trees, shrubs and herbs.

The sacred species for Hindus include tulsi, pipal, champa, chameli, marigold and lotus.

The first project of plantation would start at the Sadhu Bela shrines in Sakkar, Sindh, said Mr Faraz.

The Baba Balkhandi shrines would also be included.

At the holy Katasraj in Chakwal district, Pakistan, tree guards have already been readied and grills have been prepared to encompass the sacred site.

Flowers with varied hues of yellow were being contemplated to be planted in gurdwaras and temples to give a “basanti” look to these religious places, said Mr Faraz.

A 193-strong Hindu jatha head, Prof Krishan Chand, have offered assistance to an ETPB team, including Mr Izhar-Ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary (Special), and Mr Faraz, who are likely to visit India shortly to interact with Hindu organisations and ayurvedic experts regarding this project.

Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, head of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, said they would cooperate and provide guidance by experts in the study of ancient scriptures, traditions, rituals for planting of specific species like tulsi and pipal.


19 shack-owners served eviction notice
Bipin Bhardwaj

Rajpura, March 14
The building and roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) has issued eviction notices to 19 shack-owners who have allegedly encroached upon government land along the busy Rajpura-Patiala road adjacent a local bus stop.

The Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of the department has directed the alleged encroachers to wind up their establishments within 15 days from the date of issuance of the notices. The notices have also warned them to vacate the government land on their own otherwise stringent action would be taken against them.

The SDO said that the encroachers had taken over government land behind a building that was housing the office of the Rajpura Market Committee earlier. The officer also made it clear that the notices had been served to the encroachers after the issue was discussed at meetings held on July 26, 2004, and February 2, 2005, between the PPWD and the Rajpura Market Committee officials.

The PPWD authorities have also informed the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Rajpura, and other senior officials of the PPWD and local administration.

Meanwhile, angry over the PPWD decision, the affected shopkeepers today met the Rajpura SDM and listed their grievances. They complained that the authorities had not informed them in this regard earlier. The owners of the shacks also alleged that the market committee had constructed their official building at the site on the passage left for the road.

“We have been earning our livelihood by running our shacks from the area for the past over 25 years. Now the government has woken from its slumber after a long time and was harassing us unnecessarily,” said Mr Nikka Ram, who is running a cycle repair shop at the site for the past over 25 years.

“Many shack-owners even have their regular electricity connections to their establishments and are ready to pay rent to the government. The government should establish them instead of uprooting,” said Mr Johra Singh, another affected man who is running an auto repair shack.

The shopkeepers have also threatened to move court if the PPWD authorities uproot them. 


Tension grips Market Committee area in Sunam
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 14
Tension gripped the Market Committee office area at Sunam today when some miscreants pelted stones and bricks on the vegetable arhtiyas from Mansa, Budhlada, Sunam, Barnala, Maur Mandi, Rampura Phul, Samana and some other places. These arhtiyas were reportedly staging a dharna near the Market Committee office against giving the collection of Market Committee fee of the Sunam vegetable market on contract through auction.

As per the information, no one was injured. Besides, no one lodged any complaint with the police in this regard till this evening. Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, Sunam, said if anyone lodged a complaint with the police, it would certainly take action against the erring persons.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the contract for collection of Market Committee fee of the Sunam vegetable market has been given to a Sunam firm for Rs 34.24 lakh.


Police working comes under cloud
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 14
The functioning of the district police came under a cloud following a raid conducted on the CIA staff office by a warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who got two businessmen allegedly kept in illegal custody released.

Sources said Sanjiv Kumar and Sashi Kumar of Shiva Trading Company were allegedly brought to the CIA staff office to settle a dispute with Satnam Singh, who alleged that the duo had taken money from him for sending his grandson abroad.

Both Sanjiv and Sashi were picked up by the police on Friday and had allegedly been kept in illegal confinement. The warrant officer, Mr Gulshan Kumar, conducted the raid late last night and got the duo released from the police custody.

Though no senior police official was available for comments, police sources confirmed the raid while clarifying that the businessmen were asked to come to the CIA staff office to strike a compromise with a complainant and were not kept in illegal custody.


Traffic blues
Our Correspondent

Nabha, March 14
There are frequent traffic jams near Patiala Gate, Bhikhi More, Boran Gate, Old Subzi Mandi, Sadar Bazaar, Bhawara Bazaar, Panch Mukhi Mandir and Devi Dwala Chowk.

Shoppers from 200 villages around the town come here on scooters, motor cycles, three-wheelers, tractor-trolleys, tempos, marutas, cars, jeeps, rickshaws, rehras and carts. These vehicles and trucks and mini buses are parked haphazardly on roads and market areas. Even the policemen take their four-wheelers in the markets.

One can see trucks parked in narrow lanes. In lanes connecting Hira Mahal to Patiala Road traffic has to passby working combine-harvesters and labour tents.


865 family planning operations performed
Our Correspondent

Barnala , March 14
As many as 865 vasectomy and tubectomy operations were performed by the Health Department in district Sangrur in the medical camps organised from March 7 to 11.

Mr Darbara Singh Guru, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Punjab, disclosed this while presiding over a function organised at local Civil Hospital on the concluding day of the medical camp.

He asserted that the development could only be achieved by overcoming population problem in the country.

Mr Guru expressed his satisfaction over the fact that fertility rate in Punjab had come down to 2.3 from 2.5 in the past as per the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) Report published by the Government of India.

He called upon the voluntary and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for more co-operation in overcoming this challenge. Mr Guru honoured Dr Raju Dhir, a master trainer of non-scalpel vasectomy and tubectomy technique from Chandigarh, Dr Baldev Raj, SMO, Dhanaula, Dr Dhol Singh Jattana, Dr Surjit Singh, and several others for making these camps a success with mementos and certificates. Mr Sohan Singh, a member of paramedical staff at the Civil Hospital Barnala and Mr Amrik Singh (both having one child) were also honoured for undergoing vasectomy operations and motivating others towards this cause.

Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, while speaking on the occasion, lauded the role of district administration for making this initiative a success.

He said it was very essential to break the psychological barriers in order to achieve more success in containing the population problem.

Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, thanked Mr Guru and the Deputy Commissioner for making these camps a grand success in the district. 


Punjab history meet from March 18
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 14
The 37th session of the Punjab history conference will be held from March 18 to 20 on the Punjabi University campus.

The theme of the conference will be ‘Punjab through the ages’. For the convenience of the scholars, the conference has been divided into four sections, namely, ancient, medieval, modern and Punjabi. The conference and its sections are scheduled to be presided over by eminent historians and scholars.

Prof P.L. Mehra of Chandigarh will inaugurate the conference. Prof S.S. Hans formerly Head, History Department, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, will be the general president, while Prof Arun Kesarvani, Head, Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Kurukshetra University, will preside over the ancient section. Prof Iqtidar Hussain Aiddiqui, Head, History Department, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, will preside over the medieval section. Prof Bhagwan Josh of the History Department, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, will preside over the modern section and Prof Gurbachan Singh Nayyar (retd), will presided over the Punjabi section.


Plea to transfer Tehsildar
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 14
A number of persons, including activists of political parties, today held a dharna against the Moonak Tehsildar, Mr Ravinder Singh Walia, in the tehsil complex at Moonak, about 60 km from here, levelling some charges against him and demanding his transfer from Moonak.

Mr Gurdip Singh Makror Sahib, a member of the central working committee of the SAD (Longowal), told The Tribune over the telephone this afternoon that they had organised the dharna against the Moonak Tehsildar for his alleged misbehaviour and corruption in the tehsil office. He said the protesters also raised slogans against the Tehsildar, demanding his transfer. The dharna was also addressed by the leaders of SAD (Longowal) and CPM (Pasla group), he added.

When The Tribune contacted Mr Ravinder Singh Walia, Tehsildar Moonak, over the telephone today, he said the charges were baseless and were being levelled by property dealers, as he did not oblige them. He said one of the leaders of the protesters had pressurised him to sign a document at 8 pm some days ago, which he declined. Besides, the said leader was also a brother of a property dealer. He said he was ready to face any action, if found guilty of corruption charges.


Saundra elected cooperative bank MD

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 14
Mr Gurdaman Singh Saundha, a Congress leader of the area, was today elected Managing Director of the Fatehgarh Sahib Central Co-Operative Bank, Sirhind, in place of Mr Gurmeet Singh Bhari, political secretary of the former Chief Minister late Beant Singh, who expired recently.

The election to the post of the MD, Fatehgarh Sahib Central Co-operative Bank, was fixed for today. But Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, Amloh, and Mr Samsher Singh Dullo, former MP, tried to postpone the election. On the other hand, Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Minister for Cooperatives, was in favour of election. Later, the election was conducted today with the intervention of the Chief Minister. OC


Death of Akali leader mourned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
The former Chief Minister and SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, along with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today mourned the death of Akali stalwart and former MLA, Mr Ujagar Singh Rangretta. Mr Rangretta passed away on March 12 at his native village.


Nepalese youth gets life term for boy’s murder
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 14
A 20-year-old Nepalese youth, Bharat Ram, was today sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a seven-year-old boy after committing unnatural sex with him by the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel. The Judge also fined the accused Rs 5,000. In case of default of fine, the accused has to undergo an additional three months rigorous imprisonment.

Besides, the accused was also sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 for committing unnatural sex with the boy. Both sentences will run concurrently.

Darshan Singh, the father of the deceased, a resident of Khizrabad village, lodged a complaint at the Kurali police station on September 19, 2000, that his son, Ranjit Singh, was missing for the past two days. The complainant had alleged that he suspected that his servant Bharat Ram had kidnapped Ranjit Singh with an intention to kill him.

Giving details, the complainant said his son had gone to a wrestling fair at the village on September 17 and did not return. From the same day, his servant was also missing. Thereafter, a police team, accompanied by villagers, raided several places and arrested the servant.

The accused told the police that after attending the wrestling fair, he had taken the boy to another village, Sangatpura. After committing unnatural sex with the boy, he strangled him to death. Later, the body was thrown into a seasonal revulet.


Shiv Sena activists released
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 14
Eight activists of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) including Mr Ranjit Rana, district president, Mr Deepak Mehndiratta, chairman, commercial and industrial wing, Mr Tarsem Lal, district vice-president, and Mr Shammi Sharma, city president, who were arrested by the Hoshiarpur police for breach of peace before commencement of the Mohali cricket Test, were released by the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Hoshiarpur today.


Park Plaza case: bail plea hearing tomorrow
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 14
The bail applications filed by Dharminder Raghav and Sangam Kumar allegedly involved in the infamous Park Plaza case will come up for hearing in the court of Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Sukdarshan Singh Khaira, on March 16.

The local police had registered a case under section 307, 452, 294 and 120-B of IPC at Division No 5 police station on March 4, 2005 following the statement of victim, Harpreet Singh of Gurdev Nagar, Ludhiana.


Alleged kidnappers produced in court
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 14
Vikram, alias Vicky Walia, Jasbir Singh and his wife Sonia, all alleged kidnappers and killers of Abhi Verma, alias Harry were brought under tight security from Jalandhar jail to Hoshiarpur and were produced in the court of Mr. Kishore Kumar, Civil Judge-cum-Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, today. Mr Kishore Kumar extended their judicial remand up to March 28. Later, they were taken back to Jalandhar under tight security.

It may be recalled that Abhi Verma, a student of class IX, was allegedly kidnapped and killed on February 14, 2005.


Death of buffaloes
Secy, Animal Husbandry visits Swara village
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 14
The Secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Punjab, Mr D.S. Bains, today visited Swara village in connection with the death of 28 animals in the area due to a mysterious disease.

The Secretary told the villagers that a high-level inquiry committee to probe into the matter had been constituted and strict action would be taken against those found guilty. Mr Bains, who was accompanied by a three-member diagnostic team from Jalandhar headed by Dr H.S. Sangha, Deputy Director, gathered first-hand information from the villagers about the deaths of buffaloes and calves over the past two months.

Mr Bains asked the suspended SVO, Kharar, Dr K.K. Sharma, on the phone about the post-mortem report which had reportedly not been submitted by him. It was also alleged that he had not even sent the viscera for a chemical examination after conducting the postmortem.

Dr Baljit Singh Sidhu, Director of the department, who had also accompanied the Secretary to the village, told Chandigarh Tribune that even when so many head of cattle had died recently many persons did not want to get their animals vaccinated.

Dr Sidhu said two officials had also been called from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, for investigations. He said additional staff in place of suspended doctors and a class IV employee had been deputed who had joined their duties yesterday. He said a 24-hour camp was being conducted in the village and the services of a veterinary doctor, a pharmacist and a class IV were provided round-the-clock.

It is learnt that a number of villagers talked in favour of the suspended veterinary officer, Dr Pawanpreet Kaur, during the Secretary’s visit.


Farmers bringing cattle at fairs without health certificates
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
In violation of the Contagious Diseases Act, a large number of farmers in Punjab are bringing cattle to fairs organised all over the state without mandatory health certificates.

As a result of non-payment of fees, the state government is annually suffering an estimated loss of Rs 4 crore. Besides this, the possibility of an epidemic's outbreak cannot be ruled out in the absence of certificates.

The sources in the Punjab's Animal Husbandry Department claim that a nominal fee of Rs 20 per animal is charged for the certificates by the veterinary doctors of the areas. The money is accepted from farmers bringing cattle to the fairs aimed at promoting their sales.

As lakhs of farmers from all over the region attend the fairs organised in different districts almost every month, the loss suffered by the state government is "tremendous". The sources add that the funds supposed to be collected from the farmers are to be utilised for the welfare of the animals in the state, besides research in the filed.

They claim that the matter was recently discussed between Punjab's former Rural Development Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang. It was decided to implement the provisions of the Act in letter and spirit. But so far hardly anything has been done by the authorities concerned in this direction.

Demanding the Act's implementation, the President of Punjab State Veterinary Officers' Association, Dr Ashok Sharma, says that the efforts of making Punjab a disease-free zone can bear fruits only if the farmers are made to go in for the certificates as it will check the spread of contagious diseases.

As the certificates are issued only to healthy animals, the ones suffering from diseases will not be able to participate in the fairs. It will also encourage the farmers to go in for vaccination, resulting in disease-free environment, eventually.

Dr Sharma asserts that as of now the lapse is occurring as fairs are currently being organised in the state by the Block Development and Panchayat Officers, instead of the veterinarians.

He adds that the income will increase manifold if the Animal Husbandry Department is handed over the task of organising the fairs and utilising the funds.

Regarding disease-free zone, he says that livestock population in the state is currently being vaccinated for foot and mouth disease. This follows the Centre's decision to create disease-free zone in Punjab, along with eight other states in the country. The programme is fully funded by the Central Government. So far, eight districts — Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore — have been covered under the scheme.


No-confidence motion against MC chief
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 14
Ten out of 13 municipal councillors of Anandpur Sahib subdivision of Ropar district today passed a no-confidence resolution against the president of the Municipal Council, Anandpur Sahib, and submitted a letter to the acting officer, Mr Gurbakhas Singh in the afternoon.

All the 10 councillors are set to replace the president of the MC, Mr Bhajan Singh. The councillors demanded that the meeting should be called within seven days.


Money snatched from shopkeeper
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 14
Three unidentified motor-cycle borne youths snatched Rs 1530 from Mr. Santokh Kumar, a shopkeeper of Saila Khurd, while he was going to his village Mehdood after closing his shop on March 10.

During investigation the snatchers were identified as Surjit Singh alias Bheem of Badoan, Hardip Singh, alias Sethi, of Behbalpur and Baba Gurdit Singh of Walia Transport. The Garshankar police has registered a case under section 382 IPC.


Missing boy traced within hour
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 14
The Hoshiarpur police restored six-year-old son of Shiv Balak, a peon in the Session Court here, within an hour of receiving the complaint from his parents today.

Mr Mandar Singh, Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), Hoshiarpur, told mediapersons that Shiv Balak complained at 11.30 am that his son Vinay Kumar was missing for the past two hours from his house in the Civil Lines area.

The police made necessary inquiries. The information and the boy’s photograph was sent to Ropar, Una, Jalandhar and Nawanshahr districts. At 12.30 pm, Constables Rajinder Singh and Krishan Lal found the boy near Mohalla Gautam Nagar on the Hoshiarpur-Una road, near the temple of Baba Bhootgiri. He said that the Inspector General Police had granted commendation certificates and Rs 2,000 each to Constables Rajinder Singh and Krishan Lal. 


Missing girl’s body found

Hoshiarpur, March 14
The body of Pooja, a student of BA first year, was recovered today from Chohal Dam.

Pooja, daughter of Mr Karanbir, a resident of Mohalla Bansi Nagar, was missing from her house since March 11. The police has registered a case under Section 306 IPC against one Gurbinder Singh alias Soni of Pur Hiran. — UNI


Father-in-law, husband held for woman’s murder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 14
The police claims to have solved the murder case of a woman, Jasvinder Kaur, by arresting her husband and father-in-law.

The reason behind the murder is said to be her giving birth to three baby girls.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said that the body of Jaswinder Kaur, wife of Jaswant Singh, was found buried at Mandheran village of Khamano sub-division of the district on October 18, 2004. Labh Singh, father-in-law of Jaswinder Kaur, lodged a complaint with the Khamano police in this regard.

He said that a few days ago during separate questioning of both father and son the truth was revealed. The SSP said that during questioning they told the police that they decided to murder Jaswinder when she gave birth to the third baby girl. They confessed to having murdered her and buried the body in a field. Both accused were today presented in a court and were sent to judicial custody till March 26.

Meanwhile, Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, a former minister, today staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner alleging that the father and the son had been wrongly implicated in the case.


Two killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 14
A motorcyclist and a woman were killed when a speedy car hit them on the Seetogunno road near local by pass yesterday evening.

One more woman rider Sushila was injured. Sushila and Rani sought a lift from motorcyclist Ramesh Kumar on the Seetogunno road on yesterday evening.

The motorcycle had hardly covered a few metres towards Rajanwali that a car, coming from the opposite direction, hit it killing Rani on the spot.

Ramesh died in the ambulance while being taken to Ludhiana.

The driver abandoned the car and ran away.


Symposium on radiochemistry
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 14
More than 300 scientists from India and abroad will take part and present their research papers on nuclear energy in the four-day international symposium on nuclear and radiochemistry being hosted by the Departments of Physics and Chemistry of Guru Nanak Dev University in collaboration with Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences of the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. The seminar will be held from March 15 to 18 at the university.

There will be a special session on applications of radioisotopes in health care, agriculture, industry and chemical research. Dr K.S. Thind and Prof. R.K. Mahajan, conveners, said 15 scientists from Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada, France would also participate in it.


National seminar on literature
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 14
A two-day national seminar on “Approaches to the study of literature” organised by School of Punjabi Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, was inaugurated by Prof Namwar Singh, an eminent critic from Jawaharlal Nehru University, here today.

Dr Namwar Singh while tracing different theories on the study of literature in the previous century attempted to reach their roots.

“The Internet with its dominating medium of English language will soon gobble up whatever little is left, especially in fields of communication,” he said.

Dr Gurcharan Singh Arshi, distinguished Punjabi scholar from Delhi University, presided over the inaugural session while Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the delegates.

Earlier, Dr H.S. Bhatia, director of the seminar, said more than 100 participants from various parts of the country were participating.

Dr Manjit Pal Kaur, Head, School of Punjabi Studies, presented a vote of thanks.


D. Litt for former VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 14
Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh, Professor Emeritus of economics and former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, was conferred the degree of D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) on the occasion of the 5th convocation of the Faculty of Social Sciences as a part of the 86th Convocation of Banaras Hindu University recently.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who delivered the convocation address, said the growing indifference to values which held the Indian society together, had already done incalculable harm to national unity and social progress. Materialism and individualism, two trends of modern intellectual education, were signs of a decaying civilization. He added that there was an urgent need to promote a healthy reaction to such a development.

Talking of challenges to the present education system, Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh said there were two main challenges — erosion of values and failure of the system to work.


Employees of recognised schools to meet CM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 14
A high-level delegation of Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union Progressive Front will meet the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, soon to discuss their pending demands.

As per press note issued here today, a delegation of the progressive front led by Mr Upjit Singh Brar, president of the union, met Ms Preneet Kaur. They had discussed the main demands of aided schools and had handed over the memorandum of their demands.

The demands of these employees include pension scheme, removal of ban on fresh recruitment, merging 50 per cent dearness allowance with basic pay, administrative allowance for headmasters and principals, practical allowance for science teachers, rural allowance for employees posted in villages, shifting of employees of aided schools with their service and seniority to government schools. 

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 |