P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Nankana Sahib to get district status
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 1
Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramdev, Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan, has said that to minimise the rate of divorce, the Government of Pakistan is taking remedial measures to prolong the divorce settlement over 90 days.

The traditional ‘talaq’ becomes effective immediately after pronouncing the word thrice which he felt was not as per the spirit of the tradition.

Talking to The Tribune here, Justice Ramdev said the settlement of ‘talaq’ must go through different stages for its logical conclusion for which three months’ period was required. This new concept had been evolved to obviate so that spouse should not be under any duress while pronouncing divorce.

On the status of evacuee property, especially in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Justice Ramdev said such claims could be settled according to the law of the land (of Indian Kashmir). He, however, said that Pakistan’s “Azad Kashmir”, having separate Supreme Court had the legal right to take independence decision on such matters.

In a significant development, Justice Ramdev said Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev, was being elevated as district. He said Nankana Sahib was fast coming up as model town and all historical shrines were being preserved.

He said this information was provided to him by Mr Pervez Elahi, Chief Minister, West Punjab, when he met him in Lahore before coming to India . He said the four-laning from Wagah to Nankana Sahib was going on a war footing. On the Amritsar-Lahore bus service, he said the Government of Pakistan was keen to start it at the earliest.

Justice Ramdev was nostalgic about his previous visit to Nawanshahr — the ancestral house of his father. He said he was still keeping a Rs 1,000 Indian currency note, given to him by an old man. He said he could not forget the love and affection showered on him by residents of Nawanshahr. He said he wanted to build a stadium at Arya Senior Secondary School, Nawanshahr, where his father had the schooling.


GND varsity honours Pak Justice Ramday
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
Recalling the holocaust of Partition, Mr Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday of the Pakistan Supreme Court said it was unbelievable that blood of innocent persons had been shed in the region belonging to Guru Nanak Dev who had always taught universal brotherhood and communal harmony.

Addressing the 31st Annual Convocation of Guru Nanak Dev University here today, Justice Ramday appealed for cementing the bonds between the two neighbours who shared common heritage of love and affection. He said he had failed to understand who had sparked off the riots that had shaken the entire humanity.

Such massacre had never been witnessed in the world where once brothers cut each other’s throats. After his retirement he would definitely research the root-cause of the engineered mass killing, he said.

Quoting from the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev, Justice Ramdev said, “He struggled and strived, toiled but never tired. He suffered all this so that you and I of this subcontinent could live in peace”.

This was his only concern and this was all that he asked of us. But we refused to oblige. “We cut each others’ throats. We separated the loved ones from their dear ones. We rendered thousands of children orphan and we turned hundreds of smiling wives into lifeless widows. ‘Guru Ji, our heads hang in shame, but all is not lost. We seem to have learnt footsteps to rediscover the path that you showed to us,” he said, adding “sink our differences before they sink us all.”

Meanwhile, The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S. P. Singh, conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on Mr Justice Ramday and Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) on Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh and Dr Manohar Singh Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, in recognition of their contribution in their respective fields.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, and Dr R. S. Bawa, Registrar, read out the citations given to the three eminent personalities.

Playwright Atamjit and former Hockey Olympian Ajit Pal Singh were given gold medals for their contribution in their respective areas.

The Vice-Chancellor conferred degrees on more than 550 students of various disciplines.

Marshal Arjan Singh advised scholars that life was a great struggle and they would have to work hard to face the present challenges of the world. Hard work never goes waste. Stressing upon simple living, he said the youth of today should adopt the attitude of simple living in their lives.

He said he was of the firm opinion that no country gained from wars. He said he hate war and humanity gained from peace.


Liquor contractors’ men bully commuters
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, May 1
After taking over the liquor trade in Punjab, influential liquor contractors have deployed private parties at various state borders. These illegal private parties, who reportedly enjoy the patronage of the police and the Excise Department, have taken fancy to asserting their newly-acquired authority by checking and harassing anybody entering the state.

A retired government employee became their victim near Nangal village Bhoor on the Mukerian-Pathankot road yesterday. The employee, garlanded by his colleagues, was returning from his office after a farewell party along with his kin in a vehicle. Members of one of the parties stopped the vehicle.

The occupants were humiliated and abused by them on the contention that some of them possessed half-empty liquor bottles meant for sale in Himachal Pradesh. It was only after a lot of persuasion that the occupants of the vehicle were allowed to proceed.

When The Tribune team contacted members of one such party of a liquor contractor, they claimed that they had been authorised by the SSP Hoshiarpur and the Excise Department to check vehicles.

Interestingly, none of the officials of the Excise Department was accompanying the party. Only a constable of the department was present, who also corroborated their claim that they had the authority to check vehicles.

In the past too, commuters entering the state have complained of harassment at the hands of private armies of liquor contractors.

They have alleged invasion of privacy and harassment at the hands of members of such parties who stop vehicles on national and state highways at free will.

Officials of the Excise Department, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, maintained that private armies of liquor contractors had no authority to check commuters or their vehicles.

Legally, only an Excise Inspector was authorised to check vehicles in case of suspected smuggling of liquor from other states.

However, due to reported political patronage, they were not in the position to stop liquor contractors from harassing the public.

Legal experts opined that the Excise Department should clearly differentiate between what came under smuggling and what not. If a person wanted to bring a half-empty liquor bottle from a neighbouring state, it could not be termed as smuggling of liquor, they said.


Repair of Doaba roads long overdue
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Talwara, May 1
Roads in the hinterland of the Doaba are in shambles. Strewn with pot holes, many of the important roads, including national and state highways, passing through this neglected belt, have become cesspool brimming with rainwater and sewage.

The apathy of the state could be imagined from the fact that repeated agitations, dharnas and blockade of vehicular traffic by people during the past three years for repair of the 30-km stretch of Grand Trunk Road between Mukerian and Talwara have remained unresponded so far. The area is represented by none other than Dr Kewal Krishan, the Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

“The Public Works Department has been inserting huge advertisements in the newspapers at the cost of exchequer everyday announcing foundation stone laying ceremony or inauguration of one road or the other, but it has been turning a deaf ear to our suffering which has been continuing unabated for more than three years now,” remarked Mr Jugal Kishore, a resident of Hajipur, a small town midway between Mukerian and Talwara.

“It is a busy stretch connecting Mukerian with Talwara township and Himachal. But the authorities concerned have done little to redress our grievances,” he adds revealing that “neglect of Hajipur was more of political nature than anything else.

“The Nagar Panchayat in Hajipur is dominated by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

Even in Parliament, this area is represented by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna of the BJP. But in the Vidhan Sabha, Dr Kewal Krishan (Congress) represents us,” concludes Mr Kishore.

It is not only the Mukerian-Talwara stretch of the GT Road which is in shambles, but other roads in the region too are in a bad shape. A Tribune team had an extensive tour of the Doaba region during the past few days to survey the condition of state and national highways in the area.

Roads in general are in a bad shape. For example, the stretch of roads between Mahilpur and Hoshiarpur and then from Hoshiarpur to Dasuya, have become a nightmare for drivers.

“We are fearing the worst as the south west monsoon is round the corner. Whatever little of roads is left now will be washed away in the coming rains,” rues a taxi driver of Dasuya maintaining that the hinterland of the Doaba is basically served by private bus operators.

“We have the highest incidence of breakdown of our vehicles. Even the life of our vehicles has been cut short because of poor upkeep and maintenance of roads. Why the government is not paying any attention to national and state highways is difficult to comprehend. The revenue collection from road tax and registration of vehicles has been growing by more than 10 per cent per annum but the money earmarked for maintenance of roads is coming down every year. Even the mandatory repairs after six to eight years are not being carried out.

“Even if they repair the roads, they use a thin layer of premix upper crust without ever bothering to repair the base. There have been instances where the newly laid upper crust has come off in less than a week or fortnight of the repair,” says Mr Jarnail Singh, a transporter of the area.


Fake currency racket busted, four held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
The Majitha police has busted a gang involved in printing fake currency and arrested four persons, including baba of a dera and a computer engineer. The police has recovered fake currency worth Rs 2 lakh from the accused.

A press release here yesterday said the computer for preparing fake currency was set up at the dera of Baba Harbans Singh in Uppal village. According to the police Vivek Kumar, a resident of Tanda in Hoshiarpur district used to prepare the counterfeit currency.

He was caught red handed from the dera after information from the three accused, including the baba. The other accused include Gulzar Singh of Boparai village Baaz Singh and Baldev Raj of Kharal Kalan Jalandhar district.

According to details, on a tip off the police laid a naka at Jandiala near Tarn Taran bypass and caught

Harbans Singh, Gulzar Singh and Baldev Raj. The accused were travelling in an unnumbered Jeep.

Earlier too, Baldev Raj one of the accused was arrested by the Jalandhar and Kapurthala police for supplying fake currency notes. Gulzar Singh is an opium peddler and the two met in the jail. Vivek Kumar was known to Baldev Raj and they hatched plan to bring counterfeit notes.

The police has seized a computer, a printer, a monitor, a scanner etc from the dera.

A case under Sections 489 A, 489 B, 489 D and 420 of the IPC has been registered.


Germany for upgrading ties with India
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
There is a need to improve bilateral and cultural relations between India and Germany.

This was stated here yesterday by Mr Heimo Richter, Germany’s Ambassador to India, at a seminar on “Indo-German relations”, organised by the Amritsar chapter of the “Indo-German Society. He said there were 28 Indo German societies working in Germany for strengthening cultural bonds between the two countries.

Mr Richter said Germany, with a population of 82.5 billion people was the third largest economy in the world after the U.K. and Japan and a key player in the European Community.

He said Germany had already to its credit 8,000 Indo-German technical collaborations in progress at this juncture. There was still a room for opening more avenues in the field of food processing, technology, aero-spacing, and information technology with a focus on rural development, human resources, health, agriculture and other areas.

The German Ambassador while referring to his visit to Harmander Sahib on Friday said it was a divine experience. Mr Satinder K. Lambah, president, Federation of Indo-German societies in India said both countries were having joint working groups.


Privatisation move, VAT invite flak
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 1
Giving a new twist to the privatisation row, the Indian Minorities and Dalit Front has apprehended that the ongoing move to hand over education, health and power sectors in private hands would affect Dalits and minorities the most as the largest number of beneficiaries of these government-aided sectors came from these sections. Not only this, VAT was also putting burden on people of these classes.

Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, national president of the front, which held a state-level protest in this regard here today, feared that since biggest chunk of beneficiaries of government aided sectors were minorities, would be hit below the belt.

Mr Sekhwan maintained that “shoddy” implementation of VAT regime and its varied rates were encouraging a number of malpractices and the entire resultant burden was being shifted on to the consumer.

Mr Sekhwan, who was accompanied by Mr Darbara Singh Kahlon, Mr Harjinder Singh Randhawa and Mr Parmjit Sidhwan, stated the front was highlighting the French turban problem.


Bringing exuberance of life on canvas
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, May 1
Art for art’s sake an oft repeated cliche assumes new significance after meeting Subhasish Ghosh, an artist who believes that a painting or a sculpture does not necessarily have to propound a philosophy or impart a message. However as medium of entertainment the first prerequisite it should fufil is that it should be pleasing to the eye. And then what could be more pleasing to the eye than the artistic female form which Subhasish specialises in.

A fairly well established name down south where he painted and taught painting for nearly 30 years before moving into Patiala, Subhasish believes in creating “happy paintings”, as he calls them.

Most of his paintings focus on the human form and he does not shirk from using bright colours which reflect the joie de vivre inherent in human existence.

A firm believer in the aesthetic appeal of art over its symbolic content it is enough for him if people enjoy his painting or if his piece of art generates some interest in the viewer.

As far as critics go, they simply do not bother the artist in him because he reasons ,” my work is unique to me, it is the essence of my evolution as a human being over the last three to four decades.

How can anyone accurately understand or comment on the thought process that has led to the image on the canvas?”. Fiercely independent this amateur artist believes in blazing his own trail into the world of art. “It has become almost mandatory for most artists in a city to bond together as groups to either win instant recognition or avail of some benefits or awards. I detest this trend as this kind of bonding does not contribute anything to the world of art”, says the artist.

Being as much of a teacher as an artist Subhasish also rubbishes the common opinion that artists are born and not made. “ You can teach people to be creative”, he asserts,” I have as a teacher evolved a style perfected over the last many years which helps develop creativity in children.” And mind you , if the word ``creative` conjures up thoughts of drawing classes alone then a chat with the artist will make you change your mind and fast.

The man is simply not satisfied with introducing the concept in art rooms, he believes in holding workshops for teachers of all subjects especially Maths and Science so that they can promote an imaginative manner of thinking in a student.” I believe that the concept of Higher Order thinking if applied properly to growing children is most fruitful in creating well rounded professionals later.

One has to encourage them to think and come up with answers which are highly individualistic as a successful study of all subjects requires a liberal smattering of creativity “.

He is also very clear about the kind of ‘freedom of expression’ which is usually allowed in most schools. “ I bide my time till my students especially the older ones overcome their inhibitions and start painting in a style which is not ‘doctored’ by the image of the world generally projected around them.

If at all I have to meddle in their work I take care to do it as unobtrusively as possible. I take pride in the fact that some of my students in Yadavindra Public School hold that they have learnt to be creative in their expression without my overtly teaching them to do so”, claims a smiling Subhasish.


Bus stop inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 1
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, today inaugurated the new municipal bus stop on the Bassi Road, Sirhind.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia said at present Ropar bus passengers were facing a lot of inconvenience.

He said at the cost of Rs 10 lakh a shed for waiting passengers, bus shelter, toilets and other facilities would be provided shortly. He said by shifting the bus stop a long-pending demand of the citizens had been fulfilled.

He said with the operation of this bus stop the council would also earn an income of Rs 5 lakh a year, which would be spend on development works.

He said the work on repair, construction, recarpeting and strengthening of roads in the district had almost been completed and the remaining would be completed by June 30.


Rice mill gutted
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 1
Goods, including gunny bags, rice and machinery, worth lakhs of rupees were damaged in a fire which broke out in a rice mill situated on Nabha Road here this morning. The reason of the fire is said to be a short circuit.

According to information, the fire broke out in Guru Nanak Rice Mills and continued for about six hours.

The residents of the area raised the alarm. Fire engines from Sangrur, Ahmedgarh, Barnala and Patiala were also called.


May Day observed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 1
May Day was observed with great enthusiasm by various trade unions of the district. Rallies, meetings and processions were taken out from union offices. On the call given by the Trade Union Council, here the PSEB Employees Federation, the AITUC, the FCI Handling union, the Class Four Union, the Telephone Majdoor Union took out a flag march from the FCI main depot to the Municipal Council, Sirhind office. There was a rally organised under the chairmanship of Mr Hari Chand. The speakers paid rich tributes to the May Day martyrs.

Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary also attended the rally.


CPI condemns capitalist policies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Various workers organisations today observed the day as Labour Day to highlight their problems.

Addressing a large gathering, former CPI MLA Hardev Singh Arshi lashed out at the Centre for pursuing capitalist policies at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank.

He said the present economic policies were adding to burden on the common man who was already facing serious economic problems. He resented the move of the government to privatise public sector.


Fraud accused surrenders in court
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Kulwant Singh Nagi, owner of Sublime Chit Fund Company, who had been at large after allegedly duping a number of persons, including some high officials, of crores of rupees today surrendered in the court of Duty Magistrate B.S. Ramana here.

He was remanded in five-day judicial custody. He will now be produced in the court on May 6.

A large number of investors were left high and dry when Nagi along with his family disappeared in June last year after which a number of criminal cases were registered at the local Civil Lines and ‘A’ division police station here.

Talking to this correspondent, Nagi said his bail application was rejected by the Supreme Court on April 19, after which his family advised him to surrender in the court.

Claiming his innocence in the alleged cases of fraud, he said false cases had been registered against him due to pressure from the administration.

He said he had developed differences with his own “influential” friends, which landed him in trouble.

He claimed that some of the complainants were defaulters of his company and were asked to deposit the money.

Instead of giving the money, he alleged, they started threatening him and his family. He said he had to flee due to alleged pressure from a senior official of the administration.

Nagi was the owner of Sublime Chit Fund Company, which operated from the walled city, and had lured senior government officials, businessmen, and religious and social organisations into investing money in his various schemes.

He had offered attractive rate of interest by issuing post-dated cheques as security to a number of his investors. The cheques later bounced.

Nagi’s counsel said all police officials concerned had been given notice, informing them about his surrender.


Woman paraded naked by rape victim’s kin
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Baljit Kaur (22) was today stripped naked in the main bazar and was paraded in Gill Waraich village under police station Jhabhal, 22 km from here.

According to eyewitnesses, Dilbagh Singh and his four friends, did the act in their bid to avenge the rape of his sister by the brother of the victim Sukhjinder Singh five days ago.

They went to her house this morning, finding Baljit alone in the house, tore her dress, dragged her out and paraded her naked in the lanes of the village.

The police immediately arrested Dilbagh and his accomplices for outraging the modesty of Baljit. A case under Section 354, IPC has been registered against them.

Meanwhile, the police has also arrested Sukhjinder Singh for raping Dilbag’s sister which had led to the revenge incident.


Plot to kill Khalsa Panchayat chief unearthed
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, May 1
The Jagraon police today claimed to have unearthed a plot to kill a senior leader of the Khalsa Panchayat with the arrest of a gang of robbers, contract killers and extortionists who have been found involved in 35 different crimes and were led by a self-styled saint.

The Khalsa Panchayat is waging a war against dera culture in the state. The gang was also allegedly about to kidnap the son of a rich industrialist in Ludhiana

The gang is allegedly led by a self-styled saint, Baba Amarjit Singh, who had allegedly joined hands with his guru-turned-foe-turned-friend to kill Khalsa Panchayat chief Charanjit Singh Channi.

Jagraon SSP Rajiv Ahir told mediapersons that the gang functioned like a corporate office with the leader calling himself the chief executive officer. The gang has been accused of committing 35 different crimes in Ludhiana and Jagraon. Eleven members of the gangs have been arrested, he said.

Mr Ahir said Amarjit Singh, alias Kala, alias Baba, a resident of Deharka village, is the leader of this gang. He is allegedly a hardcore criminal and has more than six criminal cases pending against him. He has been criminally active for the past more than five years. 


Suspecting illicit relations, man kills wife
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 1
A husband murdered his wife with a sword at Rajjewala village under sadar police station this morning.

At 7 a.m., Janga, a resident of Rajjewala village, allegedly killed his wife Jinder Kaur in presence of his father-in-law Bugger Singh and some other persons of the village. Janga, who is a matriculate and works as a labourer, suspected his wife having illicit relations.

Janga who was married to Jinder around seven years ago, said whenever he used to come back home late in the evening he often found her missing from the house. He said he told her to mend her ways, but in vain. He added that her father also advised her to put restrain on her activities but to no avail.

Today, when his father-in-law and few other relatives came over to their place to sort out the issue, Janga in a fit of rage killed her wife with a sword and then surrendered before the police.

The couple has two daughters and a son. The youngest daughter is still in her infancy.


Watchman foils theft bid
Tribune News Service

Moga, May 1
A night watchman attacked half a dozen thieves and foiled their theft bid single-handedly at a rice mill early this morning.

Sources said the watchman, Kishore Chand, was on duty at Ramdas Rice Mill when he heard some noise at about 3 am today. He spotted some men throwing sacks of wheat over the wall. He had a cane in his hand and when he charged towards them they started running.

He followed them and thrashed one of the thieves with his cane, injuring him. He also sustained injuries as the thieves retaliated. After getting injured he cried for help, following which people from neighbourhood reached the spot. The thieves ran away leaving one of their accomplices injured. The watchman and the injured thief were rushed to a hospital. The police recovered 250 kg of wheat from outside the mill premises.

On the basis of Kishore Chand’s statement, a case has been registered against Sewak Singh, Darshan Singh, Pali, Lala and Desu, under Sections 380 and 458 of the IPC.


FEAR disapproves loan-raising by varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) today claimed that Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai was putting the future of the university at a stake by seeking a 10-year loan of Rs 48 crore for two recently established engineering colleges.

In a statement here, FEAR President Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon claimed that there was no provision in the university Act or statutes to raise such a loan.

Dr Dhillon said if the move materialised the university would have to repay an annual amount of Rs 8.28 crore of which Rs 4.80 crore would go towards paying for the principal amount and Rs 3.48 crore would be the interest. He claimed that it would be impossible for the university to repay such an amount as the yearly income from the two colleges would not be more than Rs 2 crore per year.

The forum President also claimed that the university bodies had been virtually sidelined while initiating, processing and finalising the proposals sent for getting loan and that they were made to endorse the decisions taken by the Vice-Chancellor.

He said after the formation of a negotiation committee the issue was placed in the Syndicate which stipulated that the entire case should be deliberated upon by the Finance Committee. Dr Dhillon claimed that this never happened and that negotiation committee member, Dr R.K. Sehgal, wrote a detailed note for approving the proposals after receiving an offer from the State Bank of Patiala.

The forum noted that the Vice-Chancellor approved the same on March 17 and the Registrar sent the final letter to the State Bank of Patiala despite the fact that a meeting of the Finance Committee was fixed for March 22 and that of the Syndicate for March 29. Dr Dhillon claimed that both the bodies were made to accept the fait accomplice by the Vice-Chancellor without knowing the fact that the university could only accept gifts or donations but could not raise loans.

The university Registrar, Dr Param Bakshish Singh, when contacted on the issue, said there was no bar on the university from taking any loan. “There is nothing in the university act or statutes to suggest this”, he said adding that the loans were being taken to develop two institutions which were aimed at giving quality education besides serving the need of people of the Malwa region of the state. He said as far as the process of taking of the loan was concerned, the issue had been deliberated and passed by each and every university body after following due procedure laid down in the university calendar.


Bibi Jagir Kaur resents govt’s interference in SGPC-run institutes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, SGPC, has said that the government had sent a flying squad, led by Dr J.S. Dalal, DRME, during the counselling for the MDS course in Guru Ram Dass Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, here yesterday.

In a press note issued by the SGPC, she accused the government of direct interference into the working of the SGPC-run minority institutions and compromising their autonomous status.

She said in spite of assurance by the Chief minister about non-interference in the minority-run institutions of the SGPC, the government continued to do so.


Brar is Mohindera College Principal
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 1
Former Indian gymnast Daljit Inder Singh Brar has taken over as Principal of the Government Mohindera College here today.

Mr D.I.S Brar captained the Indian Gymnastic team which took part in the Asian Gymnastic Championship held in Tokyo in 1971 where the Indians secured fourth position. Mr Brar, who joined the Punjab Education Department as regular college lecturer in 1976, also represented the country in the World Gymnastic Championship held at Lubjana (Yogoslavia) in 1970.

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