P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Hawara had hidden more ammunition, claims police
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Jagtar Singh Hawara, alleged assassin of the then Punjab Chief Minister, Beant Singh, had allegedly hidden much more ammunition than has been recovered by the Punjab police from the Neelon canal. Also, the police has reason to believe that Hawara’s accomplice, Paramjit Singh Bheora, is hiding in the national Capital.

Sources at the Punjab police headquarters assert that an indication of additional ammunition being stacked away was provided by the existence of six or seven freshly dug pits in the house of persons arrested on the allegation of harbouring Hawara during his run from the police.

For the purpose of recovering the remaining ammunition, these arrested persons were reportedly being interrogated by the police. They included Kuldip Kaur, her sister Charanjit Kaur and husband Ajaib Singh, who was arrested this morning by a special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the state’s Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk.

The eight-member SIT is headed by Inspector-General of Police (Intelligence) R.P. Singh. Among the members is Inspector Gurmit Singh, alias Pinky. He was responsible for Hawara’s arrest in 1995 soon after the former Chief Minister was killed in a blast outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat. Hawara, along with Bheora and two others, had tunnelled his way out of the Model Jail in Burail village here in January last year.

The sources insisted that the ammunition was handed over by Hawara to the accused persons. But the sources admit that the police is still in dark about how it reached him.

“The ammunition came from Pakistan, but we still do not know the details of how and through whom it was handed over to him”, a senior police officer said. “In all probability, it came to him from the Jammu side. But nothing can be said for certain till Hawara has been interrogated.”

As far as Bheora was concerned, the sources claimed that his family had disposed of its property near Ropar and settled down in the trans-Yamuna area in Delhi. They added that the possibility of Bheora staying in or near Delhi could not be ruled out. A senior Punjab police officer said they were in constant touch with the Delhi police for tracking Bheora down.


4 held for purchasing PMT paper
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, June 13
The police today arrested Balwinder Singh, who had allegedly bought the PMT paper from the peon of the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and sold it off to a number of people in various cities. Three others – Dr Vinod Khanna, Nand Kishore, and Kamaljeet Singh — have also been arrested for allegedly purchasing the PMT paper.

Addressing a press conference here, the SSP, Mr MF Farooqui, said Balwinder Singh was responsible for the wide circulation of the paper. He allegedly sold the paper to Dr Rajan Garg of Ludhiana for Rs 2 lakh. He was arrested from Mahabadar village of Muktsar, while police teams had been sent to Ludhiana for the arrest of Dr Garg. The police had seized Rs 1.3 lakh and photocopies of the paper from the possession of Balwinder Singh.

Sources said Balwinder Singh had been dealing with the VC’s peon, Buta Ram, for the past many months. He used to pay him for getting his candidates cleared in various examinations. Buta Ram knew about Balwinder’s coaching centre and he approached him soon after pilfering the pages of PMT paper. A copy of the paper was also recovered from Dr Khanna who had bought the paper for his son.

Kamaljeet Singh of Ferozepore, who himself appeared in the PMT, was also been nabbed for purchasing the paper. He had struck a deal with Buta Ram for Rs 30,000, but didn’t pay a single penny to him. The police has also seized the photocopy machine that was used in making copies of the paper.

All those arrested for purchasing the paper were accused in the paper leak case.

Nand Kishore, a Class IV employee at the local Government College, got the paper through the VC’s driver on the eve of the exam. He had taken debt from his acquaintances to arrange Rs 45,000 for the paper that he sought for his daughter. He could not even get the paper solved. He told this correspondent that the VC’s driver had asked him to burn the paper next morning. He was also told to term it a mere guess paper in front of others.

When asked about the involvement of higher university officials in the scam, the SSP said the police had not given a clean chit to anybody and they might also interrogate the VC and the registrar. He said the names of various coaching centres were also coming up and their role was being probed into. He said the police was also investigating whether the paper had also been leaked in the past. He said while Balwinder succeeded in striking some good deals, the varsity employees involved were ditched by a few people who had purchased the paper from them.

He said the police was exploring the possibility of paper leakage at the higher level and didn’t rule out the involvement of higher officials. He said most of the people had bought the paper for their wards. He said the police had also kicked off the process to tally the PMT results of those whose parents or relatives had bought paper for them.

Meanwhile, reports here said the Vice-Chancellor, Mr JS Gujral, had been admitted in a Chandigarh hospital as he complained of chest pain. 


CET results leave students fuming
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 13
While the controversy over the Punjab-PMT paper leak had hardly mellowed down, another controversy has sparked off with the declaration of the Punjab Technical University Common Entrance Test results.

Dissatisfied with the results declared by the university on Saturday, hundreds of students and parents from all over the state gathered on the campus today and demanded re-evaluation of their papers manually.

The parents and the students raised anti-PTU slogans and demanded that their answer sheets be shown to them. The students gave their representations for re-evaluation in writing as they said their career was in jeopardy. They also demanded that the correct answers of the questions contained in the CET-2005 be displayed on the university website.

A majority of the students lamented that while they had faired very well in the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), including those conducted by Manipal University and the Bhartiya Vidya Peeth (BVP), they failed to understand as to why their rank in the easiest of all the tests had gone to low. Rasal Sodhi from Ludhiana said his All India AIEEE rank was 608 but he was shocked to know that his CET rank in Punjab was 10,800.

The students said while the AIEEE ranking should have been lower due to negative marking, which does not happen in the PTU-CET, even still they had got lower marks. Nikhil Dhawan, a student from Abohar, said he had been awarded just 31 marks out of 120. He thought that this should have been his score in a single subject as he was expecting his score to be nearly 106.

The result was shocking for Japneet Kaur of Ludhiana as she had got an All-India rank of 615 in Manipal University and 430 in the BVP, but she lagged far behind in the CET result of the state with a rank of 6,726. “I am sure of my selection elsewhere but I am just not able to bear this shock. I will not tolerate injustice and I will definitely get my result corrected,” she said in anguish.

The students believe that there had been some mismatch of their questions with the answers during computer checking that led to such a big flaw. Some also doubt that since there were four different sets of papers with varying sequence of questions, there could have been an interchange while their answer sheets were being fed into the computer for re-evaluation.

The PTU authorities, however, stuck to their stand as they said that they had checked over a thousand answer sheets manually randomly but had not found a single error. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, said it was a case of total transparency as he had called up dozen-odd parents to his office and shown them the answer sheets.

The parents, however, rued that they did not know as to which question or answer they were talking of as they had just seen them marked as “A, B or C”. “Had they taken students inside, they might have recalled the order of question or the answer,” they complained.

The PTU Registrar, Dr M.S. Grewal, in a press note, later stated, “In the interest of the students at large, it has been decided that the results will again be manually verified and every representation received so far by the university shall be individually responded to within two days. It has been further decided that the correct answers of all the questions contained in CET-2005 examination will be displayed on the university website, www.ptu.ac.in, by 1800 hrs on June 15.”


Pesticide industries defend products
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The issue of the “ high level of pesticide residue in human blood samples taken from Punjab villages”, highlighted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), other organisations and a team of doctors of the PGI, has created panic among most industries engaged in the manufacture of pesticides.

Representatives of such industries have started challenging the findings of the CSE and defending their products. Mr S. Singhal, speaking on behalf of the Agro-Chemical Production Group, which he claimed had over 200 industries as its members, said here today that the “ CSE report is unscientific and irresponsible, based on its initial technical evaluation”.

He said pesticides, like medicines, went through detailed tests for safety before these were registered and then prescribed for use. “ Therefore, just like medicines, if agro-chemicals are used as directed, there will be no risk to human life”, he added.

However, when asked whether he or his organisation would initiate any legal action against the CSE management, which was speaking against manufacturers of pesticides, Mr Singhal had no clear answer. He said he could not say whether any action would be taken against the CSE or not. Facing a volley of questions on the issue of the use of pesticides, Mr Singhal said that the study conducted by the CSE had glaring loopholes both in terms of methodology and interpretation.

Asked whether he or his organisation had commissioned a study by any reputed agency to find out the truth about pesticides in human blood and the reported health problems caused by these, Mr Singhal’s answered in the negative.

The CSE had recently urged the state government to set up a “ foolproof system to regulate the use of pesticides and other chemicals to protect people from being victims of deadly chemicals”.

A large number of cancer cases detected in the Bathinda belt have been linked to the use of a highly poisonous group of new -generation pesticides. A large number of cancer-related deaths have been reported from certain clusters of villages in the belt, where cotton is one of the major kharif crops. The PGI team had also found toxic substances in human blood in that belt.

In fact, reacting to the findings of the CSE, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has set up a high-level panel under the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, to examine the whole issue and suggest preventive measures.

Meanwhile, Dr S.C. Jain, former Head of the Food Science and Technology Department of PAU, Ludhiana, has urged people to change over to bio-pesticides, which are eco-friendly and not harmful to human beings.


SGPC panel formation illegal: ex-member
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13
The formation of the Dharam Parchar Committee (DPC) of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has come under the scanner even as a former SGPC secretary, Mr Kulwant Singh, has claimed that it was formed in violation of the rules and bylaws of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

Quoting the Act, Mr Kulwant Singh said the seven-member committee had been formed without any election as prescribed in the bylaws of the Act. The Sikh Gurdwara Board Religious Fund Committee (Rules 1959) , published by the state government’s Home Department reads that the members of the DPC have to be elected by adopting a set procedure . If consensus over the names of the DPC members is not reached, then their election is to be held through the ballot. However, in case of the present DPC , the SGPC allegedly hand-picked the members who don’t enjoy legal sanction. Hence, they (DPC members) could not use the SGPC funds as per the bylaws of the Gurdwara Act.

The former SGPC secretary claims that the DPC could be considered legal only if the state government issued notification in this regard as mentioned in the Gurdwara Act.

According to the Sikh Gurdwara Act 108 (b), the religious fund can be exclusively spent for the purpose of propagating the Sikh religion. However, the funds are being spent on natural calamities, construction of medical colleges etc in violation of the Act. He alleged that cheques were being distributed to the financially sound gurdwaras through the ‘loyal’ SGPC members for vested interests.

Though senior functionaries of the SGPC have denied the misuse of DPC funds, Mr Kulwant Singh alleged that these were used during the Majitha and Ajnala byelections for political purposes. The SGPC members having political alignment with rival factions were ignored while spending funds in their constituencies, he added.


SGJC order on transfers stayed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 13
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the implementation of the order dated May 19 passed by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC). Through the order, the SGJC had directed the SGPC to transfer its Secretary Dalmegh Singh, Assistant Secretary and former Manager of the Darbar Sahib Major Singh, Additional Secretary (Dharam Prachar Committee) Wariyam Singh and Assistant Secretary (flying squad) Mohinder Singh.

The SGJC had also ordered that Mr Major Singh should not be appointed Manager of the Darbar Sahib and that the seniormost employee of the SGPC should be appointed Secretary. The order was passed as an interim measure on a complaint filed by Mr Joginder Singh Fouji, who had alleged that gold spades donated by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the Bank of Punjab last year on the occasion of the kar seva of the sarovar inside the Harmandar Sahib were missing. He had also alleged that payment to some private businesses worth lakhs were pending.

The SGJC had ordered that pending inquiry, the SGPC officers must be shifted to avoid tampering of record.

In its petition, the SGPC has challenged the order on the ground that it was not even heard before passing the order. It has also stated that the order, if implemented, would affect the functioning of the SGPC. It has also stated that the order was beyond the scope of the prayer in the compliant of Mr Fouji.

The SGPC has also stated that the order of the SGJC is illegal and contemptuous as the High Court had earlier held that the SGJC has no powers to pass interim orders. Today, after hearing counsel for the petitioner, the Bench headed by Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar, while staying the order, adjourned the case to July 4.


Release of stamps: SGPC blames govt
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 13
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today blamed the Punjab Government for withholding the release of commemorative stamps to mark anniversaries of three historic occasions in the Sikh history. The SGPC stated that the Central Government had agreed to release the stamps to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev, the 400th years of Installation Day of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the 300th martyrdom day of four Sahibzadas and mother of Guru Gobind Singh.

They alleged that the state government blocked the release of these stamps that were scheduled to be released on occasion of martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev on June 16.

In a press note here today the SGPC stated that the Punjab Government was keen to get the stamps released in Chandigarh on June 15. The SGPC accused the Punjab Government of trying to “usurp” the credit for this occasion by pressurising the Ministry of Communication.

It further added that the SGPC President had written to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in December and requested him to advise the Communication Ministry to release three commemorative postage stamps. The Prime Minister had acceded to this request and subsequently the Communication Ministry approved the said postage stamps.

Mr Dayanidhi Maran Union Minister of Communications and IT, conveyed to the SGPC on June 8 that one stamp had been approved while sanction of the other two would be taken at the next meeting.

Only two days prior to this communication, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, Director, Postal Services, Chandigarh, finalised the programme since Guru Arjan Dev, compiled the holy scripture at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib and the installation took place in Amritsar, it was decided to release this postage stamp at Dewan Hall, Manji Sahib on June 16, the 399th Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev.

The SGPC stated that due to hurdles by the state government the release of the stamps would not be released on June 16 as annnounced earlier.


Front asks SGPC to clarify stand on Poohla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Majha Ex-Servicemen Human Rights Front today demanded that the President of the SGPC and the Akal Takht Jathedar should clarify their stand regarding Nihang Ajit Singh Poohla.

Addressing a press conference here today, the front chairman, Col G.S. Sandhu (retd), said the SGPC did not raise a finger for over 20 years even though Poohla began to occupy historic gurdwaras one after another. Attempts were not even made to get the gurdwaras vacated.

Colonel Sandhu further said it was a matter of public knowledge that Poohla and his supporters allegedly stole money from the “golaks” of gurdwaras for personal use and managed to acquire huge property.


Another sedition case against Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13
The Majitha police registered a case of sedition under Sections 124A , 153 A and 153 B of the IPC against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), here today for raising slogans of ‘azadi’ (freedom) at the Damdami Taksal’s head- quarters.

Mr Mann had asked the congregation to raise ‘Pro-independence’ slogans of on the occasion of the death anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale yesterday.

Though three cases under similar sections of the IPC were registered against Mr Mann at Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Damdama Sahib yet the Police failed to arrest him so far. Interestingly, Mr Mann had held a press conference in the local Circuit House despite the registration of cases against him.

Mr Mann had openly challenged the police for arresting him . He warned that the Sikhs would hold demonstrations against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his proposed visit to New York if the police arrested him .

Earlier, Mr Mann had claimed that raising the demand for creating a ‘buffer zone’ between India and Pakistan was his birth right.

JALANDHAR: Former Punjab minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, has demanded the registration of a case of treason against Mann for his admission that he had issued a large number of arms licences to “those who had aided, abetted and instigated secessionist activities in the eighties”.

Without mentioning Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in his statement issued here today, Mr Kalia demanded a CBI probe to ascertain whether Mr Mann was still continuing similar activities or not.

He alleged that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, called Hawara a gentleman, even though, he was the mastermind in the Delhi bomb blast case and an accused in the Beant Singh murder case. Mr Kalia alleged that Hawara took shelter in Punjabi University, the Vice Chancellor of which was son of Dr Sohan Singh, an ideologue of Khalistan.


Tandon for action against Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Mr Balramji Das Tandon, former President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, said here today that the Punjab Government was sleeping over the serious issue of slogans of “Khalistan and Bhindranwale Zindabad” raised by certain politicians recently. He said these politicians were again spoiling the atmosphere in the state.

Mr Tandon said certain forces had become active to throw the state back into the black period witnessed by it for two decades starting from 1980. However, what was satisfying was that all sections of society in the state wanted to live in peace and harmony.

Mr Tandon said it had been reported that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann had been helping late Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale directly and indirectly. “Now the cat is out of the bag with Mr Mann openly admitting that as SSP of Faridkot district he had helped Bhindranwale and his associates by issuing them licenses of weapons frequently and also in the acquisition of foreign made weapons”, said Mr Tandon.

Seeking strict action against Mr Mann, the BJP leader said the Akali leader had himself admitted that he had played a role in disturbing peace in the state. The self-styled leader of “Khalistan”, Jagjit Singh Chohan, should also be brought to book, he added.


Spanish girls join Sikh fold
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13
After pronouncement of ‘hukmnama’ (order of the day) at the Golden Temple, two Spanish girls Mariya Mettler and Mariya Fernananda became Satbir Kaur and Satyog Kaur, respectively, here today.

They had come all the way from Barcelona along with Antoniyo, who was re-christened as Satpal Singh after joining the Sikh fold about four years ago. Mr Satpal Singh said though there were more than 5,000 Indian Sikhs in Spain but only 10 Spanish people have converted to Sikhism so far.

Though he became a Sikh under the influence of Harbhajan Singh Yogi and runs yoga schools in Spain but he got baptised through a Birmingham Sikh jatha a couple of years ago.

When the Spanish girls came in contact with Mr D.S.Chawla, a local Sikh, he took the trio to Giani Jaswinder Singh, a Sikh high priest of the Golden Temple. The high priest performed ‘ardas’ on the occasion. Giani Jaswinder Singh said the local Sikh youths, who were becoming ‘patit’ (apostate), should get an inspiration from them.

When asked as to why he had joined Sikh fold, Mr Satpal Singh said the beauty of the faith fascinated him. He feels that turban was like a robe of royalty that controls his energy .His day starts with recitation of Gurbani.

“I read Gurbani in Roman script but I will learn Gurmukhi script shortly,” he said.


For getting hair cut, youth concocts story
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 13
To get his hair cut against the wishes of his parents, a boy of Bassi Gulam Hussain village concocted a story of his kidnapping and cutting of his hair by one of the accomplices of kidnappers.

At a press conference here today, Mr Lok Nath Angra, Senior Superintendent of Police, Hoshiarpur, contradicted the story of kidnapping of Sukhwinder Singh, son of Amarjit Singh Saini of Bassi Gulam Hussain on June 11 and later escaping from the clutches of kidnappers from a village in Jalandhar district.

Mr Angra said Sukhwinder Singh, a student of Class XI left the house at his own and went to Jalandhar where he got his hair cut from a barber shop. Later, he telephoned his parents from a PCO in Mandiala village and told a concocted story of his kidnapping.

The parents along with others reached Mandiala at about 11 p.m. and took him to the house. The SSP said Sukhwinder Singh actually wanted to get his hair cut against the wishes of his parents, on account of which he left the house and went to Jalandhar. After getting his hair cut, he came back and narrated the concocted story of his kidnapping, he added.

Sukhwinder Singh and his father were produced before the mediapersons. Sukhwinder Singh said he wanted to get his hair cut for which his parents did not agree. Later, he took this step to justify his action.


New power tariff rates today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission will pronounce its order regarding the new power tariff rates tomorrow.

The PSEB had filed the petition before the Commission asking for the upward revision of tariff rates on February 9.

The commission is expected to announce 10.5 per cent increase in tariff rates for various categories of power customers except for the agriculturists and the Scheduled Castes. The government has promised to give a subsidy of about Rs 1115 crore to the PSEB to maintain the tariff rates at the existing level for the agriculture sector and the Scheduled Castes.

Rural domestic power customers are expected to be hit hard this year. Last year, the commission had given relief to the rural sector because of the poor quality of power to domestic sector in villages. However, as this year, the PSEB has given assurance to the commission to cover all villages under the 24-hour power supply scheme by the end of this month, the commission will not be in a position to announce any relief to ruralities.


Farmers protest PSEB decision
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board has sent lists of farmers to the respective police stations who had defaulted in payment of bills against supply of power to their tubewells.

This action of the PSEB was greeted with slogans of “shame, shame” during the two-hour dharna organised by the Technical Services Union at the subdivisional offices of Abohar circle today.

Those who addressed the rallies held at four places included Mr Shiv Charan Doda, Mr Chiman Lal, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Kishan Lal, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Sukhwant Singh, Mr Ranjeet Singh and Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu. They rapped the Congress-led state government for backtracking from promises made to the employees and farmers during election campaign for the 2002 Vidhan Sabha elections.

The TSU activists condemned the PSEB management for proceeding with the privatisation in phased manner by allocating laying of 24-hour rural supply line to private contractors. The work, they asserted, should have been got done by deploying jobless workers.


Talks between PSEB authorities,
staff panel break down

Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 13
Talks between the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Employees Federation Joint Forum and board management, held today on the issue of its privatisation, broke down due to adamant attitude of the board management, claimed the forum members.

In a press note, Mr K.C. Bhardwaj, a spokesman of PSEB Employees Federation said that the board management had remained firm on its decision of partially privatising the board. He added that the board had already outsourced some of its work to private contractors. No new employees were being recruited in direct proportion to the increasing work load of employees apart from the fact that many posts were lying vacant, he claimed.

The forum members also alleged that board management, which had given the work of providing 24-hour electricity work to private contractors, was going against the interests of the consumers as the contractors were using very low quality equipment.

The forum said that they would be launching a statewide protest and rallies on June 14 against the discriminatory attitude of the board in all subdivisions. On June 17 a dharna would be held at Khanupur near Gurdaspur. On June 22 and 23 board employees would observe a complete strike.

The meeting was attended among others by Mr Amarjit Singh Sodhi, Mr Radhey Sham, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Harbajan Singh, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr B.S. Sehkon and Mr Parkash Singh.


PSEB employees hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 13
On the call of the joint struggle coordination committee of the PSEB, members of the Technical Services Union (VK) staged a dharna and held a rally in front of the office of the Subdivisional Engineer today in protest against the arrest of PSEB employees at Kahnowan in Gurdaspur and registration of false cases against them.

In a press release, Mr Satish Chander, co-convener of the Joint Action Committee, Punjab, said that Mr Narian Sharma, Mr Harbans Lal, Mr Khushi Ram and others, while addressing the rally, condemned the PSEB and police authorities for arresting the innocent employees. He said that employees of the PSEB staged protest dharnas and held rallies in front of their respective offices throughout Punjab today against the arrests and false cases. He also supported the struggle of farmers and workers of the cycle industry in Ludhiana.

Members of the Punjab Mulazam Sangharsh Committee, led by Mr Satish Rana and Mr Bahadur Singh, both presidents of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation, Badi and Godri groups, respectively, burnt the effigy of the Punjab Government in front of the mini secretariat here this afternoon against its privatisation policy.


Goodwill gesture: Rama Mission
reaches out to Muslim kids
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13
In a rare gesture of goodwill Delhi-based Hindu organisation Shree Chetanya Jan Kalyan Prishad (SCJKP) today held a congregation at the local Jama Masjid Khairudin and addressed Muslim children.

The masjid had played a significant role during the freedom struggle. The Maulwi of the Masjid, Maulana Hamid Hussain Kasmi, said that a procession was launched from this mosque on April 10, 1919, three days before the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, in which Hindus, Muslim and Sikhs participated in a big way.

Mr Krishan Murari Tripathi, national general secretary of the SCJKP, said he had come all the way from New Delhi to promote universal brotherhood as preached by all holy books. He said no religion preached hatred.

Both the Gita and Quran emphasised universal brotherhood. He, however, said that it was a matter of great concern that wrong interpretation of the boly books had caused division in the humanity.

Mr Tripathi stressed the need to end female foeticide and described it as anti humanity.

He urged the people belonging to different religions not to fight in the name of the God. He stressed upon universal brotherhood and communal harmony.

The Maulvi of the Masjid, while appreciating the gesture of the SCJKP, said that gestures should not be confined to children only. He urged Mr Tripathi to involve people from all walks of life of all age groups so that the message of harmony could percolate to whole society.


Rally against govt policies
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, June 13
Under the banner of “Nijikaran Virodhi Mulazam Sanghrash Committee Punjab”, leaders and activists of six employees organisations — Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF)-Dhillon, PSSF (Barri), PSSF (Sajjan Singh), PSSF (Vigiyan Kendra), Punjab State Karamchari Dal and Democratic Employees Front (DEF) — burnt the effigy of the Punjab Government and held a ‘siapa’ near the traffic lights chowk here today. They also held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here and took out a march through the town in protest against privatisation, globalisation and liberalisation policies of the state government.

Addressing the rally, all speakers asked the Punjab Government to withdraw its “anti-people” policies, being implemented under pressure from the World Bank and other international monetary organisations, as various government institutions and departments were being handed over to private parties. These included schools, hospitals and the Punjab State Electricity Board. The leaders also condemned the state government for discontinuing some public welfare schemes on the pretext of financial crisis in the state.

The speakers also asked the state government to withdraw its “anti-people” policies, related to the privatisation of the government departments. They also asked the Punjab Government to fill all vacant posts and discontinue contractual appointments. They also asked the state government to regularise the services of all daily wage earners and work-charge employees in the state.

GURDASPUR: The joint action committee of various employee unions today organised a rally in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office to protest against privatisation policies of the government.

Union leaders alleged that the government was giving poor financial position as the reason for privatising various organisations but MLAs and ministers were being sent on foreign tours at public expense. Tours were putting financial burden on the exchequer. Other wasteful expenditure being carried out by the government included expenditure on the renovation of the office of the Chief Minister in the Secretariat. Though the Chief Minister hardly sat in the Secretariat, lakhs were spent on the renovation of his office.

Mr Subhash Sharma, convener of the committee, alleged that the government was planning to privatise schools, but not paying any attention to about 25,000 vacant posts of teacher in government schools in the state. Due to the absence of teachers many schools in remote areas were lying locked.

The government wanted to hand over the prime property of government schools in urban areas to corporate houses. If it wanted to improve education it should hand over teacherless schools in rural areas to corporates.

The union leaders also opposed the privatisation of cooperative sugar mills in the state because cooperative sugar mills faced financial crisis due to government policies, they said. Cooperative sugar mills were forced by the government to sell molasses at the rate of just Rs 75 per quintal whereas private mills were selling it up Rs 500 per quintal. 


Govt to hold ‘lok chetna’ rallies
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 13
Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, Principal Secretary to the Punjab CM, said that the Punjab Government would be launching a series of ‘lok chetna’ rallies across the state in an attempt to neutralise the ‘misinformation campaign’ started by various political parties.

Addressing a press conference at a local hotel here today, Mr Barsat, who is also the patron of the Punjab Pradesh Employees Federation (PPEF), said that various political parties were instigating farmers unions across the state to sit on dharnas and stage rallies to spread misinformation against the government’s policies in the education and power sectors.

Mr Barsat said that the PPEF, which was an umbrella organisation of 26 employees unions, would be staging the first of a series of lok chetna rallies in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on June 14.

Mr Barsat pointed out that the CPM and the SAD were the main parties which were asking farmer unions to stage dharnas against the ‘privatisation of PSEB and the education sectors’.

Mr Barsat said that there was no move to privatise either the power or the education sectors and added that both the CPI and the SAD were just interested in launching “mischievous campaigns” by provoking farmers to block roads and sit on dharnas. He added that most of these farmers unions were led by retired and disgruntled leaders who were not working for the benefit of either the employees or farmers.


Woman’s body given to mother
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, June 13
The death of a young woman, Paramjeet Kaur of Changli village near here, whose body was found at Fridpur Kalan village on June 10, took a new turn when her husband Maghar Singh and her mother Nifa wife of Bashir Khan a resident of Ludhiana, reached Civil Hospital, Malerkotla, today for taking possession of the body.

The body was found at Fridpur Kalan under mysterious circumstances. Some villagers took the body to Malerkotla Civil Hospital for a post-mortem.

Paramjeet’s husband Maghar Singh and mother Nifa have both claimed the body. After hearing both the sides, the police handed over the body to the mother.

It is said that Maghar Singh a resident of Changli village and Paramjeet Kaur, a resident of Ludhiana, were married about six years ago. Before the marriage, Paramjeet Kaur’s name was Suria Begam as she was a Muslim but after that she reportedly adopted the Sikh religion.

But now, her mother wanted to bury the body as per Muslim rituals, but her husband wanted to cremate her with Sikh rituals.

This created a tussle between the families. The matter was resolved by the Changli village panchayat and the local police which decided that the body should be handed over to her mother.

Paramjeet Kaur is survived by her husband Maghar Singh and two sons.


Farmers to launch fast in jail
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 13
Demanding their immediate release, the farmers who were arrested prior to the Tapa rally, today held a protest rally at the Central Jail here and announced to launch fast from tomorrow.

The district general secretary of the BKU (Sidhupur), Mr Buta Singh Burjhari, in a statement released from the jail, said 51 farmers would sit on fast tomorrow morning. He made his intention clear to intensify their stir.

The farmers got irked today when they were not produced in the court and the officials directly extended their judicial remand. Farmer leaders lodged in the jail said the government could not suppress their movement. They demanded immediate release of the farmers. They accused the government of favouring commission agents. They said that about 550 farmers were lodged in Bathinda jail. Sources said hundreds of farmers had also been lodged in Ferozepore jail.

The state president of the BKU (Sidhupur), Mr Pisora Singh Sidhupur, also met the union leaders in the jail today. He said that the farmers had been lodged in tents inside the jail, as a result of which they were falling sick. He said about 18 farmers were ill, but the jail authorities had made no arrangement for their treatment. He demanded that these farmers be provided medical care immediately.

He announced that the union would hold protests in all the district headquarters on June 27 on the farmers’ issues. 


Anganwari workers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 13
Anganwari workers deputed in different parts of the district held a protest rally outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today, demanding regularisation of their services.

The protesters demanded that they too be considered as government employees and be given the same incentives. They said that they had been assured of an increased pay and had been promised arrears as well, but nothing was being done in this regard. They said that till the time their demands are not met, they would continue to resort to strikes and dharnas. 


Minister visits storm-hit villages
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 13
Mr Hans Raj Josan, Minister of State for Forest, visited Jaimalwala, Ladhuwala Hithar, Ladhuwala Uttar and Khundwala villages and the plywood factory of Jalalabad which was reduced to ashes in a fire during the recent storm.

He directed the officials to assess the loss so that compensation could be paid at the earliest.


Warrant officer gets kin of Beant Singh
case accused released
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Punjab Police got an egg on its face late last night when a warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court got released a brother of Shamsher Singh, an accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, from the illegal police custody.

According to sources, Mr Bhagwant Singh, the elder brother of Shamsher Singh, who had been charged with criminal conspiracy in the Beant Singh case, was got released from the illegal custody of the CIA staff at Sangrur by the warrant officer, Mr JC Puri.

The release followed an order by Mr Justice SN Aggarwal on a habeas corpus petition filed by Ms Charanjit Kaur, a sister of Mr Bhagwant Singh, under Article 226 of the Constitution. In his order, the Judge held that prima facie it appeared to be a case of illegal detention.

Mr Bhagwant Singh was allegedly picked up by the Punjab Police from Uksi Jattan Ki village in Patiala district on June 11. He was allegedly told by the raiding party that he was wanted for his involvement in militant activities.

In his petition before the High Court, Ms Charanjit Kaur said it was amusing that his brother, who was agriculturist by profession, had been shown as involved in militant activities. She had alleged that the SSP and the SHO of Sangrur were keeping his brother under illegal custody.


Colonel Sayal cross-examined in Tehelka case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Lieut-Col V P Sayal (retd), prosecution witness in the General Court Martial trying Brig Iqbal Singh for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case at Patiala today admitted during his cross-examination that he had lied under oath before the court as well as the Venkatswamy Commission of Inquiry earlier.

Prosecution counsel Arvind Moudgil said the witness also accepted during his deposition that he had briefed the accused in detail about the contents of the meeting that was to take place at Hotel Park on November 5, 2000. The meeting was supposed to be in regard to the technical and other aspects of hand held thermal imagers (HHTI) which were to be used for helping M/s West End to push their product into the Army.

Earlier, Colonel Sayal, who had been declared hostile by the prosecution, had denied that the accused knew the contents of the above meeting. After having viewed the video tapes, which had been shot by operatives of Tehelka.com in a sting operation, the witness recognised the accused in the company of a girl.

Mr Moudgil said the witness also accepted that West End was based in London and that they had desired to know the details about HHTIs from the accused which could be beneficial to them. He also agreed that neither he nor the accused tried to verify the credentials of the firm. He, however, denied that by not doing so, they had compromised national security.

The witness stated before the court that he was helping West End to create a chain of officers who could help push the firm’s products into the Army. He said he was in dire need of a job and money for domestic reasons.

Earlier, the accused had moved an application before the court, seeking adjournment till June 20 as his defence counsel was not present. The court, which had assembled today after having remained adjourned since May 24, however, declined his plea. Colonel Sayal’s deposition will continue tomorrow.


DC sets time frame for completion of work
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 13
Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the monthly meeting of the district officials directed them to complete all on-going projects on time. She said SDMs would monitor these works and directed the officers to provide transparent and corruption-free administration. She said any one found indulging in corrupt practices would not be spared. The main objective of the administration should be to redress the grievances of the public on priority basis and give them speedy justice. She also directed them to ensure discipline and punctuality at every cost.

The Deputy Commissioner said grievances committees would be formed at subdivisonal at levels, to solve problems faced by people. She directed all Executive Officers of the Municipal Councils, revenue officials and Development officers to file and pursue the cases in courts in coordination with each other to get stay orders vacated against the encroachments on government lands.

She said no panchayat land would be given on lease without being publicised in news papers. The work in all those villages covered under the Model Gram Scheme would start soon. She took a serious note of the working of Anganwari centres in the district. She said it was unfortunate that CDPOs demanded more eatable than the actual number of students in the centres, which resulted in rottening of eatables. Ms Talwar directed the Social Security Department officials to ensure timely disbursement of pensions.


Shift office, MC tells ADPRO
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 13
The employees of the Additional District Public Relations Office (ADPRO) here are in a dilemma over a letter they have received to vacate the office premises at the earliest. The municipal council authorities have written a letter to the Additional DPRO to vacate the building occupied by the office for a decade. The ADPRO has forwarded the eviction order letter to the Director and has sought directions over the development.

According to information, the Municipal council EO wrote the letter on May 31 to vacate the building, housed in Baba Ala Singh Park in the heart of city. The SDM office also followed suit after a week. Presently, the MC has a library at Gadda Khana Chowk, which is thronged by hundreds of people daily.

The council plans to hand it over to the Improvement Trust for developing a shopping complex. ADPRO Gopal Singh Dardi said a lot of readers throng the office daily to scan newspapers and periodicals in a congenial atmosphere. He said in the past also they had resisted such moves. 


Wife, paramour held for murder
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13
The Amritsar police today claimed to have solved the five-month-old case of murder of Dilbagh Singh by arresting Manjit Kaur, wife of the deceased, and her paramour Tarsem Singh here today.

Earlier, Manjit Kaur had concocted a story to mislead the police. She had stated that four robbers had entered their house and after killing her husband had escaped with her gold jewellery.

Briefing mediapersons, Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, said that though the needle of suspicion pointed towards Manjit Kaur but the police could not arrest her due to want of evidence. However, later during interrogation she confessed to the crime. The murder took place on January 25 night in the Air Force colony here.

Mr Brar said Manjit Kaur had illicit relations with her cousin (son of paternal uncle), Tarsem Singh. The reason behind the crime was that Dilbagh Singh had caught his wife with Tarsem Singh. He said Dilbagh Singh started beating his wife after the incident.

He said Manjit Kaur and Tersem Singh had planned to eliminate Dilbagh Singh on the fateful night. Manjit Kaur allegedly gave milk with sleeping pills mixed in it to her husband. When Dilbagh fell unconscious she with the help of Tarsem Singh put a pillow on his face. Dilbagh Singh collapsed due to suffocation.

Mr Brar said Jasbir Singh, 11-year-old son of Dilbagh Singh, was witness to the crime but his mother threatened him that he would meet the same fate as that of his father if he disclosed anything to the police.


Trucks’ collision: death toll five
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 13
Death toll in trucks’ collision rose to five with another truck hitting two trucks already damaged due to a head-on collision near Hasera village (Loonkaransar) on the Abohar-Bikaner road on Sunday evening.

The Loonkaransar Station House Officer said today that truck (PB 13 F 2131), carrying powder from Bikaner to Jalandhar, had been parked on the roadside of national highway number 15 as its tyre got punctured. Truck (RJ 31 G 3743) owned by Gurdial Singh of Abohar hit the parked vehicle as another vehicle tried to overtake it. Jaspal Singh, son of Resham Singh of Manak village in the Shahkot area of Jalandhar and his assistant Bikar Singh, son of Chanan Singh of Lakhanke village in Kapurthala were crushed to death. They were repairing the punctured tyre. On the other side Gurdial Singh, his son Kudip Singh of Abohar and their truck-driver Raju of Fatehabad in Haryana, were also killed in the mishap. Harpal Singh travelling by the Jalandhar-bound truck was injured.

Meanwhile, another truck (RJ 07 G 6420) coming from Bikaner while trying to give passage to another vehicle rammed into the trucks already damaged in the collision. Its driver Murlidhar and another occupant received injuries. They were later at night taken to the PBM hospital, the police said.

The bodies of Gurdial Singh and his son were brought at their Anand Nagri house amid heart-rending scenes. Cremation was done at the Nanak Puri Shivbhoomi. The bodies of other victims were taken to their villages.


2 held with 50 poppy husk bags
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 13
As many as 50 bags of poppy husk have been seized by the Phillaur police from a truck which was intercepted at the Sutlej bridge during routine checking.

The Phillaur police team, led by SHO Jaskiranjit Singh, nabbed two smugglers, who have been identified as Sukhwinder Singh Sabi, a resident of mohalla Chandigarh in Sultanpur Lodhi and Raju, a resident of Dera Saincha village of Sultanpur Lodhi sub-division. Shinder Singh, the alleged kingpin of the gang and a resident of Preet Nagar, Kapurthala, managed to escape.


2 killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 13
Two passengers, including a woman, were killed and five injured in a head-on collision between a Qualis van and a truck here this morning.

According to police sources, Vishal Kumar, driver of Qualis van, and a resident of Delhi, and Hem Lata, wife of Manohar Lal of Bangalore, died on the spot and five others were injured when their Qualis van (DL-2CH-6210) collided head-on with a loaded truck at Kurala on the Jalandhar-Pathankot GT road at 6.30 a.m.

The injured passengers were identified as Kalashanti, her husband Shantilal, Lalita, wife of Ashok Kumar, Manohar Lal, son of Inder Chand, all residents of Bangalore, occupants of Qualis van, and Avtar Singh, a son of Balwant Singh of Mussapur (Mukerian). 


ASI held for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 13
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today arrested an ASI Piara Singh deployed at Police Chowki, Dhal, in Chamkaur Sahib subdivision, Ropar district while allegedly accepting bribe. The ASI was caught red handed accepting bribe of Rs 2,500 from Karam Singh of Sultanpur village, the vigilance Bureau sources said.

The complainant in the case Karam Singh reported to the Vigilance Bureau that an ASI, dealing with his land dispute case and other cases, had demanded bribe to help him in the cases. On the complainant of Karam Singh, the Vigilance Bureau had laid a trap and caught the ASI while he was accepting bribe from the complainant. The ASI has been booked under various provisions of the corruption Act and he will be produced before the district court tomorrow.


Forum seeks Sonia’s intervention
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 13
The Forum for Education Action and Reform (FEAR), in its meeting held here today, urged Ms Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the UPA, to take notice of media reports about the recent developments in Punjabi University.

In a press note, the forum said, “it has become necessary to pay attention towards the situation in Punjabi University as it has assumed national proportions keeping view the reported statement of the CPI and the CPM, that the university had become a hub of terrorists.

The forum demanded a CBI probe into the alleged role of Mr S.S Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, in harbouring the terrorist as reported by a section of the press.


Baba Farid University VC hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
Dr J. S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University, Faridkot, has been admitted to Fortis hospital here following a heart attack.

Sources in the hospital stated that Dr Gujral was brought to the hospital yesterday and following an angioplasty was admitted to the cardiac care unit (CCU) today.

The sources added that Dr Gujral, who is a renowned surgeon himself, had been under a lot of stress lately following the alleged leakage of the PMT question papers.

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