P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



12 missing family members still untraced
Our Correspondent

Jandiala Guru (Amritsar), July 14
Mysterious disappearance of 12 members of a family after scribbling suicide note on walls of the house has become a headache for the police.
The Majitha police is still clueless about whereabouts of the family, which is said to be under huge debt. The police parties have been formed to locate the missing family and these were searching for them on bus station, railway station and along banks of rivers.

Family of Mohinder Singh Bajaj who ran a marriage palace and a lamination shop, has been missing, including his wife, two sons and their wives and his six grandchildren since yesterday morning. Information of missing reached last evening when the daughters reached the house. The family also reportedly wrote a four-page suicide note to a DSP and one-page note in the house.

They wrote that they were forced to leave their house under huge pressure and harassment by the moneylenders including Gulzar Singh, Dimple Sethi, Sardool Singh, Kulbir Singh and Capt Pishora Singh, all residents of same or nearby areas. They alleged that they were threatening them to throw them out of the house or kidnap the children.

In the meanwhile, four daughters of Mohinder Singh, including Palwinder Kaur, Kulwant Kaur, Manjit Kaur and Baljit Kaur suspected that their parents and family members were kidnapped as moneylenders were harassing them. With tears in their eyes they alleged that the police was not taking the matter seriously. They urged the senior police officials to find their family members. They said they would take the matter to higher authorities if the police failed to find them.

The Majitha police district chief, said that police parties were searching for the family.


Dullo, CM assure support to each other
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh and the new President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today met for an hour at the official residence of, Mrs Praneet Kaur, Member of the Lok Sabha, in Lodhi Estate at Delhi. Mrs Praneet Kaur is the wife of Capt Amarinder Singh.

Informed sources said both leaders had an exclusive heart to heart talk on many issues related to the party and the government. After meeting the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and other senior leaders of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr Dullo, according to sources, drove to Lodhi Estate to meet Capt Amarinder Singh.

It is the second time that Mr Dullo met Capt Amarinder Singh. His earlier meeting with the Chief Minister was arranged by Mr Lal Singh, Irrigation and Power Minister, Punjab, a few days ago. Sources said at today’s meeting also, Mr Lal Singh played a crucial role. Mr Dullo is expected to take charge as President of the PPCC later this week. Mr Dullo assured full cooperation to the Chief Minister with regard to the smooth functioning of the government and also on party matters. He told the CM that on his part there would be no lack of coordination on the matters of mutual concern of the party and the state government.

Likewise, the Chief Minister also assured Mr Dullo that he and his Cabinet colleagues would extend full support to him to strengthen the party in the state. The CM told the PPCC President that he would be in touch with him on regular basis to chalk out the party’s strategy on various important political issues where the party’s role would be crucial in the days to come to counter the propaganda of Opposition parties especially the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Sources said Mrs Sonia Gandhi had instructed both Mr Dullo and Capt Amarinder Singh to work as a team to strengthen the party in the state. She had told both to meet on regular basis to implement the promises made in the party manifesto released before the last Assembly elections. Meanwhile, Mr Parminder Singh Pinki, Mr Megh Raj Goel, Mr Lakhwinder Singh, all senior leaders of the Congress, have commended Mrs Gandhi’s decision to appoint Mr Dullo as president.


Dullo as PPCC chief will not be of help to Dalits: CPI
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 14
On the appointment of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, said today, Mr Dullo might be good for the party, but not for the Dalits as he could help solve problems of the Dalits till basic policies of the Congress were changed and made pro-Dalits and implemented in letter and spirit.

Dr Dayal told The Tribune that the Amarinder government had failed to implement welfare schemes, including ‘Ashirwad scheme’ meant for the Dalits, so far. He said as the Punjab government was facing financial crisis for the past some years, so in these circumstances, Mr Dullo would also not be in a position to help the Dalits in a big way.

Dr Dayal also said that in view of the announcement of sops, free power to farmers and abolition of octroi in the state by August 15, by the Chief Minister and Ministers and appointment of a Dalit as the PPCC chief, he was not expecting early Assembly elections in the state as such types of sops would not help the Congress in the early elections because the state had already been facing financial crisis in the industrial and agrarian sectors. Besides, in the past some Chief Ministers had announced sops before elections, but they tasted defeat, he added.

Dr Dayal also criticised the government for not ordering special girdawari in the areas where recent rains and floods had damaged crops, especially paddy and cotton. He also said successive governments had done nothing for taming Ghaggar and save people from its havoc. He also said the state government had also not pressurised the Central Government into releasing sufficient funds from the national calamity during the past four years to help those farmers, whose standing crops had been damaged in the past years.

Dr Dayal also said in view of the disclosures, by Punjab DGP SS Virk that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (Amritsar) president had collected huge amount from hardliners abroad recently, and about other leaders abetting terrorism, all of them should be dealt with strongly.


Leaders felicitate Dullo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo has become the first Dalit leader in Punjab to become the president of the Pradesh Congress Committee.

In a statement issued here this evening, Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, a former president of the PPCC, Mr Brahm Mohindra, a former minister, and Mr Nasib Singh Gill, a former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, congratulated Mr Dullo on his becoming the PPCC chief.

“He is a self-made man who has risen from the grassroots level to the top position because of his sincerity, hardwork and commitment to the policies and programmes of the party,” they said, holding that under his leadership the Punjab Congress would reach new heights.

Meanwhile, Mr Dullo held a meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.


Use of infrastructure by illegal colony resented
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 14
Illegal colonies are coming up openly in the district. So blatant is the violation of norms that at some places, illegal colonies are being built very close to improvement trust colonies.

One such colony is coming up next to the Improvement Trust Colony on the Jail Road in Gurdaspur. Official and political connivance in the development of the colony is obvious from the fact that there is no exit to the private or illegal colony. Occupants of the illegal colony would have to use infrastructure like roads, water supply and sewerage supply of the improvement trust colony to settle there.

Residents of the improvement trust colony allege that the illegal colony would put burden on the facilities provided by the improvement trust. They had paid through the nose to get the facilities of the planned improvement trust colony, whereas the residents of the illegal colony would draw same benefits at a much lesser cost. In addition, the basic infrastructure facilities have been created in the improvement trust colony on the basis of the number of plots offered. With the illegal colony adding to the number of residents, the authorized buyers are bound to suffer in future.

If the authorities concerned would allow the illegal colonisers to enjoy the benefits of planned colonies free of cost, people in future would prefer to buy plots in illegal colonies rather than planned government colonies, they alleged.

The Chairman of the Improvement Trust Gurdaspur, Mr A.N. Kaushal, admitted that the illegal colony was coming up next to their colony. He said the developers of the illegal colony had requested the improvement trust to allow them the use of their colony’s basic infrastructure.

The request has been forwarded to the government for approval. If the government approves the case, the developers of the private colony would have to deposit Rs 5000 per marla to use the trust facility. If the developer fails to deposit the amount the trust would raise a wall and block the way to the private colony. Since the matter was pending before the government, the wall has not been raised to block the way of the private colony, he said.

However, the sources said that a private developer was selling plots in the private colony. Once the plots are sold, he would not go for depositing the development charges. As per the law, the trust cannot block the way to houses of people. So, once the private developer sells the plots and people build houses, the trust would be forced to open the infrastructure of its colony to residents of the illegal colony.


Release of Sikh from Lahore jail in Aug likely
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, July 14
Sarabjit Singh, a Sikh youth, who has been languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore for the past 15 years under mistaken identity, is likely to be released in August this year.

Advocate Rana Abdul Hameed, who is fighting his case in the Pakistan Supreme Court, gave this information on the telephone to the Sarabjit’s sister, Ms Dalbir Kaur.

Mr Jugraj Singh, a close relative of Ms Dalbir Kaur, talking to this correspondent said the information had come as a major relief to the family members who were fighting and had been approaching the Foreign Ministry, Home Ministry as well as senior political leaders of both countries to prove Sarabjit’s innocence.

Sarabjit Singh had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan in 1990 when there was no barbed wire along the Indo-Pak border. The Pak rangers guarding the border on the Pakistan side caught hold of him and handed him over to Lahore police.

However, the Lahore police allegedly implicated him in false cases of bomb blasts in Lahore, Kasur, Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Islamabad mistaking him as Manjit Singh. Besides, he was also described as an agent of Indian secret agencies. Legal proceedings were launched against him in the special anti-terrorist court of Pakistan where he was awarded the death penalty.

Mr Sheetal Dass Kaler, coordinator of the South Asia Human Rights Group of Canada, filed a petition in the Pakistan court through advocate Rana Abdul Hameed who also provided proof of his innocence and his identity. Mr Hameed told the family that all appeals and documentary formalities had been completed. He said the prosecution had failed to substantiate the claims and the case would come up for final hearing at the end of this month.

Ms Dalbir Kaur and his family members have expressed the hope that Sarabjit Singh would be freed by the Pakistan court.


SDM orders closure of Red Cross medical shop
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 14
SDM Jaskiran Singh, assisted by SHO of the city police station, visited the 100-bedded Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here today and ordered the closure of the Red Cross medical shop till further orders. 

The police rounded up two of the 11 persons who had allegedly abused, threatened and manhandled SMO Dr G.R. Garg in charge of the hospital, inside his office on Tuesday. Mr Jaskiran Singh told The Tribune on phone that the next course of action would be based on inquiry report of the police.

Sources said that Civil Surgeon Dr Birender Pal Singh had met Deputy Commissioner Bidhi Chander Thakur last evening to apprise him of the situation that prevailed due to the threat of the doctor’s association to extend strike to other parts of the state.

The Deputy Commissioner’s office had earlier received complaints that the contractor of the Red Cross medical shop had been misusing power supply through the hotline of the hospital not only for the shop but also for water cooler and STD PCO. The contractor had earlier fumed at the SMO Dr Garg, as he detected theft of electricity two months ago and asked the electrician to get it stopped.

Other complainants said that the caretaker and employees of the Red Cross shop had been forcing attendants of patients to buy medicines from their shop only. The PCMS doctors resented that the caretaker had moved an application against Dr Garg to get him falsely booked under the Prevention of Atrocities on SC Act to force him withdraw complaint against the caretaker and his accomplices, who allegedly manhandled the SMO, as the latter objected to the handling of official indoor files by them.

Though the doctors had given notice of two hours’ strike this morning all over the district, Dr Rakesh Arora, general secretary, District PCMS Association, said the agitation was postponed as action had been initiated by the administration against those who attacked Dr Garg. 


Mann writes to CJ on allegations by DGP
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 14
In response to allegations levelled by Punjab DGP S.S. Virk against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Mann has shot a letter to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court through Sub Divisional Magistrate, Baba Bakala, fearing its repercussions on his case.

Mr Mann was today produced in the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate at Baba Bakala under tight security. The court adjourned the case for July 18 and asked the state government to file its reply.

Mr Mann stated that the statement of Mr Virk that he had collected huge amounts of money from hardliners abroad was likely to “prejudice the courts”. He writes “I fear I will not get a fair and just verdict from the courts”.

He alleged that it was clear that he was tortured on June 15 at the behest of Mr Virk. He sought open judicial inquiry to determine his movable or immovable property, which, he claimed, he did not possess till date. Resenting the statement of Mr Virk, he said it was done to tarnish his public image. He said the DGP had no right to do so, as his men had not found any incriminating document or money to establish his allegations.

Mr Mann alleged that Mr Virk had earlier constituted an illegal army called “Virk Sena” for the extra-judicial murders of thousands of Sikhs and the rape of their women. He further alleged that Mr Virk was chargesheeted for lack of integrity, which he said was a fit case for the dismissal of a government servant under Article 311 of the Constitution.


SGPC chief writes to Blair on Sikhs’ security
Our Correspondent

Amritsar July 14
The SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, yesterday wrote to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for security of Sikhs and gurdwaras located there. Condemning the dastardly bomb blasts in London, she stated that terrorism was becoming a global menace and each country should raise its voice against it.

Referring to the attack on two gurdwaras following the bomb blasts she said the Sikhs who had contributed towards economic growth and allround development were feeling insecure in Britain. The SGPC also sought audience with the British High Commission on the matter. 


Punjabi music charms Denmark singer
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, July 14
Charm of Punjabi music gripped Anita Lerche, a Denmark-based accomplished singer and actress, so much during her two weeks’ trekking expedition in Parvati valley of Himachal, that she has learning Punjabi, and is working overtime to give practical shape to her dream of cutting a peppy a Punjabi album.

Anita Lerche, who currently was staying with Hoshiarpur-based social worker Anurag Sood and who organised her trekking expedition being an expert tour organiser for foreigners, was a graduate from the London-based Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and has already rendered her voice to songs in the Chinese, Chillian, Arzentenian, Spanish, German, Latin, Norwegian languages and was famous for solo Englishe album,” I Love a Piano”.

For Anita, Punjabi music and rythms were so inspiring that she felt like dancing whenever she came across a Punjabi song, particularly, if it is folk mingled pop song. “On my way to Hoshiarpur from Parvati valley, I virtually kept rocking all the way while Anurag was driving the vehicle,” said Anita.

So spontaneous she was and was seemingly so moved by Punjabi music that she started popular Punjabi song of yesteryears,” Lathe di Chadar utte Saleti Rang Mahiya, Aavo Saamne, Kolon di Russ ke na Langh Mahiya,” even without a formal request by this correspondent. “There are five million people in Denmark and almost all of them are hooked to Punjabi music,” said Anita, who, was putting up in Copenhagen, where she doubled as a singer as well as a stage artist.

“I am thankful to my friend Gunnar, who, introduced and made me to listen Punjabi music. Now I am all set to record two Punjabi songs in Punjabi and am making my mind to sing in Himachali also. I feel that Punjabi music has acquired global status and it is as robust as Punjabis are. My passion for Punjabi and Himachali songs developed at Anurag’s apple orchard in Parvati valley, where, I spent hours listening to and understaning Punjabi and Himachali songs. Now I have started learning Punjabi language from a teacher here. Now I am leaving for Denmark, but, will return in August to learn Punjabi language and music in a proper manner,” said Anita.


SBP staff stages protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 14
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala today hold a massive demonstration in front of local head office of State Bank of Patiala, against the alleged indifferent attitude of bank’s management towards the demands of the employees.

The employees were agitating against the policy of bank management to close down extension counters, adequate recruitment of staff and not implementing the promotion test from sub staff to clerical staff.

While addressing the rally, Mr Gurbax Singh, Assistant General Secretary of All India State Bank of Patiala, employees federation demanded immediate meeting at the head office level.

Mr K.K. Sehgal, joint secetary of federation said that there was a shortage of security staff at branches. He urged the employees to remain prepared against the anti-employee “attitude” of the bank management and prepare themselves for a massive dharna at head office on July 20.

The rally was also addressed by Mr Shushma Gupta, vice-president and Mr Yadwindra Gupta, treasurer of the union.


PSEB accepts demand about daily wagers
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 14
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has accepted the demand of the Punjab Power Employees Federation (PPEF) that the daily wagers working in the thermal plants, Ropar, for more than two years be given designation. The daily wagers include skilled employees who have been working as labourers earlier without any designation.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the PPEF Employees Union with the Member Administrative PSEB, Hardyal Singh Kamboj, in Patiala on July 11. This was stated by the state president of the Punjab Power Employees Federation (PPEF), Mr Sukhdev Singh, here today.

Giving details of the meeting he said besides this, Mr Kamboj had also assured the PPEF that the PSEB would reconsider its decision about 10 per cent reduction in the power allowance, PSEB would not be divided into six companies, new channels would be opened for promotion of the employees recruited in sports quota.

Mr Kamboj also assured them that the posts of the various categories lying vacant in the thermal plants would also filled with the approval of the state government very soon, Mr Sukhdev further added.


Water treatment plants for Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
Three water treatment plants will be installed across the city to treat sewerage water, according to Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
He said it would be done under the Rs 240 crore Sri Guru Ram Das Development Plan.

He said the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced this plan during his visit to the city on the occasion of celebrations of the 400th anniversary of installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

He said it was the biggest grant given to the city for upgradation of civic amenities after independence.

The Deputy Speaker said treated water would be released for farming. He informed that 40 year old potable water pipes in the walled city would be replaced with new ones. 


Panel to preserve Golden Temple to be set up
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 14
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today decided to constitute a committee comprising archaeologists and experts to preserve Sri Harmander Sahib and other buildings in its vicinity.

The step seems to have been taken in view of the withdrawal of dossier on Golden Temple from UNESCO.

The SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, said retired or serving engineers, architects, archaeologists, fresco-painters and intellectuals would be included in the proposed committee. 


Forward Bloc against change of name

Ropar, July 14
All-India Forward Bloc today protested change in name of the Netaji Subhash Chander Bose Sports Authority of India, North Centre, situated in Chandigarh to Chowdhary Devi Lal Sports Authority of India.

Expressing resentment over the decision, the Secretary of All India Forward Bloc, Mr V.P Saini, said that members of the Bloc all over India would resort to protest if the Centre government would not reverse its decision, he added. — TNS


Boycott of Dalits ends
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 14
The social boycott of Dalits started by landlords of jangirana village came to an end after a day today. The two parties reached a compromise through a committee formed to resolve the issue.

The boycott began yesterday with Dalits demanding Rs 70 as daily wage from landlords who were not ready to pay more than Rs 50.

Both the parties also made announcements in this regard and also said that the violators would be penalised. SDM S.K. Singla and DSP Sukhdev Singh Chahal spent the whole day in the village to resolve the issue. The daily wage has been increased by Rs 10 with a mutual consensus and Dalits have agreed to the same.


Health Dept team inspects clinics
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 14
A team of the district health department today inspected the various doctor’s clinics in Ropar city to ensure that no doctor was involved in the sex determination test. The officials inspected the records of the doctors and machines to be used in the clinics.

The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Rana Harinder, said that nothing serious was found during the inspection. A final report in this regard would be submitted tomorrow. 


Water cooler for DEO
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 14
District Red Cross Society, Patiala donated two water coolers to the office of District Education Officer (DEO) for the convenience of the staff as well as visitors. The staff, including the Dr P.K. Mohindo, DEO (Elementary), thanked the Deputy Commissioner and Red Cross Society for the courtesy shown to them.


Fire in trader’s godown
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 14
Godown of a trader here in Amarpura mohalla Purana Bazar caught fire today morning reducing to ashes doors, windows and wooden frames.No loss of life was reported.

The trader said the short-circuiting of electric wires led to fire destroying doors, windows, wooden frames and items stored there.


Selection of three lecturers set aside
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside the selection of three lecturers in the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies by Punjabi University, Patiala. A selection committee had finalised the selections on October 9, 2002.

Allowing the petition filed by Chandigarh resident Ajay Sondhi, seeking directions to the Punjabi University and four others to quash the selections and the provisional appointment of three lecturers to the department, the Bench of Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal quashed the selections and directed the university to carry out fresh selections.

The fresh selection, the Bench ordered, would be made from the amongst the persons who were eligible on the last day of receipt of applications and it would be completed within a period of four months.

However, the Bench agreed with the university request to allow the candidates whose selections have been set aside to continue working till fresh selections are made.

In his petition, filed through advocate G.S. Kler, Mr Sondhi had contended that one of the selected candidates was not even eligible as he had submitted his Ph.D thesis on September 23, after the last date for the submission of forms. He added that another respondent was also ineligible as he had not passed Punjabi at matric level.

His counsel said the petitioner was eligible for the post as he fulfilled all conditions. He had qualified the state-level eligibility test, had studied Punjabi at matric level, and was a postgraduate with distinction in Defence Studies. It was further contended that the petitioner, physically challenged with 70 per cent disability, was not given weightage in spite of the fact that he had placed on record the relevant certificate.

Mr Sondhi had also sought directions for sealing the relevant record, including the applications of the candidates, besides the selection list and other documents. Directions against the release of salary to the three lecturers till the final disposal of the petition had also been sought.


Notice issued on married couple’s plea
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice of motion for September 12 on a petition filed by Ms Prabhjot Kaur and her husband, Paramjot Singh. The petitioners claim to have married against the wishes of the respondents, who are the family members of the girl.

Incidentally, the girl’s father Kuldip Singh is an accused in the kidnapping case of Amritsar boy Prabir Singh. He is in jail at present.

In their petition, filed through advocate R.S. Bajaj, they have claimed that they are major and since they married against the wishes of the girl’s parents and brother, they fear for their lives.

The girl also claims to have over-heard her father telling somebody on the phone that he was willing to pay Rs 50 lakh as “supari” to anyone who eliminated the boy and his family. The girl has claimed that she managed to escape from the custody of her family after coming to know of the sinister designs of her father. The petitioners have also stated that though they informed the police about the same, no action has been taken.

After hearing their counsel, the court issued notice and then adjourned the matter to September 12.


Lawyers oppose move to amend CrPC
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 14
Acting on a call given by the Bar Council of India, members of the local District Bar Association today observed a protest against the proposed amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) without interrupting the court work. The members of the Bar association wore black badges to express their resentment against the move of the government to make amendments in the CrPC, said the president of the association, Mr R.N. Moudgil.

He said that amendments to the CrPC would affect the common man and also the advocates.

Giving an example, Mr Moudgil said people would face problems in getting anticipatory bail, if they were booked in a criminal case following the amendment in the CrPC.


2 eunuchs killed at dera, murderer surrenders
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 14
Rajpura-born eunuch Basanti Sharma, who had drawn attention of the Media on her election as councillor in 1995, was stabbed to death at her dera this morning. The attacker also killed Kali, a eunuch from Nabha. Basanti had been elected councillor from Ward No. 25 at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, as an independent candidate with a comfortable margin.

Dera sources said Ajay Kumar (22), who had came in contact with the eunuchs during their schooling at Jaitsar village, had been expelled from the dera after he allegedly tried to molest a minor girl whom Basanti had adopted as daughter.

He scaled the boundary wall of the dera at 4 am and attacked Basanti (40) with a machete, killing the eunuch on the spot. Kali, sleeping beside Basanti, was also attacked when she cried for help.

Ajay then headed towards Shakila (23), but she escaped attack with minor injury and retaliated by hitting Ajay with a wooden rod. Shakila took a rickshaw and reached the city police station where Ajay had surrendered before the police with a statement that the eunuchs had been sexually exploiting him that forced him to commit the crime.

He has been arrested under Section 302 of the IPC.


Tiger skins, skulls found in ragpicker’s house
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 14
In an unusual incident, two skins and two skulls, suspected to be of tigers, were allegedly recovered from the house of a rag-picker who was arrested by the Jalandhar police tonight.

After landing in the police dragnet, the ragpicker, identified as Hans Raj (40) and a resident of Shahid Babu Labh Singh Nagar, has come out with a strange explanation that he had stumbled upon the skins and skulls about six months ago while he was picking rags and plastic bags from the local Sheikhan bazar. The recovery, according to Mr Opinderjit Singh Ghumman, SP, was made on the basis of specific information that Hans Raj was in possession of two tiger skins and skulls.

Since the skins had a long-line pattern, it was presumed by the police and officials of the Punjab Wildlife Department that these could be of tigers.

One of the skin bore dark brown colour while the other was of a lighter hue.

The skulls also had 10 to 15 teeth, he said.

Mr Rajinder Kumar, Block Officer of the Wildlife Department, said the real picture would become clear by tomorrow as senior wildlife officials would inspect the skins.


Passersby become victim of group clash; one killed
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 14
One student was killed and five others were injured in a brawl of two groups near S.D. College, Barnala railway crossing, here today.
An eyewitness, Mr Jarnail Singh, present at the local Civil Hospital where the injured were admitted, said Mr Karamjit Singh Bitta, Municipal Councillor of Ward No. 3, was coming from the Civil courts in Ambassador car along with four companions when about 30 heavily-armed persons allegedly belonging to Kala group of Dhanaula attacked the car with sticks and swords and broke the windowpanes of the car.

In the resultant exchange of fire, three innocent persons became victims. A college student identified as Harjot Singh (19) hailing from Dhanaula, who was just passing by, died in the firing. Ramesh Kumar, alias Meshi, who was also passing by sustained serious injuries. Similarly, Beant Singh, son of Sukhdev Singh of Sekha village too received injuries and his vehicle Tata Sumo (CHO1T-6885) got damaged because of mistaken identity.According to the report, enmity had been going on between the two groups in the past for supremacy. Those who sustained injuries also included Mr Bitta, Mota Singh of Sekha, and Harbans Singh, alias Bansi, of Chauhanke village.

SSP G. Nageshwara Rao SP (Detective) Gurmail Singh Bangi, SP (Headquarters) Surinderpal Singh Parmar and DSP DevinderSingh visited the spot and the hospital. A case has been registered against the members of the Kala group, including Gurmeet Singh Kala and Dhanna Singh, under Sections 302, 307, 148, 149 and 506 of the IPC.


1,860 kg of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 14
Securing a big catch, the Phillaur police seized 62 sacks (1860 kg) of poppy husk during a naka laid by a police party led by SHO Jaskiranjit Singh on the Sutlej bridge here today.

The poppy husk consignment, according to the SHO, was brought from Kishangarh in Rajasthan by drug peddlers, who intended to sell it in the Doaba area.

The SHO said when the police party signaled a truck to stop its three occupants tried to escape. While two persons fled the spot, the third was arrested who was later identified as Makhan Singh, a resident of Akalpur village near Phillaur. The search of the vehicle yielded 62 sacks of poppy husk, worth Rs 10 lakh.

SSP Ishwar Singh said on interrogation, Makhan disclosed that they had brought the consignment from Rajasthan at cheaper rates to sell it in Doaba region at higher prices. The accused also disclosed names of his co-accused, who had been identified as Parminder Singh, a resident of Jandiala, Parmjit Singh, a resident of Rasulpur and Jaswant Singh, a resident of Atti near Phillaur. 


Market Committee official caught taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, July 14
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau caught a secretary of the Market Committee, Rajpura, red handed while he was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 10,000 from a contractor of the local vegetable market, this afternoon. The secretary, Narinder Pal Singh Bawa was arrested by the VB at his office and bureau team recovered the ‘bribe money’ from him.

According to sources, the secretary had allegedly been demanding money from Mr Surjit Singh, a contractor of the vegetable market, for a long time. Since the contractor had been suffering huge losses in the contract and was not able to deposit a sum of Rs 20 lakh to the Market Committee for the past three months. Following which the secretary had issued notices to the contractor directing him to deposit the balance money or face the music.

Apprehending more losses, the contractor reportedly approached the secretary and demanded some grace period. As the secretary turned down his request, the contractor said he would pay the contractor Rs 10,000 on monthly basis provided the case would be dismissed.Later, Mr Surjit Singh, complained to the VB alleging that the Market Committee secretary had been demanding a bribe from him. A team of the VB, headed by DSP Jaipal Singh, took the complainant along and nabbed Bawa when he accepted a bribe of Rs 10,000 from Mr Surjit Singh

A case under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against Bawa.


Police inaction alleged in fraud case
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 14
The police role in the alleged property fraud case in Pathankot has raised many eyebrows. Sources available here said Harbhajan Kaur, wife of Gurdev Singh, allegedly sold the property of her husband on the basis of fake power of attorney.

The matter came to the fore when the husband reported the matter to the police. In his compliant, Mr Singh alleged that his wife faked one of her kin as her husband while preparing the fake power of attorney. In the computerised registration of the attorney the kin had been shown as her husband, whose photographs were also attached on the documents.

She later sold the property to Rajneesh Mahajan and Dewan Chand Khurana, who got registered the property in their name at Rs 7.5 lakh while the market value of the property was about Rs 1 crore, Mr Singh alleged.

Although the evidence in the case was obvious as the photographs of faked identities have been pasted on the registry and power of attorney, the police has failed to register a case against the accused.


‘Personal assistant’ of MP arrested
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 14
The police has arrested Ranjot Singh on the charge of posing as personal assistant to the Rajya Sabha member from the area, Mr Ashwani Kumar, and preparing fake birth certificates of non-resident Indians (NRIs).

Sources available here said that an NRI from Kalanaur, Mr Kuldeep Singh, wanted his and three other kin’s birth certificates made from Gurdaspur. He came in contact with Ranjot Singh who told him that he was PA to the MP and could get his work done easily.

The accused charged about Rs 15,000 from the NRI for the job. He prepared fake birth certificates. The matter came to the notice of the real personal assistant of the MP, Mr Ranjan, who snatched the fake certificates from the accused and handed them over to the Civil Surgeon, Gurdaspur, for inquiry.

The Civil Surgeon inquired into matter and found that the birth certificates prepared by the accused were fake. A case has been registered against the accused and he has been remanded in judicial custody.


2 motor cycle thieves held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 14
The police arrested two thieves at the Nankiana Sahib chowk here last night and recovered five stolen motor cycles and a fake registration copy (RC) of a motor cycle.

Inspector Darshan Singh said today that Sanjiv Kumar Sethi and Parveen Kumar, both local residents, were produced in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate who remanded them in police custody for two days.

He said Sanjiv and Parveen had been stealing motor cycles for the past one year. They used to sell them by preparing fake documents. A case has been registered.


Smack peddler held

Jalandhar, July 14
Parminder Singh Prince, a resident of local Dhann Mohalla and alleged smack smuggler, was arrested by a team of Jalandhar CIA Staff led by Inspector Vibhor Kumar and 300 gm of smack recovered from him here today. — TNS


Lack of facilities in schools worries Atwal
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 14
Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, expressed concern over the poor infrastructure facilities and shortage of staff in the government primary schools and stressed efforts by political and social leaders for improvement in the functioning of schools. As children of the poor get education in these schools, shortage of teachers must be removed. If we fail to provide education to children of the poor the basic objective of bringing in social and economic equality in a welfare state would be belied.

Due to financial constraints, the successive state governments were not able to recruit teachers. The intellectuals, political, social leaders, NRIs and philanthropists should come forward to improve educational set-up otherwise the present education set-up which has been divided into public schools and government schools would widen the disparity between the rich and the poor, he added.

Mr Atwal said that he had decided to use his MP Local Area Development Fund for improving the infrastructure and removing shortage of staff in the primary schools in his constituency.

Political differences should not come as hindrance in the implementation of schemes launched for the rural development, self-employment and poverty alleviation, he opined. The Deputy Speaker came here to preside over the meeting of the District Vigilance Monitoring Committee here at Dilbagh Hall on Thursday. 


Unemployed teachers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 14
On a call given by its state body, over 300 unemployed ETT teachers wearing black robes, chaining their bodies and carrying playcards held a protest march through the main streets of the town here today to express their resentment against the detention of their nearly 150 colleagues under false and fabricated cases in Ludhiana on July 9. The agitators raised anti-government slogans on the occasion.

Earlier, they held a rally at the mini-secretariat. Addressing the protesters, Mr Jagir Singh Sahota, vice-president of the state Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, charged the state government for backing out from all its promises made with the agitators to solve their problems.

Flaying the adamant attitude of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, towards the agitators, Mr Sahota accused him of failing to implement the report of the high-powered committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Jalandhar: Demanding the release of its 150 members arrested by the police in Ludhiana on July 9, the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union held a massive protest here yesterday.

Wearing black gowns and tying themselves in chains, the members lodged the protest as they marched from Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall towards Company Bagh.

Addressing the members, Mr Beant Bhadna, district president, said that the members were disappointed over the act of the police in arresting 150 members of their union from Ludhiana, Moga and Faridkot who had been participating in a joint protest in Ludhiana on Saturday.


Students upset over clash in dates

Patiala, July 14
The clash of the counselling dates of Panjab University (PU) Chandigarh and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, have put a question mark on the future of many medical students.

Mr Karam Singh a resident of Raghubir Nagar here, claimed that Panjab University had fixed the counselling for the B.Pharmacy and B.Sc for July 20 to 23 and had given advertisement in various papers.

However, the BFUHS has come up with the same dates for counselling for the MBBS and BDS courses. He alleged that either the officials of the Baba Farid University did not read newspaper or they were intentionally harassing the students. Mr Karam Singh said that Punjab had a handful of universities. If these institutions could not synchronise the dates, it was unfortunate. TNS


Eye camp for students

Patiala, July 14
Four hundred students were examined at a eye camp organised by the District Blind Control Society (DBCS) at Government High School, Karhali here today.
In a press release issued by the Indian Red Cross Society, Dr Anil Pathak, Secretary DBCS, said that the UK-based Derewal Trust was sponsoring the spectacles and lenses for the needy students so that no hurdle come in the was of their studies.

Dr Kaka Ram Verma told that such camps were being organised in the different villages so that to help the maximum number of the students in rural areas who otherwise could not afford costly treatment. Free spectacles to 34 students of this school were distributed on the occasion. TNS


Aided colleges get grants
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 14
A grant of Rs 17.77 crore was released for the aided colleges in Punjab today.
Disclosing this here this evening, Prof R.S. Brar, president,Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, said that the grant related to the first quarter of the year covering months of March, April and May. Its cheque had reached the office of the DPI(C), he informed.


Extension for GND varsity VC

Amritsar, July 14
The state government today extended the term of Dr S.P. Singh as the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University for a period of one year.

The Punjab Raj Bhavan issued the notification to this effect today. The Punjab Governor granted Dr Singh another term of one year on the recommendations of the Chief Minister. — TNS

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 |