L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Journalists demand Dheer’s release
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
City based mediapersons today condemned the arrest of Indian Express journalist Gautam Dheer. The journalists held a rally outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office and also submitted a memorandum to the ADC (D), Mr Priyank Bhatia, demanding immediate release of the journalist and action against the guilty.

Alleging that the arrest was a case of victimisation and an attack on the freedom of Press, Mr Virinder Pramod, president of the Ludhiana Union of Journalists, said : “The incident is an attack on the rights and freedom of the Press. We strongly condemn the incident and demand that Gautam Dheer must be released and action should be taken against those who found guilty.”

Dheer was arrested last night from his residence in Chandigarh. Dheer had reported a complaint against Inspector General Police Sumedh Saini . His report about two Nayagaon residents complaining to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission , alleging police harassment by the IGP, who is heading investigations into the rape of a minor girl, allegedly evoked strong reaction from the police. Dheer’s family alleged that the police arrested him without even producing any arrest warrant.

“The action is unjust and if fair journalism is to result in actions like this, then media would not be able to report anything. An enquiry must be initiated into the matter,” demanded Pramod.

Journalists in large numbers participated in the rally. They also wore black badges to lodge their protest. The arrest was also condemned by the Crime Reporters Association of Ludhiana.



Lineman commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Khanna, August 29
Tension brewed at the local Civil Hospital when a doctor of the hospital refused to conduct post-mortem examination of the body of a PSEB employee who had committed suicide by hanging himself from a fan at his house.

Following the refusal by the doctor as many as 50 PSEB employees gathered in the hospital and pressurised the doctor to conduct the post-mortem examination but doctors said the post-mortem examination would be conducted at Rajindera Hospital, Patiala, as the body was in bad condition.

The employees threatened to block traffic and to meet the SSP in this connection. Meanwhile, Punjab Pradesh Congress President Shamsher Singh Dullo, a close relative of the deceased, reached the hospital and asked the doctor to conduct the post-mortem examination.

After Mr Dullo’s intervention the post-mortem examination was conducted and the body was handed over to family of the deceased.

On the other hand the police registered a case of abetment to suicide against the wife, father-in-law and mother-in-law of the deceased.

According to reports the deceased, Ram Sarup, son of Dhanna Singh, was posted as a lineman at the suburban office of PSEB at Malerkotla Road, Khanna. He had got married in January this year to Harpreet Kaur, daughter of Harbans Singh, a resident of Shimla Puri, Ludhiana. Due to marital discord Harpreet had gone to her parent’s house sometime after the marriage and had been living there ever since.

However, on Friday both parties reached a compromise and it was decided that Ram Sarup would take his wife to Khanna on Sunday. But when Ram Sarup failed to reach his in-laws house his father-in-law rang up Jagdeep Singh, a JE living in PSEB colony near Ram Sarup’s house and asked him to send a message to Ram Sarup.

When Jagdeep Singh reached the house of the deceased he found the body of Ram Sarup hanging from a fan in a room.

The police was informed about the incident and a police led by DSP Khanna, Rajeshwar Singh Sidhu and SHO, City, Wajir Singh reached the spot. The body of the deceased was sent to civil hospital on Sunday evening.

A case under Section 306 of the IPC has been registered against Harpreet Kaur, wife of the deceased, Harbans Singh, father-in-law and Lakhvir Kaur, mother-in-law, of the deceased at city police station.



Parking lot auction put off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, (LMC), today postponed the auction of as many as five parking lots in Feroze Gandhi Market following protests by a group of bidders against reserve price.

As soon as Zonal Commissioner, Vinod Sharda declared that the auction was put off, the other group of bidders protested against the decision and raised slogans against the MC authorities.

The genesis of the problem lies in the direction of High Court allowing the contractors to park only 300 cars in each parking lot. The bidders said it would be difficult for them to even earn the reserve price.

Another group of 25 bidders, who were interested that the auction should take place, alleged that the MC was trying to favour some Congress activists who had bagged contracts last year.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Safri, their leader, said, last year, the contract was allotted to three persons, including Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka and Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, both Congress activists at a price of Rs 29,60,000.

“Both of them did not want to bid at a reserve price of Rs 32,60000. We were ready to pay around Rs 70 lakh but the corporation is not interested,” he said.

Mr Vinod Sharda, said the auction was postponed following the orders of the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma.

Mr Safri alleged that the MC authorities wanted to extend the previous contract by three months at old rates, but they would not let it happen. He demanded that the MC should take care of the parking lots till the next auction takes place. Mr Ashok Bagga, husband of a Congress Councillor, who was also a bidder was protesting against the MC action.

Mr Tikka, however, refuted all charges. He said the auction was postponed as two members of the auction committee did not reach the venue in time. “This is what the MC officials told me.”

The bidders demanded from the MC that the earnest money for bidding should be accepted through demand drafts and not in cash. Mr Safri said today every bidder was carrying Rs 3, 26,000 in cash for depositing as earnest money and they could be robbed by anybody considering the crime scene in the city.

Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu, area Councillor, assured all bidders that a fair and transparent bidding would be organised and it would be advertised in leading newspapers.



Two acquitted in murder case
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The court of Sessions Judge, Mr Harbans Lal, has acquitted Darshan Singh and Manpreet Singh residents of Tajpur village, Raikot in the case of murder of Baldev Singh of same village. Baldev Singh had been killed in March 2005. The two were acquitted as the prime prosecution witnesses, including the complainant, turned hostile.

The accused were booked at the Raikot police station under Section 302 and 34 of the IPC, on March 26, 2005 after Sukhdev Singh, a brother of the deceased filed a complaint. Initially the police had also booked Darshan Singh’s son and another accused. But they were not challaned.

In his statement to the police the complainant had stated that there was a dispute over a common passage between them and a quarrel had taken place a few days before the incident.

It was further claimed that the accused persons had killed Baldev Singh by assaulting him with a “gandasa” and sticks, when he had gone to fields.

But when the complainant deposed before the court, he stated that he had named the accused as they were having a dispute with them and that he had not witnessed the incident. 



Child labour laws flouted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
“I work for 12 hours a day at a scooter repair shop and get merely Rs 1,000 a month. I am the eldest of my family. I have five younger brothers and sisters at home. My father works off and on. So the responsibility of feeding the family lies with me. I hardly ever get a holiday. My fingers start aching fixing punctures but there is no respite for me,” says Lakhan, whose family stays in Ludhiana.

According to a study, “Child Labour in Small-Scale Units of Ludhiana” by Dr Pratibha Goyal, Assistant Professor of Business Management at the PAU, Punjabis, most of them in the 13-14 years age group, bear the brunt of economic burden. Some of them are not even paid as they are learning whereas according to the Child Labour Act, they should be paid 50 per cent of the wages.

Most of the boys prefer to work in scooter units as scooter shops are found in every locality. Owners of these units are forever looking for cheap labour which they get in abundance. Dr Goyal says, “I was shocked to find that most of the workers were Punjabis and in the 13-14 years age group. The scooter workshops have the maximum number of child labourers employing 52.44 per cent of them while the building and construction industry employs, utilises 28.23 per cent child labourers.”

These studies are disturbing but what is even more disturbing is blatant disregard of laws on child labour. One of the laws holds that every child should be allowed at least one day’s off, but these children get a break once in a deep blue moon.

When Piara Singh, working in a tea stall, was asked whether he wanted to study, he said, “Yes, all my friends also want to study. We all want to have fun instead of working in factories, dhabas and scooter workshops.” Dr Goyal says in her study that many of these children due to endless toil, meagre means and poor diet, suffer from various ailments like headaches, dizziness, worm infection and many respiratory problems. As many as 75 per cent of them would like to study, but cannot due to economic necessity.

They do not go to doctors for it means taking a day off and spending money on medicines which they can ill afford. Dr Goyal says that 13.4 per cent of child labourers come from families with at least nine members. The Child Labour Act, 1986, holds that no child will be made to work more than three hours at a stretch. But it remains on paper as all children get only half an hour’s break.

A person running an industrial unit in the city says, “We prefer them young for they are more innocent and are no threat. After all, we keep hearing of involvement of servants in thefts, murders and other such crimes. In a way, we are helping them by treating them well.” In scooter workshops, 50 per cent of the respondents work after 7 pm whereas, according to law, no child is permitted to work between 7 pm to 8 am. Ms Goyal says, “Child labour will stop only with the spread of education and by controlling the population.”



Passing Thru

Ajit Pal Singh, former captain of the Indian hockey team.
Ajit Pal Singh, former captain of the Indian hockey team.

What measures do you think should be taken to revive the game of hockey?

If we really intend to revive the game of hockey, then first of all we should forget about our past performance and start at the beginning. After the 1964 Olympics, we never went beyond the semi-final stage barring the Moscow Olympics (1980) and after the 1975 World Cup victory, we never made it to the title clash. We should pick up talented players at a young age, give them rigorous training, hold school-level tournaments and harness their talent.

What should be the Indian Hockey Federation’s role in improving the standard of the game?

As hockey in Europe is now played indoors and most of the tournaments are organised during the nights, a large of number of spectators turn up to watch the matches. This gives encouragement to players as well as organisers. So, the IHF should emulate them in organising matches indoors during the late evenings so that young players’ parents could also spare time to be present there to watch their wards and encourage them.

What do you think about the media’s role in reviving the game?

Media should play a constructive role rather than merely criticising. I am sorry to say that there are a number of my friends who only criticise the Indian team’s performance. By doing so, they do harm to the game.

— Anil Dutt



Outbreak of disease worries villagers
Mahesh Sharma

Bir Imamgarh (Ahmedgarh), August 29
Contaminated drinking water, stagnant water and dirty streets are the diagnostic features of this nondescript village, in which more than 125 Dalit families are residing. The village is governed by the panchayat of nearby Ibrahimpura village.

To add to villagers’ woes, a mysterious disease, which reportedly claimed life of a child, had remained undetected.

The civil administration, however, maintained that nothing unusual was detected in the village and only a fraction of the population suffered from routine fever.

Other problems faced by the villagers include lack of water disposal system. There are reports of contaminated drinking water. So much so that the officials visiting the village dare not drink the water offered by the villagers.

Mr Darbara Singh and Nazar Singh, BSP leaders, termed the apathy as caste discrimination. “Had the village been inhabited by the general category castes, the situation could have been different. The successive governments and panchayats had been ignoring the development of the village for the obvious reasons,” they commented.

The controversy over the disposal of waste water was said to be the reason behind the pathetic condition of the village. “A piece of land that had earlier been earmarked as pond and was connected by a pucca nullah is now occupied by a private owner. Water stagnates in open plots meant for other purposes,” said villagers, demanding immediate action in this direction. It was pointed out that the seepage of polluted water had turned the ground water unfit for the human consumption. No agency has bothered to test water for the presence of pathogens and foreign materials.

“The villagers bore the brunt of the disease till August 25 when Harvinder Singh (9), son of Mr Joginder Singh, died within three days of having unexplained fever,” said Mr Sardar Khan, sarpanch of Ibrahimpura and Bir Imamgarh villages. The condition of Amandeep Singh, a brother of the deceased was also reported to be critical. There are others like Lakhbir Singh, Sukhwinder Kaur, Soni, Rajwinder and Honey who have been suffering from the mysterious fever. Many others had either been admitted to Civil Hospital, Malerkotla or to private practitioners’ clinic in nearby towns.

However, on the other hand the administration has claimed that the situation was normal in the village. Dr Indu, SDM, who had visited the village to supervise the relief arrangement, claimed that the disease was a seasonal fever for which treatment had been given to the patients. “We have got the blood samples of 400 suspected cases examined and only less than 15 per cent of them carried seasonal infection,” explained Dr Indu. The Public Health Department had been asked to ensure hygienic conditions there, she added.



Krishnleela staged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
If one saw Shri Krishnleela staged near Clock Tower, Ludhiana, yesterday, one would not believe that these are amateurs.

The theatre artists were all amateurs and working as painters or beauticians.

It is their love for theatre that brought them together. In spite of their busy schedule, they spent two hours on rehersals every day for a month before the final show.

Satish Painter, (as the name suggests, a painter by profession) director of play, said, “I am a very faithful and true pupil of late Harpal Tiwana. Though I am a painter , I cannot forgo my love for theatre. I collect like-minded people and I train them. I got the script of this play and we have already staged it twice in Shri Durga Mandir but this year we wanted a larger audience. We got the audience but no support.”

Painter said troupe is called Baweja Kala Manch and besides direction, he also played the roles of Putna and Sudama.

Manjit Baweja is the president and is a wonderful actor.

He said, “Bharati Electricals’ gave us financial support and Mohan Music Store lent us costumes free of charge. Lovey, a little girl, played the role of young Krishna and Manpreet, a student of Master Tara Singh played the older Krishna . Shivani. a young girl, enacted the role of Radha. Suman Sahni was excellent in the role of Kansa and Anil Sehgal as Vasudev was outstanding.”

The others who took part in the play were S.S. Chand, Satpal, Raj Rani.



AIDS helpline started
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 29
The Aasra organisation today launched a free helpline service for counselling and education on HIV (AIDS) here.

The service available on phone nos 0161-2403364 and 098155-40433 would operate round the clock.

Inaugurating the helpline, Mr Joginder Singh Saroe, a councillor and NRI social worker from Southall (London), described it as a unique service which would go a long way in removing misgivings and misconceptions about AIDS among people.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr Kuljit Singh Bhalla, convener of the body remarked that there were many things people wanted to know about AIDS but were hesitant to ask.



NGOs urged to unite
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 29
Mr Durga Dass Jindal, a philanthropist, has called upon various NGOs of the district to join hands in serving the weaker sections of the society instead of doing so individually.

A permanent member of the Research Board of Adviser of the American Biographical Institute (ABI) Mr Jindal claimed that separate efforts put up by various social organisations would bring desired results.

“Donors would donate more generously if they were made to understand that some centralised organisation was to help the constituents of weaker sections of society,” argued Mr Jindal adding that some persons avoid offering donations apprehending that they would be approached by other organisations also.

Declared “Man of the Year” by the ABI in 2003, Mr Jindal desired that a centralised NGO at state level should be formed. This would bring a majority of organisations of the district on one platform.

Besides organising marriages of more than 250 poor girls through the matrimonial Missionary Services he could help thousands of widows get pension from the government. In case, some needy women could not get pension, the organisation would arrange financial help on their own. As a part of self-employment project, more than 2000 women have been trained for various skills, including sewing, knitting and embroidery. As many as 15 training centres were being run in this area.

He said besides performing his duty as a government employee, he had used his liaison in the offices for helping unemployed youth of the district. More than 100 entrepreneurs had received loans from the District Industrial Centre, Malerkotla.



Lecture on yoga

Ludhiana, August 29
Lecture on the yoga and meditation was delivered by Dr Shalender Kumbkarni, a cardiologist at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here. Yoga consultant Dr Sanjeev Singh Rawat gave a lecture at the Phawara Chowk branch of State Bank of India here yesterday. OC



INA veteran suffers stroke
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 29
An INA veteran, Mr Mehar Singh,( 80), of Mandiani village suffered a paralytic attack today.

He was admitted to Pandori Hospital in Mullanpur Dakha where his condition is said to be stable.

Mr Mehar Singh lives alone in the village. His two sons are settled in the USA.



Religious function concludes
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 29
Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, called upon the activists of Municipal Service Union to maintain congenial atmosphere during duty hours.

She appreciated union leaders for organising a three day religious function that concluded today.



Readers Write
Has government’s anti-corruption drive lost steam?

At least two Punjab Government Departments — Punjab State Electricity Board and Forest Department — have formally declined permission to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to prosecute corrupt senior functionaries whose name figures in cases of corruption worth crores. Certainly this retrograde step of heads of these departments smells of sinister designs of the high and mighty in the government who have made mockery of CM’s repeated commitment to weed out corruption from the system.

Instead of giving corrupt officers exemplary punishment, it can be safely presumed that government machinery itself is shielding the corrupt. Is it not an act of abetment to corruption rather than taking the vigilance bureau probe to a logical conclusion? We demand an explanation from the government in this regard.

Dr I.S. Kalra and B.B. Goyal
Forum For Public Cause Ludhiana

Release POWs

The Amnesty International, the National Human Rights Commission and the United Nations must secure the release of all prisoners of wars held captive in Pakistan jails for more than 40 years. Such indifference towards respect for human life is worst than capital punishment.

The captive soldiers only did their duties when they obeyed their masters in their respective armies at the time of war. There seems no logic in holding them captive anymore when the masses on both sides want peaceful relations. Let the ego of politicians and statesmen not stand in the way of ensuring an early release of such prisoners on both sides. This shall definitely help smoothen the relations between two countries.

Prof A.D. Bhalla



3 stolen vehicles recovered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 29
The local police has claimed to have recovered one scooter and two motorcycles from the town. Mr Gurinder Singh, city, SHO, arrested Dilbagh Singh of Lodhiwal, from Kamal Chowk Jagraon on a tip off and recovered a stolen scooter (No PB-69-2987) from his possession.

In another incident ASI Raminderjit Singh, CIA staff, arrested Soni of Bhagna, Fatiabad, and Tarlok Singh of Walipur and recovered two motorcycles (No HR-019-6734 and PB-10AY 0978) from the area Agwar Gujjran of this town. Cases under Sections 379 and 411, IPC, have been registered.

A car (No DL-1 CC-7712) has allegedly been stolen from gurdwara Mehdiana near Manuke and the local police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC, on the complaint of Raj Kumar, a resident of Jalalabad, the owner of the vehicle.

2 booked

Charanjit Singh and Jasbir Singh of Saholi allegedly entered the house of Sukhwinder Singh of their village, fired shots and threatened him.

Sudhar police has registered a case under Sections 336, 452, 506, 34, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Two booked for threat to kill neighbour
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 29
The Sudhar police has booked a farmer and his soldier son for allegedly firing a gunshot in the air after forcibly entering into the house of their neighbour and threatening to kill him. The father has been arrested along with a 12-bore gun while the Army man is missing.

According to a complaint lodged by Sukhwinder Singh, son of Beant Singh of Saholi village in Ludhiana district, Charanjit Singh, a resident of Saholi village and his son, Jasbir Singh, had been booked under Sections 452, 336, 506 and 34 IPC. The police has arrested Maha Singh and seized the .12-bore gun used in the incident.

Charanjit Singh along with his family lived in his farmhouse for a long time. The fields of Sukhwinder Singh are situated in the neighbourhood of the farmhouse of Charanjit.

A perusal of the records at Sudhar police station revealed that some stray cows used to damage crops in the fields of Sukhwinder Singh. On Saturday, when Sukhwinder was returning from his fields after driving away cows. Charanjit Singh got suspicious that he had deliberately gone there to tease women at the farmhouse.

“To teach Sukhwinder Singh a lesson, Charanjit Singh and Jasbir Singh took their gun and challenged him in front of his house in the village at 10.30 pm. When Sukhwinder Singh along with his other family members locked up themselves in the house out of fear, Charanjit Singh allegedly entered forcibly into the house and fired a gun shot in the air,” police sources said. He allegedly threatened to kill him. After that the duo ran away from the house.

The Sudhar police has an FIR against the accused. It has arrested Charanjit Singh and seized his gun. The police is searching for the other accused.



Two held for selling smack
Our Correspondent

Khanna, August, 29
The district police has arrested two persons from two different places on the charges of selling smack.

According to the police Yashpal, a resident of Khanna, was arrested from near Malwa College, Baundli, on Sunday and five grams of smack was recovered from his possession.

He was arrested and a case under the N D P C Act was registered against him at Samrala police station.

In another raid conducted by C I A incharge at Khanna, Balwinder Singh Rupinder Singh an employee of Yashpal working at his shop at Samrala road was arrested. Six grams of smack was also recovered from his possession. A case under the N D P C Act was registered against him at the city police station.


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