P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Riot victims storm DC’s office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
A high-level team constituted by the Union Government to analyse the quantum of relief provided to the victims of the ’84 riots came face-to-face with the ground realities here today when hordes of victims claimed that the real sufferers had not received much compensation.

Unruly scenes were witnessed at the meeting in the mini-secretariat hall when a group of riot victims stormed their way to meet the committee members. Petty politics between their leaders also came to the fore as victims accused them of not doing much for the “real” sufferers.

Many women wept when one victim after another victim narrated horrid tales of their torture during the riots and the apathetic attitude of the successive governments. Many of them claimed that while tall promises were made by various political parties in power in the state, nothing concrete had been done.

The group informed the committee that they were living amid “hell like conditions” after the riots rendered them homeless.

Led by the Chairman of the committee, Mr G.K. Marwaha, Divisional Commissioner, NCT, New Delhi, the three -member committee comprising Mr P.K. Pathak, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Mr I.V. Karan, Director, Ministry of Home, listened to the grievances of victims and assured them that they would report to the Union Government about the problems being faced by them.

The team visited the colony of riot victims in Dugri. Many families, who lived in big houses in Delhi before the riots, showed the team how they were putting up in one-room houses.

Politics among various outfits of riot victims came to the fore when activists of the Danga Peerat Welfare Society, did not vacate the venue and told the committee members that there was no need to talk to the other party.

The activists and members of the Danga Peerat Welfare Council waited to be heard for more than three hours in the open ground in the sweltering heat. They kept raising slogans while staging a demonstration and finally stormed the office of the Deputy Commissioner to force the committee members to listen to them also.

The victims came up with the problems of non-allotment of flats, commercial booths and delay and non-issuance of red cards. The welfare associations demanded that the victims should be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to widows and victims of the riots, red cards should be issued and their children should be given free education.

Other demands included government job to one member of each family, resumption of 2 per cent reservation quota in medical and engineering colleges and free education to children up to graduation.

Both organisations submitted a memorandum to the Union Government, demanding action against those named in the Nanavati Report.


Central team visits ’84 riot victims
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
A high-powered team of the Union Home Ministry yesterday visited 1984 Delhi riot victims settled here and appraised themselves of the difficulties being faced by them.

The team was led by Divisional Commissioner, Delhi, Mr G.K. Marwaha, and other members, including the Directors (Home Affairs) Mr P.K. Pathak and Mr U.B. Karan. A senior Punjab government functionary, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner, accompanied the team.

The team visited Urban Estate (Phase 1 and 2) which has the highest concentration of such families. The members gave a patient hearing to the victims and assured them that all their grievances would be sympathetically looked into by the Home Ministry.

Speaking on the occasion at the community hall of Urban Estate (Phase-2), Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj said all riot victims were issued red cards by the Punjab Government for availing benefits accruing to them. She added that riot victims were entitled to 2 per cent reservation in plots being allotted by PUDA and local Improvements Trusts across the state.

Mrs Bajaj added that the state government had also allowed 2 per cent reservation in various professional colleges to children of riot affected. Mr Tejveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner, while releasing figures said that there were 1640 riot-affected families in Patiala and a majority of them lived in phase 1 and 2 of the Urban Estate in LIG flats allotted by the government.

The riot victims were represented by Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Harvinder Singh and Mr Avtar Singh.

Prominent among others present were Mr Anjali Bhawra, Commissioner (Patiala Division), SSP A.S. Rai, ADC Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon and the ACA, PUDA, Mr Manvesh Sidhu.


Nanavati panel report incomplete: SC lawyer
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
Mr Harvinder Singh Phulka of the Sikh Forum does not mince words while talking about riots and their aftermath. “Be it the 1984 riots or the Gujarat riots, these should not be treated as religion-specific. It seems there are two set of laws in the country, one for the majority and the other for the minorities,” Mr Phulka says. He is a Supreme Court lawyer, who has spent 21 years trying to get justice for the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims.

Talking about the Nanavati Commission report and the role of the leadership at that time, he says Rajiv Gandhi may not have been directly involved.

“There was a delay in calling the Army. The people suffered while no action was taken. There was passive concurrence by the then Home Minister P.V. Narashima Rao. A few days later in Parliament, the Home Minister said that 600 deaths had taken place. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP did a survey and put the figure at 3870.” The official figure stands at 2,733.

Mr Phulka says he is disillusioned with the Nanavati Commission report, which he terms as “incomplete”. It was supposed to cover the anti-Sikh riots all over the country, but it ended up concentrating only on Delhi. Such commissions are “time-buying tactics of the government”. Other departments and agencies should have acted against the accused and not waited for the commission’s report, he adds.

“Various sub-committees were constituted. One of them found 72 policemen guilty. Most of them have retired but one such ‘protecter of law’, Sewa Dass, is a high-ranking official today.” He was then posted in East Delhi, where a majority of killings took place.

“The Jain-Aggarwal Committee recommended registration of 316 cases. Out of these 160 were closed summarily or forgotten. Only three convictions took place, and that too were of minor nature.”

On remarks by Minorities Commission Chairman Tirlochan Singh, Mr Phulka said, “Ask the people who went through the tragedy. Common people who became victims, who underwent the trauma. If they are satisfied with an apology, then it is fine.”

Mr Tirlochan Singh had said the only recourse left now was a resolution in both Houses of Parliament regarding the tragedy. During the passage of years, evidence had either been lost or wiped out, he had added.


Cops on high alert as Gohana spills over to Punjab
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Security agencies, including the police, have been put on high alert to prevent any spillover of the Gohana incidents in Punjab in general and Dalit-dominated areas in particular.

Though there have been some violent protests in some parts of the state, including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Ferozepore, Ropar and Nawanshahr, the situation is under control, says Mr S.S. Virk, Director-General of Police.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Virk said that all district police chiefs had been asked to be extra alert and keep watch on the activities of antisocial elements who might attempt to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state.

During the past two days, some buses of Haryana Roadways have been targeted by angry mobs at different places. Timely action, however, prevented the situation from going out of control.

Sources in the police reveal that there have been stray incidents of violence between Dalits and others, especially over the issue of denial of entry to places of worship, in the state. Of late, there has been some resentment among those owing allegiance to the former Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Ch Kanshi Ram, over his alleged detention by Ms Mayawati, the present party chief.

The timing of the incidents of violence in Gohana is also disturbing for the police as municipal elections, including some byelections, are due next week.

“Police patrolling has been stepped up. Extra vigil is being maintained at vulnerable spots, especially in Dalit-dominated areas,” says Mr Virk.

Parts of Doaba, including Nawanshahr and Jalandhar, and pockets of Ferozepore, Amritsar and Ludhiana, have been identified as “highly sensitive”. Instructions have also been issued to the Deputy Commissioners and other senior officials to meet Dalit leaders and convince them against holding protests against the Gohana incidents.

The police and intelligence agencies are also keeping an eye on the movement of certain Dalit leaders, especially from neighbouring states, to Punjab. They are suspected to be out to create discord.


Dalit families’ feud takes political hue
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, September 3
Sheer mishandling of a brawl case involving two Dalit families of Mirpur Jattan village by the Nawanshahr police, allegedly at the instance of a gunman of a senior Vigilance Bureau (VB) officer, has put the ruling party in a quandary.

Anguished over the “injustice” done to one of the families, almost all senior Congressmen, including DCC chief Kuldip Rana, have threatened to resign from the party if cases registered by the Nawanshahr police against eight members of one family “under the influence of the gunman” are not withdrawn immediately.

DSP Dilbagh Singh Pannu, it is learnt, has been transferred for the role played by him in the case, it was learnt from official sources.

Chiefs of all six block Congress presidents and three block samitis of the district were learnt to have threatened to quit the party over the incident.

Mr Parkash Singh, MLA, who is on a foreign tour, has expressed his solidarity with the protesting Congress leaders and has told Mr Rana that he too will tender his resignation along with other Congress leaders if justice was not done to the family of Ram Parkash and his Mirpur Jattan family.

“Though we have held our meeting and decided to put in papers in case justice was not done to the family, we, will take a final decision after meeting Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday. All of us are united over the issue,” said Mr Rana.

Meanwhile, top officials of the district administration and the police were busy defusing the situation. Senior officers were reportedly trying to persuade Congressmen not to go ahead with their decision to quit the party. In case, the resignation threat materialised, it would be a matter of embarrassment for the ruling Congress party as it would be for the first time in Punjab that senior office-bearers of a ruling party would quit their organisation.

What irked senior Congressmen was the ‘adamant’ approach of the Nawanshahr police in a case, wherein, two neighbouring Adharmi families of Mirpur Jattan village, led by Mohinder Singh and Ram Parkash, clashed with each other over some petty issue on August 24. A member of one of families was a gunman of a senior VB officer, based at Chandigarh. He allegedly “used his influence” to “teach a lesson” to the family of Ram Parkash. Subsequently, Ram Parkash, his two sons, daughter in law and other family members were booked under Section 452 of the IPC and two sons of Ram Parkash were arrested by a police party from near the Jadla village dispensary where they had gone to get treatment after the clash. Though, a scooter of Ram Parkash had been ‘snatched” by the police party, he managed to escape and was learnt to have attained anticipatory bail upto September 15.

Since the “orders from the top” could not be implemented and as Ram Parkash could not be arrested, an ASI of Jadla police post and SHO of Nawanshahr Sadar police station had to bear the wrath of their superiors and were suspended.

The case was then transferred to DSP Dilbagh Singh Pannu and instead of solving the matter, cases under Sections 308 and 336 of the IPC were allegedly slapped against Ram Parkash and eight members of his family.

“The Nawanshahr police has bowed to such an extent that even women members of the families were not spared and were arrested,” said an anguished Mr Rana,” adding, “We were assured by DSP Pannu that action will be taken in the matter under Sections 107-151 of the IPC if we presented Ram Parkash and his family before the police. But the DSP did not keep his promise and arrested all of them and even imposed those sections which were not there earlier. All this was done at the behest of the gunman and to humiliate us.”


Ahmadiyas sack architect
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
The Ahmadiya Muslims’ International Headquarters at Qadian has sacked its chief architect Abdul Rashid, who was held responsible for destroying the originality of the monuments while carrying out face-lifting. He was indicted by a London-based high-level team after an inquiry.

It has also been decided to preserve all monuments at Qadian. It will took more than a year to restore the originality of the heritage buildings.

Mr Sayyad Tanwir Ahmad, president press committee, while talking to The Tribune, here today said it had been decided in principle not to change the design or colour of any building at Qadian in future. The officials of the Ahmadiya Muslims claim that some of the monuments were more than five centuries old.

The action was taken against the architect on the basis of the report, published in these columns, highlighting the concern of heritage lovers. During the face-lifting, marble and coloured plaster had replaced the ‘Nanakshahi bricks’ at almost all sacred places relating to the founder of the faith and his successors. Only small patches were preserved, while renovating the majestic buildings much to the dismay of the heritage lovers. Earlier, Qadian, one of the ancient towns of the border state, had witnessed vast destruction of its heritage, including ancient forts and gates.

The Ahmadiya movement, a religious organisation, was founded in 1889 at Qadian by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). Qadian is also considered as an abode of peace by the Ahmadiyas. This is the place where the founder of the movement was born, brought up and buried.

It is pertinent to mention here that “masjid mubarak” (Baitul-Zikr), the first portion of the mosque, adjacent to Baitul-Fikr, which was built by the promised messiah in 1883, underwent a major renovation. It was extended in 1907 and then again in 1914 and 1944. The members of the Qadiani community consider the mosque a source of blessing. Similar treatment was given to Baitul-Fikr (meditation room), the sacred room where originally the promised messiah was engaged in writing.

The sacked architect planners had given modern touch to the sacred room where Hazrat Mirza was born on February 13, 1835. This was the parental house of the founder whose family migrated to Qadian during the reign of Akbar.


Cotton selling below MSP in absence of procurement agencies
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
What has surprised all concerned is that cotton has already started arriving in various markets and is selling below the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the Union Government. Normally, cotton arrivals begin in the first week of October in the Malwa region.

Informed sources told The Tribune that about 250 quintals of cotton arrived today in various markets in Bathinda district. Reports of the arrival of cotton have also come from Abohar and Fazilka, the areas known for producing the best quality cotton in the country. However, what has shocked farmers is that the price offered to them is far below their expectations. In fact, in the absence of government procurement agencies like the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), the produce is being procured by private traders. Its price is between Rs 1,725 and Rs 1,825 per quintal whereas the MSP is Rs 1,835 per quintal.

Desi cotton is selling at Rs 1,650-1,675 per quintal. Mr Raghbir Chand, a representative of the North Indian Cotton Association, which monitors cotton arrivals and sale and purchase in the entire cotton belt comprising Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar, Ferozepore, Ganganagar, Sirsa and Hisar districts, told The Tribune that over 1,000 bales of cotton had arrived in various markets during the past few days. He said the arrivals had started picking up in the past two days. However, leaders of the Bharti Kisan Union say that about 5,000 bales had already arrived in markets.

The sources said that this year a good number of farmers had sown cotton early in April because water was available in plenty at that stage. The crop sown in April had matured early and was being brought to the markets. However, they said if the present trend continued, the arrivals would pick up in the next two weeks. The BKU leaders said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should contact the Union Government to get directions issued to the CCI for its immediate entry into the cotton markets to ensure that farmers got at least the MSP.

Interestingly, while raw cotton is fetching a price below the MSP, traders from Maharashtra and Gujarat are offering a high price for ginned cotton of Punjab. The sources said that Punjab traders were selling ginned cotton for up to Rs 3,825 per quintal at present. They had made advance deals with traders in Gujarat and Maharashtra to sell ginned cotton for Rs 3,920 per quintal in October.

Keeping in view the prevailing price of ginned cotton, raw cotton should sell for up to Rs 2,100 per quintal now and up to Rs 2,200 per quintal in October. Farmers say that traders, perhaps taking advantage of the absence of the CCI and other government agencies such as Markfed, are offering prices below the MSP.


Centenarian who witnessed Jallianwala Bagh massacre
Our Correspondent

Sotal (Kharar), September 3
An eyewitness to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, centenarian Kamla Walia, who returned from Canada recently, has social work uppermost in her mind and believes in universal brotherhood.

Despite her old age, she reached this village to be present at the inauguration of a sewing centre for women today. She said she had earlier been associated with the Red Cross and was a Congress leader in Amritsar. As a Red Cross member she used to collect funds for the welfare of Army men.

“We used to live on the upper floor of Mewa Singh da Burj, which was just opposite Jallianwala Bagh. It was in the afternoon when I heard heavy firing in the bagh and within minutes there were bodies all around. People jumped into a well in the bagh to save themselves”. She said her paternal uncle then quickly locked her up and other family members in a room.

Ms Walia, who is now deeply interested in spiritual matters, said when she was in Canada she had a vision in which she saw Guru Nanak Dev. She said she had also seen Guru Ram Dass. She believes that Guru Ram Dass was with her all the time.

She said she always tried to attend functions organised for the welfare of the poor. A person should live by the dint of hard work and should not indulge in deceit and corruption, added Ms Walia.

She said she lived in Canada for about 30 years with her daughter, Sham Merriman. She returned to India after her death.

Her son, writer Gulzar Punjabi, said his maternal grandfather, Babu Atma Ram, and the latter’s brother, Babu Ganga Ram. were in the Jallianwala Bagh at the time of the massacre.

Gulzar Punjabi, who was with his mother at today’s function, said she believed in the oneness of man.


SAD (A) against extradition of Khalistani leaders
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 3
SAD (A) President and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann today said that his party was opposed to the demand of the Indian Government for extradition of five Khalistani leaders said to be hiding in Pakistan.

Talking to newsmen here after his release from seventyeight days’ imprisonment on charges of sedition and waging war against country, Mr Mann was commenting upon the just-concluded two-days negotiations between Indian Home Secretary Vinod Kumar Duggal and Pakistan’s Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah at New Delhi.

The Indian Government had submitted a list of thirty hard-core terrorists and most wanted criminals, including the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and five Khalistani leaders , including Paramjit Singh Panjwar, president, Khalistan Commando Force, Lakhbir Singh Rode, president, International Sikh Youth Federation, Ranjit Singh Neeta, Wadhawa Singh and Mahil Singh of Babbar Khalsa International and demanded their extradition.

Since there was no extradition treaty between the two countries, the Pakistan Government should turn down the Indian demand , added Mr Mann.

Mr Mann also flayed torching of Dalits’ houses in Gohana on August 31. While the Congress party, which claimed itself to be a secular party, was adopting the policy of soft Hindutava, the right-wing fundamentalist BJP was playing the harsh Hindu card for petty political gains, he alleged. Dalits and other minorities were the victims of this Hindu fascism, he rued. He demanded strict action against those who had stoked casteist fires and suitable compensation to those Dalits whose houses had been torched.


Bhindranwale’s posters back at SSF meetings
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
It is not only at the rallies of the SAD (A) that the posters of Bhindranwale are displayed and sold, the same can now be seen at the meetings of the affiliates of the SAD (B). Probably for the first time in the post militancy era, an organisation affiliated to the SAD (B) has taken recourse to displaying Bhindranwale's posters.

The president of the SAD (B)-affiliated Sikh Students' Federation (Mehta), Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, is unapologetic about it and said he (Bhindranwale) was a saint and everybody respected him.

During a meeting held at the Model Town extension gurdwara, here on Friday, the SSF displayed a big banner with the pictures of Bhindranwale and other "Khalistan" ideologues in the background.

Mr Grewal claimed that even Mr Badal respected Bhindranwale, who continued to hold a lot of respect among the youth.

Mr Grewal, who was himself holed up at the Golden Temple complex when the Army stormed in, has been actively involved with the SAD (B). He is considered to be close to the party general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Badal, and has nourished his electoral ambitions as well.

With an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections scheduled for early 2007, Mr Grewal has activated his faction of the federation and in the process has taken recourse to Bhindranwale's appeal among the Sikhs.

Congress leaders have already started raising hue and cry about the display of the posters. Mr Amarjeet Singh Tikka, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, alleged that the use of Bhindranwale's posters by the SSF must have the approval of Mr Badal. He alleged that the Akalis would go to any extent for grabbing power.


Expel SGPC president, say ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
Col G.S. Sandhu (retd), Chairman, Majha Ex-Servicemen Human Rights Front, here yesterday demanded the expulsion of Bibi Jagir Kaur from the presidentship of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for her dictatorial way of functioning.

While addressing mediapersons here, Col Sandhu said women had been allowed to be part of ‘Panj Piaras’ without taking counsel from Sikh organisations and scholars.

Col Sandhu said she was heading the premier Sikh body despite the fact that several cases of corruption and murdering of her daughter were filed against her. He said it also demonstrated badly on the part of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD.

He said a movement to reform gurdwaras was the need of the hour. For that reason, they had launched a gurdwara reform movement in which they had received positive signals from various Sikh organisations included Damdami Taksal, Tarna Dal, Baba Budha Dal and others, he claimed.

He said the working of Bibi Jagir Kaur had not been impartial in the recent past. Therefore, a new policy must be evolved to appoint them.


Rs 84 lakh, not 40 lakh spent on dossier preparation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
A meeting of the sub-committee was held to probe various aspects of the expenditure of Rs 40 lakh on preparation of the dossier to get approval for Golden Temple as a heritage site from Unesco, here yesterday. During the meeting, it emerged that instead of Rs 40 lakh a sum of Rs 84 lakh was spent on the project preparation.

Members of the sub-committee, including Mr Jaswinder Singh and Mr Amrik Singh, revealed that Code Foundation, a website, exposed that they received one lakh dollars in grant for this case which was equivalent to Rs 44 lakh. The next meeting of the sub-committee has been scheduled for September 6. They appealed to Sikh committees, intellectuals and the sangat to come forward with any information on the issue on the scheduled date of the meeting. Other members of the sub-committee include Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath, Mr Hardeep Singh Mohali and Mr Baldev Singh.


Chief Secy stays order on NPA
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
To pacify state government doctors, the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Jai Singh Gill, has stayed the order issued by the state Finance Department on August 19 in connection with making recoveries of non-practice allowance (NPA).

The order of the Chief Secretary were conveyed to all treasury offices and the other authorities concerned today.

Mr Gill had also summoned the file pertaining to the fixing of salaries of doctors serving in health units being run by the state government to bring an end to the controversy over the issue between the state Finance and Health Departments.

On August 19, the state Finance Department had issued a letter in which it mentioned that the doctors would not get NPA on the 50 per cent dearness allowance after the merger of the same with the existing salaries. The doctors said if doctors serving in the Central Government services had been getting the same, why should they be discriminated against.

Various unions and associations took up the matter with the higher health authorities and sought the intervention of the Chief Minister, Health Minister and Finance Minister.

They pointed out that they would be suffering a loss ranging from Rs 1,600 to Rs 4,000 per month. They said dearness allowance to Punjab Government employees, including doctors, was being given on the Central pattern for the past 35 years.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, patron, and Dr Manjit Singh, general secretary of the PCMS Association, Punjab, said they had met Mr Gill yesterday.


Breakdown of tubewell leaves 5 villages without drinking water
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 3
Hundreds of residents of five villages here have been without drinking water for the past two days following the “failing” of the tubewell at Perchh village that supplies drinking water to these villages. The seething anger among village women over water shortage took an ugly turn this evening with infighting breaking out between the woman Sarpanch of Perchh village and the rest of the panchs.

Over 200 villagers collected at the tube well that had stopped functioning over two days ago with its motor falling off. The two other tube wells in the village had “failed” some years ago and this tubewell in the village was the sole source of drinking water to the residents of Seonk and Chotti Seonk, Jayanti Majri and Vadi Perchh.

According to Naib Singh, a resident of the village, the government officials who had visited the tubewell this morning, following complaints from villagers, pointed out that the water supply had stopped as a large number of villagers were using tullu pumps and motors in the fields to draw out more water. The officials told the Sarpanch to ensure that the use of these tullu pumps was stopped so that water supply was restored.

However, wives of the villagers who were told to control the use of these pumps objected and collected at the tubewell in the evening to fight over the issue. Some of them also locked the tubewell so that the supply to other villages in the area was stopped till the matter was finally solved.

The police was also called to the spot to help resolve the issue.


Job festival disappoints candidates
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 3
Thousands of candidates who came here from neighbouring districts for placement in national and multinational computer software and information technology companies, had to return disappointed, allegedly due to lack of coordination between the management of the college and placement agency and the “mismanagement” at the College of Engineering and Management today.

The college had organised a job festival in association with the Akiko-Sherman Infotech to screen candidates for placement in companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Satyam, HCL, Hewitt and others, for which almost 1,500 candidates reached the college.

After reaching the venue, they were told that the postgraduate and graduate candidates would only be considered by the placement agency, though the college registered the undergraduate candidates also for examination after taking a fee of Rs 100 which was later increased to Rs 300. Some candidates were allegedly asked to pay Rs 500 to get registered for the examination this morning.

“I have come here to appear in an examination after depositing the required fee and now they have declined to consider me as a candidate,” said Nipun, a candidate from Rajpura.

“My money and time have been wasted just because of the mismanagement of the college authorities,” said Nisha from GNE College, Amritsar.

The college authorities, however, denied lack of coordination between them and the placement agency. they said the job festival was planned for students of their own college and in the pamphlets distributed for advertisement, it had been mentioned that the candidates should be graduates.


Marriage with Thai girl faces hurdles
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 3
Following a plea from the Thailand Embassy, the police has taken along a local resident and his wife of Thailand origin to produce them before embassy officials.

Abhishek Sood and Sunentha had met on the Internet and finally their friendship led to marriage.

According to sources, the police has allegedly seized Sunentha’s passport and the couple will be produced before the embassy officials for verification of their marriage documents. Sources said Abhishek had gone to Thailand sometime back and returned with Sunentha. Both of them tied nuptial knot as per Hindu traditions a few days back.

But, now, it seems that their marriage is getting embroiled in legal wrangles, as Sunentha’s parents, in a written complaint to Thailand’s High Commission in New Delhi, said their daughter was a minor and alleged that Abhishek misled her to accompany him to India.

They have further pleaded that action should be initiated to restore their daughter to them.

The sources said on receiving the complaint, the High Commission of Thailand sent faxes to the SSP office on August 28, 29, and 30, urging the police to trace Sunentha, seize her passport, and produce her in the Delhi office. Following this, the police summoned the couple to a city police station and recorded their statements before producing them in a local court.

The sources said the court examined Sunentha’s passport to ascertain her date of birth and she was found adult. The court had then allowed her to go to her in-laws’ home, but the episode didn’t end here. The police again received a fax from the embassy, after which a police team officials took along Abhishek and Sunentha to New Delhi.

The DSP, Mr Bhulla Singh, said though the court had allowed them to stay together, the girl was taken to New Delhi following a request from the embassy officials to produce her before them.


Arhtiyas allege high-handedness by contractors
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 3
Verbal blows came to light once again between arhtiyas and private contractors when both sides made allegations of high-handedness against each other in the local vegetable and fruit market here today.

The tiff between the contractors’ men and those of arhtiyas has been going on since the allotment of the contract this year. Due to transparency and open bidding; the contract for collecting market fee had registered an unprecedented increase of about 57 per cent.

According to a report, several truckloads of vegetables and fruits are being brought daily by arhtiyas and sold without making entries in their registers or entered at a low purchase price, thereby evading the market fee and the income tax as well.

The contractors, therefore, increased vigil to check the market fee evasion. They put up a tent in the mandi area and started charging fee from traders carrying vegetables and fruits on rickshaws, carts and small vehicles. It is alleged that the arhtiyas resented this and forcibly removed the tent which followed heated arguments between arhtiyas and contractors.

However, Arhtiyas Association secretary Gurdeep Kumar denied the allegations and said contractors used to misbehave and illegally charge market fee from small shopkeepers and rehriwallas. He accused the rickshaw-pullers of removing the tent from the mandi complex.

“A watchman of the mandi was yesterday manhandled by the contractors, who also and used abusive language. We have tolerated a lot. Now whenever such situation arise we will face it any way,” he added.

On the other hand, private contractors president Paramjit Khurana said they were being given the right by the state government to collect the market fee from the arhtiyas. He accused the arhtiyas of evading lakhs of rupees by not making entries.


Sewing centre inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Sotal (Kharar), September 3
The Punjab Government was making all efforts to look after the welfare of people living below the poverty line. Many welfare schemes were being launched by the government in this regard.

This was stated by Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Punjab Chief Minister, at a function organised in connection with the inauguration of a sewing centre here today. She said women were also making a name in many fields in the male-dominated society. But there was a need to create awareness among women about their rights.

Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, SDM, who presided over the function, appreciated the efforts of the Dalit Chetna Manch, Punjab, for setting up sewing centres for women in villages in order to help them become financially independent. He said but women would be able to establish themselves only by working hard. He urged the manch to provide a trained teacher at the sewing centre. The centre was inaugurated by Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP. Six sewing machines were provided at the centre out of which two were donated by Ms Kamla Walia, a centenarian, who gave great importance to social work.


Trust demarcates 1,000 acres for economic zone
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
Improvement Trust here today demarcated 1,000 acres for the special economic zone (SEZ) announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 1, last year, to mark quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

Trust Chairman and MLA Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma at a press conference here today said the land was earmarked at Vallah, Chhapa Ram, Khankot, and Manawala Khurd. He said the Prime Minister was scheduled to inaugurate the same on September 23 during his visit to the city.

The MLA said the Superintendent Engineer, Mr G.S. Bhatia, had surveyed the land yesterday and cleared it for SEZ.

Incidentally, Member of Parliament Navjot Sidhu had caused a flutter a few days back by releasing copies of map showing “identified land” for SEZ, measuring 14,000 acres (10,500 acres at Manawala Khurd and 3,500 acres of land at Pandori Warraich) acknowledged by the Chief Town Planner on October 4, last year.

However, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma lashed out at the BJP MP and said the Opposition was merely trying to get political mileage.

Explaining about the SEZ project, he said the land was considered suitable due to various factors. This includes the railway line at Manawala, the presence of Jandiala rivulet and close proximity of the industrial centre.

Incidentally the 1,000 acres demarcated were part of the original plan drawn by the Chief Town Planner.


Sutlej bridge to remain open round the clock
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, September 3
The bridge across the Sutlej linking Ferozepore-Jalandhar rail and road traffic will now remain open round the clock. This was stated by Mr Zora Singh Mann, Member of Parliament, Ferozepore. The dual facility bridge was used to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. But now the Railway Board had agreed to open the same round the clock. The new arrangement would be implemented within a fortnight.

Mr Mann said people living on both sides of the bridge were facing difficulties on two counts. Firstly, whenever a train had to pass vehicular traffic had to wait for a long time as the guard had to close and open the gates at the two ends, which are 2 km apart. Secondly, there is no other approach road or any facility linking the two sides.

He said citing the problems of people of the area he had requested the Prime Minister for the construction of a separate bridge for vehicular traffic. It was only due to the latter’s intervention that the board had agreed to open the bridge round the clock. He added that Mr J.P. Batra, Chairman, Railway Board, had directed the official to make arrangements for light and security within a fortnight. Mr Mann further said that the Prime Minister Office had also sought a report for the construction of a separate bridge at the site.


17-day running record by Ropar thermal plant
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 3
The Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, today made another record for continuously running its six units of 210 MW each round the clock for 17 days. This has been attributed to the shortage of power in Punjab.

A senior functionary of the thermal plant told Chandigarh Tribune that the Ropar plant of 1260 MW capacity had been supplying 300 lakh units of power to the state.

As the state had been facing shortage of about 250 lakh units to 300 lakh units every day, the PSEB had decided to run six units continuously. The Ropar thermal plant contributes 40 per cent of power in the total power supply available to the state from all sources.

Sources in the PSEB said the power crisis in the state would continue till September 15 following shortage of power supply and rise in power demand. The power demand in the state had increased to 1,450 lakh units every day while power supply from all sources in the state was 1203 lakh units.

The urban areas would continue to face power shortage for at least eight hours, while rural areas for 12 hours.


12 students hurt as vehicle overturns
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 3
Twelve students, including six girls, received injuries while scores of others had a providential escape as a peter engine fitted unauthorised vehicle carrying them overturned near the city canal this morning. The vehicle had been hired to carry students from Kikkarkhera village to Abohar for the Children Film Festival organised to collect funds for the District Red Cross Society at a local cinema. All those injured were discharged after first aid at the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital.

Sources said schools in the subdivision had been asked by government officials to transport students to the cinema to show them movies, especially made for adolescents.

Parents and teachers regret that peter engine fitted unregistered vehicles are plying in the region in gross violation of the ban orders imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Houses for MC staff planned
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 3
The local Municipal Council has decided to construct houses at Mundi Kharar for its employees which will be allotted to them at concessional rates.

The decision to this effect was taken at the monthly meeting of the civic body held here. The council had got vacated about 38 kanals and 14 marlas of land at Mundi Kharar which had been illegally encroached upon. The Ropar Deputy Commissioner had directed the civic body to properly utilise the vacated land. The council proposed to set up a housing colony in that area.

The House also decided to constitute a sub-committee to look into charges levelled against two employees of demanding bribes for clearing certain documents. A widow, Mrs Balbir Kaur, had alleged that the two employees had demanded Rs 2,000 for clearing documents related to the pension of her late husband, Ashok Kumar.

A proposal regarding the setting up of two welcome gates on the national highway was also cleared at the meeting.


Assembly panel visits refinery
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 3
The Insurance Committee of Punjab Vidhan Sabha today visited Guru Gobind Singh Refinery and also held a meeting with HPCL officials.

The HPCL’s DGM, Mr Tapas Pramanik, said monetary arrangements for the construction work would be made within eight months. He said the company had already managed Rs 200 crore to start the work. The committee’s chairman, Mr Raj Kumar Khurana, said the construction of the project would start within a year and the production would start in 2011.He said the committee had asked the firm to begin the construction as early as possible.


Beneficiaries deposit loan instalment
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 3
Some unidentified persons have deposited Rs 3 lakh in loan accounts of various self-help groups during the current week at Ghallu rural branch of Punjab National Bank located on the Abohar–Fazilka road, official sources said today. The action followed the reports of alleged scam that the real beneficiaries never received the loan amount.

Earlier, the bank had served notices to 30 women, most of them from Dalit community, for the recovery of loan which they allegedly never received. One such notice for recovery of Rs 81,953 as first instalment of loan amounting to Rs 1,71,953 was served on Ms Seema Rani, leader of one of the three groups of ladies, each group had 10 members.


Sabzi mandi to be shifted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
The Patiala sabzi mandi will be shifted to the Sanaur road and get modern infrastructure. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will lay the foundation stone of the complex soon. This information was given by the Power and Irrigation Minister, Mr Lal Singh, at a cultural programme at Sanaur, near here.

He laid the foundation stone of Shaheed Udham Singh Sports Stadium, which would cost Rs 26 lakh, and community centre, which would cost Rs 5 lakh at Sanaur.

The Patiala sabzi mandi is currently in a congested area. The shifting of the market would benefit farmers and traders alike, he said.


Remand of Nayagaon rape accused extended
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 3
A local court today extended by two days the police custody of Ramkesh, alias Kesha, alias Panch, one of the five prime accused for the rape of a minor girl at Nayagaon three years ago. Ramkesh was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab police on August 31.He was earlier remanded in police custody for three days.

Presenting him before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Ranjan Khullar, today the public prosecutor informed the court that the accused was a resident of Nadah village and was one of the five persons named by the victim as to have committed the crime in her statement to the PGI police when she was admitted to the hospital for the delivery of her child in March, 2003.

The prosecution added that the accused was later involved in abducting the victim and her family when they returned from the PGI and had kept them in illegal detention till the victim agreed to go back on her statement regarding the rape.

Pleading for an extension of remand, the prosecution said during this period of detention the family of the victim was threatened by the accused and their relatives with weapons, which are yet to be recovered from them.

The defence counsel, however, vehemently pointed out that Ramkesh had never been in possession of any weapons and so the question of recovering these from him did not arise.

Other than one Gurdhian Singh, the other prime accused in the case have now been arrested. These include Kesar Singh, Kanwar Inder Singh, alias Rinku, and Avtar Singh, alias Tari. Among those who are still wanted in connection with the case include Labh Singh, brother of Kesar Singh, and Gurbachan Singh.

Sources in the SIT pointed out that a doctor, who had reportedly given a fake certificate of age to the accused to prove that the victim was a major, had already been identified by the police. “The doctor has been questioned a couple of times, but has not been arrested since his role in the entire episode is yet to be ascertained,” said an SIT member.


Pregnant woman among 7 hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 3
Seven persons, including a pregnant woman, were injured a group clash at Malakpur village, near here, today.

The clash took place early in the morning when a part of a drain in the village was being cleaned by a woman, who was attacked by members of one group. It is alleged that even the pregnant woman, Jatinder Kaur, was beaten up during the clash between two groups.

It is reported that some dispute over a drain was going on between the two groups for the past time. The drain passed outside the house of one family, which claimed that it was deliberately not cleaned by the members of the other group.

All injured persons were taken to the local Civil Hospital. It is alleged that immediate treatment was not provided at the hospital as the doctor on emergency duty was busy in an operation.

Among those who were injured in the clash were Mohan Singh, Bahadur Singh, Paramjeet Kaur, Milkhi Ram, Balbir Singh and Malkeet Kaur. The police is investigating the matter.


3 held with fake notes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
The district police today arrested three persons and seized fake currency worth Rs 48,000 from them. One of the accused managed to escape.

Those arrested were Rohit Sharma, a resident of Sharma Colony, Sikandar Kumar of Arjan Nagar and Pawan Kumar of Chowk Baba Sahib. A case has been registered.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, district police chief, in a press note issued here today, said the police got specific information that the accused were involved in preparing fake currency notes.

A police party led by a Sub-Inspector raided the Pataka market and arrested the accused. He said their accomplice, Lakhbir Singh of Baba Deep Singh Colony, managed to escape.


Woman kills self

Phagwara, September 3
A 30-year-old woman committed suicide here this morning by sprinkling kerosene over her clothes and setting those on fire.

According to sources, Raj Rani, a resident of nearby Jasso Majra village, who was working in a factory owned by Surinder Singh of Khera Masjid in Phagwara, was taken to a private hospital in Hargobind Nagar where doctors attending on her referred her to the local Civil Hospital in a critical condition. She was declared “brought dead” by the hospital authorities. — TNS


Intruder shot dead
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
An unidentified Pakistani national was shot dead by Border Security Force jawans while he was trying to trespass into the Indian territory late last evening.

A case under Sections 3, 34 and 20, Indian Passport Act, has been registered at the Gharinda police station here. According to information, the Pakistani national was challenged by the BSF but he tried to flee.

The jawans then opened fire and he died.


High-level probe sought into state award for teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Mr Kamal Kishore, chairman of the Area Development Committee, Ropar, has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to order a high-level probe into the selection of teachers for the state award on Teacher’s Day.

He said that certain close relatives of VIPs had been selected for the award, ignoring many hard-working and dedicated teachers serving in remote areas. He said the real contribution on the education front was made by those teachers who serve in remote rural areas.

However, most of the teachers selected for the award belonged to urban centres such as Mohali, Ludhiana and Amritsar, he regretted.

He said at least two teachers selected for the award were connected to senior officials of the Education Department, while no teacher from any private school had been picked for the award. One of the teachers selected for the award was, in fact, serving at other place from his actual place of posting Government Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur Garibdas, he revealed.

Mr Kishore said the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, and the Education Secretary should explain in what capacity the teacher was serving at the other place, leaving about 400 students of classes of XI and XII of Mullanpur Garibdas Senior School at the disposal of one teacher. In fact, Mullanpur Garibdas School had no regular principal for the past five years.

Mr Kishore said the government should cancel the list of selected teachers for state awards. Otherwise, the committee would organise its own function to honour teachers who had a missionary zeal.

He said the government had sent a wrong message by favouring certain teachers while making selections for the award. It would discourage those teachers who had been doing their duty honestly and efficiently.


Teachers to hold protest tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 3
The Government Teachers Union Punjab (GTUP) today decided to boycott Teachers’ Day celebrations on September 5 and instead to observe the occasion as “Shikhsha Bachao Day” to protest against vacant posts in government schools, besides other demands.

Addressing a press conference here today, the general secretary of the GTUP, Mr Sucha Singh Khattra, said other teachers’ unions, including the Democratic Teachers Front and the Adhyapak Dal, would also stage a dharna on September 5 in all districts.

Giving details, Mr Khattra said more than 30,000 posts of primary teacher, 228 posts of BEPO, 80 per cent posts of principal and 70 per cent posts of headmaster were lying vacant in the state.


Non-teaching staff to go on leave
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 3
Non-teaching employees of more than 150 private colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh will go on mass casual leave on the Teachers Day and organise rallies in Amritsar, Patiala and Moga.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Raj Kumar, general secretary of the Private Colleges Non-Teaching Employees Union, Punjab and Chandigarh, said the decision was taken at an executive meeting of the union held at Doaba College, Jalandhar, under the chairmanship of Mr Gurdial Singh, president of the union.

He said the employees would organise the protest rallies to press the state government for its demand of merger of 50 per cent DA with the basic pay.

Mr Kumar said the rallies would be organised at D.M. College, Moga, D.A.V. College, Amritsar, and Modi College, Patiala.

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 |