P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Package to set pace for progress, says CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, thanked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for an attractive package he announced for the state during his recent visit to Ludhiana and Chandigarh.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that this package would accelerate the pace of economic development in the state. The proposed coal-based power plant to be set up by NTPC would augment the power supply in the State. The four-laning of the Amritsar-Jalandhar, Amritsar-Pathankot, Kiratpur-Chandigarh and Ambala- Chandigarh stretches under the National Highways Project (NHP)-III and the six-laning of the Ambala-Jalandhar and Ludhiana- Chandigarh highways would give a big fillip to transport and tourism in the state.

The Chief Minister congratulated Dr Manmohan Singh for taking forward the peace initiative with Pakistan and opening up the possibilities of trade with our neighbour. This would give a big boost to trade and economic activity in the region.

He also thanked Dr Manmohan Singh for his assurance to consider favourably the proposal of the state government for the establishment of the National Institute of Biotechnology in the state which would help Punjab to emerge as the bio-tech hub of the country. The announcement to extend the Delhi-Kolkata high-speed rail corridor to Amritsar and set up a new airport of international standards in the state would be a boon for agricultural exports, particularly fruit, flowers and vegetables.

Developing Ludhiana into a modern metro under the National Urban Renewal Mission to attract prospective entrepreneurs and investors in a big way was another step forward. Dr Manmohan Singh had also announced that the Union Government would secure loans from financing agencies such as HUDCO to the extent of another 30 per cent and the state government would incur balance 20 per cent for the Ludhiana project besides giving grants worth 50 per cent of the total cost.

The state government will soon submit a comprehensive city development plan in this regard. This plan will include full coverage in terms of water supply, sewerage and drainage, as well as improvement of the road network. Capt Singh also welcomed the announcement of the Prime Minister to tackle the serious problem of traffic congestion in Ludhiana through the construction of a ring road in Ludhiana on BOT basis for which the Centre would provide 20 per cent of the total cost as viability gap funding.

Dr Manmohan Singh’s assurance to consider the proposal of the state government to establish an Indian institute of technology (IIT) and Indian institute of management (IIM) in Punjab will fulfil a long felt need for higher institutions of professional learning in Punjab and help students from Punjab to become professionally more competitive.


Army man commits suicide; blames three officials
Jupinder Singh and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kila Rehmatgarh, September 25
A fortnight after a solider of the Army and a noted rowing player, belonging to this village near Ahmedgarh, was found dead under mysterious circumstances near Nanded in Maharashtra, members of his family, quoting his suicide note, have alleged he had ended his life due to non-selection in a major tournament.

Showing the suicide note recovered from the clothes worn by Bhupinder Singh, aged 26, his father Karamjit Singh claimed before The Tribune that his son was disappointed at being left out in the team even though he had won an army rowing championship this year. He was shortlisted for a camp but couldn’t make it in the final selection.

In the note addressed to Commandant C.M.E B S Dhaliwal, Bhupinder Singh had charged three Army officials for creating circumstances for him to end his life. He had claimed that there was mishandling of funds meant for the diet of the players and equipment required for the sport.

He had allegedly slit his veins and bled to death.

‘‘Some coaches were pocketing funds meant for sports goods and diet for sportspersons. Being a disciplined force, no one speaks but now I am doing such a thing that will make everyone aware and nobody may have to lose his life like me in future,” reads the suicide note.

The Army has, while talking to the family members in Pune, strongly denied these allegations. The Army officials believed the deceased had some personal problems. The Army had reportedly declared him a deserter.

The Nanded police had cremated the youth’s body but no case has been registered so far. Till now, his death was considered an accident in the area. The family took the lid off the matter today during his bhog ceremony.

A number of local leaders including former minister Abdul Gaffar of SAD (Badal), and area residents seconded the family’s demand for a high-level probe into the matter. ‘‘It was not only the question of the life of a soldier of the Army. It was also about a player who had proved his mettle,’’ the speakers said.

The family members have urged the President of India, Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab to impress upon the Defence Minister to order a probe into the circumstances leading to the youth’s suicide and inquiry into the role of accusing certain officials of harassing him and pocketing funds meant for players of the Army.

Mr Karamjit Singh who has a tea shop in the village does not enjoy good financial condition. The deceased was unmarried. He has specially mentioned in the suicide note that he was sorry he could not do much for his parents. He even made a fervent appeal to his Commandant to show some mercy and help his parents. He began and ended the note with Jai Hind.

The family learnt about the cause of the death only after it reached Pune on September 10. A priest with a gurdwara at Nanded had informed them over telephone that the body of Bhupinder Singh was spotted near a religious place on September 10.

“By the time we reached there, the Nanded police had cremated the body and we were handed over the ashes of our dear son,” said his father.


CMC to grant provisional admissions in MBBS, BDS
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 25
As the state government continues to drag its feet over admission against 25 per cent government quota seats in medical, dental and nursing colleges of CMC Ludhiana Society here, the management of the society has decided to go ahead with granting ‘provisional’ admission to candidates from out of its own all India merit list. These admissions to MBBS, BDS and BSc (Nursing) courses will, however, be subject to approval by the Supreme Court of India and the students concerned were being clearly told about circumstances under which the admissions were being granted.

In a letter today to the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, with copies to the Registrar, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Dr John Pramod, Acting Director of CMC pointed out that till date neither the state government (or its committees), nor the competent authorities of the university, had clarified the query from CMC Ludhiana Society on granting admissions to candidates from out of PMET merit list beyond the time schedule drawn by the apex court.

In the said letter, a copy of which is with The Tribune, the CMC management had asked whether the state government was permitted to overrule the time schedule given by the Supreme Court of India for admissions to various courses as given in the dictum of Mridul Dhar case ? “There is no word (in the SC orders) regarding any directions for counselling or admissions to medical and dental colleges beyond the last date fixed by the court for this purpose,” the letter maintained.

Dr John Pramod reiterated that on the contrary, there were clear directions from the apex court to abide by the time schedule. A reference to the recent judgment in case of PIMS Pondicherry was a clear in this regard. Recalling a similar situation last year (2004) when Mr Justice Sabharwal reprimanded the counsel for the State of Punjab for attempting to make its own time schedule in obvious disregard and contempt of the directives in the matter of admissions, particularly, for not following the time schedule, he maintained that the CMC would abide by the directions of the court.

The CMC acting director further asserted that it was the responsibility of the state government and its agencies, including the BFUHS, to inform the students selected by them of the correct standing. “It is morally binding on any agency conducting the examination to get it clarified from the competent authorities or courts. Many of the provisionally selected candidates (for government quota seats) are being harassed as the authorities have washed their hands off from any responsibility for clarification.”

Dr Pramod again made it clear in the letter that the CMC Society did not have any objection to admitting candidates selected by state PMET provided the department of Medical education and Research, and the BFUHS or any other empowered authority, provided evidence of permission to over-rule the time schedule. “Any delay from the government’s side has a potential of causing loss of 25 per cent seats (of government quota) for the year 2005 for various courses at the colleges of our society. Besides this loss, it would result in great harassment to the applicants.”


Punjab ADGP killed in snow storm in Sikkim
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Punjab’s Additional Director-General of Police, Telecommunications, Dr Parash Moni Das, and two other members of the Punjab Police Adventure Club , were among five mountaineers who perished in a snow storm while attempting to climb Chameo Moho in Sikkim yesterday.

Dr Das belonged to the 1978 batch of the IPS and was promoted Additional Director-General of Police only a few months ago.

Other Punjab police personnel who died in the snow storm have been identified as Sub Inspector Inder Kumar and Head Constable Nari Dhami. The fourth member of the Punjab Police Adventure Club, Head Constable Kulwinder Singh, survived and is being provided first aid at the Damkung base camp.

The body of Dr Parash Moni Das, an experienced mountaineer, has been located. Two Deputy Inspectors-General of the Punjab Police, Mr R.L. Bhagat, and Mr B.K. Uppal, have left for Gangtok to bring back the bodies of Dr Das, Mr Inder Kumar and Ms Nari Dhami. Mrs Das, based at Patiala, was accompanying the two officers.

According to reports received here, an 11-member joint expedition of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Punjab police left the base camp at Damkung yesterday but was soon caught in a severe snow storm in which five members perished. The body of one of the porters was still to be recovered.

Dr Das was familiar with the terrain in Sikkim as he had worked there as an Intelligence Bureau officer.

Dr Das had left Chandigarh on September 15 and was to return here on October 8. It was he who had founded the Punjab Police Adventure Club and took regular and active part in all mountaineering expeditions.

Born in 1953, Dr Das was an alumni of St Stephens’ College, Delhi, and held Masters degrees in economics and public administration. He also belonged to a select band of officers who completed their doctorate from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, as nominees of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur.

Dr Das also wrote a couple of books, including “Terrorism, the untold story” which highlights plight of those who made the supreme sacrifice while combating terrorism. Incidentally his other book “Storms and Sunsets in the Himalayas” dealt with the subject that became responsible for his death. He was a member of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and its governing council.

Dr Das was decorated with the President’s Police medal both for gallantry and distinguished service. After four-year stint as Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana City, he remained district police chief of Kapurthala and Gurdaspur when militancy was at its peak. He also remained Deputy Inspector-General of Police of the Border Range and the Patiala range.

During his deputation with the Intelligence Bureau, he served in Sikkim, Shillong and Arunachal Pradesh which were considered hardship postings, covering the borders with China and Burma.


Strange “gift” for Hoshiarpur girl
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Manjeet Kaur
Manjeet Kaur

Chandigarh, September 25
Twentyfour-year-old Manjeet Kaur from Hoshiarpur has just about managed to survive an emotional disaster. Starry eyed until a year ago when her marriage was yet to be solemnised, she now hates the very mention of the word that filled her world with anguish.

Her husband, a Dubai-based foreman of Punjabi origin, discarded her after a month of marriage in which he made her life miserable. He allegedly scarred her body with cigarette butts, forced her to consume alcohol and write filthy letters to imaginary men, as dictated by him. When she came back to senses, he threatened her to divorce him lest he used those letters to defame her.

The reality that hit Manjeet the most was that her husband had married five women in the past and had divorced them all on grounds of fake love letters. Inconsolable, she told The Tribune, how he had betrayed her and how the Hoshiarpur police had not yet acted case on her complaint.

“On the wedding night, he played a VCD of his first marriage and told me that I was also his short-term wife. Later I discovered he was a sexual pervert who wanted his women to do dirty things. I still have burn marks all over my body, which I can show to a gazetted officer if a police enquiry is marked against him. One of his former wives ran away, another died. The rest were abandoned,” said Manjeet.

Ironically, none of these divorces are legal. In possession of three talaknamas which her husband gave to his three ex-wives Parminder Kaur, Jasvir Kaur and Neemal Kumari, Manjeet says, “He divorced them in the presence of gram panchayats, but did not care to get stamp of the court. He even has a child from one of his ex-wives.”

In Chandigarh to seek free legal aid from the Human Rights Law Network, Manjeet looked frail and spent. Having endured a year of mental and physical torture, she could not have looked better. Her hemoglobin has dipped to 6.6 and her urge to live has vanished.

Said Manjeet, “My husband lived with me only for a month in Jalandhar where his parents are based. Later I came to know that he was into a habit of marrying a new girl every time he came back from Dubai for a holiday. No wonder he wanted me to divorce him. For a year I lived with his parents who also harassed me for dowry.”

In her complaint Manjeet has demanded that FIR be registered against the accused and his parents under Sections 420 (cheating), 406 and 498-A (demanding dowry and harassment).

Submitted on April 16 this year, the complaint has generated no response. Not even once did the police question her husband who was in India in April this year. Silent for long, the police recorded Manjeet’s first statement in August this year-long after the accused had left the country.


Dalit front rejects Nanavati report
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Dismissing the Nanavati Commission report on the 1984 anti-Sikh violence as an ‘eyewash’ the National Minority and Dalit Front (NMDF) today said that the document and the Action Taken Report were aimed at protecting Congress leaders.

“It’s an incomplete report and the Sikh community rejects it. This is nothing but a false report which is far from facts,” said the NMDF at a national seminar, held on the Nanavati Commission report, here. It said the Nanavati report had “totally belied the hopes” of the victims and charged that the Centre’s Action Taken Report “diluted” the recommendations of the judicial panel.

Ms Jaya Jaitley, a former president of the Samata Party, in her presidential address gave spine-chilling eyewitness accounts of anti-Sikh violence and described these as organised, engineered at the behest of the then ruling Congress . She said the police had acted not only as mute spectator but also helped rioters to kill members of the Sikh community. The Sikhs were picked up from houses with the help of voter lists. The “great tamasha”, which had no parallel in the history of democratic India continued for 72 hours and Congress leaders carried out the carnage to ‘please’ their high-ups in the party .She said the riots were a black spot on the fair name of Indian democracy. She said being a commoner; she plunged into the rehabilitation of the victims but senior leaders like Arun Nehru had ignored her appeals to deploy Army to stop the killing of innocent persons. She said when all her efforts to stop the violence failed, she then decided to join active politics to cleanse the system.

National president of the NMDF, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, who is former Akali Minister said that the findings of the Nanavati report was cruel joke played with the victims of anti-Sikh violence.

The speakers, including Mr M.S. Rahi, Bhai Baldev Singh, Chief, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Mr Darbara Singh Kahlon, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, executive member, SGPC and Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, a former SGPC secretary, said that it was most unfortunate that the victims of 1984 violence were not given justice even after 21 years. They said the apology by Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, on the floor of Parliament had no meaning and did not serve any purpose when victims were still going from pillar to post to seek justice. Mr Rahi said that it was unfortunate that certain Sikhs from Delhi still enjoyed good connections with the senior Congress leaders, who had played major role in anti-Sikh violence.

In a resolution passed on the occasion, the NMDF completely rejected the Nanavati report. The NMDF said that Nanavati Commission was confined to Delhi violence while many Sikhs had lost their lives in Bokaro and other cities of the country. Another resolution sought amendment in the Indian Penal Code by incorporating clauses to take action rioters on the pattern on African countries. The resolution reads that the Indian Constitution should ensure safety of life and properties of the members of minorities.


Farmers’ unending tale of misery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
Punjab farmers are these days worried about the economic depression which stares at them menacingly.

To make matters worse, an alarming increase in the number of drug addicts seems to have compounded their problems.

The farmers had never imagined such a sorry state of affairs even during the height of militancy. Moreover, youths in the countryside are facing difficulties even in finding a suitable match for themselves.

According to Gurcharan Singh Mann, a progressive farmer from Tungawali village in Bathinda district, a considerable number of youth, belonging to the farming community, have fallen prey to drug addiction.

Mr Mann was bestowed upon the Parwasi Bharti Award for his innovative methods in agricultural diversification.

He says while economic problems continue to worry farmers, drug addiction adds to their woes.

One of the main reasons for the problem of drug addiction in the villages, according to Gurdev Singh of Moga, remains the unemployment.

He says most of the youth in the villages are educated. But they neither have the avenues for higher education nor do they get any work.

Since they remain idle, they fall for various vices and drug addiction is one of these, he asserts.

During a conversation with a cross-section of farmers, belonging to various parts of the state, who had come here to attend the annual ‘kisan mela’ organised by the Punjab Agricultural University, The Tribune found that farmers have seemingly reconciled to their fate.

Besides unemployment, according to Jagir Singh, another farmer from Bathinda, the rural youth have problems in finding the matrimonial matches also.

He attributed this to two reasons, saying, “One obviously is the unemployment and another non-availability of the girls.”

His views best sum up the obvious impact of falling sex ratio in the state.

“Gone are the days when the farmers took pride in their job,” Mela Singh, a farmer from Philaur, said.

He observes that the land holdings have already turned smaller and even the few who have retained the big holdings cannot claim that they continue to be prosperous.

When the agriculture boom occurred the farmers started from the bottom and built the fortune. After achieving success, they have either not been able to improve upon it or have not managed to retain it.

Even the talk about the
agricultural diversification does not enthuse the farmers much.

They maintain that unless the government did something substantial to revive the agricultural economy, the diversification will not mean anything to them. 


Compensation for rain-hit farmers sought
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 25
The Punjab Kisan Sabha has sought immediate compensation to the cotton farmers of the region who suffered heavy losses due to the recent rains in the district. The sabha leaders made this demand after visiting the rain-hit villages.

The state vice-president of sabha, Mr Jagjeet Singh Joga, and the district general secretary, Mr Jasvir Singh Aklia, said cotton and paddy crops were badly affected in about 50 villages, which included Kot Shamir, Tungwali, Deon, Naruana, Mehma Sawai, Buladhewala and Siwia. Rainwater was still standing in vast stretches of paddy and cotton fields. They said waterlogging had damaged cotton bolls and flower shedding was also witnessed.

Inundation of cotton fields had halted plucking work rendering farm labourers jobless. Motors had also burnt due to waterlogging at many places. Both the leaders sought immediate compensation for the farmers who had suffered losses and farm labourers who were deprived of work due to rains.

They opposed the PAU Vice-Chancellor’s suggestion of farmers themselves approaching the insurance firms for getting their crops insured. They demanded an increase in the cotton’s MSP or Rs 500 per quintal bonus as aid to cotton growers. They also sought compensation for those whose houses had collapsed in rain and traders who suffered losses.


Date for paddy procurement advanced
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Continuous spell of inclement weather notwithstanding, the Union Government has agreed to advance the procurement of paddy from various grain markets in Punjab by five days to September 26.

Though inclement weather has delayed harvesting and marketing of the kharif crops in general and paddy in particular, all procuring agencies have been directed to commence their operations from tomorrow in all grain markets of the state.

In some parts of the state, paddy crop was under a severe attack of both bacteria and other fungal diseases. Blacksmut, for example, had devastated the crop in several parts of the state.

Besides advancing the procurement operations, farmers in Punjab are demanding a relaxation in the moisture content of procurable paddy as overcast sky and presence of moisture in the air were proving to be major hurdles in drying the produce to the permissible level.

Mr S.S. Bhatoa, Senior Regional Manager of the Food Corporation of India, Punjab Region, said all arrangements to procure a bumper paddy crop from various grain markets in the state had been completed. The farmers who were being forced to distress sale because of early harvesting of the crop, would get relief with the advancement of procurement operations.

Sources reveal that the decision to advance the procurement operations was taken after the Punjab Government took up the matter with the Union Food Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar.

Normally, the procurement of kharif crops starts from October 1.

Mr Bhatoa said in spite of inclement weather for the past couple of weeks, a bumper crop was expected in the Punjab markets.

Sources in the FCI said that as of now there were no instructions for any relaxation in the moisture content of paddy to be procured by official agencies, including the state agencies.

Arrangements for the procurement of paddy were reviewed at a meeting of senior officials of the Food and Supplies Department and various state procurement agencies. Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies, said the procurement agencies were hopeful of achieving last year’s target of 140 lakh tonnes.

More than two lakh tonnes of paddy has been already procured by rice shellers in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts. To save the farmers from resorting to distress sale, Dr Gupta said the Union Food Ministry had agreed to advance the procurement operations.

Last year, the state and central agencies had procured 100 lakh tonnes of paddy while shellers and other agencies had bought 40 lakh tonnes.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will formally inaugurate the procurement operations at the Khanna grain market tomorrow morning.


Paddy procurement from today
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 25
With Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh arriving here tomorrow to start paddy procurement, farmers are keeping their fingers crossed. Although so far purchasing agencies of the state and central government have been buying paddy according to the government norms, this year recent rain is learnt to have affected quality of the paddy, thus leading to concern and apprehensions among the farmers.

While farmers’ organisations have been maintaining that it was too early to presume that the quality had been affected, arhtiyas are that the paddy which had arrived was not up to the mark. Farmers apprehend that they may not be able to get the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 600 per quintal as arthtiyas have already started making excuses about quality.

According to acting president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) Manjit Singh Kadyan, not more than five per cent of the paddy might be effected by the last rain.

Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma, who is supervising the procurement disclosed that all agencies were ready. He said like previous years the procurement would be smooth and hassle-free.


Rice shellers to boycott procurement
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
Just as the rice procurement season is about to begin in Punjab, owners of rice shellers in the state have decided to boycott paddy procurement by private as well as government agencies in protest against the failure of the government to take notice of their demands. The District Patiala Rice Millers’ Association took the unanimous decision at a meeting to boycott the procurement till the government accepted its demands, according to a call given by the state president Mr Tarsem Saini.

This information was given by Mr Sat Parkash Goyal, president of the District Patiala Rice Millers Association, at a press conference here yesterday. The rice shellers will hold a protest rally and waive black flags during a conference at Chandigarh on October 7 and 8 if the government failed to pay attention to their demands, he added.

The association alleged that the Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, and top officials of procurement agencies had assured the owners of rice shellers about 10 days ago that their demands would be met with but no action had been taken so far. The owners had been forced to take the agitational path due to lack of action on the government’s part.

The association also alleged that due to heavy rain in various parts of the state, at least 10 to 15 per cent paddy had been damaged or discoloured. The FCI was still holding on the specifications of last year according to which rice with only 2 per cent damage or discolouration would be accepted. This would result in huge losses to the rice sheller owners, they added.


Sunam SDM claims support of arhtiyas
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 25
Regarding the decision of the Sunam Beopar Mandal to boycott the SDM till he is transferred from Sunam, Mr Ravinder Singh, SDM, Sunam, yesterday claimed that many arhtiyas and traders, were with him and had participated in the meeting convened by him in connection with paddy procurement at Sunam.

He said it was a group of some leaders which was opposing him under the banner of the Beopar Mandal. He said most arhtiyas and traders of Sunam had no complaint against him as he had cordial relations with them. He said he had never insulted any arhtiya in his (SDM) office as had been alleged by the agitating group.

Regarding the demand of his transfer by the Beopar Mandal, he said transfer of an employee or officer was the prerogative of the government.

At a meeting of the Sunam Beopar Mandal on Friday, traders and businessmen had decided to boycott all functions to be attended by the Sunam SDM, Mr Ravinder Singh, till he is transferred from Sunam. They have been demanding his transfer from Sunam since August 8 last by, alleging that the SDM had insulted an arhtiya in his office in the first week of August.

However, the SDM has refuted this allegation.


SAD resolution seeks city’s transfer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Political Affairs Committee( PAC) of the SAD headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal here yesterday passed a resolution seeking the transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab immediately.

The PAC said that the Chandigarh was an integral part of Punjab and there should be no doubt in anybody’s mind in this connection.

It said that the Chandigarh was declared Union Territory under a big conspiracy.

The PAC has sought probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court including the involvement of the KGB, an intelligence agency of Russia, at various levels in the government during the rule of late Mrs Indira Gandhi as has been highlighted by a former spy in a book published recently.

Secrets were sold to the KGB by government functionaries.

The PAC has urged the Punjab Government to assess the damage caused by recent rains to kharif crops at various places and to announce compensation for the farmers whose crops were damaged.

It has sought repoll in certain booths of nagar panchayats where polling was held recently.


Demand for CBI probe into firing incident
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 25
The kin of Joginder Singh, alias Jaggi, who was reportedly killed by the police allegedly in an exchange of firing on Wednesday night have accused the Pathankot police of killing him in a false encounter. They have demanded a CBI probe in to the encounter in which two alleged kidnappers died.

Talking to the reporters at their residence Gobindsar Morh today, Waryam Singh, father, and Darshan Kaur, mother, said “ their son was never involved in any criminal activity, which could be verified from the local police.

It may be recalled that the police had killed two alleged kidnappers in an encounter near Defence road here on the night of September 21. In the alleged kidnapping episode, one Arun Masih was also killed, while Ashwani Kumar was arrested. Three alleged accomplices of the gang managed to escape as alleged by the police. The police said Bodh Raj was the kingpin of the gang, which had hatched the conspiracy along with Preet and Sonu who had managed to escape.

According to the police, Raman Mahajan, a local contractor, was kidnapped by all six accused for ransom. The family members of Jaggi alleged that about 15 days ago, the victim had gone to Delhi to get visa from the UK embassy.

Levelling serious allegations against the police for killing Jaggi and Arun Masih, they said since the body of Arun Masih was buried in the graveyard the story of false encounter could be easily determined if the post-mortem of Arun Masih was ordered again by a board of doctors.

They alleged that both victims were first overpowered and then killed in a false encounter. The story, as planted by the police, was highly improbable, added the family members of Jaggi.

When contacted District Gurdaspur police chief Parmod Bhan refuted the allegations and said all these charges, levelled by the family members of Jaggi, were baseless. 


String of activities on World Tourism Day
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 25
The Punjab Government has planned a series of activities and events to mark “World Tourism Day” on September 27 in the state.

As part of the activities, the government has planned to generate awareness about the importance of tourism amongst various sections of society.

This is for the second consecutive year that the government is celebrating the occasion at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind.

Unveiling the plans, Punjab Tourism Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang said the theme of the celebration would be “Heritage” and this would be a good occasion to acquaint the young generation with the rich culture and heritage of the country. He said the event would bring forth forgotten traditions and essences of past lifestyles.

He added that an exhibition on the heritage and glorious contribution of the state in freedom struggle movement would be held.

Besides, exhibition on replicas of paintings of Sobha Singh would also be organised. Mr Kang said essay, quiz and painting competitions on tourism-related themes for school and college students would also be organised on the occasion.

In addition, a turban tying competition would also be part of the festivities.

The minister added that a colourful cultural extravaganza had been planned, which would include folk songs, Malwai gidha, folk orchestra, dhola, gidha and dandas by artistes of the North Zone Cultural Centre and students of different colleges and schools.

He said a food festival would also be organised on this day at the venue.


Jordan Valley Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 25
The Deccan Horse, one of the oldest cavalry regiment of the Indian Army, on Friday celebrated Jordan Valley Day.

The Deccan Horse was raised by the Nizam of Hyderabad, as an irregular cavalry. The regiment which won over 300 gallantry awards, of which 34 are post independence, had participated in World War I and II and the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

During World War I, on September 23,1918 at Khan-e-Sumeriyah, Jordan Valley, Ris Badlu Singh was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. To commemorate this battle, the regiment celebrates Jordan Valley Day on September 23 every year.

A wreath lying was held to pay homage to the martyars. A cultural programme by the soldiers and their family members was also organized with traditional Barakhana.


Cycle rally marks World Heart Day
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
“Want to save your heart? Do cycling”, was the message extended by about 200 residents, who took to streets on bicycles to propagate cycling to keep heart-related ailments at bay.

The objective of the cycle rally, organised by the local BBC Heart Care Centre to mark the World Heart Day today, was to create awareness among people about deadly effects of heart related ailments, particularly, if not subjected to cure in time and to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Donning white T-shirts with messages of “Quit smoking”, “Avoid stress”, “Avoid obesity,” the cyclists were flagged off by Jalandhar SSP Ishwar Singh. They moved through main lanes of the city such as Nakodar Chowk, Bhagwan Valmiki Chowk, Namdev Chowk, BMC Chowk and Guru Nanak Mission Chowk.

Earlier, addressing the participants, Dr C.S. Pruthi, managing director of the heart centre, said heart-related ailments had assumed such an alarming proportion that about 10 lakh people die from them in India every year. “A major concern is that there is a rise in heart attacks among women in age group of 35-64,” said Dr Pruthi.

AMRITSAR: Citizens of the city organised a march to commemorate World Heart Day to raise awareness of the problem of obesity and overweight through a positive message on healthy weight.

The march highlighted the message of the rise in incidence of heart diseases due to growing obesity and overweight.


Extend free power facility to all Dalits: union
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 25
Activists of the district unit of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, led by Mr Bhup Chand Channo, state president, staged a dharna in front of the residence of the local Congress MLA, Mr Arvind Khanna, here today. They protested against the decision of the state government to provide 200 units of free power per month to those Dalits whose electricity load is up to 300 watts.

Protesters submitted a memorandum to representatives of the MLA as Mr Khanna was not present in the town. The memorandum demanded free power to all Dalits.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Channo termed the free power facility with condition to the Dalits as a “cruel joke” with them. He said only five per cent of the Dalits would get benefit from this decision.

Mr Channo said on the one hand the government had imposed a condition for providing free power to the Dalits, on the other it had waived the entire power bills of tubewells of all categories of farmers. He asked the government to provide free electricity to all Dalits. He also asked the state government to give plots of five marlas to them.

Among others who addressed the gathering were Mr Bant Singh Namol, Mr Prem Singh Swtantar and Mr Ajmer Singh, all officer-bearers of the CPM, Mr Bhajan Singh Mangwal, Mr Maghar Singh Gharachon and Mr Gurmail Singh.


Maestros weave magic of classical music
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 25
Maestros of classical music Hari Dev of Goraya and Pt Keshav Raghunath Talengaonkar from Agra mesmerised the audience with their rendition of various ragas at the tenth Classical Music Conference which concluded at the local Gita Bhavan today.

The Sangeet Diwakar Master Rattan Memorial Feast of Classical Music was organised in the memory of doyen of classical music Master Rattan Hadiabadi.

Dr A.K Sharma, president and Prof Hari Dev, chief organising secretary of the body, organised the programme. Nagar Council President Malkiat Singh Ragbotra lit the ceremonial lamp this morning.

Hari Dev stole the show with his mellifluous rendition of “Ja re bhambra duur” and “Ab meri baat maan le peeyarwa”. Eminent tabla player Pt Raman Kant and Surinder Sharma gave sangat on tabla and harmonium.

Pt Keshav Raghunath Talengaonkar from Agra mesmerised the audience with his rendition of raga Bhim Palasi in jhap taal and tarana in teen taal.

Meenu Seen, son of famous tabla player Lashman Seen, and a Punjab Sangeet Natak Academy award winner, also impressed the audience with his performance.

Young flutist and tabla player Hemdeep Sharma, was appreciated for his performance on tabla and flute.

Vocalist Pardeep Sehgal earned applause for his rendition of raga Desi.‘‘Sur” and “lai” were the highlights of performances of other vocalists and instrumentalists like Mohan Malsiani, Santosh Nahar, Surinder Sharma, Vijay Sharma, Ram Lubhaya, Sukhwinder Singh and Ms Raj Kumari.


Govt not serious on cancer deaths: writer
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 25
Renowned Punjabi writer and Jnanpeeth Awardee Dr Gurdayal Singh today expressed concern on “prevailing environmental health crisis” in the Malwa region and said the state government was not serious about the rising incidence of cancer deaths.

He said the state was passing through an “unprecedented crisis and cancer was taking the form of an epidemic”.

Pointing out the “lax attitude” of the government, he said first the government didn’t pay any attention to the matter and now when the situation had turned serious it had postponed the meeting of a high-powered committee, which was constituted on the issue, twice. He said despite being aware of indiscriminate use of pesticides and contaminated water in the affected areas the government was yet to take any measures.

The writer said before formulating a policy on the matter and implementing it the government should ensure people’s participation. He said state’s policies on development and agriculture should be environment friendly as it would lead to all-round development, flourishing agriculture and clean environment. 


Narcotics burnt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
A huge mound of more than 150 quintals of poppy husk, charas, ganja, smack and nearly 1.35 lakh capsules of intoxicating drugs, which, were recovered from the Doaba region was burnt by the police in the presence of DIG (Jalandhar) Paramjit Singh Gill at an open place near Surya Enclave here yesterday.

The huge consignment of contraband was recovered from drug peddlers in over 100 cases, registered in four districts of the Doaba region.

The entire exercise was undertaken in the light of earlier High Court orders, which, had directed the police to burn narcotic substances. 


Trade unions’ stir on Sept 29
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
Trade unions in the city today resolved to make the strike on September 29 a success. The strike, being observed on a call given by the National Platform of Mass Organisation (NPMO), is in protest against the Punjab Government’s “anti-people” policies.

Addressing a rally of workers here today, Mr Raghunath Singh, the all-India vice-president, of CITU, alleged that the government’s policies pertaining to privatisation and globalisation were anti-people.


80 donate blood
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 25
An 80-hour akhand kirtan organised by the Sri Satya Sai Seva Sangathan, Punjab, concluded at Arorvansh Dharamshala here today. A large number of men and women from Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Batala, Ferozepore and neighbouring towns of Rajasthan and Haryana attended today’s function. This was the first phase of Sai Baba’s 80th birthday celebrations.

Eighty devotees donated blood at the camp organised today.

Mr Kamlesh Dawar, district coordinator of the organisation, and Dr V.P. Sethi said that poor patients would be examined on October 2 at Sai Hospital here for the ninth free surgery camp to be held on October 23.

The local society had decided that all devotees, above 50 years of age should sign declarations to donate eyes after their death.

Dr Ram Kumar Goyal, former MLA and state vice-president of the Medical cell of the BJP, visited the camp. He lauded the services rendered by the devotees in serving humanity.


Driver hits youth, dumps body
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 25
In a shocking incident, a ruthless driver, after having hit a youth on the Kharar-Landran road last night, picked him up and allegedly dumped him on the roadside in the wilderness.

The bruised body of the victim, Manoj Kumar (23), who resided in Kharar, was found near Gharuan village here this morning. According to the DSP, Kharar, Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, the car that hit Manoj has been traced and belongs to the Public Health Department and was being driven by Avtar Singh.

Manoj belonged to Tarkulwa village in Uttar Pradesh and had been working with Masterline Print Media in Mohali for the past one year.

He was also taking tuitions for his B.Com degree which he was pursuing through correspondence, said the police, adding that he lived in a rented accommodation on the Kharar-Landran road with a friend.

Mr Sandhu said according to information given by a 7-year-old girl who lived in Manoj’s neighbourhood and saw the accident last night, the incident took place near Panipat Woolen Mills when Manoj was returning home from his tuitions on his cycle.

“A Tata Sumo coming from the opposite direction reportedly hit Manoj and he fell down. He was seriously injured. The car driver stopped the car and picked up Manoj and put him in the car. He later seemed to have dumped Manoj on the roadside outside Gharuan village. He was found dead in the morning,” said Mr Sandhu, adding that blood was found on the road at the spot where the accident took place.

The Kharar police has booked the driver for causing death by rash and negligent driving. He has not been arrested as yet, the police said.


Husband nabbed for attempt to murder
Our Correspondent

Phagwara September 25
While Manmohan Singh of Khati village was today arrested on the charges of attempt to murder, cruelty to woman and other sections of the IPC, his father Partap Singh and brother Sukhjinder Singh were booked on the same charges.

Ravinder Kaur of Urban Estate, Ludhiana, complained to the Sadar police, Phagwara, that ever after her marriage to Manmohan Singh of Khati village in December 2003, she was pestered for more dowry and persistently asked to bring cash from her parents as her husband said he wanted to be a travel agent.

The mother of a daughter, Ravinder Kaur gave Rs 25,000 to her husband. However, she was then asked to fetch Rs 1 lakh more from her parents. On expressing her inability, she was beaten up she alleged.

Things came to such a pass that she was beaten up on September 19, confined to a room and kerosene was sprinkled on her by her husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law, she alleged. Before the trio could set her ablaze, she wriggled out to safety.


Three cops accused of torturing villager
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 25
A resident of Matour village here has filed a petition in the Kharar court alleging “torture and assault” at the hands of three police officers of the Phase VIII police station and three other residents of the village.

According to the petition filed by Jwala Singh under Sections 323, 447, 452, 506 and 34 of the IPC, he was allegedly “beaten up and abused” by Paramvir Singh, Ajmer Kaur and Gurmail singh on September 19 at his residence. He informed the court that he had filed a civil writ petition against these three persons in a property dispute and they, along with the police, were trying to pressurise him into taking back the case.

Two of the three police officers, an ASI and a Head Constable, named in the petition had also been made party in this property dispute case, informed Jwala Singh in his petition.

He further alleged that after he was beaten up by the three persons, they were joined by the two policemen who took him to the Phase VIII police station in Mohali and beat him up there along with another police officer. He was made to sign blank papers, he alleged adding that he was then involved in a false case before being let off on bail the next day.

Jwala Singh today also filed a contempt of court petition alleging that the court had granted stay in the case relating to the property dispute, but the stay order of the court had been violated by the respondents.

The court has issued a notice to the respondents in the contempt of court case for November 9 and the criminal complaint for December 14. 


2 nabbed for felling trees
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 25
The police has nabbed two persons for felling trees and stealing timber, according to a press note issued by Kapurthala SSP Rajiv Ahir here this afternoon.

Those arrested included Bagga Singh and Gurjit Singh of Baggu Gatta village.

A TATA-407 (PIJ-4677) and the stolen wood of ‘tahli’ and eucalyptus trees were seized at a naka laid near Taspur Maud Dadwindi.

A case was registered on a complaint by Baljit Singh, Forest Guard, of Beer Sultanpur Lodhi. The trees were later found to be chopped off into logs.


Vigilance Bureau picks up Principal
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 25
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today picked up the acting Principal of Government Senior School for Boys, Ropar, and former DEO (Secondary), Ropar, Mr Prem Chand Gupta, in a case of allegedly possessing assets beyond known sources of income.

Mr Gupta was picked up by the Punjab vigilance Bureau this afternoon in connection with one-year-old case pending against him. Later, he was admitted to the Civil Hospital as he had complained of chest pain.

He was kept in the emergency ward and two officials of the bureau were deployed there. No mediapersons was allowed to talk to him or take any photograph.


Move to revise medical curriculum opposed
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 25
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has opposed the move of the Union Health Minister to revise the medical curriculum for including the Indian system of medicine (ayurvedic, unani and siddha) in the existing system of modern medicine of allopathy.

Dr Raman K. Aggarwal, Director, IMA College of General Practitioners, said here today that the modern system of medicine was regulated by the Medical Council of India (MCI), constituted under the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956, while the Indian system of medicine was regulated by the Central Council of Indian Medicine, constituted under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act of 1970.

If the Indian system of medicine was included in the curriculum of modern medicine it would create confusion among doctors and patients.

“The government should rather take effective steps to strengthen both the systems and refrain from its move to tamper with the curriculum for awarding MBBS degrees,” he demanded.

Moreover, the MCI had already sent its recommendations to the Union Health Ministry regarding revision of the existing curriculum of modern medicine keeping in view of the rapidly changing medical scenario, claimed Dr Aggarwal. However, these recommendations had not been implemented. The IMA demanded immediate implementation of these recommendations.


‘Govt playing with future of students’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 25
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, president, Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) yesterday said that children of Dalits and the weaker sections of the society suffer in studies on account of shortage of teaching staff in government schools of Punjab.

According to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, more than 27,000 posts of teacher were lying vacant in Punjab owing to financial crunch and the state government was unable to fill those.

He alleged that the state government was playing with the future of these students by not providing adequate teaching staff for them.

He urged the Chief Minister of Punjab to act quickly and prevent any further loss to students.

Referring to the recent announcement of free power supply to Dalits, , Mr Kainth said very few Dalits would benefit.

Regarding free power supply for tubewells, he said only 27.69 per cent of the farmers had electric motor connections. Only rich farmers would be benefitted.

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