P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vigilance Bureau for registration of cases
Kandi Project scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
The Ludhiana Range Vigilance Bureau has recommended the registration of cases of corruption and cheating against several officials of the Kandi Development project for allegedly siphoning off crores from the World Bank-aided project that had promised prosperity for people villages in the Shivalik foothills in Ropar district.

Sources said in a report to the State’s Vigilance Bureau, SSP Vigilance G.S. Dhillon has also recommended that it was a fit case to investigate the quality of work and misutilisation of funds under the project not only in the Ropar district but in other parts of the state also.

Mr Dhillon said it was a confidential report and a Vigilance team had visited the villages and video-filmed condition of dams and roads.

The Vigilance bureau recorded statements of several villagers also. He said the visit followed complaints about misappropriation of funds in the project. ‘‘Ground reality seemed close to the allegations’’ he said.

The Vigilance report claims that only after the registration of cases based on the preliminary investigation can a detailed investigation be carried out in the case.

Well-placed sources also revealed that apart from leaking dams and broken concrete paths, the Vigilance has also pointed out absence of proper water supply in the villages.

The residents especially women and children have to make several rounds of the wells to fill earthen and plastic pots and cans for potable water.

Mr Paramjit Singh, Sub-Divisional Soil Conservation officer who supervised execution of works in Daulawal watershed area covering eight villages said that they had planned water supply to all houses.

However, one department connected with the work had stated in writing that 70 litres of water was being provided per day per person to residents. Still, there were only a few houses in the villages which had access to the water supply.


4 Panthic bodies oppose Sant Samaj stir
Varinder Walia and Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
In a major setback to the ongoing ‘morcha’ against the SGPC and Akal Takht, launched by the Damdami Taksal and a section of the Sant Samaj, four Sikh organisations, including Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Dal Khalsa, Khalsa Panchayat and Khalsa Raj Party yesterday accused them of being spokespersons of the ruling Congress, RSS and the police .

Coming down heavily on the Damdami Taksal and the Sant Samaj here, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (A), alleged that they were being saddled by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and the ruling Congress at the Centre. He said Maryada could not be altered the way the Sant Samaj and Damdami Taksal wanted.

The direct confrontation has virtually divided the Sikh Panth on the Maryada (rejected by the Taksal and Sant Samaj) issue. Mr Mann said it was shocking that the Jathedar of Akal Takht had failed to take cognisance of the ‘morcha’, launched by a section of Sant Samaj and Taksal .

The four Panthic organisations alleged that whenever elections were on the anvil , certain vested interests made allout efforts to join hands to strengthen their political base in Punjab, even as the state machinery becomes hyperactive and many Sikh organisations fall easy prey to their machinations.

The written press note by the four Panthic organisations reads: “Acting at the behest of anti-Sikh forces, the Sant Samaj and the Damdami Taksal have outrightly rejected the Nanakshahi Calendar and the Sikh Rehat Maryada. The very concept of Sant Samaj is against the ideals of Guru Granth Sahib. According to Sikh principles, there is only one Samaj and that is the Khalsa Panth, the Commonwealth of the Khalsa. “

The four Panthic organisations alleged that they (Sant Samaj and Taksal) had been secretly confabulating with these anti-Panthic forces and the present statement was also part of that grand design. The so-called Sant Samaj and the Damdami Taksal have blatantly rejected the Panthic Maryada, which they don’t follow themselves. We want to ask them as to which Maryada they want to foist on the Sikhs?”

“Do they want the Sikhs to follow the Maryada of Una (headquarters of Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, President, Sant Samaj), Chowk Mehta (headquarters of Damdami Taksal) or Nanaksar or any other? They have different Maryadas. They should also clarify whether they recognise the Akal Takht or are more close to the Delhi takht?” they said.

The four Panthic organisations appealed to the Sikhs to defeat all their moves to divide the Sikhs on this issue. The Khalsa Panth has set up standards and procedure to change Maryadas. In preparation of the Ardas, the Rehat Maryada and the Nanakshahi Calendar, countless meetings were held at Akal Takht and other mutually agreed places, to evolve these documents. No single body or organisations have the right to reject Panthic documents.

After substantive debates over a period of 13 years (1932-1945), the Sikh nation gave itself the Sikh Rehat Maryada. It was prepared in consultation with all cross-sections of the Sikh people. This is a code of conduct, to be followed individually and collectively by the Sikhs. It is a unique document which is a summary of hundreds of Rehatnamas, which delineate do’s and don’ts for every Sikh.

The signatories to the joint statement include Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (A), Mr Kanwarpal Singh , General Secretary, Dal Khalsa, Mr Rajinder Singh, Convener, Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, President, Khalsa Raj Party.


Sarabjit’s family reiterates resolve to end lives
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Bhikhwind, September 27
Family members of Sarabjit Singh their reiterated its resolve to commit suicide if death sentence was carried out.

An angry Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, here today lashed out at both the governments (Pakistan and India) for being “callous” in their attitude and charged them with connivance to hang an “innocent” man .

She said injustice was expected from Pakistan but even the Indian government could not escape the blame.

She alleged that the government of India despite having proof of identity of Sarabjit had not taken concrete steps to secure his release.

The Pakistan Supreme Court never took of cognisance of fresh statements of eye witnesses which were aired on TV channels, she alleged.

She said whenever the date of his hanging was announced, the family, including herself, Sukhpreet, wife of Sarabjit and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam too would prepare to end their lives on the same day and at the same time.


BJP condemns attack on RSS activists
Catholic Church not opposed to Sudershan’s visit
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, September 27
The district unit of the BJP at its meeting held here today strongly condemned members of the Punjab Christian Movement for their “violent agitation” at Jalandhar yesterday held in protest against the proposed visit of RSS Chief K. C. Sudershan at Sain Dass School, Jalandhar, on October 2.

Its members felt that the alleged attack on activists of the RSS was a conspiracy to disturb the peace and communal harmony in Punjab. They alleged that activists of the Punjab Christian Movement were encouraging poor persons in rural areas of the state for religious conversion by offering some lucrative benefits.

They demanded action against those persons responsible for violence in Jalandhar.

Phagwara: Activists of the Hindu Jagran Manch, here on Tuesday staged a demonstration and a rally at the local Tehsil Complex in protest against “assault” by activists of Christian Movement Punjab on RSS men at Jalandhar.

The protestors, led by Manch President Devi Ram Sharma, presented a memorandum to local SDM Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal for its submission to the Punjab Governor.

Speakers at the rally, including RSS leader Lala Balwant Rai Gupta, VHP leader Hari Kishen, BJP block president Tejasvi Bhardwaj, BJYM district unit president Avtar Singh Mand said to oppose RSS chief K. Sudarshan’s visit to Jalandhar on October 2 was an anti-national act.

Jalandhar: Expressing sympathy towards all those injured in the clash between members of the RSS and the Punjab Christian Movement, the Catholic Church convened a meeting terming the incident as “unfortunate and uncalled for”.

Addressing a press conference at Bishop's House here on Tuesday, Father Emmanuel Y. Diwan, spokesman for Catholic Church, Jalandhar, said the Catholic Church had no association with the Punjab Christian Movement and it did not support any of its activities.

“The Punjab Christian Movement is simply a political association of some people with selfish motives and ambitions. It does not have any churches, convent schools, hospitals, hostel or any established institutions. The association has defamed the Christians by creating unruly scenes yesterday,” the Father said.

Father Diwan added that the Catholic Church was not opposing the proposed visit of Mr K.C. Sudershan, RSS chief. “Any religious or political body was free to invite its leader in the city and hold a function. There is no reason why we should clash over such an issue,” he said.

The meeting held at Catholic Church was attended by the priests in charge of Sacred Heart Church, Civil Lines, St Mary’s Cathedral, Jalandhar cantonment, Holy Trinity College, Chogitti, St Anthony’s Church, Sansarpur, Sacred Heart Hospital, Maqsudan, St Francis Church, Kartarpur, St Joseph's Church Bhootan, St Sebastian Church, Dheena and Phuriwal, and Sacred Heart Church, Ghakalan.

Apprehending attack on the churches, security had been beefed up around all churches, including those in the rural areas. The security had also been tightened around the administrative complex, Namdev Chowk and other areas.

Riot control vehicles and fire engines have been parked outside the administrative complex where representatives of various Hindu associations came to present their memoranda to the Deputy Commissioner.

Members of the Hindu Dharam Surakska Samiti, Punjab, and the Shiv Sena Punjab, have been demanding that the RSS chief be allowed to visit the city without any opposition. They demanded that the security must be beefed around Sain Dass School, venue of the function, on October 2.


Head sevadar of Tikana Bhai Jagta Ji murdered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 27
Armed men murdered the head sevadar of Tikana Bhai Jagta Ji, Baba Gurcharan Singh, with sharp-edged weapons at Goniana Mandi before decamping with valuables worth lakhs last night.

Gurcharan Singh (55) was a close associate of Tikana Sahib’s Head Mahant Tirath Singh. The murder came to light in the early morning today when Sevadar Jagjeet Singh opened the room of Gurcharan Singh. His body was found with injury marks on his throat.

Devotees thronged Tikana Sahib as soon as they came to know about the incident. The shrine shares its wall with the local police station.

According to an information available, last night the deceased and three other sevadars — Lal Singh Mitha, Bhagat Singh and Harinder Singh Mohali — were watching TV at their room No 28. At about 11.15 pm, when Bhagat Singh went towards his room six masked armed men, three of whom having pistols and two sharp-edged weapons, caught him, Lal Singh, and Harinder. They tied their hands and legs and gaged them before thrashing them.

Later, they tied Baba Gurcharan Singh with a turban and asked him to give them keys. When he denied, they thrashed him before killing him with a sharp-edged weapon. They fled away locking behind the other three sevadars. They took away valuables, including some mobiles and digital cameras.

Meanwhile, sevadars at the shrine said the assailants had been staying at their “sarai” for the past two days and they fled away after committing the crime.

They said two of the “assailants” — Balwant Singh and Kulwant Singh — had come from Talwandi Sabo for an Akhand Path at Tikana Sahib. Both of them were staying with their other two aides in room No 16 and the bhog of their Akhand Path was scheduled for today. These four persons left at about 1.30 am today. They told watchman Narain Das that somebody in their relation had passed away and they had to leave urgently.

Top police officials, including SSP Kapil Dev and SP (D) Ajay Maluja, inspected the crime scene. The SSP said it might be a case of robbery. The three sevadars who were in the room of the deceased were being interrogated and they had named Balwant Singh, Kulwant Singh and their aides.

Goniana Mandi observed a total bandh in the wake of the murder.


Malwa cries for place in state’s tourist map
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 27
Even as the state celebrates the World Tourism Day with fanfare today, Bathinda, Muktsar and Faridkot districts appear to be grappling to make it to Punjab’s tourism map despite having several religious places including Takht Sri Damdama Sahib. 

While Bathinda boasts of having the fifth Takht of Sikhs, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Haji Ratan gurdwara, Quila Mubarak, biggest cantonment and Railway junction, Air Force station, and two thermal power plants, Faridkot is dotted with Baba Sheikh Farid’s shrines, Quila Mubarak, Raj Mahal, and historical gurdwaras like Guru Ki Dhaab. Muktsar too holds an important place in the history of Sikhism, as 40 ‘muktas’ attained martyrdom in the holy city.

All major political parties exploit Baisakhi fair at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib and Maghi mela at Muktsar for political gains, but none of them had made any endeavour to promote these places as tourist attraction. Faridkot also hosts Baba Sheikh Farid Aagman Purab in September every year, but thankfully political parties have spared this event.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr G.S. Rekhi, ex-president of the Railway Recruitment Board and a city hotelier, said irrespective of political affiliations the state government and the SGPC should join hands for an effort for promoting religious tourism in Malwa. He said their joint initiative could extend the flow of pilgrims from Amritsar to Damdama Sahib. He stressed on the need to disseminate history of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib and Muktsar Sahib, besides extending amenities for tourists at these places.

He said the SGPC and the state government could resort to a media campaign to lend these religious spots their due place on Punjab’s tourism map. President of the Punjab Hoteliers Association, Paramjeet Singh said they had also taken up the issue of medical tourism with the government. They had included nine districts with super-specialized medical facilities in their plan and Bathinda was one among them. He said the association would meet Special Secretary, Tourism, Jagjeet Puri, in Jalandhar on October 2 and put forth Malwa’s issue on priority basis.

He said they also plan to highlight religious places like Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in their forthcoming tourist guide. The district general secretary of the association, Mr Arun Sehgal, rued that there were neither guides nor information centres for tourists at various historical places in Malwa and the government should at least work on this front. Though mega events like martyrdom tercentenary of 40 ‘muktas’ observed in May attracted lakhs of devotees to Muktsar, spate of pilgrims lasted till the event.

Next year ‘Sampooranta Divas’ would be celebrated to mark the completion of Guru Granth Sahib at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib. Besides the SGPC, the state government too has announced celebrate the event in a big way.

Now, it remains to be seen as to how both of them exploit this event to boost tourism in Malwa or will it again turn out to be a “show of strength” between the two just like Muktsar only time will tell.


Six held for immoral trafficking
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, September 27
The district police has arrested three teenager girls, a pimp and two boys, for immoral trafficking at Tagore Nagar, here today. All were arrested at the house of the pimp, Surinder Kaur, alias Jyoti (40), from where she had been running the trade for a long time.

According to the police, Jyoti had been providing girls to customers for Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per night. She has connections with certain other persons running the same trade in Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and other main cities in the region.

The arrested girls belong to New Delhi, Faridabad and Nepal while two accused – Harjinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh – are from Hoshiarpur city and Tanda, respectively. The youth belong to well to do families, the police added.

Acting on a tip-off that Jyoti had been running the trade from her house, the police laid a trap and contacted her on phone. A decoy customer was sent to her and a deal was struck at Rs 3,000 per girl for a night. A police party waiting outside Jyoti’s house arrested Jyoti when she took the marked currency notes.

The police party raided the house and arrested the three girls along with two youths. The police has also seized some items and a Maruti car (PB-10AE-0570) from them. Arrested under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, the six were today produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who remanded them in police custody for two days.


Bodies of Punjab cops flown in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The cremation of Additional Director-General of Punjab Police P.M. Das is scheduled for tomorrow at Patiala. Senior police functionaries said the body of Das and the two others, Sub-Inspector Inder Kumar and Head Constable Nari Dhami were being flown in on a special Indian Air Force aircraft.

The aircraft carrying the bodies landed at Chandigarh airbase tonight. Home Secretary A.K. Dubey and Director-General of Police S.S.Virk received the bodies. From Chandigarh the bodies are to be transported by road to the respective hometowns of the deceased cops.

The three were part of a joint mountaineering expedition organised by the Punjab Police and Indo-Tibetan Police Force. They were caught unawares in snowstorm in Sikkim and their bodies were found when the storm waned.

The family of Das is based in Patiala where he had been posted earlier. He had been promoted as ADGP recently. The funeral procession is slated to start at 10 am. The cremation will be carried out with full state honours. Mr Virk, along with officers of the Punjab Police, is expected to be present. A guard of honour will be presented and volley of shots will be fired as mark of respect. Senior officials of the Civil Administration and the police will lay wreaths on the body.

Meanwhile, Inder Kumar’s family is in Garhshankar while Nari Dhami’s family lives in Pithoragarh district in Uttaranchal. Their bodies will also be sent by road.

The bodies were flown from Bagdogra in West Bengal. The IAF plane carrying the bodies took off subsequently at 7. 40 pm, said senior officials.

The IAF agreed to carry the bodies following a request from the Punjab Government.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has condoled the untimely demise of Das. Describing Das as an outstanding and upright police officer, he said the state police had lost a distinguished officer and a good human being. The Governor conveyed his heartfelt sympathies to the members of the bereaved family.

General Rodrigues also expressed his sorrow over the demise of Sub-Inspector Inder Kumar and Head Constable, Nari Dhami in this tragedy, who were part of the Punjab Police Adventure Club

Paying a glowing tribute to Das, Dr M.S. Gill, Rajya Sabha MP, said Punjab had lost an officer, who was trying hard to revive the passion of mountaineering among Punjabi youth. He said his death had created a void, which could not be filled.


Punjab, Haryana prepare for Cong CMs’ conclave
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
As several VIPs, including the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the President of the All-India Congress Committee, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, will arrive here on October 6 to attend the Congress Chief Ministers’ conclave, the Punjab and Haryana Governments are putting all arrangements in place to welcome the high-profile guests.

Informed sources said that several VIPs, including 15 Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states, senior Union Ministers belonging to the Congress and party general secretaries, would arrive on October 6. The Prime Minister would stay in Haryana Raj Bhavan and Mrs Gandhi in Punjab Bhavan, it is learnt. Mrs Gandhi, the sources said, never stayed in any hotel. She preferred to stay in government guesthouses.

Senior officers of the Punjab and Haryana Governments, which will jointly host the conclave, today met to work out details of the visit of the VIP guests.

The venue for most of the meetings will be Punjab Bhavan.

A change in the schedule of the Punjab Assembly session, which is to be held from October 5 to 7, has been proposed as its date clashes with that of the conclave. Now the session, according to the sources, will begin on October 5. After paying tributes to departed persons, the House will be adjourned to the next day. On October 6, the House will hold only the morning sitting. After that it will be adjourned till October 10 when a discussion on important issues will be resumed and other business transacted, it is learnt.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the sources said, would be busy receiving the VIPs on October 6. In fact, he would be busy till October 8, the day the VIPs are scheduled to return to their respective states.

So, he would not be able to attend the session. All senior ministers of the Congress would also be busy overseeing various arrangements to be made with regard to the conclave.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government is preparing to present “an impressive report card” to Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh.

The sources said the government had released Rs 54 crore as the first instalment to clear the backlog of old age and other pensions. A state level function would be held at Patran on October 2, a few days before the conclave, to disburse pensions. Capt Amarinder Singh would hand over cheques to the pensioners at the function, it is learnt.

In all other districts, the ministers in charge would hand over such cheques to pensioners by holding functions. The state government would clear the entire backlog in the next few months, it is learnt.

The government is also keen on providing drinking water and sewerage in localities without such facilities in all municipal towns. The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, and the Local Bodies Minister, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, today held a meeting in this regard, it is learnt. The Government wants to spend about Rs 1,000 crore in this connection.

Chowdhary Jagjit Singh said drinking water and sewerage schemes would be inaugurated on November 14 at Muktsar by Capt Amarinder Singh.

He said the remaining areas in the municipal towns and cities would get the drinking water and sewerage facilities in a year. Besides, lanes and bylanes in these towns and cities would be paved. Roads would also be given a new look, he added.


Panel to discuss issue of kirtan by women
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
The issue pertaining to allowing baptised Sikh women to perform kirtan and seva in the sanctum sanctorum of Harmander Sahib and ensuring their participation in ‘amrit sanchar’ is unlikely to be resolved, in the near future as the Sikh clergy today constituted a 13-member committee to submit a detailed report after consulting various Sikh organisations.

Interestingly, no deadline has been fixed to submit the report which has given broad indications that the matter is likely to linger on. In yet another significant development, the Sikh high priests have made Baba Ram Singh, chief of breakaway jatha of Damdami Taksal, a member the 13-member committee, totally ignoring the Taksal, headed by Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma which is spearheading the campaign against the SGPC and Akal Takht on the issue.

Significantly, the Sikh high priests directed the Sikh Sangat not to rake up the issue pertaining to allowing Sikh women to perform seva till the final decisions. The 13-member committee is headed by Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, senior vice-president, SGPC. The other members of the committee included Baba Daya Singh, Baba Sewa Singh (Rampur Khera), Baba Sewa Singh (Khadoor Sahib), Bibi Inderjit Kaur, chief of Pingalwara, Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon of GND University, Sant Ghala Singh, Mr Tarsem Singh, Chairman Dharm Parchar Committee, DSGMC, Mr Satnam Singh Chandigarh and Mahant Tirath Singh.

The issue of allowing women to perform kirtan / seva etc has already created a division in the Sikh Panth. While the SGPC had already passed a resolution to end gender discrimination, the case was referred to Sikh clergy for final approval.


Encyclopaedia of Sikh Panth released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
The five Sikh high priests released the two volumes of ‘Sikh Panth Vishavkosh’, at Akal Takht Secretariat, here today.

This encyclopaedia is prepared in Punjabi by renowned scholar Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi and contains two volumes of 825 pages each. Giani Joginder Singh Vedhanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, said the encyclopedia contained useful information regarding Sikhism which would be easily available to the readers.

‘The Encyclopaedia of Sikh Panth’ is a monumental work by the celebrated Sikh scholar Dr Jaggi. It is the result of his research and sustained hard work spread over three decades. In his theses for Ph. D and D. Litt. Degrees, he had discussed numerous controversial topics relating to Sikh religion and various other religious traditions of India. The encyclopedia of Sikh Panth displays mature judgment and patient industry in the compilation and sifting of evidence. It is presented in excellent literary style and affords delightful reading.

The distinct characteristic of Encyclopaedia of Sikh Panth is that the author has presented authentic information on the basis of his direct access to the original resources and sources and has included various topics and subjects, which one does not find in previous encyclopaedia.

It goes to the credit of Dr Jaggi that he is the only scholar who has given two encyclopedias to Punjabi readers. He was the first to prepare the encyclopedia on Guru Granth Sahib, which is published in two volumes by Punjabi University. He is also the first to write complete commentary on Dasam Granth, which has been published in five volumes by Gobind Sadan, New Delhi.

During his tenure as chairman of Department of Punjabi Literary Studies at Punjabi University, he was the dynamic spirit behind the publication of more than 200 volumes on different subjects and aspects of Punjabi language, literature and culture. Most of the books and special issues of ‘Khoj Patrika’, a prestigious literary magazine published during his chairmanship are now considered reference books, which are extensively quoted, by students and teachers. After his retirement from Punjabi University he produced monumental volumes and the Encyclopaedia of Sikh Panth is his outstanding achievement. He is also working as Project, Director of ‘Nirukat Shri Guru Granth Sahib’ being prepared by Punjabi University, Patiala.

The encyclopedia of Sikh Panth has over 2500 subjects and entries dealing with Sikh society, Sikh history, Sikh literature, organisations and sects, Sikh movements, Sikh personalities, places and institutions, Sikh rites and rituals, folk traditions and conventions, philosophical concepts, cultural values and various compositions and their contributors, including Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth.

The English translation of this encyclopaedia is under preparation.


Sarna, 2 former DSGMC chiefs awarded ‘mild tankhah’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
The Sikh clergy today awarded ‘mild tankhah’ (punishment for religious misconduct) of offering ‘kadah parshad’ at Harmandar Sahib to Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), Mr Parlahad Singh Chandok, Mr Avtar Singh Chandok, both former DSGMC chiefs and seven others for engaging Mr Vemaraju Bhanu Murthi, a Telugu-speaking person, who had committed ‘fraud’ in the name of translating Gurbani in 17 languages.

A Sikh organisation had exposed the biggest ever “translation scam” of the DSGMC spanning over four decades. This was for the first time that spy cameras were used by certain Sikh organisations to expose the DSGMC. The translation /transliteration, done by Mr Murti had glaring discrepancies. The translation and publication of ‘Gurbani translation’ involved huge budget, which seems to have gone waste.

It is learnt that the Sikh clergy took a lenient view in this case when they found that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President Shiromani Akali Dal, had praised Mr Murthi in the foreword of a book. Mr Murthi was honoured by the SGPC, including then President Gurcharan Singh Tohra who recently was honoured with ‘Panth Rattan’ posthumously by none other than Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti for his lifetime achievements for the sake of Panth. A member of the SGPC from New Delhi, who is close to Mr Badal had confessed that Mr Murthi was introduced to the DSGMC through him on the recommendation of Mr Tohra.


SGPC’s assurance on procession from Delhi to Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
After initial hiccups, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today agreed to make all the necessary arrangements to mark the biggest ever (670-km long) religious procession from New Delhi to Nankana Sahib being organised on October 23.

In a press release issued here, SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur said Sikh Sangat would be accommodated in the serais and special arrangements would be made for serving them ‘Guru Ka Langar’.

Guru Granth Sahib would be taken in a gold palanquin for installation at Gurdwara Janmasthan Nankana Sahib (Pakistan). Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab, respectively, in their respective states would receive the religious procession. 


World Tourism Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 27
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Tourism and Animal Husbandry, today inaugurated a function to mark World Tourism Day. It was celebrated by the District Administration in collaboration with the Tourism Department, Punjab, at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind.

Mr Ashok Sharma, Chairman, Punjab Tourism, presided over the function. Mr Kang said tourism was an upcoming industry and was becoming quite popular these days as big industrial and business houses were shifting towards this industry. He said that Punjab had much chance of attracting tourists and developing its tourism industry as the state had many historical, religious and other heritage places.

He said since the state government could not provide modern facilities and manage the tourist complexes, so it may handover these complexes to private contractors. He urged the NRIs and big houses to take over the tourist complexes in the state.

He said the state government had written to the Central Government to impose a uniform tax on the tourists to the northern states, so that they did not suffer.

In his welcome address Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, thanked the state government for celebrating the state-level function at Fatehgarh Sahib.

On this occasion painting, dastarbandi and quiz competitions were organised. The team from BBSB Engineering Colleges won some competitions. Mrs Gurcharn Kaur, daughter of Sobha Singh, renowned artist, was honoured. Artistes from the North Zone Cultural Centre presented a cultural programme.

Mr Ashok Sharma, Chairman, Punjab Tourism, Mr Jagjit Puri Managing Director, Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, also addressed. Mr Sudhir Batish, DR, Co-operative Society and Ms Hargunjit Kaur, GA to DC, conducted the stage.


Stalemate over phari allotment ends
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 27
The stalemate over allotment of ‘phari’ sites to arhtiyas ended today in the new Grain Market, which had been brewing up for the past four days between the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Market Committee, Phagwara.

It was after the intervention of the SDM, Mr Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, and the DSP, Mr Navjot Singh Mahal, that new parameters were formed and phari sites allotted accordingly to which the Chairman, Mr Jaspreet Singh Satti, and the Vice-Chairman, Mr Naresh Bhardwaj, also agreed.

Allegations and counter-allegations of highhandedness over the allotment of phari sites were witnessed on Friday between two groups of arhtiyas headed by the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Market Committee. The Vice-Chairman had charged Mr Jaspreet Singh with not working according to new parameters while allotting the phari sites. The Chairman had refuted charge as baseless.

After this peace process, the government agencies started procurement of the paddy crop at the new Grain Market today. On the first day, 4,000 quintals of paddy could reach the local grain market even as rice-millers across the state are on strike.

The Phagwara MLA and Punjab Agro Foods Chairman, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, who inaugurated the procurement process, asked the arhtiyas to work unitedly. Mr Bhardwaj appreciated the steps taken by the SDM and the DSP for an early end to the arhtiyas’ stalemate.


Rotarians pay tributes to Das

Amritsar, September 27
ADGP P.M. Das will not only be remembered as a brave mountaineer but also as a social crusader who led by example to eradicate evils like drug menace.

Rotarians of the holy city recalled his exceptional role during his year-long stint as DIG, Border Range, in 1994-95 here. Mr Rakesh Kapoor, president of the Rotary Club Midtown, while paying tributes to Mr Das who passed away in a snowstorm in Sikkim, said that Mr Das had associated himself with the Rotary movement to undertake two major projects. The projects close to his heart were to get the city free of beggars and to undertake de-addiction among youths.

Mr Kapoor added that during his posting here, he had designated a team of social workers from the Rotary Club and some police officers, who were able to identify more than 300 beggars. He took personal interest in repairing their dossier and provided them counselling so that they could be persuaded to give up begging. — OC


Rotary Club formed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 27
Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, addressed a gathering on the charter presentation ceremony of the newly formed Rotary Club, Fatehgarh Sahib, yesterday.

He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh from his discretionary fund for the club. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation Patiala and a former Deputy Commissioner of the District, who was the guest of honour.

Dr Harbans Pathak, district governor, presented the charter to Club President Surjit Singh Sahi and his team and read the message of Carl-Wihelm Stenhammer, Rotary International President.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, was inducted as honorary member of the club Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Prof. Kashmir Singh, charter secretary, PDG Dinesh Gupta, DGN Bhupinder Singh Jaggi, sponsored club president Abhilash Malhotra, DCC president Vaid Hari Kishan, Municipal Committee President Charnjiv Channa and Dr D.S. Hira also spoke.


Anganwadi workers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 27
Protesting against the move of the government to open pre-primary government schools, members of the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Coordination Committee, Punjab, held a rally outside Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall here today.

Over 1,000 members of the committee raised slogans against the Punjab Government, demanding a hike in their wages as per the promises made to them two years back. They also demanded that the workers be given the privilege of a government Class III worker, while the helpers be equated with the Class IV workers. The members demanded that the children of the age three to five years coming to the centres be given the required facilities.

Ms Dharamjit Kaur, president, Ms Sarabjit Kaur Ajnala, general secretary, and other anganwadi workers gave a memorandum of their demands to Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Minister of State for Social Security and Welfare, who came to listen to their grievances outside Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall.


Stalemate over phari allotment ends
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 27
The stalemate over allotment of ‘phari’ sites to arhtiyas ended today in the new Grain Market, which had been brewing up for the past four days between the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Market Committee, Phagwara.

It was after the intervention of the SDM, Mr Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, and the DSP, Mr Navjot Singh Mahal, that new parameters were formed and phari sites allotted accordingly to which the Chairman, Mr Jaspreet Singh Satti, and the Vice-Chairman, Mr Naresh Bhardwaj, also agreed.

Allegations and counter-allegations of highhandedness over the allotment of phari sites were witnessed on Friday between two groups of arhtiyas headed by the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Market Committee. The Vice-Chairman had charged Mr Jaspreet Singh with not working according to new parameters while allotting the phari sites. The Chairman had refuted charge as baseless.

After this peace process, the government agencies started procurement of the paddy crop at the new Grain Market today. On the first day, 4,000 quintals of paddy could reach the local grain market even as rice-millers across the state are on strike.

The Phagwara MLA and Punjab Agro Foods Chairman, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, who inaugurated the procurement process, asked the arhtiyas to work unitedly. Mr Bhardwaj appreciated the steps taken by the SDM and the DSP for an early end to the arhtiyas’ stalemate.


Dera followers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 27
As a part of its district-wise stir, more than 10,000 followers of the Sacha Sauda sect took out a protest through the main streets of the town today to register their resentment against the Punjab and Central governments for failing to “check the unlawful activities of the CBI which had been implicating senior members and sadhvis of the mission in false cases”.

The protesters also held a rally in front of the Mini Secretariat in this connection.

Addressing the agitators, Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Balkar Singh, members of the Punjab affairs of the mission, while assailing the alleged indifferent attitude of two investigating senior officers of the agency towards the sect in handling the matter, also accused CBI officers of “ terrorising” a number of sadhvis and sadhus of the sect after failing to arrive at truth regarding the cases of alleged sexual exploitation of women in the dera and the murders of journalist Ram Chander Chhattarpati and dera follower Rajmeet Singh.

The committee members demanded that democratic measures be initiated to resolve such sensitive issues and to protect the interests of those missions which preached for communal harmony and national integration.

They made it clear that if the government failed to check such type of activities, the dera followers would intensify their stir. Later talking to mediapersons, the committee members said that a meeting of the 125-member would be held shortly at Sirsa to decide the future course of action.


Special trains for solar eclipse mela
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 27
The Northern Railway will run ‘mela special trains’ to facilitate the devotees to reach Kurukshetra to have a holy dip in Brahm Sarovar and Sunhit Tank during the solar eclipse fair from September 30 to October 3.

This was stated by the Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozepore, here today. He said the plan and schedule for running the special trains had been finalised.

Apart from running special trains, most of the trains, except Shatabdi Express, passing through Kurukshetra railway station, would be halted there for the facility of pilgrims.

Nearly 12 lakh pilgrims from different parts of the country are expected to visit the fair.


Petition allowed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday allowed the petition filed by retired teachers of privately managed, recognised and aided schools, seeking setting aside of the action of the Punjab Government in not accepting pension cases of the petitioners.

The petitioners, Mr Samdhershi Kumar Bedi and 89 others, who retired from various posts in private schools, had stated that the government wrongly deprived them of their pension on flimsy grounds. They had also sought directions to the respondents to fulfil the conditions of the pension scheme under which the teachers and allied staff petitioners were given the option to select the pension or provident fund scheme. Today, the Division Bench of Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Nirmal Yadav allowed the petition.


Agitating farmers block road
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 27
Protesting against the alleged failure of government procurement agencies in lifting paddy brought by them to the mandis in the district, farmers blocked the road leading to Sultanpur Lodhi and staged a dharna in front of the new grain market here today.

Though the district administration had announced the starting of purchase of paddy by the government agencies in the district, the agencies avoided to make bulk purchases on the pretext of excessive moisture content in the paddy than the permissible limit fixed by the FCI.

While the 2,421 metric tonnes of paddy arrived in the district mandis till September 25 was bought by rice sheller owners and commission agents at the rates ranging from Rs 580 to Rs 630 according to the quality of the grain, the farmers were feeling helpless due to the absence of millers in the market as the rice mill owners had also gone on strike since yesterday.

“I brought my crop to the market on Sunday hoping that I will be back home by Monday afternoon after the government agencies started the procurement but due to the absence of the agencies I have been staying in the market for the past three days,” said Sadhu Singh, a farmer from Khanowal village, who got 50 quintals of the paddy.

Similarly, Gurbachan Singh of Kokalpur who brought 300 quintals of paddy to the mandi, had been staying here for the past two days.

Meanwhile, claiming smooth purchase in the district by the agencies, the district administration said 1,334 metric tonnes of paddy was procured by the agencies yesterday and more than 2,000 quintals today, but due to strict guidelines by the FCI inferior quality paddy would not be lifted by the government agencies.

On the assurance of Ms Bhawna Garg that the crop affected nominally due to inclement weather would be procured by the government agencies, the farmers lifted the blockade at 6 pm.


Paddy procurement starts
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 27
Though the district Food and Civil Supplies Department has claimed to have purchased 434 metric tonnes of paddy from the district mandis but procurement in the major grain markets of the district has not yet started.

Mr Parveen Vij, DFSC, said department had made all arrangements for the smooth procurement, lifting and storage of paddy.

The staff had been posted and gunny bags were available in sufficient quantity. He said that the procurement started yesterday and till today 434 MT of paddy had been procured. He said that Markfed had purchased 36MT, Ware House 16MT and the private traders 382 MT.

He said purchase in major mandis of Sirhind, Amloh, Bassi Pathana, Mandi Gobindgaerh could not be started as the paddy lying there did meet the specifications. He urged the farmers to bring clean and dry paddy.

Meanwhile, the rice millers of the district have decided to continue their strike and not to purchase the paddy nor allow the procurement agencies to store the procured paddy in their mills till the government accepted their demands. Mr Nakesh Jindal, press secretary of the State Rice Millers Association, said government was hell bent to destroy the industry and the repeated requests of the association had fallen on deaf ears.

He said millers would not succumb to any pressure. They urged the government to concede their genuine demands in the interest of the trade and farmers.


Farmers advised against using pesticides
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 27
Farmers should stop the use of pesticides as it has badly affects the health of people. A large number of people were suffering from cancer in Bathinda following high use of the pesticides, said the Parliamentary Secretary Industry and Commerce, Mr K.I.P. Rana, while addressing farmers at Dr B.R. Ambedkar Bhavan, here today.

Mr Rana said 86 per cent of land in Punjab was being used for agriculture so the scientists should came out with innovative was to increase production, he added. He also said as the water table of the state had been going down, the farmers should seek guidance by the Agriculture Department to sow crops, which would get high income for them by using less water, he added. 


Midwife held for selling child
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 27
The police arrested Madhu Bala, a midwife, and resident of the local Mohalla Gautam Nagar, for allegedly selling a newborn baby of an unmarried woman today.

Mr Harish Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Detective), said the police had an information about Madhu Bala for having a newborn baby of an unmarried woman. Madhu Bala got delivered the baby about 10 days ago. After delivery, the mother left the baby with Madhu Bala, who later put the child on sale. The SP said on receiving information about the sale of the baby, the police sent a decoy customer to Madhu Bala for purchasing the child.

She demanded Rs 1.50 lakh as cost of the child, but after negotiation the deal was struck at Rs 80,000. When the deal was being taking place the police raided and arrested Madhu Bala. The SP said the child was admitted to Civil Hospital and would be sent to Nari Niketan, Jalandhar.


Drive against land mafia
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 27
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and the Phagwara police have launched a crackdown against the land mafia in the area. Criminal cases have been registered against Sandeep Singh and Jasbir Singh of the Gobindpura locality for raising illegal colonies.

Though both the land developers have absconded, a search is on to nab them. The police has also prepared a list of illegal colonies as well as plots. Thousands of people had invested crores of rupees by purchasing land based on false assurances by the duo which is allegedly patronised by politicians.


PO wanted for robbery held
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, September 27
The local police today arrested a proclaimed offender (PO) wanted in a robbery case.

Police sources said Kundan Lal was arrested by the Rajpura police this morning. He was wanted in a case of robbery registered against him and three others.

The police said Mr Daljit Singh of Uthsar village, near here, in a complaint filed in September last year alleged that he was robbed of Rs 1.15 lakh by the four persons. He was on his way home on his motor cycle, when he was intercepted by the accused and looted.

Acting on his complaint the police registered a case under Sections 379, 328 and 120 of the IPC and arrested Jaswinder Singh of Naya Gaon, Devinderpal of Ambala and Gulshan Kumar of Ganur. However, Kundan Lal had remained elusive to the police.

He was declared proclaimed offender by a Rajpura court, later. The police today produced him before a court, which remanded him in one day of police custody. 


Family identifies held gang members
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 27
Members of the Chajjumajra family today “identified” the members of the gang arrested by the Kharar police yesterday as the killers who had attacked their house on August 7 this year.

Nine members of the nomadic Kalandar tribe of Uttar Pradesh were arrested by the police yesterday. The tribe responsible for incidents of killing and loot at Banur, Lalru, Mullanpur and Ambala had on August 7 killed three members of the Chajjumajra family, including two brothers in their early 20s and their 65-year-old uncle and injured eight other members 
of the family.

According to the police, the family members were called to the police station in Kharar today and they identified the arrested men as having committed the heinous crime. They, however, insisted that the gang had been “hired” to carry out the crime.

The police added that the family, including Jaspal Kaur, mother of the two deceased boys, daughter Jagroop and two daughters-in-law Manjit and Kulwant, also recognised some of the gold ornaments that had been recovered from the gang members. They told the police that these items had been stolen from their house that night.

Later, the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, also reached the police station to listen to the family. The family insisted that though the persons arrested by the police were the ones who had attacked their house, they had done it for a payment made to them by the two persons who had been threatening them before the incident took place.


3 Bangladeshi nationals held near border
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 27
Three Bangladeshi nationals were nabbed in two separated cases here.

One Khalil-ur-Sikdar, a resident of Hazibari, Bangladesh, was nabbed by the BSF while he was trying to cross the border illegally. He was caught near Rorawala village. A case under various sections of the Indian Passport Act, was registered at Gharinda police station on the complaint of Mr R.S. Yadav, Company Commander, 12 battalion.

Two Bangladeshi nationals, including Mohd Sohid Khan and Mohd Sabau, were arrested with fake visas by the Immigration authorities at Attari railway station. Mr Parshasik, Immigration officers at Attari said that while checking the passports of accused it was found that they had fake stamps of the passport office. Both were handed over to the Gharinda police where a case under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered. 


MLA gives grant to govt school
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 27
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, gave a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the construction of a room to Government Elementary School, Bajheri, near here, today.

The MLA expressed concern over the poor performance of students in the examinations. He said that the pass percentage of students of the school was falling for the past some time. He said that during 2004-05 the pass percentage had fallen to 37.37 whereas it was 85.71 in 2003-04 and 92 per cent in 2002-03. He appealed to the staff to perform their duties sincerely. The MLA gave a grant of Rs 11 lakh to the gram panchayat for drains and streets.


SGPC-run medical college refuses to accept fixed fee
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 27
The directions of the Department of Research and Medical Education (DRME) Punjab, notwithstanding, the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (SGRDIMSR) here today again refused to admit students under government quota and asked them to pay the entire fee of Rs 2.50 lakh.

Out of 21 government seats only five candidates had not deposited the fee as sought by the medical college. The father of a candidate, Mr Swaran Singh, said that he deposited a draft for Rs 75,000 in the name of Director-Principal, SGRDIMSR, with the Registrar of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) on September 17.

He said today he, along with the parents of other candidates, went to the college but the officials told them they would admit their wards only after receiving the remaining amount.

He said that all of them were not so well-off to deposit the staggering amount in one go. He said September 30 was the last date for admission.

Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Principal of the institute, said they had returned the drafts to the BFUHS. He said the admission process in the SGPC-run dental college had been completed.

When contacted Dr J.S. Dalal, Director, DRME, said he had not received any complaint regarding this. He said he would soon call a meeting to solve the matter.


Pbi varsity to interact with students, parents
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 27
Punjabi University, Patiala, has decided to write letters to the students and their parents for an open interaction so that the situation and issues raised by protesting student leaders may be cleared. In the first batch students of LLB-I and their parents would be invited, according to the information provided by the Director, Public Relations, Dr B.S. Sandhu.

The university authorities alleged that instead of responding to the positive gestures by the management, the Punjabi University Students Confederation (PUSC) leaders gave calls for disruptive action and tried to disrupt classes and involve other students in a clear violation of the court orders.

The Dean, Students Welfare, alleged that instead of the information that was required the PUSC issued an irresponsible and self-contradictory statement and wrote almost everything else except the required information. This letter accompanied a declaration of holding of a people’s court on September 30 at the university main gate. The Director, Public Relations said this declaration by the students was a formal runaway from the public debate with the university.

He said it instead of discussing student matters with the university authorities in the presence of media, these leaders were more interested in discussing their own matters with those farmers and milkmen unions which were the outfits of the same political parties to which these student bodies belonged to.

University students had recognised the designs of these political forces and ignored their calls. So now they were resorting to gimmicks to gain cheap popularity by declaring ‘holding of courts’ and other such histrionics, he added.

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