P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



54 Indian POWs still rotting in Pak jails
Relatives write to Kalam
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, October 13
India and Pakistan have repatriated hundreds of prisoners as part of the series of CBMs embarked on by both sides, but there is still no word about the fate of Indian POW’s (prisoners of war) from the either side.

Now, the relatives of 54 missing Indian defence officials have once again appealed to the government to initiate steps to secure the release of their loved ones rotting in Pakistani Jails for over three decades.

These families, who have got together under the aegis of Missing Defence Personnel Association have appealed to the President, Dr Abdul Kalam, to intervene in the matter. Many politicians, social workers and artists like Navjot Sidhu, Nafisa Ali, Smriti Irani, have also decided to impress upon the government to open a separate cell in the Ministry of External Affairs dealing with these cases.

Although, the Pakistan Government has neither admitted nor included any name of missing Indian defence officials in the list of Indian prisoners held in Pakistan, but there are facts which substantiate the claim of the relatives of the Indian defence officers languishing in various Pakistani jails since 1971.

In 1975, Major Ashok Suri had managed to send a letter from Karachi jail to his father, in which he wrote that about 20 other Indian officers who were with him in Pakistani jails.

In 1988, a book written by a Britsh woman, Victoria Schoffield , titled “Bhutto- trial and execution” carried a reference of Indian POWs being lodged at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan close to where Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was kept in solitary confinement.

In 1983, a delegation of relatives of six missing Indian POWs was sent to Pakistan to identify these POWs among the Indian detainees but the Pakistani authorities refused to show all the detainees in their custody.

Former Indian spy to Pakistan and author of “Under shadow of bayonets and bars”, Late Mohan Lal Bhaskar, who was tortured for several years in Pakistani jails, had asserted that there were at least 50 to 60 POWs languishing in Pakistani jails. He had openly claimed that in 1974, Major Ayaz Sipra, an instructor in Defence College, Aptabad, and Col. Asif Shaffi, CO, 2 Punjab Regiment of Pakistan, who were jailed in the fort of Attack in connection with the Bhutto conspiracy case, had informed him, as he was also jailed with them, that they had met one Gill (Wing Cdr. Gill) of the Indian Air Force and Singh (Capt. Giriraj Singh) of the Indian Army in a Pakistani jail, the fact which Bhaskar had stated under oath.

Information reveals that a Pakistani newspaper, “Sunday Observer”, dated December 5, 1971, wrote that five Indian pilots had been captured alive, one of them being Flt Lt Tombay (actual name “Tambay”). The “Time” magazine issue of December 27, 1971 carried a picture of Indian soldiers behind bars in Pakistan, including one identified as Major A.K. Ghosh. Pakistan Radio announced the names of several Indian pilots captured alive, including Wg. Cdr. Gill, Flt. Lt. Harvinder Singh, Flying Officer Tyagi and Flt. Lt. Goswami but the Pakistani Government has never admitted to having these people in their custody.

According to information, these 54 missing Indian defence officials include Major J.S. Malik, Maj S.P.S. Warraich, Maj Kanwaljeet Singh, Capt K.S. Rathore, Capt G.R. Singh, Capt O.P. Dalal, Capt Kamal Bakshi, 2nd Lt Sabarwal, 2nd Lt P.R. Sharma, Maj S.C. Guleri, Maj AK Ghosh, Maj A.K. Suri, Capt Ravinder Kaura, 2nd Lt V.K. Aazad , Capt Vashist Nath, Subedar Kali Dass, Sub Aasa Singh, Sepoy S. Chauhan, Corporal Paal Singh, Sep Daler Singh, Sep Jagir Singh, Havildar Krishna Lal, Sqn Ldr Mohinder Kumar Jain, Flt Lt S.K. Goswami, Flt Lt Harvinder Singh, Flg Offr Sudhir Tyagi, Flt Lt V.B. Tambay, Flt Lt Moses Sasun, Flt Lt R.M. Adwani, Flt Lt N.S. Shankar, Flt Lt S.C. Sandal, Flt Lt S.C. Nanda, Wg Cdr H.S. Gill, Flt Lt T.S. Dadal, Sqn Ldr J. Manekshaw Mistri, Flt Lt R.G.R. Kadam, Flg Offr K.L. Malkhani, Flt Lt B. Guha, Sqn Ldr J.D. Kumar, Flt Lt G.S. Rai, Flt Lt A.B. Dhavle, Flt Lt SKCK Mahajan, Flg Offr K.P. Murlidharan, Sep J. Lal, Gunner M. Mohan, Gnr Sujan Singh, Lance Naik (L/Nk) Hazura Singh, Lt Cdr Ashok Ray, Pilot Offr T.S. Sethi, Sqn Ldr D.P. Chatterjee, Gnr Syam Singh, L/Nk Balbir Singh, and Gunner Gyan Chand.

Whenever the Indian and Pakistani prisoners are repatriated, the relatives of these Indian POWs reach Wagah check post and are often seen showing photographs of their relatives to the released prisoners with the hope that they might have seen them in any of the Pakistani jails.

The matter has been raised umpteen number of times in Indian Parliament, and repeated requests have been made to the United Nations and the International Red Cross, but nothing has borne fruit so far.


8 PoK visitors head home
Five Indians return

Wagah, October 13
Fearing for the worst, a group of eight Pakistanis, including three women, headed back for their devastated homes in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), through this joint border checkpost.

They had come to Srinagar from Muzaffarabad on October 6 on board the ‘Karavan-e-Aman’ (caravan of peace) to meet their relatives in the Kashmir valley.Anxious to go back home to know the fate of their relatives they arrived here today from Srinagar on board a Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Corporation bus.

The group comprised three women and five men. They are Habla Begum, Sakina, Misha Begum, Raja Mohammed Rizwan, Iqbal Khawaj, Mirza Raja, Jaffar Hussain Mirz and Jalalludin.

An hour or so after their departure, five Indians who had gone to POK on October 6 to visit their relatives on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus returned home. They were trapped in a building following the earthquake at Hattaya Dupatta village near Muzaffarabad and were later rescued by the Pakistan army and flown to Islamabad yesterday. They were transported to Lahore today from where they were brought to the checkpost.

These five Indians, all Sikhs, were identified as Gurbachan Singh, Kirpal Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Sanmukh Singh and Janmeet Singh. In all eight persons had boarded the bus from Srinagar for Muzaffarabad on October 6. One of them identified as Bassi Ram Tandon had died in the earthquake while his son Jagdish Tandon and nephew Subhash Tandon are among the injured and are still in a medical camp in PoK.

The PoK residents were all praise for the Indian Government for sending them back home and to the people of Kashmir for sharing their grief in this hour of crisis.

Meanwhile a five-member delegation of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, led by Mr Azhar Sayed Bhat, co-president, Indo-Pak Chamber of Commerce, arrived to forge new trade ties. — UNI


SGPC chief requests Pervez to facilitate relief to quake-hit
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 13
Perturbed over devastation caused by the earthquake, the SGPC Chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, has appealed to Pakistan President Gen Parvez Musharraf to facilitate the easy passage of relief by Shiromani committee to the quake victims in Pakistan.

The SGPC chief expressed heartfelt condolences for quake victims in the neighbouring country that suffered worst-ever toll and devastation in the calamity.

She has asked people to come forward and help the sufferers irrespective of the barriers. “Just as nature makes no distinctions while inflicting a blow, likewise human-beings should rise above all artificial divides to fight the calamity,” she wrote to Pakistan President.

Striking an emotional chord Bibi Jagir Kaur wrote to General Musharraf “since the peoples of Pakistan and India inherit the same blood, every Indian is naturally bound to bear the brunt of this unpredictable human tragedy in a sharing spirit”.

Expressing her solidarity with sufferers the SGPC has offered to send relief material to the quake-affected areas in Pakistan via trucks.

The SGPC chief urged the Pakistan President to instruct officials and departments concerned to receive supplies and facilitate their easy reach to the intended destinations and victims.

Earlier, the SGPC had sent relief to earthquake-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir and organised a ‘langar’ for them.


Rotarians send relief to J&K
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 13
The Rotarians of Phagwara, with the help of other philanthropists, today sent a truck-load of relief material worth over Rs 4 lakh to the quake-hit people of Jammu and kashmir.

Mr S.P. Sethi, District Governor, Rotary District 3070, comprising Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and J&K, flagged off the truck carrying 1,600 blankets, 500 woollens, including sweaters, coats and other articles. The relief material would be handed over to Srinagar Rotarians for distribution among the affected people.

While NRI Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi contributed Rs 1 lakh for the quake-hit, industrial houses, including Fine Switches, Sukhjit Starch and Chemical Ltd and JCT Ltd each contributed 100 blankets.

Rotary Club, South East President Ashok Gupta,along with others, mobilised NGO activists for collection of the relief.


Landslide in Jammu & Kashmir claims soldier’s life
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 13
Tragedy struck the family of Naik Satnam Singh, a resident of Singh Bhagwantpura village, who died in a landslide in J&K yesterday.

He belonged to the Sikh Regiment and was the only son and the lone bread-earner of the family.

Thirty-year-old Satnam Singh was among the six soldiers who were killed when they were buried under a landslide while being involved in relief operations in the quake-hit Nowgam sector in Kupwara.

The body of Satnam is expected to reach his village tomorrow. He is survived by his wife, two sons and his 60-year-old mother.

The news of Satnam Singh's death came when the family was awaiting his arrival as his wife had given birth to a baby boy ten days ago.

"He was excited to see his new born son when we informed him.

He said he would soon come to meet us. But the earthquake had delayed his visit," said his wife Sarbjit Kaur. "Last time he came here was during February and March", she added. Satnam Singh's 60-year-old mother, Charan Kaur, was not informed about her son’s death, keeping in view her health.


Sikh body’s relief for Pak

Jalandhar, October 13
The Kartarpur Sahib (Ravi) Darshan Abhilashi Sanstha, a Sikh outfit, has decided to set up 16 centres in the Doaba region in Punjab for the collection of relief material for distribution among earthquake victims in Pakistan.

Organisation’s chief Kuldip Singh Wadala said that they wanted to send rice, wheat, clothes, blankets and other material for quake victims of PoK and other adjoining areas of Pakistan.

He said that he had written to the Pakistan authorities and offered dispatch of material as per their needs.— UNI


Two army men cremated
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, October 13
Mortal remains of Armymen Baljit Singh of Keharwali Mohalla in Dasuya and Balbir Kumar of Dugri village in Garhshankar, who had been killed due to earthquake in Uri Sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday morning, were consigned to flames in their native villages with full military honours last morning.

Their bodies were brought from Jammu by Army officials of their respective units on Tuesday. A large number of villagers attended the funeral.

Wreaths were laid on their bodies by the Sub Divisional Magistrates of Dasuya and Hoshiarpur and Army officials from the Uchhi Basti and Jalandhar cantonment area. Mr Paramjit Singh, SDM, Dasuya, laid a wreath on the body of Baljit Singh of 7 Dogra Regiment while Mr Harminder Singh, SDM, Garhshankar, paid tributes to Balbir Singh of 237 Field Regiment on behalf of the district administration. A wreath was also laid on Balbir’s body by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP, Hoshiarpur.

Holding her tears back, Ms Gurmail Kaur, mother of Baljit Singh, said Baljit’s dream for constructing a new house and get his sister Mandeep Kaur married buried along with him under debris of the bunker which collapsed in the earthquake. 


SAD for CBI probe into benami deals
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The huge noise about benami land deals being made in the periphery of Chandigarh, echoed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha during question hour, here this afternoon.

The Shiromani Akali Dal demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation be asked to conduct an enquiry to find out if any IAS or IPS officer of Punjab was involved in the purchase of thousands of acres of lands.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said since the matter was sub-judice and he had given his statement in court, it was not proper for him to say anything on the matter.

Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder had raised the matter and asked if a senior Punjab Police official had written a letter about such land deals. He also showed a copy of the Delhi-based weekly that had published the names of some people who had purchased the land. He was supported by former Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh, who also seconded the idea of holding a CBI enquiry.

The Chief Minister admitted having received a letter from the senior police official but again said the matter was sub-judice.

Another important issue was raised by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Congress MLA from Kharar. He wanted to know what was the amount of loans which were waived off under the one time settlement scheme for industrialists in the state.

The Punjab Government tabled a voluminous report that showed how the Government had to waive of loans which collectively run into crores of rupees under this policy. It also reflected how the recoveries had been made by sacrificing a portion of the loan.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh also asked what the Government did about eight primary school sites in Mohali that had been resumed. The State Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, informed that his department had written to the Punjab Urban Development Authority to restore the sites.

Mr Johar, while replying to another question said he would consider restoring the system of providing marksheet for results of class VIII, X and XII. The question had been raised by Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister in the Akali regime.

The Akalis also wanted to know how service charges were being collected for computerisation of land records also if any audit was being done of the same. The Revenue Minister Mr A.S. Samra promised an audit.

Call attention notices were raised on payment of old outstanding dues of closed cooperative sugar mills. The government admitted that Rs 36.32 crore was outstanding. The outstanding amount was Rs 142 crore in March 2004.

The case of choked sewerage in Phagwara was also raised. Another call attention notice was raised on non-payment of salary to Home Guards. The Chief Minister explained that this would be paid as the muster rolls were being prepared for September and some of the Home Guards were away to Bihar on poll duty.


Lalru unit making special vehicle to carry Sikh holy book
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
It would be a rare historical experience for people to see Guru Granth Sahib as it undertakes a significant journey from India to Pakistan in a specially designed “all-glass” vehicle.

For, Lalru-based JCBL, the largest mobility solution providers and coach bodybuilders in the country, is now ready with its latest offering, a special utility “all-glass” vehicle, which will be used to carry the holy scripture in a gold palanquin to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The vehicle will be going for palanquin installation tomorrow.

Giving details, a company spokesperson said the special vehicle had been built on a Swaraj Mazda 50LXL chassis on a special order by the Tarn Taran Gurdwara Committee. The air-conditioned vehicle will be made of 5 mm toughened glass so as to enable the people along the way to pay obeisance to the holy book.

Guru Granth Sahib in a 24-kg gold palanquin is being sent as a gift from the Sikhs here to gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev. A part of the glass roof has been left open to ensure visibility of the dome of the palanquin, but special care has been taken to seal the same to save the book from vagaries of weather.

The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, is expected to take the precious gift to the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara, but the dates for the same are yet to be decided. Earlier, it was scheduled for the end of this month, but the same stands postponed due to the devastating earthquake, which rocked the subcontinent on October 8.

The nine-metre-long and seven-feet high sleek all-glass body of this specially designed chariot will be mounted on the chassis of ‘Spark’ model of Swaraj Mazda and have saffron colour beneath the glass. The design is the brainchild of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, and it would cost anything between Rs 16-18 lakh, said Mr Aggarwal.

The body will have two doors, one each on either side, besides the driver’s door and will accommodate two people in the front besides two others, including the granthi at the back, who can sit on the carpet put beneath the palanquin.

The ‘rath’, which will traverse a distance of 800 km, will start its journey from Delhi and will pass through some places in Punjab and Haryana before reaching Nankana Sahib.

Mr Aggarwal said “With the designing and building of the new model special vehicle, JCBL has included yet another product in its range”.


Polling for NC posts again put off
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 13
Polling for two posts of vice-presidents of the Phagwara Nagar Council have been put off for the third time. This will, now, be held on November 14 instead of October 14.

Sources said that the schedule was fixed by Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Sameer Kumar, who had delegated the power of Observer for the polling to Phagwara SDM, Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal.

It is for the third time that elections to these posts have been put off. Earlier, the date was changed from September 9 to September 15. Now it has been put off till November 14. No reason has been given for the rescheduling of polling as these posts fell vacant on July 17.


Should I call you Badal or Gidderbaha? says CM
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
“What should I call you? Badal or Gidderbaha? Though the latter describes you better,” quipped the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, while replying to a debate on the Nehra Commission report in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha this afternoon.

“I was told in the morning that you (Mr Parkash Singh Badal) are not going to address me by name, but you named me four times in your speech. You could have called me Patiala or anything,” said the Chief Minister. I never call you Parkash Singh. I address you as Badal. If you like I can address you as Gidderbaha,” he said.

In another reference to Mr Badal’s speech, the Chief Minister said: “Do you know who is Churchill ? Perhaps you do not know though you referred to the Nehra Commission report as the ‘dustbin of history’. This phrase is from Winston Churchill.”

Referring to the comment made by Mr Badal that the Nehra Commission report was not the end of the matter as it was a prolonged battle to bring out the truth, the Chief Minister said: “You should be worrying as the Enforcement Directorate is after you. It wants to know where Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon is. He has disappeared.

“We will tell you where your Rs 3,500 crore has gone. Let your cases come up before Special Courts. We will tell you how under-invoicing of raw material supplies to Orbit Resorts was done. How money was routed out through Wimpys,” said the Chief Minister.

He summed up by telling a joke about how a Jat, envious of two blacks turning white on God’s intervention, wanted them to be black again.

Earlier, Mr Badal had a dig at Mr Surinder Singla saying that “some people who consider themselves over-clever and over-intelligent get their masters to trouble. The Chief Minister has made a mistake in choosing you to initiate the debate.

“You have been dreaming about becoming the Union Finance Minister. God bless the country in which a man like you is the Finance Minister,” said Mr Badal at the beginning of his speech revealing that Mr Singla had been often saying that he “feels trapped in Punjab as he aspires to be at the Centre.

I can tell you he will not contest from Bathinda in the next Assembly elections as he cannot face the electorate there.”

Mr Singla admitted that he always wanted to contest the Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha elections. “But in the next elections, I will defeat you by 50,000 votes from Bathinda,” he retaliated.


Govt trampling over Opposition, says Badal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 13
The ruling party in Punjab was trampling over the spirit of democracy in the state by stifling the Opposition and the people it represented. SAD president and Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha Parkash Singh Badal stated this yesterday.

He was talking to reporters after visiting the residence of Akali leader and Jalandhar Cantonment in charge of the party Paramjit Singh Raipur at Raipur village for mourning the death of latter’s cousin Tirath Singh, member of the Block Samiti and a former sarpanch. A large number of NRIs including Ms Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi, were present on the occasion.

Who would be the next SGPC president in next months SGPC election, Mr Badal said that the issue would be discussed at the party’s Political Affairs Committee meeting and the SGPC member.

When told that in the past, his ‘parchi’ (slip) had been deciding fate of candidates for the office of the presidentship of mini-Parliament of the Sikhs, Mr Badal said he was not a dictator. Ours is a democratic party and all matters are decided after due consultation at the appropriate forum of the party, he claimed.

To whether he would demand the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, Mr Badal had a dig at the questioner and asked whether the owner of a house should be asked to whom his house belonged or whether his house be transferred to him. Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and must be transferred to the state, he demanded.

On outbreak of gastroenteritis in the Onkar Nagar here, he asked Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid, SGPC member from Phagwara, to send him a report on it.

Akali MP from Hoshiarpur Varinder Singh Bajwa and SAD organising secretary-cum-SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid were with Mr Badal.


SAD, BJP walk out over distress sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
Led by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, legislators of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) walked out of the Punjab Assembly raising anti-government slogans here this afternoon. They were protesting against the reported distress sale of paddy and cotton in the state.

The Akalis first left their seats and placed a small quantity of cotton in the well of the House as a mark of protest. Then accompanied by BJP legislators, the Akalis walked out of the House. They, however, returned after some time. The reaction came following the rejection of an adjournment motion seeking to discuss the plight of farmers in the state.

The Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Badal, who raised the issue during zero hour, that the adjournment motion had been disallowed. Mr Badal had pleaded that it was a serious issue The Speaker, instead, allowed a call-attention notice on the issue relating to the problems of the farmers.

Mr Badal demanded a full-scale discussion on the subject by extending the sitting of the House till October 19. The Speaker said he would examine the same demand. Mr Badal said the farmers were facing problems as they were not getting the minimum support price fixed by the Central Government for paddy and cotton.

The Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, intervened and said the distress sale was negligible He claimed the procurement of paddy was 43 lakh metric tonnes (the total arrival was expected to be 130 lakh metric tonnes).

Mr Badal suggested that since paddy and the cotton crop had suffered damage due to rain, the Punjab Government should pay compensation to the farmers from the Natural Calamity Fund.He pointed out that his government had paid Rs 70 per quintal as compensation. 


Farmers block Sunam-Barnala road
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 13
More than 100 farmers today blocked the Sunam-Barnala road at Sheron village (near Sunam) for more than an hour in protest against the non-procurement of paddy by government agencies.

The farmers criticised the government for allegedly harassing them by not procuring their crop. They added that their paddy was not being procured by the procurement agencies on one pretext or the other.

However, the farmers lifted the road blockade after getting assurance from an officer of the administration in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) at its meeting held at Sunam under the presidentship of Mr Darbara Singh Chhajla, district vice-president, today decided to block the Sunam-Patiala road at the ITI chowk for an indefinite period from tomorrow in protest against the non-procurement of the paddy.

Among others who attended the meeting included Mr Nath Singh Ubhia, district vice-president of the union, Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor, president of Lehragaga block of the union, Mr Dilbag Singh Harigarh, president of the Sunam block of the union, and Mr Jaswant Singh Tolewal, a farmers’ leader. 


SAD (A) flays Singla on inspection issue
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) yesterday criticised Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla for objecting to Vigilance inspections of various institutes in the region.

President of party’s youth wing, Barinder Singh Mann, questioned that thousands of students get education from these technical institutes and if the Vigilance inspected these why was the Minister getting angry. He alleged that by releasing such statements Mr Singla was shielding “tainted institutes”. He said though the minister didn’t have the charge of the Technical Education Department, he was disclosing his policy by making such statements. He said institutes not having even basic amenities were mushrooming in the state and “students were being looted there”. Mr Mann said instead of bothering about these institutes the Finance Minister should think about preventing the “loot of farmers” in grain markets across the state.


No differences over working of VB: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
“There are no differences among members of the Council of Ministers over the working of the Vigilance Bureau,” says the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Talking to newsmen here this evening, he said he has read in newspapers about two ministers — Mr Surinder Singla and Mr Rakesh Pandey - expressing their anguish over raids being conducted in their departments or districts without their knowledge.


Central madarsa board mooted
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 13
The standing committee of the National monitoring committee for minority education in its interim report has recommended that a central madarsa board should be set up so that religious schools known as madarsas attached to various Islamic institutions be made useful for education of children of Muslim community who wish to be educated through the medium of Urdu.

The committee in its report has said that these schools need to be linked with the institutions imparting general education so that students studying in these madarsas avail of opportunities of higher education.

Stating this, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and a member of the standing committee told The Tribune in an exclusive interview today that the committee had also recommended that a corpus fund should be instituted at the central level to enable poor and needy students belonging to the religious minorities to pursue the education.

According to Prof Kapur, the committee also met the Union HRD Minister, Mr Ajun Singh, and among other things discussed the issue of affiliation of institutes of higher education run by the minorities with the universities of their choice. The minister informed the committee that the government had introduced a Bill in Parliament which was being discussed at the level of select committee of the Parliament.

The standing committee, however, is yet to visit the two crucial states of UP and Bihar where the Muslim minority has not come up to the level of other communities. The young people are facing hardships to get higher education in these states.

The committee has already visited the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

According to Prof Kapur, there are about 38,000 madarsas in the country imparting Islamic education. The government had earlier approved the appointment of Urdu teachers to enable the students to attend the other schools.

Prof Kapur said the committee had also to go into the question of status of Urdu and the need for its augmentation for its instructions.


Sikh bodies to protest against Togadia
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal (A), Shiromani Akali Dal 1920 and Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) have decided to protest against the activities of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

At a press conference here, the spokesperson for the parties said the arrival of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Parveen Togadia on special “trishul” distribution function will be protested against by the Sikh organisations. The leaders of these parties condemned Mr Togadia for saying that Jews and Parsis were the only minorities in the country.

General secretary SAD (Longowal) Jagjit Singh Gaba, president SAD (Urban) Mahinderpal Singh Binaka, acting district president, SAD (A), Sukhwinder Singh Khalsa also addressed the press conference.

Mr Togadia is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow morning on a two-day visit.

The VHP leader will inaugurate VHP’s office in Kot Kishanchand area in the old city area here.


SGJC appoints receiver for gurdwara

Amritsar, October 13
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SJGC) today appointed Mr Raghbir Singh, secretary, SGPC, as receiver to take over the possession of the historical Gurdwara Satlani Sahib (in border belt) and its entire land (more than 500 acres), costing about Rs 100 crore, immediately.

Passing the order, the three-member SGJC, headed by Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, sent a missive, both to Deputy Commissioner and district police chief, to provide security and ensure smooth operation. The SGJC also declared all previous orders or the lease of big chunk of prime land for a song as null and void. — TNS


Nagar Council chief voted out
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 13
Differences among the 15 Municipal Councillors of the Congress in the Nagar Council here came to the fore today when 11 of them with the support of three independants and one SAD member out of total strength of 22 Councillors including a local MLA removed their party’s members Gurcharan Singh from the presidentship of the body by a no-confidence motion against him today.

Those favoured the move include, Mrs Amritbir Kaur, vice-chairperson of the council and sister of Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs Uma Grover, Mrs Sonia Bansal, Mrs Jasbir Kaur, Mrs Sukhdeep Kaur, Mr Baljit Singh Gora, Mr Mohinder Singh Bhandari, Mr Ranjit Singh Khera, Mr Joban Singh a relative of PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mr Harvinder Pal Singh, and Mr Tulsi Ram all of the Congress, Mr Harinder Singh, Mrs Manjit Kaur and Mr Narinder Singh all independents and Mrs Balwinder Kaur Sekhon (SAD). Those, who opposed the move include, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Gurtej Singh Gill, Dr Jagir Singh and Mrs Amarjit Kaur (all Congress), Mrs Surinder Kaur and Mr Amar Kumar alias Binu (Independents).

Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, MLA abstained. Earlier on September 30, nine Congress Councillors with the help of six independents and the local MLA sent a requisition for a meeting to seek a vote of confidence. Later two more Congress members sent consents in this connection. On receipt of the requisition president Gurcharan Singh fixed a meeting on September 13 of all members to complete the process. However two independent members, including Mr Amar Kumar alias Binu and Mrs Surinder Kaur, who signed the requisition against the president changed minds and opposed the move today. Mr Mohan Lal, SDM Faridkot, conducted the meeting. Later Mr Vijay Kumar Gupta, Exeuctive Officer, of the Nagar Council, said that till today’s meeting minutes would be sent to the Punjab government for necessary action.


‘Ragged’ student’s suicide note found

Jalandhar, October 13
The police today recovered a suicide note during a search conducted on the premises of the hostel where Amit Sahai lived. Amit had allegedly committed suicide yesterday by jumping in front of a train.

Amit’s father ,Triveni Sahai, had, in his statement, alleged that his son had complained of harassment due to ragging at the hands of his fellow students and had committed suicide as a result.

The suicide note, which does not bear any date, would be sent to handwriting experts. The police confirmed that 10 names have been mentioned in the suicide note. Meanwhile, Triveni Sahai took his son’s body to Bareilly last night. — TNS


Withdrawal of case against Kiranjit panel leaders sought
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 13
Demanding the withdrawal of “false cases” registered against their leaders, members the Kiranjit Case Action Committee today protested in front of the DC’s office here.

Other organisations like the BKU the Ekta, the BKU Ugraha, the TSU, the Democratic Teachers Front, the Pendu Majdoor Union, the Majdoor Shakti Morcha, and the Tarksheel Society also participated in the protest. There was disagreement on accepting their charter of demands between the district administration and protesting bodies, as the latter insisted that the officials would have to receive at their protest’s site. On the other hand, the officials asked them to hand over the charter in the office. Later, when the committee leaders said they would block traffic near the bus stand the district administration officials received the same. They also sent a reminder to the Chief Minister and the Governor through the DC. Ms Kiranjit Kaur was kidnapped and raped before being buried in the Mahil Kalan area of Sangrur a few years back. After long legal battle the accused were convicted. However, after some time three leaders of the action committee were also booked in a case. The protesters were demanding the withdrawal of the same case. Addressing the rally, Mr Joginder Singh of the BKU, Mr Ruldu Singh of the Kisan Union and Mr Karora Singh of the TSU said if the administration didn’t withdraw the cases against the action committee leaders they would intensify the stir.

Activists of Kiranjit Kaur case action committee protesting outside mini secretariat in Bathinda on Thursday.


‘Arrest killers of Albert’
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, October 13
Activists of the Pendu Majdoor Union today submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner demanding the arrest of the culprits involved in Albert’s murder.

Mr Tarsem Peter, president, Pendu Majdoor Union, said that the activists of the union along with local residents carrying black flags as a mark of protest today carried out a protest march on Ferozepore road demanding arrest of the culprits involved in Albert’s murder. He said that had the police taken any action against those involved in Dennis murder case, the life of Albert would have been saved.

Mr Peter also urged the police to take necessary action in case of Mr Manoj Kumar, who went missing few days ago. 


Medical camp for eye patients held
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 13
More than 1000 eye patients were provided medicines free of cost and treatment at a camp here at Civil Hospital, today, by the Bharat Vikas Parishad. Mr Subhash Tuli, press secretary of the parishad said that 100 patients were admitted in hospital for eye surgery for which the expenses would be borne by the parishad.

The camp was inaugurated today by Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Chairman Punjab Warehousing Corporation and Dr. Barinder Pal Singh Civil Surgeon presided over the function. Mr. Sandhu announced a grant of Rs 11,000/- for the parishad.


Book on Indo-Pak games released

Patiala, October 13
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today released a book titled, “Jado Khede Panje Aab,” authored by Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Chahal on the Indo-Pak games held in this town about a year ago.

As per a press note issued here, the book is first of its kind as it is for the first time any author has made an attempt to contain all events related with the Indo-Pak games in the shape of a book. TNS


Woman hit by train, dies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda October 13
A woman yesterday died at the civil hospital here after a train at Railway gate near Sanguana basti here.

Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa shifted the seriously injured woman to the emergency ward of the hospital, where she died later. The body was handed over to the kin of the deceased after a postmortem examination.


Liquor contractor’s men beat ice-cream seller, booked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 13
Tension prevailed in Mohammad Ahata Niyaz last night as some employees of a liquor contractor reportedly thrashed some of its residents.

Sources said the incident occurred when the contractors’ staff allegedly thrashed an ice cream seller Ram Vilas alias Kala. Sources said the accused had bought some ice cream from the victim and had an altercation over it.

When their colleagues and the colony residents got wind of arguments they too gathered at the spot. While the accused targeted Kala, residents got engaged in a brawl with other employees of the contractor. The residents approached the police at night demanding action against liquor contractors’ employees involved in the case.

The police registered a case against four employees of the contractor — Vinod, Vikram, Happy, and Jaswinder. Sources said when the police rounded up the accused the colony residents manhandled them.

The residents rued that the contractors’ men had been creating nuisance in the past also and their office should be shifted out of the locality. They accused them of spoiling the atmosphere of the residential area. 


Murder of BJP leader’s grandson: cousin booked
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 13
The police today claimed to have solved the murder case of Gaurav Kumar, a grandson of local BJP leader Shanti Swaroop, with the arrest of victim's cousin and an employee at their cycle store.

Addressing a press conference here today, the SSP, Mr L.K. Yadav, said the police had arrested Munish Kumar, alias Mangu, and Surinder Kumar who was working at the cycle store of Gaurav's father. Both of them confessed to have killed Gaurav, he said.

They had conspired to eliminate him with the idea that the victim's family would get busy in searching for him and taking advantage of the situation they would steal cash from his home.

On October 5, Mangu took Gaurav on his motorcycle stating that his cousin had come to meet him. He reached Thandewala village from where he called up Surinder Kumar who asked him to take the Bhutiwala road and reach near a canal.

Mangu strangulated him to death and threw his body into the canal. A case has been registered against them under Sections 302, 363, and 367 of the IPC. Surprisingly, the police, in its press note, has neither mentioned the charge of sodomy nor the IPC section that it had included in the case following the postmortem report, which revealed that the deceased was sodomised before murder.

On the other hand, the local BJP leaders were irked at the arrest of Mangu stating that the police had concocted the whole story. His grandfather, Mr Shanti Swaroop, said the police had added to their sufferings by arresting him. He demanded a high-level probe into the case. 


Naib-Tehsildar held for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 13
The Vigilance Bureau officials yesterday arrested a Naib-Tehsildar posted at Maur while accepting a bribe from a Tungwali resident. Sources said the complainant, Mr Nachhatar Singh, had struck a land deal with Samarjeet Singh of Bhainibagha and Raj Singh of Bamangarh.

When they did not turn up at Maur tehsil, Naib-Tehsildar Satwant Singh demanded Rs 50,000 from Nachhatar for marking his attendance. However, later he agreed on Rs 30,000.

The complainant approached the Vigilance DSP, Mr Raminder Singh, and a trap was laid. The Naib-Tehsildar was cought while accepting Rs 30,000.


4 cops held taking bribe

Amritsar, October 13
Sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau (VB) arrested four traffic policemen, including an ASI, near Mall Mandi, on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road, while they were accepting bribe from vehicle owners for allowing them entry into the city. Two erring policemen, including a Sub-Inspector, escaped.

The arrested policemen were ASI Najjar Singh, constables Kulwant Singh and Nirmal Singh and sepoy Karam Singh while SI Sarabjit Singh and constable Jassa Singh have absconded.

Mr R. P. S. Bajwa, SSP, VB, said here that men of the bureau in plain clothes boarded a Qualis with a fake number of other state. He said the arrested policemen demanded Rs 300 from them for allowing their vehicle to proceed. After a brief bargaining they settled for Rs 250. Constable Nirmal Singh pocketed the amount.

He said the accused used to demand a bribe of Rs 100 from the owner of every vehicle with registration of state cities other than Amritsar and Rs 500 or Rs 300 from the vehicle owners with registration of other states. He claimed that SI Sarabjit Singh was getting Rs 1.50 lakh every month from transporters only. — OC


Man kills son over minor dispute
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 13
In a tragic incident, a father shot dead his son at Kheri village following a domestic dispute. Sixty-year-old Jagjit Singh allegedly murdered his son Gurjinder Singh last evening after an altercation between the two over the issue of feeding the bulls.

The police said the incident took place at about 7 pm after Jagjit Singh and Gurjinder Singh consumed liquor in their home on the occasion of Dasehra. When Jagjit Singh asked Gurjinder Singh to feed the bulls, the latter refused to do so. Following this, Jagjit Singh got angry and both of them began abusing each other.

Gurjinder Singh’s wife tried to pacify the two, but when they did not stop she went outside to get neighbours’ help. Meanwhile, Jagjit Singh, who had a .12-bore licensed rifle, shot dead his son, the police added.

SHO Varinder Singh, investigating the case, said accused Jagjit Singh was arrested from the old bus stand where he was boarding a bus to escape.

The police has registered a case against Jagjit Singh on the charge of murder and under the Arms Act.


Woman held on bigamy charge

Phagwara, October 13
The Jandiala police today booked Harjeet Kaur of Ranipur village here on charges of bigamy. Harjeet, who was already married to Manjit Singh, a resident of Jodha Nagri in Jandiala, who lived in Greece and has a son from him. They were married at Ranipur village of Phagwara on January 14, 2000.

According to the FIR, Manjit Singh used to travel often between Greece and India. Whenever he visited India she used to come to his village in Jandiala and when he went back she stayed with her parents at Ranipur of Phagwara.

This time when he came back to India from Greece, he came to know from his relatives that she had married Balwinder Singh of Phagwara. She had even given birth to a girl child.

Manjit got an FIR registered for the restoration of his three-year-old son Akashdeep. Balwinder Singh, his mother Subhash Kumari, brother Manjit Singh, sister Sandeep Kaur and Harjeet Kaur have been arrested. — TNS


Cop held for graft
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 13
Vigilance officials have caught Assistant Sub-Inspector, Hazara Ram posted at Mehtiana police chowki, while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 700 from Kulwinder Kaur of Khanuara village today. According to Vigilance Bureau sources, Mr Hazara Ram demanded an illegal gratification from Kulwinder Kaur for favouring her in a case between her and sons of her brother-in-law a few days ago. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the ASI.


Psychiatry conference from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 13
The 30th annual conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society — North Zone will be held from October 15 to 16 at Government Medical College, Patiala, according to Dr Kuldip C. Sharma, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Government Rajindra Hospital and Government Medical College, Patiala.

Psychiatrists from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan will participate in the conference. Issues relevant to Punjab, particularly alcohol and drug dependence, are expected to be discussed by experts.

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