C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


6 cops suspended for boy’s torture
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
The Haryana Government has suspended six policemen, including the former In-charge of CIA Staff, Mr Mukesh Malhotra, for torturing a 14-year-old boy. One of the accused, Head Constable Jagmal Singh, has been arrested.

Jagmal Singh, who is posted at Jind at present, was arrested late last night. Interestingly, the police failed to produce him before the Duty Magistrate in the District Courts till 1. 30 pm today. He was later produced at the house of the Duty Magistrate, Mr Ajay Aggarwal. He was remanded to judicial custody for 14 days and a notice was issued to the state for October 18. Later in the evening, Jagmal complained of chest pain and was admitted to a hospital.

Meanwhile, the government today placed under suspension Inspector Mukesh Malhotra, Sub Inspector Karan Singh, and Constables Suresh, Ramesh and Joginder. All these persons were posted in the CIA Staff when the boy was illegally detained and tortured.

The boy, a resident of a slum colony in Mansa Devi Complex here, was picked up by the police on March 13 this year, after two securitymen in the Mansa Devi temple accused him of theft. He was allegedly assaulted for hours, and was later even hanged from a tree.

It is alleged that he was also given electric shocks and the policemen also tried to sodomise him. He, however, managed to escape from the police station.

Mr Utsav Singh Bains, member of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, who highlighted the case, has welcomed the decision of the Haryana government to suspend the guilty cops. “This will serve as a warning for those in uniform who violate human rights,” he said.



Hawara accomplice likely to be brought to city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
Gurdeep Singh, arrested by the Haryana Police following a tip-off, is likely to be brought to Chandigarh by the local police for fitting in pieces of the jigsaw puzzle pertaining to the sensational Burail jailbreak case.

According to information available, Gurdeep Singh (34) was arrested by the Haryana Police this morning from Sujra village. The police reportedly recovered a Chinese pistol and 14 cartridges from him.

A team of cops from the operation cell of the Chandigarh Police today went to Haryana to “identify” Gurdeep Singh. Sources said the local police would move an application in court, seeking the transit remand of Gurdeep Singh after the completion of police remand by the Haryana Police.

The sources in the operation cell said Gurdeep Singh was a vital link in the sequence leading to the escape of dreaded terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, the prime accused in masterminding the assassination of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

It may be recalled that Jagtar Singh Hawara, along with Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tara, the co-accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, including one Devi Singh, escaped from Model Jail in Burail village in January last year.

It was alleged that Gurdeep Singh had provided his car to the accused and helped them in their escape.



HP police “brutality” comes to light
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A case of brutality by the Himachal Pradesh Police has come to light in which a local resident was allegedly shot at and seriously injured and later “implicated” in the Excise Act and the Arms Act.

Suresh Kumar, who was on his way to Chandigarh along with his friend Dashmesh Singh, after visiting religious shrines in Bilaspur district, was allegedly shot in the leg from point-blank range on National Highway 21 at the “Kenchhi Mor” near Swar Ghat on September 22 “without any provocation”. Meanwhile, Suresh and Dashmesh had been booked under Section 307 of the IPC (attempt to murder) and various Sections of the Arms Act and the Excise Act.

The FIR claimed that Suresh was injured in an “encounter” with the police following his failure to stop at a police naka and a huge quantity of liquor was seized from his vehicle.He has also been charged with possessing an “illegal weapon”.

On the other hand, talking to The Tribune, Suresh, who is recuperating at his Sector 40 residence, claimed that he was sitting in his Tata Marina car when Dashmesh had gone to ease himself at about 9.45 p.m. A private vehicle (HP-01-S-0105) stopped near his vehicle and at least four police personnel, allegedly in an inebriated state, tried to snatch the car keys from his hands.

“As I tried to reason with them, they caught hold of my gold chain and started pulling me out of the vehicle, which had been locked automatically. In the meantime, one of the police personnel noticed my licenced .32 rifle on the car’s dashboard and started firing at me,” Suresh asserted. The licence of the rifle, which is for my protection, is due to expire in 2008, he claimed.

“While one of the bullets whizzed past my chest, another hit me in the foot. As I writhed in pain, I was shifted to a government hospital in Bilaspur. However, from Bilaspur I was referred to Shimla and ultimately to the PGI here,” he told this correspondent.

Even during my stay at the PGI, where I was operated upon, the Himachal Police personnel kept a vigil on the visitors. They even assured me of “adequate compensation” if the case was “hushed up”.



NACO warning to Punjab, Haryana on AIDS
Tripti Nath and Ishwar Dhyani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has warned Punjab and Haryana against complacence in addressing the scourge of HIV AIDS.
Inaugurating a two-day workshop organised by the Population Foundation of India here on Monday, NACO Director General, Dr S.Y. Quraishi said, “Punjab and Haryana cannot afford to be complacent because of low prevalence. We have a window of opportunity when we are a vulnerable state.”

While urging the two states to act before the situation becomes unmanageable and HIV AIDS becomes an epidemic, the NACO DG said that the tentacles of AIDS have now spread to all states and beyond high risk groups. He said that previously, the HIV AIDS cases were only being reported from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu. Now, it has moved to every single state.”

Dr Quraishi said that previously HIV AIDS was previously confined to three high risk groups-commercial sex workers, drug users and men having sex with men. “Now it has moved to the general population. From urban pockets, it has moved to rural areas.”

He drew attention to increasing feminisation of the epidemic as evidenced by the fact that 40 per cent of all HIV positive persons are women. He explained that women are more prone biologically in case of unprotected sex and are not in a position to negotiate safe sex. Apart from this, they are exploited and abused and have little access to health care.

To illustrate the gravity of the situation, the NACO chief said that from the time the first case was reported from Chennai in 1986, the number of HIV AIDS cases in India has increased to 51 lakh. He said that if adequate measures are not taken, the number of people living with HIV AIDS could increase to five crore by the year 2025.

He said that awareness on HIV AIDS in the country is far from adequate and in the absence of any cure for AIDS, awareness is the best vaccine.

Replying to questions on ART (anti retroviral therapy) centres, he said that there are 36 such centres in 13 states in the country and efforts are being made to increase their number to 100 by the end of this year. “The target is to set up 188 such centres by 2011. Adherence to ART is 98 per cent.”

He said that ART is not a simple thing. “It is a combination of drugs to be given in the right dose at the right time.”

While agreeing that NACO has skeletal staff of nine officers and 15 consultants, Dr Quraishi said that strengthening and restructuring of NACO was very high on the agenda. On the question of inappropriate allocation of funds for NACO, he said, “In the initial five years, the fund allocation was 200 to 225 crore. Towards the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan, the allocation was increased to 426 crore. We anticipate that we will need 200 per cent additional budget.”

Asked if the performance of project directors of some of the 38 State AIDS Control Societies (SACS), including Punjab was not up to the mark, Dr Quraishi said that the project director of Punjab SACS had been changed 19 times in four years. He said that the Health Ministry had formally apprised the Punjab Chief Minister of this situation. He said that a meeting of Chief Ministers of all states will be addressed soon by the National Council on AIDS under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. He said that efforts are under way to promote partnership between NACO and Chambers of Commerce and this would be fructified through the formal launch of PACT (Partnership for AIDS, Control and Treatment). “We have already had meetings with the Confederation of Indian Industries and have identified FICCI and ASSOCHAM to ensure that they are also on board.” 



Awareness programme on AIDS
gets under way today 

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The city has geared up for “Goonj”, a massive awareness programme against HIV/AIDS, which will be held at Leisure Valley tomorrow. The programme is being held jointly by the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh under the aegis of National Aids Control Organisation (NACO).

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, will formally launch the campaign at Leisure Valley. Governor of Haryana A.R. Kidwai will be the chief guest and Union Minister of Sate for Health and Family Welfare Mrs Panabaka Laxmi will be the guest of honour. The Health Minister of Haryana and Punjab, Ms Kartar Devi, and Mr R.C. Dogra, respectively, will also be the guest of honour.

The special invitees of the occasion include Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, and Mr P.K. Hota, Secretary, Union Home and Family Welfare Department, besides Dr S.Y. Quraishi, Special Secretary and Director General, National AIDS Control Organisation.

Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, project director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS) said that 3500 volunteers from Punjab would participate in this massive awareness programme. These volunteers would mainly involve youths of Nehru Yuva Kendras, representatives of panchayat bodies and college students from the nearby districts of Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala.

He added that PSACS had already initiated various steps for mass publicity of this campaign through print & electronic media, including FM, T.V Channels as well as insertions of press advertisements.

All Deputy Commissioners and Civil Surgeons have given directions by the Secretary, Health, Punjab, for the proper observance of “Goonj” in their respective districts. This includes the AIDS oath for students.

People were being asked to assist in the implementations of several schemes being run in the entire northern region for prevention and control of AIDS, a fatal disease caused by a virus which leads to the total loss of resistance to viral and bacterial infections. It was also disseminated to them that the disease is incurable as no safe drug or vaccine had been found to be its care.

Cultural events were also organised at Sector 22 market and Fun Republic, Manimajra to sensitize people on the topic. People were exhorted through these events to protect themselves from this deadly virus through accurate importation and correct behavioural practices. Road show will be organised tomorrow all over the city and contain AIDS Vahinis will be flagged off to spread the message throughout the length and breadth of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana through folk performances as well as latest media devices.



NACO asks Home Ministry to review IPC 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is in the process of repositioning its condom strategy to combat HIV/AIDS effectively. It has also put aside Rs 5 crore to purchase eight lakh female condoms from a UK-based company and market it through Hindustan Lever Limited.

Besides that, NACO has asked the Union Home Ministry to review three Indian Penal Code sections that deal with issues of sexuality. The Sections include Section 377 (which lists unnatural sex acts like homosexuality), Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and the NDPS Act.

In Chandigarh today to attend a workshop organised by Population Foundation of India, Director-General, NACO, Mr Quraishi, said the Acts needed to be reviewed in the light of prevalent sexual behaviours.

“There are many men having sex with men (MSMs); several are infected. If the law is not sensitive to them, we can do little to help them. Same is the case with prostitutes who need to be treated with sensitivity for them to fight HIV/AIDS.”

At another front, NACO is seriously publicising condoms as the most effective combat strategy for HIV/AIDS. Mr Quraishi said, “If the entire HIV/AIDS strategy can be summed up in one word, it is “condoms”. Our media campaign is aimed at repositioning the condom as a tool, which can protect men and women from STDs and HIV. It is not just an ideal spacing device between children or a birth-control measure.”

NACO has tied up with Hindustan Lever Limited, which is marketing the female condom. Mr Quraishi also informed The Tribune that a pilot study had been launched among female sex workers in four metros, the idea being to empower them with a choice. Furthermore, in the latest AIDS awareness advertisement NACO’s brand ambassador, Rahul Dravid, is shown packing in his cricket kit some condoms along with gloves, pads etc sending a signal that the use of condoms does not entail stigmatisation.

Although till sometime ago it was felt that condom-vending machines would not be used by people (some years ago people in Delhi had stopped going to STD booths because of the condom-vending machines installed there), the trend is reversing now.

Last month NACO installed a condom vending machine on the JNU campus and it was well received. A condom strategy is also being worked out for Chandigarh, which has a high rate of teen pregnancies.

Ten years ago when condom vending machines were installed in Chandigarh, people had vandalised them. This time triple column machines will be installed making tampering difficult.

Said Mr Quraishi, “Since sharing of needles can increase the risk, we have decided to provide new needles to users. Manipur launched the campaign sometime ago and it was hugely successful.”

To ensure better pediatric care of children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, NACO has recently started a children’s division, which deals with issues related to suffering children.



Maj-Gen faces court martial for graft
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A major-general is to be tried by a general court martial for his alleged acts of corruption and financial misappropriations amounting to over Rs 1.5 crore, committed by him while commanding a sub-area earlier.

The officer, Major-Gen K.T. Nambiar is presently reported to be in Army custody in Mhow. After commanding the Meerut Sub Area, he went on to serve as Inspector General, Assam Rifles, a post equivalent to GOC of a division.

It is learnt that during the nation-wide raids conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on September 30, the General’s residence was also raided and the CBI sleuths had recorded details of his property and other assets, believed to be disproportionate to his known sources of income.

According to sources, he faces 17 charges under provisions of Sections 52 and 63 of the Army Act, which deal with offences in respect to property, intent to defraud and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

The trial is scheduled to begin at the Remount and Veterinary Corpse Center in Meerut shortly and officers for constituting the court, to be presided over by a lieutenant-general, have been detailed.

It was earlier reported by The Tribune that the Army had received an anonymous complaint against the officer, alleging a series of lapses and financial misappropriations committed by him while he was serving as a sub area commander in the rank of brigadier in Uttar Pradesh.

The complaint was made after the officer had been promoted to the rank of major-general and had moved to the Assam Rifles. According to instructions issued by the Adjutant General’s Branch at Army Headquarters, all complaints, even anonymous ones are to be investigated and action is to be initiated if they contain substance.

Based upon the complaint, Headquarters Central Command ordered a court of inquiry (COI) to ascertain the facts and fix responsibility for lapses if any. The COI found the officer prima facie blameworthy of the accusations made in the complaint. The officer was, thereafter, removed from command and attached to Headquarters, Delhi Area, for further disciplinary proceedings. As the officer had since retired, Section 123 of the Army Act was invoked, which authorises the Army to take into custody and punish individuals who had committed an offence while they were subject to the Act.



RBI changes security features of bank notes
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has changed the security features for Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bank notes.
Beginning from August, the RBI has begun issuing the new bank notes with the additional security features. The bank notes currently in circulation will continue to be legal tenders.

Official sources informed TNS that the Department of Currency Management had reviewed the existing security features recently, and thus decided to introduce the new security features. This has primarily been done to keep the counterfeiter s at bay, and maintain confidence of public in the Indian bank notes. The Rs 10 and Rs 20 denomination bank notes with additional / new security features will be issued next year.

The new bank notes will be of the same size and there is no change in the images/ design of the bank notes both at the obverse and reverse. Though most security features in the existing Mahatma Gandhi series have been retained, some features have been modified, besides adding the new features.

The new notes will have a changed watermark, paper of the notes, security thread, raised intaglio printing, and new see-through register, and denomination numeral in the see-through paper. Modifications have also been introduced in the identification mark of the bank notes, which help the visually impaired to identify the denomination. The engraving depth in this identification mark has been increased from 83 microns to 160 microns.

Sources informed TNS that the watermark (which is visible when note is held against light) has been changed, and the new bank note contains the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi with a light and shade effect and multi- directional lines. The paper of the new bank note has increased weight ( 90 GSM) and caliper thickness (110 micron).

The security thread that appears on the left of Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait , is now a 1.4 mm wide thread with inscriptions of Bharat (in Hindi) and the RBI. This thread also fluoresces in yellow on both sides, under U V light.

The small floral design printed on both sides of the bank notes (see through register) has been modified. The currency denomination on the notes will be printed differently, half on the front and half on back. Both printed portions have an accurate back to back registration so that the numeral appears as one , when seen against light.



Passing Thru

Neeraj Ahuja
Neeraj Ahuja, badminton player and umpire from Shahbad Markanda

What is the status of badminton in Haryana?

At present Haryana is progressing well in this sport. Various district headquarters have indoor halls and players get the facility to practice.

What is the future of umpiring in this sport?

Umpiring in badminton has undergone tremendous change. The rules have been changed recently by the International Badminton Federation and this is a very challenging job. Only recently the scoring system in this game is being changed for under-13 and under-16 categories.

Do you think the new scoring experimentation will promote the sport?

Yes, why not. Badminton is one of the fastest game s in the world. With rally point system being introduced, like table tennis, it will help in promoting the game. It will have more television audience and thus more revenue for the sport.

How about the standard of the sport in North India?

In the past, Punjab and Haryana did well in the national meets. Even Chandigarh players performed well. In my opinion it is Haryana and Chandigarh which will produce national champions in the next three or four years in senior category.

Arvind Katyal



Chandigarh Calling

Cactii flowers in bloom: The rose comes with thorns. It’s so also with life too. Life is both rosy and thorny. However, many people are superstitious and do not grow thorny plants in their home. The belief is that thorny plants bring the desert home. Ours is an agrarian society and there is a fear of drought always. Recall the famous line of Punjabi poet_ ‘…main kandiali thor ve sajnaa/ Uggi vich ujaarhan…’ But urban folks have shed this prejudice and people grow cacti in the homes, gardens and even hold competitions.

Tribune photographer Manoj Mahajan brings us this picture of two city ladies admiring the plant of the desert homegrown in little pots. Well, every thorn has its day.

Political gifts: When the Chief Ministers of thirteen Congress ruled states returned to their respective homes after attending a two day conclave addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, they not only carried with them fond memories of the two-day event, but also tokens from the Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers that they will relish for a long time to come. The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, got special handloom products procured from Panipat as a parting gift for the Congress bigwigs. These included painted and embroidered table cloths, table mats, cushion covers and other items of linen.

The PM and Mrs. Gandhi were also given handicraft items made in Haryana to be put up in their drawing rooms.

That was not all, ‘Gachak’, specially made in Rohtak was packed and given as a traditional gesture. Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh had a slightly more generous as he gave out specially woven carpets and shawls to his ‘Congress comrades’ including ‘political bosses’.

The carpets, especially rapped as gifts comprised of Bokhara and Kashmiri designs and were got made from Punjab’s own carpet industry at Raja Sansi and other places. Mrs. Gandhi, the PM and his wife were given pashmina shawls, while the others got ‘Punjabi lois’.

Green drive: The 3-BRD Air Force Station, Chandigarh, has taken out various steps for carrying out environment-related programmes in its 450-acre campus.

Keeping the station green was a major challenge as it could not afford to plant fruit-bearing trees and trees with a lot of foliage because these attracted birds. Tall and big trees, which were present in abundance in the station, posed a threat to aircraft so stress was laid on small ornamental trees.

The Chandigarh-based Environment Society of India provided relevant information and saplings of trees and flower plants. Large stretches that had wild growth of elephant grass were cleared and levelled and grass and flowering plants were planted

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has so far sanctioned Rs 30,000 to carry out such activities.

Hospital blues: The news of a dear one being admitted to hospital dismays all of us. The rigours of time spent in hospital can be un-nerving. One gets the shivers if one has to spend a few days in the Emergency of a hospital.

A visit to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, was one such experience. Besides the stinking toilets, the water cooler in the Emergency of the hospital is not working. The attendants with the patients have to go out of the ward to fetch water.

There is a single air-conditioning line with separate branches to all rooms (Room No. 5201 to 5205) in the private ward, phase 1, Block A. Since all kinds of patients are admitted there, every patient and the accompanying attendant may not need the air-conditioning facility in the room.

As there are no separate AC connections in the rooms the only way is to stop the functioning of the air-conditioning line in case a patient, who cannot endure coolness, asks it to be switched off. Besides, there is no system in place to regulate the air-cooling as per patient’s requirement.

The volume control dampers on the AC shoots are also not properly working. Beehives on the ceiling of the balcony tell the story of neglect all too well.

New venue: It is hard to leave the old and familiar and the reason is that the new may be very strange and difficult. This is precisely what happened when the Ramlila committee of Sector 46 decided to choose a new venue for the Ramlila. The result was complete chaos.

There was no proper arrangement for parking and the whole affair got very messy.

So it would be a wise thing to see that a place has the proper infrastructure and then only shift the Ramlila there next season.

Contributors: Naveen Grewal, Ishwar Chandra Dhyani, Vishal Gulati, Sunil Minocha and Nirupama Dutt.



UT does not use Bhakra water alone, say officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Chandigarh is not the lone user of the water supplied through the Bhakra Main Line from Kajauli in Ropar district. It is also shared by Mohali and Chandi Mandir.
Senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh have reacted sharply to the statement of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, chief of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), who had opposed the allocation of another 20 million gallons per day to Chandigarh.

The fourth phase of the Kajauli waterworks is complete and Punjab in consonance with the Bhakra Beas Management Board has agreed to release the water.

A senior official said Chandigarh was presently drawing approximately 60 MGD through three pipelines between Kajauli and Chandigarh waterworks in Sector 39. Out of the total supply, the water was being supplied to Mohali and headquarters of Western Command Chandi Mandir. The pipeline between Chandigarh and Panchkula is not complete hence no supply is routed to Panchkula at present. While Chandi Mandir is paying for its share of water, Mohali gets it free and so will Panchkula. Both Punjab and Haryana are not paying the pumping costs which run up to Rs 18 crore annually as water is pumped against gravity.

Mohali presently has a share of 7.5 MGD, Panchkula 7.5 MGD and Chandi Mandir 4.5 MGD.

A senior official of the corporation said Punjab already had a number of natural water bodies. Instead of questioning the supply to Chandigarh, efforts should be made for better management of water to the deficient areas of Punjab. The good monsoon this year had left all water bodies full to the brim. Chandigarh had no source of regular supply of natural water throughout the year.

Another senior official admitted that line losses were huge in slum areas dotted by migrants. Mr Mann and several Akali parties had been opposing the change in demographic profile of the city.

About two years ago the National Commission for Minorities had rapped the Administration for providing free housing to migrants.



Dalits to get due representation in poll: SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A leader of the SAD, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has assured the Dalit community that during the forthcoming Assembly elections the party would give adequate representation to members of the community.

He was addressing a block-level function organised by the Punjab Valmiki Sabha Centre Committee to commemorate Valmiki Jyanti at Derbassi.

Stating that the Congress had always used the community as a vote bank, the SAD leader said the party had done nothing for the welfare and prosperity of the community.

Pointing towards the Talhan and Gohana incident, he said repeated atrocities were being committed against the Dalits during the Congress regime.

Benefits like shagun scheme, 100 units of power, scholarship to Dalit students and employing contractual sanitary workers in municipal bodies had been discontinued by the state government. 



Process on to empower sex workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
He “loved” without discrimination, and precaution. For Raghu, a resident of one of the largest slum areas of Chandigarh, there have been few regrets in life. If one doesn’t have a keen eye, Raghu, a dancer by profession, may even be mistaken for a woman. With perfectly painted nails, a face with tell-tale signs of the previous night and traces of stale make-up, one may be quick to judge that he had a busy time. A day spent not only performing at a party but also spending a night with a male partner, Raghu better qualifies as a passive MSM (male having sex with male)

After trudging along the labyrinth of small lanes of the slum, you approach his one-room abode which, though dirty to the core, comfortably accommodates two of his male friends. Observing a number of boils that have developed on his armpit, Raghu very casually tells you that he ran away from Bihar where he was in the company of Kinnars, who got him into such act and since then he developed a habit for this and even pays many a time to avail the service.

However, of late, Raghu insists that his partner does use condoms and has been a “peer educator”. Not only has he started to indulge in safe sex but also educates other active MSMs and male sex workers to follow suit. Raghu still “loves” without discrimination but with precaution.

The target intervention project, currently on in the slum for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, has evolved a new genre of community workers. With the involvement of commercial sex workers (CSWs) and MSMs, the aim is to empower and educate their peers.

While most of them confess that it is easy to relate to somebody who is like them, the change, though initiated, will take time.

Rani, a commercial sex worker, who goes out of the city in a group of 10 to 15 girls for private parties with potential customers, has been able to coax her customers to use condoms. But many others like Rajni, who get paid a measly Rs 10 at times, have not been so lucky. Though these men and women do collect free condoms from the AIDS centre, they expressed their inability to persuade their partners to use them. With the formation of the Chandigarh Network of Positive People and the formation of a drop-in centre for them the others are just hopeful that there will be a change in the mindsets.



Tired, but determined to find his daughter
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Radhay Sham Pandey with his four-year-old daughter who is now missing
Radhay Sham Pandey with his four-year-old daughter who is now missing.

Chandigarh, October 17
When he got a family photograph clicked on Divali two years ago, little did Radhay Sham Pandey know that he would be going from one police station to another with the snap in search of his four-year-old daughter Komal.

A student of kindergarten, she had gone to a school in Hallomajra’s Deep Complex area with her elder sister Sudha some 12 days ago, but never returned.

Tired, yet determined to find her, Pandey has made announcements over the public address system in all religious places in the vicinity. This is not all. He, along with his younger brother, has searched almost all colonies and slums in the city. Yet has not received any clue about her whereabouts.

Trying to fight back his tears, rehri-puller Pandey says in a voice punctuated with emotion, “It’s been over 12 days since I held her in my arms…. She is so small…. I just wish she is fine”.

Pandey, hailing from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, says, “We have no relatives here. Otherwise also, she is too young to go anywhere on her own. She knows the address and the family details. So she could not have lost her way. In all probability, someone must have taken her away”.

Absolutely clueless about her “kidnappers”, Pandey insists he has no enemies in the city, not even at his native place. “If someone has picked her up for ransom, we have not received any call”.

He adds that his wife Seema has been inconsolable ever since she received the information about her disappearance. “She has been going from one soothsayer to another, hoping to solve the mystery behind her disappearance. But so far no one has been able to tell her anything in certain terms,” he adds.

Pandey has brought the matter to the notice of the police and a daily diary report (DDR) was registered in this regard on October 7 in the Sector 31 police station.

The Station House Officer of the Sector 31 police station said: “We have sent the information to the missing person squad of the Chandigarh police and the photograph of the girl has also been published in newspapers the next day of filing the DDR. A hue and cry message has also been flashed in this regard. So far we have not received any information about the girl.”



Fauji Beat
Forward policy provoked China

WHILE Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee calls the 1962 war “an invasion of India by China”, the Chinese Consul-General in Mumbai, Song De Heng, says it was “a war in self-defence”. What cannot be denied is that first India provoked China by its “forward policy” and then China attacked India in retaliation.

It was in April 1961, that the Army Headquarters sent a note to the Ministry of Defence stating, among other things, that if China tried a strong incursion, the Indian Army would not be able to hold. The note came back after having been seen by the Defence Secretary, the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister and without any remarks.

The Prime Minister, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Defence Minister, Mr Krishna Menon, were absolutely sure that China would not attack India. This assurance was given to them by our intelligence agencies. The intelligence agencies had also assured them that China would not attack even our small posts of five to six men. This resulted in our adopting a “forward policy” towards China by establishing small posts of a few men each.

Meanwhile, Mr Krishna Menon was making bold statements in and outside Parliament that China would not attack India under any circumstances and if China did so, it would get a befitting reply. These statements, apart from misleading the public, were making the Army top brass, who knew the reality, nervous. The rest is history.

Ex-militants’ battalion

A new experiment tried out in Jammu and Kashmir is that of raising an ex-militants’ battalion in the Territorial Army (TA). When the Army had taken up this proposal with the government in 2003, many were sceptical of it. It was felt that the surrendered militants should be given time to become part and parcel of the mainstream and hence prove their credentials.

The idea of raising this battalion was mooted by the Army Headquarters to win back the misguided youth and make them train guns on their former mentors and colleagues. A difficult task, no doubt, but it has succeeded. The success of this experiment also proves that economic security is the main requirement of life and that it can turn a person from an evil path to a peaceful way of living.

The ex-militants’ battalion is said to be doing a very useful job by giving information about the militants and also by identifying them. This is because they know the militants’ rank and file well. So whenever a militant is apprehended, the jawans of this battalion come in handy to identity him.

Shradhanjali Park

As you come to kilometre stone 234, while driving along the national highway from Jammu to Srinagar, you get a panoramic view of a park called Shradhanjali Park. Spread over an area of about two square kilometres along the highway, the park is dedicated to the martyrs of Operation Vijay.

The laying out of this park was started in 2000 by various station units of the Northern Command. It has many fascinating features to attract the tourists such as a beautiful garden, a well laid-out water distribution system, bridges over streams, cement pathways, umbrella huts, sea-saw slides for children and an elaborate lighting arrangement.

A model of the Kargil operations is the main attraction of the park. A visit to the park takes one closer to nature and unfolds the sacrifices that our brave soldiers made for the nation in the Kargil war.

ECHS fund

Some of the military hospitals have run out of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) funds. This shows that future planning for the procurement of funds has not been made well in time. If this is done and at least three months’ stock of medicines is kept in reserve at all times, there would not be any shortage of medicines.

— Pritam Bhullar



Ledger account: CAG points out lapses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Comptroller and Auditor- General of India (CAG) has observed that the Chandigarh Administration had failed to observe the specific condition for the opening and operation of personal ledger account (PLA). It has been further pointed out that the utlilisation of funds deposited in personal ledger account (PLA) was expanded without the approval of Accountant-General, Punjab, and Chandigarh. The CAG has sought specific action against the officials responsible for such irregular operation of the PLA.

Replying to the observation by the CAG, the Administration stated that the expanded activities were brought under the purview of the PLA with the approval of the Administrator. Thereafter, the funds were drawn and disbursed with proper sanction of the competent authority. It further pointed out that the AG did not object to the operation of the PLA during the audit conducted from October 1990 to March 1999. Thus it was improper on part of the AG to term the operation of the PLA as irregular after the account was closed in 2000.

The only lapse was that the AG office was not informed of the expanded activities in advance after the approval of the Administrator. 



Fire breaks out at garbage site

Mohali, October 17
Fire broke out at the garbage dumping site in the industrial area here this evening causing panic among residents living nearby.
According to the fire brigade, the information about the fire was given by the council president, Mr Kulwant Singh. Two fire tenders were pressed into service which took more than two hours to bring the situation under control. It is learnt that there was too much of smoke in the area causing a feeling of suffocation. OC



ETDC holds customer meet

Chandigarh, October 17
The Electronics and Development Centre, Mohali, organised a customer meet in which 27 delegates from 21 prominent industries of the region participated. Ms Ravinder Sahi, Director of the laboratory, apprised the participants about the achievements of the ETDC and emphasised on the customer-oriented services of the STQC Directorate, a wing of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, under which the laboratory functions. TNS



2 women caught picking pocket
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
The police caught two women red-handed while picking pocket at the Sector 26 local bus stop last night.
Police sources said Mr Vinod Kumar of Sector 30-B caught red-handed Reeta and Shanta, both in their mid-30s, when they allegedly picked his pocket at the Sector 26 bus stop, last night. 

The purse contained Rs 215. During preliminary inquiry, it come to light that the women lived at a railway station in Ranchi in Bihar. They were produced today before a local court, which remanded them in judicial custody.



Phone snatcher held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 17
A snatching bid was foiled this evening in the Sector 10 Leisure Valley, when a 25-year-old man was caught red-handed while snatching a mobile phone from an evening walker.

Mr Sudarshan Kumar of Sector 11 reported to the police that a miscreant tried to snatch his mobile phone. He raised the alarm and some passers-by chased the miscreant. The police also came and nabbed him.

Police interrogation revealed that the miscreant had identified himself as Roshan, a resident of Naya Gaon. The phone was recovered from his possession. A case has been registered.

Vehicle stolen: Mr Deepak Kumar of New Indira Colony, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police that his Maruti car (HR-49-A-2626) was stolen from Civil Hospital in Mani Majra on Saturday. In another incident, Mr Gurinder Singh of Sector 8 in Panchkula reported to the police that his Hero Honda motor cycle (HR-03-D-5395) was stolen from the Sector 26 Grain Market on Sunday.

Gambling: The police has taken in custody two persons for allegedly indulging in gambling on Sunday.

According to the police, Ravinder of Vikas Nagar in Mauli Jagran was arrested from near Government High School in Mauli Jagran and Bansi Lal of Hallomajra village was held from near Panchayat Ghar in the same village for allegedly indulging in gambling at public place. The police confiscated Rs 210 and 235, respectively, from their possessions. Two separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered. 



Unidentified body found
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 17
A body of an unidentified youth was found in the Phase VII Industrial Area here today.
According to the police, the body was noticed by a patrol party early in the morning and could not be identified till the evening.

It has been sent to the Civil Hospital for a postmortem examination which would be conducted after the body was identified. Messages were sent to nearby slum colonies that a body was recovered so that it could be identified. The police ruled out the possibility that the youth might have been killed by someone as the body did not have any injury marks. 


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