P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Diary of killed Pak intruder baffles police
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur November 24
A diary seized from a Pakistani intruder who was shot dead near the Nangli border outpost, near the Dera Baba Nanak area, recently has put the security agencies on high alert. The Border Security Force (BSF) has passed the addresses recorded in the dairy to the police of the respective states for further action.

Highly placed sources told The Tribune that the addresses in the diary included two of Bihar Sharif area, one from Cuttak in Orissa, Bareli, Nagpur, Bombay, Purnia in Bihar, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Farukabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Besides addresses, the intruder was also given a tour itinerary of his stay in Punjab. After crossing the border, he was to reach Chibbal. From there he was supposed to move to Attari, Khemkran, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur. The mode of transport that he would have taken to reach the places was also noted down in the dairy.

The intruder was carrying samples of narcotics in small packets. The security agencies are suspecting that the intruder might have been given the dual task of contacting the smugglers and Pakistani spies in the country.

The security agencies in Punjab are now trying to verify as to why the intruder intended to visit so many places in the state. They are of the opinion that he might have been carrying message from Punjab terrorists putting up in Pakistan for their sympathisers in the state.

The state police has also been claiming that Punjab terrorists residing in Pakistan have increased their effort to revive militancy in the state.

The addresses of the cities spread across the country have also given indication about the possible penetration of the ISI agents in the country.

There have been two infiltration attempts from the Gurdaspur border within a week. In both the case the security agencies have managed to foil the attempts by killing the intruders.

The police also caught a large cache of arms and two Pakistani spies in the area by the police during the stint of the former SSP Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav. The various enclaves from where the rivers from Punjab enter Pakistan have been prone to infiltration from across the border.


News Analysis
Badal’s masterstroke to win over Khatris
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
One of the few decisions of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to draw applause from its critics besides other Akali Dals has been the reposing of confidence in Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, a nominee of the Khatri-Arora community, as the new chief of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Even the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has appreciated the election of Mr Makkar.

The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has attempted a ‘‘major double’’ in overlooking the claims and counter-claims of a dominant group of Sikh religious leaders which took for granted its right to head the SGPC.

After Master Tara Singh not even a single member of the Khatri-Arora Sikh community, which has been the backbone of Akali politics in urban areas, was given a position of dominance in the otherwise Jat-dominated gurdwara and state politics.

Mr Badal has been successful not only in acknowledging the contribution of this marginalised community by making its nominee the head of the SGPC , but has also attempted to give this institution a new, clean and balanced look.

The election of a nominee of the Haryana Sikhs as senior vice-president of this august body may soothen their hurt sentiments as they have been complaining of discrimination in the running of the historic gurdwaras and educational institutions under SGPC control.

Mr Badal may be seeing in Mr Makkar a counter to Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief, who of late has shown considerable interest in Punjab politics. Mr Sarna’s proximity to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is an open secret.

The nagar kirtan procession from Delhi to Nankana Sahib by the DSGMC will essentially be dominated by the Khatri-Arora community. Mr Sarna has been trying to prove that this community has been discriminated against in Punjab as well as Sikh politics.

What Mr Sarna claims or maintains is not without basis. If one looks at the representation given to the Khatri-Arora community in both SGPC and Akali politics, one finds that only a few leaders of this urban-based community have got any recognition. Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar (Ludhiana) , Mr Sardara Singh Kohli and his son, Mr Surjit Singh Kohli (Patiala), have been among the lucky few to make it to a recognisable level.

A few other prominent members of the community, including Mr Tarlochan Singh and Dr Rajinder Kaur (daughter of Master Tara Singh) got into Parliament. But in the case of Mr Tarlochan Singh, it was not the Shiromani Akali Dal but the BJP and the INLD which got him into the Rajya Sabha from Haryana.

Now Mr Badal has tried to stop this community from being lured out of the SAD fold by other political outfits, including the Congress, at the instance of one leader or the other. Mr Badal, the shrewd politician that he is, must be eyeing this community’s unstinted support in the next Assembly elections, which are a little more than a year away.

All will depend how much free hand is given to Mr Makkar to steer this premier Sikh religious body out of various controversies to stability in the year before the Assembly elections.


Revamp of SGPC Makkar’s top priority
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
Clean administration with revamping of the SGPC, ‘Dharam Parchar’ (spreading of faith) in the most befitting manner, and observing of 400th martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev quadri-centennial of ‘Miri-Piri’, tercentenary of the completion of Guru Granth Sahib which falls next year, campaign against ‘Guru-dom’ (living gurus) are top priorities, of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president of the Mini-Parliament of the Sikhs.

Unlike his predecessor Bibi Jagir Kaur, the new SGPC chief is not willing to take any decision in haste, which may cause division in the Sikh Panth or lead to a controversy . The SGPC chief talking to The Tribune said that he would prefer to study the sensitive issues like allowing baptised Sikh women to perform Kirtan, cleaning of sanctum sanctorum and carrying of ‘Palki’ (palanquin) or bestowing of ‘Siropas’ (robe of honour) on visiting dignitaries , before taking a final decision.

Significantly Mr Makkar has in principle decided to shift his base from Ludhiana to Amritsar for monitoring routine works. He said he would like to pay surprise visits to various departments of the Shiromani Committee to streamline its functioning.

Mr Makkar said that he would make efforts to use the experiences of his predecessors for better administration. He already held two-hour-long meeting with Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC chief immediately after paying obeisance at Harmandar Sahib and sought her cooperation. Mr Makkar said that he would like to invite Sikh intellectuals to make suggestions from time to time. The SGPC chief said that he had asked employees to do their jobs with zeal and dedication since the Shiromani Committee came into existence after great sacrifices.

The SGPC chief said that he was aware that NRI Sikhs and foreigners face inconvenience while visiting Harmandar Sahib. ‘It would be my efforts to make necessary arrangements so that the devotees, who come from different corners of the world feel comfortable during Darshan (at the time of paying their obeisance) . He also underlined the need to check Patitpuna through motivation with the help of dedicated preachers (trend of being apostate).

In another significant decision, Mr Makkar said that he himself would be frequently partaking of langar (community kitchen) with the Sikh Sangat as a humble Sikh. ‘It would be my endeavour’ to make elaborate arrangements for langar one of the greatest Sikh Institutions, introduced by the Gurus. He said there was always scope for improvement in the administration. Without commenting on the performance of his predecessors, Mr Makkar said that their contribution and experience would be a guiding force for him.

However, Herculean task is ahead for the new SGPC chief who would be facing serious challenges to implement his plans. The foremost task would be ‘surplus recruitment’ (over 1000) made during the presidentship of Bibi Jagir Kaur. Though the case of surplus recruitment is still pending before in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, yet it was passed by the general house yesterday without circulating the agenda to the members. Another problematic issue for the new president would be groupism in the Shiromani Committee, which already has created problem in the smooth functioning of the Shiromani Committee. The groupism of the SGPC Secretaries was the basic reason for leaking information against the previous Presidents that brought bad name to the committee.

Mr Makkar also desires to bring transparency in the SGPC-run medical, dental and other educational institutes.

Meanwhile, the SGPC chief reportedly has sought list of honest and non-controversial employees before ordering any reshuffle.


Makkar not to accept any political post
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 24
Virtually parting ways with the high-profile style of functioning of Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, the newly appointed SGPC chief, has resolved not to use luxury car purchased during the Bibi’s tenure for his official use. Instead, he would prefer an ordinary car for the purpose.

“I am an ordinary and humble Sikh. We would use the luxury vehicles for VIP visitors as these are assets of the SGPC,” said Mr Makkar.

He, however, declined to answer a question whether Bibi Jagir Kaur was a humble Sikh or not as she was using the luxury vehicles. “I cannot say anything about that. I am just talking about myself and I cannot say anything beyond that,” said Mr Makkar.

Mr Makkar announced that he would be shifting his residence from Ludhiana to Amritsar to do sewa of the Sikhs in a more active manner.

Mr Makkar also announced that he would not be contesting any political elections or accepting a political post in future.

The SGPC chief was also believed to have told his supporters that the SGPC had no direct link with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.


Badal criticised over Makkar’s appointment
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
A Political Affairs Committee member and former Akali minister, who was the architect of ‘Tohra- Badal’ unity, today criticised party supremo Parkash Singh Badal for ‘eroding’ Sikh institutions with the appointment of ‘political pygmies or Panthic lillyputs’ to the coveted posts, including the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Calcutta, who is also a veteran SGPC member, said he was shedding ‘tears of blood’ over recent SAD policies, which would ultimately take the Sikh Panth to ‘wilderness’. He, however, said he had nothing personal against Mr Badal or Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, the newly appointed SGPC chief.

Lamenting the appointment of Mr Makkar, which was once held by Akali stalwarts like, Baba Kharak Singh, Sant Channan Singh, Master Tara Singh and Jathedar Gurcharn Singh Tohra, Mr Calcutta said he (Mr Makkar) being a novice in Panthic affairs won’t be able to come up to the expectations of the Sikh masses. He said Mr Badal would be answerable to the history for ‘eroding’ the Sikh institutions.

Questioning the claims of Mr Badal that he (Mr Badal) had taken the decision to appoint Mr Makkar as the SGPC chief in the ‘democratic’ way, Mr Calcutta asked, “Can Mr Badal tell the name of even a single PAC or SGPC member who had recommended the name of Mr Makkar?” He alleged that ‘new faces’ were capturing the high posts in the SAD at the cost of senior Akali leaders, who had made sacrifices for the sake of the Panth.

Significantly, Mr Calcutta would preside over the seminar, being organised here tomorrow by the All India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD), led by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann on the subject of ‘contribution of Master Tara Singh to the Sikh Panth. The AISAD would organise the seminar to woo urban Sikhs. The seminar assumes significance in the wake of the appointment of Mr Makkar, an urban Sikh, after a gap of 45 years. The last urban Sikh to hold the post of SGPC chief was Master Tara Singh. Interestingly, Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, Chairman, Sikh Judicial Commission, is the convener of the proposed seminar.

The list published by the AISAD claimed that Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, an SGPC member, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, a former SGPC secretary and close confidant of Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Satnam Singh Kanda, Mr Prithpal Singh Kapur, a former Pro Vice-Chancellor of GND university, and Mr Manjit Singh Tarn Tarni would participate.

The seminar is likely to be rallying point against the SAD.


MBBS students rejoice at Bibi’s ouster
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
Parents of MBBS students under the Sikh minority quota and the PMT admitted to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak committee-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences are jubilant over the ouster of Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC chief.

Talking to this correspondent, they expressed their happiness over the change of guard in the SGPC. They said the Bibi had “failed” to take any concrete step to save the career of their wards.

They had to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get relief. However, the college authorities refused to accept the orders of the court and they were forced to deposit the “excess” amount. 


INTUC to hold dharna
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Upset over the indifferent attitude of the Congress government towards their demands in Punjab, government employees associated with the pro-Congress Indian National Trade Union Congress ( INTUC) will stage a dharna-cum-demonstration against the government here on December 20, the day the winter session of the Assembly begins.

It will, perhaps, be the first time in the past some years that the INTUC, which supported the Congress in the last Assembly elections, will be organising a dharna against the government. " There are many demands of employees which have not been accepted by the state government, though a promise in this regard was made in the party manifesto during the last Assembly elections," a senior leader of the Punjab unit of the INTUC said.

One of the major demands of the employees is to increase the retiring age from 58 to 60 of Class B and C category employees. The retiring age of Class IV employees in the state is 60 as in the case of the IAS officers and certain other Class A employees. The retiring age of lecturers in government-aided private colleges is 60. The same is true in the case of the teaching staff of universities in Punjab.

‘‘ The retiring age is 58, by and large, only in the case of Class B and Class C employees,’’ the INTUC leader said. ‘‘ The bosses of Class B and C employees, who are IAS officers, retire at the age of 60 and their subordinates, who are Class IV employees, also retire at that age. Then why should the middle-rung employees not retire at the age of 60 ?’’ he asked. In the past days, the government had examined the issue of increasing the retiring age from 58 to 60. However, the proposal was rejected at the top level, it is learnt.

Among the other demands are the grant of the promotional scale after the completion of four, nine and 14 years of service to all remaining employees. There are certain categories of employees which have got this benefit.

The INTUC is also seeking Rs 5,000 per month as wages for all workers/ employees in government departments. It has sought an increase in the medical allowance to Rs 500 from Rs 250 and also bonus on the Central pattern. The INTUC also wants the commutation of pension on the basis of the old formula, abandoning the new method that has hit employees hard.

It has also demanded uniforms for Class IV employees and housing schemes for retired employees.

The INTUC has also urged the government to fill vacant posts at the lower level. Owing to the shortage of staff at the lowest level, government work was suffering, the INTUC leader said.


Protest against 85th Amendment
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, November 24
Scores of employees and students belonging to general category from different colleges in the district today protested against the Punjab Government’s move for implementing the 85th Constitution Amendment.

The members of different government employees associations of general category and students assembled in front of the PWD Rest House where Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), was putting up, and raised slogans against him and Punjab Chief Minister.

The protestors also staged a dharna infront of the rest house for over four hours.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Sham Lal Sharma, chief organiser of the protest and Mr Randhir Singh, senior vice-president of Thermal Plant, Ropar, alleged that Mr Dullo had been mounting pressure on Punjab Chief Minister and other political leaders to implement the 85th Constitution Amendment. The speakers also claimed that when a suite in pretext to the 85th amendment was pending in the Supreme Court how could a government think to implement it.

Mr Surinder Kumar Saini, district president and state vice-president of the General Category Welfare Federation, opined that the amendment was not in favour of the lower reserve categories at large but would benefit the upper class of bureaucrats belonging to the Scheduled Caste categories. He pressed that reservation should be on the basis of economic criteria and not on caste basis.

A delegation later met Mr Dullo who was holding meetings of Congress workers and gave him a memorandum.

Mr Dullo asked the protestors to come with all relevant documents so that a meeting could be fixed with the Punjab Chief Minister to discuss the issue before the release of a notification for implementation of the amendment.

Earlier, while talking to The Tribune Mr Dullo, claimed that people from reserve categories had been facing discrimination in each and every field since decades. Implementation of the 85 th amendment would give them (people belonging to reserve categories) their right. Moreover, implementation of the amendment was in the Congress pre-poll manifesto, he claimed.


Resentment over move to implement 85th Amendment
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 24
The PSEB General Category Engineers Forum has urged the Punjab Chief Minister to withhold the notification regarding the implementation of 85th Amendment in the state till apex court gives its verdict. In a letter to the Chief Minister, Punjab, the forum resented the government decision to implement 85th Constitutional Amendment in Punjab despite the fact that reserved category is adequately represented in all services and hence this enabling provision was not required to be implemented in Punjab.

“Evidently this is a populist measure aimed at getting votes and it has nothing to do with socio-economic upliftment of downtrodden Dalits.

A copy of the letter had also been sent to Ms Sonia Gandhi, president of the All-India Congress Committee with the request that the whole matter of implementation of 85th Amendment in Punjab should be reviewed keeping in mind the ground realities” said Mr S.C. Chabba convener of the PSEB Forum.


Kanishka Probe
Disappointment over latest report
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The recommendation of the Bob Rae Committee for a “focussed inquiry” into the 1985 Kanishka bombing has anguished victims of the biggest-ever air disaster as they described the recommendation to be “disgusting” as nowhere did it suggest identification and punishment to the guilty.

“After 20 long years, we have lost all hope,” said Mrs Amarjit Bhinder, widow of Capt Satwinder Singh Bhinder, co-pilot of the ill-fated Air-India aircraft. She was at a family dinner to felicitate her son who got married last week when news was received about Mr Rae, a former Premier of Ontario province in Canada, having submitted his report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, in Ottawa yesterday.

“There was substantial evidence against those responsible for this ghastly act. After the British Columbia court acquitted them in March this year, our last hope was Mr Rae. But his recommendation for a focussed inquiry into safety and other aspects does not interest us much. His suggestion that any further inquiry should not focus on who is responsible for the bombings, as it is impossible to conduct a quasi-criminal trial, has really hurt us more. Does it mean that the guilty should continue to move around freely?” she said.

“To be honest, we have forgotten about this sad chapter in our lives,” she said, holding that “expecting justice after such a long gap and after one of the world’s costliest investigation and trial looks impossible now.”

The families of other victims, too, were disappointed.

“We were expecting that Mr Rae would recommend a public inquiry so that the culprits are brought to book and punished for killing 329 innocent persons on board the ill-fated aircraft,” they said.

In March this year Ripudaman Singh Malik (58) and Ajaib Singh Bagri (51) were acquitted in the Kanishka bombing case.

All 329 persons on board Air-India’s Flight 182, Montreal to London, were killed when the Boeing 747 aircraft exploded and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ireland, on June 23, 1985. A British Columbia court acquitted both accused, saying the witnesses were not credible.

One of the four main suspects, Talwinder Singh Parmar of Babbar Khalsa International, was killed in an encounter with the Punjab Police in 1992, while the fourth, Inderjit Singh Reyat, after confessing his involvement in the crime, had turned approver in the case.

The Tribune tracked down some of the families of the victims in Tarn Taran, Ludhiana, Karnal and Chandigarh besides speaking to relatives of Captain Bhinder, co-pilot of the aircraft.

Five members of the family of Mr Lachman Dass of Ludhiana had died in the crash while Mr Ram Raj of Shoian village, also in Ludhiana, had lost four members of his family in the air disaster. Mr Lachman Dass now lives in Canada and had been pursuing this case. He also belonged to a group of Kanishka victims which deposed before the Rae committee.

Mr Kashmiri Lal Gupta (72) of Tarn Taran had lost four members of his family in the bombing, Mrs Nasib Kaur of Jalandhar had lost her daughter and two grandchildren in the crash.

“Our last hope for justice has evaporated now,” remarked a member of the family of one of the victims,” he said.


Security alert for VVIPs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , November 24
In view of the incident of firing in Hoshiarpur district last night, the Punjab Police today sounded an alert for all its VVIPs.

The security personnel attached with the VVIPs have been advised to be extra cautious while travelling in Punjab.

Four persons were killed in the incident in Dolbaha village in Hoshiarpur district.

The list of Z-plus protectees in Punjab include the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, his family, a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal.

Sources in the police confirmed that an alert had been sounded, but said there was no need to panic.

The incident in Hoshiarpur district is being linked to either dormant militant groups of Punjab or a joint operation by Punjab and Kashmir militants. 


Demand to roll back hike in water, power rates
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, must implement the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) plan on a priority basis, and National Social Service Organisation head Surinder Arjun here yesterday.

Talking to mediapersons here, he appealed to the Chief Minister to roll back the hike in charges, for electricity, water and sewage.

Reminding Capt Amarinder Singh of the election manifesto promising abolition of octroi, he said it was high time the tax was abolished.

Meanwhile, Mr Bakshi Ram Arora, president, BJP, Amritsar, questioned the wisdom of the Punjab Government to the bio-technology park to Dera Bassi from here. He said the Congress government on the one hand had expressed its disability to expand the Rajasansi international airport for want of funds and on the other hand it proposed to construct an international airport at Ludhiana at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore.


Good Samaritans honoured
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 24
The District Road Safety Council today felicitated those who helped and saved lives of accident victims.

DIG, Ferozepore range, IS Sahota said while the persons killed in brawls in Muktsar, Ferozepore and Moga were 75 in the current year, mishap casualties in these districts stood at an alarming figure of 167.

He said schoolchildren would soon get a book to sensitise them on traffic rules. He exhorted people to follow traffic norms to reduce road accidents.

SSP L.K. Yadav said 220 persons lost their lives in 260 road mishaps in the district in the past four years. Timely help to the those injured could save lives of 40 per cent of victims.

Council’s general secretary Naresh Pruthi expressed his views. Those felicitated on the occasion were Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Arvinder Pal Singh, Mr K.S. Punia, Mr Ravnit Singh, Mr Balwinder Garg and Mr Subhash Singla. 


Sonal Mansingh portrays emotions of waiting
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar November 24
The majestic ramparts of Khalsa College pulsated with “Intezaar”, a relatively new repertoire of narrative theme embodying six different tales of “waiting” down the ages by first woman recipient of Padam Vibhushan Sonal Mansingh, accompanied by music of “laangas” of western Rajasthan held here this evening as part of Heritage Festival.

Bringing the stage alive with the varied colours that make up the rich Indian art tradition Sonal of Odissi and Bharatnatyam fame introduced her theme with introductory rendition of spirituality personified in the emotions of “waiting “ of a disciple for his guru.

In Odissi tradition, accompanied by Rehmat Khan Laanga to the tingling sound of ghungroos, Sonal as Meera Bai danced in gay abandon as a dreaming Meera awaiting lord Krishna and seducing him with her numerous pranks .

Weaving a tapestry of legends, the performance was followed by “Charkho”, a story of women empowerment, that also provided “comic relief” with the woman inviting her husband to take over her job if he could not earn enough for the family in 15 years of her waiting.

Creating magic with the vivacious and painful emotions of “Intezaar” of an unfulfilled woman for her husband who writes “salaams” on the wings of a bird “Kurja”, she created a soulful rendition of the popular ghazal of Ahmed Faraz, “Ranjish hi sahi, dil hi dukhane ke liye aa “portraying the true meaning of pain of waiting. The “intezaar” ended on a spiritual note with Sufiana kalam of “Dama dam mast kalandar”.


Mann to move court against Kikar resort
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, said today that the‘‘ Kikar health resort’’ which was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, early this week, had been built up near Nurpur Bedi( Ropar) by violating the various provisions of the Acts related to the protection of forests in the state.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh wanted to spread “Doon school culture” in the state. The resort, built by certain Doon school class mates of, Capt Amarinder Singh, was totally incongruous with the culture the area where it had been raised, he added. ‘‘My party will move the court against the resort ’’, he asserted. Such violation of the various forest acts could not be allowed to happen in the area where people survive on the meagre income from their lands, he added.

He said his party had taken a serious note of the assertion of the Punjab Police chief, Mr S.S. Virk, that he would extend full support to police employees convicted by the court in the Jaswant Singh Khalra case. “ It was a contempt of court committed by Mr Virk and we will move the court against him also”, he added. Mr Virk’s statement can encourage other police officers to commit excesses on other human rights activists.

He said the apprehension expressed by Mr Bir Devinder Singh regarding threat to his life was a serious issue. It reflected how the Congress leadership treated its own people and how it muzzled the freedom to express views on issues such as corruption by Ministers.


Hoshiarpur killings: terrorists’ hand not ruled out
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, November 24
The Dholbaha killing in which two masked youth gunned down four persons and left one critically injured at a liquor shop at Adda Tahli , about 25 km from here, by showering indiscriminate bullets from an AK 47 rifle late last night, has stunned the Punjab police.

Suresh Kumar, son of Gajay Singh of Dholbaha and Chottu, an employee of the liquor shop, died on the spot while Manjit Singh of Fatehpur succumbed to his bullet injuries at Primary Health Centre, Bhunga, last night.

Rajiv Kumar and Pawan Kumar, both employees of the liquor shop, were admitted to the local Civil Hospital from where they were referred to the DMC, Ludhiana. Rajiv Kumar also succumbed to his bullet injuries this morning.

Taking a serious view of the killings, the Himachal Pradesh police has also sounded high alert in Una, Nurpur, Kangra and Dehra areas adjoining to Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Meanwhile, Mr Chander Shekhar, ADGP (Law and Order) along with senior police personnel today visited the scene of crime. While talking to The Tribune ,Mr Shekhar did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of terrorist outfits either from the state or from Jammu and Kashmir

He said eight shells of used cartridges of an AK 47 rifle had been recovered from the spot. A team of forensic experts has taken the samples from the crime scene.

Mr Shekhar said police was working on several theories. The ADGP said the killers had struck at such a place where not even a single incident was reported during Punjab terrorism.

Dr Dilbagh Singh Rana, an eyewitness, told The Tribune that he and his friends had just started their second drink when two Hindi-speaking-muffled youth stormed in and started showering bullets from a weapon. They appeared from the backyard of the liquor vend and started showering bullets indiscriminately. 


Man arrested for killing wife
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 24
The police today claimed to have cracked a murder case dating back to October last year and arrested three persons, including the husband of the deceased, in this connection.

Police sources said Veeravati was found murdered in a police quarter at Lal Singh Basti on October 20 last year. On the statement of her husband, Balwinder Singh, a Class IV employee posted with Canal Department, Puran Bahadur, one of her colleagues, was booked on the charge of murder. But, he was found innocent during investigation.

The probe also revealed that Balwinder Singh, his brother Sukhwinder Singh and Veeravati’s brother Tarsem Singh had conspired to eliminate her as they got suspicious of her character. Fearing humiliation, they murdered her and put the blame on Puran Bahadur to save their skin.


Shahkot SHO held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
In a raid, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau yesterday arrested Jaswinder Singh, SHO of Shahkot police station, while allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 40,000 in a passport related case. The raid was conducted by the DSP, Mr Zora Singh Brar, and the SHO was arrested from his house, said of Mr M.S. Chinna, SP, Vigilance, Flying Squad-I.

Bureau officials said other properties and assets held by the SHO were also being verified. Mr Chinna said the SHO had demanded Rs 1 lakh as bribe but ultimately he settled for Rs 40,000. He was caught red-handed.

There was anomaly in the passport of Gurdeep Singh of Shahkot. It was referred for verification to the SHO by the Passport authorities concerned.


One killed, 3 hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 24
A man was killed and three were injured in two separate road mishaps here yesterday.

An unidentified vehicle hit two cyclists on the Naruana road. Sahara volunteers rushed to the site and admitted both to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital.

They were identified as Darshan Singh of Amarpura Basti and Ramesh Singh. Darshan succumbed to his injuries, in the hospital.

School students Jasbir and Gagandeep riding a motorbike were hit by a van and injured. 


2 hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 24
Two persons were injured in an accident near Mundi Kharar today.

According to the police, Mr Jaspal Singh and Ms Gurmel Kaur, who were going on a motorcycle towards Kharar were injured when an ambulance coming from the opposite side collided with their two-wheeler.

The injured were taken to the local civil hospital by the police.

It is reported that the ambulance involved in the accident was coming from Himachal Pradesh and was carrying a patient who was later sent to the PGI, Chandigarh, in another vehicle.


One held for kidnapping minor girl
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 24
A 25-year-old city youth was arrested today in a case of kidnapping of a minor girl. Ashok Kumar was arrested while he was making an attempt to elope with the girl from the local bus stand in this afternoon.

Police sources said Ashok Kumar had kidnapped a 16-year-old girl from Nuhan colony in thermal plant on November 14. Thereafter, Ashok Kumar took the girl to Uttar Pradesh and married her. The medical examination of the girl will be conducted tomorrow.


DAV, Arya mahila colleges lift folklore trophy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
B.B.K. DAV College, Amritsar, and Shanti Devi Arya Mahila College, Dinanagar, jointly bagged the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) Folklore Competition Trophy here today. Kamla Nehru College, Phagwara stood runners up while DAV College of Education, Amritsar come third.

These competitions were organised as a mark the 36th foundation day celebrations of the university at the Khalsa Heritage Centre. Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, inaugurated the exhibition.

In the exhibition, the students of various affiliated colleges displayed their rare artefacts like old utensils, ornaments, dresses, coins, weapons, jewellery, phulkaris, embroidery work, rare books, rare manuscripts and other rare articles showing the rich Punjabi cultural heritage.

An on the spot painting and photography competitions were also organised.

In coloured photography competition, Ashma Sethi of the BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, got the top slot. In black-white photography, Lobina Arora of the Khalsa College of Education, Amritsar, stood second. Cherry Wadhwa of the BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, was adjudged third in computer aided photography.

Ritu of the APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, was declared winners in painting (landscape) competition. Shikha of the BBK DAV for Women, Amritsar was declared runners up and Bindu of the APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar remained third.

Individual prizes winners of folklore competition:

Agriculture equipment- HMV College, Jalandhar, and the GRD College for Women, Phagwara. Embroidery- Rama Chopra Kanya Mahavidyala, Pathankot. Domestic articles — the SN College for Girls, Amritsar.


Website of Punjabi launched
Tribune News service

Patiala, November 24
Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, launched the website for online teaching of Punjabi at a function organised on the Punjabi University campus here yesterday.

The website has been developed in the Department of Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture, Punjabi University, Patiala. The website development team is led by Dr Gurpreet Singh Lehal, Director of the centre, who already has to his credit the first Punjabi word processor, Gurmukhi OCR and Gurmukhi to Shahmukhi (urdu) Transliteration software.

According to Mr S.S.Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, the website, which took more than four years to complete, had been developed to meet the long-standing demand of Punjabis settled aboard and will be a big boon for the younger generation who will enjoy learning Punjabi sitting at home. The website includes a pictorial pronunciation, Punjabi word building, Punjabi numbers, etc. The website also includes a pictorial vocabulary of more than two thousand words that are organised into seventy-three related topics such as animals, birds, colours, fruits and the days of the week with pronunciation.

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