L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Boy kidnapped, murdered
Killer arrested while trying to flee
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Distraught at the breaking of an illicit relationship with a woman, a paan-seller allegedly kidnapped and murdered her 10-year-old boy in Shimla Puri last night to teach the woman a lesson for turning away from him.

Santokh Kumar, a middle-aged man belonging to Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh and settled in Dr Ambedkar Colony here for over a decade, was arrested this afternoon when he was trying to flee the city after committing the gory murder of the boy, Amit Kumar.

Though agitated at the change of the woman’s mind who was his paramour for almost 8 years, the accused kept his cool in kidnapping the boy yesterday morning and then mercilessly slit his throat open in a vacant plot near Sidhwan Canal in Shimla Puri area last night.

The accused was undeterred by that fact that the boy used to address the man as ‘chacha’ and had joyously spent the day with him watching a movie, eating out unmindful that he had been kidnapped and would meet a ghastly death at the hands of his uncle, who was even listed as the family’s close friend in his school.

Amit’s body with the throat slit wide open was found from near Sidhwan Canal in Shimla Puri today morning. He was wearing his neat school uniform. A student of class-I in Prem Model School, Amit had gone missing yesterday morning. Much to the dismay of his parents his body was spotted by some passers-by this morning.

Early identification of the body and his mother’s statement pointed the suspicion toward the accused who was arrested in a timely raid at his house. The police had already recovered a barber’s knife and two blood-stained gloves from near the canal site where the body was recovered.

SP-Detective Gurpreet Singh told reporters that Santokh and the boy’s mother Asha Rani had a roaring illicit relationship for almost 8 years. Even , Raj Kumar, father of the boy was aware of it. Devastated by the death of his son, the man told the police that he did not leave his wife all these years keeping the future of his child in mind.

“Now, because of the same relationship, the child has lost his life” the man said.

The police said Asha Rani was at one time so much madly in love with Santokh that she had set herself on fire when her husband stopped her from seeing Santokh. She had suffered serious burn injuries.

Two days ago, Santokh and Asha had quarrelled in full public view in a market of the colony. Santokh was angry at her for ignoring him. Asha had allegedly beaten him with slippers in the market only.

Yesterday morning, he went to the school and took Amit away before he had entered the school premises. He had already bought a pair of gloves and a barber’s knife to do the job.



7 get RI in contract killing case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr S P Bangarh, has sentenced seven persons to rigorous life imprisonment in a three-year-old contract killing case of Satnam Singh, resident of Panj Peer Road, Haibowal Khurd. They have been directed to pay fine of Rs 2000 each. Out of them three accused are real brothers.

The convicts are Jugraj Singh (47), his brothers Bahal Singh (50), Ranjit Singh alias Jita(35) of Partap Singh Wala village, Ludhiana, Jagga Singh (62), Charanjit Singh (27), both residents of Rodey village, near Bagha Purana, and Surjit Singh (30) of Dharmkot village, Moga.

Delivering the 75-page judgement, Mr Bangarh held that the prosecution had successfully proved beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt that, “the accused Charanjit Singh alias Channa and Surjit Singh actually committed the murder for a consideration of Rs 3 lakh and the remaining accused were involved in hatching the conspiracy to eliminate Satnam Singh for professional jealousy’’.

The accused who had actually committed the murder were also sentenced to undergo two years imprisonment under Section 25 of the Arms Act, as the police had recovered unlicensed country made pistols, which had been used in the commission of the offence.

An FIR under Section 302 and 120-B of IPC was registered in this case on November 10, 2002 following the statement of Balwinder Kaur, mother of the deceased. The complainant had submitted to the police that originally they belonged to Gholia Khurd village, Moga. About ten years back, they had shifted to Ludhiana.

Thereafter, Satnam Singh had started doing work of “earth filling” with accused Jugraj Singh, who was her nephew. Five years back from the day of the occurrence, they had separated their work because Jugraj and their brothers had caused injuries to her son.

The mother of deceased submitted in the witness box that on November 9, 2002, her son received a call on his cell phone and the caller was saying that he wanted to meet him in connection with the earth filling work. Next morning two persons knocked their door at 5 a.m. When she peeped out through the window, two persons were standing outside. On enquiry they told that yesterday night they had talked to her son for earth filling work. Then she opened the door and those persons had tea at their home.

Thereafter, they asked their son to accompany them for seeing the plot where the earth was to be filled. When her son went outside, she heard fire shots. Immediately she rushed outside and the assailants ran away in a jeep, in which other accused were also sitting leaving her son dead.

However, the accused pleaded guilty and claimed false implication. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found them guilty and sentenced them accordingly.



Fire destroys hosiery machinery, yarn worth crores
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
High value hosiery machinery and polyester yarn worth crores of rupees was gutted in a devastating fire that broke out in a local councillor’s multi-storeyed hosiery in New Madho Puri in the small hours today.

The impact of the fire was so much that as many as 35 imported knitting machines worth Rs 40 to 50 lakh each, fixed at various floors of the building, were melted besides raw material worth crores that was stored two days ago in the unit was reduced to ashes.

When the fire broke out at around 12:30 a.m, a worker rushed to the house of Mr Rajesh Jain, the councillor. He reached the spot at once and tried to douse fire by using fire fighting equipment installed in the unit. Soon the fire also spread till the fifth floor and reduced everything to ashes. Mr Jain also called up the fire officials who reached the spot soon.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Mr R.K. Sharma, Chief Fire Officer, said that it took them around five hours to control it. He added that as the yarn is a petroleum product, it was catching fire very soon.

Moreover, the holes in the roof of every floor that were used for moving material from one floor to another caused the fire to spread easily. Otherwise, it could have been contained earlier. It took 10 fire engines for the fire to be doused. Fire workers continued to be posted at the spot even after it was controlled to avoid any more loss.

Mr Sharma said that the owner had suffered a major setback as he had purchased raw material worth crores two days ago only and it was lying in the basement. He also had state-of-the-art machinery that he had imported some time ago but most of the machines were either damaged with fire or with water that was used to put off fire.

He added that they had to risk their life by not allowing the fire to reach other units in the neighbourhood. Being a congested area, the hosieries are located in very closed vicinity with each other.

Mr Jain said that he was ruined as he had not even got his unit insured. He said the cause of fire was short circuit.



Candidates get show-cause notices
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 17
Taking strong note of a report published in these columns on Thursday, about the defacement of the Judicial Complex and Lawyers Chambers Complex by several contestants of the annual DBA elections by pasting of election-related posters and bannners, the returning officer had issued show-cause notices to several candidates, asking why their nomination papers should not be rejected.

The notices sent to these candidates said they had indulged in defacing the Lawyers Chambers Complex and other property by sticking posters, which amounted to a clear-cut violation of the code of conduct. These candidates were asked to explain why their nominations papers should not be rejected. They were instructed to remove the posters within 24 hours.

“Some candidates are openly flouting the code of conduct. In view of the adverse “media reports” and objections raised by members of the Bar, all papers posters and banners are being removed with help of sweepers deputed on each floor. Contestants are again warned not to paste posters or banners on walls, failing which strict action will be taken, which may result in disqualification of candidates”, said a fresh notice.



Patwari held on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The Ludhiana vigilance bureau today arrested a patwari posted at Sidhwan Bet for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 14,000 from a resident of Sangatpura village for the mutation of a piece of land.

A vigilance team nabbed the accused, Nirmal Singh, red-handed while accepting the bribe.

The complainant, Mr Satwant Singh, had said the patwari had sought Rs 40,000 from him for the mutation of a piece of land and the deal was struck for Rs 14,000.

The accused was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Sources said vigilance was investigating if his assets were disproportionate to his known sources of income.



Employees asked to oppose privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
The Coordination Committee of Para-Medical and Health Employees, Punjab, has asked the employees of the Health Department to gear up against the threat of privatisation, looming large on their heads, and to prepare for a concerted and decisive struggle against the detrimental government policies.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Mahan Singh, state chairman, Mr Nirmal Singh Gill, convener, Mr Bhajan Singh, co-convener and Mr Amarjit Singh, chairman, of the organising committee of the body, said here yesterday that the fifth state-level delegate session of the Coordination Committee, being held here on December 18 and 19, would discuss the issue in detail and chalk out a strategy to combat the government policy on the Health Department, along with some other key departments.

The activists of the committee were here to take stock of the preparations for the state convention. They said in the prevailing scenario when the government was hell bent to hand over the health services to the private sector, the delegate session had assumed a greater importance. In pursuing the policy of privatisation of the health services, the state government was not only shirking its constitutional and social responsibility, but also taking the health services out of the reach of economically weaker sections.

Mr Mahan Singh and other functionaries of the Coordination Committee claimed that once the health services were privatised, more than 80 per cent of the population would not be able to afford primary health care and only the affluent section would have access to the expensive medical treatment. Not only this, the health staff would be retrenched and the security of service for the employees of the Health Department would become a thing of the past.

The committee maintained that the experiment of handing over health infrastructure to the Punjab Health Systems Corporation in 1994 had miserably failed. The government had taken a World Bank loan for the improvement of the 117 government hospitals but the funds were apparently misappropriated and the government hospitals remained in a pathetic condition.

The Coordination Committee leaders alleged that unmindful of the vociferous opposition by the employees, the government was continuing with its policies of slashing the allocation for health, making contractual recruitment, abolishing posts, denying promotions to employees and indiscriminate transfers of employees.

They said more than 300 delegates were expected to attend the session and deliberate on government policies so that a comprehensive plan of agitation could be evolved and put into action to seek justice for the para-medical and health staff in the state.



Pensioners Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
“Pension is now a right and its payment does not depend on the discretion of the government, but is governed by rules”. Pensioners Day celebrated on this day, is a tribute to the historic judgement delivered on December 17, 1982, by a Bench of five judges, headed by the then Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud in the D.S. Nakra versus Union of India case.

Pensioners and family pensioners of Ludhiana district celebrated the 23rd Pensioners Day at Pensioners Bhavan, Mini-Secretariat here today. About 500 pensioners and family pensioners participated in the function.

Twelve octogenarians pensioners were honoured with shawls, mementoes and citations. A two-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to pensioners who had died in the past one year.



Garcha charges Gabria with incompetence
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The crisis in the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal deepened today, with former minister and Kila Raipur MLA, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, accusing the district unit president, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, of incompetence. Mr Garcha levelled several allegations against Mr Gabria at a press conference.

While there were subdued murmurs against each other between the two groups, it was for the first time that Mr Garcha had come out in the open against Mr Gabria. The immediate provocation for Mr Garcha appeared the defeat of the two of their three candidates who contested in the local gurdwara managing committee elections.

Mr Garcha is aligned to the group led by the SGPC president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar. Other prominent leaders in the group include the local MP, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, and the Punjab Public Service Commission member, Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla.



A maths wiz at 9
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 17
For anyone of his age, complex mathematical calculations should be the last thing to come to mind. But for nine-year-old Gurkirat calculations appear to be a favourite past time. He enjoys calculations the most.

While children of his age would play word building, he plays calculations. He is already proficient in calculations at this tender age. Give him a set of two or four digit numbers and ask him to add, subtract or multiply these.

By the time you complete your question, he comes out with the correct answer.

A third standard student of BCM Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, here, Gurkirat’s mental ability improved after he joined Abacus classes in December 2004.

According to his Abacus teacher, Ms Rashmi Taneja, the brain skills developed tremendously with the help of Abacus — a Chinese tool. There are six levels in Abacus basics course and Gurkirat has successfully crossed the first four levels.

Ms Taneja said that concentration, memory, listening ability, retention, speed and accuracy were the key factors that improved ability performances.

Gurkirat said that practice was needed to master the art of calculations. “I attend classes for two hours once a week. However, 20 minutes daily practice was must to attain proficiency. My father encourages and supports me a lot. I want to become the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana”, said Gurkirat in an innocent manner.

Giving details about this art, Gurkirat said that Abacus was a Malaysian concept, which was introduced in India at Chennai by four housewives. “I know this much background. I am happy that these calculations have helped me in reducing my study hours. The work, which I used to finish in three-four hours, gets finished in an hour or so now”, said Gurkirat.



March against WTO conference
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Hundreds of activists of the Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JPMO) today took out a protest march from the railway station to the Aarti Chowk under the leadership of former legislator Tarsem Jodhan.

The march was organised against the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is being held in Hong Kong.

The protesters carrying torches, placards and red banners raised slogans against the WTO, World Imperialism i.e. the USA and the European Union. The agitators marched passed through the Clock Tower, Bhadur House, Domoria Pul, Fountain Chowk and Ghumar Mandi.

A large number of women workers belonging to the Kamkaaji Mahila Workers Union also participated in the march.

Addressing the rally, Tarsem Jodhan said the Central Government after adopting new economic and industrial policies since 1991 was now surrendering before the world imperialist powers. He further added that the government was working on the dictates of the USA through the WTO, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

During this period more than 10 lakh industrial units had been closed. The agriculture sector was in crisis. As a result lakhs of people had lost their jobs. Poor people had been deprived of the basic amenities like education, health services, water etc, he pointed out.

He also called upon the people to build a mass movement against the UPA government and its predecessor NDA government.

Prominent among others who led the rally were Mr Shinder Singh, Mr Hukamraj Singh, Mr Parkash Singh and Mr Bagga Singh.


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