L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man held for raping daughter, killing aunt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
A joint operation by the city police and a police team of Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh has led to the arrest of an alleged gruesome murderer, who had been sexually exploiting his teenage daughter and had murdered his aunt for daring to stop the relationship.

The man, identified as Mohd Ikram of Sarangpur Usar village in Ambedkar Nagar district had fled his village after committing the crime in January 2002. The UP police was on his trail since then. He had chosen Ludhiana as his hiding place hoping he would mingle easily with the migrant labour population of the city.

He succeeded for almost four years till now when he was nabbed by the joint police teams. SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh said the CIA-I wing of the city police and a UP police team led by Inspector Saroyi Ram Saroj had to literally comb several congested labour colonies for tracing the accused.

The police said the man was wanted in one of the most shocking case of incest in UP. According to the FIR lodged in Ambedkar Nagar on January 9, 2002, the man had allegedly raped his teenage daughter and later used to force her. The girl was a silent victim of his brutality from the age of 12 years to 15 years.

Her aunt Fabina raised hue and cry when she got to know about the girl's fate. She then married her off within days. The accused was allegedly so enraged with the aunt that he killed her by slitting her throat.

The SP said the man kept shifting his dwelling regularly to escape the arrest. After his arrest, he was questioned for involvement in some rape cases of minors. The police has not disclosed the outcome of the investigation. The accused was handed over to the UP police which took him on production warrant.

The SP, meanwhile, said the case once again exemplified how criminals from UP, Bihar and other states were committing crime in their respective areas and conveniently hiding here. Just a few days earlier the police had nabbed five kidnappers, who had lifted a minor girl from Gurgaon and had hid here in the city.



Use of loudspeakers at night banned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Complying with the orders of the Supreme Court, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today banned the use of loudspeakers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in the district.

Passing orders under Section 144 of the CrPC to check noise pollution, Mr Verma directed that the noise level at the boundary of a public place where a loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source was being used, should not exceed 10dB(A) above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75dB(A), whichever was lower, and no one should beat a drum or a tom-tom or blow a trumpet or any instrument or use any sound amplifier between 10 pm and 6 am except in public emergencies.

Mr Verma also directed that the peripheral noise level of a privately owned sound system should not exceed by more than 5dB (A) than the ambient air quality standard specified for the area in which it was used at the boundary of the private place and there should be no bursting of sound-emitting firecrackers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in the district.

These restrictions would not apply on bursting of colour or light emitting firecrackers. No horn should be allowed to be used at night in residential areas. In case of any violation, the sound instrument making such a noise would be confiscated. This order would remain in force from today till January 31.

Mr Verma directed general secretaries of Sutlej Club and Lodhi Club to advance the timings of the New Year functions to be held on December 31 and January 1 as per this order.



City ‘astrologers’ make hay
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, December 30
Solution of the most difficult problems through yantra, mantra and tantra, claims the headline of a pamphlet issued by a self-proclaimed astrologer. The pamphlet urges the reader not to waste time by running after tantriks, maulvis and babas for the solution of various problems relating to job, business, transfer, domestic tussle, mental stress, physical ailments, sexually transmitted diseases, study plans, court case, fear of adversaries, non-fulfilment of wishes, ill-effects of witchcraft, marital discord, failure in love and hypnotism.

The astrologer goes on to assure readers that all problems are solved through a special “ishat-sadhna” of the “Mother”. In the end, the pamphlet makes a free offer: you can get only one question answered by the astrologer by sending a self-addressed postcard along with your date and place of birth.

Another similar pamphlet, issued by another city-based “jyotish kendra” claims that planets speak the truth, but due to wrong interpretations by some astrologers, people have lost faith in astrology. The handbill then assures the reader that labour will be charged only after delivery, making no mention of fees. Then follows the mention of hand-reading, face-reading, horoscope, snap-reading, specialists and solutions to all life problems.

The astrologer guarantees that a solution to every problem is obtained through a 72-hour-long “ishat-siddhi” without fail. The astrologer is available from 9 am to 6 pm, but one has to have an appointment to see him.

Yet another astrologer, again through a pamphlet, claims to do the same “ishat-siddhi” in 48 hours. He goes on to add that apart from selling precious and semi-precious stones, he also gives medicine to cure infertility among women. All services offered by the astrologer are “guaranteed”.

With the new year drawing near, so-called astrologers and tantriks of the city are busy wooing the gullible and the superstitious through these pamphlets. These either come along with the newspaper or are thrust into one’s hand by boys on busy roads.

These astrologers and tantriks are great favourites with women, who are anxious about the careers of their children and the businesses of their husbands. There is no dearth of women seeking revenge on their neighbours as well as relatives. Some of the “remedies” suggested by these astrologers and tantriks are bizarre or hilarious.

The city has witnessed cases where some childless women have been told by “tantriks” to sacrifice a male child to propitiate an unknown deity. Though the perpetrators of the crimes have been booked in these cases, the “tantriks” suggesting the same have gone scot-free.

The police, instead of curbing the activities of such “tantriks”, has been encouraging them. A “tantrik”, who is running a flourishing business in Focal Point, has been allegedly paying “monthly” to the police for carrying on his questionable activities.



Senior citizens alone in times of celebrations
Shivani Bhakoo and Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 30
Its celebrations time all over but here at Senior Citizens Home, be it New Year, Christmas or Divali the celebrations mean nothing to the abandoned ones staying here.

Having no regrets against their loved ones, who forced them to live a solitude life, the 28 inmates here blame their stars for this loneliness. The senior citizens in the evening of their lives feel that the New Year will bring nothing new to them.

"The celebrations are meant for lucky ones. As far as we are concerned, life means a struggle," said an octogenarian inmate, who did not wish to be quoted.

Mr A.P. Barnabas, 81, who served at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, for more than 25 years, says he has three children, two of them are in the USA and one daughter is serving at CMC. "They love and care for me a lot. They have their own families and the house in which they live is too small. I do not want to be a burden on them. They are too busy to visit frequently, but once or twice a week, I visit them. I will be going to wish them on New Year. Language is the major problem here. Basically from Karnataka, I am unable to understand Hindi or Punjabi", said Mr Barnabas, who came here six months back.

As she could not get peace of mind at home, Ms Sunita Anand, 61, left her home four years back. "My husband, son, daughter-in-law are well settled here. And I have no grudges against anyone. I landed here because of my destiny. The New Year or any other celebrations are meant for youngsters, for us it is just another day," she said.

The home has a total of 28 inmates, six females and 22 males. Except for a few, everyone here wants to be alone. They believe that they have to face the reality and no body is going to take them out of their troubles and worries.

"Why should we share anything with you. Will this serve any purpose? Ups and downs are there for everyone. We have seen good days and now it is our turn to face sorrows, so why complaining? Both my daughters are very pretty and are well-settled. They meet me regularly. After spending two and a half months with my daughter, I have come to my home again (the old age home)", said Ms Kanwaljit Dua.

Ms Seema Arora, 62, came here two years back as her husband married another woman. "I have got two married daughters and a son, still I will be alone in the New Year. My husband stays with his second wife at Pinjore but he regularly sends me money. Both my daughters are married here but they do not care. My son, 24, is working in Jalandhar. He has assured me to take home once he gets married. I wish New Year will bring happiness", said Ms Arora while tears rolled down her cheeks.



‘Orphan’ girl sent to lunatic asylum 
Our Correspondent


Amloh, December 30
The 22-year-old mentally challenged girl was yesterday sent to the mental hospital in Amritsar after all efforts of the local administration and an NGO to trace her family proved futile.

According to the information, Mr Dharamveer Goel, president of the Manav Bhilai Manch, noticed a girl at Gobindgarh bus stand here on December 19. The girl was alone and shivering with cold. Mr Goel informed the SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans.

She failed to respond to the questions put to her by officials and simply told her name as Kamla. She also mentioned another name Seeta, reportedly her brother who had beaten her up as she carried some injury marks. She was later taken to the local Shiv Mandir where she stayed for about one week.

She was later admitted to Rajindera Hospital in Patiala from where she was sent to the Lunatic Asylum in Amritsar.



Youngsters celebrate 100th birthday of ‘Grandma’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
In an age when youngsters are not caring much for elders in the family, at least 200 members of an extended family of an 100-year-old woman of Jagraon today set up an example for others to follow by celebrating her birthday in a gala fashion at an eatery here today.

Ms Basant Kaur, who hailed from Mansa and had settled in Jagraon, was all smiles at the love and care showered on her by her family members.

‘‘We cannot count all the family members, but a rough estimate makes the figure of about 250 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren’’ said Mr Balkrishan, her 35-year-old grandson.



Another VDIS sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
The Taxation Bar Association (TBA) has asked the Union Government to introduce another Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) with a reasonable tax rate of not more than 20 per cent before the proposed new income tax regime is given effect. Such a scheme will bring in a huge amount of undisclosed income for business and other development activities in the national economy.

Addressing a general house meeting of the association here today, TBA president Ashok Juneja, general secretary Ajay Pal Singh and study circle convener B.R. Kaushal remarked that the VDIS at this particular juncture, when the economy was looking up, could give a big boost to trade and industrial production and create more employment opportunities. The undisclosed income would be put to use for productive purpose rather than being withheld unutilised.

The TBA functionaries further said the last VDIS was brought in more than eight years back and it had yielded over Rs 10,000 crore by way of income tax alone. In addition, the undisclosed income which came into circulation not only provided a big thrust to business and industry, but also made an enormous contribution to the government exchequer through indirect taxes such as sales tax, central sales tax and excise duty.

Mr S.L. Sabharwal, former Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, focused on different provisions of the Income Tax Act relating to assessment and reassessment. He maintained that the apex court had settled the issue by ruling that no notice of reopening decided cases could be issued unless the assessing officer had reasons to believe that a part of the income had escaped the assessment.



Recall 2005
A civic body for VIPs only
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation earned the dubious distinction of a civic body catering to the needs of VIPs alone in 2005.
It remained a disappointing year for the residents as far as the MC was concerned. The work on elevated road and flyovers could not be completed, garbage disposal system remained poor, office-bearers of park management committees (PMCs) remained at loggerheads with the authorities over the maintenance of parks and certain works were completed to suit the needs of VIPs.

The MC started the current financial year on a positive note and inculcated hope among city residents by passing a Rs 354-crore budget for the city, but not much development could be witnessed.

The water treatment plant installed under the Sutlej Action Plan failed to start functioning during this year, with the Buddha Nullah continuing to be the most polluted water body, posing a threat to thousands of city residents depending on underground water for drinking purposes.

Unabated violations of building bylaws and failure of the MC to clear encroachments earned brickbats for the civic body. Though following the directions of the high court, the MC authorities swung into action to clear the encroachments, the drive remained fruitless.

The civic body was accused of sparing the rich and influential and razing the structures of the poor. The issue of regularising encroachments of some rich businessmen rocked the Mc’s general house during the start of the year.

The problems of bad roads, water shortage, non-functional streetlights and overflowing sewerage continued to stare the MC in the face. It was only during the later part of the year that the residents of Sarabha Nagar and BRS Nagar had a reprieve from bad roads. The hike in charges of water supply and sewerage left a bad taste in the mouth for city residents.

The spread of gastroenteritis, jaundice and diarrhoea allegedly due to contaminated water supply took the city by storm. While many residents suffered and some died, the MC and the Health Department indulged in passing the buck and in operation cover-up.

Recarpeting of roads overnight, either for the wedding of a VIP’s son or for the bhog ceremony of a VIP’s father, invited criticism for the local body. Residents accused the authorities of working to fulfilling the needs of politicians and influential persons.

The year witnessed a long-drawn battle between the MC and PMCs. The Punjab State Human Rights Commission had directed the civic body to maintain the parks and clear the dues of PMCs, but office-bearers of PMCs remained unhappy with the treatment meted out to them.

During the later part of the year, the MC authorities announced the construction of two flyovers to ease out traffic congestion on the city roads. Whether those would see the light of the day remained to be seen, but the announcement brought cheers. 



City residents prefer fruit juice
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
About 80 per cent of the city residents like fruit juices to other soft drinks. A study conducted jointly by Suruchi Soni and Preetinder Kaur, MBA students of the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), under the guidance of Mr Gautam Bansal, reveals that orange juice topped in the liking list of city residents while mango juice remained the second most preferred one. Apple, guava and strawberry juices were least preferred by the respondents.

In their study, the students found that 24 per cent of the respondents liked packed form of juices while 34 per cent purchased unpacked juices from shops. Rest 42 per cent of the respondents liked both unpacked and packed form of juices.

Around 60 per cent of the respondents felt that unpacked form of juices was less hygienic than the packed one and 40 per cent say that unpacked form was much better.

Sixty per cent of the respondents purchased juices after seeing the product's advertisement on television while eight per cent purchased after reading advertisements in newspapers. Freshness and taste remained two most important factors influencing the respondent's choice. Very few percentage was concerned about the nutrition value or the brand of juice.



Man dies due to cold

Khanna, December 30
A middle-aged man died due to cold in the Narotam Nagar market here last night. The body was found by a passerby, who informed the police.
According to residents, the deceased was a beggar. The body was kept at the Civil Hospital by the police for identification. — OC



House razed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
A demolition squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today razed a structure allegedly constructed in violation of building bylaws in Sarabha Nagar here.
The squad demolished the house of Mr Upinder Raj Bawa. Earlier the team demolished an encroachment on a road in Maharaj Nagar. 



One held in hit-and-run case
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 30
Vijay Kumar, son of Babu Ram of Kot Gurbax Singh of Amritsar district, was arrested by the Raikot police in a case registered under Sections 304 and 279 of the IPC. He was today produced before Mr Gopal Arora, JMTC, who remanded him to judicial custody.

According to the information, the accused hit a cyclist, who later died, with the vehicle he was driving near Noorpur. He had fled the scene.

Seized: The Raikot police on a tip-off raided the premises of Jinder Singh Patti Gill Bassian and seized 80 kg of lahan. The accused, however, managed to flee. A case has been registered.

Stolen: The Sidhwanbet police on the complaint of an assistant xen has registered a case under Sections 457 and 511 of the IPC. According to the information, Rajinder Singh, Head Cashier, when came to the office found cash chest stolen. The same was later found lying broken at a distance. No loss is reported.


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