P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sikh clergy’s edict on boycotting Mann, 5 others
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 2
In an unprecedented directive, pronounced shortly after a clash on the concluding function of quadricentennial celebration of the foundation of Akal Takht, the five Sikh high priests have urged the Sikh sangat not to allow SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, an SGPC member, Youth Akali Dal president and three other leaders of his party from speaking at any Panthic platform.

Interestingly, SAD (A) senior vice-president Daljit Singh Bittu, has been spared despite him being present at the time of the clash.

The others who have been indicted for “insulting Guru Granth Sahib” and indulging in the clash as part of a “deep-rooted conspiracy” were SAD (A) general secretaries Bhai Ram Singh and Gurjatinder Singh Bhikhiwind, Youth Akali Dal president Barinder Singh Mann, Baldev Singh Sirsa and SGPC member Harcharn Singh Burj.

The Sikh clergy also directed not to extend any support to those indicted.

It is perhaps for the first time in the 400-year-old history of Akal Takht that such harsh suo motu action has been taken after convention of an emergency meeting.

The action has apparently been taken in the light of statements made by Parkash Singh Badal and Avtar Singh, presidents of the SAD and the SGPC, respectively, shortly before the meeting of jathedars.

The directive is viewed as a “step short of excommunication” without adopting complete procedure.

Both Mr Badal and Avtar Singh had already announced that Mr Mann won’t be allowed to participate in such functions in future.

However, SAD (Longowal) president Prem Singh Chandumajra described the directive of jathedars “hasty” and urged them not to play “partisan role”. He said Akal Takht belonged to entire Sikh Panth.

Meanwhile, Mr Mann has decided to convene a meeting of all Panthic organisations shortly to take stock of the situation arising out of the pronouncement of the directive.

No poll alliance with BSP, declares Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 2
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has made it clear that the Congress will not have any kind of poll alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the forthcoming Assembly poll in Punjab.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said his party was ready for elections, but would not prefer to go to the polls prior to the scheduled time. “We are ready. But why should we go to the polls earlier? It is a different matter if the Election Commission wants to prepone them,” the CM said.

Denying that he had held any meeting with the BSP chief, Ms Mayawati, during her two-day visit to the city which concluded today, he retorted: “Everybody knows the political standing of Ms Mayawati in Punjab. Our vote bank among Dalits has increased manifold. So the question does not arise about any alliance with the BSP and we have no intention for that kind of an arrangement.”

Ms Mayawati had asserted yesterday that her party was in no mood for a poll alliance with any party in Punjab. Now, since the Chief Minister has also adopted a similar posture, it has become clear that at least the BSP and the Congress would not go to the Assembly polls jointly.

Referring to the alleged leakage of PMT question papers of Baba Farid University, the Chief Minister said as many as five persons had been arrested. Question papers had also been seized from them. The accused had demanded Rs 18 lakh from each student as its price, the CM said.

“Actually, the VC of the university had received an e-mail about the leakage well in advance and thereafter, he had informed the police, which arrested the accused. Meanwhile, the university authorities had an alternative question paper which was given to the students. Chandigarh SSP Gaurav Yadav is investigating the matter. We will not let people involved in the scam go scot-free,” he said.

Talking about the expulsion of Mr Malkit Singh Birmi from the party, he said: “I am personally fond of Mr Birmi. But discipline is a separate thing and it has to be maintained. I have said nothing against PPCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo. In the case of Mr Jagmeet Brar, I have already given my opinion to the party high command.”

He said the Public Relations Department would get more funds to meet its necessities. “It has demanded Rs 20 crore. It does not mean that we will give them that amount. But I agree that the department has only got the minimum support so far.”

As many as 12 districts were operating without DPROs and 40 out of 60 of its cars had been condemned,” he said, adding that the government would also consider providing group insurance cover for newsmen.


Chief poll officer reviews rolls
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 2
The Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Mr Sundram Krishna, at a meeting with the District Election Officer and Electoral Registration Officers of this district here yesterday reviewed the process of revision of electoral rolls.

Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, and officers concerned were present at the meeting.

Stressing the need for clean rolls, Mr Krishna asked the officers to cross check the voter lists before the final publication. He said the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr N. Gopalaswami, would visit Punjab shortly to review the process of revision of rolls.


White paper sought on foeticide cases in state
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 2
The Protection of Human Rights Dal, Punjab, today asked the Punjab Government to issue a white paper on the incidents of female foeticide in the state.

Talking to The Tribune here today, body president Harmohan Singh Sakrali said the incidents of female foeticide were on the rise in the state, as a result of which sex ratio of girls (up to six years) had been seeing a rapid downswing in the state.

He also said the state government should expose those involved in foeticide and register criminal cases against them so that the practice could be stopped.

Mr Sakrali also asked the state government to release a document on custodial deaths that had occurred in the state during the past 10 years, to aware people of the atrocities committed on innocent civilians by men in uniform.

He said the recent custodial death in Ferozepore was a matter of grave concern and shame for all Punjabis.

He asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to issue guidelines to the police so that no custodial death occurred in the future.

Mr Sakrali also asked the government to issue directions to district police and civil officers to display plates bearing names of Information Officers, appointed under the Right to Information Act, in front of their offices so that people could approach them to get any information.

Mr Sakrali added that the state government had failed on various fronts, like removing corruption and unemployment.

He asked the government to provide jobs to unemployed persons before the imposition of model code of conduct for the forthcoming elections to the Punjab Assembly.


NRI family assaulted by Cong men near 
Amritsar airport

Amritsar, July 2
The district’s Congress youth wing president Navdeep Goldy and his accomplices today assaulted an NRI family near the Raja Sansi airport this morning.

Though the Amritsar SSP has confirmed the incident, he said the police could take an action only if the victimised family lodged a complaint.

The NRI victims, who had also alighted from the same flight in which Goldy was travelling, included Daljeet Singh, his son Parminder Singh and wife Kulwant Kaur, the police here said.

Goldy earlier roughed up the NRI family during an altercation at the airport customs counter and then called up his associates on phone and stopped the vehicle of the family and assaulted them.

According to eyewitnesses, Goldy had abused the three members of the family when the latter asked the Congressman to be in a cue for the customs checking.

While the cops had settled the dispute at the airport, the Congress leader and his associates stopped the NRI family on way to the city and beat them.

The victimised family, settled in England, left for their ancestral town Jagraon without lodging an FIR for being beaten up by the Congressman, the police said. — UNI


PPCC team to meet PM for Pak visa centre at Wagah
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 2
In its bid to make the visit of Sikhs and Punjabis to Pakistan a simpler, convenient and smooth affair, a group of senior leaders of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), led by party chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC chief Sonia Gandhi next week.

With an agenda to ensure and improve the “people-to-people contact” between the two countries at a greater level with the involvement of common people, the group would impress upon the Prime Minister to take up the issue with his Pakistani counterpart so that a Pakistani visa centre could be set up either at Wagah or Amritsar at the earliest.

The initiative, according to party insiders, was based on long-standing ambition and yearning of people of Punjab to pay a visit to Pakistan and to pay obeisance at Sikh and other shrines there.

Interestingly, the Pakistani Prime Minister has already assured a group of Sikhs during their recent visit to Pakistan in connection with the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev that the Pakistan Government was very liberal and would grant visa to all those Punjabis and Sikhs who wanted to visit shrines in Pakistan.

“Every Punjabi has been desiring to visit Pakistan at least once so that they could either touch the land of their ancestors or pay obeisance at the shrines there.

We are going to take up the issue with the PM and would not only apprise him of the sentiments of the people but would also urge to make some arrangements so that a solution could be hammered out. The least India can do is to make Pakistan agree set up a visa centre at Amritsar or Wagah,” said Mr Parminder Singh, general secretary of the PPCC.

He indicated that apart from him and Mr Dullo, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was also likely to accompany the PPCC group of leaders.


Once a major trade centre, Jajon is jinxed today
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

The old palatial houses that were once the glory of Jajon lie in ruins.
The old palatial houses that were once the glory of Jajon lie in ruins. — Photo by writer

Jajon (Hoshiarpur), July 2
It is the forbidden city that is a living illustration of how changing trade routes decide the fate of an area. As a myth these days, nobody wants to take its name in the morning as it is considered inauspicious. People fear that taking the name of the unlucky city would bring misfortune to them the whole day.

It is Jajon, one of the most flourishing trade centres of the hilly areas at one time. The ruins of the city located in a remote area of Hoshiarpur district illustrate the glory of the city in its hay days. Large multi-storey houses, well laid streets, a railway station and a planned market were its features that made it a flourishing trade centre. However, most of the glorious houses of their times are in ruins. The families that occupied them once have migrated to other areas.

The city is located on a hillock on the banks of a rivulet. Nobody in the area now remembers when the city was established. However, each resident can tell the nostalgic tales of how big a trade centre it was. They reveal that it was the last railway head and road link of the hilly areas of Punjab and old Himachal Pradesh.

The traders of the city were wholesalers. They used to supply cloth, food grains and other necessary items to hilly areas. The goods from the city were carried on horses and mules to as far as Manali. The traders from hill areas also used to flock the place for buying material. All people used to come to the city by train and go further on foot on animals to their houses deep in the hills. The trade brought prosperity to the city. Each house had its own well that in otherwise the water scarce area. The leading business families had large houses with guest rooms for the traders coming from the hilly areas on foot, where they were provided food and water. The biggest house that still exists in the city has about hundred rooms.

Due to the flourishing trade the city had a municipal council even before Partition. However, the changing transportation system, road links of the hilly areas slowly destroyed trade in the city. With roads links in the hilly areas improving the trade in the city declined sharply.

The traders had no option but to migrate to other developing cities. The city lost its glory. The trade and population in the city declined so much that in 1954 it was concerted into a panchayat instead of a municipal council. It also acquired the status of an inauspicious city from the most of the population that had to migrate.

The sarpanch of the village, Mr Om Dutt, said that all rich families of the old city had migrated. Only those who did not have enough resources to start business at new the place were now residing in the village. Today, the population of the city is meager 2000.

The former Secretary of Tourism, Ms Geetika Kalha, visited the village once. She intended to develop a rest house at the place for promoting tourism. However, it was yet come up. Today, even the old wells of the village had been rendered useless. The city could regain its glory if the government provided some industry in the surrounding areas, he said.


Anand for educating masses about human rights
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 2
Justice R.L. Anand, Chairman, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, today urged non-government organisations (NGOs) to play a pivotal role to educate people about their human rights and methods to protect them.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Punjab Writers and Cultural Forum on human rights here, Mr Anand said the media had been playing a significant role to bring human rights violations to the light apart from educating people about human rights.

He said the commission had been entertaining complaints relating to human rights violations in all shapes, including those received on a simple paper, sent telegraphically or by fax in all languages.

Justice Anand said the priority of the commission was to deal with cases pertaining to all types of human rights violation, but incidents like rape, death in police custody, inhuman treatment and below par behaviour attracted the maximum of attention.

Policemen, including constable and gazetted officers, were being given training to respect human rights.

Mr Rakesh Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, founder chairman of the forum and chairman of the PRTC, Mr H.S. Randhawa, DIG, Patiala Range, also addressed the seminar.


Rotary Club holds annual function

Patiala, July 2
The Patiala Rotary Club (RI District 3090) organised its annual function at a local hotel here on Friday.

Prominent among those who attended the function were Mr Yogesh Agarwal, Managing Director, State Bank of Patiala (SBoP), Rotary president Dr Ashok Gupta, Mr H.S Sidhu, Additional Secretary (Languages), and theatre activist Pran Sabharwal. — TNS


Man axes wife to death
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 2
A man axed his wife to death at Saili Kulian village, near here today. The investigating officer, Mr Sulakhan Singh, told The Tribune that Jivan, a resident of the village, was not keeping good terms with his wife, Usha.

He suspected that his wife had illicit relations. The couple used to have frequent quarrel. Yesterday Usha called her cousins, Virpal and Subhash Chander, from Jalandhar. Both tried to sort out differences between the couple.

At night while two children of the couple and guests were sleeping outside the house, Jivan allegedly took an axe and killed his wife. Her cousins rushed into the house, hearing her scream. However, before they could reach she had died.

They overpowered Jivan and handed him over to the police. The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.


2 killed, 24 hurt in bus-auto collision
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 2
Two devotees from Ludhiana returning after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple were killed in a road mishap when their autorickshaw collided with a roadways bus coming from Beas side near Tangra on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road here today.

The bus overturned after the head-on collision. According to information, the devotees belonging to Randhir Nagar, Ludhiana, had come to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple in a three-wheeler, in which 11 persons were travelling.

The deceased were identified as Anil Kumar and Gurcharan Singh who died on the spot. As many as 24 persons were injured in the incident.


2 killed, 14 hurt in accidents
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 2
Two persons were killed while 14 injured, two of them seriously, in two separate accidents in the district here today.

The two seriously injured were admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, while other injured persons were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

In the first mishap, a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-30L-7817) hit a tractor on the Ropar-Nangal road in the morning.

Madan Singh, resident of Kangra, who was travelling in the bus, died on the spot.

Dharampal of Delhi and Rajinder of Kangra, who sustained serious injuries, were admitted to the PGI. Other 12 persons who sustained injuries, were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case against both drivers of the bus and tractor.

In another accident, a truck driver Harvinder Singh of Ropar was killed when he was hit by another vehicle when he was alighting from the truck.


10 injured in two road accidents
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 2
As many as 10 persons were injured in two separate road accidents near the town today.

The damaged Maruti car which rolled down from the Rajpura-Amritsar highway near Rajpura on Sunday.
The damaged Maruti car which rolled down from the Rajpura-Amritsar highway near Rajpura on Sunday. Photo — J.S. Virdi

The first accident occurred when the axle of a Maruti car driven by Vinod, a resident of Ambala, broke down. The car first hit a road divider before plunging into a 15 feet ditch along the road. The other injured in the accident included Sneh, Vinod’s wife, Vandana, Honey, Anu, Megha, Money and Diksha. The family was on its way from Ludhiana to Ambala.

Police said Money and Vandana, who were injured seriously, have been shifted to the PGI in Chandigarh.

In another accident, Hazura Singh and his wife Bhupinder Kaur, who were riding a motorcycle, were injured when their vehicle was hit by a car on Rajpura-Chandigarh road.

They have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.


Liquor shop employee shot dead in robbery
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 2
Highway robbers shot dead an employee of a liquor shop at Mohi Kalan village, near here, and looted two liquor shops late last night.

Police officials inspect the murder site at a wine shop in Mohi Kalan village near Rajpura on Sunday.
Police officials inspect the murder site at a wine shop in Mohi Kalan village near Rajpura on Sunday. — Photo by J.S. Virdi

According to police sources, the robbers first broke into a liquor shop in Dharama village and decamped with cash amounting to Rs 1,200.After looting this shop, the robbers tried to loot another liquor shop at Mohi Kalan village.

However, a liquor shop employee, Manmohan Singh, resisted the bid to loot the shop. In the melee, the robbers, who were at least three in number, shot Manmohan in the stomach. He was also attacked by the assailants on the head by a sharp-edged weapon.

A profusely bleeding Manmohan was noticed by the liquor contractor, Mr Jagtar Singh, who went to the shop to collect cash around 6 a.m today. Manmohan was reportedly attacked around 2 a.m.

Manmohan died before he could be taken to the hospital. It is surprising that though Manmohan was attacked around 2 a.m. yet he could not be noticed by anyone till around 6 a.m.

A team, led by Mr Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, SP(Detective), reached the spot. A dog squad was also pressed into service to trace culprits.

Meanwhile, Mr Tejinder Singh, brother-in-law of deceased, said that this was the second death in the family in a span of almost one year. Manmohan’s 19-year-old son Goldy was reportedly poisoned to death by someone last year, Mr Tejinder Singh added. A case has been registered.


B.Ed aspirants sore as PU raises the bar for BCs
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 1
After a hike in qualifying marks for appearing in the joint entrance examination for admission to the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) course, the Panjab University (PU) authorities have changed the eligibility criterion for backward classes (BCs).

The PU authorities have decided to refund the prospectus-cum-application form fee of those BC candidates who have failed to obtain 50 per cent marks in the graduation or postgraduation examination though eligibility has been fixed at 45 per cent qualifying marks in the prospectus.

The PU authorities had earlier increased qualifying marks for general category candidates from 45 per cent to 50 per cent and for Scheduled Caste candidates from 40 per cent to 45 per cent.

Though no university official could be contacted, sources said the PU had taken the decision to increase qualifying marks for BC candidates as the Punjab Government had not given a relaxation of 5 per cent marks to BC candidates in its notification.

The change in eligibility criterion triggered resentment among BC students, with most of them alleging that they had spent thousands for getting coaching for the B.Ed entrance examination.

They added that after reading the initial notice, according to which they were eligible to appear in the examination, they had decided to opt out of other career options.

The sources said it was for the first time that the basic eligibility had been raised and Punjab was the only state where basic eligibility had been increased.

They said though a large number of B.Ed colleges had been opened in the state and the number of seats had been increasing, the Punjab Government had revised the basic eligibility criterion.

Mr Akita Sharma, running a coaching centre, asked the Punjab Government why it had increased the basic eligibility when basic eligibility was graduation with pass marks for competitions conducted by the UPSC.

A student of the BC category said she had paid the coaching centre fee, purchased books and spent time and energy in preparation, adding that the bus fare had exceeded the fee charged by the coaching centre.

Mr Chander Mohan Ruby, secretary of the Efforts For Justice, a body of law graduates, said the government had played foul with students and had been harassing students.


Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 2
The Principal of PMN College, Mr I.S. Tiwana, inaugurated the Regional Institute of Fashion Technology at Nand Market here on Sunday, according to the institute Principal, Ms Madhu Sharma.


Bansal is GM of NFL

Bathinda, July 2
Mr V.K. Bansal has taken over as General Manager of the Bathinda unit of National Fertilizers Limited (NFL).

Before his elevation to this post, he was working as Deputy General Manager (HR) at the Bathinda unit. Mr Bansal is an electrical engineering graduate from the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala. He joined the fertiliser unit in 1972. — TNS


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