P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vedanti to review edict against Mann, others
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 8
Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, today assured representatives of various Sikh organisations to hold an emergency meeting of the clergy to review the July 2 order , directing the Sangat not to allow Mr Simranjit Singh Mann , President Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and four other office bearers of his party to address any Panthic function.

After a meeting of one and half hours, held at the Akal Takht secretariat, here today, Jathedar Vedanti also promised to 'investigate' the role of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President , Mr Avtar Singh, President SGPC and Baba Nihal Singh Harianwela , chief of a Nihang faction ,in the July 2 clash.

The representatives of Sikh organisations questioned Jathedar Vedanti whether all the directives and edicts, issued by Akal Takht were accepted and implemented by the SGPC and SAD (Badal).

To meet any eventuality, the SGPC had made elaborate security arrangements by deploying heavy posse of its Task Force. The Shiromani Committee had also sealed its Information Office and no leader was allowed to use the office. So much so the SGPC's Task Force did not allow the armed Nihang Sikhs to enter the Golden Temple premises through Akal Takht secretariat gate . The Nihangs were asked to enter through the main gate only. The senior officials of SGPC ,including its Secretary Harbeant Singh, supervise the security arrangements.

Much to the chagrin of SGPC and SAD (Badal), all the Sikh organisations including SAD (Amritsar) have decided to participate in the function, proposed to be held on July 21 in connection with 400th anniversary of the foundation of Akal Takht.

Mr Calcutta has urged Jathedar Vedanti to frame a code of conduct to prohibit any political persons to address from religious stages. The leaders of Sikh organisations said that the proposed function on July 21 would be held as per Maryada.

They also submitted a four -page memorandum to Akal Takht Jathedar.


Pakistani MP urges opening of Hussaniwala border
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 8
The Pakistani MP from Kasur, Chowdhary Manzoor Ahmed, has urged residents of this border town to take up the case of opening up Hussaniwala border, with the Union government and include it in the agenda for the next round of bilateral talks between the two neighbors.

In a communiqué to Harpal Sinmgh Bhullar, president of International Bhai Mardana Society, who has been instrumental in the release of various Punjabi youths languishing in Pakistani jails, Chowdhary Manzoor said the residents of Kasur were striving hard for the opening up of the Hussaniwala-Kasur border, which was closed in the aftermath of the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Chowdhary Manzoor said another MP from Kasur, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, who was also Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister had assured full cooperation from the Pakistani side on the issue. Chowdhary Manzoor said the entire stretch of road from Lahore to Hussaniwala had been widened and land prices along both sides of the road had become exorbitant. He said with the opening of Kasur-Hussainiwala border for trade and transit, the residents of the border on both sides of the fence would benefit immensely .

The Hussainiwala-Kasur route was the lifeline of traders dealing in dry fruits, clothes, vegetables and fruits but after its closure in 1971, the booming trade disappeared, entrepreneurs got discouraged and investment became shy. Some of the traders shifted their base from Ferozepore to other places. Now, the resumption of dialogue between the two neighbours, had again sparked a ray of hope amid traders still based here that the border would open again and boost the economy of the entire Malwa belt.

Once a flourishing trade center, Ferozepore now lags way behind Amritsar, that has the Wagah border route for import and export between the two nations. This, despite the fact that Ferozepore has the shortest distance (11km) from the international border.

When contacted, Zora Singh Mann, MP, said he had raised this issue umpteen times in the Parliament. Mr Mann said earlier, too, the Ministry of External affairs had promised to look into the matter expeditiously for appropriate action. On earlier occasions, like Prime Minister Vajpyee's Lahore bus journey and the Agra summit had raised some hopes about the reopening of this border, but the subsequent Kargil conflict and the attack on the Indian Parliament eclipsed these dreams.


Ban on website promoting gender selection sought
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The fight against female foeticide has moved away from just keeping a check on the scanning machines of unscrupulous doctors. The latest challenge is through the Internet.

A US-based website is promising to tell the gender of the unborn child and even claims to provide a kit of specially formulated nutrients that can ensure the birth of a boy or a girl, as desired.

Fearing the worst for Punjab, where the skewed sex ratio is a matter of shame, the Punjab Government has not only informed the Government of India about the website, but also demanded that access to it from India should be stopped. The Health Department has also sought the intervention of the Union Ministry of External Affairs in taking action against the website.

Health officials in Punjab were informed about this website a few days ago and yesterday they decided to inform the Government of India.

It is a matter involving cyber crime and the Health Department here is helpless if any user anywhere in the country orders the promised kit through the Internet.

Interestingly, the hosts of the website probably realise the importance of the “illicit trade” that could be generated from India.

Sources in the health sector said another website in the USA is offering the “Baby Gender Mentor” test, which is a blood test designed to determine whether an expectant mother is carrying a boy or a girl.

It claims to detect the gender of a foetus five weeks after conception. People in Punjab have been sending samples through courier services to foreign countries. The rich can just go to the USA and get the procedure carried out.


Favouritism in engineering college admissions alleged
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 8
Resentment prevailed among parents over favouritism alleged to have taken place during the counseling for management seats at local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur (BBSB) Engineering College.

While talking to The Tribune at the college campus, they alleged admissions had not been made in a transparent manner. The names and ranking of selected candidates had not been listed but it had been announced that all management seats had been filled and the parents could leave.

They alleged that son of SGPC president along with local SAD (B) leaders were entertaining their favourites. Interestingly, Inderjit Singh Makkar, son of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, was present in place of his father along with other local SAD(B) leaders, Didar Singh Bhatti and Kirpal Singh Libra, to supervise the counseling. Parents alleged that he was seen giving directions to other management members as well as the Principal regarding admissions. They demanded that an enquiry be conducted by the Vice Chancellor of PTU in this regard.

BBSB is a premier institution of PTU and a heavy rush was witnessed for admissions to it. It has a total of 360 seats in different streams, out of which 120 are filled by the management.

Dr D.S.Hira, Principal of the college, said the management quota seats had been filled as per merit.

Meanwhile, Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (A) and Charn Singh Loharan, senior member, while talking to The Tribune took a strong exception to the presence of Inderjit Singh Makkar. They said that the SGPC was not a private company of Badal or Makkar.

They said Makkar and his son have been conducting interviews . They have no qualification but they have been conducting interviews for the Engineering candidates.

They said SGPC institutions were being run from the ‘golak of the Guru’ contributed by the ‘sangat’ but SAD (B) and SGPC leaders were looting the golak. They said everyone knew what the SGPC and SAD(B) leaders did at Guru Ram Dass Medical College, Amritsar. They said SGPC was going to take a loan of Rs 184 crore and that amount would be distributed among SAD (B) candidates during the coming elections.


Sukhi offered mountaineering training in Europe
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 8
Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi, the mountaineer who hogged the limelight by refusing to descend from Mount Everest after inclement weather came in the way of her dream of making it to the summit last year, may leave for Switzerland or Austria soon for a training course in mountaineering before making another attempt to scale the world’s highest peak.

Though Sukhi neither got a word of appreciation nor any financial aid from the state government, her gutsy endeavour is still etched in the memory of philanthropists across the world. One of them is Dr Kartar Lalvani, a London-based entrepreneur, who has extended a helping hand to her by promising to arrange for a mountaineering training course for her in Switzerland or Austria this winter. Dr Lalvani had extended this offer in June last year, but it somehow got delayed due to his busy schedule.

Sukhi has also received Rs 50,000 from him in appreciation of her feat of making it to 7,000 mt on Mount Everest without adequate training. He has also sent some vitamins and medicines for boosting the health of this spirited mountaineer from Muktsar.

In a communication sent to her, Dr Lalvani has showered praise on Sukhi for showing exemplary courage in her bid to surmount Mount Everest despite not being a trained mountaineer. He said he would facilitate the entire fee of over £ 20,000 for her training course and added that he was contacting Austrian and Swiss mountaineering schools for her admission.

Talking to The Tribune, Sukhi said: “I’m glad that people still remember me and want to help me realise my dream.” She said she was very much looking forward to make it to the top of Mount Everest this year and she had already chalked out her plan for it.


In chains for 18 years
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 8
A case of a mentally deranged young man living in shackles for the past many years has come to light.

At Dargabad village near here, live Mr Ajit Singh and Mrs Balbir Kaur, the unfortunate parents of Panna Singh, a life of agony and frustration.

They told the mediapersons yesterday that 18 years ago their son Panna Singh, an adolescent then, showed symptoms of depression which gradually changed into violent behaviour. Panna Singh was referred to the Mental Hospital, Amritsar, and remained under treatment there. Though given electric shocks, he showed no signs of improvement and was subsequently discharged.

The parents said they had spent all their money and even borrowed from all possible sources to meet the expenses, but to no avail. Left with no income and choice the parents were forced to tie their son in chains.

The hapless parents pray for some help from social, political institution or for the death of their dear son.


“Inactive” BJP men urged to join Jan Shakti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The newly-formed Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party of the expelled BJP leader, Ms Uma Bharati, yesterday celebrated the 106th anniversary of Dr SP Mukherjee in several districts of Punjab by launching tree plantation drives and visits to leprosy centres and hospitals.

According to a press note issued here today by Mr Satinder Singh, co-convener of Punjab State, the programmes were launched in Fazilka, Ferozepore, Sangrur, Chandigarh and Jalandhar.

Meanwhile, Mr Pawan Valecha, convener of the Punjab State unit, appealed to the "inactive" BJP workers, who were annoyed with the detachment of the party from such issues as Ram Janmabhoomi issue, Article 370 and introduction of the uniform civil code, to join the Jan Shakti.


2 more gastro deaths in Chhajli village
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 8
With two more deaths in the Chhajli village, near Sunam, last evening, the death toll, reportedly due to gastroenteritis, has risen to four in the past four days. As per information available, family members of the two persons, who died yesterday, claimed that they died due to vomiting and diarrhoea while the health authorities held old age as the reason for their death.

Gastroenteritis gripped two ‘bastis’ Roza Patti and Dhaliwal Patti in the village a few days ago, due to which a large number of persons had been suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea. Due to it, Gurdial Kaur (65) and Prabhjot Kaur (8) died on June 5. Harnek Singh (87) and Hari Singh (75) died last evening.

Dr Chhaju Ram Garg, SMO, Primary Health Centre, Kohrian, said doctors had treated about 50 patients for mild gastroenteritis in the OPD today while a similar number of patients had also been examined and treated the previous day at Chhajli village.

However, Dr Garg claimed that Harnek Singh and Hari Singh died due to old age and not gastroenteritis. He also said that these deceased had not come to them for treatment. He said the situation in the village was under control and doctors on duty were treating patients round-the-clock.

Dr Girdhari Lal Goyal, Director, Health and Family Welfare, today visited the village. Dr S.K. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, Dr Suresh Singla, Deputy Medical Commissioner, Sangrur, and Dr Suresh Goyal, Assistant Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, also visited the village today.


Plea to remove Health Minister
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 8
Patients and public joined doctors under the banner of the People for Right and Just to demand immediate removal of Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, holding him fully responsible for the mess created at AIIMS, which resulted in the death of two patients.

Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa, patron of the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association and chief coordinator of the People for Right and Just, said here today that Mr Ramadoss brought shame for the nation for his villainous role unbecoming of a person holding such a high constitutional responsibility.

The forum in telegrams sent to Dr A.P.J.Kalam, President, Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, and Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, UPA, maintained that if the Health Department was not immediately withdrawn from Mr Ramadoss, the government should be ready to face a countrywide doctor-public protests on the issue.


Jhulna Mahal shakes none
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 8
The shaking arcade popularly referred to as ‘Jhulna Mahal’ here could get destroyed. The arcade is an important monument connected with the medieval history of Gurdaspur town. The town is named after Guriaji who had brought the village and named it after himself.

The construction of ‘Jhulna Mahal’ began in the middle of the eighteenth century and was meant to be the residence for Narain Dass, one of Guriaji’s grandsons. However, the construction could not progress beyond a wide wall comprising a set of arches.

The wall became known as ‘Jhulna Mahal’ as it used to vibrate considerably if someone touched it.

Prof Raj Kumar Sharma, a historian and the President of the Gurdaspur History Society says that he had seen a document dated 1839 in possession of a mahant that stated that Rang Mahal, the residence of Narain Dass’ brother, Saran Dass, was built in 1737. It is estimated that the Jhulna Mahal could also belong to that period.

Some people here attribute the shaking of the wall to the mystical powers of Saran Dass. The Gurdaspur Gazetteer also had a reference to the arcade.

However, due to the neglect of its owners and the administration, considerable damage has been done to the monument. Presently, a small gurdwara has been built in the vicinity of the wall.

A municipal commissioner, who has a house in the vicinity of the arcade, got masonry work done on the wall causing considerable damage to its unique architectural features. Due to the masonry work, the wall no longer shakes. The open entry to the wall has also been totally blocked by the construction of new houses around it. 


Lost glory of Baradari being restored
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 8
The lost glory of the historical Baradari and Banasar Bagh here is being restored at a cost of about Rs 40 lakh by the district administration.

To look after the Banasar Bagh and the Baradari, a trust has been formed under the chairmanship of the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said about Rs 4 lakh had been spent so far on the renovation of Banasar Bagh. He said about 1.60 lakh ornamental and other saplings would be planted in Banasar Bagh by spending Rs 20 lakh.

He also said thousands of bricks were being provided by the Brick-kiln Association for the construction of a boundary wall and other such purposes. He said a cafeteria would also be opened in the bagh. Besides this, a toy train in a corner and boats in the canal in the Baradari would be introduced to attract children and tourists.

Mr Ladhar said the administration had given a contract to a Gujarat-based company to irrigate the Banasar Bagh with the sprinkling system. Besides this,the water-gun system would be introduced.


DC asks media to be objective

Kharar, July 8
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, inaugurated the office of the Kharar unit of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) here today.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr Tejveer Singh said the media had a very important role in the society and as such it should try to maintain objectivity while reporting.

He assured mediapersons that their demand for land for raising the office of the local unit of the CPUJ would be taken up with the authorities concerned. OC


Ex-minister’s son, friends get bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 8
Sukhjinder Singh, son of former Punjab PWD Minister Sucha Singh Langah, and his four friends, Sukhleen Singh, Gurkirat Singh, Gursharan Singh and Amardeep Singh, were today granted bail by the district court in a case of attempt to murder registered against them following their alleged fight with police personnel in Mohali.

They were granted bail on furnishing bail bond of Rs 50,000 each with one surety of the same amount by the Sessions Judge, Mr G.S Saran.

The fight took place in the market outside City Lodge in Mohali on June 30.


Bira gets judicial custody
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 8
The Judicial Magistrate, Phillaur, yesterday remanded Khalistan Commando Force militant Kulbir Singh Bira, who was deported from the USA on June 19, in judicial custody till July 13. Bira was produced in the court of Mr V.K. Goel.

Mr Gursharanjeet Singh Grewal, DSP, said no weapon could be recovered from Bira so far.


Teacher rapes, kills girl

Phillaur, July 8
Hundreds of residents of Phillaur alongwith activists of more than a dozen social organisations held a protest march in Phillaur demanding immediate suspension of a school teacher Harbhghan Singh and stern action against all the guilty in the case of rape and death of a student Prabhjot (16) on April 8.

Demonstrators led by Punjab Kisan Sabha president Com Lehmber Singh Taggarr and other senior citizens alleged that the deceased girl was allegedly raped by her own school teacher and later poisoned to death.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the police had arrested Harbhghan Singh and two others. Prabhjot, daughter of Ram Paul of Garrha village, was studying in Phillaur Sr Secondary School (Girls). One day she was brought home from school by her friend Rajni in semi-concious condition. That same evening Prabhjot breathed her last. It was learnt that her teacher Harbhghan Singh had an affair with the deceased. He was transferred to Udhowal village three months ago, when the news of his illegitimate relations with his student spread.


2500 pirated CDs seized
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 8
The city police today seized a big haul of pirated CDs during a raid at a house on street 17 of Gaushala Road area here.

Satish Malhotra, SHO, said under a special drive to check piracy, a tip off had been received. Accordingly, the police party led by Sub Inspector Zora Singh raided a house at 9 am. More than 2500 pirated CDs of popular numbers, 400 blank CDs and 1.10 lakh fake wrappers were seized. The haul included wrappers of super hit Indian, Pakistani and Hollywood movies, including obscene numbers.

The city police had last month seized 4500 pirated CDs from another house in the Nanak Nagri area.

The police today seized during the raid 2 CD copiers, each producing 9 CDs at once, 26 CD writers. They also seized fake wrappers of "Corporate" that released on Friday.

The accused Manoj Aggarwal has been arrested u/s 420 of the IPC and 51, 52, 56, 63, 64, 66, 68-A of the Indian Copyright Act 1957. The culprit originally belonged to Orissa but the family had migrated to Abohar ten years ago. 


Car thief gang busted
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 8
The Hoshiarpur police has unearthed an inter-state car thieves gang and arrested five of its members, said R. N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, here today.

This gang stole new luxury cars from other states and after preparing their fake documents, sold them at cheaper rates. The SSP said Malkiat Singh alias Sodi and Sukhjinder Singh alias Gujjar, both from Buda Theh (Beas), Mandhir Singh alias Dhira, Pritpal Singh alias Babla and Gulzar Singh had been arrested.

As many as 9 stolen luxury cars, including Tavera, Zen, Indica, Scorpio, City Honda, Balero, Santro, one each and two Indigos had been recovered from them.

It was revealed that Pritpal Singh counterfeited the documents of the cars and forged the signature of the SDM on them. He made bogus entries of registrations and taxes, and signed the entries on the official registers.


Undertrial booked for attempt to commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 8
The police today registered a case of attempt to commit suicide against the main accused of the triple murder case of Takkipur, Jagjit Singh, and a case of criminal conspiracy against his relative.

Jagjit Singh, while he was lodged in the makeshift jail of the district court here yesterday, had consumed a medicines believed to be a poisonous substance, which was provided to him by his relative Amarjit Singh, resident of Takkipur.

The case was registered this afternoon on the statement of ASI Balbir Singh that Amarjit Singh had given some medicines to Jagjit Singh and after that he fell ill and started vomiting and was admitted in the PGI.


Casteism a menace, says Selja
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Union Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja, today said casteism was a menace for the country.

Addressing the gathering at an international seminar on the life and teachings of Guru Ravidas here, Ms Selja said the Guru had always stood for the downtrodden and fought against the caste system.

Presiding over the seminar, the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Ch. Jagjit Singh, said the people of the country should have a common goal cutting across caste barriers.

“The caste system is still a problem in our country. Those from the lower castes face many hardships both at the social and economic levels even in this era of globalisation,” the Punjab Minister said.

He said the Punjab Government had cleared Rs 2.5 crore for the Guru Ravidas Foundation. He requested Ms Selja to ask the Haryana Government to set up a Guru Ravidas Chair in Kurukshetra University. He also appealed to Himachal Pradesh Speaker Gangu Ram Mussafir to help establish the Chair in Himachal Pradesh University as well.

Among those who presented papers at the seminar were Dr Jasbir Singh Sabar, Head, Guru Ravidas Chair, Guru Nanak Dev University, Ms Santosh Kumari Sharma, Chairperson, Guru Ravidas Chair, Panjab University, and Dr Krishan Kalsia of Government College, Chandigarh.


Institute of studies a non-starter
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 8
The prestigious National Institute of Studies in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (NISSGGS), announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Guru Nanak Dev University is a non-starter.

Although the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to expedite the case, nothing has been done in this regard.

Although the Planning Commission has cleared the file for the Rs 54-crore project, the case is pending for approval by the Union Cabinet.

The project was announced by the Prime Minister during his visit to Amritsar on September 1, 2004, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. Consequent to his announcement, the Prime Minister’s Office pursued the matter to get the proposal from the university through the University Grants Commission (UGC).

However, the university submitted a proposal to the UGC on December 7, 2004, under which it requested for Rs 20.67 crore. The UGC held a meeting of its Experts Committee on December 8, 2004 and communicated its decision along with the recommendations to the university on December 9. The revised proposal was submitted by the universityon December 29.

The Experts Committee of the UGC at its meeting held on February 3 last year finally cleared and recommended the establishment of the NISSGGS.

It was under pressure of the UGC that the university advertised the post of the Director of NISSGGS on March 6 this year. The grant is going to end on March 31, 2007.


GND varsity don to attend congress in Durban
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 8
Dr Ranvinder Singh Sandhu, Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of University Grants Commission Special Assistance Programme of Guru Nanak Dev University, has been invited to chair a session on ‘Slums in Developing Countries’ at the XVI World Congress of Sociology to be held in Durban (South Africa) form July 23 to 29.

The world congress is being organised by the International Sociological Association, Madrid (Spain), on the theme of the Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |