C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

SAD to meet Governor today on Lalru incident
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 13
The alleged police lathicharge on Lalru residents is threatening to snowball into a confrontation between the Congress government and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) with the latter trying to exploit the incident ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled to be held early next year.

With the ultimatum of the nine-member action committee to withdraw cases against villagers ending at 4 pm today, SAD has decided to once again take to the streets and start indefinite relay fast from tomorrow.

In an apparent move to mount pressure on the police, a SAD delegation has decided to call on the Punjab Governor on August 14 to apprise him of the alleged police brutality. This was stated by senior SAD leader and former Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh while addressing a rally here today.

Meanwhile, Mohali SSP Naunihal Singh said the police had behaved in a “professional and restrained manner” while dispersing the irate villagers, who damaged several buses and burnt a police gypsy.

Due to the traffic jam caused by the villagers, thousands of motorists were stranded on the highway on the night intervening August 10 and 11 and the police had no other option but to resort to mild lathicharge, the SSP said. He personally supervised the operation and now certain vested interests were trying to “politicise” the issue, he added.

He said several persons had been booked under various sections of the IPC, including Section 307. These persons were now trying to mount pressure to get these cases withdrawn, he said. The mob burnt a police Gypsy, damaged public property and pelted police personnel with stones causing injuries to several of them, he said. All this was being overlooked by politicians supporting these people, he added.

He refuted the allegation of police brutality saying 200 policemen lathicharged the agitators but none of them received any serious injury. The policemen showed utmost restraint and their objective was to clear the highway only. The power supply was restored by 10.30 pm. The road remained blocked from 11.30 pm to 2.30 am. The police came into action only after these people resorted to violence, he said.

Meanwhile, office-bearers of the BSP and the Balmiki Sabha visited the houses of the residents, who were allegedly beaten up by the police. They criticised the “police brutality” and demanded strict action against the guilty policemen and withdrawal of cases against the villagers.

Members of the joint action committee of the Punjab State Electricity Board have criticised the manhandling of the electricity employees and damage to the public property by “anti-social” elements. None of the board employees was drunk on that night and vested interests were spreading rumours to attribute a bad name to the employees, they claimed.



Rape victim under surveillance
“Granthi” tries to force entry into OT 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
While the victim of the alleged rape by Gaganjit Barnala was recouping under strict medical surveillance at the General Hospital-16 this morning, a “granthi’s” presence caused some commotion.

Insistent on meeting the victim, he reportedly tried to force his entry into the labour room of operation theatre No. 1 where the victim has been lodged. The hospital staff prevented him as per the instructions from the authorities. No one is allowed inside for risk of infection involved.

Speculation was rife that the “granthi” had come to attempt a “negotiation” with the woman.

Under close guard inside the labour room, the woman was not allowed to meet anyone, despite a major scene which the granthi created in the gallery outside the OT. Unlike other patients, the alleged rape victim has not been shifted to the ward.

As regards delay in the operation of the woman, the causes seem clear. Doctors told this correspondent that initially the victim presented symptoms of post-menopausal bleeding. It was later during examination that she said she had been assaulted.

A senior doctor, who was on the panel that operated upon the woman, said: “The woman had been bleeding for long but people at the flat where the incident occurred may have mistaken the bleeding to be normal. She was brought here when her condition deteriorated.”

When the victim came in, blood had to be arranged and the doctors also needed someone to sign the consent form for the operation. “It was then that the maid and the security officer who brought her went back and brought Harpreet Kaur along. She then signed the form,” said a doctor.

When the victim’s operation was being planned, a case of emergency delivery came in and attention had to be temporarily shifted. Later, however, the victim was operated upon by a panel comprising expert gynecologists including the Director, Health Services, Dr Usha Bishnoi, and the HOD, Gynecology, GH-16, Dr Ms Vidhu Bhasin.



Psychology of high-profile offenders causes surprise
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The arrest of Gaganjit Singh Barnala has re-focused public attention on the raging issue of VIP brats taking to crimes at the slightest provocation. From Gurkirat Singh, the grandson of slain Punjab CM Beant Singh to Gaganjit Singh, the son of a sitting Governor, the list of high-profile offenders is long and flourishing - one reason being lack of deterrent punishment that helps acquittals, besides highlighting police inadequacy in bringing in substantial evidence.

But more than the offence, it is the psychology of the offenders that causes surprise. Most high-profile accused are known to don a composed mantle, exhibiting little disenchantment at the nature of the crime committed and its serious repercussions for the victim and the accused.

Be it Gurkirat, acquitted of the charge of molesting a Frenchwoman or Sanjeev Nanda, the grandson of a former Chief of Naval Staff, acquitted after mowing down six people in a hit and run case, the profile of high profile offenders bears stark resemblances.

Dr Adarsh Kohli, Associate Professor of Psychology, PGI, who has been following the personality traits of such offenders says, “They face a problem of plenty. They grow up with a feeling that money is power and seek mastery over every given situation.”

The profile of VIP offenders throws up other significant elements for psychological studies. Take for example Manu Sharma, the son of a Haryana minister, who was charged with shooting down Jessica Lal when she refused to serve him liquor. Manu was acquitted on February 21 this year, only to face retrial in the wake of public outrage. For most period of his first trial, he remained confident of acquittal, something that was subtly reflected in his gestures.

The same is true for Vikas Yadav, the son of former MP D.P. Yadav and the prime accused in Nitish Katara murder which occurred in February, 2002. Even Gaganjit Singh Barnala, charged with raping his masseuse yesterday, wore a confident look today, as he went about attributing the events to political vendetta.

Explaining these personality characteristics, Dr Kohli says, “Such offenders face a decline of moral standards due to many reasons like lack of quality attention from parents and neglected childhood. They grow up to exert power by violence and abuse and have little remorse about what they do. They are impulsive and do things for thrill. They are deficient in planning an inhibition, which means they find it hard to control their impulses. The result is they disregard social rules and seek arousal from this disregard.”

A significant pointer is the case involving the daughter of the present Punjab Deputy CM Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. As a student at Government Model School, Sector 16, she had an altercation with her teacher. The situation turned sour, so much so that Ms Bhattal reportedly slapped the school teacher, trying to vindicate her daughter’s stand. Not to miss Ranjit Bajaj, the son of high profile Punjab IAS officers, who was once in the dock for torching a car but behaved as if nothing would happen to him.

Some old cases

August 31, 1994: French tourist Katia alleges molestation by former Punjab CM’s grandson Gurkirat and six others. Court acquits them on April 10, 1999.

January 23, 1996: Priyadarshani Matoo who had accused Santosh Singh, son of Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police JP Singh of stalking her, found dead in her uncle’s flat in Delhi. She had been raped and had 13 wounds. Accused was acquitted.

January 10, 1999: Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral SM Nanda runs his BMW over seven people. Five die on the spot.

February 16, 2002: Nitish Katara who was in love with MP DP Yadav’s daughter Bharti abducted and his maimed body recovered later. Bharti’s brother Vikas prime accused.

June 30, 2006: Sukhjinder Singh, son of former Punjab PWD minister held for allegedly bashing and later trying to kill policemen. Bailed out later.



No early end to power woes
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
Ever-dwindling power availability in the city and its suburban areas, coupled with unscheduled power cuts, has become the bane of residents. And, as the frequency of power cuts grows with every passing day, water supply has become another casualty, adding to the woes of the people.

The Electricity Department, too, seems helpless with officials maintaining that the unscheduled cuts are essentially carried out from the load control centre in Delhi to maintain a grid code. “Whenever there is overdrawing, the centre imposes these unscheduled power cuts”, an official explained.

Businessman Ashok Verma, a Sector 4 resident, says, “These power cuts are getting more and more troublesome. We are at least prepared to deal with the situation if the cuts are announced. You are in the middle of something very important and the power goes off. In this age of computerisation, work too come to a grinding halt and a lot of time is wasted”.

Besides the unscheduled cuts, the department has imposed nearly a one-and-a-half-hour cut in the wee hours as also in the evenings. “These are essentially to stabilise frequency. Also, the state’s quota from Himachal Pradesh is down, the Panipat unit is also generating lesser power and power needs to be diverted to the agricultural sector for paddy. Consequently, power to industries is also at an all-time low.

“Though we don’t want people to suffer, we are helpless”, a senior official added.

A former employee of the department and resident of Sector 16, Mr Charanjit Singh, maintains: “Water supply has also been affected due to the cuts. We have tenants on the first floor who get very low pressure which is not enough to meet their needs. They have to invariably come down to the groundfloor to fetch water.

“We have neighbours who have people on the second floor where water does not reach at all since there is a power cut at a time in the morning when water pressure is at its maximum. If these cuts can be rescheduled, it would save the common man of a lot of problems.”

In housing societies, power shortage manifests itself in non-functional lifts, putting the elderly people to a lot of inconvenience. “I stay on the fourth floor of a society and am panting when I reach my house when there is no power. My parents, aged 70 plus, are staying with me. There is no way they can take the flight of stairs to reach home. They just have to stay where they are till the lifts become functional”, states Mr Sanjeev Aggarwal, a resident of Sector 20.

Officials of the department are hopeful that the situation will improve in a fortnight.



Intersections on Shanti Path may be blocked
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Chandigarh Traffic Police is toying with the idea of doing away with intersections on all major roads cutting through the city in an effort to reduce the number of accidents. Once the proposal comes into force, the motorists will be able to turn only from the roundabouts.

To begin with, the police plans to block as many as nine junctions on Shanti Path alone running from Kalibari temple to Sector 39-38 (West) traffic light point. Senior officials of the Chandigarh Traffic Police said they would forward a proposal in this regard to the UT Administration.

The move follows a study conducted by the Accident Cell of the Chandigarh Traffic Police, Shanti Path. The survey revealed that as many as 29 accidents had taken place from January 1 till August 3 this year on this stretch only. Out of these, two had proved to be fatal.

On August 3, an elderly couple L.C. Puri and his wife Neelam Puri lost their lives after their scooter was hit by a CTU bus. Last year, 51 accidents took place on this road, out which one was fatal.

Sources in the police admitted that if the unreported accidents were also taken into consideration then the figures would be much higher.

Sources in the traffic police said it was after the August 3 fatal accident that the data was collected to study the reasons of the accidents. The study pointed out that intersections were more prone to accidents.

A senior traffic police officer said a similar study had been carried out in the early 90s after which all gaps in the medians were plugged, resulting in sharp reduction in the number of accidents.

Sources also claimed that a large number of road accidents were caused due to the crossing of the medians by cyclists and other slow-moving vehicles, like mopeds. Once the gaps were blocked, the number of such accidents came down almost instantaneously.

The study revealed that the motorists normally have the tendency of stepping on the accelerator on the main roads due to the free flow of traffic. On the other hand, vehicles plying on the roads linking the sectors with the main freeways have the tendency of inching ahead, right into the middle of the traffic. In the process, they end up blocking the way, creating bottlenecks and subsequent traffic jams.



High wall for security may reduce beauty of city landmarks
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
It is a clash between maintaining security arrangements and the preservation of aesthetics at the acclaimed architecture of the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat and the Vidhan Sabha complex located here.

The two buildings, the most recognised landmarks across the states of Punjab and Haryana, are at a risk from terrorist attacks, opine security forces. Senior officials have demanded that an 8-ft perimeter concrete wall should be constructed all around the two complexes. At present there is only a 4-ft-high barbed wire fence which is inadequate and can provide an easy access to any undesirable element, says a note on security matters at the Secretariat and the Vidhan Sabha.

The Chandigarh Administration that looks after the buildings has asked its Architecture Department to find a way out. A team of architects will see what can be done to preserve the originality of these buildings without spoiling the beauty of the buildings that were designed and planned by French architect Le Corbusier in the 1950s. Since then the unique well-shaped dome of the Vidhan Sabha has been the matter of study for architects internationally.

Though the idea of a concrete perimeter wall has not been rejected. The Chandigarh Administration’s team will give a report soon, said sources. It may be mentioned a huge 12- ft- high concrete wall was built all across the backside of the Secretariat in the late 1980s. Though it was designed as a toilet block-cum-shelter for people waiting to board local buses, the real reason was to enhance security, said experts. Normally bus queue shelters or toilets are neither 12-ft -high nor built in concrete.

Security agencies have suggested that digitalised tagging be done of all official vehicles and a electronic vehicle reader be installed at the entrance that will recognise the vehicle from the “tag” and only then allow its entry. This will keep out all unauthorised vehicles and reduce the risk of any misuse of car parking stickers. They also want automatically and remotely operated road blocks that can prevent attempts to forcibly enter the buildings. A team of Punjab and Haryana officials has also seen the security arrangements at Parliament. The huge wild growth around the buildings has also raised the hackles of the security agencies.

Meanwhile, separately, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which manages the security at the Secretariat, has asked the Punjab Government to pay Rs 18 crore as the arrears of security charges. The Punjab Government says a sum of Rs 11 crore should be adjusted as the Punjab Police provided security to Central offices and installations during the days of militancy. It may be mentioned that the payments of Haryana to the CISF are upto date.



Ministry needs to wake up on disaster website
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Thinking of logging on to www.ndmindia.nic.in, the Home Ministry’s website on natural disasters, to get information on recent floods? Forget it.
The site is still showing the Jammu and Kashmir earthquake of 2005 as the ‘latest’ calamity to strike the country!

And this at a time when the ministry is busy carrying out massive flood relief operations in the affected states.

The website had become functional in 2004 following the tsunami tragedy and loud promises were made that it would be a totally up-to-date and comprehensive portal.

The ministry officials had then said ‘Situation Reports’ on natural disasters would be updated and posted regularly as it would help officials to carry out their duty in affected areas efficiently.

Now, when four states and the country’s commercial capital — Mumbai — have been struck hard by ravaging waters and thousands have been marooned, the website is still stuck on the quake that hit Kashmir on October 8 last year.

Such is the official laxity that no reports can be found on the flood-affected Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.

It is another matter that high-profile government functionaries and ministers are making whirlwind tours of the affected states.



Festival concludes with “Ghumayee”
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, August 13
Never before has any festival of plays in any regional language elicited such on applause from theatre lovers as the Jammu-based ensample “Natrang”.
The four-day drama festival, Theatre Days, held under the aegis of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy concluded today with Dogri play “Ghumayee” providing the grand finale and the director, Balwant Thakur, getting the standing ovation from the crowd.

The play was based on a Dogri folk tale depicting the casual attitude of the bridegroom when the newly wed bride desperately needs water to quench her thirst while on way to her in-laws house.

Such was the impact of the presentation that the crowd responded to every emotional outburst by the actors. Vikrant Sharma, Pankaj, Anjali Abrol satish and others gave a superb performance.

The music repertoire led by the versatile Sooraj Singh, three-times winner of “Sa Re Ga Ma” competition and Mumbai-based singer Tanya Gupta was the lifeline of the production.

Thespian Atulvir Arora honoured the artistes while academy vice-chairman Kamal Arora coordinated the festival.



ISKCON holds fancy dress contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
A quiz and fancy dress competition was organised by the local chapter of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today as part of Krishna Janmashtami celebrations.

At least 139 children from 12 different schools participated, according to a spokesman of ISKCON. While Dev Kamboj and Nitesh of Sharda Sarvhitkari Model School, Sector 40, bagged the first and the second prize, Nikita Sood from S.D. Public School, Sector 32, stood third in the quiz competition.

Consolation prizes were shared by Rashi Kapoor (St Joseph School, Sector 44-D); Nandini Mahajan (St Joseph, Sector 44); Purba Singla (Ryan International School) and Vrinda Goyal ( St Anne’s Public School Sector 45).

Later in the evening, a fancy dress competition was held in which 100 children from various schools of Chandigarh and Panchkula participated. The children were attired in attractive dresses of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha.



Club urges youth to care for the old
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 13
Members of the District Youth Welfare Club, Mohali, today reiterated their efforts to work for the uplift of the youth. According to Mr SubhasViz, chairman of the club, the youth had gone astray and there was an urgent need to help them focus on positive achievements.

Mr Viz, along with other members of the club, was talking to mediapersons during a press conference held here today. The members said that the club had set for itself certain goals, which include inculcating moral values among the youth, exhorting them to take care of the old, spreading social awareness, organise medical camps etc.

The president of the club, Mr Harpreet Singh, said they would have special workshops for the youth. 



Kang visits Nada village
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 13
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, MLA from Morinda and Cabinet minister, Punjab, today, took a round of Nada village in Kharar subdivision to know the ground realities and to take stock of situation, where enforcement staff of the Punjab Urban Development Authority, (PUDA) during a demolition drive recently, had faced widespread protests and stiff resistance from the villagers and general public.

The villagers and local panchayat members told the minister that PUDA officials, without giving any prior notice, had demolished their old constructions. The officials also misbehaved with women folk, following which village residents agitated. Mr Kang expressed sadness at this incident and said this was a unfortunate happening.

Mr Kang assured the villagers that both these problems faced by them would be redressed and a high-level enquiry would be instituted and action would be taken guilty officials. 



Buffalo rescued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Firemen from the Sector 38 fire station launched a two-hour operation to pull out a buffalo from a well at Kajehri village here yesterday evening. The animal, owned by Mr Jasbir, had fallen into the well near the government school in the village.

A recovery van of the police had to be pressed into service to pull out the trapped animal. “The animal was alive when we pulled it out”, said an official of the rescue team.



Reporter roughed up at hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
A reporter of a vernacular daily was roughed up by two persons for allegedly misbehaving with a doctor of the General Hospital, Sector 6, here yesterday. The incident happened this noon when the reporter went to the hospital looking for an accident victim from Barwala and found a lady doctor attending to the victim.

Soonafter a crowd gathered, at which the doctor asked everybody to leave the emergency ward. The reporter, however, remained in the ward. On seeing him there, the doctor allegedly shouted at him to leave, at which he retaliated. Two men suddenly charged at him and slapped him for shouting back at the doctor.

The reporter maintained that he was detained in a room at the behest of the doctor. He then called up the Sector 5 police station for help.

The police took Ved Kant Sharma, a clerk in the Haryana Government into custody. On questioning, it was found out that he had been posing as private assistant to the Deputy Chief Minister.

The reporter has lodged a complaint with the police, while Health Minister Kartar Devi and Director General Health Dr N.K. Sharma has formed a committee to look into the complaint. 



Mani Majra resident succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
A 55-year-old Manimajra resident, who was injured after his motorcycle skidded near Durga Nursery on August 9, today succumbed to his injuries in the PGI.
The police said Ravinder Nath was seriously injured after his motorcycle skidded accidentally. He was rushed to the PGI, where he succumbed to his injuries during treatment on Friday.

Held with dagger: The local police arrested Ravinder Goshal of Sector 40-B from Mauli Jagran on Thursday for allegedly carrying a dagger. A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Mr Shiv Prashad Sharma of Sector 23 reported to the police alleging that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-H-6541) was stolen from Kisan Mandi in sector 43 on August 5. In another incident, Ms Rasminder Kaur of Sector 23 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her Kinetic Honda Scooter (CH-01-Z-7301) was stolen from Sector 34 on Thursday.

Two separate cases of theft were registered in this regard.

House burgled: Mr Varinder Kumar of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, reported to the police alleging that his mobile phone and Rs 1200 were stolen from his residence during on Thursday. A case has been registered. 



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