P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Khalsa panchayat opposes post of Jathedar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 27
On the 11th day of the ongoing Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar, seeking reforms in gudwaras, yesterday, the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) announced its disapproval of the institution of Jathedar of Akal Takht and the concept of issuing Hukamnama.

It conveyed its disapproval by reading out a statement from the Akal Takht premises instead of submitting a memorandum to its Jathedar.

Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, SKP, said there was no provision for the post of Jathedar and the concept of Hukamnama in Sikh Rehat Maryada. He expressed concern that the clergy class had been re-established in gurdwaras against the Sikh tenets. He blamed the “jathedar class” for the denigration of Sikh principles.

These steps could spark off a row among the parties involved in the movement, as all earlier parties had expressed their keen faith in the institution of Jathedar Akal Takht and submitted their memorandum to the same authority.

Earlier, the members of the Panchayat started their march from Saragarhiv Gurdwara to Golden Temple.

Equating the conditions to first Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar with that of the present times, Rajinder Singh said it was worst now. He said at that time, enemies were visible but now they were camouflaged in the guise of Sikh identity. He stated that morally corrupt leaders had taken the centrestage in the Sikh polity.

He opined that the non-implementation of Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh common code of conduct), which were adopted following the first Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar, defeated the purpose of the movement.

Mr Rajinder Singh said that under the influence of Brahmnical forces, gurdwaras were being built on the basis of caste and sub-castes. He said the aim of the movement was to undo this trend.

He gave a call to all Sikhs to support the movement in order to liberate institutions from the clutches of corrupt and selfish people, whom he equated with Mahants.


Proposal to fill posts of ayurvedic doctor
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 27
After recruiting allopathic doctors, the Department of Health was considering the proposal to fill vacant posts of ayurvedic doctor.

The posts of ayurvedic doctor have been lying vacant since long. The state government was not utilizing the funds provided by the union government for promotion of ayurvedic system of medicine.

The Director, Health and Family Welfare, Dr Rana Harinder, said the proposal to fill the post of ayurvedic doctors has been prepared by the department and sent to the government.

She further said that National Rural Health Mission had been launched in the state. Sub-centres had been formed across the state. Each sub-centre would be given Rs 10000 for spreading awareness among the rural people regarding health problems.

The health department has taken steps to check female feticide. As many as 85 cases have been registered against the ultra-sound centres and clinics violating the PNDT Act. Licenses of another 214 ultra-sound centres have been canceled as they were found violating the provisions of the Act.

Mr Sarangal, Managing Director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, said the organization was stressing on building quality hospitals in rural areas. New hospitals are being built at Sujanpur, Dinanagar and Gurdaspur.

Gurdaspur civil hospital was being upgraded. It will have capacity of 200 beds. As space was not available in the building of Gurdaspur civil hospital, another building was coming up in Babri village in the vicinity of Gurdaspur.

The government has sanctioned a budget of Rs 16 crores for building a new hospital in Babri village.


Angry villagers gherao police station
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 27
Residents of Dugral village, led by Mr Om Raj, a former sarpanch, gheraoed Talwara police station, 80 km from here, last evening. They also staged a dharna and blockade vehicular traffic to express their resentment against Head Constable Dharminder Singh and a Home Guards jawan for allegedly beating up Pawan Kumar, a son of Mr Mukand Lal of the village, after a clash between the latter and Sanjay Kumar, a dhaba operator, at Mohua Di Hattian yesterday.

They raised slogans against the police authorities. They were demanding suspension of Dharminder Singh and action against him for beating up Pawan Kumar.

According to police sources, five persons, including Pawan Kumar, were injured following a clash between them and Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Bringli, along with his accomplices, over package of meal.

Head Constable Dharminder Singh and a Home Guards jawan reached the spot and instead of taking action against the culprits, allegedly beat up Pawan Kumar with his rifle butt. Pawan Kumar was admitted to BBMB Hospital, Talwara.

Meanwhile, Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Minister for Technical Education, and the DSP, Mukerian, Mr Mandip Singh, reached there and intervened. On their assurance of action against the accused, the villagers lifted the dharna and blockade.

Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said here today that Head Constable Dharminder Singh had been suspended and inquiry had been initiated to ascertain the charges against him.

The Talwara police has registered a case under Sections 325, 323, 148, 149 and 506 of the IPC against the accused.


Kidnapped youth returns home
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 27
Mr Arjinder Kumar (19) who was kidnapped last year, returned to his house here yesterday. The police has arrested the kidnapper, Harjit, a resident of Bagrian village and investigations are on.

Mr Arjinder Kumar, a resident of Bharat Nagar on Batala road, said he had gone to the Golden Temple to pay his obeisance. He said when he was returning, Harjit asked him to accompany him to his village. He said when he refused to go, Harjit threatened him with dire consequences and took him to his village. He said he was being forced to work in the fields and in the evening tied with the rope.

Meanwhile, his father Mr Madan Lal, who sells fruit near Verka, started searching for him and after a few days gave up the search. He said recently some persons known to him informed him that his son had been seen in Bagrian. He said he, along with his relatives, went to Bagrian village and also informed the Gharinda police station. He said when they were coming back along with his son, Harjit came and blocked their way.

He said when he told Harjit that the police had been informed he got furious and hit Arjinder on his head with a brick.

The police reached the site of the incident and arrested Harjit. Meanwhile, Mr Sukhbir Singh Verka, general secretary of the Amritsar unit of the Congress (urban) said strict action should be taken against the accused.


Quota notification for Rai Sikhs soon
Our Correspondent

Guruharsahai, August 27
The Union Government would soon issue notification regarding the grant of SC/ST status to Rai Sikhs following which they would be entitled to all the benefits being extended to SC/ST, including 200 units free electricity, reservation in jobs, free plots worth 5 marlas, shagun scheme of Rs 15000 each for marriage of their daughters and several other benefits, revealed Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Education, Youth affairs and Sports while addressing a public conference at Village Hazarsingh Wala, near Mamdot, 30 km from district headquarters.

Rana Sodhi handed over a cheque of Rs 8 lakhs to the village panchayat for various development works.

Talking to mediapersons, Rana Sodhi said an amount of Rs 200 crores has been spent in Guruharsahai constituency during the last four years. This includes construction of a Government Degree Colleges, two sports stadiums at Guruharsahai and Mamdot, bus stand, railway overbridge and a railway park.

He added that a distillery project is also in the pipeline. Work was afoot on providing sewerage system in Guruharsahai. Clean potable drinking water would be made available for all villages in his constituency.


Changes in Wakf Act sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The Punjab Wakf Board has suggested crucial changes in the Wakf Act, which was constituted in 1995, while presenting its case before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakfs in New Delhi.

On behalf of the Punjab Wakf Board, its member, Mr Mansur Ali, while suggesting the necessary amendments, said once a wakf property was notified by the Surveyor Commissioner, the mutations should be done expeditiously in favour of the board. It was also suggested that the Public Premises Act should be applicable to the wakf properties. This would enable the Wakf Board authorities to get encroachers evicted effectively. Encroachers of a wakf property should be treated as trespassers and the police should initiate action against them accordingly, Mr Ali said.

He told the Joint Parliamentary Committee that the encroachers should not be given electricity connections, water supply connections and other civic amenities till a no-objection certificate was issued by the Wakf Board.

The board said its revenue collection for 2005-2006 was an all-time high —- Rs 7.94 crore. There were 24,307 notified wakf properties in Punjab.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting was held under the chairmanship of Mr S.M. Laljan Basha, a sitting MP. The Punjab Government was represented by the Principal Secretary, Home, Dr B.C. Gupta.


Avtar Singh chairman of employees’ body unit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 27
Mr Avtar Singh Pal was elected chairman of the Patiala unit of the Punjab State Warehousing Field Staff Employees Union at a meeting held here today.

Meanwhile, Mr Akshar Kumar, president of the union, demanded immediate stopping of “unjustified recoveries from employees pertaining to old and damaged wheat stocks”. He also demanded withdrawal of chargesheets relating to natural loss of stored grain and storage losses that had nothing to due with the employees.

Fresh promotions and re-designation of certain categories of posts was also demanded by him.

Others leaders asked the management to adopt a favourable attitude towards the employees instead of suppressing them.

Prominent among others who attended the meeting were Mr T.C. Sharma, senior vice-president of the Punjab unit, and Mr Karamjit Singh, chairman of the Amritsar unit.


3 trapped in well, one rescued
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 27
Three persons got trapped in a 20-foot-deep well at Balbhera, 24 km from here, today. Jagroop Singh and two of his relatives were digging a well when it caved in and they got trapped. Even as the administration was making arrangements to start the rescue operations, residents from nearby areas, including Nanansun village, started making arrangements to rescue those trapped in the well.

A crane and four tractors were pressed into the operation. The villagers were able to rescue Jagroop Singh. When contacted, the Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Verma, said the administration had sent JCB machines, manpower and medical aid to the site of the accident.


Brahmins plan dharna against quota
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 27
The All-India Brahmin Sabha has decided to oppose the government’s reservation policy and organise a national-level dharna at Delhi.

While addressing a meeting of the sabha here today, general secretary Kot Shankar Sharma said a national-level dharna would be held at Delhi on November 21 to oppose the reservation policy.

He said about 20 lakh Brahmins from across the country were expected to participate in the dharna. He said the Brahmin samaj had named this programme as “Brahmin garjana”.


‘Daairey’ staged

Chandigarh, August 27
The 25-member team of the National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, presented an anti-foeticide Punjabi musical play “Daairey,” written by Dr. Satish Kumar Verma and reconstructed and directed by the duo Pran Sabharwal-Sunita Sabharwal at the annual Sadhbhavna Function of Khanna Vikas Club, Khanna, to a packed auditorium of A.S. College for Women, Khanna.

The chief guest was Mrs Abida Farooqi, wife of Mr M.F. Farooqi, S.S.P. Khanna. The play condemns evils of female foeticide, dowry, male domination and indifference to girl child. — TNS


Panel to probe hair-cut incident
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 27
Mr Avtar Singh, SGPC President, here today instituted a three-member committee to look into the incident of forcibly cutting of hair of a Sikh boy near Kurukshetra.

Members of the committee are Mr Raghujit Singh Virk, senior vice-president, Mr Baldev Singh Kyampura and the Gurdip Singh Bhanokheri.


Two proclaimed offenders held
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 27
Two brothers, who had been declared proclaimed offenders by the court, were arrested last evening from a naka in Verowal after they opened fire on a police party.

A .32 calibre revolver along with a dead and five live cartridges and a machete were seized from their possession.

Cases under Sections 307 and 34, IPC, and 25, 54 and 59, Arms Act, have been registered against the two.

Sources in the police today said the two — Jaspreet Singh, alias Jassa, and Baljinder Singh, alias Binda, (sons of Gian Singh) — were residents of Jhander village, 8 km from here. The accused had recently moved into the local Master Colony.

They had been responsible for the murder of a jeweller, Lalit Kumar, of Amritsar in 2004. A case under Sections 396, 397 and 120B, IPC, had been registered against them. They had been declared proclaimed offenders in this case by the court.

The sources said both brothers had also been declared “most wanted” by the Amritsar police due to crimes committed by them.

The police had a tip-off that the two were going to commit a robbery in the area. A team lead by SHO Verowal Paramjit Singh Buttar set up a naka. On seeing the two, the police party signalled them to stop but they opened fire.

The two were nabbed as they tried to escape.


3 pilgrims killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 27
Three pilgrims, including two women of a family from Varanasi died on the spot while another was wounded seriously when their Tata Sumo (UP-64B-403) rammed into a tree near Bhangala (Mukerian) on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road in Hoshiarpur district in the wee hours yesterday. The injured, Babloo, was admitted to Civil Hospital, Mukerian.

According to police sources, the deceased were identified as Dulari, Raj Kumari and Amarjit. The bodies were sent to the Civil Hospital, Mukerian, for a post-mortem examination.

There were nine pilgrims in the van, who were returning from Vaishno Devi. On the way, at about 3:30 am the driver reportedly lost control over the vehicle.


Priest kidnapped

Nangal, August 27
Jagat Ram Bali, a 48-year-old priest of Dhuniwale Dera, was today allegedly kidnapped by five miscreants in a car following some financial dispute. The incident took place when he was standing in queue at a petrol pump.

Lekh Raj, who had accompanied the priest, said that the kidnappers took Jagat Ram in their car at about 1.30 pm. When he intervened, the kidnappers said that they were taking Jagat Ram along as he hadn’t returned the Rs 2.5 lakh that he owed them. — TNS


Unemployed B.Ed teachers disrupt minister’s rally
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 27
Un-employed B.Ed teachers disrupted the rally of Union State Minister for Industries Ashwani Kumar at Ramlila grounds here last evening.

As soon as the union minister got up to address the teachers, they got up and started raising slogans against the Punjab Government.

The teachers alleged that the government was not providing them jobs. It was allowing the opening of the new B.Ed colleges all over the state. However, no job was being provided to trained teachers. All appeals of the organiser of the rally, Mr Ashok Sharma, local MLA, fell on deaf ears. The police finally moved in to push the protesting teachers out of the rally.

The rally, continued after the protesting teachers were moved out.

Earlier, Mr Ashwani Kumar laid the foundation stone of an auditorium near the Civil Hospital Pathankot, which has been mired in controversy.

The auditorium was planned here by local MLA Ashok Sharma.

The local municipal council passed a resolution demanding the cost of the land over which the auditorium was planned. The resolution was, however, rejected by the Director, Local Government.

Though no tender has yet been floated for the construction of the tender, the Union Minister for State today laid its foundation stone. He had earlier announced a grant of Rs 15 lakh for the auditorium. However, according to information, the real cost of the auditorium is about Rs 1.5 crore and the local administration might find it hard to arrange funds for the project.


Teacher ‘defies’ transfer order
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 27
What would be the fate of students of Government Senior Secondary School, Jandiala Guru, who haven’t been taught mathematics for the past many months?

The Principal complained to the District Education Officer (Senior Secondary), Amritsar, yesterday that Mr Harbhajan Singh Johal, a transferred mathematics teacher, who is also the president of the Government Secondary School Teachers Union, was interfering in the administrative work of the school and was not even allowing other mathematics teachers to take classes.

According to documents available with The Tribune, Mr Johal was transferred to Government High School, Chamba Kalan, Khadoor Sahib, on administrative basis by the DEO on July 11. He was subsequently relieved by Mr Yadwinder Singh, Principal, on July 14.

However, when contacted, Mr Johal said the cancellation of his transfer order was still in process.


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