P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Iftar: Congressmen, bureaucrats invited
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Now when the local Muslim community has decided to go for Iftar at Mountview hotel here tomorrow, it has on its list of invitees not only the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his Deputy, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, but also the Governor of Haryana and bureaucrats of the region.

Organised by the United Progressive Muslim Forum, the Iftar will bring face to face the leaders of the Muslim community with bigwigs of the ruling Congress party in Punjab in what is viewed as a significant development in the wake of the coming assembly elections in Punjab.

Though neighbouring Haryana also has a Congress government, not many from that state are expected to join the celebrations.

Interestingly, not many of the leaders from the Opposition parties in Punjab, including Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) or the third front, find a mention in the invite list.

The invite for the party does not mention the name of any political leader of the Muslim community of either Punjab or Chandigarh.

“We expect Capt Amarinder Singh, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Ch Jagjit Singh, Mr Lal Singh and other Punjab leaders,” says Mr Arshad Khan, convener of the Front.

“The Haryana Governor, Mr A.R. Kidwai, has also confirmed his participation. We expect all senior functionaries of Punjab, including the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, the Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, at the party. Senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration, including the Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan, and the Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, too, have been invited,” adds Mr Arshad Khan maintaining that there is “no political agenda for the Iftaar which has been revived at this level in the city after a long time.”

Among the Muslim community leaders, Mrs Razia Sultana, MLA from Malerkotla, accompanied by her husband, Mr Mohammad Mustafa, an Inspector-General in Punjab Police, will also be present.


Dimpy’s wife to contest from Kotkapura seat
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandbhan (Faridkot), October 18
Speculations on the entry of slain Prabhjinder Singh alias Dimpy’s wife into politics turned a reality today when his supporters announced Ms Pawandeep Kaur a Panthic candidate from the Kotkapura constituency for the Assembly elections in the state. They also expressed their intent to field their candidates from 10 Assembly seats in Moga, Faridkot, Bathinda and Muktsar districts.

After the announcement, Ms Pawandeep was presented with a ‘siropa’ at the gathering of Dimpy’s friends and supporters to mark the foundation stone ceremony of a memorial gate and a stadium in his memory here.

The programme witnessed participation of leaders from various political parties, which included Haryana Youth Congress chief Satwinder Singh Timmy, SAD (Amritsar) leaders Dhyan Singh Mand and Jaskaran Singh Kahanwala, SAD (1920) leader Paramjeet Singh Saholi, All-India SAD president Jaswant Singh Mann and its vice-president Bharpur Singh Balbir.

Slogans like ‘Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy Zindabad’ and ‘Dimpy tere karaj adhure, la jindria karange poore’ rented the air, while speaker after speaker termed his killing a “political murder” and flayed the powers that be for tardy investigation into his assassination. All-India SAD president Mann said they would soon move the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a CBI probe into Dimpy’s murder. Apprehending more such assassinations in the state ahead of the Assembly elections, he claimed that 200 people had been hired from UP for the job.

Announcing Pawandeep as a Panthic candidate from Kotkapura, he said Dimpy’s supporters would also put up their candidates from Moga, Nihal Singhwala, Bagha Purana, Faridkot, Kotkapura, Panjgirain, Nathana, Muktsar, Lambi and Gidderbaha.

Mr Bharpur Singh Balbir said: “Dimpy’s murder is the last nail in the coffin of Parkash Singh Badal who has been befooling Sikhs in the name of the Panth for long.”

He urged people: “Defeat Badal in his own citadel and tell him that Punjab doesn’t need him.” Mr Mand of the SAD (Amritsar) said today’s gathering had sent a clear message to those behind the murder of Dimpy.

“If those in the race for power thought that the threat had come to an end with Dimpy’s murder they are highly mistaken. His family and friends would not leave any stone unturned to make his dreams come true,” he added.

Meanwhile, political observers here feel that Ms Pawandeep’s entry doesn’t augur well for the SAD, as she can make a dent into the Akali’s vote bank in their strong constituencies in Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga districts. They also opined that the Congress might extend her its indirect support in her election from Kotkapura.


Former militant Nishan Singh held
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 18
The Gurdaspur police yesterday arrested former militant Nishan Singh from his native village Kalanaur on the Indo-Pak border.

Nishan Singh had returned to his village after serving a 15-year sentence in various jails of the state under various cases of terrorism.

He was arrested and jailed in 1988 before being released in 2003.

Talking to The Tribune, SSP Paramraj Singh Umranangal said Nishan had reestablished his contacts with terrorist groups after coming out of jail.

He had allegedly harboured Jagtar Singh Hawara, prime accused in the former Chief Minister Beant Singh killing case, after he fled from the Burail jail in Chandigarh.

Hawara and his associates had stayed at Nishan’s Kalanaur resident after fleeing from the jail. He also allegedly provided them with a mobile.

Nishan was also allegedly in contact with Punjab militants based in Pakistan.

Due to his anti-national activities, the police had registered a case under Sections 124, 153-A, 212 and 216 of the IPC against Nishan in April.

He evaded arrest till last night when he was arrested on a tip-off from his residence, the SSP said. Nishan was today produced in the local court, which remanded him in police custody till October 22.

The police has confiscated a mobile phone used by him to contact militant groups in Pakistan.

An active terrorist of the area, Nishan had initially worked for the Khalistan Commando Force and later other groups.

Instead of carrying out the operations, Nishan allegedly provided logistical support and hideouts to terrorists operating in the area.

He also attacked former SSP Batala Ajit Singh Sandhu in Amritsar jail.

Nishan had met with an accident in the recent past in which both his legs were fractured. He still uses crutches to walk.


Improvement Trust chief in the dock
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 18
The Chairman of Improvement Trust, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, is in the dock again following charges of 'manipulations' to help his elder brother pass building plan of prime commercial land near Town Hall.

Going through the official record, it is confirmed that the Corporation had lodged an FIR in its office against on July 16, 2004, for violations in the bylaws for constructing the building.

Consequently, a notice was issued to Mr Kewal Krishan Sharma, elder brother of the Chairman Improvement Trust, who showed 'undue haste' in passing the plan. The controversial building is a few yards away from the head office of the Corporation.

The Chairman of Improvement Trust, Mr Sharma, however, refuted the charges that the bylaws were violated to construct the building by his elder brother.

He claimed that he had nothing to do with the building since his brother had been working from the site for the past many decades and had regularly deposited the house tax.

He alleged that his political rivals were behind the 'vilification campaign' to settle political scores.

When contacted, Mr Hemat Batra, Municipal Town Planner (MTP), claimed that there was no violation of the rules while clearing the case of Mr Kewal Kumar Sharma.

However, he put a rider while passing the building plan. The official noting reads, "Building plan sanctioned with the rider that the sanction of this proposed building plan will not mean that the applicant has become owner of the suit property. In case any dispute is raised with regard to ownership of the site in question at the later stage, the sanction so given will be deemed to have been revoked".

The lodging of the FIR and the clearance of building plan took place simultaneously.

Earlier the FIR of MC had stated that ' the offender has started the construction which is against sanctioned plan vide Number 32/138'. The Corporation had decided to issue notices under sections 269 and 270 of Municipal Act 1976.


Amritsar, Vienna to be airlinked soon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 18
Austria would soon launch Vienna — Amritsar via Kerala Air service for people of two cities and was likely to open a visa centre at Chandigarh, said Austrian Ambassador, Ms Jutta Stefan-Bastl, while addressing faculty and students of the Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Ms Jutta said a high-powered Austrian delegation would visit India in November to work on the agreement in the field of scientific, technological, educational and research cooperation. She said besides coming to Delhi, the delegation would also visit other states of the country including Punjab. She said her countrymen were very keen on research in various fields in India.

She said some university professors had also written books on India highlighting its culture, economy, health and education systems etc.

Narrating the background of the Austrian history, Ms Jutta said Austria had rich and great history and strong economy with machinery, metallurgical products and textiles. The country’s most important industry, however , is tourism. She said focus of Austria’s international scientific and technological research cooperation was on the European Union. Another aspect was the collaboration with countries of Central and Eastern Europe in view of the enlargement of the European Union, she urged.

Earlier welcoming Ms Jutta, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak University Jai Rup Singh said the varsity was keen of having educational exchange programme with Austria. He also invited the Austrian delegation visiting India in November to interact with the faculty and students of the university.

Ms Jutta said a large number of people especially students were migrating to Austria from Kerala and Punjab. Appreciating the Punjabis, she said students interested to study in Austria, should have knowledge of German, as language of her country was German.


Foot and mouth disease resurfaces
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 18
The foot and mouth disease has struck cattle in dairies in the district despite efforts by the government to eradicate it. Many heads of cattle in dairies of Gurdaspur and Pathankot district have been infected with the disease.

Mr Mohinder Singh Bajwa, a dairy owner in Pathankot told The Tribune that four heads of cattle owned by him got infected with foot and mouth disease last month. The cattle got infected despite the fact that last year he got the animals vaccinated.

Though two of his animals have recovered, the other two are still infected. Due to the disease ulcers have developed in the mouths and feet of the cattle. They are not in a position to feed or move properly. The milk yield of his cattle has also been affected.

When contacted, veterinary officials declined to say anything, the dairy owner said.

Gurdaspur was covered last year in the hundred per cent vaccination campaign launched against the foot and mouth disease under the aegis of the Union Government. Under the campaign, vaccination doses as per the census figures were supplied.

The veterinary hospital staff was bound to carry out hundred per cent vaccination irrespective of the fact that the cattle owners wanted to get their animals vaccinated or not.

The veterinary hospital staff while speaking on the condition of anonymity said in the census even the cattle of migratory Gujjars and Gaddis is counted. Since the population is migratory they are not in a position to locate them and vaccinate their cattle. However, to comply with the government directions, they on paper, had to show all the cattle as vaccinated against the disease. The unvaccinated cattle might have led to spread of the disease, they said.

This year also the Livestock Development Board and other government agencies have supplied the vaccine against the foot and mouth disease to the veterinary hospital. Again target has been given to veterinary staff for hundred per cent vaccination.

Though the vaccine has been lying in the hospitals for the past one month, the campaign is yet to start. The vaccination has failed to kick off due to the non-cooperation of veterinary pharmacists.

Veterinary pharmacists have stopped undertaking the vaccination campaigns alleging that the government making them work but was not giving them the due designation. They are demanding the designation of veterinary inspectors and other benefits and travelling allowance for going to far-flung areas.

Assistant Director Animal Husbandry Gambhir Inder Singh, when contacted, said he had no knowledge of the reported cases of foot and mouth disease. He however, promised to look into the matter.


Khanna flays Abdullah’s stand on Afzal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 18
State BJP president and MP Avinash Rai Khanna today condemned those political leaders, including former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who were opposed to the proposed execution of Mohammed Afzal Guroo, who has been convicted of attack on Parliament.

Talking to this correspondent here today, Mr Khanna reacted sharply to the recent statement of Mr Abdullah in which he expressed concern for the life of judges who had handed out the sentence.

In his statement during a talk on a news channel, Mr Abdullah had said if Afzal was hanged “some crook will come and murder judges” and India would go up in flames.

Mr Khanna said such statements from people like Mr Abdullah would send wrong signals to terrorist groups and anti-national forces.


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