P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

4 dead, 42 hurt in massive pile-up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Four persons were killed and 42 injured, six of them seriously, in a huge pile up of five vehicles at Ludhiana-Jagraon road near Baddowal early morning today.

One of the dead was an unidentified six-year-old girl student while 12 other students of different schools were also injured. A teacher, Harvinder Kaur of Kendriya Vidhyala School, Halwara was also killed. The other two deceased were Hakam Singh, a trader from Jagraon and Gugg, driver of a Tata 407 truck involved in the accident.

According to police investigation, the accident occurred at about 7:20 am when the ill-fated Barnala bound PRTC Bus (PB 11 E 9763) collided head on with a truck coming from Mullanpur Dakha (RJ 19 G 7142) . The bus driver was over taking a scooter but seemed to have come right in the opposite lane in the process where it smashed into the truck.

A TATA 407 (PCS 9470) which was trailing the truck also rammed into the truck. A car and a motorcycle following the vehicles also crashed into the pile up. On the basis of the statement of the injured and circumstantial evidence, the Sadar police, Ludhiana, has held the bus driver responsible for the mess.

An FIR has been lodged against the unidentified bus driver. He was also reported to be seriously injured.

The impact of the accident was so massive that only the mangled remains of the bus and the two trucks were left on the road. The roofs were ripped off and iron bars were twisted by forceful impact of the collision. The front cabins of the two trucks were smashed into pieces.

Om Prakash, a daily commuter on the bus, seated behind the driver said the driver was driving at high speed and chose a risky overtaking. “The next thing I remember was that a truck was right in front of us.”

Pritpal Singh, another injured passenger of the bus, said he just heard a loud bang and then shireks of children and woman. He said seats around him were uprooted and passengers especially school children were ricocheted all around. The six-year old girl student was stuck in twisted iron.

The injured were rushed to different hospitals, including Medicity, CMC&H, DMC&H, GTB Hospital and Ragunath hospitals in Ludhiana.

Six of the seriously injured were under treatment at the CMC Hospital. Doctors attending to them said they had their fingers crossed about their fate.


CM, Dullo fail to turn up at rally
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 28
More than 6,000 men and women were disappointed as Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo failed to turn up at a rally in Balluana village, near here, today.

Only two days back the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had announced that Mr Amarinder Singh had not found time to visit the region in the past more than four years whereas he had toured this area thrice.

District officials had been camping here for past 48 hours to ensure there was no lapse in the security cover. The police had been deployed in strength at the venue for the rally at the village, 8 km from here. Scores of women police personnel had also been deployed. Six metal detectors were installed for security check. People were not allowed to carry cigarettes, and matchsticks. The police even debarred entrants from carrying newspapers of today.

Capt Amarinder Singh was to inaugurate a project and address a public rally in the area for the first time since he took over as Chief Minister. His chopper was to land at the BSF helipad at 11.45 am, but cloudy weather kept the people guessing.

Senior Congress leaders and officials dispersed at 1 pm after a desperate wait. Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, vice-president, PPCC, and Dr Mohinder Rinwa, chairman, PSTC, joined Mr Parkash Singh Bhatti, MLA from Balluana, in inaugurating rural water works developed at a cost of Rs 135 lakh near the village.

Their gloomy faces indicated that the CM would not arrive. Initially, Mr Gurnaib Singh Brar, president, District Congress Committee, announced that the PPCC president, Mr Dullo, was unable to attend the rally due to an assignment at Khanna. He also informed that the CM’s chopper could not land due to poor visibility.

Mr Bhatti, who had pinned high hopes on today’s rally and worked hard to mobilise the people, criticised the SAD chief, saying that the former Chief Minister during visits to the area had not talked about the welfare of Punjab and tried to mislead the electorate by false utterances.

Dr Rinwa lambasted Mr Badal on the water issue. He stated that the Chief Minister had sanctioned Rs 130 crore for repairing watercourses that had been lined two-three decades back. A major part of the gathering stood up from their seats as Dr Rinwa formally announced at 2 pm that the CM’s visit stood cancelled.

Mr Bal Mukand Sharma expressed regrets on behalf of the CM for inability to reach the rally due to bad weather. He said the Chief Minister would be requested to take up the issue of opening of the Hussainiwala border for trade with Pakistan with the Union Government.


Thind in court custody till November 11
Hearing on bail application on October 31
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 28
Mr Bhupinder Singh Thind, ADGP (Law and Order), Himachal Pradesh Police, was remanded into judicial custody till November 11 by Ms Harinder Sidhu, Special Magistrate, CBI, when he was produced in her court by a team of the CBI led by SP Mahesh Aggarwal here today.

VIP treatment in courtroom

Mr Bhupinder Singh Thind was given a VIP treatment in the courtroom. Policemen in mufti offered him a chair. Dressed in a white shirt, light brown trousers and a light blue turban, Mr Thind sat crossed-legged on the chair while his co-accused, Harinder Singh, remained standing throughout the court proceedings. — TNS

Mr Thind, a 1973 batch IPS officer, was arrested yesterday for his alleged involvement in a criminal case registered against a section of colonisers on the complaint of Mr P. S. Thuse, DGM, Vigilance, State Bank of India, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

Mr Harinder Singh, another accused in the case, who along with Mr Thind, was produced in the court of the Special Magistrate, was remanded into judicial custody till November 11.

Mr Thind allegedly committed the fraud with different banks and managed to collect more than Rs 3 crore by raising loans from the same banks, manoeuvring papers of same plots owned by him in a residential colony near Zirakpur.

Ms Sidhu ordered the remand of both accused when CBI lawyers Chander Dutt, Deputy Legal Adviser, and S. K. Kantiwal, Public Prosecutor, did not object to it.

Ms Sidhu fixed October 31 for hearing of bail applications moved by a battery of lawyers who appeared in her court as defence counsel for Mr Thind.

Though one of the defence counsel tried to convince the Special Magistrate, CBI, that if Mr Thind would remain in custody for about four days, he would become liable for suspension and, hence, it would ruin his service career, Ms Sidhu, who had already adjourned the hearing on the same, said she would take up the bail application on October 31.

On the other hand, the CBI filed the charge sheet against Mr Thind and other accused in the court of the Special Magistrate, CBI, today. Mr K. D. Sharma, Inspector of Police, Anti-Corruption Branch, SPE, Chandigarh, signed the charge sheet.

Mr Sidhu also allowed the request made by the defence counsel that a medical examination of Mr Thind be conducted before he was sent to the Central Jail, Patiala. The defence counsel requested that some responsible officer should be directed to take care of medicines to be administered to Mr Thind, who was suffering from a heart problem with 95 per cent blockade of one of the veins.

Ms Sidhu allowed the defence counsel to confer with Mr Thind in her courtroom on the issue of bail.

After the court’s proceedings, Mr Thind along with Harinder Singh was taken the Model Town dispensary for a medical examination. After that both were lodged in the local Central Jail.

Mr Thind, during his conversation with his lawyers in the courtroom, alleged that the criminal case was registered against him on political considerations and one of his colleagues was behind this. He said the police had not arrested. He himself had gave to the CBI office yesterday. He said he had been cooperating with the CBI.


PIL against cricketers promoting liquor
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 28
A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate H.C. Arora, seeking issuance of directions to the Union Government and the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) to restrain the members of Indian cricket team, including Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and M.S. Dhoni, from appearing in advertisements for promoting sale of liquor, came up for hearing today before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The petitioner has alleged that these three members of the Indian cricket team have, of late, been appearing in advertisements promoting sale of a liquor brand. To buttress his claim, the petitioners attached copies of some advertisements that had appeared in newspapers recently. He pointed out that these cricketers, who had an iconic status and were role models for today’s youth, have been setting a wrong example for the young generation by promoting liquor.

He also pointed to a number of articles written by leading cricket experts like Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Stephen Fleming and Mahela Jayawardhene that have appeared in various newspapers carrying the logo of a particular liquor brand. Saying that all such actions were a violation of the Constitution, the petitioner sought directions to the respondents not to allow such things to continue.

Today, a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Saron, before which the matter was fixed, referred it to another Bench for hearing on October 31.

Naresh torture case: contempt plea against SHO

Utsav Bains, a student of Department of Law, Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Saturday filed a contempt petition against Sub-Inspector Balwant Singh, SHO, Morinda, for wilful disobedience and violation of the directions of the Supreme Court in D.K. Basu’s case.

In his petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Utsav Bains has also stated that the cop had violated the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Dr Vineeta Gupta versus State of Punjab in administering third degree torture to 16-year-old Naresh Kumar and keeping him in illegal detention on October 23-24.

Referring to news item published in The Tribune highlighting the incident, Utsav Bains has claimed that he was shocked to read about the incidence of torture of Naresh by Punjab Police officials posted at Morinda. He has also referred to the fact that following the torture; Naresh was admitted in the PGI Chandigarh on October 24 in a critical condition.

Pointing to the fact that the victim was a juvenile as per the law and the police could not have kept him in detention. Utsav has also stated that when he went to the PGI to meet the victim, Sub-Inspector Balwant Singh did not allow him to meet either the victim or his parents.

Saying that the conduct of the respondent proved that he did not want anyone to help the victim or meet him, Utsav has stated that by failing to comply with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the High Court, the SHO had committed criminal contempt.


Police to reinvestigate disappearance of lawyer 
Tribune Impact
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 28
The Ropar police has decided to reinvestigate into the case involving Rajesh Gumbar, a Chandigarh-based advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court who went missing from here about four months ago.

The police swung into action after The Tribune highlighted loopholes in the case in its story “Missing advocate case: police probe not convincing” on October 26.

Rajesh Gumbar, a resident of Sector 39, Chandigarh, went missing from here leaving his car and other belongings near the Bhakra canal on June 5.

Mr Varinderjit Singh, investigating officer, said, “Now, we have decided to work on different theories in the case. Suicide is one of the possibilities.

We have recovered the laptop of the advocate, but despite help from IT experts, we could not get any clue.”


Nurturing ethereal melodies
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 28
Something about him reminds you of the valley — its ethereal beauty and forbearing landscapes. The resemblance is stark and there’s a reason why. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was raised on the staple diet of Kashmiriyat — something he has preserved in his music. Born a Dogra, he could never resist the temptations of Kashmir. And he is glad he never even tried.

In Kapurthala today to perform at Baba Jassa Singh Festival that began yesterday, Pt Sharma spoke to The Tribune about his role in times when consumerism was threatening to consume musical creativity. “Certain things are being pushed too much, too fast. I am painfully aware of the fact that good musicians who lack marketing skills stand to lose these days. My son Rahul is one of them. But I believe music will speak for itself one day. And I know that heartfelt melodies will ultimately find their home,” says Pt Sharma, whose own struggle as a musician has been legendary.

When he decided to transform santoor from an accompanying instrument to one that commanded individual attention on stage, he faced fierce opposition from traditionalists. “But I was convinced of the merits of santoor. It had a few drawbacks like it lacked tonal quality and could not render all the ragas. Despite 100 strings it presented the problem of note-mixing. In short, it lacked character. I found one for it,” says Pt Sharma, who is planning to produce a documentary on his journey through the alleyways of music.

But while that happens, he keeps busy with concert circuits, which spare him no time for films. There are many offers at hand and naturally so. His historic collaboration with Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia in films like “Silsiley”, “Lamhe”, Chandni” and “Darr” is still unforgettable. About Pt Chaurasia, he says: “We first collaborated in an album titled “Call of the Valley”. The resonance was so fine that film offers started pouring in. The rest is history.”

And Pt Sharma is not planning to repeat history any time soon. He would rather spend time educating his listeners who, he feels, have come of age. “I don’t believe in testing the patience of my audience. Nor do I believe in playing to the gallery. I maintain a balance,” says the instrumentalist, famous for two things — delineating ragas before unveiling them on stage and curing stressful minds with music.

Across the world, his music is being used for meditation. Music Today has even released an exclusive album for meditation in which Pt Sharma has rendered compositions sans accompaniment. This one features his best creation called the “antardhwani”. Strangely, Pt Sharma has not called it a raga. He explains why: “While tuning my instrument one day, I chanced upon a splendid melody – a scale I had never arrived at earlier. It was very soothing. I worked on it and called it antardhwani. I don’t believe in making ragas but I am supportive of those who can create ragas and make others use them as well.”

Ragas apart, Pt Sharma makes another important point. “People think santoor is a folk instrument. That’s a misnomer. It was never one. In fact, it was always a part of “Sufiana music” which is different from Kashmir’s folk music.”

Recently Pt Sharma inspired the first-ever Sufi music festival in Kashmir. For the first time Indian and Pakistani musicians came together in the backdrop of the valley. “We diluted boundaries, at least for a while,” says the musician, hoping the festival sees another dawn.


SAD(A) to hold rally to lay bare Badal’s falsehood
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
The SAD (A) will organise a state- level protest rally at Ludhiana on November 8 where a strategy to counter the alleged fratricide by the Badals would be chalked out and adopted.

A silent protest would also be held in front of the SGPC office in Amritsar on November 2 where 'undoctored' photos of the 'goondaism' unleashed by the 'goons' of SAD (B) would be displayed for the sangat to ascertain the truth as to who was behind the violence at Kathunangal, stated Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the outfit, while addressing mediapersons here this evening. He was flanked by senior vice president Daljit Singh Bittu, general secretary Charan Singh Lohara, Surinderpal Singh and other leaders.

He said Parkash Singh Badal was trying to project Simranjit Singh Mann as responsible for the clash at Kathunangal by releasing huge advertisements in various newspapers.

This was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public since only those photos were released which were taken after our supporters regrouped and snatched the lathis being used on them, he pointed out.

The party also wants the Punjab government to enquire into the role Majitha SSP Gautam Cheema who was constantly on the phone with Bikramjit Singh Majithia, a brother- in- law of SAD general secretary Sukhbir Badal. Our group was deliberately disarmed and led by the cops onto the path where the attackers had already collected large quantities of stones, bricks and other weapons in the langar hall, he alleged.

He said Mr Badal always relies on his old cry of the 'panth' being in danger but in reality his brand of politics is in danger. He wants to silence his critics by all possible means and with all the resources at his command.


Road show deferred due to party pressure: Bhattal
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 28
Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, has admitted that the road show of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had to be postponed as Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the PPCC, had not given his consent to it. The dates of the second phase of party’s mass-contact programme clashed with the dates of the road show.

Ms Bhattal was talking to mediapersons here today. She said there were minor differences among party leaders and the government, which was obvious in such a big organisation. Like others, they did not drag out swords, weapons and lathis to kill each other, she said sarcastically.

She had come here to brief party workers on the second phase of the mass-contact programme to be launched from October 31 to November 7 in all blocks and districts. It would be followed by a state-level rally in Ludhiana on November 14 marking the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Central leaders of the party would also address the rally. 


Cong’s failure on all fronts to be main poll plank: Capt Kanwaljit
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 28
Virtually kicking off the election campaign for the February, 2007 Punjab Assembly elections, a senior Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) leader and the former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, announced today that the failure of the Amrinder Singh government on all fronts would be the main poll plank of the SAD-BJP combine.

Talking to The Tribune before addressing an impressive rally organised to welcome certain Congress workers, who joined SAD at Baltana here, Capt Kanwaljit Singh claimed that the Congress government was on the way out as it had "failed" to fulfil various promises made to the electorate in the run-up to the 2002 Assembly elections.The link between the government and the common man has snapped and the bureaucracy ruled the roost leaving the people to fend for themselves, he alleged.

Taking a potshot at the Punjab Chief Minister,Capt Amarinder Singh, the Akali leader dared the Chief Minister to come forward for a public debate in the presence of the media on the issue of development during the past about five years.

Not to talk of the common people even the Congress leaders and activists seemed to have lost faith in the leadership of Capt Amrinder Singh with the result that the Congress leaders were joining SAD in large numbers.

Replying to the Congress charge that SAD was "issueless", the Akali stalwart claimed that it was the Congress which was groping in the dark for issues in the coming polls. The state,which was the agricultural bowl of India about five years back,was facing a serious "agrarian crisis" with the farmers reeling under Rs 25,000-crore debt burden.

Even the Congress-led UPA government had failed to lend a helping hand to bail out the debt-ridden farmers out of crisis they were facing on account of the "lop-sided" policies pursued by the Punjab Government over the past five years.

The Punjab Government's claim of bringing mega projects to the state notwithstanding, the flight of the industry from the state continues unabated bringing unemployment to the state's youth. In fact, with the Punjab Government abolishing about 95,000 posts, the unemployment problem had assumed alarming proportions, he alleged.

Meanwhile, addressing the rally, Capt Kanwaljit Singh came down heavily on the "non-performance" of the government over the past five years. Several Congress workers, including Mr Kulwinder Singh, Mr Harjit Singh Minta and Ms Satish Gupta, joined SAD.


Booth capturing by Cong workers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 28
The alleged partisan role played by a section of police officials deployed for conducting the election of municipal councillor in Ward Number 32 of the local municipal corporation (MC), held here today, facilitated booth capturing by Congress workers on one hand and harassment of those, who lodged protest against the same, on the other hand.

Mohinder, a polling agent of the SAD-BJP alliance candidate, Anil Bajaj, who took away ballot papers from the polling booth, was caught on the spot.

Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, municipal corporation, and K.K. Sharma, Chairman, Improvement Trust, while talking to TNS said SAD-BJP workers indulged into all sorts of malpractices when they came to know that their candidate would taste defeat in the elections.

On the complaints lodged by the people and candidates, the counting of votes, which was supposed to start from 4 pm was delayed.

Jaspal Mittal, Returning Officer, when contacted, said reports about the election were being taken from the presiding officers and action would be taken accordingly.

Though Parmod Ban, SSP, denied that policemen acted in a partisan manner, Anil Bajaj, Ashok Vadera, a Congress rebel candidate, alleged that an army of Congress leaders, who were present at the venue of polling booths, murdered democracy by carrying out a naked dance of violence and ‘goondaism’.

Mr Ban said one person was caught when he was carrying about 130 ballot papers with him.

Some residents alongwith supporters of other parties staged a dharna in front of the venue of polling booths to lodge their protest against the ‘goondaism’ by Congress workers to ensure the victory of their party candidate Anil Kumar Mangla.

Residents added that after 2 pm a large number of Congress workers and leaders stormed the polling booths and started beating up polling agents of non-Congress candidates.

They alleged that polling agents were thrown out of the polling booths after being thrashed while the policemen deployed in and around the venue of polling booths, remained mute spectators. They added that instead of preventing the Congress workers the policemen harassed those, who were opposing the same.

Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, media adviser to Chief Minister, who made rounds of the ward where the elections were held, said non-Congress party candidates had been levelling baseless allegations.


PPCC gen secy

Muktsar, October 28
Senior Congress leader Gurdas Girdhar has been appointed general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). — TNS


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