L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Body in trunk: police gropes in dark
Autopsy says victim was strangulated 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
An unidentified girl found murdered and dumped in a trunk, in Indore-Jammu Tawi Malwa Express at Ludhiana railway station on November 8, was strangulated.

But there has emerged no evidence of rape in the post-mortem examination conducted at the Civil Hospital here today. The much-awaited autopsy conducted after 72 hours this afternoon has perplexed the matter further.

So far, the police had been suspecting that the case was a sex-related crime and the girl was murdered for lust but now it was inclined to follow other theories.

The police said it could be hate or jealousy related crime with some jilted lover responsible for it. The swabs collected from the body had been sent for chemical examination but doctors conducting the examination said she seemed not to have been raped.

With no person able to identify the body till now, the Railway Police, Punjab, was at a quandary in the case. Eight families, whose daughters of same age were missing, had come to see the body but no one owned her.

The deceased girl might have failed to free herself from the clutches of the assailant(s) but still had the presence of mind to try scribbling the number of her father on her left hand before dying.

Though the message was left incomplete, as she could only write ‘Papa- 0562265...’, the Railway Police believed it to be a good clue that could lead to her family and eventually to the murderer. The numbers formed the telephone code of Agra.

The body of the girl bore tell-tale signs of intense struggle. She seemed to have been tied with ropes before being done to death and suspected to have been raped. She had injuries inflicted with nails on her face and arms too.

The ADGP, Railway, Mr Chander Shekhar, said the Railway Police had sought help from the Agra as well as Indore to ascertain if any girl of this age and description was reported missing.

Mr Shekhar said the only problem was that the accused could have written the number to mislead the police. Further it was also perplexing that how and when the girl managed to write the number.

‘‘ If she had hands free to do so , she could have pulled out the cloth from her mouth,’’ he added.

The police suspected that the girl was strangulated and then dumped in the trunk. No pen was found from the trunk. No clothes or documents of the girl were found from the trunk. A sari, a top and a pair of jeans found from the trunk had probably nothing to do with the girl.



Nullah pollution: villagers dying of kidney, liver diseases
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Toxically polluted Budda Nullah is playing havoc with the lives of scores of villagers living downstream the ‘‘Water of Sorrow’’ as they are being admitted to various hospitals with liver and kidney ailments and some have even died.

The villagers, who depend on untreated ground water for their drinking needs, are the victims of the pollution caused by the nullah which lines around 168 villages in the district. They are ingesting toxic chemical residues and germs from sewer waters emptied in the Budda Nullah that contaminate the ground water in these villages.

The startling fact came to light in a public hearing of a committee headed by Punjab Agricultural University, Vice Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, today when the villagers narrated their plight. The committee was constituted by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission following a petition by a local NGO, International Human Rights Organisation.

Mr Jagjit Singh Lambran, sarpanch of Burj Lambran village, where Budda Nulla empties into Sutlej, said the villagers were falling prey to various diseases like cancer, jaundice, kidney diseases, stones, osteoporosis, dental ailments and the doctors had told them that it was due to consumption of water and grains grown in these villages.

Later talking to The Tribune, he said many young deaths had taken place in his and surrounding villages, including Ballipur, Phaagla, Salempur, Basaimi and Burj Lambran. He said former sarpanch of Phaagla village, Manjit Singh, former sarpanch of Salempur, Ajit Singh, former sarpanch of Basaimi village, Charan Singh, former numberdar Harbans Singh of Ballipur and former numbardaar of Burj Lambran Raghbir Singh, all died during the recent past due to liver and kidney diseases.

He added that it was after their deaths that they started boring deeper into the earth to get clean water. ‘‘We are hoping that things would improve but for how long? And what about the poor villagers who cannot afford to spend one lakh rupees on installation of submersible pumps?’’ he asked.

He said the poor were still drinking yellow coloured water and crops were also being irrigated in it. ‘‘Till some years ago, farmers were irrigating their crops with water from the Budda Nullah supplied by the Irrigation Department. But then our crops started dying. When the crops could not withstand that pollution how can the humans do?

Not only living beings but iron pipes that pump water from the earth in those villages get corroded every year due to water laced with toxic chemicals,’’ said Mr Raj Singh, sarpanch of Burj Mankaur village.



Snatching bid near police station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Two youths tried to snatch a bag containing about Rs 4 lakh from a trader near Model Town police station here today.

While the alleged victim, Ashok Kumar, resisted the attempt despite being hit on the head with an iron rod, the Model Town police reached the scene 20 minutes after the SOS call was made. The loud police claims of reacting quickly to crime incidents took a beating again in this incident.

Though the police said in the evening that the incident was not a criminal act and some youths known to the trader were involved, the fact that the youths had no qualms in settling their own scores near the police station speaks itself about the law and order situation in the city.

Mr Ashok Kumar who is an agent of bank drafts clearance and transfer business told reporters that he had gone to meet another trader with the cash. But due to some disagreement, the deal could not go through. He left their trader's premises and suspected that the former was behind the attack.

The man displayed courage in fighting the assailants. Though bleeding profusely, he did not let them snatch his bag.



Extending date for submitting C forms won’t help: experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Taxation experts today said the government's announcement to extend the last date for submitting C forms would not be of much use unless the last date for filing the annual VAT returns was also extended to March 31, 2007.

"Even as the government has extended the last date for submitting the C forms, the date for filing the VAT return has not been extended. This would result in incomplete assessment even after filing the return," said Mr Jatinder Khurana, president, Young Lawyers Taxation Association.

The association said traders and industrialists have already submitted the quarterly VAT returns. "As per the provisions under the VAT Act, at the end of financial year, an annual return is to be submitted so as to complete the assessment. However, in the absence of C forms, the same would remain incomplete. Hence the date for filing the return too should have been extended alongwith."

Professionals said since the quarterly returns had already been submitted, extending the date for filing the annual return would not amount to any kind of revenue loss to the government.

Mr Khurana added that annual return forms were not available with the Excise and Taxation Department. Over 1.5 lakh dealers would be affected as a result and the state government would keep their interest in mind.

Mr Satish Aggarwal, president, Taxation Advisers Association, said post abolition of octroi, dealers and traders were confused pertaining to the separate challan forms for Punjab Municipal Fund and VAT returns. He said frequently changing forms was only adding to unnecessary complications. "The government should not keep changing forms so often as it creates unnecessary confusion among the trading community," he said.



IT survey left midway at stores
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 11
The Income Tax officials conducted a survey at some leading commercial establishments, including the Hind Chain of Silk and Sarees. Of the four establishments that the officials went to, the survey was completed only in two while the other two were left pending.

It is learnt that the income tax officials from different places led by a senior officer surveyed four stores of the Hind Chain at Cemetery Road, Chaura Bazar and Clock Tower. The officials also imposed a penalty on two stores.

Although the local income tax officials were tightlipped over the details, it was learnt that one of the stores at Cemetery Road and another at Clock Tower was left unsettled. The officials reportedly left the "settling of the penalty" pending till Monday. There was reportedly some disagreement as the proprietors were not prepared to surrender the amount asked by the IT officials.

Besides the Hind Stores, surveys were conducted at some other places also.



Youth in distress needs help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
Sanjay Bhatia, a 30-year-old resident of the New Sant Nagar locality in Haibowal had dreams in his eyes of getting married, having his own family, besides looking after his widowed mother till a few years ago. However, he had no idea what fate had in store for him.

The world of this storekeeper in an electronics showroom till 2003, and the sole breadwinner of the family, came crumbling down when he was afflicted with a kidney problem which was later diagnosed as chronic renal failure at Deepak Hospital in Sarabha Nagar in the city.

According to Dr Rajan Isaacs, Consultant Nephrologist at Deepak Hospital, the patient had to remain on maintenance hemodialysis with an expected monthly expenditure of more than Rs 10,000.

Sanjay's mother, who lost her husband in 1998, and had all her hopes pinned on her son, is a broken woman. "My son is on dialysis for the past around two years and we have sold everything that we had on the treatment for the life-threatening disease.

For the hapless victim of renal failure, even undergoing regular dialysis to keep alive seems impossible, kidney transplant being a distant dream for the sheer cost involved. Sanjay and his mother now look towards good Samaritans and other voluntary organisations who could lend a helping hand in their otherwise hopeless fight for survival.

"If I die for want of treatment, my mother will also be doomed for there will be nobody left to take care of her," said a sombre looking Sanjay.

Those desirous of extending financial help to the victim could send their contributions to Dr Rajan Isaacs at Deepak Hospital, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana with 'contribution for treatment of Sanjay Bhatia' written on the back of cheques or drafts, or on covering letters.



Clan members give up illicit trade
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 11
Persistent pressure and inspiration from the police encouraged members of a Sainsi scheduled tribe settled at Jhuner village in Sangrur district to shun their illicit business of drug trafficking and take up other professions and join the mainstream.

An oath was taken at a meeting held under the patronage of office bearers of the village civic body and an NGO there today. The event will set a precedence for similar clans inhabiting other villages, including Kanganwal and Jitwal.

Submitting a written undertaking, male members of about 15 families have sought assurance from the police that they would not be harassed for their past deeds. The district police has assured all possible help for rehabilitating the families concerned besides taking a lenient view of their past acts of omission.

Teja Singh, Amrik Singh, Mela Singh, Balbir Singh, Surjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Jiwa Singh, Malkit Singh, Jagtar Singh, Faqir Singh, Harnek Singh, Budh Singh and Bhima of Jhuner village vowed to permanently shun illicit trading of poppy husk.

"On the persuasion of Mr Harjinder Singh Chahal SSP Sangrur and Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara DSP Malerkotla, we decided to turn away from the illicit trade and adopt other viable professions. However, we wish to have an assurance that lower officials would not harass us for our past deeds," said Teja Singh, leader of the Sainsi clan. Ramji Dass Singh sarpanch, Ranjit Singh, Labh Singh, Bagga Singh and Jagtar Singh, all panches and Jagtar Singh Jaggie president of the Youth Services Club Jhuner were among those who recommended leniency with those transformed.

According to Mr Rachhpal Singh, members of about 15 families at Jhuner village had been indulging in the distribution of poppy husk among various classes of the society, including students, labourers and farmers. The colony located on the outskirts of the village attracted a large number of petty purchasers daily. Women and children were also seen bargaining with prospective buyers.

The clan used to take the services of minor members of their families also. "They went to the extent of concealing and carrying the banned product in school bags of their children," explained Mr Hara.

The police felt helpless till Darshan Singh, SHO Sadar, acting under the directions of Mr Harjinder Singh Chahal, SSP Sangrur, inspired the traffickers to change their mode of life. 



‘Virasat Mela’ ends on a festive note
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 11
The Master Tara Singh Memorial College For Women today held the grand finale of ‘Virasat Mela’ on its campus which was celebrated with precedented enthusiasm and exuberance.

The stage and the entire campus was set ablaze with distinctly rural ambience complete with village well, chakkies, chaties, madhanis and phulkaris.

Mood was upbeat as the college immersed in festive celebrations and internationally acclaimed artistes lnderjit Nikku and Diljit Gill enthralled the audience.

They were the star attraction of this Punjabi culture-oriented event. Not a single soul could help sway the feet off the ground as Mr Nikku and Mr Gill were ushered in the traditional way in true Punjabi traditional spirit amidst roars of thunderous applause.

The entire college reverberated with vigorous beats of ‘dhol’ as the artistes belted out their hit numbers interspersed with ribtickling jokes and anecdotes.Punjabi damsels were attired in traditional and fabulous outfits such as suits and lehangas wrapped in phulkari and ornaments, saggiphul, tikka, kalira, chura and glittering bangles, enriched the entire campus with hues of rural Punjab.

Mr A.S.Rai, SSP, Ludhiana, graced the occasion as chief guest where Ms Rai was the guest of honour.

The Principal, Dr (Ms) Madanjit Kaur Sahota, stressed upon the need for celebrating festivals associated with Punjabi culture to keep the rich traditions alive.

She also congratulated the artistes for promoting rich and vibrant culture of Punjab highlighting values and moral fabric of upright living through their meaningful verses.

Mr Rai congratulated the artistes for their quality songs replete with meaningful ideas and thoughtful expressions in their videos targeted to enhance the self-esteem of Punjabis.

The president of the college managing committee, Mr Swaran Singh, also lauded the top-ranking melodious singers for maintaining worth-cherishing and worth-emulating standards of Punjabi culture. He also proposed a vote of thanks to Ms and Mr Rai and other dignitaries.



Akali MLA from Koom Kalan questions vikas yatra success
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) MLA from the Koom Kalana Assembly segment, today questioned the claims of the Congress and the government that a huge number of people had turned out to receive the Chief Minister during his Vikas Yatra which passed through his assembly segment on Thursday.

He also said that he would be making a representation to the Election Commission of India against the Chief Minister for forcing shoolchildren to queue up to cheer him (the CM).The children, he alleged, were made to stand up for hours together without any refreshments.

Mr Atwal claimed, the turnout was modest from all means.So much so, he added, the Congress decided to cancel the proposed rally at Machhiwara yesterday.He claimed that the official programme had mentioned that on November 9, the Chief Minister would address only one public function and that would be at Machhiwara only. However, he said, once they saw that people had not turned up in good number, they cancelled the idea of holding the rally.

The MLA also alleged that the Chief Minister belied the expectations of those who had come to receive him.He said, this was a mere show without any substance.Otherwise, he asked how could the CM or his yatra managers explain as why so many people returned disappointed as they could not present their cases and complaints to him.

Mr Atwal maintained that this was the gross misuse of official machinery and the whole expenditure for the Congress was being borne by the state. Even then, he claimed, the Congress could not retain power as people were quite disillusioned with him and his government.



Good Samaritans, help this man in distress
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 11
Dalip Sinha, a young rickshaw-puller from the city, is admitted at CMC under the care of Dr Rajeev Gupta, Department of Cardio Thoracic Surgery. Sinha is suffering from a life-threatening rheumatic heart disease and his two valves (Mitral and Aortic) are narrowed. He is also suffering from breathing difficulty and is not able to pull rickshaw and, therefore, not able to sustain his family. He requires change of both the heart valves. The expenditure for such procedure is Rs 2.25 lakh. It is very difficult for him to arrange this money. He, being the sole earning member of the family, can hardly bear the cost of treatment.

CMC has been providing the best possible medicare free or at the cheapest cost to him. Belonging to a very poor socio-economic background, Dalip hardly earns to make both ends meet. He requested the citizens of the state for financial help to save his life.

All those who wish to bring back the smile to Dalip’s face and his family can contact Medical Superintendent's Office, Christian Medical College and Hospital. The donations can be made in favour of CMCH with 'Treatment For Dalip' written on back side of the cheque /DD.



BJP concerned over, jihadi, left terrorism
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The Bhartiya Janata Party general secretary, Mr Arun Jaitely, today criticised the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre for soft-paddling on jihadi and Maoist terrorism.

Talking to reporters after attending a party meeting here today,Mr Jaitely pointed out the way the UPA government had abolished POTA and was now delaying the hanging of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru only indicated its weakness.

The BJP leader maintained that India was the worst hit country in the world by terrorism. He pointed out that the USA and the UK had faced the terrorist attacks only once while India had been facing it for the past two decades.

He said about 120 districts in the country were worst hit by the Maoist extremism. He said even if the central government wanted to take any action against them,the Left parties like the CPM and the CPI forced them not to act.

About Punjab, the BJP leader said he was quite optimistic about the success of the Akali-BJP alliance. He hoped that the alliance would capitalise on the anti-incumbency sentiment prevailing among the masses. He claimed there was great disillusionment among the public and they wanted to get rid of the Congress government.



5 booked for bid to murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 11
Jatinder Singh of Halwara was seriously injured in a clash on Wednesday at Sudhar Bazar when Mandeep Singh, Harmit Singh, Bahadur Singh, Harpreet Singh of Sahauli and Amrik Singh of Rurka allegedly assaulted him with sharp edged weapons. Sources disclosed that Jatinder Singh has illicit relations with the sister of Harpreet Singh, one of the accused.

The Sudhar police has registered a case under Sections 307, 342, 324, 506, 148, 149 of the IPC. The injured have been admitted to Satluj Hospital in Ludhiana. No arrest has been made so far.



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