L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Maid’s murder: cops’ callousness shocks victim’s family
Murder accused confesses before mediapersons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Insensitivity of the city police touched its nadir last night when a team of cops of Laddowal police station barged into the house of a migrant, Mallu Ram, late last night and forced him to open a trunk of his wife, just a few hours after the man had performed her cremation.

The woman was allegedly murdered by a youth, Yuvraj Singh, son of a Sales Tax Officer, who had employed the woman as a domestic help. He had allegedly strangled her when he was trying to rape her on Wednesday last.

The case had already been solved with the arrest of the youth last evening. Yet, the cops without bothering about the mental state of the aggrieved family, who was in a state of shock and mourning, barged into the house and even allegedly manhandled Mallu Ram for not giving them the keys.

Interestingly, it was learnt today from police sources that the team of cops investigating the case had found a key from the clothes of the deceased woman. Though the key was found on Wednesday only, the police chose to inquire about it late last night only.

The cops, however, did not informed the family about the key. Mallu Ram said the cops came in such a manner that he, along with his three children and other migrants, was scared to the bones.

Further, Mallu Ram was himself searching for the keys all these days. He said the cops even accused him of living away from his wife for more than a year whereas he had gone to his village just less than two months ago.

The SP City-II, Mr D.P. Singh, when informed about the family expressed surprise and shock. He said he would find out if the allegation was true or not. Some cops who were members of the team, wishing not to be quoted, admitted the team had gone to Mallu Ram's house to find out about the key.

Meanwhile, the accused, Yuvraj Singh, was presented before mediapersons today after his arrest last evening where he confessed that he had committed the murder. He said he did not want to kill her but strangled her out of nervousness when she started shouting for help.

Mr D.P. Singh said the youth, undergoing a correspondence course in Law, was alone in the house on Wednesday morning. His father and mother, both with the Sales Tax Department, were out of station. His brother and sister were also not at home. He then allegedly grabbed the victim and tried to rape her.

The police officer said when he realised he had killed the woman, he put the body in his Maruti Wagon Car and took it several km away to dump it in Sidhwan Canal.

However, he found that the canal was dry with no water supply in it. He then went further to dump it in the forest area far away from the city.

The police suspected the involvement of the youth on the grounds that it was established that the woman had gone to the Sales Tax officer's house at 8 am and after which she had disappeared. Her body was recovered several km away. It was not possible for her to reach that far on her own.

The police had also found a purse from the car of the youth. The accused could not hide the evidence.



One killed, one hurt in accidents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 19
One person was killed and another was hurt in two separate accidents that occurred on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road near here last night.

Timely help by the Dehlon police and passers-by saved the life of a youth of Phoolanwal village, the lone occupant of Indica car that had collided with a truck coming from opposite side at Kaind Bridge near here last night.

In a separate accident, a septuagenarian, Surjit Singh of Issapur Landha village near Sherpur in Sangrur district, was killed after being run over by a pick-up van (PB 13 N 6375) near Gopalpur village near here on Saturday. According to an FIR registered at the Dehlon police station against Bhagwan Ram alias Kaka of Sunami Gate Sangrur, the driver of the pickup van, Surjit Singh was run over by the vehicle when he was crossing road after alighting from a private bus.

The deceased had come to Gopalpur to get treatment for a fungal decease from a practitioner at the said village. Jarnail Singh, son of the deceased told Mr Rachhpal Singh, SHO, that the suspect had shifted his father after being hurt to a hospital at Ludhiana but doctors declared him brought dead.

In another incident, Karnail Singh of Phulanwal village was injured seriously when the Indica Car (PB 10 BT 0878) he was driving had collided with truck (PJI 8487) coming from opposite side.

Karnail Singh was coming from Malerkotla side and had hardly crossed the bridge that he lost control over the vehicle and collided with the truck coming from Ludhiana side.

Impetus of the collision was so high that the badly damaged car, with blown off roof was flown to the other side of road.

Seriously injured Karnail Singh was shifted to a multi-specialty hospital at Ludhiana with joint efforts by the Dehlon police and the passers-by. Though the victim was still unconscious, his condition was said to be stable.



‘20 crore Indians afflicted with osteoporosis
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
A team of doctors, led by Dr Jagdip Madaan and Dr R.S. Sodhi, examined 78 patients at an osteoporosis-detection camp, held at the Department of Orthopaedics of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital here in collaboration with SHREYA company, on Saturday.

Latest dexa-ultrasound machine was put into service to detect the condition and the patients were prescribed appropriate anti-osteoporosis therapy.

Dr Madaan, an orthopaedic surgeon, said around 85 per cent of the patients were having severe osteoporosis, which had been termed as a 'silent killer'.

In severe cases, a simple slip or fall, and even violent coughing, could cause serious fractures. In cases of fractures around the hip- joint, surgeries were needed which caused heavy economic burden and morbidity to the patient.

He said osteoporosis was common in females, after the age of 40, particularly in post-menopausal periods, sedentary life style, and patient on steroids for chronic diseases, diabetics and those taking lots of alcohol.

"Surveys have revealed that some 20 crore people in India are suffering from mild to severe osteoporosis," he informed. According to Dr Madaan, osteoporosis could not be detected by any blood examination or x-ray but bone-ultrasound was one dependable method for detection.

In Western countries, bone-ultrasound was done every six months in the females after the age of 40, but in India the cost of the test at around Rs 1,500 to 3,000 was prohibitive.

He informed that as a part of its commitment to the poor patients and society at large, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, being a charitable hospital, organised free bone-ultrasound camp with the help of pharmaceutical companies on regular basis. The purpose of these camps was to educate people about osteoporosis and its complications if not detected and treated at a right time.

Dr Madaan advised the people of vulnerable sections and age groups to adopt a healthy life style, along with proper intake of milk, green vegetables, moderate physical activities and morning walk.



Python row continues to entangle Shankar Samrat
WTI moves apex court against him
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Controversy continues to surround noted magician Shankar Samrat for displaying a python in his shows in violation of the Wildlife Act-1960.

The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court of India demanding enhancement of penalty against the manager of his magic shows and the owner of the python.

In October 2003, a local court had imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 each on the manager of the magic shows organised by the magician and the owner of the python.

It was mentioned in the court order that as the python was a young one and had not attained maturity so it did not fall in genus python and the penalty was enough in his case.

But the local chapter of the People for Animals (PFA) had stated that they should have been awarded rigorous imprisonment. They had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court but the petition was dismissed.

Finally, the WTI has filed a SLP demanding that the case be reconsidered and the manager and owner of python should be given enhancement in penalty.

Magician Samrat had fallen in the net of local Wildlife Department after the president of local chapter of the PFA, Mr Sandeep Jain, who is also a member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, had complained against him.

The district Wildlife Officials had in 2003 barred him from using the animal in his shows and had seized it. He was asked to produce the ownership certificate or face prosecution.

Interestingly, the magician had applied to the Haryana Wildlife Department for the ownership certificate only after the bar was imposed on him.

While the magician had claimed that he already had a certificate, he wrote a letter, requesting the certificate be issued to him, to the Wildlife Warden only after he was booked for illegally possessing the scheduled animal.

The issue was taken up with the Haryana Government by the local chapter of the PFA and he was not granted the certificate as the python was purchased after 1972 and was not registered before.

The experts said the magician had purchased the python from Haryana and he had transported it to Punjab without any permission for transport of a wild animal.

Shankar Samrat was booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act-1960 as he was exhibiting a python in his shows. The reptile was not registered with the Animal Welfare Board for animal performance. He had also failed to show the ownership of the python.

The matter was reported to Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana, and forest officials had seized the scheduled animal and a case was registered against him. The court had sent the python to Chhat Bir zoo.



Police accused of shielding law breakers
Our Correspondent

Raikot, November 19
Accusing the local police of shielding office bearers and activists of the Block Congress, members and office-bearers of the Narinder Kaur Abduction Joint Action Committee urged authorities to arrest suspects who had assaulted the president and activists of the Action Committee when they were campaigning to mobilise people for participation in a protest rally on Wednesday.

They staged a dharna at Labour Chowk and in front of the police station, blocked vehicular traffic at Hari Singh Nalwa Chowk and marched through streets to protest the alleged indifferent attitude of the police.

The police, on the other hand, maintained that immediate action had been taken and raids were conducted to nab the suspects.

More than 30 leaders of various social and political organisations, while addressing the gathering at the dharna, accused the local police of acting on behest of Pal Balwinder Singh, president, Block Congress, who along with his associates assaulted a group of activist of the committee, when they were campaigning on Wednesday for today's protest rally at Bhaini Baringa village. They alleged that he had earlier attacked Narinder Kaur, a staff nurse posted at Mehal Kalan, and tried to abduct her on September 27.

They alleged that the police, instead of registering a case against the Congress leader, had registered an FIR under Section 307 of the IPC against the victim and her husband Parminder Singh.

The activists demanded cancellation of the FIR registered against Narinder Kaur and her husband last month, because, they said it was political motivated. The Joint Action Committee was constituted to impress upon the police to cancel the case and register an FIR against the Congress leader.

Activists of both the groups clashed at Bhaini Baringa on Wednesday. Seven activists of the Action Committee were reportedly injured and the police registered an FIR under Section 307, IPC, against the Block Congress President and his associates.

Sukhdev Singh Bari, vice president, All India State Government Employees Federation; Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA; Lal Singh Dhanaula, chairman, Paramedical Employees Association and Ministerial Services Union; Baldev Singh Latala, Kisan Sabha, Jiwan Preet Kaur President Nurse Association Punjab; Sikander Singh Jartoli, general secretary, state unit PSSF; Faqir Chand Sharma, Kissan Sabha; Kulwant Singh, president, Dushehra committee and Tirlochan Singh Raikot spoke on the occasion.



Ludhiana Calling

With growing commercialisation, a noticeable change in lifestyle is taking place. One industry particularly benefiting is that of beauty care.

There is no dearth of women blindly purchasing of expensive cosmetics and beauty treatment, little caring for long-term ill-effects. Heavy use of chemicals on skin and hair has become common.

Experts have warned that a healthy mind and a healthy body will reflect in the way one looks and mindless use of chemicals can make one pay a heavy price in the long run. Doctors advise against ruining one’s skin and body to follow fashion trends.

Environment be damned!

Public apathy towards the environment has begun affecting life. Recent processions have shown the absence of care towards surroundings. Used paper plates, spoons and leftovers have filled roads. It is time residents grow sensitive towards such issues, lest it makes living in the city difficult.

Forcing to give lift

Cops are notorious for forcing two-wheeler drivers to give them a lift. A traffic cop recently forced a woman to stop near the Bhaibala chowk here, seeking a lift.

She had stopped thinking that the cop wanted to check documents of the vehicle. The cop tried to sit pillion, saying he wanted to be dropped at the next crossing. She had to shout to send the cop away.

‘Overworked’ cops

Frequent VIP visits to the city leave crime busters stress busted. Though the police is overworked, it has to do with just a nap when it comes to the visit of a VIP to the city.

The other day, when the Chief Minister addressed a rally, a cop was seen resting on the PAU grounds soon after the Chief Minister left. Another could make do with just sitting beside him (see photograph).

E-mail is in

The police always talks of going hi-tech into investigation. It discusses connecting all police stations with computers. But plans to help the public have remained on paper.

It has started sending press notes on e-mail. Reporters get a good copy and cops save time and energy to hold gruelling press conferences.

No. 1 in pollution!

Winter seems to be eluding Ludhiana. Nobody feels the need for woollens. Though mornings and evenings turn nippy, afternoons are warm. People feel like switching on air-conditioners while travelling in car.

According to an environmentalist, it is due to the degradation of environment. Ludhiana is the most polluted city of the state!

Not so musical

Music lovers here are a disappointed lot. Most music stores do not have sections on Indian or Western classical, meditation or old numbers. It has become virtually impossible to get music cassettes of one’s choice and a majority of stores keep CDs, VCDs and DVDs.

No SIM please

Increased mobile phone penetration has reflected on user behaviour in terms of handset purchase. While an average user changes a handset every three years, the city has a lesser time span. Those offering handsets with fixed SIM cards are finding it tough to sell as people refuse those.

Not a dog’s life

Despite advancement in medical science, some people do not get medicare due to financial and distance constraints. An expensive dog was recently being carried in the ambulance of a local hospital.

Where have rehris gone?

Ice cream lovers are not liking the change in weather, though parlours sell ice cream throughout the year. Those who buy it from the roadside miss the rehriwalas in winter.

Dumping ground

The Sidhwan canal and the forest area along its banks have not only become a dumping ground for waste and rituals, but also bodies. Criminals find it easy to dump a body in the canal or the adjoining forest area.

There is not much human population or vigil.

Feminists at work

Short messaging service (SMS) is the most popular medium of interaction. One keeps in touch with friends. Favourite jokes mainly concentrate on the husband-wife relationship or women, much to the chagrin of feminists.

This group has taken it upon itself to take on men. They replace the word woman by the word man and send it back.

Discount sales

Striving to combat competition, industry does not wait for any occasion to come up with attractive discount and gift offers.

The hosiery industry is a noticeable example. People can avail themselves of good offers throughout winter and even later.

Tail piece

A truck driver has scribbled this on the rear of his vehicle. ‘Mohabbat pishachni, dakni hai’ (love is a blood-sucking witch).

— Sentinel



SPOs rue not-so-special treatment
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 19
Accusing the state government of exploiting them, the special police officers (SPOs) posted at the local police station and surrounding areas have threatened to launch an agitation if promise made by the Chief Minister to raise their wages was not kept.

Mr Darshan Singh, an office-bearer of district unit of the association fighting for the rights of SPOs, alleged that a section of bureaucrats in the state government had been delaying the implementation of decision to raise salaries of those warriors who had put their lives to danger during dark days of terrorism.

Though they had decided to face guns of extremists, with an expectation to get honourable salaries and perks, the successive governments had been ignoring their demands obviously due to prejudiced role of a section of bureaucrats.

"Not caring for the announcement made by the Chief Minister at a function organised at Patiala to observe martyrdom day of police officials, the concerned officers have not bothered to pass orders for enhancing salary of SPOs to Rs 4,500 per month," said Mr Darshan Singh while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune.

Referring to decision taken by the association, Mr Darshan Singh warned that the organisation would launch an agitation in case the implementation of the decision was delayed further.



Need to correct income disparities: Aulakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 19
The PAU, Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, has said that growing inequality in society if not corrected would result in turmoil and eventually impinge on law and order in the state. In fact, this was more true of the rural society in the country as a whole where economic and income disparities and discrimination was already a cause of concern as much to the government as to the institutions of society and family.

The gap between the haves and haves not was evident from the fact that in India 20 per cent of the families had 80 per cent income while the remaining 80 per cent of the families were barely able to make their both ends meet.

Dr Aulakh stated this while inaugurating the 10th annual conference of the North West Indian Sociological Association (NWISA) on “State Market and Agrarian Social Structure in North West India”.

There is a mismatch between the galloping population and the slowly inching upward food production. He said it was a myth to say that India was “self-sufficient in food”. “The ground reality is that 26 per cent of population has no means, economic or financial, to access food. The prevailing socio-economic environment because of this mis-match thus poses a serious threat not only to the country’s food security, but also to the agrarian social structure”.

Dr Aulakh said, “If India is to sustain or achieve an economic growth rate of 8 or more per cent, it must ensure 4 per cent growth in agriculture. This will be possible only if the farmers are given adequate financial support and subsidies comparable to what is paid to their counterparts in the USA, the European Union or in Japan. In fact, if Indian agriculture is in crisis and farmers are yoked under a huge debt and several hundred have already committed suicide, it is because they are getting peanuts in subsidies”.

He called upon the delegates to factor the agricultural sector while studying the socio economic changes taking place in society and suggest ways to reduce the existing disparities between the haves and haves not particularly, in the rural India. Equally important for the sociologists to take cognisance of was the “menace of drugs” as the rural youth was fast falling a prey to these.

Trafficking in drugs is a world-wide $ 500 billion industry. Another aspect that the sociologists must not ignore while talking about “state and market nexus” that impacts the agrarian social structure was the son-fixation or skewed sex ratio in Punjab.

Dr Aulakh pointed to the two crisis that stare the country in the face. These are: character and poverty. The first has resulted in rampant corruption, while the second has led to inequalities and disparities.

The NWISA president, Dr Satish Kumar Sharma, spoke on the theme of the conference and gave a bird’s eye view of socio-economic compilations that effected society today. These compilations are disintegrating joint families, migration, unemployment, indebtedness, suicides and growing disenchantment of farmers with farming.

The conference would also deliberate upon the “commercialisation of agriculture” and how changes would occur in the rural society as a consequence of ‘Special Economic Zones’ that were being carved out in the states. The course Director, Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh, Dr S.L. Sharma, delivered the key note address.

At the two-day conference, papers would be presented on a wide range of subjects from the ‘inclusion of women in political process and changing rural scenario’ to ‘prostitution: a socio-economic offence’. The other subjects include: conditions of widows in rural areas, impact of family cohesion and organisation on the mental health of adolescents and analysis of work place-related stresses on female doctors, university and bank employees etc.

The Dean, College of Home Science, Dr M.K. Dhillon, welcomed the delegates and the organising secretary, Prof Harnek Singh, introduced the delegates.



Need to accelerate eye-donation drive, says expert
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
In a landmark achievement in the field of eye donations after death, the Punarjot Eye Bank of Punjab has received some 366 eye donations till date during the current year, which works out to over one eye donation per day.

Speaking at an interactive programme to mobilise the public for eye donations and making voluntary eye donation (after death) a mass movement in Punjab, Dr Ramesh, Director of the Eye Bank, stressed the need to sensitise the people about the plight of corneal blind persons, who could be given the gift of sight through eye donations.

According to Dr Ramesh, Ludhiana was second only to the AIIMS in whole of North India as far as eye donations and transplants were concerned. This had been made possible due to untiring and dedicated efforts put in by a team of volunteers working for Punarjot Eye Bank.

He said Ludhiana had the maximum number of eye donations, which, he attributed to high-literacy rate and level of awareness, coupled with efforts made by selfless workers, promoting the nobel cause of eye donation.

Lauding the support lent by eye-donor families towards the corneal blind persons, Dr Ramesh informed that eye donations had come from each and every corner of the state.

He called upon the service organisations and other bodies involved in this noble cause to further strengthen the movement so as to eradicate the curable corneal blindness which has affected nearly 30 million persons in the country.

"We still have to go along way to promote eye donation, create awareness and dispel myths and beliefs associated with cadaver eye donation so that the curable corneal blinds can see this beautiful world once again," he added.



Sikh body to work with SGPC for community welfare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The Ludhiana chapter of the International Sikh Confederation, an apolitical organisation, held its second meeting here today.

Dr Kharak Singh, former Agriculture Advisor to the UNO and founder member of the confederation, informed a gathering of the Sikh intellectuals that the confederation, which had membership throughout the world and a network of regional, zonal and local committees in countries like the USA, Canada and the UK, with headquarters at Chandigarh, aimed to approach all members to spread the message of Sikhism.

He also stressed on the need to have a forum which they could use to have their grievances addressed.

Dr Singh further informed that 3/4th of the money collected by way of membership fee should remain with the regional, zonal and local committees for their activities.

He further said the confederation had five advisory committees on important Sikh matters which in due course of time, in collaboration with the SGPC, may offer their services to Shri Akal Takht Sahib in sorting out various issues facing the community.

Mr Gurudev Singh, a retired IAS officer, cited many instances where the Sikhs continued to suffer because of lack of suitable help and guidance which confederation was going to provide them now. Explaining the constitution of the organisation prepared by a team of learned and dedicated persons, Lieut-Gen Kartar Singh (retd) said that it had been ensured that the confederation should remain a ground-based organisation with a view to save it from the grip of such persons who over a period of time start thinking such ventures as their personal fiefdom.

He also explained various features of its structure, including the collection and utilisation of its funds.

Mr Ashok Singh Bagrian coming from a historical family lamented the present critical position of the Sikh community due to various-reasons, including the apathy of its leaders.

He hoped that the Sikh Confederation would go a long way in redressing the long-standing problems of the community both abroad and home.

Bibi Baljit Kaur, another founding pillar of the confederation while praising the robust character of the Sikhs in fighting all odds to make their presence felt in every sphere of public activity, including agriculture, education, social, political, legal and administration was hopeful of a very bright future for the Sikh community.



Implement power bill waiver, demand Dalits
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 19
Dalits of the area have urged the Chief Minister to impress upon the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities to implement the decision to waive bills for connections irrespective of load.

In a communication to Capt Amarinder Singh, residents of Bhagat Ravidass Gurdwara road area, Lov Kush Colony, Balmik Mandir Colony and surrounding villages of Jhaner, Dhaler, Kanganwal, Baurhai and Jandali have resented that the PSEB authorities have not implemented the waiving of bills for 200 units for Dalit consumers irrespective of load.

They have urged the Chief Minister to direct the authorities to stop sending bills for such connections which have been declared waived.

Justifying their demand, signatories have claimed that they and their associates have been supporting the Congress for more than two decades.



Indira’s birth anniversary celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
Functionaries of the Congress, led by Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman, Housefed, Punjab, today paid rich tributes to the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary and distributed fruits in several slum localities in the city on this occasion.

Addressing a function, organised by the Terrorism Affected Persons Association, headed by him, Mr Bawa said the late Indira Gandhi dedicated her life to the welfare of the poor. It was under her dynamic leadership that the Congress carried out a relentless campaign against poverty, illiteracy, social and economic inequality in the country.



Foundation stone laid
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, November 19
Mr Jasminder Singh Sandhu, chairman of the market committee of Sahnewal, today laid the foundation stone of the much-awaited grain market of Sahnewal, spread over an area of 30 acres on the periphery of the town.

Mr Sandhu also laid the foundation stone for the road to be constructed from Majara Road towards St Soldiers International School on which Rs 12 lakh is to be incurred. He also initiated the repair of the Kanech link road, the Dehlon link road and the Gobindgarh-Mangali link road.



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