P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Govt set to nail Badal: CM
Chaos inconveniences motorists
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 12
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s “Punjab Vikas Yatra” failed to evoke the kind of response that he would have liked in Jalandhar district, except for a few places like Jandu Singha and Chugitti, on the second day of its third phase today.

The yatra also created problems for the general public as traffic was blocked for several hours on the yatra route.

The yatra entered the district at 1.15 pm at Kathar, after starting from JR Government Polytechnic College in Hoshiarpur around noon.

In an informal chat with mediapersons on the outskirts of Aadmapur, the Chief Minister said Parkash Singh Badal’s corruption case was now fixed for trial on December 23 and the state government would press for framing of charges against him.

He said the state government had already approached the Union Government to seek a letter of regotory to make further investigations in the case of acquiring overseas movable and immovable properties by Mr Badal in UK, Canada, Australia and the US beyond the known sources of income. He said once the government got the letter, it would mention his “ill-gotten properties” worth Rs 3,500 crore in the charge-sheet.

He said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had already directed the lower court to complete the trial proceedings on day-to-day basis in the fast-track court within six months.

The Chief Minister added that the SAD-BJP alliance was trying to make a hero out of former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu despite the fact that he had been convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

On the conviction of Congress MLA Sawinder Singh Kathunangal, he justified his conviction as per the judgment of an Amritsar court.

The yatra was received by supporters at Kathar, Jandhu Singha, Nangal Shaman, Rama Mandi, Chugitti Chowk, Lamba Pind Chowk, Maqsudan, DAV College, HMV College, Patel Chowk, Jyoti Chowk, Nakodar Chowk, Buta Mandi, Model Town and Masand Chowk in the district.

He was accompanied by MLA Shamchurasi Ram Lubaya, his wife former MP Santosh Chaudhary, Ramesh Chander Dogra, Avtar Henry, Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Choudhary Jagjit Singh (all ministers), Jalandhar MP Rana Gurjit Singh, Jalandhar Improvement Trust Chairman Tejinder Singh Bittu and Parliamentary Secretary Kanwaljit Singh Lally in their respective constituencies.

However, the general public had to suffer for several hours on account of traffic congestion. Buses were either diverted to alternative routes or stopped from plying on the yatra route altogether.

A Panchkula resident, Abdul Rashid, told The Tribune at Aadmpur bus stand that he had been waiting in the bus for three hours to reach Hoshiarpur.

Flouting a High Court ban, several tiny-tots of Raja Sahib Model School of Kagniwal village were seen waiving Congress flags along the yatra route at Jandu Singha. The students said they had been brought there by their teachers.


Kathunangal shifted to hospital ‘at Amarinder’s behest’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Mr Sawinder Singh Kathunangal, a ruling party MLA, who was sent to jail here on charges of ‘forgery’ yesterday evening was shifted to the Civil Hospital here within hours, reportedly at the Chief Minister’s behest.

Mr Kathunangal was given private deluxe room, Number one on the third floor of the hospital which is visited by Congress leaders, including ministers, MLAs and his supporters.

Sources in the jail said they had received a call from Mr A.P. Pandey, DGP, Jails, for making ‘necessary arrangements’ to shift Mr Kathunangal to the hospital. Though Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP Jails-cum-Superintendent Central Jail was on leave , the Deputy Superintendent ‘succumbed’ to the pressure.

Though, Mr Kathunangal was admitted on ‘provisional basis’ to the Civil Hospital yet SMO, Dr Subhash Chander has constituted a medical board comprising of Dr Parmjit Singh, Dr S.K. Duggal and Dr Manjit Singh Khalsa to examine him for extending his stay in the hospital. The SMO claimed Mr Kathunangal had symptoms of depression. However, Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Singh parried a question on the condition of Mr Kathunangal.

However, doctors claim they don’t have any option but to treat the jail inmates once referred by medical officers of the jail.

Earlier, a number of undertrial prisoners and convicts of the jail here had got themselves admitted to hospital on ‘flimsy grounds’. So much so , certain undertrial prisoners and convicts managed ‘comforts of home’ in alleged connivance with the Jail and Health authorities and newspapers had reported it.

A poultry farm owner arrested for murder, was admitted to the hospital in the past. He used to go home everyday. On a tip-off, the accused was caught from his home and four policemen on guard duty were suspended. In another case, an Akali leader arrested by the Vigilance Bureau for corruption spent 15 days in the family ward of the government hospital.

A person who was facing trial for the smuggling of narcotics was admitted to the orthopaedic ward of Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital here in 2003.

In another case, an undertrial, prisoner arrested by the Ferozepore police, was admitted to the hospital here, a couple years ago. The doctor attending on him referred him to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. However, he succeeded in fleeing while on the way to New Delhi.


No end in sight to govt aided-school teachers’ stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Talks between the representatives of protesting teachers of government-aided schools and the Punjab Government failed today as the one-hour-long high level meeting between the two sides remained inconclusive. This was stated by the union leaders, here tonight.

Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, adviser to the union, stated that they would continue with their ongoing stir until their demands were fulfilled. He further said Wednesday would be the last day of the ‘‘jail bharo andolan’’ and teachers from remaining districts of the state would court arrest.

Mr Chopra said Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Education Minister, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary, Education, along with Director Public Instructions, Secondary and Primary, represented the state government and the protesting teachers were represented by Mr Chopra Mr K.K Joshi and Mr Mohan Lal, the State General Secretary of Government-Aided Schools Management. Mr Chopra added that though the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere, yet it failed to yield results.

Meanwhile, 268 teachers including 187 women, courted arrest today in Sector 17. They were hailing from Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot and Ludhiana. The men were sent to Burail Jail while the women were sent to Nabha jail.


Govt-aided schools close in protest
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 12
Government-aided schools in the district remained closed as the staff of these schools held a district-level protest rally at Ashoka Senior Secondary School, Sirhind.

The employees raised slogans against the government and said until acceptance of their demands, their protest would continue.

Mr Ravinder Joshi, senior leader of the association, said the government was not implementing their already conceded demands regarding the restoration of old pension scheme and lifting ban on the fulfillment of approved posts.

Mr Mahesh Gautam, vice-president, Mr Hari Narain, Mr Chajja Singh and Ms Indira Suri also spoke.


NGOs suspect police role in foeticide cases
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Terming police role in female foeticide cases pending in courts as ‘dubious’, 40 NGOs of the district yesterday submitted a memorandum to the CM and top police officials in this regard. The NGOs warned if the police didn’t take action against the guilty they would stage a dharna in front of the Bathinda zone IG’s office.

Representatives of these NGOs also said the matter would be raised before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the CJ of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab, the Chief Minister and the Health Minister at a programme on female foeticide to be held in Patiala on December 17. The NGOs also listed case-wise details in the memorandum highlighting “lackadaisical attitude of the Punjab police towards female foeticide”. The NGO alleged in a case of February 2004 that was registered against Dr Lakshmi Garg and Champa Rani the SP (D) produced a “concocted report” in the court.

The accused were acquitted on the basis of his report. Later, DC Rahul Bhandari ordered a magisterial probe into the matter which revealed that the police had produced a fabricated report. In another case registered against Dr Renu Garg, Harbans Kaur and Paramjeet Kaur at Sangat police station on January 22, 2003, the police revealed on April 24 this year that they were filing a cancellation report. Confronted by the NGOs the police said the challan had been prepared on November 26 and it would be produced in the court soon. NGOs wondered why it wasn’t produced in the past three years. Similarly, a challan had not been produced in a case registered against Mahinder Kaur and Sukhpal Kaur on May 28, 2004.

The NGOs quoted six more instances in which they had questioned the role of the police. The NGOs, which signed the memorandum, included are — the Malwa Sahara Club, the Ek Noor Welfare Society, the United Welfare Society, All India Human Rights, Watch and Innerwheel Club. 


PM may visit Punjab on December 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is expected to visit Punjab on December 19.

Official sources in the state government today said that it was a tentative date given by the Prime Minister's Office for the visit.

The Prime Minister would stay overnight in Amritsar and return to Delhi in the afternoon on December 20. 


2 students killed as bus, auto-rickshaw collide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
Two schoolchildren were killed, while six others were seriously injured, when the auto-rickshaw they were travelling in collided with a bus here today.

According to sources, all students of JDS Public School were going to the school when their auto-rickshaw (PB-02 AS 9563), carrying 15 children, collided with a private bus near Baba Balak Nath Mandir, Fatahpur village, on the Amritsar-Chabal road, around 8.15 am.

Two children - Harmanjit (10) of Class IV and Ravneet Kaur (7) of Class I - were killed on the spot, while Bhupinder Singh, Rohit, Shivani, Gagandeep Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Navjot Singh received serious injured.

The injured have been admitted to the local Amandeep Hospital, where their condition is stated to be serious.

Some of the other students who escaped with minor injuries were discharged from the hospital after being administered first aid.

According to sources, the auto-rickshaw, which ferried 17 students to the school daily, was today carrying 15 students.

The drivers of the auto-rickshaw and the bus, who were nabbed by the passersby soon after the accident, were handed over to the police.

The parents of the children killed did not allow the police to send their bodies for post-mortem examination.

The Fatahpur police station has registered a case under Section 304, IPC, against the school authorities, auto-rickshaw driver Sukhdev Singh, resident of Satnam Nagar, and bus driver Sukhdev Singh of the Maqboolpura.

It is to be noted that many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including the Amritsar Vikas Manch, have been urging the police and the civil administration to adopt a policy in this regard to prevent such incidents from happening.

They have been demanding schools to provide buses as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court.


Sikh parties seek ‘justice’ for booked persons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Representatives of four Sikh parties submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to express “anguish over attempts by right-wing groups and parties to vitiate the atmosphere of the state”.

The memorandum was submitted by Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Chairperson, Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Rajinder Singh, chairman, Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, and Mr Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, president, Dal Khalsa. They sought “justice for Sikh activists who have been wrongly implicated in false cases by the Tarn Taran district administration”.

The memorandum alleged that the Shiv Sena had pasted posters on the walls in Tarn Taran saying “ Simranjit Singh Mann is a terrorist, he is anti-Punjab, he is anti-Hindu, he is anti-Sikhs and is instrumental in spreading terrorism in the state”.

This defied logic but appeared to be a part of a grand political game plan of defamation and subterfuge. The Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Tarn Taran, had assured a delegation of Mr Mann’s party that the Shiv Sena would not be allowed to disturb peace. On the contrary, on December 3 Shiv Sena activists raised slogans against Mr Mann and the Sikhs, alleged the memorandum.

Cutting across party lines, Sikh religious and political organisations decided to stop the Sena activists. However, the police implicated Bhai Ram Singh, Joginder Singh Fauji, Mr Avtar Singh Deol and many others while the Shiv Sena men were allowed to go scot-free, said the memorandum.


BJP seeks seats in Malwa belt, SAD reluctant
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 12
Despite opposition by the Shiromani Akali Dal regarding allotment of some seats to the BJP in the Malwa belt of the state in Assembly elections, the Malwa unit of the BJP, comprising Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Moga, Fatehgarh Sahib, Barnala and Patiala districts, seems to be bent on seeking seats in the Malwa belt as SAD-BJP alliance partner, as it had not given up claim on some seats as SAD-BJP alliance partner.

Mr Satwant Singh Punia, In charge, Malwa Zone of the BJP, said today they were demanding only eight seats in the Malwa belt as SAD-BJP alliance partner because many people of this belt had been associated with the BJP in the past five years. This also proved during recent BJP rallies, organised at Mansa and Sangrur. He said at both these rallies gathering was equal to that of rallies of the SAD.

Mr Punia added if the SAD failed in allotting some seats to the BJP in the Malwa belt then both parties might suffer in elections as the BJP workers would feel demoralised and not work whole heartedly for SAD candidates in the Malwa region. He said allotment of some seats to the BJP in the Malwa belt would strengthen not only the SAD-BJP alliance but ensure formation of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Mr Lalit Kumar Garg, district president of the legal cell of the BJP, has also appealed to Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD, to help BJP get at least one seat in the Sangrur district. He said as Mr Dhindsa was from Sangrur district it was his duty to keep the BJP, in his fold as the district unit of the BJP had worked for the victory of SAD candidates, besides giving support to him in his Lok Sabha election.


Badal out to contain groupism
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 12
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal chief, taking the contest to be tough affair this time, is leaving nothing to chance to contain groupism in Barnala by visiting the residences of the past detractors of Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu, MLA.

Admitting publicly the contest to be tough this time, Mr Badal urged the annoyed SAD workers and activists to work for the success of the SAD candidates in the coming Assembly poll in Punjab.

Mr Badal visited Barnala town today to address a poll rally in favour of Mr Keetu and utilise the opportunity to win over some detractors of Mr Keetu by visiting their residences.

Mr Badal went to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala’s residence here and held a closed-door meeting with Mr Barnala, Mrs Surjit Kaur Barnala, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, MLA, Gidderbaha, Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, MLA, Dhuri, and Mrs Rajinder Kaur.

The Barnala family and the supporters had not actively worked for Mr Keetu's success during the last two Assembly elections.

Mr Badal also visited the residence of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Hind Motors to seek her support for Mr Keetu and the SAD in the elections.


Two labourers die as earth caves in
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Two migrant labourers were killed and another was injured as earth caved in while they were engaged in sewerage work on the Power House road here today.

According to sources, the labourers identified as Ambika, Altaf and Vijay were laying sewers from the Power House road to Urban Estate Phase III for the past one and a half months. Sources said the incident took place when they were digging at a depth of 15 feet. Residents of the area reached to the spot as earth caved in on them. They intimated Sahara volunteers and began rescue work along with them.

The labourers were extracted from the debris after rescue operation of a couple of hours.

All three were admitted to the Civil Hospital, where Ambika and Altaf died last. Vijay, who was the first to be brought out of the ditch, was responding to the treatment. Sources said condition of the other two labourers worsened, as they remained under earth for more in time. Sources said while Ambika and Vijay belonged to Bihar, Altaf hailed from Maharashtra.

Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Bhandari, said the administration would extend medical aid to the injured.



Pre-recruitment training rally to be held today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
Lt Col Surinder Singh, Camp Commandant, Centre for Training and Employment of Punjab Youth (C-PYTE) Nabha said a rally for pre-training for recruitment in Army and para-military forces, placement in factories, security agencies and imparting technical training to youth of Sangrur, Patiala and Ludhiana is would be held on December 13 at 9.30 am onwards at the C-PYTE Centre, Nabha.

Food will also be provided to the selected youth free of cost.


Rice millers’ strike: Centre rushes officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
As the crisis on the rice front turned serious, the Union Government rushed a Joint Secretary, Mr Sanjay Kaul, to deal with the issue of strike by rice millers in Punjab.

Sources said that Mr Kaul today met the Punjab Food and Supplies Secretary, Mrs Tejinder Kaur, and other senior officers to discuss the issue.

For the past two weeks, the rice millers in the state have been on strike. They have stopped supplying rice to the Central pool. After procuring paddy, various government agencies had stacked it on the premises of rice mills for shelling. However, the rice millers are not ready to accept certain specifications laid down by the Food Corporation of India for the acceptance of shelled rice in the Central pool.

The millers have been arguing that because of election year, various government agencies procured paddy with a high moisture content. Owing to this factor, the ratio of damaged rice, at the time of its preparation from paddy, has gone up. They have been demanding that they should be allowed to supply rice with damaged ratio of up to 4 per cent to the Central pool. At present, this ratio is 3 per cent. However, the Union Government is not ready to accept this demand, it is learnt.

This is the main demand of the millers. Besides this, they have demanded a relaxation in the specification for discoloured rice ratio and also with regard to the out-turn ratio. The sources said that the demand for rice had gone up in various states. In the absence of a contribution of fresh rice to the Central pool, there could be a crisis with regard to the stock position with the Food Corporation of India.

A senior official of the Punjab Food and Supplies Department said that efforts were being made to find a solution to the problem.


Ammonia leak leaves villagers panicky
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 12
Panic gripped Bassi Kale Khan village, near Hariana town, 22 km from here, this evening when ammonia gas started leaking from a nearby chemical factory, Arch-M Industries Pvt Ltd.

Scared villagers came out of their homes and rushed to the outskirts for safety. On receiving information, Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, along with a heavy force rushed to the spot.

Mr Dhoke said a municipal fire engine reached there and started spraying water to minimise the effect of ammonia gas. He said the chilly weather also helped in minimising the effect and to control the situation.

He said no loss of life was reported as yet. The cause of leakage was yet to be ascertained.

The fire-fighting operation was still on till the filing of the report.


Jor Mela preparations on full blast
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 12
To commemorate the supreme sacrifice of the younger Sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh, who were stoned alive here, to make adequate arrangements for the annual Saheedi Jor Mela, which is from December 24 to Dec 27, Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, the Deputy Commissioner, issued related orders today. She said no employee or officer can take leave in December nor will they leave their station. In case of any emergency, the person concerned has to take prior permission of the Deputy Commissioner.

She also banned the circus, skill games, amusement games, gambling stalls and sale of intoxicants. To enthuse a religious spirit in the people, the sale of meat fish and other non vegetarian shops and stalls, have been strictly prohibited around 3 km radius of the Gurudwara Sahib. As more than twenty lakh devotees are expected to be there from all over the country and abroad, no shops, or stalls, of any kind will be allowed on the roads from the Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Gurudwara Jyoti Swarup Sahib, and also towards Roza Sharif.

“The event will be commemorated strictly with religious fervour,” Ms Talwar said.

These orders will be implemented from December 2 till December 28.

Other than these prohibitive orders, arrangements for proper parking facilities, and basic amenities are also being carried out.


Ex-Capt wants to be treated as riot victim
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 12
Capt Joginder Singh (retd), who had been a victim of the 1984 riots, today lamented that despite being seriously injured in the riots he had been denied benefits being given to civilians who had been affected by the riots.

Speaking to The Tribune, Capt Joginder Singh said he had applied for the benefits but was refused as he had not got red card made. He said he even wrote letters to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Defence Ministry and the district administration repeatedly, but all his efforts went in vain.

Capt Joginder Singh said that at the time the riots broke, he was travelling from Jabalpur to Kotkapura in a train and when it reached near Tughlakabad railway station a mob ransacked the train and attacked all the Sikhs travelling in it. He said he sustained injuries in the attack and was left unconscious there. He was later transported to the railway hospital near Nizamuddin from where he was referred to Army hospital in Delhi.

Capt Joginder Singh said he took up the matter with Col P.S. Phulka (retd), who assured him that he would take up the matter at the highest possible level and would ensure that all benefits were awarded to him.


Tributes paid to martyr
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Members of the SAD’s ex-servicemen wing, led by Col P.I.S. Phoolka (retd) today paid tributes to Naib Sube Nand Singh Bahadarpur on his martyrdom day here. Ex-minister Sikander Singh Malooka also joined them in paying homage to the martyr.

Col Phoolka placed a wreath at the martyr’s statue at Fauji Chowk. Throwing light on the life of the martyr, he said born in Mansa in 1912, Nand Singh got recruited in first Sikh battalion in 1931. He fought the World War II in the Burma sector and won Victoria Cross for his unmatched valour on the battlefield. He attained martyrdom during a battle with the Pakistan Army on December 12, 1947, for which he was posthumously awarded the Mahavir Chakra.


Jobless linemen hold rally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
Members of the Unemployed Linemen Union, who had to face the fury of the police yesterday when they were staging a protest near the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence, today took out a protest march in the city.

They assembled under the banner of the Berozgar Linemen Union, and protested against the indiscriminate use of force upon them yesterday and refusal by the PSEB Chairman Mr Y.S Ratra to meet them.

They blocked the main gate of the PSEB, for nearly an hour before dispersing peacefully.

Mr Hardev Singh Mansa, state president of the union, in a press note said their cadres were upset at the “ adamant attitude of the PSEB Chairman who despite being in office refused to budge from his seat to come out and meet the protesting linemen.”


DMs told to suspend screening of ‘Baghi’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
The Punjab Government has directed all District Magistrates to take immediate steps to suspend the screening of a film, “Baghi”, at cinemas and video parlours of their respective areas.

The directions came after government’s decision to ban the movie in view of reported resentment and anguish among the Dalits over some derogatory remarks against the community in the movie and objectionable scenes showing members of the reserved categories in bad light.

In a communique addressed to all District Magistrates of the state, the Secretary Home Affairs and Justice has informed that some Dalit organisations had held meetings to hold protests against the screening of the film in the state.

The administration did not rule out the possibility of violent clashes at some places.

“Possibility of violent clashes at some places over the issue cannot be ruled out. To maintain communal harmony, peace and tranquility, the state government observes and decides to impose ban on the screening of this (“Baghi”) movie. Therefore, you are requested to take immediate appropriate action to suspend the exhibition of the movie as per provisions laid down under Section 13 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and send report to the government,” read the memo circulated among all DMs.

Meanwhile, local civic authorities and the police have initiated action to check cinema houses and video parlours from screening the movie.

Owners of video libraries have been abstaining from selling or distributing CDs or other modes of presenting the movie.


BSF men seize 3 kg of heroin
Our Correspondent

Ferozepur, December 12
In an operation conducted last night, BSF jawans seized 3 kg of heroin worth Rs 3 crore in the international market along with a pistol and four cartridges from near Shameske BOP, close to the border.

BSF officials said that both the Pakistani smugglers and their Indian accomplices, who had come to collect the consignment, escaped under the cover of darkness and thick fog.

The officials further said that this was the second cache of a huge quantity of contraband along with international border in this area as only a week ago the BSF had seized 10 kg of heroin and shot dead a Pakistani smuggler.


37 hurt in fog-related mishaps

Phagwara, December 12
Thirty-seven persons were hurt on the National Highway-I between Jalandhar and Ludhiana due to morning fog, which reduced visibility, the police said today.

At least 18 vehicles were damaged in accidents on NH-I this morning.

Several hospitals in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Nawanshahr districts reported receiving casualties. No loss of life was reported so far.

Several trains were running one to seven hours behind schedule. Railway employees burst crackers on Railway lines near “Fog Signal Posts” to give clearance to the coming trains.

The superfast Express, Dadar Express, Barauni Express, Paschim Express, Shatabdi Express, Sachkhand Express, Flying Mail, Howrah Mail, Frontier Mail, Jhelum Express, Sealdah Express, were all running behind schedule. — UNI


Minor raped, three booked
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, December 12
The police today booked a youth and his parents on the charge of raping a minor girl who had gone to their house to hand over some clothes stitched by her.

According to an FIR, Mohd Shakeel, son of Mohd Habib and resident of Quila Rehmatgarh, allegedly raped her in his house around 15 days ago.

The girl reported the matter to her parents and a compromise was effected between the two parties by the Panchayat of the area. Under the agreement, the youth had to marry the girl on November 28.

However, the youth fled the house on the day of marriage, following which the girl approached the police.


Four hurt in steel factory blast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
Four labourers were reported injured, two of them seriously, in a massive blast in a steel factory late this evening.

The explosion took place in Charu Steels when some scrap imported from West Asia was being melted in the boiler. The labourers were standing close to the boiler.

The blast was so strong that the roof of the factory was blown away and the walls collapsed.

The SP (City-II), Mr D.P. Singh, said the injured had been rushed to the CMC Hospital.

The scrap bombs are supposed to be separated from the scrap by industrialists and handed over to the police station. Such unexploded bombs reach here via scrap imported from Gulf countries and war ravaged Iraq.


Remembering Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
The Department of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Studies, Punjabi University, organised a commemorative lecture at the Kala Bhawan here today.

Mr J.S Grewal, Visiting Professor in the Department of History, said the Guru had presented conceptions about God in a unique, simple and impressive way.

Dr Jodh Singh, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Sikhism, presided while Dr Gurnek Singh, Head of the Department Sri Guru Granth Sahib Studies, presented an overview of the lecture series.


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