P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Badal pays obeisance at Harmandar Sahib
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 3
After paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, said he would meet shortly Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, to ensure adequate funding to the state. He expressed hope Dr Manmohan Singh would deal the non-Congress government by rising above party lines.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Badal said that the Prime Minister called him up to congratulate on taking over as the Chief Minister of Punjab. He said the PM and Chief Ministers were supposed to serve people and not political parties they belonged to. Mr Badal announced sops despite the model code of conduct in force in the district due to the proposed Assembly election in Beas to be held on March 11.

In a categorical statement, Mr Badal said he recommended to the Central government for the revival of the Vidhan Parishad to adjust “intellectual persons” who normally did not get elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha through normal elections. Such persons could contribute to better governance of the state. He hoped the Congress would cooperate to revive the Vidhan Parishad since it was part of the manifestos of the SAD/BJP and Congress parties .

Punjab has a unicameral legislature, having abolished the upper house, the Vidhan Parishad in the ‘60s. In some states — the bigger — the legislature consists of the Vidhan Sabhas and the Vidhan Parishad, while the remaining ones had Vidhan Sabha. Originally, Punjab had two chambers. However, after the re-organisation of Punjab and the formation of the state of Haryana, the Vidhan Parishad was abolished.

Reiterating his commitment to supply Atta and Dal at the rate of Rs 4 and Rs 20, respectively, to the poor, Mr Badal said it would be implemented from Baisakhi. He said all promises made in the manifesto would be fulfilled and budget would having focus on poverty alleviation, escalation of power generation and industrial development, apart from creating infrastructure. He said special drive would be launched against drug-peddling.

To a question, Mr Badal said his government would evaluate mega projects, cleared by his predecessor on ‘case to case basis’. However, he hastened to add the state government would re-look into the projects where ‘undue relaxation’ was given with ulterior motives. The Chief Minister said he had forgotten the past and won’t be revengeful. “This is the time to start afresh”.

Earlier, Mr Parkash Singh Badal with cabinet colleagues and MLAs of the SAD-BJP combine today visited the holy city of Amritsar to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandar Sahib and Durgiana Mandir. The Chief Minister also visited Jallianwala Bagh to pay tributes to known and unknown freedom fighters who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle.

Among those who paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and Durgiana temple include Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Sucha Singh Langha, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Master Mohan Lal, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Mr Birkamjit Singh Majithia and many MLAs of the BJP combine. Punjab Advocate General H.S. Mattewal also accompanied the Chief Minister.


Hola Mohalla: Lakhs throng Anandpur Sahib
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, March 3
Devotees in large numbers thronged this town on the second day of annual Hola Mohalla festival, to pay obeisance at the Keshgarh Sahib gurdwara and take holy dip in the sarovar here.

All roads to Anandpur Sahib witnessed, huge rush of trucks, tractor-trailers, buses carrying devotees and youths carrying flags on their motorcycles. The pilgrims from all over the country and abroad reached here but mostly came from parts of Punjab and neighbouring states, Himachal, Haryana.

Villagers here organised “Guru ka langar” (community kitchen) for the devotees along both sides of roads. Besides meals, the people were requesting people to stop vehicles to have tea and snacks.

The town wore a colourful look and saffron and blue colours were seen all over. Villagers were wearing saffron and blue turbans while flags of saffron colour was displayed everywhere commuters were carrying saffron flags on their vehicles. Even banners of Guru ka langar were in saffron displayed along roads. Nihang Singhs of different groups wearing traditional blue dresses and huge turbans also turned out in large number here.

Although main attraction was political conferences by different parties. Pilgrims mostly confined to visiting different historical gurdwaras, take holy dip in sarovar, shopping from temporary shops along the state highway and internal roads during the festival.

The SAD stage, Chief Minister Parkash Singh made plethora of announcements promising people of the state while addressing them in at a ground near the historical gurdwara. Unlike previous years leaders of the Congress did not hold political conference.

The SAD (Amritsar) too held political conference here. President of the SAD (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann, addressed the gathering. Both the SAD (Badal) and the SAD (Amritsar) managed to draw respectable crowds at their venues.

As many as 1500 police persons were deployed, but there was complete mess. Commuters faced problem to park vehicles due to lack of proper arrangements. Commuters remained stranded for hours on the roads.


SAD makes the most of no show by Congress
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, March 3
Just four days after having lost the elections in Punjab, the Congress did not hold its political conference on the occasion of Hola Mohalla here today.

This gave the Akalis a free run and also allowed them to repeatedly take digs at the main opposition party in the state.

“The talk of Panthic agenda of the Congress was all a hoax and today they have not even set up a stage as they did not have the courage to face the masses”, speaker after speaker of the Akalis repeated.

The SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal said the Congress had brought the state to its knees and today “they are missing from here also”. The party had done little for farmers, Badal said he announced that no charges would be levied on abiana (for using canal water) and tubewells will be on demand.

He, however, said “do not steal power through kundis”.

“During the five years of Congress rule the state had slipped from the first position to the fifth or sixth.

It was the Congress that closed scheme from dalits”, thundered Prem Singh Chandumajra, as the Congress-bashing continued.


Ropar to be divisional headquarters: CM
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 3
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s announcement today to upgrade Ropar district as the fifth divisional headquarters of the state led to celebrations here. The people all over the district distributed sweets and burst crackers. Local residents along with representatives of various organisations and advocates had protested for over two months last year after the Congress government had carved out Mohali from Ropar.

The people were demanding compensation for losses. Although former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had assured people of proper compensation but he failed to fulfil the promise.

The Zila Bacho Sanghars Committee headed by Dr R.S. Parmar had raised the demand of the divisional headquarters status to the district, besides other development projects before the elections with Badal.

Badal made the announcement after addressing a gathering on the occasion of annual Holla Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib. He said Ropar would be given its due recognition and status, which it had lost after the creation of Mohali as a new district.

Besides, the Chief Minister also announced to construct a new bridge over the Sirhind canal at Ropar as the existing bridge was over a century old and was in a dilapidated condition. Another bridge over the Sutlej at Sarai Pattan in Nupurbedi block would also be constructed on a priority basis, he added.


‘Fireworks’ likely at Cong MLAs’ meeting
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
There will certainly be “fireworks” at the March 5 meeting of the newly elected MLAs of the Congress. The meeting has been convened by the Punjab pradesh congress committee, Shamsher Singh Dullo, at Punjab Congress Bhavan on that day at 11.30 am.

Janardhan Dwivedi, general secretary of the all-India congress committee will be the chief guest at the meeting.

Though the election of the leader of the of the legislative wing of the party will be top on the agenda of the meeting but the main issue that will come up there is the party’s defeat in the Assembly elections.

The party has done exceedingly well in Malwa region but has performed badly in Majha and Doaba regions, which are known as its strongholds. The party has made huge strategical blunders during its five-year rule that ended a week ago. Those blunders are expected to be discussed at the meeting.

The party has paid a heavy price for ignoring Hindus and Dalits and focusing more on Jat-Sikhs during its rule.

Another blunder was committed by it during the distribution of the party ticket when it ignored some eminent Hindu leaders to adjust some political pygmies with big money bags. Already there is a talk to make some senior Hindu leader as president of the Punjab pradesh congress committee.

In fact, the Congress high command did not take adequate interest in Punjab elections. Nor the Congress-led Union government extended any worthwhile support to the Amarinder government to prepare ground to win the Assembly elections.

The high command almost kept itself aloof from the party affairs. It is said that at the meeting, MLAs and others concerned will make a serious analysis of the party’s debacle, which would have been far more humiliating if lakhs of followers of a dera at Sirsa in the Malwa heartland had not voted for the party en masse.

Meanwhile, the Congress MLA, who will be elected leader of the legislative wing of the party, will be made the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly, the first session of which is expected to held by March 15. At the Assembly session, newly elected MLAs will be sworn in as members of the House and speaker and deputy speaker will also be elected.

Sources said former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is keen to become the leader of the opposition. There are certain privileges attached to the rank of the leader of opposition. He or she is given the status of a Cabinet-rank minister.

Besides it, he gets official residence and other facilities and perks. And in protocol, he is treated far above than ordinary MLAs.

As the Congress has 44 MLAs in the House, it will certainly be a very powerful opposition in the House and its leader in the House will be having a lot of say.


All BJP ministers are law graduates
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 3
All five BJP ministers inducted into the Punjab Cabinet are law graduates.

Master Mohan Lal, elected on a BJP ticket from the Pathankot constituency, is an MA, LL.B. Laxmi Kanta Chawla, elected from Amritsar central and Tikshan Sood, elected from Hoshiarpur, are also MA LL.B. Manoranjan Kalia, elected from Jalandhar central and Swarna Ram, elected from Phagwara, are B.Com., LL.B. and B.A., LL.B. respectively.

General Secretary of the People for Transparency and district convener of the Punjab Election Watch Kamal Anand said all five law graduate BJP ministers also had permanent account numbers (PAN) for filing income tax returns. They do not have criminal background as per the data in the affidavit, he added.

Anand added it was a good for democracy these representatives of people were qualified and had no criminal background. He said if people continued electing educated representatives to Assemblies and the Lok Sabha, society would be able to end evils, like illiteracy, female foeticide, and dowry.


RS bypoll candidate: Uphill task for Badal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Immediately after the announcement of election schedule by the Election Commission today for byelection to fill vacant seat from Punjab in the Rajya Sabha, a race has begun among senior Akali leaders to enter the upper house. The seat had become vacant following the death of Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder sometime back.

The last date for filing of nominations is March 18 and election, if required, will be held on March 29.

As the SAD-BJP combine has won a clear majority in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, it is certain that its candidate would be elected from Punjab for the seat. However, selecting a candidate would be a tough job for Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

There are several senior SAD leaders, who had lost in the Assembly elections in Malwa belt and are expected to urge Badal to adjust them against the vacant slot in the Rajya Sabha. Among the frontrunners is Balwinder Singh Bhunder. He had lost Assembly election from Sardulgarh constituency. He is a close confidant of Badal and has been with him since 1970s.

According to sources before the Assembly elections Badal had promised to give the Rajya Sabha berth to Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, secretary of the SAD. Dr Cheema had handled the affairs efficiently and Badal never faced any problem on this front.

Dr Cheema was keen to contest the Assembly election from Sri Hargobindpur. However, Badal preferred Balbir Singh Bath, a sitting MLA from that constituency. Then Dr Cheema was assured by Badal that he would adjusted in Rajya Sabha.

Other senior Akali leaders in the race are Sikander Singh Maluka, Gurdev Singh Badal, Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Tota Singh.

And on the other hand there are several BJP senior leaders who are also keen to go to the Rajya Sabha. Among them are Balramji Dass Tandon, who was not given party ticket by the BJP this time. Then there is Madan Mohan Mittal, who contested the Assembly election but lost in Nangal constituency.


PMT muddle: Varsity refuses to identify guilty paper-setters
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 3
Though Guru Nanak Dev University claims having taken action against the paper-setters in the PMT 2005 case, the university authorities continue to be silent on the identity of those involved in the PMT muddle.

In its reply to the high court following a petition filed by Dr Raghubir Singh, who is also a member of the varsity’s Senate, varsity’s registrar said it would be wrong to suggest that the university had not taken any action against the paper-setters.

The university claims it had constituted a committee in this regard and as per its recommendations suitable action had already been taken against those responsible for the lapses. The paper-setters concerned, except in the subject of chemistry, had been blacklisted and its copy had been sent to their employers for making an entry to this effect in their service record, vide letters dated June 26, 2006. The reply was filed on December 15, 2006.

Dr Raghubir Singh, however, has questioned that in case the university has followed the directions of the high court, what was holding it from disclosing the names of the paper setters and subject experts and spelling out the action as blacklisting is a rather vague expression.

He added the reply of the university is “not sufficient”. The issue would not be clear till the university comes out with the names of the paper-setters and subject experts acted against.

On the issue of subject experts, the university registrar has said as per the court directions, the committee constituted to examine the role of university experts asked the university experts to clarify their position and provide source material in support of their contention. The committee was of the view the role of the university experts was neither unfair nor professionally unacceptable, said the reply.

Seeking dismissal of the contempt petition, the university has said that a full-fledged probe has been made by the committee and a follow-up action has been taken after the syndicate received the report.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh said the university had followed the directions of the high court in letter and spirit. He, however, refused to comment on why the university had not disclosed the names of the paper setters blacklisted by the university.


25 hurt as mini-bus overturns
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 3
Twentyfive persons, including some minors, were injured, one of them seriously, as the mini-bus they were travelling in overturned near a sub-canal outside Dangarkhera, 8 km from here, last evening.

The passengers said the overloaded mini-bus (PB 05 K 9459) left the bus stand here for Khippanwali village with some passengers travelling on the roof. As it neared the crossing to Dangarkhera village a three-wheeler carrying students from different schools suddenly approached the main road. The driver of the mini-bus apparently to avert a collision with the tempo negotiated a turn to the right side. The bus went out of control and overturned. The driver and his assistant fled.

Those injured were identified as Sahi Ram, Hans Raj, Savitri Devi, Ram Pyari Khippanwali, Mohan Lal, his wife Angoori Devi, Bhim Sain Sabuana, Paramjit Kaur, Chhinder Kaur Azamwala, Surinder Kumar, Binder Singh Mahuana, Krishna Devi, her daughter Poonam, son Ganesh Shergarh, Shankar Budhranwali, Balbir Kumar, Krishna Shehteerwala, Aad Lal Munda Hanumangarh, Sona Devi Nihalkhera, Indira Devi, Teena, Bimla Rani, Parmeshwari Devi Bandiwala and Nirmala Rani Peelibanga.

Naib tehsildar Karnail Singh, city police chief Satish Malhotra, SHO Raman Sharma reached the site and arranged the shifting of the injured persons to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here using an ambulance. SDM Dr N.S. Brar said the subdivisional Red Cross Society would provide medicines and other facilities to the victims. Vipan Kumar, a son of Pala Ram, has been taken to Chandigarh as his condition was serious. 


SDM for action against jail in charge
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 3
SDM P.S. Gill yesterday recommended disciplinary action against the district jail in charge following a report on the beating up of an undertrial by the jail staff.

Talking to TNS, he said it had been established that undertiral Khushwinder Singh had suffered injuries after being beaten up by the jail staff in the storeroom. But it was yet to be ascertained as to who had beaten the undertrial. The statements of other undertrials in the jail had been recorded.

Jail officials had said the undertrial had himself inflicted injuries on his person. “ Even then the jail officials have been negligent in performing their duty. I have recommended disciplinary action against the district jail in charge,” the SDM said.

The court had yesterday reprimanded the jail official for violating court directions.


Mass cremation: Bhalla panel chastises police
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, March 3
The Bhalla Commission of Inquiry appointed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to establish identities of the remaining 814 mass cremation victims killed during militancy, held its fourth hearing here today.

Justice K.S. Bhalla, Commission of Inquiry, chastised the Punjab Police for providing FIR extracts that contained information on cases that had already been identified and were of no assistance in whittling down the list of 814 secret cremations. Punjab Police during a previous hearing, had submitted FIR extracts regarding the alleged encounter killings of unidentified persons after the commission directed their production to reach identity of the remaining cremation victims.

However, after analysing 219 FIR extracts and the mass cremation’s record provided by the police, Justice Bhalla said the majority of the FIR extracts contained no information that would enable him or the petitioners representing the victim families to identify the secret cremation victims.

He directed the counsel for the police officers to complete the work of providing FIR extracts by March 24 on the next date of hearing. Meanwhile, Counsel for Punjab Police officers provided FIR extracts to 230 more cases and three postmortem reports to the commission.

Meanwhile, the petitioners on behalf of victims, the Committee for Information and Initiative in Punjab (CIIP) and Ms Paramjit Kaur Khalra of the Committee for Coordination on Disappearances on Punjab (CCDP), assisted the commission by providing identifications on seven secret cremations. The counsel of both identified about seven persons from the list 219 cases. The commission directed both counsel to provide detailed chart of the persons.

Mr Rajwinder Singh Bains, Counsel for the CCDP, however, said any identification made by the police must be viewed with extreme skepticism in light of their admission of forging the identities of over 300 cremation victims to fake the death of militant collaborators. He said the commission must recognise that forging the identities of the cremated bodies meant that the true victims and their families would not be identified or compensated. 


Eye camp for jail inmates
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 3
The fountain head of the jail reforms, Dr Kiran Bedi, a Megasaysay award-winner today said jail reforms in the country had become an irreversible movement, which provided fresh hope to jail inmates.

After inaugurating a special eye camp for the 2,000 jail inmates at Amritsar Central Jail, Dr Bedi said the initiative taken by DIG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had been replicated in several prisons in the state, improving the quality of life of the inmates.

Complementing various NGOs, including the India Vision Foundation, she said the prisoners were a part of society and it was everybody’s duty to contribute towards the welfare of this neglected lot.

Later, addressing the annual convocation of Khalsa College for Women here, Dr Bedi said women power was being recognised as a force to reckon with and Indian women had shown that through sheer determination, they could make a significant change in the lives of people. 


Drugs menace goes unchecked
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 3
Even though studies conducted by NGOs have established that a large number of youth living in this district and adjoining areas are fast becoming addicted to drugs, efforts being made by authorities to check the menace have failed to yield any results.

The youth are taking all sorts of drugs that can be bought easily in and around the area. The intoxicants being used are country-made liquor, smack, opium, poppy husk, painkillers, capsules and cough syrups. No doubt, chemist shops are thriving in this region.

The trend of consuming intoxicants by youth hailing from different sections of the society is fast attaining alarming proportions. Though, the health department and the police are doing their best to check the menace, but large-scale unemployment is thwarting their efforts. The youth frustrated due to unemployment and lack of opportunities find an easy escape route in the drugs.

Ramesh Kumar, who had recently been discharged from a drug rehabilitation centre, confided that he started taking drugs out of sheer desperation because he was unable to earn his livelihood. “What initially appeared to be an escape route, soon became a major addiction that almost ruined my life”, said a shattered Ramesh.

Similar has been the experience of Pushpinder Singh, who stated that it was an urge to have fun with friends that eventually turned out to be an obsession and he had to spend more than six months in a rehabilitation centre before he finally managed to shun this habit.

The youth get addicted to drugs due to its easy availability. One of the youth on condition of anonymity said it was easy to get drugs here. Anybody could procure drugs if he puts in ‘a little effort”, he added.

Drugs are mainly brought from areas along the border of this district. Though the police frequently arrest drug peddlers, but its trade goes on with full force, as the demand always remains high. No doubts drug abuse has become a major social problem.


Rs 2 lakh for ailing gold medallist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has announced financial help of Rs 2 lakh to Parduman Singh, an international athlete, who is critically ill these days. Responding to a request made by one Narinder Singh, Badal asked chief secretary K.R. Lakhanpal to give the money to Parduman Singh from the Chief Minister's relief fund.

Parduman Singh, who belongs to Bhagta Bhaika village near Bathinda, is an Asian gold medalist in shot put. He was in the lime light in the 60s.


2 sisters killed in house collapse
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 3
Two minor girls were killed when the roof of a house in Ahmad Dandi village on the Abohar-Ferozepore road collapsed yesterday after heavy rainfall.

People rushed to remove the debris but found Sheela (11) and Raj Rani (13) dead, both sisters.

In another incident, Arvind (6), the only son of Rewta Ram and Bana Devi, died when their house collapsed in Thandewala village.

In Idgah Basti, a woman and two children were injured in a house collapse yesterday. 


On-the-spot inquiry into collapse of shed
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 3
Divisional Superintendent (Safety) Gobind Narain Sharma has been asked to rush to Sriganganagar to conduct an on-the-spot inquiry into the collapse of a cement sheet shed near the “model” railway station, sources said today.

The shed constructed to cover the drinking water reservoir at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, had collapsed recently. The report is to be submitted to the general manager of the Northern Railway during his visit here on March 6.

The shed had been constructed a month ago by dividing the water reservoir with a nine-inch thick brickwall near the residential colony of the railway station at a cost of Rs 11 lakh.

Initial reports said the shed had collapsed as the contractor had not followed specifications.


Fatehgarh workers seek ministry for MLA
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 3
A large number of SAD-BJP workers, under the leadership of Didar Singh Bhatti, MLA Sirhind, yestertday celebrated the formation of the SAD-BJP government, led by Parkash Singh Badal at Bhatti farmhouse Sirhind.

Sweets were distributed and congratulations were exchanged. Bhatti thanked everyone.

Addressing the function, various speakers expressed concern over ignoring the most religious and historical district by not taking the lone SAD MLA from the district in the Cabinet. They reminded Badal that while addressing election rally of Bhatti at Sirhind, he had a ministry for this historical district. They said that believing him people had given their mandate and after 15 years SAD won the seat and with the biggest ever margin of 23,399 votes. Hence Badal should also keep promise.

They said since Cabinet had been completed Bhatti should be assigned some important job, so that the people of the district may not feel ignored. They said that during the last tenure of the Badal government no representation was given to district so now Badal should not ignore this district.

They said that district had become a hub of education and lot of development and infrastructure is required.

Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, president District Youth Akali Dal and Sashi Bhushan Gupta, mandal president, BJP, congratulated Badal and Sukhbir Badal on formation of the SAD-BJP government.


Plight of nomadic tribes highlighted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
A two-day national conference, which was organised by the department of sociology and social anthropology of the Punjabi University, on the topic "Tribes of Punjab: A Social Anthropological Inquiry" concluded here today.

The event was held at Kala Bhavan of the university. Faculty members, students and delegates attended the conference.

R.R. Karkhal, deputy director, department of social welfare, government of Punjab chaired a session of social activists from the DNT (Denotified and Nomadic Tribes) communities of the state.

Inder Singh Chalokia, chairman, All-India Vimukat Jati Sewak Sangh, along with other activists presented the plight of these communities in Punjab.

The penultimate session of the conference focused on the languages of these tribal communities in the state with contributions from Buta Singh and Joga Singh.

The conference concluded with a valedictory address by leading social anthropologist R.K. Jain, UGC emeritus fellow at JNU. He provided a comprehensive picture of these communities and addressed various issues related to them from a sociological perspective.

In the evening session yesterday, Meena Radhakrishna from Delhi School of Economics talked about the idea of looking beyond the state for the welfare of these communities and called for more inclusive social categories.

H.S. Bhatti from Punjabi University talked about the colonial construction of tribal communities in terms of fixed categories. H.S. Gill presented an animated tribal world view followed by a discourse of tribes in India by Professor T. Nongbri. B.L. Abbi, Gopal Ayyar and A.K. Sinha also attended the conference.

The day culminated with a vibrant depiction of traditional tribal art of Nat and Bhat communities by Nanku Nat and Vijay Bhat from Ludhiana.


Saplings planted

Patiala, March 3
The community services banking department of the State Bank of Patiala planted saplings in front of the lake near Kali Devi temple and along the Mall Road here today. The bank had been rendering community service like helping underprivileged. TNS


Crafts mela ends on a high
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
The National Theatre Arts Society enthralled visitors at the amphitheatre of the Sheesh Mahal on the concluding of the fortnight-long NZCC annual crafts mela cultural programme.

‘Punjabi Haas Raag Rang’, a captivating programme of Punjabi, humour, music, dance and drama was presented, which won much appreciation from the audience.

The programme included folk songs by Kamaldeep Gill and Balwinder Vicky, dances by Nemat Sabharwal and acting by Pran Sabharwal and Dharminder Sandhu.


Butcher held for selling ‘dog meat’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 3
The police has arrested a butcher here for selling “dog meat’.

Babu Ram and his son, Jugnu, have been running a shop selling pork and an ‘illegal’ slaughterhouse on the Jagatpur-Kapur colony road here for the past eight/ nine years. Babu Ram was found to be in the possession of carcasses of a dog and a pig, residents of Kapur colony informed the police. The police searched the premises of Babu Ram after Babu Ram alleged he was beaten up by residents, who in turn alleged he was running an illegal slaughterhouse and a shop and selling meat to consumers. Babu Ram, according to residents, has been carrying on his business in the area for the past eight/nine years. their complaints to the Municipal Corporation authorities and the Health Department were not taken seriously.

Residents, led by Rakesh Kumar, Jaggi, Suresh, Nafe Singh Shastri, alleged they had been facing problems as Babu Ram has been continuing with his activities despite requests. They also protested in front of Babu Ram’s shop, after which, Babu Ram went to the police alleging he and his son Jugnu were thrashed by the residents.

A police party from police division no. 8 reached the spot and searched Babu Ram’s slaughterhouse. Apart from insanitary conditions, two carcasses — one of a pig and another of dog — were found from the premises by the team. They alleged the presence of the carcass of dog indicated he had been selling the “dog meat” to consumers.

Residents also alleged Babu Ram had been a supplier to several hotels, restaurants and ‘rehris’ of meat in the city.

DSP Charanjit Singh said Babu Ram had been arrested registered against him.


Advocate stabbed to death by prisoner’s brother
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 3
Advocate Khushwant Rai Joshi, a close relative of martyr Kanshi Ram of the Gaddar Party, was brutally murdered at Maroli Kalna village in Morinda town of the district late this evening. He was stabbed to death in his house reportedly by a brother of his client involved in an NDPS case.

Joshi was joint secretary of the All India Lawyers Union and had been president of District Bar Association, Ropar, three times. He was also a senior communist leader.

Police sources said an unidentified man hailing from Kulu visited Joshi’s house late in the evening. The man wanted to get his brother, who is booked in an NDPS case and at present is lodged in the Central Jail, Patiala, free. An altercation took place between them when Joshi objected to the man’s persistence.

The man, whose identity was still to be established, was carrying a knife and he stabbed Joshi a number of times and ran away. Later Joshi was taken to a nearby private hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Joshi’s wife Prem Lata said she had offered water to man at her husband’s office in their house. While she was having meal, she heard the heated argument between her husband and the man. When she reached her husband’s room she found her husband lying in a pool of blood.

SSP Kapil Dev said a case of murder had been registered on the statement of Joshi’s wife.


3 killed, 2 hurt in mishaps

Phagwara, March 3
Three persons were killed and two others injured in three road mishaps last night in this district.

According to reports received here today, two occupants of one Tata-407, including driver Paramjit Singh and passenger Avtar Singh of nearby Shotra village, were killed on the spot when the vehicle dashed against a tree as the driver lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a turn near Malla-Sodhian village.

Both bodies were sent to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination, the police said.

In another accident, a man on way to Sri Anandpur Sahib to attend the Hola Mohalla congregation along with other villagers was crushed to death under the wheels of a heavy vehicle near Dohalra village last evening.

In the third mishap two scooterists received injuries when it met with an accident last night. — UNI


Packets of spurious Bt cotton seeds seized 

Bathinda, March 3
The Sangat police along with a team of the agriculture department today seized 3,000 packets of spurious Bt cotton seed from the residence of a former sarpanch of Mallwala village.

Sources said the premises of the house of Gurdev Singh was raided following a tip-off.The police reportedly rounded up his son Paramjeet Singh.

When contacted, the Sangat SHO said they were yet to calculate the cost of the consignment seized and a case would be registered after that. — TNS


3 killed in mishaps

Phagwara, March 3
Three persons were killed and two others injured in three road mishaps last night in this district.

According to reports received here today, two occupants of one Tata-407, including driver Paramjit Singh and passenger Avtar Singh of nearby Shotra village, were killed on the spot when the vehicle dashed against a tree as the driver lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a turn near Malla-Sodhian village.

In another accident, a man on way to Sri Anandpur Sahib to attend the Hola Mohalla congregation along with other villagers was crushed to death under the wheels of a heavy vehicle near Dohalra village last evening.

In the third mishap two scooterists received injuries when it met with an accident last night. — UNI


473 students felicitated
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
As many as 473 students were felicitated during the annual prize distribution function of Government College for Girls, held here today. Dr Kanwarjit Singh DPI (Colleges) was the chief guest on the occasion.

College Principal G.K.Jaggi welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries present on this occasion. She read out the annual report of the college, highlighting its achievements in academics, cultural sports and other development areas.

Dr Kanwarjit Singh congratulated the winners and exhorted them to strive for still higher goals. He emphasised the empowerment of the mind through knowledge as well as the empowerment of the hands as the two complemented each other. He gave away prizes to the students, who had won laurels in various fields including academics, cultural, sports, NCC, NSS and Red Cross etc.

Khushgeet Kaur and Mohineet Kaur Boparai, both of BA-III, were awarded all-round roll of honour and college colour for their achievements in different fields. As many as 29 students received roll of honour, 67 received college colour, and where as 124 students were awarded merit certificates. As many as 253 students were given prizes on the basis of house examinations.

The students of the college presented a cultural programme on this occasion.


History seminar at Punjabi varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
The Department of History, Punjabi University, organised a national seminar on the theme “The Historian and the Region: The Twentieth Century” here yesterday.

The three-day seminar was inaugurated by eminent historian and visiting professor of Punjabi University J.S. Grewal. In his remarks, he elaborated on broad developments and the autonomous character of Sikh studies. He said that after Independence there was a boost to Sikh studies at the global level, the reasons being the political developments generating interest in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial scholarships. He talked about the different perceptions about the evolution of Khalsa on the entire civilization of the Sikh community from beginning to contemporary scenario. He touched on the issues related to the Sikh community - its identity, Sikh scholars of early twentieth century and their concerns.

He also talked about the European perception of the Sikh community and early writings, generalised debates that resulted in large volumes of research on Sikhs. More work had been done on Sikh studies than on Punjab studies but there was no conflict between the two as both enriched the understanding, he concluded.

The keynote address was delivered by S. Bhattacharaya, former Vice-Chancellor, Vishwa Bharti, Shantinekatan. He talked about concept of regional history, its issues, problems and methodological approaches. He said that there was lack of conceptualisation in regional history as regional interest dominated rather than approach. “Historian constructs the region as the definition of region is given by the historian”, he said.

Registrar of the university Param Bakhshish Singh presided over the function. Head of the Department Jaspal Kaur, while introducing the theme of the seminar, pointed out that studies at regional level enriched the understanding of the past, in ways not achievable at macro-level. These studies helped the historian to correct several pan-Indian generalisations in all aspects of history and explore new sources and techniques to highlight new economic, social and cultural factors. She said that the focus of the seminar would be on the recent historical writings on India’s various regions.


Direct flights to Mumbai soon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 3
Daily direct flights to Srinagar and Mumbai, via Delhi, would soon be introduced at Rajasansi International Airport in Amritsar. Air Sahara and Indus Air have agreed to provide air services on these circuits. Flights to Mumbai are expected to begin by March-end. Mr Arun Talwar, airport director, said till now, Amritsar had a domestic flight link with Delhi alone.

“Indus Air has already been allotted a space terminal and ramp equipment has also been installed. The airline will introduce Delhi-Amritsar-Mumbai return flights. Meanwhile, Air Sahara has agreed to begin return flights to Srinagar from Amritsar. As per the plan, services to Srinagar and Mumbai would be available on a daily basis,” he said.

Mr Talwar said to accommodate bigger aircraft like Boeing 747, the runway was being extended by 369 metres. In view of the increase in air traffic at the airport with the introduction of more flights, the parking base for aircraft was also being expanded to accommodate up to nine aircraft from the existing capacity of five.


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