P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Dimpa ‘disappears’, abandoning 22 guards, official vehicles
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Rayya (Beas), March 12
Fearing arrest, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, the Congress candidate, “disappeared” after polling in the Beas constituency here yesterday evening, leaving his 22 security guards and three official vehicles given to him on the Election Commission’s directions behind.

Dimpa was among 14 persons booked on the charge of killing Akali worker Dilbagh Singh on January 29. Another case of ‘attempt to murder’ was also registered against him.

Police sources said Dimpa slipped from the constituency after dodging his security guards that he wanted to take rest after the completion of polling at around 8 p.m. yesterday. It is believed Dimpa has left the state and might apply for bail to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Earlier, the district and sessions judge had dismissed the bail application of Dimpa, his brother Harmanbir Singh Gill, and S.P. (Traffic), Chandigarh, and others. Though Majitha SSP in his report to the Department of Home Affairs and Justice gave a “clean chit” to the brother of Dimpa on January 30, he might also apply for the anticipatory bail in the high court. The video footage of the Beas violence case on the basis of which the election was postponed to March 11 did not show the involvement of Harmanbir Singh Gill.

Meanwhile, the Majitha Police has launched a manhunt to arrest Dimpa. The police made raids to arrest four others supporters of Dimpa who reportedly were wanted in the Beas violence. On the recommendation of a special investigation team (SIT), the police has initiated process to declare the four absconding accused as proclaimed offenders.

The security personnel attached with Dimpa also are in trouble since they failed to keep a tab on him. While eight gunmen of the Majitha Police were given to Dimpa, six policemen were given to him as advance party as per the direction of the Election Commission. Since Dimpa had refused to accept the personal security from the Majitha Police, he was given four gunmen led a sub-inspector. Four police personnel were deployed at the residence of Dimpa at Rayya.


No firearm used in Beas scuffle: Report
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 12
The Majitha police seems to be in a fix following a report that no firearm was used in the scuffle at Daulle Nangal village in Beas on March 9, two days before the assembly election, after which Congress candidate Jasbir Singh Dimpa and 15 of his supporters were booked on charges of 'attempt to murder', rioting with armed weapons and trespass.

The SDM, Ajanala , Mr P.K. Sabharwal, who was appointed the inquiry officer on the direction of the Chief Electoral Officer, in his report, stated that no firearm was used in the scuffle as per the version of the BSF. Sources in the Chief Electoral Office stated that the report had been received at Chandigarh. As per the direction of the Election Commission, licensed weapons were already deposited due to election in Beas.

The SSP, Majitha , Lok Nath Angra, had claimed the SAD MLA was roughed up by Dimpa and his supporters on March 9.BSF jawans had to intervene to rescue Makkar, who was 'gheraoed' by Congress activists led by Dimpa.

On a complaint of Dimpa, the Chief Electoral Officer had sought a 'factual report' about the poll violence at the village. Dimpa had complained that he and his supporters were 'falsely implicated'.


11 SSPs transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
In yet another round of transfers, Parkash Singh Badal-led government in Punjab today shifted 11 SSPs along with 12 other IPS officers and five IAS officers in the state, here tonight.

Of the 11 SSPs six have been given charge of other districts while five posted to other posts. Ms Anita Punj will be the new SSP of Hoshiarpur, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal becomes SSP Kapurthala, Mr Arun Pal Singh goes from Faridkot to Nawanshar, PK Sinha goes from Nawanshahr to Ropar replacing Kapil Dev, who will be SSP Faridkot. Arpit Shukla, SSP Ferozepore goes as SSP Jalandhar. Dinesh Partap will replace him. LK Yadav has been shifted from Batala to Bathinda relieving Parmod Bhan who goes as SSP Muktsar. RK Jaiswal is SSP Ludhiana while Ranbir Singh Khatra will be SSP Mohali. The work of SSP Batala will be looked after by SSP Gurdaspur.

The posting orders of R.N. Dhoke, Nilabh Kishor, Nageshwara Rao, Rajiv Ahir, Naunihal Singh and A.S. Rai will be issued later, the Home Department said.

Rohit Chaudhary becomes IG, computer and telecommunication, CSR Reddy IG, India Reserve Batallion, Patiala, HS Dhillon is the new IG Traffic, Rajinder Singh becomes IG Operations and SK Sharma is the new IG, training. Mr Gurpreet Deo will be DIG, provisioning and modernisation, Jagdish Kumar is DIG, counter intelligence, Arun Kumar Oraon is the new DIG, intelligence, SS Chauhan is the DIG, CM Security relieving Khubi Ram of the additional charge, KJS Pannu is the new Joint Director, PPA, Phillaur, and Paramjit Singh Sarao is the DIG, IRB-II and training, Jalandhar while Paramjit Singh Gill ( 1991 batch) goes as DIG, litigation. The posting orders of R.P. Meena and B.K. Uppal will be issued later.

The services of the following PPS officers in the rank of SP have been placed at the disposal of vigilance bureau: Balkar Singh, Mukhtiar Singh Dahiya, Shiv Kumar, Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, Gurpreet Singh Gill, Sukhdev Singh and Rajinder Singh.

Meanwhile, the services of Sarvesh Kaushal, principal secretary, school education, have been placed at the disposal of department of social security women and child development for appointment as member secretary, state women commission.

Karan Bir Singh Sidhu replaces Kaushal. Satish Chandra retains his work as secretary, planning and special economic package and coordination and will hold additional charge of rural development and panchayats.

Harjit Inder Singh Grewal is the new deputy commissioner of Mohali while Tejveer Singh goes as joint development commissioner in place of Dharamjit Singh Grewal

The Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers transferred are Kulbir Singh, goes as ADC Nawanshahr. Vinay Bublani becomes ADC Jalandhar.


Hailstorm damages wheat, other crops
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
While a hailstorm has caused heavy damage to the wheat crop in 22 villages in Nabha subdivision, chilly weather conditions continue in the region because of snow in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir during the past 24 hours.

No one had expected that the winter would hang on till mid-March. Usually, people pack up their wollens at the end of February.

Meanwhile, according to reports received here about 15,000 acres of the wheat crop has been almost wiped out by the hailstorm. The state government has not announced any immediate financial relief to the farmers whose crops have suffered damage.

Sources said the union government had enquired from the state government about the damage caused to wheat and other crops because of rain.

An initial survey made by the Punjab Agriculture Department has revealed that there is about 80 per cent damage to the wheat crop in eight villages. In nine other villages, 60 to 80 per cent of the wheat crop has been damaged. The revenue department has been told to make an assessment of the damage to the wheat and other crops in the hailstorm-hit villages.

“We have got reports regarding the damage caused to the wheat and other crops in the Nabha area.An assessment of the loss is being made by the revenue department”, said financial commissioner development) G.S. Sandhu today.

Meanwhile, moderate to heavy rainfall has been reported from various areas, including Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mansa and Bathinda, during the past 48 hours.This has set the alarm bells ringing in the farm sector. “The inclement weather is a serious cause of worry for us,”said a senior officer of the agriculture department. At various places the wheat crop has been flattened by fast-blowing winds accompanied with rain.

Balam Singh, sarpanch of Kalipur village, near Budhlada, said farmers were feeling upset because of the prevailing unfavourable weather for the rabi crops. He said the mustard crop had been hit hard. “The mustard crop is at the matured stage and ready for harvesting. Fast-blowing winds have broken its plants at various places”, he said. Mustard is considered one of the soft plants and cannot withstand heavy rain and windy conditions at the ripening stage.

Sources said met officials had predicted inclement weather from March 8 to 12.

“ If the inclement weather continues for a day or more, it will cause heavy damage to the rabi crops”, said Balam Singh.

Punjab is expected have a bumper wheat crop this year. Though the state government has fixed a target to produce 145 lakh tonnes of wheat, production is expected to be in the range of 150 lakh tonnes.


Special girdawari for crop damage

Chandigarh, March 12
The Punjab Government has ordered a special girdawari to assess damage to crops due to hailstorm in several areas in the past three days. The financial commissioner,Revenue, has been asked by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to carry out an immediate assessment of the damage.

Separately, Badal has promised that the kin of a farmer who unfortunately commits suicide, will be given a job in case found eligible for it.This is in addition to the Rs 2 lakh cash compensation to the farmer’s family. — TNS


Zafarnama, precious record dumped in bundles
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 12
The archaeological record containing vital information on the history of Punjab, Sikh religion and Mughal rule in India is threatened due to poor upkeep. The premises housing the state archives department was handed over by the previous government to a private company for the construction of a heritage hotel. The displaced department and historical documents, manuscripts and paintings are yet to be rehabilitated.

Among the articles under threat due to the lack of proper place to house include a copy of Zafarnama written by Guru Gobind Singh to then Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Ani-e-Akbari written by Abul Fazal, Akbarnama by Ali Ibraham Khan, a hand-written Japji Sahib, Bir Sahib and Mughal farmans.

Besides, the record lying in bags in the corridors of the old Patiala Commissioner’s office include vital historical documents regarding eight princely states of Punjab, including Nabha, Patiala, Jind, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Nalagarh. It also has all old gazette notifications of the Punjab Government and paintings depicting the Anglo-Sikh war. The sources here said that in an urgency to get the building housing the archaeological building for a heritage hotel the government did not even care to find a suitable place for housing the precious historical manuscripts. It initially shifted the record to the languages department office, then to Punjabi University Library and finally to the present site of old commissioner’s office.

Even today the place where the record has been housed is not permanent. The officials of the archaeological department, on condition of anonymity, said the building in which the department has been planned to be housed is still under renovation. It may take another few months before the building is completed after renovation.

The scholars who use records for research purposes are sufferers of the government move. Since the records are lying now dumped in bundles they find it very difficult to trace relevant documents. They alleged since the manuscripts and documents pertaining to archaeology are very fragile the government should have initially looked for an appropriate place to house them before dislocating them.

The way the entire record of the archaeological Department has been dumped in an unscientific manner speaks about the apathy of the government regarding precious historical documents.

Officials of the Department of Archaeology present here said they had been given strict instructions against allowing any photographer take pictures of dumps of archaeological record.

Director Archaeology Jagjit Puri said the new building that was being constructed would be declared as the state museum. It would be the first state museum.


Commotion at DCC meeting
Mahila Congress chief feels women ignored
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 12
There was uproar at the meeting of the District Congress Committee (DCC) here today as district Mahila Congress chief Samitra Gill walked onto the stage and started sloganeering, alleging the district Congress leadership was ignoring the women party workers.

There was commotion in the hall and attempts by DCC president O.P. Sareen to pacify Ms Gill and her supporters proved futile. One of them snatched the microphone from a Congress leader who was speaking. Taken by surprise, the Congress workers attending the meeting got up from their seats. To counter Ms Gill’s sloganeering, supporters of Sareen also started raising slogans in his favour.

Mr Sareen saved the situation by announcing that suggestions of Ms Gill would be implemented and she be consulted before taking important decisions for the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation.

“I’ve spent my life working for the party and cannot tolerate such treatment to the women party workers. Whatever has happened in the past can be ignored provided we work together to bring the Congress back on the track,” she said.

Ms Gill blamed the district Congress leadership for ignoring women party workers and said this kind of attitude was responsible for the dismal performance of the Congress in the recent Assembly elections.

Threatening to resign from the post of Mahila Congress chief, she said her name did not figure in the official communications of the Congress for party functions and she was not taken into confidence before taking important policy decisions. “I have been holding this office for the past four years but no allowance is being paid to me, even though the district president gets all facilities. I never get to know about the meetings of the party leadership with the district administration,” she said.

On the other hand, Mr Sareen, who recently took over as the district Congress chief, said Ms Gill had absolutely no issues and whatever she said could be pent-up anger of the past. “We go along well as a team and I do not believe in ignoring the members of the Mahila Congress and look forward to working together for making the party more popular. We do realise the contribution of members of the Mahila Congress and no party can win elections without the support of women voters,” he said.

He added there was no provision for providing allowances to presidents of any of the front organisations of the Congress, including the Mahila Congress, and Ms Gill was feeling ignored for no reason. The party cannot pay for every activity of the Mahila Mandal president.

Earlier, before declaring the meeting over, Mr Sareen asked the party workers to give feedback about their Councillors so that the information could be processed and ticket for the forthcoming Municipal Corporation elections be given to only those candidates who had chances of winning. He assured the party workers that such feedback would be kept secret.


Torture main reason of death in police custody: Study
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Deadly facts about torture during interrogation in Punjab have come alive in a study on custodial deaths by the Institute of Correctional Administration. As many as 50 per cent of the police officials talked to have admitted that third degree methods are used against the suspects due to social and political pressures.

The study, carried out by the institute’s deputy director Dr Upneet Lalli, has further revealed that need for conducting speedy investigation is another reason. “There is a pressure (on the cops) to perform as also pressure to conform”, the report says. For the purpose of the conducting the study, as many as 150 police officials were talked to.

The report adds: Lack of accountability and almost total immunity enjoyed by the police until recently accounts for the fact that 58 per cent of them feel there is no sense of shame in cops accused of torture. Only 27 per cent say their colleagues feel bad about the use of force to effect confession and recovery.

“There seems to be no clear cut message from the top about intolerance to torture as 18 per cent feel their seniors will feel bad. Another 27 per cent have opposite to say,” the report asserts. Just 10 per cent of the police personnel are aware of the guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission on custody-related issues. Only 12 per cent are correctly able to specify the Articles of the Constitution dealing with the matter, even though a majority of them are aware of the Supreme Court verdict in D.K. Basu versus State of West Bengal case.

The voluminous 200-page study “Custodial Deaths and Human Rights Commission - an analysis of its role and prevention” has already been submitted to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. Quoting the contents of the report, the sources in the commission say just one-fourth of the officers talked to admit consultation with their seniors or the relevant rules in case of doubt about their powers.

As many as 90 per cent police personnel from the state and even outside agree to the need for adopting scientific methods of investigations against the hardened criminals. “The main kind of abuse a person faces in police custody has been mentioned as physical (41 per cent) and mental (67 per cent),” it adds. “The main reason behind deaths in police custody has been mentioned as torture, medical negligence and drug addiction”. 


Time to empower women in state: Surinder Badal
Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

Naya Gaon, March 12
Punjab’s women are all set to be empowered. Stating this here today, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's wife Surinder Kaur Badal said that the new Akali-BJP regime was working out ways to make women in the state economically independent.

Talking to The Tribune about her plans and priorities to improve the lot of women, Surinder Badal said that the state government was committed to the uplift of women, the improvement of maternal and child health and the prevention of female foeticide.

Coming out openly for the youth of the state, who are finding it hard to cope with drug addiction, the CM’s wife said, “I know that the CM, with his vast experience in politics and planning, will help release the state’s youth from the clutches of drugs. The absence of job opportunities, the lack of development and education have resulted in this mess. We are duty-bound to correct the wrongs committed by the Congress.”

Surinder Badal was on a site visit to Janta Colony in Naya Gaon, where Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR), a US-based organisation, is working to improve maternal and child health. The project, being guided by Dr Frederick Shaw, a public health expert from the US, is supplementing the target population’s nutritional needs by demonstrating low-cost recipes. Vaccination for children and general hygiene is a major part of the year-old programme, which targets 10,000 people.

For Surinder Badal, the experience of studying such a project was unique as it involves local volunteers, local resources and local health experts. “We would love to replicate this project in Punjab’s villages,” she said, admitting that though she wanted to better the lot of women, she did not exactly know how to go about it. That’s where NGOs will step in, she said, soliciting support from Amrit Bolaria, whose support to DIR has been precious.

Equally concerned about the rising incidence of cancer in Punjab, especially Malwa, Surinder Badal said the contamination of drinking water sources would be stopped on priority. “In my own village Badal, I witnessed several cancer deaths recently. We are aware of the study of water quality which the PGI is conducting for the Punjab Pollution Control Board. We will follow it up and take steps to ensure this health crisis does not last,” she said.

Avoiding “purely-political” questions, Surinder Badal said she was not interested in politics nor would she like to interfere with anything. She, however, reacted sharply to the case against her family and said it was personal vendetta and nothing else. About other issues, she said, “The CM himself is competent to deal with everything. He is a great planner and has the solutions to all the problems. While the former CM wasted his time launching a tirade against us, we spent our time with people, sharing their problems. That’s why we are back,” she said.


Development casualty in mayor-commissioner tiff
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 12
The effect of change of government has started reflecting on development of the city, which is hometown of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Most of the ongoing development works have been stalled.

Sources here said development works worth about Rs 9 crore, including construction of major roads, had been stalled, allegedly on tacit directions of the government.

A tiff has started between Congress mayor Vishnu Sharma and corporation commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia.

The commissioner today did not allow the employees of the corporation to attend the meeting of the General House of the corporation. The secretary was the only employee of the corporation who recorded the proceedings of the House.

The commissioner said under Section 64 of the Municipal Act, he was empowered to prevent the employees from attending the meeting of the corporation.

The mayor, however, said the commissioner was misquoting the said Section of the Act. The Act empowers the mayor to hold the meeting and get the agenda passed at any point of time, he added.

Most of the development works have been stalled. Incomplete roads were creating traffic problems, the mayor added.

The differences between the mayor and the commissioner are a well-known fact. During the stint of the previous government, the commissioner was transferred allegedly at the behest of the mayor.

At the recent meeting with the local councillors, the former Chief Minister expressed reservations about the appointment of S.K. Ahluwalia as commissioner.


Attack on Christians: Mann for action against culprits
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 12
Founder of SAD (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann, while alleging that the minorities have come under severe attack from Hindu fundamentalists after the formation of the SAD-BJP alliance government in Punjab, today demanded that legal action should be taken against those who were allegedly involved in the attack made on members of the Christian community at two places in Bathinda district in the past two days.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mann said what was more unfortunate was the fact that instead of taking action against Hindu fundamentalists, who were leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the district police and civil authorities acted in a partisan manner and registered criminal cases against the members of the Christian community, who turned out to be victims of the attack.

"The way Hindu fundamentalists took the law in their own hands and attacked Christian missionaries after forcing entry into their houses shows that the state government has been implementing the Hindutva agenda which speaks of a deep-rooted conspiracy, " pointed out Mann and added that had the police not responded to the situation, it was quite possible that a Christian missionary would have been killed in his own house.

He condemned the authorities concerned who had taken departmental action against those police officials who performed their duties as per law. On the other hand serious criminal cases were registered against members of the Christian community despite the fact that they were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists. Punitive action against those police officials who had performed their duty in a rightful manner should also be withdrawn, he added.

While alleging that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal did not have any interest in the welfare of Punjab, Mann disclosed that his party activists would stage a demonstration at Harike Pattan on March 27 to lodge their protest against the flowing of Punjab waters to neighbouring Rajasthan.

He alleged that the SGPC was ridden with corruption and had become virtually a non-functional body. He added that this was the main reason that the cult of deraism had spread its tentacles in the entire state of Punjab.

Meanwhile, Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, member, all-India working committee, BJP, while condemning the incidents which took place in Bathinda district, alleged that Mann was indulging in political oneupmanship for his personal gains.


Plea to enact law against conversions
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 12
The Punjab government should enact a law against religious conversions and ban the entry of foreign preachers, especially from Kerala, said Rakesh Madan, district president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at a meeting organised by Sarv Dharam Raksha Sangharsh Samiti at Shivala Bhaian here today.

Condemning the lathi charge on the workers of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for opposing the religious conversion through Changhai Sabha organised by Christians in Bathinda, Madan said that that they were not against any religion but the manner in which the Christians were converting the poor Hindus by luring them with money, land and other facilities is not right.

He further said that they would also submit a memorandum to Avtar Singh Makkar, President SGPC for introspection that why poor Sikhs in rural areas were being converted. He said the Christian preachers were asking the Sikhs to visit Gurdwara six days in a week and attend the services of the Church on sunday, the seventh day.

The district chief of the VHP said that the Christian organisations were not interested in helping the poor and were pumping money in the country for preaching Christianity. Free food and other items were distributed by them in order to lure the illiterate and poor people into Christianity for few months and after the conversion they would stop the practice.

Besides the VHP leaders, various heads of the Hindu organisations who equivocally condemned the incident in Bathinda include Bajrang Dal Shiv Sena (Bal Thakre) Durgiana Committee, Shiv Sena Hindustan, Hindu Suraksha Samiti, Shiv Sena Ajad, Brahman Sabha, Arya Samaj, Durga Vahini, Sanatan Dharam Sabha and Mahavir Dal.


Hindu Shiv Sena wants Durgiana temple model reinstalled at airport
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 12
The All-India Hindu Shiv Sena (AIHSS) would launch an agitation against the Airports Authority of India authorities if they failed to reinstall the model of the Durgiana temple at the Rajasansi International Airport.

Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president, AIHSS, said here today that the Durgiana Management Committee (DMC) had urged Director of the Rajasansi International Airport, Arun Talwar, for reinstall of the temple model during his visit to the shrine on January 29. Mr Talwar had assured the DMC of initiating steps in this regard. He said Mr Sat Pal Mahajan had written to the director in this regard on February 3 this year but no action had been taken to reinstall the model.

Mr Billa alleged a model of the Golden Temple was installed on January 23 this year in front of the main customs office in arrival lounge where the model of the Hindu Temple was installed earlier. He said cases should be registered against the accused who had removed the model, hurting the sentiments of Hindus and creating tension between the Sikhs and Hindus.

Mr Arun Talwar said he had urged the managing committee of the Durgiana Temple to provide him proof that the model was ever installed at the airport complex. He said he had joined as airport director only five months back and failed to locate the model. He said he had enquired from the staff, working at the airport for the past more than 10 years, they also feigned ignorance in this regard.

The AIHSS president said it was on the requests of the Airports Authority of India on March 21, 2001 that the DMC had installed the model at the airport complex by spending lakhs. He said the model was installed on July 10, 2001 in the presence of then Aviation Minister Chaman Lal Gupta. He said no efforts were made by the authorities for tracing the model.

Mr Harish Taneja, joint Secretary, DMC, confirming the model was installed at the complex said that the model was removed from the site due to the construction of the new terminal building there as the airport was declared as international airport. He said the authorities concerned had even failed to reply to their memorandums submitted earlier. He said if the authorities failed to trace the model they should have asked them to get the new model made so that it could be installed at the complex.


Check synthetic milk: Ranike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Various ministers of the Punjab government today assumed charge and spoke out their mind to officers.

Animal husbandry minister Gulzar Singh Ranike today issued directions to launch a special drive to check “synthetic milk” production in the state.

Immediately on assuming office, Ranike issued these directions while reviewing the working of his department.

Parminder Singh Dhindsa, PWD minister, said the firm commitment of the state government was to put the state on the high growth trajectory. He also took stock of the ongoing projects of the department in the state and advised officers to adopt a pro-active role. No compromise would be made at any level.

BJP leader Luxmi Kanta Chawla, health minister, focused on female foeticide and said it was the top priority on her agenda.


Gang rivalry behind Lohri murder
Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 12
Rivalry between two criminal gangs of Haryana led to the murder of Pardeep Golu on the Patiala-Chandigarh road here on Lohri.

The police investigation has revealed that he belonged to Sangrur. He was an accused in a murder case. After being absolved in the case, he shifted to Patiala. Here, he developed contacts with the Bobby Don gang operating in Haryana.

Banti, a henchman of another rival gang of Haryana, Nishan Vicky Gang, was hiding in Patiala with the help of a local resident, Sanjay, alias Gattu. Sanjay also had close contacts with the Golu.

When Golu came to know about the presence of a rival gang member in Patiala, he hatched a conspiracy to eliminate him with the help of Sanjay.

Sanjay, however, double crossed him. He, along with members of his family and Banti, planned Golu’s murder.

They called Golu on the Patiala-Chandigarh road on the pretext of providing him a weapon. They took him to a religious place near the road and shot him dead.

The police came to know about the murder after the arrest of one of the accused, Banti, by the Haryana police.

Police officials said they had now recovered the stolen motor cycle of Golu.

Superintendent of police (detective) Kahlon said the police had identified all accused in the case.


Rainwashed: Kids go without meal
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Rain, rain go away... Students of primary school in Manikpur Sharif in Morinda had to do without the mid-day meal on Monday due to the rain.
Rain, rain go away... Students of primary school in Manikpur Sharif in Morinda had to do without the mid-day meal on Monday due to the rain. — Tribune Photo by Vicky Gharu

Kharar/Morinda, March 12
Hundreds of government primary school students here went without mid-day meals today as incessant rains prevented cooking in the open. Food for these children is cooked on mud stoves outside school buildings and with no alternative arrangements to prepare the meal inside the school, many kids went back home without their daily diet.

In Manikpur Sharif in Morinda, the 180 students of the primary school did not get the meal. “The mud stoves are outside in the open and it has been raining non-stop. Today is the dal-chappati day and we have the raw food. The wood which is used as fuel is also dry but since there is no stove or cooking arrangements inside, the kids have had to go hungry,” said a teacher.

Similarly, in Fatehpur village, the meal could not be cooked today. In some other schools, women cooking the meal could not reach the school due to heavy rain.

The mid-day meal scheme had taken off in Punjab in July last. The government has been sitting on proposals received from primary schools across the state demanding a grant for the construction of kitchens in the schools.

“Schools do not even have enough classrooms. How does the government expect them to spare an additional room for storing rice, wheat and wood to prepare the meal,” asked a teacher who did not want to be named.

In the past nine months most schools have made makeshift arrangements to ensure that food is cooked in time and given to the children. While in most schools food is being cooked in the open where mud stoves have been crafted, in some schools a corner of the school verandah is being used.

All primary schools receive 100 gm of wheat and rice per child per day and another Rs 2 per child per day for the vegetables, pulses, cooking oil, fuel, salt etc. The cook (called the ‘mother’ in the scheme) is paid 60 paisa per child per day. “Meal committees are functioning in most villages, but members do not take much interest in the scheme,” pointed out another teacher in one of the schools.

At some places the teachers and cooks went out of their way to make sure that children got their meals. In Bhagomajra in Kharar, where the number of students is about 45, the teachers sent the food to be cooked at someone’s house in the village.

At Raipur Kalan in Kharar the cooks managed to prepare a makeshift stove of bricks. They managed to get everything ready by 1 pm.

In Thandroli, Morinda, the food was cooked on a mud stove under the protection of a tin sheet. The two teachers, Anand Singh and Surinder Kaur, said they had made sure the students did not go without food.

Spreading awareness about female foeticide
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Makhan Singh 'Fariad' finished his mission of pedalling through all districts of Punjab today highlighting societal concerns against foeticide and dowry deaths in the state.

He cycled through bye-lanes of 3688 villages of the state talking on AIDS and female literacy.

'Fariad' started his journey on March 6, 2006 from Ajnala covering the length and breath of the state. He is inspired by Abdul Gad, a resident of Andhra Pradesh, who has undertaken several big journeys spreading AIDS awareness on his bicycle.

Killing of a two-month-old infant in his neighbourhood last year was the biggest provocation which set him on his unique journey.

Makhan Singh is a singer who renders hymns for his living.

He is heading a school for orphans, children of addicts and needy women in Ajnala. "My aim is only to spread message among the community on issues concerning the girl population, particularly literacy and dowry.

I have received a lot of support from the district police and administration heads, besides organisations engaged in social service", he said.

"I did not organise any big rallies or functions during my journey. The village panchayats organised small functions during my visit where I addressed the gatherings.

The allround hospitality was appreciable at all the places during my entire journey", he said.

Makhan Singh is very concerned with the youth straying into the field of drug addiction. "The problem is rampant in the entire state and threatens the entire generation. The problem of the slow poison is specially more prevalent in Majha area.

I want to involve the society in spreading message against the social evil", he said.

He said he would be attempting to meet the chief minister and the Governor to speak on his mission before he pedals back to his native land.


Majithia assumes charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
A professional approach will be adopted to public relations for the dissemination of information on government policies and programmes at the grassroots level, said Punjab information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia while presiding over a meeting of officers of the department here today.

The young, well-educated minister, who assumed charge today, exhorted the officers to switch over to new techniques of public relations in the changed scenario of information technology by making use of modern communication tools.


High court
40 years after losing job, ex-sepoy wins pension case
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 12
Over 40 years after ex-sepoy Gurbachan Singh was invalided out of the Army due to mixed deafness suffered by him due to a blast during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Union Government to grant arrears of disability pension to him.

An order to this effect was passed by Justice Surya Kant on the petition filed by the 70-year-old ex-sepoy through the legal aid scheme of the All India Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association, Chandigarh. He would be entitled to arrears of disability pension from the period between September 15, 1966, and June 17, 1992, and the same would be given to him within a period of four months.

In his petition, Gurbachan Singh had challenged the rejection of his disability pension claim. Having joined the Indian Army in 1956, Gurbachan Singh was invalided out of Army service in 1966 after rendering a total service of just less than 10 years after he suffered injury in field firing in the war. His disability was held to be attributable by the Army service with 20 per cent disability by the Invaliding Medical Board in the year 1966. But the disability percentage was reduced by the medical adviser (Pension) and his claim was rejected. Again the petitioner was brought before the Resurvey Medical Board in 1968, 1977 and 1992 and the medical board held his disability to be 20 per cent which was reduced every time by the medical adviser (Pension). The petitioner did not get any disability pension.

After the case of the petitioner was brought to the notice of the All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, it filed an appeal to the secretary, Union Ministry of Defence, challenging the jurisdiction of the medical adviser in reducing the percentage of disability again and again. The appeal was accepted by the appellate committee and the petitioner was granted disability pension for 30 per cent from 1992 onward.

However, he was not given disability pension from the date of invalidation. Thereafter, a petition was filed in the High Court in 1998 through advocate Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of the All-India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association.


Five hurt in SAD-Cong clash

Phillaur, March 12
Five persons were injured, one of them seriously, in a clash between Akali and Congress workers at Lasara village last night.

Four of the five injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital, while Akali worker Parminder Singh was referred to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana due to his critical condition. The others injured were Tejinder Singh, Varinder Kumar, Harjinder Singh (Cong) and Gurdev Singh (SAD).

According to sources, enmity between Congress and Akali workers had been brewing since the assembly elections in February and Akali workers alleged that Congress workers could not tolerate the defeat of Chaudhry Santokh Singh from Phillaur.

SAD leader and sarpanch of Lasara village Tarsem Singh alleged that Congress workers attacked the SAD workers with sharpedged weapons yesterday at around 9 p.m. and as he tried to intervene in the matter, one of his fingers was chopped off. — TNS


2 arrested in Lakkha murder case

Barnala, March 12
The police today arrested two persons in Lakhwinder Singh Lakkha murder case, while the third one is still absconding.

The police had registered a case on the complaint of Karnail Singh of Thullewal. After investigation the police had booked three persons. Joginder Singh Jagal and Gurjinder Singh Sandhu were arrested today, while Joginder Singh of Khudi Kalan village is absconding.

Lakhwinder, a close associate of the former SAD MLA Malkeet Singh Keetu was murdered on March 9. — OC


One arrested for assault on health officer
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 12
Gurdaspur SSP Kanwar Vijay Pratap Singh today said the police had made one arrest in connection with the alleged beating up of a rural health officer posted at Alleychak village.

The Punjab unit of the Rural Medical Service Association had given a statement yesterday that the police was yet to arrest the persons accused in the case and had threatened to launch an agitation if the police did not take immediate action.

The SSP, however, said a police case had already been registered and warrants procured to arrest the other accused in the case.


Two killed in road mishap

Sangrur, March 12
Two persons, Jaspal Singh (38) of Namol village and Harinder Singh (28) of Ubhawal village, were killed in an accident on the Sangrur-Ubhawal road, near here, last night.

Jaspal Singh and Harinder Singh were going on a scooter towards Ubhawal village from Sangrur when their scooter and a car collided. Jaspal Singh died on the spot, while Harinder was admitted to the local Civil Hospital in a serious condition. Later Harinder was referred to a Ludhiana hospital. However, he died on the way to Ludhiana.

According to the police, the driver of the car, who also sustained injuries in the accident, was also admitted to the local Civil Hospital. He could not be arrested immediately. However, the car, involved in the accident, has been taken in custody by the police. It has registered a case against the driver of the car under sections 304-A, 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC. — TNS


Nihangs detained for row over disputed land
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 12
Nihangs of Baba Budha Dal were detained for allegedly trying to take possession of a disputed property in the Anardana crossing area here today.

Harpal Singh and others alleged that a section of nihangs broke the lock of the boundary wall of about 6 kanal belonging to them. They tried to set up their dera there.

When Harpal tried to argue with them they threatened him with dire consequences, they said.

Nihangs were supported by a property dealer who wanted to take possession of their property because of some family dispute. They had been in the possession of the property since 1963. Earlier also, the property dealer tried to take possession of the piece of land with the help of his henchmen, they alleged.


Tribune Impact
2 TTEs arrested

Parwinder Blaggan
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 12
Taking stern note of the news item published in The Tribune about the nexus being run by travelling ticket examiners (TTEs) in the Swaran Shatabdi Express (Amritsar to Delhi), providing seats to ticketless travellers after accepting bribes, the authorities today detrained two TTEs.

Talking to The Tribune, Assistant Commercial Manager (ticket checking) Ajay Kumar Naulakha, who is conducting an inquiry, said that two TTEs P.S. Punia and A.P. Singh had been detrained, which was a kind of temporary suspension till the closure of the inquiry.


Demand to fill teacher posts
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 12
The Amritsar Vikas Manch here today demanded that all vacant posts of school teacher should be filled to upgrade educational standards of Punjab.

Manch president Harbhajan Singh Gill said in a press release that the state government headed by Amarinder Singh had failed to fill the vacant posts of teacher in government schools resulting in deterioration in educational standards.

Gill was commenting on the recent policy statement of Education Minister Upinderjit Kaur according to which about 45,000 posts of school teacher would be filled shortly after obtaining the Cabinet approval.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |