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Fugitive to be extradited from Canada
Long arm of law catches up 30 years later
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
The long arm of the law is all set to catch on a fugitive who had fled to Canada almost three decades ago to escape punishment for a murder. Instead of spending the jail term for the crime, he led a comfortable life and established himself as a farmer.

A two-member local police team will leave for that country this week to bring him back to pay for the crime.

It was in 1975 that murder convict Malkit Singh Bhandol had along with his three maternal uncles killed Teja Singh of Lalton Kalan. Malkit, then a 16-year-old youth, had jumped bail and fled to the foreign country.

The team leaves in the wake of a British Columbia court decree that ordered Malkit to be handed over to the Indian police. On March 15, the Canadian appeals court refused to stay the extradition proceedings.

Bhandol, settled in Osoyoos, British Columbia, operated a fruit farm and lived what the Canadian courts acknowledged was a "model life." He was arrested by the Canadian police for India in 2004.

SSP R K Jaiswal said the police team consists of SP-Detective Harish Kumar and SHO Focal Point Sandeep Kumar Sharma. The court requires the man to be taken away by the first week of May, he said. Malkit is about 50 years old now.

He said the orders of the Canadian Appeals court can be challenged in that country's Supreme Court, but the Indian police would bring him back before that. Moreover, news reports emanating from Canada said that the country's highest court has already upheld the extradition law’s constitutionality.

The Indian Government after receiving the orders earmarked the Punjab police to constitute a team for bringing him back as the crime had taken place in the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana police.

Jaiswal said Bhandol would face trial on additional charges of jumping bail and hiding his criminal background. A case regarding his escape from the country was registered in the Focal Point police station.

His three maternal uncles -- Kapoor Singh, Sarwan Singh and Bhajan Singh -- have spent nearly 20 years in various jails in Punjab for the crime.

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It was revenge killing: aides
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Lalton (Ludhiana), April 15
Past has returned to haunt the three octogenarian uncles and accomplices of Malkit Singh Bhandol in the over three-decade-old murder case of Teja Singh with the news that Malkit would be extradited from Canada to India soon.

"It was a revenge killing of an alleged goon, Teja Singh, who along with his five brothers had ruled a reign of terror in Lalton and adjoining villages in the 1970s. He had killed our fourth brother," said maternal uncles Kapoor Singh, Sarwan Singh and Bhajan Singh.

All three are in their early 80s, with flowing white hair and beards. Bhajan Singh walks with the help of a stick while the other two can see only with thick glasses.

The three uncles, who had spent nearly 20 years in jail each for the murder, stated that Teja Singh died for good. " He deserved to die as he had brutally killed our brother Jagmail Singh in full public view, put his body in a sack and taken it away on his cycle in 1970. The body was never recovered."

Though the village residents hold the trio in high esteem for the murder of Teja Singh, the three brothers denied they had killed him. " We were wrongly booked. Teja along with his brother Mohinder Singh had looted a liquor vend. The liquor vend staff and muscle men killed him."

The aged trio had no knowledge about the extradition of their nephew Malkit Singh. They learnt it today from a Tribune team that tracked them in the village.

"Malkit Singh was about 16 when the murder took place. He was not involved and was wrongly booked. He fled when he was 20. We didn't hear anything about him after that. He never called us also."

They stressed that Malkit was a minor at that time and had nothing to do with the murder. “The police suspected us and eventually booked us. We were convicted even though the body was never recovered," they claimed.

The three brothers said the police accused them of throwing his body in the Sidhwan Canal on March 25, 1975. "However, that day the canal was dry." They claimed they had no influential or rich relative to fight their case.

The brothers, however, admit that they had taken some guns after the murder of their brother. They seem to have no love lost for their nephew, whom they can meet now after so many years.

"We are extremely bitter at his attitude and behaviour towards us. At every possibility, we tried to convince the police and the court about his innocence. However, when he eventually fled and earned enough money in Canada, he never helped our families or arranged better lawyers for us."

They were amazed that law could still catch up with him after so many years. 

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Flouting rules, circus chains elephant
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
A few days after the Wildlife Department of Punjab issued directions providing guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to protect elephants in captivity, the Apollo Circus running in the city is flouting these blatantly. Uncovered chains could be seen on two legs of the elephant that is a part of the circus troupe.

As per the directions, only one leg of an elephant in captivity should be tied and the chain has to be covered with a leather tube. But the circus authorities don’t seem to be concerned about this.

A Ludhiana Tribune team today managed to enter the backyard of the circus and found that one front and one rear leg of an elephant were chained and the chains were not covered with leather tubes in contravention of section 38 H of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The manager of the circus was stated to be on leave. Some attendants said the elephant was kept tied like this in routine and was free only during its performance thrice a day.

Just a few days ago the Wildlife Department of Punjab had issued directions to the Divisional Forest officers, Conservator of Forests and relevant officers to ensure that these ‘gentle giants’ in captivity were protected and taken good care of.

Vide a letter No. Misc/ Elephant/13-II/6025-45 dated 26-03-2007, the department had directed that the schedule I animal should be protected against cruelty in circuses and private captivity. The guidelines say that the animal should be implanted with microchips for easy identification. It should be tied with a chain covered with leather tubes and only one leg should be tied and two legs can be chained only if an elephant was excited or irritated.

While the guideline about tying was being flouted with impunity at the circus, sources in Wildlife Department said the circus did not have a tranquilising gun set also to control the elephant if it got excited. The CZA had, in its guidelines, mentioned about the tranquilising gun also.

A few days ago, the Wildlife Department, Ludhiana, had also inspected the circus. But no action was taken against its manager and the violations continued unabated. According to sources some years ago a mahout was killed by an elephant, which had gone on a rampage.

Sources informed that violation of any provision under Section 38(H) of the Wildlife Protection Act attracts a term of imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs 25,000 or both. The animal can also be confiscated.

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2 murders and a suicide
Suspecting theft, man kills servant
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
A man allegedly beat his 28-year-old domestic help to death on the suspicion of stealing money from his house in Chotti Mundian last night.

The accused, Mohan Singh, later tried to make the death appear as a case of suicide. The victim was identified as Bhushan, a migrant labourer.

Division No 7 police said Mohan had allegedly beaten Bhushan black and blue and later hung his body from the ceiling to make it appear as a case of suicide.

The employer had got suspicious when he found out that a sum of Rs 9,000 was missing from his house. Some migrant labourers, who lived as tenants in a room of his house, had vacated the portion few days ago only coinciding with the loss of money.

Mohan, however, allegedly pressurised Bhushan to return the amount accusing him of theft or having a hand in the crime. Police sources said Bhushan had taken up the matter with a local leader Sunil Kumar and they were scheduled to talk to Mohan this morning. However, when they went to his house they found Bhushan’s body hanging from the ceiling.

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Woman murdered, suspect decamps with jewellery

Ludhiana, April 15
An aged woman was allegedly found murdered on her cot outside her house in Bhagat Singh Colony in Focal Point area today morning. According to reports she had been strangulated.

The suspected killer had pulled away her gold earrings and according to the police robbery seemed to be the motive behind the murder. The deceased has been identified as Pushpawanti.

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Maid hangs self to death

Ludhiana, April 15
A maidservant employed in a cop's house allegedly committed suicide under mysterious circumstances in Karnail Singh Nagar this morning.

Shobha Devi allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself with a long cloth in her room.

Inspector Navreet Singh, SHO of Sarbha Nagar and the employer of the maidservant, said she ended her life after a fight with her husband over monetary problems.

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Ludhiana Calling

The SMS rumour, which said that receiving calls from a particular number could lead to the recipient’s death, has finally died its own death. What appeared strange was the fact that such a rumour came soon after the previous earthquake rumour that had residents up and outside their homes at 2 in the morning. Quite strangely, as the rumours kept creating panic among people and neither the authorities nor the phone companies bothered to come forward and clarify the situation. Seems like people should stop expecting the authorities to handle such situations and learn dealing with them on their own.

Stressful driving

The menace of stray animals continues unabated. Despite the trouble to residents frequently highlighted by the media, nothing concrete has happened in the direction so far. Driving in the industrial town, which is already quite stressful due to heavy traffic and poor management of the same, becomes a bigger problem when cows, bulls and stray dogs appear on roads from nowhere. Wish this matter too gains a little attention of the Municipal Corporation.

News-savvy

Awareness on the right form of publicity appears to have reached its peak as even small entrepreneurs are hiring public relations agencies to formulate strategies that keep them in the media limelight. While the trend has happy advertisers and PR people, it only adds to problems on newspersons who have to deal with news that are no news at all.

Stock market woes

Fluctuations in the stock market in the last few weeks have kept the pulse rate of investors high. And not only the heavy risk takers. This time even those who take mild risk have been panic struck. One such investor said she had never waited for her morning newspaper so much as now as she remains worried about the Net Asset Value (NAV) of her equity-based mutual funds. It is good old fixed deposits that is emerging as an attractive option for most investors these days.

No Samaritan?

Despite an appeal by CMC doctors to Good Samaritans for coming to the aid of acid attack victims, not many people have come up to help them monetarily. The victims’ parents claim that despite their meagre earnings, they were paying for medicines by borrowing money from various sources. Ludhianvis boast of their riches but what does this affluence mean if it cannot come to the aid of poor girls, who are suffering because of no fault of theirs?

Road block

The city is marred by encroachments. The situation worsens on a Sunday when various shopkeepers block roads by erecting tents to organise a function. No warning has been issued to these people by the tehbazaari wing of MC, which continues to look the other way.

VIP-troubled cops

The VIP visits annoy not only the residents but the police cops too. But the latter cannot dare to express their resentment openly. They are posted for long hours on the roadsides when a VIP has to pass through. A cop told a colleague the other day that all other public works took a backseat when there was a VIP in the city. ‘‘Look at the US President, who roams around freely but our leaders do not feel safe even in their convoy.”

Power cuts

Come summers and power cuts cannot be far behind. Though this year, the power situation has been under control, the temperature has risen so considerably in the past two or three days that all cooling gadgets have been switched on, putting extra pressure on the load. Residents are keeping their fingers crossed that the situation remains the same so that they do not have to suffer due to shortage of electricity.

Budda Nullah

The very name of Budda Nullah fills one's mind with scorn. But the families who live on the bank of the nullah have become accustomed to the smell that emanates. Small babies grow up living by the side of the nullah. The other day, Tribune photographer found a little baby drinking milk on a cot lying just a few yards away from the nullah. ‘‘We are used to living here. He will also get used to all this environment,’’ said his mother. (see picture)

Contributed by Shveta Pathak, Kanchan Vasdev and Jupinderjit Singh

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Now, IMA House mired in controversy
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 15
Even as the dust raised by mudslinging and trading of charges in the fiercely contested recent elections to the local branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is yet to settle down, another controversy has surrounded the official building of the body - IMA House in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here.

There are allegations that a beauty parlour is being run inside the building in an unlawful manner.

Some functionaries of the ruling group of Dr Arun Mitra, the new IMA chief, yesterday went to the IMA House and pulled down a part of the wall being erected by Ashok Dev, who, along with his wife Sunita Dev, is running a beauty parlour in the building.

Alleging that the unlawful occupant had encroached upon a part of the IMA House to run the beauty parlour, Dr Mitra and vice-president Dr Narotam Dewan, said they would seek legal assistance to get the parlour removed.

According to them, the person under illegal occupation of the part of IMA House, had claimed that he was running his business with the permission of the outgoing office-bearers, who had hired him as the care-taker of the building, but no wages had been paid to him for the past three years.

The couple running the beauty parlour in this building further claimed to have spent nearly Rs 4 lakh on the construction and furnishing of the parlour during the past few months. They demanded back as damages and compensation from the IMA if it wanted the building to be vacated.

The outgoing president of IMA Dr Gursharan Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that Ashok Dev had been employed as caretaker of the building and it was also a fact that he had not been paid his monthly salary of Rs 3000 for the past about three years because the IMA, Ludhiana, as also its state branch, which was to pay a part of the wages, had no funds with them.

While admitting that the couple was allowed to reside in the servant quarters in lieu of their services rendered as caretakers, he denied that any permission was given to them to carry on any kind of commercial activity.

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Gill is convener of US unit of Bairagi mandal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
A US-based NRI businessman, Gurmeet Singh Gill, was today nominated convener of the US unit of the All-India Bairagi Mahamandal at a meeting of the body held here, under state president Hari Das Bawa.

The national president of the mandal and chairman of Punjab Housefed Krishan Kumar Bawa said the 291st martyrdom day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, founder of ‘Bairagi sect’, would be observed at the gurdwara in Mehrauli, near Delhi, on June 9 and 10, 2007. The Mehrauli gurdwara has been constructed at the site, where Banda Bahadur was beheaded by the then Mughal rulers.

According to Bawa, the Bairagi community would proceed toward Delhi on June 6 from the historic Gurdas Nangal Garhi Gurdwara in Gurdaspur. With night halts at Ludhiana and Kurukshetra on June 6 and 7, respectively, the jatha would reach Delhi on June 8 to participate in the martyrdom day function.

He said the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to pay homage to the martyr on June 10.

He informed that Bikramjit Singh Rauni had been nominated as the convener for ‘Sirhind fateh diwas’ to be celebrated at Sirhind on May 12 and the martyrdom day functions at Delhi on June 9 and 10. He will be assisted by the president of Fatehgarh Sahib unit, Jaspal Bawa, while martyrdom day functions to be organised overseas would be overseen by the president of the Banda Bahadur Brigade Baldev Bawa.

Other speakers, including Hari Das Bawa, Ravinder Nandy, Bikramjit Singh Rauni and Baldev Bawa, urged the people to follow the path shown by great martyrs, who refused to bow down to tyranny and repression let loose by the Mughals and fought to achieve justice. Jiwan Das Bawa, Ashwani Bawa, Krishan Baldev Rangian, Jaspal Bawa, Gurmeet Singh Gill and Baldev Bawa were also present at the meeting.

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Needy given tricycles, sewing machines
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 15
The Nishkam Kirtan Sewa Society (NKSS), Mandi Gobindgarh, organised a function for needy persons at its office, near Red Light today.

The society distributed tricycles to Karnail Singh, son of Amarjeet Singh, and Pinki Kaur, daughter of Nayab Singh. The NKSS donated sewing machines to five widows and two needy women.

Nilabh Kishore, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, presided over as the chief guest. He said social work was not a thing to show off but of helping others without seeking any personal profit. He applauded the NKSS for the work.

President of the society Karamjeet Singh said, “Our society has already arranged marriages of 61 girls who belong to the needy background, and we will continue to do so.”

He also said if any handicapped person needed a tricycle or if a widow or a needy woman required a sewing machine, they could contact the NKSS office.

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Kumaon comes calling to city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 15
The Uttaranchal Kumaon Vikas Parishad, Ludhiana, organised its seventh annual function here today at Bachan Singh Nagar, Bank Colony, Haibowal Kalan. Renowned Kumaoni folk artistes Shiv Dutt Pant, Heera Singh Rana and Lalit Mohan, performed on the occasion.

The artistes enthralled the audience with their melodious Kumaoni and Garhwali songs. A large number of persons from Kumaon and Garhwal regions enjoyed the programme. The Kumaoni people living away from their native land remembered their rich culture and heritage.

The parishad also paid tributes to heroes of Uttarakhand, who had sacrificed their lives for the formation of the new state.

Prof Rajinder Bhandari, general secretary, BJP, Punjab, lighted the ceremonial lamp and Suman Shankar Tiwari from Chandigarh, inaugurated the function.

Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP and president of the All-India Youth Akali Dal, Punjab and T.R Mishra, chairman, Federation of Dying Factories Association and Purvanchal Vikas Party, Ludhiana, were the chief guests on the occasion.

Uttranchal Kumaon Parishad also thanked Dhillon for granting Rs 4 lakh from his discretionary fund for the construction of a dharamshala at Haibowal Kalan.

Besides the newly elected MLA Satpal Gosian, Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Punjab, Heera Singh Gabria, jail minister Harisha Rai Dhanda, advocate Harish Bedi, Darshan Singh Shivalik and Nishit Joshi, Editor, Amar Ujala, Jalandhar and Subhash Verma, president, BJP, Ludhiana, were the guests of honour

The parishad awarded scholarships and mementoes to meritorious children of Kumaoni people living in Ludhiana.

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Dalit IAS officers should marry Dalit girls: Libra
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 15
The Dr Ambedkar Mission Society, Khamano, today celebrated the 116 birth anniversary of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar at Government Elementary School, Khamano Kaler.

Chief guest, MP Ropar, Sukhdev Singh Libra, in his address to the gathering said that it was due to Dr Ambedkar that Dalits were getting top positions in all sectors, including the judiciary.

He expressed grief that lakhs of posts were lying vacant even as Dalits were denied their rights. He appealed to Dalit IAS officers to marry Dalit girls instead of marrying upper caste girls.

While presiding over the function, MLA of the area Jagjiwan Singh Khirnja said Dr Ambedkar was not only the leader of Dalits but also a universal leader and he wanted social change.

During the samagam, Jagtar Khamano master Bhagat Singh and Master Swaranjit Singh spoke about the life of Dr Ambedkar.

Youth Akali Dal leader Gurdeep Singh Ghuman, BJP general secretary Kuldip Madaan, Harjinder Singh president of the society, and Gurpal Singh, president of Star Welfare Club, Khamano, were also present during this function.

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‘Evil of dowry on the decline’
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 15
Disturbed gender ratio, higher literacy among girls and fondness for beauty have emerged as major reasons for the fall in tendency of bargaining by parents of grooms at the time of marriage among the Hindus in general and members of the Bania community in particular.

The average age for marriage of boys has gone up as compared to two decades ago.

Kewal Krishan Goel, social activist and president of the Shri Shiv Mandir Committee, claims that the parents face difficulty in finding desired matches for their wards.

“While the mediator used to ask aspirations of the parents of the groom before finding a spouse for him and used to impress upon the bride’s parents to spend more money than their capacity earlier, the situation is different now. Now they insist on the status of the family and beautiful, educated girl,” claimed Goel.

“Now when the gap between number of girls and boys has reached an alarming stage due to the skewed sex ratio, the parents of grooms are left with no choice than to soften their tone while talking to the relatives of the bride,” said Goel.

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At the Crossroads
To be or not to be

Some years ago, a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla accused me of being anti-feminist. For a moment, I was flabbergasted but then I gathered my thoughts together and quoted a couplet by Mirza Ghalib:

Jaan tum par nisaar karta hun

Main nahin jaanta wafa kya hai

She was a South Indian, so I explained that the poet was vehement in putting forward his claim for being a steadfast lover. He was even ready to sacrifice himself for his lady love.

In retrospect, I sometimes realise that men have always made tall claims for their fidelity but in fact women have generally been at the receiving end. Still it is difficult to say the final word in this regard. A look at the classical fables may clear the web of doubt.

I am reminded of Dido’s supreme sacrifice for Aeneas. Latin poet Virgil tells in his epic 'The Aeneid' that Dido, queen of Carthage, loved Aeneas so much that she accepted him as her lord.

But the Trojan prince Aeneas, who had been hounded out of his homeland by the Greeks, was in a hurry to go to Italy to establish a home for his people. So he sneaked out of the palace at the earliest opportunity and sailed away in the dead of night. At daybreak, Dido rushed to the shore and saw his ship losing its entity in the hazy horizon. On seeing this spectacle, 'Dido was swept by a frenzy of emotion and died of a self-inflicted wound.'

Cleopatra was the queen of Egypt when general Mark Antony went there to consolidate Roman empire. They fell in love at first sight, so to say, but the queen was not sure of the intensity of his love. So she asked, "If it be love indeed, tell me how much?" Antony replied, "There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd." She insisted that he must disclose the outer limit of his love for her. He must have then stretched his arms to convey the vast range of his love, "Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth."

The love of Antony and Cleopatra could not prosper for long under the vigilant eyes of Julius Caesar. He could not see 'Rome melting in Tiber', as Antony had once declared in the frenzy of his passion for Cleopatra. At long last Antony stabs himself to death on hearing the false news of the queen's death. On her part, Cleopatra could not bear the sight of Antony dying before her eyes. Shortly afterwards, she applies a poisonous asp to her breast:

“Dost thou not see my baby at my breast

That sucks the nurse asleep?”

Like Antony, Farhad had also killed himself on hearing the false news of Shireen’s death. Their love for each other could not be fulfilled due to the resistance of royal Parvez. Farhad had been fed on the false hope of uniting with his beloved after he had cut the rocky mountain to usher in a stream of milk. He performed this miraculous deed with the help of his axe, after a long toil. But the false news of his beloved's death prompted him to kill himself with the same axe. At this tragic event, Shireen drowned herself in the stream of milk that was then flowing near her palace.

Feminism is no more all the rage that it once was across the world. Still gender consciousness exists to some degree. But it is more or less the creation of the phobia for proving right one’s point of view. Dispassionately speaking, men have also been at the receiving end in some cases of capriciousness. Puran suffered at the hands of Loona, while Hippolytus did so at the hands of Phaedra.

To conclude it can be said, in the words of Zafar, about the plight of men and women alike on this planet:

Umre draaz maang ke laaye thhe chaar din

Do aarzu mein kut gye do intizar mein.

(We had been blessed with a long life of four days. Two were spent in longing and the other two in waiting).

— N.S. Tasneem

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