L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Special police team to trace ‘dead’ woman
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The Ludhiana DIG has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to trace a ‘dead’ woman, Inderdeep, alias Jasbir Kaur, of Samrala, who was termed murdered in a highly controversial FIR registered by the Khanna police in February this year. She was allegedly later spotted at a religious dera in Hardwar.

The woman, belonging to Malerkotla and living at her in-laws’ house near 84-Stairs Temple, Samrala, after her marriage in 2002 had mysteriously gone missing on February 11 early morning after she left her in-laws’ house on a routine visit to two religious places.

On the complaint of her parents belonging to Malerkotla, her husband and his mother were booked under sections 498, 302 of the IPC for murdering her for dowry in March. They were accused of destroying the body to erase all evidence.

Surprisingly, the man, Kulwinder Singh, and his mother Manjit Kaur were labelled as murderers in the FIR even though the police inquiry mentioned in the FIR stated that there was no proof of murder or of dowry. Moreover, unless the body was recovered, the woman cannot be termed dead or murdered. There were no witnessess supporting the murder theory also.

Kulwinder Singh, who runs a chemist shop in Samrala, claims he was living under the ignominy of being the cold-blooded killer of his wife and has been virtually running from pillar to post to prove his innocence as well as to find the missing woman.

They had sought a high- level police inquiry from the DIG and other officers claiming the woman was at a religious dera in Hardwar and only the police could recover her from there.

Police sources revealed that the DIG handed the leadership of the SIT outside Khanna to Ludhiana SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh with the DSP, Payal, as the member apart from other lower-rank officials. Interestingly, the present Khanna police administration is also raising eyebrows over the FIR, terming it shocking and based on flimsy and illegal grounds.

A senior police official of the Khanna police said the FIR should not have been lodged. The murder accused have been thoroughly interrogated and to the satisfaction of the police and no evidence of murder has been found.

The official said that at best a case of missing woman could have been lodged, but to paint a man and his aged mother as brutal murderers was totally uncalled for. It is well-known that once a person is mentioned as murderer in a FIR based on dowry killing, getting bail for the offence is almost impossible. It results in undue harassment and financial exploitation also.

The ‘strange’ FIR mentions that though the parents of the ‘missing’ woman apprehend her murder, the police inquiry has not found any evidence supporting the allegation. The FIR also specifically mentions that the allegations of dowry were also not proved.

However, a district attorney (legal) opined that the in-laws ‘may’ be booked for the serious crime and if the woman is alive, the charges can be deleted. The contents of the FIR state that the sections of murder and disposing of the body would be taken on later if the body was recovered or the woman was alive, but so far section 498 (Dowry) can be levelled. Still, the FIR of murder was registered.

This, sources said , was in contrast to the spirit of the Indian law which provides all chance to a person for his innocence unless there was a prima facie or clear evidence against him.

Kulwinder Singh and his relatives told Ludhiana Tribune that the missing woman never wanted to live with him. Though they had a five-year-old daughter from the wedlock, the woman was spending most of her time at religious places. He said on February 11 she left home, saying she was going to a gurdwara and a temple. She neither reached there nor returned home.

He said the relatives searched her everywhere. They searched in Hardwar, as she was quite influenced by a self-styled saint. They learnt there that she was very much in that dera only.



Father alleges negligence as child loses hand
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Due to the alleged negligence of the medical staff at Mohan Dai Cancer Hospital, Rajinder Kumar’s one-year old daughter Tisha lost her right hand. When the hapless father approached the Focal Point police for the registration of a complaint of criminal negligence, he was told to get an approval from the office of the civil surgeon, Ludhiana or the Medical Council of India.

Four months have passed since his daughter lost her hand but still no case has been registered so far.

The road to justice is long and unending as no one seems to be concerned about the young girl who has become handicapped for life.

As he appeared in the sangat darshan programme in the hope that some enquiry would be ordered, he had to return disappointed as the police officials maintained, that it was up to the medical authorities to find out whether it was really negligence of the hospital or some other reasons that led to the amputation of his daughter's hand.

According to Kumar, he had admitted his one year old daughter in the Mohan Dai Cancer Hopsital on January 17 to be treated for fever and upset stomach.

Kumar says when she was put on drip he noticed that the needle was not inserted properly as the hand began swelling. He said, he insisted upon the nurse attending his daughter that something was wrong. Even his daughter was breathing in pain. It was only after he made hue and cry that the doctors decided to take off the drip and put her on oral diet.

"But by that time the damage had been done. After a few days stay at the hospital, the doctors referred me to another doctor, who found that Tisha had developed gangrene in the hand. I again approached the hospital doctors, who told me to take her to the Christian Medical College and Hospital, where the doctors said the infection was severe and her hand had to be amputated", said a visibly dejected Ravinder Kumar.

Kumar and his wife Anita have been literally moving from pillar to post. "I want justice for myself and my daughter, who has been handicapped for life," said Anita.

Anita wants justice for her daughter and says the guilty must be punished. But her cries seem to be falling on deaf ears only.

Legal experts say the police should have registered a complaint and referred it to the Civil Surgeon for a technical investigation to be conducted to find out the reason.

Kumar regrets that the authorities were not even prepared to listen to his complaint.

Meanwhile, Dr Satish Jain, medical superintendent, Mohan Dai Hospital, when contacted, said the hospital was not responsible for the damage. "He (Ravinder Kumar) was asked to bring back his daughter after a few days but he never came. How can the hospital be responsible for the amputation," retorts Dr. Jain.



Wheat stalk remnants a traffic hazard
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The remnant stalks of harvested wheat, with some grains on them, thrown by labourers and weaker sections of society on roads for getting thrashed by vehicles, are proving to be a traffic hazard.

As quite a good quantity of wheat remains in the fields after the mechanical harvesting, they pick up the remnants and throw them on the roads. These get thrashed by the vehicles which move over them. After a few hours, they collect the wheat from the road.

According to Ludhiana suburbs and other villages the thrown remnants had caused several accidents. The Mandi Board officials and some kisan unions had approached the district administration seeking ban on throwing the remnants on the road.

Persons who collect these remnants were poor and not in a position to pay for getting it properly thrashed, so they resort to this practice. They spread it on the road and collect the grain after it is ran over by the vehicles.

While the four-wheelers managed to move on, the two-wheelers usually skid off the road leading to accidents. Several persons were injured after they fell off their vehicles due to the wheat remnants lying on the roads.

Since, it was difficult to trace the persons throwing them on the roads, the officials expressed helplessness to curb this problem.

The practice was continuing in almost all villages in the suburbs and rural areas leading to inconvenience among the citizens.



Dugri residents demand flyover
Kanchan Vasdev

Ludhiana, April 24
While the Municipal Corporation is still grappling with the problem of the Dhandari Railway Overbridge arisen due to non issuing of NOC by the National Highway Authority of India, the residents of Dugri are demanding a flyover and broadening of existing bridge on the Sidhwan Canal.

Stating that the existing bridge had failed to cater to growing traffic demands, residents said chaos was the order of the day and broadening the existing one was the only solution. Moreover, a flyover was also required connecting Dugri with the city.

In their charter of demands to MLA, Harish Bedi, the Residents Welfare Association, said atleast 45 feet wide road was required to connect the main bridge to Dugri upto the cremation ground for easy plying of vehicles. All the roads in area were in bad shape and needed immediate attention. “Recarpeting is the only solution. There are huge craters all around but the roads have not been repaired,” said Dr Ajay Shahi, the president of RWA.

The water supply situation in the area was very bad as no water was being supplied to the Urban Vihar for last many days due to some problem in the tubewell 



Lone crusader rues govt apathy
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Khanna, (Ludhiana), April 24
Polio rendered him physically challenged for life, when he was just six months old. Living with the pain of not being able to play like the other children of his age during his childhood, B.K. Jethi found a vent for his pent-up energy in helping several others like him.

His tireless fight for the rights of physically challenged has earned him accolades and the title of a messiah of the differently abled.

In the 61st year of his life, Jethi, a resident of this small town is still fighting and cries like a child when he rues that the state government did not give the physically challenged their due.

He was 33 when he set up a Disabled Welfare Society, Punjab in 1978. He had to run after people to become the members of the society.

‘‘I was the only one and started corresponding with the state government at that time. Then I found that no one took me seriously and I needed to have more people along.’’

It was then that he started walking up to handicapped persons. ‘‘I would wait for such persons at public places like bus stand, urinals, shops and other commercial establishments. Then I would urge upon them to join me in my cause. At times it worked but most of the times people used to laugh at me calling me crazy,’’ says Jethi, with tears in his eyes.

His compassion found a companion in Joginder Singh who joined him in his crusade. The duo are together till date and continue their fight for the rights of the disabled. ‘‘He is my friend, philosopher and a guide. We have passed through many difficult phases. God wanted us like that,’’ says Jethi, leaning on Joginder Singh, who also has a limp in his leg.

Jethi, who studied up to the higher secondary is a bitter man today as he says that governments have passed rules in their favour and notified them but on the ground the reality has not changed much.

‘‘I am fighting but why can’t the so called healthy people do something. Are there any ramps in the schools? How many schools have braille facility? How many government offices and other public places are equipped with facilities to make life of the physically challenged comfortable? ’’ he asks.

‘‘We have been dejected. This is not the way to treat us. Why can’t the authorities be little sensitive?’’ he asks. “The Physically Challenged Cell in the Social Security Directorate of the state in Chandigarh is on the fourth floor and the lift has never worked,” he says pointing at the sensitivity of the authorities.



Beopar Mandal chief dead
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 24
Tulsidas Jaitwani, president of the Punjab Beopar Mandal, died here last night. He was 87. Many people gathered at his funeral today.

Jaitwani served the trading community of Punjab as the president for four decades and also launched a number of agitations to protect the interests of traders.

He undertook a fast unto death in 1966 on Daresi grounds to press for the demands of traders of the state and broke his fast on the assurance of the then chief minister, Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir.

He had contested the elections of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1967 from the Ludhiana North segment.

He also met Sant Fateh Singh, then president of the Shiromini Akalidal, in 1966, immediately after the creation of the Punjabi Suba at the Akal Takht and sought an assurance that the interests and rights of the traders would be protected in the Punjabi suba.

He was associated with number of social and educational organisations of the town including Arya Samaj and Rotary Club.

Inderjit Singh Pradhan and Avtar Singh, the president and general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, Gian Chand Dhawan, former president of the Hosiery Exporters Association and Balraj Kumar, former secretary of the Indosoviety Cultural Society Punjab and Rakesh Pandey, former minister for the Technical Education condoled the death of Jaitwani and said that the trade and industry had lost a great leader and well-wisher of the state.



Jagraon resident threatens self-immolation
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
A Jagraon-based man, Mohinder Singh ‘B.A.’, who had marched with his wife and four daughters to the Prime Minister Office, New Delhi in November 2005, for seeking justice in a land dispute case threatened to immolate himself in front of the PM office or President’s office next week, if the local district administration, did not provide him with justice.

The applicant, a resident of Katcha Malik road, requested the administration at sangat darshan programme to fulfil his last wish of performing his last rites in his ancestral home at Jagraon. He was seeking claim to his home.

The DC, Sumer Singh Gurjar had asked the Ludhiana-Rural SSP, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar to investigate into the matter. The man alleged that his brothers were not giving him his due in the ancestral property. He said his brothers got registery of the house.

He sat on a dharna in the Mini Secretariat with his wife and four daughters before filing his application at the sangat darshan held at Bachat Bhawan this morning.

Interestingly, an earlier police inquiry conducted by the DIG Ludhiana had found no evidence in his claims. The inquiry was held on the direction of the PM office.

A copy of the appeal application stated that the man was thrown out of his ancestral property by his brothers and relatives who shared the property rights. The man claimed the police was helping his relatives.

He earned living by taking farms on contract in Jagraon and Uttar Pradesh. He claimed he was earlier falsely implicated and illegally detained in a fake currency case by the Sahnewal police and was harassed later by the Jagraon police. 



Tapovan Ashram trust in controversy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The Dhanda Charitable Trust, Tapovan Ashram, is embroiled in an unsavoury controversy over the misuse and misappropriation of lakhs of funds. The Trust is divided into two groups, both claiming they were the legal authority to run the temple near old DMC and the ashram.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, trustees said a former trustee, Sohan Dhanda, was running the Trust for the past two years in an autocratic manner and lakhs of rupees have been misappropriated, he alleged. The trustees, including Balkrishan Dhanda and others alleged that Sohan had taken a number of decisions on his own. They said their signatures were taken on certain papers misusing which he threw them out of the Trust later.

They announed today that their trust was very much in place. However, Sohan Dhanda said he had not pocketed a single paisa and it was just a power struggle for the Trust. He said he had taken all decision for the benefit of the temple and the ashram only. He also sent an affidavit to newspaper offices stating the social work he and the Trust had done.



Contest marks ‘Earth day’
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 24
Abhishek of class 10, Shivali of class 9 and Prabhjot Kaur of class 12 won first, second and third positions in the declamation contest organised by the eco-club of the Saraswati Model Senior Secondary School to mark the ‘Earth day’ today.

Participants spoke on current issues like increasing pollution and deforestation. D. S. Gosain, principal of the school informed that the school was among the 250 institutions to have an eco-club to educate students on preserving the environment.

He said the National Grew Corps Ministry of environment and forests was guiding the school on preserving the environment.

M. L. Deol, director, school management committee, called on the students to keep the environment clean.



JE booked for murder bid
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 24
JE PWD Ludhiana was alleged with an attempt to murder. The local police has registered the case under the Section 307, IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54, 59 of Arms Act. According to the information, Manmohan Katyal an advocate and resident of Hira Bagh Jagraon had constructed hotel Sneh Mohan Regency which belonged to his wife Sneh Katyal. Katyal had applied for the no-objection certificate from the PWD and to proceed on the application Joginder Singh, the JE PWD, Ludhiana, was assigned the task.

Yesterday night, at about 9pm the JE came at the hotel premises and demanded Rs 50,000 as bribe to get the needful done, to which Katyal refused. Joginder took out a revolver with intention to kill and fired at Katyal, the bullet hit him on the right side of his neck. Sources disclosed that when the other persons were trying to take Katyal in a vehicle Joginder Singh again fired one more shot towards them to which they escaped. Later, the injured was taken to DMC, Ludhiana. Information revealed that the JE PWD was arrested by the local police from Drain Kothe Rana and recovered the weapon used in the offence from his possession. The members of the Bar who convened a meeting today condemned the incident strongly and appealed to the administration for strong action. 



Genus to focus on Punjab market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Genus Power Infrastructures, an electronic product manufacturer, is planning to lay focus on Punjab, a high potential market for the company.

Addressing a press conference, company’s managing director J.K. Aggarwal said one-tenth of the demand for company’s inverters was generated from Punjab. “People here prefer living in comfort and opt for good quality products. We are expecting the demand to rise further in future.

He said the company planned to sell 25, 000 investors during the current year and would soon announce its new customer, dealer and distributor scheme.

He said the latest product by the company, Sine Wave Inverter, had helped it capture a significant share in the market. “Good quality inverters keep electronic gadgets safe and provide value for money. Consumers should not compromise on this front.”

Company’s deputy general manager Anil Gupta was also present. 



Rising demand and prices of poultry make traders happy
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Heat wave has not prevented city residents from savouring eggs and chicken. The prices of poultry products that declined by almost 20 per cent last week, have picked up again and so has the demand. Encouraged by the response, those in trade are expecting demand and also prices to rise further.

In the wholesale market, the prevailing rate of a broiler is around Rs 34 while that of eggs is nearly Rs 130 per hundred.

In the retail market the rates are 60 to 70 per cent higher. This is a steep rise in comparison to last year when prices went down to a low of Rs eight for broiler and Rs 60 for eggs.

Those in the trade say wedding season would boost demand and industry, which suffered heavily last year on account of bird flu, is likely to break even. "Last two weeks were relatively low on demand and we feared prices would drop further.

However, demand has risen again and price recovery, despite prevailing heat, has made us hopeful of better days ahead," said Iqbal, a meat shop owner.

As demand plummeted on account of a bird flu scare, poultry farmers and traders recorded losses to the tune of crores of rupees and as per estimates 10-15 farms even shut operations. Even after the scenario normalised, industry was unable to recover on account of constant demand.

"Losses were heavy. A lot of farms closed down. After things normalised, the rise in demand was unable to help industry cover up its previous losses. However, situation is much better now as prices are doing well and so is demand," said P.P.S. Gill, secretary, Punjab Poultry Farmers Association.

Farmers, however, say the situation could have been better had prices of feed not increased. Rates of grain and other poultry ingredients are up by over 20 per cent this year.

While last year, the per quintal rate for maize was around Rs 640 this year it is Rs 870, that of bajra has increased from Rs 530 last year to Rs 770 and of soyabean from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000.

"Considering the rise in these prices, the return is not as high. This would increase the period we would have otherwise taken to break even but we are happy situation is improving."



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