C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S




Ex-PU student shoots himself on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
A former Panjab University (PU) student allegedly shot himself to death in the football ground on the campus under mysterious circumstances. The death came to light in the wee hours today when a security guard noticed the body lying in a pool of blood near the spectators’ stand.

The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Nargurinder Singh Brar, a resident of Rajeyana village near Bhagapurana in Moga. He had done his master’s degrees in ancient Indian history and Punjabi, and was planning to go to Australia. He used to visit his friends in hostel No. 1 on the campus frequently.

Firearms easily available

The incident has once again highlighted that illegal trafficking of firearms is prevalent in the city. Bullets procured by the victim from his friends indicate that weapons are easily available to students.

The police recovered a two-and-half-page suicide note in which he held no one responsible for his death. Asking his parents to forgive him for his act, he mentioned in his note that his way to going abroad was clear but he chose death over it.

It was further mentioned in the suicide note that he purchased the pistol on Friday, but the seller did not give him bullets as promised. So he brought bullets from his friend telling that he wanted to fire shots as part of celebrations in a marriage. He said no one should be dragged in this matter as he was solely responsible for his act. He also held that he should not be treated as an outlaw or a terrorist.

The security guard detected the body at around 4.40 am and the police was informed about the incident.

“The injury indicates that he shot on the right side of his temple and the bullet pierced through his head. It was a countrymade pistol of prohibited bore,” said a forensic expert of the Chandigarh police.

An empty cartridge was found at a distance of about 3 ft from the body. R.B. Bhandari of the department of fine arts identified the body and told the police that the deceased was their former student. He quit the department in September last year, citing family problems.

As soon as word about the incident spread, a large number of university students and some teachers reached there.

DSP (central) S.S. Randhawa examined the spot and ruled out the possibility of any foul play. The police also called Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) experts to examine the spot.

Kewal Singh Brar, the deceased’s father and school lecturer, told Chandigarh Tribune in hospital that Nargurinder spoke to him on the phone last night and there was nothing amiss with him. He told him that he would be able to go to Australia by September this year.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection and has registered a case under the Arms Act against him for possessing and illegal weapon.

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He was generous, recall friends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Nargurinder Brar’s friends are in a shock over the extreme step taken by him. They are all reminded of his generous nature and friendly behaviour. Nargurinder, a double MA (history and Punjabi), was preparing for the IELTS, and was a frequent visitor to the hostel to meet his old friends.

For Gagandeep, a student of MPEd at Panjab University and one of his closest friends, found it difficult to believe that he had ended his life. “I cannot believe that Happy, as he was known in his friend circle, is no more with us.

Just last night at around 9.30, I happened to see him go alone towards the ground. I called him up, and he promised to join me later. However, when he did not turn up, I tried calling on his cell, but he did not respond.”

Jashandeep, another friend, cannot forget last night’s talk he had with Happy over the phone. “I called him up at around 9 pm and he told me that he was going to give all of us a ‘surprise’.

Since, he was preparing for the IELTS and was constantly applying to go abroad, I thought he had got the approval from the immigration office. However, he had something else on his mind.”

“Around four days ago, he had said he would give all his T-shirts to his friends, which surprised me.

I got the impression that he would soon be going abroad and would distribute all his clothes among us,” recalls Amarinder, another friend.

Sangram and Lakhvir had met him only yesterday and could not believe their eyes on seeing his blood-stained body. “He was a daring chap and nobody could ever think he would take the extreme step,” they said.

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Girl commits suicide

Chandigarh, May 12
A 16-year-old girl today committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her Sector 32 residence. Police sources said the matter was reported late in the night. After preliminary inquiries, the police arrested Vivek Kumar of the same Sector who is said to be the boyfriend of the girl. — TNS

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Cycle tourism takes off in style
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Sixtyone-year-old Harjinder Kaur is a housewife living in Sector 56. She has spent a lifetime cycling around the city and was the oldest participant at the ‘Cycle Tourism Rally’ held in the city today.

Her reason for cycling is simple: “It offers peace of mind because there is no other mode of transport in which you can roam around the city with just Rs 2 in your pocket.”

Ram Chandra Pannu, a sub-inspector with the Chandigarh police, has a placard fixed on his cycle which reads, ‘cycle chalao, ped lagao’ (ride cycle and plant trees). It was on Teacher’s Day in 1999 that Pannu decided that no other vehicle would serve his ‘green’ thinking but a cycle. He now goes around riding and planting saplings in the city.

Vijay Jaswal, coach for the Chandigarh Cycle Polo Association and gold-medallist in the event, was riding today to spread the message that cycling is not just beneficial to the body but also a great mental health booster.

These are just a few people of a virtual crowd of enthusiasts who came to take part in the rally that started from the Open Hand to the Sector 17 Plaza today, organised by the tourism department and NGO Yuvsatta.

What was heartening was the keenness, and the turnout did not disappoint either.

While the department was well represented by its director Vivek Atray astride on his cycle, it was the presence of union minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal and mayor Harjinder Kaur riding cycles followed by a horde of eager cyclists, all the way through, that really aroused the curiosity of passersby.

In that sense the event served its unique purpose. It brought the benefits of cycling to the fore.

As Bansal put it: “Cycling is a way of giving back to nature, and in this mad rush of existence today cycling helps save the environment and to keep fit.”

With 25 cycles provided by Yuvsatta and another 50 organised by the department, it was no small wonder that a motley crew of young schoolchildren (the largest number coming from Sri Guru Gobind Singh Collegiate Public School, Sector 26), politicians, bureaucrats, Greenpeace activists and even cycling record-holder Amarjit Singh (Gurditpura village, Nabha) participated in the rally this evening.

For Pramod Sharma of Yuvsatta, who has worked hard to attach to the moniker, City Beautiful, the tag of Cycle City too, it is a step in the right direction.

All that remains to be seen is whether the administration will live up to its promise of repairing and maintaining the cycle tracks without their customary potholes so that cycle tourism does become a reality.

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Cops fail to part with info
Nepal safe haven for criminals
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The Chandigarh police continues to be secretive in releasing information about suspects of heinous crime in the city who have taken shelter in Nepal.

A large number of suspects wanted in several cases of crime, including theft, burglaries, assaults, kidnapping and attempt to murder, have reportedly been hiding in Nepal.

While the police continues to be silent on getting them back to take up the pending cases against them to their logical conclusions, the victims seem to be giving up hope of their cases ever being solved.

Even though it has been over a month now when Chandigarh Tribune approached senior officials of the Chandigarh police for information about the number of such suspects evading law and taking shelter in Nepal, nothing concrete has come in so far.

Some years ago when the Chandigarh police came out with a book on proclaimed offenders and fugitives, a majority of them were mentioned to be hiding in Nepal.

Though the problem faced by the Chandigarh police is the same as that of the police in other states, yet little has been done to get access to the suspected hideouts there to get the wanted criminals back.

The Nepal government had put restrictions on the police from India entering the country to track down a suspect or a wanted person. Since then, little or no effort has been made to sign an extradition treaty to expedite the process of bringing fugitives from law or proclaimed offenders back.

Interestingly, not many of the wanted criminals originally come from Nepal. They mostly belong to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and even West Bengal, but realising the immunity provided by Nepal, they move there after their acts of serious criminal offences.

UT senior superintendent of police Gaurav Yadav was approached for details about the most wanted criminals who had been absconding and reportedly living in Nepal after escaping from the local police.

After a fortnight, all the police headquarters could provide was details about six persons, that too of Nepalese origin, wanted by the local police in four different cases.

The step reflects poorly on the Chandigarh police, which apparently is fighting shy to reveal details about proclaimed offenders, which otherwise should be made available to the public. It is perhaps not interested in tracking down the wanted criminals with public help, as appears from its approach of hiding the information.

Among the six criminals, two - Top Bahadur and Rakesh Kumar - are wanted in a case of attempt to murder registered way back in 1995. They were declared proclaimed offenders in October 2001. The third accused, Basant Mani, is wanted in a case of outraging the modesty of a woman while the other three are wanted in two separate cases of thefts.

Admitting that the information was insufficient and not as desired by Chandigarh Tribune, the SSP assured that the information would be made available in a day or two.

On Friday, when he was again approached, this correspondent was told that the information would be ready by Monday.

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Commando, 2 others held for murder
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 12
The local police has arrested three persons, including a commando with the Haryana police, on a charge of murdering a youth, Rajiv, near Madanpura village, near here, yesterday.

Rajiv, a resident of Manana village near Morni, who was seriously injured after being attacked by Tara Singh, Vinod and Bhagat Singh, died on his way to the PGI today.

Police sources said certain persons, including the accused, had allegedly been harassing a sister of Rahul, a friend of Rajiv. Yesterday, Rahul, Sunil and Rajiv entered into an argument with the accused on the issue.

In the ensuing clash, Rajiv, in his early twenties, was allegedly hit by the accused and he sustained serious internal injuries.

He was shifted to the local general hospital from where he was referred to the PGI. He died on way to the PGI.

High drama was witnessed at the Sector 25 police post here today with irate relatives of the victim parading his body at the police post. Following this, the police arrested the accused. While Vinod is a Haryana police commando, Tara Singh works as an auto mechanic.

A case under section 302 of the IPC has been registered.

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Fined Rs 25,000
RTI hammer on BDPO
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 12
The Right to Information (RTI) Act has found its first offender in the subdivision, with the Punjab State Information Commission slapping a fine Rs 25,000 on the local block development and panchayat officer (BDPO).

Acting on a complaint of a Nagla-based NGO, the Gram Jan Kalyan Sanstha, state information commissioners Rupen Deol Bajaj and Ravi Singh fined the BDPO, who was also the public information officer, for alleged denial of information to the NGO.

Satya Bhatti and S.S. Bhatti, president and joint secretary of the NGO, in a complaint to the commission alleged that on July 6 last year, the BDPO had failed to provide information about development works carried out in the village through government grants and panchayat funds. The NGO had alleged irregularities in the spending of the funds.

In fact, the BDPO also misinformed the commission that requisite information had been passed on to samiti president Satya Bhatti in a letter dated November 14, 2006. However, the complainant again approached the commission.

The commission asked the complainant to file another application with the officials on April 5. However, the information was not provided by the officials. The commission held the office guilty of delaying information and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.

Meanwhile, BDPO Ranjit Singh claimed that the case pertained to the tenure of the previous official, Malwinder Singh.

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Power supply hit

Chandigarh, May 12
Power supply to certain sectors was shut down for nearly an hour this morning due to a technical problem in the sub-station of Sector 47. The supply to Sectors 29, 45, 46, 47 and 48, besides others, was shut down at around 9 am. — TNS

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COMMUNITY
 

Aero-Space Club for school students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
To generate interest among students in the ever-expanding areas of aviation and space, the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) has launched the first ever Aero-Space Club in the city.

Initially, about 500 students from eight local schools have become part of this club.

The society intends to rope in another eight schools next year and plans to cover about 50 schools in Punjab and Haryana over the next five years.

The membership of the club is open to students of classes VIII-XII who are interested in aviation and space and look for a career in this field. The students need not be from the science stream.

According to the vice-chairman of AeSI’s Chandigarh Chapter, Wg Cdr D.P Sabharwal (retd), the aviation industry is facing a shortage of pilots and engineers because no one foresaw the requirements 10 years ago.

The same would happen to the growing industry in space activities, if the younger lot was not motivated now, he felt.

The Aero-Club is aimed at meeting the huge manpower requirement in this field by giving the children a glimpse into its activities, providing career counselling and enhancing interest through aviation and space-related activities and projects.

Students of the club would be entitled to wear a membership badge on their uniforms.

Lectures and presentations, aero-modelling, visits to the Air Force Station and various competitions would be among activities of this club.

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Rehabilitation
Admn using different yardsticks for oustees: Panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Chandigarh administration has been accused of adopting different yardsticks while announcing benefits for those whose land is acquired for public purpose.

While the families of 5,000 villagers - who were ousted over 33 years ago to develop the second phase of the city (Sectors 31 to 47) and Industrial Area - have not been offered any plots, the administration has decided to come out with a new oustees policy for future acquisitions.

In 2003, the then UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), had asked his officials to prepare a scheme under which such families had to pay just the cost price of the flats and that, too, in installments.

It was planned that such families would have to pay a negligible cost for owning flats that were to come up under a special rehabilitation scheme for them in Sector 63, near the PCA stadium in Phase IX, Mohali. But it was never implemented.

Another policy, the oustee policy-1996, already exists but has failed to provide relief to all of them, as the conditions are so stringent that none has been able to get a plot, the Pind Bachao Committee has pointed out. “Be it the acquisition of their agricultural land to make space for Chandigarh in the 50s, displacement has haunted us. Hundreds of families, whose land was acquired for the Punjab Capital Project to create Chandigarh, have been living like refugees on their own land. Successive officials have failed to protect their vocation”, said H.S. Billing, general secretary of the Oustess Rehabilitation Committee.

“There is no purpose in issuing the oustess certificate when the administration is not going to rehabilitate the oustees. The administration should understand the misery being caused to farmers who have been rendered homeless and jobless,” said Billing.

The committee has pointed out that in the past three decades, the administration has rehabilitated several thousand migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but a suitable rehabilitation scheme for displaced villagers has never been finalised.

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Relocation
After admn, residents gun for booksellers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Secondhand booksellers who have been doing business opposite the gate of Panjab University and recently got a permanent site in Sector 15 after decades of hide and seek with Union Territory authorities, now face opposition of a different kind.

After much pressure in the past from the estate office authorities, who had been asking them to evict the unauthorised premises, it is now the turn of residents to gun for them as they want the booksellers to move elsewhere for their new site will disturb the harmony in the living quarters of one of the most populated Sectors in the city.

Over 50 residents of the area adjoining the site have written a letter to the Punjab Governor and the UT administrator showing their displeasure at the construction of shops for sale of secondhand books along the under-bridge in Sector 15-B.

Secondhand booksellers are a favourite haunt for not just regular students in colleges and universities but also for city’s avid book readers.

A patient search among hundreds of classics and popular literature prints often yields a good pick for them.

The administration had recently shifted the site of the secondhand booksellers from outside the university gate in Sector 15-A to a site along the under-bridge in Sector 15-B.

The licence for platforms under the new scheme will be issues by the municipal commissioner.

The platforms will be leased out for a period of five years with a five per cent annual increase.

Residents complain that the proposed shops are being constructed alongside the residential area.

The letter says the area alongside the site for shops has two boys’ hostels and a school, which will add to the existing overcrowding.

The surrounding area also has at least three bhavans that witness mass gatherings every once in a while.

Residents also apprehend that this will lead to increased vehicular traffic.

A senior official of the administration said the site had been carefully selected for the settlement of booksellers.

The traffic and the trade will be regulated enough to prevent any public inconvenience.

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Ratra opens first ‘bijli darbar’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 12
Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Y.S. Ratra inaugurated the first “bijli darbar” held here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Ratra said the main objective of the camp was to solve grievances or difficulties of consumers in the state. Regarding certain demands raised by various consumers during the camp, Ratra assured to take suitable action. He said the consumers who had given representations would get reply within a week.

As many as 40 consumers presented grievances at the camp, out of which some of them were solved on the spot while other consumers were given one week’s time.

Ratra disclosed that the PSEB had organised 20 such bijli darbars all distribution circles of the board throughout the state today. He called upon the consumers to extend full cooperation to the PSEB against the drive to check theft of electricity.

Ratra assured that these darbars would prove useful for the solutions of the problems of the consumers. He also added that the PSEB would also consider healthy suggestions from the consumers.

J.S. Sekhon, member distribution, who was also present on the occasion, said such darbars would be organised in different circles on every Saturday for the redressal of grievances of the consumers in the next three months.

He also added that chief engineers, distribution of all zones and he himself would listen to the grievances of the consumers every Saturday in one of the circles.

The camps are being organised under the supervision of superintending engineer of distribution circles of the state.

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Vote recount
Councillors flay Sidhu’s role
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 12
Municipal councillors Phool Raj Singh and Sukhminder Singh Barnala today condemned Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu for making statements and resorting to protests not “befitting” the status of MLA.

The councillors said Sidhu had held a protest and shouted slogans outside the office of deputy commissioner H.I.S. Garewal alleging that the latter had got the votes recounted despite a stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. They said when Sidhu was free to move the court in this regard where was the need for the protest.

The deputy commissioner was acting as an election tribunal in his court the day recounting of votes from ward number 15 was done and as such the statements of the MLA amounted to the contempt of court, they alleged.

The councillors said Kulwant Singh, former council president, had accepted defeat during the municipal elections and as he was not satisfied with the result he had filed a petition with the deputy commissioner.

Similarly, Sidhu should have taken the legal course instead of “stooping” to a level not befitting the status of MLA, they added.

Phool Raj Singh said Sidhu feared that he would not be able to rule in the local Municipal Council if Kulwant Singh won the election from ward number 15.

At present, the council is headed by Rajinder Singh Rana, who has the support of 17 councillors owing allegiance to Sidhu. In all there are 31 councillors.

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J&K sex scandal
Statement of prosecution witnesses recorded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The district and sessions judge recorded statements of two of the prosecution witnesses in the infamous Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal today.

Witness Nos. 2 and 3, in the list of the CBI, had been residing in the locality of Sabeena, the alleged kingpin of the sex racket.

The next date of hearing has been fixed as August 13.

The court has to record the statement of 99 witnesses in the case.

After indicting 14 accused in the scandal, the examination-in-chief of the main victim was recorded by the district and session judge on April 7.

It may be mentioned that on March 21, the court had charged the accused under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and under Section 376 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).

While the counsels for the accused have been refuting the stand of the CBI regarding the age of the rape victim, the investigating agency has been contesting the claim of the accused that there was no proof of the age.

Meanwhile, Sabeena could not be released on bail as the bail bond was not furnished. She had been granted bail by the High Court.

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Ex-protector of emigrants indicted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The CBI special court today framed charges against former protector of emigrants (POE) K.L. Gandhi, who was caught by the central agency on graft charges.

Two years ago, Sohan Lal, a peon in the office of the POE, was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 75,000 as bribe from a local travel agent on behalf of K.L. Gandhi on the office premises.

The travel agent had alleged in his complaint lodged with the CBI that the officer had demanded money to clear the backlog of cases.

A case under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against the accused.

Interestingly, only four persons worked in the office of the POE.

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190 donate blood at SJOBA camp

Chandigarh, May 12
At least 190 persons donated blood today at an annual blood donation camp held by the St John's Old Boys Association (SJOBA) at St John’s School, Sector 26, here, today. The camp was organised in association with the Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre, Sector 37, Chandigarh.

The camp was inaugurated with SJOBA president Vivek Atray, honorary general secretary Shivneet Singh and founder president Mac Sarin donating blood.

Niti Sarin, honorary general secretary, Blood Bank Society, was impressed with the large number of donors who came to the camp. "It is very heartening for all of us involved in this voluntary movement to see such a large turnout and it motivates us to put in even more efforts towards this cause to help the humanity." — TNS

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Writers share stories

Chandigarh, May 12
The Lekhak Sabha Chandigarh held a “kahani darbar” at the Punjab Kala Bhavan, here, today. Noted short story writers, Dr Swaraj Sandhu, Des Raj Kali and Jatinder Hans read out their respective short stories titled as “Chidiyan da maran”, “Janaza” and “Saathi agge chaliye”. The city elite scholars, including National Sahitya Akademi awardee Mohan Bhandari, Col Jasbir Bhullar, N.S. Rattan IAS (retired), Prof Rajpal and Dr Kulwant Singh, participated in the critical appreciation and offered comments on stories. — OC

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Parking to open at PGI today

Chandigarh, May 12
The first-of-its-kind multilevel parking in the city will be opened to public at the PGI tomorrow. Constructed at the cost of Rs 4.87 crore, the first phase of the parking will accommodate 300 cars and 500 scooters. It has separate ramps for entry and exit.

The second phase of the parking will be completed in the 11th Five Year Plan with additional capacity of 300 cars and 200 scooters.

There will also be a provision for a lift. The parking will provide safe parking for vehicles of patients and their attendants who visit new OPD block and the advanced eye centre at the hospital.

More than 4,000 patients are examined in the OPD block and the centre every day and around 1,000 cars visit the area. Union minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal will inaugurate the parking at 5.30 pm. — TNS

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Sterner laws needed to check trafficking

Human trafficking has assumed alarming proportions. The neta-travel agent nexus seems to be thriving. It has spread its tentacles throughout, but Punjab seems specially gullible. Recently, at least 30 youths from Punjab and Haryana were deported from Dubai for carrying fake work permits. This was followed by the arrest of a Gujarat MP who was found to have links with agents in Punjab. On the one hand , there is brain drain and on the other ‘export’ of labour. This does not portend well for the country, say our readers.

Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 people are bought, sold or forced across the world’s borders. One of the greatest threats to human dignity is human trafficking: the commodification of human beings. The fact that hundreds of thousands of people continue to be trafficked across borders each year, having been bought, sold, transported or held in slavery-like conditions for sex and labour exploitation is mind-boggling.

Trafficking in human beings is recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people for the purpose of exploitation. Children’s exploitation may be in form of illicit adoption, marriage of minors, child soldiers or begging. According to the UN, a major factor that has allowed the growth of trafficking is that "governments and human rights organisations alike have simply judged the woman guilty of prostitution and minimised the trafficker's role.” The government must introduced a legislation to make human trafficking illegal.

It should develop systems of co-operation among different nations’ law enforcement agencies and NGOs. It should spread awareness among potential victims, social welfare workers and immigration officers.

Birpal Kaur, SAS Nagar

Govt solely responsible

It is, indeed, sad that no lessons have been learnt from the Malta boat tragedy. Youth from the doaba region of Punjab especially continue to be exploited by agents in their unquenchable desire for greener pastures. They are ready to do anything- sell land, raise loans, risk lives- to meet their dream for a life free of monetary constraints.

The sole culprit is the government. It seems to be obsessed with foreign reserves and the stock market with little concern for basic issues like education, health and jobs. Instead of finding a solution, it appears the law-makers themselves are indulging in it, as evident from the arrest of a Gujarat minister recently. It is shameful that popular singers (Daler Mehndi), sportsmen (who went for training in UK and have disappeared) and now politicians have been part of “kabootarbazi”.

Urvashi Vats, Dera Bassi

Nothing less than neo-slavery

Trafficking is the fastest growing form of modern-day slavery, affecting every continent. Approximately 800,000- 900,000 people annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide. In some respects, trafficking in persons resembles the smuggling of migrants.

The smuggling of migrants, often undertaken in dangerous or degrading conditions, involves migrants who have consented to the smuggling.

Trafficking victims, on the other hand, have either never consented to it or their consent is rendered meaningless by the coercive, deceptive or abusive actions of the traffickers.

Smuggling ends with the arrival of the migrants at their destination, whereas trafficking involves ongoing exploitation in some manner to generate illicit profits.

The youth of Punjab is no exception to the lure of foreign land and dreams of quick affluence role-modelled by the free flow of foreign currency by non-resident Punjabis. As with other forms of organised crime, trafficking has been globalised.

Groups formerly active in specific routes or regions have expanded the geographical scope of their activities to explore new markets.

Illegal migrants and trafficking victims have become another commodity in the larger realm of criminal commerce involving other commodities, such as narcotic drugs and firearms that generates illicit revenue.

The criminal justice system needs to be strengthened to check trafficking.

Col K.D.Pathak (retd), Chandigarh

MPs’ role shocking

More and more people seem to be using illegal means to go abroad, which is a cause for concern. However, what is shocking is the alleged involvement of MPs in the racket. If lawmakers can stoop down to this level, one can well imagine the plight of the country and its citizens. Every time elections are round the corner, there is big talk about barring criminals from entering politics, but we seem to have miserably failed on this front, if such activities of MPs are anything to go by. Every day, one gets to hear about innocent people being duped by travel agents in the name of sending them abroad for greener pastures. Its time the authorities dealt with this menace seriously. The best course of action would be to hand down strict punishment to the those involved in this ‘kabootarbazi’ so that it serves as a deterrent in future, and many families are saved from ruin.

Ramesh Sharma, Chandigarh

Unemployment to blame

Gullible youths from the region are increasingly falling prey to unscrupulous travel agents. Bereft of social conscience, these agents’ sole concern is to make quick moolah.

Illiterate, unskilled and jobless youth have little future in Punjab. The agrarian economy is in a shambles with withdrawal of farm subsidies, rise in cost inputs and the corresponding increase in debt. Debt- trapped, the Gulf countries, the UK, Canada or the US seem the only way out for many.

The government is much to blame for the desperate situation. It has failed to provide jobs, basic facilities and quality life to its citizens. On the one hand , there is brain drain and on the other ‘export’ of labour. This does not portend well for the country. Both phenomena need to be checked.

But netas too seem to hold out little hope, especially in the light of the fact that a minister has been found to be part of a human trafficking racket, with strong links in Punjab. Punjab, known for its ‘ kisan and jawan’, has now earned notoriety for illegal immigration. Desperate situations warrant desperate measures. Is anybody listening?

Surjit Kaur, Chandigarh

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Letters
Water menace

Water is continuously gushing out of a nearby outlet and spreading under the railway bridge in Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh. As vehicles have to pass through it splashing it all around, commuters on the road are facing a tough time. Not only this, there is a filthy smell all around. It has been going on for a considerable period of time now. Why nobody has taken notice of it is a surprise to me. It is requested that immediate steps are taken by the authorities concerned to solve the problem.

Narendra Kumar, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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CRIME
 

5 held for theft, snatching
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The local police today arrested five persons, including a minor, for their involvement in separate cases of theft and snatching.

The police also recovered two stolen scooters, five mobile phones and Rs 5,000 in cash from them.

Sources in the Burail police post said Vishal Sharma and Shakeel Khan, both residents of Burail village, were arrested from a checkpoint set up following a tip-off. The two are in their early 20s.

They were riding a stolen scooter bearing a fake registration number.

On verification of the documents, the police found that the number belonged to a Maruti car. The scooter was stolen from Sector 39 last month.

During interrogation, the two reportedly admitted to having stolen another scooter from Sector 49 on May 10.

Besides, four mobile phones, out of which three were stolen and one snatched, were also recovered from the two.

They also admitted to their involvement in two cases of snatching.

Vishal told the police that he had been arrested several times before in cases of theft and drug trafficking.

In another incident, the police arrested a minor boy accused of snatching Rs 5,000 from Rizvi, a resident of Burail, late last night.

The accused was nabbed after Rizvi raised the alarm following which people chased down the boy.

Police personnel on duty at a beat box reached the scene and took the boy in their custody.

The stolen money was recovered from him and he was sent to a juvenile home later.

Also, the Sector-17 police arrested two youngsters, in their early 20, on the allegation of indulging in snatching.

The accused have been identified as Kawaljit Singh and Parminder Singh, both residents of Desu Majra village.

The accused were arrested from a checkpoint set up following a tip-off near a temple in Sector 23.

Complainant Dhruv Thakur identified the two in an identification parade as also his mobile phone.

The phone had been snatched from the Sector 22-23 traffic lights on February 28.

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3 vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Three vehicles, including a multi-utility vehicle, have been stolen from the city.

Ranjit Singh of Sector 40-B reported to the police alleging that his Mahindra Scorpio (PB 12 H 8500) was stolen from his residence last night.

Also, Hashish Gupta of Sector 45-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his motor cycle (CH 03 K 3515) was stolen from a parking lot of Fragrance Garden in Sector 36 on May 9.

In another incident, S.P. Negi of Sector 49 filed a complaint with the police alleging that his LML Vespa scooter (CH 03 5270) was stolen from his residence yesterday.

Three cases of theft have been registered.

Man held

The crime branch of the Chandigarh police arrested Meena of Dadu Majra colony near the locality while allegedly carrying 70 gram of smack yesterday.

A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered.

Cylinders stolen

Amrita Atwal of Sector 8 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that four LPG cylinders were stolen from her residence last night.

A case of theft has been registered in this connection.

Purse stolen

Sudesh Prabha of Sector 42 reported to the police alleging that her purse containing a gold chain and some money was stolen from her car parked in the grain market in Sector 26 yesterday. A case has been registered.

Mobiles stolen

Rajbir Singh of Burail village reported to the police alleging that two mobile phones were stolen from his residence yesterday.

A case of theft has been registered.

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4 held for thrashing photographer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The Chandigarh police arrested two employees each of the CTU and the Punjab Roadways for attacking a photojournalist of the Hindi daily here today.

According to the station house officer of the Sector 39 police station, the driver of an CTU bus, Daya Ram, and conductor Jasbir Singh, along with two other employees of the Punjab Roadways, who could not be identified, were arrested on charges of rioting and manhandling.

According to information, Sunil Sharma was thrashed by the employees in Sector 38 while he was clicking pictures of a roadside accident. The accused confronted Sharma and asked him move away from the road. When Sharma asserted that he would not move till his work was over, the accused started beating him up.

Sunil Sharma sustained injuries on his face and near his eyes.

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