P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Violence erupts in Patiala, bandh in Amritsar
Tribune Reporters

The photograph angle

The Sikh bodies-Dera Sacha Sauda clash may take a new turn as the latter claimed that they had a number of photographs of senior Akali leaders seeking blessings from dera chief Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh.

Talking to The Tribune from Sirsa, Tilk Raj, a senior functionary of the dera, claimed that leaders of various political parties, including the SAD, used to visit the dera, especially near the elections.

In case the dera releases such pictures, it will be difficult for the SAD and the SGPC to spearhead the agitation.

Amritsar, May 16
Sikh youths brandishing swords today forced a complete bandh in Amritsar and damaged shops which were found open, even as no Sikh organisation had given a call for this. At Lawrence road, the police bundled some youths into their vehicles but they were got released by a mob. The police had a tough time throughout the day even as tension gripped the town. At most of the places the police remained a mute spectator.

Most of the schools remained close following widespread protests in different parts of the city. The police had a tough time in controlling different groups.

Meanwhile, Manjit Singh Calcutta, Onkar Singh Sharifpur - both SGPC members and representatives of various Sikh organisations, have announced that despite differences of opinion they would respond to any call given by Akal Takht, SGPC or SAD to curb the activities of the dera in Punjab and elsewhere. However, Calcutta held Badal responsible for mushrooming of such deras in the state.

Calcutta said if the Sikh clergy, SAD and SGPC failed to give an appropriate action programme at Talwandi Sabo tomorrow, the Panth would itself spearhead the agitation.

PATIALA: Violence erupted in the Arya Samaj area of Patiala today due to the ongoing tension between various Sikh organisations and Dera Sacha Sauda supporters. Supporters of various Akali parties took out a protest march in the city, raising slogans against Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim.

While the march was passing through Arya Samaj crossing area bricks were thrown at the protesters. The bricks hit the vehicles parked on the streets. Following this, protesters in the march went berserk. They started throwing stones, cold drink bottles and bricks at houses and shops in the locality. They also damaged vehicles and ransacked some shops and houses. A few youths were injured in this melee. The police had to resort to a mild lathi charge to disperse the protesters.

Residents of Arya Samaj chowk area, however, accused the police of being soft on the protesters. The police remained a mute spectator while the protesters damaged vehicles and ransacked shops in the area, they added. It was only after the things started getting out of hand and people of the area started reacting that the police moved to stop the protesters. The shopkeepers of the area downed their shutters in protests against damage to their property.

Tension also brewed on the campus of Punjabi University, Patiala, as Akali workers and supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda gathered and raised slogans. Sensing more trouble the university security officer informed the police. Due to the timely intervention of the police the situation was saved from turning ugly.

District magistrate D.S. Grewal imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, banning gathering of more than five persons at a place in the district. The DIG, Patiala range, said a case had been registered against unidentified persons who had resorted to violence in the Arya Samaj area.

Reports of protests were also received from Sanor and Rajpura.

The Sikh Intelligentsia Forum, Punjabi University, held a meeting here today to discus the issue of clash between SGPC men and Dera Sacha Sauda followers.

Dr Kulbir Singh Dhillon, president of the forum, Prof Dalbir Singh Dhillon, patron of the forum and Harpal Singh Pannu, general secretary were present.

It was decided in the meeting that a delegation of the forum should meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to discuss the issue.

Fatehgarh Sahib: Hundreds of activists of various Sikh organisations, led by Karnail Singh Panjoli, SGPC member, organised a protest march against the dera.

The protesters raised slogans and demanded the arrest of the dera chief. A delegation, comprising Amardeep Singh Dharni, N.S. Tiwana, Ravinder Singh Khalsa and Surinder Kaur, submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner, urging the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab to check the activities of the dera.

HOSHIARPUR: Sikh protesters came out on the streets in Hoshiarpur, Dasuya and Mukerian towns today and burnt effigies of the head of Dera Sacha Sauda.

In Hoshiarpur several Sikh youths of Akhand Kirtani Jatha (Parbandhki Panchayat) brandished swords and other traditional weapons and took out a protest march from Gurdwara Singh Sabha here to show their resentment. Later, they burnt an effigy of the dera chief at the local Prabhat Chowk.

In Mukerian activists of the Mulazam Dal burnt an effigy of Baba Ram Rahim Gurmeet at the SDM chowk and presented a memorandum to the SDM in this regard.

In Dasuya SAD activists took out a march to the SDM office and presented him a memorandum in this connection. Shopkeepers of Vijay Market, Dasuya, also staged a protest march in the town.

SANGRUR: Students of Physical, Gurmat and Akal Degree Colleges, all situated at Mastuana Sahib, on Wednesday burnt the effigy of the head of Dera Sacha Sauda Baba at Mastuana Sahib, about 5 km from here. They also blocked traffic on the Sangrur-Barnala road for about 20 minutes and raised slogans against the dera head.

Several Sikh organisations also took out a protest march through the main bazars at Sunam, about 13 km from here. The SDM Navtej Singh was later given a memorandum.

Representatives and leaders of more than 15 Sikh organisations also held a protest meeting at Gurdwara Mehal Mubarak, Sangrur, and submitted a memorandum to SDM Mohan Lal. They demanded the registeration of a case against the dera head.

NABHA: Demanding immediate arrest of Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Sikh protesters on Wednesday took out a march through the main bazars of the town. They burnt the effigy of the dera head and raised slogans. Equipped with swords and lathis, they assembled at Gurdwara Ghorian Wala. All bazars and schools in the town remained closed.

NAWANSHAHR: The situation here was tense but under control. The activists of various Sikh religious bodies gathered here at Gurdwara Singh Sabha and held a meeting and passed resolutions urging the jathedar of Akal Takht to issue a hukamnama against the chief of the dera.

Activists of the Sikh religious bodies also raised slogans and blocked traffic here at the Chandigarh Chowk for some time. SGPC member Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa has demanded that the dera chief should tender his apology before Akal Takht.

Rajpura: The situation turned tense here when hundreds of Akali workers protesting against Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, head of dera Sacha Sauda, sat on dharna blocking the road near Gagan chowk this afternoon.

Earlier in the morning, a large number of people assembled at Gurdwara Singh Sabha where local Akali leaders, including Mewa Singh Bhangu, Abrinder Singh Kang, Nardev Singh Akri, Hardev Singh Kandewala, and Jasbir Singh Jassi, addressed the gathering and asked them not to crate any tension in the region and wait for the outcome of meeting of Panthic Committee to be held at Talwandi Sabo on May 17.

Despite the presence of DSP Bhupinder Singh Khatra, SHO (city) Bikramjit Singh Brar, and SHO (sadar) Krishan Kumar along with heavy police force, the youth managed to reach Gagan chowk brandishing swords and wooden planks raising slogans against the dera chief.

Earlier in the morning, some miscreants set on fire a centre of Dera Sacha Sauda at Pilkahni village near here. Dera sevadar Amar Singh complained to the police that the dera committee purchased the land from Surinder Singh Chhida, a resident of Islampur village, and advanced him Rs 7 lakh against the deal. Later, Chhinda did not register the land in the name of dera and he allegedly set a room of dera on fire today morning.

The police denied that the incident was related to recent incidents and registered a case against the accused.


2 cases against dera followers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
The district police has registered two criminal cases against a section of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda at the city police station here today.

Sources added that the first case was registered against about 3,000 followers of the dera for alleged involvement in the attack on policemen near the Circuit House on May 15 without any provocation. The offences pertaining to the burning of a vehicle of an SHO and causing damage to private and government vehicles had also been made out against them.

The case had been registered under Sections 332, 353, 186, 188, 435, 427, 283, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

The second case has been registered against unidentified followers for their alleged involvement in the attack on people on May 14. Its Sections are 324, 323, 188, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the basis of a DDR recorded on May 14.


Act as statesman, Capt tells Badal

Patiala, May 16
Reacting to the situation emerging in the state due to clashes between supporters of Akali parties and Dera Sacha Sauda, former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has advised Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to act as statesman rather than as a politician to tackle the situation.

In a press release issued here today, he urged Prakash Singh Badal to rise above petty political posturing to ensure peace in the state.

He stated that tension in Punjab today is reminiscent of those terrible days that started in the late seventies and ended in early nineties. — TNS


Protests against dera chief unabated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Outrage against Sacha Sauda dera chief continued in the city for the third day with protest rallies taken out at several places leading to massive traffic jams.

Though there was no report of violence or clash from the district as policemen were present in large numbers, the administration had not taken any action against the protesters for violating the Section 144.

Protesting activists of the various organisations took out a march, while brandishing swords and sharp edged weapons at Basti Jodhewal, Jalandhar bypass chowk, Jagraon over bridge, Dugri and at GNE College.


DPCs revived to ensure peace
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
The local administration has brought into force district peace committees (DPCs) to avoid violence, riots, breach of peace, law and order problem arising out of the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy.

The administration has further constituted sub division and police station level peace committees to assist it in maintaining peace and persuade people to refrain from any kind of provocation.

Regarding this, a resolution was passed in the meeting of the DPC held at the Bachat Bhawan last evening under the chairmanship of minister for jails, tourism and cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria that the residents should not get carried away by the controversy that was posing a law and order problem.

During the DPC meeting, Garbria lauded the city residents for having presented an example of brotherhood and maintaining peace during the past three days. Chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda called upon all political parties to exercise their influence to help the administration maintain communal harmony in the district.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said full vigilance was being exercised by the police and no opportunist element would be allowed to exploit the situation. He directed the SHOs to constitute police station level peace committees comprising representatives of all sections of society. According to a senior official of the administration, they were roping in all NGOs, political parties, religious organisations and those with strong social status to ensure peace by guiding masses against getting provoked.

“The DPC was constituted during the trouble torn days of militancy in the state. Later the need did not arise. But due to the reports of arson from all parts of the state, we have decided to better constitute this committee that would make sure that nothing goes wrong”, said the official.

He added that if a respectable person of society asked people to stay calm, it surely had an effect on their psyche. The residents of Ludhiana had already acted very responsibly over the entire issue. Though there were reports of ugly incidents from other districts, the city was broadly calm and the residents should be congratulated for this, said the official.

Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar said the city residents had already exhibited maturity in dealing with the situation as no report of violence was received from any part. He said all political, religious and social leaders of the city had extended full cooperation in maintaining law and order and peace in he city. The administration was also keeping a vigil on the situation.

“I have an appeal for people to stay vigilant and inform the administration if they see some situation turning ugly. The residents can contact the SDM, the DSP and the SHO of the area if they smell trouble”, added the DC.


Beant’s son for strong action against Mann
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Tej Parkash, son of former Chief Minister Beant Singh and sitting legislator from Payal, today said the government must take strong action against Simranjit Singh Mann for his act of dishonouring his father's statue.

Tej participated in a symbolic dharna at the Clock Tower here today. He was accompanied by the Bhulinder Singh, Harmohinder Singh Pradhan, Milkiat Singh Dakha, Jagpal Singh Khangura and Parminder Mehta, among others.

Tej told The Tribune that it was not just an issue of dishonour to Beant Singh, but about the mindset of the people behind the act which needed to be exposed. He asked, "What was the provocation to dishonour the statue of Beant Singh?".

He said, "People like Mann, who had been rejected by people of the state, are feeling frustrated and somehow wanted media attention even if it meant performing such acts.”

Former Dakha MLA Milkiat Singh Dakha wanted that the Chief Minister should take strong action against Mann. He also asked the BJP to clarify its stand on the issue as the party claimed itself to be nationalistic. "It must prove that it certainly thinks quite differently from radical Akalis," he said.

Tej said he was not angry with Mann since anything could be expected from him. "But we are not going to tolerate such acts of madness," he added.

Alleging that people like Mann were "seeking to get re-employment for themselves with foreign-funding agencies by trying to revive terrorism in the state”, Tej Parkash said, "We will not allow that to happen, come what may.”


Foolproof security for Panthic meeting
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, May 16
ADGP (Law and Order) Chander Shekhar, IG, Zonal, Patiala, M. K. Tiwari and DIG, Faridkot range, Jatinder Jain, were camping till late night in this town for making foolproof security arrangements for a Panthic meeting to be organised tomorrow. The Sikh clergy had called this meeting for chalking out the future course of action against the activities of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, headed by Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim. The commandant of the PAP 36 battalion also reached this holy town today.

The Sikh clergy decided to call a Panthic meeting at Akal Takht on May 15 where they had passed a resolution in connection with the immediate arrest of Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that a large number of Sikhs had already descended in this town to participate in the meeting. It would be organised at Takht Damdama Sahib complex. Besides, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, all five Sikh high priests and representatives of various other Sikh organisations, have also reached the town.

Flag march

Even as the district police took out a flag march in the city, the district administration today ordered the closure of all schools till May 18. The sangat darshan programme, which was to be held tomorrow by deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari, had also been cancelled.


Food subsidy
Sukhbir seeks Central aid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Reminding the central government of rising prices, working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal has asked it to simplify procedures and give financial assistance for providing atta and dal to families living below the poverty line.

Badal in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that Punjab is facing a challenge of providing food subsidy to BPL families. Both the Congress and the SAD promised to provide atta and dal to these families at subsidised rates. This promise was made in view of rising prices.

The states, having no autonomy to reverse the price rice, are forced to subsidise the BPL families which cannot pay for food at the prevailing high prices. This has put an excessive burden on the states' finances without any help from the centre.

On the contrary, financial aid from the central government to the state governments is regulated by an inherent process of centralisation.


State Round-up
Rs 40 cr for sewage treatment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
At a meeting held here today between local government minister Manoranjan Kalia and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, the release of funds to speed up ongoing municipal works was discussed.

Kalia stressed the point that sewage treatment works needed to be completed before the onset of the monsoon. He sought the release of Rs 40 crore for this purpose. Badal agreed to release the money.

A sum of Rs 17.90 crore was also released by the finance department which was collected by the excise and taxation department from the auction of country liquor.

According to the recommendations of the 12th finance commission, Rs 34.20 crore would be released by the government of India in two equal instalments. The first instalment had been released and after giving the utilisation certificate, the department would write for the release of the second one, said Bains.

Recruitment of teachers

The recruitment of teachers against vacant posts in all schools of the education department and also in schools under the rural development and panchayat department has been put on the fast track. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has issued instructions to complete the recruitment process during the summer vacation in the schools.

The Chief Minister said that with education and health being two focus areas of the government, the recruitment of teachers and doctors could not wait.


Sidhwan made pol secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Shiromani Akali Dal working president Sukhbir Singh Badal today appointed Paramjit Singh Sidhwan his political secretary.

Sidhwan has been asked to streamline the functioning of the party secretariat and, in coordination with senior leaders, plan a strategy to strengthen the party at the grassroots level. He has been asked to pay special attention to the affairs of the youth Akali Dal.


Punjab forest, wildlife dept posts merged
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Punjab Government has decided to merge the Punjab Wildlife cadre of officials with the Forest Department. In Punjab, though the department of forests and wildlife preservation is one the cadre of wild life officials is separate. Following a long-standing demand of the wildlife officials a decision to this effect was taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal last week.

The executive Class II posts of the wildlife wing, which include the wild life warden, wildlife inspectors, farm managers and wildlife guards have been merged with the posts having the identical pay scale in the forest department.

The posts of the deputy chief wildlife warden and wildlife officer which are class II posts have also been merged in the identical pay scale in the forest cadre.

Other than the different categories of posts in the group B, C and D in the wildlife wing which have been included in the reorganised unified cadre of the forest wing, the posts of the deputy chief wildlife warden and wildlife officer have also been merged.

Sources added that gazetted officers of long-standing in the wildlife wing were feeling aggrieved for their non-consideration for induction into the Indian Forest Service on technical grounds that they were not members of the Punjab Forest Service.

Following this, the requisite service rules were also being amended said a source.

The process of merger of the two cadres had begun almost 10 years ago. This peculiar arrangement of two distinct cadres in one department existed only in Punjab and Haryana. The name of the Wildlife Department was Game Preservation Department but in 1958 the Department was re-named and the chief conservator of forests, was declared head of the department.

The fourth pay commission also suggested the merger of the wildlife staff in the forest department.

The merger of the cadres have also been brought to the notice of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in response to a writ petition filed by Gurmit Singh a deputy wildlife warden.


First IPS officer from Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 16
Vikram Jeet Duggal, son of former Punjab Police sub-inspector Kashmiri Lal Duggal, has passed the Civil Services Exam 2006 with 124th rank and has been selected to the Indian Police Service.

Vikram has drawn inspiration from his grandfather Babu Ram Duggal who had served in the Punjab Police as a constable.

Vikram’s grandmother, parents and siblings received him as he arrived at his Nanak Nagri residence here today after his direct appointment to the IPS.

After completing B.Tech in electronics and communication, Vikram took coaching at the Punjabi University IAS coaching centre and attended classes in New Delhi for the civil services exam. He topped the Central Police Force (Asst Commandant) Exam 2004 and was assistant commandant in the CISF.


Women at war against illegal liquor, poppy husk outlets
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 16
A large number of women yesterday thrashed a few shopkeepers in upper streets of Nai Abadi here for running illegal outlets of the country-made licensed liquor and poppy husk. Earlier, one of the protesting women was beaten up by a shopkeeper and his wife for obstructing them from doing so. The situation worsened when the woman complained that the poppy husk seller had misbehaved with her and abused her. Furious residents of the locality held a demonstration and chased away at least four shopkeepers.

Later, City-2 SHO Sanjiv Setia rushed to the spot and controlled the situation. He assured the women to keep a check on such illegal activities.

Though there were complaints that the Excise and Taxation Department had this year reduced the total number of liquor shops from 17 to 12 in this town, yet nearly 100 illegal branches were recently opened allegedly in connivance with a few licensees and the administration. Such illegal outlets had also been opened near a temple in Arya Nagar and other localities.

Only a few liquor outlets were given licence, but in and around the Rani Jhansi market illegal ahatas (liquor serving centres) could be seen humming with activity immediately after sunset, thus making it tough for citizens to return home safely.

The situation was no better in rural areas.A few shops were located right on the national highways, reports indicated. This, the people said, was in violation of the promises made by the SAD-BJP during the recent elections.

Even though the Chief Minister and the DGP had given strong signals for checking addiction, sale of poppy husk by retail outlets, as was evident from yesterday’s happening, was alarming, the authorities said.


B.R. Bajaj acquitted in corruption case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Twenty-two years after the CBI booked a Punjab-cadre IAS officer, B.R. Bajaj in an alleged lottery scam, the CBI special court today acquitted him of the charges. The case was registered when Bajaj was on deputation to the union territory of Chandigarh as finance secretary. He remained the UT’s finance secretary from 1984 to 1986.

During the trial, the prosecution failed to prove the charges and a number of prosecution witnesses turned hostile. After registering the case in 1986, the CBI had filed a charge sheet in February 2003 in which the bureaucrat along with four others was named. Charges under Sections 418 and 420 of the IPC and Section 5(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been levelled by the investigating agency.The CBI special judge, Jagdeep Jain acquitted all five accused.

Talking to The Tribune, Bajaj, who is principal secretary, higher education ( at present on leave), said justice should have been given on the first day. “ I got relief after 22 years as there was nothing in the case. It was the result of mala fide intention on the part of certain CBI officials who I did not oblige during my tenure in UT”. In February 2003, the CBI had filed the charge sheet. In the charge sheet filed, the CBI had charged Bajaj with cheating and corruption and the other accused with criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption. During the trial, the case suffered a major set back when three witnesses, including an organising secretary of the Indian council of child welfare, K Kaushik turned hostile. The CBI had accused Bajaj of flouting instructions of the central government by allegedly approving the private lottery of Chugh and company at a bid of Rs 96 lakh, ignoring the highest bid of Rs 2 crore offered by B Kumar and company. The bid of B Kumar was rejected on the ground that it did not enjoy a good reputation.


Jakhar hands over keys of tractors to coop societies
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 16
MLA Sunil Jakhar today handed over keys of the latest tractors and laser levellers to presidents of cooperative societies located at Maujgarh, Kallarkhera, Killianwali and Khuyiansarwar villages at a function organised at Kallarkhera village on the Abohar-Sriganganagar road. This makes the beginning of modern trends in cooperative farming in the region.

Jakhar said farming would have to be treated on professional lines and added that a PAU survey indicated that farmers of the state owned 4-5 lakh tractors, whereas only 1 lakh were required. Farmers who had their fields on the tail end of sub canals would benefit from modern trends in cooperative farming and the latest tractors and laser levellers, he added.

He urged the unemployed rural youths to explore the possibility of setting up small food processing units in the largest fruit and vegetable growing subdivisions and not just one agro juice plant on the highway.

IFFCO chairman Surinder Kumar Jakhar, the man behind the cooperative farming, said in his presidential remarks that small farmers could now avail of modern agricultural implements on nominal charges from cooperative societies. He thanked the state government for giving 25 per cent subsidy on the latest tractors and laser levellers.


Meritorious service awards for engineers

Chandigarh, May 16
On the Raising Day of the Beas dam at Talwara today, the Chairman of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), U.C. Misra presented meritorious service awards to 24 engineers and officials, who performed their duties diligently.

Misra said the power generating systems managed by the BBMB had the capacity to generate 2865 MW of power and provided 28 million acre feet of water to the partner states. The water was sufficient to irrigate 1.25 lakh acres of land.

Misra appreciated the efforts made by the BBMB officers in providing education, health, environment, community development and welfare to the residents of villages located on the peripheri of the Bhakra projects. Others who spoke on the occasion were N.K. Jasrai, Chief Engineer, Beas Dam, Anil Arora, Member, Irrigation, BBMB and N.K. Arora, Member, Power. — TNS


Plea to govt on Anglo-Sikh war
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The Punjab government should get the Anglo-Sikh war declared as the First War of Independence.

Kanwar Karvinder Pal Singh, Kanwar Meetpal Singh, Kanwar Karanbir Singh Zirakpur and Kanwar Jeet Singh, descendants of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, stated this at Attari here today.

They pointed out that first English historians and then Indian historians presented Sikh history in a distorted form.

The war had actually started in 1845-46 as the Sikh kingdom had become an irritant for the British after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. From then on, the British had started making plans to bring areas of Punjab under their control.


Use of caste-based remarks
Labourers stage dharnas

Sangrur, May 16
Labourers, including women, under the banners of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and the CPI (ML) Liberation staged dharnas in front of the deputy commissioner’s office and the Sadar police station here today. They also took out a protest march through the main markets of the town in support of their demands.

The protesters were led by senior CPI (ML) Liberation leader Sher Singh Dhandoli and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha district secretary Khushia Singh. They also submitted a memorandum to the administration in this regard.

They urged the administration to register a case under the SC/ST Act and Section 354 of the IPC against those who had teased women labourers of Kallodi village and insulted them by using caste-based objectionable remarks besides presenting challan related to the alleged murder of Jarnail Singh Bittu, a Dalit labourer of Khadial village, in the court immediately, cancellation of a case registered against 17 persons by the Mehlan Chowk police and the registration of cases against landlords of Khadial and Dhandoli Kalan villages for allegedly boycotting labourers. — TNS


Seminar on social evils
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
The Rotary Club Patiala Mid-Town organised a seminar on drug de-addiction, female foeticide, environmental pollution and awareness on AIDS here.

The function was presided over by president of the club Rakesh Singla. MC commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia inaugurated the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Ahluwalia stressed the need to work for peace, brotherhood and religious tolerance. Dr K.C. Sharma of the local government medical college stressed the need to educate the youth about the ill effects of drugs. Dr Harish Malhotra, district leprosy officer, also talked about the threat of drugs and AIDS.


high court
Amarinder gets nod to visit Nepal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted permission to former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to visit Nepal from May 17 to 26.

Captain Amarinder Singh had yesterday filed an application before the court of Justice Ranjit Singh seeking permission to visit Nepal and prayed for directions to the authorities concerned not to detain him on his departure and arrival thereof at the IGI airport in New Delhi.

The former Chief Minister had submitted that he was in the process of writing a book titled ‘Last Sun Set’ on Sikh history and wanted to visit Nepal for research purposes.

Notice to Punjab over mobile towers

The High Court issued notice to the Punjab government and others over a petition seeking directions to the respondents to frame a policy for the installation of mobile phone towers in areas away from residential areas.

The petition, titled Gurmukh Singh and five others vs State of Punjab, highlighted the fact that these towers emitted radiation and were a continuous source of health hazard.

It was submitted that respondents should be restrained from erecting, installing and operation towers in house No 138-b, Kartar Nagar, Near New Model House, Jalandhar.

The petitioner prayed for stern action against respondent Hardit Singh, resident of New Model House, Jalandhar, for installing towers in residential areas.

The notice has been issued for September 18.

Notice on number of baraatis

Notice was issued to Punjab and Haryana governments over two PILs seeking directions to the respondents to direct the appropriate authorities to prosecute persons taking more than 25 members in a marriage party.

The petitioner, H.C. Arora, submitted in both PILs that the authorities should be directed to take action against persons “ who take or carry more than 25 members, except minors and members of the band, in a marriage party.”

The petitioner prayed that taking excess number of ‘baraatis’ was punishable under Section 4-A of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

The Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, issued notice to both governments for September 18.

Transport mafia: Notice to Haryana

The High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Haryana government, the Haryana DGP and others over a PIL seeking directions to the respondents to restrain unauthorised vehicles from plying on the Hisar-Hansi route. It further sough a CBI probe into the ‘transport mafia’ operating in Haryana.

The petition submitted that on a small route of about 27 km from Hisar to Hansi, more than 100 unauthorised jeeps, matadors and autorickshaws had been plying which had become a real traffic hazard for passengers using public transport and other users of the route.


Judge’s Pool
Punjab to vacate Sec 7 houses

Chandigarh, May 16
Advocate-General of Punjab H.S. Mattewal told the Punjab and Haryana Court today that the Punjab government would hand over the possession of two Sector 7 houses to the Chandigarh administration soon.

The houses, ( Nos 66 and 77), have been allotted to Surjit Singh Barnala and Manjinder Singh Bitta.

UT administration’s counsel Anupam Gupta informed the court that the administration had already handed over three houses in Sector 39 to Punjab to be placed under the Chief Minister’s pool.

During the previous hearing, a formula was worked out that the UT would get the possession of two Sector 7 houses and place these under the judges’ pool. In lieu of the two houses, Punjab would get three houses in Sector 39 to be placed under the Chief Minister’s pool.

The Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice M.M.Kumar and Mr Justice Rajesh Bindal, adjourned the case till May 21. — TNS


Death of newborn
Doctor couple booked
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 16
The Dirba police yesterday registered a case against Dr Anil Garg and Dr Krishana Garg of Garg Nursing Home, Dirba, under Section 304-A of the IPC for causing death of a newborn baby due to negligence. Both doctors are still at large.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone, DSP Joginder Singh said the baby had been delivered on Monday night in the nursing home of the doctor couple. During the delivery, some complications allegedly arose, due to which the doctors referred the baby to a Patiala hospital. The baby later died, he added.

When contacted, SP (Headquarters) Dharam Singh said family members of Akko, the mother of the deceased, had alleged that the baby had died due to the wrong cutting of his umbilical cord.

He said the cause of death would be ascertained after the post-mortem examination.

According to reports, villagers had gathered in front of the nursing home and staged a demonstration for getting the case registered. The police reached the spot to pacify the protesters. Later, it registered the case against the doctors.


Man beaten to death
Hotel owner, manager held
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 16
Two days after residents of Shastri Nagar beat Vijay Ahire to death, the local police today arrested Mohinder Puri, the owner of Hotel Parag, and R.K. Saxena, its manager. A case under Section 304 of the IPC has been registered against them for their involvement in the case.

The deceased was a resident of Bachora village in Jalgraon district in Maharashtra and had come here to spend time with his sister Jaishree, wife of B.G. Saindrane, an Army havildar at the Mamun Cantonment .

The hotel owner Puri was reportedly hospitalised when his health deteriorated after the arrest. He and Saxena were today produced before a court and were remanded to one-day police custody.

Jaishree and B.G. Saindrane raised objections to the functioning of the police and said the conduct of the post-mortem was an attempt to destroy evidence. Why did the police not wait for them as the report of Vijay being missing had already been registered with the police.

Satpal, a former municipal councillor, in a statement to the police has alleged that Vijay was brutally beaten up by Puri and his employees.


Dowry death: 4 booked
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 16
The local police has booked four persons in a dowry death case. Sukhwiner Kaur, who allegedly consumed a poisonous substance after being harassed for more dowry, died on way to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, on Monday.

Acting on the complaint of the father of the deceased and Mani Majra resident, Harbhajan Singh, the police booked Rishi, husband, Madan Lal, father-in-law, Sarla Devi, mother-in-law and Shally, sister-in-law. However, no arrests have been made so far.

Sukwinder had been married for about four years. She was regularly being harassed for bringing more dowry, the father alleged.


Ex-sarpanch murdered

Phagwara, May 16
A former sarpanch of Zandiala village was brutally murdered by two armed assailants near village fields last evening, the police today said.

The deceased Paramjit Singh was on his way to his house on a motorcycle when two armed men stopped and attacked him with sharp-edged weapons.

The killers also fired upon him before leaving the site, the police said.

The body had been sent to the Banga Civil Hospital for post martem examination and the police had registered a case under Section 302/34, IPC and Arms Act.

Personal enmity was suspected to be the cause behind the murder. However, no arrests had been made so far. — UNI


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