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Tribune Special
Vedanti may be stripped of charge of Granthi
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 23
While the SGPC has sent missives to various Sikh organisations, including Damdami Taksal, and Sikh bodies abroad to recommend the names of religious persons who could be installed as Granthis (high priests) of Darbar Sahib as per the age-old traditions, Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti, who continues to be a Granthi, may be stripped of the additional charge.

Though the SGPC had removed Giani Bhagwan Singh and Giani Mohan Singh as Head Granthis of Akal Takht and the Golden Temple, respectively, on their superannuation, Jathedar Vedanti has succeeded in retaining the additional charge for the past nine years by using his clout as Jathedar of Akal Takht. Now, at least four Granthis are on extension. They include Jathedar Vedanti and Giani Mohan Singh, who was re-employed as Additional Head Granthi during the presidentship of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra. The others on extension are Giani Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi, and Giani Jaswant Singh.

President of the SGPC Avtar Singh said the SGPC had sought the recommendation from various Sikh bodies for candidates to be made Granthis. He said the SGPC was trying to revive the old tradition of seeking recommendations for the religious post. These would be made within three months.

Earlier, the appointments of Granthis could not be made due to fissures in the Sikh bodies, apart from the objections raised by the Jathedar, Akal Takht, on the pretext that the proper procedure was not being followed.

On the other hand, the SGPC and the ruling SAD have reportedly conveyed their displeasure to Jathedar Vedanti over his “sudden” foreign trip. The SGPC chief said Jathedar Vedanti did not inform the committee before leaving for Canada. The SGPC chief had a tough time to locate the location of Jathedar Vedanti in Canada on the phone when his services were immediately required at Amritsar in the wake of the fresh apology letter by the Dera Sacha Sauda.

Sources in the SGPC revealed that while Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib Tarlochan Singh would invariably inform the SGPC before leaving the country, Jathedar Vedanti quietly left for Canada along with his relatives.

Though the SGPC could not seek explanation from the Jathedar of Akal Takht due to him being on a high post, it could ask Jathedar Vedanti for the same in his capacity as the Granthi. Hence, being Granthi, it was mandatory for Jathedar Vedanti to seek permission from the SGPC before leaving for the country.

It is practically difficult for the SGPC to manage the daily rituals in the sanctum sanctorum due to shortage of Granthis because ordinary priests are not allowed to perform such rituals.


Panel against show of swords, lathis during march
Khalsa march to avoid Salabatpura dera
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

3,500 cops to ensure peace

Around 3,500 security personnel have been deployed while 30 nakas have been set up on the route of the march.

Bathinda, June 23
We will not advance towards the Salabatpura dera of the Sacha Sauda sect during the Khalsa march to be taken out tomorrow from Dina Kangar to Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo.

This was stated by Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode (SAD-1920) and Bhai Mohkam Singh (Damdami Taksal), both members of the Khalsa Action Committee that has planned the march, in reply to a question here today. They said the march would be taken out in a peaceful manner.

They appealed to the Sikh sangat not to brandish swords, “gandasas” and lathis during the march and raise provocative slogans as Sri Guru Granth Sahib would be accompanying the march with Panj Piaras leading it.

To dispel apprehensions of violence during the march, members of the committee and the Sant Samaj Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Sant Sukhchain Singh Dharampura, Sant Buta Singh Gurthali Wale and Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal held meetings with the DIG, Faridkot range, Dr J.K. Jain and Bathinda SSP Naunihal Singh here.

Bhai Mohkam Singh said they told the administration that the sangat would take part in the march and chant “Satnam Waheguru” while maintaining discipline.

Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode said there were no differences in the committee over the march. The route of the march would remain unchanged. Any decision on the apology letter sent by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief would be taken by five high priests.

Bhai Rode and Bhai Mohkam Singh said they wanted Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Balwant Singh Nandgarh, president of the SGPC Avtar Singh and president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Paramjit Singh Sarna to join the march.


Sant Samaj, radicals reject apology
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 23
Directions of the SGPC to cancel the proposed Khalsa protest notwithstanding, the Sant Samaj and radical Sikh organisations have reiterated their resolve to take out the march.

At a meeting organised at Gurdwara Bibi Kahan Kaur here today, the Sant Samaj categorically rejected the second apology tendered by Dera Sacha Sauda chief Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. It said the march would be held as per the announced plan.

Earlier, president of the SGPC Avtar Singh had asked the Khalsa Action Committee to cancel the march to maintain law and order in the state.

The meeting was held under the leadership of Baba Resham Singh Kukharana. He said they did not accept the manner in which the dera head had tendered the apology. It reflected his arrogance, Kukharana said, adding that the dera head must physically appear before the Akal Takht to apologise.


Bitta’s plea
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 23
The Akal Takht should accept the apology tendered by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to maintain peaceful atmosphere in the state.

This was stated by president of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front Maninderjit Singh Bitta here today. Bitta said a conference of representatives of all religions should be convened and a committee constituted to look into the causes of religious conversions in the Malwa belt during the past 15 years.

He said he was not against deras but whenever these played into the hands of political parties, the peaceful atmosphere in the state got vitiated.


Green City Campaign
Navjot gives Rs 50 lakh from MPLAD fund
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, June 23
Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP MP, has sought a meeting of the vigilance committee to monitor all on-going central and state-aided development projects in the district.

Handing over a letter to deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu to call a meeting of all MLAs to seek accountability and transparency in various projects under way for which funds had come from the state and Central governments.

Sidhu was peeved at his being sideled by the state Tourism and Cultural Department regarding the Rs 200-crore project for the preservation of historical and heritage sites of the city.He said he had sought details of this project which would make Amritsar a major tourist hub.

Giving reasons for calling a vigilance committee meeting, Sidhu said being a representative he should know about the projects under various schemes in progress in the city as he was accountable to people he represented. He said he wanted transparency of the projects as people’s involvement was paramount for development.

The BJP MP said a tourism promotion board was being constituted to supervise heritage restoration projects for which the Centre had sanctioned Rs 200 crore.

He said top consultants, including the local conservationist from Guru Nanak Dev University and local NGOs, would be involved for improving heritage sites.

Earlier, Sidhu handed over cheques worth Rs 50 lakh from his MPLAD fund to the deputy commissioner for the go-clean, go-green campaign to beautify the city. Under this plan more than 2.7 lakh trees and shrubs and other ornamental plants, including neem and maulsary plants, would be planted in the campaign starting from first week of July.

Landscape officer J.S. Bilga said NGOs, including kar sewa activists, would be involved in the maintenance of these trees. He said the campaign to plant trees would be completed by September to provide a green cover to the city.


Majitha gets Rs 19 crore
Tribune News Service

Kathunangal, June 23
The Akali-BJP government has in an unprecedented move invested Rs 19 crore in the Majitha constituency within three months. Information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia stated this while addressing a large gathering at Kathunangal here today.

Majithia while revealing ambitious plans for his constituency said the on-going projects include setting up of power grids worth Rs 10 crore, new grain markets at Sohian Kalan, Wadala Kalan and Dhadhe village worth Rs. 3 crore. He said Rs 6 crore would be spent on widening and proper lightning of the existing roads. Moreover, the power supply of various villages in Majitha constituency had been regulated with the installation of 60 new transformers.

He further declared that the much-awaited Chawinda Devi by-pass project had also got government's approval. He also distributed cheques worth Rs 26 lakh among various beneficiaries. Rs 12.25 lakh was distributed among 61 beneficiaries under the Indira Awas Yojna, Rs. 6.63 lakh to 47 under Shagun Scheme besides Rs. 8 lakh to commence developmental works at Nag Kalan , Bhoma and Marari villages.


PM’s relative files dowry case against in-laws
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 23
Amneet Kaur, a distant relative of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has filed a case against her in-laws for allegedly throwing her and her six-month-old baby girl out of the house for not bringing enough dowry.

Confirming the registration of the case, SSP Gautam Cheema said Amneet Kaur’s husband Inderveer Singh, father-in-law Avtar Singh, mother-in-law Baljinder Kaur and sister-in-law Jaspreet Kaur had been booked.

The SSP said after conducting preliminary investigation into the allegation levelled by Amneet her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law were arrested. However, her sister-in-law was yet to be arrested.

Her in-laws were produced before the duty magistrate, who sent them on one-day police remand.

The police raided Amneet in-laws house in Ludhiana and recovered a few dowry-related items from there, the SSP claimed.

Amneet Kaur, a resident of Khanna, had got married to Inderveer Singh, a resident of Krishan Nagar in Ludhiana, on January 2006. In her complaint she alleged that soon after marriage, her in-laws started harassing her for more dowry. In the meantime she got pregnant and her parents brought her to Khanna, where she gave birth to the baby girl in January.

In her complaint Amneet stated that when nobody from her in-laws side came to see the new-born, she revealed to her parents that she was being harassed by in-laws for bringing more dowry. She stated that when two of their relatives went to resolve the issue with her in-laws, they refused to accept her till her father paid the dowry worth Rs 2 lakh.

Her father decided to pay the money and requested her in-laws to accept her, which they did. She stated that her father gave Rs 30,000 to her in-laws and promised to pay rest of the amount in a few days.

However, when her father could not arrange the money, her in-laws forced her to leave the house at midnight. She somehow reached her grandparents’ house in Ludhiana, from there her parents brought her to Khanna, where she lodged the complaint.

Meanwhile, the SSP stated that the matter was being further investigated.


Central quota: Medical students in lurch
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
Government Medical College, Patiala, is not admitting students who have been selected in the pre-medical entrance test (PMT) conducted by the CBSE. They are running from pillar to post for the past three days to get admission armed with letters issued to them by the CBSE.

The CBSE has allotted 22 seats to Government Medical College, Patiala. The college authorities here are, however, not admitting the students. The students who have been coming to the office of the principal said they were being harassed.

Arahan Gupta, who secured 98th rank in all-India PMT, said the college authorities had been telling them that the Medical Council of India (MCI) were not allowing them to carry out admissions.

But the CBSE has given them letters that they should get themselves admitted to the Patiala college as that was their first preference before June 28, after which it would be considered that they were not interested in taking admission there.

They cannot even appear in the second counselling till the college authorities give in writing that admission has been denied to them.

Many other students, including Sahil Shokand (200th rank) and Harsimran (213th ) and Pariyanshu Chaudhary (239th) were among those in the queue at the college.

The principal of the college, Dr Jagdish Gargi, admitted that the students allotted to the college under the Central quota were not being given admission for the time being.

He said the MCI had recently directed the college against carrying out admissions.

“We have put up a note before the MCI. They have not responded to the same”, he said.

The MCI had objected to the inadequate staff and infrastructure at the college. The college is short of 34 assistant professors. Though the lack of infrastructure has been met with, the shortage of staff persists.

Minister for medical education Tikshan Sud had proposed to fill the vacant faculty positions by hiring doctors on contract. He had also blamed the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) for failing to recruit medical teachers.


Fruit market terminal
Jakhar deplores govt for reversing Cong decision
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 23
Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar has condemned the SAD-BJP government for reversing the previous government’s decision to construct a fruit-market terminal here. The Congress-led government, backed by the Central government’s national policy for promotion of fruit growing zones, had sanctioned three terminals for the benefit of fruit growers in Abohar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahar.

Jakhar as the parliamentary secretary for horticulture and irrigation had been instrumental in taking this decision. But, official reports confirmed that the present government had decided to drop the move for constructing the terminal here and sanctioned the same for Muktsar district. Earlier, the krishi vigyan kendra attached to the Central institute of post-harvest engineering technology (CIPHET) had been shifted from here to Muktsar. The NDA government had in past shifted the cotton research centre from Abohar to Sirsa.

Jakhar said today that the shifting of fruit terminal from Abohar to Muktsar was a politically-motivated and unwarranted step. About 22 acres near the new grain market had already been selected for this purpose.

“Officially the total area under fruit cultivation in Ferozepore district is 16,428 hectares. In Abohar alone its spread over 14,370 hectares.”, he added.


Several medicines seized
Two chemist shops raided
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
District drug inspector Dinesh Gupta and Dr Vikas Goyal raided two chemist shops, here today.

On the instructions of health minister Laxmikanta Chawla, the team raided the godown of Paras Vet Pharma, situated on Old Press Road, and asked proprietor of the firm Harpal Singh to produce documents related to licenses and purchase records, which he failed to do.

The team seized 300 bottles of cough syrups, 144 injections and 150 bottles of other drugs. Besides, the team also seized 86,000 tablets of Nindra and 9,720 tablets of Reagra tablets. Harpal Singh could not produce any purchase bills either. Most of these drugs are misused as intoxicants.

V.D. Medicose, situated at Sirhindi Bazar, was also checked. Twenty-seven bottles of cough syrups, 70 tablets, 946 capsules of Spasmoproxyvon and 34 injections of Buprenorphine were seized. These drugs are also misused as intoxicants.

The seized drugs will be produced in court and further investigations will be done in this regard.


Veteran cyclist alleges police harassment
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
In spite of having lost one leg, Inderjeet Singh never lost heart and became a national cycling champion in the physically challenged category years ago. He also cycled from Delhi and Amritsar in record time. Now, years on and away from the sport, an incident on the road and the resultant attitude of the Patiala police has left him heartbroken.

The veteran physically challenged cyclist has alleged harassment at the hands of the police.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune he said on June 14, while he was driving on the Patiala-Nabha road in his Maruti Esteem car, his car was hit by an Alto car being driven by person allegedly under the influence of liquor. Inderjeet and his family had a narrow escape.

While the driver of the car fled the scene, residents of Kalyan village, where the accident took place, gathered and helped him and his family out of the car. They also gave them primary medical treatment.

They informed the police, which arrived at the scene and removed the vehicles.

However, a few days later he found out that the police had not registered a case in the matter.

The police also did not take pictures of the scene and allowed the occupant of the other car take away his vehicle.

The police even advised Inderjeet to get his vehicle repaired on his own.

Inderjeet Singh has been running from pillar to post to get the case registered against the culprit ever since.

He said he had met SSP Patiala S.K. Asthana but to no avail. He said he would fight to seek justice. The SSP was unavailable for comments.


3 killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 23
Three local residents, including an official of the Revenue Department, were killed and two others were injured as the ambulance by which they were travelling collided with a truck near Sardarshehar on the Abohar-Hanumangarh-Sikar road today.

According to information, Des Raj Kamboj of Diwankhera village posted in the Revenue Department was escorting his father-in-law Jhangi Ram in a Cruiser ambulance van to Jaipur. Satish Phutela, a document writer and president of the Shri Nav Durga Kalka Mandir Trust Bhajan Mandali,and Krishan Lal, son of the patient, were accompanying them.

While Des Raj, Satish and Jhangi were killed on the spot, Krishan Lal and the driver of the ambulance van were seriously injured.

The driver of the truck fled leaving the vehicle on the roadside.


Chahal gets bail in forgery case
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
Chief Judicial Magistrate S.S. Panesar today granted bail to high-profile media adviser to former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in a forgery case registered against him at the Kotwali police station in Patiala.

The case was registered on a complaint lodged by Mohali-based caterer. In it the caterer had alleged that he met Chahal at a function organised at the private residence of the former Chief Minister at New Moti Bagh. Then, Chahal visited his Mohali residence and was impressed by the kitchen. Later, Chahal asked him to furnish the kitchen at his Patiala Twakali More residence.

The Mohali-based caterer has claimed to have spent Rs 15 lakh on it, which Chahal refused to pay and threatened him with dire consequences.

However, the Chief Judicial Magistrate refused to grant bail to Chahal in the forgery case registered at Civil Lines police station by Bhagat Motors owner Jagatjit Singh. He, in his complaint, had stated that Chahal took his Mercedes Benz car in 2005, but never returned it. The Judge observed that the case related to forging of documents could invite life imprisonment.

Defence council N.P.S. Waraich on behalf of Chahal argued the case.


100 more MBBS seats in SGPC-run medical college
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 23
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to double the number of MBBS seats in the Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research at Vallah here.

Confirming this to The Tribune, Avtar Singh Makkar, president, SGPC, said the Medical Council of India (MCI) had given its approval to increase the number of seats to 200. He said the SGPC had also decided to shift Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital back to its old building while retaining the emergency services at the new medical institute at Vallah.

He said the old building of the hospital would be renovated and the state-of-art machinery would be installed there to provide better medical care to patients.

The SGPC had earlier decided to temporarily shift the hospital from the Shaheedan area to Vallah institute in view of the inspection by a team of the MCI about three months ago. The authorities had stated that the decision to shift the hospital was taken in view of the machinery available in the new institute which was lying unutilised in view of the paucity of doctors and other paramedical staff.

Various social and non-governmental organisations had recently urged the SGPC to reshift the hospital. They had presented memoranda to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, chairman of the hospital, president, SGPC, Advocate-General, Punjab, trustee Hardev Singh Mattewal and various leaders of the SAD-BJP government from the region in this connection.


Training camp for teachers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
The Cynosures Educational Management Society in association with the Red Cross Society, Patiala, organised a five-day training camp for NTT and computer teachers at Gurbax School here yesterday.

Patiala circle education officer Charanjit Kaur Cheema distributed certificates to participants and advised teachers to discharge their duties sincerely and with dedication.

Speaking on the occasion, society president Shiv Narayan said Red Cross DTS K.R. Verma imparted training in first aid and traffic awareness to students and other organisations to enable them to attend to injured and victims.

The teachers also appreciated the training work and desired that such classes must be organised by the Red Cross at schools and other institutions regularly.


Tributes paid to Khosla

Patiala, June 23
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) paid tributes to master of Punjabi drama G.S. Khosla at a function held on his 12th death anniversary, at SDSE Senior Secondary School, here today.

Director of NTAS Pran Sabharwal disclosed here today that Khosla was a contemporary of professor I.C. Nanda and a prominent disciple of late Norah Richards, better known as the mother of the Modern Punjabi Theatre Movement.

Pran complimented Avtar Singh Hadd, director languages, Punjab, and Dr M.L. Hasija, the retired director, for bringing out a volume of Khosla’s Punjabi adaptations of Luigi Pirandelle’s world famous plays. — TNS


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