C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water-logging endangers Mother Teresa home
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Even as permanent blockage of rainwater drains threatens to flood and damage Mother Teresa Home, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has intervened to ensure damage-control at the earliest.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover accepted the concerns raised on the home’s behalf by Iqbal Kalsi and recorded in their order assurances by the UT administration to rectify the problem.

The recent rains left the home waterlogged, increasing the risk of displacement of its 200 inmates.

Arguing the case for the home, Kalsi, who had earlier written in this regard to Justice M.M. Kumar, said the administration had recklessly demolished the older rainstorm water courses. This had caused blockage of rainwater drains and caused water logging of the area around Mother Teresa Home. Justice Kumar had taken suo motu notice of Kalsi’s letter and treated it as a public interest litigation.

The administration failed to file a reply on two consecutive dates and instead sought a date in September this year. Kalsi, however, filed an application for early hearing on the matter, and the same was allowed by the court.

Although the administration has laid down an underground rain storm water discharge lines to tackle water logging in the area, Kalsi, who has been looking after the home’s design for six years, said the same would not help. He told the court that for protecting the three compound walls of the home from flood waters, the administration should provide an open drain and discharge rainwater into the natural stream between Sector 23 and 24. The provision of overbridge upon the drain can be made if required.

The problem started earlier this year due to levelling of land in the area. Earth dug up from the area was moved back towards the rear wall of the home thoughtlessly and it covered the mouth of the rainstorm water drains in the wall.

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Hallomajra structures regularised
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The UT Administrator is learnt to have given his consent to regularising over 700 structures on 33 acres of land in Deep complex, Hallomajra. The decision will benefit at least 3,000 families.

The officials have been, however, asked to deal strictly with further encroachments. Sources in the finance department said the officials had been asked to prepare a comprehensive policy to benefit genuine stakeholders.

The sources did not rule out action against officials responsible when the unauthorized structures were coming up over the years.

To regularise the structures, officials have proposed that acquired land may be denotified and made part of the extended abadi of Hallomajra village. In 2005, the administration had decided to take possession of the land, affecting 700 residential structures. The official figure stands at 535. This had triggered protests from residents of the complex.

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Information sought on axing trees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Reacting to a story on the Chandigarh administration cutting 230 trees in Industrial Area for new malls, R.K. Garg, a resident of Sector 27, has sought information under the Right to Information Act (RTI) from the municipal corporation regarding the trees.

“ I was pained to read that the fully grown trees would be cut. The trees can be transplanted,” he said, adding that he had requested the UT Administrator to stay the cutting of the trees till further orders.

The resident has desired information on the authority who applied for permission to cut trees, whether the matter of cutting of trees was thought over while granting permission to these malls, the public interest being served in cutting of trees for creating the malls and ecological imbalance created by felling of trees.

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Lovers die in suicide pact
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 26
A 25-year-old man was found dead at the Chhat Bir zoo yesterday with a glass full of poison nearby. The police concluded it was just another suicide. This morning at Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh, a 30-year-old married woman was reported to have died of poisoning too and a sordid tale of an extra-marital alliance culminating in a suicide pact was found.

SHO of Zirakpur GP Singh said lovers Baby and Hari Pal decided to kill themselves when they learnt that Baby’s husband had come to know of their relationship.

“Baby had run away from her house with her two children two days ago and was with Haripal. They decided to consume poison last evening,” said the SHO, adding that Haripal was Baby’s husband’s cousin.

Baby was married to Ramavtar and lived at Balmiki Colony in Lalru. Haripal belonged to Rajpura.

Baby left home with her children on the pretext of buying milk from the market. When she did not return, Ram Avtar began to searchfor her. “He suspected that Baby might have gone to Haripal’s house in Rajpura, and he was right. They were together for a day. Last evening the two consumed poison here,” said GP Singh.

Haripal left on the motorcycle for Rajpura but died near Chhatbir. Baby called her husband from the Zirakpur bus stand saying she was ill and needed help. Ram Avtar rushed her to the GMCH where she died this morning.aMan’s body found P 4

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RTI Act
Kanungo fined Rs 25,000
Sanjeev Singh Bariana /Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Estate Office of the Chandigarh administration is in trouble yet again with the Central Information Commission (CIC) imposing a fine of Rs 25,000 on a kanungo for not providing requisite information to Shakuntala Sethi of Sector 28.

Shakuntala Devi in 2005 had sought information pertaining to government awards concerning property 420\433 in Mani Majra. She had sought copies of official documents. When the department did not respond even to the follow-up mail, she approached the commission.

The information officer of the estate office said the complainant had been provided with papers of the acquired land along with due compensation. Shakuntala Devi denied the claims in her letter to the commission.

At the video-conferencing session held with the CIC, information officer Uma Shanker Sharma said the case did not pertain to his branch. He said the official concerned, Sunil Kumar, had been instructed to be present at the commission’s video-conference, but had failed to comply with the orders.

Chief information commissioner W.Habibullah levied a fine of Rs 25,000 on Sunil Kumar. He is required to pay the fine in two equal installments of Rs 12,500 each.

There have been more than six cases in which the office has been fined heavy amounts for delay or failure in providing relevant information to residents. There are a large number of cases pertaining to the building branch. Hundreds of cases pertaining to various violations under the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulations) Act, 1952, have piled up at the estate office as the administration has not distributed work among senior officers for quasi judicial functions.

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In Basta
Leads lead cops nowhere in murder case
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Failing to track the killers of Mainpal Singh, an inkman at the Haryana Cooperative Press, Industrial Area here, who was found brutally murdered in Sector 45 on Independence Day in 2003, the police sent the case as untraced after working on it for 30 months.

The victim’s wife, Pinki, along with her two young children, left the city, waiting for the police to trace her husband’s killers. She shifted to her native village in Jhajjar district, much to the relief of the police which took little time to send the case as “untraced” on February 14, 2006.

Mainpal’s body was discovered by policemen of the Burail police post early morning. Thirty-five-year-old Mainpal was living in a rented accommodation with his family in Burail.

His body was found lying in the open, his head smashed with a concrete slab and boulders lying nearby.

His clothes had been apparently searched for cash and the victim’s cycle was also missing. The police then believed it to be a handiwork of drug addicts.

Mainpal’s wife Pinki told investigating officials that her husband had not come home for the past over four days. Mainpal’s brother had once written to the police expressing suspicion over certain persons, But the police failed to crack case.

It was also reported that Mainpal had visited a liquor vend in Hallomajra with six colleagues as one of them wanted to celebrate the selection of his son by the Army.

The police followed set procedure and transferred the case to the crime branch. During the 30-month investigation, the police quizzed 26 persons, besides putting three suspects to a lie-detector test.

The police failed to ascertain the whereabouts of Mainpal during the four days he was reported missing from home.

It appears that the investigating officials failed to work on any leads provided by the family. 

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High alert sounded in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The city police today sounded high alert in the wake of the bomb blasts that rocked Hyderabad on Saturday.

Talking to TNS, UT’s officiating SSP Dinesh Bhatt said the city was on high alert and directions had been issued to the entire force to intensify patrolling and be vigilant to tackle any untoward incidents. Special checks and searches were also conducted throughout the day, he added.

A police officer said 15 persons were rounded up on suspicion and were later released after their antecedents were verified. Special searches were conducted at the inter-state bus terminus, railway station, cinema halls, market places and other vital installations.

Commuters at the bus stand were also frisked and searches were conducted in slums and rehri markets in this connection. 

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Miffed GPA holders approach head of coop societies
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Even as the Chandigarh administration clears the mega projects post-haste, issues of public welfare continue to hang fire for years together. A case in point is the regularisation of the general power of attorney (GPA) holders in the cooperative housing societies in the UT.

Now miffed at the apathetic attitude of the administration towards the genuine demands of the GPA holders, the Chandigarh State Federation of Coop House Building Societies Limited (Chandigarh Housefed), a representative body of 106 cooperative housing societies, has shot off a representation to the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) to "resolve" the issue at the earliest.

In a communication to the RCS, Chandigarh Housefed chairman Jai Dev Sharma expressed concern that no follow-up action had been taken by the RCS on the discussions held on the issue with federation representatives in February this year.

Stung by media criticism, the administration had come out with a substitution policy for members for the cooperative housing societies last year. Though the substitution policy gave certain relief to substitute members, the administration stopped short of formulating the policy for the GPA holders despite repeated assertions of the top functionaries of the administration.

The neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana follow a "people-friendly" transfer policy for the buyers of the cooperative society flats. While the administration was losing revenue, the sale of society flats was going on unabated on GPA sometimes leading to legal complications.

Even as the original members, who have sold off their dwelling units on GPA, call the shots in the managing committees of the societies, the GPA holders had no say in the running of the societies.

It was after years of struggle by a cross section of society, including residents welfare associations and political parties, that the administration formulated the policy for the regularisation of the GPA of the buyers of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) property in 2001.

The cooperative society GPA holders had been demanding a policy on the CHB pattern as their case was almost similar to that of the CHB allottees.

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Crusade for Heritage
Original residents seek recognition
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
If the Chandigarh Administration has started the work to preserve the works of Le Corbusier, the master architect, it should also work on saving bits of history from the 50 villages whose people gave their land for the emergence of one of the greatest modern day cities in the world. The history of more than 500-year-old villages, which were uprooted to make way for the city, deserves to be recognised.

Residents of the original villages want to know "why the data of the villages on whose lands the city has come up should not be preserved as has been done in the case of Washington DC? The data could be preserved in terms of original population of each village, land holdings, living standards, caste-wise population divide and religious places, besides others criteria".

Angrez Singh, president of the Pind Bachao Committee, in a letter addressed to the Chandigarh Administrator, Adviser and other senior officers, has sought that the heritage of the original residents be preserved so that the future generations know about the history of the land out of which Le Corbusier created the City Beautiful.

Joginder Singh, a resident of Kajheri village, said the Administration should chalk out an integrated plan to preserve and highlight certain historical structures in the city like the fort at Burail, Rani’s palace at Manimajra and Gurdwara Nanaksar in Badheri village, among others.

Chandigarh came up in the year 1950 and the area included 50 villages. Lands of as many as 17 villages were acquired in the first phase and the inhabitants were given alternative places to stay. The residents of 11 villages whose lands were acquired in the second phase are, however, yet to get their due, Narinder Singh, a senior citizen said.

The museums of Washington DC and University of Washington, Seattle, both in USA, and the museum at Victoria in Canada, besides several others all over Europe are apt examples of how the modern day generation has treasured the history of the original inhabitants on whose land the modern day cities are blossoming. aIn Washington DC, the Washington Monument was erected to honour the greatness of the city of Washington and its original inhabitants. Washington DC was founded as a replacement for eight cities. President George Washington chose the land in the District of Columbia, between Maryland and Virginia.

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Inspired by Maya’s UP magic, CVM to merge with BSP
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati’s UP experiment of social engineering is set to be replicated in Chandigarh with the former union minister and president of Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) Harmohan Dhawan throwing his lot with the party.

A decision to merge CVM was taken at a workers’ meeting here today. In fact, a seven-member committee was constituted by Dhawan to work out the modalities for the merger and work for the formation of the third front by bringing anti-Congress and anti-BJP forces on one platform.

BSP general secretary Mann Singh Manheda had a round of talks with the CVM chief on August 23 in which Dhawan was reportedly offered entry into the BSP fold.

Dhawan seems to have been fascinated by Mayawati’s social engineering formula in UP. By uniting different sections of society, the UP CM accomplished a task that no other leader could do, Dhawan told TNS, adding that her concern for the poor was unparalleled.

BSP general secretary Mann Singh Manheda claimed that both the parties shared the basic principles, including concern for the underprivileged.

Though Dhawan’s outfit had no presence at the national level, in the local political scenario the CVM wields a considerable influence with the party having four councillors in the MC. During the 2006 MC polls, the BSP surprised the political pundits by winning a seat.

Since the CVM and the BSP had a substantial presence in the villages and colonies, their combination of forward and backward classes could be lethal in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The victory of minister of state for finance Pawan K. Bansal was largely credited to the colony votes in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

During the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Dhawan, who was with the Congress at that time, had reportedly played a significant role in the victory of Bansal. However, just before the 2006 civic body elections, Dhawan fell out with the party and managed to put up an impressive show.

Observers felt that Dhawan’s entry into the BSP could upset the applecart of the both the Congress and the BJP and it could be a rallying point for the non-Congress and non-BJP forces in the city. A resurgent BSP could ultimately pave the way for the third front in city’s politics. 

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10 hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 26
Ten persons, including five women, were injured when the Tata Sumo in which they were travelling crashed into an autorickshaw here this morning. They were on their way to Raipur Rani to attend a bhog ceremony.

According to the police, the accident took place on a link road at 10 am.The injured were rushed to the Ambala civil hospital by onlookers. QThe victims were identified as Surjit Singh, who was driving the Sumo, Kamla Devi, Nirmala Devi, Kamlesh, Amarjit Kaur, Harvinder Kaur, Amar Singh, Nachattar Gir and Gurnam Singh. The driver of the tempo ran away after the accident. Both vehicles have been impounded.

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PU Poll
Student bodies await admn nod for elections
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Will Panjab University get the nod of the UT Administration to hold elections to the student body this year is a million dollar question. Nevertheless the election fever is in full swing at different college campus.

With posters of candidates from various organisations adorning walls and trees of colleges, meetings to plan intensive campaign strategies already in place, the students are completely in the grip of elections.

In the wake of recent incidents of violence at the PU campus and the firing incident at the DAV College, Sector 10, the college authorities are making all possible efforts for conducting peaceful elections. But the whether the elections will be held or not is still not known.

Dr A.N. Garg, principal, Government College, Sector 11 said, “In a democratic set-up like ours, student elections are unavoidable. For this year, we have constituted special committees comprising five members of the faculty to patrol in the college. To deter any outsiders to enter the college, I-cards have been made mandatory for all the students.”

Dr K.S. Saluja, principal of the Government College, Sector 46 says, “Though I would prefer indirect elections as they are more peaceful and violence free. Once the election date is announced we would be deputing staff members on each floor to supervise the students.”

At the GGDSD College, Sector 32, no party is allowed to canvas till the election date is announced, says Dr A.C. Vaid, principal of the college. “The elections will be held in the college strictly according to the guidelines issued by the Panjab University and in accordance with the Lyngdoh committee report.” 
It goes the same for the DAV College, Sector 10 where a firing incident took place a few days ago.

“The police had written to us to debar those involved in the incident from elections. Whenever the elections are formally announced they would be conducted strictly in accordance of the Lyngdoh report, university guidelines and UT administration,” said S Marriya, principal of the college. 

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IAF man dies in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
A sergeant posted at the local Air Force station, John Joseph, lost his life in a hit-and-run accident in Phase II, Industrial Area, last night. He was in his mid-thirties.

The police said Joseph was heading home on his scooter when the accident took place around 9.30 pm near Joshi Auto Zone. The driver of the unidentified vehicle fled from the spot, leaving Joseph struggling for life. He suffered multiple injuries and was rushed to GMCH- 32, where he was declared brought dead.

The body was handed over to Joseph’s family after a post mortem. His family left for his native village in Kerala for cremation. The victim is survived by his wife and children.

A case of rash driving has been registered.

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Dairy prices rise due to less yield
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
There has been a sharp increase in the prices of the dairy products over the last month. With the production of milk declining during the past couple of months, the prices were bound to rise, retailers said here today.The milk prices were quoted at Rs 10.50 per half kg for the Verka brand. The price was Rs 9.50 last month.

Similarly, the fat-free milk was available at Rs 8.50 per half kg -- an increase of Re 1 from the last month. The milk bought from the milkmen ranged between Rs 14 to Rs 18 depending on the quality.

The price of pure ghee was quoted at Rs 178 per kg -- a jump of Rs 10 from the last month. While butter was quoted at Rs 155 per kg, paneer was selling at Rs 26 per 200 gms. Another milk product curd was priced at Rs 14 per 400 gm. However, curd from the sweet house owners was available at Rs 25 to 30 per kg.

Price list

Item           Rate per kg
Pure ghee    Rs 178
Milk            Rs 21 and Rs 17
Dahi           Rs 35
Butter        Rs 155

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Serving the mankind - Simrit Josan
Gayatri Rajwade/ Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
She is all set to head an all-women’s ‘lion’ team and take her ‘pride’ a long way in the service of her society. Tomorrow as the soft-spoken Simrit Josan is appointed as president of the all-woman Lions Club Nightingale at an installation ceremony, she is determined that nothing, not even her gentle demeanour will come in the way of her making a difference.

“This year we plan to focus all our attention on the Kambala village near Chandigarh and the Sector 52 slum area, both of which we have adopted,” she states.

Simrit has been a charter member of the club since 1995, the year of its inception, is all set to ensure that the mission of the club "We Serve" is fulfilled with dedication, compassion and commitment. “We are the largest service organisation in the world, running branches in 200 countries in the name of Lion Club International,” she says, “so it is a tremendous responsibility to ensure that we live up to the values and objectives of what is expected from each of us.”

The lady herself realised her calling towards social service when she joined the club at the insistence of a few friends. “Once I was in it, I realised what a wonderful platform it provides to make a change in the world we live in,” she smiles. At the ceremony today, the club is donating 10 wheelchairs, 10 artificial limbs and 10 hearing aids to the physically challenged and 10 sewing machines for the poor and needy women along with 4 bicycles to students to facilitate them in their part-time jobs. 

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Students showcase flair for writing

Chandigarh, August 26
As many as 103 school students participated in a one-day workshop on creative writing organised by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy at their conference hall yesterday.

Welcoming the chief guest Vipin Pubby, the resident editor of The Indian Express, the subject specialists and participants, akademy chairperson Dr Naresh said it was imperative to spot the talent among the students and groom them into budding writers.

Course leaders for the workshop, including eminent thespian Dr Sahib Singh, academician poet Dr Ramesh Kumar, story writer Dr Vimal Kalia and Dr Sarbjit S. Bedi interacted with the aspiring writers. Simran Kaler acted as the workshop coordinator. — OC

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Decomposed body of man found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
A highly decomposed body of an unidentified man, who was apparently strangled to death, was found lying near government tubewell at Daria village, near here, this morning.

The body was recovered from a dilapidated structure of a cattle shed beside the tubewell at around 9 am, when someone went there to relieve himself. He informed the tubewell operator Ram Singh about the decomposed body, who, in turn, called the police.

The maggot-infested body, which was in a bad shape, was lying in overgrown grass. A shirt was found tightly wrapped around the man’s neck, indicating that he was strangled. The body appeared to be a few days old, as maggots had eaten out the victim’s face, making it difficult to recognise it. The parts of body, which were uncovered, were infested and the flesh was consumed by insects. The police also found long strands of hair. Besides a part of jaw was also recovered from the spot. The area was filled with pungent odour.

The police called the forensic and the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory experts to examine the spot.

Ram Singh told TNS that he was posted at another tubewell, but was also taking care of this tubewell. He said, “I come here in the morning and evening and have not noticed any foul smell. It was only when someone informed me about the body that I came to know about it.”

He told the police that the tubewell was visited by several persons, including employees of his department. Some labourers from nearby slums also come there for bathing. The police quizzed a few persons to establish the victim’s identity, but in vain.

The SHO of the Industrial Area Police Station inspector Jagir Singh said, “The victim was wearing blue trousers and a light brown shirt, besides black leather shoes.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC. The body was shifted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital.

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Letters
Beggars at bus stand

The governor of Punjab and Administration of Chandigarh general (retd) S.F. Rodrigues very recently inspected the inter-state bus terminals, Sector 17, Chandigarh but the above stated governor and Administrator did not look into the hardships faced by the foreign tourists on arrival at above stated bus terminals. After arrival first they are chased and followed by rickshaw pullers and then a group of beggars are there to harass them. It has been so many times when I have saved the foreign tourists from chasing and harassing these beggars. The rickshaw pullers want to take them to private hotels and guesthouses where they have their commission. Usually I take these foreign tourists to Panchayat Bhawan, where they get neat and clean accommodation at reasonable rates.

Will the general (retd.) S.F. Rodrigues pass orders that no beggars should enter bus terminals. Also, directions should be given that no rickshaw puller should be allowed to chase foreigners and harass them.

Narinder Singh, 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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Man held for attacking in-laws’ house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The police yesterday arrested a Panchkula resident accused of throwing burning bottles of petrol at his wife’s Sector 37 residence on August 17.

The police said the accused, Vipin Kumar, a resident of Sector 15, Panchkula, was nabbed from the same sector following information. He was booked by the police in several cases and remained elusive to the police since last week.

Vipin, whose wife Deepti had got a case registered against him for demanding dowry and causing harassment and had filed for a divorce, had alleged that he had been a threat to her life. She is living with her parents at their Sector 37 residence.

On August 17, Vipin threw petrol bombs at Deepti’s residence, damaging windows and doors, when her elderly mother was at home. The police had registered a case against him.

The police had earlier booked him on May 31, when he trespassed into his wife’s residence with a sword, threatening to kill her. Then he was charged under Sections 107 and 151 and bailed out on June 4. It failed to prevent him from his deed as again on June 11 he attacked his wife’s residence with beer bottles, threatening to eliminate her entire family.

He allegedly attacked the house with soda bottles, stones and bricks five times in July. In August, he attacked the house seven times.

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Indira Colony resident held with 170 kg beef
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The police arrested a resident of Indira Colony for possessing over 170 kg beef, here last night. Ayub (60) was held from Bapu Dham Colony.

He told the police that it was not cow meat and he had brought it from Saharanpur. Giving details, in charge of the Bapu Dham Colony police post SI Maninder Singh said Ashok Kumar, a resident of the colony, spotted the accused and got suspicious that he was carrying the prohibited meat. He informed president of the colony’s Bajrang Dal, Raj Kishore, who lodged a complaint against Ayub.

A case of insulting and wounding religious feeling of a community and promoting enmity between different religions under various provisions of the IPC and under the Punjab Prohibited Cow Act has been registered against the accused. He was produced before a local court, which remanded him to one-day police custody. Maninder Singh said the samples of meat would be sent to ascertain whether it is cow flesh.

Vehicle theft

Gurpreet Singh of Ropar filed a complaint with the police that his motorcycle (CH-03-K-7637) was stolen from Sector 37 on Saturday. In another incident, Surjit Singh of Sector 21 reported to the police that his motorcycle (PB-30-D-4583) was stolen from his residence on August 20. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Theft

Anil Goel, a resident of Sector 42, alleged that old batteries weighing about 5000 kg were stolen his godown near Masque village, Kajheri, on Tuesday. A case has been registered.

Held for theft

Man Mohan of Sector 29-B alleged that Amit Pawar of Library Building, Sector 37 stole 18 meters of wire from near Samrat Hotel in Sector 22 on Friday night. Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the accused and recovered the stolen property from him. A case has been registered.

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