P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Human Bomb Theory
Dera demands judicial probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Challenging the theory of the Punjab police that five women followers of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda could be “human bombs” or they could commit “self-immolation”, the dera today demanded a judicial probe to establish the truth.

Calling it a “stink” operation, dera spokesperson Aditya Arora Insaan said Bathinda SSP Naunihal Singh has masterminded it on the directions of Shiromani Akali Dal acting president Sukhbir Badal.

Addressing a media conference here today, Insaan said Sukhbir was uneasy at the popularity of the dera. He denied that the dera had supported the Congress during the Punjab assembly elections. “Leaders of all parties, including Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir, had been regularly visiting our dera to seek blessings,” he said.

He claimed that this was yet another attempt to malign the reputation of the dera and its followers, particularly the ‘Brahamchari sewadar sisters’ of the sect. An inquiry by a judicial commission could help in revealing the truth, he said, while adding that the liquor mafia facing falling revenue and the religious bodies facing a fall in donations had master minded this in connivance with Sukhbir Badal.

The liquor mafia was facing falling revenue as the dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was weaning away people from liquor while followers of other religions were now followers of the dera, Insaan claimed.

Insaan said as per our information, all women, who have been branded as human bombs, are householders with families, who have no criminal record, expect what the Punjab police has thrust upon them. The women have gone underground to avoid arrest after the police released their photographs.

Himani Insaan, another senior functionary of the dera, said they genuinely feared that a couple of these women could be eliminated in a false encounter or arrested and tortured by the police.

“In the battle of fundamental rights versus fundamentalism, what can be more perverse than the fact that pictures of these innocent and hapless women were strung across police stations as Punjab’s most wanted even prior to the registration of an FIR, said Himani Insaan.

The spokesperson claimed that one of women, Rama Devi was eye witness to the self immolation of Shyam Sunder, a dera follower at Bathinda about a couple of months ago. Shyam Sunder had immolated himself after receiving threats from two Akali leaders of Bathinda, he added.

The police identified the women as they had also participated in the spontaneous protests made by the dera followers against the desecration and defilement of the pictures of dera chief at Bathinda in May.


Arrest warrants against 3 human bomb suspects
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
The court of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) here has issued arrest warrants against Gurcharan Kaur, Veerpal Kaur and Rama, three women followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, for their alleged involvement in the attack made on the police in this town on May 15.

Interestingly, all these three women are among the five women followers of the dera whose photos were circulated among all police stations by the Punjab Police on the suspicion that they were human bombs that could cause harm to VIPs, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his kin.

Police sources said Bhajna Ram, CJM, issued the arrest warrants against the three yesterday while disposing of an application moved by the CIA staff police station in a case registered against them at the city police station on May 15. The case was registered under Sections 333, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

Sources added that the CJM had also directed the police officials to execute the arrest warrants by September 25.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that all three were residents of this town and were living at the dera headquarters at Sirsa ever since the registration of a criminal case against them, as they feared police harassment.

Janak Singh, in charge, CIA police station, confirmed that the arrest warrants against the three had been issued.


Dera follower commits suicide
Third such case in two months
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
Gurjeet Singh, alias Sukha, a follower of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, committed suicide by immolating himself in the open in Bangi Nihal Singh Wala village of this district late this evening.

This is third suicide by a dera follower in this district in the past two months. Earlier, Jaswinder Singh of Chak Attar Singh Wala village and Sham Sunder of Paras Ram Nagar locality of this town had committed suicide in the same fashion to lodge their protest against the harassment of dera followers by the police under the diktats of the ruling alliance.

Police sources said Gurjeet Singh, who was one of the followers, who had taken a pledge to commit suicide by filling a form at the dera headquarters in case dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was harmed by any agency of Punjab or the Centre government.

Sources added that Gurjeet Singh reached his village late evening today. After coming out of his car, he poured kerosene on his body and set himself on fire. Gurjeet Singh was charred to death on the spot. After getting this information, DIG Jatinder Jain and SSP Nau Nihal Singh rushed to the spot. The police authorities also made arrangements to prevent any untoward incident following the incident.

Sources said a function was held at a religious place located near Bangi Nihal Singh Wala village where a preacher spoke against the dera, following which, Gurjeet Singh set himself on fire as he could not tolerate it.

Police sources said the body has been sent to civil hospital, Bathinda, for postmortem. A case has been registered.


A Portrait of Controversy
SGPC may find itself in spot again
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 26
The SGPC’s volte face on the installation of the portrait of Giani Joginder Singh Talwara in the Sikh museum of the Golden Temple has raised many a eyebrow.

Though the SGPC in its official press note had mentioned that the portrait of Giani Talwara, a senior leader of Akhand Kirtani Jatha (Parbandhaki Panchayan) would be installed at the museum, the idea was dropped at the eleventh hour without any reason. However, it is learnt that the rival group of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha in a missive to the SGPC chief had raised serious objections over the installation of the portrait. It has now been kept in the SGPC’s store.

A senior SGPC member had reportedly lodged a strong protest with the SGPC chief for dropping the idea of installing the portrait. After Sahib Singh, Giani Talwara had great knowledge of the grammar of Guru Granth Sahib and he had authored many books on Sikhism.

Jaswinder Singh Advocate, an SGPC member and convener of Akal Purkh ki Fauj and who was a confidant of Giani Talwara, said he would take up the matter with the SGPC chief.

It is believed that a faction of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha had levelled serious charges against Giani Talwara. However, Giani Kewal Singh, former Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, said Giani Talwara was a great Sikh.


PSEB engineers at loggerheads with member(Finance)
Misrepresentation of facts to government
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The PSEB Engineers’ Association is at loggerheads with member (Finance) of the board. The association has accused the member of distorting facts regarding the financial health of the board in his recent communication to the state government.

It has been indicated by member(Finance and Accounts) in his latest communication to the government that excessive power purchase during the first four months of 2007-08 is responsible for the financial crisis in the board.

However, members of association members told The Tribune that it was not the power purchased but total financial mismanagement of the board which was responsible for the current financial mess. The situation had arisen as there was no tariff hike during 2006-07.

The decision of the board against the annual tariff petition for 2007-08 before the November 2006, deadline, fixed by the power regulator (PSERC), was aimed at pleasing political masters in the previous government in view of the Assembly elections. Member(finance) should have raised the issue at that time since the non-filing of the tariff petition in time had resulted in huge loss of additional revenue in the first five months of 2007-08 forcing the board to raise short-term loans.

At the same time, the board had failed to collect over Rs 716.63 crore payable by the state government to the PSEB as pointed by PSERC. This included Rs 421.99 crore as subsidy which should have been collected in advance as per the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.

It had further been projected that the PSEB was purchasing some power at a rate as high as Rs 6.76 per unit against the earning of Rs 3 per unit by supplying the same to consumers. Against the projected figures the average cost of power purchased during 2006-07 was Rs 2.99 per unit and during the first five months of this year, it just Rs 3.00 per unit. A substantial part of the said power was fed to commercial and industrial consumers who were paying more than Rs 4.28 per unit to the PSEB, the president of engineers association H.S. Bedi alleged.

The suggestion of the member(finance) to impose power cuts in the state to reduce power purchase cost and to tackle the financial crisis was totally retrogressive. It was not expected of the board to impose power cuts to harass the consumers and stall the economic growth of the state, particularly when power was available in the grid and cost of power purchased was being allowed to be passed on to the consumers by the regulator.

The state after a long period had witnessed a “no-power cut’ summer mainly due to the un-tiring efforts of the engineers to arrange power in an acute power shortage scenario prevailing in the country.

On the other hand due to the supply of adequate power to all sections of the consumers, the PSEB had earned not only 10 per cent additional revenue without any increase in tariff but had also contributed to an increase in agricultural and industrial production in the state, the engineers alleged.

The other suggestion of the member(finance) to stop the release of funds for transmission and distribution to improvement works was tantamount to scuttling many new initiatives undertaken by the board to reduce technical losses and improve customer service. 


Plan to have commercial hubs around cities
Prime land to be acquired
Lalit Mohan/Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
After failing to develop focal points and the special economic zones the government has been planning to develop commercial hubs around cities.

State president of the BJP Rajinder Bhandari told newsmen here today the government was planning to develop commercial hubs in the periphery of 8 km to 10 km from the urban centres. The government would develop schools, hospitals, amusement parks and commercial centres in the proposed hubs.

The income generated from the hubs will be used for developing cities. People would also be given partnership in the hubs, he said.

However, for developing such commercial hubs the prime land will again have to be acquired.

Earlier thousands of acres acquired from the farmers for developing focal points has been lying waste in many parts of the state. The government spent crores on developing roads and other infrastructure in the focal points that failed to attract any industry.

Later the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) tried to sell some of the focal points as residential colonies. However, the process got mired in litigation and land that was being used for agriculture by farmers is now lying unused despite expenditure of crores of public money.

The government should first put to optimum use the land already acquired from people before further acquisitions.

Meanwhile Bhandari responding to queries of newsmen told an agreement had been reached between the SAD and the BJP for posts of mayor. While the BJP would have its mayors in Jalandhar and Amritsar, the SAD mayors would be appointed in Patiala and Ludhiana.

Jalandhar and Amritsar will have deputy and senior mayors of the SAD and the BJP have same posts in Patiala and Ludhiana.

There were no differences between the SAD and the BJP over the matter, he said.

He added the BJP would get its share in chairimanships of various boards in proportion to its representation in the government.

The decision to appoint new chairmen would be finalised in the next 20 days, he said.


Marketing of Vegetables
State to adopt aggressive plan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh has said his department is all set to adopt an aggressive marketing strategy for the marketing of vegetables, fruits and other crops so that the income of the farmers is enhanced substantially.

In the city to attend a function, he revealed that effective steps were being taken to enhance the efficiency, management, production quality and marketing skills in Markfed and Milkfed to make them competitive with other such national and international organisations.

He said India had entered the world market economy and the whole country was to comply with the international rules of marketing, which could only be met by inducting modern management and marketing techniques.

The minister said a composite vegetable and fruit processing plant would be set up at focal point here by Markfed at a cost of Rs 20 crore shortly.

On power shortage, he said the SAD-BJP government had drawn up a comprehensive plan to execute new power projects with a capacity of approximately 5000 MW in the next four years.

He stressed upon the need for the installation of a nuclear power plant in the state based on safe technology available at the global level and said it was the only solution to increase the growth rate of Punjab.


Snap poll inevitable: Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Shiromani Akali Dal secretary-general Sukdhev Singh Dhindsa today said snap poll in the country was inevitable, irrespective of whether the Left withdraws support to the government at the Centre or not.

Dhindsa was here to attend the death anniversary function of Mohinder Kaur wife of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

Talking to reporters, he said a situation was emerging where the Congress may prefer to go for snap poll than succumb to the Left.

The SAD leader, however, observed that the Congress was unlikely to return to power as it had grown too weak. He said it would be the regional parties that would emerge stronger in these elections.

He added that the decision of a snap poll would not be out of any confidence in the electorate but to call an end to the bullying by the Left. “It would be more of a desperate act, a sort of opting for the lesser evil”, he remarked.

About the growing indiscipline in the party, particularly in regard to many rebels contesting against the official candidates in the municipal corporation elections, Dhindsa said such situations were not unusual.

When asked how the party was reconciling with them to join again, he said since nobody had any objection, everybody was welcome back.


SAD (A) shows door to Bittu
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 26
Citing disciplinary reasons, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today relieved Daljit Singh Bittu of the post of senior vice-president.

Party president Sirmranjit Singh Mann said the party had to take this step keeping in view the “suspected” activities of Bittu, who, despite warning, had refused to fall in line. Bittu, who held the post of senior vice-president of the SAD (A), was also holding the post of convener of the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC).

Mann had recently announced to break ties with the KAC and had also asked the partymen not to participate in any programmes of the KAC. But as Bittu refused to abandon the KAC, the party today announced his expulsion from the party.

Mann said Bittu was trying to dominate the party leadership and, hence, such a step had to be initiated.

Levelling serious charges against Bittu of having threatened partymen of dire consequences, Mann explained that he had allowed Bittu to join the SAD (A) last year considering that he had been rehabilitated and deserved a chance to reform.

Mann said even if Bittu realised and apologised now, he would not be allowed to join the SAD (A) fold, given the fact that he had been indulging in anti-party activities.

The SAD(A) chief said his party still stood for the agenda on which the KAC was formed. "However, the way secret meetings were held with the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana and representatives of Dera Sacha Sauda without taking the party into confidence had created suspicion," he added.

He said the party in its own capacity would continue seeking appropriate action against the dera chief through legal means.


Atrocities against Cong men
MLA to raise issue in House
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
Harminder Singh Jassi, local MLA, today said Congress MLAs would raise the issue related to the atrocities being committed on party workers in the next session of the Vidhan Sabha.

“What the SAD-BJP alliance has given to Punjab is goondaism, atrocities on people and false cases against Congress workers,” claimed Jassi at a press conference at the party office here. The Congress leader alleged that instead of maintaining law and order, the police had been entrusted with the duty to “serve the so-called political masters”.

Jassi, who presided over the function organised in connection with appointment of Parwinder Singh as block president, came out openly in support of Dera Sacha Sauda. “The act of dubbing innocent women followers of the dera as human bombs shows that the Punjab government has got frustrated over its non-performance,” he said, adding that these women were being defamed because of the fact that they supported the Congress candidate in the Assembly elections.

Jassi, who is related to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, when asked whether the dera managers would file a defamation suit, said this was the prerogative of the dera.

He said he could claim one thing with certainty that the SAD-BJP alliance had been ruling the state by using force illegally and had been trying to curb the dissenting voice being raised by certain quarters against its malfunctioning. He said Sukhbir Badal, officiating president, SAD, had made this thing clear during the last Assembly elections that if his (Sukhbir’s) party came into power, the party activists would be enjoying all sorts of immunities from law and they would be free to conduct themselves in a manner they would like to.


Ludhiana MC: 8 Independents join SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
Eight Independent councillors in the local municipal corporation today joined the SAD, taking its tally from 24 to 32. With this the SAD-BJP combine has 46 councillors in the House. Sukhbir Badal, officiating president of the SAD, welcomed the councillors at a special function organised here today.

Addressing the function, Sukhbir said all promises made with the people during the elections would definitely be fulfilled.

The Independents who joined the SAD were Daljit Singh Grewal, Ripjit Kaur Mali, Gurpreet Singh Gora, Kapil Kumar Sonu, Kanwaljit Singh Karbal, Swaranjit Singh Chahal, Pushpant Kaur Golbaria and Parminder Singh Soma. Among others who were present on the occasion were Hira Singh Gabria, jails minister, SGPC president Avtar Singh, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, Harish Rai Dhanda, CPS, and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, former minister.


Turban Controversy
No change in UK screening procedure
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 26
The department of transport, UK, has confirmed that there was no change in the existing procedures for screening turban-wearing Sikhs at its airports.

The United Sikhs in an email to The Tribune stated here today that an official from the transport security and emergency committee (TRANSEC), which draws up security guidelines for the United Kingdom airports, had confirmed that there was no need to pat down a Sikh’s turban because a hand held wand was sufficient to determine the source of the alarm.

The official further added that if the hand-held wand bleeps when it was waved above the turban, the passenger would be requested to untie his turban in a private area and the search would be conducted with dignity.

The Sikhs all over the world have been concerned as the federal aviation administration in the USA had announced new procedures due to the emerging threat of improvised explosive devices (IED) and chemical weapons that could be hidden under headgear by the militants.

The spokesman for the United Sikhs said the aviation administration in the USA had agreed to once again meet various Sikh organisations in order to chalk out guidelines to ensure that the patting down procedure was not arbitrary and discriminatory after the Sikh civil rights organisations lodged their protest in this regard.


Verification of Punjabis in UAE, Dubai jails starts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 26
To ascertain the identification of those persons of Punjab who have been languishing in prisons in the UAE and Dubai on account of losing their passports and other relevant documents, the Punjab Police has started verifying their character and addresses.

According to police sources here today, verification of 63 persons from Hoshiarpur district is being done and will be sent to the authorities concerned within a day. The number of such persons were more than 400 in the state and their verification has to be completed within two days and sent to the Indian embassies in the UAE and Dubai to get them released.

Sources said employers in various countries after providing them jobs had taken their passports and other relevant documents in their custody. The employees were being given only nominal amounts instead of their salaries.

The lists of such persons had been sent to the Union Home Ministry of India by the Indian embassies which had forwarded these to the states concerned.


Tur Dalits face social boycott
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 26
A few Dalits of Tur village, 25 km from here, are being socially boycotted by families of landlords for the past one week.

Rai SSP Pavan Kumar has instructed Goindwal DSP Baljinder Singh Chhapa to keep a close watch on the situation. It became tense when a landlord’s son allegedly misbehaved with Charanjit Kaur, a Dalit, who, along with her relative, had gone to the fields for answering the call of nature. The matter was reported to the Goindwal police, which booked the boy.

Today morning, when a group of Dalit women again went to the fields for answering the call of nature, eight armed Dalit boys threatened them with dire consequences. Sarpanch Joginder Singh is also a Dalit. Village elders have been trying hard to defuse the situation, the SSP added. 


We will oppose gurdwara Bill: Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann has expressed strong reservations on the proposed Sikh Gurdwara Bill and urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to invite a wider pluralistic circle of Sikh intellectuals to ratify the Bill.

“The definition of a Sikh in this Bill has been laid out as any person who believes in the 10 Sikh Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib, where as we in the SAD (A) and all Sikhs believe in the Akal Takhat Sikh Rehat Maryada,” a press statement by Mann said.

The definition would imply that a person who worshipped a living guru or idols and accorded outward affiliation to Guru Granth Sahib and 10 Sikh Gurus would also be considered a Sikh, Mann asserted.

Casting aspersions on the panel constituted to oversee the draft All-India Sikh Gurdwara Bill, 1999, Mann alleged: “One of the members has a low moral character. He has been accused of misguiding and using female PhD candidates. He has been booked by the CBI and facing trial in the Patiala CBI court.”

“We will oppose the Bill tooth and nail,” said Mann, adding that the SAD (A) objected to the fact that Badal had called only those people to discuss the Bill who were aligned to his party. 


Amritsar to Anandpur Sahib rail link proposed

Phagwara, August 26
The two main holy towns of Punjab, Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib, will be linked directly by rail in the near future, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal announced here yesterday.

Giving details to reporters here, Atwal said a proposal had been discussed with Railway Board chairman for the construction of a Rs 532-crore railway link between Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib by laying a 45-km railway line between Jejon and Anandpur Sahib via Garhshankar.

The two most important Sikh Takhts, Akal Takht and Takht Kesgarh Sahib, are at Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib, respectively. The only direct link between the two places is by road. — UNI


Farmers resolve to get SEZ policy scrapped
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The farmers’ convention organised by the Peoples Democratic Front of India concluded here today with a resolve to fight for the scrapping of the SEZ policy and oppose forcible acquisition of farmers’ land.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, who was the chief guest, said the mainstay of the First War of Independence waged in 1857 by Indians, was the farmers and rural people who were against imperialist ‘loot’ of the East India Company. Later, the farmers’ movement was launched by Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s uncle Ajit Singh under the slogan “Pagri Sambhal Jatta” against the British. He added that since then the farmers had continuously been fighting against the then Delhi rulers till today even after the British regime was replaced by indigenous rulers in 1947.

Dr B. D. Sharma, former development commissioner of the central government, said the absence of an official policy and non-implementation of the Usurious Loan Acts on farm credit left the farmers at the mercy of private lenders that led to high indebtedness of the farm sector and consequent suicides.

Four papers were presented and economist Sucha Singh Gill deliberated on vested interests behind the SEZ policies and the forces out to impose this policy.

He further stated SEZ was a ‘foreign’ territory within India where no rule of land shall apply. Limited democratic rights available to the labour class also vanished. These zones, thus shall be areas of blatant exploitation of labour, he added.

He stressed the need to reject the Land Acquisition Act 1894, which is being used to displace farmers under the garb of development and public interest.

He apprehended SEZs would not generate additional employment because the industrialists shifted their old enterprises in this territory and the state exchequer would face loss of Rs 1,02,621 crore in revenue.

He emphasized we needed labour intensive industries in cooperative and public sector instead of SEZs.

A member of the PDFI Arjun Prasad Singh, opposing anti- farmer and anti- labour policies of the zones advocated pro-people industrial policy. He averred present industrial policy snatched employment instead of generating new jobs and helped destroy livelihood of the masses. He appreciated the farmers’ struggles all over the country and called upon the farmer organisations to fight unitedly against the SEZ policy.

S. Jhansi of the Ryatu Coolie Sangthan from Andhra Pradesh condemned non- implemention of the Land Reforms Act even after 60 years of so- called independence but acquiring fertile land of farmers at throw-away price.

Harjinder Singh, a leader of milkmen and dairy union alleged the central and state governments were thrusting such policies that would destroy milkmen along with the retail sector of India.

Balkar Singh Dakaunda, member sub-committee,Dr Darshan Pal,Veera Reddy from Telengana Samiti, Chaudhary Harpal Singh from Haryana, Ruldu Singh Mansa and others also spoke. 


Traffic arrangements for Rakhar Punnia fair
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
Iqbal Singh, SSP, has said the district police had made security elaborate arrangements in view of the Rakhar Punnia fair being organised at Baba Bakala.

He said 40 traffic policemen under a DSP and a Sub-Inspector and in charge of traffic arrangement had been deployed for the smooth traffic in the area which had been divided into three zones.

He said the traffic coming from the Jalandhar side would be diverted from Beas-Sathiala to Mehta route.

The traffic route from Batala to Jalandhar would be from Batala to Sathiala to Bal Sarai and Dera Radha swami (Beas) and then to Jalandhar.

The third traffic route from Amritsar side would be diverted from Amritsar to Rayya and to Wadala Kalan to Rajdhan and Mehta. 


Brahmins up in arms against thrashing of priest
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 26
A large number of Brahmin organisations are up in arms against the beating up of a priest of a 300-year-old Shani Temple near the Golden Temple by a few persons here on Friday night.

Addressing mediapersons here today, president of the Punjab Pardesh Brahmin Sabha Naresh Kumar Dhami said the police had failed to arrest the five accused who wanted to grab the property by throwing out the priest who had been serving in the temple for the past many years. He said though the police had registered a case against the accused, it was not taking any action due to political pressure.

Dhami alleged that a Bajrang Dal activist was instigating the accused to terrorise the priests and devotees of the temple.

Giving the details he alleged that Pradeep Kumar, who runs a PCO, entered the temple along with 15 to 16 persons at around 10 pm on Friday and started beating priest Anil Sharma over the non-functioning of a water cooler installed by the a local hotelier. Devotees and a few other sewadars saved Anil and reported the matter to the police.

He further alleged that Pradeep Kumar had floated a parallel committee, Shani Mandir Sewa Samiti, to grab the management of the committee. He said the accused had also collected a huge amount of money from people on pretext of renovating the temple. He said they would soon file a case against the accused. He demanded the immediate arrest of the accused, besides providing police protection to the temple priest.


Renake to visit border villages today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 26
The commission for denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes will soon complete its survey in the left-out states with regard to the various schemes launched by the Central government for uplifting the social and economic status of these tribes.

Disclosing this, commission chairman Bal Krishan Renake said, “I will visit various villages of the district tomorrow and take stock of the problems being faced by the these tribes living in the border belt.”

Earlier, while addressing a conference at Circuit House here today Renake said the commission had already completed its survey in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh in this connection.

Renake said during his visit to various states the commission had found that a particular tribe in one state was brought under Scheduled Caste category while the similar tribe was registered under the Scheduled Tribe in other states.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Sansi tribe met Renake and urged him to include Sansi tribes under the Scheduled Tribe category. 


Yoga camp

Patiala, August 26
The Nishulk Patanjali Yog Kendra, Patiala, conducted a free yog vigyan shivir at Chitra Model School, under the supervision of Braham Kumar, a yoga teacher of the Patanjali Yog Samiti, Patiala, here yesterday.

In the shivir, Braham Kumar educated the participants about the techniques of pranayams. Seven light exercises for joints and seven aasanaas for overall fitness were taught. The shivir was organised by Avinash Kumar Gupta with the help of the management of Chitra Model School, besides yoga teachers Tarsem Lal and R.K. Dhablania. — TNS


Protest against dowry death, 3 rounded up

Phagwara, August 26
Relatives and supporters of Tejinder Kaur, a young married woman, today staged a noisy demonstration in front of the residence of her in-laws in the local posh locality, Hargobind Nagar, and later inside the police station to protest her alleged dowry death. Following the protest, the police rounded up three persons, including the husband of the deceased.

Tejinder Kaur’s father, Baldev Singh Walia, told newsmen that his daughter had been “poisoned to death by her dowry-greedy in-laws last night”. He disclosed that his daughter was married to Jasmit Singh of Phagwara on November 4, 2005, and that he had spent Rs 15-20 lakh on the marriage.

“But Jasmit Singh, who runs a public school, and other members of his family, started pestering Tejinder for more dowry and demanded a bigger car”, alleged the aggrieved father. He rued that he was not even informed about the death of his daughter. “My other relatives here informed me about it”, he said.

The police rounded up Jasmit Singh, Vashinder Singh, father-in-law, and Sartaj Kaur, mother-in-law. However, they were not arrested. The three have been booked under Section 304-B of the IPC for driving Tejinder Kaur to death and harassing her for dowry.

However, Jasmit Singh denied all allegations. He asserted that his wife was suffering from depression and had been recieving medical treatment. He further claimed that Tejinder had, in a bout of depression, consumed something poisonous which resulted in her death. — PTI


Animal cruelty Act: 3 held

Hoshiarpur, August 26
The Punjab Police today arrested three persons under Sections 4, 5, 11, and 29 of the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act after recovering 15 cows and calves from them.

The arrested were identified as Maha Singh and Chaur Singh alias Kaka, both of Naru Nangal village and truck driver Tej Bahadur of UP. — UNI


Punjabi varsity VC’s post a crown of thorns
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The post of vice-chancellor in a university was once considered as sacred. However, VCs of Punjabi University, Patiala, are being removed unceremoniously after levelling charges of corruption or moral turpitude by successive governments for the past 15 years.

The trend started in the mid nineties. Joginder Singh Puar took over as VC of Punjabi University in May 1993 by the Congress government led by Beant Singh. He got two successive three-year terms as VC. However, in 1999 the SAD-BJP government was in power. He paid the price for being the appointee of previous Congress government.

Two cases were registered against him in 1999. He was accused of making appointments in violation of rules by relaxing qualifications and for paying inflated rates for tents used during the national science congress organised on the campus in 1996.

The proceedings in the cases registered against Puar have now been stayed by the Supreme Court.

After him, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, a retired IAS officer, took over as VC in 1999 for three years. However, just a few months before his term was to expire, the Congress government came to power. He was removed unceremoniously just one- and- half- month before the expiry of his term. Charges of moral turpitude and attempt to murder were levelled against him and cases were registered by the police.

H.S. Bhatti now dean, student welfare, in the university was allegedly beaten up by some student leaders. The VC was made a co-accused in the attempt to murder case registered on the complaint of Bhatti.

After the removal of Ahluwalia the previous Congress government appointed Swaran Singh Boparai as VC in August 2002. He is serving the second term.

However, the history seems to be repeating itself at the university campus. The SAD-BJP government is targeting the appointee of the previous Congress government. The registrar of the university, B.S. Sandhu has been picked by the Vigilance. The powers of the VC have been curtailed by the university Syndicate dominated by ruling party and the government.

The issue of making illegal appointments is the main charge against the Boparai.

Insiders in the university blame it on strong politics affiliations prevailing in the university faculty and the non-teaching staff. This is seriously affecting the reputation of the university which was set up to redeem the status of Punjabi languages and education in the Malwa region.


Teachers to observe black day on Sept 5
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
Members of the mathematic teachers’ association, Bathinda unit, have decided to observe Teachers’ Day that falls on September 5 as the black day to lodge their protest against the state governments failure to pay salaries for the past three months.

General secretary of the association Sukhdev Mittal said here today that about 50,000 government school teachers had started taking loans to meet their day-to-day expenses. He added that on the one hand, the Punjab government was expecting us to play a role of a nation builder on the other hand the state government had denied salaries for months together.


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