P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


16 booked for Nihang clash
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The police today booked 16 persons for the bloody clash among Nihangs on the Baba Budha Dal premises here yesterday that left four nihangs dead and two seriously injured.

All those booked are the members of the Baba Udhay Singh group. They have been booked on a complaint of Darshan Singh, uncle of Baba Balbir Singh, who was among the injured.

Sources said the police had detained five persons and seized arms and ammunition. The main accused in the case, Baba Udhay Singh and Baba Surjeet Singh, have absconded.

Meanwhile, Baba Balbir Singh, who lost four of his kin, told The Tribune that the Baba Udhay Singh and Baba Surjeet Singh had come yesterday to kidnap Baba Santa Singh, who was undergoing treatment here. They tried to take him away but his supporters bolted the room in which Baba Santa Singh was kept.

This infuriated the supporters of Baba Udhay Singh who fired indiscriminately at his men, he alleged.

Senior superintendent of police S.K. Asthana said immediate provocation seemed to be cause of the crime. A case under Sections 302, 148, 149 of the IPC and the Arms Act had been registered against the accused.

The security of Baba Santa Singh and Baba Balbir Singh has been beefed up. The security at the residence of Baba Udhay Singh has also been increased to prevent retaliatory action.

The four victims of the clash were cremated today under heavy police security. The sources said the police prevented Nihangs from coming to the town to avoid any toward incident.

Various Akali leaders, including SGPC president Avatar Singh Makkar, minister of cooperatives Kanwaljit Singh, former MLA Surjeet Singh Rakhra and Bibi Jagir Kaur enquired after Baba Balbir Singh.

Police disarms Nihangs
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, September 22
To prevent any untoward incident in the region, the district police authorities have started disarming Nihangs putting up at the headquarters of the Budha Dal sect here.

Heavy security arrangements have been made around the headquarters. So far around six weapons belonging to Nihangs had been seized. Earlier, during the Baisakhi festival this year, a bloody clash had taken place at the headquarters. A group of Nihangs, led by Baba Surjeet Singh, who was in charge of the horse section, had allegedly made an attempt to kill Baba Balbir Singh, who had been nominated successor to Baba Santa Singh.


5,30,000 cases pending in various courts
More judges for state soon: Chief Justice
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The large pendency of cases in the lower courts of the state is baffling. Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Vijender Kumar, while talking to newsmen here today said 5,30,000 cases were pending in various courts of the state.

Such a large pendency was basically due to shortage of judges. Presently there were just 250 judges in the state and they had to deal with lakhs of cases.

To tackle the pendency of cases, a proposal had been mooted to recruit more judges in district courts. Besides, committees of deputy commissioners, SSPs and district session judges would discuss the cases that were more than 10 years’ old.

The mobile courts would also prove useful in reducing the pendency of cases.

First mobile court from Oct 2

The Punjab government is all set to have its first mobile court in the state. The court will be started at Talwara in Hoshiarpur district from October 2 as an endeavour to provide fast justice at the doorstep of people living in the remotest areas of the state.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced while presiding over a function organised by the District Bar Association (DBA), Patiala, here today.

Addressing the gathering that included judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the District Court, Badal said the state government was fully committed to work in coordination with judiciary.

The Chief Minister called upon the legal fraternity to play a pro-active role in society. He also appealed to the lawyers to come forward in providing maximum concessions in terms of fee charges to the poor to help them avail justice.

He appreciated the initiatives taken up by Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain, for creating awareness among the people of Punjab against social evils like female foeticide and drug addiction.

Responding to the demands raised by president of the DBA Rakesh Gupta, the Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 30 lakh for a hi-tech IT library at the judicial complex here. He also announced a grant of Rs 40 lakh for the construction of new judicial court complex at Rajpura.

Chief Justice Jain lauded the Chief Minister for showing special concern for the welfare of the judiciary. He thanked Badal for releasing the requisite grant for the construction of judicial complexes and lawyers’ chambers in the state.

Referring to the possibilities of new cases related to cyber crime, IT sector and the Intellectual Right Protection, the Chief Justice advised the lawyers to equip themselves with the best tools of the library and IT for updating their day-to-day knowledge.

The CM honoured the judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court and the officers of the district administration.

Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, chairman, Building Committee, Punjab & Haryana High Court, chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, MLA, Rajpura, Raj Kumar Khurana, advocate-general H.S. Mattewal, chairman, Bar Council, Ram Avtar Gupta and secretary, DBA, R.N. Kaushal.


Need to weed out corruption from Indian
system: Swraj Paul

Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 22
There is dire need to weed out corruption from the Indian system. This was stated by UK-based NRI Lord Swraj Paul while speaking to mediapersons after formally inaugurating the already functional Caparo PTU School of Manufacturing and Material Technology in Kapurthala district on this afternoon.

Hailing from Jalandhar city, steel tycoon Lord Swraj Paul said the Indian economy was developing at such a speed that it was emerging as an investment destination for other countries.

At the same time, he said India needed to continue with reforms and weed out corruption, which was eating into our system like cancer.

Lord Swraj Paul said former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam would deliver lectures as a visiting professor to students of Caparo school in the near future. Dr Kalam had responded positively to the proposal.

The chairman of UK-based Caparo group, Lord Swraj Paul further said talks were on with the present state government to invest in Punjab.

He said education should be the main area of concentration for further development of the country. He hoped his Caparo group would emerge as a leader in the automobile sector in India by 2009.

Later, he also visited the Apeejay College of Fine Arts in Jalandhar. Floral welcome and lighting of the ceremonial lamp marked the beginning of a programme organised in his honour.


CM: Micro planning to boost development
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 22
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said micro-level planning was being done to carry out comprehensive development of the entire state.

Badal, while talking to mediapersons at the house of former MLA Kushal Deep Singh Dhillon, said different central and state government agencies had been engaged to prepare blueprint of micro-planning for development in each block of the state. He added that the entire exercise would take about two months and after that development would be started on a war footing.

He said Guru Nanak Dev University had prepared one such blueprint for the Valtoha block of Amritsar district. The same blue print could be replicated in other blocks with the required changes.

He said about 40 cities of state had been selected for comprehensive development. These cities would be totally covered under drinking water, under-ground sewerage and waste management facilities. The ground water recharging arrangements would also be made in these cities.

Seeks heritage status for mela

Badal announced that he would personally ask the central government to accord the status of national heritage festival to annual Baba Farid Mela being held here.

Addressing the huge gathering in the local stadium after inaugurating the mela, the CM said the organising of Baba Farid mela would become relevant only when the people incorporated his teaching in their lives.

He honoured three folk singers Raj Tiwari, Harinder Sandhu, Kulwinder Kanwal and sportsperson Sadhu Singh and Parminder Singh and sculptor Gurmail Singh. 


Youth take out rally to remember Bhagat Singh
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, September 22
Punjab Legislative Assembly speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon today termed Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh as a symbol of courage and patriotism and emphasised the need for social transformation to create equal opportunities for various sections of the society thereby realising the dreams of the great martyrs of the freedom struggle.

He was talking to the mediapersons at Jallianwala Bagh after flagging off a youth awareness rally dedicated to the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Former national athlete (sports officer) Inderjit Singh Bajwa led the patriotic rally by carrying a mashal (torch). Boys donning saffron turbans in Bhagat Singh style, wearing caps like Sukhdev and Rajguru and carrying plaques displaying Bhagat Singh’s thoughts marched to the function raising slogans, ‘Inqalab zindabad’.

Kahlon said on September 27 a mashal rally from all across Punjab would reach Jallainwala Bagh. A mashal would be taken from the ancestral house of Sukhdev to the Jallainwala Bagh on the day. Similar mashals from the ancestrol towns or villages of the martyrs of the freedom struggle of Punjab would be taken out. “The main function would be held on September 28, which would be presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.A coin to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh would also be released.

People urged to illuminate houses

Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu today urged people to illuminate their houses on September 27 and 28 to observe the 100th birth anniversary of martyrs Saheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. He was presiding over a meeting with the representatives of non-government organisations, political parties, nagar councils and panchayats regarding the celebrations to mark the 100th birth anniversary of the martyrs.

Meanwhile, an exhibition was organised in connection with the birth centenary celebrations of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at Virsa Vihar Centre here today. Cabinet minister for health and family welfare Laxmi Kanta Chawla inaugurated the exhibition.


CPI against changes in Jallianwala Bagh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Punjab unit of the CPI has warned the state government against tampering with the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in any manner.

Secretary of the unit Jagroop Singh said here today the government authorities, including the district administration of Amritsar and Tourism Department, were bent upon in changing the façade of the memorial. “It would not be allowed at any cost,” said Jagroop Singh.

“Jallianwala Bagh is a unique symbol of the freedom movement heritage in the country and making any change in its structure will be a blunder,” he said.

He said on the one hand A.B. Bardhan, general secretary of the CPI, had urged the Prime Minister to urge the Pakistan Government to preserve the house and school of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Banga village in that country as a common heritage of freedom movement and on the other hand, Punjab Government officials were out to tamper with the Jallianwala Bagh memorial.


Dalit boy attempts immolation
Bipin Bhardwaj/Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 22
Forced by the village panchayat to confess stealing of a mobile phone of his fellow labourer, a Dalit teenager allegedly attempted self-immolation at Matholla village in the Shri Hargovindpur area this morning. The victim is struggling for life with 90 per cent burn injuries at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar.

Mandeep Singh, alias Sonu (14), was reportedly accused of stealing a mobile phone of Sawinder Singh, alias Kala, a rajmistri, a couple of days ago. Kala took up the matter with the sarpanch, following which Sonu and another of his fellow labourer Bawa were produced before the panchayat.

Family members alleged that the panchayat members forced the two boys to confess their crime, which they did not. The panchayat took up the matter with the police and both boys were questioned at Harchowal police post on Friday. The police, however, let off Bawa in the morning and Sonu late last night.

Gurdeep Kaur and Kulwant Kaur, aunts of Sonu, alleged that following harassment by the panchayat and the police, Sonu took the step. Sonu poured kerosene on his body and set him afire at about 6 am today, the family members said. SSP, Batala, RN Dhoke, denied any torture of the boy. He said an inquiry has been marked to a DSP concerned.


Ex-servicemen to be members of panels
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
Representatives of ex-servicemen will be made members of the district planning boards and the district grievances committees in the state.

This was stated here today by MP from Sangrur and secretary general of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa while inaugurating the office building of the district unit of the Indian Ex-Services League, Chandigarh and Punjab. An amount of Rs 1 lakh had been given by Dhindsa from his Member Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for the construction of the office room.

Earlier, Dhindsa participated in a function organised by the Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Truck Operators Union at Bhawanigarh and heard their grievances. He also distributed cheques worth Rs 16 lakh from his MPLAD fund among panchayats.


Balle, balle: Ist book on UK bhangra

London, September 22
The popularity of the pulsating, foot-tapping music of rural Punjab has been charted by a Manchester-based academic of Indian origin in the first book on British bhangra that traces its origins and spread across the country.

The book, titled “Bhangra: Birmingham and Beyond”, is written by Rajinder Dudrah, head of the Department of Drama and senior lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of Manchester. The book was launched at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

The book tracks the British bhangra phenomenon since the 1970s to the present time when bhangra artistes from Birmingham and other places in Britain figure prominently in Indian films.

Speaking to IANS, Dudrah said: “The book is an introduction to British bhangra music, using the city of Birmingham as a starting point to map out the journey that UK bhangra has travelled, from its folk beginnings in the Punjab, to a fusion-based music in post-war Britain, to now in the 2000s. The dance form has crossed over into the mainstream through American hip-hop artistes and others using the bhangra beat and sounds.”

People from Punjab have been one of the largest groups that migrated to Britain. They brought with them the beats of bhangra, which over the years, has grown into a distinct genre on the British music scene. It continues to have close links with bhangra artistes in India.

Dudrah said: “British bhangra has now come full circle. Whereas it started off in the post-war period as folk dance and music from the Punjab, in the present it has forged a path for itself, making it quite fashionable.

“British bhangra owes its roots and developments, initially, to the folk dances and music from the Punjab, not least the sound of the dhol. Punjabi folk music was used and transformed by the early pioneer bands and artistes in Britain in the 1970s such as Anari Sangeet Party and Bhujangy Group, both from Birmingham, and woman singer Mohinder Kaur Bhamra.

“They laid the foundation for the folk music and lyrics to be developed further and fused with rock and pop, disco, soul, RNB, and dance music from around the world in the eighties and onwards.

Earlier this year, the three British bhangra singers RDB from Yorkshire collaborated on and sang a track Rabba, Rabba for the film Namastey London starring Akshay Kumar.

Bhangra has made it to the mainstream music scene in the west as well. Dudrah added: “Thanks to the global success of the track Mundian to bach ke (beware of the boys) by Coventry-based Panjabi MC, especially after it was remixed with rapping by the US artist JayZ, British bhangra music can now be heard in mainstream film soundtracks, in global advertising, the catwalks of major international fashion shows, and even in the multi-million dollar US rap and hip-hop music industry sectors.” — IANS


43 devotees injured in road accident
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 22
At least 43 Sikh devotees were injured when the vehicle of kar sewa belonging to Dera Baba Jagtar Singh hit a tree on the Majitha road, near here, today.

Dr R.P.S. Boparai, head of the Orthopedics Department, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said 21 devotees were discharged after being given first aid.

He said the accident occurred when the driver of the vehicle tried to save a cyclist.

Most of the devotees were brought from Batala and Gurdaspur areas for undertaking kar sewa at the Golden Temple and Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh Shaheedan.

The names of some of the victims include Sardul Singh, Daljit Kaur, Avtar Singh, Baljit Kaur, Balwinder Singh, Balwant Singh and Rajinder Kumar.


Ration for mid-day meal rotting
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
Ration worth crores stored in various schools of the state under the Mid-day Meal scheme has been rotting in the absence of funds for cooking the food. The scheme, aimed to check the growing number of school dropouts, has been non-operational at most of the schools for nearly two months now.

Sources said for the past two months, the government had not released the grant under the scheme forcing district education officers of various districts to verbally order discontinuation of the scheme.

Larva-infested rice was found in one of the primary schools. The sources said the ration at other schools was also rotting or on the verge of getting decayed.

Inquiries have revealed the government was supposed to release a grant worth Rs 2 per student for cooking the food. Some school heads and teachers paid money from their own pockets to cook the food.

Official sources said the grant might be released shortly to avoid decaying of the ration.

School officials are a worried lot as they do not have proper storage facilities. An official of the district education department, wishing not to be quoted, confirmed the dismal state of affairs at most of the schools.


Power engineers in quandary
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The recent order of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) regarding tariff hike has left engineers of the PSEB in a quandary.

They are of the opinion that the commission has imposed cuts on various vital proposed expenditures declared by the board in its annual revenue requirement report. If these cuts are carried out, then the people of the state would have to be subjected to unbearable power cuts.

The commission has been in favour of cuts in the proposed expenses on coal by Rs 514 crore, power purchase from other states by Rs 724 crore, employee cost by Rs 312 crore, interest repayment by Rs 641 crore and on renovation and modernisation of the department by Rs 25 crore.

The cut in the proposed expenditures is highly unviable, the engineers stated.

On the one hand, the government was not allowing the PSEB to impose power cuts.


Importance of riaz emphasised
Bibi Jasbir Kaur Khalsa and Dr Gurnam Singh (right) honour singer Surinder Singh at Punjabi University, Patiala, on Saturday.
Bibi Jasbir Kaur Khalsa and Dr Gurnam Singh (right) honour singer Surinder Singh at Punjabi University, Patiala, on Saturday. —A Tribune photograph

Patiala, September 22
On the concluding day of Gurmat Sangeet Competition being held at Punjabi University, a renowned musician and classical vocalist Surinder Singh delivered a discourse on shabad kirtan performance.

While elaborating on the main features, he described some other essential qualities of music of kirtan like bani, musicology, use of string instruments and importance of riaz.

More than 43 contestants performed in junior and senior categories in shabad gayan. In junior category, Satnam Singh bagged the first position, Sekhawat Ali remained second and Surjit Singh and Jasmine Kaur got third and fourth positions respectively. These students will be honoured with cash prizes on the occasion of Gurmat Sangeet Utsav.

On the occasion, Bibi Jasbir Kaur Khalsa, chairperson of Sri Guru Gian Parkash Foundation, New Delhi, and Dr Gurnam Singh professor and head, Department of Gurmat Sangeet, honoured some prominent personalities for their contribution in the field of gurmat sangeet. —TNS


HC denies relief to killer mother
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
How would you explain the act of a mother who conspired with her paramour to kill her own children.

Brutal seems to be a mild word for the soul-stirring incident. And the act becomes all the more ghastly when you come to know that the children murdered were only eight and six years of age.

As if this is not enough, you are shocked still further by the temerity and utter insensitivity of the mother in seeking relief from the high court against the trial court’s verdict that held her guilty.

A division Bench comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice A.N. Jindal, in an order dated September 13, found no merit in the appeal of Karamjit Kaur, the mother sentenced to life imprisonment by a Ludhiana trial court, and Tarsem Singh, the man who acted as a conduit between Karamjit and her paramour Shamsher Singh.

What nailed the lies of Karamjit, who claimed she was innocent, were her “love letters” to Shamsher Singh that are outrightly disgusting for their contents.

“I would meet you today at Mullanpur Tempo Adda between 5 pm and 6 pm. My children would also be with me. Not only I can die for you but also even can kill my children for you. You please wait for me at Mullanpur Adda,” reads one of the letters penned by Karamjit to Shamsher Singh on April 6, 2001.

And the children, Gurpreet Kaur (8), and Sukhpreet Singh (6) were found murdered the very next day.

Their bodies were recovered from a passage leading to Dhata village near Jagraon.

Interestingly, Karamjit was also found crying in a semi-conscious state near the bodies.

Incidentally, the children’s father, Bhagwant Singh, was serving in the Army.

The prosecution brought many witnesses, including uncles of children’s father, to prove their case before the trial court.

In the proceedings before the high court, counsel for Karamjit tried to raise an emotional plea asserting that a mother could never have thought of killing her minor children.

The counsel tried to pass the buck on to the complainants (uncles of Karamjit’s husband Bhagwant Singh) only, averring that they belonged to a jat family and suspected the paternity of the children.

Tarsem Singh, the conduit, was also found on no better footing.

Despite his counsel’s fervent plea that he had nothing to do with the murders, the division Bench refused to tow their line.

The Bench observed that it was apparent from the contents of “love-letters” that Karamjit Kaur and Shamsher Singh, also an accused in the case, were deeply in love and appellant Tarsem was the facilitator.


CJ lays stone of lawyers’ chambers
Tribune News Service
Schoolchildren greet Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain in Rajpura on Saturday
Schoolchildren greet Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain in Rajpura on Saturday. —Tribune photo by J.S. Virdi

Rajpura, September 22
Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain laid the foundation stone of the lawyer's chamber, which is being brought up in the modern judicial complex, here today.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Justice said the modern judicial complex was being set up with an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore and it would be spread over 5.5 acres. He said that it would house residences for Judges along with six courts and 129 air-conditioned chambers for the lawyers.

Chief parliamentary secretary and local legislator Raj Khurana said the buildings of the old judicial complex had withered with time and it had become essential to construct a new juridical complex in this sub-divisional headquarters. He said with elaborate arrangements being made for the seating of visitors and other basic necessities, the judicial complex would become a model complex.

The Chief Justice was accompanied by Justice M. S. Gill, District and Sessions Judge Inderjit Singh, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) D. P. Singla and other functionaries of the judicial and civil administration.


Man gets life sentence for murder
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 22
In a murder case, the Court of District and Sessions Judge Rekha Mittal today awarded life sentence to one Ram Bhajan, a resident of Ahmedpur village under Sadar police station.

In a complaint related to the case made to the Sadar police station, sarpanch of Ahmedpur, Inderjit Singh had stated that at around 7:30 pm on June 29, 2006, he was passing near the house of nambardar Gurbaksh Singh when he heard cries for help from inside.

He mentioned that when he went inside he saw Ram Bhajan attacking Gurbaksh Singh with a baton. He said he had also injured Gurbaksh's daughters-in-law, Kuldeep Kaur, Kulwant Kaur and Harinder Kaur. Inderjit Singh was also hurt in the incident.

After the attack, Gurbaksh Singh was taken to Civil Hospital, Ropar, from where he was referred to PGI, Chandigarh, where he was declared brought dead.

The court sentenced Ram Bhajan to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 and awarded another three years imprisonment and imposed Rs 500 fine on him. Ram Bhajan worked for Gurbaksh Singh as a farm hand and they had some dispute over money.


Lawyers accuse Bar president of acting
without consent

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The District Bar Association (DBA) members held a meeting here today under N.S. Saidipur, vice president of the Association, in which the executive of the DBA alleged that Rakesh Gupta, present president of the DBA had allowed Radical Builders, a construction company engaged in various building works within DBA Complex, to lift construction material, which was lying in the complex for the past one year without the consent of the executive body and other members of the association.

N.S. Saidipur told Chandigarh Tribune that Radical Builders had constructed the lawyers’ chambers and still a huge amount was due against Rakesh Gupta although the construction firm failed to complete the assigned work on time.

The executive members also said Rakesh Gupta had also released the security amount, which was completely illegal and malafide in nature. The former president of the DBA, Balbir Singh Billing, had already sent a notice to Radical Builders to deposit the excess amount but that was not deposited. Due to that the material was kept in DBA Complex, which, however, was lifted by Radical Builders on the alleged instructions of the present president Rakesh Gupta.

Radical Builders could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. The executive members also claimed that Rakesh Gupta was misusing his powers pertaining to the allotment of chambers for lawyers.

Meanwhile, the DBA’s executive committee has also sent a petition to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice detailing Rakesh Gupta’s alleged ‘misdeeds’. A copy of the petition has also been sent to the District and Sessions Court and the Patiala deputy commissioner.


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