C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Inquiry ordered into Army-MES fracas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Army has ordered a court of inquiry (COI) to ascertain facts and fix responsibility into the fracas between personnel of the military police (CMP) and some civilian employees of the Military Engineer Service (MES) at Chandi Mandir late last night.

The COI has been convened on the orders of the Station Commander. An officer of the rank of Colonel has been made presiding officer. The MES personnel had alleged that some of them were assaulted by CMP personnel manning the transport check post on Madhumati Marg on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway. The MES quarters are located close to the post.

The MES workers allege that the CMP refused to allow the vehicle of their guest to a Ramlila show in the MES Colony, which led to the tussle.

Some Army personnel claim that the MES initiated the fracas after they saw a CMP jawan, against whom they bore a grudge, and targeted him. They maintained that the MES employees’ guest had returned from the gate of his own accord following the melee.

Meanwhile, two MES employees who were hospitalised after the fracas, have been discharged. A CMP jawan was also hospitalised after he sustained injuries in the incident.

The situation was defused after the CO of the Western Command Provost Unit, the Garrison Engineer and other officers reached the site.



7 employees booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
The police today booked seven MES employees for rioting, assaulting a public servant, criminal intimidation and creating a ruckus at the Chandi Mandir cantonment, last night.

A case was registered following a complaint by head constable of the military police Naushad Mohammad who alleged that a group of 12 persons tried to enter the restricted area and when he prevented them from doing so, they thrashed him up. He could identify seven of them.



Senior citizens’ cell in distress
Geetanjali Gayatri/TNS

Panchkula, October 21
Short on hands, the Senior Citizens’ Security Cell of the district police is hard-pressed for time as calls pour in for help from all corners.

Volunteers from within the force have not signed up so far and the mobiles of those with the cell, haven’t begun to ring yet. With no dedicated staff, this task becomes secondary if a VIP is visiting the city or the force is busy with security arrangements elsewhere.

SP Sandeep Khirwar says he has tried to reorganise the cell. “I have checked over-deployment and now there are cops enough to manage the workload. We have, in fact, received letters from residents appreciating the services rendered by our men. We are working on making the cell more responsive,” he says.

The city has been divided into five zones. The cops make telephone calls to check on the welfare of “adopted” citizens and also go house to house in their designated areas to check on the elderly.

From 14 , the number of those deployed at the cell has come down to nine, but there have been only five cops running the cell since the last two weeks, the others being busy with the Navratra mela at Mansa Devi.

“We have a pool of 800 senior citizens in the city who stay alone, that is without families, because the children are out. We keep in touch with them by calling them up,” says ASI Ramesh Chander, cell in charge.

The cell gets 10-odd calls a day. Since health is the single most important concern among the senior citizens, the police plays social worker for the 60-plus residents -- getting them medicines, admitting them to hospital, taking them to a doctor for a checkup etc.

At present, the cell has only five men and four women personnel. Senior citizens can get themselves registered with the police by calling on 100, 6532964, 6544101. They can e-mail at ssppanchkula@yahoo.co.in



In Basta
Police dilly-dallying helped murder suspects flee
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu/TNS

Chandigarh, October 21
Five years gone yet the Chandigarh Police is clueless about the whereabouts of a domestic Nepalese servant and his wife, prime suspects in the murder of a 78-year-old widow, Prakash Kaur. The latter was found brutally done to death at her Sector 15 residence on May 24, 2002.

The accused, 28-year-old Som Bahadur and his wife Deepa, were declared proclaimed offenders in December, 2002. It was suspected they had taken refuge in Nepal after the murder. Hence, the proceedings in the case have virtually hit a roadblock.

Prakash Kaur lived alone in the house. She was killed on May 23. The crime came to light when her neighbours tried to contact her on the evening of May 24 and discovered she was dead. The police registered a case under Sections 460 and 302 ( theft and murder) of the Indian Penal Code on a complaint by the victim’s sister-in-law, Sharanjit Kaur, a Mohali resident.

The victim’s two sons were abroad. Prakash Kaur’s body was found lying in a pool of blood in her bedroom and it bore injury marks inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon. There were wounds on her neck and the face. A blood-stained knife was found near the body. The police believed she was killed between 9 pm and 11 pm.

The house was ransacked and jewellery boxes were lying open on the bed and cash was missing too. There was no sign of forced entry which turned the police suspicion on Som Bahadur, the servant, whose name was not registered with the police.

He had been begun working in the house for two months and living there along with his wife and two sons.

The family disappeared after the crime. The police found various slips from the house, which indicated that Som Bahadur was operating under different names.

The police said the servant had worked in another house in the same Sector as well as in Sectors 9 and 19 and a restaurant in Sector 17.

The police faced criticism in not sending a team to the Indo-Nepal border. The investigating officials were hauled up by their seniors for the lackadaisical attitude.

The police officials contacted their Uttar Pradesh counterparts and gave details on the suspects, but it was too late.



Separated from child, woman kills herself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Harsimrat Kaur, (30), mother of an eight-year-old son, consumed poison at her Sector 11 residence late last night. She was found writhing in pain by her mother and was rushed to the PGI, where she died.

Harsimrat was living with her mother after a divorce in 2000. Her son lives with her husband. She took the extreme step as she was depressed on being separated from her child, said the police.

In a statement to the magistrate, Harsimrat stated that she had no desire to live. Her father, Mohinderpal Singh, had died and her brothers lived away from their mother. 



October favourite month for bomb strikes
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
If bombing has become the sole and most potent weapon of terrorist organisations, October has been their favourite strike month.

Besides bombings that left Karachi and Pakistan bleeding last week, India too had its share of bomb blasts in Ajmer and Ludhiana this month. Some of the cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, have born major brunt of terrorist strikes as records put the number of lives lost in bombings since January, 2004 at 3700.

Bombing, admit police officials, is the most economical and potent weapon used by terrorists who have of late discarded the use of other weaponry, including assault rifles.

To send a message to the global community that they are still alive and kicking, rudiments of erstwhile terrorist groups and supported by new organisations from across the borders on either flank of the country, bombing suits them the most.

Bombing not only needs minimum of investment in terms of finance, planning and personnel, it also makes it impossible for police forces to detect the potential threats before they strike.

Increased use of both ammonium nitrate-based intensive explosive devices and RDX in crowded areas has proved a lethal success. Some of the better trained terrorist organisations have been using with professional acumen the remote controlled devices to trigger series of blasts as were witnessed in Mumbai and Delhi.

Though the intelligence agencies in Punjab, Mariana and Chandigarh besides the central agencies suspect direct or indirect involvement of ultra Muslim outfits and intelligence agencies of country’s immediate neighbours, they also do not rule out the podium being provided by the rudiments of virtually eliminated terrorist organisations.

Interestingly, another revelation of study of bomb blasts in the past few years will reveal that both July and October continue to be favourite strike months for the terrorists.

If one looks back, a series of blasts had rocked Delhi in October, 1997. Bombing terror returned to the capital again in October, 2005 in Sarojini Nagar, Pahar Ganj and Gobindpuri, leaving 59 dead and 160 others injured.

In October, 2005, 12 policemen were killed in bombing by Maoist terrorists in Jharkhand.

This year, October already had its share of blasts, both in India and neighbouring Pakistan. Even Chandigarh had witnessed October bloodbath some years ago when terrorists exploded bombs at a Ramleela in the city.

In Mumbai, terrorists had struck in a big way in 2006, but in advance

(September-end) as the bombing in Malegaon left 30 dead and 100 others injured.

September to December is the festival season when the shopping centres, places of worship and even railway stations, bus stands and airports overflow with holiday revellers. “Choosing this festival season for their strikes is understandable,” admit police officials but still maintain that “because of crowding it is impossible to spot a man carrying a bomb in his bag or wrapped around his waist. Since festival season marks the beginning of winter season, most of the bomb carriers also use shawls and blankets for camouflaging.



Bobby Jindal’s kin go down memory lane
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

On the upswing

A picture of Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, USA, during a visit to his maternal uncle’s house in Sector 21, Chandigarh.
A picture of Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, USA, during a visit to his maternal uncle’s house in Sector 21, Chandigarh.

Chandigarh, October 21
Even the Indians in the country and outside went overboard in celebrating the resounding win of Bobby Jindal as the Louisiana governor, it was a quiet celebration at his maternal uncle’s house in Sector 21 here.

In fact, nostalgia enveloped S.C. Gupta, a retired Hindustan Motors top executive, and his doctor wife Usha, as Raj and Amar Jindal, Bobby’s parents, conveyed the news about his election to them over telephone this morning.

“It is a proud moment for every Indian and reaffirms Louisiana residents’ faith in Bobby’s no-nonsense approach to the public issues,” Gupta told Chandigarh Tribune here this evening bowing in gratitude to the Almighty for the “splendid success” of the son-of-the-soil.

Flipping through the family albums showing Bobby is different poses as a toddler and adult, Guptas went down the memory lane and shared fond memories of the “exceptional child”, whose intellect was far beyond his years.

“He was not a playful child like other children and his inquisitive mind always yearned for more knowledge particularly about Indian mythology, including Ramayana and Mahabharta,” said Usha adding that it was coincidence that his win had coincided with the festival of victory of “good over evil”- Dussehra. In fact, the news today was a perfect gift for Usha, who remained on fast for nine navratras.

Guptas said Bobby shared a special bond with his maternal grandfather K.S.R. Gupta, who grounded him in spiritualism, which seemed to have stood him in good stead in his public career culminating in his elevation to the post of the Louisiana governor.

“Commitment and humility set him apart, “ says Gupta, who met him in 2005 in New Delhi. Though he lost the elections four year ago by a whisker, his commitment to the people and hard work saw him win hands down this time.

We could see the victory coming but were waiting for the official announcement, Gupta added with a smile, who could not watch the momentous moment on TV as there was no cable connection in the wake of the renovation of the house.

About celebrations, the Guptas, who have recently shifted from Chennai to Chandigarh, said they were expecting the Jindal family, including Bobby, for the wedding of their son next month for the “grand family get-together”.



Kill social evils, not just Ravana: Bhatti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The 16th annual celebrations of the Sri Saraswati Dushehra Committee, Sector 24, were marked by an impressive show based on anti-terrorism.

Vipin Pubby, resident editor of Indian Express, was the chief guest while noted comedian Jaspal Bhatti presided over the function. President of the Sri Saraswati Dushehra Committee Jai Ram Joshi said terrorism was the single most potent challenge to the humanity in the modern times. Joshi called upon Indians to fight it out against terrorism with the same spirited resilience, which the humble forces of Lord Rama displayed in bringing to an end the sinister designs of Ravana. Vipin Pubby also endorsed the concerns of Joshi while terming terrorism as a major challenge for the community at large.

Clad in blacks, Bhatti's adharmi sena stormed into the Dussehra grounds in Sector 24 and posed challenge to Lord Rama's sena to kill the modern day "monsters" before burning the effigies. Ultimately, the organisers had to bribe the "intruders" to get them aside.

Speaking to the media later, Bhatti said the purpose of the whole exercise was to drive home the point that mere burning of effigies will not end the vices like corruption, red tape, terrorism, communalism and poverty. "We have to kill the real enemy of mankind, which stands personified in form of adharmi sena," said Bhatti.

Darshan Lal Kundra, president, employment cell, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, Chandigarh SSP Sudhanshu Srivastava, Col B.S. Sandhu, CMD, WWICS Group of Companies, Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice-chairman, Rayat and Bahra Group of Institutes, also graced the occasion. The event concluded with the effigy of Ravana being consigned to flames in presence of thousands of people.

Meanwhile, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath went up in smoke in different parts of the city today, symbolising the victory of good over evil. The main function was organised in Sector 17 where thousands of people witnessed burning of the effigies of the demon trio. The dussehra celebrations in Sector 17 went hi-tech this year with recorded dialogues between the armies of the Ravana and Rama being the highlight.

Colourful "jhankies" and fire works added to the festive spirit. Security was beefed up to prevent any untoward incident. UT home secretary Krishna Mohan, who was the chief guest, called upon people to wage a war against social evils like corruption.



Excitement, gaiety mark Dussehra
Tribune News Service

Idol of Goddess Durga being immersed at Ghaggar river, near Panchkula, on Sunday.
Idol of Goddess Durga being immersed at Ghaggar river, near Panchkula, on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Panchkula, October 21
Dussehra was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the town here this evening, marking the victory of good over evil.

A large number of residents, attired in their best, went to see Dussehra functions held at two places in the town.

The main attraction of the day was the function organised at the parade grounds by the Dussehra Committee.

People thronged the venue to watch the effigies of Ravana, Meghnada and Kumbhakarna go up in flames. Many could be seen sitting on top of the vehicles parked near the venue to get a better glimpse of the celebrations. Some of them had also climbed trees.

Extraordinary fireworks were displayed this time at the function.

After the celebrations, a big traffic jam was also witnessed despite the police making efforts for smooth flow of traffic.

With people parking their vehicles along the roads and the place swarming with pedestrians, movement of vehicles came to a grinding halt and it took nearly 30 minutes for the situation to ease up.



Army provides artificial limbs to Lebanese nationals
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Over 100 Lebanese soldiers and civilians who were disabled in the recent conflict at Nahr-Al-Bared, have been provided artificial limbs by the Indian Army contingent deployed there at a special camp organised.

This is the second such camp organised by the contingent, comprising 15 Punjab Infantry Battalion Group in Lebanon this year. The project involved free medical examination and the fitting of the indigenous artificial limbs called Jaipur Foot and polio calipers on nationals who have been identified by the battalion over the past three months.

The project is being funded by the Fransa Bank of Lebanon, as a result of which all victims of mines and cluster bombs are being provided artificial limbs totally free of cost. Two officers from the Indian contingent Lt Col S R Chaudhury and Maj Rakesh Yadav are coordinating the process of identifying the needy individuals and conducting the project.

The camp was inaugurated today by member of Lebanese Parliament from Saida, Ali Osairan, yesterday. Among those present on the occasion were Raed Charrafeddin of Fransa Bank, Col Advitya Madan, Commanding Officer 15 Punjab and Major Sumit Sharma, the contingent’s public information officer.

In the first phase of the project, 123 Lebanese nationals had been provided free artificial limbs by the Indian contingent. These limbs are made in Jaipur and are low-cost and extremely light weight.

These are also cosmetically and functionally very close to a human limb and it allows the wearer to carry on with all day to day activities like running, sitting, swimming, cycling and even climbing trees. In the past 30 years such limbs have been fitted on over 3 lakh patients in 19 countries all over the world.

Seeing the positive response of the earlier project and the immense goodwill generated among the locals, the Deputy Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Brig Jai Prakash Nehra had asked the Indian Contingent to explore the feasibility of holding such camps more often. The contingent is deployed in volatile Southern Lebanon under a UN mandate to enforce peace.



Admn yet to amend building bylaws
Madhya Marg shopkeepers seek changes
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Chandigarh administration is yet to decide on amending the building bylaws for showrooms in Sectors 7 and 26, located along the Madhya Marg.

After shopkeepers of the area petitioned to the UT Administrator in May this year, meetings between the finance department and the estate office have been held.

Sources reveal that a survey was conducted to ascertain the number of building violations and need-based changes sought by the shopkeepers. Most of the commercial sites along the Madhya Marg are facing cases of building violations.

Inquiries reveal that on the basis of representations given by the shopkeepers, the estate officer had made suggestions to the finance secretary in June 2007. The shopkeepers had sought provision for coverage of the rear courtyard, basement under the showrooms and courtyards.

Members of the Madhya Marg Building Owners Association told the Chandigarh Tribune that need-based changes were the need of the hour and would gel with the administration’s policy to amend building bylaws.

Quoting the suggestions forwarded by the estate officer, the shopkeepers said 50 per cent coverage of the open central courtyard or the rear of the shop courtyard shall be allowed after the department of urban planning prepared a fresh architectural control. A notification dated May 22, 2000, has been quoted.

The provision of using the floor area of the basement in accordance with the architectural control sheet, as applicable to the Sector 26 showrooms, has been recommended for the Sector 7 showrooms as well. The use of the basement for habitable purpose is also under consideration.

The shopkeepers state that the master plan and zoning of showrooms located on Madhya Marg was formulated in 1960 and the sites were allotted in 1964. The covered area was not planned as per today’s requirement. The shopkeepers also demand that they be allowed to develop the rear façade of the showrooms.



Applicant gets incomplete information
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Officials in the Chandigarh Administration are allegedly impeding the effective implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI) and not properly addressing queries of its applicants.

R.K. Garg, a Sector 28 resident, had a taste of this when the central public information officer (CPIO) of the home department clearly stated that the information he was seeking was unavailable in the office.

Apparently, the CPIO did not bother to forward the application to the concerned office although this is a provision of the Act.

Garg had moved an application on September 26 seeking a copy of the decisions taken during the Senior Officers’ Conference that was held on January 11, 2007. He also sought a list of cases where provisions to obtain an affidavit existed in the statute.

On October 15, the CPIO informed Garg that he had to pay Rs 6 to obtain a copy of the minutes. The other information, the CPIO said, was not available in the office. Garg then moved another application and was asked to file an appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act.

Irritated, he wrote to the Central Information Commissioner (CIC), who forwarded the same to Rita Sinha Wajahat, secretary, CIC.



82-year-old sees threat to life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
An 82-year-old woman of Sector 22 has alleged that a there is a threat to her life from a family residing in a portion of the house she lives in.

Daljit Kaur, a widow, in a complaint lodged with the UT SSP on October 5, has demanded protection, stating that she is partially handicapped and confined to a wheelchair. Daljit has two sons who are living abroad.

The elderly woman said her brother-in-law sold the first floor of the house to an outsider and the new owner and his two sons want her portion of the house as well. She added that they had already taken possession of the second floor. “They say they know a DSP of the Chandigarh Police and often use his name,” she said.

The SHO of the Sector 17 Police Station said he was unaware of the complaint and would be able to make a statement only after looking into the facts.



Police remembers its martyrs
Tribune News Service
Police personnel pay floral tributes to its martyrs in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Police personnel
pay floral tributes to its martyrs in Chandigarh on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, October 21
The Chandigarh Police observed Police Commemoration Day at the Sector 17 police station, here today. Police contingents from Punjab and Haryana participated in the parade and paid homage to 717 officials who had lost their lives while on duty.

It was in 1959 that a small contingent of the Indian Police was attacked by Chinese troops, resulting in the death of 10 jawans. Ever since, the day has been observed across the country on October 21 and homage is paid to those who have made the supreme sacrifice for the country.

UT inspector-general of police (IGP) S.K. Jain read out the names of the 717 police officials and jawans, who had died during September 1, 2006, to August 31 this year. The IGP laid a wreath on the memorial built in their memory at the Sector 17 police station.




Close shave for 7
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
Seven boys hailing from Industrial Area, Chandigarh, who were on excursion to Morni Hills, had a miraculous escape this evening when their car fell into a ditch 15km from here.

The boys, in their late teens, escaped with minor injuries. The rescue operation lasted for over one-and-half hour. The injured were rushed to General Hospital Sector 6, from where they were referred to the PGI and were kept under observation, said a police official.

The police said no case had been registered and the investigations were on.



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Chartered accountant Alok Krishan has been elected chairman of the Chandigarh branch of the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

A meeting in this regard was held at ICAI Bhavan today.

Om Pawan Kumar and Pushpinder Duggal were elected vice-chairman-cum-secretary and treasurer, respectively.



Development, environment go hand in hand

It is common to read reports related to cutting of trees in newspapers. Many times trees are cut to make way for slip roads/widening of roads/highways. At other times, trees right in the middle of slip roads are not cut, hampering the safe flow of traffic. These are also highlighted by media along with pictures. Let the media decide whether it is taking cudgels for environment or development. In my opinion both environment and development should go hand in hand. The only way out is that whenever cutting of trees is unavoidable, thrice the number of trees that are to be cut should be planted.

Lt Col Bhagwant Singh (retd), Mohali

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