L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Road rage killing suspects identified
Jupinderjit Singh

Ludhiana, October 21
The two suspects in the road rage killing on October 3, involving the shooting of a truck driver, have turned out to be alleged wanted criminals wanted in a land grab case in Patiala. One of them has served a long sentence in a murder case.

After a long investigation in which 43 Skoda car owners and nearly 5,000 persons possessing .32 bore arms licence were scrutinised, the Basti Jodhewal police has identified the suspects as a youth, Dhanna Singh of Dhanna property dealers, Patiala, and his accomplice Puneet Rajan, alias Rinku.

Dhanna is a resident of Ajit Nagar, while Puneet belongs to Tripuri, Patiala.

Apart from the clue of the white Skoda car, the accused were given away by the leukoderma marks on Dhanna Singh’s body. The wife and an adopted son of Dhanna Singh are also on the run with them.

They were today nominated in the October 3 FIR as the accused in the murder of truck driver Harbhajan Singh.

Police investigation revealed that the accused had taken a room on rent in Basti Jodhewal and were in the midst of a land grab plan.

They were wanted by the Patiala police in an alleged case of usurping a piece of land from a woman at gunpoint.

The accused driving a Skoda car had met with an accident with the truck near Shivpuri chowk.

They allegedly pounced upon the driver before shooting him at close range.

Police sources said the accused returned to their rented room after the accident and changed the number plate of the car.

They allegedly wrapped something in a bedsheet, loaded it in the car and left.

SHO Basti Jodhewal inspector Gurbans Singh, who is the investigating officer in the case, said the number of car noted down by the eyewitnesses was a correct one.

Initially, the number led the police to Patiala from where it was learnt that cars were sold from Ludhiana only.

The police got a list of 43 buyers and scrutinised them. It then got a list of around 20,000 persons who possessed arms licence of .32 bore. Of those, 4,500 had the licence of a pistol.

In the meantime, the police tried to find out the part of the city that the accused had visited.

The police learnt from a dhaba owner that two well-built youths, driving a white Skoda car, had fought with his waiter that evening. One of the youths had leukoderma (phulweri).

The police then learnt that the car and youths were seen regularly on the Noorwala road.

Following their trail, they reached the room that they had taken on rent a few days ago.

After questioning the persons who had recommended the youths for getting the house on rent, the police finally reached their residence in Patiala.

The police also learnt that the accused on the run from Patiala police were trying to establish a base in Ludhiana. They had already moved around seeking information about the property business here.



Community police officers want out
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 21
A large number of community police officers (CPOs) are making a beeline for city police stations for training in bank security.

The much-hyped community policing scheme of the government that started last year is losing its charm as CPOs think they are being treated only as watchmen.

On the other hand, the new scheme launched to recruit security officers for banks by the district police under the aegis of the state department of employment generation and training has generated an overwhelming response as more than 1,500 applications have been received so far.

CPOs are looking forward to working with the state government rather than work as private security guards in colonies and streets. They are disappointed at the poor opportunities in their profession.

“We were told that we will be treated like an officer, but we are made to serve as night watchmen in posh localities of the city. The company even deducted the cost of uniform provided to us. Moreover, we are made to work at a meagre salary.

“Whatever we collect from residents go to the company. We were misguided and now we are looking for other options as we do not find growth in this profession,” say Ravi Singh and Lakhbir Singh who have applied recruitment forms.

Some CPOs have even resigned. Vikas Kumar, who resigned from the CPO service, said, “I did not find dignity and honour when I was working as a CPO. I joined the job thinking that I would be an officer, but I realised that I was a mere night watchman.”

He added, “I prefer to work as a security officer in some bank rather than work as a night watchman.”



Shingaar Blast
Cops ruffle mocker’s feathers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 21
A carpenter who in an alleged phone call to a senior official made fun of the city police for being clueless in the Shingaar bomb blast case was picked up from the Bharat Nagar wood furniture market late last night.

Sources said the youth, Shanti, had for unknown reasons called up a senior police official and questioned the efficiency of the police in investigating the case. The police traced the phone number and detained the caller.

The police took the call seriously, suspecting him to be consciously poking fun at the police. The youth works with a trader. The youth was later let off after being grilled.



Ex-wife booked for killing man
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Khanna, October 21
The Khanna police has registered a case against the first wife of a 59-year-old man whose body was found in the fields of Baghour village, near here.

Parkash Singh, a former PSEB employee and resident of Khanna, was stabbed over a dozen times and his body was dumped in the fields on the outskirts of the village. The body was found on Friday. After family members of the deceased were informed, they alleged that it was the handiwork of Amar Kaur, Parkash Singh’s ex-wife, and her paramour Banta Singh, with whom she had been living for the past several years.

The victim’s son from his second marriage, Charanjit Singh, filed a complaint with the police in which he alleged that Amar Kaur was after the property of his father.

He said she had approached his father after his retirement and sought a share in the property.

She reportedly started nursing a grudge when he refused to do so. Charanjit Singh said his father had gone missing on Thursday and villagers reported the matter to the police.

The police has registered a case against Amar Kaur and Banta Singh, but no arrest has been made so far.



Ludhiana Calling

Businessmen are quite superstitious as even press conferences are conducted after calculating the “muhurat”. No wonder journalists are busy these days. While “shraadhs” saw negligible business activity, Navratras are witnessing several launches everyday.

“Unhealthy” whitewash

The district health administration acts in strange ways. Having failed to take timely preventive measures against the outbreak of dengue and other diseases, officials evolved a novel method to project that there were no dengue patients in city hospitals. Even as major hospitals were reporting dozens of patients afflicted with mosquito-borne fever, the authorities issued a diktat to hospitals not to give out figures of dengue cases to the media since the rapid serology test being conducted on these patients was not conclusive.

It’s not done

Politicians are known to adopt all kinds of tactics to remain in news and draw political mileage even when it is least desirable. Insensitive to those who were injured in the cinema blast recently, certain self-styled politicians staged a dharna outside a city hospital demanding that a person, claiming to have sustained injuries in the blast, be admitted along with other victims. Even though doctors said his wounds were not fresh and had maggots, protesters refused to budge and in the process a critically injured person, brought from Jammu for treatment, lost his life.

Mock interview

Playway schools have started preparing tiny tots for interviews. They have sent typed schedule of “mock interviews” to parents. An “interactive session” will also be conducted in this regard.

Lending a hand

Milk of human kindness flowed in the city after the blast. People from all walks of life helped migrants to get their relatives identified. There were many who helped the relatives of the victims to carry the bodies back home by coordinating with the district administration. Some people pooled in resources and supplied food items to the injured and their relatives in hospitals.

Ravana effigies

Making effigies of Ravana has become a pastime of children these days. Ravanas are set ablaze in every nook of the city. They buy coloured paper to make the effigy of Ravana.

— Sentinel



Police remembers its heroes
Tribune Reporters

Jagraon, October 21
Rich tributes were paid to 1,784 policemen, including 2 DIGs, who had laid down their lives during the past year, at a function at the Police Lines here today. The function was organised to mark the Police Commemorating Day.

SSP, Ludhiana (rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhullar recalled the killing of five security men of the ITBP on October 21, 1959 when they were ambushed by Chinese forces in Ladakh. A police party offered salute and laid wreaths in the memory of the martyrs. SP (HQ) Gurjit Singh Romana read out the names of the martyrs.

Ludhiana: The day was observed at the Police Lines here today. It was attended by GOs, SHOs and police officers from all units, civil officers and retired police officers. Bereaved families attended the ceremony.



Straw burning unchecked in villages
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 21
Lust for reaping the harvest at the earliest has forced farmers to burn the paddy straw which is not only spreading the poisonous smoke in the air but also making difficult for one to breath freely. Such incidents are on the rise despite administrative orders against doing so.

The clouds of smoke become denser by evening. People find difficulty in breathing and it causes irritation in eyes.

In villages like Sherpur Kalan, Ramgarh Bhullar, Rasulpur, Malah, Sidhwan Kalan, Kaunke Kalan and others on the Ludhiana-Ferozpur G.T.Road incidents of burning of the paddy straw have considerably increased and as a result of which a large number of patients suffering from eye and throat problems can be seen visiting hospitals.



In Basta
Ahmedgarh killings: No headway in 15 yrs
Jupinderjit Singh/TNS

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 21
Residents of this town are hoping that the investigation into the Shingaar cinema blast does not go into the cold storage like the case of the killings of 15 persons by four terrorists at Gandhi Chowk here on March 21, 1992.

Even after over 15 years of the incident, the police has no clue about the terrorists or the terrorist organisation which executed the killing.

The then Chief Minister Beant Singh had, during his visit to the site the following day, assured residents that the killers would be nabbed and presented before the public, the police washed its hands of the responsibility by declaring the case untraced on May 14, 1994.

“Four persons with covered faces had come on foot and opened indiscriminate firing, killing people in the market, including my nephew Abdul Gaffar and our helper Rimpi,” Makbool Mohammad, a barber, told the police on the evening of March 21, 1992.

Though the names of the alleged terrorists -- Gurmel Singh, son of Nahar Singh, Jagdish Singh, alias Disha, son of Bara Singh, Tarsem Singh, son of Atma Singh, and Jugraj Singh, son of Manjit Singh -- had been entered in the column of suspects, the records failed to suggest anything, except that it was the handiwork of either the Babbar Khalsa or the Khalistan Liberation Force.

The residents of the Gandhi Chowk area shiver when they recall the incident. The toll could have been much more. “As Doordarshan used to telecast films on certain days only, people were in a habit of watching television on those days. The telecast of the Saturday movie on Doordarshan had kept most of the residents indoors,” a resident said.



Mann adds colour to Dussehra celebrations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 21
Dussehra, the festival reiterating the triumph of good over evil was celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety in several parts of the city today.

Though people thronged in large numbers, as there seemed to be no discouragement for them, there was a shadow of recent bomb blast as the police kept on its tenterhooks and made security arrangements in all parts.

A large number of cops were posted at all the places of celebration with metal detectors. All the visitors were being frisked thoroughly before being allowed entry into the mela.

Some mela organisers had arranged for the musical shows by famous singers. Gurdas Mann enthralled the audience on the occasion at Jamalpur ground.

The festival was celebrated at Dugri, Urban Estate, Kitchlu Nagar, Upkar Nagar, Daresi, and Sarabha Nagar and in almost every part of the city.

The effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath were set ablaze as the sun set and the skyline had myriads of colours of firecrackers at several places.

In Urban Estate, Dugri as many as 2500 people thronged the mela. Effigy of Ravana as high as 70 feet remained the attraction for the public.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Town and surrounding villages reverberated today with the sound of crackers marking the conquest of good over evil.

Effigies were burnt at MGMN Senior Secondary School and Grain Market here, and at Dehlon, Payal, Raikot, Jagraon, Malaudh, Kup and Barundi villages.

In the evening, all roads leading to these venues were lined with vendors selling bows and arrows and other items.The function organised by the Ram Lila Committee at Gandhi School and Grain Market were Abdul Gaffar, former education minister, and Maan Singh Garcha, SAD senior vice-president, was the chief guest.

The Ram Lila and Dussehra Committee and the Punjab Mahavir Dal led by Bimal Sharma organised an elaborate cultural programme on occasion.

The Sanatan Dharam Bharatiya Mahavir Dal led by Bimal Sharma and the Trimurti Kala Manch led by Raj Pal Garg organised the events at these places, respectively.



Sirhind canal: Sand mining unabated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 21
A nexus among officials of the irrigation, forest department, mining contractors and transporters has added to the woes of residents of villages located along the banks of Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal, where alleged illegal sand mining has been going on unabated for decades leading to the weakening of embankments on both sides.

A visit to the canal near Karamsar revealed that labourers engaged by mining contractors had been removing sand using tractors, thus violating the rules of the irrigation department.

Besides removing sand from the canal, the contractors had accumulated huge mounds of sand at many places along the banks.

The illegal activity has reportedly been supported by a group of transporters who have been buying sand at hefty rates from the contractors.

A large number of officers from the civil, police and irrigation department pass through the area but instead of taking note of their unlawful activity, they have remained mute spectators.

Complaints made by members of public have also gone unheard.

Ludhiana Tribune had earlier published reports regarding callous attitude of the irrigation department towards the threat of flood when breaches had appeared at several places in the canal.

Instead of initiating action, the authorities had maintained that there was no threat to the embankment.

There were many weak points on the canal embankment that threatened to give way any time.

Though contractors had tried to plug the breaches caused by plying of tractors, there was threat of these giving way anytime. The points will get more vulnerable with the removal of earth from there.

At places, metalled road has been eroded due to illegal activity of miners.

The northern embankment of the canal is the worst hit. People apprehend that its condition may deteriorate further if earth is continued to be removed from the exterior and sand from the interior.

Those in the trade said a group of persons from the area was taking away sand by paying a hefty amount to contractors, who were hand in glove with the authorities.



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