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Ludhiana Blast
Suspicion on 3 missing youths
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
In what could be a dangerous signal for security forces in Punjab, three youths, who are seemingly “first timers” in the macabre business of terror, are among those who are suspected to be behind the Ludhiana blast.

Investigating agencies have found that three men could have a vital link with the blast and all have been missing from their homes since the blast rocked Ludhiana some 10 days ago.

All three are connected with a common person but what has baffled investigators is that they have no reported history of crime or links with any dormant militant organisation and had been low-profile individuals. “In the past even a suspicious movement of these youth was not noticed but their role was being investigated,” said a senior investigating official while adding that this indicates “some youths, who may not have any link with terror organisations, have been weaned away from the mainstream”.

The three-Sandeep and Bhavdeep, two brothers from a village near Ludhiana and Gurinder from Phagwara- are linked in some way to the blast, the police believes. It will be wrong to dub them as terrorists at this stage, but their actions indicate that they are sympathisers or have been lured to helping militants.

The police has also zeroed in on the link. Sandeep and Bhavdeep purchased a second-hand car from a person in industrial area in Chandigarh. This car was being used to carry RDX when the police nabbed it, however, its occupant Gurpreet Singh escaped as the police was searching the car near Mullanpur Dakha near Ludhiana in September this year. About 3 kg of RDX was found and the police took the car into custody. This was just two days before Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was to attend a public function in Ludhiana.

It was while doing a check on Gurpreet and the RDX recovery incident that details about the car and its original ownership tumbled out. The police also did a check on the Chandigarh-based seller of the car and he showed that his documents were complete and he had sold the car to Sandeep and Bhavdeep. Both have been missing since the day of the blast. Their accomplice is believed to be Gurinder Singh.

In the past few days, the police found that all three were in regular touch with Gurpreet in the days preceding the blast. Gurpreet had visited Pakistan and Malaysia in the past. Checks and inquiries by cops about these youths from villagers have come to a nought. “Villagers have been saying they were regular guys and did not invoke any suspicion,” said an investigator.


FIRs against Cong men put cops in spot
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
The Punjab police is in a tight spot following the spree of “fabricated FIRs” against Congress workers in the Dera Baba Nanak sector. They were indicted for indulging in violence in prohibited areas, even as the records of the BSF and Army show that nobody can carry firearms or mobile phones across the Ravi due to intensive physical checkings.

Shockingly, the inquiry by the Internal Vigilance Cell, conducted at the behest of the additional DGP which recommended the cancellation of the FIR against Congress supporters of the border Rattar Chhattar village rather invited more trouble for them (Congress supporters).

The inquiry report had also recommended taking action against the erring ASI who was instrumental in registering a “false FIR” at the behest of a senior leader of the ruling party.

Interestingly, the fresh FIR was registered against the Congress worker on the day when a previous inquiry was cancelled on the orders of R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Batala.

Dhoke said he had ordered a fresh inquiry by Manohar Lal, DSP, Dera Baba Nanak. However, Surjeet Singh, a retired subedar of the Army, told The Tribune that they had already sought a change of the inquiry officer (DSP) who was allegedly under the influence of a senior Akali leader of the area. “We can’t expect a fair inquiry from Manohar Lal,” he said.

However, the DSP said he had recorded the statements of the persons concerned and would submit his report shortly. He assured that a “free and fair” inquiry would be conducted so that justice is given to the aggrieved party. Dismissing the apprehensions of the complainants, the DSP said he would not succumb to pressure by the ruling party, as apprehended by the complainants.

The report of the BSF commander of the Nangli Post Chowki (August 13) gives a “clean chit” to the former subedar and others. His handwritten report reads: “It is certified that the former subedar was not carrying any rifle because it is not possible in any circumstances to carry a weapon or mobile phone across the river.” He further states that before the BSF post, the farmers have to pass through the Army post on the first side of the river who ensure by way of physical checking that no weapon, camera etc is taken to the prohibited areas.

This was enough to nail down the policemen who lodged the FIR without applying their mind. The SSP, Dhoke, said departmental action had been taken against the erring ASI. However, the district police chief failed to give details of the “departmental action” taken against the ASI for falsely booking the border villagers.

Sub Surjeet Singh (retd) said many Congress leaders of the area had gone underground, fearing the police and the ruling party.


News Analysis
Badal’s retort to BJP on coalition dharma
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal biting back a short retort at a public rally in Jalandhar on Sunday may have given the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a sound and clear message on the “dharma of coalition politics.”

Known for his ardent loyalty to the Central leadership of the BJP, Badal has never allowed intra-Dal criticism of the utterances and demands of the leaders of the BJP to affect the political bond that has stood firm since 1996.

“He must have been hurt deeply, otherwise he would not have spoken about the dharma of coalition politics at the Jalandhar rally on Sunday,” remarked a senior leader of the SAD. Badal is not only the most seasoned politician of Punjab, but also commands respect of leadership of all national parties.

He has stood by the BJP without ever imposing any conditions for support, be it forming a coalition government at the Centre or the presidential elections.

“Differences in any alliance are natural. These get resolved as and when they come up,” says Harcharan Bains, media adviser to the Chief Minister. “The communication between Badal and the central leadership of the BJP is of perfect understanding.”

Though Akali leaders have been upset over public accusations made by BJP leaders, both of the state and at the Centre, Badal has always kept himself above these intra-alliance aberrations. For both the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJP chief Rajnath Singh, Badal continues to enjoy “rapport of a dependable Sikh leader”, who has stood by policies and programmes of both the BJP and the NDA.

At times the alliance came under severe attack for what the Dal leadership felt “let down” by the BJP over the issue of retaining of Udham Singh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh and also when the intra-net scam against Capt Amarinder Singh and his son Raninder Singh came to light. The Dal leaders felt that the BJP-led NDA government had gone against their wishes and indirectly supported the Congress.

Some of the SAD leaders at times accuse the BJP leadership of playing the Congress card while advocating urban-rural divide on sensitive issues like power supply and taxation.

“See what role the BJP leaders played in the Sacha Sauda case. While the SAD played the role of a responsible ruling alliance, the BJP always took an offensive posture. Comments made by the state leadership of the BJP during the Sacha Sauda imbroglio were provocative and unbecoming of an alliance partner.

“Even if there are differences, what purpose it serves for making public statements than getting the issues resolved by sitting across the table. The problem is that the state and the central leadership of the BJP are not in consonance with each other. The Central leadership should play a more pro-active role in disciplining the state unit,” add the Akali leaders.

The BJP leadership, however, nurses grouse against the Dal minus Badal. “We respect him. He is an able administrator and towering personality in Punjab politics. But the same cannot be said of the remaining Dal leadership. Even the state bureaucracy remains at the beck and call of Dal leaders than the BJP ministers and MLAs. We have no forum, but our own party high command to give vent to our hurt,” adds a leader of the BJP.

The BJP leaders maintain that their criticism by the Dal leaders for playing the Congress card or not supporting Punjab demands was “absurd” and baseless as it was the NDA government which always went out of the way to accommodate SAD leaders.

“All meetings between the SAD and the BJP leadership are always held in cordial atmosphere,” says Harcharan Bains, holding that “most of the issues are discussed threadbare and resolved at these meetings. The alliance has stood the test of time.”


Migrants ‘occupy’ forest land
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Jathaul (Tarn Taran), October 23
As many as 43 families comprising migrant labourers from Bihar have allegedly illegally occupied a large tract of dense forest area under the very nose of forest officials in the remote border village of Jathaul in the Gandiwind area of Tarn Taran district for the past 17 years.

Though the officials know about the illegal encroachment, they find themselves helpless as these labourers find support from landlords of the area on whose farms they work.

The condition of these families, mostly belonging to Bheguserai and Lakhimpur districts of Bihar, is so pathetic that their children roam around without clothes. Most of the male members do hardly any work and remain under the influence of liquor while their women work in the farms and houses of the landlords to make both ends meet.

Balwant Singh, deputy forest officer, told The Tribune today that they have requested these families to shift from the place but they had to return without taking any action against them as the residents of the village come out in their support. The village protests against the move of the department to displace these families.

Mohit Raj Sarna (70), a resident of Beghuserai district of Bihar said he had been living at the place since 1980. He said many forest officials had visited them but never asked them to move from the place.

Health officials also visit them during the pulse polio campaign.

Showing a blackboard placed near a broken mudhouse, he said a teacher of a government school had visited the site and opened a school for the children but after taking classes for a few days, he never came back.

Another migrant, Kishan, said they draw drinking water from a hand pump installed in the area and electricity was provided by a landlord and in return they help his family in household chores. He said he had come from his home state in search of a job but with seven children to look after, he found it difficult to make both ends meet in Amritsar.


Banking on Rural Art
Clusters set up at villages along Indo-Pak border
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, October 23
To provide self-employment to rural women, especially in villages along the Indo-Pakistan border, the Oriental Bank of Commerce has taken an initiative under which already 225 self-help groups have been constituted where women are being provided training in handicrafts, handloom weaving and phulkari making. These centres will not only train women in various weaving arts absolutely free of cost but also sell their products.

T.S. Bagga, AGM of the bank here, said they had established clusters at several villages along the Indo-Pakistan border like Luther, Bhawra Azam Shah, Lakho ke Behram, where poor women are being trained in various weaving arts. He said this would help improve their financial position as the entire profits generated by selling the products would be passed on to them.

Bagga added that the scheme would also help breathe life into the dying art of phulkari. He said those being trained at the clusters at present would be appointed as trainers for new clusters to create employment opportunities. He revealed that already several training camps had been conducted.

When The Tribune team visited these centres, all women looked quite enthusiastic about their new assignment. Harjeet Kaur, Paramjit Kaur, Gurmit Kaur, Sukhwinder, Sangita Rani and Deepo expressed happiness over this initiative. They added that the government should also come forward with such initiatives.

Bagga said he had also written to the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC), which had started similar projects in some other parts of the state for help in setting up more clusters at Balewala, Mehma, Nhura Kalan, Kari Kalan and other villages along the border.

Bagga added that their bank had also opened a rural development and training resource centre in Ferozepur, which would provide free of cost training to unemployed youths, self-help groups and artisans belonging to border villages.


Vendors sell unhygienic food: Study
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
Next time you visit a railway station, bus terminus or vegetable market, think twice before consuming eatables from vendors. By consuming such food items one would be exposing his body to high dose of pathogens.

A study conducted by Abhijit Ganguly of the department of biotechnology and environmental sciences in Thapar deemed university and others has revealed high doses of staphylococcus aureus and shigella bacteria in food articles being sold at railway stations, bus terminals and vegetable markets in Delhi and Patiala.

While staphylococcus bacteria, a food-borne pathogen, is the most prevalent cause of gastroenteritis and food poisoning, shigella bacteria is the most prevalent cause of diarrhoea in developing countries.

Ganguli said they had collected samples from 75 vendors, including 50 having fixed stalls and 25 having mobile stalls at bus terminals, railway stations and vegetable markets in both cities. From the vendors 150 samples each of coriander sauce, salads and coconut slices were collected. The samples werex analysed for presence of the said bacteria.

After analysis it was found that 60 per cent of the samples of coriander sauce, 58 per cent of coconut slices and 86 per cent of salads were contaminated with staphylococcus bacteria. Besides 15 per cent samples of coconut slices, 8 per cent of salads and 6 per cent coriander sauces were found contaminated with shigella virus.

In the research it was also found that each vendor catered to about 1,000 persons daily and still no action was being taken by the authorities concerned.

Ganguly termed such widespread threat to health of consumers as food terrorism. He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had defined food terrorism as the intentional contamination of food or water supply through harmful chemical, biological or radio-nuclear agents.

They have concluded that the law enforcement agencies must enforce sanitary practices among the vendors. Besides, non-government organisations should be involved to spread awareness among the vendors regarding hygienic practices.


Land Grab Bid
Judicial probe sought
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
The government should order a high-level inquiry by a judicial magistrate into the incident in which some Congress councillors along with their supporters allegedly tried to grab a prime piece of property near Jallianwala Bagh on October 20.

Stating this in a letter to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today, Satnam Singh Kanda, general secretary of the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD), urged him to order a judicial inquiry into the case.

He alleged that Ajit Singh Bhatia, Navdeep Goldy, both councillors, and Harpal Singh Bhatia were a group of land mafia involved in grabbing prime properties of innocent persons.

Kanda, talking to the media here, said he had also urged state Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to expel the persons were involved in various criminal cases besides grabbing prime properties.

Commenting on the statement of Harpal Singh that he was away to Delhi on that day, Kanda alleged that as pre-planned Harpal had booked a ticket for Delhi but the accused were very much in the holy city on the day of the incident as the police had registered the case against them.

He claimed that during the shootout, even the SHO had to run for cover and hide in the resthouse to save his own life.

He said the government should also hold an inquiry as to how the accused had amassed huge properties disproportionate to their known sources of income. 


Land Grab Bid
Naya Gaon resident blames cop
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Top cops are in the line of fire again. Less than a week after a DSP accused senior Punjab Police functionaries of shielding favourite officers "found to be involved" in a police-public clash in Barnala district, a Naya Gaon resident has blamed an IPS officer for victimising him and his family in a land grab bid.

In his petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the State of Punjab, the director-general of police and four other respondents, Kuldip Singh has alleged that IPS officer Sanjeev Gupta wanted to grab land for expanding an "illegal colony of one Jasbir Singh Sandhu", which was adjoining his land.

Gupta and his "brother-in-law Deepak Kumar" have vested interests and are shareholders. Kuldip Singh has added that he, along with his family, were owners and in possession of about 10 acres.

Taking up the petition seeking security and protection to life and liberty, along with probe by an independent agency and directions to respondents for registering a case against the accused on the basis of a complaint in this regard, Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the High Court today issued notice of motion to the state and others.

Kuldip Singh has, meanwhile, added that Sandhu, a resident of Amritsar district, has been associated with Gupta since the IPS officer was posted as SSP there. Gupta, now inspector-general of police, has acquired movable and immovable properties and assets, including benami properties, with the help of Sandhu and another person.

He has further alleged that on September 29, Gupta, along with Sandhu and their henchmen, made an attempt to take forcible possession of the petitioner's land. On protest by villagers, the local police arrested Sandhu and several others from the spot and recovered three revolvers and four rifles from their possession.

But, due to Gupta's pressure, the local police initiated proceedings under Sections 107/151 of the CrPC only.

Since proper action was not taken by the local police, the petitioner forwarded a complaint on October 1 to the SSP of Mohali district, but still a case has till date not been registered on the basis of the complaint.

Rather, the police has started harassing the petitioner and he has been summoned to join inquiry before Fatehgarh Sahib SSP.

Counsel R.S.Bains has added in the petition that suspicious persons in civil dress, armed with weapons, were seen moving around the petitioner's house and its surroundings since the day Kuldip Singh forwarded complaints against Gupta and held a press conference in the matter. As such, the petitioner feels he is under surveillance.

He has added that a perusal of a complaint in the matter and the revenue record attached with it shows that Gupta has close nexus with Sandhu and has misused his official position to grab the land of poor villagers. He has developed an illegal colony and is dealing in real estate. The matter needs to be investigated by some independent agency like the CBI or Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Refusing to comment on the issue, Gupta said the truth will come out in the inquiry being conducted in the matter by the Fatehgarh Sahib SSP. Gupta added that his name was being dragged in the controversy and there was no one in his relation by the name of Deepak Kumar.


Badal writes to PM on rice export ban
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in a strongly worded statement has asked the central government to lift ban on rice exports as the step was detrimental to the interests of the farmers.

In a letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the chief minister said the decision was not only anti-farmer but also against the basic principles of sound economic planning. He expressed surprise that on the one hand, the country was importing wheat instead of encouraging local farmers to produce more, while on the other it had imposed a ban on the export of rice.

Badal further cautioned the Centre that if it continued to take such anti-farmer stances, the day was not far off when the country would plunge into a food crisis.

The chief minister also categorically said if the Centre was unable to give remunerative minimum support price (MSP) to the farmers then it had also no moral right to deny them the opportunity to export rice.

The chief minister urged both the Prime Minister and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to review the decision.

Judicial inquiry

Badal on Tuesday ordered a judicial inquiry to be conducted by a retired district and sessions judge to ascertain the facts about the rightful ownership and management of the Dera Baba Fattu Shah Bibi Sahiba, Rahimpur in Hoshiarpur district.

A spokesman of the state government said that terms and conditions of the probe would be finalised within two days.


BKU asks BJP not to oppose free power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The BKU has asked the BJP not to rub salt on farmers’ wounds by opposing free power to them in the state. In a statement president of the BKU, Balbir Singh Rajewal, said here yesterday that the SAD and the BJP had come to power by promising free power to the farmers.

Rajewal said there were several villages which voted for the BJP. "However, it was unfortunate now that the BJP was raising the issue of free power to farmers,” he said.

"The BJP stand on free power was hurting the farmers,” he said.

"We are aware that it was the Abhijit Sen committee that had frozen the minimum support price of wheat and paddy for some years,” he added. Because of the freezing of the MSP, farmers had sunk further deep in debt. Rajewal opposed ban on the export of non-basmati rice.


Mandis shut down
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
Even as the governments of Punjab and Haryana has strongly taken up the case of lifting the ban on export of non-basmati rice with the Central government, farmers of this region continue to face the dilemma as markets crashed all around.

Major markets in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Batala were completely shut down as no buyer ventured to purchase a single grain of rice.

Meanwhile, The Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association today made a fervent appeal to the union government to free the export of rice from any kind of curbs in the interest of farming community. President of the association Rajiv Setia while addressing the media said these varieties had been developed after great deal of research by agricultural universities.


Old man’s pleas fail to move district admn
Manish Sirhindi/TNS

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
Repeated visits to various offices of the district administration over the last seven years have proved futile for 85-year-old Amar Singh.

Singh is living amidst sewage water that has been accumulating outside his house as one of the villagers is not letting the panchayat complete the drainage project in Mehmudpur village.

In 2000, the panchayat had undertaken a project to re-construct the village lanes and drainage network. However, due to certain reasons, one section of the drainage network could not be completed at that time. Later, when the panchayat again took up the project, one of the villagers refused to let the drain be dug in front of his house.

Several officials of the panchayat visited the village and concluded that there was no alternate route for the drain and it had to be constructed at the same place where it earlier was. When the officials and the panchayat tried to construct the drain, the villager asked the women folk in his house to pick up an issue with those attempting to construct the drain.

Amar Singh’s son Janak Singh stated that women started leveling false allegations against the officials and the panchayat members, following which, they refused to undertake the construction work fearing they could land in trouble because of the allegations.

Following this, the panchayat wrote a letter to the BDPO of Khera requesting that police protection be provided for execution of the development work.

Piyush Kumar, block development and panchayat officer of Khera, under whose jurisdiction the village falls, stated that the matter had been taken up with the district administration and a positive outcome was expected soon. DDPO Mahinder Singh when contacted, said they had taken up the matter with the deputy commission, who had sought a clarification whether there was any court stay on the said issue. He said though one of the villagers had moved court, there had been no stay on execution of the work.

Janak Singh said the DC had already sought the same clarification thrice, but till date, no protection had been provided to the panchayat. He lamented that his aged father had to come down to the district headquarters several times and plead before the officials as the living conditions in their house were getting worse.

He said accumulation of sewage water outside their house had created a pond there and if the water was not drained out , it could lead to an epidemic outbreak in the village. DC Alaknanda Dayal was not available for comments.


Speed up train extension, Lalu urged
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 23
Madan Lal Bhalothia, member of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee, and Hanuman Dass Goyal, joint secretary of the Railway Passengers Association (North Zone), have urged Railway Minister Lalu Parsad to get long-pending proposal for extending the 3111/3112 Lal Quila Express to Sriganganagar via Abohar.

In a memorandum faxed today, they reminded Lalu that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and central ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ambika Soni had in their letters favoured extension of the train by making a link with 3007/3008 Udyan Abha Toofan Express. This would not only add to the revenue of Indian Railways but also facilitate NRIs and residents of Sriganganagar, Abohar, Bathinda areas to reach the union capital.

They are facing inconvenience in the absence of any train during day time. This does not involve any additional expenditure. The residents have social and business links with eastern states. The extension will bring in prosperity and progress in agriculture and other businesses of the backward regions.

Both trains are parked in New Delhi and Sriganganagar for 17 hours at present. But the Railway Board has not expedited the files relating to extension, they rued.

Sources said the matter might also be taken up by a delegation from the region with the GM of Northern Railway at a meeting slated for today.


Info sought under RTI denied
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 23
Contradicting his own orders, the public information officer (PIO) who is also subdivisional magistrate (SDM), Pathankot, has denied information sought by a local resident under the Right to Information Act.

The applicant, Gurdev Singh, a local resident, had sought information about a former schoolteacher of Arya Senior Secondary School, Pathankot, and the Punjab transport minister Master Mohan Lal Sharma.

The POI first forwarded the application to the principal for providing the required information on October 8 and the very next day, contrary to his own decision, PIO Manasvi Kumar, who is also SDM of Dhar block and holds additional charge of Pathankot, denied information to Gurdev Singh.

The remarks (on October 8, 2007 at the application) read: “The applicant should send it immediately to the school principal for report.” The remarks of the very next day (October 9, 2007) read: “This application be returned in original to Sh. Gurdev Singh as the information does not pertain to this office.”

Gurdev Singh had sought information regarding Master Mohan Lal Sharma from the period (1989 to 1991) when he was serving as teacher in the school.

Manasvi Kumar, however, claimed that the applicant had sought personal information of a man that did not pertain to his office.


Tributes paid to ’62 martyr
Tribune Reporters

Moga, October 23
The Army and district administration paid floral tributes to 1962 Indo-China war martyr Subedar Joginder Singh here today.

Born at Mahlan Kalan village, near here, he was bestowed with the highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra posthumously. His widow Gurdial Kaur and daughter Kulwant Kaur were present at the ceremony.

Brig S.S. Bhatia, Deputy GOC, garlanded his statue near the District Court complex. On the occasion families of eight ex-servicemen were given cheques worth Rs 36,000 from the Flag Day fund.

FEROZEPUR: The Golden Arrow Division on Tuesday organised a commemoration ceremony to pay homage to late Sub Joinder Singh of the Sikh regiment.

The buglers sounded the Last Post and ceremonial guards reversed their arms.


Dengue Threat
Nangal MC hires fogging machine
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 23
A resident of Giani Zail Singh Nagar here, Gurcharan Singh, was today admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in Ludhiana with dengue.

The health department today collected 21 blood samples for screening and distributed chlorine tablets among residents of dengue-hit localities.

The municipal council claims to have hired a fogging machine from the Nangal Municipal Council on October 19.

Sources, however, said the machine could not be put in the absence of an operator. While MC officials claimed the machine was put to use to fog Giani Zail Singh Nagar, area residents denied the same.

Sanitary inspector Sanjeev said the machine would be sent back to Nangal tomorrow. The Ropar MC had bought its own machine, which was expected to arrive soon.


Arrest Bibi, says MLA

Jalandhar, October 23
The Punjab and Haryana High Court should take suo moto notice of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s public appearances with former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, against whom non-bailable warrants had been issued by a court. Demanding her arrest, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said it was “contemptuous on the part of the Chief Minister and the top brass of the police to turn a blind eye towards a person who has jumped bail.”

She was escorted to the venue of the Kapurthala Heritage Festival and sat along with Badal. Everyone knew that the court had rejected her bail application and she was to be arrested. — TNS


Kandahar accused changes stance

Patiala, October 23
The main accused in the Kandahar hijacking case, Abdul Latif, today retracted from his confession given before the judicial magistrate while in CBI custody.

His counsel Barjinder Singh Sodhi today pleaded before the special anti-hijacking court that Latif was forced to sign a 40-page confession document prepared by the CBI. Going by its contents, the CBI should have taken at least two days to extract the confession. However, the entire session of the confession was completed in less than three hours by the CBI as per the record.

He further said the provisions of law were violated by the CBI while recording the statement of Latif. As per law, the judicial magistrate should have recorded the statement of the accused on camera.

Moreover, the accused had moved an application before the authorities concerned immediately after he recorded the statement that he had been forced to sign papers by the investigating agency, the counsel said.

The arguments began before the anti-hijacking court headed by the district and sessions judge Inderjeet Singh at the central jail today. — TNS


1 deposes in Langah case
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 23
One more witness deposed before the court of special judge G.S. Saran in the corruption case against agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah today.

The witness, Suresh Kumar, is an employee of the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).

The next date for hearing has been fixed for November 26.


7-year-old boy crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
A seven-year-old schoolboy was crushed to death by a bus on the Bibiwala road here today.

Irked over the incident, the locals burst into anger and pelted the bus with stones, damaging all windowpanes.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident took place at around 1.15 pm when the victim, Brijesh, and his brother, Sahil, were returning from school on a bicycle being paddled by their servant Prem Kumar.

The bus in its attempt to overtake a vehicle hit the bicycle, after which all three fell on the road. Brijesh, a class-III student of DAV School, Bibiwala Road, came under the rear tyre of the bus. The boy sustained critical injuries on the head and the left portion of the body. The servant also sustained injuries. His condition was stated to be stable.

The driver and the conductor of the bus managed to escape. The district administration deployed nearly 30 commandos and 25 policemen to control the situation. A fire tender was also sent there as a preventive measure.

The mob raised slogans against the administration, the police and school authorities. They also made an attempt to set the bus on fire, but the police prevented them from doing so. A clerk of the school who had gone to the hospital to console the family, was reportedly manhandled by relatives and neighbours of Brijesh.

Sukhdev Bansal, father of the deceased, said, “I had requested the school many times for proper parking facility on the school premises. The school has proper space for parking but because the vehicles are not allowed inside, the road outside gets choked, leading to traffic snarl ups everyday.”

A case has been registered.


15 injured in bus-tanker collision
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 23
About 15 persons, including the driver of a bus, were today injured when a PRTC bus and a tanker collided near Dirba, about 26 km from here. Five injured persons were admitted to the local civil hospital while the remaining injured were treated at a private hospital at Dirba. The bus was going to Kaithal from Sangrur while the tanker was on its way towards Dirba.

Emergency medical officer at the local civil hospital Parbhat Kumar said Sukhdev Raj, driver of the bus, and Sukhwinder Singh, a teacher, had been referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, as their condition was serious.

The Dirba police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC.


Auto driver’s murder baffles cops
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
The body of 27-year-old autorickshaw driver Karanveer Khan, with bullet injury marks, has left the district police baffled. Karanveer’s body was recovered from his three-wheeler. He was shot on Sunday night.

During preliminary investigations, it was found that the man had been shot twice from the back seat of the three-wheeler.

SSP Nilabh Kishore said the police has identified the weapon used in the crime, which was a 32 caliber revolver, but since no other clues could be found from the crime scene, the police were yet to crack the case. The police sources said the statements of the victim’s family and friends had been recorded, who revealed that Karanveer had recently bought the three-wheeler. They stated that he had no animosity with anyone.

Meanwhile, sources said a liquor bottle and some eatables had been recovered from the fields from near the spot where Karanveer’s body was recovered. The SSP said the matter was being investigated and a breakthrough was expected soon.


Police seizes IT records of jewellery shop
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
The district police today took the income tax record of Pawan Kumar and his family, owners of Punjab Silver Ornament House at Guru Bazar, here where gold and silver jewellery were allegedly stolen, in its custody.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, said the police had taken the custody of the income tax and excise and sales tax records of the last three years of the shop.

Pawan Kumar had claimed that the accused had decamped with gold jewellery and cash worth Rs 5 crore. However, preliminary police investigation found that the theft was not of more than Rs 50 lakh.


Suicide by girl

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
A 19-year-old girl committed suicide by consuming poison at her home in Bassi Pathana, here today.

The girl, who got married in January, returned to her parental home soon her marriage, saying that she did not like her husband and would not return to her in-laws’ house. She was rushed to the local civil hospital, from where she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. She died on the way to the hospital. — TNS


Book on communication released

Patiala, October 23
A book, ‘Development Communication’, was released at a function organised at the department of journalism and mass communication, Punjabi University, here today. Prof B.K. Kuthiala, director, Kurukshetra University, and Radhe Shyam Sharma, former editor, Dainik Tribune, were present as chief guests.

Professor Kuthiala said instead of adopting the Eastern models, those from the cultural heritage of India should be followed. Highlighting different aspects of development and journalism, he said Indian civilisation, ancient Vedas and epics could also be regarded as medium of communication.

Radhe Shyam Sharma said there was a need for mental development for the enhancement of information revolution. The book, edited by former head of the department Dr Harjinder Walia, includes 18 articles of scholars from Pakistan and different parts of India on health, agriculture, religion, society and information technology. — TNS


Patiala school wins computer literacy award
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
Government Senior Secondary School, New Power House Colony, here, has earned the rare distinction of having won the fourth Computer Literacy Excellence State Award for Schools - 2005.

The award was presented by union minister for information technology Thiru A. Raja at a function organised at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The award was received by Inderjit Kaur Gill of the school.

One school is selected from each state from across the country and the Patiala school was selected from Punjab. The award has been instituted with the intention to encourage and propagate computer literacy among school students.

Inderjit Kaur Gill said the award comprised of Rs 1.5 lakh, a trophy and a merit certificate.

The principal lauded the efforts put in by the school staff.


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