P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


’84 Riots
Convert affidavits into FIRs, demands Sikh body
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The All-India Sikh Conference has demanded that all affidavits filed before various commissions and courts by eyewitnesses of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots should be converted into FIRs.

“There is sufficient evidence available against 10,000 people who continue to roam about freely on Delhi roads after massacring 5,000 innocent Sikhs. But, powerful politicians are preventing courts from bringing justice”.

Stating that successive government have been trying to help people like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, Kamal Nath, who were in the forefront of the anti-Sikh riots, president of the All-India Sikh Conference (Babbar) Gurcharan Singh Babbar said if the affidavits available with the government forming the part of various commissions and instigations were converted into FIRs, many witnesses would come forward to retreat their submissions.

“How is it possible that the director of revenue intelligence (DRI) raided my house and offices and took away all material I had collected against those guilty of perpetuating crimes against Sikhs and subsequently destroyed it? After all this was not a matter that related to revenue, he was directed by Jagdish Tytler and Gulam Nabi Azad to do so”, Babbar alleged.

Babbar said he had received fresh threats from those responsible for the riots for his sustained campaign to pressurise the government to book the guilty.

He demanded that he be provided a licensed weapon to defend himself. But, he made it clear that if something were to happen to him, Jagdish Tytler would be responsible.

“I have definite and specific information that an assassin has been hired to eliminate me”, he said.

The Delhi-based Sikh activist also appealed to the Sikh community across the world to persuade Jasbir Singh, who is based in California, to come to India and appear before the Delhi High Court to state what he had witnessed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

“The next hearing is scheduled for February 27 and Jasbir must tell the court what he saw, else thousands of criminals and their henchmen will go scot free”.

The CBI is telling the government that it does not have any evidence to nail the culprits, “I appeal to Jasbir and others like him to come forward and tell the world what they saw”.

Gurcharan Singh, who was himself declared a “wanted” person by the government, said he had suffered humiliation and atrocities at the hands of those who did not want him to pursue the “killers of Sikhs in Delhi”, but his crusade to expose the criminals will continue.

Meanwhile, the All-India Sikh Student’s Federation, has claimed that it has managed to persuade yet another eyewitness, Surinder Singh, to come and make a statement on what he saw during the riots.


Women engg, mgt colleges get council nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
There is good news for girl students who are preparing for the Punjab CET. The All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has approved some all-women engineering and management colleges in the state.

The AICTE has approved almost a 1,000 seats in various branches of engineering and management for the coming session.

Following the AICTE approval the Doaba group of colleges on the Chandigarh-Ropar highway today launched the Doaba Women Institute of Engineering and Technology. The college would cater exclusively to girl students who intend to pursue engineering.

The college would admit students from the coming session. “The AICTE has approved 240 seats for the first year.

“These include 90 seats each in BTech computer science, engineering and information technology. Another 60 seats have been approved in electronics and communication engineering.

“Education in the college would be based on the national policy of AICTE to end gender disparities and inequalities,” said Manjit Singh, executive director of the group, here today.

Yesterday Rayat and Bahra Group of institutes had announced the opening of two engineering colleges exclusively for women at Hoshiarpur and the college campus near Sahauran village.


Revenue Share
Peanuts for state
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
In a strange paradox, Punjab is paying a heavy price for being a “developed state”. With the Finance Commission taking the per capita income and population as base for determining the share in revenue by states, devolution of taxes for Punjab is now just 1.29 per cent.

With the direct tax collection of the Centre up by 40 per cent this year, the commission has an excess of Rs 10,000 crore.

This revenue is to be distributed to all states on the basis of the per capita income and population.

As a result, a total revenue of Rs 10,000 crore, which is to be distributed among various states, Punjab will get a meagre Rs 100 crore or Rs 150 crore.

With the state’s economy in doldrums as planned expenditure continues to rise, the state was hoping for more allocation from the 13th Finance Commission.

The existing infrastructure in the state, be it the educational institutes, health care institutes, road network and irrigation network, needs an uplift.

“But the Finance Commission does not assess the requirement for maintenance of existing assets. As a result, Punjab’s share will be amongst the lowest,” said finance secretary, Punjab, D.S. Kalha.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the pre-Budget session organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce here today, Kalha said Punjab would take up the matter with the commission.

“We propose to counter this distortion in the thinking process of planners during the next meeting of the commission,” he said.

With most of the grants released by the Central government going into the implementation of centrally sponsored schemes like Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, which need not be implemented in Punjab because of already existing infrastructure, the state does not get much grant under this head, he added.

The state needs to mobilise additional resources to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore this year to expand its annual Plan.

The net tax receipts in the state are up by just 1 per cent while the planned expenditure has increased by 10 per cent, making it difficult for financial planners to strike a balance.

“The tax compliance is poor, in spite of the best efforts of the Excise and Taxation Department. From being the No. 1 state in the country, Punjab’s pride has been pricked as the state is now the slowest growing large state in the country. The state has to borrow money to meet its expenditure and the total borrowings have mounted to Rs 52,000 crore, with an annual interest liability of Rs 4,000 crore,” said finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal.

The revival of the staggering economy of Punjab lays in more of private participation in infrastructure building, health care and education, he said.


Indian detained in Pak jail
No confirmation on release
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 12
Family members of Kashmir Singh, alias Shallo Singh, son of Sansar Singh of Nangal Choran village in Mahilpur block of this district, who was arrested in 1973 on espionage charges in Pakistan, have yet to receive any confirmation about his release from the jail by the Indian government side.

The news item carried in a section of the press today has brought them delight. A large number of people of the adjoining areas visited Kashmir Singh's house to congratulate the family.

At Kashmir Singh's village his daughter-in-law Manjit Kaur said though, she had not seen her father-in-law, but her mother-in-law had told about him.

Her father-in-law joined the Indian Army in 1962. He left the service on December 21, 1966 and served it in other capacity from June 1968 to May 1970 for which a line officer of Army Headquarter, Jalandhar Cantonment had issued him a certificate of appreciation for his work.

On October 20, 1971, her father-in-law was again recruited as sepoy No. 2261 at Amritsar. After getting one day’s leave from assistant sub inspector Jaswant Singh, he came to the house on August 11, 1972.

Thereafter he left for his duty and did not return home. The family members searched him everywhere, but could not succeed in getting his whereabouts.

On June 16, 1973, as the family came to know about the arrest of Kashmir Singh in Pakistan on espionage charges, his wife Paramjit Kaur went to subedar major Sucha Singh at Army headquarters, Jalandhar cantonment and apprised him about the arrest of her husband for spying.

Subedar major Sucha Singh assured her husband would be got released at the earliest. During the period of three years, no information had been received about him and on October 26, 1976, a letter of Kashmir Singh was received from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan in which he informed he was arrested for spying charges and had been sentenced to capital punishment for which he had filed an appeal against the decision.

On June 30, 1978 some Army officers from Jalandhar cantonment, came to Paramjit Kaur and provided monetary help of Rs 5,000 with assurance that efforts were being done to get Kashmir Singh released.

During the regime of late Benazir Bhutto, the capital punishment was converted into life imprisonment.

On October 11, 1996, Paramjit Kaur received a letter from the Indian embassy in Pakistan in which it was stated that efforts were being initiated to get released Kashmir Singh.

The family came to know on February 17, 2006 that Kashmir Singh was in Mianwali jail in Pakistan, said Manjit Kaur.

Kashmir Singh's wife Paramjit Kaur said today, she heard the news that her husband will be released very shortly.

"Finally, God has accepted my prayers. But I can only be satisfied when I will actually see him", said Paramjit Kaur.

Kashmir Singh has two sons Amarjit Singh and Shashpal and two daughters Manjit Kaur and Paramjit Kaur. All had been married in his absence.

Amarjit Singh has gone to Italy for earning his livelihood and Shashpal Singh is doing farming in the village. Both brothers had two children each.


MLA to complain to Sukhbir for ignoring Akalis
at BJP rally
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 12
The differences between ruling coalition partners, the SAD and the BJP, today once again came to the fore as Amarpal Singh Bonny, an Akali MLA from Ajnala, today alleged that he would take up the matter of ignoring Akalis at a BJP rally held in his constituency with party president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Bonny alleged that the BJP had violated the coalition dharma by ignoring Akalis
at the rally.

State BJP president Rajinder Bhandari and Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP from Amritsar, were among those who had addressed the rally held at Ajnala on February 10.

Akali MP Rattan Singh Ajnala, who is also district president the SAD, was also not invited for the rally.

The Akali MLA said he had already taken up the matter with Bikram Singh Majithia, minister public relations, and they would jointly brief the SAD president during his visit to Amritsar on February 16.

However, Sidhu said the rally was organised by Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, secretary, BJP, to remember martyrs of 1857. “Bonny is like my younger brother and the question of ignoring him could not arise”.

A confidant of Navjot Sidhu claimed that it was due to a “communication gap” that Bonny and the SAD MP could not attend the rally.

In October last year, Sidhu and Majitha had sunk differences by jointly appearing before the mediapersons. The differences between both coalition partners may snowball into a major controversy in the coming days.

However, Bonny claimed that the BJP had “misguided” residents of his constituency by displaying their pictures on hoardings that they were attending the rally.

“However, the fact remains that the BJP did not show courtesy to invite the Akalis for the rally,” he said.

Political observers are of the view that it was the BJP’s attempt to make inroads into rural areas, the traditional Akali turf.

Many times the BJP leadership has categorically told the Chief Minister that it had joined the SAD-led government to be an equal partner and not to play second fiddle to it.


Expediting Extradition
Canada to tie up with Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Canada may soon hold joint training programmes with Punjab for expediting the extradition process.

The move is expected to benefit both countries by bringing to justice people fleeing from the law on either side.

A three-member team from Canada, currently in Chandigarh, in connection with two extradition cases, said the matter will soon be taken up with the state government and the director-general of police.

Talking to The Tribune after holding detailed discussions on the extradition issue with state advocate-general Hardev Singh Mattewal at his office in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the team members said the training programmes for lawyers and the police officials of both countries is expected to speed up the process.

State’s additional advocate-general Reeta Kohli was also present during the meeting.

The need to sort out technical difficulties faced by the police officers here while completing the document work involved in the extradition process was also discussed during the meeting.

Elaborating on the necessity of holding training sessions, the team - comprising senior counsels from Canada’s Department of Justice Barbara Kothe and Deborah Strachan, along with Shane Tuckey of the police - said the laws of both countries are quite different.

Complete understanding of the legal system through training programmes and the working in tandem of the police and the legal experts of both countries will go a long way in expeditious disposal of the extradition cases.

The move, Kothe said, will be in the interest of justice, as it will help in timely disposal of cases involving people who flee from either side.

Even now, Canada’s Department of Justice is in regular touch with the state authorities, including the director-general of police, added Strachan.

Mattewal said the development is significant as the state is seeking the extradition of the accused, who had committed offences in Punjab, but were now putting up in Canada.

In all, there are 7,00,000 people of Indian origin in Canada. A substantial number of them are Punjabis. Though the number of people in Canada after fleeing from the law in Punjab is minuscule, each case is important, asserts Mattewal.

Refusing to divulge the details of the two cases in which the Punjab Government was seeking extradition with the help of the Canadian team, Mattewal said it might jeopardise the move and forewarn the accused.

The state government, he said, has already set up a cell for the benefit of non-resident Indians and it has asked the government and the police functionaries to supply a list of all cases in which the accused have been declared proclaimed offenders here.

“This will help the cell to sort out cases, especially where the offences are minor, without causing harassment to people,” concludes Kohli.


LPG Shortage
Misuse, long winter to blame: BPCL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, one of the oil companies supplying domestic LPG, has blamed the latest crisis in the supply of the product to its misuse and unexpected long winter.

This reaction has come in response to the statement of the All India LPG Distributors Federation, North West Region (NWR), which has blamed the oil companies for creating shortage of the domestic LPG in the market.

The territory manager (LPG), Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Lalru, said the situation prevailed due to unexpected disruption in LPG supplies during mid-January 2008 and due to unavoidable situation, which were totally out of control of the company.

Apart from unexpectedly long winter, some undesirable changes in the utilisation-pattern of the LPG by some persons, including distributors’ network of the company, had led to this situation.

“The situation has since been eased out and we are determined to maintain a steady supply line of LPG for genuine domestic users. We have been working overtime at our bottling plants and distribution arrangements to reach the LPG supplies to all our distributors, in turn enabling them to supply domestic LPG uninterruptedly,” said the area manager.

The company has further pointed out that a section of distributors on their customer base have a set of fake customers to whom they release supplies on a regular basis.

Such customers are conduit for them to make product available for illegal usage to unauthorised persons in automobiles, hotels, restaurants, dhabas, eateries, caterers and for unauthorised filling in smaller cylinders.

The company is inspecting the customer database of each distributor for the blockage of such identified fake customers.

A section of distributors are indulging in the deployment of delivery persons to supply the cylinders to the customers.

The delivery staff, which was being paid minimal amount on per cylinder basis, was indulging in the pilferage of product.


Rags to Riches
Daily-wage earner becomes prosperous fish farmer
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ram Chander Sahani
Ram Chander Sahani

Ludhiana, February 12
Journey to Punjab on unreserved seat in an overcrowded general coach of the Indian Railways in 1978 to regular flights on Indian Airlines today is the changed picture of Ram Chander Sahani, who had travelled to find a labourer's job in prosperous Punjab from his poverty-stricken home in Samastipur in Bihar.

Sahani started as a daily-wage labourer on Rs 5 at a fish farm. His uncommon capacity to work till he hit the sack and trying his hand in new ventures led him to take a village pond on rent for fish rearing.

Today, he has a chain of ponds in villages. He is running fish-rearing ventures at four ponds at Tandran village, a 34-acre pond at Kahansinghwala village in Ferozepur, and another one at Sahaug village, near Malout.

At one-time Sahani often used to sleep in the open, even at the railway station. Today, he owns a three-storeyed house at Premnagar.

He has two jeeps. Sahani also contested the Municipal Corporation elections and lost narrowly to the son of Hakam Singh Gyaspura, Mayor.

"I deal in wholesale supply and deal largely with local markets, besides supplying to wholesale markets in Delhi and Rajasthan. I also buy fish from other farmers and sell it to dealers. I have to fly to Kolkata often to buy fish seed," Sahani says.

Sahani says, "Officials in the Government Fisheries Department had guided him to take up independent projects, a few years after he had won their trust. Years of work experience gave me the required knowledge input and preparedness to work hard helped me reach the place where I can feel contended."

He further says, "I have discovered in case anyone is prepared to reach some destination, he will always find helping hands around to see him through all trying times. Honesty and commitment are the biggest assets for a man who starts out at the lowest level".

"Pravasi (migrant) population has come to be a part of the Punjab state and winning seats in the corporation elections shows the change in demographic data. We deserve a voice in the decision-making body even based on pure numbers. The happenings in Mumbai have been very unfortunate where UP and Bihar workers are being asked to move out. Punjabis have big hearts," he says.


Cannot give Ladowal land, PAU to government
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 12
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) authorities have expressed their inability to hand over the Ladowal research station land to the state government for “launching a mega project”.

The government had asked the beneficiaries of the Ladowal state seed farm to surrender the land under their occupation to the state government except the piece of land in possession of a cellular company a few months ago.

The university, which has 1,250 acres under research and seed production, had also been asked to hand over the land to the state government.

The state government sent a CD to the authorities containing the details of land available in four districts of Mansa, Sangrur, Ferozepur and Amritsar.

The vice-chancellor of the university, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, has set up a committee of experts of the university to study the CD and select the land in lieu of the Ladowal research station.

In a communication to the state government, the vice-chancellor has conveyed to the government that no suitable piece of land has been found for research and seed production.

He has maintained that there were small pieces of land located at different places and these could not be used for research and seed production.

At present, the PAU has 200 acres under sugarcane research out of 1,250 acres at Ladowal. Besides, research is being carried out in fruit plants, sorghum and other commercial crops.

There are around 200 varieties of sugarcane, which are at various stages of testing at Ladowal and there are 500 acres under seed production.

The Punjab farmers are already facing seed shortage of wheat and other crops. It took about six years to the PAU to set up the present research station at Ladowal.

The present allotment of land measuring 1,250 acres was made at Ladowal in lieu of 140 acres of sugarcane farm at Jalandhar, which was taken over by the government for the establishment of the HSF complex and later the Punjab Medical institute (PMI).

The project has been hanging fire for the past many years. The Beant Singh government also gave Rs 15 crore to the PAU for the establishment of the research station, including laboratories at Ladowal.

Dr Kang has pointed out that the establishment of the new research station and seed farm would need huge sum of money and the university is already facing a severe financial crisis. The retirees of the PAU have not been paid their pension for the past four months now.

Dr Kang has stated that at least 500 acres are needed for seed production only. There is one piece of land available along the river but it is not of 500 acres and is under illegal occupation.

As a matter of fact, the vice-chancellor had written to the state government sometimes ago that the entire farm of 2,950 acres should be handed over to the PAU for carrying out research and seed production.

Instead, the state government asked the PAU to surrender 1,250 acres. The university has not yet been allotted land or given monetary compensation in lieu of 25 acres given for the cricket stadium at Bathinda.

However, the vice-chancellor has selected some pieces of land for the establishment of krishi vigyan kendras in the districts of Mansa, Tarn Taran, Mohali and Barnala. Each centre will need 25 acres.

Dr D.R. Bhumbla, former vice-chancellor, Haryana Agricultural University and former agricultural commissioner of India, has criticised the move of the state government to take control of the Ladowal seed farm and research station.

Inquiries made by this correspondent have revealed that at the number of meetings convened by the state government, all beneficiaries of the land at Ladowal namely Punjab Police Housing Corporation, PAU, Punjab Agro-industries Corporation and a private citrus company were asked to vacate the land in their possession.

But, a private cellular company, which has set up a high-tech vegetable farm on 300 acres, has not been asked to vacate the land nor invited to the meetings held by senior officers of the state government.

It is being apprehended that the entire land of the Ladowal farm might be allotted to the cellular company, which has sought permission for setting up a private university as well as Adarsh Schools in the rural areas.


5 rescued from flooding dam waters
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, February 12
Five residents of Chhani Muana viz Mustak Singh, Sandeep Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Harjeet Singh and Ashok Kumar were caught unawares last night when the Ranjit Sagar Dam authorities released excess water from the dam when these five were allegedly doing illegal mining on the Ravi bed.

One of them called his family, who subsequently sought help from the area MLA Dinesh Singh Babbu. Later, the MLA called the police and the deputy commissioner for rescue operations.

Information was passed to the district administration, following which Pathankot SP Harpreet Singh, along with a police party and a fire brigade crew, rushed to the spot and started the rescue operations.

Receiving information, dam officials also rushed to the spot and joined them. The five were rescued after a struggle of over two hours.

The police has rounded them up and initiated action against them for their involvement in illegal mining. No case was registered till late last night.


Phagwara Blockade
Thousands stranded for hours
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, February 12
Public had to suffer for about four hours from about 9.15 am due to the blockade of the New Delhi-Amritsar national highway No. 1 at four points in Phagwara and Chandigarh byepass.

Gurbachan Singh of Subhanpur in Kapurthala was taking his ailing mother Charanjit Kaur to DMC Hospital in Ludhiana for treatment.

His case was not an isolated one. Thousands of passengers boarding several buses of the Punjab Roadways and other states and others travelling in their own or hired vehicles were stranded.

Gurbachan said agitators should adopt some other means to lodge protest instead of blocking the traffic.

However, the protesters, including a veteran Congress leader and a former minister Joginder Singh Mann and the state chief of the Ambedkar Sena Surinder Dhanda, justified the blockade.

Mann and Dhanda said the crowd was left with no option but to lodge their protest by blocking the traffic as their religious sentiments were hurt. At the same time, they condemned the damage caused to several vehicles by some persons.

Meanwhile, Ambala-based project director of NHAI Gursewak Singh, under whose jurisdiction the national highway in Phagwara falls, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Mann said banners by all religious organisation were put up at Gole Chowk on the national highway during functions.

He would have no objection if the administration persuaded all religious leaders to implement the Supreme Court ban on putting up any type of banner at Gole Chowk on the national highway.


Youth’s Murder
Residents block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 12
In protest against the non-arrest of the murderers of 23-year-old Sukhwinder Singh, hundreds of persons, including relatives of the deceased, blocked the traffic and staged a dharna for about five hours at a bridge on the Lehra-Sunam-Jakhal road at Lehragaga today.

They also kept the body of the murdered youth on a vehicle at the dharna site. Sukhwinder was murdered with sharp-edged weapons and bricks by five persons at Lehragaga yesterday.

The protesters lifted the dharna at about 5 pm today when SP (Headquarters) Gurdeep Singh Pannu reached the dharna site and gave an assurance to them that the police would nab the accused in 24 hours.

After the lifting of the dharna, a number of protesters also participated in the cremation of Sukhwinder.

The SP (H) said the police had formed four parties to nab the culprits. He expressed hope that the alleged accused would be captured by tomorrow.

Earlier, the Lehra SDM, DSP and SHO had made appeals to the protesters to
lift the dharna.


Abortion Case
Report sent to civil surgeon
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 12
In a suspected case of abortion, the subdivisional committee for the implementation of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act today sent its report to the civil surgeon.

It has been mentioned in the report that after perusal of the available medical record of the patient and the report of fact-finding committee, members of the subdivisional committee are of the view that there is a strong possibility that provision of the MTP Act has been violated in the case.

Possibility of the applicability of the PC and PNDT Act in this case can not be ruled out. The civil surgeon will now take up the matter with the deputy commissioner.

On a tip-off that abortions were carried out in the house of a local nurse, the police had raided her house and found a woman there.


Farmers advised to adopt natural farming
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 12
The Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum (SASWF), the Sangrur district Agriculture Technology and Management Agency (ATMA) and the Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), Punjab, organised a workshop on “Natural farming” in the district administrative complex here on Sunday.

All speakers advised farmers to adopt natural farming to save the earth, water and air from the ill- effects of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

They also said due to the un-necessary use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, human beings showed evidence of genetic damage, high rate of miscarriages among women, slow growth in children and other health-related problems.

Besides this, an un-necessary use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides was also badly affecting ground water as it was now containing high toxic levels of mercury, arsenic, cadmium etc. All this being done in the name of development was affecting lives of masses .

The speakers were also of the view that the NGOs and the government agencies should sensitise farmers on these issues, so that they could switch over to safer methods of farming.

Additional deputy commissioner (Development) Harnek Singh, working president of the KVM Dr Amar Singh Azad, president of the SASWF Dr A.S. Mann, project director of ATMA Kuldip Singh, associate director of the KVM Ajay Tripathi and trainer of the KVM Jagmail Singh also spoke.


Promote Punjabi, Badal to intellectuals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called upon intellectuals and educationists to suggest ways to promote the Punjabi language.

Badal was addressing a book release function organised by the Global Folklore Institute at Punjab Bhawan here.

Releasing books "Computer Operating System: Concepts and Handling" and “Lok Dhara Adhar te Passar” authored by Jaiteg Singh and Dr Santripat Kaur, Badal emphasised that time had changed because of globalisation and English language was playing a significant role as a link language, but this should not hamper development and promotion of the Punjabi language.

He, however, said, “We are not against the English language, but it should not be promoted at the cost of Punjabi”.


Govt to donate martyr’s statue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, today congratulated Som Nath Chatterjee, Speaker of Lok Sabha, for his decision to install a statue of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh in Parliament.

It is an honour for the people of Punjab, he said. The current year is the birth centenary of the Shaheed.

Bhagat Singh was cremated on March 23, 1931, at Hussainawala village, near Ferozepur. The village is situated close to the Indo-Pak border.

In 1968, the Punjab government built a samadhi of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru and dedicated it to the nation.

On March 23, his martyrdom day, functions are held every year by all parties
at the samadhi.

Badal said people of Punjab would get sculpted the statue of the Shaheed and donate it to the nation for installation in the Lok Sabha.


Khalra Killing
KPS Gill not involved: CBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Seeking the dismissal of a petition filed by the wife of eliminated human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra for directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the involvement of Punjab's former director-general of police K.P.S. Gill in the matter, the premier investigating agency today said the plea was devoid of merit.

In an affidavit submitted before Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice T.P.S. Maan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Paramjit Kaur Khalra’s petition, the CBI said, “Investigation did not bring out evidence to substantiate the allegations against Gill”.

Even the trial court did not find evidence against Gill. As such, no investigation remains to be conducted in the case in respect of conspirators, the CBI added. The case will now come up for further hearing on April 21.

The petition was filed over 12 years after Jaswant Singh was abducted from his residence before being eliminated.

In her petition, Paramjit Kaur had asserted “hard evidence” had come on the trial court record about the then DGP Gill's involvement.

As such, appropriate order be issued to the CBI to further investigate the conspiracy angel and the involvement of the then DGP in abducting, illegally detaining, torturing and murdering Jaswant Singh.

Describing Gill as the "main accused", she had stated that the results of the investigation should be presented before the CBI court so that "he can be brought to justice". She had added that Gill had "escaped" due to partial and incomplete investigation.

Going into the circumstances leading to the filing of the petition, she had contended that at least two representations were forwarded to the CBI director for the completion of investigation in the murder case so that Gill could be held accountable, in accordance with law, for his crime.

International human rights groups also wrote to the CBI director to take up
the matter.

It may be recalled that another Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Mr Justice A.N. Jindal, has already held Khalra was "abducted so that his life could be extinguished."

He was picked up from his house "at the instance of SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu" by DSP Jaspal Singh and other cops, including Satnam Singh, Surinder Pal Singh, Jasbir Singh and Prithipal Singh.

He was tortured at the Jhabal police station before being shot. Finally, his body was disposed of near the Harike bridge.

The development assumes significance as witness Kuldeep Singh had reportedly alleged that he had seen Gill go into a room in which Khalra was being kept at Manawala in Taran Tarn.


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