P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


MLAs want poll put off
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Punjab Assembly today unanimously passed a resolution to seek the postponement of the panchayat, block samiti and zila parishad elections keeping in view the beginning of the rabi season and annual examinations of the students in secondary classes.

Though the harvesting of crops and exams were pleaded as reasons in the House to seek the postponement of the elections, sources said there were political reasons because of which postponing of elections was sought today.

A meeting of MLAs of SAD and BJP held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here yesterday protested against the manner in which the issue of reservation related to sarpanches in various villages had been handled by the officers concerned. The MLAs pointed out several irregularities in reserving the villages for SC and women sarpanches. Keeping this in view, Badal today proposed the postponement the elections in the House.

Meanwhile, with a forwarding letter from the state government, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh has sent a copy of the resolution passed by the members unanimously in the House to state election commissioner A.K. Dubey, who is the competent authority to take decision with regard to the postponement of the elections. It appears that the commissioner would seek the opinion of legal experts in this regard. The commission has the authority to deny the request made with regard to the postponing of the elections. Already, a notification to hold the elections has been issued and polling is slated to be held on April 7.

Leader of the House and Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal moved the proposal for the postponing the election. It was endorsed by the leader of the opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, besides Manoranjan Kalia, leader of the BJP legislature group in the House. Earlier, Brahm Mohindra, Congress MLA, and Charanjit Singh Channi, Independent MLA, made speeches in the House, urging the Chief Minister to postpone the panchayat elections.

While moving the proposal, the Badal said MLAs from the ruling SAD-BJP combine as well from the Opposition benches were of the opinion that elections should be postponed keeping in view the coming busy season for farmers, farm labour and others concerned. He also referred to the annual exams of students.

As the House unanimously endorsed the proposal made by Badal, the Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon moved a resolution seeking the deferring of the election. The resolution was passed by raising of the hands by the treasury as well as opposition benches.


Breather boosts hopes of Sarabjit’s kin
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
Even as Sarabjit Singh today got a one-month breather with his hanging being put off till April 30 by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, his wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughter Poonam paid obeisance at a gurdwara and a temple at Bhikhiwind near here.

Sukhpreet hoped that the Almighty would ultimately save her husband because he was a victim of mistaken identity. She claimed that it was actually Manjit Singh who had engineered a series of bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990 that killed 14 innocent persons. Sarabjit was falsely implicated in the case.

Members of his family once again claimed that he had inadvertently strayed into Pakistani territory in an inebriated condition while working in a field on the border. Poonam, his younger daughter, hoped her father would be set free and reunited with the family soon.

Meanwhile, India deported a Pakistani national, Jamal Quraishi, a resident of Sindh at the Attari joint checkpost. He had come to India by Samjhauta Express in 2005 and was arrested on charges of possessing counterfeit currency at Shahjahanpur (Uttar Pradesh).

Don’t exchange Sarabjit for terrorists: Wife

Amritsar, March 19
In a bold statement in the family’s hour of need, wife of Sarabjit Singh, Sukhpreet Kaur, said today that they did not wish him to the repatriated from Pakistan if it meant India had to release hardcore terrorists in exchange.

She said for the family, “nothing is above the nation and we can’t go against the interests of our motherland”. — PTI


Badal warns Manmohan
Filling posts from UT cadre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the Chandigarh Administration “from tampering with the existing system for filling the top civil posts in the union territory on deputation from Punjab and Haryana on a 60:40 ratio till Chandigarh is transferred to the state of Punjab.”

In a communication to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister has warned that “the people of Punjab will not permit any change in the administrative structure of the city of Chandigarh to the detriment of the interests and claims of the state of Punjab and Punjabis. Any such effort will cause unrest in the minds of Punjabis within and outside the state and will deeply hurt their sentiments.”

He added the reported move of the UT Administration violated not only the “specific position taken by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on the issue, but also the related provisions in the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966.”

“I am shocked to learn that efforts are afoot to turn Chandigarh into a perpetual union territory,” said Badal.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's media advisor Harcharan Bains said today that Badal would take up the matter with the Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister's stand came amidst reports that the union territory was seeking to change the present process of filling the "the posts of principal medical officer-cum-director, healths Services and joint principal medical officer-cum-medical superintendent in Chandigarh by transfer on deputation from amongst the officers from the Punjab or Haryana state governments.

The UT Administration reportedly was initiating a move to fill these posts by promotion from the UT cadre officers. Ever since the re-organisation of Punjab in 1966, these posts have been filled from amongst officers of Punjab and Haryana who can remain on deputation up to four years. 


Verbal Spat in House
Minister apologises to Speaker 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The SAD-BJP government headed by Parkash Singh Badal today received a blow in the Punjab Assembly during question hour as its senior minister for rural development and panchayats Ranjit Singh Brahmpura had to feel sorry in the House following a verbal fight with Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon on the issue of distribution of cheques related to grants for development works to panchayats in Dera Baba Nanak subdivision.

Both Brahmpura and Speaker Kahlon belong to SAD and are from the Majha belt that is known for fierce political rivalries.

Brahmpura said sorry when he was told by the Speaker either to apologise for what he had said in the House or he would be served with a notice. He said he committed no wrong, but he felt sorry if there was a feeling that he had done so.

Supporting the Speaker, leader of the Opposition in the House Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said Brahmpura’s remarks about the Speaker had created a worrisome situation and sad atmosphere in the House. Brahmpura should apologise from the Speaker.

What led to a verbal fight between Kahlon and Brahmpura was a question asked by Capt Balbir Singh Bath, SAD MLA from Hargobindpura. He had asked whether the Chief Minister had ordered any inquiry into the distribution of cheques by unauthorised persons in Dera Baba Nanak sub-division. If so, what were the findings of the inquiry.

Brahmpura said an inquiry was ordered, but no irregularity was found and cheques were distributed by the block development and panchayat officer and not by any unauthorised person. Asking the supplementary question, Makhan Singh wanted to know who the inquiry was entrusted to. Brahmpura said an officer of his department had conducted the inquiry.

Posing a counter-question, Makhan Singh asked whether a subordinate officer could dare go against his own minister while conducting the inquiry against him (minister). Makhan Singh asked the Chief Minister to answer the query. The Chief Minister said an officer would conduct a fair inquiry. However, the Chief Minister did not intervene further.

Replying to questions raised by Makhan Singh, Brahmpura said no inquiry was being conducted against him. It was an inquiry into what was stated as unauthorised distribution of cheques. Intervening, the Speaker said it was felt that some agent of the minister was distributing cheques. Whether there was share in that distribution or there is something else. Speaker said he had brought this issue in the notice of the Chief Minister’s office urging for holding the inquiry in this issue.

As the Speaker said this, Brahmpura got up to say that the Speaker was making him to answer questions at length from the day Budget session began. He said he was to make several supplementary questions. The Speaker retorted that it was in his competency to allow members to ask the supplementary questions. He told Brahmpura that he had insulted the House by questioning the competency of the Chair and for that he should apologise.

Avtar Singh Brar, Congress MLA, said inquiries with regard to cheques should be held in the segments from where Congress MLAs had won. The CM told him that he would do so if any instance was brought in his notice. 


Westerners join Tibetan protest
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 19
Tibetans are not alone in their march back to their homeland. Some Westerners who have embraced Tibetan Buddhism have also joined the march

James Peterson is one of them. He is accompanying the march from its start at Dharamsala. He is a resident of Montana, USA, and has decided to be a part of march even though he was detained at Kangra.

Talking to The Tribune here, he said he embraced Buddhism about 15 years ago under the influence of the Dalai Lama. He has also taken the Buddhist name of Tenzing Tenkyong. He came to India in January this year on a five-month visa as instructor of the English language for Tibetans staying at Dharamsala.

“Many Westerners joined the march at Dharamsala. However, the Himachal police detained us for a few hours at Kangra,” he said.

James also said they were in constant touch with their embassies. He said most of the Westerners accompanying the march were willing to go to jail for the Tibetan struggle.

While James was forthcoming in his views, other about eight other Westerners who are part of march avoided the media.

The march of Tibetan protestors back to their homeland started once again this morning at 8 am from their makeshift camp in closed school of NFL at Nangal. The march would cover 20 km on foot today and halt at Anandpur Sahib.

A contingent of Tibetan services that includes an ambulance, cooks, generator sets and other material is following the march that makes their stay comfortable.

The police had a tough time making security arrangements for Tibetan protestors at Anandpur Sahib today in view of ongoing Hola Mohalla celebrations.


Traffic diverted for Hola Mohalla
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 19
The district administration today ordered diversion of traffic on many routes in view of the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib. Deputy commissioner B. Purusartha said all buses and other vehicles plying on the Nangal-Ropar road would be diverted to the Nangal-Nurpurbedi-Ropar road. Traffic to Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh would be diverted to the Bharatgarh-Nalagarh route.

The buses coming to Anandpur Sahib would have to be parked at a temporary bus stand at Chandesar village. From this bus stand, a shuttle bus service for pilgrims to Anandpur Sahib would be started.

The deputy commissioner said the arrangement would continue till March 22.

Meanwhile, the number of pilgrims coming to Anandpur Sahib swelled today with thousands of them thronging roads of the town. Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh used to hold congregations and where revelation of Khalsa (Khande Di Pahul) took place, is a pivotal place as almost every pilgrim pays obeisance at there on Hola Mohalla.


Intellectuals debate duties of Akal Takht chief
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 19
The Akal Takht Jathedar, who does not perform his duties as per Gurmat , hopes and aspirations of the Panth, has no right to continue. This was one of the resolutions passed by Sikh intellectuals at a meeting under the aegis of the Shiromani Sikh Council International here today.

Initiating debate on the controversies surrounding the Jathedars of the five Takhts, Dr Hajinder Singh Dilgir said the post was created in the recent past and did not conform to Gurmat principles.

Dr Balkar Singh, Dr Gursharan Singh, Prof Jagdish Sungh Mukerian and Prof Avtar Singh Phagwara, said the fault was not in the post, but the manner in which the politicians foist “undeserving individuals” on the community. The need of the hour was to appoint a person who could feel the pulse of the masses and react accordingly, they pointed out.

There should be a provision to remove a Jathedar who does not do justice to his post and becomes part of the corrupt political system, they added.

The gathering also felt the SAD had lost all right to call itself Panthic party since it had abandoned its Panthic agenda years ago. It has been reduced to a cabal of self- serving politicians who have no love people. In fact, the party is doing more harm to our religious institutions than anti- Sikh forces, they opined.

Those indulging in female foeticide should be labelled daughter killers and ostracised from society was another resolution by those present on the occasion.

Talking on human rights violations, Justice Ajit Singh Bains said the Sikhs had to resort to 18th century tactics to stem the injustice prevalent in society. It was ironical schools in the state were being shut down but more policemen are being recruited, he added.

The plight of Praveen Kaur, who was falsely booked by the Haryana Police was also discussed. Those present felt that it was a grave human rights violations and the government should release her at the earliest.

Reacting to the poor state of agriculture and farmers suicides, Ranjit Singh Tamar, said it was the ground realities were a cummulative effect of the anti- farmer policies pursued by successive governments. The farmers should go in for self -education to improve their lot. The recent loan waiver was more of a political necessity than an attempt to ameliorate their sufferings else, he added.

The meeting had been convened by Bhai Pal Singh (France), Amrik Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Ludhiana, Rajinder Singh Purewal (UK), Jagjit Singh, Bhai Ranjit Singh Patiala and Jaspal Singh Mandiala.


SGPC condemns Praveen’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 19
The executive of the SGPC, which assembled in the Mata Gujri Hall on the Fatehgarh Sahib Gurdwara complex late last evening, passed a resolution condemning the Haryana government for the arrest of 21-year-old Praveen in connection with an attack on the convoy of the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda.

Terming Praveen to be an innocent girl, SGPC chief Avtar Singh said it was hard to believe that she could be involved in the conspiracy against the dera chief. He, however, refused to comment on the statements issued by state president of the BJP Rajinder Bhandari against Praveen.

The SGPC chief said the committee was going to file an appeal with the Pakistani government for a lenient view of Sarabjit’s case. 


A story set in times of militancy
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
Noted Punjabi writer Joginder Kairon’s new fictional work “Nile Tarian Di Mout” (Death of Blue Stars), blended with facts of post-Operation Bluestar, has created ripples in the world of Punjabi literature.

With use of symbols like “death of stars,” taken from science, Kairon has concluded that the maintenance of the age-old composite Punjabi culture is the only solution to all problems Punjab faced during the heyday of militancy after the Army operation in June 1984.

Talking to The Tribune, Kairon said a star’s lifespan and fate is determined by its original mass. Now it is believed that at the centre of each galaxy there is a super-massive black hole that is millions to billions of times heavier than our sun. The massive black hole captures nearby stars and drags them into a swirling accretion disk.

Expressing sympathy with innocent persons, killed in indiscriminate firing or the deceased misguided youths, the author believes that they will again come to the world like the stars which eventually collapse and explode, but their existence is never wiped out from the universe.

The fiction traverses through the “black days,” reading of which will enable the reader understand the root cause of the Punjab imbroglio in those days.

The story of “Nile Tarian Di Maut” starts from the hostile terrain of “mand” between the two rivers, Beas and Sutlej, once a haven for Sikh militants. An old man who had worked in the freedom movement, gives armed training to Sikh youths with ideological overtones, taking the reader to the “black days” Punjab witnessed after the Sikh-Nirankari clash in 1978. The novel is spread in three movements - freedom struggle, naxalism and terrorist movement - in Punjab. The old man who felt disillusioned with the freedom India attained opts to train the youth due to sheer frustration.

The contents of the fiction are reminiscent of the days of Teja Singh Sutantar and Bujha Singh who played a significant role in the struggle for independence. “Nile Tarian Di Maut” deals with the storm of terrorist activities and killing of gullible persons in indiscriminate firing incidents. The story reaches its zenith when almost all militants are washed away from the mand when the Bhakra Dam authorities open the floodgates at behest of the state government to clear the menace. 


PAU-STEM proposal rejected
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 19
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has rejected the proposal of establishing PAU-STEM, a joint venture offered by the Knowledge Foundation, Punjab. 

The foundation, which claims to have a conglomeration of different educational campuses in Punjab and particularly Technology and Management Institute, made an offer to PAU about two months ago to have partnership to tide over the financial crisis the varsity was facing. The foundation had claimed 70 per cent stake and 30 per cent with PAU.

The vice-chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, had referred the matter to the deans committee of colleges of the university to study the proposal.

The Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) had rejected the proposal, maintaining that this was not acceptable and PAU had its own place among the international agricultural research and national research institutes. It had also observed that PAU could not be sold off.

In its report to the vice-chancellor, the deans committee stated that the PAU was already in the process of developing self-financed undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as skill development courses to address the educational needs of rural masses in the state and efforts to generate resources to ensure need-based expansion of education in agriculture and allied sciences were being made. 


Toll Tax 
Relief for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 19
Local civil judge (junior division) Sangeet Pal Singh has restrained Rohan Rajdeep Tollway’s Limited from charging toll tax on the Hoshiarpur-Dasuya road from ex-servicemen and the members of their families till March 31.

Col Dharam Singh (retd), president of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, and three other ex-servicemen had alleged that the company had been charging toll tax from ex-servicemen and their families in violation of the guidelines of the ministry of surface transport. 


Order declaring Banga MLA as PO unlawful: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today held that the order declaring Banga MLA Mohan Lal as proclaimed offender (PO), on the face of it, appeared to be against the statutory provisions.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court on the MLA’s petition for the grant of anticipatory bail in an election-related case registered against him last year, Justice R.S. Madan of the high court also directed him to approach the trial court, which in turn would pass appropriate orders for his release on bail.

In his detailed order, Justice Madan observed: “The counsel for the petitioner has taken me through the order passed by the court below, which declared the petitioner a proclaimed offender, which on the face of it appears to be against the statutory provisions.”

The Judge added: “Before declaring the petitioner a proclaimed offender, he had not been served a notice. It was incumbent upon the court to have summoned the petitioner by way of issuing warrants of arrest, which is a condition precedent.

In the instant case, this fact is missing. Therefore, the proceedings initiated for declaring the petitioner a proclaimed offender are in violation of Section 82 (1) of the Cr.PC.

Before parting with the order, Justice Madan added: “All the offences involved in the case are bailable. Hence, the petitioner is directed to appear before the trial court, which shall pass an appropriate order for releasing the petitioner on bail. With these observations, the petition stands disposed of.”

The MLA had earlier moved a petition seeking the grant of anticipatory bail in first information report number 11 registered at Police Station City in Nawanshahr on January 23, 2007.

The case was registered on the complaint of Nawanshahr’s then assistant commissioner-cum-returning officer for the Banga Assembly constituency under Sections 123 (2) and 133 of the Representation of People’s Act, along with Section 188 of the IPC.

The petitioner had contended a false case was registered against him through the returning officer “on account of influence” wielded by the rival Congress candidate, who subsequently lost election to him. At that time, the Congress was ruling the state, he had added.


High Court
Quarries’ auction is a ‘possibility’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Taking up a petition for quashing the notice for auction of quarries in Punjab, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that the auction might be held, but not confirmed.

In his petition against the State of Punjab and others, Mohan Singh of Nawanshahr had asserted the auction conditions were arbitrary, oppressive and contrary to the rules. Issuing the directions in an open court on the petition, the Bench, comprising Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary, also issued notice of motion for April 3.

The Bench fixed the same date on another petition by Gulab Singh of Ferozepore district and against the State of Punjab and the director of industries and commerce. The petitioners had contended the respondents had included over 80 per cent fertile land with standing crops for granting quarrying rights of minor minerals to the contractors.

Petition dismissed

Justice Mahesh Grover of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition for CBI probe filed by the father of Nawab Singh, the gunman of Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh, who was found dead in May, 2005. Detailed judgement was not yet available.

In his petition, Rajwant Singh had alleged despite requests, the Fatehgarh Sahib police was not investigating the case properly.

Nawab Singh’s body was fished out of the Narwana Branch Canal on May 7, 2005, a day after he went missing. The family of the deceased had accused the MLA of being responsible for his death.

In his petition, Rajwant Singh had stated he met the IGP, Patiala zone, on May 13, 2005, seeking proper investigation. But no action was taken. Nothing happened even after over 200 villagers met the Fatehgarh Sahib SSP for registration of case. The petitioner had claimed fair investigation could not be expected as the MLA’s brother was a senior police officer.

CBI probe sought

In less than a week after lawyers appearing in the Bhadaur matter were assaulted and allegedly implicated, the Barnala District Bar Association today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter.

In a related development, honorary secretary of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Association Onkar Singh Batalvi today shot off a communiqué to the Barnala Bar Association president extending full support and cooperation.

Condemning police inaction, Batalvi also assured the Bar Association of taking up the matter with the state director-general of Police (DGP).

In it’s petition against the State of Punjab, the DGP and the CBI, the association, meanwhile, submitted the case should be handed over to the premier investigating agency after withdrawing the investigations from the Punjab police.

The case, under Sections 364, 511, 341, 506 and 149 of the IPC, was registered against the lawyers at the Bhadson police station in Patiala district on March 14.

Describing it as a false case, the petitioner had contended Patiala SSP was holding grudge against the lawyers, defending the cause of Bhadaur residents.

A clash had taken place on October 11, 2006, over the demarcation of land between two village gurudwaras. In the police-public clash that lasted for a week, one person was killed and several persons sustained serious injuries. The residents have all along been levelling allegations against the police functionaries.


Man, son kill farm labourer; booked
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Mehatpur, March 19
A man and his son allegedly killed Gaddi (25) by forcibly giving him celphos tablets reportedly due to old enmity at Udhowal village under Mehatpur police station.

Manjit Singh and his son Raju forcibly put celphos in his mouth by holding his hands, Gaddi had told Dr Santokh Singh of Mehtapur-based Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital where he had been taken for treatment by some policemen on Sunday.

Dr Santokh Singh said Gaddi had told him before his death that they forcibly gave him celphos due to old enmity and threw him in a field of sugarcane. The patients admitted there at that time, including Sadiq, also heard his dying declaration, the doctor added.

Tarsem Peter, state president of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, pursuing his case said Gaddi had worked as farm hand in Manjit’s fields for several months and was not paid dues before he left their work. This was the bone of contention between them, he added.

Initially, the Mehatpur police was trying to hush up the case to shield the accused, Peter alleged, adding that later it had to lodge an FIR of murder against the father and the son on Tuesday.

Mehatpur SHO Darshan Singh confirmed that an FIR had been registered against Manjit and his son under Sections 302 and 34, IPC, on the doctor’s statement.A resident of Bhader village, Gaddi had been living with his sister and brother-in-law Nikka at Uddhowal for some time.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |