P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Making babus accountable
60 cases dug up for scanning
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
In the ongoing Operation Clean-up aimed at introducing accountability and sending a clear message to bureaucrats, the SAD-BJP government has dug up files of at least 60 cases where high-ups in the government feel the officer messed it up.

These cases pertain to actions taken or ignored in their routine call of duty by IAS, IPS, PCS and other officers of the allied services. “But this time the action is aimed at starting from the top,” a senior government functionary disclosed. He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wanted to bring Punjab officials in line with their designated functioning.

An exercise has been launched to identify and bring up specific cases where apparent aberrations were overlooked. Word has gone around that “officer-in-charge who either failed to perform his function vigilantly or deliberately did not follow appropriate remedy, thereby affecting good governance must be pointed out and brought to book to serve an example for his or her colleagues”.

As a result of this exercise, the accountant general’s office is over-burdened with providing legal opinion on acts of omission and commission. Advocate-general Hardev Singh Mattewal refused to give any specific number, but said, “My office gets cases for legal opinion on routine basis; many of these pertain to bureaucrats. But I will not say that any specific drive has been launched to haunt bureaucrats, who being the executive are as much responsible for running the government as the legislature”.

Another functionary of the government said, “Punjab’s bureaucracy, both in the police and civil administration, has usurped and acquired unfettered powers that flowed from the imposition of President’s rule in the state and have clutched on to these despite15 years of three democratically elected governments. The Chief Minister wants to set the house in order without confrontation with the babus, most of whom have developed loyalties to political parties”.

MLAs and ministers in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha have taken several potshots at bureaucrats in the Budget session saying these officers consider themselves be above all. At least one IAS officer is facing a privileges motion and another has been issued a notice by the Speaker of the House for not adhering to protocol. The Chief Minister has repeatedly assured the House that “law will take its own course irrespective of a status of a person”, indicating that those found guilty will not be spared.

So far the SAD-BJP alliance has taken action against six bureaucrats, three each from the IAS and the IPS. While former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has called it “political vendetta spilling onto the bureaucracy,” the ruling alliance and its main organ or “cleaning agency” in Operation Cleanup - the Punjab Vigilance Bureau claims to have foolproof case against these officials and former officials.

The bureaucracy in the state is quite upset and even nervous to an extent over this issue. Many who don’t want to make any public comment have held private meetings and discussed the implications of the government move. But most hope the euphoria will die down with time.


A Tribute to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev
CM announces Rs 1 cr for martyrs’ memorial
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, March 23
Be it the fight against Mughal invaders or resistance to oppression unleashed by the British, Punjabis have always been in the forefront when it comes to sacrificing their lives for the cause of the nation. This was stated by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while paying floral tributes at the samadhi of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev during a state-level programme to commemorate their 77th martyrdom anniversary at National Martyrs Memorial, Hussainiwala, here today.

Badal said no nation could afford to forget the great sons of the soil like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who sacrificed the prime of their lives for the sake of the country.

Badal announced setting up of a chair in university for research on the contribution and sacrifice of Punjabis during various wars and freedom struggles, right from the Mughal period. He was accompanied by local government minister Manoranjan Kalia, irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, MP Zora Singh Mann besides a galaxy of SAD-BJP leaders and SGPC members.

Badal said the government had resolved to develop the memorial as a major tourist attraction. The World Tourism Organisation would soon visit the site and submit its proposal to the government. He allocated a sum of Rs 1 crore for the beautification and development of the memorial.

Even after over 60 years of Independence, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment were pronounced because of the erroneous policies of the Congress, which ruled the country for 50 years. Alleging that step-motherly treatment had been meted out to this border state by the successive Congress governments at the Centre, Badal said all major industrial projects had been allotted to the neighbouring states.

The loan waiver announced by the UPA was nothing but a farce as it would do little to ameliorate the plight of the debt-ridden farmers. Agriculture was the mainstay of the state’s economy and farmers were its backbone. However, since major decision like fixation of prices of fertilisers, MSP of the agriculture produce, diesel and loan interest were the prerogative of the union government, the state felt helpless sometimes, added Badal.

The government was making efforts to improve power scenario in the state for which five new thermal power plants were being constructed to enhance the generation up to 11,000 MW. A sum of Rs 200 crore would be spent on improving road infrastructure in border areas. He would soon convene a meeting of MLAs and MPs from border districts.

The land belonging to the Irrigation Department in Rajo Ke Gatti village along the border would be given to the farmers soon. The railway over-bridge connecting Ferozepur city and cantonment areas would be reconstructed soon.

Meanwhile, Badal honoured Surinder Kaur Sandhu, wife of Babbar Sandhu (nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh) and his grandchildren Yadwinder Singh and Manjula Sandhu.


Govt forgets sacrifices of ex-dam staff
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
For years they worked as work-charged and other employees in the most hazardous conditions to build the Ranjit Sagar Dam project. Nearly 150 of them died while working at the project due to unsafe working conditions. But when the project was completed, the Punjab government has issued them notices slashing their salary. Their number is in hundreds.

The authorities concerned have passed an order that special increments and allowances given to them, because of hazardous nature of their duty, before the regularisation of their services in March 1996, be deducted from their salary for the purpose of re-fixing it (salary), says T.R. Sharma, chairman of the Retired Employees Welfare Association of Ranjit Sagar Dam Project.

With deduction from the salary, nearly 4,000 employees will suffer loss ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per month. He said without giving them a hearing and passing necessary written order, the authorities had begun the exercise to refix salary by deducting special increments and allowances. Besides them, there were about 1,500 retired employees whose pension had been not been fixed because the office of the accountant general, Punjab was insisting their pension cases would be considered only after the re-fixation of salary after deducting special increments.

In this regard, Sharma said there was Rani Devi whose husband Sita Ram, who retired from the project, died a few years ago. She was facing bad time because the pension of Sita Ram had not been sanctioned.

Sharma said mostly workers, who worked in unsafe conditions, would be hit by the government decision to reduce salary. He said no officer died at the project. All who died were workers. He said the number of workers killed was 300, but a memorial had been raised in the memory of only 150 workers. He said special increments had been given keeping in view life-threatening conditions at the site. There was no point in withdrawing special allowances because these were given by the competent authority under department rules.

He said officers of the AG office, who now were opposing the grant of special increments to work-charged and other employees, did not raise such objections when they themselves were posted at the project site as financial advisers and chief accounts officers. The state government should ask such officers if the employees were not entitled to special increments, why were they silent when they were posted at the project site, he added.


2 Nepalese girls found dead in factory
Families hint at foul play
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 23
Two Nepalese girls were found dead at a pipe-fitting factory at Gadaipur village under Maqsoodan police station.
The fathers of the girls, Kamla and Luxmi (both around eight), suspected they had been killed by throwing them into a machine after rape or attempt to rape, whereas the police and factory owner termed the deaths as accidental.

Luxmi’s father Kishan Lal said both bodies were found sans clothes at the GRD Factory last evening. While the body of one of the girls was lying near the machine, the other was found entangled in the machine.

Jaskaran Singh Jaura, in whose Pacca Bagh located house Kishan Lal’s another daughter works as domestic help, and his friend Vikash Bhardwaj of Luxmi Pura alleged that the police was trying to hush up the case.

Bhardwaj further alleged that the police did not even record the statement of a factory worker, Meshi, who had informed the girls’ parents about the incident.

Kamla’s father Sanjay Bahadur added that a relative of factory owner Jaspal Singh had slapped him for getting his thump impression on a statement. Bahadur was staying in a room in the factory itself along with his family but neither he nor his family was present there on last evening.

While Jaspal Singh could not be contacted, his brother Avtar Singh said the factory was closed yesterday due to Holi. Denying any foul play, he claimed the girls might have gone inside the factory while playing and switched the machine on and got entangled in it.

Rajjit Singh, DSP, said an FIR under Section 304-A of the IPC had been registered and the bodies sent to the civil hospital for a post mortem. Their vaginal swabs would be sent to the forensic lab in Patiala to ascertain the exact cause of deaths.

Denying any attempt to hush up the case, SSP Arpit Shukla said an FIR of rape and murder would be added if the reports of autopsy and vaginal swab would suggest so.


It’s second birth for Navjot: Doc
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 23
The doctor attending on BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu has said the “yogi” in him has helped him recover well in time and he will soon be back into active politics. Dr Rupinder Singh, consultant surgeon, has said this is actually a new birth to Sidhu and he is recovering fast.

Political secretary to Sidhu R.S. Gill has said his medical report states he is out of danger, but he has been advised complete bed rest for the time being.

Sidhu had profuse sweating and fell unconscious for a few minutes on March 8 while on the way to Delhi from Chandigarh. After regaining consciousness, he found himself drenched in sweat and felt extremely exhausted. On arriving home in Delhi, he had severe pain in right flank (lower rib cage).

He was shifted to Apollo Hospital the same night. With a provisional diagnosis of a typical pneumonitis he was discharged and put on oral medications.

According to the doctor, a clot must have dislodged and passed through his heart as he was travelling in his car. Subsequently, the clot caused lung infarction (dead tissue) and that later led to blood in his cough.

Sidhu had told the doctors that he had right ankle fracture during his cricketing days and this led to the formation of the clot in his leg vein.

The doctor has said Sidhu will have to change his hectic lifestyle and focus on exercise.


Unscientific Storage
Veggies worth Rs 30,000 cr perish every year
Our Correspondent

Nabha, March 23
India, the second largest producer of vegetables in the world, loses Rs 30,000 crore every year as 25 per cent of the produce gets damaged because of poor and unscientific storage. This was disclosed by Dr Manjit Singh Kang, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, on Friday at a state-level function organised at the vegetable farmland of a progressive farmer Meharban Singh in nearby Sahauli by the National Horticulture and Research Organisation under the National Horticulture Mission.

He said excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides by farmers had a disastrous effect on the soil, water and air and these were being increasingly polluted. He asked them to adopt a judicious and scientific approach.

He advised farmers to opt for the proven and time-tested methods like net-house and low-tunnel technologies. The use of vermicompost and neem (azidirecta indica) were the best in the category of fertilizers and pesticides. He said farmers in parts of the state got bumber crops of cucumber, tomato and capsicum with the use of these technologies.

Director, Horticulture Department, Punjab, Dr Baldev Singh highlighted the subsidies being given to farmers by the department.


Skewed Central policies have hit state: Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
The SAD (A) said today that the skewed policies of the Union government and agreed to by the SAD-BJP government and the Congress were responsible for the fall of Punjab as far as its economic growth was concerned.

In a statement issued today, Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (A), said the state’s growth rate had been projected at 5.9 per cent and its agriculture growth at 2.4 per cent during the next four years by the Planning Commission. He said the Union government had discriminated with Punjab as far as waiving of the debt and paying compensation to dependents of farmers who had committed suicide was concerned.

On one hand, by giving free run to industrialists with regard to raising the price of various inputs such as fertilisers, diesel, pesticides, herbicides, farm machinery etc the Union government has made farmers bear heavy financial burden, while on the other by controlling the price of wheat and rice through MSP the farmers have been made to suffer huge losses, said Mann.

He said the state government had not acknowledged the seriousness of the farmer’s plight because it did not have the financial resources to tackle it.

Seeks US intervention

Amritsar: SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann here today alleged that just the way Tibetans were being turned into a minority by the Chinese government by bringing in people from other regions and basing them there, the same policy was being followed in Punjab to turn Punjabis into a minority.

In a press statement issued here, he appealed to the US to intervene on the issue of Punjab.


BJP to contest poll on party symbol
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 23
The Punjab unit of the BJP has decided to contest ensuing elections to the block panchayat samitis and zila parishads on party symbol in the state.

This was stated by state general secretary of the party Kamal Sharma at a meeting of the district unit of the party, held under the presidentship of district president Jatinder Kalra here yesterday.

Sharma said the BJP had also decided to actively participate in the panchayat elections. He said the BJP would also make efforts to strengthen the party units in rural areas.

Besides this, the party would also work for maintaining respect and honour of its workers in official circles, he added.

Kalra said the district unit would celebrate party’s founder’s day on April 6 at booth-level throughout the district.


Hola Mohalla Photographs

(1) Thousands of devotees gather at the Golden Temple on the occasion of Hola Mohalla on Saturday. — AFP
(2) A Nihang shows his horse-riding skills at Hola Mohalla in Anandpur Sahib on Saturday.
(3) The sword of honour: A Nihang boy seems tired carrying the sword while piggybacking his father.

The modern Nihang: Devotees take part in the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib on Saturday. — Tribune photos by Pradeep Tewari



Khalsa College Convocation
Decide 10-yr-old criminal cases in year: CJ
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 23
Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain here today said he had directed courts in Punjab and Haryana to settle all criminal cases pending for 10 years or more in a year. Similarly, criminal cases lingering over five years be settled in two years from now.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 102nd convocation of Khalsa College here, Mr Justice Jain said Haryana had, in fact, already cleared the pendency of 10-year-old criminal cases and he was optimistic that Punjab would also clear the backlog by August this year.

Mr Justice Jain said nearly six lakh cases were yet to be decided in various courts of Punjab and there were 280 judicial officers to decide these. This was in contrast to 117 judicial officers in America for 10 lakh people and 80 judicial officers in the UK for the same population. In India, the judicial system had only 17 judicial officers, making the delay inevitable.

He said the Supreme Court of India was aware of the situation; the move for a permanent recruitment policy for judicial officers had been initiated. As part this policy, posts of judge and supporting infrastructure were to be provided by the state government concerned.

He said the Punjab government had sanctioned Rs 35 crore for the policy and Rs 10 crore made available by the Centre to make available judicial officers. As part of the existing system, 37 judicial officers were recruited last year and 49 in March this year.

On filing cases due to “political vendetta” after the change of government, Mr Justice Jain said every party was free to file a case at any point of time, but the judiciary gives its decision after hearing witnesses and weighing evidence.

Earlier, in the convocation address, Mr Justice Jain exhorted students to receive degrees with pride, but use it as a stepping stone for achievements. He said Khalsa College had made tremendous contribution in the field of education since 1892. Satyajit Singh Majithia, president, college management committee, said new courses, including five-year-degree course in law would be started in the new session. He also said a college of pharmacy, a technical institute and a girls college in the Chawinda Devi area would be set up soon.

Justice Ashutosh Mohunta awarded medals to the students who won positions at the university level. Dr Daljit Singh, principal, presented a report of the college, highlighting the activities and achievements during 2007-08.


Trident issue resolved: Govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
The Punjab government today claimed to have resolved the stalemate on farmers' agitation over the high-profile Trident land acquisition issue which had rocked the state for more than two years.

An agreement to this effect was reached at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and attended by representatives of the Trident Group and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Ugrahan) here on Friday, according to a statement issued here today.

The Trident issue had been agitating Punjab farmers, and its amicable settlement was one of the key promises made in the manifesto of the SAD in the February 2007 Assembly poll in the state.

Releasing the details of the agreement, Harcharan Bains, media advisor to the Chief Minister, stated here today that the Trident Group had agreed to pay a 70 per cent enhancement over the original compensation amount announced during the regime of the previous government, headed by Captain Amarinder Singh. The enhancement would pass a benefit of Rs 19.5 crore to the affected farmers.

On its part, the government had withdrawn all Trident-related cases against the agitating farmers. The families of the three farmers who died during the agitation had been paid Rs 5 lakh each by the present government and one dependent from each family had been given a job. A compensation worth Rs 25,000 per head to the 70 farmers injured during the stir would be made, said Bains, adding that the deputy commissioner, Barnala, had been directed to take follow-up steps for the implementation of the understanding reached.

Bains further said the Chief Minister had ordered a complete waiver of the registration fee and stamp duty on the land that the farmers purchase in the state within two years with the money they receive as compensation price.

In addition, the farmers who did not already have a tubewell connection would be given one on their newly purchased land in the state, while no shifting charges would be levied on those with a tubewell connection on the acquired land. Bains said the Chief Minister had already directed the secretaries of revenue and the irrigation and power departments to take the necessary steps in this regard.

Speaking on behalf of the Chief Minister, Bains appealed to the BKU (Ugrahan) to withdraw their agitation on the issue, including the proposed Rail Roko scheduled for March 25.


Forest official alleges police highhandedness
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, March 23
An incident of highhandedness of the Punjab police has come to light whereby a police party, led by an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of the Hoshiarpur police, conducted surprise raids at the Forest Rest House in Dholbaha and searched official vehicles of conservator of forests (Shiwalik Circle).

The incident took place on March 14 when the forest official Harbhajan Singh had been to the Dholbaha forest range in Hoshiarpur on annual inspection.

The police party, led by ASI Paramjit Singh of the Gardhiwal police station, allegedly conducted search without having any search warrants and harassed the forest official, who was performing his duties.

Alleging that the ambassador car (CH-01-G-1718), which was the official vehicle of the forest official, was displaying a "fake number" and “suspected to be carrying hawala currency”, the police party searched the vehicle thoroughly.

To ascertain the search party’s identity, the forest officials had to call the SSP Hoshiarpur to get rid of it.

Up in arms against the attitude of the police, the Indian Forest Service Association, Punjab, took up the matter with Tikshan Sood, minister of forests and wildlife preservation.

The association alleged that the harassment was done to them on the basis of certain frivolous complaints by some disgruntled elements.

The association has demanded disciplinary action against the erring policemen for causing humiliation to the officer.

The association has also complained to the principal chief conservator of forests, Punjab, the chief conservator of forests (hills) Punjab, conservator of forests, Shiwalik Circle, SSP and SDM, Hoshiarpur, in this context.


Expert: Bloodless hip surgery becoming popular
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 23
Bloodless hip surgery is becoming increasingly popular and being preferred over the open-surgery for hip replacement. This was stated here by internationally acclaimed orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gursharan Singh Chana in an exclusive interview with The Tribune.

Dr Chana, who is settled in the UK, was here to interact with top orthopaedic surgeons of the town and delivered a lecture on minimal invasive surgery for total hip replacement and hip resurfacing.

Dr Chana has devised a minimally invasive approach to hip joint to carry out total hip replacement and hip resurfacing. He has devised a Chana reamer handle to allow accurate surgery of the hip joint.

He explained that in the minimal invasive hip surgery there was no need for blood transfusion and it was cost effective compared to the open hip replacement surgery. The patient could be discharged from the hospital within two to three days of the operation, whereas he had to stay in the hospital for over seven days after an open surgery. The average incision size was 7 cm with this approach as opposed to 20 cm. using an open approach.

Dr Chana is presently working as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, NHS Trust Birmingham, since October 2002. He has the vast experience of carrying out the over 2,500 total hip replacements, over 2,000 total knee replacement, over 1,500 hip resurfacing, 200 hip replacements using minimal invasive surgical approach and 200 hip resurfacings using minimally invasive hip resurfacing. Dr Chana is also involved in teaching post graduates at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

Dr Chana is a trustee of the Jambala Charitable Trust, which has a branch in India and one in the UK. The aim is to help children and elderly people on education and health issues. His holiness the Dalai Lama is patron of the organisation.


Where liquor is prasad
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Devotees offer liquor as ‘prasad’ at the samadhi of Baba Rode Shah at Bhoma village on the Amritsar-Fatehgarh Churian road on Sunday.
Devotees offer liquor as ‘prasad’ at the samadhi of Baba Rode Shah at Bhoma village on the Amritsar-Fatehgarh Churian road on Sunday. — Photo by Vishal Kumar

Amritsar, March 23
More than one lakh people visited the “samadh” (tomb) of Baba Rode Shah on the Amritsar-Fatehgarh Churian road today, where liquor is offered as prasad to mark the annual mela, a few kms from here.

Though Taraksheel Society members (rationalists) debunk claims of miracle cures at the shrine, the mela at the tomb of Baba Rode draws a big crowd. Baba himself belonged to a Jat Sikh family and was a teetotaller.

As a ritual, devotees bring bottles, pouches and buckets containing a heady cocktail of drinks. People having faith in Baba Rode are seen offering prayers for jobs, peace and success in life.

As the folklore goes, Baba Rode did penance and was blessed with mystical powers. The offerings measure thousands of litres, particularly during the three-day fair.The liquor flows into an iron pipe and devotees line up, holding steel glasses in hands.

The old and young, including women, start thronging the mela since morning and partake the prasad of liquor and langar. According to a myth, Baba Rode moved to a village near Bhoma in 1896 and lived on the outskirts. His sister was married in this village. People believe that Baba Rode started performing miracles to help people in distress. It is believed that once a devotee of Baba Rode offered him liquor in gratitude for a fulfilled wish. The Baba distributed the offering among his disciples. Later, this became a tradition.

The ancestral village of Baba Rode was Dhiman (Damodar), which falls in border Gurdaspur district. He was son of Sham Singh, a farmer. The room where Baba Rode was born is still intact.

A visit to Bhoma village reveals stalls of roasted chicken, fish and meat on the roadside and visitors enjoy their “best cuisine” during their “pilgrimage” to the samadh.

The prasad of liquor is distributed in the presence of the police. Many policemen even believe they will incur the wrath of Baba Rode, if they stop devotees from consuming prasad.

The mela is also visited by leaders of various political parties to seek blessings of the Baba.


Jatti Umra villagers appeal for Sarabjit
Vibhor Mohan and Gurbaxpuri

Jatti Umra (Tarn Taran), March 23
For people of sleepy village of Jatti Umra, Nawaz Sharif is a hero, even if he has made a name for himself in a different land. And given the political influence he now enjoys after the recent elections in Pakistan, they have made an appeal to him to press for the release of Sarabjit Singh, who is facing death sentence there.

Talking to The Tribune, the villagers said they pray to the God that Nawaz Sharif gets to play a decisive role in the new government that would take over in Pakistan so that he could effectively take up Sarabjit’s case.

They have written a letter to Nawaz Sharif in this regard.

Located 35 km from Tarn Taran, Jatti Umran is the birthplace of Nawaz Sharif’s forefathers. There are several people who still recall meeting Nawaz Sharif in person, some of them very recently on their visit to Pakistan as part of a Sikh jatha to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Massa Singh (80) said it is Nawaz Sharif’s responsibility to do something about it. We have written to him to take personal interest in the case.


German Bagpipers regale audience
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 23
On the occasion of Holi, a cultural and musical concert, Indo-German Friendship 2008, was organised by the local Society for Peace and Dance and Music Academy at the Ram Vatika complex here last night.

In this programme, a 21-member musical troupe Happy German Bagpipers, comprising troupes from Germany, Scotland and Ireland and artistes from Punjab, took part.

Members of the troupe regaled the audience with performances, despite the fact that a majority of the audience was unable to understand their language. Punjabi artistes also presented cultural items, including gidha, bhangra, Punjabi songs etc.


‘Include chapters on female foeticide in syllabus books’
Tribune News Service

Sunam, March 23
Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain has urged the universities in the state to include a chapter against female foeticide in syllabus books of various classes of their respective universities.

He was talking to The Tribune here on Friday after distributing college colours and prizes among outstanding students at the annual prize distribution function of the local Shaheed Udham Singh Government College.


Man chops off brother’s ear, fingers over land
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 23
In a shocking incident on Holi, a Deriwal villager chopped off an ear and fingers of both hands of his brother over a land dispute near Pathankot yesterday.

The incident occurred when Ashok Kumar was on his way back from the fields when his brother Sham Lal assisted by his friend Joginder Singh indulged in an argument with him. Following this, Sham Lal, armed with a sickle, attacked Ashok and chopped off his right ear, inflicting serious head injuries in the process. His fingers of both hands also got cut when Ashok tried to defend himself. Hearing his shrieks, farmers working in nearby fields rushed towards him. Watching this, the assailant fled from the scene. Ashok was later hospitalised at the Civil Hospital, Pathankot. A case has been registered against Sham Lal and Joginder Singh at the Sadar police station, Pathankot.


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