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Poll Violence in Punjab
Cong team to meet Prez, Shivraj
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, May 13
A delegation of Punjab Congress leaders will be meeting President Pratibha Patil and home minister Shivraj Patil on Friday to apprise them about the ground situation in Punjab, which witnessed unprecedented violence during the local body elections.

This will be preceded by a meeting of the Punjab Congress leaders at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to raise their voice against the “murder of democracy” and will follow it up with a gherao of state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to protest the misuse of official machinery in the local polls. A state-wide agitation is also being planned by the Congress to highlight the repressive policies of the BJP-SAD government in Punjab.

The delegation will comprise PCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Union ministers Ambika Soni, Ashwani Kumar and senior party leaders Jagmeet Brar and Surinder Singla. It is highly unlikely that former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who is engaged in a running battle with Bhattal, will be part of this delegation.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, who is also a member of this team, said Punjab leaders would draw the President’s attention to the recent spate of violent incidents in the state and urge her to seek an independent report about the complete breakdown in the law and order situation from the Governor and the home ministry.

“We are witnessing the worst kind of violence in the state ....absolutely unprecedented. There is not a single village that has not been affected,” remarked Tewari, adding that the state government was using the police to intimidate voters and political rivals as the state election commission had no powers to deal with such cases.

Although the Congress has, so far, refrained from demanding the imposition of President’s rule in the state, the party will tell Shivraj Patil about the serious security implications of such unchecked violence in a border state that has had a history of decade-long militancy.” If the state police is used to rig elections, matter could get out of hand,” Tewari warned.

Re-polling at 11 more stations
Counting deferred in affected zones

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The State Election Commission today directed that counting of votes for the Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishad poll would not take place on May 14 in the zones where adjournment/cancellation of polling at a booth had been ordered on account of the directions of the High Court or repolling would be held on May 26 due to election-related incidents.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman for the commission said the directions in this regard had been issued to all district electoral officers-cum-deputy commissioners, all additional district electoral officers-cum-additional deputy commissioners (dev.).

He added that pursuant to the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and on account of adjournment/cancellation of polling in some of the booths on May 12, repoll in all such polling stations had been ordered on May 26.

As the counting of the votes is scheduled to be held on May 14, with a view to ensuring peaceful and orderly conduct of re-poll at these Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad polling booths, it has been decided that the counting of the respective Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad zones would not take place in which these polling booths were located.

Adding further “if re-poll has been ordered in different booths falling in four or more different zones of any Panchayat Samiti or Zila Parishad, then the counting for the entire Panchayat Samiti or Zila Parishad shall stand postponed wherein such polling stations/booths are located,” he said.

On the recommendation of officers concerned about reported poll violations and disturbance of election process in the state on May 12, the commission today ordered repoll in 11 more polling stations. The repoll would take place on May 26 between 8 am and 4 pm at the polling stations already set up.


BJP ‘worked up’ against Sukhbir
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
With the BJP baring its fangs against the SAD in the morning and making up in the evening, the emerging message is clear. The party is not happy with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s management of the panchayat elections as well as his casual attitude towards the complaints of the party.

This was made clear when party’s Punjab in charge Balbir Punj said Sukhbir should read today’s newspapers to ascertain whether his comments that the polls had passed off peacefully were true or not. Punj repeated this to members of the core group of the party also before sitting down to discuss the issue.

Later, at the Chief Minister’s residence, according to a senior BJP leader, Sukhbir was not allowed to speak when the BJP leaders listed their complaints and condemned the manner which the administration had treated their complaints. They allegedly lamented the manner in which the Akali rank and file had taken on the BJP cadre. The BJP leader said Sukhbir was the most anxious spectator and most eager to resolve the issue today itself.

Sources said a large number of BJP leaders were worked up against Sukhbir and felt his aggressive style resulted in Akali workers even taking on BJP leaders and workers yesterday.

The sources said though the issue had been resolved as of now, the recent developments could harden the BJP’s stance on Sukhbir’s candidature for the Chief Minister in the near future. The BJP leaders were heard discussing this issue openly today.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir himself was the picture of supreme confidence even though his father was a little subdued. Sukhbir welcomed journalists into the rear lawn of the Chief Minister’s residence and when asked what had induced the BJP to change its stance, he said “We saw a movie and had popsicles together”.

The grim faces of the BJP as well as some SAD workers, however, told a different story. Even state BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari, when asked whether the party had caved in easily, said, “Only time will tell whether this is true or not”.


Postpone counting: Cong
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service

Bir Devinder Singh, member, AICC, and chief spokesman PPCC, addresses the media in Amritsar on Monday.
Bir Devinder Singh, member, AICC, and chief spokesman PPCC, addresses the media in Amritsar on Monday. Photo by Vishal Kumar

Amritsar, May 13
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has urged the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to postpone the counting of votes in the Panchayati Raj elections till May 23 as these can affect the results of the bypoll to the Amritsar South constituency to be held on May 22.

Stating this here yesterday, Bir Devinder Singh, member, AICC, and chief spokesman PPCC said they had urged the CEC and the state election commissioner to declare the results of these after the byelection to the Amritsar (South) Assembly was over. He said the results should be stayed in the interest of fair conduct of byelections.

Bir Devinder Singh said they had also complained to the CEC against Superintendent of Police (Counter-Intelligence) who was threatening people attending rallies organised by the Congress to implicate them in false cases. He demanded that the SP concerned should be transferred and his entry should be banned in Amritsar district till the elections were over in the Amritsar (South) constituency.

He further announced that they would file a petition in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission regarding the misuse of Guru ki Goluk by the SGPC.


Bhattal to meet President
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service

Rajinder Kaur Bhattal Amritsar, May 13
PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today talked to union home minister Shivraj Patil and briefed him about the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab.

Talking to The Tribune, Bhattal said she would meet the President of India on May 16 to seek the imposition of the Governor’s rule to pave way for mid-term poll in free and fair manner. She would urge the Central government to ensure registration of an FIR against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Bhattal said she was also writing a letter to the Chief Minister on the killing and injuring of Congress and BJP workers during the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti elections.

Meanwhile, Bir Devinder Singh, chief spokesman, PPCC, said the BJP should immediately withdraw support from the government keeping in view the interest of the state and its people.

Meanwhile, the PPCC spokesman said the Congress had convened an emergency meeting in Amritsar on May 15 to chalk out further course of action. He said the issue of midterm poll could also be discussed.

He also demanded the deployment of paramilitary forces in the Amritsar (South) constituency.


4 booked for poll violence
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 13
The BJP today demanded that a criminal case be registered against chief parliamentary secretary Jagdeep Singh Nakai and former state power minister and SAD district in-charge Sikandar Singh Maluka for instigating violence at Bhundar and Burj Gill villages.

District president of the BJP Narinder Mittal said along with these leaders, four other SAD workers Lakhvir Singh Lakha of Sadhana, Bharpur Singh Bhura of Burj Gill, Binder Singh of Burj Gill, Amandeep Singh Amna of Sadhana villages and 20 other unidentified persons should be booked.

Meanwhile, Jagdeep Singh Nakai refuted all charges levelled by BJP leaders. He said: “Nothing had happened in my constituency, Joga, and all the violence had occurred at Burj Gill village, which is in the Rampura Phul constituency. In fact I had stopped the SAD as well as the BJP workers from entering into any kind of confrontation in public.”

Sikandar Singh Maluka, said: “I have no involvement in the violence, as I was not present on the spot.”

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said: “On the statements of BJP leaders, criminal cases have been registered against Lakhvir Singh Lakha, Bharpur Singh Bhura, Binder Singh and Amandeep Singh Amna and 15 unidentified persons.”


Journalists seek arrest of attackers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 13
The journalist fraternity here has demanded the arrest of those involved in the attack on mediapersons covering the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti elections in Bathinda yesterday.

In a meeting held at Press Club here today, those present condemned the hooliganism by SAD “goons” in Lambi, besides an unconditional apology from SAD president Sukhbir Badal. Those involved should also be expelled from the party for anti-social activities, they added.

Members would begin a protest march from the club at 11.30 am and proceed to the Secretariat to submit a memorandum for the Governor through the deputy commissioner.

It was decided that all journalists would wear black badges till the guilty were brought to book.

The journalists further stated that since the incident happened in the hometown of the Chief Minister, he should also apologise.


Poll Rigging
Khaira seeks special Assembly session
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Large-scale violence during the Panchayat polls across Punjab has endorsed what the Congress had been saying for the past 15 months of the Akali rule, a complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery and law and order in the state.

Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the media was gagged in the state. The way journalists were mauled, beaten up and chased by the Akalis in Bathinda needed to be condemned by one and all. Badal was responsible for violating the oath of the Constitution by becoming party to state-sponsored violence.

Asking the DGP to tender his resignation Khaira said a special emergency session of the Vidhan Sabha must be convened to fix responsibility for criminal conspiracy due to which violence took place.


Cong may move court
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 13
Stung over the alleged SAD-triggered poll rigging and large-scale violence, the PPCC has suggested the state government to nominate members of Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samitis instead of holding elections. It is planning to move the court against poll rigging.

Former minister Lal Singh has alleged that Patiala naib tehsildar Harnek Singh was allowed to perform active poll duties despite the fact that two of his brothers were contesting the polls. “Two brothers of the naib tehsildar contested the polls from the Bhunerheri zone and I had brought this to the notice of the authorities concerned, including, the Patiala deputy commissioner. Not only this, Harnek Singh was entrusted the job of looking after ballot boxes after the poll,” said Lal Singh while talking to The Tribune.


Nihang chief Poohla held
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 13
The Baba Bakala police today arrested the controversial Nihang chief, Baba Ajit Singh Poohla from Darhewal Kotli village (Ghuman police station) in connection with an old case pertaining to the murder of seven members of the family of one Joga Singh of Khanpur village.

This was disclosed by SSP, Amritsar (Rural), Iqbal Singh while talking to The Tribune here.

Earlier, Col G.S. Sandhu (retd), chairman, Majha Ex-servicemen Human Rights Front, had been alleging that the Beas police was not arresting the controversial Nihang chief due to his high connections.

The Nihang chief and his three accomplices were arrested by Harjit Singh, DSP, Baba Bakala.

Earlier, Baba Poohla was arrested on July 29, 2004, from his headquarters at Jhutha Kartarpur, near Baba Bakala, in a joint raid conducted by the Nawanshahr and local police with the active support of ex-servicemen in connection with the murder of Nihang Sukhdev Singh at Mazaar Sayeed Jora Peer Behram in Nawanshahr police district on June 20, 2002. Later, on April 9, 2007, the Beas police had again arrested the Nihang leader following a crackdown on his headquarters, Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. They were arrested on charges of forcibly ploughing the standing wheat crop belonging to Santokh Singh, a resident of Lakhowal village, a couple of days ago.

Taruna Dal Nihang chief Poohla, who once enjoyed a high-security cover with 42 official gunmen and 77 sophisticated weapons during the peak of militancy, is now facing a number of criminal cases.

The Nihang chief, who has been embroiled in controversies and was released on bail after about four-year imprisonment in different criminal cases, enjoyed close relations with senior politicians.


65-year-old Cong worker ‘beaten to death’ by SHO
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Dharamkot (Moga), May 13
Naib Singh, 65-year-old man supporter of the Congress, was allegedly beaten to death by Yadwinder Singh Bajwa, SHO, Dharamkot police station, Kokri Vehniwal village in Moga district, this afternoon. Agitated over the “brutal” act of the police, hundreds of Congressmen, including MLAs, carried out a dharna outside the police station carrying the body.

On receiving the report, district magistrate Satwant Singh Johal immediately asked SSP Ashok Bath to look into the matter and lodge a complaint of aggrieved family members. “I have also sent the local SDM to take stalk of the situation and if demanded conduct a magisterial inquiry into the incident,” said the DM talking to The Tribune on telephone.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Congressmen, including MLAs Darshan Singh Brar, Ajit Singh Shant, Joginder Singh Panjgrain, former MP Kewal Singh and other local leaders, were sitting on dharna demanding that an FIR be registered against the alleged guilty SHO and others.

Later in the evening, the police recorded the statement of the family members of the deceased Naib Singh. As per the statement given by Harinder Singh Ruby, nephew of the deceased, a police party, led by SHO Yadwinder Singh Bajwa, raided his house to arrest him, but he fled. Later, the police went to his uncle’s house, who was lying on the bed, and started beating him with sticks. When he fell unconscious, the police party ran away, he added.

“The police wanted my uncle to produce me before them as a complaint was lodged against me at the behest of some Akali workers, but the old man did not know my whereabouts following which the SHO had beaten him,” he alleged.


Mafia Fear
NRIs stop buying land
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 13
The fear of the land mafia grabbing their property has become a deterrent for NRIs who have stopped purchasing prime property in the city. This despite the state government has mooted a plan to set up NRI police stations-cum-facilitation centres in the state. A real-estate developer, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that NRIs were disposing off property since the land mafia, in connivance with certain politicians and policemen, were usurping it. He said NRIs were only retaining the property they had purchased in big housing projects which they considered a safe investment.

Another problem NRIs faced was from their own kin. The latter either grabbed their property or sold it to other persons after obtaining the general power of attorney. The land mafia, in connivance with residents, was grabbing even trust property.

Recently, an NRI family from the US was thrown out of the house at midnight by armed miscreants. In his complaint to the police, Jimmy Asghar, a member of the aggrieved family had charged Inderpreet Singh, his sister’s son-in-law, for conniving with the accused. He also alleged harassment by the police and claimed that the house had been allotted to his father, late A.R. Asghar, a priest in a church in the Amritsar Diocesan Trust Association. He had spent huge amounts on renovating the house. He alleged that the case in this regard was registered by the police station concerned only after higher authorities intervened.

However, Inderpreet refuted the allegations saying that he was in possession of the house where he along with his mother-in-law had been staying for the past five decades and they had been renovating the house regularly. He also showed the bills paid towards the services provided by the municipal corporation and the PSEB.

Harbans Singh, a Germany-based NRI, had earlier alleged that well-connected persons with political backing had grabbed his house built on a 10-marla plot at Chogawan village near Amritsar by breaking the lock when his daughter-in-law Harpreet Kaur was out of the house. Gurpreet, his son and Harpreet’s husband had been living in Germany for the past several years.

NRIs were also being targeted by snatchers in the city. A few months back, a woman from Toronto was killed while trying to save her bag from snatchers who dragged her for more than 5 metres, causing head injuries.


Another Punjabi youth shot dead in Philippines
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 13
A youth from Jalandhar city was shot dead in a city near Manila yesterday. Over 100 Punjabis have been killed in the Philippines in the past six years, three-fourth of whom belonged to the four districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur of the Doaba region. At least 10 persons from Kapurthala district alone were killed last year. Paramjit Singh Sunny (21), hailing from the Raj Nagar locality on the Kapurthala road here, was in Manila for the past two years. He was involved in the money-lending business.

His maternal uncle Jasbir Singh told The Tribune that one of Sunny’s friends called his family from Manila yesterday to tell them about his murder. The family also confirmed it from some of his other friends in the Philippines.

According to the information, Sunny was shot dead by two local persons when he had gone to a shop to recover the loan amount. He succumbed to his injuries on way to a hospital, he added.

Pall of gloom descended at family’s Raj Nagar residence after the news. His father Kulwant Singh, mother Navinder Kaur and younger brother Jeenu were inconsolable.

Kulwant Singh has been running a jewellery shop near Guru Teg Bahadur Gurdwara in Raj Nagar. He also remained in the US for several years and returned to India a few months back.

Meanwhile, Jasbir said they were trying to bring Sunny’s body to Jalandhar for his last rites. He hoped that the body would be brought here by Friday as several formalities were required to be completed.

Most of the Punjabis living in the Philippines are reportedly doing illegal business of money lending. A sudden spate of killings of Punjabis started six years ago and has been going on since then.

Then Indian ambassador in the Philippines Navrekha Sharma had brought the situation to the notice of the government of India. Subsequently, then commissioner, Punjab NRI Affairs, N.S. Kalsi had written to all deputy commissioners of the state that Punjabis should be discouraged from going to the Philippines.


High-speed train from Amritsar to Delhi
MoU to be signed today
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 13
The plan of the Railways to start high-speed trains at special routes, including the Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar, is likely to gain steam with the signing of an agreement. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard between the two Railways, the Indian Railway and SNCF International (French Railways), will be signed in New Delhi tomorrow, additional director-general, public relations, Railways, Anil Saxena said today.

France is known for rolling out world’s fastest trains. “France will not only assist the Indian counterparts to set up special corridors for high-speed trains, but also provide technical know-how in the maintenance,” said the official.

Meanwhile, the Railways has already invited global tenders for conducting a pre-feasibility study of a bullet train on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar section. The bullet train will cut travel time by nearly half. At present, the highest-operating Shatabdi journey between the holy city and the Capital is of six hours and between Chandigarh and New Delhi is three hours. The official said the Railways would also conduct pre-feasibility studies for high-speed trains on the Mumbai-Baroda-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore and Howrah-Asansol-Patna sections.

It is learnt that the Punjab government has already expressed willingness to start a bullet train, running at a speed of more than 250 km per hour, in the state. But the special corridor to run such trains is expected to cost about Rs 50 crore per km and the state governments have to share the expenditure.


Komagata Maru
Gyanee’s grandson too wants apology
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
“An apology on the floor of Canadian parliament for the Komagata Maru episode is not enough. What about freedom fighters and revolutionaries who were persecuted, tortured and deported by the racist Canadian regime of that time,” says Surinder Pal Singh, grandson of Bhagwan Singh Gyanee, who headed the Ghaddar Party for more than four decades.

Surinder, who shuttles between Atlanta and Solan, maintains that deportation of Gyanee on November 19, 1913, was a prelude to the Komagata Maru episode.

“It is indeed very heartening that the Conservative Canadian government has decided to apologise on the floor of Parliament for the Komagata Maru episode. It would be better if the government regretted the inhuman treatment meted out to other British nationals who travelled from South Asia in general and India in particular for making Canada their new home. But, the then Canadian government, working as subservient to the British Empire, not only ill-treated South Asians, but also deported them at will without even caring for the local laws,” adds Surinder.

For the past couple of years, Surinder has been doing research work on his grandfather in whom he found a great orator, preacher and, above all, a great nationalist who died unsung.

After 49 years in exile, when Gyanee returned to India at the instance of then Punjab Chief Minister Partap Singh Kairon, he refused to toe any political line.

He delivered a series of lectures at Tagore Theatre, resenting corruption, nepotism and inefficiencies that had crept into the polity of independent India.

“My mother met her father after 45 years when Gyanee returned to India in 1958. And before he returned, my grandmother and Gyanee’s wife Harbans Kaur died after she fell from the roof of an oldage home. Unfortunately, she had spent her last years in an old-age home, unknown before she died in 1951,” says Surinder.

“I wish I had two lives, one I would have dedicated to my family and the other to my motherland,” was how Bhagwan Singh Gyanee had reacted to his wife’s death. “Unfortunately, I have only one which has gone in service of the nation,” he added.

“Family life of my grandfather was in complete disarray because of his commitment to work for the freedom struggle as well as Indian immigrants in North America. He was always on the move delivering lectures. Otherwise, he was a great writer. When he came back to India, his personal belongings were books, tapes of his speeches and his own writings. Most of his personal belongings were taken away by the Punjab government forcibly after his death,” recalls Surinder.

Upset over the treatment meted out to the family of Gyanee, Surinder quit a job in the Central Customs and Excise and moved to the US in 1976. “What to talk of recognising sacrifices of Gyanee, his family was asked for evidence of his imprisonment and suffering at the hands of the British and Canadian governments,” laments Surinder.


No memorial to Baba Gurdit
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 13
Though the government of Canada has decided to apologise to Indians for the Komagata Maru tragedy in 1914 and acknowledge the hurt caused to the community, the house of Baba Gurdit Singh at Sirhali, Tarn Taran, still remains deserted. The government of India has not made any efforts to raise a memorial to the Baba, who had chartered the Japanese ship, Kamagatamaru, in 1914 to go to Canada where the government had put restrictions on the entry of Indians.

His family has already moved to Chandigarh and other places. However, the bed, chairs and other furniture used by the Baba have been preserved. The family visits the house twice a year to commemorate the birth and death anniversaries of the Baba.

The state has not taken any initiative to keep the memory of the Komagata Maru tragedy alive. The first Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had attended Baba’s cremation at his native village. Except for naming an ITI after him, no memorial has been raised in his memory.

With the efforts of Prof Mehal Singh, principal of Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, a science block is coming up on the college premises after the name of the Baba.

Chairman of Prof Mohan Singh Yadgari Foundation Jasdev Singh Jassowal has welcomed the decision of the government of Canada to tender an unconditional apology to the Indians. The president of the Almi Punjabi Virsasat Foundation claimed that the matter was first raised by the foundation and its affiliated associations.

The invaluable contribution of the Baba is still fresh in the minds of his companions, some of whom are still alive and live near his ancestral house. His neighbour Jaswant Singh says Baba Gurdit Singh would give the police the slip by jumping from the terrace of his house. He had lived in disguise for several years after surviving the tragedy.


Ramdev’s claim of curing cancer by yoga untrue: Doc
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 13
Yoga Guru Ramdev’s claim of curing cancer by yoga is not true. Dr B.D. Gupta, Head, Department of Radiotherapy, PGI, Chandigarh, stated this while talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the national technology day function at Pushpa Gujral Science City here on Sunday.

Cancer could not be cured either by yoga as claimed by Ramdev or by miracles as claimed by some babas of the region, Dr Gupta said, adding it could only be cured with its proper treatment that too if it was detected in time.

Uterus cancer was common among poor women in Punjab and Haryana as they did not keep their private parts properly clean, especially during pregnancy, he added.

Also formerly founder-director of the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences, Jalandhar, Dr Gupta said he himself had cured at the PGI as many as 10,000 women affected with uterus cancer out of a total of 1.5 lakh cancer patients during the past five years. Cleanliness of private parts should be given proper attention for preventing uterus cancer, he added.

Saying that an early detection of cancer saved life, Dr Gupta said if cancer reached stage three or four, it was not possible to cure it. “The diagnosis of uterus and breast cancer is usually delayed as women often were shy to consult doctors for fear of any such disease,” he added.

“Cancer is related with lifestyle and eating habits,” Dr Gupta said. “Children should be encouraged to eat vegetables and fruits in plenty to prevent cancer,” he added.

Dr Gupta said one-third of the total cancer patients in the world were found in India.


Bhakra Canal Suicide
Bodies of daughters fished out
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, May 13
The bodies of daughters, Kamaldeep Kaur (22) and Keema (19), of the family that committed suicide yesterday, were found near Kotla power station today afternoon.

Their father, Ropar businessman Gurcharan Singh, along with other family members, had plunged into the Bhakra canal on Sunday night. While the bodies of Gurcharan and his wife Jaswant were fished out, along with the car, their daughters’ bodies had floated away.

The bodies were spotted by the staff at Kotla power station, around 6 km form the site of the incident.

Meanwhile, the police yesterday rounded up Aman, a resident of Ambala. It is claimed that Gurcharan was upset as Aman had been calling him and saying that he had married his daughter Kamaldeep, an airhostess in Delhi, and if Gurcharan objected to their marriage, he (Aman) would commit suicide.

“We are still in touch with Aman and his father. We haven't got any complaint from Gurcharan's family against Aman and, hence, cannot take any action,” said SSP P.K. Sinha.

On Sunday, Gurcharan had taken his family to Anandpur Sahib to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Kesgarh Sahib. At around 8 pm, he called up his brother Swaran Singh and uncle Didar Singh saying that he might never return. He asked his brother to look for him near Lamlehri village, 3 km from Anandpur Sahib.


Tampering with promotion rules alleged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The Joint Action Committee of Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board employees has urged local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia to order a high-level probe to find out why the state government’s promotion policy was not implemented in letter and spirit by the authorities concerned.

Gurdev Singh and Narinder Verma, co-conveners of the committee, said today as per the notification only circle head draftsman and and divisional head draftsman were eligible for promotion as subdivisional engineers. However, the board authorities had allowed junior draftsman and draftsman in the proposed rules for promotion, they alleged. They said otherwise, it took 25 years for junior draftsman to become circle head draftsman. The committee leaders said they had informed Kalia that the proposed amendment had been made by the board authorities at their own level.


Health check-ups for safai karamcharis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Chief Secretary, Punjab, R.I. Singh assured Santosh Chaudhary, chairperson, National Commission for Safai Karmacharis, in a meeting here today that the state government would provide all basic facilities to safai karamcharis like giving them identity cards, uniforms and timely and regular wages. Besides this, he said the state government would also ensure them regular health checkups. Chaudhary said the existing contract system should be abolished to check the increased exploitation of the safai karamcharis at the hands of the contractor and supervisors.


High Court
Orders reserved on six petitions filed by Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
A high court Division Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary today reserved orders on a bunch of six petitions filed by Congress leaders from Khanuwan tehsil in Gurdaspur district.

Their nomination papers for Zila Parishad and panchayat samitis had earlier been rejected. In separate petitions, the Congress leaders had sought quashing of notices, wherein their candidature had been rejected.

They had alleged the authorities had turned down their nomination papers without assigning any reason. The petitioners had contended that this decision was illegal, arbitrary and politically motivated.

The petitions on which the high court reserved the orders include the ones filed by Baljaj Singh, Sudesh Rani and Salwinder Singh for Zila Parishad); and Gurdip Singh, Paramjit Singh and Jagir Singh for Panchayat Samiti polls.

Petition on transfer orders

A high court Division Bench of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain today admitted a petition seeking the quashing of an order whereby IPS officers have been transferred and posted as senior superintendents or deputy inspectors-generals of central jails in the state.

In their petition against the State of Punjab and IAS officers Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, R.N. Dhoke, S.S. Chauhan and Harpreet Singh Sidhu, petitioners G.S. Sidhu and another had contended the IAS officers had been transferred and posted in an illegal and arbitrary manner.

Direction were also sought to restrain the respondents from transferring IPS and PPS officers against posts in the Punjab Prisons Department.

Moga SSP summoned

Failure of police personnel to turn up in the court to assist the state counsel today led to the summoning of Moga’s Senior Superintendent of Police.

As the heabus corpus petition filed by a Moga district resident came up for hearing before Justice Sham Sunder, counsel for the state of Punjab and two other official respondents submitted no one had turned up to attend the case.

As such, he was feeling handicapped in filing the reply.

Taking strong exception, Justice Sunder ruled: SSP Moga is directed to appear in person on the next date of hearing and explain as to why nobody, on behalf of the respondents, is appearing for instructing the state deputy advocate-general for filing the reply.


Even scientists recommend his farming methods
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Knowledge, as they say, is the child of experience and experimentation. This farmer, Darshan Singh “Tibba”, from Hayatpura village, near Machhiwara, has proved it right. He has no formal education, not to speak of any specialised training in agriculture, yet he has set a record of sorts. Some of his innovative methods of farming have now been adopted by scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

“I have studied up to 7th standard. Agriculture is my passion and I believe in innovations,” said Darshan, recipient of Babu Jagjiwan Ram and Dalip Singh Dhaliwal awards. He has been honoured as the “best fish farmer of India” by the Central Institute of Fish Aquaculture.

His latest research on “press-mud” (sugarcane waste) has been recommended by scientists of PAU.

According to him, if the press-mud was given to animals on a regular basis, farmers will be able to get 10-11 per cent more milk yield as it had 13.6 per cent protein, 15.4 per cent sugar and 7.88 per cent of oil. “Sugarcane waste is more beneficial than expensive fodder. After consuming it for 25 days, animals become healthy, and it has been proved,” he said, adding that even the red fibrous waste of peanuts was very nutritious for animals as it gave them 25 per cent oil.

The Indian Centre for Agriculture Research has published a booklet on his life history. Expressing concern over the water-depletion at an alarming proportion in the state, Darshan said the government should have take a stern action at least 10 years ago.

Besides, Darshan is a good poet, who, through his works, motivates farmers. In 1995, he took a pledge to donate his body to the Christian Medical College.


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