Girl had got married against family’s wishes
Kin abduct woman, thrash hubby
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, May 16
A girl married against the wishes of her parents and relatives was kidnapped by them at Mattewal village in the district on May 2. However, the case was registered only on May 12 when her in-laws failed to trace her even after 10 days of abduction.

After nearly five days of the registration of case, the police today claimed to have vital clues and was close to solving the case.

Six relatives, including paternal uncles of Rajni, who originally belonged to West Bengal, thrashed her husband Soni and mother-in-law Jagir Kaur after barging into the house. The police had registered a case under sections 364, 452, 148, 149 and 120-B of the IPC at Mattewal police station.

Iqbal Singh, district police chief, said the police registered the case and further investigations were on. He said they definitely had vital clues and very close to solving the case. But their first preference was the recovery of the girl from the clutches of the accused.

Soni, husband of the girl, in his complaint stated that he married Rajni in July last year as per the Hindu traditions at a gurdwara in Baba Bakala and registered the marriage at the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said her parents and relatives were not happy with the marriage so they started living at Pheruman village. He said on the day of the incident he had come to Mattewal to meet 
his family.

He alleged that accused Major Singh, Sulakhan Singh, Budh Singh, Makhan Singh, Karam Singh and Gurpreet Singh, all relatives of Rajni, attacked him when he was standing at his shop, abused him and beat him up. He said he saved himself by entering his house. But the accused barged into the house and also thrashed Rajni and his mother Jagir Kaur. He said they took Rajni with them.

He suspected that the accused might have killed his wife and urged the police authorities to take immediate steps to trace his wife and arrest the accused.



PPCC chief making statements out of frustration: Makkar
SGPC to sue Bhattal over fund misuse charge
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 16
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has decided to file a defamation case against the state Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal for levelling false charges against the committee. Bhattal had alleged that the committee spent Rs 40 lakh during the elections to the panchayati raj institutions.

This was announced by SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar while talking to mediapersons here. He said not even a single penny from the SGPC fund was misused, adding that the Congress chief was making such statements out of frustration.

He said the committee was consulting legal experts and would slap a defamation suit against Bhattal for denigrating the name of the Sikh parliament.

Makkar said, “Religion and politics are inseparable in the Sikh polity and there is nothing wrong if we were campaigning for SAD candidate during the byelection.”

He said that the Congress had always opposed the Sikhs and he referred to the horrors of Operation Bluestar. He urged the voters to exercise their franchise in favour of the Akali candidate.

Answering a query on hukamnama issued by Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh, Makkar said the committee was still in consultations to resolve the issue.

He said the jathedar was issuing wrong hukamnamas and would take up the issue with Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti. 



Crime Check
Huge heroin haul in city; 4 held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The special narcotics cell seized 10 kg heroin sent from Pakistan through Ferozepur sector and arrested two smugglers here late last night.

Giving details to the mediapersons, Jagdish Mittal, DIG, SNC said the contraband was brought by two smugglers Puran and Mohinder Singh, residents of Jhok Harihar village in Ferozepur. He said the two were waiting at the bus stand on their motorcycle (PB-05-M-1557) to deliver the consignment, which was to be sent to Mumbai. From the port city, it was to be supplied to western or European countries.

Mittal said in the preliminary investigations the accused revealed that they had brought the consignment from Ferozepur where it was delivered to them three days ago by Pakistan-based international smuggler Liyakat alias Pappu, resident of Nagar. He had got the drug from notorious couriers Waris and Shera, residents of Shehraj. The accused further revealed that the riverine border with Pakistan near Palla Megha in Ferozepur district was being used by them to smuggle the contraband, said Mittal.

The DIG said a case has been registered against the accused in A division police station under the NDPS Act. “Further investigations were on and we are hopeful of nabbing the accused to whom the consignment was to be delivered,” said Mittal, adding that they would strengthen their network in Ferozepur and Ludhiana sectors by setting up sub-centres to thwart the attempts of the international drug cartel to pump in huge quantity of drugs coming from Afghanistan via Pakistan into the country.

Fake currency seized

The district police has seized heroin worth Rs 5 crore and fake currency amounting to Rs 3 lakh from two drug peddlers, identified as Talwinder and Mukhtiar Singh.

Giving details, SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said the fake currency notes were in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. During interrogation, the accused confessed that they used to bring consignments from Pakistan regularly and had close links with smugglers lodged in the Central Jail.

He said the operation was conducted under his supervision and was assisted by SP S.S. Mann, DSPs Balkar Singh and Jagdeep Singh, SIs Vavinder Kumar, Sukhwinder Singh and Dilbagh Singh. The participants were awarded commendation certificates.



Muslims want end to Aroosa-Capt relations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
All-India Majlis Arhar chief Habib-ur-Rehman has sought a fatwa against Pakistan journalist Aroosa for maintaining relations with Capt Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Rehman said they had requested Akal Takht to issue a hukamnama against Capt Amarinder for “flaunting” his friendship with a Muslim lady as it was against the Sikh maryada.

He said Capt Amarinder should explain his relation with the Pakistani journalist as their relationship would imperil the security in the subcontinent.

Raising the issue of 2 per cent reservations for the Muslims, he said the quota was important in Punjab as the state had 25 lakh Islamic people. He also sought representation of the community in the district planning boards and in grievances panel. He said the community would support SAD-BJP candidate Inderbeer Singh Bolaria in the Amritsar (South) byelection. Earlier, he met SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and requested him to get voter and ration cards issued to the Muslim community in the holy city. He said Badal had assured him that the process to make new ration cards would commence after the poll was over.



Pensioners to float political party

Amritsar, May 16
Hundreds of government pensioners here today decided to form a political party for making their presence felt in the political arena of the state for getting their grievances redressed.

Raising their voice against the Badal government for letting loose a reign of terror to suppress the voice of the anganwari workers, nurses, unemployed teachers, ITI employees, teachers and farmers, Ranbir Singh Dhillon, general secretary, Punjab Raj Pensioners’ Maha Sangh (PRPMS), said the government was not offering employees in the state any platform to air their grievances.

Dhillon alleged that the state government in a planned way was withdrawing the facilities which they had got after lots of struggle. He said the finance department through its letter had withdrawn the widow family pension and the dearness allowance which were still being disbursed in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.Dhillon said the recent decision of the state finance department through its notification issued on March 14 had further hit the pensioners by stopping the old age allowance and interim relief under the travel concession scheme. He said the government had also failed to release the dearness allowance to the pensioners announced in January. —OC



Work suffers as Tarn Taran waits for new DEO
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 16
The functioning of the district education office (secondary education) lies crippled after the retirement of district education officer (DEO) Piara Singh Talwar on April 30.

It has been over two weeks and no new officer has joined due to which the work in the department is suffering. Interestingly, the department has neither made any alternative arrangement nor has appointed any deputy DEO. The issue came to the light today when there was no eligible officer to sign the information asked for by the head office of DPI (SS), Chandigarh.

The staff approached the Chandigarh DPI office and the officer there instructed them to get signatures of the DEO (elementary education) for the time being.

Various teachers’ organisations have demanded an immediate appointment of DEO to avoid harassment being faced by the teachers in the district.



Green matters don’t excite environ minister: NGO 

Amritsar, May 16
An NGO, Mission Aagaaz - Earth and resources care group, has alleged that the environment minister Bikram Singh Majithia was not taking any interest in environmental issues. In a report issued to the press, the body led by Deepak Babbar, claimed that so far no meeting or seminars had been organised by the minister which clearly shows his interest in the green matters.

Babbar along with other members of the NGO urged Majithia to take issues related to the environment seriously. “It’s high-time that we understand their importance. Already, the entire planet is reeling under environmental problems. We have raised the issues related to pollution and wastage of water with the minister earlier on several occasions. But nothing concrete has been done so far,” alleged Babbar. He also urged the district administration to take stringent steps to check pollution, adding that the NGO would extend its full cooperation in the venture.

The organisation proposes to set-up a pollution monitoring centre at Ram Bagh. — OC



Wake up to home truths, Luthra tells Bush
Food Remarks: ‘It’s Americans who need to mind their eating habits’
Vishal Gulati/TNS

Amritsar, May 16
US President George W. Bush’s remark on the Indian middle class has evoked widespread criticism in India. Taking a jibe over Bush’s controversial statement, Vandana Luthra, the woman who has changed the world of hundreds of ‘plus-sized’ persons, said, “It’s absolutely wrong to say that the Indians are consuming more. If this is true, then why the USA continues to be the obese capital of the world.”

Luthra was in the city on Thursday to release a book on cosmetology, “Standard Textbook of Cosmetology”, published by US-based Cengage Publication. “The lifestyle of the upper middle class is changing the world over. People prefer to dine out on a regular basis. The flourishing hotel industry, especially in India, is an indicator of changing trend of eating habits. But still the Indian food is healthy and rich in fibre than the junk food, which the westerners prefer to relish,” she said.

“It is the Americans who need to mind their eating habits. Bush must visit India where still a large number of people still go to bed empty stomach,” remarked Vandana, who is also associated with NGO Amar Jyoti, which is taking care of the needs of nearly 3,000 special children.

She said the beauty and health management industry is an unorganised sector as more and more people claim to help by starting health centers for shedding instant weight using unscientific means and thereby putting the customers at risk.

“Weight loss is as important as weight maintenance. We incorporate yoga and meditation in our programmes,” she said.

Vandana, who started with a small parlour in New Delhi in 1989, is today a name in the world of fitness and beauty corporate. Presently, her annual turnover is more than Rs 400 crore. She had more than 14,000 employees working for her. Mother to two doting girls, the woman likes to devote most of her time to her family. She feels, if given proper guidance, Indian women can do wonders in business.



Tapping Tourism
‘Holy city has miles to go’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The tourism potential of the holy city is far more than what has been tapped, provided facilities like tourist information centres, transportation and civic amenities are improved.

This was stated by Punjab CII vice-chairman Gunbir Singh while talking to The Tribune. He said being a pilgrimage and historical destination, the holy city could work wonders.

He said the Golden Temple had 1.5 lakh tourists per day while the famous Taj Mahal had just 27,000 visitors, both foreign and national, per day on an average.

“The administration’s proposal to deploy tourism police to help and guide the visitors has attracted the tourists,” he said, adding that the CII was conducting orientation courses for the tourism policemen.

Guide Gurinder Singh Johal said the Golden Temple and Beating Retreat ceremony were the only major attractions in the city even then there was an increase in the number of foreign tourists.

He said there were 15 guides in the city but they were neither trained nor recognised due to which they had to face problems with foreign tourists.

He suggested the state government should issue green cards to the tourists guides on the patter of Rajasthan. “Besides, rural tourism can be also promoted by developing farmhouses where foreign tourist could enjoy rural hospitality and the real Punjab,” he said. 



Poll campaign: PYC takes out cycle rally
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) here today took out a cycle rally to campaign for the Congress nominee Navdeep Singh Goldy for byelection to the Amritsar (South) seat to be held on May 22.

Led by Vijay Inder Singla, president, PYC, the party workers paddled through Indira Colony to campaign for the Congress candidate.

Addressing the gathering Singla said they would adopt traditional mode of transport to reach voters to make people of the state aware of the anti-people policies of the SAD-BJP government.



City Star
Local lad wins bronze in international karate championship
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
Little karate champ Aryan Khanna has added another feather to his cap by winning the bronze medal in the International Karate Championship held in Durban, South Africa, on April 26.

The championship was organised by Shotokan Karate - Do International, Japan.

Student of DAV Public School, the 10-year-old champion has already been awarded the ‘black belt’ title. He has won medals in various national-level events. He got three gold and one silver medals during the 2006 national meet, while in the 2007 meet his tally of medals was two gold and three bronze.

Aryan also loves to play chess and won gold and bronze medals in the Punjab State Chess Championship held in Jalandhar in 2005 and bronze in the state championship held in Amritsar last year.

His proud parents, Rohit and Sheetal, gave the credit of their son’s success to coach Gopal Krishnan.



Exhibition on insect photos
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
A two-day exhibition of photographs of insects by Arsh Rup Singh on the theme of “Tiny but mighty inhabitants of planet Earth” will be held on May 17-18 at Art Gallery here.

Arsh Rup Singh said the insects and spiders collectively constitute about two-third of the known organisms with over 1.3 million species.

These are the most diverse groups of organisms and some of the most beautiful creatures in the world. About 49 photographs would be exhibited in the exhibition.

After completing his masters in computer applications from Guru Nanak Dev University, he did international course in bioinformatics from Cologne University Bioinformatics Centre, Koln, Germany.



Mann: Nothing wrong in promoting turban
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Amritsar, May 16
The criticism of Akal Academy School by the Dal Khalsa for forcing the Hindu students to wear turban is politically motivated. This was stated by SAD (A) chief Simranjit Singh Mann while addressing mediapersons here today. He said nobody had the right to denigrate turban as it was the symbol of Sikhism and epitomised the Sikh glory.

Lashing out at Dal Khalsa, Mann said Kanwarpal was issuing such statements just to fulfil his selfish interests which were against the Sikh community. He said the Sikhs living in European countries were struggling to keep the tradition of turban alive and had managed to get permission in public places.He pointed out that there was nothing wrong in promoting turban as it gave a dignified look and was part of Indian culture. “Besides, every Sikh institution has right to protect and promote their religion and culture,” he added.

He advised the administrators of Akal Academy institutions to stand by their decision and not to be carried away by the influence of Hindu organisations

‘SAD, Cong have failed to develop city’

Amritsar, May 16
Pinning hopes on the Amritsar (South) byelection to be held on May 22, the SAD (A) has launched a vigorous campaign for its candidate.

SAD (A) candidate Ram Singh and president Simranjit Singh Mann are holding street rallies to seek votes in their favour. Addressing a rally on Friday, Mann said both the SAD and the Congress had been claiming that the holy city was the political nerve of the state. However, they had failed to develop it on the lines of Jammu, the city of temples. He said infrastructural facilities, including roads, sanitation and transport, were still a distant dream for the people. He said Parkash Singh Badal, who had been the Chief Minister for four times during the past five decades, had failed to initiate development projects here. 



‘Stop construction of wall or face stir’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The central and state governments will be responsible for any untoward incident if they failed to stop the construction of a wall by the Army at the local Dasehra ground area near Durgiana Temple dividing it into two parts.

The threat was issued by members of the local Dasehra Committee at a meeting organised under the chairmanship of Purshottam Krishan Seth here. The members said they would be left with virtually no space to burn the effigies during the festival as there was no other ground available in the vicinity of the temple.

The land measuring 9.32 acres is a part of Gobindgarh Fort and was on lease with Shri Lakshmi Narayan Ayurvedic College run by the Durgiana Management Committee (DMC) for the purpose of play ground/park on payment of nominal licence fee of Rs 100 per annum with the condition that the land would not be used for commercial purposes. The lease expired on July 16, 2004. The members said the committee had been organising the event at the place before the Independence of the country and many devotees from across the country had been coming to the place in view of Langoor Mela held during the Navratras.

They said the site was attached to the Durgiana Temple, Bara Hanuman temple and Sitla temple and the construction of the boundary wall would hurt the religious sentiments of people.

They warned the government that if it failed to stop the construction of the boundary wall within 48 hours they would start an agitation against it and the responsibility would lie with the government for any untoward incident.

Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, Harnam Dass Arora, president, Durgiana Management Committee, Arun Khanna, secretary, Vishav Hindu Parishad (Punjab), Raman Pehalwan, president, Shiv Sena (Azad), and Yoginder Pal Dhingra, ex-president, District Congress Committee, were among those present on the occasion.



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