Bandh largely peaceful
Amritsar, July 23
More than 12 Express mail and important trains, including the Shatabdi, were cancelled and rescheduled. Activists of Damdami Taksal Ajnala blocked the Vallah railway track from the wee hours of the morning.
Similar was the fate of private and government bus services, as no one operated on their scheduled routes.
Activists of various panthic organisations, led by Bhai Ram Singh of the SAD (Amritsar), Bhai Mohkam Singh, convener, Khalsa Action Committee, Manjit Singh Bhoma, president, Sikh Students Federation, and Amarbir Singh Dhot, district president, Sikh Students Federation Mehta, blocked the bypass road on the Jalandhar-Amritsar GT Road.
Activists of various panthic organisations could be seen brandishing swords and other lethal weapons and roaming in the streets and markets of the city.
Business and educational institutes in the region also remained closed. However, the airline services operated their regular flights without any hindrance. The banking services also operated normally.
Talwandi Sabo/Bathinda: Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, burnt an effigy of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at Talwandi Sabo.
Dera Salabatpura, the headquarters of the Sacha Sauda sect in Punjab, along with four other deras of the sect in the district, were condoned off to avoid any untoward incident. The national highways leading to Chandigarh and Delhi were also barricaded.
Making mockery of all security arrangements, some protesting youths thrashed a girl student and manhandled a boy at MGDAV College, where a distant education university was conducting an examination for the M.Sc final year. A number of Sikh youths barged into the college at around 2 p.m. and after protesting against the opening of the college, smashed window panes and notice boards. After the incident, the university authorities postponed the examination to August 13.
More than 200 two-wheeler riders, brandishing swords, forced shops to close shutters. They also attacked some dhabas and shops while on the move.
Officiating DC, Bathinda, Vijay Zade, said, “The day passed off peacefully as no report of violence was received.”
Moga: The bandh in the whole district was largely peaceful except for one incident of damaging of a roadways bus on the Zira road.
Government departments and district courts remained open, but the attendance of employees was less compared to normal working days.
Protesters blocked the Ferozepur-Ludhiana national highway, defying the recent orders of the apex court that national highways should remain open round the clock.
Anandpur Sahib: Activists of several Sikh organisations blocked traffic on the Anandpur Sahib-Nangal highway and NH-21 near Balongi and Kharar on Wednesday. In Anandpur Sahib, a marriage party on its way from Una to Anandpur Sahib was stopped.
Workers of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta), Damdami Taksal, Sant Samaj and local units squatted on the road disrupting traffic. The police intervened to divert the traffic along the Bhakra canal.
The bandh was complete near Anandpur Sahib and Nangal. In Ropar, a few commercial establishments opened in the morning. Activists of the SAD (A) got these establishments closed. In Morinda, a few shops opened in the morning.
At NH-21 near Balongi and Kharar, a handful of activists from the SSF blocked the highway near the sales tax barrier at around 11.30 a.m. for half an hour. Later, the SAD 1920 faction activists blocked the same stretch from 1.30 to 2.30 p.m. and later from 3.15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sangrur: Shopkeepers and businessmen here on Wednesday observed a complete bandh by keeping the shutters of their shops and business establishments down in all parts of the town. The bus-stand also wore a deserted look for many hours.
Activists of various Sikh organisations also staged a protest dharna and blocked roads for about nine hours at Mahavir Chowk here. The dharna was attended, among others, by Sant Baba Daler Singh Kherri Sahib Wale and general secretary of the SAD (A) Jeet Singh Alloarkh.
Later the protesters took out a protest march through the main bazaars and reached the district administrative complex here. A memorandum was submitted by the protesters to ADC Indu Malhotra, demanding the arrest of the Dera chief and registration of cases against him. However no untoward incident from any part of the town was reported as the police remained alert at all sensitive points.
Hoshiarpur: All education institutions, business establishments, including banks, shops of vegetable and fruit-sellers, tea stalls rehri vendors etc observed a complete bandh. The entry points, even on some link roads in the district, had been blocked by activists at many places. They parked tractor-trailers and trucks across the road.
Activists of various Sikh organisations, including factions of the SAD, Dal Khalsa, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Kandi Welfare Society and Sant Samaj, led by Harjinder Singh Dhami, Avtar Singh Khakh, Baba Balbir Singh and Mohinder Singh, took out a protest march from the Singh Sabha Gurdwara and later staged a dharna at the local Clock Tower for more than an hour. The district courts remained suspended.
SSP, Hoshiarpur, Sukhchain Singh Gill said the vehicular traffic was blocked on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur-Tanda roads.
Nabha: The police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to disperse hundreds of youths brandishing swords and rods in bazaars of the town on Wednesday morning. Protesters, who forcibly tried to close Dayanand Public School, dispersed on the arrival of the police.
The day after
Chandigarh, July 23
Bajwa said the Opposition MPs not happy with the performance of their leaders and feeling insecure to contest the next Lok Sabha election under their leadership, had voted for the UPA government in the Lok Sabha. These MPs felt the Manmohan government had done well in four years.
He said many Opposition leaders now were alleging horse-trading to hide their failures on the leadership front. As a large number of MPs of the BJP had either voted for the UPA government or abstained from the House, it was clear they had resentment against their leaders like Advani.
He said as Opposition leaders were feeling shattered after the failure to dislodge the Manmohan government, now they were alleging use of money to buy MPs. He said leaders like Badal should do some introspection to find out what had gone wrong with their leadership.
Bajwa said in their political history of over 75 years, the Akalis had made a series of historic blunders. No one greater than the latest one, of not supporting Sikh Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the trust vote that he won convincingly.
‘Vote scam: PM answerable’
Amritsar, July 23
Addressing mediapersons here, Sidhu said the UPA leadership could not escape responsibility in this case and added that the captain of the team, Dr Manmohan Singh, must take the blame for the incident which had “marred the reputation of vibrant Indian democracy”.
Elaborating his contentions, Sidhu said the CD (of the sting operation) handed over to the Speaker would make sensational revelations and could rock the political system of the country. He said all political parties should introspect and save the legislation.
He said Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had assured an independent probe and the report would nail the culprits. The tapes had already been handed over to the Speaker by the TV channel concerned.
Sikhs resent Akalis’ betrayal
Ludhiana, July 23
Dal sources also disclosed that a majority of the members of the core committee of the SAD were in favour of the nuclear deal and wanted the Akalis to vote for the trust motion.
They had compulsions as the Akali Dal did not enjoy a majority in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and the government could fall if support by the BJP was withdrawn.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD chief, was the first to state that the Akali Dal would support the nuclear deal while he was on foreign tour. But after his statement was telecast, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, adviser, Akali Dal, on behalf of the Chief Minister and the Akali Dal, stated that the party would stand by the NDA.
A senior Akali leader requesting anonnymity said the core committee had decided not to oppose the nuclear deal, but raise the issue of atrocities against Sikhs and discrimination against Punjab by the Centre.
Meanwhile, Lt Col Chanan Singh Dhillon, president, Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today called upon the SAD leadership in Punjab to stop exploiting sentiments of the Sikhs and have coordination with the Centre.
Sangrur, July 23
The candidate Harbans Lal, who was today elected president of the council as nominee of the Congress, had won the recently held MC election from ward number 13 as a candidate of the SAD. Today, however, he joined the Congress and immediately after that he became president of the council. Six SAD municipal councillors, four BJP councillors and one independent councillor did not attend the election meeting.
The local MC has 21 municipal councillors. Seven candidates of the SAD, four of the BJP, nine of the Congress, and one independent candidate Harinder Singh Khalsa emerged victorious in the recently held elections to the local MC. Besides these 21 councillors, local Congress MLA Surinder Pal Singh Sibia is the 22nd member (in the capacity of MLA) of the council.
Sibia said that 11 members, including him, attended the meeting, who elected Harbans Lal president, Jaswinder Singh (Congress) senior vice-president and Ravi Chawla (Congress) vice-president of the council. All the three councillors had been elected unopposed and this happened due to sharp differences between the SAD and the BJP over the issue of the presidential candidate. They could not decide on a single name, he added.
President-elect Harbans Lal said only rich persons had a say in the SAD and there was no place for the poor. He said due to the wrong policies of the SAD, he left the SAD and joined the Congress.
Public-private effort to better focal points’ infrastructure
Chandugarh , July 23
Principal secretary, industries S. S. Channy told The Tribune today on the sidelines of a discussion organised by the PHD Chamber here.The government proposes to improve infrastructure in the industrial focal points through public- private partnership. “Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) will be created for every of the 29 focal points, which will have representation from the industry located here and the state government,” he said.
The focal points will be managed by these SPVs and they will be given all local taxes (surcharge on electricity, octroi et al) collected from the area for development works and civil works in the area. The focal points were created by the Punjab State Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC) and were to be transferred to the local bodies after five years of being set up. He said a new focal point, spread over 282 acres is coming up in Kapurthala. “The land is being transferred to the PSIEC by the state government. We will model it on the lines of industrial focal points in China,” he said.
Punjabi Sahit Shiromani award for Kanwal, Dalip Kaur Tiwana
Chandigarh, July 23
Presiding over a meeting of the state’s Advisory Board Languages Dept, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, education and languages minister, said 28 personalities had been selected for 14 different Shiromani awards. She said the name of the Punjabi Sahit ShiromaniAward had been rechristened as Pbi Sahit Ratan.
The meeting selected Kanwal and Tiwana for Punjabi Sahit Shiromani Award; Kartar Singh Suri and Pargat Singh Sidhu for Shiromani Pbi Sahitkar Award; Dr Chander Trikha and Virender Sandhu for Shiromani Hindi Sahitkar Award; Prem Kumar and Dr Nashir Naqvi for Shiromani Urdu Sahitkar Award; Dr Brij Bihari Chaube and Dr Ravinder Kaur for Shiromani SanskritSahitkar Award.
Dr Harinder Singh Mehboob and Sukhwinder Amrit were selected for Shiromani Pbi Kavi Award; Karnail Singh Thind and Dr Jaswinder Singh for Shiromani Pbi Gyan Sahitkar/Alochik Award; Parminder Sodhi (Japan) and Janab Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan) for Shiromani Pbi Sahitkar (overseas) Award; Chhotu Ram Moudgil and S. Saki for Shiromani Pbi Sahitkar Award (out of Punjab); Jasbir Singh Jass and Dr Sukhwant Kaur Mann for Shiromani Pbi Bal Sahitkar Lekhak Award; G.S. Sidhu Damdami (Punjabi Tribune) and Paramjit Singh Sasan (Ajit) for Shiromani Pbi Patarkar Award; Bhai Banta Singh Ragi and Bhai Gursharn Singh Ragi for Shiromani Ragi/Dhadi/ Kavishar Award; Gurmeet Bawa and G.S.Sachdev for Shiromani Pbi Singer/Musician Award. Amrik Gill and Jatinder Brar has been selected for Shiromani Pbi TV/Radio/ Theatre/Natak/Actor/Producer/Writer Award.
MP wife hopeful of early release of Pappu Yadav
Amritsar, July 23
From a Sikh family of Jalandhar Ranjan (her actual name is Ranjit Kaur) said a petition was being filed in the Supreme Court shortly and her husband might be released on “merit” because he was in jail due to political reasons.
Ranjan claimed her husband was a victim of circumstances and a very senior leader from Bihar was behind the “fabricated cases,” registered against him (Pappu). She, however, parried the question whether she had got some promise from Congress president Sonia Gandhi or Dr Manmohan Singh for being instrumental in the release of Pappu who had cast his vote in favour of the UPA yesterday.
It is learnt that Ranjan and senior Congress leaders from Punjab and Bihar held a meeting with Sonia and PM in this regard .
Ranjan is daughter of Ripdaman Singh Raina and Narinder Kaur Raina and married Pappu on February 6,1994.
Houses of 4 Cong men demolished
Amritsar, July 23
One of the victims, Dilip, said despite the case being sub judice, the block panchayat officer accompanied with two dozen policemen and bulldozers arrived at the site at 7 am and asked them to vacate the house within two hours. He said when he told the official concerned that he had not been served any notice for vacating the house, the official said he did not know anything and asked his men to to demolish the houses after two hours.
DC Kahan Singh Pannu said action was taken on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “The administration was simply abiding by the directions of the high court.”
Dilip, however, alleged that the newly elected SAD sarpanch and one of the ruling ministers of the area was responsible for their plight as they had refused to cast votes in their favour during the Assembly elections. He claimed that they had been living, along with 34 other families, at the land allotted to them by the local panchayat 35 years ago and had constructed concrete houses about 20 years ago. He said no action was taken action against the other families who had constructed the houses on the panchayat land. He said he had suffered a loss of around Rs 4 lakh.
Bir Singh, Amrik Singh and Chanchal Singh are the other Congress workers whose houses have been demolished. Each of them claimed that they suffered a loss of Rs 6 lakh.
Passport Scam Case
Moga, July 23
A senior police official said the transfer of the DSP could affect the investigation. Requesting anonymity, he said a lobby of senior police officials, fearing being trapped, could be behind the transfer as the probe was reported going on fairly and independently.
Many senior police officials, travel agents, employees of various departments, including some employees/officials of the regional passport office, Chandigarh, in posts for 13 years were likely to fall into the net.
The probe team had summoned official records of all passports issued to residents of this district in 2006 and 2007, confirmed Ashok Bath, SSP, of the district.
Meanwhile, the police on the recommendation of DSP Jaspal Singh hours before his transfer had registered a second FIR in this scam against one head constable and one individual who made his passport on forged documents and was living in France.
Drug de-addicted given send-off
Sangrur, July 23 Project director of the hospital Mohan Sharma said even after the complete treatment of the patients, hospital authorities remained in touch with them.
Sangrur, July 23
Project director of the hospital Mohan Sharma said even after the complete treatment of the patients, hospital authorities remained in touch with them.
Chandigarh, July 23
In a reply submitted to the high court, SP (security) Ashwani Kapoor asserted Virk was currently posted as DGP, Maharashtra, and “he can take security” from there. However, the Punjab Police had provided seven security personnel to the Virk family.
Taking up the petition, Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal of the high court fixed August 12 as the next date of hearing and directed the continuation of the interim order on security issued on the previous date of hearing.
Virk counsel, during the proceedings, asserted the petitioner belonged to the special category of individuals, including former DGP K.P.S. Gill, and required specific security cover.
The decision to withdraw security was making them vulnerable amid persisting threat from militants against whom he had fought relentless during his deputation in the state.
The senior counsel for Chandigarh Administration Anupam Gupta submitted since the petitioner was posted in Maharashtra, he would be provided with required security as and when he visited Chandigarh.
Homoeo college allowed counselling
A Division Bench of Justices Ashutosh Mohunta and Nirmaljit Kaur have permitted Ludhiana-based Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic Medical College to go ahead with counselling for external candidates for admissions to MD (Homoeo) till 2009. The Bench also quashed the May 30 letter of the Faridkot-based Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, vide which the petitioner college had been directed to stop counselling for MD (Homoeo). The college had challenged the orders of the Union government’s Department of Ayurvedic and Unani and Homoeopathic System of Medicine. It had also challenged the Central Council of Homeopathy’s directions to cancel the counselling for 27 seats of MD (Homoeo) meant for external candidates, as a result of which the selection committee had to suddenly stop the counselling on May 30.
A Division Bench of Justices Ashutosh Mohunta and Nirmaljit Kaur have permitted Ludhiana-based Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic Medical College to go ahead with counselling for external candidates for admissions to MD (Homoeo) till 2009.
The Bench also quashed the May 30 letter of the Faridkot-based Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, vide which the petitioner college had been directed to stop counselling for MD (Homoeo).
The college had challenged the orders of the Union government’s Department of Ayurvedic and Unani and Homoeopathic System of Medicine. It had also challenged the Central Council of Homeopathy’s directions to cancel the counselling for 27 seats of MD (Homoeo) meant for external candidates, as a result of which the selection committee had to suddenly stop the counselling on May 30.
HC not pleased with panchayat poll in Punjab
Chandigarh, July 23
Taking up petitions filed by panches and other persons concerned on election of sarpanches in the state and related matters, the Division Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary verbally observed: “The government has brought politics to gram panchayats”.
Referring to apprehensions expressed by the state counsel on certain acts leading to horse-trading in the elections, the Bench added: “What is all this talk about horse-trading…. This is what your government does in Parliament”.
The Bench had, just before the summer vacations in May, commented on the state of affairs prevailing in Punjab during panchayat elections. The judges had verbally observed that the “ruling party went berserk”.
Referring to the allegations such as booth capturing, the Bench had further observed it was ridiculous; and added the government had “missed the entire point of having panchayat elections”.
As the petitions came up for hearing before the Bench today, the judges also “felt that the presiding officers are sometimes” not taking proper interest in carrying out their duties and are “often siding with one or the other group of the party.” The Bench stated they had been receiving a large number of petitions, complaining about acts of the presiding officers allegedly designed to help one party or a group of panches.
The judges took note of the fact that the common grouse of the petitioners was that even though they constituted majority group in the panchayat, the meetings were not being held. Or, the majority-group of panches was not allowed to take part in the meeting convened to elect the sarpanch.
Besides this, the petitioners had submitted one or two panches belonging to the majority group were targeted and criminal cases were slapped on them to prevent them from attending the meeting and reducing them to a minority group.
The Bench asserted the presiding officers were expected to be fair and impartial, while holding elections of the sarpanches in a peaceful manner.
Now, panches can’t be held until sarpanch is elected
Chandigarh, July 23
The Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary today ruled: “The police shall not arrest any panch until the first meeting of the gram panchayat has been held and the sarpanch has been elected”.
The instruction was issued after the Bench took note of the fact in large number of petitions, filed before the high court, the registration of criminal cases to prevent panches from exercising their franchise was contested. The direction forms a part of seven commandments issued by the Bench in a detailed order aimed at streamlining the sarpanch election process in Punjab.
The Bench has made it clear that the instructions on safety and security of the panches were in addition to July 22 directions conveyed by the state government through deputy commissioners to all the presiding officers.
The Bench has also ruled: “In case any sarpanch demands security or complains of harassment by the opposite group, his complaint should be recorded in the daily diary report at the police station and full security should be provided to him.
“If any panch at the meeting demands that the election of the sarpanch should be conducted by secret ballot, a procedure for election through secret ballot shall be adopted.”
In their detailed order, the Bench also directed: “The presiding officer should not change the date, time and venue of the first meeting (to elect the sarpanch) once these have been notified to all the members of the panchayat.
“If the first meeting of the gram panchayat is concluded without electing the sarpanch or is adjourned for the lack of quorum, in such an event the notice of adjournment should be sufficient, say of two-three days.
“The presiding officers should ensure the presence of the panchayat secretary in the meeting” and “the presiding officer should maintain an attendance register to show the names of the panches, who attended the meeting”.
In the end, the Bench has stated that “deputy commissioners of each district shall act as observers to ensure that the first meeting of the gram panchayat and the election of the sarpanches takes place in a free and impartial manner, without any panch facing any kind of threat, pressure or inducement.
“A register should be maintained by the deputy commissioners to receive and decide the complaints in the same manner as the election observers in the state Assembly elections”.
Spelling the gist of the instructions, the Bench asserted: “In other words, the mechanism for the redressing complaints should be an effective one in order to instill confidence in the members of the gram panchayats.”
Before parting with the orders, the Bench directed the circulation of the copy of the instructions among all deputy commissioners and senior superintendents of police. The matter will now come up for further hearing on August 20.
Board to revise Pbi syllabus
Mohali, July 23
Chairman of the board Dalbir Singh Dhillon has constituted a high-level committee to recast the Punjabi syllabi at middle, matric and senior secondary levels.
Experts in the Punjabi language literature and Punjabi culture have been included in this committee.
A special meeting of the high-level committee was held under the chairmanship of Dhillon in this regard.
Keeping in view the present and changing needs of society, deliberations were held regarding the methodology of the study of Punjabi and recast of its syllabi. At the meeting, it was accepted as a challenge to develop a policy to improve the status of Punjabi as a language and give it the right direction.
After reviewing the syllabi of Punjabi at middle, matric and senior secondary level in the light of the changing requirements of Punjabi society and culture, efforts will be made to make the students aware of Punjabi traditions and culture.
In the context of globalisation, there is a need to incorporate language as mediation for achieving the goals of a developing society, it was felt.
Rita Bawa Murder
Ludhiana, July 23
Grassa, something like a meat cleaver used here but with a broader blade, was used by the assailants in killing Rita and her three employees in January this year. The Jalandhar police had recovered two grassas buried in the kitchen garden of the principal's house a couple of months after the crime.
Ludhiana SSP R.K. Jaiswal, who belongs to Bihar, gave the clue that the weapon used could have some Bihar connection. The post-mortem report of the victims also strengthened his belief that Bihari migrants could be involved in the crime.
"The coroner's report stated what I was looking for. It said the impact and sharpness of the weapon on the body suggested it was a heavy one. The grassa weighs about 1 kg, while the Punjabi butcher knife is less heavy," said the SSP, sharing for the first time how the Ludhiana police solved the crime within a few days of taking over the case.
He said the next step was to find out the persons, especially from Bihar, who interacted with the principal. It wasn’t surprising to find out there were in the house two or three such servants, including Kishore Mandal, who was also killed."