P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Naina Devi Stampede
Lathi charge led to stampede: Survivors
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, August 4
A lathi charge by a posse of police personnel who were hopelessly outnumbered by the rush of devotees on the first day of the Shravan Navratras at the Naina Devi shrine could have been responsible for the tragic stampede, say devotees who lived to tell their tale.

Eye-witness Manu Sharma told TNS that the rumour of the landslide started from shed No. 1, but could have been controlled easily the policemen posted on the stop over-reacted. “They started a brutal lathi charge due to which my friend Arvinder Singh was pushed against the fence,” he said. Arvinder would have fallen into the precipice had his leg not got entangled in the fence.

Manu said, “However, 70 to 80 other persons were not so lucky. I saw them falling down into the khud, but could do nothing as I myself was fighting for life,” he added.

Leela Singh of Rampura Phul corroborated this saying first only five to six persons fell to their death. “It was only after the lathi charge that the railing gave way and resulted in the catastrophe,” he said. Leela claims this was not the only failing of the Himachal police. “In the absence of any senior officer or adequate staff, there was complete chaos at the site,” he said. It was left to the injured to make good their escape while many of the seriously injured were left to their fate. This is why you do not see any injured persons here,” he said.

Clearly, the dice was loaded against the injured on the fateful day. The Shri Naina Devi Primary Health Centre only had one stretcher at its disposal. Even more surprising was the fact that basic first-aid kits were not available there to take care of even a medium-level incident leave alone a tragedy of this magnitude. The survivors said the district administration and senior police officials reached the spot only after more than two hours, resulting in a complete vacuum in rescue operations.

Gopal Krishan said he and his team of two friends carried 40 bodies to the health centre. There we found out there was no one who could even read the pulses of the unconscious to ascertain their state of health.The survivors said once the dead and the injured had been got down, people realised there were no vehicles to transport them to the nearest hospitals. A few private vehicles made round trips to Anandpur Sahib before ambulances arrived on the spot.

Apparently, even after the tragedy the Himachal government failed to take care of the needs of the relatives of the deceased. Bilaspur SDM P. C. Akela, who was the mela officer, was confronted by angry relatives of the deceased who accused the state government of failing to make a list of the dead and the injured at the site itself.

There was complete confusion, resulting in a harrowing time for relatives looking for their near and dear ones. “It felt like we were not their people,” said Leela Singh, adding in direct contrast the Punjab government had acted swiftly.


VIPs visit tragedy victims
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, August 4
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met the victims of Naina Devi stampede today at the Civil Hospital here. He stayed at the hospital for around two hours and sympathised with the families of the victims of the tragedy. He assured them the state government would bear the entire expenditure on their treatment and directed the district administration to make adequate arrangements to refer the injured either to the PGI or some super-specialty medical institutes even outside the state. Later, Badal visited Gurdwara Takht Keshgarh Sahib to offer prayers. An akhand path will be held at Keshgarh Sahib tomorrow in the memory of the deceased and for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Badal said effective arrangements should be ensured at public congregations, especially on special occasions when a large number of devotees was likely to converge at the holy shrine. He said people should also discipline themselves and maintain calm. Badal had come to the town by chopper but he had to travel back by road as the chopper developed a technical snag.

Punjab Cabinet minister Manoranjan Kalia and former minister of Himachal Pradesh Vidya Stokes too met the injured at the Civil Hospital. Stokes demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter. She added that Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia announced to the kin of deceased was insufficient. "The government has budgetary provisions to increase this amount and it should be immediately done," she said.


A town in mourning
Our Correspondent

Nabha, August 4
As the shocked town mourned the death of eight local devotees who died in the stampede at the Naina Devi shrine yesterday, prayers were organised by various social and religious organisations for the peace of the departed souls.

All victims were consigned to flames today in the midst of heart-rending scenes. Two cousins Tarun (22) and Mohit (23), only sons of their parents, were also consigned to the flames. They had gone on a pilgrimage with their cousins, Vicky of Rajpura who died and Rajinder of Delhi whose limbs were fractured.

Sarpanch of Sangatpura Bhonki Gurpreet Kaur (30) and her 11-year-old son Gurjit Singh and another villager Satnam Singh too lost their lives in the stampede.

Ashok Kumar (55), his mentally challenged son Sagar and Poonam Rani, his brother’s daughter-in-law were also cremated here. Ten members of the family had gone to the shrine to seek the blessings of Naina Devi. The family had also planned to tonsure Poonam’s child who had a miraculous escape.

MLA, Nabha, Randeep Singh, SAD leaders Maninder Singh Mani and Randhir Rakhra, president, SADl, youth wing president Paramjit Sahauli, Youth Congress leader Paramjit Khatra, Kiryana Association president Satinder Mittal, SDM Balraj Singh Sekhon and DSP Arshdeep Singh Gill expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

The bazaars wore a deserted look as all banks, schools, private nursing homes and other business establishments remained closed to express solidarity with the bereaved families.

Since all shops, hotels and dhabas remained closed, thousands of candidates from nine districts of Ludhiana and Patiala divisions who reached the town for the Army recruitment rally had to depend on langars organised by various religious bodies.


Mangu came back from the dead
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, August 4
Nineteen-year-old Mangu Ram, a resident of Nangal Khurd village from Mansa, has virtually come back from the dead. Assuming him to be dead, rescue workers and volunteers at Naina Devi had thrown him on the heap of bodies of stampede victims.

Mangu lay unconscious among the bodies in one of the three trucks going from Naina Devi to Anandpur Sahib. It was only after he was tossed out of the truck, his relatives Gami Singh and Nirbhai Singh started searching for him frantically.

“When we removed the shroud covering Mangu’s face and moved him, he asked for water,” said Gami. He was given water and taken to the local taxi stand where an office-bearer of the taxi union, Sukhdev Singh Sukha, provided him with help.

Mangu was later taken back to Mansa by his relatives. He had come on foot with his relatives to pay obeisance at the Naina Devi shrine and was caught in a stampede. He was too frightened to recall anything.

Gami said there might have been others like Mangu who became unconscious during the stampede and were added to the pile of the dead. “Had medical help reached us on time at Naina Devi itself, many would have survived,” added Nirbhai Singh.

Meanwhile, more than 15 persons were reported to be missing. TNS came across their families at the Civil Hospital here when they came searching for their relatives.

Though none of these family members have lodged a formal complaint with the state police at the Naina Devi shrine, deputy commissioner, Bilaspur, Chander Prakash Verma said there was a two-year-old girl who was separated from her parents in the chaos following the stampede. “We have traced her parents and uncle. Till then, the temple sewadars are looking after her,” Verma told TNS.

The relatives of the missing people include Mahinder Singh and his wife Uma from Jitwal village in Malerkotla. Amanjit Singh, who had come from Sirhind to look for his 15-year-old son Sagar. Surinder Kaur from Dirba in Sangrur had come to look for her daughter Satpal Kaur, while Seema and her mother Kaushalya from Jatpur village in Kharar came to trace her brother Lalli and his friends Golu and Sukhdeep. Banarsi had come from Mullanpur in Ludhiana to find his wife Geeta and a baby boy who was yet to be named.


Pilgrims to be dispatched in batches
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Naina Devi, August 4
A day after the unfortunate stampede at the Naina Devi Shrine that killed around 147 persons from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the district administration woke from its slumber to chalk out a plan to ensure the safety of pilgrims.

Among a series of meetings conducted today, officials and local politicians decided that pilgrims to the shrine would be dispatched in batches of 200. Barricades would be put up at 10 points en route the base to the hill-top to control the crowd during the peak season of navratras.

The route of vehicular traffic has also been diverted. While talking to TNS, DC Bilaspur Chander Prakash Verma said all vehicles moving back would have to go from the Bhakhra road now onwards. He added that the crowd was bound to increase during the coming days due to the Navratras. “Keeping this in view, we are working out the best possible ways to avert any tragedy and provide maximum facilities to the pilgrims,” he said.

The Bilapsur administration spokesperson added that anyone who wanted to lodge either a written or oral complaint could contact officials at the PWD rest house, Naina Devi.


12 dead were from Mansa
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 4
Over 12 persons from Mansa district were killed in the Naina Devi temple stampede yesterday . According to information Raj Rani, wife of Vijay Kumar, and her cousins Sony Kumar (13), son of Pawan Kumar, Ashu (9), son of Pawan Kumar, were killed in this stampede.

The bodies of three brought to the town. Ranjit Kaur (35), wife of Roor Singh, Melo Kaur (40), wife of Raj Singh, Gulab Singh (50), son of Kartar Singh, of Khokhar Kalan village, were also killed. Beaker Singh (18), son of Surjit Singh, of Bacchuwana, Rekha Rani (26), daughter of Bal Krishan, Garima (5), daughter of Rekha Rani, Pooja (13), daughter of Mithu Singh , Neelam Rani (11), daughter of Jaswant Singh, Muskan (10), daughter of Lakhu Ram, of Budhladha village were also killed.


Disaster control unit mooted

Amritsar, August 4
Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, state health minister, today mooted the setting up of a disaster management authority to help cope with national calamities and tragedies like the Naina Devi stampede.

Giving details of the massive relief and rescue operations at the shrine, the minister said she was present to oversee the entire operations until about 1 am this morning. — OC


Aided school teachers approach CM for withdrawal of case
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and education minister Upinderjit Kaur to take up with the Punjab Governor the issue of withdrawing the FIR registered against 133 employees, including 68 women teachers, mostly from Moga, of aided schools under Section 188 of the CrPC for violating Section 144 in Chandigarh on December 4,2006.

On December 4, 133 teachers and employees, including 68 women teachers, were arrested near the Punjab Civil Secretariat and they remained behind bars for two weeks. They had come here to demonstrate and court arrest in support of their demands.

In a representation to Badal and the education minister, N.N. Saini, general secretary of the union, said teachers had to agitate as the government authorities had not given them justice. It was a peaceful agitation. The agitation started on December 4 and continued till December 25. In all, 1,854 teachers courted arrest and these included 658 women teachers. However, the case was registered against 133 teachers and other employees under Section 188 of Cr PC on December 4 and 130 of them are from Moga town. They are facing trial in this regard.

The Punjab government has already condoned the strike period from December 5 to25, 2006, vide letter No. 11870-71 of May 20, 2008. Saini said the union had come to know senior officers of the Chandigarh administration, including SSP and the deputy commissioner, had already recommended to withdraw the case.

The union has urged Badal to take up the issue with the Governor, who as administrator of the UT,is the final authority to take a decision in this regard. The union said the decision taken at a February meeting with the minister, had not been implemented so far.

A committee was set up by the minister to give a report by May 31 on certain issues raised by the union. The committee headed by an officer had not met even once since then. In such circumstances of the government machinery becoming of so insensitive towards the demands of employees, no alternative was left for employees except to agitate.


Tribune Impact
Case against 1; salary cut for other cops
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
“Spank one and the others will take a clue,” is the mantra of the city police to teach a lesson to nearly 150 policemen whom the PSEB caught stealing power last week.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal has ordered registration of a case against one of the accused only, saying that the PSEB had demanded registration of a case if the policemen did not pay the penalty of Rs 4.56 lakh.

“I want to set an example for the other policemen. Though the PSEB has not registered cases against high and mighty industrialists, many of whom were recently fined a total of Rs 35 lakh, we still have registered a case against the erring policeman and a fine of about Rs 3,500 each has been deducted from the salaries of all the accused cops,” said the SSP.

According to the FIR lodged at division No. 7 police station, constable Parmod Kumar has been booked for stealing power in violation of the PSEB Act. “There were stronger allegations against this cop. He has been suspended also,” said the SSP quoting the PSEB complaint against Parmod.

He said he had already given a dressing down to the errant cops but it was not practically possible to book all of them. “Moreover, the PSEB stresses recovering the penalty and not registering cases against the cops.”


Chief secy reviews refinery project
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 4
Chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh today reviewed the progress of the Rs 18,000-crore Guru Gobind Singh refinery project in the district.

The chief secretary was accompanied by senior officers of the government, including S.S. Channi, principal secretary, industries, D.S. Bains, secretary, local bodies, and Karan Avtar Singh, managing director, PSIDC.

Ramesh Inder Singh told this reporter that the work on the project was in full swing. An expenditure of Rs 1,000 crore has already been made on the project.

He said the refinery, which would be the single largest project in the state, was expected to be commissioned within two years. This would generate massive employment opportunities, as several ancillary units would also come up here.

Water and electricity connections have already been given for the refinery and land for setting up a colony for its employees has been acquired.

He said a piece of 150 acres of land for setting up the terminal for finished products had been identified.

The refinery is being set up as a joint venture by steel baron L.N. Mittal and the HPCL.

The chief secretary visited various segments and inaugurated the pressing unit of the plant. Prabh Das, CEO-cum-managing director of the refinery, was also present on the occasion.

Project engineers said the refinery would be commissioned according to the targeted date. The 1,012-km long pipeline between Mundra and Bathinda would pass through Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. The dimension of the pipeline has now been doubled to 28 inches from the earlier proposed 14 inches to pump 12 million tonnes of crude oil.

The engineers said the refinery would generate 800 truckload of material every day for which the roads were required to be upgraded.

Ramesh Inder Singh said several steps were being taken for an all-round development of Bathinda. A team from Delhi has already visited the site to identify land for establishing the central university. Work on domestic terminal at the Bhisiana Air Force station would also begin shortly. Besides, two thermal power stations would also be set up here.



‘Govt in league with anti-Punjab forces’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (Panch Pardhani) here today alleged that the Badal government had been promoting and protecting anti-Sikh and anti-Punjab forces.

At a press conference, Daljit Singh Bittu and other leaders of the party alleged that the protected included the Nirankari chief in1978 and now Sirsa Dera chief. High officials accused of ‘genocide’ in Punjab were also protected. The Peoples’ Commission was dismantled and the inquiry regarding the disappearance of former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaunke was scuttled, they alleged.

Bittu said the Badal government had played a double game in the case of Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar facing death sentence. He said with other parties, SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal was also member of the defence committee formed to protect Bhullar from death penalty.

Even SAD leaders, led by Badal, had met the Prime Minister to seek the release of Bhullar. On the other hand, Bittu said now the Punjab government gave an affidavit recently to the court in a particular case that Bhullar was a criminal who had well-organised international support base. Bittu, who distributed photo copies of the affidavit at the press conference, said there were other references against Bhullar in the affidavit.

Bittu said there were certain police officers who were responsible for the ‘genocide’ of Sikh youths and who often talked about eliminating a large number of Sikh youths. He said at the instance of a certain police officer, four members of Balwinder Singh Jatana’s family were burnt alive. There are more cases of elimination of members of some families.

He said instead of taking action against the police officers accused of killing Sikh youths, the Badal government had been protecting and promoting them.


State yet to define a ‘war hero’
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab government has not defined a “war hero” for the purpose of rehabilitating families of the soldiers killed or disabled “in action”. According to rules framed in 1999, the Punjab government fixed January 1, 1999, as the cut-off date to determine the status of a soldier as a “war hero”.

According to these rules, said to be highly arbitrary, the family of a person who died prior to this date would be denied “the status of a war hero and subsequent benefits to the families”.

The issue continues to be raised by the family members of the soldiers who died in Operation Rakshak (J&K) and the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka. The Punjab government has been promising to look after the war widows and their families and for six months claiming to be formulating policy to amend the anomaly of defining a “war hero” based on merely a date.

Several families which have been meeting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and defence services welfare minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh time and again have been assured justice will be done to them. The main argument of the families of soldiers killed in action before January 1, 1999 is while Operation Rakshak (J&K) was initiated by the government of India in 1990 to quell insurgency in Kashmir and the same continues till date how can the government discriminate against them simply on the basis of a date.

In the case of gallantry award winners, Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra, the cut-off date does not apply. The families question how can the government differentiate between two soldiers killed in action in the same operation on the basis of a date determined by some “babu”. This violates principle of natural justice and parity and will not stand scrutiny in a court of law.

If sources in the Department of Sainik Welfare are to be believed, some sort of homework has already been done, whereby the government is proposing to give paltry compensation to the affected families, believed to be in hundreds only. But officials in the secretariat indicate that beyond assurances from the Chief Minister, not much groundwork has been done.

A senior bureaucrat, however, said the government was trying to assess financial implications and the exact number of people affected by the “arbitrary cut-off date” before an amendment could be even contemplated.


Energy Conservation
Power board turns to comedians
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 4
In order to make electricity consumers in Punjab aware of energy conservation needs and desist them from stealing power, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), has taken services of Jaspal Bhatti, a renowned satirist, and other stars like Rajesh Puri, Savita Bhatti and Anchal.

A spokesman of the board said if it was able to convince the consumers to adopt energy-efficient lighting system all over Punjab, the saving to the tune of 600MW to 700MW could be achieved which is equal to the gap between demand and supply. Presently, the board is filling this gap by purchasing costly power from the market.

There are about 10 lakh tubewell connections, 43 lakh general connections and 1 lakh industrial connections in Punjab. According to an estimate, there are 300 lakh electric points and even if conservative standards are applied, saving of 40MW can be achieved on each point by using CFLs in place of GLS. The total calculation comes out to be 1,200MW.

According to the board’s spokesperson, even if 50 per cent electric points gets replaced by CFLs, the results would have long reaching effects on reducing power cuts in Punjab. In the region, Punjab was the first state to launch an ambitious awareness campaign regarding energy conservation.

The neighbouring states like Haryana, Himachal and Uttarakhand taking a clue from Punjab, are continuing their campaign and getting good results.

The PSEB authorities have appealed to the consumers to save energy, save their bills, save Punjab and save the nation. The board hopes that by consumers’ cooperation and pushing through the ambitious plan of awareness for energy conservation, the PSEB would be able to curtail the demand of electricity significantly.


Experts debate renewable energy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
US Department of State, under the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), today held a two-day workshop on “Grid Connected Renewable Energy and Cogeneration / Independent Power”.

A.S. Chhatwal, secretary, Science and Technology, said the purpose of the workshop was to promote policy and regulatory changes and encourage incentives to accelerate the development and interconnection of renewable energy and distributed generation projects into the Indian power system. He added that the workshop was expected to draw distribution utility executives, project developers, regulators, investors, and government policy makers.

PEDA, he said, was already actively promoting the setting up of co-generation and independent power projects based on various renewable energy sources such as small hydro, biomass and solar power.

The US team was represented by Tricia Williams from the USEA and Padmanabhan from USAID. Padmanabhan revealed the USAID programmes in India in Renewable Energy sector.


Close shave for Brahmpura
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 4
Rural development and panchayat minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura had an escape unhurt when the stage collapsed. Security guards of the minister rescued him.

The incident took place today afternoon at Kallaha village, 12 km from here, where Brahmpura was to launch the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the district. After addressing the function, he was interacting with mediapersons when local leaders came on the stage for photo session. The security personnel present at the function did not stop people from climbing onto the stage which collapsed and the minister and his colleagues came tumbling down . Electrical fittings and electric fans also fell, but there was no short circuit.

The minister brush aside the criticism of poor management and said no one was responsible as a large number of people had climbed the stage which resulted in the structure coming down.

Addressing the gathering, the minister said the state government had received Rs 79.70 crore from the Union government under the NREGA scheme.


Security beefed up in areas adjoining J-K
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 4
In view of the prevailing situation in Jammu and other districts of J&K adjoining Punjab over the controversial issue of the cancellation of land allotted to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, the Gurdaspur police has taken preventive measures to keep the situation in Punjab area near Madhopur and Kathlore under control.

Lok Nath Angra, SSP,Gurdaspur, said here today that heavy police consignment had been deployed at Madhopur on the Pathankot-Jammu national highway and Kathlore leading to J&K.

Meanwhile, Hindu organisations, including the Hindu Suraksha Samiti, Bajrang Dal, BJP Yuva Morcha and Shiv Sena, have started a continuous dharna at Madhopur near the entry point to Lakhanpur (J&K) on the issue of land row.


Eye Camp ‘Botch-up’
Surgeons skip probe
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 4
The Guru Ram Dass Charitable Trust authorities and the doctors who conducted the surgeries today failed to appear before assistant commissioner (grievances) M.S. Jaggi, who is conducting the probe into the incident.

The AC (G) told The Tribune that he had gone through most of the hospital record provided by the health department but was yet to look into the facilities available in the operation theatre and credentials of the doctors who conducted the surgeries.

Jaggi said he had given another opportunity to the trust authorities and the doctors to appear before him on Tuesday and record their statements failing which he would give his ‘ex-parte’ findings to the district magistrate for necessary action.

Jaggi said he had a telephonic conversation with one of the members of the trust who had assured that they would appear before him and extend full cooperation in the probe.

Meanwhile, the police had so far not taken any cognisance of the letter written by deputy medical commissioner Tejinder Gupta to it, keeping in view of the on-going magisterial probe.

A few patients, who had developed post-surgery complications after the camp, were still admitted in a private hospital at Ganganagar.


Docs begin chain fast
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 4
Five doctors today began a 24-hour chain fast outside the district administrative complex here in protest against the non-arrest of the miscreants, who had allegedly attacked on Dr K.G. Singla and his wife Dr Renu Singla besides damaging property of the local Singla Surgical Hospital following the death of a woman on July 12.

The doctors have alleged that the miscreants were not being arrested due to political pressure. Meanwhile, the local unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written a letter to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demanding justice for the affected doctors.


High Court
List of in-service convicted employees sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab and Haryana High Court wants to know why and how many of Punjab government officers are continuing in service despite conviction on the charges of corruption.

Taking a serious note of their continuance in service, acting Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal, asked the state to provide it with a complete list of such officers and officials, along with the explanation, as to how they were retained on their posts.

The directions were issued during the resumed hearing on the different writ petitions filed in public interest by High Court advocate H.C. Arora and others.

The petitions had cited instances of officials including a deputy superintendent of police posted at Barnala, a junior engineer serving with the Jalandhar municipal corporation and an industrial promotion officer working with the state industries directorate.

As the matter came up for hearing, the Bench also told the state counsel that request for adjournment of hearing would not be entertained henceforth.

The Bench also fixed August 13 as the next date for arguments.

Arora had secured the information on convicted officers still in service under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The state government, on its part, had responded by either removing such officials, or apprising about the stay orders granted by the court against their removal.

Ensure safety of national-level boxer

The High Court wants the Punjab police to ensure national-level boxer, Jagtar Singh’s safety.

Less than three months after the boxer expressed apprehension of elimination in a fake encounter due to differences with Amritsar's Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia has asked Deputy Inspector-General (Border Range) to do the needful for his protection. Justice Ahluwalia has also asked the police officer to make sure no harm is caused to the boxer.

In his petition before the High Court, Jagtar Singh alias Boxer said he had earned the SSP's wrath following altercation between them during his stay in Amritsar jail in 2005.

Elaborating, Boxer had claimed the SSP, in charge of the jail, had felt humiliated and had threatened him with elimination.

The petitioner had claimed several cases had been registered against him as the cops were not happy with him, a move which he claims went against him.

This was because he had been leading a mass movement to generate awareness against the use of drugs.

Boxer added on December 3 last year two groups clashed in court complex.

Though he was at Gurdaspur at the time of the incident, he was apprehended on return.

Two cops asked him escape. But sensing foul play, he refused to run. Seeking probe by an officer not below Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Boxer, through counsel Atul Lakhanpal added, a day after a case was registered against him, his posters were glued all over the city for enabling the SSP to achieve the objective of eliminating him.

Sensing trouble, he asked the police to provide safety to him.

State to file reply in Virk case

The writ petition filed by Punjab’s former police chief S.S. Virk for action against state vigilance bureau acting chief Sumedh Singh Saini and other officers involved in arresting him in September last year from Delhi, will now be heard by the Division Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar and Justice Rakesh Kumar Garg.

So far, the state of Punjab and other respondents have not yet filed their replies to Virk's petition. The matter would now come up for further consideration on September 8.


Education dept forgets simple mathematics
Declares lone maths teacher of girls school surplus

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 4
The education department has declared surplus the only mathematics teacher at the Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, Katra Karam Singh, in the old walled city. Twentyfour poor girl students of the school will be hit by the board decision.

In a communiqué to the school authorities, DPI (secondary) Jagtar Singh Khatra has informed them that the post of maths teacher in the school has been declared surplus and will be withdrawn soon. The school had been upgraded to the secondary level with the initiative of health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla in 1996.

The move has had city residents fuming. They were of the view that on the one hand the state government was spending crores on the Sarvshiksha Abhiyaan and Adarsh Schools, while on the other the department was initiating steps without giving a second thought to them.

When contacted, Khatra asked this reporter to contact the DEO for any comments in this regard. However, the DEO could not be contacted as the post has been lying vacant for the past more than a week.

Acting principal of the school Ruby Mahajan, while confirming the order of the department, said she had made a representation to the DPI in this regard. She said the Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, Kot Baba Deep Singh, was also facing a similar situation.

Most of the students of the school are from slum areas of the city, including Anngarh, Fatahpur and Gillwali village. One of the students, Gurmeet Kaur, said she would not be able to take maths tuition as her father worked as labour.


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