P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Mob torches 4 vehicles
Inaction against SAD leader sparks protest
Ex-sarpanch dies of cardiac arrest during police chase

Raj Sadosh

Abohar, August 29
Four vehicles, two parked in a police post, were set on fire while two more were damaged by an unruly mob in Seetogunno village, subtehsil headquarters of this subdivision, about 25 km from here, late in the evening. Later in the melee, a former sarpanch died of cardiac arrest.

According to sources, villagers had reportedly been complaining to the police that Gagan (a relative of SAD leader Rajesh Kular) used to cast aspersions on the women as they returned to the village after working in the fields in the evening. They had reportedly given an ultimatum to the police for taking action against the accused.

The sources said ASI Pritpal Singh, in charge of the Seetogunno police post, today laid a trap on the Defence Road. As Gagan allegedly repeated his objectionable behaviour, the police pounced on him. Witnesses said Kular reached there and took away Gagan from the police net. Following this, irate villagers set Kular’s car on fire and indulged in stone-pelting.

The police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the mob as more people thronged the police complex on learning about the incident. The mob also put the car of head constable Rajbir on fire besides a police jeep. They stoned ASI Pritpal Singh’s car and damaged a motor cycle.

A strong posse of police rushed to the village and controlled the situation. The mob also hurled stones at a petrol station located close to the police post.

As the police chased the mob, Bhupinder Singh, a former sarpanch of Khairpur village, suffered cardiac arrest. Later, he died, the sources added. Many civil officials have been directed by the district authorities to rush to the village.


Cong, Akalis in rally mode
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The ensuing parliamentary elections as well as the elevation of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as chairman of the Congress Campaign Committee has sparked off a competition of rallies between the Congress and the BJP in the state.

The battle lines are being drawn in the Malwa belt, which has tilted towards the Congress in the last Assembly elections. While the Congress would like to retain this lead, the Akalis have been concentrating on this area since the last one and a half years. They claim the ground situation is completely different now. Be what it may, Amarinder has decided to put pressure on the Akalis and is busy in rejuvenation the Congress by organising a rally at Lambi, the constituency of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on September 1.

The Akalis, without publically admitting that they have been galvanised into action with the re-entry of Amarinder in active politics, have decided to make a political show out of a function being held to lay the foundation stone of the 1,860-MW capacity thermal plan at Banwali village, near Talwandi Sabo, on September 2.

The fact that the Akalis mean business can be gauged from the fact that the party president has held several meetings in the Malwa region to boost activists’ morale for the rally.

Former minister and Bathinda district president Sikander Singh Malooka said the party was trying to ensure the presence of 100 buses full of passengers from each Assembly segment in the Malwa region at the rally. He said the party expected more than two lakh people at the rally from the districts of Sangrur, Barnala, Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot and Moga.

Congress legislator and Amarinder loyalist Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu said the rally would be limited to the Lambi constituency only. 


Top cops on toes
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Banawali/Bathinda, August 29
The September 2 SAD rally at Banawali village is keeping top officials of the state on their toes as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will be present there.

Leaving no stone unturned to ensure foolproof security arrangements, DGP N.P.S. Aulakh visited the rally venue today. He was accompanied by IG, Patiala, C.S.R. Reddy, DIG, Faridkot range, Jitendra Jain and the SSPs of Bathinda and Mansa.

When Aulakh was asked whether he visits all the rally venues to review security arrangements, he parried the query saying that he wanted to visit Mansa as he has never been there.


PSEB Unbundling
Centre gives last warning to govt
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The union government has given a last warning to the Punjab government with regard to the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). It has made it clear to the state government as well as the chairman of the PSEB to either meet the legal requirements of the law by October 31 or face the consequences. No further extension after October 31 will be given in this regard.

A team of senior officials of the Punjab government, led by principal secretary, power, Suresh Kumar, had held a meeting with the union government officials concerned yesterday. Sources said the chairman of the PSEB Y.S. Ratra was also present at the meeting.

The state government had approached the senior officers of the power ministry of the union government to seek another extension for the unbundling of the PSEB. The current extension, which is eighth for the past three years, is to end on August 31.Under the Electricity City Act, the union government had asked the state governments concerned to set up companies to run the state electricity boards in a more “ efficient and professional” manner.

Even granting the extension early this year, the union government had asked the state government to submit a road map for the unbundling of the PSEB by June 30. However, the state government had then taken the plea that the PSEB has worth Rs 20,000 crore. It includes loan worth Rs 12,000 crore, besides cash loss of about Rs 7,000 crore. Without the clearance of these liabilities, there is no possibility of unbundling the PSEB as the companies to be set up in the unbundling process would have to be given clean balance sheets.

Sources said now the union power ministry officials had told the Punjab government that it should at least set up a transmission company to fulfil the minimum requirement of the Act. For making the transmission company, the union government had given the deadline of October 31, it is learnt.

However, as the Lok Sabha elections are nearing, the Punjab government is not in a mood to touch the PSEB in any manner. There are some lobbies of employees strongly opposed to the unbundling of the PSEB. Earlier, Capt Amarinder Singh once or twice had made an attempt to divide the PSEB in various companies but due to the pressure of employees, it did not go ahead.


‘Christians being painted in bad light’
Protest rally on September 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Training their guns on the saffron brigade, representatives of the Christian and Sikh communities today announced a protest rally here on September 1, in protest against the Orissa violence against Christians. 

Addressing a press conference here, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann alleged that Hindu fundamentalist organisations had been targeting the minorites for a long time to realise their dream of a “Hindu rashtra”. The attack on the Golden Temple in 1984, followed by the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and the recent attacks on the Christian institutions like orphanages in Orissa clearly pointed to the agenda of the saffron brigade, which had launched a vilification campaign against the minorities in India, Mann alleged.

Saying that the Christians were being painted in a bad light by vested interests, Rev Javed Massey, Bishop, Diocese of Chandigarh, Anglican Church of India, claimed that as citizens of a secular country, the Christians were pursuing “teaching, preaching and healing” activities under the ambit of the Indian Constitution. Today's all-India bandh in the Christian educational institutions and subsequent protests by minorities were intended to express their anguish at the “torture and cruelities” heaped on them by Hindu fundamentalist organisations, the bishop added.

The loyalty of the minorities, including Christians, could not be doubted as they were rightful citizens of the country working in national interest, Rev YB Singh, moderator of the Anglican Church of India, asserted.

Demanding strict action against the accused in the attack on the Christian orphanage, resulting in the death of two persons, the Christian leaders said only the prosecution of the accused could restore the faith of the minorities in the state and central administrations.

Meanwhile, the protesters would assemble at the Matka Chowk on September 1 and march towards the Punjab Raj Bhavan to hand over a memorandum to the Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues.



Sukhbir keen on SAD entry in Rajasthan
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Banawali/Bathinda, August 29
After Delhi and Haryana, the SAD will make inroads into Rajasthan as well. This was stated by Sukhbir Singh Badal, chief of the party, while talking to The Tribune here today.

He said the Election Commission had given us the nod to apply for the party symbol within three days of the notification of elections. The party will hold a massive election rally at Karnal in October, he added.

Sukhbir was here on a visit to Banawali village, where a SAD rally will be held on September 2 to mark the commencement of the construction work of a super critical thermal power plant with an installed capacity of 1,980 MW.

“The rally has been publicised as the Punjab rally of the party, but, in fact, it would cover only the Ferozepur, Faridkot, Bathinda and Sangrur parliamentary constituencies,” he said.

“More than one lakh people will gather at the SAD rally,” he claimed. Regarding Nanhi Chhaan, an initiative aimed at the betterment of the girl child and preservation of environment, he said: “We have been chalking out a new strategy to launch the move at all five Takhts of Sikhism with the support of the SGPC.”


Jallianwala martyrs may get freedom fighter status
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 29
The martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh may get the status of freedom fighter after 89 years of the incident. Deputy commissioner (DC) Kahan Singh Pannu, in a fresh missive to Punjab chief secretary, has also strongly recommended to give all facilities to the kin of those killed/injured in the massacre.

The DC said the compensation given by the British government to the victims and their families was enough proof that they had opened indiscriminate firing on the innocent persons gathered on April 13, 1919. The list of the victims was prepared by the then deputy commissioner, which is considered to be an authentic document.

It may be mentioned here that the state and Central governments had been dithering on providing the freedom fighter status to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh and failed to give any compensation to their kin even after 61 years of Independence.

The DC, in his letter, has urged the chief secretary to consider the case of Jallianwala Bagh victims sympathetically, though the victims who were injured or suffered were adequately compensated in 1921.

After the compensation provided by the British government, independent India did nothing for the kin of the victims of the massacre.

As per official information, a list of 487 martyrs was prepared and many of them remained unknown or unidentified. Hence, their names had not been included as freedom fighters so far. The Association of the Jallianwala Shaeed Parivars had been running from pillar to post to secure the status of freedom fighters for their forefathers, but in vain.

Earlier, the DC, in his report, had informed that after the massacre of 1919, the then Governor, in pursuance of a resolution of the Punjab Legislative Council, had appointed a committee on June 15, 1921.

Meanwhile, Jallianwala Bagh and point pilgrimage for the citizens of independent India would get a new look due to the ongoing renovation work.

Maninderjit Singh Bitta, ex-president, Indian National Youth Congress, said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the DC had recommended the freedom fighter status to the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. 


Sangrur bridge ready
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29
A bridge over the railway level crossing on the Ludhiana-Dhuri-Jakhal track, near Punia Colony, here is ready for inauguration. About 1-km bridge, which is undergoing final touches, has been constructed at a cost of Rs 16.64 crore by the state government and the railway authorities.

Sangrur MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, along with PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, will inaugurate the bridge on September 3.

The foundation stone of the bridge was laid on November 18, 2006, by then Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal though construction work had started on September 7, 2006.


Forcible lifting of dharna against distillery alleged
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Kiri Afgana (Gurdaspur), August 29
Even as the dharna staged by residents of villages against the pollution being caused by a distillery near here was lifted late last night, a section of agitators, who were staging the sit-in at the main chowk, alleged that they were forced to lift the dharna under political and police pressure.

Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, member, Sanghrash Committee, while talking to TNS this evening, alleged that a section of ruling politicians, policemen and some local leaders connived and cheated the agitators and ultimately forced them to lift the dharna.

Hundreds of residents of this and six other villages of Gurdaspur district started an indefinite dharna at Bhade Pattan Chowk near this village about a week ago to lodge a protest against air and water pollution being caused by a distillery, which came up in the area recently.

Sandhu revealed that now they would mobilise more people by holding secret meetings and would make every effort to stop the distillery owners to run their unit.

He added that residents of about seven villages were cheated by the factory owners, as they were told that a sugar mill would be set up, but they established the distillery.

Jagwinderjit Singh Grewal, SDM, Batala, however, said agitators and factory management had reached a written compromise, which was later attested by an executive magistrate. He added that noone was forced to lift the dharna.

He said he had found that about 2-inch layer of ash had deposited on the rooftop of village dwellings.

He had ordered the factory management to make arrangements for making the water treatment functional to stop water pollution. The factory management had also been told not to use coal as fuel to run the unit. They were also told not to keep the wastage on factory premises.

He said the factory management had agreed to the directions given by him. 


Markfed ties up with global leader on crop productivity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Markfed today tied up with global leader in crop-protection chemicals Syngenta to launch a productivity enhancement campaign in five districts of Punjab.

The campaign would be launched in Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and parts of Jalandhar.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, cooperation minister, said two clusters of 10 villages each would be identified for educating the farmers for the purpose. Each member farmer of the society would be contacted by a team of Markfed and Syngenta officials along with agricultural experts to disseminate technical information.

Underlining the need to evolve eco-friendly plant-protection system, he said extensive use of pesticides had led to degradation of soil quality, resulting in continuous decline in production.

He asked the Syngenta management to ensure the availability of quality agri inputs on an affordable basis to the Punjab farmers to rejuvenate their sagging economy.


Soon, smart tickets in PRTC buses
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 29
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) has decided to introduce smart tickets for passengers travelling in its fleet of buses. A proposal in this regard has been sent to the chairman of the corporation for final approval and all modalities for introduction of the scheme have been worked out.

Manvesh Singh Sidhu, managing director of the PRTC, said the corporation had decided to procure electronic ticketing machines, which would help check the drain of revenue because of ticket-less travel. The tickets would have detailed information like the boarding station and destination station, and date of travel.

Sidhu said the corporation had decided to procure electronic ticketing machine (ETM) and electronically generated tickets would be introduced in all PRTC buses in a phased manner. He said the corporation had initiated a process for acquisition of around 1000 ETMs, which would be sent to different PRTC depots across the state.

The PRTC had introduced 49 new buses, which would start plying on different routes during the coming week. The corporation had also decided to procure some new air-conditioned buses, which would be plying on some important routes. Sidhu said out of the 60-odd buses under the ‘kilometre scheme’ around 30 had been off the road because of their poor condition.

Reverting back to the ETMs, he said the corporation had taken a cue from the state transport corporation in Karnataka as also the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. As a pilot project, the PRTC introduced about 50 ETMs in its ‘kilometre scheme’ in the bus depot of Patiala. The project turned out to be a big success and this also brought into focus certain problem areas that have now been removed.

In the first phase, the corporation plans to introduce electronic tickets in Patiala, Chandigarh and Bathinda, since all these depots were already computerised. In the second phase, six of the remaining depots would also be computerised and ETMs would be installed there. The PRTC has a fleet of 964 buses and has nine bus depots. 


Hoshiarpur set to have Ayurveda varsity
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Punjab government is set to establish an ayurveda university in Hoshiarpur. It will be the fourth such university completely dedicated to this discipline in the country.

The proposal for setting up the university is scheduled to be taken up for approval in the next meeting of the state cabinet, and its foundation stone is likely to be laid in October.

According to sources, the fact that Hoshiarpur is often referred to as the catchment area of ayurveda has worked in its favour. Besides the immense popularity of ayurveda in the Kandi area of the state, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, the place is also witnessing a lot of herbal cultivation due to suitable climate for the same.

Secretary research and medical education Jagjit Puri said the government had already got 25 acres at its disposal for the purpose. The Centre had also agreed to give Rs 10 crore for funding the university if the state government also reciprocated with a similar grant.

The university, which is expected to become operational in 2011, will initially have around 14 colleges affiliated to it. “However, we expect more ayurveda colleges and even homoeopathy colleges to come up once the university is established,” Puri said.

Other steps were also being taken to bring the Government Ayurvedic Rules, 1963, in conformity with those of the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM).

The secretary said the state had also requested private colleges to send proposals for the modernisation of their medical colleges, for which funds would be allocated in keeping with the aim to popularise ayurveda in the state.

He said efforts were also being made to modernise the lone state ayurveda college in Patiala. The infrastructure for both out patient department (OPD) as well as indoor facilities was proposed to be augmented under an Rs 
5-crore plan.

The government is also coming up with its own laboratory at Patiala so that it is able to check the quality of medicines manufactured by its own pharmacy, also stationed at Patiala, as well as medicines manufactured by other manufacturers in the state to ensure complete quality control. An expert committee has been constituted to purchase machines on the lines of those bought by the government laboratory at Ghaziabad.


Scribes’ conference on Aug 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) will hold its sixth state annual conference in Ludhiana on August 31.

More than 1,000 journalists from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are likely to participate in the conference. This was stated by CPUJ president Vinod Kohli here yesterday.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will be the chief guest on the occasion, and information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia the guest of honour. The Chief Minister will also release the insurance policies of the member journalists, as the CPUJ has insured all its members for Rs 5 lakh.

The president of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) with which the CPUJ is affiliated and member of the wage board Suresh Akhouri will also be present on the occasion.

S.N. Sinha, member, Press Council of India and senior IJU functionary, too, is likely to attend the conference.

According to Kohli, various issues concerning the working conditions of journalists and media organisations will be discussed during the day-long conference.


Punjab chaff for flood-hit Bihar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Punjab will soon send chaff (toori) to the flood-ravaged areas of Bihar. An assurance to this effect was given by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar and Union railways minister Lalu Parsad Yadav.

Badal called the two leaders over telephone to express solidarity with the flood-affected people of their state.

Announcing this here today, Badal said that although Punjab, too, was facing problems following floods in some parts of the state, “the people and the government of Punjab were guided by the message of the Gurus to work towards the welfare of the entire mankind”.


Pay Panel
Ex-servicemen to hold nationwide protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Stating that anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission created a lot of resentment in the armed forces, ex-servicemen have decided to forge a united front to take up the issue.

According to a statement issued by the ex-servicemen wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the national steering committee has decided to hold protest marches all over the country on September 1. All ex-servicemen’s organisations are expected to take part in the protest, the statement added.

The wing’s president, Brig K.S. Kahlon (retd) said the treatment meted out to the forces was improper and unjust.


Lehra Mohabbat plant fully operational
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 29
G.S. Sra, member generation of the Punjab State Electricity Board, said all three units of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabbat, were operating at their full capacity and making a contribution in meeting the power demand of the state.

He said the operations were disrupted by the strike by contract workers at the coal handling plant. The units resumed generation on August 27.


HC upholds refusal of passport to Jalandhar resident
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that a person seeking political asylum in another country cannot be said to “owe allegiance to India, its sovereignty, unity and integrity”.

A Division Bench of the high court comprising Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta also upheld the orders of the passport authorities in denying the passport to one such person.

For adjudicating the matter, the Bench also referred to the Supreme Court judgement in Maneka Gandhi versus Union of India case, where the provisions of the Passport Act were considered.

The ruling comes on a petition filed by Harjit Singh of Jalandhar district against the Union of India, the Regional Passport Officer and another. He was seeking the quashing of an order dated August 14, 2006, whereby the decision of not issuing a passport to him for another five years was communicated to him.

Harjit Singh was issued a passport on December 23, 1993, and had sought political asylum after going to Berlin. However, the authorities concerned in Germany refused the same to him. As a result, he had to travel back on an emergency certificate. Upon his return, he applied for a duplicate passport, but his application was rejected.

Defending their action, the state and other respondents, on the other hand, had contended that the petitioner, by seeking political asylum, had tried to obtain the refugee status in another country for
personal gains.

The action, the respondents had added, attracted substantial adverse publicity “against the country”. “Since the petitioner had expressed displeasure and annoyance, against the Indian Administration, to a foreign country, he cannot now claim that he owes allegiance to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India”.

After going through the documents placed on record and rival contentions, the Bench ruled: “In the present case, the petitioner had sought political asylum in Germany. Thus, it cannot be said the petitioner owes allegiance to India, its sovereignty, unity and integrity”.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gupta added: “Since political asylum is normally sought by persons who fear persecution and oppression in their own country, the apprehension of the respondents that the petitioner does not owe allegiance to the sovereignty and integrity of India is not entirely unjustified”.

Before parting with the orders, Justice Gupta added: “We find nothing wrong with the decision of the respondents in denying the passport to the petitioner for five years and it placing on the prior approval category”.

The Judge concluded the petition was devoid of merit and was being dismissed. 


PMET 2008
IPS officer to probe impersonation case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Just over two months after cases of impersonation came to light during the pre-medical entrance test (PMET) conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled the investigating agency was apparently not serious in taking the matter to a logical conclusion.

Rejecting the anticipatory bail applications filed by at least six candidates, Justice A.N. Jindal also referred the matter to the state Director-General of Police (DGP).

Justice Jindal ruled the DGP would assign the investigation to an officer not below the rank of an IPS, who was not posted at Faridkot. The investigations would be carried out either under the direct supervision of the DGP, or an Additional-DGP, the Judge added.

In his detailed order, the Judge ruled: “Police file reveals despite the fact the investigation has shifted thrice, it is going on at a snail’s pace, making no headway to reach the truth.”

“Thus, the impression left is that the investigating agency is not serious in making headway to reach a logical end, which is also a matter of grave concern. Without raising any accusing finger for the said negligence, it would be expedient to refer the matter to Punjab DGP….”

The Judge added: The circumstances leave a prima facie impression that this big scandal involves public interest at large and thus suggests this court to hold that it needs a deep probe…”

An FIR in the matter was registered at a city police station in Faridkot under Sections 419, 420 and 120-B of the IPC after the PMET was conducted on June 22.

It was registered on the basis of a complaint forwarded by the university registrar.

He had alleged the candidates, now as petitioners before the court, and 15 others had “produced imposters in their place to seek merit in the examination for securing entry to the MBBS course”.

It was subsequently added anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh were paid per candidate and there was a nexus between the parents, the imposters and “gang of doctors running academies”. 


High Court
Chahal to get three days’ prior notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Ex-media adviser to Punjab’s former chief minister, Bharat Inder Singh Chahal cannot be caught by surprise. Taking up his blanket bail plea, Justice S.D. Anand directed the issuance of three working days advance notice, if he was to be arrested or summoned for questioning in connection with a case that might be registered against him in future.

Justice Anand also directed Chahal against leaving the country without the court’s prior permission. Chahal had earlier expressed apprehension regarding his implication in fresh, but frivolous, cases.

Poohla’s bail plea infructuous

Taruna Dal Nihang chief Baba Ajit Singh Poohla died before the High Court could pass an order on his bail plea. As his petition for release on bail came up for hearing, Justice S.D. Anand was informed about Poohla’s death. His petition was, as such, dismissed as infructuous by Justice Anand. 


Probe: Book provoked Poohla attackers
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 29
The preliminary magisterial inquiry, conducted by SDM Sandip Rishi, has revealed many chinks in the high-security Central Jail, which resulted in the death of controversial Nihang chief Ajit Singh Poohla.

District magistrate Kahan Singh Pannu, who had ordered the magisterial inquiry into the Poohla incident, said the preliminary inquiry received by him had revealed that both accused took diesel from the generator of the jail gurdwara and then went to ward No. 9, the barrack of Poohla.

However, the accused had no intention to kill the Nihang chief, as they wanted to terrorise him by setting him on fire, the report added.

The report stated that an inflammatory article on the “misdeeds” of Poohla in a book, authored by Baljit Singh Khalsa, a former militant and editor of a Sikh magazine, Fatehnama, prompted both accused to “teach Poohla a lesson”.

The book “The Indian state’s terror on Punjab’s land” that mentioned minute details of the “misdeeds and misadventures” of the deceased Nihang chief provoked the assailants to take revenge against him.

In a rare coincidence, Phoola and his armed brigade raided the house of Jattana in the wee hours of August 29 , 1991, and burnt alive four women, named Jasmer Kaur (grandmother), Dawarki Kaur, Manpreet Kaur ( a class VII student) and Harsimranjit Kaur, a six-year-old handicapped girl.

After 17 years, Poohla succumbed to burn injuries on the same day i.e. August 29. The Dal Khalsa spokesman alleged that Poohla met the same fate as his name was synonymous with terror.

He said though Poohla was involved in a number of crimes, the worst inhuman act he committed was the killing of four women, who were relatives of Balwinder Singh Jattana, a Babbar Khalsa militant.

Damdami Taksal spokesman Bhai Mohkam Singh said it was also a coincidence that one of the accused who attacked Poohla in the jail hailed from Mari Kamboke, the native village of Sukha Singh, an 18th-century Sikh warrior, who had beheaded Massa Ranghar, in charge of Amritsar.

SAD(A) president Simranjit Singh Mann has said the government should ensure that both accused who had attacked Poohla in the jail are not tortured.

Senior leader of SAD (Panch-Pardhani) Gurjatinder Singh Bhikhiwind also justified the attack on Poohla.

The situation in Baba Bakala, headquarters of Poohla, was tense, but under control. Though there are three senior members of the Taruna Dal Angrez Singh, Gurbcharn Singh and Gurdial Singh, there is likelihood that a close relative of Poohla might succeed him as chief of the Nihang faction.


His long list of cases
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Ajit Singh Phoola, the controversial Nihang who died today, has a long list of pending cases not only in Punjab but Chandigarh also.

The first FIR registered against him was in an attempt to murder case 28 years ago in Ludhiana on July 1, 1980. However, the judgment in this case was never pronounced, as the case file went “untraceable”. The said case was registered against his given name Jaswinder Singh, alias “Good Fighter”. It was only later that he got the name of Ajit Singh Phoola. He had started his own sect “Dharna Dal” and had had his own set of followers.

In another case in 1991, Phoola was accused of allegedly burning seven members of a family, including an eight-month-old child, to death. Incidentally, his bail application in the said case was listed in the high court today and became infructuous after his death.

The FIR was registered on June 2, 1991, at the Beah police station in Majitha, but the Punjab police let him go scot free in the case. The case was reinvestigated following the intervention of the high court in 1993. Subsequent inquiries led to the registration of a case against him.

He was behind bars since May 2008.

Of the several cases pending against Phoola, four are for murder. This was not Phoola’s first visit to jail. Prior to this, he was behind bars for two years in another murder case registered against him on June 20 2002 in police station Banga of Nawashahr district. He remained behind bars from 2004 to 2006. After a trial of two years, he was acquitted in this murder case on November 1, 2006. He has two trials of murder cases pending against him in different police stations in Taran Taran. He has also been booked under the Narcotics Act, as opium and poppy husk were recovered from the gurdwara he had forcibly occupied.


Central Status for 3 Varsities
Officials called to PMO
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Punjab government has been called for a meeting by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) on September 1 to discuss the issue pertaining to the central university status to Panjab University.

The meeting was fixed after Punjab sent a letter giving its “no objection” on the issue earlier  this week.

The letter of the Punjab government, which contains certain riders, will be taken up for discussion between the representatives of the Punjab government and T.K.A Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, on Monday. Sources in the Punjab government said the PMO had also agreed to consider Punjab’s proposal of seeking central university status for the three other universities in the state.

Several other issues, including that concerning the setting up of two proposed central universities at Amritsar and Bathinda, will be discussed. But, the Centre will take a final decision after listening to Punjab’s point of view.

The PMO is keen to resolve the issue, pushed by local MP and minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal during the  current term of the UPA government.

Earlier this week, Punjab had faxed a copy of its “no objection” to the PMO, with copies to Panjab University vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti and union ministry of human resource development.

The faculty at the PU has been agitating for a central university status for the university for the past many years. The Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) has often pleaded with Bansal, who represents Chandigarh in Parliament, to persuade the Punjab government not to obstruct the move.

PUTA argued that higher education was part of the concurrent list of the Constitution, and the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) need not wait for the concurrence of anybody.


State set for MoU with ISB
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Punjab government has made up its mind to sign an MoU with the management of the high-profile Indian School of Business (ISB).

The management has offered to set up the ISB at Mohali. A copy of the MoU was sent to the Punjab government by the management three months ago.

The Punjab government has agreed to abide by all conditions except a few stated in the draft of the MoU sent to it by the management. Sources said the government was ready to give 70 acres at Mohali on a lease for 99 years on a token amount.

The ISB is associated with internationally popular Kellogg Graduate School and the Wharton School. All leading industrialists of the country are on the executive board of the ISB.

For its proposed setting up in Punjab, Analjit Singh of Max India Limited and Sunil Kant Munjal of the Hero Honda group have played a vital role. Both are on the Board of the school. The ISB will run postgraduate programme on management and the Punjab government will not have any sort of control on it. Even there will be no reservation of seats from students of Punjab, it is learnt.

Already the Indian School of Science and Research is being set up there. Indian Biotechnology Institute and Indian Nano Technology institutes are also planned to be set up in Mohali. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has been proposed to be set up at Ropar, 30 km from Mohali.

All these institutes are being set up at the personal initiative of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


SHO booked for taking bribe
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, August 29
The police has booked Bikramjit Singh, SHO of the Mehta police station and relative of a senior Akali leader, for allegedly demanding bribe for registering a case against the miscreants, who had barged into the house of the complainant’s relatives and beaten them up.

A case under Sections 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 389 of the IPC was registered against the SHO after an inquiry into the matter was conducted by a senior police officer.

Paramjit Singh of Majitha had complained to SSP Iqbal Singh against the SHO. The SSP had marked the inquiry to the SP (headquarters). However, Paramjit gave an affidavit to the police after which a DSP-rank officer probed the matter.

The SSP said the SHO had been suspended. He said Paramjit’s maternal uncle Hardyal Singh, a resident of Butar Kalan village, falling under the Mehta police station, had a dispute with his brothers Bachiter Singh and Harbans Singh of the same village. On July 30, the miscreants barged into their house and beat up his relatives, including their three daughters. The miscreants were drunk.

They called up Bikramjit Singh, who asked them to see him next morning even as the miscreants abused them outside their house.

When they approached the SHO next morning, he demanded Rs 30,000 for registering a case. The matter was settled for Rs 20,000, which they paid as they were scared after the July 30 incident. However, instead to taking any action against the miscreants, the SHO booked Paramjit’s uncle Hardyal and presented him in the court.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |