P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Preach religion in SGPC-run schools, colleges : Badal
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 6
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today stressed upon the need of preaching religion in various schools and colleges being run by the SGPC.

Underscoring the need of disseminating message and philosophy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib across the globe, he said it would foster a sense of harmony, oneness, peace and compassion amongst mankind, especially among children.

Badal was presiding over a national seminar on “Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Panacea for all ills of Modern Age” organised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) at Giani Dit Singh Auditorium in Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College.

He also asked the SGPC to hold such seminars in the open so that a large number of people, especially youth, could be benefited from the philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib.

He added that all were fortunate enough to commemorate nine anniversaries related to the Sikh history in one’s lifetime and now tercentenary of Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the 300th death anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh would be observed this year.

A sum of Rs 200 crore will be spent on the overall development of holy cities of Sri Anandpur Sahib and Talwandi Sabo as a part of Gurta Gaddi Diwas celebrations.

He said a prestigious project like the Guru Gobind Singh Marg linking Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Sri Anandpur Sahib to Takht Sri Sach Khand Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, via Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, was in its final stage and a nod was awaited from the Centre.

Earlier, Badal inaugurated houses for teachers at the college and laid the foundation stone of the library block in the college.

SGPC president Avtar Singh said today's national seminar was a part of ongoing programmes and activities of the SGPC for the commemoration of Gurta Gaddi Diwas. Another such seminar had been planned for Talwandi Sabo on October 10, where 526 students from the SGPC educational institutions would be given scholarships for academic excellence and a provision of Rs 30 lakh had already been made in the budget of the SGPC.

Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included MLA, Sirhind, Didar Singh Bhatti, Akali leader Surjit Singh Rakhra, SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh, SGPC education director Gurmohan Singh Walia, BBSB Engineering College principal Manjit Singh Grewal, seminar sub-committee director Balwant Singh, Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh and Punjabi University vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh.


Thousands descend on Batala for Babe da viah
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Batala, September 6
This steel town of Gurdaspur district is reverberating with Gurbani and shabad kirtan on the occasion of the 521st marriage anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji (Babe da viah). To celebrate the occasion, many residents have started akhand path in their respective homes and the bhog ceremonies of all these akhand paths will be held at 8 am on Sunday. Every dwelling, irrespective of the caste and religion of its occupants, has been tastefully decorated and lighted up for the occasion.

The barat of Guru Nanak Dev left Sultanpur Lodhi today for this town at 7.30 am from Gurdwara Ber Sahib. Though it is expected to reach this town late at night today, residents have eagerly been awaiting its arrival since morning. Thousands of residents of this town left for Sultanpur Lodhi yesterday to join the barat.

Guru Nanak Dev was married to Sulakhni, daughter of Mul Chand, a Chona Khatri of in 1487 at Batala. The ceremonies were a grand affair as Sulakhni was the daughter of a revenue official. However, Guru Nanak Dev refused to follow the marriage rituals dictated by Brahmins of that era. He and Sulakhni took four rounds instead of the seven prescribed around the sacred fire.

Manjeet Singh, manager, Gurdwara Dera Sahib Satkartaria, the place where Guru Nanak Dev got married, said lakhs of people from Punjab and other parts of the world had descended on this town to see the nagar kirtan of the barat likely to reach this town late at night.

The procession would be led by the palki and the Panj Piaras. From Sultanpur Lodhi, the marriage party would be welcomed at Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Khalkian, Baba Bakala Sahib, Mehta Chowk, Achal Sahib and Batala in a traditional manner.

He said the entire town had been humming with activity. The atmosphere was festive and people had forgotten their routine chores. They presented a true picture of secularism as Hindus, Christians and Muslims were participating in the arrangements and religious ceremonies being performed.

He pointed out that they were trying to make people aware that the marriage ceremony of Guru Nanak Dev and Sulakhni took place at Gurdwara Dera Sahib and not at Gurdwara Kand Sahib, as claimed by a section of the population. Gurdwara Kand Sahib was the place where the marriage party, along with Guru Nanak Dev, rested for 
a while.


Cops torture pregnant woman in police station
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 6
A pregnant woman was allegedly tortured by cops in the police station (rural) here, early this week. She was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, but her condition deteriorated and the doctors who attended on her were forced to abort her five-month old foetus to save her life.

The police, after registering a case against an assistant sub-inspector, head constable and a woman constable had suspended them all. The SHO of the police station has also been suspended.

The incident came to light when the victim, Swapanjit Kaur, wife of Angrej Singh of nearby Gill village of Ferozepur district, appeared before the Chief Judicial Magistrate here on Friday, carrying the aborted foetus to seek justice.

The woman revealed before the court that a few policemen from the police station (rural) forcibly picked her up from her house on Monday even as the panchayat objected to it. She was brought to the police station and severely beaten up and punched on the lower abdomen, she alleged.

The court ordered the Chief Medical Officer of Faridkot district to preserve the dead foetus in his custody till further orders as it could become crucial evidence in this case of torture at a later stage during the trial.

The victim also appeared before SSP Paramraj Singh Umranangal and narrated the trauma. He asked SP (H) Vijay Sharma to conduct an inquiry.

During preliminary investigations, it was discovered that Swapanjit’s sister Hema, married at Tehna village in Faridkot district, had been missing for the past few days. Hema’s husband and in-laws suspected that Swapanjit’s family could have taken her away from them.

In this connection, the police picked up the pregnant woman on Monday from her house forcibly to exert pressure on her husband and in-laws to produce the missing woman before the police.

The SP (H) Vijay Sharma told The Tribune late this evening that an FIR under Sections 342, 313, 330, 323 and 34 of the IPC had been registered against ASI Balbir Singh, head constable Sewak Singh and one woman constable. However, they were yet to be arrested.

He confirmed that SHO of the police station (rural) Pradeep Kumar was also suspended. The incident would be further investigated by DSP Paramjit Singh Virk.



Amarinder’s Indictment
Truth is out: Bir Devinder
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Even as former Chief Minister and Congress Campaign Committee chairman Amarinder Singh and his former Cabinet colleagues are in the dock after being indicted in the Amritsar Improvement Trust Land scam, party chief spokesman Bir Devinder Singh yesterday said he was happy the case had reached its logical conclusion.

Bir Devinder, who had raised questions in 2006 in this regard, actually started the process for indictment of Amarinder, Chaudhry Jagjit Singh and late Raghunath Sahai Puri. His persistent questioning had forced then CM Amarinder Singh to announce that a committee would be constituted to probe the matter. However, the committee was not formed and the issue was revived in the present Vidhan Sabha in January, 2008, with the formation of a nine-member committee to probe the issue.

Bir Devinder, who had been very annoyed at Amarinder after being denied party ticket from the Kharar Assembly seat, despite being a sitting legislator, said it was only a question of how long “stink” could be suppressed. “Ultimately the truth has come to the surface”, he said, adding that he had only acted as a whistle blower in the entire affair.

Meanwhile, the developments indicate that there was confusion on how Amarinder should be defended on the floor of the House. At the CLP meeting after the Speaker adjourned the House on account of Congress protest to the report, a few legislators asked questions in this regard. A lawyer representing Amarinder could only talk about procedural issues. Amarinder himself also talked about how a matter taken up in the previous Vidhan Sabha could not be revived in the present House.

According to Congressmen, the report has shaken Amarinder. He drove to CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s residence after the session. Bhattal said she did not want to give any comment since it was still in the purview of the Vidhan Sabha.


Phillaur panchayat samiti fights HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Phillaur panchayat samiti is fighting a legal battle against the Punjab and Haryana High Court all by itself for over four years now.

In a petition taken up by the Division Bench of Justice S.K. Mittal and Justice Jaswant Singh, it has sought directions to the high court and others to forthwith vacate its rest house.

Claiming to be the lawful owners of the house, the petitioner samiti contended that initially in 2002 the rest house was occupied by a judicial magistrate, without authorisation from the competent authority.

The petitioner claimed on October 30, next year, a request letter was forwarded by it to the Jalandhar district and sessions judge for getting the house vacated.

In November 2003, the petitioner samiti received a communication from the district and sessions judge. He claimed the matter regarding the vacation of the house had been taken up with the high court and necessary action in the matter would be intimated.

The samiti did hear from the high court in May 2004. A communiqué forwarded to it said the Chief Justice and the judges had directed the sessions judge to take up the matter with the Jalandhar deputy commissioner for providing suitable accommodation for Phillaur additional sessions judge (senior division).

The samiti was assured the house would be handed over to the samiti as and when suitable accommodation was provided by the district administration. But despite a lapse of so many years, “real action” to vacate the house was not initiated.

The judicial officer occupying the house, it was added, vacated the premises on her transfer, but instead of handing it over to the samiti, it was again occupied by another judicial officer. The case will now come up for further hearing on September 25. 


Punjab grants Rs 1.25 lakh 
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 6
Describing ‘Gurmat Sangeet’ (Sikh divine music) as the most potent power for human spiritual growth, the Punjab minister for cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria announced a grant of Rs 1.25 lakh for its development. Bagria also declared to frame a special policy for the promotion of this exclusive form of folk and classical music. He announced the same while distributing prizes to the winners of the five-day ‘Gurmat Sangeet’ competitions, organised by the Punjabi University’s department of ‘Gurmat Sangeet’ and ‘Gurmat Sangeet Chair’, here yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi varsity Dr Jaspal Singh said ‘Gurmat Sangeet’ was the most powerful way for humans to be one with the almighty. Dr Gurnam Singh, head of the department, said around 400 students and 126 teams participated in the competition.

Gurdwara Bhaini Sahib won the first prize (Rs 21,000) in the group ‘shabad’ singing competition in the senior category, followed by Gurmat Sangeet Academy, Anandpur Sahib, and Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib.

In the junior category, the honours were bagged by Mata Sahib Kaur Girls Senior Secondary School, Talwandi Sabo, while the second and third positions were secured by Gurmat Sangeet Academy, Sanaur, and Sri Dasmesh Public School, Patiala.

In another event, the Punjabi University Environment Society (PUES), led by the Vice-Chancellor, took out a special “Environment Awareness” march around the varsity campus. Around 500 teachers, students, staff members, NSS volunteers, school children, deans of various faculties and heads of departments took part in the procession. “The university stands by its commitment to make the campus smoke and polythene free in the next two months. Additional bins are being placed for dumping polythene carry bags being used by campus residents,” said Dr Jaspal Singh.

Dr Jagbir Singh, convener of the PUES, said all shopkeepers on the campus had been persuaded not to use polythene carry bags for supplying material.

They would be given good quality carry bags as an alternative for packing purposes, he said. Special dumping pits were also being created to dispose off other waste material.


Did Poohla’s killers have support of militants outside jail? 
Recovered mobile phone may reveal much
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 6
The recovery of a mobile phone from the Central Jail here today revealed that Navtej Singh, one of the alleged killers of Nihang Ajit Singh Poohla, had made several calls to suspicious persons since his detention (June 17).

The recovery of the prohibited gadget from the jail has given a new twist to the Poohla murder case because the alleged killer made the last call on August 28 “before setting Poohla on fire”. This has also revealed many chinks in the high- security jail in which a number of foreign nationals, especially Pakistanis, are imprisoned. Who used to get his mobile charged everyday, is yet to be probed.

Investigation officers, including district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, reportedly visited the jail to probe the matter. They did not entertain any query regarding the recovery of the mobile phone.

Sources, however, pointed out that most of the calls were made by Navtej to Harpreet Singh of Batala. The call details of the Spice phone have established that the phone was used from the jail premises.

Though Navtej and his accomplice Harchand have been claiming that they wanted to teach Poohla a lesson due to his “misadventures and misdeeds”, yet the hand of outsiders in the attack, especially militants, could not be ruled out. Poohla succumbed to his burns on August 29 which coincided with the burning alive of the family members of former Babbar Khalsa militant at Jattana village by Poohla.

The team is also probing the role of jail staff who supplied the book “Punjab di Dharti te Hindustani Atwad” authored by former militant Baljit Singh Khalsa, editor of Fatehnama, a monthly mouthpiece of radical Sikhs. The accused had revealed that they got provoked after reading this book which gave sensational information on Poohla.

The jail authorities have accepted that the imprisonment of Gurdial Singh, a confidant of Poohla, was managed in connivance with police authorities. Earlier too, Gurdial, Bir Singh and Tejpal Singh, confidants of Poohla, got into the jail so that they could serve the Nihang. 


Private co. to operate closed-circuit cameras
Mahesh Sharma

Kattana Sahib, September 6
Keeping in view the security of the Golden Temple, Amritsar, the SGPC has decided to hire the services of a private company which will keep vigil by installing closed-circuit cameras at sensitive points inside the premises.

It was also decided to hand over the Gurdwara Hazirattan-run Qila Mubarak at Bathinda to the state government to spruce it up for religious tourism.

These decisions were taken at a meeting of the interim committee of the SGPC held at Gurdwara Degsar Sahib here last evening. Avtar Singh Makkar, president, SGPC, presided over the meeting.

While talking to The Tribune, Avtar Singh said the interim committee had decided to hire a private company to instal closed-circuit cameras at sensitive points inside the premises, keeping in view the security of the sanctum sanctorum.

Claiming to have focused on the promotion of Sikh religion and education, Avtar Singh said an amount of Rs 30 lakh would be disbursed among 526 students studying in the committee-run schools. Avtar Singh said Baba Jiwan Singh Rangreta Memorial School and College would be established on land donated by the sangat of Satlani village.

On Teachers’ Day, which coincided with the meeting, it was decided to increase the salary of teachers posted at SGPC-run public schools by Rs 300 per month. The meeting also resolved to contribute an amount of Rs 1 lakh towards the treatment of the son of Kehar Singh (assassin of Indira Gandhi). Other decisions taken during the meeting are opening of a Sikh mission in Shillong in Assam, 6 per cent dearness allowance to employees of the committee and opening of the engineering college at Dhakoli near Chandigarh.

SGPC members, Karnail Singh Panjoli and Gurvinder Singh Shampura, however, showed dissatisfaction over the functioning of the committee. 


Trains to stop at Sarai Rohilla 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 6
Those who are planning to board a Shatabdi or Swaran Shatabdi Express for the next eight daysmay better be warned. The trains will halt at Sarai Rohilla station, on the outskirts of the Capital, owing to the on-going track renovation work.

As per the detailed traffic plan available at the Jalandhar railway station, Sarai Rohilla will be the terminating or originating station for the Shatabdis with train numbers 2029, 2030, 2013 and 2014 till September 15 and for trains 2031 and 2032 till September 17.

There has been a change of terminus for other popular trains as well. The Amritsar-New Delhi Superfast will terminate at Panipat. The Shalimar Express starting from Jammu will stop at Meerut cantonment. The Sampark Kranti will stop at Sarai Rohilla.

The Jalandhar-New Delhi Express, Shan-e-Punjab, Rajdhani Express from Jammu to New Delhi and Dhauladhar Express will not run till September 15.

There will be some diversion of trains as well. The Sachkhand Express from Amritsar to Nanded will take a detour via Adarsh Nagar-Sadarjung-Okhla to avoid Delhi station. The Jhelum Express, Sarvodya Express, Madras Express and Hapa Express will also take the same route. 


Muktsar bandh tomorrow 
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Former MP and member of the Congress Working Committee Jagmeet Singh Brar has decided to work for the “restoration of democracy” at the grassroot level.

He has given a call to those value democracy, rule of law and restoration of right to vote to join Muktsar bandh on September 8 to halt the “use of brutal power by the Shiromani Akali Dal to throttle democracy” that started with the zila parishad/panchayat samiti elections and is continuing in municipal elections in some parts of the Malwa belt.

He has given a call to leadership of the BJP, the CPI, the CPM, the BSP, the Lok Bhalai Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to unite to fight “state repression and throttling of democracy”.

“We have given a call for bandh in Muktsar, Gidderbaha, Lambi and Malout. Unfortunately, it is happening in the home district of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal.

“Instead of returning officers or assistant returning officers, jathedars of the SAD are receiving and tearing nomination papers of Opposition parties in general and the Congress in particular, besides challenging them to contest. It is unprecedented. It is so painful that political tolerance has reached such a level that the Opposition is being forced not to contest.

After the bandh, there will be a protest rally at Gandhi Mandi Chowk where working president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Mohinder Singh Kaypee, leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and chairman of the Congress Campaign Committee Amarinder Singh have been invited as speakers.

Videographed proof of throttling of democracy will be shown to the gathering at the rally, he said.

It is not only in Muktsar district, but also in Moga where such blatant violations are taking place. He also questioned the baptism of Sukhbir Singh Badal saying when Guru Gobind Singh performed the first-ever ceremony in 1699, it was against the tyrannical Mughal rule and for the restoration of democracy in this part of the country. On the other hand, Sukhbir was virtually committing a sacrilege by throttling democracy after baptism. Even at the Mansa rally, none of the SAD leaders, including Parkash Singh Badal or Sukhbir, even mentioned a word about the floods in Punjab or relief to the victims.

Jagmeet refused to comment on the indictment of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Jagjit Singh, Raghunath Sahai Puri and Jugal Kishore Sharma saying it might be an attempt to settle personal scores, but at the same time a report of a House committee cannot be just brushed aside.”


Tribune Impact
Flood-relief process begins
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 6
Facing the wrath of the Opposition and flood victims, the Punjab government today geared up its machinery to distribute relief among farmers in the flood-ravaged villages of the area.

Official sources said education minister Upinderjit Kaur today distributed cheques worth Rs 37 lakh among 306 farmers of Bharoana village. Each farmer, whose crop was wiped out by the floods, has been given Rs 5,000 per acre. It is learnt that this time no deduction has been made from the relief money of the farmers, who were cultivating the land owned by the government. Earlier, the government used to make 33 per cent deduction from the relief amount given to such farmers.

The Tribune yesterday highlighted the plight of flood victims in this region in the absence of any relief to them. Bharoana is among the worst-affected villages in Kapurthala district. The education minister will visit all flood-affected villages soon to hand over cheques worth Rs 3.45 crore in about 15 villages. She made the beginning from Bharoana village where some of the flood victims were camping in a gurdwara.

Official sources said the government had released Rs 3.45 crore for distribution among farmers who had suffered 100 per cent loss. Estimates are being prepared to start the repair of damaged roads and schools from September 15.

Meanwhile, DC J.M. Balamurgan said about 1,600 quintal of green fodder, 12 quintal of pulses, 102 quintal of dry fodder, 10 quintal of sugar, 60 quintal of wheat floor, 120 mosquito nets, packets of mosquito repellents had been distributed among the flood victims in this district.

Sources said paddy and other crops had been destroyed on 6,900 acre of land in the villages, which include Mand Inder Singh, Sahib Wala Nakki, Ramgarh Baleli, Jhugian Mamo, Stategarh Kutabpur, Tibbi, Takkia, Sheikh Mam, Mirpur, Sarupwala, Vatawali, Channanwindi.


Orissa Attacks
Christians hold protest march
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 6
Hundreds of Christians took out a march in main bazaars, lanes and bylanes of this town today to lodge a protest against the killings of their community members and burning of their religious places allegedly by Hindu fundamentalists. Members of the Christian community and their leaders, including preachers, who came from different parts of Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts, held a rally in the premises of the deputy commissioner’s office.

They demanded that authorities launch a CBI probe into violence-related incidents and the guilty be given exemplary punishments.

Those who addressed the rally included Father John, Father Davis Dhariwal, Father Wilson, Father Peter, Father Mathew, Father Martin, Father Thomas, Father Josh, Father Subashtin, Father Franky, Father Anthony, Father Romolad, Father Mathew, Tarsem Masih, divisional commander, Salvation Army, Gurdaspur, Salamat Masih, Rakesh Willian, president, Catholic Action Committee, Victor Masih, advisor, All-India Christian Dalit Front and Munawar Masih, president, All-India Front.

The protestors first assembled in a local school and then marched towards the DC office carrying placards and banners and raising slogans against those who had killed about 30 Christians and torched about 100 churches in Orissa in the past few weeks.

The leaders also criticised the Orissa government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his failure to protect the members of Christian community from attacks of Hindu fundamentalists.


Religious preachers to visit state jails
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 6
The Punjab government has decided to send preachers of all religions to jails throughout the state to reform and inspire undertrials and prisoners and involve them in social work when they come out of prison. In reply to a question here today, state minister for jails, tourism and cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria said the services of NGOs and other voluntary organisations would also be obtained to achieve results. He said preachers could play a vital role in reforming prisoners.

Gabria also disclosed that Gurta Gaddi celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib, to be held at Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, from October 30 to November 3, would be telecast live in barracks of jails of the state through cable TV network.

The minister was here today to attend the Adhyapak Samman Samaroh organised by the local Osho Youth Club. At the function, Gabria honoured 12 teachers of various local schools by presenting them shawls and mementoes for excellence in the field of education.

Gabria also said the Punjab government was taking up matter with the Union cultural affairs ministry to make North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) at Patiala active. It had written to the Centre for more funds for NZCC. 


IFFDC chief dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
P.S. Marwaha (60), chief executive of the Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative (IFFDC) Limited, a subsidiary of IFFCO, died yesterday in New Delhi.

He was a gold medallist in MSc and worked as a senior fertilizer-marketing executive with 28-year experience in IFFCO, where he held coveted positions of zonal agronomist (North) and state marketing manager, J &K, Bihar and Haryana.

He had rich experience in several collaborative projects.


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 |