P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Ghaggar inundates 6 Patiala villages
Wall of Quila Mubarak collapses 
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
A 20-feet part of the wall of 250-year-old Quila Mubarak caved in around 5 am today due to two days of continuous rains in the city and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, parts of around six villages got submerged as overflowing Ghaggar waters entered these villages of Patiala district.

A 20-feet long portion of the about three-feet wide wall near Lassi Khana and Ranvaas collapsed early this morning, apparently due to incessant rain.

The wall was part of Quila Mubarak, which is a protected monument. The control of the fort was transferred to the Department of Culture way back in 1966-67. Sources said the repair of the wall was done sometime back, but what led to its collapse in such a short period after repairs was yet to be ascertained. There was no report of any loss of human life on account of the wall collapse as there was no one around the fort in the early hours.

On the other hand, Ghaggar waters entered fields of a couple of villages, including Bhathunia Khurd, Kauni Khurd, Sarala, Lachru, Raipur, and Manheri, as the river overflowed this morning due to continuous rain, particularly in the catchment areas. No loss of life was reported even as crops suffered damage as they got submerged in water, the level of which was more than a feet at certain places. The overflowing Ghaggar for the first time this season has instilled fear psychosis among residents of villages along the Ghaggar in Patiala district.


Inmates clash in Kapurthala jail
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 20
In yet another clash between two groups of prisoners, at least six persons were hurt in barracks No. 1 of an overcrowded Kapurthala district jail here this afternoon.

Almost 498 inmates, against its capacity of 250 inmates, were lodged in the jail at the time of clash.

According to information, two groups, led by criminals Gurmel Singh, alias Raj Kumar, alias Raja Saipuriya, and Shama clashed at around 1.15 pm during lock-in (bandi band). At that time, 43 prisoners were present in the barracks.

Jail superintendent Jaswant Singh Gill said the prisoners, led by Raja Saipuria and Shama, were arguing over some issue when suddenly they clashed. The prisoners used utensils lying there to attack one another, he said, adding that the situation was controlled soon.

While sources said at least six prisoners were injured in the clash, jail superintendent claimed that only two were hurt and they were shifted to the local civil hospital.

The injured prisoners admitted to the civil hospital were Kuljit Singh and Surjit Singh. The sources said the other four prisoners sustained minor injuries and were being treated at the jail hospital. Earlier, a group of prisoners led by Saipuria had clashed with other inmates a few days back. Gill said he was considering keeping Saipuria in solitary confinement.

A resident of Dada Colony in Jalandhar, Saipuria had been nabbed by the police in December from Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh. He is facing trial in at least five criminal cases, three of them related with attempt to murder, registered against him in Jalandhar.

Earlier he had been lodged in Jalandhar Central jail form where he was shifted to Kapurthala district jail to avoid any violence there.

There is a proposal to construct a new jail at Theh Kanjla village in Subhanpur on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway.


PTU fails to start retail, insurance courses
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
After creating much hype of introducing short-term and skill-oriented certificate courses in retail and insurance management under its distance education programme, Punjab Technical University (PTU) has decided not to launch these at least for the time-being.

The programmes have not been started because of some hiccups in the signing of an memorandum of understanding (MoU).

In January this year, university officials had claimed that they would soon enter a tie-up with Reliance retail stores and Unicon Investment Solutions, a subsidiary of India Bulls, for an assured placement for all students who would pass the examination.

It had been proposed that Reliance would pick up 5,000 students for its Reliance Fresh stores in and around Delhi. Unicon, which was also planning to open more than 250 centres across the country, had asked for training 10,000 students in a year’s span.

The starting salaries, Rs 6,000 per month with Reliance and Rs 8,000 to Rs 13,000 per month with Unicon, had also been fixed. The university had entered a tie-up with a private software company for launching the programme through e-correspondence. Even the design of the courses for the purpose had been prepared.

Insiders said the delay was partly due to the vacancy to the post of vice-chancellor. Former VC S.K. Salwan had been quite anxious about the courses, but ever since he stepped out, the issue fell into a back burner.

Dean, distance education, R.P. Singh said the certificate programmes could not be started. “We want to come up with the courses in a big way. We feel that this is not the right time and we are not fully prepared for it,” he said.

He, however, said new MBA courses with specialisation in retail management or hotel management had also been introduced recently. “We are getting a good response with 5,000 students already enrolled,” he added.


Amend rules, says medical forum
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Forum for Welfare of Medical Institutions has underlined the need for amending the Punjab Medical Education Services (PMES)Rules and called upon Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to have an open debate on the problem of staff shortage in medical colleges and come up with a policy similar to the one adopted by Karnataka, Maharashtra and other states.

Dr B.S. Dhillon, chairperson of the forum, said medical institutions in the state were facing a serious crisis and fighting for survival in the wake of show-cause notice served on premier institutions under Section 19 of the Medical Council of India regulations for withdrawal of recognition and stoppage of admission process. 

Dr Dhillon, professor and head of ophthalmology, Guru Ram Das Hospital, Amritsar, said medical, dental and allied specialties teachers from across the state had joined hands to save medical education. The forum includes teachers from government as well as private medical and dental colleges and allied specialties. 

Dr Dhillon said the shortage of medical teachers in state medical colleges was man-made and not due to actual shortage of postgraduate doctors. Hundreds of MD and MS candidates passed out each year from state medical colleges. More than 3,500 doctors had passed MD and MS in basic and clinical sciences in the past 10 years. Approximately 350 postgraduate seats were filled each year in the state. 

According to the MCI regulations, it takes only nine years to become a professor after passing MD/MS, MSc and PhD. If the government had done timely appointments of medical teachers and thereafter their timely promotions, the state would not only have become self-sufficient in availability of medical teachers, but also provided medical teachers to other states. 

Dr Dhillon said it was a strange situation where a candidate was eligible to the appointed assistant professor in the PGI or private medical colleges and even in GGS Medical, Faridkot, but not in government colleges in Patiala and Amritsar. Faridkot Medical College had been able to recruit teachers only because now it was free from PMES regulations. 


Medical teachers protest reversion of senior residents
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
Reversion of the 39 senior residents working in medical colleges of Amritsar and Patiala to their parent cadre, PCMS, is likely to hit teaching in institutions which are on the verge of de-recognition for being short of faculty.

These senior residents were reverted after the end of three-year tenure. A spokesman of the Medical and Dental teachers Association said these senior residents could have been promoted assistant professors to save both medical colleges from being de-recognised.

On the other hand, Dr Jagdish Gargi, principal, medical college, said 23 senior residents from the college had been relieved from the college following the completion of tenure. On 37 per cent vacancies of faculty in the medical colleges, Dr Gargi said the state government had started the process to recruit medical teachers.

The senior residents, including 23 from Amritsar medical college and 16 from Government Medical College, could have easily promoted assistant professors as they were qualified for the senior teaching post.

The government is recruiting retired medical and dental teachers and pushing young teachers to parent cadre. The retired teachers can teach in the medical colleges for a few years after re-employment, while the need is to recruit young teachers to meet the shortage of teaching staff .

The worst affected departments will be medicine, anaesthesia, surgery and ENT from where maximum number of senior residents had been reverted to the PCMS cadre.


Gatka catching up with rural boys
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Narli (Tarn Taran), September 20
Teenagers in rural areas are showing interest in learning traditional martial art of gatka. Even boys from Hindu families have come forward to learn the art. Anand Sagar Sharma of Khalra could be seen practising the art, supporting a turban.

In an attempt to revive this traditional martial art in border villages and wean the youth from evils like smuggling, Punarjyot, an NGO, and Spring Dale Senior School have come together to impart training to boys in various forms of martial art at this border village situated on zero line.

About 50 children, belonging to Narli and its nearby villages of Khalra, Chhina Bidhi Chand and Mari Kamboke come to this ancestral village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh to get coaching in martial arts.

This is an effort to popularise the rich culture of Punjab among children, said Davinder Singh, the coach deputed by Punarjyot. He said the children practised various techniques of the art for three or four hours daily. After a year of training they would be able to compete in regional and national-level competitions of gatka.

Lakha Singh, principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Narli, and Swinder Singh, lecturer, said the children learning gatka had experienced many changes in attitude and confidence. Now, they cooperated with each other and worked like a team, besides knowing how to live a good life. 



Gandhi family has failed state: Sukhbir
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Majitha, September 20
The Gandhi family is not serious about Punjab as it has failed to fulfil aspirations of its people, said Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of the SAD, while talking to the media here today.

Sukhbir said Rahul Gandhi’s proposed visit on September 24 would have no impact on the electoral scene in the state. Wherever Rahul had gone, the Congress had lost the elections, he claimed.

The SAD chief said their party was in favour of a national acquisition policy and if the National Democratic Alliance returned to power at the Centre, they would urge the BJP to formulate the policy.

He said the SAD-BJP government had offered 30 per cent above the market price of the land and farmers were themselves coming forward to give their land for the proposed mega projects.

Earlier, Sukhbir laid the foundation stone of development projects worth Rs 21.46 crore in Majitha block, Amritsar district, including widening of the road from Boparai to Udoke, Boparai to Tahli Sahib, Tahli Sahib to Mehmoodpura and Majitha to Kathunangal via Begewal, Chawinda Devi bypass, Chachowali to Gujarpuira and a potable water supply project at Majitha, etc.


SAD (A) for all-party meeting on Ghaggar
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has accused successive governments in Punjab of failing to protect the state river waters during the past several decades.

The recent “attack” on Punjab waters by the Rajasthan government in the form of preparing water projects and sending the same to the Central Water Commission (CWC) for using Ghaggar water is an outcome of the “failure” of the successive Congress and SAD governments.

This was stated by general secretary of SAD (A) Jeet Singh Alloarkh here on Friday. Alloarkh said though the Punjab government had completely rejected the claim of the Rajasthan government over the Ghaggar water, the SAD (A) was still of the view that the CWC might grant water from the Ghaggar to Rajasthan. So there was a dire need to remain aware. 

Alloarkh said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should convene an all-party meeting immediately to discuss the issue.


Cong, BJP do not want BSP at Centre: Kashyap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
Urging people to vote to power the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at the Centre to check poverty, unemployment and rising prices, national general secretary of the BSP Narinder Kashyap today alleged that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) leadership might hatch a conspiracy against BSP leader Mayawati before the Lok Sabha (LS) elections.

Kashyap was addressing a BSP rally organised under the banner of Jan Hit Chetna Andolan at a marriage palace here today.

State president of the BSP Avtar Singh Karimpuri and BSP candidate for Sangrur LS seat Madanjit Singh were also present. BSP workers, including women, attended the rally.

Kashyap added that the Congress and the BJP did not want the BSP in power at the Centre, so both parties had joined hands at the time of voting in Parliament on the confidence motion on the nuclear deal with the USA as both parties knew if the Manmohan government faced defeat, Mayawati would be the next Prime Minister.

Kashyap said the UPA leadership felt that Mayawati could also form government at the Centre by using the UP formula, by which she had got support from members of all communities and religions in the UP Assembly elections.

He said a false case could also be registered against Mayawati by the CBI before the Lok Sabha elections.

Karimpuri said the Badal government had failed even in implementing the atta-dal scheme.

He said all sections of society in Punjab were unhappy with the Badal government.


Ramoowalia for state UPA
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
The Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) today asked the Centre to set up special courts in the country for deciding NRI matrimonial disputes within 180 days.

In reply to a question here, president of the LBP Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said to settle NRI matrimonial disputes within 180 days, the Centre might enact a law as well.

Ramoowalia was in the town in connection with the opening of party’s office. Though he claimed that the office had been opened here to redress the grievances of people, political observers were of the view that he had opened the office, as he wanted to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from here.

Ramoowalia also called upon the Congress to form a United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in Punjab too with the Lok Bhalai Party, kisan unions, the BSP (Nahar), Bahujan Samaj Morcha, Communist parties and the BSP to defeat the SAD-BJP alliance. 


Blacklisted Sikh leader appointed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The Dal Khalsa has appointed UK-based Sikh leader Manmohan Singh vice-president of the outfit. His name figures in the blacklist prepared by the government of India due to his involvement in militant activities.

Newly elected president of the party H.S. Dhami on Friday said Manjinder Singh would replace Kanwar Pal Singh as general secretary, while the latter had been nominated secretary, political affairs.


Noose tightened around erring govt staff
Dereliction of duty may prove to be costly 
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
Dereliction of duty by government employees may prove to be costly as those who fail to perform the assigned work within time frame, will now be deemed lacking in devotion to duty.

Similarly, no government employee, in performance of his duties, will be able to act in a discourteous manner, adopt ‘dictatory tactics’ or wilfully cause delays in disposal of the assigned official work.

The tightning of the noose around errant government officials has been made possible by a recent Punjab government notification, by way of which, the Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966, have witnessed first amendment in them. “Not only this, every government employee, at all times, should act in accordance with the policies of the government regarding age, marriage, preservation of environment, protection of wildlife and cultural heritage,” said the amendment.

“Those government officers or employees who fail to ensure quality in their work or to perform their assigned duties well within stipulated time frame and fail to redress grievances of people, will now be facing music,” said Jasbir Singh Bir, secretary, Punjab (personnel), while talking to The Tribune. He said the objective of the amendment was to ensure transparency in the working of the government offices and employees.

“The government employees and officers are public servants and they are required to give priority to the welfare of public. They should realise that the salaries they are drawing is from the kitty of taxes being paid by people. The officers should ensure that they are present in their offices at a fixed time so that people could meet them for their grievances,” said Bir, who was here to participate in a function organised by the Patiala Social Welfare Society. Bir was awarded the ‘Karamyogi Bir Dasondhi Ram Award’ by the society for his achievements in administrative field.

Others who were conferred awards by the society included Manjit Singh Narang, additional chief administrator (PUDA), A.C. Verma, managing director, State Bank of Patiala and D.S.Grewal,

former deputy commissioner, Patiala. Vikas Garg, deputy commissioner, Patiala, assured that he will do his utmost to spearhead the good work already being done in different fields in Patiala, while society president Vijay Kumar Goel said his organisation had been organising blood donation camps, eye camps, free distribution of medicine and clothes to the needy people from time to time.


Industries, housing depts lock horns
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
It is an open fight, only there are no fists flying. The Department of Industries and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have locked horns over the issue of charging industry promoters in Punjab.

A slew of communications between the two departments has failed to resolve the issue and now the entire matter is being sent to the Cabinet for consideration and final decision.

Sources reveal that the industries department wants to revise its 2005 policy, which allowed the use of industrial plots of a certain size for setting up industrial parks/multiplexes. Promoters had to pay a hefty amount to it as the change of land use (CLU) charges on the area, which was to be exploited for residential and commercial purposes.

The CLU fee was calculated on the basis of the auction price of the industrial land in the area. This fee had, over the years, become very high as the auction rate in places like Mohali had shot up drastically. The move now is to reduce these charges to the base minimum possible The housing department had in August last year laid down whopping charges to be taken from those who wanted to set up an industry in the state. However, in January this year following objections, the rates were revised to a more realistic level. The industries department had then objected to the housing department levying licence fee to industrialists and even their charging the CLU.

However, the industries department reportedly “suddenly” agreed to the charges finalised by the housing department in the January 2008 notification to replace the fee formula laid down in their 2005 policy.

The housing department was, however, quick to point out that these CLU charges laid down by them were valid only for those industrialists who bought farmland and set up an industrial project and not for those projects where already allotted industrial land was to be given for some other purpose to a promoter.

The housing department pointed out that industrial land was allotted on subsidised rates and to allow such lands to be changed to residential or commercial purposes without charging a substantial fee to the promoter would be unwise. No final figure has been arrived at and the matter is now to go to the Cabinet for a decision.


Withdraw duty on basmati, demand exporters
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
Facing sluggish demand in international market and heavy export duty on basmati, farmers and exporters have demanded the abolition of the duty to save the rice trade.

The Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association, along with the All-India Rice Exporters Association, have taken up the matter with the Central and state governments, extending the argument that Pakistan, which has removed all restrictions and taxes for the export of rice, was trying to capture India’s share in the global market.

Rajeev Setia, president of the association, said the demand of the Indian rice had shown a considerable decline in the past quarter and the prices too had plummeted. The duty of Rs 8,000 per tonne was working as a damper for the trade as international buyers have refused to pay more.

Setia felt that the Pakistan and Thai governments had reduced rates of rice to counter popular demand of the Indian basmati. 


Pvt students can opt for semester system
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 20
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) today clarified that under its proposed semester system, senior secondary students of all streams (barring the science group) would have the option to appear as regular or private candidates or through open school.

Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, chairman of the PSEB, said the semester system was being implemented from academic session 2009-10 and the examinations would be held in March and September.

“There was never any decision to permit private students of humanities group to appear only through open school”, said the chairman on being asked about any pressure from the Akali government over not barring private candidates from taking admission in the semester system.

However, Dr Dhillon admitted that while allowing private candidates of humanities group to appear for the semester system, giving 10 per cent marks for continuous and comprehensive evaluation to such students would be a problem. But, we are working on some formulae, he added.

Regarding the increase in the examination and admission fee under the new system, he said the hike in the first year would be between Rs 6 and Rs 10 per candidate. Though the financial burden on the board is going to double, the burden is not being passed on to the students. Revision of the paper checkers’ fee and hike in salaries of board employees are some of the factors that put additional burden on the board.

Before taking final decision in this matter, the board would take views of academicians, officials of the Education Department and the parents of the students. The decision would be taken to the academic council before its implementation.

An official said the semester would be divided into two parts. The first part will start from April 1 to September 30 and the second from October 1 to March 31. He said 40 per cent of the syllabus would be covered in the first semester.


State farmers under Rs 25,000-cr debt
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
Their widely recognised hard work and share in the Central food kitty notwithstanding, farmers of the state were still neck-deep in ever-mounting debt estimated to be more than Rs 25,000 crore.

More than 75 per cent farmers of the state are marginal farmers, who have small landholdings not exceeding 5 acres each.

These disclosures were made by cooperative minister Kanwaljit Singh after an interaction with farmers at nearby Akali Majrian village, where he presided over a function organised by the Sahib Bhai Gurbax Singh Trust, village panchayat and the Youth Club.

“The Punjab farmers have not been getting a fair price of wheat, paddy and other crops and for this reason they owe a debt of more than Rs 25,000 crore. Farmers are still awaiting the bonus promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

The minister said costs of farm inputs had witnessed a sharp hike over the recent years that even a family having landholding of 10 acres couldn’t survive on the income generated by the land.

“Markfed is going to impart technical know-how to farmers for growing non-conventional crops like vegetables while the Cooperation Department is coming out with a Rs 58-crore food processing plant at Ludhiana that will be functional next year,” said the minister.


CWC member, Bihar Guv discuss flood situation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
Newly appointed Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and secretary, AICC, Iqbal Singh held a detailed meeting with Governor, Bihar, R.L. Bhatia, to discuss the devastating flood situation in that state here today.

Both Bhatia and Iqbal appealed to various NGOs and religious institutions to come forward to help residents of Bihar. Bhatia said the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee had adopted many villages of Bihar and had been arranging langar in marooned villages there.

Iqbal also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and urged the SGPC to come forward to help the affected people. 


Village of freedom fighters lacks basic amenities
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Jhawar (Gurdaspur), September 20
The relentless fight against the British rule by 41 residents of this village fetched independence for India, but could not change its fate as it is still devoid of basic amenities and has been carrying the stigma of being the most backward village of Gurdaspur district.

Though it became the second village in Punjab to produce maximum number of freedom fighters, successive governments have blatantly ignored this contribution and kept the village out of their development agenda since 1947.

Situated 5 km from Gurdaspur on the Amritsar-Gurdaspur national highway, this sleepy village, known for producing Giani Mann Singh, a freedom fighter and revolutionary writer, has failed to attract the attention of authorities towards its plight.

The successive state governments of Punjab in free India have not been able to provide even a single glass of clean drinking water to families of freedom fighters and other residents of the village. The bus service connecting the village with the main highway and other villages is a distant dream for them.

“The kind of treatment meted out to us by our own governments in post-Independent India makes us feel that we are being ‘punished’ for the what our elders have done for the country,” said residents in a sad tone while talking to this correspondent.

The road running into the anterior of the village is not motorable. There is no civil or veterinary dispensary in the village having a population of about 3,000 people. Only a school of plus II level has been catering to the needs of the residents, they pointed out adding that what had been pinching them was that no Chief Minister had ever visited them to listen to their grievances.

Pritam Singh, sarpanch of the village, said, “Residents are forced to use underground water for agriculture purposes as canal water facilities to irrigate farms are very few. The resolution passed by successive panchayats urging the state government to make arrangements for canal water have failed to evoke a positive response so far”.

The state government could have set up a school in the name of any freedom fighter. It could have erected a memorial in the names of the freedom fighters, who had been awarded Tamar Patras. Even the village could have been selected for setting up Adrash School.

Despite suffering the lackadaisical attitude of successive governments, about 30 youths have been serving the Army and other paramilitary forces.

Not only this, not a single youth of this village jumped into the terrorist movement during the heydays of militancy. The village has not witnessed any heinous crime, including murder, since 1962.

Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, deputy commissioner, while confirming the fact that 41 freedom fighters had been given by this village, said he came to know about this contribution only a few days ago. He added that he had written to the state government for preparing a road map of the village for sanctioning a special financial package so that it could be developed into a major tourist attraction.

He said funds for carpeting of the village road had been released. The process of erecting a memorial in the name of Giani Mann Singh and others had been started. The potable water project would be set up in the village under the World Bank scheme.

A team of district officials would be sent to this village to know the problems being faced by the residents and immediate action would be taken to solve the same.


Majha ex-servicemen’s demand
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The Majha Ex-servicemen Human Rights Front today sought a guaranteed job for relatives of soldiers who had died during service. Col G.S. Sandhu, chairman of the front, said the governments had this facility in a majority of the states, except the Army. He said the government should provide this facility to military services also as they were given only pensionary and other benefits at the time of the death of jawans or officers.

Sandhu also urged the government to set up a separate fast-track pay commission for defence services and upward revision of warrant of precedence of the military and other genuine demands of the defence personnel, including one-rank-one-pension jobs, job guarantee up to 60 years of service.


23 serving cops, declared POs, to face trial
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Twentythree Punjab police personnel — declared proclaimed offenders in an encounter case, but still serving in different police stations — will soon have to face trial.

Taking up the pleas by deputy superintendents of police and other officials now posted in various districts, including Patiala, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has categorically stated “enough is enough. They have already delayed the trial for almost a decade and a half, and it’s high time they are now made to face the trial”.

Justice Ranjit Singh has also directed senior superintendents of police to ensure they are produced before the court of law. “The SSPs of the districts, where they are presently posted, are expected to realise that it is their legal duty to arrest all the proclaimed offenders, even if they are police officials.”

Justice Ranjit Singh has further asserted: “They should not be seen shirking from their legal duties in this regard. They must realise that be you ever so high, the law is above you.”

The matter pertains to the escape of constables Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh from police custody, and the death of one Baljit Singh. Jalandhar Sessions Judge conducted an inquiry, following which the petitioners filed four separate petitions assailing the report.

Among the arguments raised in defence, the petitioners argued even if their complicity was accepted for argument sake, they were protected under the Punjab Disturbed Areas Act and the Central Government’s prior sanction was required.

The petition was dismissed by the high court on May 4, 2001, but it was observed that the sanction issue would have to be raised before the trial court.

Nearly seven years after the orders, officers Ram Singh and others approached the high court by filing the current petition with an “interesting prayer”. They asked for the implementation in “letter and in spirit” of the 2001 order.

In a crisp order running into seven pages, Justice Ranjit Singh asserted: The petitioners were left with no option, but to approach the trial court to raise the plea seeking protection. They have not done so even after a lapse of over nine years.

Apparently, they are using one mode or another to delay and prolong the trial.

Their conduct certainly cannot be appreciated. Apparently, all these moves are being made just to avoid appearing before the court when seen in the light that their prayer for pre-arrest bail in this case has already been declined.

Justice Ranjit Singh added: “The petitioners consider themselves to be privileged accused and are attempting to seek special treatment. They are proclaimed offenders. Serving police officials, 23 in number, are fugitive and still looking for special treatment.

“The court can certainly ask as to why they have not been arrested and brought before law for imparting justice? Respective SSP has to do a lot of explaining. Someone is clearly acting to shield these police officials. It is high time that they are now made to face the process of law for their commission/omission”.

Drawing attention to the gravity of the offence, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: The petitioners are accused of serious offence for having killed innocent persons in an encounter.

They have been approaching this court by way of one petition or the other, but would not think it proper to appear before the trial court. They are, thus, purposely avoiding appearance and have rightly been declared proclaimed offenders”. 


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