P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Mumbai Heat
Fewer Pak traders join trade fair
Sanjay Bumbroo and P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
Strained relations between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the terror strikes in Mumbai have affected the Indo-Pak fair, Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX)-2008, being organised by PHD chamber of commerce here.

Only 22 traders from Pakistan have put up stalls at the fair. They had come from Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. While more than 40 traders from Pakistan were expected to showcase their products at the exhibition.

Confirming this, R.S. Sachdeva, co-chairman of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and member of the managing committee of PITEX, said the Mumbai attack had certainly had its fallout on the trade fair. He said he was constantly receiving calls from his counterparts from across the border about the safety of traders from Pakistan. He said even though only three-four officials of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce arrived here today, they were expecting the others to arrive by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the district administration and police were on their toes with senior officers coming to site to supervise the security arrangements. A posse of police personnel has specially been deployed at the entry and exit points of the Pakistan pavilion and a large number of intelligence sleuths in plain clothes were also deployed at the fair. Close-circuit television cameras have been installed at the venue.

Afsar Ali, a Pakistani trader from Peshawar, said the security agencies on both sides should work in tandem to defeat the nefarious designs of the subversive forces who were against the peace between the two nations. He said there should be free trade between two countries as it was providing employment to lakhs of poor people. He said visas should be issued freely so traders of both countries.

He admitted that a number of traders returned to Pakistan from Delhi in view of the prevailing tension. These terrorist attacks would hamper the steps being taken by the authorities to ease visa restrictions.

He said Pakistan itself was the victim of terrorism. Although they were having security concerns in their minds, but after coming here they were feeling more secured.

Four pavilions have been set up where products of interior decoration, auto industry, food and agro industry, textiles, real estate, banking and finance have been exhibited. The embassies of various countries, including Hong Kong, Poland and Myanmar, have also put up their stalls.

Even though the expo would formally be inaugurated by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and minister Bikram Singh Majithia tomorrow, people thronged the venue in large numbers. 


Combating Terror
Transport dept asked to install cameras at bus stands
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Punjab police seems to be getting its act together to increase surveillance in public places following a spate of terror strikes in the country, by installing close-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras through private participation in its major cities even as it has requested the state Transport Department to install cameras at all bus stands of the state.

Ludhiana and Amritsar seem to have taken the lead in installing CCTV cameras even as Patiala has made some headway and Jalandhar is still to start off.

The state police, which had decided to encourage installation of cameras through private participation in mid-September, following the terror attack in Delhi, has also mooted a proposal to install cameras at all major bus stands.

DGP N.P.S. Aulakh told The Tribune that since the Railway authorities were bringing all important railway stations under CCTV surveillance, it was felt that major bus stands in the state too should be brought under such surveillance.

The Punjab Police is also drawing up a map for bringing important roads and locations under the CCTV coverage as part of the Central police modernisation programme.

The force has made headway in getting CCTV cameras installed in major cities through various banks, market associations and religious bodies. In Ludhiana efforts are also on to create a digital map of the city in collaboration with students of the Guru Nanak Engineering College. Ludhiana police chief R.K. Jaiswal said following preparation of the map WiFi tracking of selected patrolling vehicles would be introduced in the city.

Besides this, the Ludhiana police has got 16 cameras installed at air-conditioned market in Chaura Bazar with the help of the market association. Cameras have also been installed at the Mata Rani temple. Jaiswal disclosed that 24 cameras had been installed till now and that they were connected through radio allowing monitoring from the police control room.

In Amritsar, its SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said 100 cameras had been installed in the city. He said religious places like the Durgiana and Shivala temples had already been covered while work on installing cameras at the Darbar Sahib was on. He also disclosed that major markets like Lawrence Road and Katra Jaimal Singh had also been covered under this drive.

In Patiala, SSP S.K. Asthana said the district police had started live coverage of important religious functions.

Jalandhar SSP P.K. Rai said though a multiplex and some private showrooms had installed CCTV cameras, the move to install these through private participation in crowded market areas was still to fructify. “We are putting pressure on market associations to come forward for this cause,” he said, adding the district police had recommended installation of 200 cameras at vulnerable points under a modernisation plan.


SGPC sticks to old definition of Sehajdhari
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Members of the SGPC executive, led by its president Avtar Singh, today laid down the definition of a Sehajdhari Sikh.

Sticking to the definition given in the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, the committee members have stated that Sehajdhari Sikhs are those who are born in non-Sikh families, but follow the tenets of Sikhism. A Sehajdhari Sikh is thus a non-Sikh who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites; who does not use tobacco, does not consume halal meat in any form; who is not a “patit” and who recites the mulmantra of Guru Granth Sahib.

In the resolution passed during a meeting held this evening, the SGPC pointed out that the definition of Sehajdhari given in the Section 2 (10-A) of the Gurdwara Act states that the word “sehajdhari” consists of two words “sehaj” (slowly) and “dhari” (adopt a religious path) and hence these are those novices who slowly move on the path of Sikhism to adopt its doctrine, ethics and tenets.

A Sehajdhari, therefore, is one who has entered the path of Sikhism and he will continue to be a Sehajdhari Sikh till he fully accepts the moral and spiritual vows of Sikhism, to be called a practicing Sikh. The SGPC resolution also made it clear that when a Sehajdhari Sikh becomes a keshdhari Sikh, but he chooses to trim his body hair, he will not be a Sehajdhari Sikh. Similarly, if a person born into a Sikh family (and is a Sikh), but chooses to disrespect his keshdhari roop he will not turn into a Sehajdhari Sikh but become a “patit”.

The SGPC would be filing an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the basis of the resolution passed today.

Taking up a petition filed by five students who had been denied admissions to MBBS course in a SGPC-run medical college on the ground that they were either trimming their beards or plucking their eyebrows, the full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 29 directed the SGPC to define a Sikh. The next date of hearing of the case is December 8.

Also pending in the court is a petition filed by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, challenging a notification issued by the Union of India, whereby the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs had been taken away.



Raninder aspirant for Bathinda seat
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
Former Punjab Chief Minister’s son Raninder Singh today claimed that SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal was issuing frivolous statements meant to degrade his father Capt Amarinder Singh.

Addressing a press conference at his residence, New Moti Bagh, Raninder claimed that his father was an upright politician and that he put Punjab on the path of prosperity during his tenure as the state’s Chief Minister. Raninder, taking potshots at Sukhbir, said the SAD chief was now in a responsible position and that he should not issue personal statements against Capt Amarinder.

He added that during the last Assembly elections, people had voted Capt Amarinder to power with a margin of more than 30,000 votes, which was an increase in 3 per cent of votes that the Captain had garnered during the 2002 Assembly elections.

He said he and his family would not remain mute spectators to the atrocities being committed on Congress workers that were already being highlighted by his father.

Raninder also dropped a political bombshell by announcing that he was a contender for the Congress ticket for the Bathinda parliamentary seat.

Criticising Sukhbir, Raninder said Sukhbir should not play petty politics and not stoop to issuing cheap political statements against Capt Amarinder Singh and his family members.

He added that if Sukhbir did not stop from giving such statements, his family would retaliate against the Chief Minister’s son in a dignified manner. 


Capt to start campaigning from Dec 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Former Chief Minister and chairman of the Campaign Committee of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Amarinder Singh will start the campaign tour of the state from December 8 from Sangrur. The five-day whirlwind tour will be rounded off at Ropar on December 12.

Capt Amarinder Singh will be accompanied by the PPCC chief Mohinder Singh Kaypee and other senior party leaders during the campaign and will work towards seeking the viewpoint of grass root party workers and leaders.

Talwandi Sabo legislator Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu said on the morning of December 8, Capt Amarinder Singh would be at Sangrur while later in the day he would go to Bathinda. On December 9 morning he would address a workers meeting at Faridkot and in the afternoon at Ferozepur. 


Punjab is first state in country to go in for commercial dairy farms
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Punjab has managed to give a new lease of life to dairying as an allied agriculture activity by being the first state in the country to go in for commercial dairy farms. This has helped in economic upliftment of dairy farmers as well as increasing milk production.

Commercial dairy farms have been established in Punjab with the help of the state government. These farms have been established after the government enrolled four banks to provide loans at reasonable rates of interest to farmers. The success of these farms also lies in the fact that these have only cows and no buffaloes. This has helped in increasing the milk production by almost three times. As a result, milk procurement by Milkfed has reached a record high of 11 lakh litres a day and extreme seasonal variation in milk procurement due to preponderance of buffalo farming has been reduced.

This project has also helped Milkfed get out of the red and double its turnover in three years. For five years (from 2001-02 to 2005-06) the sales turnover had remained stagnant at around Rs 600 crore. With commercial dairy farms increasing milk production, the sales turnover of the cooperative is expected to cross Rs 1,200 crore this year.

Now buoyed by the success of commercial dairy farms in Punjab, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Producers Union, Anand, and the government of India are all set to emulate the model. A team of Amul India and the government of India recently visited the state to see how the commercial dairy farms were functioning.

Officials in the Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (Milkfed) informed TNS that in the past two years they had managed to establish 750 commercial dairy farms across the state. V.K. Singh, managing director, Milkfed, said the minimum size of each farm was 20 cows and most of the farms now had 60-70 cows. “These farms have machine milking, a good preventive health care regimen and silage for storing green fodder. A large dairy farm allows the farmer economies of scale and most of these farmers are now earning around Rs 1 lakh a month,” he said.

Singh also said to promote commercial dairy farms, they were offering the highest procurement price for milk in the country at Rs 14.50 per litre. “We are also giving a bulk premium of Re 1 per litre to our bulk suppliers, so that they remain associated with us,” he added. 


State sets new record in paddy yield
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 3
Punjab has set a new record in per hectare paddy productivity. Breaking the 60-quintal barrier, Punjab has achieved 61 quintal per hectare yield of paddy this year. Confirming this, director, Agriculture, Balwinder Singh Sidhu said there had been a 167.33 lakh tonne production of paddy from 27.50 lakh hectares of area covered under this crop. Of it, 148.65 lakh tonne arrived for sale in grain markets. 120.74 lakh tonne had been procured by government agencies.

Sidhu said the area under paddy had gone up to 27.50 lakh hectares this year from 26.10 lakh hectares last year.

There had been a substantial increase in the yield of common grade varieties such as PAU 201. “We have got reports that yield from PAU 201 variety of paddy this time was in the range of 40 quintals per acre this year at certain places. He said among superior grade varieties, yield of 1121 variety had been good.” 


Panel on Rajasansi airport to meet in Delhi tomorrow
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, December 3
Even as the Jet Airways has terminated it’s daily London flight from December 1 and the Singapore Airlines has given notice to withdraw its flight schedule from February next year, the Parliamentary panel constituted by the Union aviation minister will meet in Delhi on December 5 to review the entire gamut of issues which have resulted in the closure of the flights.

BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had been in the forefront to revive the fortunes of the Rajasansi International Airport, told The Tribune that the meeting would be held in the office of Union minister of state for sports M.S. Gill. He said the committee was likely to give directions to the departments concerned to take immediate corrective measures to save the airport from becoming redundant.

He said the committee would initiate steps to give thrust to cargo export from the air terminus by setting up electronic interface data for the faster processing of the duty drawback claims of exporters.

He said he would pitch for the starting additional Air India flights connecting different destinations across the globe after the curtailment of flights by private and international operators.

He said the Amritsar airport was emerging as a big getaway for vegetable and fruit exports, besides the business community in Punjab, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir found it convenient to send their consignments from here instead of Delhi.


Old women to help check infant mortality
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 3
Expressing concern over infant mortality rate in Punjab i.e. 42 deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births as per the National Family Health Survey Report - Part III, the Rural Medical Services Association (RMSA) has chalked out a plan to involve old women for reducing the infant mortality rate by way of educating and motivating them for bringing their daughters and daughters-in-law to hospitals and health centres for institutional delivery. The association is of the view that imparting education to expectant mothers with regard to various problems during pregnancy such as basic minimum care during pregnancy, nutrition counselling, supplementation of iron and vitamins and 100 per cent immunisation is need of the hour.

State president of the RMSA Aslam Parvez said rural doctors, working under zila parishads, were making sincere efforts to infom rural population about health aspects to improve the survival rate of infants and their health. He said for this purpose rural medical officers (doctors) were organising awareness programmes across the state.

Dr Parvez further said newborn babies’ health was of prime importance for the society, as this contributed in preventing infant mortality. Though infant mortality had come down significantly during the past one decade, it was still high. The rural doctors were getting help from health staff, anganwari workers, ASHA workers and panchayats for educating rural people about the healthcare of newborn babies, he added.

Dr Parvez said the association would hold educational and motivational camps, talks and seminars in a big way by involving all sections of society. He emphasised on the need of educating common masses about the common causes responsible for the deaths of infants. 


Shia meet vows to enhance Indo-Pak ties
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Samana (Patiala), December 3
Delegates from India and Pakistan vowed to enhance people-to-people contact between the two countries at the fourth Ahle Baite International Shia Conference here today.

Delegates and participants from both countries exhibited bilateral enthusiasm when they talked high about the traditions, mutual understanding and rich values upheld by common people of both nations, even during escalated tension. They were also brimming with hope that bilateral ties would further get strengthened and trade would bring people even closer to each other.

“The Mumbai terrorist attack or disruptive activities cannot create a wedge between people of both sides for there exists a strong cultural and linguistic bond among people,” said Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai at the conference held at the dargah of Hazrat Imam Mashad Ali amid a gathering of Shia Muslims.

“The bilateral relations can further be strengthened by enhancing quantum of trade between the two countries. In this age of globalisation, the Indian government is already striving to ensure better trade ties among Asian countries on the lines of the European Union. SAARC countries are also in the process of encouraging mutual trade so as to strengthen the economy of the member countries,” said Kidwai who also released “Shahzada-E-Imam and Samana”, a book authored by Jharkhand Governor Sayeed Sibte Razi and another booklet on the dargah.

Lahore High Court’s Justice Sayeed Chabbar Raza Rizvi praised the way the dargah was developed by the Punjab government. He reminisced his links with Samana township from where his ancestors hailed. “I cannot forget this land. The love extended by people of the town to people of Pakistan is itself an epitome of warmth existing among people on both sides of the border,” said Justice Rizvi.

Another Pakistani delegate Olama Hassan Zafar observed, “Nefarious efforts to break the age-old ties between people of the two countries can never be successful. We should follow the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev who stood for trampled people”.

Organising committee secretary Sayeed Azad Hussain Zaidi also spoke. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has given a grant of Rs 12 lakh for the development of the dargah.


World Bank team meets Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigah, December 3
A team of the World Bank, currently in Punjab to review the implementation progress of the Third Implementation Support Mission, led by Shyamal Sarkar, today called on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to apprise him about the outcome of their field visits in the state. Sarkar told Badal that the team had noticed appreciable progress in the construction of rural water supply schemes.

He told Badal that during the field visits, the team noticed a great demand for sewerage schemes in villages. The Chief Minister desired that the number of villages to be brought under sewerage schemes might be increased from the present 100 (as provided in the project) to 300 or even more if possible.

The World Bank agreed that since it was a demand-driven project, therefore depending upon the success and response after the completion of initial 100 sewerage schemes, increase in the number of villages to be covered under sanitation component could be favourably considered.

Secretary, Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, P.S. Aujla disclosed that after the reduction in the upper ceiling of households share as well as 50 per cent reduction of the prescribed amount for SC population in the past one month, the number of panchayats that had deposited full contribution had increased from 84 to 145.


Aid announced for kin of dera clash victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
President of the SGPC Avtar Singh said today that no Sikh should try and talk to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in an attempt to reach a compromise or for any other reason.

He announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the Sikhs who were killed in clashes with followers of dera at Dabwali and Rs 1 lakh each to the Sikhs who were injured in the incident. He also announced the addition of an increment to the SGPC staff as part of the Gurta Gaddi Diwas celebrations.

Emphasising that every Sikh should follow the direction of Akal Takht in this regard, the SGPC chief said it was only Akal Takht which could decide on such matters. “We have not talked to him nor do we intend to and all Sikhs should do the same,” he said.

He was addressing mediapersons following a meeting of SGPC office-bearers and executive members.

When asked about the demand for a separate SGPC in Haryana, the SGPC chief said: “Where is the question of another body when the SGPC’s supremacy has not been challenged by Sikhs of Haryana? It is important to note that leaders of a community might not be reflecting the true feelings of the community,” he said.

Stating that Haryana Sikhs had been given due representation in the SGPC, he said Haryana was one of the important focus areas for them. “The Haryana government is not supporting us. We wanted to open a medical college in Shahbad, but we were not given an NoC by the government. We want Haryana Sikhs to work with us,” he said.

He added that among the three new members added to the executive today, Baldev Singh Khalsa represented Haryana. Raghujit Singh Virk, senior vice-president of the SGPC is also a representative of the Sikhs from Haryana. The other two members inducted today are Mohan Singh Bangi and Surinder Singh Chabbal.

“We are signing an MoU with the Punjab Forest Department to procure saplings to be distributed at gurdwaras across the state under the Nanhi Chaan project,” he said, adding that the SGPC would also be setting up its own nurseries.


Jathedar for fast relief to ’84 riots victims
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 3
Accusing the Punjab government of showing no concern about the welfare of ’84 riots victims, Sikh organisations of the state have urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct the state to expedite disbursement of relief fund to the victims whose files have either been misplaced by officials or whose cases are pending due to technical complications.

Led by the Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, the organisations have demanded constitution of a high-powered committee to look into the alleged harassment of the riots victim families and expedition of the implementation of the relief package.

Through a communiqué addressed to Dr Manmohan Singh, Giani Iqbal Singh has alleged that officials at various offices in Punjab had allegedly displaced files in connection with claims lodged by at least 4,000 victims of the riots, while a large number of other claimants were being harassed on flimsy grounds.

Referring to inquiries made by Jaswinder Singh Patna of Ludhiana, the Jathedar said only about 10,000 of about 22,000 identified victim families had been granted relief fund of Rs 2 lakh each. Alleging that the government was trying to shield the officials, who had deliberately misplaced the files, the Jathedar demanded action against them. 


Malta probe mission to visit Lanka
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 3
A three-member delegation of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, led by its chairman Balwant Singh Khera, will participate in the 12th mourning memorial meeting to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on December 25.

Three hundred youths from Asia, including 170 from India, 90 from Sri Lanka and 40 from Pakistan, were drowned by human traffickers in the Malta-Sicily channel on December 25, 1996.

Khera said here today that the probe mission was following up criminal cases against international human traffickers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malta, Greece and Italy. In India, 27 travel agents and police commissioners were being prosecuted for their involvement in this mass murder conspiracy.

Khera said a memorandum would be presented to the President of Sri Lanka. 


Scholarship for hockey players
Tribune News service

Sangrur, December 3
With a view to promote hockey in the area, the local Osho Youth Club today launched a monthly scholarship scheme for outstanding hockey players by introducing cash scholarships of Rs 500 per month for school-level national players and Rs 100 per month for school-level state players.

The club today held a function at the local Media Bhawan where area in charge of the SAD for Sangrur Parkash Chand Garg launched the scheme by giving scholarships to seven national-level hockey players and 13 state-level hockey players.

The names of the national-level players are Arjan Singh, Sukhdip Singh, Amarpreet Singh, Manjinder Singh, Anil Kumar, Parvinder Singh and Jaspal Singh, while the state-level players are Ajit Pal Singh, Amandeep Singh, Vimal Kumar, Narinder Bist, Harbans Singh, Harpreet Singh, Devinder Singh, Gurpinder Singh, Ranbir Singh, Prince Singh, Mohan Singh, Amarinder Singh and Dimple.


Court row: Officers meet CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
A delegation of the Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch) Officers’ Association met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today and demanded the registration of an FIR against the advocates who had allegedly vandalised the office of the Amritsar SDM and sub registrar.

In a press note here today, president of the association P.S. Shergill stated that an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the association was held yesterday and members condemned the inaction on part of the Amritsar police.

Shergill, along with general secretary N.S. Sangha and S.S. Khara, apprised the Chief Minister about the “lawlessness created by the advocates and also the demoralisation in the PCS cadre due to the non-registration of an FIR by the police.

The officers informed the Chief Minister that if the FIR was not registered immediately, it would result in the loss of state authority. The Chief Minister assured the delegation that he was seized of the matter and it would be sorted out soon.

The executive members will be meeting here tomorrow at 5 pm. 


DIG to probe the matter
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Over four years after playwright Avtar Kaur Jawandha went missing, Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed probe under the supervision of Patiala range deputy inspector-general (DIG) of the police. The victim had worked as secretary with Punjab’s former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by her sister Apanjit Kaur, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: “It would be appropriate to direct the investigation in the case to be now conducted by DIG, Patiala range, or to be held under his direct supervision so that the allegations or apprehension of the petitioner are discounted.

“Patiala range DIG would submit a report to this court on completion of investigation… till this court is seized of the matter, the police will not submit a cancellation report in the case in the trial court”. The case will now come up for further hearing on January 12, 2009.

The petitioner had earlier sought probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, or some senior police officer, “as the present investigation, held so far, was by an officer who seems to be involved”.

Dissatisfied with the special investigating team (SIT) constituted to look into the matter, counsel for the petitioner had asserted it was headed by Nabha DSP S.S. Boparai. He was residing in missing Jawandha’s house.

Taking up the matter, Justice Ranjit Singh further ruled: Avtar Kaur has gone missing and her whereabouts are not known. There is some indication that some persons have been investigated by the SIT, but these are not the persons named by the petitioner….

“It is a case where a lady has gone missing leaving behind a property. This property appears to be the bone of contention. The cancellation report, which was submitted before the court, has not been accepted. Obviously, the court has not felt satisfied with the nature and manner of investigation.

“Since, the SIT is said to be headed by a person who, as per the allegations, is involved with one of the person who is in occupation of the property, the case may need to be handled by some senior officer, so as to remove any such doubt of taint, if any, in the investigation”. 


DSP gets 5 days to surrender in fake encounter case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The 1992 “fake” encounter of three constables has come back to haunt the Punjab police. A deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Ram Singh, was today granted time till December 8 for enabling him to surrender before Patiala Sessions Court in the case.

He was earlier granted time till December 4 by Justice Harbans Lal of the high court, but the time frame was extended following confusion over the issue of court before which he was to surrender.

DSP Ram Singh and others were earlier booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a case of murder and other offences registered under Sections 364, 342, 302, 201 and 120-B of the IPC on the high court directions.

The court, vide order dated December 12, 1996, had asked the CBI to register a case on the disappearance of Rajwinder Singh, Mukhtiar Singh and Baljit Singh. They were allegedly picked up by the Patiala CIA staff and subsequently shown to have been killed in a fake encounter with the Nakodar police.

Rajwinder Singh was undergoing training at Ladha Kothi training centre at Sangrur while Mukhtiar Singh was posted with the Jalandhar police control room. The police version was that the two were arrested on September 4, 1992, in connection with an attempt-to-murder case dated October 31, 1991. But they had escaped during an encounter with the militants, while they were being taken for recovery.

Baljit Singh was also killed in an encounter with the Nakodar police on September 1, 1992. Explosives and fire arms were recovered from the scene of encounter, the police had added.

An inquiry into their disappearance, carried out by Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge on high court directions, had concluded that no encounter had taken place.

The report had added Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh had not escaped from the police custody and in all probability, their lives had been snuffed out by the police. Baljit Singh too had not died in a genuine encounter, it was added.

After the registration of the FIR, the CBI had allegedly relied on the evidence of witnesses to make the petitioner and 20 other police officials accused in the case.

Seeking grant of anticipatory bail, the petitioner had claimed he was being implicated. The petition was initially disposed of with direction to enable the petitioner to surrender before the trial court on December 4. On his application for clarification, the high court said trial court would be read Patiala Sessions Court. 


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