L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ravana’s 80-ft effigy goes up in flames
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Conveying the message of victory of good over evil, the effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkarana were burnt at 47 places in the evening today.

At Daresi ground, an 80-ft effigy of Ravana went up in flames as soon as the button of a remote was pressed by Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal along with ADCP Manjeet Singh Dhesi. The “golden Lanka” erected by the Ramilila Committee was also burnt along with it.

Fireworks were released out of the effigy, entertaining spectators. Heavy police force was deployed at Daresi.

A 70-ft effigy of Ravana was set afire by the Sukhdev Nagar Dusshehra Committee at Jamalpur. Sanjeev Bhargav Rockey, chairman of the committee, said an artist from UP made the effigies at a cost of about Rs 70,000.

The Urban Estate Ramlila Dussehra Committee Dugri (Phase 1) also burnt 50-ft effigies of Ravana, Meghnatth and Kumbhkaran. Raman Goel, treasurer of the committee, said: “We did not make a revolving effigy this year as it requires a lot of space. These effigies were prepared by a Muzzafar Nagar-based artist.”

Continuing with the traditional method of celebrations, Shri Geeta Mandir Vikas Nagar celebrated Dasehra near sabzi mandi by burning effigies. No mela was organised.

Ramlila committees at Kitchlu Nagar, Agar Nagar, Urban Estate Phase-11, Upkar Nagar and Pakhowal road also celebrated the festival with enthusiasm.

DCP Ashish Choudhry said all the DSPs and SHOs had been deputed at major spots where Dasehra melas were held. Traffic police was also deputed at designated places to check haphazard parking of vehicles.

An SHO on duty said there was no threat, but they had been asked to be alert. “Since morning, we have been searching various areas. All the SHOs and DSPs were put on duty as politicians were arriving in the city since morning. Since Ludhiana has a population of about 17 lakh, the safety of residents is a major concern for all,” he said.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: The region today boomed with sounds of exploding crackers marking the conquest of good over evil. Effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarna were burnt at various areas of the regions.

The function was organised by the Ramlila Club at MGMN Senior Secondary School. The police remained on toes supervising law and order.

Muslim artisans

Dasehra reflected communal harmony as the effigies burnt by various Ramlila committees were prepared by Muslim artisans who had arrived in the city a month ago. All hailed from either Muzaffarnagar or Saharanpur in UP.

Effigies cost more

Effigies cost more this year. The chairman of Sukhdev Nagar Dusshera Committee, said they paid 30 per cent more for the effigies. Hameed, an artist, said they had to increase the prices due to the soaring prices.


At Payal, he is demi God!
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, October 6
Even as people burnt the effigy of Ravana today, residents of Payal, especially the Dubey family, offered their prayers to the Ravana. Their devotion continues despite criticism from people.

An embellished idol of Ravana stands on the temple premises. They say Ravana was a great scholar and a capable ruler.

They do not despise the concept of the symbolic festival, but revere Lord Rama, but at the same time, they cannot see the effigy of Ravana being burnt. Hence, they place some crackers on his head and offer some liquor and goat’s blood to the idol.

Descendents of the Dubey clan, who are the prime worshippers of Ravana, are scattered in various parts of the country. They gather on Dasehra at Payal and seek the blessings of this mighty “hero”. Their ancestors would pray to Ravana and this has continued for the past 150 years. The legend goes that once they forgot to worship him and that year they encountered various problems.

“Ever since that year, we have never missed worshipping the mighty lord. He is our reverend king and we pay obeisance to him every year on this day,” a senior member of the Dubey family stated.

Another member said their ancestors did not have children. “It was only when a saint told them to worship Ravana that they were blessed with a child.” Since then, they have been celebrating the Navratras and Dasehra in their own unique way.

“We face a lot of disapproval from people around us. A paper statue of Ravana made by us was torn by them. So, we erected a permanent idol so that we could offer our prayers to him every year,” he said.



Symbolising victory of good over evil

As the effigy of Ravana went up in flames, symbolising the victory of good over evil, people in the old city climbed atop roofs to watch the spectacular display of fireworks at the Daresi Dasehra grounds in the city. Visitors thronged the grounds to be a part of the mela. The festive spirit was hard to miss - vendors sold knickknacks, gourmets queued up for sweet and spicy snacks, while children tried their hand at various games. Himanshu Mahajan captures various moods of the festivity.

An effigy of Ravana goes up in flames to mark the conclusion of Dasehra Mela in Ludhiana on Thursday
An effigy of Ravana goes up in flames to mark the conclusion of Dasehra Mela in Ludhiana on Thursday

A visitor tries a shot at a game stall
A visitor tries a shot at a game stall

A cop deputed to keep vigil on the Dasehra festivities
A cop deputed to keep vigil on the Dasehra festivities

People climbed up terraces to watch Dasehra Mela
People climbed up terraces to watch Dasehra Mela



Husband objects to eve-teasing, ‘attacked’ with scalding oil
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Gurpreet Kaur, a resident of Street Number 22, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, has alleged that two workers of a sweetmeat shop on the Dhandra Road, threw scalding oil on her and her husband after he objected to eve-teasing. Gurpreet Kaur said in her complaint to the police that the workers of the shop had passed lewd comments on her after which her husband objected to it. The accused then threw oil on them.

The complainant said she along with her husband, Kapil Dev, had gone to Himachal Sweet Shop to buy some eatables on October 4.

Since the oil was not properly heated, the workers at the shop asked them to come later while the couple had already paid for samosas. When the couple went to the shop again at 3 pm the workers started passing lewd remarks. One of them even touched Gurpreet Kaur’s hand.

When her husband objected to their behaviour, the workers started abusing him and threw scalding oil on the couple. Both Gurpreet Kaur and Kapil Dev were rushed to hospital.

Charan Singh, investigating officer (IO), held the couple responsible for the incident.

The investigating officer claimed that the couple entered into a heated argument with the workers at the shop and called eight-10 persons to settle the score.

"Seeing so many persons gather at the shop, the workers panicked and the “kadai” in which the oil was being heated, tilted. Some hot oil was inadvertently spilled on the couple. But we are further investigating the matter. The workers are absconding", the investigating officer said.

The police has registered a case under Sections 204, 506 and 323-34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the two workers.



Smack drove them to crime
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Just to get a kick from smack, three Punjabi youths, Tarandeep, alias Lovely, Sumit Bali and Prince, would rob and snatch valuables from elderly women in the city. All three were arrested recently and it was learnt that they are educated and belong to respectable families.

The accused are residents of Chander Nagar and need for smack brought them together. They are so weak physically that the police has to proceed with caution.

The SHO of Division No. 4, Brij Mohan, said the accused targeted elderly women. “The areas where they committed several incidents of snatching include Jagat Puri, PAU and Salem Tabri. We have recovered several ear-rings from their possession. They had sold some jewellery to buy smack. But they are adamant and are not disclosing from where they got the drug and what was their modus operandi. We cannot beat them as smack has ruined their health,” he said.

The police said their parents had been informed, but they were helpless. “One of the parents said he wished his son had died. They are shattered,” he said.

The ACP, PS Pannu, said nine pairs of ear-rings were recovered from them. “They were caught near the crematorium. They are in police remand. We are hunting for those who sold drugs to the accused. They had even stolen a motorcycle from the Gol Market in Joshi Nagar,” he said.



‘Aakash’ delights students
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Students are thrilled at the launching of the world’s cheapest tablet PC at Rs 2,250 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The tablet has touch screen computing and Internet access device.

Sharwan Kumar, a class VII student, said: “I do not have a computer as it is costly. I will buy this tablet for my studies.”

Equally enthusiastic was Abhinav Sharma, a class X student, who said: “It seems to be very handy. I will be able to carry it in my bag.”

Not only students, teachers and parents are also delighted. Paramjeet Kaur, principal of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, said: “It is a very good initiative for students. But the government should also think about students who cannot even afford books.”

Kusum Lata, a national award winner teacher at PAU Government Model Senior Secondary School, said: “It is a good device for adults. Parents will have to be cautious when children use the Internet on the tablet.”



Admn’s promptness comes in handy, protesters relent
Officials persuade activists of Technical Services Union to stagger protest
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, October 6
Tactfulness and promptness of local SAD leaders and officials in the administration avoided the situation from turning sour during a rally addressed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Officials led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Sikand not only succeeded in persuading activists of the Technical Services’ Union to stagger their programme to lodge a protest during the rally but they also kept their promise to organise a meeting of a delegation of the outfit with the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister assured to get their long-pending demands implemented soon.

However, the activists organised the rally later near the grain market, Gopalpur. Speakers threatened to intensify their stir in case their demands were not accepted.

Stoppage of alleged victimisation by the board management, withdrawal of police cases against activists of the union and cancellation of chargesheets were major demands of the union.



NRHM Protest
Admn fails to break deadlock
Union threatens dist-level strike from today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Employees of the National Rural Health Mission, who climbed atop the water tank at Gill village to stage a dharna yesterday night, came down after assured of being heard by Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain, Principal Secretary (Health) A Karan Singh and Managing Director of NRHM SK Sharma tomorrow.

They did so after being pacified and assured by police personnel and a few villagers. Today, at around 7 am, eight more NRHM employees managed to climb atop the water tank near Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College. Seeing this, the police went into a tizzy.

SHO of the Sadar police station, Harinder Singh, said: “We convinced them they would be heard, but they refused to budge. But, when they saw other employees not supporting them, they decided to come down.”

Spokesperson of the NRHM Union, Punjab, Rajinder Singh, said: “We will go on district-level strike from tomorrow onwards.”



CM lays stone of health centre
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, October 6
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal laid the foundation stone of a new wing of the proposed community health centre here today. Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosian and Punjab Subordinate Service Selection Board’s chairman Santa Singh Umaidpuri were present on the occasion when Badal dedicated the project to the people.

Reiterating his commitment to provide the best medicare and diagnostic facilities to the people, Badal said the government had already spent Rs 340 crore for setting up a network of district hospitals, community and primary health centres equipped with the best medical infrastructure in the state. A corpus of Rs 20 crore was established during the current fiscal to provide treatment free of cost to those suffering from cancer.

The 25-bedded new setup would have three operating theatres and at least six specialists among the doctors. All facilities, including diagnostic tests, would be available round-the-clock.

Admitting that the existing infrastructure of majority of government medical centres was prone to microbial growth, officials designing and constructing the proposed hospital claimed that all floors, walls and ceilings would be covered with special aseptic tiles and coatings.

Sources said the government had been staggering the process for upgrading the health centre despite its inclusion in the list of upgraded institutes, last year.

Those residing in the area led by Jasbir Singh Pappu and Param Deep Singh Deepa had urged higher authorities to impress upon the officials to complete the formalities for upgrading the centre to the community health centre.

Besides catering to about 30 villages falling under the Ludhiana district, the proposed health centre is expected to provide medical assistance to victims of accidents taking place on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla and the Kila Raipur-Sahnewal roads.

24x7 facilities

The 25-bedded community health centre will have three operating theatres and six specialists. All facilities, including diagnostic tests, will be available round-the-clock. Floors, walls and ceilings of the proposed centre will be covered with special aseptic tiles and coatings.



Stone for fountain chowk beautification laid
Cong holds protest against insanitary conditions
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 6
While the foundation stone for the beautification of Fountain Chowk, a significant landmark in the mega city, was laid by Punjab State Planning Board vice-chairman Rajinder Bhandari today, city residents were grappling with the unsanitary conditions due to the ongoing strike by safai karamcharis in protest against privatisation of the work for door-to-door garbage collection.

As Bhandari, along with city Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, MC top brass and political functionaries commenced the beautification work to be taken up by the MC at the instance of Punjab Greening Authority, Congress councillor from ward no 29 Sushil Raju Thapar and area residents staged a dharna in front of the heaps of garbage just a stone’s throw away from the Fountain Chowk.

Bhandari, who was accompanied by BJP district president Rajiv Katna and acting MC Commissioner MS Jaggi, said the project aimed at increasing the green cover in the city, which had earned notoriety for being the most polluted city in the region, as per the rating of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). He said the work entailed planting of ornamental plants, while the MC had also chalked out a plan to renovate water fountains and instal decorative lights. However, the Congress councillor and residents termed the beautification project a cruel joke with the people when the entire city was choked with heaps of garbage and reeked with foul smell with the garbage removal work coming to a complete standstill due to strike by safai workers.

Leading the protest, Thapar asked the BJP leaders to desist from resorting to cheap publicity gimmicks and instead prevail upon the government to accept demands of the safai workers, so that sanitation work could resume and the city was saved from serious breakout of diseases.



Army screens BTech students for SSB
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 6
RIMT hosted a campus recruitment drive by Indian Army, for the recruitment of officers in technical cadre.

Students of pre-final B.Tech appeared in the recruitment process, which included initial screening of the documents followed by personal interview.

The short listed candidates would be called directly for Service Selection Board (SSB). The entire process would be completed before the completion of degree.

As soon as they complete the degree, the on boarding process would commence. “The prospect of getting an offer in a prestigious institution like army is a matter of joy for all,” shared a student.



Miscreants burn Ravana’s effigy
Police on toes to nab suspects
Our Correspondent

Raikot, October 6
The police has launched a manhunt to nab a few miscreants whose mischievous could have disrupted the communal harmony in the town and its surrounding areas.

The suspects, who were booked under Sections 295 A and 436 of the IPC, had allegedly burnt an effigy of Ravana after entering Guru Gobind Singh Municipal Stadium in the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday. Had the organisers and the administration not acted swiftly and tactfully, the sacrilege could have exploited by miscreants to spread hatred.

Investigations revealed that the Dussehra committee led by its president Gurjant Singh and municipal council’s president Amandeep Singh Gill had erected effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran at the stadium as usual.

These effigies were supposed to be burnt after the sunset today. But, a few suspects entered the stadium and burnt the effigy of Ravana.

Balwant Singh, an office-bearer of the committee, lodged a complaint in this regard with the police. A police team led by Sub-Inspector Nirmal Singh conducted a probe.

The Sub-Inspector said circumstantial evidence suggests the incident took place at around 4 am.

Meanwhile, the organisers, who had to purchase another effigy of Ravana from Ludhiana at an exorbitant price, said, “We will impress upon the administration to probe into the matter and nab the miscreants at the earliest.”



1984 riots
Govt siding with illegal occupants, alleges Patna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
The Sikh Migrants’ Welfare Board has lambasted the Punjab government for its decision to regularise unlawful possession of LIG and MIG flats of Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) here, saying it was not only a fraud upon genuine claimants (riot-affected families), but also tantamount to giving a free hand to “kabza mafia” and criminals.

Chairman of the board Kartar Singh Patna said on one hand the riot victims were not being allotted residential flats even after being directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while on the other the government was out to give flats, meant for riot-affected families, to touts and illegal occupants, on a platter.

He said the GLADA had constructed 2,000 MIG and LIG flats in the city before 1995, and the then state government had taken a policy decision to allot these flats to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The GLADA had received 1,632 applications from the Sikh migrants for allotment of flats under the policy laid down by it in 2000.

“Since the process of allotment of flats was not taken up till 2010, the applicants filed a PIL before the High Court, and as per the High Court’s orders, a draw was taken out by the GLADA in October 2010 when 611 flats were allotted to bonafide applicants. However, 245 allotments out of 611 were unjust as LIG or EWS flats had been allotted to the beneficiaries who had opted for MIG flats,” he added.

According to Patna, 145 applicants had challenged the GLADA action through another PIL and the High Court had issued directions to the GLADA authorities to allot MIG houses to the petitioners. “In the absence of any action by the GLADA towards this end, a legal notice for contempt of court has been served and a contempt petition will soon be filed in the High Court.”

Alleging that at least 100 residential flats of the GLADA had been forcibly occupied by anti-social elements and “kabza mafia’, he said the complicity of a few officials and politicians in the illegal act could not be ruled out. Condemning the government’s decision (of handing over government flats to unlawful occupants), Patna demanded that illegal occupants be evicted, and the eligible riot victims be allotted flats of their choice as per the High Court’s orders.



NRIs to pay tributes to Gursharan at Surrey
Our correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 6
With an intent to recognise contribution of revolutionary writer and dramatist Gursharan Singh in the field of art and culture, Punjabis settled in Canada have decided to organise a function at Bombay Banquet Hall in Surrey (a country in southeastern England on the Thames) on Monday.

Gurdeep Singh Grewal, an NRI from Phallewal village near here, said organisations led by Harinder Mahal and Charan Gill had decided to organise the function to recognise Gursharan Singh (popularly known as Bhai Manna) for his contribution towards culture and sacrifice made for rights of downtrodden and the poor.

An engineer by profession Gursharan Singh had sacrificed his career for the cause of common man. He was arrested in 1975 for opposing Emergency imposed by then Union Government led by Indira Gandhi. He left his job and was once again arrested in 1980.

Gursharan Singh also visited foreign countries like North America to highlight the problems being faced by south Asians.



Three held for killing Kotala youth
Our Correspondent

Khanna /Samrala October 6
The Samrala police claims to have arrested three persons behind killing of a youth identified as Balwinder Singh, a resident of Kotala village last night. Khanna SP (Detective) Balwinder Singh said a villager spotted the body of Balwinder Singh in the fields near Kakrala Khurd village.

The police gathered vital clues and was successful in arresting three persons identified as Paramjit Singh, Deepi and Harbinder Singh, all residents of Kotala village. The SP added that the suspects cracked during interrogation and confessed killing Balwinder Singh due to personal enmity.

Kulwinder Singh, brother of the deceased, is already in a jail in connection with a murder. He was released on parole to marry a Dalit girl of the same village a few days ago. They confessed that they were having a grudge as Balwinder was following his brother’s case.

On the intervening night of October 4 and 5 all of them consumed liquor and killed Balwinder Singh with sharp- edged weapons and threw the body somewhere else.



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