C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


International Women Safety Day
School, college students soft targets
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
It is a harrowing experience for women who commute by buses in the city, for they become the soft targets for eve-teasers. A reality check on the safety of women commuting by CTU buses on the eve of the International Women Safety Day (November 25) revealed that school-going and college-going girls were undergoing the humiliation at the hands of eve-teasers, but cases were going unreported.

Surprisingly, of the 24 women commuters interviewed by this reporter on board four buses between Sector 17, IT Park, Panjab University and Mohali (Phase XI), had a tale to narrate.

Amrita Singh (name changed), a Panjab University student, is a resident of Mohali and travels in a CTU bus everyday. “In the past two years, I have witnessed at least five such cases where I was followed by somebody. I had stopped commuting by CTU buses after a few such incidents. But then, finding it difficult to manage, I resorted back to the bus service,” she said on her way from the PU to Mohali.

“About a month ago, I found a man in his mid-thirties staring at me while I was waiting at the bus stop. He boarded the bus with me from the PU and I noticed a car following the bus. He alighted from the bus at Phase XI, Mohali, and returned in the car. On seeing him doing the same thing the next day, I asked him what was his problem, but he misbehaved with me. I pushed him off and called the police. The conductor of the bus also helped me,” added Amrita.

IT professionals, meanwhile, shared incidents where they protected school students from eve-teasers. Commuting in a CTU bus from IT Park to Sector 17, an IT professional, Aruna Kohli, said: “I could not recall any incident when I was teased. Such problems were there when we were in college.”

“Two weeks ago, I found a middle-aged man troubling a Class X girl in a bus when I was on my way to the office. The man was sitting next to her seat and was pushing her. I could see that she was not comfortable. I rushed to help her and the conductor asked the man to leave the bus at the next stop,” added Aruna.

A student of Khalsa College, Manisha Sharma (name changed), boarded a bus from Sector 26 to reach her house in Mani Majra. Narrating her experience, she said: “There cannot be anything worse than a policeman misbehaving with you. About six months ago, a policeman started troubling me. He would stand outside my college and follow me till the bus stop. He would push me while boarding the bus and sit on the seat next to mine. I was scared at his sight. This continued for about a week. Then I stopped going to the college as my vacations started. I did not know whom to contact in such a situation.”

Those interviewed included 14 women aged above 30 and 10 aged between 19 and 25.

300 complaints in 2 months

On an average, the police control room receives five complaints of eve-teasing everyday. The police has received over 300 complaints since it introduced the service on September 26.

Peace walk

The Union of Evangelical Students of India organised a peace walk against increasing crimes against women in the tricity on the eve of the International Women Safety Day on Saturday from 3 pm to 5 pm across Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj and Sector 17.

Two weeks ago, I found a middle-aged man troubling a Class X girl in a bus when I was on my way to the office. The man was sitting next to her seat and was pushing her. I could see that she was not comfortable. I rushed to help her and the conductor asked the man to leave the bus at the next stop

— Aruna, an IT professional



Panchkula murder probe
2 youths rounded up for questioning
One of them linked to a political leader in Himachal Pradesh, says police
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
The Panchkula police has rounded up two youths from Baddi today in the sensational murder case of 24-year-old girl Jyoti, who was found murdered in Panchkula on Thursday.

One of the youths is a relative of a political leader in Himachal Pradesh. The police said both these youths used to make and receive phone calls from Jyoti. The two youths, in their mid-twenties, had made calls to Jyoti just before she was murdered. They were in contact with Jyoti for the past two months and used to make several calls to her.

Jyoti was found murdered on the Sector 21 Panchkula road on Thursday. She was putting up as a paying guest in house number 3295, Sector 21D, Chandigarh, with other 15 girls. She was pursuing BEd from a private institute in Mohali and was also working in a security agency.

"The youths work in a production company and met Jyoti when they had gone to display some products at her workplace," said a police official requesting anonymity.

He added: “They exchanged numbers and met Jyoti a number of times.” One of the youth said he was linked to a person who had contested Assembly polls in Himachal recently. During investigations, the youths said they were just friends and had casual meeting with Jyoti quite often. They have also named a few persons who were in contact with Jyoti.

“Somebody had a phone which was used only to talk to Jyoti. The identity given to the telecom company has turned out to be fake,” said another police official.


Body of 5-yr-old recovered from drain
Father of the child cries foul, police says it is a case of drowning
Tribune News Service

A file photo of Amit with his mother.

Mohali, November 24
The police recovered a body of a five-year-old boy, who went missing last evening, from a drain’, this morning. The deceased has been identified as Amit, son of Sham Lal, a labourer, who lives in Amb Sahib Colony here.

While denying any foul play in the case, the police said that drowning seemed to be the cause of death. “The post-mortem report is yet to come. No external injury was noticed on the body of the deceased”, said Rajpal Singh, Station House Officer of the Phase 11 Police Station.

On the other hand, Sham Lal claimed that while searching for his son, his acquaintances had visited the spot from where the body was recovered several times since his son went missing.

“We visited the spot three to four times since last evening but found nothing there. How come, all of sudden the body of my son was recovered from there?” Sham La said while indicating some foul play in his son’s death.

“We have initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC. After getting the post-mortem report, we will decide the next course of action”, said the police.

What could be termed as sheer ‘insensitiveness’ or callousness on the part of the police, the kin of the deceased boy were asked to take the body of the boy to the Civil Hospital on their own. As there was no policeman accompanying the family, Amit’s mother reached the Phase 11 Police Station carrying the body of her son in a hired auto-rickshaw. She remained sitting in the vehicle for over one hour with the son’s body in her lap. The father of the boy was in Parwanoo that time, searching for his missing son. The body was taken to the hospital for post-mortem after his (the father) arrived there.

Swarndeep Singh, SP (City), said that in case of recovery of any unclaimed or unidentified body, the police takes the body to the hospital, otherwise, it’s the relatives’ responsibility to take the body to the hospital.



Finally, MC swings into action
Removes tent erected outside the residence of IAS officer
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Waking up from its deep slumber, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has removed the tent pitched outside the residence of Punjab IAS officer Sumer Singh Gurjar in Sector 7. The violation was highlighted in these columns.

Defying the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the IAS officer had encroached upon a portion of the road outside his house number 901 in Sector 7.

The tent was being used as a shelter for his security staff.

Despite the fact that a senior MC official is Gurjar's neighbour, the violation went unnoticed. The civic body took almost a week to remove the tent.

Though the MC has removed the tent, the half-raised wall, which was there to give support to the tent, was not razed and the IAS officer has now kept flowerpots around the wall.

Gurjar's servant, security guard and driver were using the tent. The tent was erected at the rear of his house. On the front side of the house, a note has been pasted on the gate stating that the entry is from the rear.

MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said they had removed the tent outside the residence of Gurjar.

"The MC team has told the occupants of the house not to encroach upon the government and MC land," he added.

Kashmira Singh, Inspector, enforcement wing, MC, said after reaching the spot, the MC employees had a word with Gurjar over phone, as he was not at home. Thereafter, the MC team removed the tent from there.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the removal of unauthorised security tents pitched on government land outside residences of VVIPs. Following the High Court's directions, the Chandigarh Administration and the municipal corporation had removed security tents pitched on MC land and in greenbelts. The court had issued stern instructions to the Administration and the Punjab and Haryana governments to immediately remove all security tents and make greenbelts free of such encroachments. The court had also ordered the Administration to start with the removal of security tents from outside judges' residences.



PU prof under CBI Scanner
Gave nod to recognition of an institute on basis of false documents
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recently sought a sanction from the Panjab University to prosecute a professor of the pharmacy department for allegedly misleading the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in the matter of granting recognition to an educational institute in Jaipur.

Professor OP Katare was part of an AICTE panel formed to giving recommendation on recognition of Rajdhani Institute of Technology and Management at Renwal village in Jaipur district.

The CBI had booked 11 people, including Katare, in January 2010. The CBI in its report has stated that Katare and other members of the scrutiny committee while functioning as public servants misled the AICTE in the matter of grant of recognition to Rajdhani Institute of Technology and Management to run an engineering college. They were charged for dereliction of duty.

The panel members allegedly submitted their recommendations in favour of the institute on the basis of false documents, which were submitted by the president of the society.

Professor OP Katare, who at the time of the incident was a member of AICTE’s North Western Regional Committee (NWRC), Chandigarh, meanwhile, said that he along with the other members considered the proposal suitable for further processing, based on the photocopy of documents submitted by the society.

“We had the duty of checking whether the documents required for processing the case were attached to the proposal or not, and forward the case. Beyond that it was the responsibility of the hearing committee at the AICTE headquarters in New Delhi to verify whether the documents were original or not,” he said.

Katare said that it was surprising that even though it was not their duty to check the authenticity of documents, still the investigating agency had named them in the FIR.

CBI had sent a similar communication to PU through AICTE on August 29, 2011. The agency again wrote to the university on September 16, 2011. The matter would be taken up during the forthcoming Syndicate meeting.

Verification of documents was HQ’s Responsibility

We had the duty of checking whether the documents required for processing the case were attached to the proposal or not, and forward the case. Beyond that it was the responsibility of the hearing committee at the AICTE headquarters in New Delhi to verify whether the documents were original or not

— Prof OP Katare, former member, North Western Regional Committee, AICTE



3 students who went missing had gone to Shimla on a joyride
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
In an interesting case in Pinjore, three schoolchildren of Class V of a local school went missing a day ago. The police sounded an alert and there was a hue and cry that they were kidnapped. But when the police started searching them, it was found that they had gone to Shimla on a joyride.

Pradeep, Salman and Harjinder, all 12 years old, had gone to school on Thursday but they did not return home in the afternoon. “The children usually return home by 2.30 pm, but when they did not return, the parents started looking for them,” said a police official of the Pinjore police station.

While Pradeep hails from Chauna Chowk, Salman hails from the Vishwakarma area and Harjinder puts up near the Bitna road.

He further added, “Even the school premises was checked but the children were not found. When the schoolchildren were asked, they said that they were being taken by an auto-rickshaw driver.”

The parents then approached the Panchkula police following which they started searching for the children. “We thought it to be a case of kidnapping and began searching for them. During our raids, we found that the children were not kidnapped by any miscreant but had gone to Shimla for a joy ride,” said another official.

When asked, they said that they just wanted to go for a joyride on the toy train and even slept in the same. But no one noticed them.

Harjinder is mentally challenged and was the one who started pushing his friends return.

“We just wanted that the children should reach back home safely to their parents. Our search had already started when we came to be known that they had gone to Shimla. Thankfully they are safe,” said Inspector Navin Sandhu, Station house officer of the Pinjore police station.



MC House proceedings on TV may become reality
Agenda to come up for discussion at meeting tomorrow
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
If all goes well then the city residents will be able to see their representatives live on their TV or computer screens debating in the House meeting of the Municipal Corporation. In the house meeting on November 26, an agenda will be coming up for discussion for the live telecast of the MC House meeting proceedings.

Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga who wrote a letter to Mayor Rajbala Malik for the live telecast of the House proceedings. Bahga said that there should be live telecast of the House proceedings so that the residents, who elect councillors, can know as to how these public representatives behave in the House meeting. They can know also whether their ward councillor is taking up their issues in the House or not, he added.

Bahga further added that the authorities should telecast House proceedings like the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabh that telecast the proceedings of the House in their respective channels. He suggested that the civic body could tie up with any local cable operator who can telecast the House proceedings. The Municipal Corporation has already recorded the entire house proceedings on video so there should be no hitch in giving the video recording to a cable operator for telecast, he added.

If not on cable television, then the corporation can upload the video on YouTube for the city residents. The residents are well educated and tech savvy and they can easily see the debate on their computer screens, Bahga added.

Policy to hire consultants on agenda
Another agenda of preparing a policy on appointing consultants will also come up for discussion. At present, there is no policy in the Municipal Corporation for hiring consultants for various projects. Besides, issues like re-carpeting of roads in three wards, installation of six water boosters to solve water crisis and garbage collection pilot project in Sector 48, 49, 50 and 51 will also come up for discussion on Monday.



PGI cheating racket
Two prime accused sent to judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
In the recently busted PGI cheating racket, the two prime accused, Dr Gangadhar Reddy and Gurivir Reddy, have been sent to judicial custody (Burail Jail) till December 3.

While Gangadhar Reddy, who was pursuing his MD from a medical college in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, was allegedly caught solving the questions for the students taking the PGIMER MD examination on November 10, Gurivi is the prime accused who had allegedly planned the entire operation.

Gangadhar was arrested from Patna while Gurivi was nabbed from a hotel in Sector 35 by the CBI sleuths on the day when the racket was busted. During the exam held on November 10, the CBI officials had arrested seven girls, who were caught cheating inside the examination centre.

A total of 16 accused, including Gangadhar and Gurivi, will be produced in the court here on December 3. One of the accused, P Siddhartha, had moved a bail application. However, a local court dismissed his plea on Friday.

The CBI has slapped sections of cheating by impersonation, forgery, using forged documents as genuine under Sections 419, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC in the FIR registered in the PGI scam.

Earlier, the CBI had registered the case against all 15 accused under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC.

The 15 accused include eight girls, who were decoy candidates meant to leak the paper, prime accused Gurivi Reddy and six persons, who were part of the gang. The decoy candidates were meant to leak the paper through Bluetooth devices, get it solved from experts sitting in Patna (Gangadhar), who would then mail it back to the beneficiaries appearing for the exam.

The exam has been rescheduled for December 8.



Students raise concern on crime against women
Tribune News Service

Students of Shemrock School during a street play at the Phase VII market in Mohali on Saturday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Mohali, November 24
Students of Shemrock School staged a street play at the Phase 7 market here today. The Class X students of the school highlighted the issue of “crime against women” through the play. The students themselves prepared the script and concept of the skit.

Preetjot Kaur, Yamini, Maninder Kaur and Mehakpreet, who were part of the play, said that staging the play at the market was altogether a different experience from staging a play in any auditorium.

“This was our first such experience, and when people started gathering around to watch our performance, we felt very excited,” said Preetjot Kaur.

Mehakpreet and Yamini said that the audience comprised of different sections of the society. “As we took up issues such as dowry, domestic violence, and female foeticide, the skit was appreciated by the people,” they said.

Students also held banners with thoughtful quotations including “Real Men Don't Hit” and “Let Us Raise Our Voice against Eve-Teasing”. White ribbons were also distributed to spread message against physical violence.

Speaking on occasion, school principal RK Sharma lauded the efforts of the children and said that more such meaningful street plays would be organised by the students in future.



Dispute redress centres sans counsellors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
City family counselling centres set up for resolving the disputes of the couples have become a hub for career counselling for the youth due to non-availability of professional family counsellors.

In a meeting held by the representatives of the six NGOs, running such centres in the city, with the chairperson of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, Kamlesh, the issue was discussed and the representatives stated that due to minimal honorarium the centres failed to hire professional counsellors.

They brought to the notice of the chairperson that for the past two months they had been advertising the post of counsellor for their family counselling centre, but till date no professional counsellor had applied for it due to nominal honorarium.

The members stated that as per the budget of the board a counsellor could be hired at the honorarium of Rs 5,000 per month, but at this nominal honorarium, professionals did not even apply for the post.

As a result, the cases of the family dispute are not taken up at the family counselling centres. On an average, the centres receive only 15 per cent of the divorce or other family dispute cases.

The members of the NGOs recommended that the honorarium and the eligibility criteria for hiring the counsellors should be revised. The board chairperson assured the members that she would take up the matter with the higher authorities.



12 private buses impounded

Chandigarh, November 24
The enforcement wing of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today impounded 12 buses of private transporters, schools and private colleges from Sector 35.

Kashmira Singh, inspector, enforcement wing, said they had issued notices and transporters were asked not to park their vehicles on the MC land. However, the MC team found 12 private buses parked in Sector 35 near JW Marriott hotel, petrol pump and the Markfed building.

26-yr-old fell from elevator

Umesh Kumar (26), the man who died after falling from the fifth floor of a temporary lift at an under-construction site in Sector 43 yesterday, had gone to inspect the lift when he met with the accident, the police said. It was inadvertently reported that he fell from the fifth floor of the Chandigarh Judicial Academy. — TNS



Chandigarh Carnival: Cultures know no bounds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The second day of the Chandigarh Carnival witnessed a huge turnout. The merriment and joy was palpable as residents, youngsters all thronged various stalls. "CITCO Da Vehra" drew crowds. Amusement Park and the a filmcity based on North East was an another attraction.

Anil Raina, who conducted a quiz in the carnival, had a bagful of questions based on world literatures from English, Indian, European and other cultures.

The Government Museum and Art Gallery had put up an artist's corner displaying national award winner miniature painting Jaiprakash's work. Entries for on-the-spot photography competition are open till 12 noon on Sunday.

NZCC folk artistes brought tradition and folklore alive with their special performances.



‘Girl education catching on in Pakistan’
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
“Pakistan is not all about shooting of a 14-year-old girl for advocating girls’ education rights; it is also about activism involving demanding of rights for girls,” says Areeb Shauket, one of the 12 girl students from Lahore Grammar School, who are participating in the International Model United Nations Conference at Vivek High School, Sector 38.

These young minds from Pakistan spoke fearlessly and with confidence while analysing how a number of conflicting issues were confronting their nation.

“The girls’ education is catching on, especially in the urban areas. Even the older generation is realising that the youth is the key to country’s progress,” says Areeb. She felt elated to share that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was an alumna of their school.

“Our country is not as bad as it is perceived by the world. There are issues such as corruption, extremism, inequality and illiteracy in our country, but it may be equally true for India,” says another student Rahma Shahid.

The biggest problem her country faced, she feels, was that there was extremism in everything. “Liberals are too liberal and fundamentalists are too closed. What we need here is a balanced society that can give space to individual viewpoints,” she adds.

Most of the students agreed that education was the key to create public awareness especially in rural areas. “For this we require visionary leaders who can form a stable government,” they say.

All the girls are very excited to be in India. “We came by road from the Wagah border and it was a pleasant journey,” says Saniya Raza.



Strawberry Fields shines at science meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Strawberry Fields World School was declared the overall champion at the ICSE Inter-School Science Symposium, an inter-school science competition, at St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh, on November 23.

Competing for the top honours under various categories were the ICSE affiliated schools of the tricity with students from classes VIII-X.

Students of Strawberry Fields World School were adjudged the best in “Techno Learn”, “Blossoms” and “Quest”. In Techno Learn, Devanshi Pratap of class IX and Rhea Singh of class VIII bagged the first prize for their informative PowerPoint presentation on the topic “Science for Human Welfare”. In Blossoms, ninth graders Roop Brar and Bisman Deu were declared winners for the best flower arrangement of medicinal plants, showcasing their aesthetic and botanical prowess. Quest, the science quiz, witnessed class VIII students Shreya Bali and Manan Khattar clearing the preliminary written round and the multiple choice questions with flying colours to top the competition.

Meanwhile, Suchheta Singh and Avi Singh represented the school and bagged the second prize in “Eureka-Eureka”, the fun with science experiments event. Siddharth Miglani of class VIII and Sukrut Gondhalekar of class IX also walked away with the third prize for the best working model on the emerging topic “Harnessing Energy”, with their original concept of channelising solar energy via space solar power.



From Schools
Annual Day

The annual function of CRB School, Sector 7, was held at Tagore Theatre. Various cultural performances captivated the audience. “Ek Chidiya” performance of UKG spread the message of unity. Traditional dances including lavani, naga, and dandia brought everybody close to their roots.

Blood donation

Over 250 people donated blood at Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary School, Sector 27. The camp, organised in collaboration with the PGI Blood Transfusion Society, was inaugurated by Brig Satish Kumar, Group Commander, NCC, Sector 26. NCC cadets of the senior wing, school alumni and parents of the schoolchildren donated for the noble cause.

National Integration Week

National Integration Week was celebrated at Government Senior Secondary school, Maloya. Speeches were delivered on secularism, communal harmony and non-violence. Poem recitation in Urdu, Hindi, English and Punjabi was also conducted. Various performaces representing multiculturalism marked the day.

Wildlife conservation

On the eve of Wildlife Conservation Day, a slogan writing and drawing competition was held at MDAV School. Students from classes V to X participated in this event. Students were sensitized about wildlife conservation and the importance of forests.

Cultural programme

A cultural programme was organised by the primary wing of Guru Nanak Public School. The programme started with shabad recital followed by lighting of lamp by the chief guest. The principal read the annual report, highlighting the year long achievements of the school. Students displayed "Yogasanas" to highlight the need for a stress-free and healthy life. The programme concluded with the prize distribution ceremony, followed by a bhangra performance.

Martyrdom Day

Mohali: DAV School held a special assembly to observe Martyrdom Day of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who is remembered for championing the cause of religious freedom. The special assembly began with a shabad recital by the school choir, followed by a speech on the life and works of the Sikh Guru. Poems were also recited by the students. — TNS



No storeroom for mid-day meal at Burail school
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Government Middle School, Burail, Sector 45, was found lacking a separate storeroom for mid-day meals, during a surprise check conducted by ADC Mahavir Kaushik here today. Since Chandigarh has a centralised system of preparing mid-day meals, it has been made mandatory for all the government schools to have a clean room to store utensils and to receive the food when it arrives in the morning.

During the inspection, however, it was found that utensils were kept in an open verandah, where the meals were received and further distributed in classrooms. ADC Mahavir said it was difficult to maintain hygiene under such condition; therefore, a separate room was needed.

School authorities claimed that a separate room could not be provided, due to lack of rooms in the school. However, new rooms were under construction, they said.

ADC Kaushik also inspected other schools including Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, and Government Middle School, Sector 45. At GSSS-45, mid-day meal workers were found without head scarfs. Kaushik told the principal to make sure that everyday the workers wore aprons, gloves and scarfs while distributing the mid-day meal to students.

He said while the overall quality of the meal was fine, however, the students demanded more variety in the food. “I will send all these observations to the higher authorities for their perusal,” said Kaushik.



Tewari visits alma mater on annual sports meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Manish Tewari, Union Minister of State, Information and Broadcasting, visited his alma mater, St John’s High School, Sector 26, here today. He was the chief guest at the school’s annual sports meet.

The school authorities presented Tewari his school admission card and a portrait sketched by a student. On seeing the portrait, he enthusiastically commented that his mother would be very happy to see it.

In his speech, he talked about his days at the school, and said it was an honour to come back to his alma mater.

The programme commenced with unfurling of the flag and tent pegging by horseriders. Students from Classes VI to XI participated in an impressive march past. Ajesh, who was adjudged the best athlete (under-19) in the North Zone, lit the torch.



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