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Tearful adieu to Mehram in Mohali
Was kidnapped from Phase IX park in Mohali; body found from a garbage dumpyard in Sector 69
Tribune News Service

Inconsolable mother Harinder Kaur at the cremation ground
Inconsolable mother Harinder Kaur at the cremation ground
Grief-stricken maternal grandmother
Grief-stricken maternal grandmother
Maternal grandfather Balwinder Singh being taken to a hospital after he fainted during the cremation
Maternal grandfather Balwinder Singh being taken to a hospital after he fainted during the cremation

Mohali, November 8
Six-year-old Mehram Singh Sandhu was given tearful adieu by everybody present at the cremation ground in Mohali Industrial Area near Balongi village this morning.

The cremation ground, where a large posse of the Mohali police was present to maintain law and order situation, also witnessed a large crowd, including relatives and neighbours of the victim, who came to attend the cremation that took place at around 10 am, today.

The last rites were performed by maternal grandfather Balwinder Singh, whose condition deteriorated while he was performing the last rites. He was immediately shifted to IVY Hospital at Sector 71, where he has been kept under observation.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the cremation ground, where the grandmother of the child, Jaswinder Kaur and mother Harinder Kaur were inconsolable. “Mehram can’t leave us. Come back my son,” were the words of Jaswinder Kaur.

“We can’t believe that Mehram has left us”, said an elderly woman, a neigbour of the family. Earlier, the body was released by the authorities of Mohali Civil Hospital (where the postmortem had taken place last evening) at around 9.30 am this morning.

The body was received by the family members and relatives, who took the body to their Phase IX residence immediately under tight police security. “After keeping the body for five minutes at the residence, it was immediately taken to the cremation ground for the last rites. We did not want to keep the body at home for long as it could have sparked unrest among the people here”, said a relative of the bereaved family.

Exact cause of death not ascertained

The victim, Mehram Singh Sandhu
The victim, Mehram Singh Sandhu. A file photo

The preliminary report of the postmortem did not ascertain the exact cause of death. “Seeing the condition of the body, where upper part of the body was a mere skeleton, I believe that arriving at the exact cause of death is not possible,” said a doctor at Mohali Civil Hospital, while speaking to Chandigarh Tribune on Saturday. The hospital’s senior medical officer Dr Andesh Kang said that the special medical board, consisting Dr Preet Inder Singh, Dr Manoj Gupta, Dr Vivek Malhotra and Dr Dheeraj Vashisht, was formed. “The board is yet to finalise its findings of the postmortem examination,” said Dr Kang. She added that some samples, including swabs, had been sent to forensic laboratories at Kharar and Patiala for further examination. “With these further tests, we will find out whether or not the victim was sodomised and with which chemical the body was burnt,” said Dr Kang.

Strangulation not ruled out

Since the police found a cloth lying near the neck of the body, the experts said that the victim might have been strangulated. “We are not sure whether he was strangulated or not as we did not find any organ in the upper part of the body,” admitted a doctor.

Cops clueless

The Mohali police still groping in the dark. SSP Bhatti admitted that the police was yet to get any clue in the case. “We are working on several theories. The case will be solved soon,” claimed SSP Bhatti.

DNA test conducted to identify Mehram’s body

To ascertain whether the body was that of Mehram, the Mohali police took a sample of the body for a DNA test. “Yes, doubts are there, so, we have sent a sample of the body for the DNA test,” said Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti. Another senior police official also said that Mehram’s maternal grandfather Balwinder Singh had also raised doubts on Friday after seeing the legs of the body. The family members have identified the body only after seeing the shoes and clothes. The upper part of the body was just a skeleton, was completely burnt and eaten by maggots.

How events unfolded

  • October 28: Mehram kidnapped from a park in front of his house at Phase IX at around 6 pm.
  • October 29: Mohali police books Mehram’s father Varinderpal Singh, grandfather Nirmal Singh, aunt Parminder Kaur and uncle Prabhjeet Singh for kidnapping, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy at the Phase VIII police station.
  • November 7: Mehram’s highly decomposed body found buried at garbage dumping yard in Sector 69. Police adds murder charge against the accused.
  • November 8: Mehram cremated under tight security at Mohali.



Mohali police release sketch of murder suspect
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
The police have prepared the sketch of the accused who kidnapped Mehram.The police is trying hard to identify him. He was spotted coming to the Phase IX park (from where Mehram was kidnapped) regularly since three to four days before the kidnapping took place. “A tall man, wearing a blue pant and a yellow shirt, was seen coming to the (including the day of kidnapping) park and was spotted playing mobile phone games with the children, including Mehram”, said the police. A child of the area also confirmed that Mehram knew him.

Recce was done carefully

The Mohali police believe that the accused must be residing near the spot, where the body was found buried. “Apparently, the murderer/murderers have visited the spot at least twice. “First they burnt the body near the spot and then it was buried in the next round”, said a senior police official.

Father’s kin rounded up

Mehram’s paternal family members, including grandfather Nirmal Singh and uncle Prabhjeet Singh, have been rounded up by the police late on Friday night. They have been booked for murder under appropriate sections of the IPC.

‘Tantrik’ angle ruled out

“We have ruled out the “tantric” angle”, said the police. “Usually ‘tantriks’ don’t leave hair and skull of the body. In this case, both skull and hair was intact with the body”, said the police.

MLA demands probe

Demanding inquiry into the allegations of negligence against the police, Congress MLA Sidhu said he will raise the issue in Vidhan Sabha.

Bhog ceremony on Nov 12

The bhog ceremony will take place on November 12 at Phase IX Gurdwara from 1 to 2 pm.

Cops on VVIP duty when Mehram was kidnapped

On the fateful day, the entire Mohali police were on VVIP duty as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had visited the town on October 28, when Mehram was kidnapped. “No official was present at the police station when we went to file a complaint of kidnapping at the Phase VIII police station. We were told that all the officials were on VVIP duty. We were told to come next morning,” alleged a relative of the victim.

Police tightlipped on their talk with Mehram’s Sydney-based father

The father, Varinderpal Singh Sandhu The Mohali police are tightlipped on their talk with Mehram’s father Varinderpal Singh, who lives in Sydney, Australia. When asked whether the police have contacted Varinderpal after recovery of the body on Friday, the police first tried to evade the question. “We are not going to comment on the issue right now,” said Superintendent of Police (detective) GS Grewal.

The father, Varinderpal Singh Sandhu.



Was excited about his birthday next month
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
Five-year old Mehram was excited to celebrate his sixth birthday next month.

Mehram was born in Sydney, in December 2008. A few months after his birth, the couple, Varinder Pal Singh and Harinder Kaur, developed differences following which the latter moved back to India along with her new born child.

The victim’s neighbour said that Mehram was excited as his birthday was

approaching. “He used to discuss about the gift he wanted from his mother”, the woman said further.

A close family friend said that Mehram’s mother was an adopted child of Balwinder Singh and Jaswinder Kaur, as they didn’t have a child of their own.

“Mehram was loved by everyone in his family, he will be deeply missed”, added a relative.



Friend Mehakpreet in a state of shock
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
Five-year-old Mehakpreet Kaur is scared of stepping out of her house alone. Down with the fever since the body of her friend and classmate Mehram was recovered, Kaur is in a state of shock.

Losing her friend has left her bewildered; she has not stopped crying for the last 24 hours, which has worried her parents.

Mehakpreet was in the same class and school in Phase XI where Mehram used to study. The bond the two friends shared was not restricted to the school only.

The two used to play in the same park from where Mehram was reportedly abducted.

Since October 28, the day when Mehram went missing, she used to repeatedly ask her parents about Mehram. “Mehakpreet was emotionally attached to him as they used to play together in the park and sometimes even go to the school together”, said Gurpreet Kaur, her mother.

Gurpreet further said her daughter was down with fever and upset over the news of Mehram’s death. “Although she was unwell we decided to send her to school so that she could come out of the shock”, she added.

Mehakpreet while speaking to Tribune said that she missed her friend at the school. “I was feeling alone in the school as Mehram was not there. We even used to play together in the school”, she said.

After returning from the school Mehakpreet kept standing at the gate of her house looking towards Mehram’s house that was crowded with people coming to condole the family.

A shocking sight: Safai karamchari

Veer Pal, a rag picker, who spotted Mehram Singh’s body and informed the police, shows the spot where the body was found at Sector 69, Mohali, on Saturday
Veer Pal, a rag picker, who spotted Mehram Singh’s body and informed the police, shows the spot where the body was found at Sector 69, Mohali, on Saturday

“It was the foot of the victim which I first saw that left me shocked. I got scared and rushed to call my colleagues who were working at the garbage dumping yard in Sector 69 where the body was buried,” said Veer Pal a Safai saramchari. It was the safai karamcharis who then removed the concrete blocks with which the body was covered.

“It took us no to realise that somebody had dumped a body of a child following which the police was immediately informed,” Veer Pal said. The safai karamcharis come to the site at around 9 am and stay there till 4 pm. It is believed that the accused dumped the body at night. Veer Pal had gone to attend the call of nature when he noticed the body.



Was well behaved, says Principal
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
Mehram Singh Sandhu, a Class I student of Infant Jesus Convent School, Phase XI, Mohali, was an intelligent and well behaved student. The principal who came to know about the incident this morning declared November 10 a holiday.
School Principal Sister Alina said the moment she came to know about the gruesome killing of Mehram, she met teachers to inquire about the student.

“The class teacher told me that Mehram was good in studies and was a disciplined child”, the principal said further. Teachers claimed that Mehram was a bright student and never gave any problems in class.

Everyone in the school was in a state of shock. His friends shared their memories. Ranbir Marwaha, a close friend of Mehram, who used to sit on the same bench before their section was changed, was shocked to know about his friend’s death. “Recently, Mehran and I had gone to purchase winter uniform together along with our parents”, Ranbir said. Sanvir another close friend of Mehram, used to ask his parents about Mehram since the day he went missing. The school authorities have already informed parents of the students studying in the school about Monday being declared a holiday following the incident. The school has also decided to hold a special assembly on Tuesday to organise a prayer meeting. “The entire school will pray together for Mehram”, Sister Alina added.



Scared parents keep kids indoors
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
Till a few days ago, the small park with colorful play equipments in Phase IX used to be the favourite spot for children, but today, the park wore a deserted look. After the incident, the children are scared to go out and play in the park which is at arms length from their house.
Mehram’s friend Sirjan in his mother’s lap. His mother refuses to send him to the park
Mehram’s friend Sirjan in his mother’s lap. His mother refuses to send him to the park

The residents of the area claim that soon after Mehram went missing from the park the children have stopped going there to play.

Sirjan (3), a student of pre-nursery, used to play with Mehran in the park, however, now refuses to go to the park as Mehram went missing from there and never returned.

“Everyone is scared of sending their children to play in the park. Earlier, they used to play alone, but now, nobody allows them to out and play”, said Sirjan’s mother Gurpal Kaur.

Residents said only the elderly were seen taking a stroll in the park. “After Mehram went missing all we saw was policemen in civies sitting in the park”, said Mandeep another local resident.

The residents said that Mehram’s friends who were playing with him on the day he went missing have not returned to play in the park fearing that somebody may even kidnap them.

Ashwindeep Singh, another child who stays in the same area and used to play with Mehram, said that the incident of Mehram getting murdered has left him in fear. “I don’t go out to play alone now, as I feel someday someone may even kidnap me”, he said.


Tight vigil at railway station today
400 security personnel will keep an eye on entry of supporters of Sant Rampal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
An additional force of 400 personnel, including Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF), will be deployed at the Chandigarh railway station from Sunday.

The move is aimed at keeping a check on the supporters of Sant Rampal from creating ruckus as the sect head’s hearing is scheduled to be held at the Punjab and Haryana High Court on November 10.

Top officials of the GRP and RPF conducted a joint inspection of the Chandigarh railway station today to monitor the area where the additional forces would be deputed.

The officials also inspected the unmanned entry points, on the Chandigarh and Panchkula side of the station, and the entry exit points on the premises.

Barricades have been set up on the entry points from the Chandigarh and Panchkula side as was decided in the high-level meeting of railway officials.

Highly-placed sources said about 250 GRP and 200 RPF personnel will be deployed at the station by tomorrow to manage the flow of people.

Officials said a close eye would be kept on commuters at the station. Earlier, as many as 250 supporters allegedly carried shield guards, helmets and sticks and ‘instigated’ people to create ruckus at the station if Sant Rampal faced trouble.

Gearing up

  • As many as 250 GRP and 200 RPF personnel will be deployed at the station to keep an eye on commuters.
  • Barricades have been set up at the entry points from the Chandigarh and Panchkula side.
  • The security personnel will also monitor the flow of visitors, particularly the supporters of Sant Rampal, if they arrive by train to the city.



UT Admn won’t convert leasehold plots into freehold
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Contrary to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Panel, the UT Administration has decided not to convert industrial plots from leasehold into freehold.

Recently, the Parliamentary Panel had recommended the conversion of industrial plots from leasehold into freehold.

A senior official of the UT Administration said earlier, too, the UT’s stance was same but once again but they had conveyed it to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sources said last month, the MHA had sought clarifications from the Administration on the issue of leasehold to freehold.

In a recent meeting of the Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC), UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil had also turned down the demand of industrialists and traders in this regard.

The sub-committee on the administration of the UTs of the department-related parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, in its recent report submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, had recommended the conversion of industrial plots from leasehold into freehold.

At present, almost 50 per cent of the plots in the Industrial Area are freehold, while the remaining on leasehold. A majority of plots have either changed hands on the basis of the power of attorney or are under litigation due to family disputes over division, causing revenue loss to the UT Administration.

Patil not in favour

Sources said UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil was not in favour of converting leasehold plots into freehold. The move will affect owners of 1,540 industrial sites of different sizes in the Industrial Area, Phases I and II.

Long-pending demand of industrialists

Conversion of leasehold properties into freehold has been a long-pending demand of local industrialists. All industrial properties auctioned or allotted after 1980 were given on a leasehold basis. Before this, the properties were given on a freehold basis. As much as 50 per cent of the industrial properties are leasehold and industrialists contend that they cannot get loans against such properties or sell these.



Japanese Garden set up in ‘violation’ of law
City-based lawyer writes to UT Adviser alleging municipal corporation ignored Edict of Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
A city-based advocate has written a letter to the UT Adviser stating that the inauguration of the Japanese Garden, Sector 31, was in alleged violation of the Edict of Chandigarh.

Advocate Ajay Jagga has also sought an inquiry into the matter.

In his letter Jagga stated, “The edict has been violated by the Municipal Corporation, which is shocking, because in the recently inaugurated Japanese Garden, lots of statues have been erected. The placement/creation of statues in the garden is not in tune with the heritage value of Chandigarh. The placement of statues is certainly contrary to the rules/edict and is criticised.”

He further states, “There is a special Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee, which is chaired by the UT Administrator, to advise the administration on heritage matters to ensure that the edict of Chandigarh is not violated. Despite this, the civic body has violated the edict.”

Jagga said, “In future, the projects of the MC and administration should be asked to take a clearance regarding the non-violation of the edict of Chandigarh. The administration can issue an advisory in this regard to the MC and the engineering wing of Chandigarh.”

What is edict of Chandigarh

Edict of Chandigarh clearly states that “No personal statue be erected” and under this head, it states that the age of personal statues is gone. No personal statues shall be erected in the city or parks of Chandigarh. The city is planned to breathe the new sublimated spirit of art. Commemoration of persons shall be confined to suitably place bronze plaques.



Pensioners a harried lot
Made to wait for hours at the e-sampark centre in Sec 47
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Hundreds of senior citizens, who came to take their pension, were made to wait for hours at the e-sampark centre in Sector 47 here today.

They had to wait for more than two hours just to get their fingerprints verified.

Rakesh Verma, 75-year-old senior citizen, reached the centre at 10 am today but had to return empty handed at around 1:15 pm due to a technical fault in the machine.

There was delay in verifying the fingerprints and pensioners kept on waiting in the queue for more than three hours.

“This is not for the first time that such a problem has been faced by the pensioners at the centre but for the past three to four months the problem has been recurring without any concrete solution by the authorities concerned to resolve it, a pensioner said.

The pensioners alleged that the authorities were not bothered about the inconvenience caused to the senior citizens due to the technical fault in the machines time and again.

They stated that a number of times written requests had been made to the Social Welfare Department to increase the number of counters for old age pensioners, but all in vain. Resultantly, every month a majority of the senior citizens had to come twice or thrice to get their pension and to get their verification done.



Victim of Admn’s apathy gets new lease of life
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8
Darshan Kumar (45), the maggot-infested destitute who landed in the PGI due to the delay in help by the Panchkula Administration, has recovered and was discharged from the hospital today.

Darshan could recover not because the administration was shaken by his plight but due to the students of Chitkara University, who looked after him ever since he was hospitalised.

The students not only helped identify Darshan’s name but also dropped him at his native place in Kurukshetra.

On the contrary, the administration not only ‘failed’ to arrange an attendant for the helpless man but also did not make any efforts to identify him.

It was the police that went to the PGI but couldn’t record Darshan’s statement as his neck had been eaten up by maggots. On August 9, Darshan (then unidentified), was seen writhing in pain by the roadside in the Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5.

A passerby, Shalender, rang up all helplines to arrange for an ambulance. Help arrived one-and-a-half-hour later when the correspondent rang the Chief Medical officer and an ambulance was sent.

Gautam, an employee at Chitkara University, said, “Doctors at the PGI have discharged him. As his family has refused to keep him, he will be staying with a social worker who resides in his area.” The Chitkara authorities also arranged two nurses to look after Darshan.

Admn ignored, students helped him

Darshan after being discharged from the PGI on Saturday
Darshan after being discharged from the PGI on Saturday. A Tribune photo

Students of Chitkara University looked after Darshan ever since he was hospitalised. Initially hesitant to disclose information about his family, the students looked after him and hence he opened up. They played a major role in his recovery.

Had arrived in city after spat with family

Following a verbal altercation with his family, Darshan arrived at Mansa Devi. A resident of Gauripur in Kurkushetra, he is unmarried. His family comprises a brother and his wife and nephews. Darshan said he found some work in the city and one day when he was walking down the road, he was knocked down by a vehicle. He kept lying on the road for four days but nobody came forward to help.



MC to adorn area under Zirakpur flyover
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 8
After widening of the highway under the flyover (from Panchkula traffic light point to Patiala Chowk), the Zirakpur Municipal Council has decided for the beautification of the open space. This has been done following strict direction from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The decision was taken by officials of the local civic body and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) during a meeting held recently.

The NHAI officials, who earlier were adamant to help the MC in developing green belt under the flyover, have agreed to the proposal of the local civic body, sources in the MC revealed.

With the development of the green belt here, not only the areas will become a cynosure for the tourists visiting Chandigarh and Shimla but will also change the ugly face of the town.

Talking to The Tribune, Parminder Singh, executive officer of the MC, revealed that a discussion over the beautification of area under the flyover with successfully held with OC Mathur, project director of the NHAI. The NHAI officials have given a go ahead with the project, he claimed.

“We are concerting horticulture experts about the variety of ornamental plants and grass that could be planted under the flyover to make it an eye-catching spot. Moreover, the MC is also in contact with the experts for the landscaping of the area so that it does not affect the pillars of the overbridge,” Parminder Singh claimed.

For the upkeep and maintenance of the green belt, the MC will rope in different builders and land promoters by offering them ‘adoption schemes’. Under this scheme the builder could display their advertisements, around the green belt adopted by them, the EO claimed.



literati 2014
Gurcharan talks on India’s growth
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
“Lokpal is not the answer to corruption,” said Gurcharan Das on the second day of Chandigarh Literary Society’s literature fest, Literati 2014, at Lake Club today.

In conversation with Sumita Misra, Additional Principal Secretary to Haryana Chief Minister and the founder chairperson of the society, the author and commentator said corruption was like malaria and to eradicate it “you need to clear the swamps”.

Talking about his book “India Grows at Night”, Das said: “For nation building, we need good governance based on three pillars: capable executive bonded by law and which is accountable to the people.”

Elaborating on a growth model, he said: “Twenty-five years back even goats ran away from Gurgaon, for the city had nothing to offer. Today, however, Gurgaon is an example of new India. When people of Gurgaon meet, they say India grows at night when the government sleeps. But now India needs to grow during the daytime as well.”

Emphasising the need to make citizens aware of the constitution, Gurcharan Das said: “None of the politicians in the political history of the country made an effort to make the ordinary people aware about the constitution. It’s an unfinished project; we need to sell our constitution to our citizens.”

The author ended his session with an advice to the parents: “The best thing you can do for children is help them find their passions, for there is a difference between making a living and making a life.”

Other highlights

Among other interesting sessions of the day was a discussion on “Reinventing Heritage. Prof Chaman Lal said we respect mythology but have contempt for history.

“If mythology is not understood in relation to history, it could destroy society and nation,” he said.

Abha Narain Lamba said: “We are not a museum-going country as we hardly maintain any interest in the history, which is being taught in our schools in a very boring way with no connect with the people.”

While talking about cinema’s role, Shivendra Dungarpur said: “Out of the 1,700 silent movies produced in the country, only five remain. In most cases, many of the cinematic works have been lost due to carelessness and not recognising them as a piece of art.”

Jaswinder Kaur said Punjab had lost the textile heritage limiting itself just to “phulkari”. She said government intervention was needed to revive, promote and preserve traditional practices such as “khes” and “nada”.

After lunch, a session on “What Makes a Good Read” was conducted by Amitabha Bagchi, Chitra Viraraghavan and Sudha Shah.

In the session on “Challenges of Chronicling Bollywood”, Nandita Puri, biographer and wife of Om Puri, said though there was only half a chapter on women in the life of Om Puri, the media blew it out of proportion and came out with so many stories that ruined the very concept of the book.

Among other back-to-back thought-provoking sessions that were held on the second day were “All Things Bright and Beautiful” with Ratna Vira, Minakshi Kanwar Chaudhry and Shefalee Vasudeva, “Culture Continuum: Arts to Literature” with Navtej Johar, Aruni Kashyap and Charu Singh, and “With Malice Towards All” with G Sampath and Krishna Shastri Devulapalli.



‘Dear Anita’ has the audience in splits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The second day of Literati 2014 concluded with a comic skit, “Dear Anita”, at Lake Club today.
Krishna Shastri Devulapalli and Anita Nair stage the play “Dear Anita” at Lake Club on Saturday
Krishna Shastri Devulapalli and Anita Nair stage the play “Dear Anita” at Lake Club on Saturday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

The play, directed and written by Krishna Shastri Devulapalli, revolved around two characters: a young budding writer played by Devulapalli and a senior author played by Anita Nair.

The 40-minute play showed the two characters exchanging letters.

As the conversation between the two built up, the venue was filled with laughter, thanks to witty one-liners spoken effortlessly by the two artistes.

The audiences appreciated the comic timing of both the artistes.



‘Multiple sclerosis more prevalent among women’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Asserting that the incidence of multiple sclerosis is fast increasing amongst young women, neurologists at the 22nd Annual Conference of India Academy of Neurology at the PGI held that early diagnosis of the disease is of utmost importance.

The prestigious Wadia Oration was given by Dr Alastair Compston who elegantly described about the evolution of multiple sclerosis and its management.

The fourth day of the seminar was marked with lectures on idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH); various sessions on parasitic infections of the brain (neurocysticercosis); and on paediatric disorders. Meanwhile, the Chopra Oration was given by Dr Raad Shakir.

The morning session on the third day started with a seminar on idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), a disease causing raised intracranial pressure. The session was convened by Dr Vivek Lal, an expert who has done pioneering work in this field. Dr OP Arora chaired the session. The major highlight of the session was the international faculty, including Dr Gordon Plant (the UK) and Dr Christopher Kennard (the US). Dr Gordon Plant, one of the world authorities in the field of neuro ophthalmology, discussed about the mechanisms and monitoring of papilledema (eye manifestation of raised intracranial pressure). Dr Christopher Kennard, another leading expert, threw light on pathophysiology and management.

A concurrent session on parasitic infections of the brain (neurocysticercosis) was convened by Dr Gagandeep Singh and chaired by Dr SN Mathuria and Dr RK Garg. The epidemiology of the infection was discussed in detail by Dr V Rajashekhar. Dr Pratap Sancheti threw light on the lessons learned about the disease in the last 50 years. Dr Gagandeep Singh discussed about the management of neurocysticercosis.

Another concurrent seminar on paediatric disorders were convened by Dr PratibhaSinghi and chaired by Dr V Jayakumar and Dr Amit Haldar. Dr VrajeshUdani, Dr PratibhaSinghvi and Dr Lokesh Lingappa discussed about various challenging aspects of paediatric neurology.

Every year, two IAN conferences are held in the memory of two great neurologists of the country namely, Dr JS Chopra and Dr NH Wadia.

Various neurologists from all over the country presented their research papers in platform, poster and ePoster sessions.

In symposium on epilepsy, Dr Radhakrishnan, IMS Sawhney and Dr R Sridharan gave their perspectives on different aspects of epilepsy.

To conclude the event, a best all-round brain quiz (BAR-B-Q) was conducted by Prof Kapil Sethi.

About the disease

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic central nervous system (CNS) disease which affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Even in the absence of symptoms, the disease is continuously active (causing brain damage) from its early stages.

Expersts' view

Early diagnosis of the disease is of utmost importance to avoid brain damage. Also, the disease was extremely rare three decades ago, but it is more prevalent now, especially among young women.



Noted columnist DR passes away
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Eminent writer, columnist and former chairperson, Department of Evening Studies (DES), Panjab University (PU), Prof DR Sharma passed away today morning in Mumbai after a prolonged illness.

Noted educationist Prof Dilbagh Rai Sharma popularly known as DR, served the university for more than three decades. He was 75 years old. He is survived by his wife prof Rama Sharma, retired from PU, and his son Mukul.



Top scientists join Swachh Bharat drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Top neuroscientists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NHMHANS), Bengaluru, and BHU joined the Swachh Bharat Mission launched by volunteers from Neuroscience Research Lab, PGI, Chandigarh.

The volunteers have been spearheading the Swachh Bharat movement from PGI in order to live by the pledge initiated by the PGI director on October 2 on the appeal of PM Narendra Modi.

The volunteers from Research Block B have continued to sustain the momentum led by Dr Akshay Anand, additional prof, Neuroscience Research Lab.

The campaign started from the front of the Research Block B and moved to the tuck shop area, library parking and lawns in front of the upper cafeteria. Later, many people joined the campaign, including patients’ attendants, students and sanitation staff.

Dr Avijit Banik, senior demonstrator, said we had taken a pledge to carry on the Clean India Programme and our motto is Swacch Bharat- Swaccha PGI. “We take out two hours every Saturday afternoon and clean our campus and its surroundings to make it more beautiful, hygienic and healthy. As a human being it is our sincere duty to make the world a safer and better place to live,” Avijit said.

PhD scholar Gillipsie Mindescribed the campaign as trajectory of achieving hygiene in the country.

Another PhD scholar Rahul Tyagi said it was immense satisfaction to see the cleaned area after our campaign at the PGI.



daylight robbery
Cops probe role of former employee

Chandigarh, November 8
The police are probing the role of a former employee of the woman who was allegedly robbed by unidentified men in Sector 38 on Friday.

The victim, Sushma Sangwan has suspected the role of Krishan, a former employee in the robbery. Sangwan was robbed of Rs 1.5 lakh when she was going to the bank to deposit money. The police said Krishan had quit the job two months ago. “The physique of an accused is similar to Krishan.” — TNS



Deprived of sight, not of will to fight
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The All-India Dance Competition for the visually challenged was organised by the National Institute for the Blind in Chandigarh today. Member of Parliament Kirron Kher was the chief guest while Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra was the guest of honour.

More than 200 participants of 20 teams from across the country took part in competitions, including classical solo, classical group dance, freestyle and folk group dance.

MP Kirron Kher said such events provide a platform to such special children to display their talent.



Concert in aid of cancer patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The Vivek High School alumni today organised a live music concert, “Back to Life”, in aid of Sahayta Cancer Sahyog, a Chandigarh-based society that provides support to people afflicted with cancer.

The concert featured acts ranging from electronica to rock. City-based bands including The Local Train, The Hence Proved and Kalkii besides the Harsh Mangat-Meher Oberoi duo captivated the audience.

The organisers said the concert, fifth in a series of events, was an initiative taken by “The Hence Proved” comprising Akshat Chauhan, Jaspreet Singh, Ramit Chawla, Tushar Gajwani, Uday Vir Garg and Mayank Kundu of Vivek High School.

“It’s a great initiative by the students and every year it is getting bigger and better. More than financial support, it’s about boosting the morale of the cancer patients. We at Vivek High School believe that any kind of help is welcome as no one becomes poor by giving,” said school principal PK Singh.



Panchkula-Ambala range gets new CP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8
Panchkula got a new Commissioner of Police with IPS OP Singh replacing Ajay Singhal, today.

OP Singh was the IG, modernisation, with the Haryana police and now has been posted as the Commissioner of police Panchkula-Ambala range while Singhal has been posted as IG modernisation. Singh is a 1992-batch IPS officer.

Ajay Singhal courted controversy when the former Deputy Commissioner of Police Y Puran Kumar had lodged a complaint with the Haryana Director General of Police SN Vashisht and National Commission for Scheduled Caste that Singhal had passed casteist remarks to him though Singhal had refuted the allegations. Puran had also alleged that Singhal was ‘troubling’ his witnesses.



Doctors dwell on radiology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The 2nd consecutive CME-IART-2014 was held at Law Bhawan, Sector 37, Chandigarh. It was organised by the Department of Radiology, GMCH-32. Eminent speakers across north India shared their invaluable expertise and discussed new trends in the field of radiology, imaging and radiotherapy.

More than 350 delegates across north India participated actively and upgraded their knowledge and skills of ever changing medical technology. First prize for oral presentation was given to Manpreet from PGIMER followed by Niharika Chopra from GMCH -32. First prize for Poster competition was won by the PGI, Chandigarh.

Dr SC Bansal, from PGI, Chandigarh, talked at length about emerging trends and challenges in radiology.

The Scientific Programme on latest Development in Imaging Modalities and Radiation safety was organized during the CME.

Mohan Bhagwat, Assistant Professor, Jamia Hamdard University, delivered his talk on Logical Radiography of Lumabar Spine. He explained the students how they can take good quality images by giving minimum radiation exposure to the patients. Sushil Battan from PGIMER explained the safety aspects in MRI and Role of Radiographer in it.



Conference held

“Sheroes in Your City”, an annual conference for working women hosted by www.sheroes.in, organised an event in Chandigarh on Friday.

Sheroes already runs a robust mentorship programme online and wants to rope in more women beginning their careers offering them a connect to a large community of experienced senior women, who are keen to share their wisdom, knowledge and network with the rising professionals. — TNS



ccet fest
Melange of events marks Day 2
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The second day of Apratim’14, the annual techno-cultural fest of the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, began with participants showcasing their talent in mime.

While SGGS, Sector 26, stamped its supremacy by winning this event, SD College, Sector 32, won the fushion band event.Other musical competitions included solo singing and solo instrumental.

The technical side of the fest witnessed “bridge IT” event in the civil engineering branch, “aqua-jet” in the mechanical engineering field and “electro-hunt” in the electronics and communication branch.

A number of students took part in fine arts events including rangoli making and graffiti making. The winners of rangoli-making competition were Aditi, Jaya and Jyoti.

Treasure hunt and the finals of Mr and Ms Apratim added to the fun during the day. Jaspreet Singh and Kajol Pandey were crowned Mr and Ms Apratim 2014 respectively.

A play was also staged on the occasion. The day ended with group dance and the starnite, in which Punjabi singer Ammy Virk entertained the students.



Experts bat for collaborative scientific research in region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Panjab University today hosted the first lecture series of Bio Club under the aegis of Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster (CRIKC).

The meet was attended by more than 200 research scholars and scientists of various institutes from in and around the city.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover, NIPER Director Dr KK Bhutani, IMTECH Director Dr Girish Sahni and many senior academicians participated in the panel discussion on ways to improve bio-research activities and interdisciplinary research in the region.

Prof Grover introduced the theme and highlighted the importance of collaborative research in science.

Dr Bhutani emphasised the need to share library facilities, including access to online journals of the institutes, by all the researchers of the region. He also floated the idea of uploading scientific lectures on the CRIKC website for the benefit of students.

Former NABI Director Dr Rakesh Tuli deliberated on the complex nature of biology and suggested that multi-disciplinary and multi-centric collaborative projects were the need of the hour.

Prof Somdatta Sinha from IISER, Mohali, urged the scientific community to shun individualistic approach and go in for inter-disciplinary collaborative research mode as is the scenario in the developed countries.

Earlier, Dr Javed Agrewala from IMTECH delivered a scientific talk and shared his scientific inputs in the development of a novel TB vaccine, which is far more effective than the currently used BCG vaccine.

Prof Prince Sharma from PU talked about the versatility of microbes, especially extremophiles, for their industrial applications. He informed the audience about the enzyme technology that he has transferred to an international company, New England Biolabs.

The highlight of this meet was the plenary session in which students urged the organisers to have more such meets. They wanted better access to library and instrumentation facility of other institutes falling under CRIKC. All the participants expressed the need for having an active CRIKC website, listing the scientific expertise as well as the instrumentation facilities of each of the CRIKC institutes. Prof Grover assured the students that he would look into all these aspects.

‘Can become a hub’

The Chandigarh region has a great potential to become a hub of innovative research as it hosts leading institutes of higher education such as PU, IISER, IIT-Ropar and PEC University, government-funded research institutes including IMTECH, NIPER, NABI, BPU, INST and TBRL, and medical research centres such as the PGI and GMCH.

Prof AK Grover, Vice-Chancellor, PU



from schools
Inter-school competitions

Students of the Chhaya School of Art perform during the founder's day celebrations at Punjab Kala Bhawan Chandigarh: Punarkriti Welfare Society in association with the NGO Salaam Zindagi organised a mélange of events for schoolchildren at Carmel Convent School, Sector 9. The competitions, titled “Udaan — to the world beyond” saw the participation of around 500 students from various schools of the city, including St John’s High School, Sacred Heart School and Bhavan Vidyalaya. Competitions held on the day ranged from dance, acting and painting to maths and science quiz. Students also took part in events such as “Waste-o-Mania” and “Add Mad”. The host school was adjudged the best school.

Students of the Chhaya School of Art perform during the founder's day celebrations at Punjab Kala Bhawan

Book fair

DAV Public School, Sector 8, hosted a book fair. The event showcased books on a wide range of subjects. It was organised with the aim of promoting reading habit among children of all age groups.

Founder’s day

Students of the Chhaya School of Art perform during the founder's day celebrations at Punjab Kala BhawanThe founder’s day celebrations of the Chhaya School of Art got off to a colourful start at Punjab Kala Bhawan today. Students performed solo and group dances in classical, semi-classical, Western, folk and contemporary styles. “Yahan Sab Chalta Hai”, a play reflecting social problems, was presented by members of “Chhaya Parivaar” from the theatre department of the school.
Students of the Chhaya School of Art perform during the founder's day celebrations at Punjab Kala Bhawan. Tribune photos: Pardeep Tewari and S Chandan

Hindi recitation

An inter-class Hindi recitation competition was organised at St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School for the children of Class II. The children came dressed as characters they portrayed in their respective poems.

Sports day

Panchkula: Students of Classes I and II took part in the annual sports day at Bhavan Vidyalaya. Students participated in different races like bursting the balloon, getting ready for school, back to back and decking up the mother with full zeal and enthusiasm. The school principal, Dr Shashi Banerjee, encouraged the students to be fit, healthy and give their best in every sphere of life.

Annual function

Students of Satluj Public School, Sector 4, left the audience enthralled at the 39th annual function “Satluj Pride 2014”. The cultural programme included “Satluj Global Theme” by Class X, “Jubilant World” by Class V, “Life of an Indian Soldier” by Class VI, “Nanhi Pukar” by Class VII, “Nine Manifestations” by Class VIII, “Macbeth-William Shakespeare” by Class IX and “Satluj Rocks” by Class XI. — TNS



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