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3 held on blackmail, extortion charge;  Are the cases of blackmaling rising in Haryana?

Kaithal : 
The police have arrested three persons, including a woman, on charge of blackmailing and extorting Rs 5 lakh from a 65-year-old man.

Superintendent of Police Astha Modi said the victim in his police complaint alleged that Shamsher of Harigarh Kingan village had asked him to accompany him to Haridwar on April 30. The victim, along with Shamsher and two women went to Haridwar and stayed at Satsang Bhawan.

The SP said the victim claimed that he fell unconscious after drinking milk given by Shamsher following which he was disrobed and photos of him were taken with a woman.

The SP said that next day the victim was allegedly thrashed by two youths, Kuldeep and Sonu, at the bus stand in Haridwar on the pretext of sexually exploiting the woman. The accused demanded Rs 20 lakh from the victim after reaching Pehowa from Haridwar and also threatened to implicate him in a rape case. The victim gave Rs 5 Lakh and promised to give the remaining amount by May 8. He complained to the police after the accused started threatening him.

The police arrested Shamsher and Kuldeep on May 8 and recovered Rs 40,000 cash from them. The woman was held from Arjan Nagar locality and a sum of Rs 1 lakh was recovered from her.

All three were produced in a local court on Wednesday, which sent Shamsher and Kuldeep in 2-day judicial remand. The woman was sent in judicial custody.

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HSSC is ‘Haryana Service Sales Centre’, says Hooda; Should the case be registered against the HSSC Chairman?

Chandigarh : 
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress leaders of his camp hit out at the Haryana Government over a controversial question in the HSSC examination held in April.

“The functioning of the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC), which is already under the scanner following a leak of an audio clip that exposed chairman Bharat Bhushan Bharti’s corrupt activities, has now insulted Brahmins,” he told the media here.

In the written examination for the post of Junior Engineer (Civil) held on April 10, the HSSC had posed a question, “What is not considered a bad omen in Haryana?” Of the four options, two were “sight of a Brahmin girl” and “meeting with a black Brahmin”.

Hooda termed the HSSC as the “Haryana Service Sales Centre”. He demanded registration of an FIR against Bharti and the chief examiner.

Ganaur MLA Kuldeep Sharma, who was also present in the press meet, said if the government failed to take action within a week, he would file a complaint with the Panchkula Police, accusing Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar of his “tacit approval” to the state of affairs in the HSSC.

He hit out at BJP’s newly elected Brahmin Rajya Sabha member Lt General DP Vats (retd) for terming the saffron party a benefactor of Brahmins after the question row.

“Vats must not forget that Hooda appointed him chairman of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC).”

Hooda took on the Chief Minister for his statement that “namaz” should be offered in mosques and idgahs only, and not in public places. “His statement is aimed at encouraging right-wing elements who are disrupting prayers meetings,” he said.
Former Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed said Muslims in Gurugram had been observing Friday prayers in parks as influential persons had encroached upon mosques and idgahs.
He questioned the logic behind allowing the RSS to hold “shakhas” in public parks and even in schools. Hooda said he would start the second phase of his rath yatra from Samalkha on June 3.

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Cong MLA’s ‘aide’ facing illegal mining charge too; Can illegal mining be done without political protection?

Jalandhar :
Coming as yet another embarrassment for the Congress — which is already embroiled in illegal mining controversies — ahead of the Shahkot bypoll, SHO Mehatpur Parminder S Bajwa has alleged that Balwinder Singh, reportedly a front man of Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Dhillon, was booked at the Shahkot police station under these charges about three months back.

The case comes to light less than three weeks ahead of the bypoll when party candidate Hardev S Laddi Sherowalia already has an FIR against him for mining and its former minister Rana Gurjit Singh too had faced similar allegations and had resigned on moral grounds.

Bajwa, who was then posted as SHO Shahkot, had said that FIR number 24 had been registered against KBM Contractor, Model Town, Ludhiana, and Balwinder Singh of Puri Colony, Faridkot.

The FIR had been registered in Shahkot under Section 21 of the Mines and Minerals Act and Sections 379 and 427 of the IPC.

The FIR dated February 12 mentions that though the company and Balwinder Singh had taken a mining contract for Chak Tarewal village in Moga and had not been allotted any quarry in Jalandhar, he had been indulging in illegal mining at Taharpur and Baupur villages of Shahkot.

The matter was brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar by numberdar Gurbhej Singh, Jaskaran Singh and Gurmel Singh, all of Chak Tarewal village, on February 7.

The next day, DC Jalandhar issued directions to kanungo Manjit Singh and patwari Gurdeep Singh. Demarcation proved that the contractors had indulged in illegal sand mining on the 33 kanal land falling in Shahkot villages.

The SDM prepared the report and sent it across to the DC after which the FIR was registered on the complaint of mining block officer Narinderpal Singh.
Balwinder Singh, when contacted on his phone, sought the identity of this caller first and then said that it was a wrong number.

MLA Dhillon, who reportedly is abroad these days, took the call. Though there are reports that Balwinder has been his manager for the past 10 years, he countered this by saying, “Balwinder is actually a freelance insurance broker at Faridkot. He is only my supporter and worker. So I know him. But I have nothing to do directly with this FIR, which in any case is false.”

Deputy Commissioner, Jalandhar, Varinder Kumar Sharma said, “I do not remember anything off hand in this case as it is an old one. I keep getting complaints on a daily basis and try to get them disposed of quickly.”

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Tough, but addicts will find way to drugs; Will Punjab get rid of narcotic?

Patiala : 
After an initial phase of hectic activity following the takeover by the Congress government, the anti-drug mission seems to have settled into a new balance. Today it might be at a slightly lower level, but the availability of drugs for whoever wants it, and the desperation of addicts, continues essentially unchanged over the past year.
Parminder Kaur, in charge of the SAKET Red Cross De-Addiction Centre in Patiala, which is funded by the Central government, says the number of patients reporting daily at the OPD in the centre is about 60, and the monthly admission rate of addicts at the centre is 50-60. What is of concern is that around half the cases are of heroin addiction.

In 2017, there was a sudden rush of patients at the centre for a while; such that they even had to keep addicts in waiting. But now the flow is back to what it was a few years ago. Though, in all, an estimated 400 people undergo treatment at the six government and several private drug de-addiction centres across the district every month. An employee at the SAKET centre says addicts find it difficult to give up drugs. They need regular psychiatric sessions, which not all of them are able to get. Many become clean in the hospital, but get back to drugs when they return to their home environment.

Shift to milder drugs

Some of the addicts in Patiala that The Tribune spoke to say there is some difficulty now in procuring drugs, but they are able to manage it somehow. And when they can’t get drugs like heroin, they opt for alternatives such as pills, or even alcohol.
Data at de-addiction centres shows the majority of addicts are in the age group of 16 to 35, habituated to different kinds of drugs. Their reasons for taking to drugs vary from unemployment, to bad company, to even love, but the consequences are equally miserable.

One of the addicts who has been admitted in a private centre by his family thrice says someone on drugs will somehow manage to arrange it, even if in smaller quantities and for higher prices. “After staying in the centre for a year at a stretch I had quit drugs completely. However, when I returned home, I could not resist the temptation as there were many youngsters in my village into drugs.” He now drinks liquor mostly because of the increased police vigil, taking smack once in a while.

Police see improvement
The police, of course, claim the situation is much improved. SP (Investigations), Patiala, Harvinder Singh Virk says the change has come from a major crackdown on peddlers. There is a shift from drug peddling to trade in illegal liquor. A total of 528 cases were registered under the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act) Act in 2017, out of which 133 were of commercial use of drugs and 395 of non-commercial use.

Police data shows the average age of peddlers dealing in small quantities is below 30 years, while that of smugglers handling large quantities is above 45. Most small peddlers are addicts, who start doing it to pay for their own addiction. Virk says that awareness drives have helped encourage around 50,000 people in Patiala district to register under the  Drug Abuse Prevention Officer programme.
Some jobless, some loveless

Data at de-addiction centres shows the majority of addicts are in the age group of 16 to 35, habituated to different kinds of drugs. 

Their reasons for taking to drugs vary from unemployment to bad company, to even heartbreak.

Addicts find it difficult to give up drugs. They need regular psychiatric sessions, which not all of them are able to get. 

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In Israel, Haryana CM invites investment; Will Israel invest in Haryana?

Chandigarh : 
Determined to double the income of farmers by 2022, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has invited technologies and investment and sought collaborations in the fields of waste water treatment, micro-irrigation, precision farming, crop innovation, and sprinkler system to assist and enable farmers of the state to produce more and earn more.

Speaking during the inaugural session of the 20th International Agritech on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, where high profile ministers, governors and delegates from 51 countries participated, the Chief Minister invited potential partners, companies, and research institutions from Israel to come forward and be a part of the growth story of Haryana.
Stressing on the need for family and integrated farming to combat desertification, he said integrated farming also reflected the social character of the joint family system in India.

The Chief Minister said ways should also be explored for the development of arid and semi-arid regions where industrialisation could play an important role.
Positing Haryana as a leading state, both in industry and agriculture, the Chief Minister said the state had emerged as a preferred investment destination among foreign investors.

He invited Israeli companies to come and invest in the shared future of Haryana and Israel. The representatives of the Israeli Government lauded the contribution of Haryana.

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