|N A T I O N|
Pak still trades
in anti-personnel mines
Armed forces Flag Day celebrated
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee making a token donation on the occasion of the armed forces Flag Day in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI
All women in India
Editors must regain control: Mehta
Mattoo case: CBI to study
Tension prevails on AMU campus
Orissa Governor meets Dhindsa
No plan for international airport
Night viewing of Taj permitted
Death of student sparks dharna
No plans to make Kargil tourist
Pak still trades
in anti-personnel mines
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 Pakistans military establishment may have egg on its face due to a Channel 4 television programme likely to be telecast from London tomorrow which in effect will show that Pakistan continues to not only manufacture but also trade in anti-personnel landmines, a recent international treaty banning it notwithstanding.
According to reports from London, the new Pakistan High Commissioner in London, Mr Akbar Ahmad, was summoned this morning to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Mr Peter Hain and was informed about the findings of the Channel 4 TV, whose reporter had secretly filmed a Pakistani official, trying to sell anti-personnel landmines to a warring faction in Sudan.
According to sources, the Channel 4, found one Mohammed Azim Zaki, Technical Attache in the Pakistan High Commission in London, trying to negotiate the sale of anti-personnel landmines produced by Pakistan ordnance factories.
Mr Peter Hain is said to
have referred the matter to the British Department of
Customs and Excise as the offer for the arms-sale had
been made on the British soil in blatant breach of the
Armed forces Flag Day celebrated
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (UNI) Volunteers, organised by the Directorate of General Resettlement in the Ministry of Defence, pinned flags on Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes and other dignitaries on the occasion of the armed forces Flag Day today.
The day honours the
valour of the service personnel and celebrates solidarity
with them. It brings to the forefront the nations
obligation of looking after the war widows, war-disabled
and the dependents of those who have sacrificed their
lives for the country. It is aimed at enlisting public
support for three purposes rehabilitation of
battle casualties, resettlement and welfare of
ex-servicemen and their families and welfare of serving
All women in India are
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 All women in India live in subjugation, said Mrs Mohini Giri, former Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) while addressing a rally for peace for empowerment and call for equity here today. The rally had been organised by the NCW and the Guild of Service, a non-governmental organisation.
Replying to a question on the participation of subjugated women in the nationwide rally on December 19, Mrs Giri said all women in the country were subjugated in one way or the other, only the degree varied.
The NCW Chairperson, Mrs Vibha Parthasarthy said the rally was guided by the slogan for empowerment and empowerment for peace. She said those participating in the rally will form human chains.
The rally will start from Rashtrapati Bhavan at noon with the support of the First Lady it will be attended by the Congress President and the RS Deputy Chairperson. A millennium pledge will also be taken at the end of the mass mobilisation programme.
The activists will pledge to make peace a creed, renounce war, work for the empowerment of women and children, the deprived, the discriminated and the oppressed and work for equity, justice, love and liberty.
She said the NCW planned to meet the Speaker, Mr G M C Balayogi to ensure that the millennium pledge for peace was taken in the ongoing session of Parliament.
Salary by Dec 24, thanks Y2K
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 Government servants are likely to get their December salary a week in advance, thanks to the millennium bug.
This is part of the contingency plan that the government is said to have drawn up to tackle any difficulty that may arise in bank transactions as a result of the Y2K or the millennium bug that could hit computers across the globe.
The Y2K bug is a problem that occurs in computers that use only the last two digits to denote a year in their date fields. Unless rectified the bug could cause losses of valuable data when the new millennium dawns.
The Y2K Action Force Report had suggested that the government could consider the payment of salary and pension to its officials by December 24, 1999 to reduce the otherwise heavy load on the banking system on this account during the last week of the year.
Banks should also consider making available the statement of accounts to any client requiring the same in a hard copy and send to them before December 25, 1999.This must be made widely known, perhaps through the media capmaign of the Department of Electronics (DoE).
To ensure the foolproof Y2K readiness of all systems in the banks, a four tier system with internal teams, statutory auditors, RBI inspection team and third party audit has been followed under the overall supervision of the RBI.
Simulation exercises have been successfully carried out, including the testing of some of the critical dates like 9.9.1999, 31.12.1999, 1.1.2000 etc. and the systems have performed without any problems.
Contingency plans have been drawn up by the banking sector to meet any unforseen failures or problems. Hard copies of all important books of accounts as also the weekly abstracts of transactions will be maintained. Elaborate plans are being put in place to meet any exigencies regarding liquidity and regarding cash requirements in any part of the country.It is proposed to provide collateralised liquidity support against the SLR category of government securities to banks at stipulated terms and conditions.It is also proposed that if any foreign bank desire to bring in funds from overseas, they would be allowed for two months from December 1,1999 to January 31,2000 subject to certain terms and conditions.
Elaborate arrangements have been made to make available adequate currency notes at all 18 issue offices of the RBI and the currency chests of the RBI maintained by the banks.
The RBI has asked banks to have enough cash reserves to ensure intra and inter-circle movement of currency.
As regards the trading of securities, contingency plans have been drawn and December 30, 1999, is proposed to be the last day of the trading cycle. All stock exchanges will conduct mock trading and settlement session on January 1, 2000 despite it being a closed holiday. All intermediaries will be required to keep hard copies of records pertaining to the securities transactions.
The civil aviation sector has already become Y2K compliant and there would be no cancellation of flights on December 31,1999/ January 1, 2000 above the Indian sky.
However, several precautionary measures are being taken to prevent any unforseen problems. The measures include: all international flights will fly above 27,000 feet and those on domestic flights will remain below 27,000 feet; the longitudinal separation between two to be increased from 10 to 15 minutes; restrictions may be imposed on non-scheduled flights; all aircraft to strictly fly to the allotted match number; and all planes would carry extra fuel.
reservation system of the Indian Railways, handling about
3.75 lakh transactions involving 6.5 lakh passengers
everyday, achieved the Y2K compliance on November 2,
1999, 60 days ahead of the dawn of the new millennium.
Editors must regain control:
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 The editor needs to regain control on the editorial agenda. In the past six to seven years, the editorial agenda and the editorial control has moved away from the editor, said Mr Vinod Mehta, Editor of Outlook while speaking on Journalism in the new millennium at the first annual press club lecture here today.
Mr Mehta said the biggest challenge before journalists and editors in the new millennium is controlling the editorial agenda of newspapers. He said the commercial viability of a newspaper was paramount, adding, It is a foolish editor who pays no attention to money.
Evaluating the future of the Online medium, Mr Mehta said, I dont really know where the Internet thing is going. I dont think it is going to play out the way it is being suggested. I dont really think we should write off the print media.
He said journalists needed to introspect. This self-criticism will make the Indian press stronger and healthier.
Mr Dileep Padgaonkar, Editor of The Times of India, said the delicate balance between the management and the editor could only be struck through perfect understanding.
Mr Padgaonkar said the attention had shifted from politics per se to economy, business, education and career prospects and these were issues that newspapers would have to tackle.
Attention to coverage of issues other than politics was also drawn by Mr Donald Morrison, Asia Editor of Time magazine. Mr Morrison said people liked to read more on issues such as taxation, health, environment and life. He said people in the media needed to perfect themselves in their craft. We need editors who can organise information, writers who write well and good designers since we live in a highly visual age.
He expressed his enormous optimism about the print media by enumerating its inherent advantages.
Mattoo case: CBI to study
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said the agencys two Special Directors, Mr P C Sharma and Mr G H Achari, would study the judgement pronounced by a Delhi court in the sensational Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case and suggest action.
While acquitting accused Santosh Kumar Singh, son of the Pondicherry Police Inspector-General, Mr J P Singh, the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr G P Thareja, had indicted the CBI for tampering with evidence and withholding important witnesses.
The CBI Director, Mr R K Raghavan, was studying the judgement with great care to indentify the various lapses in the investigations pointed out by the court, a release said.
Deeply concerned over the observations of the judge, the CBI Director has directed the two Special Directors to go through the judgement and suggest further appropriate action.
The CBI would take an early decision on their report after consulting legal officers of the bureau, the release added.
Mr Thareja, in the order, said: Though I knew he (Santosh Kumar Singh) is the man who committed the crime, I acquit him, giving him the benefit of the doubt.
The judge said the influence of the father of the accused has been there and there was deliberate inaction by the police.
The rule of law does not seem to be applicable to the relatives of those who enforce it, he observed.
Holding the CBI responsible for such an end of the trial Mr Thareja said it created holes in the case by withholding evidence and a key witness from the court during the trial.
As far as the charge of rape is concerned, I am convinced the CBI manipulated the DNA technology to implicate the accused, the judge said. On the murder charge, he said, the CBI kept away the evidence and a witness to favour the defence.
Priyadarshini Mattoo (22), a sixth semester law student, was allegedly raped and murdered by the accused on January 23, 1996, in her house in Vasant Kunj.
Santosh Kumar had passed out from the same department in 1994. Priyadarshini had lodged several complaints against him at different police stations in Delhi, saying she was being stalked and harassed by him. She was then given a personal security officer.
The accused had in retaliation lodged a complaint with the university alleging that she was pursuing M.Com and LLB courses simultaneously.
He personally pursued the matter and sent two reminders to the authorities regarding his complaint.
Responding to a show-cause notice, Priyadarshini said she had passed M.Com in 1991 and the complaint was malicious. However, her fifth semester result was withheld because of the complaint.
The court noted that on the pretext of striking a compromise, the accused entered her house, where he allegedly raped her, strangled her with an electric wire and then battered her face beyond recognition with a helmet.
In a major part of the order, which runs into 454 pages,the judge criticised the experts who conducted the DNA test, which are quite critical in such cases.
Tension prevails on AMU campus
ALIGARH, Dec 7 (PTI) Additional paramilitary and police forces were deployed at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus today after some miscreants set ablaze the Provosts office at the Aftab Hall late last night.
Fresh incidents of violence were reported from the campus in which the Provosts office at the Ross Masood and M.M. Hall were damaged and office records and furniture destroyed, the police said.
University officials said the miscreants, moving mostly on motorbikes, also used petrol bombs.
The university campus has been witnessing sporadic incidents of violence since the past one week even as the Rapid Action Force personnel patrolled the campus following the arrest of six of the students who stormed the Proctors office and tried to lay siege to a police station here on Saturday last.
The violence follows a boycott call of the first-term examinations given by a section of the students.
Orissa Governor meets Dhindsa
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 The Orissa Governor, Mr M.M. Rajendran, today met the Union Minister for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and discussed with him relief measures for the cyclone-hit people of the state.
The minister informed the Governor about the steps taken by his ministry to help the people in coastal Orissa. He said financial assistance had been arranged through HUDCO by providing Rs 187.50 crore as soft loan for the reconstruction of 75,000 dwelling units at a concessional interest rate of 10 per cent through the Orissa Rural Housing Development Corporation.
HUDCO had also sanctioned Rs 300 crore as housing loans to those government employees in Orissa who suffered losses in the supercyclone. A grant of Rs 75 lakh had been provided for setting up five special building centres. These centres would impart training in disaster resistant construction techniques for the construction of safer houses.
A grant of Rs 1.40 crore was being given for development of the four worst hit villages as model villages. These villages would have necessary infrastructure facilities.
Mr Dhindsa said people were also being educated on building technology for safer construction. Pamphlets and guidelines had been brought out in English and Oriya languages. These technologies were cost-effective and provided houses that could withstand high-wind pressure.
37 yrs in custody without trial
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (PTI) A few months before the Chinese aggression in 1962, Ajay Kumar Ghosh was picked up by the West Bengal police on murder charges and lodged in Presidency Jail. Even today he remains in custody with the trial incomplete.
Ghosh, allegedly a chronic schizophrenic patient, is today undergoing treatment at Antara, a medical centre run by a non-governmental organisation.
He is still in custody, the West Bengal Government informed the Supreme Court today.
The police, which arrested him on January 29, 1962, filed the charge-sheet in July 1962. The trial, however, was adjourned sine die in 1963 for his treatment.
Chief Justice A.S.Anand with Mr Justice M.J.Rao and Mr Justice V.N.Khare termed the affidavit filed by the state as totally unsatisfactory and said it was singularly silent as to when Ghosh was sent to the hospital or what his present status was.
In the absence of such details, the three-Judge Bench said: Since the trial was adjourned sine die in 1963, the possibility that Ghosh was sent for treatment soon after cannot be ruled out, although it appears that he was sent to the hospital only after the Calcutta High Court intervened in the matter in 1989.
No plan for international
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 The government today said it had no plan to set up an international airport in Punjab.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Sharad Yadav, said since no airline had indicated any plans for international operations, there were no plans to set up an international airport there.
Replying to Mr Govindram Miri, who wanted to know whether any international airport had been set up in Punjab, the minister said there was no international airport in the state. He, however pointed out that limited international flights were operating through the Amritsar airport.
The minister said the Airports Authority of India had earned a revenue of Rs 10.20 lakh through foreign travels from the state.
Replying further on
whether an international airport would be set up at
Ludhiana, the minister said no airline had indicated any
plans for international operations at the Ludhiana
airport. Therefore, there was no plan to set up an
international airport there.
Night viewing of Taj permitted
LUCKNOW, Dec 7 (UNI) As a millennium gift to the tourists in India and abroad, the Central Government has decided to throw open the Taj Mahal, the world-famous monument of Agra, in the nights also.
The government has permitted the night-viewing of the Taj on Purnima, the full moon night, and eight nights before and after the full moon night, besides the normal visiting hours, subject to proper security arrangements by the Uttar Pradesh police. The night-viewing was suspended 15 years ago in view of a possible security threat to the monument.
As part of the Tourism Departments efforts to make the last Purnima of this mellennium, falling on December 22, a memorable occasion, a cultural programme to mark the opening of the Taj in the nights also will be organised on that date.
The state government had been pleading with the Centre for the facility for the past many years and the Union Home Minister L.K. Advani had made an announcement in this regard when he was at Agra on the occasion of the Taj Mahotsav.
Mr Ashok Yadav, the UP
Tourism Minister, on whose initiative the issue was
reconsidered by the Central Government, told UNI that the
issue was discussed at length at a meeting of All-India
Tourism Ministers Conference in New Delhi recently. Mr
Yadav had represented UP at the meeting.
Death of student sparks dharna
NEW DELHI, Nov 7 The body of a second-year student of Jamia Hamdard University, Salman Ahmed, was found hanging from a tree on the campus yesterday.
The muffler with which the student was hanged did not belong to him.
The police said a case would be registered after the post-mortem report. Several students reached the AIIMS mortuary today to pressurise the authorities to give the report immediately.
About 200 students sat on dharna today on the university campus demanding the arrest of the accused if the student was murdered.
A room mate of the
deceased, Badrul Hassan said Salman had gone to fetch
food from the mess at around 8 pm on Sunday. He came back
and said he would have it after a while and went out. The
next day when Badrul was going out for breakfast he was
told by other students that Salmans body was
hanging from a tree.
Delay in cases intolerable: SC
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (PTI) The Supreme Court today made it clear to the states and union territories that it would not tolerate any delay in dealing with cases pertaining to undertrials languishing in jails for petty offences.
Revealing startling stories of undertrials, Chief Justice A.S. Anand, heading a three-Judge Bench, told counsel for the states that four weeks time was given as a last opportunity to file necessary affidavits detailing steps taken to deal with the cases pertaining to these undertrials.
If the status report regarding the undertrials do not come after four weeks, I will summon the Chief Secretaries of those defaulting states, the Chief Justice observed.
One of the stories narrated by the Chief Justice was of a small boy who was badly beaten up by his employer for stealing three cigarette packets from his shop and was then handed over to the police.
Justice Anand said the boy was detained in custody for a long time on the ground that there was no one to bail him out.
He said another case pertained to undertrial prisoners arrested for gambling in public in which the police recovered a total of Re 1 and 10 paise.
The worst of the stories was that of Ajay Kumar Ghosh, who is in custody for the last 37 years in West Bengal on murder charges. His trial was stopped sine die in 1963, a year after he was arrested, to get him treated of chronic schizophrenia.
But the affidavit filed by the state government had no other details making the Chief Justice term it as totally unsatisfactory.
Of the total jail population of 2,57,000 prisoners, around 73 per cent constituting over 1,82,000 were undertrial prisoners, many of whom were booked for petty offences.
Amicus curiae (advocate appointed by court to assist) in the matter Ranjit Kumar pointed out the states should create more courts to lessen the burden of pending criminal cases and added in Uttar Pradesh alone, more than 1,73,000 sessions cases were pending trial.
Mr Justice Anand said around 1,000 posts in the lower courts and 154 posts of Judges in the high courts were lying vacant despite recommendations made by the Chief Justices and the Chief Justice of India to the state and central governments.
In many cases, the recommendations made by the Chief Justices of the high courts were shuttling between the state and the central government, he said.
Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee shared the courts concern on the issue and said he would take proper steps with the authorities concerned of the state governments to mitigate the plight of undertrials as well as filling of the posts lying vacant in lower courts and request them to create more courts to cope with the huge pendency.
Coming to the case pertaining to Ajay Kumar Ghosh, who is getting treated at a hospital run by an NGO, the Chief Justice said the affidavit filed by the state government was singularly silent about the medical reports and the status of Ghosh. The Bench directed the state to file a proper affidavit.
No plans to make Kargil
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 The government has no plans to develop Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, which earlier this year saw an intrusion from Pakistan, as a tourist centre.
This was stated by the Minister of State for Tourism, Ms Uma Bharti, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today. In a reply to a question raised by Mr Rajubhai Parmar, the minister said since there was no proposal from the state government in this regard, the government also had no plans to develop the place as a tourist centre.
The minister said the primary role for development of tourism in places of tourist importance was that of the state government. However, the Ministry of Tourism strengthened their efforts by providing financial assistance for projects and schemes in consultation with them.
|Arms factory uncovered
BULANDSHAHAR (UP) : An illicit arms factory was unearthed and two persons arrested in Darveshpur village under the Sikarpur police station on Monday, the police said on Tuesday. A country-made pistol and large amount of material used in manufacturing arms were seized from a house when a police party raided the village on Monday, the police added. PTI
Rare species on verge of
Six killed in
probe into rice scam
Four injured in
Mob gets furious
2 killed by BTF
heating mandatory in AP
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