|N A T I O N|
Governor to ask Centre for
HQ to take action against Bhagwat
|BJP promises to bring peace to TN
TIRUCHIRAPALLI, March 20 The BJP tonight pledged to bring peace and prosperity to Tamil Nadu and appealed to the people to rally behind it and 'turn the stagnated political history' of the state in the next Assembly elections.
EC to ban use of casteist
Dept redraws quake map
code for TV channels likely
right SC quota anomalies: Jaya
BJP calls bandh in Bihar
PATNA, March 20 (PTI) The acting Bihar Governor Justice B.M. Lal, today said he would personally approach the Centre for providing additional companies of central forces for deployment in extremist-hit districts of the state.
At the same time he asked the state administration to take "all-possible steps" to check the recurrence of violence.
Accompanied by Chief Secretary Vijay Shankar Dubey, state Director-General of Police, T.P. Sinha, Justice Lal visited Senari in Jehanabad where 33 persons were hacked to death by Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) activists on Thursday.
Later on his return to the state capital, he held a high-level meeting with top state officials to review the situation arising out of the killings.
A Raj Bhavan spokesman said after the meeting that the Governor would personally approach the Centre for more companies of central paramilitary forces like the Rapid Action Force, the CRPF and the BSF, for deployment in extremist-infested districts in South and Central Bihar.
Justice Lal alerted the state administration for taking "effective and vigorous" steps so that the violence did not recur in future.
The Governor said the state government should immediately make available the compensation announced by it for the dependants of those killed.
The state government, he said should also immediately provide jobs to one eligible member each of the affected families.
Chief Minister Rabri Devi had yesterday announced ex gratia of Rs 1.40 lakh to the bereaved families.
Earlier, Justice Lal air-dashed to Senari to console the affected families and asked the District Magistrate, Mr Arunish Chawla, to set up a medical camp at Senari for the treatment of those who suffered injuries in the attack.
The Governor who spent over an hour at the village asked the district officials to evolve measures to settle the cases relating to land dispute in the district.
He also urged the people to shun the path of violence and work together for overall development of the state.
Meanwhile, the BJP has called a 12-hour Bihar bandh on March 23 to demand the resignation of Chief Minister Rabri Devi following the Senari slaughter.
The partys state executive which met here today decided to call the bandh against the killings, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters here.
He said BJP activists would bring out a torch-light procession at the district headquarters throughout the state on March 22 to mobilise support for the bandh call.
Essential services, including power and water supply, health and the Press, would be exempted from the purview of the bandh, Mr Modi said.
MUMBAI: The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mr Sharad Pawar on Saturday, said the Rabri Devi government in Bihar could not shirk its responsibility for Thursdays Senari (Jehanabad) massacre.
Mr Pawar told reporters the Congress had opposed the imposition of Presidents rule in the state because "it involved misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution."
"Misuse of Article 356 and good governance are two different issues," the Congress leader said, adding, the Rabri Devi government must govern."
He said the blame equally lay with the BJP-led government at the Centre, claiming that it had not rushed central forces to Bihar on time.
On the Congress making an
issue of the sacking of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, he said
the Congress had raised the matter because the Admiral
was dismissed and also allegations had been made against
Defence Minister George Fernandes.
Cong stand chaotic: Advani
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, March 20 (PTI) Union Home Minister L.K. Advani today charged that the Bihar Government "itself projects, promotes and partonises crime" and the Congress had taken a "confused" and "chaotic" stand on the situation in the state because of irrationality bred by its frustration.
By helping the restoration of the Rabri Devi ministry in Bihar, the Congress party had committed "political harakari", Mr Advani told reporters here.
Stating that the situation in Bihar today was of "utter anarchy" with murder, rape and extortion abounding, he said the core issue was not crime in itself, but the fact that the "state projects, promotes and patronises crime".
He said the Congress party out of office "is like a fish out of water, in a perpetual agony of sorts. Its behaviour, therefore, was often irrational which betrayed frustration and pique".
The Congress pursued "irrational, chaotic and negative thinking" on Bihar after the Jehanabad massacre earlier this year, he said.
Initially, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had said the Rabri Devi ministry had lost "moral authority" to rule Bihar. Two weeks later in Delhi the party voted for the restoration of the RJD government and two weeks after that, it abstained from the confidence vote sought by Ms Rabri Devi in the vidhan sabha,he said.
Soon after Thursday's "horrendous" massacre in Jehanabad, the Congress reiterated "parrot-like" that the RJD government had no moral authority to rule, Mr Advani said and asked," Is this rational thinking? Is it not just confused thinking and chaotic?"
Mr Advani also refuted the allegation by RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav and the Congress after the Senari massacre that sections of central forces had been withdrawn from Bihar.
"In fact, we are ready to give more forces" though the Home Ministry had already indicated that the number of companies of the central forces in Bihar "continues to be at a pretty high level," he said.
He also had a dig at the Marxists for supporting the restoration of the Rabri Devi government and said their act as a B-team of the Congress was
Refuting the allegation that sections of the central forces had been withdrawn from Bihar, Mr Advani said, "In fact, we are ready to give more forces, but as the Prime Minister said what is needed in Bihar is not more central forces but the requisite political will".
Refuting Mr Yadav's allegation that the Centre had withdrawn from Bihar some units of the central forces to deliberately create an impression that the law and order was bad, Mr Advani said the Home Ministry had already indicated the number of companies of central forces in Bihar which "continues to be at a pretty high level"
He said people outside might not realise how bad the situation was in Bihar.Private feudal armies and Naxalites controlled the districts. Only the other day there was one more horrendous massacre in Jehanabad. In most of these carnages, it was the weaker sections of society, the Dalits, who were the victims, he said.
Mr Advani said neither the BJP nor its allies could be blamed for the state of affairs in Bihar.
"We have never ruled Bihar. What you see is the work of the Congress for almost 40 years, followed by about a decade of Laloo Prasad Yadav. Yet it is this system that the Marxists are defending so passionately today. Those are the depths to which the CPM said has plunged in the 12 months since the death of EMS", he said.
Having been snubbed by the Congress which forced the BJP-led government to revoke the imposition of President's rule in Bihar last month, the lead party of the ruling coalition maintained the Congress could not shirk from accepting responsibility for the current incident.
Hitting out at the Congress and the CPM, the BJP Vice-President, Mr J.P. Mathur, said these parties played into hands of casteist elements and charged they were encouraging culture of violence in the state.
The BJP decided to speak out against the Congress all over the country with different leaders utilising the opportunity of being present elsewhere and making statements at various places.
In Bangalore, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, said the Centre would not attempt to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution.
He said the Centre had exercised its option once but unfortunately it had to be revoked as the Congress played the role of a destructive opposition rather than a constructive one.
The BJP General Secretary, Mr M Venkaiah Naidu, said in Vijaywada the Congress and its President in particular "will have to pay a heavy price for the tragedy in Bihar".
He also charged that both the Congress and the Left parties were behaving irresponsibly, particularly the Congress, whose "behaviour is totally opportunistic, short-sighted and partisan".
The party General Secretary also blamed the Congress for stalling the parliamentary proceedings for the past four days and preventing taking up of important issues.
The Union Power Minister, Mr P.R. Kumaramangalam, in Tiruchirapalli claimed the latest massacre in Jehanabad justified the decision of the Vajpayee government to dismiss the Rabri Devi government.
Naval HQ to take action against Bhagwat
NEW DELHI, March 20 (PTI) The Naval Headquarters proposes to take "suitable action" against the sacked Naval Chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat for having "tampered with the annual confidential report (ACR) of an officer".
An official release here said the Naval Headquarters had informed the Ministry of Defence that "this action of Admiral Bhagwat is contrary to rules and established practices for recording ACRs of Naval officers. In fact, it is unprecedented for a successor Chief of Naval Staff to alter an assessment or overwrite a report of a previous Chief of Naval Staff. The final assessment recorded by a CNS is treated as sacrosanct by the Naval Headquarters."
According to the release, Admiral Bhagwat had disagreed with the assessment of the initiating officer when he as FOC-in-C of the Western Naval Command, had made adverse references but was overruled by the then Chief of Naval Staff Admiral V.S. Shekhawat who also recorded that he had discussed the matter with Admiral Bhagwat.
However, when he took over
as Naval Chief in 1996, he crossed out the remarks of his
predecessor Admiral Shekhawat and superimposed his own
remarks on the same ACR concerning the suitability of the
officer, the release said.
CLP leader denies resignation
PATNA, March 20 (PTI) Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Bihar Ramashray Prasad Singh today denied reports that he had resigned from his post following Thursdays killing of 34 persons in Jehanabad district.
"All that I can say is that I have apprised the party high command of my feelings and that of my colleagues against RJD dispensation following deterioration in law and order," Mr Singh told reporters.
The Congress, he said had already demanded resignation of the Rabri Devi ministry following the killings.
Mr Singh had reportedly protested against the decision by senior party leaders to abstain from the confidence vote sought by Rabri government in the state Assembly on Monday.
Party sources said majority of the CLP members had expressed anguish over the carnage that took place in less than 11 days of Mrs Rabri Devi again taking over as the state Chief Minister following revocation of Presidents rule.
PR exercise for UNSC seat
NEW DELHI, March 20 The three-day international seminar on United Nations Peacekeeping, organised here jointly by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been identified as an effort by India to strengthen its claim for a permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
After having sent out Ambassadors and personal letters to the heads of various important countries, the government has been working on a long term Public Relation plan to thwart the efforts of portraying India as a peace-breaker rather than a peace-maker, which had been its image in the past. The long-term plan would also ensure that India, with the support of friendly nations, would finally gets its seat on the UNSC.
The three-day International seminar on United Nations Peacekeeping, in which 130 delegates from over 70 countries participated has also been identified as part of this long-term plan, on which officials of the MEA have been working. The view prevalent in diplomatic circles here has been that the presence of a large delegation from the African nations at the seminar, which got over yesterday, would strengthen Indias claim for a permanent seat on the UNSC.
When contacted officials at the MEA did not deny this and in fact pointed out that there was nothing wrong in it, as India believed that it deserved a place on the UNSC. This specially as India was one of the founder members of the United Nations.
The MEA officials also pointed out that after the Pokhran-II blasts there had been a concerted effort to show India as the peace-breaker which was not correct and now all efforts were needed to turn around this image. They said India was always a peace-maker and would keep up this image.
According to MEA officials now the number of countries had also increased believing about the reasons for which India conducted the Pokhran-II blasts. They had understood the security requirements of the country and were now favouring the various efforts being made by India towards a nuclear free world. They also felt the need for reforms and improvements in the United Nations, for which India had been pressing hard.
The MEA officials point out that India supports an enhanced role for the United Nations in development and development cooperation dialogue. India firmly believes that development should be central to the UN agenda and should be pursued in its own right.
India has actively participated in all reforms and restructuring exercises that could enhance the capacity of the UN in the fulfilment of its primary tasks.
The United Nations as a universal forum should have as its guiding principles transparency, non-discrimination, consensus and equal respect for the dignity of all individuals, societies and nations. Be it world trade, environment and development, resolution of the global debt crisis, or economic assistance for the poorest members of the world community, these values have to be the touchstone of global initiatives and actions.
The officials point out that the composition of the Security Council has remained largely static, while the UN General Assembly membership has expanded considerably. This has undermined the representative character of the council. An expanded Council, which is more representative, will also enjoy greater political authority and legitimacy.
It was in 1965 that the membership of the Security Council was expanded from 11 to 15. There was no change in the number of permanent members. Since then the size of the Council has remained frozen while there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Member States of the UN, changing also the composition of the General Assembly. Besides the present composition of the Security Council, particularly the permanent members category, is weighted heavily in favour of the industrialised countries. This imbalance must be redressed in an expansion of the Council, by enhancing the representation of the developing countries in both permanent and non-permanent member category, officials feel.
According to them, there
must be an inclusive approach based on transparent
consultations in the expansion. India supports expansion
of both permanent and non-permanent members
category. The latter is the only avenue for the vast
majority of Member States to serve on the Security
Council. Reform and expansion must be an integral part of
common package. In fact any package for restructuring of
the Security Council should be broad-based.
EC to ban use of casteist names
NEW DELHI, March 20 (PTI) The Election Commission might soon prohibit political parties from using religion, caste or other sectarian nomenclature in their names, Election Commissioner G.V.G. Krishnamurthy has said.
We are concerned over misuse of religion of caste and about parties luring voters with such sectarian names, he said during a lecture on Electoral Reforms and Criminalisation of Politics organised by a non-governmental organisation here last night.
The commission had already held preliminary discussions on the issue and would arrive at some decision soon, he said.
Under the representation of people Act, any kind of exploitation of religion or caste is strictly prohibited, he said, adding that does not mean you are to separate a man or his name from religion.
Everyone of us is either Marathi, Telugu, Punjabi or Bengali, you cannot separate my name Krishna from me. The President of India is Narayanan. But that does not justify there can be a Lord Rama Party, he said.
Mr Krishnamurthy said the commission was contemplating seriously making it mandatory for a candidate to stay at least for five years at a place before contesting from that constituency.
Mooting a series of suggestions for much-needed electoral reforms, he said sufficient attention has not been paid by government and political parties to it.
However, within a limited frame work, the Election Commission has done its part, he claimed, adding it was still on the job. One salutory effect of commissions work has been the enforcement of affidavit for intending candidates.
From over 1350 candidates with criminal background contesting the polls in the early 90s, their number came down to 150 in the recent Assembly Elections, he said.
Similarly, he said commissions decision to enhance the security deposit for candidates and for political parties for registration have also helped considerably to do away with non-serious parties and candidates.
Still the country has an enormously high number of 680 registered parties, he said.
BJP promises to bring peace to TN
TIRUCHIRAPALLI, March 20 (PTI) The BJP tonight pledged to bring peace and prosperity to Tamil Nadu and appealed to the people to rally behind it and 'turn the stagnated political history' of the state in the next Assembly elections.
A resolution to this effect was adopted at the party's delegates meeting held on the inaugural day of the fourth state conference at Dr Sridhar Memorial venue here.
Stating that the party was happy about the response of people of the state to its policies, it exhorted them to rally behind the BJP 'totally' to 'realise the dreams of great men of this country' in the same way as they had supported nationalist leaders during the freedom struggle.
'The BJP pledges to fulfil all expectations of the people and bring peace and prosperity of the state', the resolution said.
A total of 17 resolutions were passed at the delegates meeting, which lasted for over four hours.
In other major resolutions, the party expressed its concern over the 'deteriorating' law and order situation in the state.
Condemning the 'indifference' of the Karunanidhi ministry to the present situation, it asked the state Government to take urgent steps to stem the rot.
In yet another resolution, the party drew the attention of the Centre to the activities of Islamic fundamentalists in the state both "inside and outside the prison".
In a apparent reference to the recent unrest in several prisons in the state in which activists of banned Al-Umma, accused in the Coimbatore serial bomb blasts cases, have been lodged, the resolution said the state was in a "state of fear" and even police and prison officials had become the targets of the fundamentalists.
The conference also asked the Centre to get an early Presidential assent to the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act passed almost a year ago by the state legislature.
Another resolution demanded setting up special police force, special courts and special investigating teams to firmly put down terrorism in the state.
It also demanded a CBI inquiry into the 1992 RSS office blast and Hindu Munnai leader Rajagopalan murder case in 1994, yet another resolution wanted the Union Government to take early steps for the repatriation and honourable resettlement of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees.
In a resolution related to
the non-banking financial services in the state, the
party urged the Centre to probe thoroughly the working of
the mushrooming financial companies and ensure that they
adhered to the norms specified by the Reserve Bank. It
also urged the Centre to take over the NBFCs which had
closed down and disperse the amount deposited by innocent
people to the extent possible to relive their pain.
Met Dept redraws quake map
NEW DELHI, March 20 The earthquake map of the country was being re-drawn by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) following a spurt in seismic activity in zones which till now were considered to be less vulnerable, a senior official said.
The need to redraw the quake map had arisen as seismic activity had been witnessed in the zones which were considered to be less prone to earthquakes, the Deputy Director-General (Seismology), IMD, Dr S.N. Bhattacharya, told The Tribune.
The Khandwa region in Madhya Pradesh, which is located in the safe seismic area (Zone II), experienced around 1,000 quakes in the last quarter of 1998, which resulted in the prediction by some experts of a major quake in the near future.
Western Uttar Pradesh experienced three earthquakes of low intensity in the past 72 hours. While the region experienced two quakes on Monday, another earthquake took place on Tuesday, the Meteorological office said, adding that they were of low intensity.
The worst quakes experienced in the recent past, Latur and Jabalpur, fall in the seismologically safe zones. While Latur has been placed in Zone III Jabalpur has been marked under Zone I, Dr Bhattacharya said, adding that the zonal mapping was being revised.
He said the quakes in western Uttar Pradesh were due to Muradabad fault which lay in the south of the Himalayan plate.
An earthquake, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale, occurred in 1966, he said, adding that this quake enabled the seismologists to know the presence of this fault.
Dr Bhattacharya said the quake in the region in the 60s did not result in major damage to life and property. Concrete buildings near the epicentre developed some cracks.
The fault falls in the highly susceptible region in the seismological map. The region falls in the Zone IV category and it encompasses Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. Most parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, the North East, Kutch and Andaman Islands fall in the Zone V category.
The quakes in these places have forced us to re-examine the zonal maps and we are taking into consideration other parametres which were not taken into consideration earlier, the Deputy Director-General said.
The science had not
progressed enough to predict the occurrence of a quake or
its moment, he said, adding that the re-drawn seismic map
would be helpful in taking precautionary measures which
would reduce damage to life and property.
New code for TV channels likely
BANGALORE, March 20 (PTI) The Centre proposes to introduce a Bill in the on-going Parliament session to bring in a national advertising and programme code for all television channels, including Doordarshan.
The code has been evolved to check cultural invasion and provide level playing field to all, the Information and Broadcasting Minister Mr Pramod Mahajan told reporters here.
The minister categorically dismissed a charge that the government was trying to impose a kind of censorship through the programme code.
Defending the move, he said it was necessary as there was no law to control foreign channel programmes to avoid cultural invasion and to ensure level playing field to all.
Private channels were making hefty earnings by beaming advertisements of liquor and cigarette companies which were not permitted on Doordarshan, he said.
The government would also set up a broadcasting council, on the lines of the Press Council of India, to adjudicate complaints of violation of the newly evolved code by any channel private, foreign or Doordarshan.
Replying to a query, Mr Mahajan said the government would also bring in a legislation to ensure that in future, TV channels seeking uplink facilities need not go through the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL).
He ruled out the grant of permission to foreign channels to have uplinking facilities in the country and added that the government was considering giving uplink facilities to news-based programmes and to extend the metro channel to other cities.
He also ruled out the
government vesting all rights with the Prasar Bharati
Board, and said government could not give all rights to
seven wisemen when it was spending more than
Rs 1000 crore on Doordarshan.
Set right SC quota anomalies: Jaya
CHENNAI, March 20 (UNI) AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalitha today urged the union government to set right the anomalies with regard to reservation of jobs for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes as several provisions in the five memoranda issued by the previous United Front regime at the Centre violated their hard-fought constitutional rights.
In a statement here, she said the five memoranda issued by the United Front regime had conspired to work against the interests of the SC/STs.
"The SC/STs have been adversely affected with regard to reservations in government jobs, promotional avenues and relaxation of qualifying marks for recruitment," she said, while pointing out that special recruitment drives for government jobs had been discontinued.
Even those SC/ST candidates who had qualified on merit had been relegated to the reserved category, she regretted.
No blind support to RJD govt: Sangma
LUCKNOW, March 20 (PTI) Senior Congress leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma today said his party would not blindly continue its support to the RJD government in Bihar, but would take appropriate steps at the appropriate time.
Condemning the massacre of 34 persons in Jehanabad on Thursday night, Mr Sangma told reporters that the Congress was minutely watching the situation in Bihar.
|One burnt alive by NLFT
AGARTALA: One person was burnt alive and two government employees, including a police sub-inspector, were kidnapped by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) insurgents in separate incidents in Tripura on Friday, the police said. The militants attacked Barabhiya village under Radhakishorepur police station and opened fire, seriously injuring a villager. The victim, who sought shelter in a hut, died after the hut was set ablaze by the militants, the police said. PTI
producer, art director shot at
Rs 81-cr Central
aid to NE states
VHP schools in
2 PWG ultras
4 killed in blast
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |