|N A T I O N|
Rs 290 cr more for Orissa
Piles of bodies of cyclone victims lying in heaps near Paradip in Orissa on Thursday. PTI photo
Pappu Yadav for third
front in Bihar
Naipaul BJP cheerleader, says
Soz for talks with Hurriyat
Bombay blasts accused held
Measure animus of witnesses: SC
Delhi police in tune with new
HC directs hospital be cleaned
School counselling to be mandatory
Rs 290 cr more for Orissa
BHUBANESWAR, Nov 5 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today announced an additional relief of Rs 290 crore to cyclone-hit Orissa and assured the affected people that the Centre would provide all possible assistance for their rehabilitation.
"Money will not come in the way of this task," Mr Vajpayee told a crowded press conference here after an aerial survey of some of the cyclone-affected areas, including the devastated Paradip port.
The Prime Minister denied that there had been any starvation deaths in the state in the aftermath of the calamity, adding officials here had denied reports to this effect.
He announced a central team of secretaries would be sent here shortly to monitor and coordinate relief operations.
Of the additional assistance, Rs 100 crore would be disbursed from the National Calamity Relief Fund and Rs 190 crore by HUDCO for reconstruction of 75,000 housing units in the cyclone-battered areas.
Mr Vajpayee made an aerial survey of the affected areas with senior Cabinet colleagues this evening and later chaired a review meeting on the rescue and relief operation.
He said a hue and cry had been raised as to why the Centre had not declared the calamity a national disaster. "This debate is meaningless as from the very first day we have treated it as a national calamity.
He appealed that the controversy be ended stating that it was the "treatment which was important and not the nomenclature".
The Paradip port, which was opened to traffic today after a week, has suffered a loss of about Rs 80 crore, according to Port Trust Chairman S.K. Mohapatra.
While the cope infrastructure remained unscathed, the power transmission system, conveyor system, buildings, roads and godowns suffered extensive damage, Mr Mohapatra said.
NEW DELHI: The Congress Working Committee tonight demanded an "outright grant" of Rs 500 crore from the Centre to the cyclone-hit Orissa and sought that it be declared as a "national calamity of rare severity".
Demanding full assistance in terms of money, material and expertise to the state government, a special meeting of the working committee requested the centre to give "utmost consideration" to the memorandum submitted by the party to the Prime Minister on November 1 in this regard.
Meanwhile, normalcy is limping back to cyclone-ravaged Orissa, even as the toll reached 1,381 today.
The Bhubaneswar airport has become operational. Trucks with relief materials have started moving to interior areas under the police escort, two top central government officials associated with the rescue work said today.
Railway track has been now opened up to Cuttack from the south and Balasore from north while the Howrah-Kharagpur-Bhadrak-Cuttack rail section has also become operational. The Chennai-Calcutta road (NH 5), breached at a length of 90 metres at Soro, is likely to be opened soon even as eight state roads have been cleared for traffic, said central Relief Commissioner Bhagat Singh and Mr S. Srivastav, Special Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture.
An eight-member inter-ministerial central team, which had left for Orissa for an on-the-spot assessment on the requirements of the state for relief operations, returned to the Capital last evening.
Orissa Principal Resident Commissioner P.K. Hota, the nodal officer of the state here, said there was no paucity of relief material but with a total collapse of the communication network, "we are finding it difficult to reach out to interiors of the affected areas".
Satellite phones have been made available at district headquarters in Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and other places but the authorities still find it difficult to reach the poor in remote areas.
The capital city, too, remains in the dark even after a week after the super cyclone struck coastal Orissa. There is no hope of restoring power in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in another three to seven days.
Mr Hota said the situation continues to be serious as the state immediately requires 700 mw for bare necessities. If these two cities get back to normal, then the state government would be able to implement its relief measures in a proper manner.
He said stories in the media on looting may have got the worlds attention but this has also put movement of traders trucks and relief agency vehicles on hold. The truckers were scared to move ahead. Many trucks were lined up close to the states border in Andhra and West Bengal.
If these were able to move, business and trading could limp back to normal, he said.
A population of one
crore in 10 districts had come under the wrath of the
super cyclone, Mr Hota said. "Never has such a
calamity struck over such a vast area in any part of the
world. Earthquakes and floods occur but these have
effects over a smaller area."Mr Hota said in
Kendrapara, which is one of the worst affected districts,
22 trucks of relief material had been sent to all blocks
under police escort. Another 16 trucks had also reached
the headquarters. Army contingents were already
conducting rescue operations.
Mistrust bedevils Hurriyat
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 A military coup in Pakistan last month has not only caught the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) unawares but has also forced it to rethink its strategy with one section of the leadership pushing hard for closer coordination with the pro-West democratic path and the other asking for a more hard line like that of the early 90s.
With top Hurriyat leaders, including the APHC Chairman, Mr S.A.S. Gillani, Mr Yasin Malik, Prof A.G. Bhat and Maulana Abdul Abbas Ansari along with 11 others being in Jodhpur jail in Rajasthan for the past few weeks, the main burden of carrying on with the work of the organisation has fallen on the former Chairman, Maulvi Umar Farooq who recently met ambassadors of European Union countries in Srinagar.
Even though the young Maulvi Farooq has been actively following the APHC goals in the absence of the other top leaders of the organisation, jealousy and mistrust among the top leaders is becoming apparent as there is a strong suspicion that the former Hurriyat Chairman was pursuing his own personal agenda.
There is a latent feeling among the followers of Mr Gillani, Mr Malik, Prof Bhat and Maulana Ansari that Maulvi Farooq has struck a deal with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah who has ensured a free field for the former APHC Chairman.
A follower queried why Maulvi Farooq is not arrested while the others are not only put behind bars but are also transferred to Jodhpur jail. Not only this, Maulvi Farooq manages to go abroad and meet the expatriate community along with his sympathisers in different western capitals, including the USA, whereas other Hurriyat leaders are not even issued travel documents.
While Maulvi Farooq has been abroad many times in the last couple of years, he was, however, not allowed this year to attended a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries in New York during the UN General Assembly session. This year, the Peoples Conference leader, Mr A.G. Lone, who was permitted to travel abroad on health grounds, attended the OIC meeting and met the expatriate Kashmiri community leaders in New York and Washington.
Even Mr Lone is not above mutual suspicion as he is perceived as a "wily" character by many Hurriyat leaders.
One of the main reasons, insiders point out, for the state of suspicion and mistrust lies in the basic approach of Maulvi Farooq who has been stressing for long that the Hurriyat should abandon a radical pro-Pakistan line and follow a more independent line. Overdependence on Islamabad has weakened the Hurriyat cause as it has isolated the organisation among the Kashmiri population, a section of the Hurriyat followers feel.
Moreover, long years of violence and bloodshed have set in a fatigue among the APHC rank and file who are of the view that Pakistan has failed to deliver the desired results. Even after a decade of violence and terrorist and militant activities, Islamabad has failed to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
Even the recent Kargil operation has boomeranged on Islamabad as it only resulted in international isolation for Pakistan.
During the meeting with the European Ambassadors last month, Maulvi Farooq was at a loss to explain how the Kashmir issue could be resolved with Pakistans present Kashmir policy.
When Maulvi Farooq said the view of the Kashmiri people could be ascertained through referendum, one of the ambassadors asked him whether he was sure that Islamabad would allow a referendum in parts of the state which were under its control and particularly in Gilgit and Baltistan.
Another problem is with the Kashmiri territory which was ceded to China by Pakistan, it was stated during the meeting.
With the issue of terrorism increasingly coming under international focus, terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen, which get considerable material support from Pakistan, would be coming under strain with western democracies applying pressure on Islamabad to stop its support to these organisations.
The APHC leaders, like
Maulvi Farooq and expatriate Kashmiri leaders in the USA
and the UK, have started realising the futility of
overtly identifying with Pakistan. The others, with some
being in Jodhpur jail, are awaiting a firm signal from
Hunger forces them to eat roots
BHUBANESWAR, Nov 5 For 55-year-old Dayanidhi Behera, it is the end of the road. The severe cyclone of 1971 had driven him out of his home in a remote village in Rajnagar block in Kendrapara district to the unfriendly climes of Bhubaneswar.
For the past 28 years, this one-time landless labourer was eking out a living, pulling A rickshaw in the capital city. Despite a considerable depletion in earnings in the past four years owing to the burgeoning number of autorickshaws in the town, he had never once contemplated a change of profession.
Too old to think of shifting elsewhere he had made Bhubaneswar his home for life, having erected a shanty in the Malisahi area of the city.
But with the killer cyclone last Friday having reduced his unauthorised house to a heap of rubbles and his rickshaw his sole source of income to a scrap, Behera has nowhere to go now. The topography of his village is now a distant memory and the future in the capital city too daunting a prospect.
Tears rolling down his cheeks, he raises his hands and exclaims; "Jaga (a term of endearment used by the average Oriya for Lord Jagannath) will decide where I will go with my family". For the time being, he and his family, along with several others, have been put up at a school building by some good samaritans. But he knows very well that it is, at best, a temporary arrangement.
Govinda Bhuyan of Patharabandha area is luckier. Like Dayanidhi, he too had left home and come to Bhubaneswar in search of a living. For the past several years, he toiled hard to make a living, doing odd jobs in the city.
During his stay in the capital, he fought everything from the elements to heartless municipal and police authorities, which compelled him to shift residence several times. But the killer storm that simply threw away his last home with all its belongings has taken the fight out of him.
Traumatised by the experience, he is now begging money from acquaintances to foot the bill for the bus journey back to his native place in a village in Keonjhar district. Asked if he planned to come back, he replies with an emphatic "No" with a vigorous shake of the head.
The tales of woes of Dayanidhi and Govinda, however, pale into insignificance when compared to the stories reaching from the worst-hit districts of Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur.
From Sana Andhara village in Patkuya block of Kendrapara district comes the heart-rending tale of a youth who, having gone without food for four full days, threatened to commit suicide when prevented by his family members from partaking of kunda and chokada (cattlefeed).
Hundreds of others in
these two districts, unable to bear the hunger any more,
have taken to eating roots in a stark reminder of scenes
from Kalahandi that ultimate symbol of hunger and
Pappu Yadav for third front in Bihar
PATNA, Nov 5 (UNI) Newly elected Lok Sabha member Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, claimed today that a third front would be formed in Bihar before the assembly elections slated early next year.
Mr Yadav, who is convalescing in Patna Medical College Hospital after consuming "poisoned" sweets during a victory procession in Purnea last Wednesday, said his priority was to economically develop the Kosi region he belonged to. He was ready to join hands with anybody for achieving this goal.
Mr Yadav, who won the Purnea seat in the October 28 elections with the highest margin in the state, said campaigning by stalwarts like Rashtriya Janata Dal President Laloo Prasad Yadav, Bihar Peoples Party President Anand Mohan, BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Pramod Mahajan, CPM leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet and others could not win the trust of the voters in the constituency and they planned to join in his efforts to ensure development in the region.
He had fought the Lok Sabha election from Purnea jail where he was incarcerated for his alleged involvement in the killing of CPM legislator, Ajit Sarkar.
Mr Yadav said he would consult different leaders for shaping his proposed third front in the state.
Naipaul BJP cheerleader, says Rushdie
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (UNI) Salman Rushdie has stirred up a hornet's nest again. This time by calling V.S. Naipaul "a cheerleader for the Bharatiya Janata Party".
The two have locked horns over Hindu resurgence, the rise of Hindu militancy and the BJP, sparking a new literary debate. "When Naipaul writes articles which the BJP can use as recruiting material, it is a problem," says Rushdie.
The Mumbai-born author's comments come in response to Naipaul's interview in the millennium special issue of "Outlook" magazine which comes out on Sunday.
In his interview, which he claims is his "last" interview on India, Trinidad-born Naipaul says Hindu militancy is a "creative force". "Dangerous or not, it's a necessary corrective to history and will continue to remain so," he argues.
Taking on the fellow Booker Prize winner in a separate interview in the same issue of the magazine, Rushdie says Naipaul has become "a bit of a cheerleader for the BJP lately". He adds: "Naipaul cheered up about India when the BJP was emerging. That seemed the wrong moment to be optimistic about India just as some of the earlier pessimism seemed a little unearned".
Naipaul, who has written extensively on Islam in Asia, says the advent of Christianity did not damage India the way Islam did. In art and history books, he says, people write of Muslims "arriving" in India as though they came on a tourist bus and went away again.
UP change of guard next week?
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (PTI) The BJP is believed to be seriously considering a change of leadership in Uttar Pradesh shortly in the wake of a strong demand from sections in the state unit seeking "corrective measures" following the debacle in the recent Lok Sabha elections in the state.
Highly placed party sources said a decision in this regard may be taken next week following the strident demand made for early removal of Chief Minister Kalyan Singh at the two-day National Executive which concluded here yesterday.
The sources said the party could not afford to delay a decision because of political implications of continuing uncertainty on the state administration and the party organisation.
Among those whose names are doing the rounds as a possible successor to Mr Kalyan Singh are state ministers Om Prakash Singh, a Backward Class leader said to be well-disposed towards the Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh-baiter Kalraj Mishra and state unit President Rajnath Singh.
All pros and cons of removing Mr Kalyan Singh were being considered, the sources said adding suggestions were being made for accommodating the Chief Minister at the Centre as part of efforts to assuage him.
Meanwhile, Mr Kalyan Singh dismissed talk about a change in leadership in Uttar Pradesh as "rumours" and said he had no knowledge about any such move.
He told mediapersons in Lucknow on his return from Delhi that he had no discussion on the issue with the party high command.
The Chief Minister said he asked the party high command for a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for the partys poor poll performance in the state.
Training his guns ostensibly at his detractors, he said a detailed study should be done on why the poll percentage and victory margin of the Prime Minister went down in these elections as compared to the 1998 poll.
"A thorough analysis should be made constituency-wise to study the factors which led to the decline in poll the percentage in Lucknow," he said.
Soz for talks with Hurriyat
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (PTI) In a sudden turn around, former Union Environment Minister and expelled National Conference leader Saif-ud-Din Soz today said the Centre should hold an unconditional dialogue with the secessionist Hurriyat Conference for settlement of the Kashmir issue.
"I am quite optimistic about the outcome of an unfettered dialogue between the Hurriyat and the Centre" he said here.
Mr Soz, who was expelled form the party last year for anti-party activities, said the situation in the Kashmir Valley was "very bad" and if the Centre continued to delay the dialogue process "things could even slip out of their hands."
Stressing the need for an immediate dialogue, Mr Soz said India had been seeking friendship and understanding with "Pakistan which could be pursued only after Islamabad settled under the new Army regime but at the same time it would be well-advised for them to initiate a dialogue process with the Hurriyat."
at the Centre should understand the need for the talks as
in the present scenario in the valley, the Hurriyat is to
be taken into confidence before arriving at any
solution," he said.
Bombay blasts accused held
MUMBAI, Nov 5 (UNI) An accused in the sensational serial bomb blasts case, Mohammad Kasim Lajpuria, alias Mechanic Chacha, who was evading arrest since the last six-and-a-half years, was finally nabbed near the Indo-Nepal border yesterday.
The 52-year-old Lajpuria was produced before the special TADA court here today presided over by Judge P.D Kode, trying the serial blasts case of March 12, 1993, and was remanded in police custody till November 11. He is being interrogated by the CBIs special task force probing the blasts.
After being arrested near the Indo-Nepal border he was handed over to a CBI team and later flown to the Capital. His custody was taken today by the special task force of the Mumbai CBI unit and the accused was flown to Mumbai, highly placed intelligence agency sources said here.
Lajpuria is said to be
close to the prime accused in the sensational blasts,
Karachi-based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his
associates Iqbal Mirchi, Tiger Memon and Salim Kutta. The
plot of the blasts was hatched by the Pakistani spy
agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Dawood
gang executed and engineered the blasts that claimed
Measure animus of witnesses: SC
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (UNI) The Supreme Court has advised the courts in the country to adopt a rational approach and judge the evidence in criminal trials by its intrinsic worth and animus of the witnesses.
"The hypertechnicalities or figment of imagination should not be allowed to divest the court of its responsibility of sifting and weighing the evidence to arrive at the conclusion regarding the existence or otherwise of a particular circumstance keeping in view the peculiar facts of each case, the social position of the victim of the crime and the accused, the larger interest of society, particularly the law and order problem and degrading values of life inherent in the prevalent system," the court said.
The advice was rendered yesterday by a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S. Saghir Ahmad and Mr Justice R.P. Sethi while dealing with evidence in a case where a 55-year-old widow had been subjected to forcible sexual intercourse by two persons.
The prosecutrix, while returning home on November 10, 1993, after attending a marriage, was overpowered near her village, Baadi, Gumanu Nalla in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh by the two accused Lekh Raj and Diwan Chand and raped.
The trial court of Sessions Judge, Mandi, convicted both the accused under Sections 376(2) (G) and 323 of the IPC and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for five years and fined them Rs 5,000 each.
In an appeal filed by the accused-appellants, the Himachal Pradesh High Court set aside the order or the Sessions Judge and acquitted both of them of the charges framed against them.
Alleging that the judgement of the high court was against law and facts, the state government preferred the present appeal before the apex court.
The Supreme Court in its judgement noted the identity of respondent number two, Diwan Chand, was admittedly not established during the investigation and it was not clear as to how he was put on trial along with respondent number one, Lekh Raj.
"We agree with the finding of the high court that the accused Diwan Chand could not be held guilty as no unimpeachable, reliable and satisfactory evidence was produced regarding his involvement in the commission of the crime," the apex court judges said.
"We are, however, of the opinion that the high court was not justified in holding that the prosecutrix had not been subjected to forcible sexual intercourse or the prosecution had failed to prove the case against the respondent no. 1 also," the judge further said.
The judges pointed out
that the fact that the prosecutrix was a widow of about
55 years of age with two grown-up children was a
circumstance to be taken note of for the purposes of
satisfying the court that there was no ulterior motive of
the accused in commission of the crime.
Delhi police in tune with new millennium
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (PTI) The Delhi police today took the first step towards the new millennium with the entry of the maiden batch of fully computer-literate and "gender-sensitised" constabulary into the 55,000 strong force.
A total of 816 recruit constables, one of the largest batches, comprising, among others, 13 post-graduates, 355 graduates and a law graduate, formally joined the force at a passing out parade presided over by Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma at the Police Training College (PTC) at Jharoda Kalan, on the citys outskirts.
The millenniums last batch to join the Capitals police force has the rare distinction of undergoing training in computers, firing simulators, motorcycle riding and swimming.
The recruit constables were imparted qualitative training in various subjects such as law, including Penal Code, collection of intelligence, scientific methods of investigation, handling of explosives, maintenance of law and order, traffic control, riot control etc.
Their field training included parade, ambush and counter ambush, search and seizure, firing, weapon tactics, assault course and commando course, besides explosive training at the Special Protection Group centre at Manesar in Haryana.
For the first time, the recruits attended a special course in gender sensitisation, human rights, values and ethics and Vipassana meditation.
No immediate plans to quit: Madhuri
MUMBAI, Nov 5 (PTI) Madhuri Dixit, the heart throb of Bollywood who tied arranged nuptial knots with a US-based doctor last month, has no immediate plans to say goodbye to the tinsel world but would prefer to settle down with Dr Shriram Nene sooner or later.
Madhuris marriage was solemnised at the Los Angeles residence of her brother Ajit on October 17. She had a quiet honeymoon in Hawaii, even before the news of the wedding broke out.
Sources close to her said Madhuri, who has two films "Pukar" and "Gajagamini", the latter a venture of painter M.F. Hussain, on the floor, would continue to act in movies but prefer to settle down in the USA.
Madhuri herself said: "I believe in destiny", and like the character of Nisha she portrayed in the blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, "I am in life serious and mischievous alternately."
HC directs hospital be cleaned
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today pulled up authorities of the Safdarjung Hospital and said the place must be cleaned within two weeks.
The court was hearing a report of a three-member committee comprising advocates Ashok Aggarwal, Rajiv Awasthi and Meera Bhatia which made an inspection visit to the hospital yesterday.
The committee members said there were insects inside the intensive care units (ICUs), the toilets were stinking and the general ward was littered with garbage.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S.N. Variava and Justice S.K. Mahajan asked Mr H.P. Bajaj, Head of the hospitals Burns Ward, and the Deputy Medical Superintendent to personally supervise the cleanliness operation.
"Just passing the orders is not enough. You have to stand there floor by floor and see that it is done. Garbage must be removed and floors must be cleaned. The entire hospital must be clean at all points of time, as clean as any other private hospital, said Chief Justice Variava.
School counselling to be mandatory
NEW DELHI, Nov 5 (UNI) Counselling will be made mandatory in all schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The decision was taken today at a workshop organised to review tele-counselling service, CBSE helpline, launched by the board last year.
The workshop, chaired by CBSE Chairman B.P. Khandelwal, also recommended that the board broadbase the tele-counselling, extending it to other parts of the country through an effective network, a press note by the board said.
Each school affiliated to the CBSE should have provision for a counsellor.
Counselling should be a
continuous part of the total learning system in schools
instead of restricting it to the examination time. If
necessary, the CBSE should consider amendments to
affiliation laws for securing a place for counselling in
schools, the workshop felt.
stars of Cartoon Network
MUMBAI: Five Indian kids have won Cartoon Networks +Get Tooned +loyalty programme and will be animated to feature as cartoon stars in 60 second segments, to be aired on the network in the new millennium for January 1 onwards. Waleed Khat, Kartik Krishna Ayyar, Kanchan Matkar, Naizari Mangeshikar and Urwashi Lale have been transformed into five action characters Banana Boy, Construction Kid, Flamenco Kid, Ninja Kid and Rollercoaster Kid. PTI
Undertrials escape after
Girl dies in
hike in water cess
4 children die
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