|N A T I O N|
Pak troops still
present near border
PM invites Oppn leaders to dinner
Police solves Irfan
murder case, 6 held
Vananchal issue in Bihar
Primary education may be made
Womens Bill: BSP demands 50
Scroll of Honour for 2 BSF men
2 foreigners with fake US bills
Pak troops still present near border
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 (PTI) Even a month after Pakistans military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf announced pullback of troops from the international border, the Indian side is witnessing considerable presence of forces on the other side, ostensibly for exercises.
"As per eyewitness account of our troops, Pakistani soldiers are still present near the border ostensibly for exercises. But whether they are actually there for exercises or deployment is difficult to assess," said Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Western Command.
However, there has been "some pullback" at some places, Lt-Gen Oberoi, whose command is in-charge of the countrys borders in Punjab and Rajasthan, told reporters here today.
Dismissing the need for any special preparation particularly after the army coup in Pakistan, he said the "Indian Army is always ready for any eventuality."
"Our strategies and concepts are dynamic and keep changing as per the situation," added Lt-Gen Oberoi, who took charge of the command recently.
He said the Army was laying special stress on technological advancement in the force in a run-up to the next millennium.
PM invites Oppn leaders to dinner
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 (PTI) In an apparent move to reach a consensus on crucial issues before Parliament, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has invited leaders of major Opposition parties for a dinner tomorrow on the eve of the winter session of Parliament.
The dinner to be attended by 20 leaders of various Opposition parties would provide an occasion for the government to interact with them on controversial Bills like the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA).
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan said it was, perhaps, the first time that a Prime Minister had initiated such an interaction with Opposition leaders just a day before the session.
He said such a tradition was being followed by some states like Maharashtra.
A luncheon meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners would be convened by the Prime Minister for consultations on matters to be taken up in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Mr Mahajan said.
He said TDP leader K. Yerrannaidu, whose party was supporting the government but was not part of the NDA, had been invited for the dinner meeting.
IAF honours 132 martyrs
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 Emotions ran high and tears rolled down the cheeks as the families of martyrs, who died in all armed actions since Independence, were honoured by the Indian Air Force here today.
The families of 132 martyrs of the 1948 conflict, Indo-China war of 1962, Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, Operation Meghdoot of 1996-97 in Siachen and the Kargil conflict this year were remembered and honoured at a unique function by the Air Chief A.Y. Tipnis.
Families of 60 martyrs participated in the function, where an emblem of honour, a scroll and cheques for Rs 1 lakh each were handed over to either their surviving widows and children or parents, brothers and sisters.
As the widow of Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, the only Param Vir Chakra awardee of the IAF, climbed up the dais with tears rolling down her cheeks to receive the honour, all the serving and retired personnel in the auditorium were moved.
On December 14, 1971, Fg Offr Sekhon was on duty at Srinagar airfield when six Pakistani Sabre jets launched an offensive. Despite the inherent danger of taking-off during bombing raids, he steered his GNAT aircraft to engage a pair of enemy jets and secured hits on one, while setting other jet on fire.
But he was outnumbered and was hit. While he ejected, his chute did not deploy as the dogfight had brought his jet to an extremely low level.
Mrs Manjit Kaur told The Tribune that she was overwhelmed by the gesture. "I am proud and honoured by the deeds of Fg Offr Sekhon," she said in a voice choked with emotion.
Families of prisoners of war (PoWs) were also among the honoured. Ms Meenu Jain, daughter of Sqn Ldr M.K. Jain, Vir Chakra, who was declared PoW, refused to believe that her father was no more.
"Neither the Pakistan nor the Indian government had provided us any proof that my father is dead. How can I believe that?," she told The Tribune.
Mrs Poonam Goswami, wife of Flt Lt S.K. Goswami was in tears as she voiced her anguish "the Chief says reconcile. It is so simple to say that, but for the families it is very hard to overcome this dilemma," she said.
Several senior Air Force personnel said the trauma experienced by families of the PoWs was very difficult to handle. Nobody knows whether the men were dead or alive, and one cannot lose the hope of they being alive. The PoWs have been declared dead on technical grounds, as otherwise their families would be deprived of many benefits, senior officers said.
Mrs Alka Ahuja, the wife of Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja, said she had been given ample support by the Air Force and was slowly coming to terms with life.
The Chief of Air Staff, who presented memento to the martyrs families, said the function was to recognise the value of the sacrifice and to contribute to the welfare of these families.
"The overwhelming response generated during the Kargil conflict made us think about the martyrs of earlier armed conflicts," the Air Chief said, adding that "we decided to honour them."
The funds to be spent on honouring the martyrs have been donated by the IAF personnel. Each member of the IAF had donated a days salary for the Kargil victims and the amount that had remained unspent had been used for the purpose, he added.
Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh said "we are all emotionally touched on this occasion."
"Such functions are good for the families of martyrs, the IAF and defence forces as it rekindles memories of the sacrifices made by these brave men and strengthens the bonds among men and officers in armed forces," he said.
Among the families of the martyrs attending this ceremony was the family of Flt Lt L.M. Sasson, who was killed while flying a Canberra in December 1971, came all the way from Israel.
While 49 IAF men and officers were killed in 1971, 40 died in action during the 1965 war. Thirtyone died in 1948, followed by six in 1996-97, five in Kargil operations and one in 1962. Of the deceased, 81 were officers and 51 airmen.
In a bid to organise this union, the IAF tracked down the next of kin the martyrs not only in different parts of the country but as far away in Canada, Israel and England.
Besides the Air Chief former Air Chiefs and other top IAF officials attended the ceremony.
Police solves Irfan murder
case, 6 held
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 The Delhi Police claimed to have solved the most sensational murder case of "Outlook" cartoonist, Irfan Hussain, with the arrest of six persons of a gang from Uttar Pradesh.
The arrested suspects belonged to a gang of Kashipur in Udham Singh Nagar district who operated on lonely stretches of roads bordering the Capital. The information about the criminals came from Anantnag in Kashmir following the arrest of a gangster, Fahim of Kashipur and recovery of a stolen car, the Commissioner of Delhi Police, Mr Ajai Raj Sharma said today.
The other suspects were identified as Heera Singh alias Bullet, Sanjay Kumar, Mohammad Mustafa Ansari, Jaseem and Mohammad Shahid, all residing at Yamuna Pushta in central Delhi. They have been taken on police remand for 14 days.
Irfan was murdered on the night of March 8 in the Ghazipur dairy farm area in east Delhi and his highly decomposed body was recovered on March 11. The incident occurred at about 11 p.m. when Irfan was returning to his home in Sahibabad in UP.
While addressing the mediapersons the Commissioner said a team of Delhi Police was rushed to Anantnag following information from the Kashmir Police to interrogate Fahim, who had stolen a car from the Capital and tried to sell it there. While Fahim managed to bail out by the time the Delhi Police reached there, his UP address was tracked down.
The car that the police in Anantnag had seized belonged to an east Delhi businessman, Vijay Arora, who was reportedly missing since August this year. The businessman had also been killed by the suspects. The highly decomposed body of the businessman was recovered from a jungle near Sarai Kale Khan today.
The police team reached UP from Anantnag where it interrogated one Safaya who knew Fahim and others and this led to the arrest of Fahim and others.
Their interrogation revealed that Irfan probably fell a victim to his instinct to react.
According to the police,
on the night of March 8 Irfan was spotted by the suspects
as he was driving alone on the highway in the Ghazipur.
They accosted him and tried to rob him, but when he
resisted the attempt they stabbed him to death brutally.
Vananchal issue in Bihar court
RANCHI, Nov 27 (UNI) Throwing the statehood issue in Bihars court once again, Union Minister of State for Forest and Environment Babu Lal Marandi today said creation of Vananchal would be delayed if the proposed Bihar State Re-Organisation Bill was not returned on time by the Bihar Assembly to which it was being sent by the Centre for ratification.
Mr Marandi said the required constitutional procedures regarding the states creation had been completed by the Centre and the proposed draft of the Bill would be cleared by the Central Cabinet tomorrow for being sent to the President for his assent and ratification of the state concerned.
He said the Centre would request the President to ensure the return of the Bill within a week so that it could be tabled in Parliament and passed during the winter session which would begin from November 29.
Reiterating his partys commitment, he said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had taken up the issue on a priority basis and was working for its early creation. Mr Marandi was hopeful that the Bill would be cleared during the winter session.
The Bihar State Re-Organisation Bill, 1998, which had been brought by the BJP-led government at the Centre in the winter session of the 12th Lok Sabha last year could not be taken up for clearance due to paucity of time during the Budget session. The Bill was likely to be introduced afresh this winter session.
However, Mr Marandi remained silent when asked why the Bill was not sent earlier to the Bihar legislature for ratification when the government was aware that the legislature had taken months in returning the Bill last time. As a result, the Bill could only be introduced on the last day of the 12th Lok Sabhas winter session last year.
He also remained silent
when reminded about Home Minister L.K. Advanis
pre-election assurance that efforts would be made by the
BJP, if it came to power, to create Vananchal before the
Assembly elections in Bihar.
Primary education may be made
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 The government plans to propose a Constitutional amendment to make elementary education a fundamental right of all children upto 14 years of age and a fundamental duty of their parents and guardians.
Announcing a series of initiatives mooted at the two-day conference of State Education Secretaries here, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi said the draft of the Bill to bring about the amendment was ready and would be sent to the Cabinet for approval.
Dr Joshi said the State Education Secretaries welcomed the overall strategy and approach of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
The main thrust areas of the SSA are an educational guarantee scheme whereby all children in the age-group (6 to 14) will be covered under the bridge course by 2003. Similarly, the campaign plans to provide primary education to all children in the same age-group by 2007 and ensure that they complete eight years of schooling by 2010.
Dr Joshi said the
government had also planned to set up 100 SMART schools
in different parts of the country. He said these schools
would focus on information technology and cover all three
aspects of computer education.
Womens Bill: BSP demands 50 pc quota
LUCKNOW, Nov 27 (UNI) The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today said it would oppose the Womens Reservation Bill to be presented in the winter session of Parliament, saying the provisions proposed in the bill were inadequate.
Addressing a press
conference here, BSP Vice-President Mayawati said her
party was not agreeable to limiting the reservation for
women in Parliament, state Assemblies, councils and
panchayats to 33 per cent. "The quota of reservation
should be enhanced to 50 per cent, going by the
population of women, she demanded.
Scroll of Honour for 2 BSF men
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 Head Constable Puran Singh of Punjab and Constable Daya Ram, both belonging to the Water Wing of the Border Security Force, were presented with the Scroll of Honour by the BSF chief, Mr E.N. Rammohan, here today.
Both Puran Singh and Daya Ram are boatmen and were earlier awarded the Prime Ministers medal for outstanding valour, determination and grit in rescuing 11 Army personnel in a boat accident in 1997.
The incident occurred on
August 16, 1997, when an Army speedboat carrying the
Commander of 51 Infantry Brigade, along with his officers
and staff, was caught in a strong current in the Ravi in
Gurdaspur sector. Due to heavy rains and the volume of
water, the boat started drowning and on hearing the cries
of the drowning passengers, the two BSF personnel saved
the lives of Army personnel.
2 foreigners with fake US
NEW DELHI, Nov 27 The CBI has arrested two Cameroon nationals, Akem Ayuk Stanley and Sona Pascal Ekelle for allegedly possessing counterfeit US dollars before they could board a flight to Bangkok from here.
The two were detained at
the Indira Gandhi International Airport and after
thorough search they were found to be carrying
incriminating documents and 13 $ 100 bills each, which
were suspected to be fake, a CBI release said here today.
|Brain fever toll rises to
HYDERABAD: The toll due to Japanese encephalitis (JE) (brain fever) in Andhra Pradesh mounted to 164 with five more deaths reported on Friday. According to an official health bulletin here, 25,000 doses of JE vaccine have been supplied to Cuddapah, Kurnool, Prakasam, Warangal, Guntur, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Krishna, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad and Rangareddy districts of the state. UNI
Shringar fest begins
shower forms craters
shot in Tripura
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