|Monday, March 20, 2000,
Clintons effigies burnt
CBI may get more powers
PM has failed to deliver: RSS
Shanmugham to be Pondicherry CM
Drive renders many homeless
Auction nets AIR Rs 423 crore
Nod to border electric fencing
NEW DELHI, March 19 (PTI) In the wake of stepped-up operations by militants, the government has given the go-ahead for electric fencing of 195 km of the international border between Jammu and Sialkoat in Pakistan on a "crash basis" after identifying it as "most vulnerable" to infiltration by mercenaries.
The government has thought of facing border lying in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time.
This stretch of border from Palanwala in the Chamb sector to Madhopur on the Jammu and Kashmir-Punjab border, official sources said, was prone to be "most used" by Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for its "high voltage infiltration".
Officials said the Rs 28 crore project, which had been accorded topmost priority by the Home and Defence Ministries was unlikely to have a smooth-sailing as the Pakistani forces had been very active in the region.
Last year alone, according to figures placed in Parliament, as many as 2,896 firing incidents were reported in the region and in the first two months of the year, 400 incidents were reported, indicating that the fencing work would face heavy disruption from across the border.
The government has set a target of three years for the project, which, when completed, would add up to 1,682 km of electrified international border between Pakistan and India.
The government had also approved a comprehensive proposal for fencing and flood lighting on raised embankments, border roads, link roads and border outposts in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat at a cost of Rs 380 crore, the sources said.
They said that top priority was being given to the Jammu project keeping in view the recent spate of bomb attacks on trains passing through the Jammu-Pathankot sector.
The terrain in the area is extremely flat and the need for electrified fencing is seven more necessary in view of the proximity of populated areas to the border which makes it much easier to carry out infiltrations, security experts said.
The intelligence agencies had recommended fencing of this sector in early 1990s. However, the government then had decided to accord higher priority to the Rajasthan sector.
Intelligence agencies have warned that the proximity of this stretch to the Pakistan border makes it vulnerable to "attack and hold" raids by larger groups of Pakistani mercenaries.
According to reports, hundreds of heavily armed mercenaries backed by enhanced troop strength have been amassed by Pakistan at certain points along the Line of Control (LoC) in northern Jammu and Kashmir amid reports that Islamabad is purchasing winter stockings from European countries.
Well-placed sources in the Home ministry said noticeable build-up had been sighted in the Shaqma sector in occupied Kashmir (PoK) opposite Kaksar area in the Kargil sector.
The sources said war-hardened Afghan militants in civilian dress were spotted by the Indian observation posts in the region.
The reports come close on the heels of Defence Minister George Fernandes speaking about a build-up in PoK and warning on the likelihood of a "hot summer" along the LoC.
Senior officers of Pakistan-controlled Gilgit Scouts have visited the forwardmost posts to take "stock of the situation", the sources said, adding apparently troops withdrawn from the international border have been moved to these regions.
Reports from Europe said the Pakistan Government had placed orders for the purchase of huge amounts of winter stockings, including snowboots and mountaineering skiing equipment, indicating that Islamabad could again go in for a misadventure in this sector after the visit of US President Bill Clinton to the subcontinent.
Besides Kaksar, the reports said Pakistani army men along with mercenaries from four major groups, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashker-e-Toiba, Al-Aadar and Hizbul Mujahideen had been moved in areas right opposite Olthingthang in the Batalik sub-sector.
Clintons effigies burnt
NEW DELHI, March 19 Defying a police ban imposed ahead of US President Bill Clintons visit, activists of Left wing and other organisations today held protest meetings and burnt effigies of the worlds most powerful leader in several parts of the city.
Activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) burnt an effigy of Mr Clinton and raised anti-US slogans a few metres from the police headquarters here.
Despite a tight police bandobast, small groups of CPI (ML) workers started assembling near the capitals busiest crossing, ITO, adjacent to the police headquarters and went on to hold a demonstration against the US Presidents visit. Protesting against what they called US imperialistic attitude towards India and the Vajpayee governments abject surrender to American dictates, the demonstrators set afire an effigy of Mr Clinton.
Criticising the Vajpayee governments pro-US stance and raising anti-US slogans, the demonstrators said that they would organise protest meetings in all the state capitals where the US President was visiting.
CPI (ML) Central Committee member, Mr Ranjeet Abhigyan said Indias self respect was being damaged by the over enthusiastic response of the BJP-led government and the Opposition Congress to Mr Clintons visit.
The demonstrators expressed anguish over security arrangement for Mr Clintons visit being taken over by US security agencies and said the Union Home Ministry had been reduced to merely looking after the protests. It is astonishing that the votaries of national pride are swallowing this insult without a murmur of protest. It goes only to show that their national pride is subservient to the diktas of big powers like the US Government, a protester said.
Another effigy of the US President was set afire by activists of over a dozen organisations near the historic Khooni Darwaza. The demonstrators called the bonfire Holi Dahan on the eve of Holi.
Swami Agnivesh, who addressed the gathering, deplored the slavish attitude of Indias ruling elite in welcoming Mr Clinton and declared that the US Presidents effigy, symbolising the neo-colonialism of MNCs and WTO, would be burnt at over a thousand places across the country.
Activists of Forward Bloc, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party, National Alliance of Peoples Movements, Bandhua Mukti Morcha and other organisations participated in a street play to protest against Mr Clintons visit.
Workers of CPI (ML)-New Democracy also took out processions through various slum and resettlement colonies in South and South-West Delhi and raised slogans against the USA. They also burnt Mr Clintons effigies.
Since the demonstrations were peaceful, the police did not intervene and only kept a strict watch on their activities.
PTI adds: The Congress today flayed Left parties decision to boycott US President Bill Clintons visit and address to the joint session of Parliament, saying their action was reprehensible, regrettable and irresponsible.
CWC member Jitendra Prasada said here in a statement. As far as I can recollect, this never has happened in the past. It will be a sad day in the history of Indian democracy when our parliamentarians committed by oath of defending the spirit of democracy as enshrined in our Constitution refuse even to listen to a different point of view.
The senior Congress
leader said there would always be political groups in the
country opposed to the policies of one country or the
other but the Communist parties must realise
that they are setting a bad precedent.
Clintons itinerary live on DD
NEW DELHI, March 19 (UNI) A majority of the engagements of US President Bill Clinton, who is already taking up a lot of time and space on the electronic and print media, will be covered live on Doordarshan.
In fact, several channels have already announced extensive plans to cover the visit beginning with his arrival here today evening, and at least five different American television channels -ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX - are sending their teams with Mr Clinton on one of his planes.
While they will accompany the President everywhere, they are not permitted to have any tie-ups with any other channel besides Doordarshan. Thus, Star TV and BBC TV, which have announced plans to give extensive coverage to the visit are expected to take live feeds from Doordarshan which is giving live coverage on the national channel DD I, DD News, and DD International.
Apart from the arrival at the hotel, the programmes being reported live include the official welcome ceremony on March 21, the visit to Rajghat, official reception and lunch, state banquet, address to Parliament and some of the engagements in Agra, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
The events to be reported live on March 21 are the official welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan (9.30 am), visit to Rajghat (10.30 am), official reception and lunch at Hyderabad House (noon), and state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan (7.30 pm).
The address to the joint sitting of Parliament on March 22 at 10.30 am, and the speech on environment in Agra (1.45 pm) will get live coverage. The other events to be covered live are the speech on rural development and village issues at Nalia village in Jaipur on March 23 (11 am_) and the technical speech at Hyderabad and TB Day speech on March 24 (11 am). On March 25, Mr Clintons meeting with business leaders followed by conversation with students of St Xaviers College in Mumbai will also be reported live.
Both Star News and BBC
World have also announced extensive coverage of the
Clinton visit to the country. The BBC will air live both
radio and TV coverage from Delhi and Islamabad, where he
is going on March 25, anchored by its South Asia
correspondent Mike Woolridge.
Three-hour wait for 3-minute ceremony
NEW DELHI, March 19 (UNI) It was a three-hour-long wait for about 300 journalists and officials for a three-minute event at the technical area of the Palam Airport here where the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, Air Force One, touched down at 8.10 p.m. tonight with U.S. President Bill Clinton and his entourage of about 100 top officials.
Seconds after hitting the runway, the aircraft disappeared from view only to come towards the tarmac in about five minutes.
After reaching the designated place where Mr Clinton was to alight, the massive white-and-blue aircraft turned 180 degrees in a static position to bring the exit doors to the side where External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and others were waiting to receive him.
It took another ten minutes before Mr Clinton was seen near the exit door following which the Chief of Protocol Manbir Singh and US Ambassador Richard Celeste went up to escort the President down the ladder.
Mr Clinton, his daughter Chelsea and his mother-in-law Dorothy Rodham came down at 8.25 p.m. to a red carpet welcome.
From then on it took
just three minutes for Mr Clinton to shake hands with Mr
Jaswant Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs
Ajit Panja and about half a dozen others before leaving
the airport in a black limousine.
Clinton 4th US President to
NEW DELHI, March 19 Mr Bill Clinton, is the fourth US President to visit the country during the last 42 years.
While past visits by US Presidents were more symbolic in nature, the purpose of Mr Clintons visit is to give more content to bilateral cooperation between India and the USA.
According to the US Ambassador to India, Richard F Celeste, the purpose of the visit is to broaden the engagement and underscore the range of our relationship".
Mr Clintons visit to India was preceded by the arrival of the 39th President of the US, Mr Jimmy Carter in New Delhi on January one, 1978.
The purpose of his visit then was to share an unwavering faith in the democratic form of government that guarantees fundamental freedom under law and the right; to work for a cooperative and stable world order; to participate in making decisions relating to international peace and cooperation etc.
Mr Richard M. Nixon was the second US President to visit India when he arrived here on July 31, 1969.
The purpose of his visit was to achieve the mission of a journey in quest of peace for Asia; to build a structure of stability within which the rights of each nation are respected etc.
Though it was Mr Nixons first visit to India as the US President, he had visited earlier in 1953 as Vice-President when Mr Eisenhower was the US President. He also made a private visit to the country.
The first visit to India by a US President was that of Mr Dwight D. Eisenhower in December 1959.
Kashmir Watch writes to Clinton
NEW DELHI, March 19 (PTI) A London-based expatriate Kashmiri group, Kashmir Watch, has asked US President Bill Clinton to bring pressure on Indian and Pakistani leaders to "put on 15-year freeze" the Kashmir issue and to utilise this period to rebuild mutual trust.
In a letter to the US President, Kashmir Watch, which represents the bulk of the valley Muslims in Europe, said Mr Clinton should ask India and Pakistan to put an end to the "gun culture" in the state.
"We genuinely believe your forthcoming visit to India and Pakistan will help them put aside their feelings of hate and bitterness against each other and instead focus their attention on the process for an end to the tragic conflict in Kashmir," Mr Siraj Shah, president of the group, said in his letter.
Mr Shah said in the absence of any "perceptible" political or militant movement for independence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the "re-unification and independence of Kashmir appears to be a remote possibility".
He said as a first step towards durable peace in the region, both India and Pakistan should grant a quantum of maximum autonomy to the territory under their control and also ensure the return of all displaced persons to their homes.
Mr Shah said Mr Clinton should tell India and Pakistan to adopt a "no-blame" position against each other and start an unconditional dialogue with the elected representatives of the Kashmiri people.
Kashmir Watch also told Mr Clinton that there was "no political group or movement" in Kashmir at the moment and to determine the "true representatives" of the people, "fresh, free and fair elections" should be held on either side of the Line of Control.
Mr Shah also told the Americans that pressure should be put on Pakistan to stop providing any support to militancy in Kashmir, and both India and Pakistan should be asked to scale down military presence in their parts of Kashmir.
Kashmir Watch told Mr
Clinton that at present militancy in Jammu and Kashmir
had ceased to be an "indigenous movement" and
that ultra-fundamentalist groups from outside the state
had "hijacked" it which could lead to
"disastrous consequences" for the people of the
Clinton likely to meet Katyals kin
NEW DELHI, March 19 (PTI) In an outright condemnation of terrorist activities against India by Pakistan-based militant groups, US President Bill Clinton is likely to meet the next of the kin of Rupin Katyal, who was killed by hijackers of the Indian Airlines airbus in December, last year, official sources said tonight.
Plea to Clinton on 1971 killings
DHAKA, March 19 (AFP) Bangladeshi activists today released an open letter to US President Bill Clinton on the eve of his arrival here, seeking justice for alleged crimes against humanity dating back to 1971.
The National Coordinating Committee, which tracks suspected war criminals, said Mr Clinton should use his historic visit tomorrow to highlight alleged crimes committed during the war with Pakistan in which up to three million Bengalis died.
US Government headed by you has given support to the
United Nations steps to try any war criminals
anywhere in the world, the letter said.
The offences committed by the Pakistani army
and their collaborators in 1971 on our soil is the worst
example of war crimes and crimes against
Air Force One: the flying palace
NEW DELHI, March 19 (PTI) Its been nicknamed the "Flying White House". Its probably the most glamorous, luxurious, and certainly the best-known object in the sky.
Its the Air Force one, the official aircraft of the President of the USA.
Though Air Force One (AFO) may not be able to accommodate all paraphernalia at 1600, Pennsylvania Avenue, it certainly matches the official residence of the US President in prestige and stature and has a history which is as glorious as the aircraft itself.
The first aircraft to don the mantle of "presidential aircraft" of the US President was a propeller-driven Douglas DC-4, dubbed the "sacred cow" by the American media. It served President Franklin Delano Roosevelt till 1945.
The AFO has certainly come a long way since then. The present aircraft, the one which President William Jefferson Clinton is using is a wide-bodied, four-engined Boeing 747-200B. Bearing tail number 28000, the air force designation of the plane is VC-25A.
But this plane rarely travels alone, especially on foreign trips - such as the current one to India. It is followed closely by an almost identical back-up aircraft, bearing tail number 29000.
Strictly speaking, the AFO is not the specific name of a particular aircraft. Rather, it is the radio call sign of any air force plane carrying the US President. The truth is, the name attaches itself to the President, not the aircraft.
In the early days, the US Presidents plane had both a name and a call sign. The name could be anything that caught the fancy of the Chief Executive, his pilot or sometimes even the Press.
The "airborne palace" ferrying Mr Clinton to New Delhi, the B747-200B, and its twin, were custom-built for the US air force in 1990.
The facilities that adorn the aircraft of the worlds most powerful person are impressive to say the least. Sample this..
The B747s do not need ground handling like ladders and auxiliary power units to start the engines.
Designed to carry the President over long distances, it has a normal flying range of 12,250 km or half the distance to the moon.
CBI may get more powers
NEW DELHI, March 19 (PTI) To overcome hurdles in the CBIs operations and speed up investigations, a concept of "federal crimes" has been mooted to enable the investigating agency to suo motu investigate certain offences without the permission of the states.
"Certain offences like hijacking, attack on central government property, Passport Act offences, assassination of top leaders and counterfeit currency should be listed as federal crimes so that the CBI does not depend on the concurrence of state governments in taking up a suo motu probe", CBI Director R.K. Raghavan told PTI.
Explaining the problem faced by the premier investigating agency due to the provision for obtaining consent from the state concerned in each case, he said even for matters relating to central government officials, the CBI was dependent on state governments.
Stating that the proposed concept could bring about a major transformation, Mr Raghavan said: "There is loud thinking in this regard and a draft paper is being prepared by a working group".
Citing the example of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the USA, he said offences identified as "federal crimes" should be included in the Union List of the Constitution.
"We have initiated the move. It requires enormous political will to implement such a concept", he said.
Even in major cases like those relating to Rajiv Gandhis assassination and the recent Indian Airlines plane hijacking, the CBI took considerable time to take up investigation as initial cases were registered by the police in the states concerned.
Describing as "very heavy" the workload in the under-staffed CBI, Mr Raghavan said the agency registered, 1,000 to 1,200 cases every year on an average.
"Cases pour in from all quarters. Aprat from cases referred to it by courts, the Centre and the state governments, the CBI also suo motu registers cases", he said.
Expressing concern over the shortage of investigators due to the freeze on promotions for the past three years due to several "knotty issues" like court cases, he said there were about 800 vacancies in the agency as very few persons were inclined to join the organisation in the lower ranks from the state police forces on deputation.
Although some posts were reserved for deputationists, police personnel were reluctant to join the CBI because of "greener pastures" in the states, he said adding several rules relating to recruitment and promotion had to be amended to increase the manpower of the agency.
Admitting that the best prosecutors were not available to it, Mr Raghavan said of late the agency was entitled to appoint special counsel in major cases as it did in the Bofors gun deal payoff case.
Asked whether the CBI
faced political pressure, Mr Raghavan said the system was
such that varied pressures came from various quarters.
"Pressure operates even in the Federal Bureau of
Investigation", he said.
PM has failed to deliver:
CALCUTTA, March 19 The newly elected RSS chief, Mr K. Sitaramiya Sudarshan, has fired a salvo against the Vajpayee government, alleging that the BJP-led government has failed to fulfil any of the hopes and aspirations of the people.
Mr Sudarshan has declared that the RSS fight against the Vajpayee government with regards to "Hindutabadh" and nationalism will continue and the RSS will not allow the BJP to reach any compromise on Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
The RSS chief who flew down to the city yesterday, his first visit to Calcutta after assuming the chair, expressed dissatisfaction and resentment at the style of functioning of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.
He said: "Vajpayee himself is an activist of the RSS and being a member of the RSS family, it is surprising that he would act otherwise. It appears that he has totally surrendered himself to the coalition partners, contrary to the basic theory and ideology of the RSS".
The RSS chief warned that the organisation would not allow the government in Delhi to run in this fashion and would force the BJP leadership to change its attitude and the present style of functioning.
Mr Sudarshan reminded that the RSS was the vital force behind the BJP and without the RSS, the party could not and did not have any entity. "But it is regretted that the ministers in the Vajpayee government very often forget this reality", he remarked.
The RSS chief said Mr
L.K. Advani was a better RSS leader than Mr Vajpayee. He
said under him countrymen would get a better deal in
achieving the objectives of nationalism and socialism
based on "Hindutabadh".
Shanmugham to be Pondicherry CM
PONDICHERRY, March 19 (PTI) Mr P. Shanmugham, Pondicherry Congress unit President, was today unanimously elected the leader of the Congress legislature party paving the way for his becoming the Chief Minister.
The name of Mr Shanmugham was proposed by former Chief Minister Vaithilingam and seconded by former Agriculture Minister N. Rangasamy, who were earlier in the race for the top post.
Mr Shanmugham, who will be the eighth Chief Minister, emerged as a surprise consensus candidate as both Mr Vaithilingam and Mr Rangasamy agreed to his choice by the party high command.
Congress high command
observer P.J. Kurien, who conducted the election this
afternoon, told reporters that Mr Shanmugham would be
formally elected leader of the Congress-TMC-AIADMK-CPI
joint legislature party later in the day, after which he
would meet Lt-Governor Rajni Rai to stake his claim to
form the ministry.
Drive renders many homeless
SRIGANGANAGAR, March 19 Under its statewide campaign against encroachments a task force of the Rajasthan state government has demolished hundreds of buildings during the past few days.
The drive has rendered hundreds homeless and certain residents have been forced to take shelter under trees and at public places.
Official sources said so far the district administration had not made any plan to provide temporary shelters to those who had been uprooted. Any decision in this regard would be taken in consultation with the state government. The areas which were got vacated would be fenced.
Although no resistance has been put up by the encroachers against the demolition, there is tension in the areas, particularly those places where the task force tried to demolish certain religious structures constructed allegedly on government land.
To avoid any clash between the members of the task force and the alleged encroachers, a large number of police personnel equipped with tear gas shells were deployed in the areas where the demolition was still going on.
Those whose residential and commercial premises were razed to the ground alleged that no warning was given to them regarding the anti-encroachment drive. They alleged the members of the task force misbehaved with them and did not spare even those buildings which were raised after securing lease deeds from the department concerned.
They added that members of the task force alongwith policemen, cranes and bulldozers suddenly descended on the Sriganganagar-Suratgarh Road, the Sriganganagar-Padampur Road, in the Azadpur Talkie, the Barhamashi Canal and the A-Minor canal areas and started pulling down buildings in a haphazard manner.
Even in some localities, their "encroachers" were voluntarily dismantling their structures to save their household goods and building materials. The policemen also got vacated all premises before demolishing them.
Mr P.C. Berwal, Additional District Magistrate, who was supervising the anti-encroachment drive, when contacted, denied that the structures were demolished without issuing any warning to the occupants. He pointed out that most of the land on which permanent structures were raised by the encroachers belonged to the Public Works Department and the Irrigation Department.
He said that the drive
had been launched on March 15 under the orders of the
authorities concerned and it would continue till all
illegal structures were pulled down. He further said that
only that part of a religious building would be spared
where idols or religious books had been placed.
Auction nets AIR Rs 423 crore
NEW DELHI, March 19 (UNI) The auctioning of 99 FM stations in 40 cities in the country has resulted in AIR getting a committed revenue of Rs 422.68 crore, after setting out with a reserve price of only Rs 75.4 crore.
Of the total revenue, a sum of Rs 132.75 crore has come from just two bidders: Rs 88.97 crore from Zee TVs associate New Media Broadcasting from a successful bid for 28 stations and Rs 43.78 crore from Bennet Coleman and Company for 12 cities.
Prasar Bharati, will
thus, earn an average of more than Rs 4.27 crore from
each auctioned station. The highest bid of Rs 9.75 crore
came for Mumbai, followed by Rs 7.725 crore for
Hyderabad, Rs 7.4 crore for Nagpur, and Rs 7.125 for
Delhi. The lowest bid was Rs 22 lakh for Cuttack, Raipur,
Shillong and Jabalpur.
Queen honours Indian
NEW DELHI, March 19 Mrs Malathi Jaikumar, Deputy Head of the Press and Public Affairs Department of the British High Commission, New Delhi, was conferred the award of MBE Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at a function held at the Rajaji Marg residence of the High Commissioner.
Playback singer dead
MUMBAI, March 19 (UNI) Rajkumari, the popular playback singer of yesteryear, who enchanted music lovers by the popular note "ghabrake jo hum sarko thukraye sanam" for the movie "Mahal," died here yesterday after a prolonged illness. She was 81.
cycle sans nails
of water crisis
IQ scores are up
Ultras abduct 4
rural service rejected
for Manoj Kumar
Space centre to
open in 2 months
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