|Friday, May 19, 2000,
confirms plot to kill Advani
Jagmohan for probe into housing
India, Germany to check terrorism
Mann complains to
Bandh hits life in Assam, Bengal
Bills on states in next session:
T-72 tank barrels defective: CAG
Involve all regions in talks: Bhim
SC flays NCDRC on third-party
Give relief to riot victims
Probe confirms plot to kill Advani
CHENNAI, May 18 (PTI) A judicial commission which probed the conspiracy angle to the serial blasts at Coimbatore on February 14, 1998, has said three human bombs and four other Al-Umma activists had planned to kill BJP leader L.K. Advani on that day.
It blamed slackness on the part of the police in carrying out search operations to unearth hidden bombs and prevent the serial blasts.
The report of the commission headed by retired Gujarat High Court Chief Justice P.R. Gokulakrishnan tabled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today, said the inquiry had established the deep-rooted conspiracy by Muslim fundamentalist organisations, more particularly, Al-Umma, to explode the bombs to wreak vengeance for the death of 18 Muslims in police firing on November 30 and December 1, 1997.
Identifying three human bombs two in custody and one killed in an explosion a day after the serial blasts, the commission said they were unable to penetrate the police cordon and reach the dais. Four others, who were deputed to hurl bombs at the dais, failed in their assassination bid as other explosions deterred Advani from coming to the venue.
UNI adds: The Justice P.R. Gokulakrishnan Commission of Inquiry constituted by the Tamil Nadu government to inquire into the causes and circumstances leading to the bomb blasts in Coimbatore hours before the arrival of the then BJP President L.K. Advani has confirmed the human bomb theory and blamed the police for slackness.
The commission said the gruesome incidents that took place on February 14, 1998, could have been prevented had the police been more vigilant and the surveillance effective.
"Due to lapse on the part of police personnel in discharging their duty more vigorously, vigilantly and intelligently, the Muslim fundamentalists more especially, Al-Umma cadres were able to explode the bombs at various places," it said.
The commission also confirmed that there were human bombs at the meeting venue with a view to kill or harm Mr Advani.
On the causes and circumstances leading to the blasts, the commission said members of Al-Umma made use of the Muslim youngsters by rousing their passions by exhibiting photographs and video tapes of pictures of bodies of the Muslims who were killed in the police firings on November 30 and December 1, 1997. They conspired and planted bombs as a retaliatory act.
Jagmohan for probe into housing
NEW DELHI, May 18 The Urban Development Minister, Mr Jagmohan plans to suggest the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to go into blatant illegal activities carried out on a massive scale by the land and building mafia in the Capital during the past 10 - 15 years.
Mr Jagmohans announcement to carry out demolition of illegal construction in DDA flats has stirred the hornets nest. He will be meeting flat owners who were being harassed in his office tomorrow.
The Minister told TNS that he will certainly suggest to the Prime Minister that such a Commission headed by a retired Supreme Court be set up.
"Because, then alone, it will become clear against whom my campaign is directed and how the Capital has been ravished by the land and building mafia", Mr Jagmohan said.
Reacting to the criticism his move has evoked even among his party members, he said it was not a party or political issue but one that relates to urban governance and saving the structure and soul of the city from being totally destroyed. Mr Jagmohan said even his Parliamentary colleagues from Delhi agree with his fundamental objective.
In fact, Mr Jagmohan plans to spread his Clearance-cum-Cleanliness-cum-Development" drive and promised it will not be limited to Delhi.
The Minister, whose statement to demolish illegal constructions, had led to sharp reactions both within the BJP and the Congress, said today his effort was directed to creating a new civic culture, a new civic commitment, throughout the country.
Mr Jagmohan said he was heartened to get unanimous support that he received not only from the Parliamentary Consultative Committee but also from the two All India Conferences which were held recently.
He said apart from conferences of Mayors and the State Ministers of Local Self-Government and Urban Development even at the local level there was an overwhelming support from the silent majority.
Yet, he is sensitive to the possibility of the drive resulting in harassment. While stating that he has not come across a single concrete case of harassment, Mr Jagmohan said he would meet any flat owner/occupier of DDA flat who has experienced any harassment or hardship tomorrow.
Since the DDA flats were interconnected and built as group-housing, illegal construction done by one allottee is usually at the cost of the other allottees.
On dealing with cases
other than DDA flats, Mr Jagmohan said nearly 10,000
Jhuggi-Jhonpris had been cleared and resettled
while the cases of unauthorised colonies were pending in
the High Court.
India, Germany to check terrorism
NEW DELHI, May 18 (UNI) India and Germany today agreed to strengthen their cooperation in fighting terrorism and organised crime, work out proposals for expanding economic relations, promote cooperation in science and technology and make joint efforts to reform the UN system.
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and German Foreign Minister Joschka today adopted a 10-point "agenda for the Indo-German partnership in the 21st century stating that they were determined to exploit the vast potential of an intensified bilateral partnership, especially in the economic, cultural, scientific and technological fields.
The agenda commits the two governments to frequent and regular exchange of visits at the head of state and government-level and calls for annual consultations of the state Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and strategic dialogue.
Referring to the security and disarmament issues, the two Foreign Ministers underlined their commitment to the aim of global disarmament and non-proliferation, despite differing opinions on how the goal is to be achieved.
Both the governments will continue exchange of views on disarmament policy in the UN and extend this to include topics dealt with at the Geneva Conference on disarmament. They also agreed to discuss security policy issues within the strategic dialogue.
The two foreign ministers advocated stronger confidence-building and conflict prevention measures and welcomed the progress attained within the ASEAN regional forum in which India and the European Union participate as ASEAN dialogue partners.
Referring to economic cooperation, they pledged to improve the framework conditions and pursue their efforts to open up markets, simplify procedures as well as remove identified obstacles in legal and administrative spheres.
The Foreign Ministers also agreed to work out further proposals for expansison of economic relations within the Indo-German Joint Commission on Industrial and Economic Cooperation and its working groups on coal and tourism.
Both sides considered prospects for cooperation in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, telecommunications, environmental technology, mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, food processing and modern technical services to be particularly promising.
Resolving to strengthen
their cooperation on fighting terrorism and organised
crime in all forms, the Foreign Ministers attached
particular importance to the signing, ratification and
implementation of UN conventions in the field of drugs
control and terrorism.
Sign CTBT, says Fischer
NEW DELHI, May 18Germany today urged India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Addressing a joint press conference along with External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh at the conclusion of the two-day official visit to India, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said :"We would be very happy if India could find a way to support the CTBT."
Mr Fischer, while expressing disappointment at the rejection of the CTBT by the US Senate, said our concern and common understanding is that we soon would be at the crossroads on the issue of nuclear disarmament.
While the German minister remained committed to adhere to the path of nuclear disarmament, the two countries have decided to elevate the level of bilateral relations to a new level.
Stating that India is going to play a major role in world affairs in the 21st century, Mr Fischer declined to extend support to the New Delhis candidature for a permanent seat in the reformed United Nations Security Council.
When asked further, Mr Fischer said both New Delhi and Berlin supported the UN reforms. "We see India acting in the international political system as a responsible player", he said.
The visiting Foreign Minister said India was an important factor in the south Asian region and Berlin "wants New Delhi to play the role of stability".
When asked as what role India should play in the Sri Lankan crisis, Mr Fischer avoided a direct reply saying that "India should play a role of stability".
However, the visiting minister hastened to add that such "advice is not given in public". "We discussed the Sri Lankan problem in detail", he said.
Mann complains to Balayogi
NEW DELHI, May 18 Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP from Sangrur, today lodged a protest with the Lok Sabha Speaker on his detention by immigration authorities at Indira Gandhi International Airport on two occasions, including this week.
Mr Mann, wrote a letter to Mr G M C Balayogi, stating that despite having clearance both from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs, he was detained for nearly 30 minutes when he was leaving for the USA/Canada on April 15 and return on May 15.
In his letter to Mr Balayogi, the Punjab MP said he had informed even the Speakers office of his four-week visit abroad as also the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs.
"In spite of that on April 15, 2000, I was detained at 1.30 am for 30 minutes by the immigration and on return on May 15, 2000, at 0030 am", Mr Mann told TNS adding that the authorities detained him since the computer entry showed him as a wanted person.
Mr Mann said he was allowed to proceed on both occasions only after he showed the clearances and lodged a protest over the "gross insult" to a member of the Lok Sabha.
He has also urged the Speaker that action be taken against the erring officials and also direct the MHA and MEA to clear all Sikhs whose names appear on the blacklist.
Mr Mann, against whom a TADA case is going in Delhi, was also guarded in his reaction to the recent statement by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, that the Centre was in favour of release of detainees under TADA after review.
Bandh hits life in Assam, Bengal
GUWAHATI, May 18 (PTI) Normal life was hit in Bodo and Karbi dominated areas of Assam today following a dawn-to-dusk state-wide bandh called separately by All-Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) along with their allied organisations, sources said.
Kokrajhar, parts of Bongaigaon district falling under Bodoland Autonomous Council and Bodo pockets in Nalbari district observed the ABSU-sponsored bandh, while life in Karbi Anglong district and most parts of neighbouring North Cachar Hills remained paralysed in response to the bandh by ASDC, they said.
No untoward incident has been reported when reports last came in at about 2 pm, they said.
All shops downed their shutters in affected areas and private vehicles remained off roads, though long distance buses plied with police escort. Train services in those areas also moved as per schedule, the sources said.
The ABSU, along with Bodo Peoples Action Committee and Bodoland Peoples Party, had called the bandh to protest against the centres alleged discriminatory move in creating Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh states but overlooking the demand for carving a separate Bodoland state out of Assam.
Similarly ASDC, along with Karbi Students Association, Dimasa Students Union and CPI (ML), called the 12-hr "Assam bandh" to protest against the non-inclusion of an autonomous state for the Karbis within Assam in the process of creation of the three new states.
SILIGURI: Sporadic incidents of violence marked the Kamtapur Peoples Party (KPP) sponsored 24-hour North Bengal bandh which began this morning.
KPP president Atul Roy said the call for the bandh was given to protest against police firing at all Kamtapuri Students Union (AKSU the student wing of KPP) supporters at Chengmari in Jalpaiguri district on May 10 in which an AKSU supporter died on the spot.
T-72 tank barrels defective: CAG
NEW DELHI: The performance of the T-72 tank was affected and accidents occurred because 770 barrels valued at Rs 45.07 crore were manufactured with defects, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said in its latest report.
The ordnance factories deviated from the critical heat treatment schedule for the tempering of barrels without consulting the original designer. Eleven barrels burst during firing from tanks causing accidents.
The heat treatment should have been carried out at 520 degrees centigrade to 570 degrees centigrade, as per the designers instructions. But the field gun factory continued tempering the forgings at reduced temperatures, even below 430 degrees centigrade on the plea that the protocol signed by it with the Russians in 1985, permitted heat treatment at lower ranges.
During firing in September, 1992 from a T-72 tank, the barrel cracked resulting in an accident. Similarly 35 more accidents occurred till March, 1998. Russian specialists who investigated the cause of the accidents said deviation from the prescribed tempering temperature was the reason for the barrels breaking. They said the protocol in 1985 was signed without consulting the original designer.
According to the CAG, Army Headquarters decided in December, 1997 to withdraw all barrels tempered at 460 degrees centigrade and below. As of June, 1998, 454 such barrels valued at Rs 44 crore from stock were identified and rejected and the remaining 305 barrels fitted on tanks put under investigation. Tempering of barrels are now being done at temperatures above 500 degrees centigrade.
The ordnance factory
board said in August, 1998 that the reduced band of
heating during tempering was a modification in the
technological process to suit Indian conditions of the
available plant and machinery. The CAG said this reply
was not acceptable since the modification was done
without consulting the original designer.
Controversies dog CSIR laboratories
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI) The abrupt resignation of a Director of a premier Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) institute here is being viewed as a setback to CSIR plans to infuse fresh talent from other laboratories into its network.
A section of scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have submitted a letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who is CSIR president, and Science and Technology Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, through CSIR Director-General R.A. Mashelkar, asking them to persuade NPL Director A.K. Raychoudhuri to withdraw his resignation.
Raychoudhuri resigned last month, barely 30 months after taking over as NPL director for six years. A copy of the letter was made available to the media here.
Some of the scientists who signed the letter, told PTI that the Director had been victimised by vested interests who resented the appointment of a person outside the CSIR system, and that too younger in age.
Raychoudhuri, originally from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, was appointed three years ago to head the NPL. He was among three Directors appointed from outside CSIR as part of Mashelkars plan to rejuvenate the system and help the CSIR emerge as a global research and development leader.
Raychoudhuris resignation last month follows that of the Director of another CSIR institute, the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) in Chandigarh. S. Mohan, also from IISC, quit abruptly last year, just two years after taking charge of the CSIO and rejoined IISc.
R. N. Iyengar, director of the Roorkee-based Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), was also from the IISC. Iyengar, who completed his term this month, said he had faced several hurdles within his institute as an outsider.
Against heavy odds, Iyengar said, he managed to increase CBRIs laboratory budgetary resources from Rs 1 crore to Rs 12 crore during his six-year tenure.
Raychoudhuri maintained that he had resigned for personal reasons. A CSIR spokesman too said Raychoudhuri resigned as his three/year period of lien from the IISc was officially over and not extended.
But NPL scientists, in their letter, said "frequent scrutiny, vigilance inquiries in the recent past (particularly the way they were conducted) have created a fear psychosis in such a way that no one wants to be responsible for any decision making regarding financial matters".
The scientists said that recognising the deficiencies in the system, Raychoudhuri took crucial decisions in difficult times.
In his 30-month tenure as NPL head, he had given a push to the organisation, geared its system to meet global challenges and taken personal interest in getting several scientific projects back on the rails.
It may be noted that
recently CSIR Scientific Workers Association
(CSIR-SWA) had written to the Prime Minister, alleging
that several administrative and scientific officials from
stores and purchase cadre, including the Director, were
questioned by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
officials in some of the cases being enquired into by the
Involve all regions in talks:
NEW DELHI, May 18 Welcoming the Centres offer of talks, National Panthers Party President Bhim Singh today urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to involve the representatives of all three regions of the state in the proposed talks for seeking a permanent solution to the Jammu and Kashmir situation.
In a letter to Mr Vajpayee, Prof Bhim Singh said that the people of the Ladakh region have been agitating for a status of Union Territory, people of Kashmir valley have been agitating for democracy, whereas the people of Jammu province want statehood for the region.
The Hurriyat Conference and the National Conference "represent only two different schools of thoughts of a section of people in the valley alone", he said adding that they did not represent the regions either of Jammu or Ladakh. Prof Singh has further pointed out that no solution was possible without involving the representatives of the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the people of Gilgit region who have been denied representation for the past 51 years and have also suffered under military regimes.
PTI: Several Kashmiri groups including a pro-Pakistan lobbiyst have appealed to the Hurriyat Conference to engage in a dialogue with the Centre to restore peace in the valley.
A one-time India basher, Nazir Gilani, Secretary-General of Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) asked separatist leaders to accept the Centres offer of talks for a better tomorrow for future generation of Kashmir, a release from the JKCHR, faxed from London, said here.
BANGALORE: Three organisations of Jammu and Kashmir today demanded quadri-partition of the state.
The demand envisages creation of union territory for Ladakh region, full statehood for Jammu and creation of union territory of Panun Kashmir, north and east of river Jhelum (vitasta) in Kashmir Valley for the rehabilitation of displaced Pandits as well as those Kashmiris who seek total integration with India.
Leaders of Panun
Kashmir, the Ladakh Buddhist
Association and Jammu Joint Students
Federation, under the banner of Peoples
Initiative on Peace and Unity raised the demand at
a press meet here.
SC flays NCDRC on third-party adjudication
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI) The Supreme Court has pulled up National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (NCDRC) for adopting an unhealthy practice of sending cases before it to a third party for consensual adjudication and directed it to "forthwith discontinue such a practice."
"There is no provision in law and we consider it an unhealthy practice for Courts/Commissions/Tribunals to abdicate their duties and functions and to delegate adjudication of disputes before them to third parties," the apex Court said, adding "the adjudication can only be by the Court/ Commission/Tribunal concerned."
Referring to the Consumer Protection Act, the Bench comprising Mr Justice G.B. Patnaik, Mr Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Mr Justice S.N. Variava said the commissions, under the Act, were quasi-judicial bodies and were to provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes.
Bills on states in next session: PM
NEW DELHI, May 18 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has assured his party colleagues that the government would introduce the States Reorganisation Bills during the monsoon session of Parliament.
He gave the assurance to Members of Parliament from the BJP and other parties representing Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh regions of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, respectively, after the Bills were "stalled" by the Opposition in Parliament yesterday.
Maneka opposes Womens Reservation Bill
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI) Union Minister for Social Justice Maneka Gandhi today opposed passage of the Womens Reservation Bill pending before Parliament and supported an alternative Bill drafted by the Forum for Democratic Reforms (FDR).
"The passage of the Bill will not benefit the country and also the womenfolk as the reservation would only lead to election of those women, who are puppets in the hands of power wielding husbands or fathers," Ms Maneka said speaking at a discussion on "Reservation for Women in Parliament and State Legislatures", organised jointly by the Rashtriya Nava Nirmana Vedike and Manushi, here.
Bansal on LS ethics panel
NEW DELHI, May 18 Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP from Chandigarh has been included in the 15-member Lok Sabha Committee on Ethics set up by Speaker, G.M.C. Balayogi.
The terms of reference
for the committee are to oversee the moral and ethical
conduct of the members and to examine the cases referred
to it with reference to ethical and other misconduct of
Give relief to riot victims
NEW DELHI, May 18 The National Commission for Minorities has suggested to the Uttar Pradesh government to pay compensation to victims of 1984 Sikh riots on the pattern followed by Delhi government.
The NCM which had summoned the U.P. Chief Secretary, Mr Yogendra Narain here on Wednesday following reports of attacks on minorities, said that the compensation paid to the next of kin of those killed in the riots should be equivalent to Rs 3 lakh as paid by the Delhi government.
The NCM also asked the
Chief Secretary to ensure that Sikhs especially youth
residing in the "Terai" region of the State
were not harassed, the Vice-Chairman of the Commission,
Mr Tarlochan Singh said today.
undertrials killed, 2 flee custody
2 kids burnt in
Militants kill 3
of kin, UP told
7 killed as bus
SP expels 2 MLAs
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