|Friday, July 14, 2000,
Govt confused on autonomy: Sonia
Probe begins into Tonk violence
raid house of Sonia’s secy
joins crusade against Tehri dam
awaits PM’s response
endorse NHRC views
Lal Khurana to float forum
Girl ‘marries’ dog
for CRPF men gets grant
of ivory seized, 2 held
showers in Rajasthan
Govt confused on autonomy: Sonia
NEW DELHI, July 13 — The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, today criticised the government charging it with speaking in different voices on the issue of autonomy resolution adopted by the Jammu and Kashmir Government.
The party, she said, favoured discussions and consultations with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, and all political parties within the Constitution and framework of the 1975 Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah accord.
Addressing chiefs of pradesh Congress committees and Congress Legislature Parties here today, the Congress President assailed the confusion of the government on the issue.
"The Home Minister says one thing, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir says something else, the Prime Minister says the matter can be discussed in Parliament. The Cabinet outrightly rejects Farooq Abdullah’s autonomy demand, then the Prime Minister invites the Chief Minister to discuss the autonomy with him. What is happening? Why all this confusion ?
The issue of autonomy also found reflection at the three-hour long meeting with the Punjab PCC Chief Capt. Amarinder Singh, dwelling at length on the subject.
Mr Amarinder Singh expressed concern over the demand of the Anandpur Sahib resolution being raised once again and said it was the root cause of disturbance in the state which affected Punjab’s economy.
He said there was a strong case for the states to demand greater devolution of financial powers and shape the economic policy in tune with the impact of the World Trade Organisation’s obligations that will come into being by 2002.
The meeting was called to discuss the training programme to be held by the PCC in all states where a AICC leader will be present. It is to prepare the party for elections especially in states where Assembly poll are due next year.
The Congress President stressed the need for greater coordination between the workers at the grassroots and said the training camp would enable the workers to understand the party’s stand on various policies and issues.
Later talking to correspondents, Mrs Sonia Gandhi sought to liken the reports of dissidence as "difference of opinion".
Referring to indiscipline, the Chandigarh Territorial Congress
Committee President, Mr B B Bahl, welcomed the decision to hold
training camps. He said there was a need for the party to tell its
members, especially those who came from other parties, the Congress
culture. Mr Bahl’s apparently had in mind the former Union Minister
Mr Harmohan Dhawan who had joined the Congress party recently and who
had a feud with the CTCC.
Probe begins into Tonk violence
JAIPUR, July 13 — The curfew-bound areas of Tonk and Malpura in Rajasthan, where communal violence left 12 persons dead, remained incident-free since last night even as a high-level police team today began investigations into the matter.
A team led by Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG-CID crime) S.P. Singh has begun the probe, Director-General of Police (DGP) Amitabh Gupta said.
The situation, though tense, was under control in the areas, he said.
Of the 12 who were killed in the communal clashes, eight persons died in Malpura on Monday last, while two bodies were recovered on Tuesday.
Tension mounted further in the riot-torn town yesterday after a woman was killed and four of her children brutally injured in Tordi Sagar, a small village about 8 km away from Malpura, raising the death toll to 12 in the recent communal incident there.
raid house of Sonia’s secy
NEW DELHI, July 13 — An official in Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s office was caught off guard today when three youths posing as officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation raided his South Delhi residence, the police said.
Mr S.V. Pillai, who is Mrs Gandhi’s Assistant Personal Secretary, was not at his Lodhi Road home when the youths barged into his house. Only his children were there at the time, the Station House Officer at the area police station said.
The unidentified youths had the audacity to hand over what appeared like an official note asking Mr Pillai to report at Room No. 333 of the CBI headquarters in CGO complex, South Delhi, he said.
The fraud was detected after Mr Pillai reached the CBI office and was told by an official at the reception that Room No. 333, where he was supposed to report, was non existent and the rooms ended at number 317.
He was informed the CBI had conducted no raid on his house or for that matter in his locality.
VHP joins crusade against Tehri dam
NEW DELHI, July 13 (PTI) — The VHP today joined environmentalists, albeit for a different reason, in demanding that the construction of the Tehri dam on Bhagirathi river in UP be stopped forthwith.
Claiming that the "holy Ganga water" that devotees take from Hari Ki Pauri (Hardwar) will not be the same once the project is completed, VHP Working President Ashok Singhal said "if the Ganga is lost, its purity is lost, the ‘teerthas’ (pilgrim centres) on the Ganga will be lost and the great ancient Hindu culture will be lost."
"I strongly appeal to the government to stop building the dam with immediate effect and give an assurance to Hindu society that the dam would never be constructed on the Bhagirathi," Mr Singhal said in a letter to Union Water Resources Minister Arjun Sethi, released to the media here today.
Claiming that the Ganga was the only river in the world whose water remained unpolluted for decades on end, he said: "This attribute of self-purification of the Ganga is going to be lost in this Tehri dam project."
Mr Singhal suggested that the project can be modified "so that electricity is produced by the run-of-the- river scheme that would give the same amount of electricity as was envisaged to be harnessed from the built-up dam."
Environmentalists including Mr Sunder Lal Bahuguna, have been demanding cancellation of the project, saying that it would affect the fragile eco-system of the Himalayas and make the area earthquake-prone.
Mr Singhal said he had already spoken to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Union Power Minister P.R. Kumaramanglam and other senior leaders in this regard and their response had so far been positive.
He, however, expressed apprehension about the scrapping of the project, saying that the government would have to counter many pressures.
Admitting that Rs 2500 crore had
already been spent on the Tehri project, the VHP leader said the Tehri
project could still be scrapped as the amount was nothing in
comparison to the sentiments of the people.
awaits PM’s response
NEW DELHI, July 13 — The All-Party Hurriyat Conference is awaiting a response from New Delhi to their offer of a dialogue conveyed through an astrologer-turned-peacemaker N.K.Sharma who visited Jammu and Kashmir last month.
Talking to the TNS about his peace mission in company of Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Govardhan math Swami Adhakshjanand Tirthji Mahraj, Mr Sharma said that he had conveyed the APHC’s offer to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr Brajesh Mishra.
Mr Sharma said that he had kept both the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as well as the Home Ministry informed about his peace mission to Jammu and Kashmir where he had gone on the invitation of the Hurriyat Conference.
On his return from Srinagar and around, where he met almost all the Hurriyat leaders and other political leaders, Mr Sharma said that he contacted Mr Vajpayee in Lisbon.
As Mr Vajpayee was busy in his talks with the European leaders, Mr Sharma said he asked the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh to speak to me.
"On Mr Vajpayee’s return from his trip to Portugal, I met Mr Advani, Mr Mishra and Mr Jaswant Singh and gave them the details of my interaction with the Hurriyat leaders", Mr Sharma said adding that "the APHC leader, Mr A.G. Lone, said that we are prepared to accept your mediation offer on custodial deaths".
Mr Lone had made this offer in presence of all other Hurriyat leaders, including the APHC Chairman, Mr S.A.S. Gillani, Mr Sharma pointed out adding that this offer could be a beginning of a dialogue in which other issues could be roped in.
While the Indian bureaucracy and a section of the political leadership has been insisting that the Hurriyat leaders should first accept that the talks would be held within the framework of the Indian Constitution, it is no use asking them these kind of promises as the Government of India has talked to Naga, Mizo and other rebels from the North-East without these kind of guarantees, Mr Sharma said.
The Hurriyat leaders show evidences of the brutalities and killings of Kashmiri citizens and the security forces also have their version of events, Mr Sharma said asking what was wrong if the Centre talked to Hurriyat leaders about custodial deaths and other complaints.
This would set the pace for further talks, he said adding that Mr Vajpayee would have to personally take initiative for breaking the deadlock.
The RSS and other BJP leaders are opposed to talks and the Prime Minister would have to rise above partisan and vested interests to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
NEW DELHI, July 13 — Constitutional experts and criminal lawyers have expressed opposition to the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Bill. They fully endorsed views of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that there was no need for enactment of the aforesaid bill or a similar law.
The NHRC said the existing laws were sufficient to deal with any eventuality, including terrorism, if properly enforced. The commission also suggested deliberation on the need and wisdom of enacting such a law in light of previous experience with the previous Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (Prevention) Act (TADA), adequacy of existing laws and provisions of international covenants which the country was signatory to.
The provisions in the Bill which the human rights community has objected to, included reversing the burden of proof for persons accused of terrorist crimes, imprisonment for journalists who refused to disclose terrorist related information and stringent bail conditions for those accused of terrorist crimes.
Mr R.K. Jain, constitutional expert and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association termed all aforesaid provisions "atrocious." He said that the burden of proof could never be shifted to the accused in criminal jurisprudence. He said the proposed provision to imprison journalists would be against the freedom of Press. "It will reverse the entire process of dissemination of information to the public and no journalist will be able to write fearlessly."
Regarding the provision to impose stringent bail conditions, Mr Jain said, "Judicial discretion should be supreme. The State, by law, cannot lay down conditions for grant of bail. That would be violative of Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees right to life and liberty."
Mr Ashok Arora, senior criminal lawyer, agreed with the human rights community in contesting the clauses of the prevention of terrorism Bill. He was of the view that most clauses in the Bill were "draconian".
Mr Arora pointed that the first clause, which relates to reversing the burden of proof for persons accused with terrorist crime, amounted to changing basic criminal jurisprudence. "You cannot change basic criminal law. Burden of proof always rests on the prosecution."
He added that the second clause suggesting imprisonment to journalists was against the fundamental right of freedom of expression. "It not only infringes the fundamental right of the journalist but also that of the citizen who has a right to know. How will a journalist write without fear or favour? This will encourage insurgency."
The counsel said stringent bail conditions for those accused of terrorist crime was also totally vague. He said that existing laws were sufficient to deal with any eventuality, including terrorism. "What is failing is implementation, follow up in prosecution which results in acquittal and tardy progress in courts."
Commenting on the proposed clause to
imprison journalists, he said, "This implicitly imposes duty on
the journalist to disclose such information to the investigating
agencies. It violates the legal principle of privileged conversation
apart from the Article 19 1(A) of the Constitution which guarantees
freedom of speech and expression.
Lal Khurana to float forum
NEW DELHI, July 13 — Not satisfied with his party’s response to the issues concerning Delhi residents, former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana has decided to float an "apolitical forum"— Delhi Vikas Mahasangh.
Apparently feeling hurt over the manner in which he had been reduced to just an MP from the Sadar constituency, Mr Khurana said that he had been approached by a number of non-political organisations besides some MLAs to fight for the problems of people of Delhi.
"The Delhi Vikas Mahasangh will not be a parallel organisation to the BJP but rather it will work with the BJP in a complimentary manner,’’ he told mediapersons here. The forum will be formally launched at a convention here tomorrow.
Maintaining that he
cannot be confined to the Delhi Sadar constituency, the former Chief
Minister said that under the banner of mahasangh, he would raise
issues like full statehood to Delhi, law and order and demolition
drive among others.
Girl ‘marries’ dog
HARINGHATA (WB), July 13 (PTI) — Anju in her bridal finery was wedded with all traditional rituals. So, what’s the big deal? Well, she is just four years old and the groom is a dog.
Anju, the youngest daughter of Subal Karmakar, was married off to a mongrel, which was "dressed" for the occasion in blue and white cotton "clothes" at Khordah Mohanpur village under the Haringhata police station in Nadia district.
Amid the blowing of conch shells, the girl, dressed in a red Benarasi sari, garlanded the "groom" on Monday evening. The dog belonging to a relative of the girl’s family was accompanied by five "baratis".
for CRPF men gets grant
NEW DELHI, July 13 — An upgraded 100-bedded composite hospital for central paramilitary police forces will start functioning at Jammu from next Thursday.
Keeping in view the deployment pattern, concentration and nature of duties of CPOs, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore for upgrading the 50-bed hospital and gave additional Rs 1 crore for services.
The hospital will offer specialised
health care services like medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics,
gynaecology and obstetrics, ENT, eye, paediatrics, pathology,
radiology and facilities like ultra-sonography, X-ray to the patients,
according to a CRPF statement here today.
HARDWAR, July 13 — The Sadhu Samaj has declared its intention to launch a non-cooperation movement, both against the BJP-led government at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh, if the ‘Dharmada Bill’ is not immediately withdrawn.
The saints who gathered at Har ki Pauri last evening under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad and the Khat Darshan Sadhu Samaj charged the Uttar Pradesh Government with playing with the religious sentiments of Hindu society by bringing in the "Dharmada Bill" to control the financial affairs of the Hindu temples, matths and shrines. The sadhus drawn from almost all Dasnami Akhara sects of the sadhus also held a day’s token hunger strike at Har ki Pauri.
Later, a meeting of the Sant Samaj held under the chairmanship of Mahamandleshwar Vidya Nandji decided that the saints and sadhus would hold public meetings, rallies and seminars to expose the "anti-religious" policies of the BJP government. The samaj gave a call to the people to throw out the "anti-saint and anti-sadhu" government from Uttar Pradesh.
Swami Satya Mitra Nand Giri, a former Shankracharya, stressed the need for intensifying the agitation against the Uttar Pradesh Government. The former Shankracharya declared that the "Dharmada Bill" if at all passed by the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly would be launched in the Supreme Court.
Mahant Ganga Puri, secretary of the Maha Nirwani Akhara, briefing TNS on telephone said the saints favoured launching the agitation and non-cooperation movement from Hardwar, Varanasi, Allahabad and Mathura if the Bill was not "immediately buried". Mahant Ganga Puri further maintained that the saints had temporarily suspended the hunger strike on Har ki Pauri in order to provide more time to the state government till the Vidhan Sabha met in Lucknow to consider the Bill. Mahant Ganga Puri maintained that not only was the entire Sadhu Samaj united in its demand but it also enjoyed the support of the Purohit Sabha at Hardwar and elsewhere in religious towns and cities.
The Samajwadi Party led by Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav has ensured its total support to the demands of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad and as a gesture Sakshiji Maharaj attended the meeting of the saints and sadhus at Har ki Pauri. Sakshiji Maharaj assured the gathering of sadhus and saints that the Samajwadi Party would actively support the demands and raise the matter in the Rajya Sabha. The saint is a confidante of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mr Ambrish Kumar, Samajwadi Party MLA from Hardwar, declared at the meeting that he would bring a proposal in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha to reject the Bill in its entirety.
The Sadhu Samaj at the meeting felt
that if a Bill was to be passed it should be enforced in the entire
country. Selecting a few places for monetary control of the religious
endowments of the saints and sadhus was discriminatory in nature.
kg of ivory seized, 2 held
NEW DELHI, July 13 — With the arrest of three youths, the Delhi police seized 12 kg ivory worth Rs 4.8 lakh from Anand Vihar Inter State Bus Terminal in East Delhi.
The accused, Umesh Chand Tripathi, Prem Kumar Sharma both from Uttar Pradesh and Om Prakash from Delhi brought the ivory from Bijnore and disposed these of in the Capital, police said.
The police received information about
their activities and sent a decoy customer to Om Prakash, who lived in
Jheel Colony. The deal was fixed. The price of the ivory was also
fixed as Rs 40,000 per kg. They came to the Anand Vihar last evening
with the ivory where they were arrested.
Heavy showers in Rajasthan
NEW DELHI, July 13 — The monsoon has been vigorous in west Rajasthan and active in east Rajasthan.
Rainfall: Rain or thundershowers have occurred at most places in Rajasthan, at a few places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and east Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in the rest of the region. The chief amounts of rainfall in cm. are:
Haryana: Jhajjar 7, Ayanagar (Delhi), Narnaul and Sirsa 2 each and Rewari 1,
Himachal Pradesh: Mandi 1,
Punjab: Fazilka 2,
Rajasthan: Ramgarh 7, Jodhpur, Kishangarh, Raniwas and Salumber 5 each, Mount Abu and Sanchaur 4 each, Alwar, Banswara, Fatehpur Shekhawati, Jashwantnagar, Laxmangarh and Udaipur 3 each, Beawar, Jaliwada, Udaisagar and Tapukara 2 each and Ajmer, Bhinmal, Chittorgarh, Gogunda, Kotkasim, Marwar, Saroopsagar, Sawai Madhopur and Tizara 1 each and Uttar Pradesh: Bansi and Varanasi A.P. 2 each and Bani, Chandradeepghat, Hanuman Setu, Kakrahi and Palliakalan 1 each.
Forecast valid until the morning of 15th: Rain or thundershowers will occur at most places in Punjab, at many places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, east Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and at a few places in west Rajasthan.
Heavy rainfall, warning: Heavy rain is likely at isolated places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, east Rajasthan and south Uttar Pradesh during the next 48 hours.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of 15th: Generally cloudy sky with a few showers/thundershowers, one or two may be heavy in some areas.
FARMERS WEATHER BULLETIN FOR DELHI
Forecast valid until the morning of 15th: Moderate to rather heavy rain will occur at a few places.
MCC activists kill
Plea on Taj history
Gujarat move on
Probe sought into
Tonk curfew on,
2 MLAs exchange
blows in House
Indira Sant dead
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