Thursday, November 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

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N A T I O N

INLD launches UP unit
To contest poll on own symbol
Muzaffarnagar, November 21
After dabbling in UP politics for eight months on the plank of formation of a separate “kisan pradesh” for 22 districts of the western region of the state, the INLD supremo and Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today formally declared his party’s intention to contest the forthcoming Assembly elections.

IAF needs to be met: George
New Delhi, November 21
Defence Minister George Fernandes today assured the Indian Air Force that its immediate requirements would be made available in the shortest possible time to enable it to meet the new challenges which range from war against terrorism to strategic conventional conflicts.

IAF commanders' conference Air Force commanders at an IAF commanders' conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. 
— PTI photo


 

EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Eunuchs dance during a religious festival
Eunuchs dance during a religious festival to worship Surya, the Sun God, in Kolkata on Wednesday. Devotees stay up all night on the banks of Kolkata 's Hooghly river and worship from sunset to sunrise. Some devotees hire eunuchs to entertain them in between prayers. — Reuters

Models
Models take rest after posing at ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton for the Super Model India World title. — PTI

Women dressed as brides
Women dressed as brides show off their hairstyles during a contest to select the Hairdresser of the Year in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Reuters
NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Resolve Chandigarh issue, Centre asks states
New Delhi, November 21
Minister of State for Home Affairs Vidyasagar Rao told the Rajya Sabha today that the government would like the state governments concerned to resolve differences over the issue of Chandigarh and other related matter amicably and was willing to help in this regard.

Govt to study Hizbul offer
New Delhi, November 21
The Government will examine the proposal of the Hizbul Mujahideen that it was willing for a dialogue on Kashmir, Home Minister L.K. Advani told the Rajya Sabha today. “I will examine it (Hizbul Mujahideen’s proposal),” Mr Advani said, responding to supplementaries to a question on terror unleashed by militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir.

Defence Ministry answerable: Cong
New Delhi, November 21
The Congress said today that the Defence Ministry should answer questions raised by the CBI regarding the non-availability of files about the 16,700 rounds of substandard artillery ammunition taken by the Army.

CEC: parties lack internal democracy
New Delhi, November 21
Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh today launched a veiled attack on political parties not electing their leaders and said lack of democracy within parties reflected on democracy of the country.

Indo-EU statement
New Delhi, November 21
A Joint Vision Statement on Information Technology would be signed during the Indo-European Union summit meeting to be here on November 23, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs announced here today.

 
VIDEOS
AKKA—the first ever National women's theatre festival underway in Mysore.
(28k, 56k)


Train engine rams into a stationary passenger train at Dumri Halt, Patna, killing 13 persons. Rescue work is on.
(28k, 56k)




Top

 

INLD launches UP unit
To contest poll on own symbol
Yoginder Gupta & Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Muzaffarnagar, November 21
After dabbling in UP politics for eight months on the plank of formation of a separate “kisan pradesh” for 22 districts of the western region of the state, the INLD supremo and Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today formally declared his party’s intention to contest the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Speaking at a rally here, Mr Chautala also used the occasion to launch the UP unit of the INLD with four-time MLA Harinder Malik as its President. Virtually kicking off the party’s campaign, Mr Chautala said the INLD would contest the UP elections on its own symbol. However, he did not say with which party the INLD would enter into an alliance, if it decided to do so.

Considered to be an influential leader of the Muzaffarnagar area, Mr Malik is a former protege of Charan Singh, for whose legacy Mr Chautala and the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, son of the acknowledged leader of farmers, are fighting it out in western UP.

Before Mr Malik joined hands with Mr Chautala, he was the General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav. Announcing his decision to join the INLD, Mr Malik took care of not annoying supporters of Mr Yadav as well as Mr Ajit Singh. While he described Mr Ajit Singh as “adarniya bhai sahib”, he said he had obtained the permission of Mr Yadav before joining the movement for the creation of a separate state for western UP. He said he was parting company with Mr Yadav because the issue of separate state was not on the agenda of the Samajwadi Party.

Incidentally, Mr Malik’s appointment as the chief of the UP unit of the INLD does not seem to be a smooth affair. Two UP ministers, Mr Lakshmi Narain and Mr Sardar Singh, who had been with Mr Chautala in the movement for the “kisan pradesh”, since its launching several months ago, were conspicuous by their absence at today’s unction.

Though INLD sources said Mr Lakshmi Narain was preoccupied with a family function, reliable sources say he himself wanted to be the UP INLD chief. However, this was being opposed by Mr Sardar Singh. In view of this dispute, Mr Chautala’s choice fell on a third person.

Today, Mr Chautala was less guarded in his criticism of the Rajnath government. He said the UP Government had played a cruel joke on the sugarcane-growers just as the Congress used to play on wheat-growers of Haryana. The UP Government, in view of the forthcoming elections, increased the price of sugarcane by just Rs 5 per quintal but at the same time also enhanced the transportation charges by the same amount.

Projecting himself as the true inheritor of Charan Singh and Devi Lal as the “messiah” of farmers of at least northern India. Mr Chautala said while he was working hard to finish the incomplete work of his father, Devi Lal to raise the standard of living in villages, Mr Ajit Singh had let down the supporters of his father, Charan Singh. He said if Devi Lal could come back to life, he would be happy with the performance of his son, while Charan Singh would be disappointed with his son.Top

 

IAF needs to be met: George
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
Defence Minister George Fernandes today assured the Indian Air Force (IAF) that its immediate requirements would be made available in the shortest possible time to enable it to meet the new challenges which range from war against terrorism to strategic conventional conflicts.

Addressing the IAF commanders’ conference here, the Defence Minister said, “We must be prepared to continue our fight against terrorism on our own as in the past”. He pointed out that the Air Force had again played a critical role in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Concerned at delays in procurement, Mr Fernandes said the process of acquisition would be speeded up because of the recent restructuring in the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Among the urgent needs for the IAF were the advanced jet trainers (AJTs), for which talks are on with British Aerospace on the purchase of 66 Hawk planes.

Calling for a review of the security environment and operational plans keeping in view the developments in Afghanistan and the neighbourhood, Mr Fernandes said he agreed that air power would play a decisive role in future conflicts.

In Afghanistan, in the first phase, except for some special forces, the USA had not used any ground troops and the entire attack was carried out by the Air Force.

Mr Fernandes said he would personally ensure that that all acquisition plans for the Air Force were expedited.

The Defence Minister said the developments in the region had initiated a process of re-assessment on the issues of security and threat perception the world over. ‘’We are affected even more due to the proximity of events in our neighbourhood’’.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis, who made a presentation at the beginning of the week-long conference, emphasised the need for support to increase the operational efforts and expedite the decision-making process in defence acquisitions.

He explained the complex interplay of maintenance production, aircraft availability, operational preparedness and flight safety and brought out the requirement of enhanced combat force levels to meet the emerging challenges as also to offer an effective deterrence.Top

 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Resolve Chandigarh issue, Centre asks states
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
Minister of State for Home Affairs Vidyasagar Rao told the Rajya Sabha today that the government would like the state governments concerned to resolve differences over the issue of Chandigarh and other related matter amicably and was willing to help in this regard.

***

Denial of visa to Sikh evacuees from Afghanistan

Replying to another question, Mr Vidyasagar Rao denied that Sikh evacuees from Afghanistan languishing in Pakistan refugee camps were not being given visa to enter India. He said 275 Afghan Sikh/Hindu families in Pakistan intended travelling to India. The Indian government issued visas after routine checks whenever the Indian High Commission in Islamabad referred such applications.

He said that the Indian government had issued visas in 110 cases after receiving applications through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

***

Construction of a tunnel under Rohtang Pass

Defence Minister George Fernandes told the Rajya Sabha that the Prime Minister had announced in May end that the government would expedite the commencement of construction of the tunnel at Rohtang on Leh-Manali road. He said that the construction of the tunnel was a development project and not a defence project. He said the technical feasibility studies for construction of the tunnel had been completed. A technical committee appointed by the government in June had advised relocation of South portal of the tunnel. This had been accepted by the government and Messers RITES were being asked to prepare the detailed project report, including environment impact study.

Mr Fernandes said the construction of the tunnel would begin after the project was cleared by the Planning Commission.Top

 

Govt to study Hizbul offer

New Delhi, November 21
The Government will examine the proposal of the Hizbul Mujahideen that it was willing for a dialogue on Kashmir, Home Minister L.K. Advani told the Rajya Sabha today.

“I will examine it (Hizbul Mujahideen’s proposal),” Mr Advani said, responding to supplementaries to a question on terror unleashed by militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the government was willing to discuss and negotiate the issue with any organisation which was prepared to lay down arms and come to the negotiating table. This was one of the essential components for dialogue, Mr Advani said.

“If any such organisation, irrespective of its past, says that it is willing for negotiations, we will examine the proposal,” he said.

Without naming Pakistan, the Home Minister said ever since the change of government in 1999 in the neighbouring country, efforts have been made by the new regime to promote terrorism.

Referring to Kargil, he said the defeat of the militants in the conflict encouraged them to indulge in further terrorist activities.

However, New Delhi had succeeded in mobilising international opinion in its favour, he added.

Earlier, answering a question on the registration of the Afghan refugees, the Home Minister said the government had to be extra vigilant to prevent the militants sneaking into the country in the guise of refugees.

He said the government had no proposal at present to give citizenship to more than 12,000 Afghan refugees. “They can apply in a normal way for citizenship which will be considered on merit,” he said.

Replying to the main question, Minister of State for Home said according to available information, a lesser known militant outfit “Lashkar-e-Jabar”, supported by a few other outfits like “Dukhatarn-e-Milat”, had issued public diktats in Jammu and Kashmir to regulate the dress code for women of different religions.

He said as per state government’s report the campaign of the Lashkar-e-Jabar has completely fizzled out as it did not receive any support from the people.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Home told the Rajya Sabha during question hour today that 168 civilians, 541 terrorists and 128 security personnel were killed in the state since September.

These included the 39 persons who were killed in a suicide attack on Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Srinagar on October 1.

To another question the minister said 40 Army personnel and 117 civilians have been killed in the state this year so far in IED and landmine explosions.

He, however, said no separate statistics were available with the Union Government about the security forces killed in suicide attacks. PTI, UNITop

 

Defence Ministry answerable: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
The Congress said today that the Defence Ministry should answer questions raised by the CBI regarding the non-availability of files about the 16,700 rounds of substandard artillery ammunition taken by the Army.

Asking how the files had gone missing, party chief spokesman Jaipal Reddy said the CBI had admitted about the files not being traceable. “The CBI has said after the charge sheet is filed against Lieut-General Shankar and three Defence Ministry officials, it will not be able to sustain the charge sheet as relevant files were missing from the MoD,” Mr Reddy said.

Mr Reddy said the state government had asked the Centre to initiate a CBI inquiry into the case.
Top

 

CEC: parties lack internal democracy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh today launched a veiled attack on political parties not electing their leaders and said lack of democracy within parties reflected on democracy of the country.

Making a bold and frank assessment of the new breed of politicians, Mr Lyngdoh said “they are quite capable of milking public finances and welshing mutual funds”.

“How can there be democracy in the true sense when there is little internal democracy in the political parties, where leaders of parties are not elected in certain cases,” Mr Lyngdoh asked while addressing a workshop on ‘Money and democratic politics’ here.

Admitting that there were instances of misuse of money in polls, he said, besides the elected politicians, even those who fail at the hustings had shown that they could be influenced by powerful media houses and multinationals.Top

 

Indo-EU statement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
A Joint Vision Statement on Information Technology would be signed during the Indo-European Union summit meeting to be here on November 23, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs announced here today.

Besides, agreements for cooperation in spheres of science and technology and universal education would be signed at the second India-EU summit, which is taking place in India for the first time.

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who is also European Union President and European Commission President Romano Prodi are due to arrive here on November 22 late evening, leading a high-powered delegation of ministers, commissioners and officials for the summit. Situation in Afghanistan and global campaign against terrorism would also come in for discussion during the summit, the spokesperson added.Top

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