Tuesday, December 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Special courts soon, says government
New Delhi, December 3
While pointing out that more than 70 per cent of the jail occupants were undertrials, the government today told the Rajya Sabha it was taking steps to expedite setting up of special courts to dispose of more than two crore cases pending in various courts and was also willing to set up a National Judicial Commission to streamline the legal system.

Haryana cops took part in ’84 riots: Bhogal
New Delhi, December 3
Akali Dal leader Kuldip Singh Bhogal today told the Nanavati Commission that some personnel of the Haryana police also took part in the anti-Sikh violence during the 1984 riots.

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Simultaneous poll in Punjab, UP: Jaitley
New Delhi, December 3
Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal will be held simultaneously, Minister for Law Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha today. In a written reply, the minister - quoting the Election Commission - also informed that the EC had plans to make identification through photo identity cards compulsory at polling stations.

Libya backs India’s case for SC seat
New Delhi, December 3
Libya today fully backed India’s claim for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and urged New Delhi to play a more active role in reviving the Non-Aligned Movement which could be an effective forum for protecting interests of the developing countries.

India, USA hold talks on defence cooperation
New Delhi, December 3
The two-day high level Indo-US Defence Policy Group meeting on defence relations between the two countries began here today.

A Hindu priest blows a conch A priest blows a conch during evening prayers on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi on Monday. Secrecy surrounded on Monday plans by George Harrison’s family to immerse the ashes of  the Beatle guitarist in the sacred Ganga.
— Reuters


Sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik
Sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik gives final touches to a sand sculpture of Osama bin Laden on the Puri beach in Orissa on Monday. The artist also created a sand sculpture of the New York World Trade Center.
— Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
VIDEOS

Fishermen in Karnataka are facing a lot of hardships due to a sharp fall in the catch this year.
(28k, 56k)


An annual classical dance festival gets underway in Orissa against the backdrop of the 12th Century Konark Sun Temple.
(28k, 56k)

Jaswant condemns attacks in Israel
New Delhi, December 3
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh today condemned terrorist attacks in Israel yesterday, saying that acts of violence could not be justified on any ground.

Replace ‘Mohammedan’ with ‘Muslim’: Heptullah
New Delhi, December 3
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Najma Heptullah today took strong exception to use of the word “Mohammedan” and asked the government to change it in a Bill to be brought before Parliament.

Defence Ministry told to stop construction
New Delhi, December 3
The Delhi High Court today directed the Ministry of Defence not to undertake further construction activity in the prohibited/regulated zone around the Tughlakabad fort on the megapolis’ outskirts.

Examine me first, reiterates George
New Delhi, December 3
The Venkataswami Commission today gave a week’s time to all recipients of 8B notices to submit names of any independent witnesses or documents they would like to produce during their examination in connection with the tehelka.com’s expose on defence deals.

Sonia not to attend Pawar’s birthday
New Delhi, December 3
Congress President Sonia Gandhi would not attend the 61st birthday celebrations of senior NCP leader Sharad Pawar to be held in Mumbai on December 12.

Laloo taken to Beur jail
Patna, December 3
RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav was today flown here from Ranchi in a Bihar Government aircraft for production before a CBI court in connection with a disproportionate assets case on December 6.

Irregularities in wheat supply to schools
Hanumangarh, December 3
The National Nutrition Scheme of the Central Government to encourage the registration of children in schools has run into rough weather in this district with many schools not getting their monthly share of wheat.

CPM workers told to launch drive
Hanumangarh, December 3
The CPM urged party workers to launch a campaign against the “anti people” policies of the Central and state governments at a district-level meeting held here today.

Bajra procurement norms relaxed
New Delhi, December 3
The Centre has relaxed the bajra procurement norms and agreed to procure damaged grains upto a maximium limit of 2 per cent instead of 1.5 per cent provided under the fair average quality specifications.Top











 

Special courts soon, says government
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
While pointing out that more than 70 per cent of the jail occupants were undertrials, the government today told the Rajya Sabha it was taking steps to expedite setting up of special courts to dispose of more than two crore cases pending in various courts and was also willing to set up a National Judicial Commission to streamline the legal system.

Replying to supplementaries during question hour, Law, Justice and Company Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley said 73 per cent of the occupants of various jails were undertrials many of whom were not able to get bail due to their background and inability to produce security.

He pointed out that most of them were also first time offenders or those involved in petty crimes.

The minister said of the number of cases pending over 1.88 lakh cases pertained to those against whom no trial or conviction had taken place.

Members, cutting across party lines, expressed concern over the plight of several undertrials who were in custody for long period and whose cases have not been decided so far.

The minister said on an experimental basis judges were visiting various jails and disposing of cases relating to petty offences. “This experiment is proving to be successful”, he said.

The minister said of the targeted 1734 special courts to be set up in the country, as many as 862 were notified.

He said the government is drawing the attention of the Chief Justices of High Courts and the state governments on the vacancies of judges for filling up the posts quickly.Top

 

Haryana cops took part in ’84 riots: Bhogal

New Delhi, December 3
Akali Dal leader Kuldip Singh Bhogal today told the Nanavati Commission that some personnel of the Haryana police also took part in the anti-Sikh violence during the 1984 riots.

Mr Bhogal said the cops were part of a group of Gujjars who came to the Capital on a train from Haryana on November 2, 1984 — two days after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

“They were thousands in number and armed with identical lathis and iron rods. They immediately formed groups and started indulging in arson, looting, killing and burning of Sikhs,’’ he said about the rioting that took place in the Hari Nagar Ashram area in South Delhi.

The Akali leader said he caught hold of one of the rioters who carried a Haryana police identity card. “This was a clear indication and evidence that the mob to which he belonged were members of the Madhuban Police Training Centre near Karnal in Haryana. They were sent to create chaos, lawlessness and destruction.”

This mob, Mr Bhogal said, damaged houses and killed about six Sikhs in the area. “Four of the victims belonged to one Sikh family. They were first injured and then burnt alive by the mob.”

Mr Bhogal, who was the then general secretary of the Akali Dal (Youth wing) also told the commission that on November 1 when a communal mob was attacking the Sikhs in the area, the personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) deployed there instigated rioters to continue with their activities.

“They instead of controlling and dispersing the mob threatened us that they will fire on us if we do not go back to our houses,” he said.

After the police forced the Sikhs to go back to their houses, they “instigated the mob to continue with its activities and the mob started looting and burning shops belonging to Sikhs,” he added. UNITop

 

 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Simultaneous poll in Punjab, UP: Jaitley
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal will be held simultaneously, Minister for Law Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply, the minister - quoting the Election Commission (EC) - also informed that the EC had plans to make identification through photo identity cards compulsory at polling stations.

The Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation has sanctioned for release a sum of Rs 9.33 lakh to Haryana during 2001-02 (up to October 31, 2002) under the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY), a centrally sponsored urban poverty alleviation programme for providing gainful employment to the urban unemployed or under-employed poor.

Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Bandaru Dattatreya informed the Rajya Sabha that the targets were left to be decided by the state governments in accordance with the guidelines of the scheme.

While no funds had been released so far under the scheme to Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir during this financial year, Himachal Pradesh had been sanctioned Rs 10.05 lakh for release.

As many as 54 cases had been registered in Haryana under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 during the year 2000, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Satyanarayan Jatiya informed the Upper House.

While 34 such cases were registered in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh accounted for 10 cases under the Act, he said.

The relief to the victims of atrocities, their family members and dependants was paid by the state governments/Union Territories administrations in accordance with the ‘Norms for relief amount’ as prescribed under Rule 12(4) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995.

The amount of such relief ranged from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh, depending upon the offence described in the aforesaid rules, the minister added.

The Ministry of Agriculture has provided during IX Plan till 2000-01 a sum of Rs 256.26 lakh to Jammu and Kashmir for growing fruits.

While Rs 167.12 lakh have been provided to Haryana, Rs 93.53 lakh have been given to Punjab and Rs 84.90 lakh to Himachal Pradesh, Minister of State for Agriculture Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav informed the Lok Sabha.

In a written reply, he said the components of assistance under the centrally sponsored scheme on integrated development of fruits were for the production of planting material through the establishment of nurseries, tissue culture units, area expansion with improved varieties, technology transfer, establishment of plant health clinics, disease forecasting units, leaf analysis laboratories and mechanisation.

The Ministry of Agriculture had sanctioned 24 projects in Punjab under the “capital investment subsidy scheme for the construction/expansion/modernisation of cold storages and storages for horticulture produce” during the year 2000-2001, Mr Yadav informed the Lok Sabha.

On the other hand, in Haryana seven projects had been sanctioned, while the total number of projects sanctioned by the Centre across the country stood at 254, he said.Top

 

 

Libya backs India’s case for SC seat

New Delhi, December 3
Libya today fully backed India’s claim for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and urged New Delhi to play a more active role in reviving the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which could be an effective forum for protecting interests of the developing countries.

Tripoli’s support to the Indian claim for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council was conveyed by Engineer Saif El-Islam, son of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, when he met External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh here.

During the 45 minute meeting, Engineer Saif also delivered a letter from Col Gaddafi which dwelt on bilateral relations and international security situation.

The two sides also exchanged views on the developments in Afghanistan and the Kashmir issue, Mr Saif told newspersons here.

He said the Libyan government had made some suggestions to the Indian government regarding resolution of the Kashmir problem. However, he refused to give further details. UNITop

 

India, USA hold talks on defence cooperation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The two-day high level Indo-US Defence Policy Group meeting on defence relations between the two countries began here today.

At the meeting, the first after the lifting of American sanctions on New Delhi, the two countries are expected to hold talks on specific areas of Defence cooperation, including arms sales and transfer of dual use technology. The two are also expected to discuss the present security scenario prevailing in the region in four sessions of discussions in two days.

The meeting is a follow-up to the Bush-Vajpayee summit and the visit of U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to India last month. It will also explore the various possibilities of bilateral Defence cooperation, military to military cooperation, exchanges and training programmes for Army personnel of the two countries.

The U.S. Under Secretary for Defence Policy Douglas Feith is leading the American side in the talks with the Indian delegation headed by Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain. Mr Feith is also scheduled to meet Defence Minister George Fernandes, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said.

The Indo-U.S. Defence Policy Group (DPG), the apex body providing guidance and extent of defence cooperation, last met in 1997 and the two-day meeting beginning tomorrow signals a new era in the robust military to military relationship that the two countries are looking for.

With Indo-U.S. defence ties entering a new era and Washington ready to give India export licences for dual use technology and military sales, New Delhi at this meeting will put forth its immediate arms requirements.

The U.S. while enhancing military to military relationship with India is also moving towards increasing commercial military to military ties. UNI, PTITop

 

Jaswant condemns attacks in Israel

New Delhi, December 3
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh today condemned terrorist attacks in Israel yesterday, saying that acts of violence could not be justified on any ground.

In a telephonic conversation with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Mr Jaswant Singh said yesterday’s terrible loss of human lives was yet another reminder of the need for the concerted action by the international community to combat the menace of terrorism.

Mr Jaswant Singh’s call was in response to Mr Peres’s last evening attempts to get in touch with the External Affairs Minister to convey him about the latest political and security situation in West Asia. UNI
Top

 

Replace ‘Mohammedan’ with ‘Muslim’: Heptullah
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Najma Heptullah today took strong exception to use of the word “Mohammedan” and asked the government to change it in a Bill to be brought before Parliament.

Ms Heptullah made the observation when Law, Justice and Company Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley moved before the House for debate the Indian Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2001 which seeks to amend the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

Moving the Bill, Mr Jaitley used the word ‘Mohammedan’ as mentioned in the 1925 Act.

Ms Heptullah said that the word “Mohammedan” was used before independence by the British. She observed that the word was discriminatory and had been replaced by the word “Muslim”. “Muslims are now are referred to as Muslims,” she added.

Mr Jaitley said that he would look into the matter.

The Deputy Chairman also wondered what share a Christian woman inherited in the event of her husband’s death.

Mr Jaitley informed the House that a Christian woman was entitled to one-third share of her husband’s property and assets while the linear descendants were entitled to two-thirds of the share.

He said that Section 32 of the 1925 Act recognises Christian widows as one of the heirs to succeed to the property of her husband dying intestate.

The minister said that per government practice of dealing with personal law, they would hold wide-ranging consultations with community leaders before coming to Parliament.

Mr Kripal Parmar (BJP), Mr Bharati Ray (CPM), Vanga Geetha (TDP) and H.K Javde Gowda expressed views on the Bill.
Top

 

Defence Ministry told to stop construction

New Delhi, December 3
The Delhi High Court today directed the Ministry of Defence not to undertake further construction activity in the prohibited/regulated zone around the Tughlakabad fort on the megapolis’ outskirts.

A Division Bench, comprising Mr Justices Devinder Gupta and S.K. Kaul, also asked the Air Force authorities to refrain from occupying certain buildings that had already been constructed. While no construction could be made within the regulated zone around the monument, any such activity outside the zone but in the vicinity of the citadel could be carried out only after consultation with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The court was hearing a petition in public interest filed by the Heritage and Culture Forum through counsel Meera Kumar. The PIL alleged that the Air Force authorities were undertaking construction activity behind Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq’s tomb in the fort complex which was protected under the Ancient Monuments Act. UNITop

 

Examine me first, reiterates George

New Delhi, December 3
The Venkataswami Commission today gave a week’s time to all recipients of 8B notices to submit names of any independent witnesses or documents they would like to produce during their examination in connection with the tehelka.com’s expose on defence deals.

“The 8B noticees should submit a list of independent witnesses they would like to produce or documents within a week from today,” commission Chairman Justice K. Venkataswami said in a brief order.

Earlier, during arguments on the procedure of examination of witnesses to be followed, Mr Fernandes reiterated his plea to be examined first and the commission deferred an order on the issue till Wednesday. Mr Raju Ramachandran, counsel for Mr Fernandes, said his client’s plea would not amount to any waiver of rules. “My client is anxious to step into the witness box at the earliest,” he said. UNITop

 

Sonia not to attend Pawar’s birthday
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Congress President Sonia Gandhi would not attend the 61st birthday celebrations of senior NCP leader Sharad Pawar to be held in Mumbai on December 12.

The birthday party is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan. Asked if Ms Gandhi would be attending the birthday celebrations, Congress chief spokesman Jaipal Reddy said that though the Congress president had received the invitation, she would not be attending the party.
Top

 

Laloo taken to Beur jail

Patna, December 3
RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav was today flown here from Ranchi in a Bihar Government aircraft for production before a CBI court in connection with a disproportionate assets case on December 6.

After the four-seater aircraft with Mr Yadav and two securitymen touched down at the airport, he was whisked away in a bulletproof car to the Beur jail.

Mr Yadav did not meet a large crowd of supporters waiting in a nearby hangar, including several ministers and party leaders. PTITop

 

Irregularities in wheat supply to schools
Pankaj Shukla

Hanumangarh, December 3
The National Nutrition Scheme of the Central Government to encourage the registration of children in schools has run into rough weather in this district with many schools not getting their monthly share of wheat.

Though about 2,000 quintals of wheat is being carried from godowns for the schools in the panchayat samiti area, 7 km from the district headquarters at Jandanwali village, for the past seven months not a single grain of wheat has reached the schools. At some places, wheat is reportedly supplied after three or four months and that too in less quantity.

For 240 government primary schools, 195 higher primary schools and 100 Rajiv Gandhi pathshala that fall under this panchayat samiti, every month about 2,000 quintals of wheat is carried from the FCI godowns, but it does not regularly reach the schools.

It is the responsibility of the principal of a school to inform about the requirement of wheat and its supply. However, it is learnt that teachers do not interest in it and send false reports.

Sources said a contract is given for transporting wheat from the godowns situated at Pilibangan, Sangaria and Tibbi tehsils to the schools every year. Interestingly, this year the contract was given at Rs 1.7 per quintal, but the sources said the transportation costs were much higher. This contract was given for Rs 6.7 per quintal in 2000 and in 1999, it was Rs 17.2 while in 1998, it was Rs 19.9.

The sources said labourers charge more than the Rs 1.7 rate. They said in the Nohar tehsil, the transportation costs were lower as compared to previous years. Last year, the contract was given at Rs 22 while this year it was only Rs 4.7.

The scheme makes it mandatory for the contractor to get a receipt after delivering wheat, however, this is not being done. For the past seven months, there have been irregularities in the supply. In many remote villages where wheat had not been supplied, a quota of three or four months had been delivered in one go.

The sources said some contractors supplied the wheat in the evenings when the schools were closed and the wheat had to be unloaded in houses of villagers. Also as there were no measuring scales in the schools, the teachers gave the receipt without weighing the supplies.

Officials in the Primary Education Department said up to August, the supply was given by the panchayat samiti but from September the department had taken over. They said the contractor concerned had been served with a notice and had been asked to make the supply properly. They said if in future any complaint against him was received, his security would be seized.
Top

 

CPM workers told to launch drive
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, December 3
The CPM urged party workers to launch a campaign against the “anti people” policies of the Central and state governments at a district-level meeting held here today.

Speakers urged the workers to start a campaign against the capitalist power. They said the country’s economy was going downhill because of the government policies.

They said in the name of privatisation and liberalisation, multinational corporations were being invited to invest in every sector, which had led to the closure of small-scale and domestic industries, which in turn was resulting in unemployment.

The party workers alleged that the government was harbouring interests of the capitalist class and neglecting the lower classes. They alleged the Central Government was deliberately making changes in the labour laws. They said people below the poverty line were not being given facilities even after the directions of the Supreme Court.

The district committee of the party was reconstituted at the meeting. Mr Rameshwar Verma was elected the district secretary for the third time consecutively. Some new members were also included in the working committee.

Various bills were passed and delegates were chosen for the three-day party meeting to be held in Udhampur from December 22.
Top

 

Bajra procurement norms relaxed

New Delhi, December 3
The Centre has relaxed the bajra procurement norms and agreed to procure damaged grains upto a maximium limit of 2 per cent instead of 1.5 per cent provided under the fair average quality (FAQ) specifications.

Since the bajra crop in Rajasthan was affected due to unseasonal rains, the procurement norms have been relaxed to avoid distress sale by farmers.

The Centre will also be procuring slightly damaged and discoloured grains upto a maximum limit of 7 per cent as against 2.5 per cent under the FAQ guidelines.

The relaxation was effective since November 30 this year and procuring agencies had been advised to keep procured stocks under the new specifications separately and arrange for their priority liquidation, an official statement said here. PTITop

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS

MIXED RESPONSE TO TRIPURA BANDH
AGARTALA:
The Congress-sponsored Tripura Bandh in support of its 11-point charter of demands evoked a mixed response here on Monday with no untoward incident reported so far from any part of the state, official sources said here. While the banks remained closed in the capital city of Agartala, the government offices, including the Civil Secretariat recorded above 40 per cent attendance. At least 20 bandh supporters were arrested from North and Dhalai districts, they said. PTI

4 KILLED IN BUS MISHAP
HYDERABAD:
Four persons were killed and five others seriously injured when a private bus going from Hyderabad to Kakinada dashed against a stationary iron-laden lorry at Takmutla bus stand, 9 km from Suryapet in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday night. The Suryapet rural police said three persons, including a woman, who were travelling in the bus, were killed on the spot, while one person who was seriously injured, died while being shifted to Government Hospital in Hyderabad. UNI

HOOCH TRAGEDY SUSPECT ENDS LIFE
CUDDALORE:
One of the suspects behind the hooch tragedy at Natham village, which had claimed over 50 lives, has allegedly committed suicide at Ulundurpet in Villupuram district, the police said here on Monday. The body of Mattakalai, alias Govindan, had been recovered and sent for a post-mortem, they said. Doctors at the local Government Hospital said they had shifted 10 of those who had consumed the poisonous brew to Intensive Care Unit and their condition was critical. PTI

COUPLE GETS LIFE TERM FOR MURDER
THANE:
A couple from the powerloom town of Bhiwandi in Thane district was sentenced to life imprisonment for committing a double murder by the Additional Sessions Judge here on Saturday. Geeta Lalkari Raj Kumar (35) and Lalkari Keshav Rajbhar (40) had murdered Rajkumar Shyamsunder Halekar/Raut, alias Raju, and his uncle Pappu Chauthi Raut and took revenge for the ignominy they suffered at the hands of Raju, who had kidnapped their 15-year-old daughter and later married her. UNI

2 KILLED IN RAIL ACCIDENT
KANPUR:
Two persons were run over by the Lucknow bound Pushpak Express between Govindpuri and Bhimsen railway stations here on Monday the railway police said. Following the incident an angry crowd squatted on the tracks and on the road disrupting rail and road traffic on the Kanpur-Jhansi route. Traffic was later restored following the police intervention. PTI

EIGHT KILLED IN IED BLAST
GUWAHATI:
At least eight persons were killed and four critically injured when suspected United Peoples Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) militants blasted an improvised explosive device (IED) at Lamlangcho in Assam’s Karbianglong district on Monday morning. Official sources said here that the explosion occurred when a polling party was proceeding from Diphu district headquarters, to conduct the autonomous district council elections slated to be held on Tuesday. The deceased included six civilians, one police personnel and one home guard. The vehicle was completely damaged in the explosion. UNI
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