Tuesday, December 31, 2002, 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

Stop criticism, BJP tells BSP
New Delhi, December 30
In a tight balancing act, the BJP today asked BSP ministers in Uttar Pradesh to refrain from criticising the party as it was not in the interest of the coalition dharma.

RSS chief asked to get temple land vacated
Bhopal, December 30
A piece of land surrounding the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain has become a bone of contention between the RSS and the Digvijay Singh government.

Cong for action against VHP
New Delhi, December 30
The Congress today called upon the Centre to take action against VHP leaders for their provocative speeches, saying that they were talking a language of hate.
In video: Shiv Sena organises youth camp for fighting terrorism.
(28k, 56k)

Cong to launch mass contact programme
New Delhi, December 30
The Congress has decided to launch a mass contact programme at the grass root level in Rajasthan from Jaunary 15 to expose the “communal” agenda of the BJP.

Cracks in Left Front out in open
Kolkata, December 30
The CPI and the Forward Bloc, two major partners of the Bengal Left Front government, have come out in public against the “big-brotherly attitude’’of the CPM.

The fastest train in the Indian rail history at a railway station The fastest train in the Indian rail history at a railway station after its trial run was successfully conducted at a speed of 150 kmph between Madgaon and Roha, near Mumbai, covering the 442-km distance in record three-and-a-half hours on Sunday. — PTI


A model displays a dress made out of 2000 one-rupee coins
A model displays a dress made out of 2000 one-rupee coins at a fashion show in Guwahati. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

YEARENDER 2002 — HOME
Terror strikes on despite checks
New Delhi, December 30
The year was a mixed bag for the Union Home Ministry. Although it took several steps to curb terrorism, including the promulgation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), the fidayeen attack on the Akshardham temple in Gujarat and two strikes on the Raghunath temple in Jammu served as grim reminders of the challenges the internal security apparatus was facing.

Egyptian belly dancer Shehzadi practices with a troupe member
Egyptian belly dancer Shehzadi (R) practices with a troupe member at a hotel in Kolkata on Monday. Leading hotels in tradition-bound Calcutta often invite foreign dancers to hold programmes as part of their New Year Eve celebrations. — Reuters

Chautala opposes Kelkar proposals
Raipur, December 30
Strongly opposing Kelkar Committee recommendations relating to tax on agriculture, Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala today said farmers were the highest tax payers in the country.

PM working on musings
Panaji, December 30
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who is holidaying here, is also working on musings, similar to the ones he had penned at Kumarakom in Kerala in 2000.

Dismissed panchayat secys meet Ambika

Need to oversee ‘deviant behaviour’ of judges
Bangalore, December 30
Attorney-General of India Soli Sorabjee today emphasised the need to set up a body to look into “deviant behaviour” of judges like “chronic unpunctuality”, not delivering judgement for months and postponing cases for no reason.

Two new TV serials on Doordarshan
New Delhi, December 30
Numero Uno International Limited (NUIL), a television production company promoted by Sanjay Khan, has announced the launch of two serials “Maharathi Karna” and “1857-Kranti”.

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Videos
Tension prevails in Patna over the killing of three students in a fake encounter by the police.
(28k, 56k)
The 7th National Film Festival starts at Agartala.
(28k, 56k)




 

 

 

Stop criticism, BJP tells BSP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
In a tight balancing act, the BJP today asked BSP ministers in Uttar Pradesh to refrain from criticising the party as it was not in the interest of the coalition dharma.

“We are committed to the dharma of coalition politics. However, BSP ministers in Uttar Pradesh must refrain from criticising their ally BJP as it is not good for the alliance,” party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told newspersons here.

The spokesman said the issue had also been sorted out at the highest level of the two parties at a recent meeting between UP Chief Minister Mayawati and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the Capital recently.

“Even though we are ready to face elections any time, but BSP leaders should not make any comments which was against the dharma of coalition politics. However, I am confident that the present coalition government in the state will last its full term,” he said.

Mr Naqvi said as part of the exercise to ensure that there was no such further open criticism, state level leaders of both parties would meet frequently to strengthen the coalition.

Earlier ridiculing the Congress demand for a white paper on terrorism, Mr Naqvi said it was the “wavering and weak policies towards terrorism” pursued by the Congress which was responsible for its growth.

“It is painful to note that the Congress whose wavering and weak policies towards terrorism have cost the lives of their Prime Minister, a former Prime Minister and Chief Minister is now shamelessly raising the demand for a white paper on terrorism,” the party spokesman said.

Mr Naqvi said the BJP had no objection on this demand of the Congress but the paper should “reflect the origin of terrorism and the policies that have been responsible for its growth. Moreover, the White Paper should also include full details of the terrorist activities that have been taking place in various parts of the country, including Punjab, North-East and Jammu and Kashmir over the past three decades.”

He said the NDA government headed by the Prime Minister has weakened Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and got the world community to appreciate the Indian viewpoint. “The Vajpayee government has through POTA strengthened the fight against terrorism. This has helped the legal process in deciding cases against terrorists in a reasonable time frame as compared to the earlier period,” he said.

Mr Naqvi said the Congress, which failed miserably in punishing the murderers of their leaders during a decade, continues to oppose necessary anti-terrorism legal measures like POTA.

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RSS chief asked to get temple land vacated
N.D. Sharma

Bhopal, December 30
A piece of land surrounding the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain has become a bone of contention between the RSS and the Digvijay Singh government.

The government wants the land, measuring some 3 lakh square feet, for the development of facilities for the pilgrims for the Simhashtha Mahakumbha due in 2004. The local RSS unit has demanded Rs 25 crore for surrendering the land. The State High Court has stayed the acquisition proceedings initiated by the government.

The Mahakaleshwar temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, considered the most holy places of pilgrimage and worship by the Hindus. The Mahakumbha takes place in Ujjain every 12 years when lakhs of devotees throng the place.

The Chief Minister, Mr Digvijay Singh, has now sought intervention of the RSS chief, Mr K.Sudarshan. In his two-page letter, the Chief Minister says: “it has been a tradition among us, the followers of the Sanatana Dharma, from times immemorial to promptly offer whatever is expected of us for the management and expansion of the places of worship. I am, however, surprised that the RSS is demanding crores of rupees for the land needed to expand facilities around the temple of Lord Mahakaleshwar as this money will have to be paid out of the offerings made at the temple by the devotees”.

The Chief Minister’s letter, sent today, says that the RSS has not purchased this land. Till 1990, it was recorded as government land in official documents. The RSS, Ujjain, filed a civil suit in 1988 claiming its ownership on the land. The then BJP government did not properly contest it, the court accepted the RSS ownership over the land and the RSS acquired the land without paying any money.

Mr Digvijay Singh says that he is writing the letter not as Chief Minister but as one of the innumerable devotees of Lord Mahakaleshwar. He has urged the RSS chief to personally intervene in the matter and persuade the RSS unit at Ujjain to surrender the land gratis to the temple of Lord Mahakaleshwar for which the followers of the Sanatana Dharma within the country and outside “will be beholden to you”.
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Cong for action against VHP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
The Congress today called upon the Centre to take action against VHP leaders for their provocative speeches, saying that they were talking a language of hate.

Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said the VHP’s claim of being the representative of the Hindu Community was wrong. He said the centre should probe the funding of the VHP.

Asked if the party was demanding a ban on the VHP, Mr Sharma said the party had sought such a ban earlier also. The Congress reaction comes a day after vituperative attack by a VHP leader, Mr Pravin Togadia, against the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

He said the party had sought a white paper from the government on terrorism.

To a question about the RSS taking exception to the Congress remark about association of the Sangh Parivar in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, which Mr Sharma described as the “first and biggest terrorist attack in the post-Independent India,’’ he said that the Congress was opposed to any ideology that preached violence. “If the Sangh Parivar’s ideology is not of creating division then they should clarify,’’ he said. “The RSS reaction indicates that they have a guilty conscience,’’ Mr Sharma added. PTI
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DMK-BJP feud comes to fore

Chennai, December 30
The simmering tensions between the DMK and the BJP today burst into the open, with former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi attacking the state BJP for having “secret plans” to align with the AIADMK in future elections.

He said the DMK would not leave the NDA as long as the Centre did not deviate from the national agenda for governance.

“The DMK has no objections if the BJP supports the AIADMK. If the BJP wants to align with the AIADMK, let it do so in an open manner”, he said PTI

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Cong to launch mass contact programme
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
The Congress has decided to launch a mass contact programme at the grass root level in Rajasthan from Jaunary 15 to expose the “communal” agenda of the BJP.

“The party has decided to launch a mass contact programme in the state, beginning January 15, to tell the people about government steps for their well-being as also to expose the BJP propaganda about the state government on various issues”, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and state PCC chief Girija Vyas said here.

Mr Gehlot and Ms Vyas, who met AICC general secretary in charge of the state Ambika Soni here today, said one of the aims of the mass contact programme, which would go up to block level, was to address the concerns of party workers.

Concerned over the outcome of the byelections, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had recently appointed a four-member committee to prepare the party in the state to take on the BJP in Assembly elections due next year.

Asked about the threat by the Sangh Parivar to repeat the Gujarat Hindutva experience in Rajasthan, Mr Gehlot said, “they would not be allowed to repeat it. Fascist face won in Gujarat, but we will not allow them to succeed in Rajasthan.”

Asked if the state would ban the VHP, he said, “We will go step by step. We will respond to what they do”.

About the controversy over organising Ram katha surrounding the Rajasthan Governor, the Chief Minister said the issue became controversial following the involvement of Raj Bhavan.

On the possibility of forging alliances with like-minded parties in the state, Mr Gehlot said it was too early to talk about these issues. “Personally, I am opposed to any alliances,” he said.

Mr Gehlot dismissed suggestions that Rajasthan was rated lowest among the Congress-ruled states in terms of perforemance, saying since he came to power the air was thick with “such types of rumours”.

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Cracks in Left Front out in open
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, December 30
The CPI and the Forward Bloc, two major partners of the Bengal Left Front government, have come out in public against the “big-brotherly attitude’’of the CPM.

The CPI at its rally at the Brigade ground last evening, declared that it would no more accept any decision taken arbitrarily by the CPM without consulting other partners of the front. The party criticised the high-handedness and the big-brotherly attitude of the CPM in running the government, which CPI leaders felt had been damaging the interests of the Left Front.

Leaders of the Forward Bloc, on the other hand, at the two-day conference of the party’s peasants front in the city ending today, openly warned that they would not hesitate to leave the Left Front government if the CPM did not stop treating the smaller partners as their ‘slaves’.

The Forward Bloc’s national committee president, Mr Debabrata Biswas, alleged the CPM had now become a party of the jotedars and other vested interests which had been working against the poor cultivators and the landless labour.

He charged the CPM leadership with treating them “shabbily”. He reminded the CPM leaders that the Forward Bloc MPs and MLAs had been voted to power not at their mercy. The people had voted for them because “the Forward Bloc is a party of the people and for the people”.

The CPI’s general secretary, Mr A.B. Bardhan accused the CPM of usurping all powers of the front and the government, adding that party had been taking all major decisions without even keeping them informed. This high-handed attitude of the CPM would not be tolerated any more, he warned.

Reacting sharply to the charges of the CPI and the Forward Bloc, CPM general secretary, Mr Anil Biswas, alleged that they had been making false allegations. He said so far all major decisions taken both by the front and the government, were taken after due discussions and deliberations.
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YEARENDER 2002 — HOME
Terror strikes on despite checks
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
The year was a mixed bag for the Union Home Ministry. Although it took several steps to curb terrorism, including the promulgation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), the fidayeen attack on the Akshardham temple in Gujarat and two strikes on the Raghunath temple in Jammu served as grim reminders of the challenges the internal security apparatus was facing.

Left-wing terrorism and insurgency in the North-East were other areas which kept the Home Ministry busy. Reports on the growing nexus between Maoists in Nepal and the People’s War Group (PWG), spread in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, came as a big blow for the Home Ministry, which launched several funding schemes to modernise state policies to tackle the problem.

The free and fair Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat elections brought a lot of kudos to the Home Ministry, which came in for sharp criticism last year after the terrorist attack on the Parliament.

This followed the enactment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in a joint session of Parliament in February. Although the Centre failed to impress upon Congress-ruled states to implement it, the speedy conviction of the accused in the Parliament attack case by a Delhi court came as a big boost. The Union Home Ministry banned 32 terrorist organisations.

The attacks on temples in Gandhinagar and in Jammu reflected the ugly face of terrorism supported by Pakistan. The timely operation by the National Security Guards commandos ensured that the casualties were minimal.

Security agencies foiled several attempts by Pakistan’s ISI to spread terror. As many as 161 ISI modules were busted and major cases detected, including the exposure of a Lashkar-e-Toiba network and serial bomb explosions by the Deendar Anjuman in churches in South India.

The Home Ministry’s approach to engage the NSCN (I-M) had a positive impact, with the Naga group leaders agreeing to come to India for a structured political peace dialogue. The Home Ministry lifted the ban on the NSCN (I-M).

In Assam, the Centre, the state government and the Bodo Liberation Tigers agreed to extend suspension of operations for paving way for fruitful talks for peace.

As per the suggestion of the GoMs on national security, the Home Ministry created a separate division on Border management to pay focused attention to issues relating to border management.

The Home Ministry also decided to launch a pilot project for issuance of multi-purpose national identity cards in a few sub-districts in 13 states. The population proposed to be covered would be about 29 lakh.

The year also saw Home Minister L.K. Advani being elevated to the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Mr N. Gopalaswamy took over as the new Union Home Secretary, succeeding Mr Kamal Pande, who was appointed the new Cabinet Secretary.
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Chautala opposes Kelkar proposals

Raipur, December 30
Strongly opposing Kelkar Committee recommendations relating to tax on agriculture, Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala today said farmers were the highest tax payers in the country. “Farmers are the highest tax payers since they pay tax both while selling as well as purchasing their commodities. That is why they are opposing the recommendations”, Mr Chautala, who was on a day-long tour of Chhattisgarh to invite entrepreneurs to invest in Haryana, told reporters.

“People living in air-conditioned rooms do not understand the problems of farmers and recommend imposition of income tax on them though they do not have sufficient income”, he alleged.

On the issue of disinvestment, said only loss-making public sector undertakings should be privatised and not the profit-making ones. “But which one should be divested is the job of the government to decide”, he added. PTI
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PM working on musings

Panaji, December 30
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who is holidaying here, is also working on musings, similar to the ones he had penned at Kumarakom in Kerala in 2000.

“The Prime Minister is not merely holidaying in Goa, he is also working on some musings,” PMO sources said today. The sources said his writings would be released tomorrow. PTI
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Dismissed panchayat secys meet Ambika
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
A delegation of the new-Selected Panchayat Secretaries Union met AICC general secretary Ambika Soni today complaining against the Punjab Government’s decision to terminate their services.

Mr Ranjinderjeet Singh, press secretary of the union, said the meeting lasted for about 20 minutes. He said 909 panchayat secretaries had been affected by the Punjab Government’s decision. The delegation, led by Mr Gurjeevan Singh, gave a “demand letter” to Ms Ambika Soni. 

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Need to oversee ‘deviant behaviour’ of judges

Bangalore, December 30
Attorney-General of India Soli Sorabjee today emphasised the need to set up a body to look into “deviant behaviour” of judges like “chronic unpunctuality”, not delivering judgement for months and postponing cases for no reason.

Mr Sorabjee said the suggested body must be exclusively judicial since one had to be very careful that the independence of judiciary was not impaired while enforcing accountability of judges.

The body must also command credibility, he told reporters in a brief interaction. PTI
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Two new TV serials on Doordarshan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
Numero Uno International Limited (NUIL), a television production company promoted by Sanjay Khan, has announced the launch of two serials “Maharathi Karna” and “1857-Kranti”.

Produced and directed by Sanjay Khan, the serials will be telecast on Doordrashan National. While “1857-Kranti” went on air on December 29 and will be telecast every Sunday between 11 am and noon, “Maharathi Karna” will be telecast on every Wednesday and Thursday between 9 and 9.30 pm from January 1, 2003.

“Maharathi Karna” throws light on the life of the unsung hero Karna while “1857-Kranti” is the story of India’s first war of independence.

Speaking at the launch of the serials, Sanjay Khan, Chairman and Managing Director, Numero Uno International Limited said, “The story of Karna is legendary and timeless. The revolt of 1857 referred to as ‘the Sepoy Mutiny’ by the British is a very important facet of India’s freedom struggle. Therefore, in the age of low-cost family dramas, I have attempted to bring serials which have qualities of an epic and good cinematic values.’’

Of the total 104 episodes in “Maharthi Karna”, 28 have been shot. “1857-Kranti” has 52 epiosdes of which 12 have been completed, according to a press note issued by the NUIL. 

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NATIONAL BRIEFS


A 55-foot-tall hedge cactus
A 55-foot-tall hedge cactus (cereus uryuanus) inside an iron scaffolding grown by Pandit Munji at his residence in the Narayanapur locality at Dharawad here fetched him fame after it was mentioned in the Limca Book of World Records. — PTI

NEW MUMBAI POLICE CHIEF
MUMBAI:
Ending over a month-long suspense over the new city police chief, the Maharashtra Government on Monday announced Ranjit Singh Sharma as the new Police Commissioner of Mumbai. Sharma, a 1968 batch official, who is currently occupying the post of the Pune Police Commissioner, will take over from the current incumbent M.N. Singh who will retire on Tuesday, official sources said. PTI

RAIL RESERVATION STAFF ON STRIKE
MUMBAI:
More than 250 employees working in 35 public reservation centres of Western and Central Railways in and around the city went on a flash strike on Monday morning paralysing the booking facilities. The strike call was given by the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) and the Central Railway Mazoor Sangh (CRMS) to protest the decision of the railway authorities to provide computer terminals to railway travel service agents in Mumbai from Monday. PTI

TRIPURA GOVT'S RECRUITMENT DRIVE
AGARTALA:
The Tripura Government will recruit youths from different states for its Tripura State Rifles (TSR) armed force. Announcing this, state Police Training College Principal M. Rajamurugan on Monday said recruitment rallies would be conducted in Alipurduar (West Bengal), Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh), Coorg (Karnataka), Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Cuttack (Orissa). UNI

10 OF CRIMINAL GANG HELD
LUCKNOW:
Ten members of a criminal gang were arrested following an encounter in the Kotwali police station area of Shahjahanpur district, the police said here on Monday. The incident occurred when the gang arrived near Shahjanahpur on Sunday with looted property. A police team challenged them and arrested them after an encounter. PTI


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