|N A T I O N|
Kargil to figure at ARF
PM denies intelligence failure
44 Assam villages
BJP, Lok Shakti ties strained
Army chief denies getting letter
Chautala meets Vajpayee
Ex-servicemen for probe on Kargil
Dead to come alive
UP gangster killed in encounter
Yamuna crosses danger mark
Jaswant leaves for Singapore
NEW DELHI, July 23 The Kargil issue is likely to figure at the meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) for which the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, left tonight.
Since some countries would want to be briefed on the Kargil situation, Mr Jaswant Singh would take the opportunity of explaining Indias stand in effectively dealing with the incursions by the Pakistan army, a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs said here today. The ARF meeting would begin on Monday.
The External Affairs Minister would make an effort to dispel doubts about Pakistans complicity in Kargil, including the full-scale involvement of its army.
New Delhi has maintained that Pakistan has violated the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC) and it is up to Islamabad to repair the trust breached by it.
Mr Jaswant Singh would have an hourlong meeting with the US Secretary of State, Ms Madeleine Albright, on July 25, which is the first meeting between the two since the Kargil crisis began.
While Ms Albright would ask for an early resumption of the Indo-Pak istan dialogue, Mr Jaswant Singh is expected to reiterate New Delhis stand that Islamabad would have to take tangible steps for restoring the trust which was seriously breached by its misadventure in Kargil.
Moreover, any resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue would have to wait for the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Jaswant Singh is expected to inform his US counterpart. The USA has already shown an understanding for Indias stand that Islamabad should dismantle terrorist training camps and should also stop aiding and abetting acts of terrorism in parts of India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
The External Affairs Minister will also hold separate talks with his counterparts from China, Japan, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Myanmar.
During the discussions between the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Tang Jaixuan and Mr Jaswant Singh, issues like initiation of the security dialogue, providing economic contents to bilateral ties and commemoration of the 50 years of establisment of diplomatic ties between the two countries are likely to figure, an official of the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The ARF meeting, which would include wide-ranging discussions between the 10 ASEAN nations and its 10 dialogue partners, including India, and then a meeting between India and the ASEAN countries, would discuss economic cooperation and security issues.
While no formal agenda
has been fixed for the meetings, missiles tests by India
and Pakistan, developments in North-East Asia, nuclear
and missiles proliferation, developments in South-East
Asia with special focus on the South China sea and
maritime security are likely to be taken up.
NEW DELHI, July 23 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today denied the charge that the Kargil intrusions were a result of intelligence failure and said the issue was being politicised by some political parties for electoral gains.
"On the surface of it there has been no intelligence failure", the Prime Minister said, adding, "If necessary, there will be an inquiry".
Mr Vajpayee had this evening invited reporters who had covered the Kargil conflict to his residence for tea.
The Prime Minister said he would be visiting Kargil in two or three days.
"The war is over but the battle continues", he said adding that the few intruders left would be evicted within four days.
The Prime Minister said India was not keen that talks should stop with Pakistan but Islamabad had to create an atmosphere of trust first.
He said it was difficult to say when the talks would resume. But it would be only after their withdrawal from the Kargil sector was over. Pakistan would have to take several steps to create a feeling of trust, he added.
Mr Vajpayee said the Directors-General of Military Operations of the two countries had been speaking to each other every day. They had spoken today too.
Asked if the Pakistan DGMO had given an assurance that the intruders left on the Indian side would withdraw, he said no such assurance was given. India had only put the facts before the Pakistan DGMO. "I am sure something will work out", he said.
When questioned how the
Kargil conflict was being called a victory for India when
it happened on Indian soil, Mr Vajpayee said in the past
land which had been taken away from the country could not
be recovered. This time it went into another's hands but
was won back.
Pay 5 lakh, Punjab Govt told
NEW DELHI, July 23 The National Human Rights Commission has directed the Punjab government to pay an interim relief of Rs 5 lakh to dependants of a farmer who died in police custody. The state government has been asked to pay the money to Mela Singhs widow.
The Commission has held that the case calls for a probe into the role of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and the doctor who conducted the postmortem. It has recommended that the Punjab Government and the Director-General of Police, Punjab, authorise such investigation to examine allegations by a senior police officer not below the rank of an Inspector-General of Police.
The commission has given the state government the liberty to initiate proceedings for recovery of this money from those who have exposed the government to this liability by their high-handedness.
The commission acted on a complaint by the victims widow who alleged that Mela Singh was illegally detained by the police for four days and died due to torture in the Lehragaga police station on December 1994. She also alleged that Mela Singhs body was not handed over to the family for last rites.
Acting on the complaint, the commission directed the Punjab Government to send a report. In its report, the respondent state government stated that Mela Singh died following a heart attack in the police station. After examining the report, the Commission sought the report of the magisterial inquiry in the matter.
The SDMs report also said that Mela Singh had died of a heart attack in the toilet. It said that there was no evidence to suggest that Mela Singh was beaten or tortured. The report said that nobody was to be blamed for Mela Singhs death.
Not convinced with the police version and the magisterial report, the commission directed its investigation division to examine the matter.
According to sources in the commission, the investigation divisions report said the trouble began when Mela Singhs vehicle was hit by another vehicle on his way to a cattle fair. An altercation followed and Mela Singh beat up the occupants of the vehicle. One of the injured occupants was taken away by the police. Thereafter, the Station House Officer suggested that Mela Singh agreed for a compromise with the aggrieved party.
Taking advantage of the situation, the police demanded money from Mela Singhs family members. The family paid Rs 10,000 to the injured and a bribe of Rs 5,000 to the SHO.
Since the family could not meet the SHOs monetary demand which exceeded Rs 5000, the police beat up Mela Singh in the presence of his brother. Mela Singh was subjected to mental and physical torture as his family did not concede to the police demand for illegal gratification. Mela Singh had a massive heart attack and died.
division of the commission found that the police
registered a case four days after the incident. The SDM
started the inquiry three days after the victims
death and did not record the statement of witnesses.
44 Assam villages inundated
GUWAHATI, July 23 (UNI) The flood situation in Assam's North Lakhimpur district further deteriorated today as the Subansiri along with its tributaries inundated about 44 villages, official reports said.
About 50 houses were damaged and more than 19,000 people affected in the district. The Ranganadi river also breached its embankment near Kharkatia. Relief was being distributed to the affected.
Meanwhile, the overall flood situation in the state remained grim as the turbulent Brahmaputra and its tributaries continued to flow over the red mark submerging fresh areas.
The Brahmaputra had caused heavy erosion at Bihubari, Kacharigaon, Nathgaon and Hollowkanda in Marigaon district. The dyke at Ulubari had already been eroded, the report added.
Altogether 11 districts had been affected in the current wave of flood. The worst affected was Dhemaji district, were more than 200 villages had been submerged.
The report further said nearly four lakh people had been affected and extensive damage caused to property and standing crops. The extent of damage was yet to be assessed as most of the affected areas remained inaccessible, the report said.
PATNA: The flood situation in north Bihar worsened on Friday following inundation of fresh areas in the region. The toll so far in the flood-related incidents rose to 131.
Flood control cell sources said flood water from the Burhi Gandak river submerged fresh areas in East Champaran district following breach in its right embankment. Efforts were on to construct a bundh to plug the gap developed in the embankment.
A Samastipur report said the gushing Ganga river had inundated some villages in the district and the affected families were shifting to safer places.
The Relief and Rehabilitation Department sources said nearly four million people in 13 districts of north Bihar had been hit by the current spell of flood.
BJP, Lok Shakti ties strained
BANGALORE, July 23 (UNI) The relations between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Lok Shakti in Karnataka have come under severe strain with the BJP threatening to call off its alliance with the latter if it were to continue its association with a faction of the Janata Dal led by Chief Minister J.H. Patel.
But the Lok Shakti of Union Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde stuck to its decision of uniting with the Janata Dal and the Samata Party.
In a scathing attack on the Patel government, a meeting of state BJP office-bearers said if the circumstances warranted, the party would not hesitate to go it alone in the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
A resolution passed at the meeting said the Janata Dals move to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was aimed at its own survival.
The BJP General Secretary, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, told mediapersons that though his party wanted continuance of the "time-tested" alliance with the Lok Shakti, he would apprise the party central leadership of the ground realities and the strong feelings expressed by the state unit against associating with the Janata Dal.
At a separate press conference, state Lok Shakti chief Jeevraj Alva soft-pedalled the BJPs opposition to the Janata Dal saying it was but natural that there were misgivings.
He said the leaders of the two parties would sort out the differences.
The inclusion of the Janata Dal in the NDA was intended to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee,he said. Dr Alva also allayed fears that the move was aimed at checkmating the BJP within the NDA.
In Chennai, Mr Hegde said the merger of his party and the Samata Party with the Dal was only to strengthen the BJP-led NDA and not to create a pressure group within the NDA.
Meanwhile, state executive of the Janata Dal (Deve Gowda faction), which met here, demanded imposition of Presidents rule in the state while reiterating its stand to maintain equidistance from the BJP and the Congress.
In a related
development, two ministers deserted the J.H. Patel camp
and joined the Deve Gowda faction by resigning from the
ministry. Yesterday, Mr Patel had sacked eight ministers
loyal to Mr Gowda prior to recommending dissolution of
the Legislative Assembly.
Army chief denies getting letter
NEW DELHI, July 23 (UNI) Chief of Army staff Gen V.P. Malik today categorically denied reports that any letter had been received by him or the Army Headquarters from the then Brigadier in charge of Kargil alerting him about the "enhanced threat perception on the Line of Control (LoC)".
"It would be pertinent to point out that as per prevalent practice in the Army, official correspondence initiated by a brigade headquarters is not addressed to Chief of Army Staff or the Army Headquarters directly. These are addressed to the next higher headquarters in the chain of command, IE Divisional Headquarters," the Army chief said in a statement here.
Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal had yesterday given out reference number of a letter written on August 25, 1998, by the then Brigadier in charge of Kargil to the Army chief alerting him and through him the government of "enhanced threat perception" on the LoC.
The letter dated August
25, 1998, allegedly written by the former Commander of
121 (Independent) Infantry Brigade to the Army chief
expressed concern at the situation and requested that
steps be taken to confirm the activities across the LoC.
But no action was taken, Mr Sibal claimed.
Chautala meets Vajpayee
NEW DELHI, July 23 (UNI) Haryana Chief Minister-designate Om Prakash Chautala tonight held consultations with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and senior BJP leaders on the composition of the Haryana government.
Haryana BJP senior leader Ram Bilas Sharma accompanied Mr Chautala in his meetings with the Prime Minister, Home Minister L.K. Advani, Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Joshi and others.
Earlier, Mr Chautala told newsmen that he would like to have a relatively small Cabinet, which will be sworn-in tomorrow in Chandigarh.
Party sources indicated here that the number of ministers likely to be sworn-in tomorrow would be less than 12.
Ex-servicemen for probe on
NEW DELHI, July 23 A probe into the Kargil conflict by a national commission of inquiry was demanded today by the President of the Himachal Pradesh unit of the Indian Ex-Servicemens League.
Addressing a press conference here today, Maj (Retd.) Vijai Singh Mankotia, president of the Himachal Pradesh unit of the League, demanded a high-powered national commission to inquire into the conflict and identify those responsible for such a situation.
The probe report, he said, should be made public and should not gather dust like the 1962 probe conducted by Lieut-Gen Anderson Brooke, GOC, Eastern Command.
The inquiry which was instituted to find the commissions and omissions of the 1962 war has not been made public till date and no action has been taken on the basis of the report, Major Mankotia said.
The Kargil situation is a serious and an unpardonable lapse on the part of the Centre. Kargil remains an intelligence failure and all intelligence agencies, including the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Military Intelligence (MI) were responsible, he said.
In the Kargil conflict alone over 400 personnel had lost their lives (which was a limited operation) whereas till date in all 17,000 Army personnel had been killed and 30,000 wounded in the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars, the IPKF operations, Jammu and Kashmir Rakshak operations and Operation Rhino in Assam, he stated.
In the 1999-2000 budget, defence was allotted a meagre 2.34 per cent of the total gross domestic product (GDP). In the past five years between 1985 and 1999, the allocation for defence had not risen beyond 2.5 per cent of the GDP.
Out of the total
expenditure during the past five years, defence had
received only 13.7 per cent, which was inadequate for a
country with China, Pakistan and Afghanistan threatening
its borders, Major Mankotia said.
Dead to come alive against Vajpayee
LUCKNOW, July 23 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee might as well come up against a dead candidate in the Lok Sabha elections for the Lucknow seat.
The Uttar Pradesh Mritak Sangh (UP Association of the dead) has decided to field its member against the Prime Minister to highlight the woes of those physically alive while officially dead.
The sanghs members are those who have been declared dead by their relations to grab their property.
Many of them live without even knowing that they are dead till they come across a government official or land record.
The sangh, which was formed to get them back to life, finally has succeeded in declaring four of its members alive.
The death registration of Jhulri Devi and Paltan Yadav, who belong to Azamgarh and Bhagwan Prasad Mishra and Mahaprasad Mishra of MAU were cancelled on July 15. The sangh had staged a sit-in here on June 7 to press its demands.
Mrs Devi was got declared dead by relations in 1974 for taking possession of her land. Sangh president Lal Behari told UNI, Mr Yadav died in 1980 and the Mishra brothers a year before.
However, they are yet to get back their land. The district consolidation officer had asked them to move the court for possession of the land, Mr Behari said.
He said a dharna and a rally would be held in front of the state Assembly next month to expose the officials involved in illegal transfer of land.
A member of the sangh would be fielded against the Prime Minister in the Lucknow Lok Sabha election if the government did not accede to their demands, he added. One of their demands is a survey of the living dead and publication of their names.
A lot of such cases exist in the rural areas of the state where the victims are unaware of the legal procedures and intricate rules regarding property transfer at revenue offices and courts.
Mr Behari, who came out of the world of dead in 1994 after a protracted legal battle, wrote his name as the late Lal Behari for 18 years till finally he received justice.
UP gangster killed in
NEW DELHI, July 23 In a broad daylight encounter outside a five star hotel in the Capital, a dreaded inter-state gangster Shri Ram alias Siriya Pahalwan was killed and four of his accomplices, including a former Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA in Uttar Pradesh, were arrested by the Delhi Police.
The encounter took place around 12.30 p.m. in front of the ITDC run five star Ashoka Hotel after the police acting on a tip-off surrounded the hotel premises inside which the gangsters were planning to kidnap a person for ransom.
The police have arrested Madan Gopal alias Madan Bhaiya (a one-time confidante of the SP chief, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav), Azad Pradhan, Ram Pratap and Mithu Lal.
The police said Madan Bhaiya was involved in at least 26 crime cases registered in Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and had been detained under National Security Act (NSA), while Siriya Pahalwan was involved in 12 cases registered in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh . In addition to this, the police said, they were involved in several other cases in U.P.
The UP Police has been informed about their arrest and encounter and a team has come to the Capital to interrogate them.
Yamuna crosses danger mark
NEW DELHI, July 23 The Yamuna river crossed the danger mark in the Capital early today and operations were on to evacuate people from the flood-prone areas, officials said.
The Yamuna crossed the danger mark of 204.83 metres at about 1 p.m. and was flowing at 205.28 as per the reading taken this evening. However, the river level was not expected to rise further, officials at the Delhi Irrigation and Flood Control Department said.
Meanwhile, alternative tented accommodation had been arranged for housing people from the flood-prone areas, officials at the office of the Deputy Commissioner (East) said. Some of the families settled on the river-bed have been evacuated to the safe places.
SAD to demand 1 Delhi seat
NEW DELHI, July 23 The Shiromani Akali Dal expressed its intention to contest from one seat in the Capital during the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll.
Addressing a press
conference here today, the national general secretary of
the SAD, Mr Onkar Singh Thapar, said the party would ask
the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to give one seat for
their partys candidate.
Petition on Kargil dismissed
NEW DELHI, July 23 The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition, filed in public interest, seeking an inquiry into the intelligence failure, resulting in Pakistani intrusion in the Kargil sector.
The petition, filed by
Mr M.K. Dhar, a former Intelligence Bureau employee, came
up for hearing before the Bench comprising the Chief
Justice, Mr Justice A.S. Anand, Mr Justice M.J. Rao and
Mr Justice Santosh N. Hegde.
Maths Olympiad awards for India
MUMBAI, July 22 (PTI) India secured three silver and three bronze medals at the 40th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held in Bucharest, Romania, which concluded today.
The winners of silver medals are Arvind Narayanan from Chennai, Rishi Raj from Ranchi and Vaibhav Vaish from Lucknow. Mandar Joshi of Pune, Abhishek Saha of Calcutta and Mohit Singh from Delhi won the bronze medals.
Arundhatis book burnt
AHMEDABAD: Copies of the book, The Greatest Common Good, by celebrated author Arundhati Roy were burnt by Youth Congress workers for its alleged anti-Sardar Sarovar Project contents. The workers led by Gujarat Youth Congress President, Himmatsinh Patel, undertook the protest on Thursday to counter the anti-Narmada propaganda. The youth wing has also asked all book stores in the state not to sell Roys new book. PTI
Addl Secy sacked for
6 tusk smugglers
Drive to check
Cops, CRPF men
escape ULFA attack
from Ahmedabad areas
monks anniversary celebrated
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