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N A T I O N

Warrants against four Assam Rifles personnel
Imphal, August 26
Justice C. Upendra Commission, probing the death of Manorama Devi in Manipur on July 11, today issued a bailable arrest warrant against four Assam Rifles (AR) witnesses, who had failed to appear before the panel despite official summons.

12 hurt in bandh for Bharti
Bhopal/Bangalore, August 26
The BJP-sponsored bandh called to show solidarity with its jailed party leader Uma Bharti today evoked a mixed response in Congress-ruled Karnataka but was near total in Saffron-governed Madhya Pradesh where stray violence left at least 12 people injured.

Uma jailed in guest house
Cong wakes up to Uma Bharti’s misdemeanour



A little girl dressed as Mother Teresa at a function to mark the 94th birthday of Mother Teresa, in Bangalore on Thursday.
A little girl dressed as Mother Teresa at a function to mark the 94th birthday of Mother Teresa, in Bangalore on Thursday. — PTI
In video:
Unveiling of Mother Teresa's statue held up by red tape. (28k, 56k)

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
The police trying to disperse BJP activists demonstrating on railway tracks at Habeebganj station in Bhopal on Friday during the statewide ‘bandh’ called by them to protest the arrest of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti.
— PTI photo

Vajpayee reveals unwritten code to Prime Minister
New Delhi, August 26
Taking strong exception to Dr Manmohan Singh’s “refusal” to accept NDA’s memorandum yesterday, the National Democratic Alliance today fielded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to defend its charge that the Prime Minister was “impolite” and “rude”.

Remarks unfortunate: Cong
CPI flays govt for passing Finance Bill, CPM defends
Himachal page
Prime Minister’s behaviour shocking, says Dhumal

EARLIER STORIES

 
Children cast a fishing net in Yamuna river in New Delhi on Thursday
Children cast a fishing net in Yamuna river in New Delhi on Thursday. — Reuters

Kuwait to sell more crude
to India
New Delhi, August 26
The visiting Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Sabbah Al-Salem Al Sabbah today signed three important bilateral agreements with India and made two critical assurances: on taking care of New Delhi’s interests in the Iraq hostage crisis and selling more crude oil. While the three agreements were a reflection of institutionalisation of India’s growing relations with Kuwait, the assurances came as music to the Indian leadership’s ears.

Godhra riot accused escapes, re-arrested
Ahmedabad, August 26
A prime accused in a post-Godhra communal riots case, escaped from the police custody at a hospital in Panchmahals district today, but was re-arrested, the police said.

Speaker admonishes ministers
New Delhi, August 26
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today admonished some ministers of the UPA government, including Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, for taking the House “lightly” and not being present for the laying of important papers.

Woman kills man in self-defence, let off
Hyderabad, August 26
The police in a small town in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, in a rare action, let off a woman who surrendered in a case of killing in self-defence.

18 students held in Imphal
Imphal, August 26
Eighteen school students, who went to surrender their textbooks to Manipur Governor S.S. Sidhu and Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh as part of a statewide agitation against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state, were arrested here today.

Mob attacks church
Phulbani (Orissa), August 26
A mob today attacked a Catholic Church in Raikia town, about 72 km from here, smashed statues of Virgin Mary and angels and set ablaze a truck parked outside the church after some Christians protested against removal of fencing erected outside the church premises, the police said. 

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Warrants against four Assam Rifles personnel

Imphal, August 26
Justice C. Upendra Commission, probing the death of Manorama Devi in Manipur on July 11, today issued a bailable arrest warrant against four Assam Rifles (AR) witnesses, who had failed to appear before the panel despite official summons.

In a directive, the commission instructed the Director-General of police (DGP), Manipur, to execute the warrant. It said the AR personnel who failed to appear before the Commission for examination during the hearing, should be produced before it without fail.

However, on the request of the Assam Rifles counsel, the Chairman of the commission has kept in abeyance the arrest warrant till 1 p.m. tomorrow.

The warrant with a security of Rs. 500 each to the satisfaction of the commission, would come into effect after 1 p.m. of August 27, if the AR authority failed to produce the witnesses or the witnesses failed to appear voluntarily before the commission, the directive said.

The commission, set up by the government after Manorama Devi was picked up by the AR personnel on July 10 and found dead the next day at Ngariyan, began its sitting on July 12.

The AR counsel today requested the commission to provide a copy of the forensic report of Manorama’s clothes issued by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Kolkata, so as to enable the AR authority to produce the four witnesses including Col. Jagmohan, Commandant of 17th Assam Rifles before the commission for examination.

The CFSL in its forensic report submitted before the commission yesterday, had detected stains of human semen on the cloths of Manorama Devi.

This was detected during a forensic test of Manorama Devi’s clothes by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Kolkata, which submitted a report before an Inquiry Commission headed by retired judge C. Upendra here yesterday, commission sources said today.

The sources said, bloodstains were also detected on the under garments of the deceased woman, which were found to be of O-type.

The report was forwarded to the Additional Director of Forensic Science Laboratory here.

The death of Manorama Devi sparked a widespread agitation in Manipur, demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Forces Act from the state. — PTI

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12 hurt in bandh for Bharti

Bhopal/Bangalore, August 26
The BJP-sponsored bandh called to show solidarity with its jailed party leader Uma Bharti today evoked a mixed response in Congress-ruled Karnataka but was near total in Saffron-governed Madhya Pradesh where stray violence left at least 12 people injured.

The bandh shut businesses in most parts of Madhya Pradesh and was marred by skirmishes between BJP and Congress activists at some places including Hoshangabad and Indore. Most shops and markets, however, opened by late afternoon.

Government offices and financial institutions were open but drew thin attendance and public transport plied in a few areas. Many schools were closed due to fear of violence.

At least 12 people were injured when activists of Congress’ students wing NSUI and the saffron brigade clashed at Seoni-Malwa in Hoshangabad. BJP and Congress workers also clashed in Indore and an attempt was made to stop Jan Shatabdi Express and Habibganj station. Slogan shouting BJP, Bajrang dal and VHP workers took out rallies in Jabalpur, Mandla, Dindori, Jhabua, Badwani and Shyopur districts and burnt effigies of Congress President Sonia Gandhi across the state.

In Uma Bharti’s home town Tikamgarh, the bandh was total.

In Karnataka, the strike evoked total response in BJP strongholds in northern and coastal districts where 100 persons including state party chief Ananth Kumar were taken into preventive custody. The shut down, however, drew partial response in southern parts of the state. — PTI

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Uma jailed in guest house

Dharwad, August 26
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, who was remanded to judicial custody till September 7 and lodged in the University of Agricultural Sciences Guest House which has been converted into a temporary prison, was in a relaxed mood today, according to officials attending her in the custody.

Ms Bharti had complained of back pain and stomach ache after two-days of extensive train journey from Bhopal,

Thus, the officials could not take her to the Belgaum Central Prison where she was supposed to be lodged.

The guest house has been cordoned off with barricades. No one, except four officials-Deputy Commissioner, Head-Quarter Assistant to DC, Assistant Commissioner and Superintendent, were allowed to go even near the barricades. Dharwad Jail Superintendent Kadli has been given charge of the guest house with jail staff taking care of the things.

The official sources said Ms Bharti was served with vegetarian food. Ms Bharti had a very tiring day yesterday as she was forced to wait for nearly two hours at Hubli Sub-Jail premises, where she was taken first as per the orders of the JMFC II Court. After refusal to take her into the sub-jail due to inadequate facilities, a decision was taken to take her to the Central prison on the outskirts of Belgaum city. — UNI

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Cong wakes up to Uma Bharti’s misdemeanour
Our Correspondent

Bhopal, August 26
The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has woken up to another misdemeanour of former Chief Minister and firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti: she had not mentioned the Hubli court case in the affidavit she had filed along with her nomination papers from the Bada Malehra constituency during the last Assembly elections.

PCC spokesman Manak Agrawal told reporters yesterday that the Congress was petitioning the Election Commission with the prayer that Ms Bharati be debarred from contesting elections.

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Vajpayee reveals unwritten code to Prime Minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
Taking strong exception to Dr Manmohan Singh’s “refusal” to accept NDA’s memorandum yesterday, the National Democratic Alliance today fielded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to defend its charge that the Prime Minister was “impolite” and “rude”.

Mr Vajpayee, who took an unexceptional step of addressing mediapersons at Parliament Annexe after the NDA meeting, said Dr Manmohan Singh “does not seem to be aware of the unwritten code of political conduct”.

“Only the other day, he exhorted the political class about a ‘code of conduct’. He has certainly not set a good example by being impolite with the NDA delegation, and not showing the basic courtesy of receiving their memorandum,” Mr Vajpayee, flanked by NDA Convener George Fernandes and Leaders of the Opposition in both the houses L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh, said.

Sources said Mr Vajpayee, who was initially reluctant to go to media on the issue, was persuaded by NDA leaders that he should come out to make the Opposition’s charge more “credible”. Dr Manmohan Singh’s credibility “can only be dented” by a person of Mr Vajpayee’s stature, a NDA leader said.

Referring to Dr Manmohan Singh’s phone call to Mr Advani later to “express regrets” and to say he did not mean to offend the NDA delegation, the BJP leader said it was “regrettable that spokesmen of the government and the ruling coalition have reacted to yesterday’s incident in a manner that does not reflect ‘forgive and forget’ message that the Prime Minister had conveyed to the Leader of the Opposition.

For the Parliamentary system to function smoothly, Mr Vajpayee said “it is necessary for both the government and the Opposition to maintain a certain level of dialogue and cooperation.”

“It is primarily the responsibility of the government of the day to create a conducive atmosphere for such a relationship. In my time, I strove my best to evolve a culture of dialogue and consensus on important issues before the nation,” 
he said.

To a question on how the Opposition could justify allowing the passage of Budget without a debate, Mr Jaswant Singh said “there was good debate on the Budget in both the Houses of Parliament and only debate could not take place on the Finance Bill, due to confrontation between the ruling combine and the NDA.”

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Remarks unfortunate: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
While the Opposition fielded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to accuse his successor of rude behaviour, the government and the Congress hit back, describing the NDA charges as a “disinformation campaign” and “misleading and incorrect.”

Defence Minister and Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee issued a three-page written statement giving a detailed account of what transpired at the Opposition leaders’ meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday.

Dubbing Mr Vajpayee’s statement on Dr. Singh as “unfortunate and inaccurate”, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma maintained that the former PM’s stand was an attempt to legitimise the questionable behaviour of his party colleagues in Parliament.

“The Prime Minister is known for his courteous behaviour and integrity.... Mr Vajpayee’s stand seeks to legitimise the behaviour of his party colleagues and approves today’s Parliament boycott by NDA,” Mr Sharma stated.

While Mr Sharma faulted Mr Vajpayee’s statement for several inaccuracies, PM’s aides expressed surprise that the former Prime Minister, who had never addressed the press while in office, had chosen to speak to the media about an episode where he was not even present.

Officials also denied the Prime Minister had expressed his “regrets” to Opposition leaders L.K. Advani and Jaswant when he called them up yesterday. “All he said was that he never meant to extend any discourtsey to them and explained that he could not have accepted their memorandum on suggestions to be included in the Finance Bill while Parliament was in session,” said an official. He felt Parliament was the best forum to move these amendments.

Stating that a section of the NDA is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill of the so-called insult and rude behaviour by the Prime Minister, Mr Mukherjee sid at no point were the NDA leaders insulted nor did the PM fling their memorandum as they are claiming.

Mr Mukherjee, who was present at this meeting, said the fact is that the NDA leaders, who had called on Dr Singh in his chamber with a memorandum and few proposals on the Finance Bill, were politely told by the Prime Minister that either they allow the debate on the Finance Bill to take place in the House or stick to the earlier agreement between the leaders of all parties to ensure the passage of the Bill without any discussion.

He said when the Leader of the Opposition, Mr L.K. Advani, raised the issue of Uma Bharti’s arrest, saying it was wrong on the part of the Karnataka Police to send a police party to arrest her, Mr Mukherjee said he was then forced to intervene, reminding the BJP leader of the fact that only few weeks back the Jharkhand government had sent its police to Delhi to arrest then Coal Minister Shibu Soren.

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CPI flays govt for passing Finance Bill, CPM defends
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
The UPA government came under attack from the CPI for passing the Finance Bill without debate, even as the Left parties criticised the Opposition for setting a wrong precedent in the country’s parliamentary history.

The issue also brought out the contradictions within the so-called homogenous Left parties with the CPI accusing the government of succumbing to the Opposition’s “blackmail” and going in for an “unprincipled compromise,” while the CPM defended the UPA government’s action.

“If the BJP can be accused of an act of blackmail, the government has also surrendered and has done an unprincipled compromise,” CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said.

However, CPM leader Nilotpal Basu said, “you tell us what other option the government had. Either they could have allowed tamasha (chaos) to continue in Parliament or pass the Finance Bill in order to prevent a serious crisis in the country.”

Condemning the BJP for disrupting parliamentary proceedings from “day one,” the CPI leaders said the government had entered into such an agreement “under pressure” from the BJP and NDA.

The CPI, which supports the government from outside, said it was not consulted by the UPA and only the decision to pass the Finance Bill without discussion was intimated to it.

However, Mr Basu of the CPM said their leaders had met the Prime Minister last evening where the party’s concerns on the Finance Bill were stated and the party was consulted on passing the Finance Bill without discussion.
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Kuwait to sell more crude to India
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
The visiting Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Sabbah Al-Salem Al Sabbah today signed three important bilateral agreements with India and made two critical assurances: on taking care of New Delhi’s interests in the Iraq hostage crisis and selling more crude oil.

While the three agreements were a reflection of institutionalisation of India’s growing relations with Kuwait, the assurances came as music to the Indian leadership’s ears.

Mr Al Sabbah and External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh signed three agreements: the Extradition Treaty, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and a Memorandum of Understanding for setting up of Strategic Consultative Group.

As the current Chair of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister also signed the India-GCC Framework Agreement for Economic Cooperation. From the Indian side this was signed by Mr Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Al Sabbah said his country would do its best for early and safe release of the seven hostages in Iraq, including three Indians. He said the Indian community working in Iraq was associated with humanitarian work. “We are working very closely with our friends in Kenya, India and Iraq and will not leave any stone unturned for safe return of Indians held captive in Iraq,” Mr Al Sabbah told reporters at one of his several media stake-outs today.

Mr Al-Sabbah expressed hope that the hostages would be released since they were working in Iraq in connection with reaching humanitarian aid and not as part of any military operation. He rubbished the charge that Indian workers in Kuwait and other Gulf countries were being forced to go to Iraq. The Kuwaiti minister said his country considered five million Indian expatriates in Gulf as a source of stability to the region.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister told reporters earlier in the day after signing an agreement on behalf of the GCC that Kuwait was keen on investing in Indian refineries and sell more crude to India. Currently, India buys some 12 million tonnes of crude oil from Kuwait annually. 
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Godhra riot accused escapes, re-arrested

Ahmedabad, August 26
A prime accused in a post-Godhra communal riots case, escaped from the police custody at a hospital in Panchmahals district today, but was re-arrested, the police said.

Govind Nai, the main accused in the Referal Hospital murder case, was being “treated” at the same hospital in Kalol town of Panchmahals district for “mental illness” when he escaped from the premises by deceiving officials on the pretext of brushing his teeth, the police said.

He was admitted to the hospital as an indoor patient on August 24, the police said.

“Nai has been re-arrested and is in custody of the Kalol police. We are interrogating him at present,” Panchmahals District Superintendent of Police B.K.Jha said.

Govind, the main accused in two cases, the Ambica Society massacre and in another, in which a person was burnt alive in Kalol during the post-Godhra riots of 2002, had been arrested on August 12.

Mr Jha said Nai was picked up from near Derol railway station five km from where he escaped after an intensive search operation was conducted in the entire region based on inputs from informers.

Nai’s escape is likely to turn the heat on the Gujarat police as there have already been allegations of cops conniving with several riot accused in other cases. — PTI, UNI

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Speaker admonishes ministers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today admonished some ministers of the UPA government, including Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, for taking the House “lightly” and not being present for the laying of important papers.

“Don’t take the House for granted. Don’t take the House lightly”, the Speaker told the Railway Minister when Minister of State for Railways R Velu stood up to table the papers listed against name of Mr Yadav.

It was only after Finance Minister P Chidambaram explained to the Railway Minister as what the Speaker was asking, Mr Yadav stood up and said: “I lay the table”.

Realising the embarrassing faux pas again committed by him, Mr Chidambaram again came to his rescue following which Mr Yadav tried to correct himself by saying “... papers against my name I lay the table”.

Later it was the turn of Union Ministers Santosh Mahon Dev and Taslimuddin to face the ire of the Speaker.

When their names were called for tabling the papers, they were absent. But as they later came to present the papers in the House, Mr Chatterjee said: “I expect ministers who were called and who were present to say sorry about their absence”.

Mr Dev sought to assuage the Speaker by recalling his “old friendship” with Mr Chatterjee.

The Speaker, however, did not appear too impressed by this and insisted that the minister should say “sorry”.

However, Mr Taslimuddin did not get the import of Mr Chatterjee’s remarks and continued reading out the printed text to lay the papers.

An unrelenting Mr Chatterjee again insisted that the minister should say sorry and made him say so.

“It is not a place for fun and do not take the House lightly” the Speaker said while the Finance Bill was being passed.

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Woman kills man in self-defence, let off
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 26
The police in a small town in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, in a rare action, let off a woman who surrendered in a case of killing in self-defence.

Ms Lakshmi Devi, a widow of Yadiki village, killed a neighbour, Obulesu, who in a drunken state attempted to rape her on Monday night.

When she turned up at the Gooty circle police station next morning explaining the circumstances leading to her action, the police concluded that the woman’s action was in self-defence and hence did not warrant arrest.

The police, after taking legal opinion, said that it would provide protection to her under Section 100, Cr P.C., which permits the right to self-defence.

Ms Lakshmi Devi told the police that Obulesu, a weaver who was living single in another portion of the same house, barged into her room and tried to rape her on Monday 
night.

When it became impossible to escape his clutches, she hit him with an iron rod that she could lay her hands on.

“He fell down and lost consciousness. In a fit of scare, I struck him repeatedly with the rod. It was only later I realised that he was dead,” Lakshmi Devi told the police.

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18 students held in Imphal

Imphal, August 26
Eighteen school students, who went to surrender their textbooks to Manipur Governor S.S. Sidhu and Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh as part of a statewide agitation against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state, were arrested here today.

Official sources said 10 students were arrested in front of the Raj Bhavan gate and the rest at the main gate of the Chief Minister’s office.

An official report from Jiribam, the border town of the state adjoining Assam’s Barak valley district, Silchar, said around 200 students went to the office of the Additional District Commissioner and surrendered their textbooks.

Yesterday also several students surrendered textbooks to the authorities at Jiribam in Imphal East district. — PTI

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Mob attacks church

Phulbani (Orissa), August 26
A mob today attacked a Catholic Church in Raikia town, about 72 km from here, smashed statues of Virgin Mary and angels and set ablaze a truck parked outside the church after some Christians protested against removal of fencing erected outside the church premises, the police said. 

At least 300 persons broke into the church premises and smashed a number of statues of Virgin Mary and angels besides doors and glass panes, the sub-divisional police officer at Baliguda, Bhabani Shankar Patnaik, told PTI over phone. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Vaiko case: verdict on Sept 1
CHENNAI: A Special Court, trying POTA cases, will pronounce its orders on September 1, on the petition by the prosecution seeking withdrawal of the cases against MDMK General Secretary Vaiko and eight others. When the petition filed by the Special Public Prosecutor on August 9, came up for hearing on Thursday Defence Council G. Devadoss filed the petition along with the copies of the Supreme Court’s order which had ruled that the POTA court was at liberty to decide the fate of the petition filed by the prosecution. — UNI

RJD leader shot dead
HAJIPUR (BIHAR): A district RJD leader, Chandrama Singh, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Bihar’s Vaishali district, the police said on Thursday. The assailants accosted Singh in Chakiyaz village while he was returning home from Mahnar Bazar and fired on him from close range on Wednesday night. The RJD leader was rushed to government hospital in Mahnar where he succumbed to his 
injuries. — PTI
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