SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Himachal’s plea on Parliamentary Secy issue admitted
New Delhi, January 9
The Supreme Court today admitted the appeal of the Himachal Pradesh Government, challenging the state high court order, quashing the appointment of 12 Chief Parliamentary and Parliamentary Secretaries by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, and issued a notice to the NGO which had challenged it.

N-facilities separation plan still being
worked out

New Delhi, January 9
The Indian Government is still working on a plan to separate civil and military nuclear facilities and this plan would be presented to the United States only after this exercise is completed and the Cabinet Committee on Security approves it.

Pakistan proposal of self-rule positive: Lone
New Delhi, January 9
Hurriyat Conference is likely to take up suggestions of "self-rule and demilitarisation" in the next round of talks with the government.


EARLIER STORIES
 

Members of the National Federation of the Blind at a protest rally in support of their demands in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI

Food subsidy: AIADMK, DMK play to the gallery
Chennai, January 9
With the state Assembly elections a few months away, both the ruling All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have started playing to the gallery to woo the masses. Though a part of the ruling United People’s Alliance government at the Centre, the DMK has demanded immediate reversal of the Union Cabinet’s decision to cut food subsidy and reduce quantity of foodgrains supplied through the public distribution system.

No early solution in sight to Toyota unrest
Bangalore, January 9
A quick settlement of the row between the Toyota Kirloskar Motor management and its workers’ union, which resulted in the lockout of the car manufacturer’s facility in Bidadi near here yesterday, now seems out of question with a crucial meeting with the Deputy Labour Commissioner here being postponed.

Nailed for prostitution, doc caught ill-treating aged
Mumbai, January 9
A day after a prominent gynaecologist from North Mumbai was arrested for running a prostitution racket from his clinic, a television channel ran a sting operation where senior citizens admitted to his clinic were cruelly treated.

Centre, Bihar get notices in jailbreak case
Patna, January 9
Nearly two months after 380 inmates had fled following the attack on the Jehanabd jail by Maoists on November 13, the Patna High Court today directed both the Centre and the Bihar Government to submit the action taken report before it by January 30.

Parikh awarded amid protest
Hyderabad, January 9
What should have been a cherished moment for Dr Sudhir M. Parikh, who was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award here today, turned out to be an occasion for embarrassment.

6 nations to meet in Sydney today
New Delhi, January 9
Six leading economies of the world — USA, Japan, China, India, Australia and South Korea will meet in Sydney tomorrow to promote clean energy technology in an effort to tackle the warming of global climate changes, without sacrificing economic growth.

IFS, RFS officials at loggerheads
Jaipur, January 9
Unprecedented confrontation between officials of the Indian Forest Service and the Rajasthan Forest Service has cropped up following a proposal of the IFS Association requesting the Raje government to post two District Forest Officers in each district.

Ramdev supporters burn Brinda Karat’s effigy
Rewari, January 9
Supporters of yoga Guru Ramdev and activists of the BJP from various parts of Ahirwal participated in a rally organised by the Jan Jagriti Manch, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the Shiv Sena, the Bajrang Dal, the Haryana Gurukul Khanpur and other voluntary organisations at the Moti Chowk here today.

Ludhiana page: CPM has not learnt from mistakes: BJP

Residents’ plea to CM on mini secretariat
Nurpur, January 9
The construction of the proposed mini secretariat whose foundation stone was laid twice by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, at two different places has become a talk of the town.

Chief Editor M.C. Varghese dead
Kottayam, January 9
M. C. Varghese, Chief Editor of the Mangalam group of publications, died at a private hospital here this morning following a cardiac arrest. Varghese, 73, is survived by his wife and four sons. He was admitted to the hospital last week. The body will be laid to rest at the Loordh Church here tomorrow. — PTI

2 labourers shot, then beheaded

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Himachal’s plea on Parliamentary Secy issue admitted
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 9
The Supreme Court today admitted the appeal of the Himachal Pradesh Government, challenging the state high court order, quashing the appointment of 12 Chief Parliamentary and Parliamentary Secretaries by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, and issued a notice to the NGO which had challenged it.

Stating that the issue whether the Chief Minister had powers to appoint Parliamentary Secretaries under the Constitution would be examined by the court, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Mr Justice C.K. Thakker and Mr Justice R.V. Raveendran said, “It is an important matter. Let us examine it.”

The court directed the Citizen Rights Protection Forum, on the petition of which the high court, by its order dated August 18 last, struck down the appointments, to submit a reply to the special leave petition of the state government.

The court was informed that the Chief Minister had made appointment of eight Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and four Parliamentary Secretaries.

Senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Himachal Pradesh Government, said the appointments were wrongly quashed by the high court, as under list 75 of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the state Assembly had the power to pass a law, empowering the Chief Minister to make such appointments.

He cited instances from British and Indian parliaments of appointing Parliamentary Secretaries and said senior leader Y.B. Chavan had held this post at the Centre.

To a query as to who administered the oath of office to Parliamentary Secretaries and under what provision of law, Mr Venugopal said the oath was administered by the Chief Minister, drawing power from the Seventh Schedule.

To a query about their powers, he said they were attached to ministers, but could not take any independent decision and could only make recommendations on any issue to the minister concerned.

Former Law Minister Arun Jaitley, appearing for the forum, opposed the petition on the ground that the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in such a large number in a small state like Himachal Pradesh was “nothing but circumventing the Amendment, by way of which strength of ministry in the states had been fixed to 15 per cent of the total number of seats in the Assembly”. He added, “The appointment of one or two persons can be understood, but not in such a large number.”

The court was informed that all Chief Ministers were indulging in such appointments to placate party MLAs by providing them facilities available to ministers and in Punjab, 15 such appointments had been made.

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N-facilities separation plan still being worked out
Nick Burns to visit India before January 26
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The Indian Government is still working on a plan to separate civil and military nuclear facilities and this plan would be presented to the United States only after this exercise is completed and the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approves it.

Key sources in the government told The Tribune today that when Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran visited the United States last month for talks with his American counterpart Nicholas Burns on implementing the July 18 Indo-US nuclear deal, only ideas were exchanged and no plan was submitted to Washington.

New Delhi is hoping to thrash out a specific plan relating to the 15 operational nuclear reactors and other nuclear facilities in India before US President George W Bush visits India in early March. This exercise is currently on and its completion is still quite some time away.

Mr Burns will visit India before the Republic Day for further talks and the two sides are expected to review the progress since their last meeting. Sources say Washington has not, so far, given its wish list of the proposed separation plan of India.

India has conveyed to the US that after it gives its separation plan to the Bush administration, it would be upto the administration whether it wanted to share it with the Congress or not. In case, the Bush administration were to decide to share the Indian plan with the Congress, New Delhi would not have any problems.

Asked whether sharing the separation plan with the Congress would not put such sensitive information in the public domain, sources said even the separation plans of P5 countries were in public domain and could be accessed on the internet. Thus, India could not expect to be treated differently.

The July 18 Indo-US nuclear agreement is vital for New Delhi as it would not only pave the way for providing clean fuel to the power-hungary India, it would also lead to a dramatic nuclear-related commerce with the US. A crucial part of the July 18 agreement is an Indian commitment to separate its civil and military nuclear programmes and put declared civil facilities under international safeguards.

Two important implications of the July 18 agreement are as follows:

  • Safeguards should apply in perpetuity.
  • Safeguarded nuclear material should not co-mingle with unsafeguarded nuclear material in any facility, unless this safeguarded nuclear material also comes under safeguards.

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Pakistan proposal of self-rule positive: Lone
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Hurriyat Conference is likely to take up suggestions of "self-rule and demilitarisation" in the next round of talks with the government. Mr Bilal Lone, who was part of the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led three-member Hurriyat delegation that recently returned from a visit to Pakistan and PoK, said today that the suggestions made by the Pakistan leadership on self-rule and demilitarisation were "positive" and had the potential to improve the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said any demilitarisation would apply to both parts of Kashmir. "It can be started slowly. If the outcome is satisfactory, the two sides can decide to proceed further."

He said violence should end in Jammu and Kashmir from all sides.

Mr Lone said Hurriyat Conference would take up

suggestions of self-rule and demilitarisation with the government in future talks. However, he added that the exact agenda for the next round of talks will be decided after a formal invitation was received. He said suggestions of self-rule and demilitarisation should be discussed widely.

Mr Lone said the government should not look at situation in Kashmir only from the view-point of

cross-border militancy but accept it as a problem which needs to be tackled sincerely. "Rather than going for time-consuming processes, it is the time to take the bull by the horns. Everybody should play its part," he said.

Mr Lone said that government had not fulfilled promises made to the Hurriyat Conference during the first round of talks in September. He said the APHC should be consulted in taking decisions on release of prisoners. He said he hoped that the government would do more to address concerns on human rights violations and custodial killings in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Lone said the Hurriyat Conference led by the Mirwaiz had come forward for talks despite opposition from the hardliners. "But talks can be meaningful only if there is a change in ground situation," he said.

The Hurriyat delegation, which also comprised Mr Abdul Ghani Bhat, besides Mirwaiz and Mr Lone, met Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during its visit to the neighbouring country. The Hurriyat leaders had gone to Pakistan and PoK to "express solidarity" with the victims of the recent earthquake. 

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Food subsidy: AIADMK, DMK play to the gallery
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, January 9
With the state Assembly elections a few months away, both the ruling All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) and the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have started playing to the gallery to woo the masses.

Though a part of the ruling United People’s Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, the DMK has demanded immediate reversal of the Union Cabinet’s decision to cut food subsidy and reduce quantity of foodgrains supplied through the public distribution system.

This was exactly what Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was waiting

for and decided to call the DMK’s bluff on the issue.

Today she charged DMK President M. Karunanidhi with “adopting double standards” on the food subsidy cut issue.

In a statement here today she asked, “Where were the DMK ministers when the

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs met to decide on the subsidy cut? Was the decision taken without their knowledge? Didn’t they agree to the subsidy cut in the meeting?”

Taking a dig at Mr Karunanidhi, she described his action as “enacting a funny political drama”, and pointed out," after knowing about the Cabinet decision, Karunanidhi is writing a letter to the Prime Minister seeking a rollback”.

She said, “It is like locking the stable after the horses have bolted.”

Ms Jayalalithaa felt that the UPA government, of which the DMK is a constituent, was hitting hard the common man by steps like hiking the prices of petroleum products and subsidy cut on foodgrains and Mr Karunanidhi wanted to prove his innocence by merely issuing statements.

She said, “People are watching his actions and will teach a fitting lesson at an appropriate time.”

The DMK has been caught on the wrong foot on the cutting of food subsidy issue.

Realising that it will be hard for it to face the electorate in the Assembly polls due this May, Mr Karunanidhi immediately faxed separate messages to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, saying, “poor people who are solely dependent on the foodgrains distributed through fair price shops run by the government are upset over the revision of the price and the quantum”.

He wrote, “People of Tamil Nadu, in particular, have already been put to a lot of hardship in the form of drought, tsunami and floods. Therefore, any revision of price will adversely affect their economic condition.”

“I kindly request the decision taken in regard to the price and quantum of foodgrains may be withdrawn immediately,” Mr Karunanidhi stated.

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No early solution in sight to Toyota unrest
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 9
A quick settlement of the row between the Toyota Kirloskar Motor management (TKM) and its workers’ union, which resulted in the lockout of the car manufacturer’s facility in Bidadi near here yesterday, now seems out of question with a crucial meeting with the Deputy Labour Commissioner here being postponed.

Around 400-500 workers of the plant today held a demonstration in front of the office of the Deputy Labour Commissioner here against the “authoritarian attitude” adopted by the TKM management. The car manufacturer faced a lightening strike on Friday last when it dismissed 15 employees on disciplinarian grounds. The union has since been demanding that the employees be taken back.

According to Toyota officials, it was not possible to hold talks with employees in a hostile atmosphere, with some of them picketing the office of the Deputy Labour Commissioner. The company requested that the talks be postponed.

The Toyota-Kirloskar Union, however, urged the government to intervene in the matter to stop the company from getting away after locking the plant “illegally”. Union Secretary R. Ravi said the workers had only gone in for a strike to demand that the dismissal of the three workmen, whose case was pending with the Additional Industries Tribunal, should be withdrawn. He said the government should ensure that these dismissals were kept in abeyance.

Last evening, the TKM locked out its Bidadi plant, where it is manufacturing its prestigious Corolla and Innova models. Company officials said the facility had been locked out as the TKM faced a real threat to its safety. They said the lockout would be lifted only when a conducive atmosphere was created. The senior management is, however, still working in the factory with a single shift in operation. “This is because the senior management is capable of multi-tasking”, the company official said.

The TKM seems ready for a long-drawn war of attrition with employees who are demanding it to take back its sack order. The company has already laid out plans to continue a single shift operation till March end. However, its plan to corner 10 per cent of the market share in high-end cars will be affected in case the lockout continues for more than two months.

The lockout has also generated speculation that the company may not go for a second plant in Bidadi. The company had earlier submitted a proposal regarding this two months ago, and it had already been cleared by the state Cabinet.

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Nailed for prostitution, doc caught ill-treating aged
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 9
A day after a prominent gynaecologist from North Mumbai was arrested for running a prostitution racket from his clinic, a television channel ran a sting operation where senior citizens admitted to his clinic were cruelly treated.

The police said Dr Himanshu Desai, from Dahisar in North Mumbai, was arrested after his neighbours complained of a flourishing call girl racket from his clinic and residence in adjacent buildings.

On Saturday night, undercover police personnel who went to Desai's Shreeji clinic were offered the services of call girls who were ostensibly admitted at the premises for treatment.

Subsequently, Desai and his wife Malvika were arrested. They were, however, released on bail. Shortly afterwards, a crew from a television channel landed at Desai's clinic and secretly filmed several senior citizens being humiliated by his staff.

According to the television report, about 25 senior citizens suffering from Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's diseases were found to be living in abysmal conditions. While one old woman was found dumped naked, another patient was being dressed up in the open in view of other inmates. Desai himself denied the charges before the television crew. Since the episode was telecast, the doctor was missing from the clinic.

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Centre, Bihar get notices in jailbreak case
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 9
Nearly two months after 380 inmates had fled following the attack on the Jehanabd jail by Maoists on November 13, the Patna High Court today directed both the Centre and the Bihar Government to submit the action taken report before it by January 30.

The order came on a PIL by an NGO, Peoples Watch, by a division Bench comprising Chief Justice J.N. Bhatt and Justice R.N. Prasad who asked for reports from the two governments on jailbreak incident at Jehanabad. The NGO, in the PIL, alleged that the administration failed to prevent the incident despite prior intelligence inputs and sought the court's directive for fool-proof security in jails to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

The Bench precisely wanted to know from the Centre about the timing of intelligence inputs provided to the state government about Naxalites' movement in Jehanabad on that fateful day.

From the state government, the court wanted a report on the action taken after the incident such as how many escapees returned to the prison and how many still remained at large, besides steps to strengthen the jail security.

The escapees included many CPI (Maoist) activists, including its top leader Ajay Kanu, and those belonging to outlawed Ranvir Sena, a private army of upper caste landlords.

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Parikh awarded amid protest
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 9
What should have been a cherished moment for Dr Sudhir M. Parikh, who was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award here today, turned out to be an occasion for embarrassment.

Even as he was receiving the award from the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, an overzealous participant shouted slogans of ‘shame, shame.’

Dr Parikh, who was last year decorated with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the highest civilian honor an immigrant could get in the USA, was chosen for today’s award for his contribution towards community services.

Even as the citation was being read out, a delegate, Mr Satyanath Chodhury from New York, sitting in the audience, started screaming loudly to the effect that Dr Parikh supported “worst form of human rights violation’.

Even as delegates from across the globe were stunned at the unsavoury interjection, the President handed over the medallion and the citation.

A controversy was sought to be created by a section of the media on the eve of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas over bestowing the award to Dr Parikh, which alleged that the ‘secular Congress government had selected the VHP’s point person in the USA’.

Dr Parikh was also accused of being ‘a close friend of the Gujarat Chief Minister.

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6 nations to meet in Sydney today
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Six leading economies of the world — USA, Japan, China, India, Australia and South Korea will meet in Sydney tomorrow to promote clean energy technology in an effort to tackle the warming of global climate changes, without sacrificing economic growth.

Scientists have forecast that world temperatures are likely to rise between 1.4°C and 5.8°C by 2100, triggering more frequent floods, droughts, melting of icecaps and resulting in the extinction of thousands of species.

The Indian side will be represented by Environment and Forest Minister A. Raja in what will be the first ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

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IFS, RFS officials at loggerheads
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, January 9
Unprecedented confrontation between officials of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) and the Rajasthan Forest Service (RFS) has cropped up following a proposal of the IFS Association requesting the Raje government to post two District Forest Officers (DFOs) in each district.

The proposal envisages that out of the two DFOs one would be from the IFS while another would be from the RFS subject to the administrative arrangements that the latter instead of functioning independently, would have to work in a secondary position.

Sharply reacting to this proposition, the RFS Association has gone to the extent of demanding an IAS officer as the Head of the Forest Department. The association at its meeting yesterday decided to submit a detailed proposal to this effect to the Chief Minister. The RFS Association has also demanded a 50 per cent quota of promotion to the IFS instead of the present provision of only 33 per cent, said the sources.

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Ramdev supporters burn Brinda Karat’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 9
Supporters of yoga Guru Ramdev and activists of the BJP from various parts of Ahirwal participated in a rally organised by the Jan Jagriti Manch, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the Shiv Sena, the Bajrang Dal, the Haryana Gurukul Khanpur and other voluntary organisations at the Moti Chowk here today.

Terming CPM Politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Mrs Brinda Karat as an enemy of Indian culture as well as the nation’s welfare, the rallyists demanded her arrest and removal from the membership of the Rajya Sabha.

Recalling the services for the glorification of India and its spirituality by great Indian saints — Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ram Tirath and Swami Dayanand, Swami Shranananda, who presided over the rally, asserted that Guru Ramdev, a great son of Ahirwal, too was doing a great service to people. He exhorted people to express solidarity with Guru Ramdev.

Attacking Mrs Karat, state general secretary of the BJP Vir Kumar Yadav asserted that she was just a tool in the hands of certain multinational companies which were making efforts to capture the Indian market to fill their coffers with Indian gold. He dared Mrs Karat to let the nation know what actually transpired between her and certain representatives of the MNCs at their meeting on December 29. He also announced the BJP’s support for Guru Ramdev.

Instructors of various gurukuls of Ahirwal-Swami Dharamvir and Acharya Pradyuman and several others also announced to support to Guru Ramdev, who was popularising ayurveda and yoga.

The protesters also burnt an effigy of Mrs Karat at the Moti Chowk here.

Later they went to the district secretariat where they submitted a memorandum listing the above demands to district revenue officer Khalil Ahmed.

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Residents’ plea to CM on mini secretariat
Our Correspondent

Nurpur, January 9
The construction of the proposed mini secretariat whose foundation stone was laid twice by the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, at two different places has become a talk of the town.

Local residents are against construction of the mini secretariat at new place near the boundary of the historical fort just a few yards away from Bachat Bhavan on the outskirts of the town. It is pertinent to mention that the CM, Mr Virbhadra Singh, had laid the foundation stone of the mini secretariat renamed as combine office building (COB) on January 10,2004 during his last winter sojourn in Kangra. Before this he had laid the foundation stone of the mini secretariat on the premises of the old Civil Hospital on August 13,1996 which did not come into existence. With efforts of the local MLA and Revenue Minister, Mr Sat Mahajan, the dream project was revived again last year and the state government proposed a COB at a new place on the outskirts of the town to be built with the financial assistance from HUDCO.

However, construction of the COB is yet to start due to delay in the sanction of the funds by HUDCO but resentment is brewing among residents of the town on the proposed site of the building.

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2 labourers shot, then beheaded

Fatehpur (UP), January 9
Unidentified gunmen shot dead two labourers and later beheaded them in a field at Tarapur village in the district, the police here said today. The assailants opened fire at the labourers last night killing them on the spot, the police said adding they also chopped off the heads of the victims.
— PTI

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