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N A T I O N

Jain groups clash over idol
Bhopal, January 16
A sixth century idol of Lord Mahavir at Kundalpur in Damoh district has become a bone of contention between two groups of the Jain community, forcing the district administration to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC and deploy adequate security forces to maintain peace there.

Govt must come out clean: Left
New Delhi, January 16
The Left parties, who have been vocal critique on the Bofors issue, today asked the Manmohan Singh government to come out clean on the defreezing of two accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in a British bank.

Haji get a welcome hug by a family member at the Delhi international airport on Monday. Safe Haj: Haji get a welcome hug by a family member at the Delhi international airport on Monday.
— Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi 



EARLIER STORIES

 

Rabri asked to vacate residence
Patna, January 16
The official residence of Bihar Chief Minister at 1, Anne Marg, has become the centre of a controversy once again following a fresh notice by the government to former Chief Minister Rabri Devi asking her to vacate the bungalow without delay as present incumbent Nitish Kumar is in the waiting.

Suspected ISI agent held
Kolkata, January 16
A suspected ISI agent, allegedly involved in passing over information to Pakistan about the Indian Army’s movements in the North-East, has been arrested here.

Novel protest ends
Hyderabad, January 16
Senior TDP leader and former Home Minister M.V. Mysoora Reddy called off his road blockade stir today.

Nitish to ensure justice to Bhagalpur riot victims
Patna, January 16
The NDA government has decided to issue a white paper on the 1989 Bhagalpur riots. In the run-up to the Assembly poll, Mr Nitish Kumar promised to do everything possible to provide justice to the victims of Bhagalpur riots.

PM lays stone for power station in Assam
Salakati (Assam), January 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today laid the foundation stone of the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station here saying it was a ‘gift to Assam and the Bodoland area’.

Madigas may disrupt AICC plenary
Hyderabad, January 16
The AICC plenary commencing next Sunday here is facing the threat of disruption by an organisation demanding sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes.

Air Chief hopes to get AWACs
Gandhinagar, January 16
Geo-economic issues rather than geo-political ones will influence decision making in the India's Air Force, said Chief of Air Staff S.P.Tyagi here on Monday.

Protest against Husain’s gods
Thane, January 16
A protest march was taken out by a large number of people in this district last evening against noted painter MF Husain’s nude paintings of Hindu Gods.

Filmmaker Adoor gets D. Litt
Kottayam (Kerala), January 16
Noted Malayalam film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan was today conferred the degree of doctor of letters by the Mahatma Gandhi University.

Videos
Teesta-Ranjeet carnival aims to attract tourists.
(28k, 56k)
Foreign tourists celebrate Pongal.
(28k, 56k)
Singing a different tune with Shibani.
(28k, 56k)

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Jain groups clash over idol
N.D. Sharma

Bhopal, January 16
A sixth century idol of Lord Mahavir at Kundalpur in Damoh district has become a bone of contention between two groups of the Jain community, forcing the district administration to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC and deploy adequate security forces to maintain peace there.

Kundalpur is one of the sacred places for the Jains. The huge idol of Lord Mahavir, carved out of a rock, not only attracts a large number of Jain pilgrims but is also a protected monument.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) went into panic as a section of the Jains decided to build a new temple there by removing the sixth century idol to another place. Another section of the Jains has been opposed to any attempt to disturb the place or the idol.

Director-General of ASI C.Babu Rajeev wrote to Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Vijay Singh on January 12, drawing his attention to the various works undertaken in the protected Jain temples at Kundalpur in violation of the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 and Rules 1959. The Director-General regretted that though the matter was taken up with the Commissioner of Sagar division, the violations continue to occur.

Concern was expressed at a meeting of the executive committee of the Jain Sanskriti Raksha Manch held on December 25, 2005 at Jaipur. It was presided over by Manch chairman Milap Chand Dandia. The manch executive comprising eminent public figures from the Jain community, including retired high court and Supreme Court judges, advocates, educationists, journalists and social workers.

The Damoh Collector and district police chief tried to persuade the group not to tamper with the existing temple and idols without proper permission from the ASI last evening. The pro-changers in return were said to have stoned the vehicles of the district officials.

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Govt must come out clean: Left
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Left parties, who have been vocal critique on the Bofors issue, today asked the Manmohan Singh government to come out clean on the defreezing of two accounts of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in a British bank.

The CPI has demanded an explanation from the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Left party asked that the Prime Minister should explain to the nation that how this decision of defreezing of Quattrocchi’s account was taken. The CPI wants the Prime Minister to clear if the Law Minister, Mr H.R. Bharadwaj exceeded his brief or whether it was government decision.

“The situation is getting murkier. It is for the government and the Prime Minister to explain to the nation as to how the decision to defreeze Quattrocchi’s two accounts was taken,” CPI national secretary D. Raja said.

Stating that the CBI had said there was a case and a red corner alert against Quattrocchi, Mr Raja said, “why should we take his (Quattrocchi) words. He is an accused in the case.”

On Law Ministter H.R. Bharadwaj’s contention that there was nothing to link Quattrocchi’s bank accounts with the Bofors pay off, he said the Prime Minister should explain the situation.

Allies of the Left front, the RSP and the AIFB said if the Prime Minister claimed that the whole thing happened without his knowledge as reported in a section of the media, then it was a more serious matter as it could give a shot in the arms to the communal forces.

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Rabri asked to vacate residence

Patna, January 16
The official residence of Bihar Chief Minister at 1, Anne Marg, has become the centre of a controversy once again following a fresh notice by the government to former Chief Minister Rabri Devi asking her to vacate the bungalow without delay as present incumbent Nitish Kumar is in the waiting.

Ms Rabri Devi and her husband Lalu Prasad, however, are in no hurry to shift to their new residence and the VIP couple is taking their own time to pack their belongings as well as to shift the cowsheds and stables.

“Let Mr Nitish Kumar consult an astrologer to select an auspicious day for entering his new residence,’’ Mr Yadav said in a lighter vein when asked about his plan to vacate the official residence of the Chief Minister as ‘Kharmas’ (inauspicious month) was over.

The bungalow at 1, Anne Marg, continued to symbolise the seat of power for the past two decades as successive Chief Ministers like Mr Chandrashekhar Singh, Mr Bindeshwari Dubey, Mr Bhagwat Jha Azad, Mr Satyendra Narain Sinha and Dr Jagannath Mishra used to occupy it during their tenures.

Officials at 1 Anne Marg said here today that former Chief Minister Rabri Devi and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad had already started packing their bags and baggages and their stay in the Chief Minister’s residence were not “too many”.

The transfer of ‘goods and chattels’ of the VIP couple to their new residence at 10 Circular Road started yesterday after ‘Kharmas’ was over on Saturday, they said.

The process of shifting might, however, take nearly 10 days as most of the articles were the personal belongings of the couple, officials added.

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Suspected ISI agent held

Kolkata, January 16
A suspected ISI agent, allegedly involved in passing over information to Pakistan about the Indian Army’s movements in the North-East, has been arrested here.

Acting on a tip off, the city police nabbed 37-year-old Mohammed Mohsin Hussain Sayeed from his Garden Reach home yesterday.

The police sources claimed that Pakistan’s intelligence wing ISI had entrusted Mohsin with the task of supplying information on the movement of the Indian Army in the North-East.

Mohsin, a key accused in the murder of Deputy Commissioner (Port) of Kolkata police Vinod Mehta and a constable Mokhtar Ali in Metiabruz 21 years ago, revealed during interrogation that with help of ISI, he had in the past shuttled between India and Pakistan despite not possessing any travel document.

Mohsin had fled after the killing and had been eluding the police so long.

Mohsin had undertaken several visits to the areas in the North-East, including Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and regularly briefed the ISI through e-mail on Army movements there.

He also allegedly recevied arms training from the ISI in Karachi and Hyderabad in Pakistan. — PTI

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Novel protest ends

Hyderabad, January 16
Senior TDP leader and former Home Minister M.V. Mysoora Reddy called off his road blockade stir today.

The TDP leader resorted to a road blockade stir near Banjara Hills to protest against denial of entrance into his residence on the road by the authorities as part of the road-widening and beautification excercise for the coming AICC plenary.

TDP president and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today visited the roadside camp of Dr Mysoora Reddy and urged him to call off his agitation as it was causing problems to the general public.

Mysoora Reddy, a classmate and confidant of Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, had yesterday parked his car outside his residence and took bath on the road as part of the protest. He squatted on the road, slept there last night and held a press conference this morning.

Following his novel protest, the government machinery swung into action and bulldozers were pressed into service to fill the sump that formed as part of the due to road widening and for digging a fresh sump in the newly Drawn Border of teh Former Home Minister’s house. — UNI

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Nitish to ensure justice to Bhagalpur riot victims
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 16
The NDA government has decided to issue a white paper on the 1989 Bhagalpur riots.

In the run-up to the Assembly poll, Mr Nitish Kumar promised to do everything possible to provide justice to the victims of Bhagalpur riots.

Within less than two months of the NDA assuming power in the state, Mr Nitish Kumar formed a committee under the chairmanship of the state Home Secretary to look into different aspects of the riots. The committee is expected to submit its report within the next 20 days. The report would form the basis of the proposed white paper.

The state Chief Secretary, Mr G.S Kang, said the committee would look into the whole gambit of issues related to Bhagalpur riots, including the number of victims, the cases pending, the issue of rehabilitation and so on.

Sources in the NDA disclosed that it was a calculated move on the part of Mr Nitish Kumar to woo the minorities to finally break the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s Yadav-Muslim mythical formula.

The decision to publish a white paper comes close on the heels of declaring 20 per cent reservation for extreme backward castes (EBCs) for the forthcoming panchayat poll .

It may be noted that EBCs and Muslims constitute 50 per cent of the total electorate in Bihar and as far as the EBCs are concerned, they were never a united lot like the other backward castes,Yadavs and Kurmis.

The last prominent EBC leader in the state was the former Chief Minister Karpoori Thakhur and Mr Nitish Kumar always wanted to emerge as a leader of the “backward backbencher” as was the status of EBCs.

The sources in the CID disclosed that following the decision to publish a white paper on Bhagalpur riots, the DIG (CID), Mr Girija Nandan Sharma, has already given instructions to reopen some of the old cases and would review the status of the existing cases.

Meanwhile, Mr Lalu Prasad described the recent declaration by Mr Nitish Kumar to reserve 20 per cent seats for Extreme Backward Castes (EBCs) and 50 per cent for women in the coming statewide panchayat polls as a “mere eyewash”.

As “Kharmas” came to an end on Saturday heralding the beginning of the new harvesting year, the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and his wife, former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, reloaded their guns against NDA Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during an interaction with mediapersons whom they treated with “dahi and chura” at their Ane Marg residence.

Mr Lalu Prasad claimed that the previous RJD government wanted to declare the same reservations, but could not do so due to some legal complexities involved in the process. ‘‘If Nitish Kumar does not take care of the legal problems associated with this new reservation for EBCs and women, the announcement will be nothing but a mere eye wash”, Mr Lalu Prasad claimed.

Mr Lalu Prasad and Ms Rabri Devi criticised the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

The most famous former chief minister couple of the country declared that they would shift to the new residence 10 Circular Road shortly. ‘‘We will start shifting our luggage and furniture from tomorrow”, Ms Rabri Devi said.

It was learnt that the construction of a special cow shed to accommodate 200 buffaloes and two horses owned by Lalu Prasad at Danapur was almost complete.

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PM lays stone for power station in Assam

Salakati (Assam), January 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today laid the foundation stone of the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BPTS) here saying it was a ‘gift to Assam and the Bodoland area’.

The Prime Minister, who represents the state in the Rajya Sabha, said he personally took the initiative for the power project as Assam consumed only 100 units against the national average of 600 units.

Stating that Rs 3,000 crore was sanctioned by the Centre for the largest power project in the state, he said, local coal would be used in the power station.

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is the implementing agency for the project.

Dr Manmohan Singh also announced that a railway sleeper coach factory and a petro-chemical complex would be set up in the state.

Acknowledging there was enough possibility for growth and development of the Bodoland area, Dr Manmohan Singh said, four industrial training institutes (ITI) would be set up in Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Phanjhar and Bongaigaon.

The Prime Minister said the low power Doordarshan Kendra at Kokrajhar would be upgraded to a high power one. He said the Bharat Nirman Yojana and the Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, would be implemented soon.

Within a short time electricity, roads, water and telephones would also be made available throughout the state with assistance from the Centre, he said.

Dr Manmohan Singh also said he along with the Assam government would look into the demands put forward by the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) that included among others, doubling of the Rs 100 crore Central assistance as a ‘peace bonus’ and exemption of the 10 per cent interest on the soft loan from the Ministry of Development of Northeast Region.

The other demands were declaration of the four BTC districts under the BTC as a special economic zone and financial assistance to the textile sector.

Union Power Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, by 2012 there would be electricity for all with minimum lifetime consumption through the Rajiv Gandhi Yojana.

Stating that the NTPC was a successful power generating corporation and was among the top 10 in the world, he said, the corporation was undertaking 14 important projects across the country.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, the Bodo Liberation Tigers, which had disbanded to assume the civil administration of the BTC, was the first insurgent outfit in the state to take to the path of peace leaving aside arms.

The BLT as an organisation showed how development could be achieved through negotiation, he said.

National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) chairman-cum-managing director C P Jain said the 500-MW Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station would supply power to Assam and all the Northeastern states.

The Rs 3,000-crore power station was expected to be operational in four years time, Mr Jain said.

Stating the NTPC had started work for generating 350-MW hydro power in the Northeastern region, he said, the corporation had submitted a proposal to the 11th Finance Commission for generation of 17000 MW. — PTI

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Madigas may disrupt AICC plenary
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 16
The AICC plenary commencing next Sunday here is facing the threat of disruption by an organisation demanding sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes.

The Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) has warned the Congress Government in the state that a mammoth gathering of Madigas, a category of SCs, would be organised on the same day to highlight their demand.

"We want Ms Sonia Gandhi to make a clear commitment for sub-classifying SCs and introducing a Constitutional amendment to effect the same. We will go ahead with our proposed meeting on Sunday next, if Ms Gandhi fails to make a statement in this regard," Mr M. Krishna Madiga, leader of the MRPs, announced.

The movement for the classification of reservation was started in the late '90s in the state when the Madigas, a major Scheduled Caste community, raised the demand against what they called an inequitable distribution of the quota benefits in favour of one community, the Malas, in the state.

Mr Krishna Madiga, who once made the derogatory caste name Madiga into a badge of self-assertion, is known to organise massive gatherings of his caste people in support of the demand. During the past one decade, he conducted several such mass meetings where Madigas from all over the state rallied behind him in a show of strength.

A worried state Congress leadership is making all efforts to mollify the MRPS leader and ensure that no parallel meeting was held the same day. Andhra Pradesh Pradesh Congress Committee president K.Keshava Rao held talks with Mr Krishna Madiga and requested him not to cause any disturbance to the AICC plenary. He said the state government had no further role in this issue, as only the Centre could take a decision on the Constitutional amendment for classifying SCs into various categories.

The MRPS, however, has stuck to its stand, and made it clear that the meeting would go ahead as planned, in the absence of any statement from Ms Sonia Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the issue has also caused a split in the state Cabinet with Mr G. Surya Rao, a minister from the Mala caste, openly castigating Mr K. Ranga Rao, the Home Minister, who hails from the Madiga community, for the latter's support to the MRPS movement.

"Mr Ranga Rao should not work for the division of Dalits. The Supreme Court has already ruled against such a move, but he is still standing by these separatists," he said. 

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Air Chief hopes to get AWACs
Tribune News Service

Gandhinagar, January 16
Geo-economic issues rather than geo-political ones will influence decision making in the India's Air Force, said Chief of Air Staff S.P.Tyagi here on Monday.

Addressing mediapersons after inaugurating a three-day commanders’ conference of IAF commanders from the South Western Air Command (SWAC) at Command Headquarters, the Air Chief said rising economic trade and burgeoning energy requirements had created the need for greater exploitation of space and large scale networking in air power planning.

Air Chief Tyagi pointed out ,"Enhanced reach calls for aircraft with longer range which calls for in-flight refueling abilities which in turn calls for protective cover, so the need for AWACs. We are hopeful of getting AWACs by 2007," he added.

Air Chief Tyagi denied that the Indian Air Force was losing pilots to private airlines.

In reply to a question, he said that the Air Froce had no role to play in the censorship of a film. "There are norms and authorities to do the job. We do not figure in the process.If the government asks us for our view, we give it. What happens thereafter does not concern us.”

Referring to the safety aspect of MIG-21, Air Chief Tyagi said that five Air Chiefs and two governments- the NDA and now the UPA- had termed the aircraft as safe and this should be enough to end the debate once and for all.

The Air Chief, who arrived here on Sunday, was accompanied by Ms Vandana Tyagi, President, Air Force Wives Welfare Assoiciation (AFWWA). After his address to the Commanders, the Air Chief presented 24 trophies to the winners of various categories for excellence in operational, maintenance and administrative activities during the preceding year.

While ‘Falcons of Chhamb and Akhnoor’ operating the MIG-17, Unit of the Command won the trophy in the best Helicopter/Transport Unit category. The ‘Sharp Shooters’ squadron equipped with SAM-III Pechora Missiles won the trophy for the best’ Surface to Air Guided Weapon’ Unit.

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Protest against Husain’s gods

Thane, January 16
A protest march was taken out by a large number of people in this district last evening against noted painter MF Husain’s nude paintings of Hindu Gods.

The march organised by the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti made its way through the main streets of the city with the protestors carrying placards and slogans against Hussain.

According to samiti’s spokesman, the protest march was against Hussain’s nude paintings of Hindu Gods which were against the dignity and respect of Hindu religion.

He said they also protested the state government’s proposed law to ban witchcraft and blind faith as it was a ‘’harassment to the religious heads, saints and religious books.’’

The spokesman said they were in favour of the law against witchcraft, but it should not disturb anything pertaining to religion. Several Hindu organisations including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and others supported the agitation. — UNI

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Filmmaker Adoor gets D. Litt

Kottayam (Kerala), January 16
Noted Malayalam film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan was today conferred the degree of doctor of letters by the Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU).

Speaking at the special convocation ceremony at the MGU at Athirampuzha here, Kerala Governor R.L. Bhatia, also the Chancellor of the University, said Gopalakrishnan was an acclaimed director, whose accomplishments were recognised at the national and international levels.

“Right from Swayamvaram (one’s own choice) that came out in 1972 to the latest ‘Nizhalkuthu’ (shadow kill, 2003), all his films have earned a number of accolades in India and abroad,” he said.

Mr Bhatia said cinema has been defined and described as the art of the 21th century and emerged as the most dynamic and democratic of all art forms.

In his speech, Gopalakrishnan said it was the first time that a film maker was being honoured with the degree by a university in Kerala. “Cinema is a medium which, on the one hand keeps its continuity with the evolution of man’s culture of a few million years and on the other, prides in being heir to newest inventions,” he said.

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