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N A T I O N

Govt sanction must to prosecute cops: SC
Deaths during enforcement of law and order
New Delhi, March 25
Protecting security forces personnel against prosecution for any death caused during the enforcement of law and order, the Supreme Court has said it was mandatory for police to obtain sanction from the government before launching prosecution in such cases.

China wary of Indo-US N-deal
New Delhi, March 25
Indian strategists and policy makers are keeping their fingers crossed on what they perceive to be their biggest diplomatic challenge in implementation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy deal: the China factor.

BARC nuclear waste disposal under cloud
New Delhi, March 25
The country’s strategic nuclear institute, Baba Atomic Research Centre has come under stringent criticism from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for its failure to introduce efficient nuclear waste management. “BARC procured different components of an incinerator system at a cost of Rs 52.78 lakh.


EARLIER STORIES

 
Threat to Advani’s yatra
BJP told to make raths bullet proof
New Delhi, March 25
Following specific intelligence inputs about threats from certain terrorist organisations to the proposed twin ‘National Integration Yatra’ by BJP leaders L. K. Advani and Rajnath Singh, the government has asked the party to ensure “proper bullet-proofing” of the vehicles to be utilised for the yatra. The Union Home Ministry has conveyed the threat perception to the party as both yatras “would be an attractive target for militants and terrorist groups” and that the two leaders will be passing through some states affected by naxalism, party sources said.

Opinions page: BJP opting for divisive politics

BJP leader L.K. Advani during 3rd Chamanbhai Memorial Lecture, at National Musuem in New Delhi on Saturday.
— Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

BJP leader L.K. Advani during 3rd Chamanbhai Memorial Lecture, at National Musuem in New Delhi on Saturday.

Somnath Chatterjee not to quit
New Delhi, March 25
As the country eagerly looked at Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to follow suit Congress President Sonia Gandhi by taking high moral ground for allegedly holding office of profit, the veteran parliamentarian broke his silence for the first time yesterday and said he would not quit on mere baseless allegations.

Govt to discuss food subsidy bill in May: Pawar
New Delhi, March 25
The food subsidy bill will be discussed after the wheat procurement season gets over in May and any cut on the mounting subsidy would be based on consensus, said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar here yesterday.

India on right track in TB control programme
New Delhi, March 25
The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) has accomplished 100 per cent coverage in the country, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss yesterday said, while stressing the need to increase the detection rate to meet the 2020 deadline for the elimination of the disease.

Jaya not to face Sonia in Rae Bareli contest
Lucknow, March 25
Setting at rest speculations that the two characters of the disqualification drama — Sonia Gandhi and Jaya Bachchan would face each other in Rae Bareli — the Samajwadi Party (SP) yesterday announced that Jaya Bachchan would enter Parliament only through the Rajya Sabha.

BSP rebel group affirms support to Mulayam govt
New Delhi, March 25
The group of 32 rebel BSP MLAs, now recognised as the Bahujan Loktantrik Dal, in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, today expressed its full support to the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, denying any differences within the group over the issue.

Wodeyar princesses want out-of-court settlement
Bangalore Palace case
Bangalore, March 25
Theirs is an envious heritage. Each of the three daughters and grand daughters of the late Maharaja Jayachamrajendra Wodeyar owns 28 acres of land on the Bangalore Palace premises which is worth Rs 3,000 crore.

Charles, Camilla to arrive today
New Delhi, March 25
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles will arrive here tomorrow on a six-day visit, which will take them to rural areas across Punjab and Rajasthan.

Iranian Vice-President calls on PM
New Delhi, March 25
Mr Rahim Mashaee, Vice-President and Chairman of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation of Iran called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.

Khurana to launch separate front
New Delhi, March 25
Former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana today declared that he would launch a movement backed by expelled leader Uma Bharti next month to revive what he termed vanishing “Parivar” traditions in the BJP and also rebutted reports that he was hoping the party would revoke his suspension.

Kalam opens seminar on drugs
New Delhi, March 25
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today cautioned the nation to be alert against “soft war” tactics of using proceeds of drugs trafficking to fund cross-border terrorism in the country.

13 killed in landmine blast
Raipur, March 25
Thirteen persons were killed and four others injured, three of them seriously, when Moists exploded a land mine at a private passenger vehicle in Kanker district today, the police said.


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Govt sanction must to prosecute cops: SC
Deaths during enforcement of law and order
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 25
Protecting security forces personnel against prosecution for any death caused during the enforcement of law and order, the Supreme Court has said it was mandatory for police to obtain sanction from the government before launching prosecution in such cases.

The court said to ensure protection to security forces personnel for doing their duty when deployed to enforce the law and order, including elections, a mandatory provision has been made under Section 197 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) for prior sanction to launch prosecution against any official of government or security forces. In absence of it no prosecution would stand, a three-judge Bench in a majority judgement said.

Allowing an appeal of a police official from West Bengal, charged with murder for allegedly using "excessive" force during the May 2001 elections, when a mob of rival party supporters had clashed before a polling booth in the Alipore area, Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan said "we hold that such a sanction was necessary and for want of sanction the prosecution must be quashed."

Police official Sankaran Moitra, had moved the apex court against the Calcutta High Court order holding that even if the person had died due to use of force by a police personnel during the performance of the his duty, the "killing could never be done in an official capacity and consequently Section 197(1) of the CrPC could not be attracted."

The high court ruling came on a writ petition by the widow of the person who had died due to lathicharge on a clashing mob by the police and Moitra was charged with murder in a complaint by her before a Judicial Magistrate.

Setting aside the high court order, the apex court said "the high court was in error in holding that sanction under 197(1) was not needed in this case."

On the conclusion of the high court that if courts start interfering in such matters merely on the technicalities like sanction people would lose faith in the judicial process, the apex court said this could not be a ground to "dispense" with the requirement of law under which protection has been made available to a public servant for any act done by them during the performance of their duty.

"Public trust in the institution can be maintained by entertaining causes coming within its jurisdiction, by performing the duties entrusted to it diligently in accordance with the law and established procedure and without delay," the apex court said.

The court, however, left it to the West Bengal authorities whether to grant sanction for prosecution of Moitra on the complaint of the widow of the deceased.

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China wary of Indo-US N-deal
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Indian strategists and policy makers are keeping their fingers crossed on what they perceive to be their biggest diplomatic challenge in implementation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy deal: the China factor.

Key sources told this correspondent today that New Delhi was well aware of the fact that China was wary of the Indo-US deal. Beijing is keeping its card in the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) close to its chest. The NSG is holding its plenary session in Rio di Janeiro in May this year where the Indo-US nuclear deal may come up for discussion.

A close review of China’s reactions to the Indo-US agreement dating from July 18, 2005 is a revealing indicator. The immediate reaction was of concern, claiming it would lead to an arms race in South Asia.

China’s multi-pronged strategy is crafted on classical traditions. With Indo-US relations just beginning to shed the Cold War mistrusts, Beijing may well attempt to resurrect the cold warriors and incite the non-proliferation gurus in the USA through the powerful Chinese lobby in Washington.

On another level, China is discreetly encouraging Pakistan to demand parity with India on the nuclear deal while simultaneously Beijing continues to interlocute with India as a friend. Its card in the NSG is still in its pockets, not to be used unless all other efforts to scuttle the Indo-US deal fails.

Another part of the Chinese strategy is to encourage its anti-India dominos in South Asia. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s recent unscheduled visit to Beijing just before President George W. Bush’s India visit and his boldness following the visit, is a case in point.

Following the Bush visit to India and Pakistan, and the US refusal to accord Pakistan the same nuclear agreement with India, China and Pakistan joined forces to exploit their influence in the US to scuttle the Indo-US deal in its present form. The battle has just begun in Washington DC with China’s huge influence there.

It is interesting to note that Beijing had first warned about an arms race last year over the Indo-US nuclear agreement. General Musharraf is now echoing the same words.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia received a lukewarm reaction in Beijing last August. That has suddenly changed, with China pledging defence assistance to Dhaka.

Beijing had always envisaged India as its main competitor in Asia after Japan’s military was curtailed by the post war imposed regimes. China concentrated on encircling India with Pakistan as the pivot.

Today, India is covered not only by Chinese nuclear missiles, but also by Pakistan’s nuclear tipped Ghauri missile developed through China’s assistance, and China facilitated North Korean assistance in the area of missile technology of that particular missile, the Nodong series. These missiles increasingly threaten India’s hydrocarbon imports, while protecting China’s hydrocarbon import routes through the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean is increasingly moving towards a nuclear war zone with Chinese threats.

By 2010, the Chinese Navy would have its first carrier task force which will be placed to encircle Taiwan. A second task force would be well on the way to be deployed in the Indian Ocean by 2015 to secure its energy routes.

Till recently, China was encircling India through the South Asian land mass. With its control over the Gwadar Deep Sea Port (GDSP) in Pakistan, negotiating facilities in Myanmar, and considering or negotiating on facilities in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Port, Indian encirclement will be complete — land, air, sea, and submarine — and, four dimensional. The benign giant is not a sleeping giant.

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BARC nuclear waste disposal under cloud
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The country’s strategic nuclear institute, Baba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has come under stringent criticism from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for its failure to introduce efficient nuclear waste management.

“BARC procured different components of an incinerator system at a cost of Rs 52.78 lakh. The system had not been installed even after nine years, defeating the objective of introducing efficient ways of nuclear waste management,” the CAG said in its latest report.

The CAG said the reply of BARC that the delay had not affected existing programmes was not acceptable, as BARC had to dispose of the nuclear waste by using the existing method requiring huge area and costly trench.

The criticism from the CAG comes at a time when India deftly negotiated and placed BARC outside the inspection of international monitors. The inefficient nuclear waste management, in the backdrop of the Chernobyl disaster, gives rise to concerns on radiation levels in those sites where the nuclear waste are disposed off.

In the civilian nuclear deal between New Delhi and Washington, India had agreed to permanently shut down the CIRUS reactor in 2010 and shift the fuel core of the APSRA reactor, that was purchased from France, outside BARC and make it available to be placed under safeguards.

The task force constituted by BARC to review the layout of the incinerator system was to submit its report by August 2002, but it submitted it only in July 2005. However, the equipment valued at Rs. 52.78 lakh procured between May 1993 and March 1999, with warranty already expired, were yet to be commissioned and put to the intended use.

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Threat to Advani’s yatra
BJP told to make raths bullet proof
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Following specific intelligence inputs about threats from certain terrorist organisations to the proposed twin ‘National Integration Yatra’ by BJP leaders L. K. Advani and Rajnath Singh, the government has asked the party to ensure “proper bullet-proofing” of the vehicles to be utilised for the yatra.

The Union Home Ministry has conveyed the threat perception to the party as both yatras “would be an attractive target for militants and terrorist groups” and that the two leaders will be passing through some states affected by naxalism, party sources said.

The yatras are scheduled to begin from April 6.

The Home Ministry is also understood to have asked governments of the states through which the yatras would pass to make “comprehensive security arrangements” to preempt any untoward incident.

The Home Ministry’s advisory comes close on the heels of the statement made by the National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan last week in an interview to a television channel that the government had received specific intelligence about threats to Mr Advani in Uttar Pradesh during his proposed rath yatra.

In its communication to the BJP leadership, the Government requested the party to immediately make available the detailed itinerary of both the yatras to the Home Ministry “in order to work out their security arrangements” and also keep the Ministry fully appraised of the details of the proposed programmes, sources said.

While Mr Advani is scheduled to commence his yatra from Gujarat, the BJP Chief is slated to begin his journey from Puri.

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Somnath Chatterjee not to quit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
As the country eagerly looked at Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to follow suit Congress President Sonia Gandhi by taking high moral ground for allegedly holding office of profit, the veteran parliamentarian broke his silence for the first time yesterday and said he would not quit on mere baseless allegations.

The Communist leader’s strongly worded reaction came with hours of the Election Commission acknowledging that it has received complaints forwarded by President A.P. .J. Abdul Kalam, alleging that he was holding office of profit.

“On mere baseless allegations and insinuations and on the basis of reckless tantrums of some disgruntled persons, I shall not refuse to discharge my obligations as a Member of Parliament, to which my voters have sent me and also my duties as the Speaker of Lok Sabha, to which I have the honour of having been unanimously elected,” he said in a statement.

Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee has petitioned for the disqualification of Mr Somnath Chatterjee and other CPM leaders for holding office of profit.

Maintaining that he was convinced “factually and legally” and that he was not holding an office of profit as Chairman Sriniketan-Santiniketan Development Authority, Mr Chatterjee said “I do not enjoy any profit as Chairman”.

The decisions of the courts and references to the provisions of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualifications) Act, 1959 will clearly establish the baselessness of the “pretended” complaint against him, the statement said.

The veteran Parliamentarian said since 1989 he had been the Chairman of the authority when it was first established as a statutory authority under the West Bengal Town and Country (Planning and Development) Act, 1979.

“It is now for the first time irresponsibly alleged that I am holding an office of profit although I have been a Member of Parliament all along. I have not violated any provisions of the Constitution or any law of this country,” he said.

Mr Chatterjee said for the last few days an insinuation was being made that he was allegedly holding an office of profit under the West Bengal Government which disqualified him from continuing as a member of the Lok Sabha and thereby as the Speaker.

“Presumably such insinuation is made on the pretended complaint of Trinamool Congress in a letter to the President as the Chairman of the SSDA and as the supposed President of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, I am allegedly holding offices of profit.”

Incidentally, he said, he had never been nor was he the President of Asiatic Society and such a “casual reference” to the society “not only shows the colossal ignorance on the part of the complainant but also how motivated the complaint is”.

He said it should be remembered that any and every office under the government was not and could not be an office of profit. An office which did not provide for any “profit” to the holder did not disqualify one from being an MP.

It depended on the facts of each case whether a particular office was or was not an office of profit. “In the absence of any case or any particulars, it is not required of me to disprove any allegation,” the statement added.

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Govt to discuss food subsidy bill in May: Pawar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The food subsidy bill will be discussed after the wheat procurement season gets over in May and any cut on the mounting subsidy would be based on consensus, said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar here yesterday.

“We will review the food subsidy situation in May. There is no problem in rice stocks. We have to see the wheat stock situation in May and only then we can take a decision on revising the food subsidy bill,” he said.

He made it categorical that the issue of cutting down Rs 23,000-24,000 crore food subsidy bill will have to be done through consensus.

He, however, said diversion of foodgrains from the Public Distribution System is the main concern area.

On the preparedness about the Rabi procurement season, he said “Procurement of the main wheat crop would start by middle of next month in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP”.

Wheat procurement in Madhya Pradesh began last week. He expressed confidence of achieving the 162 lakh tonne wheat procurement target this year.

He also ruled out any procurement bonus on the minimum support price of wheat.

Asked about the Indo-US deal in the farm sector, Pawar told reporters that the pact will benefit both economies through collaborations in the emerging field of research and education.

The minister made it clear that there was nothing to worry about the ‘US-Indian Knowledge Initiative’ on agriculture, as the deal was based on a ‘win-win’ proposition for both the economies.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director-General Mangala Rai clarified that there was no agreement under the deal to allow access to the country’s indigenous gene pool.

He also said the issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) during the collaborative period would be decided on a mutual basis.

A sum of Rs 5 crore had already been sanctioned as a step towards the initiative in 2006-07, he added. He expressed confidence that the deal would benefit both sides in the emerging field of agricultural research.

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India on right track in TB control programme

New Delhi, March 25
The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) has accomplished 100 per cent coverage in the country, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss yesterday said, while stressing the need to increase the detection rate to meet the 2020 deadline for the elimination of the disease.

After the inclusion of some areas from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS) for the TB programme was now covering the entire country under RNTCP, the minister told mediapersons on the occasion of the World TB Day today.

However, despite the spread of the DOTS programme throughout the country, India loses about Rs 13,500 crore annually due to TB and as many as 1.7 million persons still contract the disease every year, he said.

He added that there still was a gap in the current detection rate and the standards set by the WHO. The current rate of tuberculosis detection in the country is 66 per cent against WHO standard of 70 per cent.

The RNTCP was into the second phase in which the programme was now aiming at consolidating the gains made to date and to widen the services both in terms of activities and access. Last year, the government managed to achieve 70 per cent detection rate, but due to the inclusion of new areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh it has now come down to 66 per cent. — TNS

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Jaya not to face Sonia in Rae Bareli contest
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 25
Setting at rest speculations that the two characters of the disqualification drama — Sonia Gandhi and Jaya Bachchan would face each other in Rae Bareli — the Samajwadi Party (SP) yesterday announced that Jaya Bachchan would enter Parliament only through the Rajya Sabha.

“We would certainly give a strong candidate against Ms Gandhi in Rae Bareli but the selection is yet to be made,’’ said SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav.

He denied media reports as mere conjectures that said Ms Bachchan would be fielded against Ms Gandhi.

Responding to Sonia Gandhi’s resignation, he said it was due to pressure mounted by his party that Sonia, fearing disqualification, had to resign.

The SP has already announced to send Ms Bachchan to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh.

While, Ms Gandhi announced to re-contest from the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat yesterday.

Meanwhile, the UPCC headquarters were abuzz with activity following news of Ms Gandhi arriving in her chosen constituency on Monday. Leading a march to the Vidhan Sabha, UPCC president Salman Khurshid articulated the state level leaders mood when he said, “Soniaji’s decision has proved to be a morale boaster for the party in the state”.

Underlining the thinking behind the decision, he said once again she had proved to the world that ethics and high moral standards were far more important to her than holding on to power.

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BSP rebel group affirms support to Mulayam govt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The group of 32 rebel BSP MLAs, now recognised as the Bahujan Loktantrik Dal, in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, today expressed its full support to the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, denying any differences within the group over the issue.

Uttar Pradesh Minority Welfare and Haj Minister Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, a senior member of the newly recognised group, told reporters here that there was no question of any change in their stand on continuing support to the Samajwadi Party-led government.

He, however, said the group would hold its elections soon to elect a new leader replacing Mr Rajendra Singh Rana, currently a Cabinet Minister in the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Replying to a question, he said the desire to elect a new leader did not indicate any differences within the group.

“On the contrary, Mr Rana himself wants to step down as leader,” said Mr Qureshi, who has courted controversy by his call for killing the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Prophet Mohammad.

He had announced a reward of Rs 51 crore to kill the cartoonist. Yesterday, the Supreme Court had stayed all proceedings pending before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Speaker, subsequent to the Allahabad High Court order of February 28 holding that the defection of some MLAs from the BSP to form a new group called the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal was illegal.

It, however, permitted 32 MLAs of the breakaway group to exist as an independent group as per the September 6, 2003, order of the Speaker to preserve their political status in the Assembly.

The court also allowed five MLAs of the breakaway group who have resigned from the ministry and the post of chairmen of various boards subsequent to the high court order, to function as BSP MLAs. Referring the matter to a larger Bench, it refused to fix the same for early hearing.

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Wodeyar princesses want out-of-court settlement
Bangalore Palace case
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 25
Theirs is an envious heritage. Each of the three daughters and grand daughters of the late Maharaja Jayachamrajendra Wodeyar owns 28 acres of land on the Bangalore Palace premises which is worth Rs 3,000 crore.

The princesses, however, have been unable to enjoy their inheritance ever since the Maharaja’s death in 1975. Running short on patience now they want an out-of- court settlement to the Bangalore Palace premises dispute.

The princesses— Kamakshi Devi, Indrakshi Devi, Visalakhshi Devi and daughters of late Princess Gayatri Devi— have now appealed to Karnataka Chief Minister H.D Kumaraswamy to sympathetically consider a joint development project through a public-private partnership. The princesses are ready to surrender a part of the 140 acres held by them to the state government to build a memorial in the name of their father besides a commercial complex on the lines of the World Trade Centre on the palace premises.

The state government had passed an Act in 1996 to acquire the entire Bangalore Palace premises. While the princesses control 128 acres, the scion of the Wodeyar royal house— Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar —controls the remaining around 300 acres. The princesses had appealed against the acquisition of the palace premises and the case is still pending with the Supreme Court.

Claiming they were tired of fighting the legal battle and now wanted to be partners in growth, Princess Visalakshi Devi said they were in financial distress and wanted an amicable reconciliation with the state government.

The princesses are also saddled with claim cases in wealth tax and income tax worth crores which they are contesting in various courts. They are liable to pay the taxes due to the net worth of the property in their name but as they have not been allowed to construct on the land in their possession they have not been able to realise its real estate value. At present they individually hire out their land for marriage functions and exhibitions.

The princesses said they had met Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and put forward their proposal to him. They said they had also proposed withdrawing the appeal filed by them in the Supreme Court in case the government considered their case positively. However, their brother —Srikanta Wodeyar— who holds a major part of the property, including the palace building, is not a party to the proposal. “We want to look forward and not backward. We are only concerned with our share of the property”, was the only answer on this score from the princesses.

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Charles, Camilla to arrive today

New Delhi, March 25
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles will arrive here tomorrow on a six-day visit, which will take them to rural areas across Punjab and Rajasthan.

The couple will visit Bhattmajra village in Fatehgarh and meet farmers who have opted for organic farming. They will also visit Punjab Agri Food Park, which provides ground support for the Prince’s organic farming initiative.

On Tuesday, the royal couple will visit Patiala Fort, Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara and Mohali-based National Institute for Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER). Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will host a dinner for them. — TNS

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Iranian Vice-President calls on PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Mr Rahim Mashaee, Vice-President and Chairman of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation of Iran called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.

The two leaders emphasised the importance they attach to the ties between the two countries and need for further strengthening of bilateral cooperation, particularly in the energy sector and in promoting the common cultural heritage of the two countries.

They agreed on the need for an early meeting of the India-Iran Joint Commission, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Mr Mashaee was accompanied by Dr Seyed Taha Hashemi, Deputy Chairman of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation and Mr S.Z. Yaghoubi, Iran’s Ambassador to India.

Mr Mashaee is visiting India to participate in the Amir Khusro international seminar being organised by Jamia Millia University. 

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Khurana to launch separate front
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana today declared that he would launch a movement backed by expelled leader Uma Bharti next month to revive what he termed vanishing “Parivar” traditions in the BJP and also rebutted reports that he was hoping the party would revoke his suspension.

“Such reports have tried to create a false impression that I am hungry for some party position, which I am not. Instead, I would launch a ‘jan andolan’ or a front which would offer a platform to all party members feeling frustrated over the vanishing ‘Parivar’ traditions of the BJP. Such a front is likely to have support from Uma Bharti,” Mr Khurana said.

The former Delhi Chief Minister has already announced that he would launch a ‘Delhi Bachao Morcha’ against court-ordered demolitions and sealing of illegal buildings.

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Kalam opens seminar on drugs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today cautioned the nation to be alert against “soft war” tactics of using proceeds of drugs trafficking to fund cross-border terrorism in the country.

Inaugurating a national seminar on “Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances,” Dr Kalam said it was essential to understand how a nation could become vulnerable by trafficking drugs.

He said marketing the drug to the youth of targeted countries resulted in the destruction of the moral character of the youth force.

Moreover, earnings from trafficking was used for funding cross-border terrorism in that very nation.

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13 killed in landmine blast

Raipur, March 25
Thirteen persons were killed and four others injured, three of them seriously, when Moists exploded a land mine at a private passenger vehicle in Kanker district today, the police said.

The Maoists triggered the landmine blast under Pakhanjur police station area, about 250 km from here killing 13 persons on the spot and injuring four, Pakhanpur police sources told PTI over the telephone.

The incident took place when some traders were returning from Sangham village and the Naxalites triggered the land mine blast, “mistaking the jeep to be a police vehicle”, the sources said.

The sources said all the killed and injured were families of Bangladeshi refugees, who were settled in and around Pakhanjur. — PTI

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