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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

It is advantage Sonia in Rae Bareli
Lucknow, May 6
With the high-powered campaign for the May 8 Lok Sabha bypoll coming to an end this evening it was amply clear that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had got the better of her rivals in the 16-cornered contest.

PM watches live missile firing in Arabian Sea
On board INS Viraat, May 6
Breaking from his routine, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made a foray into the high seas with the men in battle blues to witness first hand the efforts being undertaken by the armed forces to combat the threat of missiles.

Ajay Chautala’s house raided, car seized
New Delhi, May 6
A joint team of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence today raided Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Chautala’s official residence here and took away an imported luxury car on charges of tax evasion.

Cross-border marriage disputes
Child suffers most, say jurists
New Delhi, May 6
With increasing cross-border marriages, globalisation, movement of parents around the globe and the general complexity of society today children have become extremely vulnerable when divorce occurs and inter-parental custody disputes break out. In this situation a new rather dangerous phenomenon has emerged, child abductions, especially in the case of cross-border marriages.








EARLIER STORIES

 

Coordinated approach on e-governance favoured
Bangalore, May 6
The National Knowledge Commission today noted that many states had been going their own ways while introducing e-governance initiatives and felt that there was a need for a coordinated approach on the issue.

IIT-Kanpur to have new grading system
Lucknow, May 6
Accepting students’ long-standing demand, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur has decided to introduce a more rational grading system from the next academic session in July.

EC notice to DMK, AIADMK
New Delhi, May 6
The Election Commission has issued notices to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and the DMK for allegedly using more vehicles than recommended during electioneering in the Assembly poll scheduled for Monday.

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It is advantage Sonia in Rae Bareli
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 6
With the high-powered campaign for the May 8 Lok Sabha bypoll coming to an end this evening it was amply clear that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had got the better of her rivals in the 16-cornered contest.

The largely peaceful campaign initially remained lackluster due to the scorching heat, harvesting and marriage season. It gained momentum only at the fag end with the arrival of leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Ironically, Pramod Mahajan was present when BJP candidate Vinay Katiyar filed his nomination on the very last day on April 20. Three days later his brother shot him. Besides Sushma Swaraj hardly any senior leader from the BJP could campaign for Katiyar due to Mahajan’s hospitalisation and death.

If visibility is anything to go by then Ms Gandhi is miles ahead of her competitors. Congress hoardings, wall writings, flags and buntings are there for all to see in virtually every part of the constituency. One has to search for SP and BJP publicity material that are restricted to small pockets. The Apna Dal campaign was largely carried out through a loud speaker atop a car. The independents were nowhere to be seen.

‘Family’ remained the dominant theme of the Congress campaign. While the Congress President personally campaigned for just two days, she left the nitty gritty of her election campaign in the hands of her immediate family— Rahul and Priyanka.

Pulling at the heartstrings of the electorate both Ms Priyanka and Rahul underlined the five generation long association of their family with the people of Rae Bareli. Large hoardings displaying the smiling faces of the Gandhis—Feroze, Indira, Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka, reiterated the message.

Campaign manager Rahul was seen shouldering responsibility and promised to shoulder more in Uttar Pradesh if asked by party seniors. Braving the maddening heat he moved from village to village addressing roadside meetings and holding padyatras to woo the voters. At some places he was seen accompanied by brother-in-law Robert Vadera.

The only controversy that marred the largely well-orchestred campaign was the appearance of dance girls on stage to woo the crowds at one of Ms Gandhi’s public meetings at Maharajganj.

Congress highlighted the state government’s ‘‘petty’’ political games in Rae Bareli like the denial of development opportunities by turning down central assistance. Mulayam Singh Yadav, on the other hand, wondered why despite five- generation-long association with the Nehru-Gandhi family did Rae Bareli remain a backward district.

The BSP’s decision not to contest and support Ms Gandhi has significant political implications. Its leaders were moving around asking its voters to vote for the Congress. This could prove to be a boon for the Congress as Rae Bareli is said to have at least 31 per cent Dalit voters. It also is an indication of warming of ties between the Mayawati-led party and the Congress ahead of next year’s Vidhan Sabha poll.

What Samajwadi Party lost in the stature of its candidate it more than made up in the organised manner in which its campaign was run. At least 17 MPs and dozens of MLAs and ministers were camping in the district. They had spread out at the block level mobilising support. The Samajwadi Party took out colourful cycle yatras to match Rahul Gandhi’s padyatras to woo the voters.

The SP, interestingly, has MLAs in all five assembly segments of the parliamentary constituency and had emerged second in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Strangely this time it decided to field a political novice Raj Kumar Chaudhary. He is a distant son-in-law of former minister and senior party leader Beni Prasad Verma.

For BJP’s Vinay Kaitiyar the main challenge is staying ahead of Apna Dal candidate Prabha Singh Lodh. Expelled BJP leader Uma Bharati is seeking to create embarrassment for the BJP chief Rajnath Singh by vigorously backing the Apna Dal candidate.

After putting in hard work for a fortnight Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to stay a minute more than required. He left Rae Bareli well before the deadline at 5 p.m. cancelling two meetings. The reins of the final leg of election is now in the hands of younger sister and election agent Priyanka

According to an EC circular no one under state security can stay in a constituency after the end of campaigning. Confirming the receipt of such a circular Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Bishnoi said it applied not only to Rahul Gandhi but was also meant for every person enjoying state security cover.

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PM watches live missile firing in Arabian Sea
A.K. Dhar

On board INS Viraat, May 6
Breaking from his routine, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made a foray into the high seas with the men in battle blues to witness first hand the efforts being undertaken by the armed forces to combat the threat of missiles.

On his first-ever day at sea after taking over as Prime Minister, he witnessed a day and night war manoeuvre in the turbulent Arabian Sea off the coast of Goa, including live long-range surface-to-surface missile firings and their interception by anti-missile systems.

Power-packed naval fast speed missile corvette fired their surface-to-surface missiles at dummy targets and Indian Navy’s Israeli acquired anti-missile system Barak tracked, intercepted and neutralised them, as the Prime Minister, the Chief of Naval staff, Admiral Arun Prakash, and Naval top brass watched from the deck of the Indian Navy’s flagship carrier INS Viraat.

The Indian Navy has now installed this anti-missile system in seven of its frontline warships to give them invincibility against incoming missiles.

New Delhi is currently also evaluating American and Russian land-based systems to give the country an anti-missile defence shield.

Admiral Arun Prakash and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said the Prime Minister had been “immensely impressed” by the Navy’s grasp of this crucial technology.

Narayanan, who is the key interlocuter with the US on security matters, said “We have been looking at Barak system for a long time. The interception was awesome”.

On India’s efforts to acquire a quick reaction anti-missile system, Narayanan merely said “We still have a long way to go”.

The sight of the missile-to-missile interception was truly spellbinding. Indigenous made Ganga Class Missile Corvette fired the missile like a ball of fire in a dark night as the Prime Minister and the nation’s other policy makers watched in suspense its rise at a distance.

The entire party held their breath till the Israeli-made Barak Missile was fired which intercepted the surface-to-surface missile neutralising it with a massive explosion in the sky.

Besides the missile interception, Mr Singh also witnessed manoeuvres by Kilo Class submarines, demonstrations by missile boats, anti-submarine rocket firing, multi-ship replenishment and air power demonstrations over high seas by Naval Sea Harrier fighters, Sea King and the just acquired Kamov 31 helicopters.

“I am deeply impressed by the high degree of professionalism, commitment and technical skills of the officers and sailors of the Indian Navy,” the Prime Minister said in his address to Naval personnel on board INS Viraat this morning.

Stressing that the armed forces would get “all help” in modernisation, Mr Singh said the importance of building Naval capability was evident as one realises that the Indian Ocean region is among the world’s most important sea ways.

“Our government is committed to providing the Indian Navy with the capabilities that span the entire Naval strategic spectrum from sea denial to sea control,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Singh pointed to the importance of indigenisation saying “overtime we must enhance the proportion of Naval forces built indigenously, in our own shipyards using our own scientific and technological expertise.”

To the Naval chief’s complaint of overruns in warship building, the Prime Minister said new managerial methods had to be brought in to compress the time lines and ensure timely delivery of ships and submarines to the Navy.

He also assured them that in the coming years, the government would strive to maintain force levels in the Navy commensurate with the country’s strategic requirements. — PTI

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Ajay Chautala’s house raided, car seized
S. Satyanarayanan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 6
A joint team of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence today raided Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Chautala’s official residence here and took away an imported luxury car on charges of tax evasion.

According to sources, the team reached the house around 5.30 pm and in the raid, that lasted 15 minutes, took away the Toyota Land Cruiser (Lexus) bearing registration number HR-24-H-9777.

Haryana Transport Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded a probe by the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax authorities against the Chautalas to assess whether they owned property abroad and violated any law pertaining to foreign exchange regulations.

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Cross-border marriage disputes
Child suffers most, say jurists
Charu Singh
Tribune News Service

Justice Mukul Mudgal, Judge, Delhi High Court, Anil Malhotra, advocate, Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney-General of India, Justice A R Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court of India, and Indira Jai Singh, senior advocate, at a seminar on “Conflict of Jurisdiction in Inter-Parental Child Custody Disputes” in New Delhi
From left: Justice Mukul Mudgal, Judge, Delhi High Court, Anil Malhotra, advocate, Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney-General of India, Justice A R Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court of India, and Indira Jai Singh, senior advocate, at a seminar on “Conflict of Jurisdiction in Inter-Parental Child Custody Disputes” in New Delhi on Friday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal. 

New Delhi, May 6
With increasing cross-border marriages, globalisation, movement of parents around the globe and the general complexity of society today children have become extremely vulnerable when divorce occurs and inter-parental custody disputes break out. In this situation a new rather dangerous phenomenon has emerged, child abductions, especially in the case of cross-border marriages.

In such cases one parent abducts a child to another country and the other completely loses out. The biggest sufferer is the child. many imminent jurists are of the opinion that effective jurisdiction in such a conflict is of immense importance. A rather pertinent seminar on this subject titled, ‘Conflict of Jurisdiction in Inter-Parental Child Custody Disputes,’ was held here last evening.

To drive home the point, advocate Anil Malhotra cites a recent case.The decision dated March 3, 2006, of the Bombay High Court at Goa. The case was fought between a 62-year-old American father based in Goa and a 39-year-old British mother from Ireland. They were litigating over the custody of their eight-year-old daughter. The court dismissed the mother’s plea for custody concluding that the question of taking the child to Ireland without first adjudicating upon the rival contentions of the parents in normal civil proceedings in Goa was not possible and directed that status quo be observed. So, jurisdiction clearly has to grow with the changing times and increasing complexities.

Discussing the issue Indira Jaisingh, senior advocate the Supreme Court of India, said: “The problem of divorce and child custody cases is really complicated when the two battling parents are based in different countries. In such situations, visitation by the other parent becomes nothing but a legal formality on paper with no practical possibilities. Then, there is the tendency of one parent turning the child against the other or the parental alienation syndrome.” Jaisingh stressed that, “today it is important that India signs The Hague Convention. Especially due to the problem raised on recognising and respecting foreign judgements on this issue. In India, we have no bilateral agreements by which our agreements can be enforced abroad. This often has serious repercussions for children.”

Dr Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court, was especially articulate on the issue saying: “Statistics show that divorce and custody cases are on the rise. The practice of international child abduction has its roots in these inter-parental custody battles.” The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction came into force on December 1, 1983, and has 75 contracting nations to it. The convention secures the prompt return of children wrongfully removed or detained in any contracting state and ensures the rights of custody and access under the was of such contracting nations.

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Coordinated approach on e-governance favoured
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 6
The National Knowledge Commission today noted that many states had been going their own ways while introducing e-governance initiatives and felt that there was a need for a coordinated approach on the issue.

The commission began a three-day meeting at the Infosys headquarters here, which was presided over by its chairman Sam Pitroda.

According to sources, it did not take up the issue of reservation in institutes of higher education on the first day. The issue would come up for discussion tomorrow when the agenda of access in higher education was taken up.

The sources said though the issue of reservation was not in the ambit of the commission, it would come up for discussion once the agenda item was debated upon.

The issue was likely to be examined threadbare, with a few members expressing divergent views on the subject. Most time was devoted to e-governance today.

Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani also spoke. It was noted that a coherent and coordinated national approach was needed on the issue.

The commission noted that at least 10 services, including maintenance of public records like land titles, voter identification cards, birth certificates and driving licences, could be standardised. The commission heard a presentation by a Bangalore-based NGO on the creation of a water portal.

The NGO highlighted the dangerous situation prevailing on the water front in many parts of the country.

It noted that in the absence of data and accurate information, people were not aware about exact water availability in many parts of the country.

The NGO had been creating an interactive website listing all available information on the subject.

Commission members expressed the immediate need for setting up a similar portal on energy.

Issues like the library system of the country were also discussed at the meeting.

Dr Ashok Ganguly, Prof Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Dr Jayati Ghosh and Dr P.M. Bhargava attended the meeting.

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IIT-Kanpur to have new grading system
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 6
Accepting students’ long-standing demand, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur has decided to introduce a more rational grading system from the next academic session in July.

Speaking to The Tribune, Dean of Student Affairs Prof Prawal Sinha said the institute decided in principle after a meeting with students on May 4 to reconsider the five-point grading system.

Following the suicide of 23-year-old final-year chemical engineering student Shailesh Sharma on May 3, students’ rage at the grading system had become vocal.

Five months back, a second-year student had succumbed to academic pressure.

Till now, students had been evaluated by giving them grade A, B, C, D or F.

It had left students dissatisfied as they felt that it did not do justice and was neither adequate nor transparent.

According to Professor Sinha, the existing system would be replaced by a nine-point grading system by adding an A-plus, a B-plus, a C-plus and a D-plus.

By introducing the four grades, the system would become more continuous, he pointed out.

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EC notice to DMK, AIADMK
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 6
The Election Commission has issued notices to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and the DMK for allegedly using more vehicles than recommended during electioneering in the Assembly poll scheduled for Monday.

EC sources said today that the commission had rejected the explanation given by the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance for a similar violation during a public meeting addressed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Chennai on April 25.

In two separate notices to the ruling AIADMK, the EC pointed out that Jayalalithaa had used nearly 80 vehicles during her visit to Krishnagiri district on May 1 and 2, the EC sources said adding, as per the standing instructions not more than three vehicles are allowed in a convoy.

In a notice to the DMK, the Commission pointed out the use of as many as 34 vehicles by Union Communications Minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran during electioneering in Krishnagiri district on May 3.

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