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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Ideas on better ties with Pak welcome, says PM
New Delhi, December 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today that India would welcome all new ideas on strengthening its relations with Pakistan. His government had been according high priority to solving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including Jammu and Kashmir, as he believed that the destiny of Asia was linked.

Nuke scientists to seek assurances from PM on Indo-US deal
Mumbai, December 16
India's nuclear scientists will soon seek assurances from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the country's strategic interests following the signing of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

BJP to use national executive meet to bolster party’s chances
Lucknow, December 16
The Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to use the three-day meeting of the party’s National Executive followed by the National Council to boast the party’s spirit and gear up for the forthcoming Assembly elections early next year.

Jaya likely to campaign for SP in UP poll
Chennai, December 16
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa is likely to campaign for the Samajwadi Party (SP) during Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh scheduled next year.





EARLIER STORIES


Singur Row
Mamata suggests alternative
Kolkata, December 16
Suggesting an alternative to end the impasse, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said that the 500 acre land acquired ‘forcibly’ by the West Bengal Government should be returned, and the 450 acres of low land available adjacent to it should be utilised for the Tata small car project.

Patna prof’s killers held
Patna, December 16
The police has claimed to have solved the mystery behind the murder of Patna University professor Papiya Ghosh and her maidservant with the arrest of four suspects and the recovery of the valuables looted, including her car, in the wee hours today.

Wife told to pay maintenance
Ludhiana, December 16
In an interesting case, a local court has ordered a woman to pay Rs 3,000 per month as maintenance to her husband during the pendency of the divorce petition. She was also directed to pay Rs 20,000 as litigation expenses to him.

Yuvraj’s birthday bash: Statements recorded
Gurgaon, December 16
A lower court today recorded the statements of Ms Neelam Mahajan and her son on the complaint of defamatory remarks and criminal assault on them by Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, his mother, Ms Shabnam Singh, and others, during the cricketer's birthday bash at his residence here on December 12.

Experts for holistic view on use of third degree
New Delhi, December 16
The linking of efficiency of a police officer with that of his ability to solve cases and ensuring conviction is one of the reasons leading to the use of third degree methods by police personnel, Secretary of Cabinet Secretariat H.P.K.Tharakan said here today.

JD (U) to highlight plight of farmers, traders
New Delhi, December 16
The Janata Dal (United) will hold a ‘Vishal Chetna Sammelan’ (awareness conference) to bring to light the sufferings of farmers, workers and traders due to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and the sealing drive.

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Ideas on better ties with Pak welcome, says PM
A.J. Philip
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today that India would welcome all new ideas on strengthening its relations with Pakistan.

His government had been according high priority to solving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including Jammu and Kashmir, as he believed that the destiny of Asia was linked.

He said his government had had very intensive dialogue with Pakistan during the last two years and a half.

He was addressing a press conference aboard Air India One on his return flight from Japan. He arrived in the Capital this evening.

Dr Manmohan Singh made these comments in response to a question on the four-point formula Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had made to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Asked whether he had discussed with his Japanese counterpart Pakistan's involvement in nuclear proliferation in light of the recent testing of a nuclear device by North Korea, he said he did not discuss Pakistan's nuclear programme in detail.

On whether he planned to visit Islamabad shortly, the Prime Minister made a cryptic statement, "I have an invitation from the President of Pakistan which I have accepted".

The Prime Minister said he was not at all disappointed with the Japanese stand on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

He clarified that he had not gone to Japan to discuss this matter at any great length.

Asked about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement that he hoped India would fulfil the safeguards stipulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr Manmohan Singh said, "Our commitment with the United States is that the US Government will seek a waiver from the US Congress and then the US will help and lobby for us in the Nuclear Suppliers' Group to modify their guidelines for cooperation with India. Our commitment is that we will have in place an India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA".

He said the Japanese Prime Minister was referring to this commitment which was part of a public document.

On the nuclear deal, he said the external affairs minister had already made a statement.

The Prime Minister said he was fully satisfied with his visit to Japan.

The aim was to transform the relationship with Japan, the second largest economy.

On the question whether there was a time frame for the slew projects announced during the visit, Dr Manmohan Singh said the second phase of the Delhi Metro project was on.

As far as the dedicated freight corridor linking Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, preliminary work was almost over and a detailed project report would be ready in about an year.

He said the Japanese would have to take part in competitive bidding for infrastructural projects, adding that there was every possibility that a sizable chunk of orders would go to Japan on merit.

Asked why South India did not figure in the projects, he said, "We should not divide our country into north and south. The freight corridor is going to link major parts of the country. Mumbai is not in the north".

The Prime Minister said there was a new-found enthusiasm among captains of Japanese industry about investing in India.

They recognised that an economy growing at 9 or 10 per cent offered them immense opportunities, he added.

Asked whether an investor-friendly climate existed in West Bengal, Dr Singh said, "It is the obligation of stake-holders to work together to create an investor-friendly climate. We need more investment to create more jobs. Anything coming in the way is a setback".

Regarding the slowing down of reform measures, the Prime Minister said he had not yet given up hope.

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Nuke scientists to seek assurances from PM on Indo-US deal
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 16
India's nuclear scientists will soon seek assurances from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the country's strategic interests following the signing of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Dr Anil Kakodkar, met senior scientists on Friday to expressed their apprehensions about India's interests being compromised. Dr Kakodkar is expected to brief the Prime Minister on the issue.

Among the scientists who met Dr Kakodkar included M.R. Srinivasan, Homi Sethna, A.N. Prasad, Y.S.R. Prasad, P.K. Iyengar and A.R. Gopalakrishnan.

The scientists warned Dr Kakodkar that the Indo-US nuclear agreement to be signed by President George Bush in the coming days was very different from the one signed between the heads of India and the USA on July 18, 2005.

After meeting Dr Kakodkar, the scientists told reporters that the Hyde Bill, as the agreement is called, departed from the original agreement and even from the promises made by the PM. "The points which we raised today should be used by our negotiators while dealing with the 123 Agreement and we have also insisted that it should be reflected in it," A.N.Prasad said. The points raised by the scientists include a number of disadvantages for India as reflected in the Hyde Bill: The bill denies full cooperation in civilian nuclear energy. India has been asked to participate in an international effort on nuclear non-proliferation with a policy congruent to that of the USA. India has been denied the right to conduct future nuclear weapons tests. The Act requires the USA to encourage India to identify and declare a date by which this country would be willing to stop the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. The Act is totally silent on the US working with India to move towards universal nuclear disarmament, but it eloquently covers all aspects of non-proliferation controls of US priority, into which they want to draw India into committing.

Dr Kakodkar is expected to present a list of their objections to the PM.

Dr Srinivasan told reporters that India's nuclear independence should not be bartered away by signing the deal.

The scientists have also objected to the unwillingness of the USA to cooperate in the areas of spent-fuel reprocessing and uranium enrichment and the denial of the nuclear fuel supply assurances mutually agreed upon earlier. ‘India will not be permitted to join as a technology developer but only as a recipient state.’

In the joint statement, the scientists said: 'The Hyde Act (Section-109) envisages India to jointly participate with the USA in a programme involving the US National Nuclear Security Administration to further nuclear non-proliferation goals. This goes much beyond the IAEA norms and has been unilaterally introduced apparently without the knowledge of the Indian government.' 'In addition’, the scientists said, 'the US President is required to annually report to the Congress whether India is fully and actively participating in US and international efforts to dissuade, isolate and if necessary sanction and contain Iran for its pursuit of indigenous efforts to develop nuclear capabilities.'

They said that these stipulations in the Act are totally outside the scope of the July 18 Agreement. Regarding the adverse impact the Act will have on India's Strategic Defence Programme, the scientists cited the Prime Minister's assurance that nuclear weapons are an integral part of national security and will remain so.

They said that the Act negates the above assurance. According to the Act, they said, 'Any future nuclear test will automatically result in a heavy economic loss to the country because of the inability to continue the operation of all such imported reactors.'

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BJP to use national executive meet to bolster party’s chances
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 16
The Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to use the three-day meeting of the party’s National Executive followed by the National Council to boast the party’s spirit and gear up for the forthcoming Assembly elections early next year.

Lucknow has been chosen as the venue for the party’s high-profile jumbo event scheduled from December 22 to 24. The senior leaders hope to further consolidate the present upbeat mood in the party following a measure of success achieved in the recently concluded local body polls.

Addressing the media about the event, BJP eneral secretary and spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “The BJP is poised to launch an aggressive campaign for the coming Assembly polls in UP with the presence of national leaders providing the impetus.”

Underlining the importance of the state in acquiring a commanding position in national politics, Mr Naqvi acknowledged that the BJP in UP was today far more confident than before the civic elections.

The patriarchs of the party, including former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and L.K. Advani, would be present to draw up the road map for the election campaign and spell out the party strategy for the local cadre.

Using the occasion that coincided with Atal Bihari Vajpayi’s birthday, the party was launching a ‘parivartan rally’ (rally for change) on December 24 to mark the symbolic beginning of a continuous party campaign until the Assembly polls, Mr Naqvi said.

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Jaya likely to campaign for SP in UP poll
Tribune News Service

Chennai, December 16
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa is likely to campaign for the Samajwadi Party (SP) during Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh scheduled next year.

She said, “Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav have invited me to campaign. I will consider it.” In a surprise move, she also shifted her stand on Congress President Sonia Gandhi. She seemed to have softened her approach towards Ms Gandhi whom she had severely criticised during the election campaign for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

Ms Jayalalithaa said she only had objections to Sonia Gandhi becoming Prime Minister as she was of foreign origin and she was not against her as an individual.

She said, “When she has not taken up the Prime Ministership, I don’t have any reason to oppose her.” Asked whether there was a possibility of a change in political alignment as she had softened her stand on Ms Gandhi, she said that the time had not come to elaborate on the issue.

Criticising the Indo-US nuclear deal, she said it was a move to “undermine the sovereignty of the country”, and felt India should not be a signatory to any initiative that would jeopardise the future of its people.

On the death sentence given by the apex court to Mohammed Afzal Guru for his role in the attack on Parliament, Jayalalithaa said it was a Supreme Court order and it should be implemented.

In a move to embarrass the BJP, which was in power from 1999 to 2004 at the Centre, she said, "By delaying the execution of capital punishment ordered in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, the Centre had already made a mockery of the CBI’s unrelenting efforts in nabbing the accused and also of my government, which supported the CBI’s investigation.”

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Singur Row
Mamata suggests alternative

Kolkata, December 16
Suggesting an alternative to end the impasse, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said that the 500 acre land acquired ‘forcibly’ by the West Bengal Government should be returned, and the 450 acres of low land available adjacent to it should be utilised for the Tata small car project.

“We hope that the state government will think over it. The farmers at Singur did not voluntarily give their land and the government should return it to them,” Ms Banerjee, whose hunger-strike entered the 13th day, told newsmen.

“The government will still have 500 acres.

Another 450 acres of low land is available nearby,” she said.

On Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s assertion yesterday that his government would not budge an inch from the Tata project, Ms Banerjee said, “He should set aside his ego. If he thinks that we are weak because we are agitating in a peaceful way, he is wrong. If he shows decency, we will show courtesy. But if he adopts a rigid attitude, our hunger-strike will continue."

Referring to the Chief Minister's appeal to withdraw her fast and sit for talks, the Trinamool Congress supremo said, “On one side Mr Bhattacharjee is offering talks and on the other, he makes such statements. This cannot go together.”

She said another 700 acres of land was available at nearby Dankuni which could also be used for the Tata project. — PTI

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Patna prof’s killers held

Patna, December 16
The police has claimed to have solved the mystery behind the murder of Patna University professor Papiya Ghosh and her maidservant with the arrest of four suspects and the recovery of the valuables looted, including her car, in the wee hours today.

The four accused, aged between 19 and 22 years, were arrested from the Balupar locality under the Digha police station.

The arrested had confessed to their involvement in the case, but the main conspirator had still been eluding the police.

The police refused to divulge his name for the sake of investigation. The accused were identified as Shanker Sao, Ashish Kumar Rai, Manohar Kumar Thakur and Anil Oraon.

Contrary to the speculation that the murders had been committed at the behest of land sharks having designs on the sprawling bungalow of the professor in the posh Pataliputra colony, the killers were petty criminals and not notorious history sheeters. The car, computer with printer, mobile phone, landline phone set, bank cheque book and some foreign currency belonging to the slain professor had been recovered.

While the car was found in a dilapidated garage at the Balupar locality, the other belongings had been recovered from various places.

The accused were being interrogated and a charge sheet would be filed soon.

About the reward of Rs 50,000 announced by the police for those providing valuable information leading to the arrest of the accused, the police said since nobody came forward, it would now now be distributed among police officials involved in cracking the case. — PTI

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Wife told to pay maintenance
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 16
In an interesting case, a local court has ordered a woman to pay Rs 3,000 per month as maintenance to her husband during the pendency of the divorce petition. She was also directed to pay Rs 20,000 as litigation expenses to him.

The orders were pronounced by Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, a judge of the fast-track court, in a petition filed by Inderjit Singh of Jammu Colony, seeking a divorce from his wife Amarjit Kaur.

It was submitted by the petitioner that he was married to Amarjit in 1981 and was blessed with three sons. Later, she lost interest in him and started humiliating him. He disinherited her and his sons through a notice in a newspaper in June 2006. His sons were aged between 18 and 24 years.

On the other hand, his wife contested the petition and denied the allegations levelled by her husband. She filed an application under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, claiming that she neither had any property nor any source of income. She demanded Rs 15,000 per month as maintenance and Rs 50,000 as litigation expenses.

However, the man also moved an application seeking maintenance with the claim that he was “thrown out of the property” by his wife and sons. They had taken over his property and were earning a handsome amount out of that but were giving nothing to him.

It was alleged by the petitioner that he was a riot victim and had got Rs 2 lakh which he had spent on them. He had to sleep in gurdwaras at night and did not even have money to purchase medicines for his treatment even as his wife and sons had separate cars and mobile phones.

After hearing the arguments, the judge dismissed the application filed by the woman but allowed the application seeking maintenance filed by Inderjit Singh.

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Yuvraj’s birthday bash: Statements recorded
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 16
A lower court today recorded the statements of Ms Neelam Mahajan and her son on the complaint of defamatory remarks and criminal assault on them by Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, his mother, Ms Shabnam Singh, and others, during the cricketer's birthday bash at his residence here on December 12.

The court of Judicial Magistrate, Ms Rajrani Gupta, recorded the statements of Ms Mahajan as complainant in the case, and her son, Sidharth Yuvraj Mahajan, as a witness.

The complainant has urged upon the court to direct the police to register a criminal case under Sections 323, 341, 342, 350, 352, 426, 500, 506, 509 and 166 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Apart from the cricketer and his mother, the state police of both Haryana and Punjab have been implicated vide their respective Director General of Police in the case. Also, a notable name is Ranjit Bajaj, the son of a senior IAS officer of Punjab. A cousin of the cricketer has also been accused in the case.

Ms Mahajan has alleged that her son was beaten by Mr Bajaj and one Mr Sodhi along with the personnel of Punjab police, who were acting as their security personnel. She alleged that Mr Bajaj had a criminal background and it was illegal to provide him with police security.

Ms Mahajan’s complaint against the Haryana police was that it did not register a case about the incident.

The court, due to a shortage of time, has fixed December 22 for the next hearing in the case.

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Experts for holistic view on use of third degree
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
The linking of efficiency of a police officer with that of his ability to solve cases and ensuring conviction is one of the reasons leading to the use of third degree methods by police personnel, Secretary of Cabinet Secretariat H.P.K.Tharakan said here today.

“We need to think holistically on the concept of human rights violation, though using third degree methods (by police personnel) is unacceptable,” Mr Tharakan said, speaking at the concluding session of a colloqium on “Respecting and recognizing research”, organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) here today.

Referring to the death penalty awarded by a Delhi court to former Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police Rishi Prakash Tyagi for torturing two persons to death in judicial custody, Mr Tharakan said “linking conviction and detection of crime to efficiency of policing has resulted in the adoption of measures (by police personnel) which are unacceptable.” I am not going into the merits of the case and should not be perceived to be favouring third degree methods, Mr Tharakan hastened to add.

Summing up the key pointers of the colloquium, BPRD Director-General Kiran Bedi said current policing should be logical and rational rather than ritualistic.

“There is a need to relook at all our police training assumptions and we must move from only VIP (Very Important Person) concerns to also VOP (Very Ordinary Person) concerns,” she said.

On the gender sensitivity in the police, she said “women police may have to face not only gender bias but also class bias in future, as women joining police have higher socio-economic and educational background compared to men.”

She also laid stress on understanding and managing emotions by police personnel. “Understanding and managing emotions enhances not only team performance but also raises self-awareness.”

“There is an urgent need of training in emotional intelligence for the police,” she added.

As part of the colloquium, the BPRO also organised a “Security Exhibition”, in which top public sector and private sector companies displayed their security gadgets, uniforms, simulators, communication gadgets for policing etc.

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JD (U) to highlight plight of farmers, traders

New Delhi, December 16
The Janata Dal (United) will hold a ‘Vishal Chetna Sammelan’ (awareness conference) to bring to light the sufferings of farmers, workers and traders due to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and the sealing drive.

Sources in JD (U) told TNS here today that the Congress-led UPA government is forcibly acquiring fertile land from the farmers under its economic liberalisation policy and giving these farmlands to industrialists and multi-national companies for SEZs. The party was of the view that this move is threatening the food grain security of the farmers.

Sunday's conference at Mavlankar Hall will be addressed by JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, Apna Dal President Sonelal Patel, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa besides the party’s General Secretaries. — TNS

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Uneasy calm in Orissa village

Keredagada, December 16
An uneasy calm prevails over Orissa's Keredagada village after Dalits entered the local Jagannath temple in defiance of a 300-year-old ban imposed on them by upper caste Hindus.

Dalits entered the temple and performed rituals on Thursday backed by a court ruling that permitted all Hindus to enter the temple. The temple gates were immediately closed by upper caste Hindus in the village, who claimed that the Dalits had made the temple impure. — ANI

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Srivastava takes over as I-T panel chief

New Delhi, December 16
Mr H.O.K. Srivastava has assumed the charge as the new Chairperson of the Income Tax Settlement Commission.

Mr Srivastava, who was the Vice-Chairman at Income Tax Settlement Commission’s Additional Bench in Kolkata, supersedes Mr R.K. Singh, who has superannuated.

Mr Srivastava, an IRS officer of 1967 batch, was also a Member of the CBDT. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

4 criminals shot dead
Khagaria (Bihar):
Four criminals of the notorious Tanvir Miyan gang were shot dead in an encounter with the Special Task Force (STF) at Chodhli village under Beldaur police station here on Saturday. Police superintendent Prita Verma said here that the encounter took place following a tip- off.The deceased criminals include Tunu Miyan, younger brother of Tanvir Miyan.Three pistols and live cartridges in huge quantities were recovered from the spot. — UNI

Two Maoists jawan, killed
Bankura:
A CRPF jawan and two Maoists were killed in an encounter between the police and the Maoists at Bagdugli Forest in Sarensokra village of Bankura district, 54 km away from this town last night. Local SP Rajesh Kumar Singh said here on Saturday that seven policemen were seriously injured.Two of them are in a critical condition. — UNI

Idols vandalised
Ahmedabad:
Security has been tightened in four villages of Dangs district of Gujarat after statues of deities of tribesmen were allegedly found vandalised, the police said here on Saturday."Some miscreants damaged four statues of the tribal deities and this led to the increase in the security in the areas. Investigation is on to trace the culprits, Dangs district Superintendent of Police B K Srimali said. Meanwhile, members of the local unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have decided to stage a demonstration tomorrow against the desecration. — PTI

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