SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Maya meets Sonia, mum on presidential nominee
To meet Prime Minister today
New Delhi, May 25
After throwing enough hints that she was ready to do business with the ruling alliance, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, marking the first moves that could throw up a combined candidate of the UPA-Left-BSP for the Presidential poll.

Maya promises to stunt growth of ‘transfer industry’
New Delhi, May 25
In a major initiative, a confident UP Chief Minister Mayawati today announced that transfers of state officials will be carried out by a "Service Board" to put a curb on the multi-crore "transfer and posting industry".

Blockade by former BLT ultras
Train services resume after police crackdown
Guwahati, May 25
The 100-hour rail and road blockade that was called by former militants of the now disbanded Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) since yesterday continued to cut the Northeast off other parts of the country by road though train services could be restored late last night following a crackdowns on picketers by the Assam police.






EARLIER STORIES




Students of a women's college make a human chain at their college premises in solidarity with HIV/ AIDS patients in Patna on Friday.
Students of a women's college make a human chain at their college premises in solidarity with HIV/ AIDS patients in Patna on Friday. — PTI

Eight get imprisonment in Mumbai blasts case
Mumbai, May 25
The special court set up under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act to hear the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case today sentenced eight persons, who were found guilty earlier, to rigorous imprisonment ranging between five to ten years.

Friday prayers witness violence in Hyderabad
Hyderabad, May 25
The Friday blast tension is still haunting the city. A crowd which was coming out of the Mecca Masjid in the old city turned violent and indulged in stone throwing here today.

Multi-purpose I-cards to be issued today
New Delhi, May 25
The multi-purpose national identity card project, which was conceived in 2003 will finally see light of the day tomorrow, with Registrar General of India D.K Sikri scheduled to release the first set of such cards in North Delhi.

Serious risk to tiger population: Study
New Delhi, May 25
India’s best efforts to conserve ‘Tiger’ do not seem to be working well.

Prosecution of corrupt officials
HC pulls up Nitish govt
Patna, May 25
Expressing displeasure over the delay in granting sanction for the prosecution of corrupt government officials, the Patna High Court yesterday directed the Nitish government to take a decision on this issue on or before July 24.

Electronic Media Regulation
HC seeks explanation from govt
New Delhi, May 25
The Delhi High Court today took strong exception to the airing of an obscene visual of controversial aspiring actress Jahnavi Kapoor by a TV channel and criticised the Centre for not putting in place proper mechanism to regulate and control the broadcast contents of the electronic media.

India lifts ban on FTV
New Delhi, May 25
Stung by criticism that it was indulging in moral policing, the Indian government today lifted a two-month ban imposed on satellite television channel Fashion TV (FTV) after the channel said it would not broadcast “inappropriate” content in the future.

Man donates eyes of infant son
Dehra Dun, May 25
In a noble gesture that should motivate others, a father donated the eyes of his infant son, who expired seven days after birth, to brighten the life of some unfortunate child born without sight.

59 hurt in Chhattisgarh clash
Raipur, May 25
An old man was kicked and his hair pulled when the police resorted to a lathi charge and fired in the air in Chattisgarh’s Sarguja district to quell protests by villagers which turned violent leaving 59 persons including 35 cops injured.

ULFA ultra lynched for killing teacher
Guwahati, May 25
A militant of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was lynched by public and students after he had shot dead a teacher of in the Pangeri area in Tinsukia district.

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Maya meets Sonia, mum on presidential nominee
To meet Prime Minister today
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, May 25
After throwing enough hints that she was ready to do business with the ruling alliance, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, marking the first moves that could throw up a combined candidate of the UPA-Left-BSP for the Presidential poll.

Both Mayawati, on her first visit here after assuming power in UP, as also the Congress were silent on what transpired at the nearly 100-minute meeting held in the backdrop of hectic efforts by UPA leadership to bring the BSP on board on the issue of a successor to APJ Abdul Kalam.

Mayawati’s party holds the key in the Presidential poll given the fact that the candidate of the ruling alliance can succeed only with the full backing of the Left and the BSP.

Gandhi took the opportunity of inviting Mayawati for tea at 10 Janpath, and there could have been substantive talks given the BSP supremo’s earlier indications that she would only engage with the UPA in the matter and has nothing to do with the opposition NDA.

During her two-day stay, Mayawati said she would interact only with two leaders, with Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom she would meet tomorrow.

Maintaining that she was supporting the Congress-led coalition at the Centre to keep “communal forces” at bay, Mayawati said her party was an outside supporter of the Congress-led coalition at the Centre and this would continue. She rejected suggestions of her party joining the Centre.

Gandhi and the Prime Minister have been holding consultations with various parties on the Presidential poll issue and the names of senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee and Sushil Kumar Shinde as also Congress leader Karan Singh are doing the rounds.

Mayawati, whose party’s spectacular victory in the Assembly polls had made her a key player in the race for the Presidency, has so far not revealed her cards.

Earlier, the Chief Minister announced that transfers of state officials will be carried out by a "Service Board" to put a curb on the multi-crore "transfer and posting industry".

Addressing her first press conference in the national Capital after taking over as Chief Minister of the biggest state for the fourth time, Mayawati said she would only handle the transfers of the rank of Principal Secretaries and Additional Director General and above.

In an yet another important announcement, she said her government would not indulge in political vendetta but the decisions of the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav government which were ''anti-people and irregular'' would be reviewed on the basis of "their merit and demerit.''

Mayawati said in her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow she would take up important issues like power crisis in the state.

Mayawati said her government was determined to end the 'jungle raj' prevalent in the state and would give top priority to establishing the rule of law.

All notorious criminals, no matter how influential, would be forced to accept the majesty of the law, she said, adding that they would either be put behind the bars or forced to flee the state.

On the issue of installation of statues in the state, she said it had been decided that no statue would be installed, either on public or private land, without the permission of the Chief Minister's office.

Noting that she was supporting the Congress-led coalition at the Centre to keep communal forces at bay, Mayawati, in fact, indicated that she was ready to do business with the UPA on the important issue .

Replying to a volley of questions, Mayawati said that "I will be able to open my cards (on the presidential polls) only after consultations with party MPs, MLAs and other leaders. I know this is a very important issue and a decision needs to be taken carefully." She also ruled out any possibility of making Satish Chandra Misra Deputy Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister said the backlog of reservation in the state government jobs would be cleared within six months.

Mayawati said her government's policies would focus on providing justice to Dalits. She promised land, held by the upper castes on lease, for Dalits during her tenure.

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Maya promises to stunt growth of ‘transfer industry’
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
In a major initiative, a confident UP Chief Minister Mayawati today announced that transfers of state officials will be carried out by a "Service Board" to put a curb on the multi-crore "transfer and posting industry".

Addressing her first press conference in the national Capital after taking over as Chief Minister of the biggest state for the fourth time, Mayawati said she would only handle the transfers of the rank of Principal Secretaries and Additional Director General and above.

In an yet another important announcement, she said her government would not indulge in political vendetta but the decisions of the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav government which were ''anti-people and irregular'' would be reviewed on the basis of "their merit and demerit.''

Asked about the Reliance Energy's Dadri project, the Chief Minister said all decisions of the previous government would be reviewed and action would be taken if these were found to be in violation of rules or were against public interest.

“The (Noida) SEZ was reviewed by a committee which found that rules have been broken... We will be sending a report to the Centre soon”, she said.

Mayawati said in her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow she would take up important issues like power crisis in the state.

Mayawati said her government was determined to end the 'jungle raj' prevalent in the state and would give top priority to establishing the rule of law.

All notorious criminals, no matter how influential, would be forced to accept the majesty of the law, she said, adding that they would either be put behind the bars or forced to flee the state.

On the issue of installation of statues in the state, she said it had been decided that no statue would be installed, either on public or private land, without the permission of the Chief Minister's office.

On the issue of presidential poll, Mayawati remained non-committal on her party's stand. The BSP supremo, however, admitted that she was meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on latter's tea invitation at 10 Janpath this evening.

Noting that she was supporting the Congress-led coalition at the Centre to keep communal forces at bay, Mayawati, in fact, indicated that she was ready to do business with the UPA on the important issue .

Replying to a volley of questions, Mayawati said that "I will be able to open my cards (on the presidential polls) only after consultations with party MPs, MLAs and other leaders. I know this is a very important issue and a decision needs to be taken carefully."

She also ruled out any possibility of making Satish Chandra Misra Deputy Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister said the backlog of reservation in the state government jobs would be cleared within six months.

Mayawati said her government's policies would focus on providing justice to Dalits. She promised land, held by the upper castes on lease, for Dalits during her tenure.

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Blockade by former BLT ultras
Train services resume after police crackdown
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 25
The 100-hour rail and road blockade that was called by former militants of the now disbanded Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) since yesterday continued to cut the Northeast off other parts of the country by road though train services could be restored late last night following a crackdowns on picketers by the Assam police.

Chief Public Relation Officer of the Northeast Frontier Railway, Trikalagya Rabha, informed that the train services were resumed late on Thursday following a crackdown by the Assam police on picketers who were blocking railway lines. A large number of demonstrators sponsored by the former BLT leaders were arrested by the police.

However, vehicular traffic, especially trucks carrying goods into the region and passenger buses, remained off the arterial National Highway 39 and 37 for the second day today although the police chased the picketers away from the highways.

There were reports of stray incidents of violence from different parts of blockade-affected western Assam. Miscreants burnt a vehicle carrying newspapers in Guwahati on National Highway 37 at Dudhnoi today. Two employees of the media house were injured in the incident.

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Eight get imprisonment in Mumbai blasts case
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 25
The special court set up under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act to hear the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case today sentenced eight persons, who were found guilty earlier, to rigorous imprisonment ranging between five to ten years.

All of them were found guilty of transporting and concealing arms and weapons. Among those sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment today was Mohammed Sayeed Nizamuddin Qureshi who was a close aide of the main accused Tiger Memon.

The others who were found guilty were seven men who helped land the weapons at Shekadi in Maharashtra's Raigad district.

Meanwhile, actor Sanjay Dutt appeared before the court seeking permission of absence as it was his father Sunil Dutt's second death anniversary.

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Friday prayers witness violence in Hyderabad
Ramesh Kandula/Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 25
The Friday blast tension is still haunting the city. A crowd which was coming out of the Mecca Masjid in the old city turned violent and indulged in stone throwing here today.

The situation, however, was quickly brought under control by the police, which was deployed in large numbers around the Charminar area in anticipation of violence, which was likely to trigger during the last Friday prayers.

Despite the elaborate security arrangements at the Masjid, the police were taken aback by the sudden turn of events as the groups coming out of the Masjid at around 1 pm, suddenly charged towards Madina and started pelting stones against the posse of media and police personnel.

The stone throwing incidents quickly spread to several areas in the old city such Guljar Houze, Rein Bazaar, Yakupura, Madina and Kali Kamaan. Police resorted to mild lathi charge wherever the situation was out of control and were able to disperse them.

“We have video cameras installed in the area and we will watch them on the cameras and find out the people behind these ugly incidents,” said additional police commissioner P.Surendra Babu.

Section 144 has been imposed in the area as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, the chief minister Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, has also announced a judicial enquiry into the police firing following the blast, besides a CBI inquiry ordered into the blast. 

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Multi-purpose I-cards to be issued today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
The multi-purpose national identity card project, which was conceived in 2003 will finally see light of the day tomorrow, with Registrar General of India D.K Sikri scheduled to release the first set of such cards in North Delhi.

The micro-chip based cards, each carrying a unique national identity number and having 16 personal details of an individual, will be distributed to citizens above 18 years of age.

As part of the pilot project, the first set of cards will be distributed in Narela area of the Capital and subsequently 30 lakh persons residing in 20 pilot locations spread across a dozen states will be covered, official sources said here today.

The experience gained during implementation of the pilot project will help a great deal while taking decision for the roll-out of the card for the entire country, sources said.

The multi-purpose national identity card project, conceived during NDA regime, had got delayed due to several handicaps, including difficulties in getting photographs and finger biometrics, non-availability of data entry operators in regional languages, etc.

The pilot project is being implement in selected sub-districts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry.

Citizens having these cards would not have to carry separate ration cards or driving licences either as the chip in the card would have enough space to accommodate all such information.

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Serious risk to tiger population: Study
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
India’s best efforts to conserve ‘Tiger’ do not seem to be working well.

While latest official estimates indicate that the number of tigers in the country have come down drastically, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) doesn’t want to comment on these rather dismal figures.

Incidentally, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is responsible for the current study and the latest estimates, also does not have much faith in 2001-02 tiger census figures.

The interim result of a multi-crore study being undertaken by the Dehradun-based WII on the behest of the MoEF has revealed that the tiger in India continues to be in trouble.

The numbers, released as part of the national tiger census done by the WII in four states -Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh- indicated a sharp fall in tiger numbers in central India as compared to the last census, largely due to poaching, loss of habitat and prey species.

As per WII scientist Qamar Qureshi, the figures clearly indicate that the tiger population in the country is declining. “ These figures have give a benchmark on the basis of which future references can now be made,” Qureshi told The Tribune, adding that the interim results clearly indicated that the good tiger areas in the country need to be buffered and areas outside sanctuaries restored and monitored.

The final figures will be released in December. But if Madhya Pradesh figures of Kanha, Pench, Panna, Bandhavgarh are any indication, India at the most may just have half of tigers left, as was indicated by the 2001-02 Census.

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Prosecution of corrupt officials
HC pulls up Nitish govt
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 25
Expressing displeasure over the delay in granting sanction for the prosecution of corrupt government officials, the Patna High Court yesterday directed the Nitish government to take a decision on this issue on or before July 24.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice J.N. Bhatt and Justice Shailesh Kumar Sinha pulled up the state government on the delay in the vigilance probe into pending corruption cases for more than a decade after additional director general (vigilance) Neelmani submitted before the court stating that prosecution sanction was awaited in 46 cases.

Adding to the woes of the state government, vigilance commissioner Vijay Kumar Verma filed an affidavit-cum-report relating to the criminal cases pending with the state vigilance department.

According to the report, 222 criminal cases were pending investigation and 46 awaited sanction.

The year-wise chart (YWC) of pending vigilance cases furnished to the High Court indicated that the oldest case awaiting sanction was lodged in 1985 and the latest one was filed in 2007.

Earlier this year, the court had asked the state government to expedite the process to give its nod for the prosecution of tainted government officers.

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Electronic Media Regulation
HC seeks explanation from govt

New Delhi, May 25
The Delhi High Court today took strong exception to the airing of an obscene visual of controversial aspiring actress Jahnavi Kapoor by a TV channel and criticised the Centre for not putting in place proper mechanism to regulate and control the broadcast contents of the electronic media.

“Given the nature of the medium and instant transmission of image that can cause a irreparable harm to persons, whether there can be effective mechanism derived to minimise the damage and whether there is a mechanism to stop the telecast of such things,” asked Justice S. Murlidhar.

The court also issued notices to the information and broadcasting ministry, the telecommunication ministry, regulator TRAI and the private channel which aired the programme on Jahnavi, who had grabbed headlines by attempting suicide outside the residence of Amitabh Bachchan on the day of his son’s wedding. — UNI

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India lifts ban on FTV

New Delhi, May 25
Stung by criticism that it was indulging in moral policing, the Indian government today lifted a two-month ban imposed on satellite television channel Fashion TV (FTV) after the channel said it would not broadcast “inappropriate” content in the future.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned FTV in March because its programmes such as “Midnight Hot”, showing very skimpily-clad models, were deemed “against good taste” and having the potential to affect public morality. “FTV.com India Channel has regretted its error and assured that such an error will not be repeated in future,” a statement from the ministry said.

The government revoked the ban after the channel assured that it had put in place a strict vigilance committee to oversee the programme content telecast on FTV.com India channel. — Agencies

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Man donates eyes of infant son
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, May 25
In a noble gesture that should motivate others, a father donated the eyes of his infant son, who expired seven days after birth, to brighten the life of some unfortunate child born without sight.

The infant, named Arjun, was the first child of Sandeep and Reena Chawla of Rudarpur in Udham Singh Nagar district, Uttarakhand.

The precedent has become all the more noteworthy because Sandeep (28), an insurance agent, went ahead with his resolve to donate the eyes of his baby son despite resistance from his own and in-laws’ family.

Seven years ago, he pledged his own eyes and tried to motivate others to do so. "Whoever I approached told me to first show them whether anyone from my family had actually donated eyes. The death of my child offered my the opportunity to do so," Chawla said.

The infant developed an acute respiratory problem after birth and was taken to a child specialist in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. But his life could not be saved. His father Sandeep then took the infant to Eye Donation Centre, Pant Nagar where doctors removed the cornea, which was then sent to Rotary Regency Gift of Sight Coordination and Processing Centre, Delhi for preservation.

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59 hurt in Chhattisgarh clash

Raipur, May 25
An old man was kicked and his hair pulled when the police resorted to a lathi charge and fired in the air in Chattisgarh’s Sarguja district to quell protests by villagers which turned violent leaving 59 persons including 35 cops injured.

A day after the brutal police action yesterday in which the aged man was punched and brought to the ground as the police rained lathis on him and several unarmed men, the Chattisgarh government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the lathi charge. Sarguja is the home district of Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam.

The agitating villagers were protesting in Ajaib Nagar, 525 km from here, against the murder of a hotel owner Vijay Deonath while demanding the arrest of the persons involved in the crime.

A large number of people had blocked the Ambikapur- Banaras National Highway 78 at Ajaib Nagar, about 525 km from here, and turned violent later, sources told PTI over phone.

The police fired 11 rounds in the air and baton charged to disperse the mob in which 24 villagers were injured, they said.

After getting information of the blockade, District Magistrate and senior police officers reached the spot and tried to clear the road but the villagers attacked the policemen, the sources said. — PTI

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ULFA ultra lynched for killing teacher

Guwahati, May 25
A militant of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was lynched by public and students after he had shot dead a teacher of in the Pangeri area in Tinsukia district.

The police informed that two ULFA militants came to Kailashpur High School at around 10-10 a.m yesterday and called out Rohini Gogoi through two students of the school.

As the teacher came out to meet his “visitors”, the ULFA ultras waiting at the gate shot him dead from close range. The incident evoked spontaneous reaction from students who were about to enter their classes after the morning prayer.

A large number of senior students gave the assailants a hot chase before capturing one of them. The militant was lynched by the students along with villagers. The other militant escaped.

The killed ULFA militant was identified as Budhen Dhadumia. — TNS

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