SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Presidential Poll
Patil, Shekhawat in straight contest
New Delhi, July 2
A straight contest between UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil and NDA supported Independent candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is on the cards for the July 19 presidential poll.

Support for Pratibha Patil
Show of strength by Cong, allies today
New Delhi, July 2
The Congress and its coalition partners will come together on a common platform tomorrow for a public demonstration of their support for the UPA’s presidential nominee Pratibha Patil, who is under incessant attack from the BJP.

Advani writes to EC
BJP wants Patil to disclose pending cases, dues
New Delhi, July 2
Maintaining pressure on the Congress-led UPA and the Left, leader of the Opposition L K Advani today sought the Election Commission's intervention to seek information about criminal cases or dues of government bodies or financial institutions, if any, pending against any presidential candidate, including the ruling alliance candidate Pratibha Patil.






EARLIER STORIES




Lalu drums up support for Pratibha
Patna, July 2
After the Congress and the Left, it’s now the turn of the union railways minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav to drump up support for UPA’s presidential candidate Pratibha Patil.

Gujarat
Rain claims 14 lives
Ahmedabad, July 2

Heavy rains in several parts of Gujarat threw life out of gear, forcing the administration to mobilise army and paramilitary forces for rescue operations, even as death-toll in rain related incidents reached 14.

A hawker waits for customers at a water-logged street on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Monday. — PTI
A hawker waits for customers at a water-logged street on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Monday.

Rain Fury
Over 9,000 evacuated in Maharashtra
Mumbai, July 2
More than 9,000 people have been evacuated from different parts of Maharashtra as heavy rains inundated low lying areas of the state. Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, who also heads the state home department, told reporters this morning that the death toll across the state following the rains had touched 52. He added that emergency evacuation measures had been implemented in all the flood-hit districts to prevent loss of lives.
In Video (56k)

20 protesters hurt in lathicharge, 200 held
Kolkata, July 2
The police and the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) workers today clashed in front of the Assembly over Tapashi Mallick's killing, and the Singur and Nandigram issues. The police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the protesters which mostly included women.
Women police officials attempt to arrest activists of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) during a protest in Kolkata on Monday. The SUCI activists were demanding punishment for the accused in the alleged rape and murder of Tapasi Malik at Singur, the Tata motor factory site in West Bengal. — AFP
Women police officials attempt to arrest activists of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) during a protest in Kolkata on Monday. The SUCI activists were demanding punishment for the accused in the alleged rape and murder of Tapasi Malik at Singur, the Tata motor factory site in West Bengal.

Maoists kill villagers following ‘kangaroo court’ orders
Patna, July 2
Even before the police could properly act to combat the Maoists following the attack on Rajpur police station in Rohtas district on Saturday killing nine persons,the Left-wing ultras struck again.

Pranab leaves for Ethiopia today
New Delhi, July 2
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee will leave for a four-day visit to Ethiopia tomorrow to further cement India’s ties with the African country as well as the 53-nation African Union (AU).

Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed gestures as she addresses a press conference at the launch of a millennium goals report ( MDG) in New Delhi on Monday.
Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed gestures as she addresses a press conference at the launch of a millennium goals report ( MDG) in New Delhi on Monday. The report is an annual statistical survey of global and regional progress towards the goals that is produced at the request of the UN General Assembly. The goals include eradication of poverty, universal primary education, gender equality, reduction of child mortality, environmental sustainability and combating HIV/AIDS and malaria. — AFP

Women-friendly budget in Uttarakhand
Dehra Dun, July 2
Proposing no new taxes, the Uttarakhand government today presented the first revenue surplus budget of the state since its formation showing revenue surplus of Rs 943 crore.

Panel on J&K troops to meet on July 5
New Delhi, July 2
The second meeting of the committee, appointed by the government for possible relocation and reconfiguration of troops deployed in the troubled Jammu and Kashmir, is scheduled to be held in Srinagar on July 5.

IAS still the youth’s first choice: Survey
New Delhi, July 2
Despite complaints of falling standards and relatively low salary, a majority of the youth still prefer Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as the first choice, according to an industry chamber.

TRS activists lay siege to secretariat
Hyderabad, July 2
The Telangana movement took an ominous turn today with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) activists attempting to lay siege to the Secretariat, the administrative headquarters, demanding immediate repatriation of non-local employees.

Missing Children
NHRC for national tracking system
New Delhi, July 2
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has suggested the creation of a national tracking system for tracing missing children.

Boy ends life imitating movie scene
Kanpur, July 2
Trying to imitate a scene he was watching on TV, a 10-year-old boy allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in his house here yesterday.

Videos
Petition against Patil to be heard.
(56k)
After UP & Bihar, Shilpa to loot London.
(56k)
Drunken driving ringing alarm bells.
(56k)
Venomous sea snakes netted off in Chennai.
(56k)
A village in Jharkhand battles deadly HIV virus.
(56k)

 

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Presidential Poll
Patil, Shekhawat in straight contest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
A straight contest between UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil and NDA supported Independent candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is on the cards for the July 19 presidential poll.

If Patil wins, which now appears to be a real possibility with numbers in the electoral college in her favour, she will be the first woman President in Independent India.

In all 74 candidates had filed papers but barring Patil and Shekhawat none had fulfilled all the requirements for making their nomination papers valid.

All four sets of nomination papers of Patil and two sets of Shekhawat were found valid on scrutiny, Lok Sabha secretary-general, P.D.T. Achary, who is also the returning officer, told news persons. He said all other nomination papers were rejected on scrutiny.

All presidential elections had so far witnessed a contest except in 1977 when Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was elected unopposed. Only the first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, held the office twice - in 1952 and 1957. Last time too there was a contest when A.P.J. Abdul Kalam won with a thumping majority against the Left parties’ joint candidate Lakshmi Sehgal.

Achary said the non-serious candidates did not attach the signatures of at least 50 proposers and as many seconders and some even did not deposit Rs 15,000 at the time of filing of the documents.

He said this time the election for the top post seemed to have generated more enthusiasm among people compared to the last time when some 60-odd candidates had filed papers.

Achary said there was a need for amending the laws so that the presidential election could be reserved for serious candidates only.

He said there were four criterion for rejecting the nominations but they did not enjoy all those powers at the time of accepting them.

“This leads to the participation of a number of non-serious candidates at the time of filing of nomination papers just for the sake of publicity. Such a situation can easily be avoided by amending the law through Parliament,” Achary said.

Pointing towards the non-seriousness of candidates, he said some of the candidates had provided the names of 50 proposers and seconders but they were neither MPs nor MLAs.

A candidate, Mohan Ramayni of Dhatia, Madhya Pradesh, had even given the name of Lord Rama and Sita Mata as his proposer and Lankapati as his seconder, while another candidate Satish from Haryana had said the Raisina Hills belonged to the Malcha Panchayat and supplied the signature of the entire panchayat in support of his candidature, he added.

After today’s scrutiny, the last date for withdrawal is July 4.

Asked to comment on the BJP’s demand before the Election Commission that Patil should disclose her assets in an affidavit, Achary said, “I have no comment to offer. I go by the law and take decisions in accordance with the law, which is in force”.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani had sought the poll panel’s intervention saying Patil had not disclosed her assets and that she faced serious allegations.

Achary also declined to comment on a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to cancel Patil’s nomination paper. I am not aware of it, he said.

Asked about providing security to the two candidates, Achary said since Shekhawat was vice-president, he was already under security cover but for Patil the matter would be taken up with the Election Commission.

The President is elected by an electoral college of MPs and elected members of state legislatures. A total of 776 Members of Parliament, including 543 from the Lok Sabha, and 4,120 MLAs from various states, including Delhi and Puducherry, constitute the electoral college, whose total vote value comes to 10,98,882 votes. The ruling UPA-Left has got over 513,000 votes while the opposition NDA has over 354,000 votes. The eight regional parties that recently got together, comprising the Third Front, account for 105,000 votes.

The nominated members of Parliament and state assemblies are not eligible to vote.

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Support for Pratibha Patil
Show of strength by Cong, allies today
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
The Congress and its coalition partners will come together on a common platform tomorrow for a public demonstration of their support for the UPA’s presidential nominee Pratibha Patil, who is under incessant attack from the BJP.

The line-up, led by Lok Sabha leader Pranab Mukherjee, will include leaders of UPA constituents like NCP’s Sharad Pawar, RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, Lok Janshakti chief Ram Vilas Paswan and DMK’s T.R Baalu. It is not clear whether the Left parties will join tomorrow’s photo-op but they will be among the signatories to the joint statement to be released tomorrow. They may instead endorse Patil’s candidature at a separate forum.

The primary purpose of this exercise is to correct the widespread impression that the Congress is alone in defending Patil and that she does not enjoy the backing of all UPA partners and supporting parties.

Meanwhile, it has been clarified that Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the NDA-backed independent Presidential candidate, cannot avail of official machinery or use government aircraft if he chooses to travel across the country for his presidential campaign.

In a letter to the UPA, the Election Commission has explained that irrespective of the office held by a Presidential candidate, the latter has to undertake his/her election campaign in his/her individual capacity and cannot use any government machinery, including official vehicle or aircraft.

The EC’s explanation came in response to a letter from parliamentary affairs minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi who had sought a clarification on the campaign by Presidential candidates.

At the same time, the Congress hit out at BJP leader L.K Advani’s letter to the Election Commission that Presidential candidates should be asked to declare their antecedents and assets, saying this was nothing but an attempt to mislead the people. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said if the BJP was really serious about this move, it should have acted on it when it was in power for five years or during the last Presidential poll. In any case, he said, amending and changing laws does not fall within the purview of the Election Commission but the government and it should have placed it before the UPA.

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Advani writes to EC
BJP wants Patil to disclose pending cases, dues
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
Maintaining pressure on the Congress-led UPA and the Left, leader of the Opposition L K Advani today sought the Election Commission's intervention to seek information about criminal cases or dues of government bodies or financial institutions, if any, pending against any presidential candidate, including the ruling alliance candidate Pratibha Patil.

Today's move came after the UPA and the Left had turned down Advani's appeal to the ruling alliance to replace Patil with any other suitable candidate.

In a letter which was handed over to the Election Commission by a BJP delegation comprising Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Ravi Shanker Prasad, Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Ananth Kumar, Advani said it was important that the background of each candidate in relation to pending criminal cases and dues of the government bodies and financial institutions were disclosed.

The commission would be failing in its duties, if it did not carry the judicial pronouncement to its logical conclusion and make effective the Right to Information and knowledge available to each voter. The exercise of power under Article 324 is coupled with a constitutional duty. It is incumbent upon the commission to make exercise of voting right effective.

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Lalu drums up support for Pratibha
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 2
After the Congress and the Left, it’s now the turn of the union railways minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav to drump up support for UPA’s presidential candidate Pratibha Patil.

Talking to mediapersons after inaugurating RJD’s district unit office in Saran today, Lalu claimed that the UPA candidate would win by a huge margin of at least 1.5 lakh votes. “There is no chance of cross voting in the presidential poll as all the UPA constituents are solidly backing the candidature of Pratibha Patil,” he maintained.

Lalu alleged that vice-president and Independent candidate in the presidential poll Bhairon Singh Shekhawat entered the fray just to create confusion among the voters.

He also lashed out at the NDA for its criticism of Pratibha Patil. Criticising L.K. Advani, Lalu said he was an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case when he assumed the post.

At a meeting of party leaders held at his residence on saturday, Lalu reportedly asked all MLAs and MPs of his party to be present when Pratibha Patil visits Patna to campaign in her favour.

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Gujarat
Rain claims 14 lives

Ahmedabad, July 2
Heavy rains in several parts of Gujarat threw life out of gear, forcing the administration to mobilise army and paramilitary forces for rescue operations, even as death-toll in rain related incidents reached 14.

"We are mobilising the army in the rural areas of Ahmedabad as several pockets of the district are still inundated even though rain has subsided since this morning," said D Thara, District Collector, Ahmedabad.

In Junagadh district, heavy water logging has been reported in several parts.

About 700 school children in Alfa school in Junagadh town are kept inside the school premises as precautionary measure as the administration does not want to risk leaving them due to the adverse weather conditions.

"About 1,500 people have been evacuated from Dandhuka region of the district", she added.

A police constable was swept in flood water near Botad town of Bhavnagar district last night, official sources said.

Of the 10 persons who were swept away in Orsang river of Vadodara district, only five bodies have been recovered.

"Four persons have died in Bharuch district following a wall collapse in the town last night," said N V Upadhaya, Resident Deputy Collector, Bharuch.

About 1,000 people have been evacuated from Bharuch with the district receiving 462 mm of rains in last 24 hours. The administration has pressed boats in Bhadra taluka where 250 people are stranded in the flood waters.

In Navsari district of South Gujarat, all the three major rivers have been in spate following heavy rains. About 1,000 people living in low-lying areas of the district have been evacuated.

Similarly, heavy downpour in Bhavnagar district has forced the district administration to evacuate about 1,200 people.

Water in several major dams in Gujarat, including the Sardar Sarovar dam, have been over-flowing. Alerts have been issued to about 72 villages (in Vadodara and Bharuch districts) located downstream the Narmada river.

About 45,000 cusecs of water has been released from this dam due to the heavy rains in catchment areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Traffic on the national highway number eight which connects Ahmedabad to Mumbai witnessed jams at several places due to the rains. — PTI

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Rain Fury
Over 9,000 evacuated in Maharashtra
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 2
More than 9,000 people have been evacuated from different parts of Maharashtra as heavy rains inundated low lying areas of the state. Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, who also heads the state home department, told reporters this morning that the death toll across the state following the rains had touched 52. He added that emergency evacuation measures had been implemented in all the flood-hit districts to prevent loss of lives.

Relief camps had been set up in government-run schools and other institutions to accommodate the evacuees.

Recounting his visit to the affected areas, Patil said the worst-hit areas included places in Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Satara and Mumbai. He gave the death toll as Amravati district (13), Thane (10), Kolhapur (9), Konkan division (8), Mumbai (5), Nagpur (4) and Nasik (1).

The cause of deaths included drowning, being struck by lightening and snake bites in flooded areas. In all about 16 districts had been affected by the rains.

The government had ordered that leave of all officials in the disaster management department be cancelled.

A number of trains continues to remain cancelled. The Central Railway has cancelled eight trains after flooding on tracks on some routes.

The trains cancelled are - Ferozepur Janta Express, 31 Down Kutch Express, Saurashtra Express, Jammu Tawi Express, Intercity Express, 39 Down Ahmedabad Express.

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20 protesters hurt in lathicharge, 200 held
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 2
The police and the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) workers today clashed in front of the Assembly over Tapashi Mallick's killing, and the Singur and Nandigram issues. The police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the protesters which mostly included women.

About 20 SUCI women workers and some policemen were injured in the clashes. Over 200 demonstrators, which included 180 women, had been arrested from the spot and taken to Lal Bazaar.

On the first day of the re-assembled Budget session today, the house was suspended within 15 minutes following the adoption of condolence resolutions on the death of the several eminent personnel, political leaders, MPs and MLAs.

But when the meeting was to begin, there were protests and angry demonstrations from the Opposition Bench for protesting against the speaker's earlier decision against any discussions on the Singur-Nandigram issues on the plea that these matters were sub-judice.

As a result of the demonstrations, judges, advocates and other office-goers who were to reach the adjoining Calcutta High Court and other government offices to attend to their duties experienced much inconvenience.

The trouble began around 10 am when some 2,000 SUCI workers and supporters assembled near the north gate of the Assembly and suddenly started demonstrating demanding the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's resignation and the hanging of the arrested CPM leaders involved in the gruesome killing of Tapashi on December 18 at Singur inside Tata Motors plant site.

At that time, the Chief Minister, other ministers and MLAs were to arrive at the Assembly to attend the opening of "restored" Budget session, which was suspended in April.

The police tried to persuade the demonstrators to leave but they failed. They resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd as the Chief Minister's convey was to reach the place at that time.

Later, addressing the Left Front MLAs, the Chief Minister asked them to maintain peace and not get provoked by any means during the ongoing Budget session. He reiterated that the government's decision of industrialisation and the setting up of chemical hubs would be implemented at all cost.

He assured that on each proposal, he would try to adopt a consensus by involving the Opposition MLAs. He said the government would not interfere into the CBI inquiry on the Tapashi's death and the persons arrested would be dealt with according to the law.

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Maoists kill villagers following ‘kangaroo court’ orders
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 2
Even before the police could properly act to combat the Maoists following the attack on Rajpur police station in Rohtas district on Saturday killing nine persons,the Left-wing ultras struck again.

Nearly 150 armed Maoists staged a "people's court", popularly known as kangaroo court, at Sasuni village under Pakihrdayal thana in East Champaran district on Sunday night and pronounced death sentence on three men,guilty of being police informers.

Subsequently two villagers,Sambhu Shah and Meghu Mahato, were beaten to death and another Laxmi Shah was seriously injured on orders issued by the kangaroo court in presence of villagers.

This was the third time in past few months when the Maoists held people`s court to punish villagers,mostly land owners,for acting as police informers in different districts of central and north Bihar reportedly with the support of poor villagers.

The police said the Maoists ordered the three to be beaten to death following which they were clobbered by batons leading to the death of two men. Police teams were rushed to the area and raids were being conducted to nab the Maoists and their accomplices.

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Pranab leaves for Ethiopia today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee will leave for a four-day visit to Ethiopia tomorrow to further cement India’s ties with the African country as well as the 53-nation African Union (AU).

India’s candidature for permanent membership of the United Nations’ Security Council will come up for in-depth discussions during Mukherjee’s visit to Ethiopia. One of the scheduled important meetings of Mukherjee is with AU Commission chairperson Alpha Ounar Konare.

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Women-friendly budget in Uttarakhand
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 2
Proposing no new taxes, the Uttarakhand government today presented the first revenue surplus budget of the state since its formation showing revenue surplus of Rs 943 crore.

Presenting his first budget for 2007-08, Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri said the state government brought down the fiscal deficit estimated in the budget to 4.47 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

To follow the fiscal correction path, laid down in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management, the state government had to bring down its fiscal deficit below 4.54 per cent of the GDSP.

The total revenue receipts were estimated at Rs 9,016 crore while revenue expenditure was at Rs 8,072.58 crore. The total receipts were estimated at Rs 10,868.60 crore while total estimated expenditure was Rs 11,128.23 crore. The total annual plan for 2007-08 is estimated at Rs 4,378 crore which was Rs 378 crore more than last year's plan outlay.

Announcing several new schemes for women, Khanduri in his budget speech termed his first budget as a “Gender Budget” aimed at empowerment of women of the hill state, who significantly contributed in the struggle for the formation of the state.

The government would launch “Gaura Devi Kanya Dhan Yojna’' with a budget provision of Rs 20 crore to encourage higher education among girls belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families.

The government would provide cooking gas connections on a priority basis to women living in the hills at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore. Neo-natal units would be started in all government hospitals to protect infants from life-threatening diseases.

Training programmes for elected women panchayats would be conducted throughout the state. The budget had a provision of Rs 253 crore for the primary education in the state. Besides, a provision of Rs 177 crore had been made for drinking water supply in rural areas.

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Panel on J&K troops to meet on July 5
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
The second meeting of the committee, appointed by the government for possible relocation and reconfiguration of troops deployed in the troubled Jammu and Kashmir, is scheduled to be held in Srinagar on July 5.

The meeting will be chaired by defence secretary Shekhar Dutt and is also expected to be attended by the Srinagar-based Corps Commander, Lt-Gen S.K. Sekhon, top brass of the CRPF and the state police chief Gopal Sharma, besides senior officials from the Intelligence Bureau.

Although defence minister A.K. Antony has stressed that there will be no troop reduction in the state, the UPA coalition partner PDP and its leaders have been demanding that there should be reconfiguration of troops.

The panel has to ensure that cardinal aspects of security are not compromised in any manner even if the a decision is taken to relocate the troops. The Army has expressed reservation on the reduction of troops to the Centre and it hopes that its advice will be followed.

The meeting will also examine if security forces could be relocated from some orchards, hospital and government schools but was against any reduction from civilian areas as the state government had pointed out that political activities had started picking up in view of assembly elections next year.

The meeting will also discuss the report of the Unified Command, chaired by home minister Shivraj Patil last week, which highlighted the fact that infiltration had increased with militants entering the state by cutting the barbed wire fencing at several places.

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IAS still the youth’s first choice: Survey
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
Despite complaints of falling standards and relatively low salary, a majority of the youth still prefer Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as the first choice, according to an industry chamber.

Assocham, which conducted a survey of 300 young executives, says that a majority of the respondents preferred IAS as their first choice as it provided visible and invisible perks, social status and benefits with job security, which remain totally incompatible with their private sector counterparts.

The survey sample included 300 young executives opted for placement in the corporate sector.

The assertions that civil services are losing their sheen are totally malicious and disparaging as every aspirant cannot withstand the rigours of layers of civil service examination, said Assocham president Venugopal N. Dhoot.

Releasing the survey, Dhoot said, “65 per cent of the executives, however, feel that since other channels for employment have opened up, particularly information, communication and technology as the wave of liberalisation has advanced, but it will be wrong to conclude that the first grade talent is being attracted in these sectors and it is the only second-hand talent that is opting for civil services”.

Over 70 per cent said the private sector did offer handsome package to young and bright executives for career making in which certainty for sustenance is always missing and it has a negative impact on personality making. While, in civil services, confidence building is a regular exercise as a result of continuous learning process with no element of uncertainty befalling any civil servant.

Seventy per cent of the respondents, however, regretted that impressions had been gaining ground that mediocrity was prevailing in the civil services.

Fiftyfive per cent of the respondents have blamed the system for discouraging brighter and brilliant young men and women from opting for civil services due to often reported political interference, which amount to demotivation.

Seventy five per cent of the executives argued that the private sector did pay them higher salaries with a lot of perks but the sword was always hanging over their heads. The element of job security was hardly there as no one was sure whether he or she would be able to retain his or her job despite working hard.

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TRS activists lay siege to secretariat
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 2
The Telangana movement took an ominous turn today with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) activists attempting to lay siege to the Secretariat, the administrative headquarters, demanding immediate repatriation of non-local employees.

Thousands of TRS workers from across Telangana region, including party MPs and MLAs, converged at Indira Park here and then marched towards Secretariat as part of their agitation to press for implementation of a 22-year-old Government Order that provided for sending back the excess, non-local staff to their respective zones.

Sensing trouble, the government stepped up security, turning the Secretariat into a virtual fortress.

Hundreds of TRS activists, including MP Ravindra Naik, MLAs Harish Rao and N Narasimha Reddy, were arrested by the police from various places.

The G.O 610, issued in 1985, was meant to rectify regional anomalies in employment and the alleged discrimination against people of the backward Telangana region. It had its roots in the agitation for separate Telangana state that had rocked Andhra in 1969.

Kept under wraps by the successive governments, the G.O 610 has become a potent political weapon for TRS.

The contentious issue has created rift among employees' unions and political parties, so much so that parallel demonstrations were organised by rival unions in support of their stand.

While the government had fixed June 30 as the deadline for issuing repatriation orders, the state administrative tribunal stayed the order issued by the Chief Secretary in this regard.

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Missing Children
NHRC for national tracking system
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has suggested the creation of a national tracking system for tracing missing children.

A committee on missing children, chaired by NHRC member and former CBI director P.C. Sharma, has recommended that such a system be put in place by the National Crime Record Bureau to facilitate prompt reporting of cases of missing children and expediting their rescue.

Sharma told mediapersons here today that just as cases of custodial death were required to be reported to the NHRC within 24 hours, all cases of missing children from any corner of the country should be reported to the proposed national body.

The committee has recommended that every police station in the country should have special squad/missing persons desk to trace missing children. It has also suggested that the missing persons/children cell in the CBI be strengthened.

It has said the state police headquarters should evolve a system of mandatory reporting of cases of missing children to the newly constituted National Commission for Protection of Child Rights within 24 hours.

Apart from recommending the involvement of non-government organisations in tracing missing children, the commission has suggested special vigil at railway stations, bus stands, airports, seaports and other places, that are used as transit points for missing children.

The NHRC set up a five-member committee in February to look into the aspect of missing children after a large number of children went missing from Nithari village in Noida.

In any given year, an average of 44,000 children are reported missing, according to the NHRC Action Research on Trafficking published by Orient Longman in 2005. Of these, as many as 11,000 remain untraced.

As per the latest Crime in India Report 2005 published by the National Crime Record Bureau, 14,975 cases of crimes against children were reported in the country during 2005 as compared to 14,423 cases in 2004. In 2005, 3,518 cases of kidnapping were reported across the country compared to 3,196 in 2004.

Delhi reported the highest percentage of such crimes (kidnapping up to 15 years). Despite such appalling statistics, the issue of missing children is of low priority in the eyes of law enforcement agencies.

“The police does not register an FIR for complaints of missing children. Registering an FIR means accountability,” says Sharma, who has interacted with the police and visited several children homes in Andamans, Bihar, Delhi and Gujarat.

The committee has pointed out that the issue of missing children is not a cognisable offence. It has said the state governments should consider issuing directions to the law enforcement agencies to set a time limit of 15 days for registering an FIR from the date a case of a missing child is reported.

The committee has got recommendations on the matter from the CBI and the Delhi Police. It will send copies of the report to the ministry of home affairs and directors general of police in different states.

Asked why the commission was not intervening to ensure justice to parents of Nithari victims, NHRC chairperson Justice Rajendra Babu said, “The commission’s jurisdiction is limited. We cannot interfere in investigation. The problem of missing children has become a matter of grave concern for everybody”.

Sharma said, “Let me make it very clear that Nithari has not been sidelined by us. The NHRC is not into the investigation of criminal cases. We have taken into account the seriousness of the problem. We have devised guidelines for tracing missing children and sending them back to their families. We hope that the guidelines would prevent the recurrence of incidents reported from Nithari”.

Defending the commission’s position on Nithari, Sharma said, “We took a strong stand on Nithari. We sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government and it had the desired impact. The case was handed over to the CBI for investigation. The court is overseeing who has been charge-sheeted and who is not”. 

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Boy ends life imitating movie scene

Kanpur, July 2
Trying to imitate a scene he was watching on TV, a 10-year-old boy allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in his house here yesterday.

Virendra hanged himself in his bathroom with his mother's ‘dupatta’, the police said.

The boy’s mother Ramrati said Virendra was trying to reconstruct a scene from a film that he was watching on TV in which the heroine was shown committing suicide.

The police are investigating. — PTI

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