SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Narrow considerations can distort national vision: PM
New Delhi, November 5
In a veiled reference to the Left parties pressure on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said narrow political considerations could distort the national vision and sense of collective purpose.
Inter-state council secretariat secretary Amitabha Pande (centre) presents 'Conference reader' to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Comoros President Ahmed A.M. Sambi looks on during the fourth International Conference on Federalism in New Delhi on Monday.
Inter-state council secretariat secretary Amitabha Pande (centre) presents 'Conference reader' to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Comoros President Ahmed A.M. Sambi looks on during the fourth International Conference on Federalism in New Delhi on Monday.
 — AFP

‘Uneven development can give rise to terrorism’
New Delhi, November 5
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today warned that concentration of authority and power only in the hands of the federal unit would be anathema to the whole system.





EARLIER STORIES




Activists under the banner of the All-India Sikh Students Federation raise slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi on Monday to demand "justice" for the victims of the 1984 Sikh massacre and a fair and open inquiry against those who were presumably involved in the massacre.
Activists under the banner of the All-India Sikh Students Federation raise slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi on Monday to demand "justice" for the victims of the 1984 Sikh massacre and a fair and open inquiry against those who were presumably involved in the massacre. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Now, LJP wants to use railways for its rally
Patna, November 5
The Railways seemingly continues to thrive on "Lalunomics", as it is the LJP now, on the pattern of the RJD, that is targeting this biggest public sector unit(PSU) to ferry its supporters from Bihar and Jharkhand during its proposed rally in Patna on November 28.

Lalu violating security norms: Nitish
Patna, November 5
Defending his government’s recent decision to withdraw additional security to railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today charged him with violating security norms.

Delhi land scam kingpin formally charged
New Delhi, November 5
The CBI today filed charges against businessman Ashok Malhotra, six Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials, and a government official for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-rupee land scam in the Capital.

SP, Cong for ban on sale of Periyar’s book
Lucknow, October 5
Virtually stealing the thunder from BJP’s virulent attack on Periyar’s “Sachchi Ramayana”, both Samajwadi Party and Congress sought a ban on the sale of the book, in the Vidhan Sabha today.

97 fishermen back home
Chennai, November 5
All 97 Indian fishermen, who were allegedly taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy, returned to their villages in Nagpattinam district of Tamil Nadu this morning.

HC bail for UP ex-chief secy
New Delhi, November 5
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Akhand Pratap Singh in a disproportionate assets case.

N-deal: Mulford meets Sinha
New Delhi, November 5
US ambassador David C. Mulford today met BJP pointsman on the Indo-US nuclear deal and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha.

A killing provoked by littering isn’t murder: SC
New Delhi, November 5
Throwing waste at someone's place is a "grave and sudden provocation", and a person who kills cannot be convicted of murder, the Supreme Court said.

M Karunanidhi Congress downplays Karuna’s remarks
New Delhi, November 5
Embarrased over Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s remarks over slain LTTE leader S.P. Thamilchelvan, the Congress today sought to downplay the issue, saying that his views were personal and the party did not subscribe to them. Though the party did not outrightly condemn Karunanidhi’s remarks, it did convey its disapproval.

MDMK chief’s poser to DMK
Chennai, November 5
MDMK chief Vaiko today asked whether the DMK would quit the Congress-led UPA government in view of the Congress’s opposition to the LTTE.

Verbal showdown between CM, Chandrababu Naidu
Hyderabad, November 5
The slanging match between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Rajasekhar Reddy and Telugu Desam Party president N.Chandrababu Naidu touched a new low today when the former asked his bete noir to "shut up" during the course of a heated exchange.

Uma Khurana files suit against TV channel
New Delhi, November 5
School teacher Uma Khurana, who was let off by the police after a fake TV sting operation showed her running an alleged sex racket, today filed a defamation case against the channel and its CEO.

Make children aware of their rights: Panel
New Delhi, November 5
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sent instructions to states regarding how they should celebrate Children’s Day this year.

Army to showcase its Northeast efforts
New Delhi, November 5
The Defence Pavilion will highlight the Army’s efforts in the Northeast during the forthcoming India International Trade Fair, which begins on November 14.

Armed forces modernisation not at cost of transparency: Antony
New Delhi, November 5
The government today said it was making all-out efforts to modernise the country's armed forces by equipping it with sophisticated weaponry systems, but it would neither tolerate corruption nor allow transparency to become a casualty in the process.

Give more rights, financial resources to states: Left
New Delhi, November 5
The Left parties today made a strong case for conferring more rights and financial resources on the states and contested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's perception on the coalition governments hindering the ''collective purpose'' of the states.

Arms Act case sought against Pataudi
Faridabad, November 5
The case against former Indian cricket team captain Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and seven others for allegedly killing a black buck and two hares developed a new twist when the prosecution tried to get him booked under the Arms Act, apart from the Wildlife Act.

A VIP-level obstacle for Lalu’s son
Patna, November 5
Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son, Tej Pratap, today got the taste of what it is like to be on the other side of a VIP security barricade.

Senior ULFA leader held
Sibsagar, November 5
A senior leader of the banned ULFA and his ‘corporal’ wife were arrested in the Upper Assam’s Sibsagar district today, the police said.

Rs 300 cr for UP road repair
New Delhi, November 5
Road transport and highways minister T.R. Baalu has approved Rs 3,122.22 lakh for road improvement work in Uttar Pradesh.

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Narrow considerations can distort national vision: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 5
In a veiled reference to the Left parties pressure on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said narrow political considerations could distort the national vision and sense of collective purpose.

“Sometimes the resolution of problems acquires an excessively political hue, and narrow political considerations, based on regional or sectional loyalties and ideologies, can distort the national vision and sense of collective purpose,” the Prime Minister told delegates at the fourth International Conference on Federalism at Vigyan Bhavan here.

Outlining unique problems faced by coalitions at the centre that comprise regional parties, he said: “This political dimension of the centre-state relations is yet another challenge facing a federal polity like ours. We may have a lot to learn from the experience of other countries in this regard.”

The Prime Minister urged the three-day conference to reflect on whether the single party state have advantages in managing the centre-state relations better as opposed to a multi-party system.

Pointing that the Indian experience of multi-party model with national parties dominating the political scene in managing the centre-state relations also gives rise to serious tensions, he cited the example of river water disputes involving various states.

“It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that we have found it easier to manage bilateral agreements with neighbours on river water sharing than domestic disputes between states…Similar issues arise in the management of our mineral and hydrocarbon resources,” the Prime Minister said.

Strongly pitching for reducing inter-regional disparities and for promoting unity in diversity in a federal polity, Dr Singh said: “Reducing such disparities is essential for the success of a federation. This has been an important challenge in India.”

“Both the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission, through a system of transfer of resources from the centre to the states, have played a constructive role in reducing inter-regional disparities and promoting balanced, social and economic development across the country,” he said.

“Even then, inter-regional disparities in the level of development persist and constitute a major challenge for our federal polity,” the Prime Minister said.

Asserting that federalism as a concept cannot be static and that there is no unique solution to the problem of striking a balance between national and sub-national needs, he said the forces driving economic unification have driven unification on other plans as well.

“I wonder whether the day is not far away when the concept absolute sovereignty may itself come into question. As rule based international regimes permeate various forms of human endeavour, we may see states giving up sovereign rights for the larger benefit of mankind,” the Prime Minister said. Technological developments too have their bearing on the evolution of federalism, he added.

Around 1,000 persons from around the world, including heads of states, experts and activists, are participating in the three-day conference.

The conference, organised by the Canada-based Forum of Federations and the Inter-State Council Secretariat of the Indian home ministry, aims at promoting an exchange of ideas of federalism that can help countries wracked by ethnic violence.

Besides, Manmohan Singh, the Indian delegation includes Congress president Sonia Gandhi, opposition leader L.K. Advani and home minister Shivraj Patil. Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey and Ahmed Abdallah M Sambi, President of Comoros, Nigerian Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi are also participating in the conference.

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‘Uneven development can give rise to terrorism’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 5
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today warned that concentration of authority and power only in the hands of the federal unit would be anathema to the whole system.

Chatterjee argued that the distribution of powers between the Centre and the states should not be preponderantly in favour of the Centre, while the states are starved of minimal financial resources and adequate constitutional authority. Such a situation will result in an uneven development of the country and will give rise to feelings of alienation from the mainstream. “There should not be a feeling of discriminatory treatment between the federating units, which will only help in fomenting regionalism and may ultimately give rise to militancy and terrorism,” he cautioned.

He emphasised on the need for decentralisation and pointed out that the Indian Constitution provided for sharing of power between the Union and the States and also within the States, through district and other local self- governing bodies.

Chatterjee, while delivering the presidential address at a discussion session the fourth International Conference on Federalism in New Delhi today, said: “Through landmark constitutional amendments, our Parliament has provided for grass-root institutions of governance, namely the panchayats and the nagar palikas as important units of self governance. The emergence of such bodies has substantially helped in the decentralisation of power, which on its turn has helped in strengthening grassroots democracy and local participatory governance. In fact, the success of the Panchayti Raj Institutions in India is a testimony to the success of the near-federal structure of India’s highly pluralistic and diverse democratic polity”.

The Speaker, speaking on the role of Parliament in Indian context, stressed that Parliament, as the supreme representative institution of the people, was the fulcrum and the pivot.

Federal India can make better progress: Badal

Calling for “comprehensive restructuring” of the Constitution to “bring it in line with federal character of country,” Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said today that the word “federal” should be inserted into the Preamble to the Constitution and subjects on the union and the state lists should be redistributed to allow the states to exploit their full potential for development.

“It makes no sense for a country of federal diversity to have a unitary Constitution. India is on the thresh-hold of fulfilling its famed tryst with destiny but a centralist structure of governance can ruin a glorious opportunity as it can throttle the vast potential of its constituent units and reduce their capacity for contributing to the overall well being of the people. Strong states mean a strong India,” he said in a statement after taking part in the 4th International Conference on Federalism.

Calling for a complete decentralisation of the planning process, Badal demanded allocation of 35 per cent share for states in the central taxes and distribution of Rajya Sabha seats on the principle of equality between states.

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Now, LJP wants to use railways for its rally
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 5
The Railways seemingly continues to thrive on "Lalunomics", as it is the LJP now, on the pattern of the RJD, that is targeting this biggest public sector unit(PSU) to ferry its supporters from Bihar and Jharkhand during its proposed rally in Patna on November 28.

The venue of the LJP’s "Bihar Sankalp rally" is also the same Gandhi Maidan where the RJD had brought its supporters from far-flung districts of the state and adjacent Jharkhand by hiring a record number of 35 special trains against fair price from the Railways for its Chetawani (warning) rally on October 28 to kickstart the campaign for the ouster of the Nitish government. The Railways was reported to have earned about Rs 1.65 crore by exclusively ferrying RJD supporters as its passangers, which was its first-ever such mega exercice for a political rally in memorable past.

LJP state general secretary Dinanth Kranti told media here that as advised by the party supremo Ramvilas Paswan, he had urged the Railways to consider running special trains to ferry LJP suporters and workers too for the proposed "Bihar sankalp rally" from different parts of the state and Jharkhand as it did for the RJD’s Chetawani rally.

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Lalu violating security norms: Nitish

Patna, November 5
Defending his government’s recent decision to withdraw additional security to railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today charged him with violating security norms.

“The state government has viewed seriously the violation of security norms by the railway minister and would write to the union home ministry soon. He (Lalu) never cares to inform the administration about his movement and itinerary in advance so that proper security cover can be provided to him,” Nitish told reporters on the sidelines of his ‘Janata Durbar.’

Nitish said he had been informed that Lalu Prasad, who enjoyed Z plus security cover provided by the centre, never allowed elite National Security Guard (NSG) personnel to sit in his vehicle in violation of security guidelines and the state government would inform the home ministry about it.

Trying to put at rest the controversy over withdrawal of security cover provided by the state government to Lalu Prasad, Nitish said the Bihar Special Security Group Act, passed during RJD rule in 2000, provided security by the state government to former chief ministers for at least five years from the day they demitted office.

In the case of Lalu, this was extended by the previous government for five years in 2002 and the period ended on September 25 and hence the security cover provided to him by the state was withdrawn, the Chief Minister said.

“How much security does he (Lalu) want? He has been provided with Z plus security, NSG guards, one company of CRPF besides he has access to Railway Protection Force. I fail to understand why he is so security conscious ... I personally feel that people leading public life should not be security conscious,” Nitish said.

Lalu said he had no complaint over withdrawal of security to him and the administration could even withdraw the security cover to Rabri Devi.

“The state government has provided a rickety bullet proof car to Rabri Devi and it will be better if the government takes it back”, Lalu said. — PTI

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Delhi land scam kingpin formally charged

New Delhi, November 5
The CBI today filed charges against businessman Ashok Malhotra, six Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials, and a government official for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-rupee land scam in the Capital.

“We have filed a charge-sheet in a special CBI court in Tis Hazari against the DAA officials for criminal prosecution, cheating, forgery and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act for fraudulently allotting land meant for rehabilitation of slum dwellers at Dheerpur Phase-I to Malhotra,” a CBI official said.

An official of the Delhi Secretariat was also charged.

“Malhotra, kingpin of the land scam, was also charged for the same offences,” the official added.

Malhotra, known for his proximity to some key Delhi politicians, had allegedly siphoned off millions of rupees in association with five DDA officials and a private contractor by selling at exorbitant prices plots meant to be given to displaced slum-dwellers in northwest Delhi’s Dheerpur area.

The CBI probe began after he figured along with the five DDA officials in illegal allotment of the plots using fictitious names.

According to CBI sources, Malhotra was also involved in selling plots under other resettlement schemes of the DDA to people with fake identities.

The scam reportedly took place between 2000 and 2002.

The CBI had last month registered a case against the five DDA officers - deputy directors K.S. Verma and A.K. Mishra, assistant director J.R. Gaur and assistant engineers Shyam Babu and S.K. Sharma - for their alleged role in the scam.

During raids on his home in Mukherjee Nagar in August, the CBI claimed to have found several incriminating documents related to the land scam, Rs 1.7 million in cash, seven kg of gold and at least 50 luxury cars and 10 motor cycles - all bearing VIP number plates. — IANS

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SP, Cong for ban on sale of Periyar’s book
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 5
Virtually stealing the thunder from BJP’s virulent attack on Periyar’s “Sachchi Ramayana”, both Samajwadi Party and Congress sought a ban on the sale of the book, in the Vidhan Sabha today.

In a case of one-upmanship as soon as the house reassembled on Monday morning, Leader of the Opposition former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav took the lead in demanding a ban on the book, terming it a blot on the cultural heritage of the country.

Within seconds, the entire Opposition was on its feet and the SP and BJP quickly occupied the well, forcing speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar to repeatedly adjourn the house.

Finally, all opposition parties moved an adjournment motion on the issue. The BJP had first raised the matter more than a fortnight ago. It had also announced to take it up inside the house and on the streets today. As a matter of fact, the BJP had even issued a whip for today’s session to ensure the presence of all its legislators.

What, therefore, came as a surprise was the main opposition party, Samajwadi Party, which had so far abstained from commenting on the issue, taking it up so vociferously.

The entire opposition, in one voice, criticised the Mayawati government for the reported promotion of the Periyar book.

”Sachchi Ramayana”, written by social reformer and Dalit icon E.V.Ramaswamy Naickar Periyar, contains remarks about Ram that are now being found derogatory by the entire opposition in the state. Periyar, incidentally, describes Ram as a mythical character.

Converting the issue into a national one by attempting to take the wind out of BJP’s sails, SP national president Yadav said the Periyar controversy had the potential to rock the nation and was not the concern of the BJP alone.

“The Constitution makes it amply clear that all religions must be respected by the citizens of this country. It is downright shameful that such published matter should be allowed to be sold in the state,” declared Yadav.

Demanding an apology from the BSP, Yadav urged the Brahmin face of the party, Satish Chandra Misra, to explain what he thinks of Sita’s character as depicted in Periyar’s book.

He warned that the availability of such literature would have serious consequences. “After showing disrespect to Mahatma Gandhi, the BSP is now bent upon demolishing the sacredness of gods and goddesses,” alleged Yadav.

Not sparing the Congress either, the former Chief Minister said that the party had helped in the formation of the first BSP government in 1995. “It is the same BSP which is now responsible for all this,” he pointed out.

Having to content himself by playing second fiddle to the SP, BJP leader in the house, Om Prakash Singh, who had recently claimed to have discovered Periyar’s book, described its contents.

“In the 70-page book, 68 pages have been used to denounce Ram and the remaining two pages have been used to glorify Ravana. This is not a political issue, but one that concerns the unity and integrity of the country,” claimed Singh, adding that Ram was revered by a majority of the country, but the book had termed him as a “fraud, drunkard, impotent and cunning”.

Demanding a ban on the book, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari reminded the house that as the BJP had supported the same Mayawati during her previous three terms, it had lost the right to oppose it now.

However, joining issue on the book, Tiwari said that if it was continued to be sold, it could incite violence, for which the present Mayawati government would be solely responsible.

Defending the state government, parliamentary affairs minister Lalji Varma said the entire opposition had joined hands in frustration over the reverses suffered during the recent Vidhan Sabha elections.

In the absence of any real issue, they were desperately trying to rake up old issues, he charged. Since the first publication of the book, all these parties have been in and out of power in the state and the Centre, but had not bothered to ban the book, he revealed. 

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97 fishermen back home
Tribune News Service

Chennai, November 5
All 97 Indian fishermen, who were allegedly taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy, returned to their villages in Nagpattinam district of Tamil Nadu this morning.

The fishermen from Akkaraipettai and Keechankuppam villages in the district were nabbed by the Sri Lankan Navy on October 31 after their 17 boats had strayed into Sri Lankan waters while they were fishing.

Narrating their experience, one of the released fishermen, Selvaraj, said they were fishing in the deep-sea when Sri Lankan naval boats surrounded them and they were asked to surrender at gunpoint. They were then taken to an army camp on the island-nation and handed over to the police.

However, official sources said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister after learning of the arrests, immediately intervened and subsequently Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse ordered their release.

The Sri Lankan Navy then brought them to the International Maritime Boundary Line and handed them over to the Indian Navy yesterday night and they reached their homes this morning.

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HC bail for UP ex-chief secy

New Delhi, November 5
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Akhand Pratap Singh in a disproportionate assets case.

Justice V B Gupta said,” nothing is on record to show that he tried to tamper with evidence after the lower court’s order.” The court rejected CBI’s opposition to the bail petition.

The court had earlier stayed the bail granted to the former bureaucrat on October 22 when he was to be released. Singh was arrested on September 25. He has allegedly acquired as many as 92 immovable properties in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand which were worth over Rs 5 crore. — UNI

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N-deal: Mulford meets Sinha

New Delhi, November 5
US ambassador David C. Mulford today met BJP pointsman on the Indo-US nuclear deal and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha.

It is understood that Mulford’s agenda for the meeting was the nuclear deal and the BJP’s strident opposition to it. Sinha, in response to reporters’ questions after the meeting, said there was no confusion in the BJP on the issue. He said the BJP’s decision to ask the government to renegotiate the nuclear deal was taken after due process of deliberation. He argued that there was no confusion in the BJP over the deal, rather it was the media that was divided into camps. — TNS

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A killing provoked by littering isn’t murder: SC

New Delhi, November 5
Throwing waste at someone's place is a "grave and sudden provocation", and a person who kills cannot be convicted of murder, the Supreme Court said.

In such a case of killing, the accused can be convicted only for the offence of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder," the apex court said, while reducing the life sentence of an accused charged with killing a person over the dispute.

"In our opinion, throwing waste and rubbish inside the house or shop of somebody is certainly a grave and sudden provocation. Everyone wishes to keep his premises neat and clean, and is likely to lose his self-control in such a situation," a Bench of Justices A K Mathur and Markandeya Katju observed.

The Bench made the observation, while reducing to five year of rigorous imprisonment, the life sentence of Mithu, an employee of a paper merchant in Tamil Nadu, who stabbed to death a rag picker Siva on April 9, 1998, after the latter allegedly threw rubbish into the shop.

According to the prosecution, after Siva threw the rubbish, an altercation ensued between the two during which Muthu picked up a knife lying in the shop and stabbed the former resulting in his death. — PTI

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Congress downplays Karuna’s remarks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 5
Embarrased over Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s remarks over slain LTTE leader S.P. Thamilchelvan, the Congress today sought to downplay the issue, saying that his views were personal and the party did not subscribe to them.

Though the party did not outrightly condemn Karunanidhi’s remarks, it did convey its disapproval. The Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the party disapproves Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s mourning the death of the LTTE leader Thamilchelvan. She said LTTE was an organisation banned in the country.

“We cannot forget the action perpetrated by the LTTE that killed our great leader (former prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi,” Natarajan said. She said the party will not forget the actions of LTTE and not support eulogising terrorism in any form. The party, she said, contines to call for punishment for the those who assasinated Rajiv Gandhi.

LTTE militants assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. Natarajan was also present in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991, when Gandhi was killed during an election campaign.

The Congress had withdrawn support to the United Front government over the Jain Commission report which reportedly had certain references to the DMK’s tacit support to the LTTE. The DMK is a constituent of the ruling UPA.

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MDMK chief’s poser to DMK

Chennai, November 5
MDMK chief Vaiko today asked whether the DMK would quit the Congress-led UPA government in view of the Congress’s opposition to the LTTE.

In a statement, Vaiko said the Congress withdrew support from the United Front government in 1997 on the plea that the DMK continued in the government despite indictment of some DMK

men by the Jain Commission, which probed the conspiracy angle of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

But the same Congress and the DMK struck an alliance in 2004, Vaiko said and asked what was the basis for it.

Vaiko’s comments came in the wake of Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani’s remark that the MDMK should break its alliance with the AIADMK as the latter opposed the LTTE.

He wanted to know whether Veeramani was prepared to advise the DMK to break its alliance with the Congress, whose leader G. K. Vasan had said his party would never forgive the LTTE.

“Does Veeramani has the guts to ask the DMK to leave the UPA,” he asked.

Accusing the Manmohan Singh government of supplying arms to the Sri Lankan government, which were being used against Tamils in the Island Republic, he said the UPA government was committing a “great betrayal of Sri Lankan Tamils.”

“It was Veeramani, who knew well about the AIADMK’s stand on the LTTE, who had prevailed upon him to side with the AIADMK and even offered to mediate between the parties personally,” he said. But all of a sudden, Veeramani made a U-turn to support the DMK,” Vaiko alleged. — PTI

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Verbal showdown between CM, Chandrababu Naidu
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 5
The slanging match between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Rajasekhar Reddy and Telugu Desam Party president N.Chandrababu Naidu touched a new low today when the former asked his bete noir to "shut up" during the course of a heated exchange.

The verbal showdown between the two leaders occurred in the presence of Assembly Speaker K.R.Suresh Reddy and floor leaders of various parties who had gathered in the Speaker's chambers for a meeting of the business advisory committee (BAC).

What began as an innocuous bantering, laced with sarcasm, soon turned into a no-holds-barred wordy duel as they vowed to "expose each other's history".

"It is a black day for democracy. The Chief Minister insulted me and asked me to shut up. This is highly objectionable and condemnable," a fuming Naidu told reporters in Assembly lobby after walking out of the BAC meeting.

The tiff began when Naidu complained about the way the Assembly was adjourned earlier without transacting any business. To this, the Chief Minister sarcastically commented that his government would henceforth follow the TDP's advice in running the House.

Both leaders soon lost their cool and took to some tongue-lashing as the stunned Speaker and other floor leaders watched silently. Naidu later left the meeting hall in a huff, followed by his party colleagues.

Later, the legislative affairs minister K.Rosaiah, who was present at the meeting, spoke to the media.

He said Reddy did not make any offensive remark against the opposition leader and put the blame on Naidu for "unprovoked outbursts".

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Uma Khurana files suit against TV channel

New Delhi, November 5
School teacher Uma Khurana, who was let off by the police after a fake TV sting operation showed her running an alleged sex racket, today filed a defamation case against the channel and its CEO.

Filing the complaint in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Jindal through her counsel Amit Kumar, Khurana alleged that Sudhir Chaudhury, the CEO of the channel ‘Live India’, had full knowledge that if the telecast of the fake sting operation would defame her.

The sting operation was aired on August 30, which resulted in widespread violence in the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya area in Darya Ganj in central Delhi, where Khurana used to teach.

On the basis of the FIR and media coverage, the Delhi government had initially suspended and then terminated her from service.

She has been subjected to different kinds of mental agony, strain, harassment, humiliation and earned a bad name in the eyes of the public and society, Khurana alleged in her petition.

Meanwhile, Prakash Singh, sacked ‘Live India’ reporter and his associate Virender Arora were today granted bail by a court here after the completion of the investigation into the fake sting operation. — PTI

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Make children aware of their rights: Panel
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 5
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sent instructions to states regarding how they should celebrate Children’s Day this year.

The commission has directed all district magistrates to ensure that children are made aware of their rights, including right to food, quality education, clothing, play as well as rest on that day.

“The NCPCR has asked DMs to launch a campaign and interact directly with children. Awareness should be disseminated in schools, hostels, orphanages, juvenile observation homes, children’s homes and shelter homes besides all other public institutions meant for children on the occasion of Bal Divas to inform them what their rights are,” NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha said.

Sinha said in order to make this year’s Children’s Day celebrations more meaningful, arrangements should be made to read out articles from the UN Convention on the Child Rights in every class and discuss them with the children.

The suggested plan of action includes holding essay writing, elocution and drawing competitions on children’s perspectives on child rights. All schools and related institutions should be encouraged to forward prize winning essays, drawings, poems and other material to the NCPCR chairperson. “This material will be compiled for larger circulation so that a wide audience can share expressions of these children’s thoughts and ideas,” she said. She has also suggested the involvement of local public, NGOs and friends of children in celebrations.

Important sections of the UN Convention on Child Rights

  • Article 2: All children have rights, no matter who they are, where they live, what their parents do, what language they speak, what their religion is, whether they are a boy or girl, what their culture is, whether they have a disability, whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis
  • Article 12: Right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously
  • Article 19: Right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated in body or mind
  • Article 23: Right to special education and care if you have a disability, as well as all rights in this convention so that you can live a full life
  • Article 24: Right to the best health care possible safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well
  • Article 26: Right to help from the government if you are poor or in need
  • Article 27: Right to food, clothing, a safe place to live and to have your basic needs met. You should not be disadvantaged so that you can’t do many of the things other kids can do
  • Article 28: Right to a good quality education. You should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can
  • Article 31: Right to play and rest
  • Article 32: Right to protection from work that harms you, and is bad for your health and education
  • Article 36: Right to protection from any kind of exploitation
  • Article 42: Right to know about your rights. Adults should know these rights and help you learn about them, too

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Army to showcase its Northeast efforts

New Delhi, November 5
The Defence Pavilion will highlight the Army’s efforts in the Northeast during the forthcoming India International Trade Fair, which begins on November 14.

The pavilion titled “Defenders of the Dawn”, as the sun rises from the east, will showcase the cultures and facets of the region. The Indian Army has been making efforts in developing basic infrastructure and launching various civic action programmes in the region.

The people of the Northeast, who have faced many crises and conflicts in the past six decades, are now enjoying the advantages gained through continuous efforts of the Army. — Agencies

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Armed forces modernisation not at cost of transparency: Antony

New Delhi, November 5
The government today said it was making all-out efforts to modernise the country's armed forces by equipping it with sophisticated weaponry systems, but it would neither tolerate corruption nor allow transparency to become a casualty in the process.

"Every reference from any responsible quarter on issues of corruption will be taken cognizance of and necessary probe will be carried out," Defence Minister A K Antony said.

He also said India's relationship with Russia was a time-tested one and would continue. "We will not abandon old friends for improving relations with new ones," he asserted.

Mr Antony was addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee, attached to his ministry.

Reiterating his keenness to modernise the Armed Forces in the earliest possible time to make it a strong fighting force through the acquisition of the latest arms and weapons, he made it amply clear that it would not be at the cost of transparency.

"In the past there have been controversies relating to deals with some companies 'under cloud' and we will not proceed unless those doubts are cleared. We will not tolerate corruption," the minister said.

Mr Antony said India's defence cooperation with other countries had undergone a sea change after the end of the Cold War era. India now sources its equipment and platforms from many countries, including Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Israel and, of late, the US.

Describing his visit to Russia last month as 'successful', he said the two countries signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for the Joint Development and Production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft.

Antony admitted that there was some delay in the delivery schedule of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov but said the two countries were trying to find a solution to the issues involved.

Commending the role of the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), the minister said said the country's defence industry had reached a high-level of maturity. Last year the value of production in the DPSUs was Rs. 17,855 crores against a target of Rs 15,625 crores.

Cutting across party lines, all members of Parliament present at the meeting complimented the role played by the DPSUs over the years to help the country move towards the goal of self-reliance.

However, they expressed concern over delays in the development and production of the Light Combat Aircraft, MBT Arjun and Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft. They also made a strong case for giving a fillip to public-private partnership (PPP) in the defence sctor in a bigger way to take advantage of the talent and capital of the private sector. — UNI

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Give more rights, financial resources to states: Left

New Delhi, November 5
The Left parties today made a strong case for conferring more rights and financial resources on the states and contested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's perception on the coalition governments hindering the ''collective purpose'' of the states.

The top leaders of the CPM and the CPI stressed that India can remain united only in a federal structure, while impressing on Dr Singh that the days of a single-party rule were over and the coalition government had become the order of the day in the country.

Their reaction to Dr Singh's observations on federalism came after he wondered whether a multi-party coalition government like the one he is heading was capable of providing the unity of purpose required to be demonstrated by the states.

CPI leaders A.B.Bardhan and Shamim Faizi maintained that it seemed that the Prime Minister had missed the basic parameteres of federal polity.

''India can remain united in a federal structure only. It has to provide representation to various ethinic, linguistic, religions and regional aspirations,'' the leaders noted.

CPM veteran leader and Politburo member M.K.Pandhe reminded Dr Singh that the ground politcal realities should leave no one in doubt that no single party, including the Congress, could come to power at the Centre on its own and that the strict implementation of the CMP was the only guarantee for smooth running of the government.

On Dr Singh's comment that ''regional, sectional loyalities and ideologies'' was coming in the way of national vision and collective purpose, the CPI leaders said ''it was the reason that fathers of the Constitution opted for a federal Constitution as a unitary system could not reflect the diversity that India has''. As far as the nuclear deal is concerned, the Prime Minister has mistaken the Left's approach as an ''ideological'' issue, the Left leaders said, adding that ''our opposition to the strategic partnership with the US is based on the national interest''.

Faizi said Singh should understand that those who fought for the country's indepedence from the British colonial rule had visualised a sovereign nation. ''India's becoming US junior partner will not only affect our national independence, foreign policy but also have serious consequences on our economic independence and political sovereignty.'' — UNI

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Arms Act case sought against Pataudi
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 5
The case against former Indian cricket team captain Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and seven others for allegedly killing a black buck and two hares developed a new twist when the prosecution tried to get him booked under the Arms Act, apart from the Wildlife Act.

The accused had turned up in the court as the case was listed today. The case is in the prosecution-evidence stage. The court scheduled the next hearing of the case on February 4.

The defence’s view on today's development was that the prosecution had added nothing new. They said the mention of Arms Act was made in the charge sheet inadvertently. They said no side was responsible for it. 

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A VIP-level obstacle for Lalu’s son
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 5
Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son, Tej Pratap, today got the taste of what it is like to be on the other side of a VIP security barricade.

A student of class XII at the Central School of Patna, Tej Pratap had to alight from his car and walk a few hundred metres to reach his residence on 10, Circular Road.

This happened at a barricade put in place to stop people from entering Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s residence on Anney Marg from the back gate.

The policemen at the barricade did not allow Tej Pratap’s car to go through.

The barricade is put up every Monday near the back gate of the CM’s residence to stop people from using that entrance to meet him for his weekly Janata Darbar.

After he was stopped, Tej Pratap tried to tell them that he was the son of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi, both former CMs, and was entitled to VIP status himself.

But after failing to convince the police he was forced to walk to his residence.

Later, Rabri came out in protest and forced the shifting of the said barricade that was causing “obstruction” between Anney Marg and Circular Road.

Lalu too reportedly called up Patna SSP Kundan Krishnan, who expressed regret over the mistake by the police.

Unconfirmed reports said there was a minor scuffle between Rabri’s official bodyguards and the police on duty near the Anney Marg barricade.

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Senior ULFA leader held

Sibsagar, November 5
A senior leader of the banned ULFA and his ‘corporal’ wife were arrested in the Upper Assam’s Sibsagar district today, the police said.

Acting on a specific information, the police nabbed Som Deb, alias Ajit Phukan, second Lieutenant of the banned outfit, his wife and their child at around 2 pm while they were waiting for a bus. — PTI

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Rs 300 cr for UP road repair
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 5
Road transport and highways minister T.R. Baalu has approved Rs 3,122.22 lakh for road improvement work in Uttar Pradesh.

Rs 1,028.32 lakh have been set aside for the work of widening and strengthening of existing single-lane carriageway to a two-lane carriageway on a 13-km stretch of NH-76. An amount of 994.05 lakh has been approved for repairing another 13-km stretch of the same highway. The NH-76 connects tourist destinations of international importance such as Khajuraho, Chitrakoot and Allahabad.

Baalu has also approved an amount of Rs 778.65 lakh for improving riding quality on a 23-km stretch of NH-86.

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