SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Karat for intensifying stir against UPA
Kolkata, January 13
General secretary of the CPM Prakash Karat today alleged that the Manmohan Singh government was yielding to pressure from the Bush administration, which was treating India as “a subordinate partner”.
CPM leader Jyoti Basu addresses workers during the 22nd state conference of the party at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata
CPM leader Jyoti Basu addresses workers during the 22nd state conference of the party at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on Sunday. — PTI photo

Mulayam calls parties to join anti-Maya protests
Lucknow, January 13
Samajwadi Party president and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has appealed to all ‘like-minded’ parties to join in party’s ongoing agitation against the eight-month-old Mayawati government.



EARLIER STORIES



Uncertainty grips Koda govt
Patna, January 13
Uncertainty seems to have now dog the fate of a little more than one-year-old UPA-backed Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand following the Congress threat to review its support to it after January 15.

Central rule likely to be main poll issue in Nagaland
Kohima, January 13
Sensing the mood of the common people against the imposition of President’s Rule in the state, rival political parties in Nagaland are out to make it a major poll issue to mobilise support.

Eight IPS officers face sack
Mumbai, January 13
The Maharashtra government has prepared a list of eight officers of the Indian Police Services (IPS) who it wants compulsorily retired from the service for inadequate performance.

Bihar ex-IPS officers ‘stick’ to their guns
Patna, January 13
The Nitish government is reportedly contemplating legal action against 14 senior IPS officers for not surrendering their service revolvers even after retirement.

AP plans animation city in Hyderabad
Hyderabad, January 13
Hyderabad will soon be a home for the country’s largest animation city to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and training facilities to cater to the growing opportunities in the animation and gaming sector.

UGC: Courses to be inter-disciplinary
New Delhi, January 13
In a move to make higher education more relevant, the UGC has embarked on an exercise to prepare a curriculum incorporating inter-disciplinary approaches.

‘Police station visitors week’ a hit in Dehra Dun
Dehra Dun, January 13
The police in Uttarakhand is going for an image makeover. Part of the move called ‘police station visitors week’ has found enthusiastic public response. Since its start on January 7 in all 125 police stations across the state, thousands of people had already interacted with the officials on the duty.

Kolkata Fire
Blast causes cracks in market building
Kolkata, January 13
A deafening explosion cracked a high-rise building in Kolkata’s crammed Burrabazar wholesale market on Sunday night, triggering fears of the structure’s collapse, even as 30 Army firemen joined in valiant battle to control the city’s worst fire in living memory.

Goa police looks for 2 who assaulted Finn woman
Panaji, January 13
The police is looking for two brothers who are absconding after allegedly threatening a woman from Finland in South Goa. “A case in this regard was registered last week and both the accused are on the run,” the police stated.

Molestation
Mumbai doc held for second time
Mumbai, January 13
Cosmetic surgeon Vijay Sharma was arrested today for the second time in as many days for allegedly molesting a 30-year-old housewife who had undergone treatment in his clinic here, the police said.

Banned Pak play staged in Delhi to packed house
New Delhi, January 13
A banned Pakistani play highlighting the rigidity of customs and dress code and ridiculing the system that upholds their sanctity was staged for the first time in India to a packed house here.

Railways, Home review security steps
New Delhi, January 13
In view of the railways having been identified as a soft target by extremists, terrorists and anti-social elements, the overall security system in the Railways was reviewed at a high-level meeting between Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil here yesterday.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple to be expanded
Varanasi, January 13
The famed 18th century Kashi Vishwananth temple will be expanded by merging two adjacent temples to make space for the teeming devotees.

6 Naxals killed
Gaya, January 13
Police today claimed to have killed six Naxalites in a fierce encounter that lasted over four hours in Bihar’s Gaya district.

14 injured in grenade explosion
Guwahati, January 13
As many as 14 persons, including six security personnel, were injured, seven of them critically, when suspected insurgent group ULFA triggered a powerful grenade explosion in front of a police station near Guwahati railway station here today evening.

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Karat for intensifying stir against UPA
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 13
General secretary of the CPM Prakash Karat today alleged that the Manmohan Singh government was yielding to pressure from the Bush administration, which was treating India as “a subordinate partner”.

He warned that the Left parties, supporting the UPA, would not sit idle if the Indo-US deal was ultimately signed ignoring their protest. Karat attacked the US capitalist lobby and criticised the UPA’s “anti-people policies”. He asked people to intensify their agitation against the UPA.

Karat was addressing a CPM rally at the brigade parade ground. It was also addressed by Jyoti Basu, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and party secretary Biman Bose. The rally was organised on the eve of the CPM’s three-day state conference, beginning tomorrow.

On the one hand Karat attacked the US capitalism while on the other Basu and the Chief Minister welcomed investments by the US and other countries in the state. Basu, who was the first speaker, advised party comrades and their supporters to go to people and hear their grievances, and accordingly try to redress them. He felt the party’s popularity and credibility had eroded to some extent because of certain faulty steps taken by them. He said there was no room for complacency that none could defeat them. He stressed the need to strengthen the Left Front in view of differences among the partners on certain matters.

Bose alleged that some vested interests were trying to break the front. He called upon all Front partners to fight unitedly the coming panchayat poll in May.

The Chief Minister said no businessman was untouchable to them and he would accept industrial investments from any country and any businessman.

“We will welcome investment from the US, UK and Japan as well as China, Russian and Vietnam. To us none has been untouchable,” Bhattacharjee said.

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Mulayam calls parties to join anti-Maya protests
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, January 13
Samajwadi Party president and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has appealed to all ‘like-minded’ parties to join in party’s ongoing agitation against the eight-month-old Mayawati government.

Speaking to the media today, he said: “I appeal to all political parties and even the like-minded elements in the BSP to come forward and help us in our protests against the government. The Mayawati government’s attitude towards opposition leaders and protesting students deserves to be condemned.”

Earlier, he had led a Samajwadi Party delegation to the Raj Bhawan. The former chief minister asked Governor T.V. Rajeswar to order a high-level inquiry into the January 9 police firing in his ancestral village of Sefai in Etawah causing the death of a student, Mukesh Yadav.

Demanding the immediate suspension and arrest of Etawah SSP S.R.S. Aditya, additional SP Rampal Gautam and other police officers responsible for opening fire, Yadav charged that they had fired on unarmed students that amounted “to cold-blooded murder.”

According to Yadav, the police had forced its way inside the Choudhury Charan Singh Postgraduate College in Hewra, Sefai. “The students were taking their examinations when the cops entered the premises and began hurling abuses at them. When the students protested, the SSP opened fire killing Mukesh Yadav on the spot while two other students Avinish Yadav and Sunil Yadav were seriously injured and are under treatment”, Yadav said.

Urging the Governor to ensure the immediate release of 19 students arrested during the Samajwadi Party’s protest programme, Yadav asked Rajeswar to direct the state government to withdraw the cases set up against them.

Charging chief minister Mayawati and his aides of directing the entire episode leading to the death of a young student in Sefai last week, Yadav said: “We have reasons to believe that ‘action’ in all these incidents was deliberate and that the police targeted us on the instructions of the chief minister and other senior officials.”

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Uncertainty grips Koda govt
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

NDA favours fresh poll

Meanwhile, the opposition NDA led by the BJP in Jharkhand viewed the congress’s threat more as a stage-manage drama than withdrawing support in reality.

“The Congress can not escape its blame for any non-performance of Koda as it is supporting the government from outside”, the BJP said.

In the 82-member state assembly, Koda presently has the support of 42 legislators, including the JMM, the RJD, the Congress, smaller parties and independents.

Officially the next assembly polls in Jharkhand, barring any unforeseen development, are due in 2010.

Patna, January 13
Uncertainty seems to have now dog the fate of a little more than one-year-old UPA-backed Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand following the Congress threat to review its support to it after January 15.

With just two days to go before the Congress’s final decision on the fate of Koda after Tuesday, now the only chief minister in the country not affiliated to any political party, uncertainty and related instability, however, was nothing new to this fledgling tribal state.

Koda is the fifth chief minister in seven-year old Jharkhand after the state was carved out of Bihar in 2000 as none of the previous four chief ministers could complete their 
full term.

While Babulal Marandi of the BJP was the first chief minister of Jharkhand to lead the NDA government in 2000, he was removed by same BJP’s Arjun Munda in 2003.

After the state held its first assembly elections in 2005, it was Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren to lead the third government in the state on behalf of the UPA for a brief spell only to be toppled through floor-crossing by independents, including Koda, to pave the way for another spell of rule by Munda in the said year. Finally, the NDA was paid back in the same coin after the same independents had shifted allegiance to the UPA with Koda staked his claim as the fifth CM of the state.

In the latest round of uncertainty precipitated by the Congress, what reportedly kept Koda on tenterhook now was the noncommittal attitude of the union minister of state for urban development and in-charge of Jharkhand on behalf of AICC, Ajay Maken on the fate of his government.

Maken had a meeting with state Congress functionaries in Dhanbad on Friday where he clearly stated his party’s unhappiness over the poor progress in Jharkhand under Koda.

While Maken reportedly did not conceal the anguish of the Congress high command in view of the alleged anarchy, corruption and poor development in Jharkhand, he was said to be waiting for report cards on governance from the state and district units of the party which would be available by January 15.

The Congress, which is supporting the UPA in Jharkhand from outside with its nine MLAs following the left model at Centre, had given 60 days ultimatum to Koda on November 15 to show results by handing over 19-point charter on good governance related to development. The deadline would come to an end on January 15.

Besides, Maken in November had also met Governor Syed Sibte Razi by requesting him to play a proactive role in guiding the Koda government on good governance, including tackling the Naxalite problem through development.

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Central rule likely to be main poll issue in Nagaland
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Kohima, January 13
Sensing the mood of the common people against the imposition of President’s Rule in the state, rival political parties in Nagaland are out to make it a major poll issue to mobilise support.

The Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) that was heading the deposed Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government has taken a stand that President’s Rule is not for peace.

NPF leader and former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, while talking to The Tribune here, said, “The message of President’s Rule removing a democratically elected government, that too when the Assembly polls were just over a month away, sends a wrong signal. We are a popular government that played the role of a facilitator for the peace process with support from civil societies and NGOs.”

“It is an old habit of the Congress to impose President’s Rule when a regional party government is in power in Nagaland. The people of Nagaland have had bitter experience with President’s Rule in the past and the Congress will face the music during the forthcoming Assembly elections,” Rio said.

Sensing the design of the NPF to mobilise public support against it taking advantage of President’s Rule, the Nagaland State Congress president, I. Imkong said, “It was the NPF that had invited the imposition of President’s Rule in the state by trying to cling to power forever after it had lost the majority in the state Assembly. The Congress should not be blamed for the President’s Rule. We wanted the dissolution of the government and wanted to stake claim to form our government.”

Rio claimed that his party was in possession of enough evidence to prove that it was the Congress that wanted President’s Rule in the state and all evidences would be produced in the court, which had already admitted a petition filed by the NPF challenging the Centre’s decision to clamp the Central rule in the state. Regarding the Congress’ allegation of failure of his government to prevent the violation of ceasefire ground rules by the underground rebel groups, Rio said it was not the responsibility of the state government but of the Centre that had signed truce with the NSCN-IM in 1997 and the NSCN-K in 2000.

The Congress also levelled the charges of corruption and misuse of fund by the Rio government. The state PCC chief accused Rio of siphoning off over Rs 400 crore from December 13 to December 31 last year. The trust vote was held on December 13 last and President’s Rule was imposed on January 3.

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Eight IPS officers face sack
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 13
The Maharashtra government has prepared a list of eight officers of the Indian Police Services (IPS) who it wants compulsorily retired from the service for inadequate performance.

While the sacking of four of them have been recommended to the union home ministry, the recommendation to remove the remaining officers is likely to be sent in the coming weeks.

The recommendation was originally prepared by Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil and endorsed by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The officers whose names have already been sent to ministry are C. Prabhakar, a DIG rank officer of (1977 batch), Karl D’Souza, SP at Pune headquarters (1974 batch), M.W. Chitale, SP of Nagpur Railways (1980 batch) and S.S. Ahire, SP of Nanded (1996 batch).

The four other officers, whose sack orders are under process, are Shridhar Vaghal, a former Mumbai joint commissioner, who was involved in the Telgi scandal (1976 batch) and another controversial officer, A.K. Jain (1982 batch). The two other officers are A.R. Dongre (1994 batch) and Surinder Kumar (1985 batch).

The Maharashtra government is also making a list of IPS officers who go for international assignments and do not bother to return even if they have to forego their pension and other retirement benefits. Last year, the government sacked a former high profile officer Rahul Rai Sur of the 1982 batch who left for a UN assignment more than 10 years ago and did not bother to return.

The government is considering the case of a lady IPS officer Mary Lou Fernandes who went abroad without leave for the past year and a half. Fernandes is, however, writing a column for a Mumbai-based newspaper.

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Bihar ex-IPS officers ‘stick’ to their guns
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 13
The Nitish government is reportedly contemplating legal action against 14 senior IPS officers for not surrendering their service revolvers even after retirement.

Sources disclosed that state energy minister Bijendra Yadav, who is also in charge of the home (police) department, already held a high-level meeting with DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha and principal home secretary Afzal Amanullah on this issue. “The officers have already been asked to return their service revolvers or face legal action”, the sources said.

The 14 senior IPS officers, including a retired DGP, reportedly had not returned the weapons provided to them by the state government even after their retirement or deputation elsewhere several years ago.

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AP plans animation city in Hyderabad
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 13
Hyderabad will soon be a home for the country’s largest animation city to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and training facilities to cater to the growing opportunities in the animation and gaming sector.

The state government is contemplating earmarking about 100 acres on the city outskirts for the purpose towards its equity investment.

There has been a growing demand from the animation industry for such a facility to improve the quality of manpower to meet the global requirements.

The industry experts estimate that a training institute with 100 animation and gaming workstations could cost about Rs 50 crore.

Several leading IT companies, which are currently executing offshore animation, and gaming projects have evinced interest in partnering in the animation city.

The Indian animation industry market is set to touch $869 million by 2010, propelled by an attractive domestic market opportunity, growing maturity of animation studios, development of intellectual property regime and significant cost advantage.

According to NASSCOM Animation and Gaming Report 2007, the animation industry’s market size last year was estimated at $354 million, reflecting a 24 per cent growth over the previous year.

Projecting a consistent annual growth rate of 25 per cent over the next four years, the NASSCOM report said the entertainment was, at present, contributing 68 per cent of the total animation market in India.

On gaming industry, the outlook is much more exciting. Presently estimated at nearly $48 million, the Indian gaming industry is expected to cross $424 million by 2010, representing 72 per cent growth over the four-year period.

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UGC: Courses to be inter-disciplinary

New Delhi, January 13
In a move to make higher education more relevant, the UGC has embarked on an exercise to prepare a curriculum incorporating inter-disciplinary approaches.

The University Grants Commission has formed a committee under eminent educationist and its former chairman Prof Yashpal to suggest the framework for the innovative curriculum.

The committee, which is having its first meeting on Tuesday, will deliberate on the existing curriculum, its shortcomings and the new subjects needed to be introduced.

“This is the beginning of a knowledge movement. We will try to introduce everything related to life,” Yashpal said.

He said real education is about enhancing the knowledge base. It relates to the day-to-day affairs in life.

“It is about how to handle the emerging situation confronting everybody. It could be globalisation or any type of problem that one comes across,” he said.

The unique curriculum will have interdisciplinary approach as it will tend to impart knowledge from various disciplines.

“A student from humanities should know a bit from science and business as well. Later on he may specialise in the specific subject,” he said. — PTI

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‘Police station visitors week’ a hit in Dehra Dun
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, January 13
The police in Uttarakhand is going for an image makeover. Part of the move called ‘police station visitors week’ has found enthusiastic public response.

Since its start on January 7 in all 125 police stations across the state, thousands of people had already interacted with the officials on the duty.

According to state police chief Subhash Joshi, who conceived the idea, the initiative was aimed at creating ‘people- friendly policing’.

Interaction with the public might help in knowing the perception of different sections of the people towards the police force.

It might be further helpful in bringing about desired changes in the working of the police based on the feedback gathered, he said.

Around 30,000 persons had visited the police stations during the first three days. The day one was marked for the prominent citizens while on the second day, school and college students were invited. Senior citizens visited on the third day.

All interacted with the police officials on duty and gave them suggestions about their expectations from the police and improvements required.

For many visitors especially the students, it turned out to be a new experience.

“I had the impression that the police is only a baton-wielding force and held the policemen with fear,” said Rakesh Gosain, a BA II student of DAV College.

But some senior citizens like Jai Singh Bisht were keeping their fingers crossed.

It is premature to comment on the move, as behaviour of the police can be known only in a real situation. I can only wish its success as it is a positive start,” he observed.

M.A. Ganapathy, inspector-general of police, sounded optimistic about it.

“The initiative will be given an institutional framework, with suggestions of people forming part of policing paradigm for the future,” he said.

Over the next three days, victims of crime, women’s groups and the media would also be sharing their ideas.

He said 8,969 prominent citizens visited their local police stations across the state while on the second day, 14,827 school and college students interacted with the police.

On the third day, 5,518 senior citizens shared their views about better policing.

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Kolkata Fire
Blast causes cracks in market building

Kolkata, January 13
A deafening explosion cracked a high-rise building in Kolkata’s crammed Burrabazar wholesale market on Sunday night, triggering fears of the structure’s collapse, even as 30 Army firemen joined in valiant battle to control the city’s worst fire in living memory.

Around 7.30 pm explosions were heard as flames leapt out and the fire spread further. The 14-storeyed building had already titled and the melting steel bars from the tremendous heat generated by the inferno could bring down the structure any moment, fire fighters and the police feared.

The fire continued to rage on Sunday evening at the city’s biggest wholesale market, leaving one person dead of shock. Thousands of shops and dwellings were engulfed in the fire, destroying property worth billions of rupees, officials said.

“They have reached the ninth floor of the Nandaram market building,” said Das, raising hopes of an end to the blaze. But barely two hours later the situation only turned worse as the explosion cracked the building. — IANS

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Goa police looks for 2 who assaulted Finn woman

Panaji, January 13
The police is looking for two brothers who are absconding after allegedly threatening a woman from Finland in South Goa.

“A case in this regard was registered last week and both the accused are on the run,” the police stated.

Agidi Marie, who is married to an Indian from Jharkhand, was allegedly threatened and warned of dire consequences by Thomas and Remedios Fernandes at a shack on the Utorda beach.

The police said Marie’s husband manages a shack and the brothers had picked up a fight with him. When Marie, who is in her mid-20s, intervened in the matter, she was threatened by the duo.

The police is investigating the case and is on the look out for the accused who reside at Majorda village.

In another incident involving a foreigner and reported on January Samson D’costa from South Goa was arrested for allegedly assaulting two British women.

The tourist state has reported two cases of molestation and rape involving foreign women last week.

In the first case, a Russian was molested on Monday night while a British lady was assaulted and raped on Friday on the city’s outskirts by an unidentifed man. — PTI

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Molestation
Mumbai doc held for second time

Mumbai, January 13
Cosmetic surgeon Vijay Sharma was arrested today for the second time in as many days for allegedly molesting a 30-year-old housewife who had undergone treatment in his clinic here, the police said.

Sharma was apprehended this evening soon after being granted bail by a court in a separate case of alleged molestation of a 20-year-old TV news channel reporter.

“We arrested Sharma after the woman filed a case against him following today’s media reports about the complaint lodged by the reporter. She has stated that she was molested three times by the doctor who had also sent her lewd SMSes,” a police officer told PTI.

The reporter was allegedly molested when she had gone to take Sharma’s interview at his clinic in suburban Khar.

The victim’s husband Bhimraj Gupta said “my wife got a breast implant and liposuction surgery done by Sharma around one and half years ago. However, her breasts started hurting and she went back to him complaining. It was during these visits that she was molested by the surgeon.” Gupta said his wife stopped Sharma’s advances each time and finally told him about it around two months ago.

“I immediately made a written application to the police about it and we decided to file a complaint,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sharma’s family claimed he is being “framed”.

“He has been a surgeon since 1987 and has operated on several TV and film stars till now. His name is in the Limca Book of Records for having done most number of plastic surgeries in India and he was also presented the best cosmetic surgeon in Asia Award in 2000,” Sharma’s daughter Neha said. — PTI

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Banned Pak play staged in Delhi to packed house

New Delhi, January 13
A banned Pakistani play highlighting the rigidity of customs and dress code and ridiculing the system that upholds their sanctity was staged for the first time in India to a packed house here.

Directed by television producer-playwright Shahid Nadeem, the play “Burqavaganza” has burqa as its theme as uses song, some of them drawn from Bollwyood, as well as dance sequences to ridicule the double standards and moral policing by vigilantes.

While on one hand, the play follows the story of young lovers Haseena and Khubroo, on the other hand, it shows the police hunting for wanted terrorist Bin Baten.

The play was banned by the Pakistan government last year.

Nadeem, however, is unfazed. “We’ve been, however, staging the play at the odd platform or two and the response is inspiring,” he said after the play was staged at the Kamani Auditorium as part of the National School of Drama’s golden jubilee celebrations to a capacity crowd that included veteran actor Zohra Sehgal.

Madeeha Gauhar, the guiding spirit behind Ajoka Theatre group that produced the play, said “the play is not against any Islamic ritual but against the hypocrisy associated with the veil system.”

The play shows all characters (men and women) wearing burqas, including politicians, terrorist leaders and policemen. — PTI

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Railways, Home review security steps
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
In view of the railways having been identified as a soft target by extremists, terrorists and anti-social elements, the overall security system in the Railways was reviewed at a high-level meeting between Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil here yesterday.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the ministries of railways and home, including Railway Protection Force(RPF) director-general M.K. Sinha, Intelligence Bureau director Pradyot Chandra Haldar, CRPF director-general Syed Iftikar Sultan Ahmed, special secretary (internal security) Mahendra Lal Kumawat and CISF additional director-general Ranjit Kumar Bhatia.

It was decided to ensure better cooperation between the RPF and the Government Railway Police (GRP) of the respective state governments. For this, state-wise nodal officers will be nominated by the ministry of railways. A mechanism for intelligence sharing and dissemination for action among stakeholders will also be set up.

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Kashi Vishwanath Temple to be expanded

Varanasi, January 13
The famed 18th century Kashi Vishwananth temple will be expanded by merging two adjacent temples to make space for the teeming devotees.

To facilitate proper ‘darshan’ of Lord Shiva in the temple, the shrine area is being enlarged to about 8500 sq feet from the original area of about 2500 sq feet, chairman of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust at Varanasi and commissioner Varanasi division Nitin Ramesh Gokarn said.

He said for the purpose of expanding the temple area, two other adjacent Shiva shrines-- Tarakeshwar temple and Rani Bhavani Bhuvaneshwar temple --have been merged into it. — PTI

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6 Naxals killed

Gaya, January 13
Police today claimed to have killed six Naxalites in a fierce encounter that lasted over four hours in Bihar’s Gaya district. DSP Balram Kumar Choudhry told mediapersons that members of the CPI (Maoist) were hiding at Bangudwa Naktaia hills in the district. They cordoned off the area and asked the Naxalites to surrender.
But the Naxalites fired on the raiding party forcing the police to return the fire in which six Naxalites were killed. — PTI

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14 injured in grenade explosion

Guwahati, January 13
As many as 14 persons, including six security personnel, were injured, seven of them critically, when suspected insurgent group ULFA triggered a powerful grenade explosion in front of a police station near Guwahati railway station here today evening.

The grenade exploded at around 7:30 pm in front of the Paltan Bazaar police station injuring seven people critically while seven others received minor injuries.

The critically injured included a minor girl, five CRPF personnel and Assam police personnel. The police claimed that ULFA militants had targeted a CRPF patrol party in the area. The injured were admitted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital.

Senior police and civil officials rushed to the spot and the entire area has been cordoned off. Railway officials said here that trains would run as per schedule. During the day, another grenade exploded at Rajivnagar of Kahilipara area of the city, but there was no casualty and a house partially damaged. — PTI

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