SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Cong, SP tie-up makes allies uneasy in M’rashtra
Mumbai, July 10
The new-found bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) at the Centre has made politicians from both outfits reluctant bedfellows in Maharashtra.

Rebel MLAs join BJP ministry in K’taka
Bangalore, July 10
Three opposition legislators of Karnataka, who recently quit their Assembly seats for joining the ruling BJP, were rewarded today by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by inducting all three of them as ministers.

SC stays HC order on duty time of pilots
New Delhi, July 10
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the airline authorities to enforce the 1992 rules, staying the Bombay High Court order of July 1, 2008, which said that the 2007 guidelines should be implemented.

India to increase security to missions
abroad

New Delhi, July 10 
India today said it was deliberating on additional security measures for its missions abroad in the wake of the suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul. “We are deliberating on certain additional measures to be taken to ensure security of (embassy) personnel not only in Kabul, but also else where,” Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said here. He did not rule out possibility of deploying Army’s Special Forces, on the lines of the US’ Marine Commandos, for providing security at the embassies abroad.





EARLIER STORIES


Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani during a protest by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh organised against the Sixth Pay Commission report at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani during a protest by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh organised against the Sixth Pay Commission report at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday. —Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Gorkhaland
Buddha calls for tripartite meeting
Kolkata, July 10
The West Bengal government has requested the Centre to arrange a tripartite meeting with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) to resolve the Darjeeling crisis, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today. “I talked with Union home minister Shivraj Patil yesterday over phone and requested him to arrange a tripartite meeting involving the Centre, state and the GJM.

Don’t politicise Speaker’s office, says Somnath
New Delhi, July 10
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is not quitting as yet. Breaking his silence for the first time over the issue of his continuation in office, the Speaker today said that he did not represent any political party in the discharge of his duties and functions and his office should not be dragged into any controversies.

Experts: Deal will help India meet energy requirements
New Delhi, July 10 
As the government of India today revealed the draft of the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)agreement, the intelligensia which had been keeping a close watch, responded with satisfaction at its contents saying “ there is nothing to worry on the nuclear deal front”. 
An activist from the CPM holds a placard during a protest against the nuclear deal with the US in Kolkata on Thursday.
An activist from the CPM holds a placard during a protest against the nuclear deal with the US in Kolkata on Thursday. — Reuters photo

Jyoti Basu unhappy over political scene
Kolkata, July 10
The recent political developments in the country over the nuclear deal issue does not augur well for the Left parties, Jyoti Basu reportedly told some CPM and other Front leaders, who met him at his Salt Lake residence last evening to wish him on his 95th birthday.

Lalu’s love for Left hasn’t withered
Patna, July 10
Even though the Left parties have left the UPA, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad ‘sings his amour’ for the red outfits finding expression in some evergreen Bollywood  love-songs.

India-specific safeguard text worries scientists
Mumbai, July 10
Criticising the draft text of the India-specific safeguard agreement, two top scientists have warned that it is “prejudicial” to the national interest and that it was in no way different from the safeguard agreement of non-weapon states.

Politicisation of curricula dangerous: Ahmadi
New Delhi, July 10
Former chief justice A.M Ahmadi has raised concerns over the politicisation of curricula, warning against students being fed on distorted history that breeds violence. 

Rocketman pedals his way for 20 yrs
Thiruvananthapuram, July 10
As a senior technocrat in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), his job is to design rockets. But for Dr V Adimurthy, associate director, Vikaram Sarabhai Space Centre, the bicycle has been a preferred mode of transport for the last two decades.

Bihar MLC Salman declared absconder
Nawada (Bihar), July 10
A local court today declared Salman Rageev, an Independent member of the Bihar Legislative Council, as absconder and ordered putting up of advertisements to ensure the member’s arrest following his continued absence from court despite repeated summons.

Soz for better management of water resources
New Delhi, July 10
Minister of water resources Saifuddin Soz stressed on the better management of the water resources to achieve food security and the need to create awareness in the people for water conservation and rain water harvesting. 

Narmada project oustees hold protest
Bhopal, July 10
Several hundred people, displaced due to various projects on the Narmada, staged a demonstration here today to protest improper rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh.

5 dacoits from Haryana arrested
Kolkata, July 10
Five dacoits from Haryana were arrested while attempting to loot a building in central Kolkata today, the police said.

 







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Cong, SP tie-up makes allies uneasy in M’rashtra
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 10
The new-found bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) at the Centre has made politicians from both outfits reluctant bedfellows in Maharashtra.

While the Congress and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, were hard pressed to retain the affections of the Muslim voters in the face of systematic assaults on this vote bank from the SP, the latter will now have some tough explaining to do before the members of the minority community.

Under the leadership of Abu Azmi, the SP in Maharashtra has wooed the Muslims by portraying itself as an alternative to both the saffron and secular fronts.

Azmi, who was arrested under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) following the 1993 serial blasts, had been a strident opponent of the Congress and the NCP. His capacity to mobilise Muslims in Mumbai, Thane and some urban pockets of Maharashtra had rattled the two parties. Latterly, he had been bringing a North Indian element into his politics after Raj Thackeray and his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena carried out attacks on migrants to Mumbai and other cities.

The sudden turn of political developments had discomfited Azmi and leaders of the Congress-NCP. Azmi, who had organised numerous anti-American protests in Mumbai, had refused to comment on the SP’s decision to back the UPA government on the nuclear deal.

However, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh have tried to dangle enough carrots before the state SP leaders to keep them within the fold.

Among the conditions put forward by both leaders include a seat-sharing arrangement in Maharashtra in the forthcoming polls. The SP is expected to drive a tough bargain and demand several seats in South Central Mumbai’s Muslim-dominated areas where the party has built a base.

Sources say, the NCP will not give up any of its seats to accommodate the SP in Maharashtra. Both the Congress outfits are expected to carve the 48 Lok Sabha and 288 Assembly seats equally among themselves. The Congress will have to then allot some seats from its quota to the SP.

It is not certain if such a consolidation of Muslim vote will help the emerging Congress-NCP-SP coalition in Maharashtra. The community, which accounts for some 16 per cent of the electorate, has drifted from the two Congress parties following the 1992-93 riots and only a small section has returned back to them. In as many as 50 seats, the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party, played spoilers splitting the Muslim votes and thus benefiting the Shiv Sena-BJP combine.

However, the disenchantment of the minority community with the ruling front runs deep. Members of the community are sore that scores of innocent Muslims arrested following the terror bombs in Mumbai over the past four years are still facing criminal charges. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh himself acknowledged the problem by promising to make amends. The sops offered by him included a quota in government housing for the Muslims and concessions to educational institutions run by the community.

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Rebel MLAs join BJP ministry in K’taka
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 10
Three opposition legislators of Karnataka, who recently quit their Assembly seats for joining the ruling BJP, were rewarded today by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by inducting all three of them as ministers.

Balachandra Jharakiholi and K. Shivanagouda Naik, who were Janata Dal (Secular) legislators before they quit their Assembly seats on July 5 and Asnotikar Anand Vasanth, who won the election as a Congress nominee but resigned from the Assembly on the same day and announced joining the BJP, were sworn in as Cabinet ministers at a function at the Raj Bhawan here today. The portfolios of the newly inducted ministers, however, were not immediately announced.

With the latest expansion of the ministry, the size of the Karnataka council of ministers has touched 33, which is the final limit on the strength of the ministry the state government is entitled to have.

J. Narasimhaswamy, Congress MLA and son of Congress MP and former union minister K.L. Jalappa, who quit his Assembly seat and joined the BJP one day after the two JD(S) legislators and one Congress legislator resigned to join the BJP, was earlier appointed chairman of the Karnataka State Slum Clearance Board.

All four turncoats will fight the byelections slated to take place in their respective constituencies as the BJP candidates.

The induction today of the three new entrants in the party as ministers and the fourth as the chairman of a board was a pointer to the BJP’s desperate search for attaining stability in the 224-Karnataka Assembly. The ruling party had won 110 seats in the elections held in May and fell three short of securing simple majority.

Five of the six independent MLAs, whose support was garnered by the BJP to form the government, have been already made Cabinet ministers. Offering ministerial berths to independent MLAs and new entrants, however, is not going down well with those veteran party legislators who have failed to become ministers.

CLP leader Mallikarjun Kharge had also called a meeting of MLAs and legislative council leaders here today to discuss the issue of defection by party legislators to the BJP. Even as the CLP met today on the issue of defection, one more Congress legislator, Kannada film actor Jaggesh, announced quitting the Assembly and the party to join the BJP.

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SC stays HC order on duty time of pilots
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the airline authorities to enforce the 1992 rules, staying the Bombay High Court order of July 1, 2008, which said that the 2007 guidelines should be implemented.

The Apex Court stayed, till further orders, the operation of the Bombay High Court interim order on flight duty time limitation (FDTL). With today's order, the 1992 rules of the DGCA, permitting three landings in nine hours, becomes operative till the civil aviation rules (CAR) are revised.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan heard the special leave petition filed by Director-General Civil Aviation Kanu Gohain and others against the joint action committee of airlines against the Bombay High Court order of July 1.

The Bench directed that the aeronautical information circular (AIC) of 1992 and its contents should continue to prevail in the interim period while the CAR of 2007 is revised. The issue will now come up for hearing on July 21.

On July 1, the Bombay High Court had passed an interim order staying the DGCA’s order. This resulted in representations indicating that CAR was not fair to all stakeholders.

In view of the representations, the government had set up a committee to look into FDTL rules and suggest necessary amendments. The joint action committee of airlines had gone to the Bombay High Court against the decision to set up a committee for amending FDTL rules.

The Supreme Court said AIC of 1992 and its contents should continue to prevail in the interim period while CAR of 2007 was revised. The Supreme Court also ordered that the High Court of Bombay should finalise this order by the end of this month after hearing NACIL and Jet Airways who had not been heard despite the fact that they had filed application in the Bombay High Court in the matter.

The Bombay High Court had stayed the DGCA circular, which curbed rest hours between flight duty for pilots and cockpit crew. 

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India to increase security to missions abroad

New Delhi, July 10 
India today said it was deliberating on additional security measures for its missions abroad in the wake of the suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul. “We are deliberating on certain additional measures to be taken to ensure security of (embassy) personnel not only in Kabul, but also else where,” Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said here.

He did not rule out possibility of deploying Army’s Special Forces, on the lines of the US’ Marine Commandos, for providing security at the embassies abroad. “If the need arises, we can certainly think of deploying Special Forces in addition to the ITBP men already there.” Pointing out that the ITBP was doing a good job (of providing security to embassies), Kapoor said India would see how best to secure its missions, if there was greater threat to its buildings and personnel.

“We will see if there is a requirement to review (the security). If there is heightened requirement and if the ITBP requires assistance, the Army will provide it. We will also look at deploying Special Forces,” he said on the sidelines of an event to distribute welfare measures to disabled ex-servicemen and widows of Army men killed in action. 

Agreeing to indications from Afghanistan that the attack on Indian embassy was carried out by a foreign intelligence agency, Kapoor said: “It is a well-planned, pre-meditated, and pre-planned (attack)”. “Obviously, there are elements that are inimical to India’s interests in Kabul, who will be involved. I would not like to deny it. We all should be able to make out who would be inimical to our interest in Kabul and to Indian embassy in Kabul,” he added. — PTI

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Gorkhaland
Buddha calls for tripartite meeting

Kolkata, July 10
The West Bengal government has requested the Centre to arrange a tripartite meeting with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) to resolve the Darjeeling crisis, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today. “I talked with Union home minister Shivraj Patil yesterday over phone and requested him to arrange a tripartite meeting involving the Centre, state and the GJM.

The state government is also writing a letter to the Centre in this regard,” he told the Assembly. GJM chief Bimal Gurung had earlier requested him to take the initiative for the tripartite talks in New Delhi at the earliest, he said while replying to a calling attention motion by Trinamool Congress legislator Saugata Roy.

Bhattacharjee said he had told the GJM leadership on June 27 that there was no need for a separate state as demanded by them. “I said there is need for more economic and social development in Darjeeling and perhaps more autonomy can be given to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council,” he said. In reply to a question by Roy, Bhattacharjee said he was against the use of force to open central and state government offices in Darjeeling, which were shut by the GJM as part of their agitation.

The GJM wants the creation of Gorkhaland comprising the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, besides Siliguri subdivision in the plains and adjacent Dooars in north Bengal. — PTI 

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Don’t politicise Speaker’s office, says Somnath
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is not quitting as yet. Breaking his silence for the first time over the issue of his continuation in office, the Speaker today said that he did not represent any political party in the discharge of his duties and functions and his office should not be dragged into any controversies. He made a categorical statement that his decision, relevant to the present political context, would be conveyed as and when taken.

There have been speculations about the Speaker’s resignation in the wake of a bitter divorce between the Left and the Congress. While to some extent these speculations have been fuelled by the high moral ground the Speaker has often taken in the Lok Sabha in the past, they were further cemented by political developments on the Left’s front. 

The list, which the Left handed over to President Pratibha Patil, conveying the withdrawal of support to the government, mentions Somnath Chatterjee’s name among other Left MPs. Above all, certain sections believed that the Speaker might resign, considering in the past he offered to resign on several occasions to save the dignity of the chair.

Clarifying his stand on the matter today, the Speaker, however, said that the present Speaker’s election to the highest legislative office of the country was not only uncontested but unanimous as all political parties proposed his name. He added that he never owed allegiance to any political party in the discharge of his duties; moreover, he scrupulously kept himself away from all political activity. The decision, taken relevant to the political context, would be conveyed, the Speaker said.

As for the Left and the Congress, they have been maintaining that it is the Speaker’s call. Significantly, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat yesterday said it was for the Speaker to decide if he wanted to continue in office. The letter of withdrawal of support he forwarded to the President, however, tells another story. Sources in the Left today indicated that the Speaker would quit at an appropriate time, even as the Speaker trashed rumours of his resignation, as of now.

Congress MP and MoS Finance Pawan Bansal, when contacted, also said the party had full confidence in the Speaker because the party elected him. He, however, added, “When the CPM went to the President to hand over the letter of withdrawal of support to the government, they included the Speaker’s name among the Left MPs withdrawing support. The CPM could perhaps have avoided this.”

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Experts: Deal will help India meet energy requirements
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10 
As the government of India today revealed the draft of the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)agreement, the intelligensia which had been keeping a close watch, responded with satisfaction at its contents saying “ there is nothing to worry on the nuclear deal front”. 

Commodore Uday Bhaskar (retd), former director of the Institute of Defence Studies said, “I am satisfied.” The draft meets three key concerns: uninterrupted fuel supply for its reactors, strategic fuel reserve and the right to take corrective steps if the fuel supply is disrupted. We need not specify in the draft what actions we can take in the future, said Bhaskar, adding that the nuclear deal will mean that nuclear-denial regime imposed on India will be lifted, thus meeting energy requirements. “The draft amply demonstrates that the anxieties are assuaged while aspirations are realised,” he said. 

Former BARC director A.N. Prasad was quoted by the NDTV saying “the text is generally all right”.

The draft, which was posted on the website of the ministry of external affairs this morning, provides 'reliable, uninterrupted and continuous access' to the international fuel market once India puts its identified civilian facilities under permanent safeguards of the IAEA.

The agreement recognises India's status as a de-facto nuclear weapon power. Experts here said it was okay that “corrective measures” were allowed to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of fuel supplies.

The IAEA pact will pave way for a 45-nation nuclear suppliers group (NSG) to allow the resumption of global civil nuclear commerce with India. The India-specific safeguards will be ratified on July 28.

Experts are seeing the “corrective action” allowed to India as something very good. Since the agreement supports an effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel, this will come handy if it decides to conduct a nuclear test leading to suspension of global civil nuclear cooperation.

India's military facilities are out of purview of the draft, but India will have to give an undertaking that it will not divert reactors and fuel bought from the international market for military use. This is fair enough, said a top government scientist, on condition of anonymity.

Hence, only India's civilian nuclear facilities will be placed under IAEA safeguards.

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Jyoti Basu unhappy over political scene
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 10
The recent political developments in the country over the nuclear deal issue does not augur well for the Left parties, Jyoti Basu reportedly told some CPM and other Front leaders, who met him at his Salt Lake residence last evening to wish him on his 95th birthday.

Basu said he had been with the communist party for long 67 years since his return from England in 1940 after becoming a barrister. He volunteered to work for the party as a whole-timer instead of opting for the legal profession. It was then a very small party, but it gradually grew to it’s present strength as the people of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala had been supporting them.

Basu said in West Bengal their party had been in power since 1977 and he himself had been Chief Minister for five consecutive terms. But now he was feeling pained at the present political situation. He did not know what would happen after the next elections.

Basu advised the party men to face the situation boldly and dedicate themselves whole-heartedly and sincerely in working for the people.

The CPM state committee leaders today informally discussed the present political situations at the Alimuddin party office vis-ŕ-vis the strategy to be followed against the UPA.

The CPM and other Left Front parties have already decided to launch protests against the nuclear deal, the price rise and other anti-people activities of the UPA government.

The Trinamool Congress and the state BJP had also decided to organise protests and rallies against the deal and the price rise.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister today dared the Trinamool Congress to take on them. Bhattacharjee was participating in a discussion on Nandigram at the Assembly today. The Trinamool wanted to move a formal motion on Nandigram, which the Speaker, Hashim Abdul Halim, disallowed. Trinamool MLAs then staged a walk out.

The Chief Minister alleged that the Trinamool Congress and the Maoists were again trying to disturb peace at Nandigram. He said the Bhoomi Raksha Committee and the Matanghini Hazra Biplavi Parisad, working at Nandigram, were nothing but a combination of the Trinamool Congress and the Maoists.

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Lalu’s love for Left hasn’t withered

Patna, July 10
Even though the Left parties have left the UPA, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad ‘sings his amour’ for the red outfits finding expression in some evergreen Bollywood 
love-songs.

“Sau saal pahle mujhe tumse pyaar tha, aaj bhi hai aur kal bhi rahega (My love for you will exist today and tomorrow, as it had been for the past hundred years,” chanted Prasad, also the railway minister, at a meeting here yesterday.

Singing the Bollywood hit of silver-screen’s evergreen hero Dev Anand, “Jab pyaar kisi se hota hai (When love happens),” Prasad said, “My love for the Left parties is like Dev Saheb’s love for his lady.”

The minister also said he had no bitter feelings for the red brigade even after the latter snapped ties with the UPA on the nuclear deal.

“They are my friends and will ever remain my friends. My feelings for them will remain unaltered, even in the changed political scenario,” asserted Prasad.

He also claimed that the UPA government would complete its full-term even without the Left’s support.

The Left, however, did not reciprocate Prasad’s warmth and ruled out any possibility of entering into an alliance with the UPA partners, including the RJD, LJP or Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

The parties have planned a mass movement to protest the rise in prices as well as issues related to public concern. — UNI

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India-specific safeguard text worries scientists

Mumbai, July 10
Criticising the draft text of the India-specific safeguard agreement, two top scientists have warned that it is “prejudicial” to the national interest and that it was in no way different from the safeguard agreement of non-weapon states.

Former Atomic Energy Commission chairman P.K. Iyengar and former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board chairman A. Gopalakrishnan said the draft text was identical to the IAEA Circular 66 on safeguards to non-weapon states and that it provided no assurance on fuel supply.

A third scientist, former BARC director A.N. Prasad, however, said the text is generally all right but there is nothing India-specific.

Gopalakrishnan said although the preamble mentioned about the corrective measures promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of the House, the text is not satisfactory. However, Prasad said though corrective measures may not be very clear in the text, they are there without being explicit.

“There is nothing India-specific except that the IAEA has not made objection to India’s strategic programme,” Iyengar said.

Iyengar regretted the “colonial mentality” and said the draft text was made public by the Indian government only after it was “leaked” first by an American website.

“Even after 60 years of Independence, the colonial thinking persists,” he said adding that the government was terming the text as “classified documents” until an American website put it out. Even the IAEA had said in its press release last night that the text would not be made public.

“It is interesting to note that the text which was announced yesterday as ‘classified’ by the external affairs ministry was made public today just based on a leakage of the text in some American website this morning,” Iyengar said.

Prasad said the safeguards text was unduly kept under wraps by the government for reasons best known to it and created turmoil of sorts.

“On a quick look at the text it is evident that it generally follows the standard safeguards practices already in vogue in the IAEA and there is hardly any India specific article,” he said.

The IAEA has guarded against Indian withdrawal from safeguards at any time without mentioning the word “perpetuity”. Corrective measures are not explicitly dealt with and left somewhat vague, he said.

The broad contours of the Additional Protocol could have been discussed since the most intrusive aspects of the implementation of safeguards are usually packed in the protocol, Prasad said.

However, safeguards is one aspect but the deal as a whole has many larger issues on which India has to be concerned about, including those which could be detrimental to the long term national interests, Prasad said. — PTI

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Politicisation of curricula dangerous: Ahmadi
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Former chief justice A.M Ahmadi has raised concerns over the politicisation of curricula, warning against students being fed on distorted history that breeds violence. 

“We need to be extra vigilant to ensure that young minds in educational institutions are fed on the positive aspects of different faiths and not on distorted facts that preach violence,” said Ahmadi at the first annual lecture organised by the ministry of minority affairs to mark the establishment of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in 1993.

Ahmadi asked the NCM to set up peace committees in every state so it could deflect risky situations created by communal riots.

“It would be worthwhile for the commission to set up peace committees in every state so that people of that state get to handle communal violence if it arises. The idea is to prevent the politicians from jumping into the fray to capitalise on the situation,” said Ahmadi, talking of how the gaps between the minorities and majority could be bridged.

Justice Ahmadi’s three-pronged approach towards solution rests on inter-faith dialogues, civil society initiatives and strong governments that could crush the evil of communalism.

“Secular forces need to be awakened lest communalism jeopardises our freedom and democracy,” said Ahmadi. Every effort must be made to bridge the gap, he added.

Ahmadi highlighted the need to remain in touch with each other and battle isolation. “In order to remain relevant and effective, the civil society should remain in constant touch with issues concerning the local people. This will make it difficult for vested interests to take charge of the situation and exploit it,” said Ahmadi.

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Rocketman pedals his way for 20 yrs

Thiruvananthapuram, July 10
As a senior technocrat in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), his job is to design rockets. But for Dr V Adimurthy, associate director, Vikaram Sarabhai Space Centre, the bicycle has been a preferred mode of transport for the last two decades.

Eminent Malayalam poet and scholar Prof Vishnu Narayanan Namboodiri is another avid cyclist. They have no problem in admitting that cycling through the ups and downs and the potholed roads of Thiruvananthapuram has kept them physically fit and mentally alert.

Adimurthy, who commutes a minimum of 20 km, said he found several advantages in it, the greatest being physical and mental relaxation it offers.

Namboodiri saw bicycles as a symbol of intermediate technology suited for a country like India. — PTI 

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Bihar MLC Salman declared absconder

Nawada (Bihar), July 10
A local court today declared Salman Rageev, an Independent member of the Bihar Legislative Council, as absconder and ordered putting up of advertisements to ensure the member’s arrest following his continued absence from court despite repeated summons.

Fast Track Court Judge Narendra Bahadur Singh declared Rageev, alias Munna Mian, an absconder in a case relating to his alleged involvement in looting Rs 2.42 lakh from complainant Mahendra Prasad Yadav of Kendua village in 1998.

On July 4, a non-bailable warrant of arrest was issued against the MLC for failing to appear before the court in spite of repeated summons in connection with the case.

In another case, Rageev was released on bail by the Patna High Court last month for his alleged involvement in Rs 3-crore sand mining scam after being arrested in May this year.

Independent MLA from Govindpur in Nawada district Kaushal Yadav is also an accused in the case.

The duo were charged with having withdrawn huge amounts of money from the treasury by submitting fake and forged bills after bagging contracts for mining sand. — PTI

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Soz for better management of water resources
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Minister of water resources Saifuddin Soz stressed on the better management of the water resources to achieve food security and the need to create awareness in the people for water conservation and rain water harvesting. 

Presiding over the 24th annual general meeting of the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) on Wednesday, Soz said the detailed project report (DPR) of the Ken - Betwa Link was likely to be completed by the year end. NWDA is a society under the ministry of water resources, which carries out studies for inter-basin water transfer proposals in the country. 

Soz said the government committed to remove the anomaly of regional imbalance in availability of water and expand irrigation potential at an accelerated rate to make India self sufficient in food-grain production. 

He thanked the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat for conveying their concurrence for signing MoU for the Par - Tapi - Narmada and Damanganga - Pinjal links in the western India, adding that the MoU would be signed soon for preparation of the DPRs. Soz also expressed hope for reaching consensus on the MoU for the Parbati - Kalisindh - Chambal link. 

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Narmada project oustees hold protest

Bhopal, July 10
Several hundred people, displaced due to various projects on the Narmada, staged a demonstration here today to protest improper rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh.

People affected by Sardar Sarovar, Maheshwar, Maan, Indira Sagar and Bargi projects took part in the protest rally organised under the banner of the Narmada Bachao Andolan from Shahjehani Park to the Narmada Bhawan.

Andolan activist Alok Agarwal told reporters that the displaced people had sought an audience with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to raise their demands, including land for adult male children as directed by the high court in 2006. Alleging that several hundred people were still deprived of rehabilitation, he said the government should come out with a village-wise list of all displaced people.

Demanding to halt the construction of the Maheshwar Project immediately, Agrawal said the state government should issue a white paper on the cost of power generation and cost to customers. — UNI 

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5 dacoits from Haryana arrested

Kolkata, July 10
Five dacoits from Haryana were arrested while attempting to loot a building in central Kolkata today, the police said.

Deputy commissioner Ajay Ranade said the arrests were made after residents of a multi-storeyed building at Armenian street informed the local police station about the presence of the intruders who posed as Delhi policemen.

Ranade said the police nabbed them while they were fleeing with the booty. Cell phones and cash were seized from them, he said. He said the five arrived in the city yesterday. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

Textile units stop production
COIMBATORE
: Around 4,500 small, medium and large textile mills in the organised and small-scale sector stopped production on Wednesday as part of a nation-wide protest demanding that cotton export be suspended till the end of the year. The Textile Mills Association, Tamil Nadu, in a statement here said the demands include zero duty on cotton import, withdrawal of export incentive on cotton and restricting the quantity of cotton export. — UNI

Solar-wind hybrid power project set up
AGARTALA
: The first solar-wind hybrid power project in the North-East has been set up at Vigyan Bhawan here, which would produce two KW power from non-conventional sources of energy. Project director of the Tripura Renewable Energy Development Agency Sumanta Chakraborty said the project has the capacity to utilise solar power and wind energy in a ratio of 50:50. — UNI

A slap to ward off black magic
PUNE
: As the Maharashtra Assembly gears up for its monsoon session, volunteers of the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) decided to mark the inaugural day with a statewide self-slapping demonstration to protest against the government's inaction with regard to an anti-superstition Bill. According to Narendra Dabholkar, working president of the ANS, volunteers are taking the recourse to “self torture” to focus on the absence of political will to ratify the act. — PTI

Chiranjeevi seeks extension
Hyderabad
: Seeking an extension of the deadline for voter registration process, Allu Aravind, brother-in-law and close aide of Chiranjeevi, met the chief electoral officer of Andhra Pradesh. "We sought an extension of the July 14 deadline for voter registration. We understand that many who are of 18- years after 2004 could not register as voters for various reasons. We want the time period to be extended," said Aravind. — PTI

Curfew lifted in Indore
INDORE
: Riot-hit Indore is fast returning to normal, with the district administration lifting curfew in the areas under the jurisdiction of 18 police stations out of 24 in the city. In the remaining six stations, the curfew will continue during the night to maintain the law and order. — PTI

Goa villagers file petition
PANAJI
: Goa villagers have approached the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court appealing against the SEZs land allotment by the state government-run Goa Industrial Development Corporation. The villagers from Keri, Sancoale and Verna, have filed a petition challenging the decision to allot land to the SEZs in their villages on 95-year-lease basis. — PTI

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