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N A T I O N

4 die in West Bengal poll violence
At least four persons were killed as West Bengal went into the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday. The voting, held to 17 seats, stood at 75 per cent. According to reports, a member of a political party was reportedly shot dead at Nandigram, West Bengal, but there was no official confirmation of the incident, Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said.

Karuna support for ‘Eelam’
Madurai, May 7
Indicating a rift between the DMK and Congress on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi promised to work for a "homeland for Tamils" in the island nation, while the Congress is still clinging to the 1987 Indo-Lankan agreement, which was rejected by the then Sri Lankan government under Premadasa and the LTTE.

Azam upset over SP’s support to Kalyan
In a communally polarised UP, the political meaning of his words rips through sharper than the Rampuri - a sharp knife for which the city is famous for. Azam Khan, seen as the architect of Samajwadi Party’s path to central politics and in UP in the last 15 years, is a distraught man.



EARLIER STORIES



Is BJP trying to cash in on hate speeches?
New Delhi, May 7
Since the Election Commission (EC) objected sometime in mid-March to the communally surcharged hate speech allegedly made by BJP candidate from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi, the BJP has consistently disowned and distanced itself from all such hate speeches.

Jehadi leader’s village defies boycott call
Ignoring the poll boycott call of United Jehad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin, people in his native village today voted for a better tomorrow. Barely 30 yards from Hizbul Mujahideen chief’s house in Soibug, 25 per cent of the listed electors had voted by 1 pm. Rest of the seven booths in Budgam village also recorded moderate polling, proving development is important than Salahuddin here.

Offence in Canada, then why case in India, asks SC
New Delhi, May 7
The Supreme Court has delivered a judgment that would deter couples living abroad from bringing their marital disputes to Indian courts. A Bench comprising Justices SB Sinha and MK Sharma set aside on Tuesday a Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment under which the HC had refused to quash an FIR filed by a person, a permanent resident of Canada, against his son-in-law and his parents.

Hindus being evicted in Lanka: VHP
Madurai, May 7
Accusing the Sri Lankan government of demolishing more than 500 Hindu temples in the island nation, VHP leader Ashok Singhal said Hindus in Sri Lanka were being evicted from their homes.





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4 die in West Bengal poll violence

At least four persons were killed as West Bengal went into the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday. The voting, held to 17 seats, stood at 75 per cent. According to reports, a member of a political party was reportedly shot dead at Nandigram, West Bengal, but there was no official confirmation of the incident, Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said.

A CPM worker was killed in a bomb attack by unidentified persons in Jangipur, from where Congress stalwart Pranab Mukherjee is in the fray while a voter was killed and eight persons, including three policemen, injured in Asansol Lok Sabha constituency in Burdwan district when armed men opened fire.

Despite the violence, West Bengal, where 17 constituencies went to poll in the fourth phase, drew the highest voter turnout - 75 per cent.

One killed in CISF firing in Rajasthan

Polling to all 25 Lok Sabha seats of Rajasthan was by and large peaceful, barring an incident in Sawai Madhopur in which one person was killed in CISF firing, with the tentative polling percentage being 50 per cent. Chief Electoral Officer Vinod Zutshi said Ganganagar saw the maximum polling with 62 per cent while Jalore Lok Sabha seat polled the minimum at 37 per cent. However, he added that these were tentative figures and the people were still in the queues outside various polling booths, even as he addresses the media.

ADGP KL Bairwa told mediapersons that Netram Meena (33) was killed while Hemraj Meena suffered injuries in the firing by CISF jawans at Olwara village in Sawai Madhopur. He said the incident occurred when some people wanted to cast their vote without any identity card.

In another incident, the vehicle of firebrand tribal leader Kirori Lal Meena, who is contesting from Dausa as an Independent, was reportedly pelted with stones at Bhandraj in Dausa. Irked at the incident, Meena’s supporters staged dharna at the Kotwali police station.

Booth capturing reports from UP

During the fourth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, suspected booth capturing was reported from Etah where re-polling may be ordered, said Chief Electoral Officer AK Bishnoi. Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was contesting as an SP-supported independent candidate from here.

The overall polling percentage for the 18 seats was 50 per cent. The highest polling percentage (53) was reported from Mathura where RLD chief Ajit Singh’s son is making his maiden attempt to enter the Lok Sabha. The lowest turnout at 41.5 per cent was reported from Agra.

Trouble was also reported from Kairana constituency in Muzzafarnagar district where in Bhuragoan the supporters of BJP and BSP candidates clashed. In sector 50 of Noida falling under Gautam Buddha Nagar, a similar clash between polling agents of two parties was reported. A Bhartiya Kranti Party candidate in Hathras, Jaiprakash Balmiki succumbed to a sudden heart attack today, informed Bishnoi. Agitated voters from a village near Mathura smashed windowpanes of several cars belonging to the relatives of BSP candidate Shyam Sundar Sharma who was allegedly distributing money to solicit votes.

Poll peaceful but slow in Bihar

Polling for the last three Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar passed off peacefully with a lackluster response from the voters. The overall percentage of the votes polled in Bihar remained at 37 per cent.

While 42 per cent electorate of the Patliputra constituency, from where RJD chief Lalu Yadav is in the fray, exercised their right to franchise, the polling percentage in Nalanda, the home turf of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was just 39 per cent. Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat, comprising Bihar’s state capital, could record just 34 per cent polls, despite the fact that cine stars like Shatrughan Sinha and Shekhar Suman are fighting for the seat. Voters of Nalanda boycotted polling on 18 booths while two booths each in Patna Saheb and Patliputra also became witness to the poll boycott.

Inputs: Subhrangshu Gupta (Kolkata), Perneet Singh (Jaipur), Shahira Naim (Lucknow), Sanjay Singh (Patna)

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Karuna support for ‘Eelam’
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Madurai, May 7
Indicating a rift between the DMK and Congress on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi promised to work for a "homeland for Tamils" in the island nation, while the Congress is still clinging to the 1987 Indo-Lankan agreement, which was rejected by the then Sri Lankan government under Premadasa and the LTTE.

Karunanidhi's statement came last night, hours after AICC president Sonia Gandhi cancelled her visit to Tamil Nadu, even while Tamil nationalist groups and leading directors of Tamil cinema were preparing to observe her visit as a black day. The DMK, which has 97-members in the 234-member Assembly, is surviving on the support of Congress, which has 35 MLAs.

The DMK leader, who was maintaining that the party supported the stand of the Centre on the issue, asked his cadres to work for the party's success in the elections, promising to make efforts for "Eelam". Vacillating without a stand on the issue for more than a decade, for fear of alienating major national parties like the Congress, Karunanidhi was forced to make up his mind, as anger and resentment was growing against his party, just a week before the elections.

Pushed into a tight spot by AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa's assertion that a Union government supported by her would send the Indian military to form "Tamil Eelam", Karunanidhi too followed suit, following the tremendous response to the campaign of Jayalalithaa and MDMK leader Vaiko.

The DMK had adopted a resolution in support of "Tamil Eelam" when MDMK leader Vaiko was one of the key leaders of the party. However, after Vaiko's expulsion the DMK chief did not commit himself on the issue. When stretched to the maximum, Karunanidhi had said: “I will be happy if Tamil Eelam is formed.” For the first time after Vaiko's expulsion, the DMK leader had come forward "to make efforts" for the objective.

The Chief Minister claimed that he had ensured a fair quantity of relief for Sri Lankan Tamils and the formation of "Eelam" would be the next step. Following the declaration of the DMK, all regional parties in Tamil Nadu, including the AIADMK, MDMK and PMK, have similar stand on the issue.

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Azam upset over SP’s support to Kalyan
Ajay Banerjee writes from Rampur

In a communally polarised UP, the political meaning of his words rips through sharper than the Rampuri - a sharp knife for which the city is famous for. Azam Khan, seen as the architect of Samajwadi Party’s path to central politics and in UP in the last 15 years, is a distraught man.

Khan is all-India convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee; a seven-term MLA; and a founding member of the SP when it was founded just two months before the Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992.

Talking to the Tribune at his home in Mumtaz Park, Rampur, he painfully said, “Now nobody is less guilty or more guilty of betraying the Muslims, all are equal.” In Urdu he says, “ Hame to vote dalne ke liye pass bulaya jata hai aur baad mein munh paar tamaacha marte hain,” (Muslims are invited closer only for voting and after that is over, we are slapped across our faces).

My only grouse is with Mulayam Singh “ how could he join hands with Kalyan Singh, the man who was Chief Minister when the Babri Masjid was pulled down. Kalyan is a criminal for the community”. Till people remember lord Rama, Kalyan Singh’s name will also be remembered for the ghastly act, he said, adding that it was the Muslim community that put so much faith on Yadav.

When asked whether he was leaving the SP or splitting it as was expected, Khan said, “I am the foundation of the SP, can the foundation move till the building is standing. I want to cure the party and not kill it by giving poison.” Political observers say Khan, knows his standing in the community, the time is ripe for him to make his move and he has an issue at hands. He could opt for the BSP or even the Congress. Khan lets a hint slip, “If muslims have to choose between various heaps of ‘garbage’ (a moderated word, Khan used a unprintable word), why not choose from the oldest heap of garbage at least you know what is in it.”

When asked if he blamed general secretary of SP Amar Singh for this, Khan, said he was a political man and talked about political people only. Jaya Prada, the party nominee from Rampur, was an actress while on Amar Singh, the less said the better.

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Is BJP trying to cash in on hate speeches?
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Since the Election Commission (EC) objected sometime in mid-March to the communally surcharged hate speech allegedly made by BJP candidate from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi, the BJP has consistently disowned and distanced itself from all such hate speeches.

Yet the latest EC notice to North-East Delhi BJP candidate BL Sharma ‘Prem’ clearly showed that for all its distancing from such speeches, the BJP has been deliberately looking to reap electoral benefit from the provocative campaign style of these candidates. And there are many from the BJP in the EC net for their hate speeches.

Varun Gandhi, the scion of Nehru Gandhi family, of course started the trend when he had allegedly threatened to cut off the hands of Muslims, if they were raised against the Hindus.

But the party took grave objection to the EC advice not to set up Varun as their candidate from Pilibhit; it went out on attacking the EC and the UP government for acting against him.

This naturally encouraged several BJP aspirants. Soon enough BJP’s Karwar MP Ananth Kumar Hegde came out with more vituperative remarks against the Christians and even challenged Muslims not to bother to vote for him.

Similar remarks were made by BJP’s Gorkahpur candidate Yogi Adityanath against the Muslims of Azamgarh and neighbouring areas.

Despite all this, the BJP has maintained a stoic silence, pretending not to have heard the hate speeches of its candidates.

Not just that it set up candidates with proven record of provoking communal tensions. For instance it chose Ashok Sahu, a rabid VHP man already charged by the Orissa government for his alleged involvement in the anti-Christian violence. And they chose to field him from Kandhamal which the Christians still avoid for fear of last year’s repeat.

Prem took the cake from all others. He had twice won the elections in East Delhi on BJP ticket in 1991 and 1996 on the Ram Mandir wave. But later, he resigned not just from his seat but also from the party, soon after he realised that BJP was trying to moderate itself. He turned a Sikh, calling himself Sher Singh, and went virtually into political oblivion.

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Jehadi leader’s village defies boycott call
Aditi Tandon writes from Soibug/Srinagar

Ignoring the poll boycott call of United Jehad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin, people in his native village today voted for a better tomorrow.

Barely 30 yards from Hizbul Mujahideen chief’s house in Soibug, 25 per cent of the listed electors had voted by 1 pm. Rest of the seven booths in Budgam village also recorded moderate polling, proving development is important than Salahuddin here.

Those who didn’t cast vote said they had done so out of disgust for politicians.

“For the politicians, this place will remain a militant hotbed, with no right to progress. We want that attitude to change,” said Kamal Shah, who voted anyway.

Soibug has, in fact, never failed to spring poll surprises. In the 2008 Assembly elections, it polled 65 per cent votes, hoping to get its share of jobs, roads, etc. Five months later, there’s hardly any change in the persisting situation. The only thing that has not changed is the village’s zeal to strive for betterment.

Education has brought awareness to this area, which is infamous for being a bastion of counter insurgents.

Under insurgent’s threat, Salahuddin’s family also fled from here in 1995. They returned two years ago --- a sign that things here have changed.

Abdul Wahid, one of Salahuddin’s five sons, is now a doctor in Soibug and one of the top militant’s two daughters is a teacher. Wahid praised NC Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as a “young Chief Minister with potential to develop the state”.

Wahid, in fact, confessed that he had not seen the Army force anyone to vote. “Neither do Armymen force people to vote, nor do militants force them not to vote. Here, people can make fearless choices. My father has his own path; I have my own way to serve people. I am a doctor, after all,” says the young man, who boycotted polls today.

But several young educated people turned up at the booths. Among them were Shubena, Asia and Irfana, all graduation students, who travel for an hour daily to reach the nearest degree college at Nawakadal.

Women like Afsana Bano were not behind either. They accompanied their men to the booths, saying Salahuddin’s anti-poll message was an appeal, not a threat.

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Offence in Canada, then why case in India, asks SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 7
The Supreme Court has delivered a judgment that would deter couples living abroad from bringing their marital disputes to Indian courts.

A Bench comprising Justices SB Sinha and MK Sharma set aside on Tuesday a Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment under which the HC had refused to quash an FIR filed by a person, a permanent resident of Canada, against his son-in-law and his parents.

The son-in-law, Harmanpreet Singh Ahluwalia, and his parents had sought quashing of the FIR, filed by Inder Pal Singh, father of Paramjit Kaur (wife of HS Ahluwalia). The HC, however, refused to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the IPC to quash the FIR and dismissed their plea on December 13, 2007.

"…the larger part of offence, if any, has been committed only in Canada. Why the father of respondent No. 3 (Paramjit) had to come from Canada to Jalandhar to lodge an FIR is difficult to comprehend," the apex court Bench wondered.

The Ahluwalias had approached the HC after a charge sheet was filed against them despite the fact that the Superintendent of Police, Jalandhar, had, after conducting an inquiry for 10 months, found that there was nothing to prove the allegations. The FIR had been registered on May 30, 2006, and the inquiry report was submitted on March 30, 2007.

"For the purpose of constituting an offence of cheating, the complainant is required to show that the accused had fraudulent or dishonest intention at the time of making promise or representation.

"Even in a case where allegations are made in regard to failure on the part of the accused to keep his promise, in absence of a culpable intention at the time of making initial promise being absent, no offence under Section 420 of the IPC can be said to have been made out," the Bench said.

In this case, Harmanpreet had married Paramjit, a divorcee, in May 2000, and filed for divorce before the Ontario Court of Justice towards the end of 2003. The couple patched up some time later, but subsequently separated in March 2006. Harmanpreet filed a second divorce petition in May 2006 before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which allowed it on October 19, 2007.

Harmanpreet had challenged the Jalandhar court's "territorial jurisdiction" for ordering an investigation in the matter, maintaining that the proceedings amounted to abuse of the process of law.

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Hindus being evicted in Lanka: VHP
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Madurai, May 7
Accusing the Sri Lankan government of demolishing more than 500 Hindu temples in the island nation, VHP leader Ashok Singhal said Hindus in Sri Lanka were being evicted from their homes.

Speaking to reporters at Nagercoil in the southern tip of Tamil Nadu, the VHP leader alleged that the Congress government, guided by AICC president Sonia Gandhi was silently watching the massacre of Hindus in the island nation.

Citing the creation of Bangladesh, he said former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sent the Indian military to create a new nation when similar situation prevailed.

It was surprising to see the Centre watching the atrocities against Hindus in Sri Lanka, he added.

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