SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

The Telangana Tangle
Now, Cong MPs on indefinite fast

Hyderabad, December 27
Congress legislators from Telangana region raise slogans during their indefinite hunger strike demanding a separate state in Hyderabad on Monday. After opposition leaders, it was now the turn of ruling Congress MPs in Andhra Pradesh to go on an indefinite fast to score political points.

Congress legislators from Telangana region raise slogans during their indefinite hunger strike demanding a separate state in Hyderabad on Monday. — PTI

CM Reddy on sticky wicket
Hyderabad, December 27
In cricket, the job of a night watchman is to steady the innings and survive the day. As a former cricketer who had captained Hyderabad under-25 team in his college days, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is well aware of his brief.

Adnan Sami’s properties seized
Mumbai, December 27
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has confiscated eight flats and five car parking spaces of singer Adnan Sami in a high rise building here and slapped a Rs 20 lakh fine on him for acquiring assets without permission of Reserve Bank of India as he was a Pakistani national.

Land Case
Court orders FIR against Rosaiah
Hyderabad, December 27
In an embarrassment to the ruling Congress, an anti-corruption bureau court here today ordered filing of an FIR against former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah and other officials in a case involving de-notification of a prime land in the city.



EARLIER STORIES

Nationwide terror alert ahead of New Year
New Delhi, December 27
Ahead of the New Year, the Home Ministry has sounded a country-wide terror alert, especially for Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa and Bangalore, after getting intelligence inputs that Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Toiba was planning to strike.

Two years after deadly attack, Mumbaikars to party offshore
Mumbai, December 27
Till the terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26 two years ago, Mumbaiites in large numbers chose to usher in the New Year on board boats and yachts that set sail off the Gateway of India. Revellers chose the leaky fishing boats hurriedly scrubbed clean and rigged up with seats, party tables, music systems and festooned with decorations put up with rudimentary facilities for the joy of non-stop partying away from the prying eyes of the police out to enforce noise pollution norms.

HC refuses to stay order in Lalit Modi case
Mumbai, December 27
The Bombay High Court today refused to stay its single Bench order that had stalled till January 10 the proceedings of the disciplinary committee of the cricket board probing allegations of financial irregularities against former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

Academicians want review of Binayak Sen case
Sen’s supporters at a protest in New Delhi on Monday. New Delhi, December 27
Expressing shock at the Chhattisgarh court's judgment on rights activist and doctor Binayak Sen, academicians across the country and abroad issued a statement Monday condemning the life sentence and said that his case must be judged with "enlightened reason".

Sen’s supporters at a protest in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Gujjar protesters block more roads
Jaipur, December 27
Gujjars, on a war path over the reservation issue, laid siege to more roads, highways and rail routes and enforced shutdowns in some cities as the stand-off between the community and the Rajasthan Government persisted for the eighth day today. Around 200 protesters today jammed the Jaipur-Ajmer highway at Mangaliawas in Ajmer district throwing road traffic haywire. Late last night, some protesters set ablaze a truck near Kotputli town on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, police said adding no one was injured.

Probe sought into charge against former CJI’s kin
Kochi, December 27
Trouble is brewing for former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, with allegations of amassing of property worth crores of rupees surfacing against his son-in-law and former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer today demanding a judicial probe into it.

VCK: Give states say in foreign policy
Chennai, December 27
Key DMK ally and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s (VCK) founder Thol Thirumavalavan has said that the Tamil Nadu Government could not prevent genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka since states did not have powers to decide foreign policy. The pro-LTTE leader demanded nationality status for all states part from a separate flag and powers to determine foreign policy.

Cong MLA held for assault, gets bail
Dahod, December 27
A Congress legislator from Dahod was today arrested for allegedly assaulting a District Development Officer (DDO) and other government officers here and obstructing them from performing their duties, police said.

Premature retirees entitled to disability pension: AFT
Chandigarh, December 27
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ruled that defence officers who seek premature retirement and were released before 2006 are entitled to disability pension. Allowing petitions filed by Brig SS Ahluwalia, Lt Col Karan Singh and Col Sushil Kumar Sawhney, the Tribunal observed that the benefits of disability pension have already been extended to post 2006 retired personnel below officer rank (PBOR), but the government has denied the same to those who retired before 2006.

Spending on social activities to go up
Behrampore, December 27
The Centre is planning to increase spending on social activities with a rise in government revenue, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here today. “With rise in government revenues, we will increase it further,” he said at the inauguration of a Union Bank branch in the Murshidabad district.

‘Bigg Boss’ stays on prime time
But can’t show obscenity: HC
Mumbai, December 27
The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed reality TV show “Bigg Boss”to be aired at prime time slot of 9 pm but directed that “no obscene language and visuals, including beeps” will be allowed.

DMK ally: Give states a say in foreign policy
Chennai, December 27
Key DMK ally and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s (VCK) founder Thol Thirumavalavan has said that the Tamil Nadu Government could not prevent genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka since states did not have powers to decide foreign policy. The pro-LTTE leader demanded nationality status for all states part from a separate flag and powers to determine foreign policy.

 





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The Telangana Tangle
Now, Cong MPs on indefinite fast
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, December 27
After opposition leaders, it was now the turn of ruling Congress MPs in Andhra Pradesh to go on an indefinite fast to score political points. In a severe embarrassment to the Congress government, its MPs from Telangana region, including senior leader and CWC member K Kesava Rao, began an indefinite hunger strike here, demanding immediate withdrawal of cases against pro-Telangana activists, mostly students. The police had filed hundreds of cases against protesters at the peak of the statehood agitation.

The Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who hails from Rayalaseema region, was clearly unnerved by the turn of events as the fasting leaders and others from Telangana openly criticised him for being “adamant” on the issue of lifting the cases against agitators.

As 11 MPs and scores of other party leaders embarked on fast, the Chief Minister went into a huddle with ministers from Telangana region and top police officials to examine the demands afresh. He sent two Telangana ministers-K Jana Reddy and B Saraiah-as his emissaries to the hunger strike camp to persuade the fasting leaders to call off their stir. After prolonged discussions with his ministerial colleagues, the Chief Minister agreed to withdraw about 135 cases, in addition to 120 already withdrawn. When this was conveyed to the fasting MPs, they refused to budge from their position, demanding “unconditional withdrawal” of all categories of cases irrespective of the nature of offence.

A total of 1,667 cases were filed against 8,047 persons between December 2009 and September this year. The government withdrew 562 cases against 2,436 people who participated in the protests for and against statehood to Telangana. “We have decided to go on fast out of helplessness. We want to mount pressure on our government to withdraw all the cases,” Kesava Rao said.

The decision to undertake indefinite fast was taken yesterday at a meeting of Telangana Congress leaders, including ministers, legislators and MPs. The move is apparently aimed at taking the wind out of the sails of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which has been in the forefront of the statehood movement and cornering the limelight.

In fact, the TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao had even warned that he would undertake “fast-unto-death” if the Centre failed to initiate steps for carving out new state after the submission of report by Justice Srikrishna Committee by this month-end.

A section of ruling party leaders feel that TRS should not be allowed to take the credit for creation of new state since Congress alone was in a position to deliver the promise.

Meanwhile, Telangana Joint Action Committee Convener M Kodandaram, Maoist sympathiser and Telangana Praja Front leader Gaddar, leaders of Telangana government employees and lawyers associations visited the fasting MPs to express solidarity with them.

Of the 12 Congress Lok Sabha MPs from Telangana, eight participated in the fast, along with three of the party's four Rajya Sabha MPs. Several MLAs and MLCs also joined them to express their commitment to the cause. 

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CM Reddy on sticky wicket
Suresh Dharur/TNS

Hyderabad, December 27
In cricket, the job of a night watchman is to steady the innings and survive the day. As a former cricketer who had captained Hyderabad under-25 team in his college days, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is well aware of his brief.

But, the political pitch he has been asked to bat on is rather bouncy and proving to be increasingly challenging. He needs to marshal all his cricketing skills to tackle the googlies and bouncers of a different kind.

In his student days, Kiran was an aggressive middle order batsman and wicket keeper with a burning desire to make it to national team one day. Little did he expect then that he would be asked to lead the state of AP nearly three decades later. Catapulted into the CM’s chair, this four-time MLA from Rayalaseema region with no ministerial experience is grappling with a plethora of challenges. He has no mass base and lacks statewide appeal.

Kiran (50) was chosen by the high command to checkmate rebel YS Jagan Mohan Reddy since both hail from Rayalaseema region and belong to Reddy community which is the backbone of Congress’ support base. Kiran is also seen as a staunch loyalist of former Chief Minister late YS Rajasekhar Reddy whose political legacy has become a bone of contention between Jagan and the party leadership.

With no administrative experience, Kiran faces an uphill task in balancing the pressures of the governance and keeping the Congress flock together. His challenges are mainly three-fold. First: Rebellion from within as several of his cabinet colleagues who are much senior to him sulk over the portfolios allocated to them. Second: the threat from Jagan who recently quit Congress and is set to launch a new regional party next month. And third: the political fall-out of Telangana statehood agitation.

Hardly one month into his new role, Kiran has been facing one political crisis after the other, both from the opposition and his own party. The fresh challenge, the most embarrassing one, came from his own party colleagues from Telangana. Ignoring his personal appeals, the MPs from the region went on a fast demanding immediate withdrawal of all police cases against pro-Telangana agitators.

Given such a hostile political environment, Kiran finds himself in a tight spot. On one hand, he has to struggle to keep his flock together in the face of poaching by Jagan camp and on the other face the onslaught of the main opposition Telugu Desam Party over the plight of farmers affected by the recent floods.

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Adnan Sami’s properties seized

Mumbai, December 27
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has confiscated eight flats and five car parking spaces of singer Adnan Sami in a high rise building here and slapped a Rs 20 lakh fine on him for acquiring assets without permission of Reserve Bank of India as he was a Pakistani national.

The properties, located in Oberoi Sky Garden Housing Society in posh Lokhandwala complex in suburban Andheri, were acquired by Sami in 2003 in violation of Foreign Exchange Management (acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India) Regulations, 2000, ED sources said.

Under these regulations, any person, who is a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanisthan, China, Iran, Nepal or Bhutan cannot purchase or transfer any kind of immovable property in India without taking permission of the RBI.

The properties were confiscated following an order passed by Foreign Exchange Management Act adjudication authority.

Confirming the development, Sami's lawyer Vibhav Krishna told PTI, "We have received a copy of the order but the properties have not yet been confiscated. We have a right to appeal before the appellate forum of FEMA and we shall exercise this right within two days." Sami had purchased these properties in 2003 for Rs 2.53 crore. In 2008, he gifted five flats and three parking slots to his wife Sabah Galadari, a UAE national.

Later, his relations with Sabah turned sour and she filed a divorce case against him. — PTI

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Land Case
Court orders FIR against Rosaiah
Suresh Dharur/TNS

Hyderabad, December 27
In an embarrassment to the ruling Congress, an anti-corruption bureau court here today ordered filing of an FIR against former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah and other officials in a case involving de-notification of a prime land in the city.

Admitting a petition by a local advocate, the ACB court directed officials to file an FIR and submit their report to the court by January 28. At the heart of the controversy was the decision of the Rosaiah Government to de-notify 9-acre plot in the prime locality of Ameerpet, worth Rs 200 crore, to favour businessman Dr GN Naidu and a few others.

The petitioner, Mohanlal, claimed that the prime land was de-notified from the purview of land acquisition proceedings with an intention to benefit private individuals.

The land in question was acquired by the government long back from certain private owners for constructing commercial complexes and other urban development projects in public interest. Subsequently, Dr GN Naidu and a few others bought it from the owners in 1997, much after the land acquisition notification was issued.

In July 2010, following a representation from Naidu, the state government withdrew the land acquisition notification and handed over the land to private parties in an “unlawful manner”, the petitioner alleged.

Under the Land Acquisition Act, the state has no power to return the land once acquired under the Act and a purchaser, who bought this land after the land was acquired, has no right to reclaim it, the petitioner argued.

Even the Hyderabad Metro Development Authority (HMDA) was also opposed to returning the land to private owners as it would send wrong signals to scores of land-losers and may in fact come in the way of implementing infrastructure projects, he said. 

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Nationwide terror alert ahead of New Year

New Delhi, December 27
Ahead of the New Year, the Home Ministry has sounded a country-wide terror alert, especially for Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa and Bangalore, after getting intelligence inputs that Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Toiba was planning to strike.

Intelligence inputs suggested that LeT teams have already entered Mumbai and Ahmedabad and may strike at any time. The inputs also suggested that the terrorists may try to target one of the properties of the Taj group of hotels in Mumbai. The software hub Bangalore and tourists’ paradise Goa are also high on the list of terrorists.

The Centre asked all the states to tighten security by deploying additional forces in all sensitive locations to prevent any terror attack. The police of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa and Bangalore has been put on high alert and specific instructions have been issued for taking all possible steps to foil any attempt by LeT terrorists to disturb peace, official sources said.

Security forces have already launched “house-to-house” searches in some specific areas in Mumbai. Additional forces have been deployed in all sensitive and crowded places, including markets, religious places, bus and railway stations.

Both Mumbai and Ahmedabad had faced several terrorist attacks in the past including the November 26, 2008 strike in the commercial capital and September 25, 2002 attack on the Akshardham Temple in the Gujarat capital. Terrorists had attacked Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science on December 29, 2005 killing a senior academician while on July 25, 2008 six subsequent blasts killed three persons and hurt 20 others in the same city.

Meanwhile, security was on Monday intensified in Karnataka after a terror alert was sounded by central intelligence agencies especially for coastal areas. “A high alert has been sounded in the state, especially in coastal districts, following an alert from the Centre” Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa said. — PTI

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Two years after deadly attack, Mumbaikars to party offshore
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, December 27
Till the terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26 two years ago, Mumbaiites in large numbers chose to usher in the New Year on board boats and yachts that set sail off the Gateway of India. Revellers chose the leaky fishing boats hurriedly scrubbed clean and rigged up with seats, party tables, music systems and festooned with decorations put up with rudimentary facilities for the joy of non-stop partying away from the prying eyes of the police out to enforce noise pollution norms.

A cop outside the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai.
A cop outside the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. 

After reining in the boats for the last two years on security grounds, the Mumbai police have decided to let the boat parties resume. However, the parties will come with a number of strings attached, according to police sources. “Permissions will have to be sought for every boat rented out for commercial purposes,” says Quaiser Khalid, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the ports. Boat owners will also have to scrutinise identities of everyone boarding the boats, says Khalid.

The police department will post personnel at the jetties to frisk everyone boarding these boats as a security measure, the police said.

The Coast Guard and the Mumbai port trust officials also plan to ply 17 patrol boats to keep an eye on revellers aboard the boats. The police says they would board and search any boats if they find anything suspicious. Boat operators will have to acquire all permissions and licences from the departments before their vessels are rented out, says the police.

According to fishermen’s associations at least 100 to 150 boats were rented out for New Year’s Eve parties before the ban two years ago. “It is very lucrative and we earn Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 for every boat rented out for New Year’s Eve,” says Ambaji Tandel, a fishing boat owner from South Mumbai.

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HC refuses to stay order in Lalit Modi case

Mumbai, December 27
The Bombay High Court today refused to stay its single Bench order that had stalled till January 10 the proceedings of the disciplinary committee of the cricket board probing allegations of financial irregularities against former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

After hearing both parties, Justice Abhay Oka and Justice UD Salvi refused to stay the order passed by Justice SJ Kathawala on December 25. The BCCI had sought a stay on the order and prayed that the meeting of the disciplinary committee comprising Arun Jaitley, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Chirayu Amin should be allowed to be held on December 27 and 28.

However, the high court refused to allow the proceedings to be held against Modi for two days from today.

Owing to the high court order, the proceedings of the disciplinary committee would remain stayed. On December 25, Justice Kathawala had granted relief to Modi saying a prima facie case had been made out for staying the proceedings of the BCCI disciplinary committee. — PTI 

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Academicians want review of Binayak Sen case

New Delhi, December 27
Expressing shock at the Chhattisgarh court's judgment on rights activist and doctor Binayak Sen, academicians across the country and abroad issued a statement Monday condemning the life sentence and said that his case must be judged with "enlightened reason".

Raipur district and sessions court Dec 24 sentenced Sen to life imprisonment for sedition and links with outlawed Maoists.

The statement has been signed by professors of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University, Jadavpur University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cambridge of United States, Tata Institute of Social Science and Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, among others.

The signatories also included authors and activists.

"Doctor Binayak Sen has never resorted to violence against any other person, never incited anyone else to resort to violence, never entered into any conspiracy against the constitutional order of the country and never entered into regular service of any organisation that was involved in any such conspiracy, for furthering its cause," the statement said.

"Yet he has been handed down this sentence whose savagery is unbelievable. Such an action on the part of the state in the name of preserving the constitutional order will only serve to undermine that constitutional order itself," it added.

"The damage done by this shocking verdict to our constitutional order must be undone. The higher judiciary of the country must hear his appeal expeditiously, must grant him immediate bail till the end of the appeal process, and must judge his case with enlightened reason," the statement said.

Verdict ridiculous, says former CJ

Ahmedabad: Terming the conviction of rights activist Binayak Sen by a Raipur court as "nonsensical" and "ridiculous", a top legal expert on Monday said civil liberties of people are in danger and there is need to act now.

"There can't be a greater nonsensical judgement than this. I am ashamed of belonging to the judiciary...Such a ridiculous judgement was delivered," former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajender Sachar told reporters here. — PTI

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Gujjar protesters block more roads

Jaipur, December 27
Gujjars, on a war path over the reservation issue, laid siege to more roads, highways and rail routes and enforced shutdowns in some cities as the stand-off between the community and the Rajasthan Government persisted for the eighth day today. Around 200 protesters today jammed the Jaipur-Ajmer highway at Mangaliawas in Ajmer district throwing road traffic haywire. Late last night, some protesters set ablaze a truck near Kotputli town on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, police said adding no one was injured.

Besides the Dausa-Bharatpur highway, agitators continued to squat on Karauli-Hindaun, Mahaveerji-Karauli, Mahua-Hindaun and Gangapur-Lalsot roads in the state, police said. Hundreds of Gujjars continued to stage sit-ins on tracks in Bharatpur, Dausa and Tonk districts affecting rail traffic. They also disturbed movement of trains in Sawai Madhopur.

State roadways buses and other vehicles could not enter Bharatpur and Ajmer cities due to blockade on the highways, police said. Partial shutdowns, in 
support of Gujjar demands, were observed in Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Jhalwar 
and some other towns, reports said.

No further talks between Gujjars, demanding five per cent quota in jobs and educational institutions, and the Ashok Gehlot administration were held today to break the impasse. Yesterday, the first round of talks at Pilukapura, the epicentre of the stir yielded no result. — PTI

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Probe sought into charge against former CJI’s kin

Kochi, December 27
Trouble is brewing for former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, with allegations of amassing of property worth crores of rupees surfacing against his son-in-law and former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer today demanding a judicial probe into it.

In a statement here, Iyer urged Parliament and the Prime Minister to appoint a high-powered commission to inquire into the issue.

"The President of India must require politely Balakrishnan to resign", Justice Iyer said of Justice Balakrishnan who is the National Human Rights Commission Chairman.

A Malayalam television channel had aired a report stating that P V Sreenijan, son-in-law of Justice Bakakrishnan, had within a span of four years, purchased flats, landed properties in prime locations in various parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, which are at present valued at over Rs 7 crore.

Sreenijan and Justice Balakrishnan declined to comment on the allegations.

Sreenijan, a lawyer by profession and a former vice president of Youth Congress, is married to Justice Balakrishnan's daughter K G Sony and had unsuccessfully contested the 2006 assembly polls from the Njarackkal Assembly constituency in Ernakulam.

As per the report, Sreenijan's affidavit to the Election Commission then had stated that he had a bank balance of Rs 25,000 and no landed property.

"The Press has disclosed now that the son-in-law and daughter have amassed wealth under suspicious circumstances indirectly due to dubious linkage with the Chief Justice. This is atrocious and must be inquired into", Iyer said.

There should be a Performance Commission into the conduct of judges where common people who have grievances of judicial corruption may have access and the commission should investigate into the charges without fear or favour, affection or ill will, he said.

Kerala PCC President Ramesh Chennithala today said he would look into the allegations.

T V Rajesh, state Secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), youth wing of the CPI(M), has also demanded a probe into the allegations.

K G Bhaskaran, who is the Special Government Pleader in the Kerala high court and is the younger brother of Justice Balakrishnan, denied all allegations against the family.

Asked for his reaction, Bhaskaran told PTI that the allegations were not true.

Sreenijan, who attended a private function here, refused to react to queries from reporters about the allegations against him. — PTI

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VCK: Give states say in foreign policy
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, December 27
Key DMK ally and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s (VCK) founder Thol Thirumavalavan has said that the Tamil Nadu Government could not prevent genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka since states did not have powers to decide foreign policy. The pro-LTTE leader demanded nationality status for all states part from a separate flag and powers to determine foreign policy.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at VCK’s Tamils Sovereignty Conference held near Chennai yesterday. The resolution said India was only an “administrative structure” created by the British and demanded a federal constitution with full sovereign powers for all states.

Thirumavalavan, in his speech which lasted till midnight, recalled the demand for the secession put forward by DMK founder CN Annadurai in the fifties and early sixties and said reasons for such a demand were relevant even now.

Another resolution of VCK described LTTE cadres who died in the Sri Lankan war as “martyrs” and saluted them. Terming the struggle of Tigers as an attempt to form a separate nation for the Tamil race, the party said the “liberation struggle” had only suffered a temporary setback.

With a few months to go for the Assembly elections, the Congress and DMK alliance partner also demanded lifting of the ban on LTTE and hailed the UN probe into war crimes of the Sri Lankan Government. He also said the party's alliance with the DMK would continue for the forthcoming elections.

The mammoth conference was attended by a large number of Dalit youths. It completely choked traffic for over 10 hours on the arterial NH-45, which leads to all districts in Tamil Nadu. Hundreds of vehicles ferrying VCK cadres were parked along roads and thousands of workers assembled on the national highway carrying party flags and LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran’s portraits, causing much public discomfort. 

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Cong MLA held for assault, gets bail

Dahod, December 27
A Congress legislator from Dahod was today arrested for allegedly assaulting a District Development Officer (DDO) and other government officers here and obstructing them from performing their duties, police said.

MLA Vajesinh Panada was arrested and later released on bail of Rs 5,000 by a local court, they said.

Two of Panada's men — Babu Bakaliya and Bipsinh Choraya — too were arrested in the same case late last night and were also released on bail.

Yesterday, Bhavin Pandya, Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Dahod, had filed a criminal case against Panada, Nainsinh Bakliya, chairman of Dahod Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), Babu Bakaliya and Choraya for assaulting him, DDO Jenu Dewan and other government officers.

The complaint was filed after the squabble when Pandya, DDO and other district officers were inspecting the site where the inaugural function to dedicate new DRDA office building to the public, was to be held.

Panada, Bakliya and a few other persons came to the venue and entered into an altercation with the government officials.

He was agitated as he did not figure on the plaque bearing name of the inaugurating guest. He wanted his name and Dahod MP Prabha Taviyad's name to be included on the plaque. The MLA and his men ransacked the stage set up for the function and also tried to destroy the plaque. When the district officials tried to stop them, they assaulted the DDO, Pandya and other officers.

After a scuffle with the MLA and his men, Pandya filed a criminal complaint against Panada and three others.

Panada and his men were charged under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332 (causing hurt to deter public servant from performing his duty) of the IPC and for destruction of public property. — PTI 

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Premature retirees entitled to disability pension: AFT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ruled that defence officers who seek premature retirement and were released before 2006 are entitled to disability pension. Allowing petitions filed by Brig SS Ahluwalia, Lt Col Karan Singh and Col Sushil Kumar Sawhney, the Tribunal observed that the benefits of disability pension have already been extended to post 2006 retired personnel below officer rank (PBOR), but the government has denied the same to those who retired before 2006.

The petitioners had been denied grant of disability pension on the grounds that they had sought premature retirement even though their disability was attributable to military service and their request for premature retirement was accepted on medical grounds.

The Tribunal’s order also made a distinction in circumstances of these cases with those in the case of Union of India Vs Ajay Wahi, rendered by the Supreme Court, on the basis of which disability pension was being denied to the officers.

The petitioners had contended that while disability pension was being paid to both pre-2006 and post-2006 premature PBOR retirees and also to post-2006 premature officer retirees, the same was being refused only to pre-2006 officers.

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Spending on social activities to go up

Behrampore, December 27
The Centre is planning to increase spending on social activities with a rise in government revenue, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here today. “With rise in government revenues, we will increase it further,” he said at the inauguration of a Union Bank branch in the Murshidabad district.

The government was keeping aside a major portion of the budget for social activities and that share had gone up from Rs 2.43 lakh crore last year to Rs 3.25 lakh crore during current fiscal, he said.

The government target was to bring 73,000 more villages into banking service net by 2012, he said. — PTI

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‘Bigg Boss’ stays on prime time 
But can’t show obscenity: HC

Mumbai, December 27
The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed reality TV show “Bigg Boss”to be aired at prime time slot of 9 pm but directed that “no obscene language and visuals, including beeps” will be allowed.

The court observed that the channel could air season 4 of “Bigg Boss” at 9 pm following an undertaking given by the petitioners Viacom18 that they would not screen any dialogue that is required to be beeped or any obscene gestures made by the participants.

They are also not to give out the footage of the show to news channels. A Vacation Bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice UD Salvi had earlier allowed Colors channel to air the show at 9 pm while directing the Information and Broadcast Ministry (I&B) to file its reply.

Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd last week filed a petition in the HC after the I&B Ministry issued a fresh order, directing them to shift the show from the 9 pm slot to 11 pm slot as its content was objectionable and not fit for children.

On December 8, a Division Bench of the High Court had directed the ministry to issue a fresh show-cause notice to the petitioners, giving specific material against which it had objections. The I&B Ministry was also asked to pass an appropriate order only after hearing Viacom18's reply.

Initially, the ministry had issued notice to Colors on November 16, directing it to shift the reality show away from prime time as the show offended “good taste and decency”. — IANS

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DMK ally: Give states a say in foreign policy
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, December 27
Key DMK ally and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s (VCK) founder Thol Thirumavalavan has said that the Tamil Nadu Government could not prevent genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka since states did not have powers to decide foreign policy. The pro-LTTE leader demanded nationality status for all states part from a separate flag and powers to determine foreign policy.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at VCK’s Tamils Sovereignty Conference held near Chennai yesterday. The resolution said India was only an “administrative structure” created by the British and demanded a federal constitution with full sovereign powers for all states.

Thirumavalavan, in his speech which lasted till midnight, recalled the demand for the secession put forward by DMK founder CN Annadurai in the fifties and early sixties and said reasons for such a demand were relevant even now.

Another resolution of VCK described LTTE cadres who died in the Sri Lankan war as “martyrs” and saluted them. Terming the struggle of Tigers as an attempt to form a separate nation for the Tamil race, the party said the “liberation struggle” had only suffered a temporary setback.

With a few months to go for the Assembly elections, the Congress and DMK alliance partner also demanded lifting of the ban on LTTE and hailed the UN probe into war crimes of the Sri Lankan Government. He also said the party's alliance with the DMK would continue for the forthcoming elections.

The mammoth conference was attended by a large number of Dalit youths. It completely choked traffic for over 10 hours on the arterial NH-45, which leads to all districts in Tamil Nadu. Hundreds of vehicles ferrying VCK cadres were parked along roads and thousands of workers assembled on the national highway carrying party flags and LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran’s portraits, causing much public discomfort. 

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