|N A T I O N|
||Protest against N-weapons held
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 People from all walks of life, including students and workers, held a march here today on the occasion of Hiroshima Day calling for a halt to the governments nuclear weaponisation programme.
Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy and hundreds of school children participated in a march against nuclear weapons in the Capital on Thursday on the occasion of Hiroshima day. Photo by T.C. Malhotra
Consensus bid by PM
Aug 6 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's
meeting this evening with Chief Ministers of the four
Cauvery basin states to resolve the contentious issue of
a Centrally-sponsored scheme to implement the tribunal's
interim award remained inconclusive as a consensus could
not be reached on creation of a river valley authority.
Minister has called the Chief Ministers for another round
of discussions tomorrow to make a fresh bid to thrash out
which had strongly opposed any move to set up a river
valley authority seemed to have taken a softer position
this evening by saying that it was willing to accept the
authority with certain conditions. The proposal that had
found favour at the state all-party leaders meeting after
the first round of talks pertains to acceptance of the
authority provided it be headed by the Prime Minister
himself with the four Chief Ministers as its members.
Mr Patel, however, remained tight-lipped after the second round of talks and said there were areas of agreements and disagreements and he was hopeful of finding solution through negotiations.
Asked to comment on the government spokesman's version that the things were "productive and optimistic", Mr Patel said he disputed the official assessment.
On the other
hand, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi described
the talks as 'progressing' and reiterated the state's
stand that there should be a river valley authority under
the Inter-State Disputes Act.
Thackeray "incited attacks"
MUMBAI, Aug 6 (PTI) Indicting Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray and Sena activists in no uncertain terms, the Srikrishna Commission that probed the 1992-93 Mumbai riots and subsequent serial blasts following demolition of Babri mosque, blamed them for "political role" in fomenting communal frenzy and organising attacks on Muslims, even as the Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra today rejected its findings outright.
The commission, in its 800-page report tabled in the state legislature, said there was no doubt that the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks took lead in organising attacks on Muslims and their properties under the guidance of several party leaders.
"Shiv Sena Pramukh Bal Thackeray, like a veteran general, commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims," the commission said.
Rejecting the report after tabling it in the assembly, Chief Minister Manohar Joshi dubbed it as "anti-Hindu and biased" and ruled out institution of a fresh probe into the riots.
The communal violence and rioting triggered off by the Sena was hijacked by local criminal elements who saw in it an opportunity to make quick gains. The report said. It observed that by the time Shiv Sena realised enough had been done by way of retaliation. The violence and rioting was beyond the control of its leaders, who had to issue an appeal to put an end to it.
The commission went on to say that the then Chief Minister (Sudhakarrao Naik) lost four precious days before considering the matter and issuing orders for effective use of Army to control the riots, while the city police was guilty of failure to take adequate preventive measures.
On the role of the then Congress government in the state, the commission observed "effete political leadership vacillation for political reasons and conflicting orders issued to the Commissioner of Police, percolated downwards creating a general sense of confusion in the lower ranks of police resulting in the dilemma to shoot or not to shoot."
The built-in bias of the police force against Muslims became more pronounced with murderous attacks on the constabulary and officers, which manifested in their reluctance to firmly put down incidence of violence, looting and arson that went on unchecked.
However, the report said considering all aspects, the commission was not inclined to give serious credence to the theory that disproportionately large number of Muslim deaths in December 1992 was necessarily indicative of an attempt on part of the police to target and liquidate Muslims because of bias.
Recalling the sequence of events prior to the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, the commission noted that after the formal announcement of "kar seva" at Ayodhya, the Hindutva parties started recruitment of volunteers in different parts of the city (Mumbai) and started Ram Paduka processions.
The period saw intense activity on part of the BJP and its allied groups like the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the RSS besides the Shiv Sena in the form of holding several meetings and carrying out propaganda in favour of construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
Muslim organisations like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Bombay Muslim Action Committee carried out propaganda opposing the construction of the temple and calling for Babri Masjid to be left alone, the commission said.
Some of the speeches made during this period by both sides were likely to incite communal passions. These activities on the part of the rival communities were building up an undercurrent of communal tension the dangerous implications of which were not fully realised by the police and the state machinery.
"The rath yatra of the BJP in support of its campaign for Ram Temple at Ayodhya further added to communal tensions all over the country and Bombay city was no exception", the commission said.
"The irresponsible act of Hindutva parties in celebrating and gloating over the demolition of Babri structure was like twisting a knife in the wound and heightened the anguished ire of the Muslims", it said.
An example was a
celebration rally organised by the Shiv Sena in Dharavi.
The Muslims protested angrily on streets and large number
of them congregated near the Minara Masjid in Pydhonie at
11.20 pm on December 6, 1992. Even at this stage, the
commission said, if the mob had been handled tactfully
and with sensitivity by the police and leaders of both
communities, the protest could have been peacefully blown
Naval HQ to be shifted
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 Decks have been cleared for the shifting of the operational headquarters of the Indian Navy from Mumbai to Karwar in Karnataka following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of India, (Ministry of Defence) and the Government of Karnataka today.
The two sides came to an understanding following protracted talks stretching over two days. The MoU, which provides additional demands for the rehabilitation of the displaced families under the "Project Seabird", was signed by Defence Secretary Ajit Kumar and Karnataka Chief Secretary B.K. Bhattacharya in the presence of Defence Minister George Fernandes, Karnataka Chief Minister J.H. Patel and Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Following the signing of the MoU, there would be an additional financial implication of Rs 60.98 crore on the Ministry of Defence. However, further funds would be released, after funds held by the state government on this account were fully utilised and the vacant possession of the core area (consisting of three villages) was handed over to the project authorities. The handing over of the vacant possession of the land of the remaining 10 villages was expected to be completed latest by the end of June 1999.
Once the project was completed, which was expected sometime late in the first decade of the next century, it would take away the operational headquarters of the Indian Navy from within striking range of Pakistan. As per the earlier note prepared by the Joint Secretary (Navy) in the Ministry of Defence, the project was important as the place was safe from any missile attack. As of now, Mumbai was within striking range from Karachi, which also puts the naval headquarters in danger.
However, while the project was initially to be completed by the year 1995 at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore, it was now expected to be completed by 2005 at almost four times the original cost. The cost of completion was now expected to be around Rs 1350 crore. While the Navy was expecting to complete the project by 2005, reports said that there could be some more delay in the final shifting of the headquarters.
While the project initially planned was much larger than what had been cleared now, it was forced to be scaled down not only due to the delay in acquisition of the land from the farmers situated around the region, but also due to the fast rising cost of relocation. The project report had been prepared by the officials in consultation with Redecon of Australia. The consultancy with the Australian firm was expected to last till 2006 for which a fee of Rs 25 crore was being paid to it.
As per the
agreement, a uniform grant of Rs 50,000 is to be paid to
each of the project affected families (PAFs) less the
amount already paid. Additional financial implication is
Rs 13.23 crore for a total of 4779 families.
A stipend of Rs 1000 per month for one child from each family undergoing ITI course anywhere in Karnataka is to be paid for a period of 24 months, effective from current academic session to a period of seven years i.e. till 2005.
agricultural plots at Sakalbane, Agasur, Shirgunji in
Ankola taluka will be provided with lift irrigation
facility for 800 acres of land at a cost not exceeding Rs
5 crore. The creation of civic amenities near their
agricultural plots at a cost not exceeding Rs 5 crore is
also agreed to.
MUMBAI, Aug 6 (PTI) The Maharashtra government today rejected the findings of the Srikrishna Commission on the 1992-93 Mumbai riots and serial bomb blasts in the city, dubbing these as "biased and anti-Hindu".
This was announced by Chief Minister Manohar Joshi after tabling the much-awaited report along with the action taken report (ATR) in the state legislature.
In a hard hitting speech, marred by frequent disruptions by a noisy opposition, Mr Joshi said the state government did not agree with several recommendations of the commission.
He outlined the events in Ayodhya in December 1992 that culminated in the demolition of the Babri masjid and the subsequent riots in Mumbai followed by the serial bomb blasts here on March 12, 1993.
The 800-page report, submitted to the government by the commission in February last, was simultaneously tabled in the Legislative Council by Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde.
"This government has no hesitation in condemning some portions of the report and we are rejecting the report outright", Mr Joshi said, adding that some of the commissions suggestions on modernisation and streamlining of the police force would, however, be accepted by the government.
Stating that the commission had passed severe strictures against Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, "who strove to protect lives of a community", the Chief Minister said the report "does not have even a word for those who conspired to destroy Mumbai through the serial bomb blasts".
report is one which will cause humiliation to Hindus in
the whole country and we have no hesitation in rejecting
it", the Chief Minister said in his over hour-long
speech while tabling the report in the lower House.
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today fixed November 10 for the final disposal of various criminal revision petitions against the discharge of countrys several top politicians and framing of charges against some of them by the trial court in the multi-crore Jain Hawala scam case, which took the nation by storm in 1996-97.
The criminal revision petitions were filed by the CBI against the discharge by Special Judge V.B. Gupta of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Lal Khurana, Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Congress leaders Arjun Singh, Madhav Rao Scindia, N.D. Tiwari, Kamal Nath, C.K. Jaffer Sharief, M. Veerappa Moily and Motilal Vora and former Union Minister Buta Singh, certain top bureaucrats and the Jains among others.
The revision petitions filed by Janata Dal president Sharad Yadav, former Union Minister Balram Jakhar, three Jain brothers S.K. Jain, B.R. Jain and N.K. Jain and their employee J.K. Jain and certain bureaucrats, against whom the special judge had framed charges, also came up for hearing before Mr Justice J.B. Goel.
Mr Justice Goel after hearing brief arguments of the counsel for the CBI, politicians, bureaucrats and the Jains, said that the matters will be finally disposed of on the next date of hearing.
The CBI had filed charge sheets in 1996-97 in the case for criminal conspiracy and misuse of public office under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).
The counsel for the parties urged the court to divide the cases into three different categories-politicians, bureaucrats and the Jains for quick disposal of the matter.
The High Court has already acquitted Home Minister L.K. Advani and Congress leader V.C. Shukla from the charges after finding that the Jain diaries could not be accepted as legally admissible evidence in the absence of any other corroborative material. Only on the basis of the diaries, no court could proceed for framing of charges against politicians or any other person, the high court had held.
The trial court had found
Mr Sharad Yadav and Mr Jakhar guilty of being involved in
the case and framed charges against them after holding
that there was evidence besides the diaries to show that
these two leaders had accepted favours from
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 (PTI) Independent member Buta Singh today tabled in the Lok Sabha the report of the Durai Committee which has recommended the necessary action against CBI Joint Director U.N. Biswas and two others for seeking the Armys help to arrest the then Bihar Chief Minister Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, last year in connection with the fodder scam.
Mr Buta Singh said during zero hour in response to a query by Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi that the report being tabled by him was authentic.The issue had recently rocked the House with Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal members wanting to know whether government would file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against a Calcutta High Court verdict exonerating Mr Biswas on his plea for army assistance to execute the arrest warrant against Mr Yadav on July 30 last year.
The Government had told the House that it would examine the matter after taking proper legal opinion. The last date for filing the appeal is August 12.Quoting the tabled report,Mr Buta Singh said, this single traumatic episode has shown how an uncontrolled segment of a Central organisation can set centre-state relations on a collision course.
Recommending action against Mr Biswas, CBI Joint Director (East), Mr V.S.K. Kaumudi, CBI Superintendent of Police, Patna and Mr Rakesh Kumar, CBI standing counsel in the Patna High Court, the report said the chain of command appears to have broken down (at least in the instant case) both from within and without.Measures should, therefore, be urgently taken to insulate the premier investigating agency from politics of the day, it said observing that the CBI today has the power to destroy careers of both officials and politicians and therefore, the personal character and affiliations of their investigators and supervisors should be subjected to scrutiny from time to time.
The report lauded Brig R.P. Nautiyal, officiating commander of the Bihar and Orissa sub-area, and Mr S.K. Lal, Special Judge, Patna, for the professional and correct way in which they reacted to the situation by declining Army assistance which can be sought only according to the established procedure and at the request of the notified civil authority.
It also suggested that the
CBI Director should be selected from among a panel of
seniormost IPS officers by a committee consisting of the
Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the leaders of the
Opposition in Parliament and a retired Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court.
AGARTALA, Aug 6 (UNI) Life was affected in some parts of west Tripura today following the ruling CPM-sponsored 12 hour bandh, called in protest against yesterdays militants attack in which five employees were shot dead in Narendrapur tea garden.
The police said the security measures had been tightened in the bandh-affected areas. Business establishments remained closed and vehicles were off the road in these areas.
Army and paramilitary forces have been alerted and efforts to apprehend the militants are on. The militants attacked the garden when workers and employees had gathered in the tea estate office for receiving payments. They gunned down five persons and looted Rs 1 lakh.
Fear gripped the adjacent gardens following the incident, the first of its kind in the tea gardens of Tripura.Eight tea garden owners and managers have either been killed or kidnapped during the past few years by the underground militants affecting normal activities of the industry.
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 (UNI) The recent massacre of 19 members of the family of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant at Surankot in Poonch district of the Jammu region is a result of the simmering rivalries between various militant groups operating in the area.According to sources in security agencies, leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, codenamed Zaki, had kidnapped three local teenage girls and had been holding them captive for the past few weeks.
He was being repeatedly warned by other militant groups to release the girls since it had discredited the militants among the local population and was straining relations between them and the people. However, Zaki, a Pakistani national, did not relent.There are four militant groups operating in a 25-30 km area at a height of about 8000 ft around Surankot, Poonch and Rajouri districts. These are Lashkar-i-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami, Tehrik-i-Jehad and Hizbul Mujahideen. Lashkar-i-Toiba operates in the upper reaches and has a dominating presence.
Hizbul Mujahideen has very little presence in the area.The sources said they had authentic information that the Hizbul authorities in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) had reprimanded Zaki and even warned him. The killing of the 19 family members could be a direct result of that rivalry.
The sources said that fighting between militant groups had taken place even a day before the killing and rockets, grenades and sophisticated arms had been freely used.There are rivalries among militant groups operating in the area on other issues as well. These include money, distribution of arms and ammunition and position among the group.
Each militant group wants to possess a higher position and sophisticated ammunition as compared to the other so that it can command other groups.The sources said that of all the militant groups operating in the area, Lashkar-i-Toiba is the most popular because of its good relations with the local population, including Gujjars.
They said the militants
ranks now mostly included criminals from Pakistan who
were facing various charges back home and had been
promised amnesty if they served one or two year
stint in Jammu and Kashmir.
Protest against N-weapons
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 People from all walks of life, including students and workers, held a march here today on the occasion of Hiroshima Day calling for a halt to the governments nuclear weaponisation programme.
Under the banner of the Citizens Against Nuclear Weapons, they marched from the historic Red Fort to Indias fleet street, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, sporting white ribbons and T-shirts with slogans of peace and carrying placards reading We want bread, not bombs Stop the arms race, save the human race, and No more Pokhrans.
A resolution was, later, passed by the marchers urging the government to abandon its nuclear programme and initiate moves towards global nuclear disarmament. The processionists, who gathered at Ferozeshah Kotla Grounds, also observed a two-minute silence in memory of Hiroshima victims.
Booker prize winner, Ms
Arundhati Roy, once a target of the Left wing for her
alleged misrepresentation of late Marxist leader, EMS
Namboodiripad, in her novel God of Small
Things, former Pakistani Finance Minister under the
Bhutto regime, Dr Mubashar Hussein, historian, Ms Romila
Thapar, human rights activists, Prof Rajni Kothari and
Justice Rajinder Sachar and journalist Kuldip Nayar were
among the rallyists.
Express Editor, reporter
NEW DELHI, Aug 6 Accepting the unconditional apology and taking note of the apology published in the Indian Express, Chandigarh, on May 4, 1998, the Supreme Court feeling that the reporter and Editor of the newspaper were truly repentant dropped the contempt proceedings against them.
The court had suo motu taken note of the news item SC orders removal of homoeo council chief in the Chandigarh issue of the Indian Express published on April 30, 1998, and issued contempt notices on May 1, 1998, taking the view that the news item headline was absolutely incorrect and misleading as also the contents were misleading.
The news item had been published while the matter was pending in this court.The court had issued notices to reporter K.B. Kapur as well as the Editor of the Indian Express, Chandigarh, to show cause why the contempt proceedings be not initiated against them.
In response both the respondents were present in the court along with their counsel. They maintained that the misrepresentation crept in the news item inadvertently because of the misinterpretation of communication to the Punjab Government from Mr R.S. Sodhi, Additional Advocate-General, Punjab.
Tripura pay hike delayed
AGARTALA: The Tripura Government will shortly publish the report of the Fourth Pay Commission but it would take some time to implement it due to shortage of funds, according to state Finance Minister Badal Choudhury. The state has requested the Centre to release additional funds to meet the requirement of about Rs 200 crore to implement the pay commission report, Mr Choudhury told newsmen here on Wednesday night. PTI
Italian bees vs Indian bees
meeting on Aug 12
Army out to combat
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