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India negotiating with P-5, G-8 on N-weapon state status

NEW DELHI, July 5 — The government is negotiating with the P-5 (nuclear-weapon states) and the industrially advanced (G-8) countries for getting India a de facto nuclear-weapon state (NWS) status and also extract a concession in terms of ...

line Scholar alleges harassment

NEW DELHI, July 5 — An outstanding research scholar has complained to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) alleging harassment and victimisation by the authorities of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Pune, for his crusade against corruption in the institute...

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Inquiry into disappearance of reporter demanded
NEW DELHI, July 5 — In a significant order, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended a CBI probe into the alleged kidnapping of a journalist by the police in Punjab and asked the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh to the victim’s 76-year-old father as immediate interim relief...
  India negotiating with P-5, G-8 on N-weapon state status
From Shubhabrata Bhattacharya
Tribune News Service
NEW DELHI, July 5 — The government is negotiating with P-5 (nuclear-weapon states) and the industrially advanced (G-8) countries for getting India a de facto nuclear-weapon state (NWS) status and also extract a concession in terms of "dual-use technology" as a prelude to exercising its option to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The effort is in line with India's stand since January, 1965,when in the wake of the Chinese nuclear tests, the then Prime Minister, Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri, had raised the question of the security of non-nuclear-weapon states at a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in London.
Two years later, Mrs Indira Gandhi sent Mr L.K. Jha and Dr Vikram Sarabhai as India’s envoys to talk to the US, UK and USSR governments. India sought guarantees against China’s nuclear weaponisation. Delhi’s efforts were rebuffed three decades ago and this laid the foundation for the present edifice of India’s nuclear programme which has two faces — a weapon programme and a programme for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
In the aftermath of the May, 1998, nuclear tests, India again sent its emissaries to world capitals. The dialogue with the USA has been fruitful. The acting US Secretary of State, Mr Strobe Talbott, and Mr Jaswant Singh are likely to have yet another round of discussions on July 8; the visit of Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary and special envoy, Mr Brajesh Mishra, to Paris has yielded a return visit from the French leadership; and Mr Mishra’s visit to Russia too has evoked a second round of talks.
Last Sunday, the Russians while agreeing to provide technology for the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu agreed that the safeguards would be "facility specific".
This is a major departure from the P-5 stand of seeking "fullscope" safeguards. Thus the fallout of the Kudankulam agreement is that India’s nuclear-weapon facilities will be outside the purview of the safeguards needed for setting up this power plant for peaceful purposes, at least in the Russian perspective.
In effect, Moscow, thus, has perhaps granted India the status of being an overt nuclear-weapon state. India is seeking a similar recognition for the other members of P-5 as well as G-8 before it considers signing the CTBT.
India is aware that President Bill Clinton is keen on getting ratification of the CTBT from the US Senate before the year is out. President Clinton is expected to visit India in November. Russia’s President Boris Yelstin is expected here in December. Thus autumn may be the season for India to put its signature on the CTBT provided its conditions are acceptable to P-5 and G-8.
India is keen on letting the world know that its nuclear-weaponisation programme is not Pakistan-centric. At the same time, it is mincing no words in emphasising the threat perception vis-a-vis the nuclear plans of China coupled with Beijing’s open cooperation with Islamabad both in terms of nuclear weapons as well as the missile programme.
The cancellation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s trip to Almaty the capital of Kazakhstan, where he was expected to meet Chinese President Jiang Zemin last week, is being interpreted by some as a gesture by Moscow disapproving Beijing’s recent stance against Delhi. The diplomatic fallout of Pokhran-II, thus, has been positive. Russia and France, among P-5 countries, have shown appreciation of the Indian viewpoint and both have been rather open about it.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, the meeting between Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Nawaz Sharif scheduled to take place in Colombo on July 28 will provide an opportunity for rebuffing those who have been advocating third party intervention in sorting out the problems of the subcontinent. A positive fallout of Pokhran-II has been that there is an appreciation in world capitals (perhaps with the exception of Beijing) of the need to let India and Pakistan sort out their problems bilaterally rather than suggesting a role for intermediaries and mediators.
  Scholar alleges harassment
NEW DELHI, July 5 (UNI) — An outstanding research scholar has complained to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) alleging harassment and victimisation by the authorities of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Pune, for his crusade against corruption in the institute.
According to the complaint to the NHRC, the scientist, Mr Shyam Rudra Pathak, was facing complete ruination of his career and personality because of the continuous persecution and victimisation by the authorities of the NCRA.
Mr Pathak, an M.S. (physics) and M. Tech from the IIT Delhi, had topped the list of successful candidates in the written examination of the research scholars’ selection test of the prestigious Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), in 1993, conducted jointly by the NCRA and the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The complaint stated that a few months after successfully completing the course work for one semester in the TIFR Mr Pathak was transferred to the NCRA, which was a branch of the TIFR, on August 19, 1991.
Although he was called to join the course work in the NCRA after a delay of about two weeks from the beginning of the graduate programme, his performance was better than all other research scholars of his batch.
However, after completing his graduate programme, Mr Pathak was terminated in a highly arbitrary and oppressive manner without any reason. Though the termination was later revoked, he had to waste two years because of this arbitrary decision of the NCRA.
But this was not the end of his victimisation. He got registered for Ph.D in Pune University on January 18, 1995, following the withdrawal of his termination order. But before he could complete his research work Mr Pathak was again informed that his fellowship in the NCRA, Pune was withdrawn with effect from July 31, 1997.
The complaint stated that like the previous occasion, this time Mr Pathak was not given any formal termination order, but his research facilities were withdrawn and he was told to go away from the institute.
Generally the research scholars who finished their Ph.D in the NCRA are given fellowship for about six years or more for the research work, but he got less than three years because of his “tyrannical termination” earlier.
Mr Pathak wrote to the authorities that he would not cooperate with their order and continued to go to his office room.
However, on January 19, 1998, he was stopped from entering his office room. But he did not go back and started “satyagraha” there itself to express his non-cooperation with the “unjust order”. But the next day he was taken away by the police.
Following this his wife, Dr Manju Pathak, was beaten grievously and insulted and taken to the police station. The couple were later sent to the police lock-up, where they had to face the insulting behaviour and abusive language of the police, the complaint stated.
The brilliant scholar, who had topped the list of the GATE-1985 examination with a score of 99.89 per cent and awarded junior fellowship of the CSIR and senior fellowship of the IIT, Delhi earlier, was handcuffed while being taken from the lock-up to the court.
The complaint stated that while the couple were in the lock-up, their three children aged 10, 7 and 4 were shifted from their hostel room and all their belongings taken away from the room by the institute authorities.
When the couple were freed on the night of January 21, 1998, after a court order, they were not allowed to enter the NCRA campus by the security guards. Even their three children, who were shifted to another room of the hostel, were brought from the hostel uo to the campus gate and were handed over to them by the security guards.
They were not given any money or personal belongings even though he talked to the Dean and the Director of the centre about it on phone from outside the campus. Since then, they were forced to live a life of extreme deprivation.
Although Mr Pathak and his wife wrote to the Director, TIFR and the chairman of the TIFR Council of Management and from March 10 to 12, 1998, his wife sat on a dharna in front of the TIFR campus. There was no response from the authorities.
The complainant also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on April 13 this year, but no action was taken. Ultimately, he approached the NHRC.

  NHRC seeks CBI probe into disappearance of reporter
NEW DELHI, July 5 (PTI) — In a significant order, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended a CBI probe into the alleged kidnapping of a journalist by the police in Punjab and asked the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh to the victim’s 76-year-old father as immediate interim relief.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the investigation conducted by the Punjab police into the disappearance in 1992 of Avtar Singh Mander, a correspondent of Punjabi daily Ajit, who is yet to be traced, the NHRC directed the state government to entrust the probe to the CBI.
Acting on complaints by International Pen writers in Prison Committee and General Manager of Ajit, the NHRC said the CBI would endeavour to conclude investigation within three months and report to the commission.
After an inquiry by its own investigation division into the disappearance of Mander from Jalandhar, the commission asked the state government to pay the interim relief to Mr Sohan Singh, the missing journalist’s father, within a month.
It was alleged that Mander was forcibly picked up from his rented house in Gurjit Nagar of Jalandhar by some unidentified policemen who had come in two vehicles. His whereabouts still remain unknown to this day.
In its report to the commission, the state government claimed in May 1994, that investigation at ‘responsible levels’ revealed that Mander was neither called to police station nor was he taken into custody as alleged.
Later, as per the NHRC’s directions, a case was registered with the police regarding the kidnapping of Mander. After conducting investigation, Superintendent of Police of Jalandhar informed the commission that as many as 23 persons were examined between June, 1996, and October 1997, but the police remained clueless.
Not satisfied with this reply, the commission directed its investigation wing to carry out an assessment of the police investigation whether the probe had been conducted on proper lines.
During the course of NHRC’s investigation, it transpired that an advocate named Jogwinder Singh stayed in the same house where Mander stayed and he was also kidnapped by the police and since then nothing was heard about him also.
The CBI, which investigated into disappearance of Jogwinder Singh following directions of the Supreme Court, said in its report that Jogwinder Singh was detained at Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA) office in Bahadursinghwala between September 25 and 27 in 1992 and he was untraceable since then, the NHRC noted.
It held Gurdip Singh Pannu, DSP, and Harpreet Singh, sub-inspector, responsible for his detention and disappearance. Accordingly, the CBI filed a charge sheet against the two officers, currently facing trial in court.
The NHRC team also learnt that a witness, Kuldeep Singh Jhanwan of Munshiwala, was also detained by the CIA along with Mander and Jogwinder Singh. On Being examined, Jhanwan confirmed the detention of Mander and their torture by the police and CIA staff headed by Mr Pannu.
The NHRC pointed out in its order that Jhanwan had also made a similar statement before the CBI when the agency was investigating the case relating to Jogwinder Singh’s disappearance.
Considering the report of its investigation team and Jhanwan’s statement, the commission was of the view that the stand taken by the Punjab Government that Mander was neither arrested nor detained at police station, “cannot be accepted on its face value”.
Similarly, it said, the report of the Jalandhar S.P. that “despite the examination of a large number of witnesses, no clue could be found, is also unacceptable.”
Stressing the need for a fuller and independent investigation, the commission said the apprehension of Mander’s father about the possibility of his son’s elimination at the hands of the police couldn’t be considered unjustified.
Since the CBI had already investigated and worked out the case relating to kidnapping of Jogwinder Singh, it would be appropriate that the agency conducted probe into the alleged abduction of Mander as well, the NHRC said.
Some of the witnesses examined in Jogwinder case may be relevant in the Mander case as the period and place of detention of both was allegedly the same.

  In brief
Daler Mehndi’s help to cyclone-hit
BARODA: Noted Indian pop star Daler Mehndi will perform in the city on July 11 in aid of victims of the devastating cyclone in Jamnagar, Kutch and Kandla. City Police Commissioner, Mr Kuldip Sharma and District Collector Anil J.J. Mukim told newsmen here on Saturday that the show was expected to fetch Rs 1 crore in addition to the nearly Rs 3.25 crore already contributed by the district to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Mehndi, whose programmes had already been booked till December, 1999, had agreed to perform free. As many as 3,000 persons are expected to attend the concert for which passes will be issued for donors. — PTI
Prisoners donate to CM’s fund
AGARTALA: The inmates of Central Jail here donated Rs 6,818 to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the treatment of gastro-affected people of Kanchanpur and Amarpur, official sources said on Sunday. While receiving the money during a visit to the jail on Saturday, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar complimented them for their contributions and directed the authorities to see that they (inmates) could lead their jail term peacefully. — PTI
Groom dies in road mishap
NAGPUR: A 26-year-old bridegroom from Bhatkuli village in Amravati district met with a tragic death, hours before his marriage ceremony here on Friday. According to delayed reports reaching here, the van in which he was travelling along with other members of his family overturned while negotiating a curve at the Talegaon ghats on the busy Amravati-Nagpur national highway. All occupants of the van escaped with injuries but the groom was declared dead on admission at the Government Medical College Hospital here. — PTI
Undertrial escapes from court
SURAT: An undertrial of Ahmedabad, who was brought to the city court here in connection with a case of armed attack, escaped from the court premises on Saturday, police said on Sunday. The accused escaped when the police constable went to collect the transfer-paper for court custody from a nearby room. — PTI
South Indian film bodies merge
CHENNAI: The Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) and Tamil Film Producers Association (TFPA) have merged and formed a new organisation called Tamil Nadu Film Producers and Employees Federation. An agreement to this effect was signed by the representatives of the two organisations here on Saturday in the presence of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, an official release said. — UNI
Global Young Talent fest
NEW DELHI: Three child dancers from India were among over 1000 budding artists from across the globe who participated in the fifth international festival of “Young Talent-98” held in Kyrgyzstan. Noted Odissi exponent Kavita Dwibedi accompanied and guided the Indian delegation comprising two Odissi and one Bharatnatyam students who also presented folk dances during the five-day colourful festival. Artistes from 23 countries attended the annual event organised by the International Meerim Foundation. — PTI
2 held, detonators seized
COIMBATORE: A large number of explosive materials, like detonators and gelatine sticks, were seized from a house in Chennimalai in Erode district on Saturday evening, the police said. Two persons had been arrested in this connection and search was on for the house owner. Two persons on a two-wheeler were intercepted near Arachalur on suspicion and 16 gelatine sticks and 24 detonators were seized from them. — PTI
Naxalites blast two offices
WARANGAL: Naxalites of the banned People’s War Group (PWG) blasted the offices of the Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) and the Mandal Development Officer (MDO) at Govindraopet headquarters in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday night. The police said here on Sunday the PWG naxals belonged to Vasantanna Dalam of Enturunagaram. The loss of property was estimated at Rs 15 lakh. — UNI
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