|N A T I O N|
BJP, Sonia tells electorate
woos minorities, farmers in MP
A cycle expedition of the Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army was flagged off from the India Gate after paying homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti. The expedition is covering the breadth of the country from Calcutta to Subathu in Himachal Pradesh to commemorate the Reunion of the Gorkha Regiment being held at Subathu from November 19 to 22. These brave soldiers after the completion of the Expedition will join their battalion which is on Peacekeeping duties with United Nations in Lebanon.
of student: School ordered to pay Rs
|Naval version of 'Trishul'
KOCHI, Nov 12 The naval version of the short-range surface-to-air missile, "Trishul", which can destroy enemy ships and sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, was today test-fired successfully for the second time in five months taking the country closer to its induction by the year 2000.
Malta boat mishap: Private probe
team leaves for Greece
meeting: efforts on to avert showdown
Shun BJP, Sonia tells electorate
MANDSAUR (MP), Nov 12 (PTI) Launching her partys campaign for the November 25 assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asked people to reject the BJP whose performance, she claimed, left much to be desired at the Centre and in Delhi and Rajasthan.
"You have seen the BJPs performance at the Centre and in some states and know that the Congress can rule much better than them," Ms Sonia Gandhi said at the partys campaign meeting at Mit College ground here.
"The Vajpayee government is so busy in fighting for its own survival that it simply does not have the time to think about the problems of the poor", she said.
As a result, prices of essential commodities had sky-rocketed in the past eight months of the BJP government's rule at the Centre, she said, adding there was a need to be on guard against the "directionless" policies of the BJP which could cost the nation heavily.
The Congress chief said the BJP had before the Lok Sabha elections this year, promised to give a stable government but what people were seeing now was "an unstable and opportunist ruling coalition at the Centre".
Wherever the BJP was in power it had spread hatred while the Congress stood for communal harmony, the Congress leader said and praised the last five years of the Congress rule in Madhya Pradesh pointing out that not a single incident of communal violence had taken place in the state during the period.
The Congress chief spoke of the love and affection the countrys first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had for the people of Madhya Pradesh.
She said it was because of this that he had taken the initiative to build the Gandhi Sagar dam in Mandsaur district.
The same love and affection was showered upon the people of the state by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, she said and added that she herself had a first-hand experience of it.
Referring to the rape of nuns in Jhabua district in September, she said only the Congress could fight forces responsible for such incidents.
In an unusual show of unity, all senior Congress leaders of Madhya Pradesh shared the platform with Ms Sonia Gandhi.
Those who shared the dais
with her included Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, former
Chief Minister, Shyama Charan Shukla and Motilal Vora,
former Union Ministers, Vidya Charan Shukla, Arjun Singh,
Madhavrao Scindia, Kamalnath and Suresh Pachouri.
BJP woos minorities, farmers in MP
BHOPAL, Nov 12 (PTI) Interest-free loans to farmers, free education for girls, special schemes for the minorities, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the abolition of the Urban Land Ceiling Act are among the promises made by the BJP in its manifesto for the November 25 assembly poll in Madhya Pradesh.
The manifesto, released by BJP national general secretary Narendra Modi here today, also pledged 50,000 job opportunities every year and a clean and transparent government.
A complimentary manifesto for the proposed Chhattisgarh state, also released on the occasion, promised better irrigation system for the region known as the rice bowl besides a number of schemes for the welfare of the SCs and STs and the allround growth of the area.
Several populist measures like providing houses to poor in lieu of Rs 10 a day under housing scheme and free school uniforms for students of government primary schools once a year were also announced in the manifesto.
The party also promised to work for capital punishment to the rapists and the establishment of a women development bank.
Promises of monetary help for mass marriage of the poor, the exemption of examination fee for educated unemployed youth, drinking water for all, open marketing of urea and metalled roads for each village are the other highlights of the manifesto.
The BJP also promised the establishment of village courts, a blanket ban on cow slaughter, a new policy for beedi labourers and tendu leaf pluckers, ownership rights to tribesmen on forest land and rural transport policy if it was voted to power.
The manifesto vowed to implement several innovative schemes to boost commerce and industry and develop a transport nagar, model dairy farms and forests on unproductive and desert land.
Asked about the controversy over the diamond mines recently found in the Chhattisgarh region, which was not mentioned in the manifesto, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Vikram Verma, who was also present, said the BJP had a clear and transparent policy in this regard.
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 A delegation of the Samata Party led by its general secretary, Mrs Jaya Jaitly met the Union Home Minister, Mr L K Advani, this evening to demand the arrest of the assailants of the party candidate from the Nangloi Jat Assembly segment, Mr Ved Singh and his associate, Mr Ishwar Singh.
Mr Ved Singh and his associates, Mr Ishwar Singh and Mr Surender Singh were shot at by three unidentified persons near Saini Chaupal in Mundka village late on Tuesday evening. While Ved Singh died on the spot, Ishwar Singh succumbed to his injuries at Apollo Hospital. Their associate Surender Singh is under medication in the intensive care unit of Jaipur Golden Hospital.
The president of the Delhi Pradesh Samata Party, Prof. Balraj Kumar told the Tribune News Service here today the delegation comprising MPs from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would urge Mr Advani to provide immediate security cover for all seven Samata Party candidates in the fray for the Delhi Assembly poll.
Prof. Balraj Kumar said apart from a CBI probe into the killing of Ved Singh the delegation would also demand unsparing action against those found guilty.
Although no arrests had been made so far, sources in the Delhi police told TNS three persons suspected to be involved in the murder case had been identified.
The sources said a property dispute between Ved Singh and property dealers of Mundka village could be a possible cause of the murder.
They said Ved Singh alleged to be a member of the Kishan Pehalwan gang paid a heavy price for his animosity with members of the Balraj Pehalwan gang in the same area.
The Samata Party has fielded candidates for the Tri Nagar, Badli, Hastsal, Badarpur, Nasirpur, Mandawali and Bhalaswa Jahangirpuri Assembly segments.
Prof. Balraj Kumar said the Samata Party was considering the request of the villagers of Mundka to field Ved Singhs widow. He said the party would take a decision on fielding a candidate in place of Ved Singh once the Election Commission announced its decision regarding election to the Nangloi Jat constituency.
He said the 28-year-old Ved Singh who left the BJPs youth wing to join the Samata Party, was a zealous worker and had a sizeable following in his village.
He said Ved Singh started receiving threatening calls from former Delhi Chief Minister, Sahib Singh Verma's men soon after he filed his nomination papers last Friday.
Prof. Balraj Kumar said Ved Singh decided not to yield to the pressure of the BJP to withdraw his nomination and announced his firm resolve to "be in the race.
He said Ved Singh received several threatening calls on his telephone and mobile phone on Sunday. Prof. Balraj Kumar said fed up with such calls, Ved Singh switched off his mobile phone.
The Delhi Samata Party chief said Ved Singh called him up on Sunday and requested him to ask the party president, Mr George Fernandes to address a public meeting in the Nangloi Jat Assembly segment. The next day, Ved Singh came to the party office at 1.30 pm and announced his resolve not to bow to pressure and contest the elections.
He said Ved Singh took part in a meeting of party candidates on Tuesday afternoon. "The same evening, I informed him that Mr Fernandes would inaugurate an election office in Nangloi the next day. He started making preparations for the meeting but was shot dead the same evening, he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress has asked the Election Commission to countermand the poll in the Nangloi constituency following the killing of the Samata Party candidate.
Senior Congress leader, Jag Pravesh Chandra, while addressing newspersons today said the party "fears more violence" if the elections are held soon.
Demanding a CBI probe into the incident, Mr Chandra, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, said the government "was trying to suppress the truth."
An impartial inquiry should be conducted as the Samata Party leader appeared to have been killed for political reasons, he added.
The Election Commission today postponed the November 25 poll in the Assembly segment. It has asked the Samata Party to nominate another candidate within seven days.
Cong takes on BJP chief
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 The Congress today ridiculed the BJP chief, Mr Kushabhau Thakre, for his statement blaming the BJP allies for the problems being faced by the coalition government at the Centre.
Referring to the statement in which Mr Thakre had also stated that single party standards should not be applied to them as they were heading a coalition government and hence had not been able to perform, the Congress spokesman, Mr Anil Shastri, said: "What about Delhi and Rajasthan".
"We want to ask Mr Thakre what went wrong in giving good governance in Delhi and Rajasthan where they have single party governments," Mr Shastri said.
The Congress said it wanted to know what standards should be applied for the BJP government's "mismanagement, non-governance and failures" in Rajasthan and Delhi.
The party said it was increasingly becoming clear to the people that the BJP was definitely not a party with a difference and was certainly not fit to govern.
Commenting on the statement of Mr Thakre that the Congress had distanced itself from the culture, traditions and ethos of India, the party questioned the BJP chief as to what traditions and ethos he was referring to?
Candidates number registers
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 There is a sharp drop of 52 per cent in the number of candidates who have entered the electoral fray in the coming Assembly elections of Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as compared to the 1993 poll.
Mizoram remained an exception showing a rise of 45 per cent in those who are in the fray as compared to the number who contested the last Assembly poll in 1993.
Releasing figures of the contestants, the Chief Election Commissioner, Dr M. S. Gill said overall there were 4,997 contestants this time as compared to 7,603 who contested during the 1993 Assembly elections in these four states.
The drop in the number of contestants for the 200-strong Assembly has been sharpest in Rajasthan 69 per cent with 1,439 candidates in the fray now as compared to 2,437 candidates in 1993. Rajasthan has an electorate of 2.97 crore.
Delhi which has 70 Assembly constituencies is second in the list with 815 candidates as against 1,316 who contested last time, thus registering a fall of 61 per cent. Delhi has 82 lakh voters.
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today asked a Municipal Corporation school here to pay compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the parents of a seven-year-old boy crushed to death in December last year when he went outside the school to quench his thirst.
Coming down heavily on the school authorities and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for their negligence in providing drinking water in the school at Dabri in north-west Delhi, a Division Bench comprising Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice Mukul Mudgal directed the school authorities to pay the compensation within four weeks.
The court made it clear that the parents of Anshu Sharma were at liberty to take any legal action against the school authorities under law for their negligence.
It further said the order would not come in the way of the final inquiry by the state Vigilance Commission against officials concerned.
The court order came after perusal of the notings of MCD Commissioner on a preliminary inquiry by the Vigilance Commission, the report of which was submitted on January 28.
The court pulled up MCD and school authorities for trying to "cover-up" the matter saying the affidavit filed by the corporation was contradictory to the notings on the preliminary inquiry report.
The court order, which came on a public interest petition by All-India Lawyers Union filed through advocate Ashok Aggarwal, said from the notings on the preliminary inquiry, it was clearly evident that at the time of the incident no water was available in the school.
Describing the concerned MCD and school officials who tried to "cover-up" the matter, as "heartless people", the court said though the MCD authorities had started the process of setting up two hand pumps in the school in June, 1997, the work was not completed till January this year.
The pumps were made operational only after the childs death, the Bench said directing MCD authorities to place before the court true details of the incident through an affidavit by November 30, the next date of hearing.
The court also expressed dissatisfaction over the earlier affidavit by district education officer P C Arora saying he had tried to conceal the facts from the court.
"Had the school authorities provided the drinking water and adequate security to the children, the unfortunate tragedy could have been averted," the Bench observed.
Earlier, MCD counsel Madhu
Tewatia said the headmaster of the school had been placed
under suspension following the vigilance preliminary
inquiry report and the officials held responsible in it
have been served chargesheets. The education department
is also conducting a separate departmental inquiry, she
Army chief hints at more
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 The Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, today hinted at another cut in the forces manpower for qualitative improvement in it.
Addressing the senior officers at National Defence College here, the Army chief said that while looking at threats and challenges no country could make financial allocations for defence which were open-ended, financial constraints dictated that cost-benefit analysis be carried out and then requirements be prioritised.
In this context he mentioned that there was also further scope to cut down manpower along with qualitative improvement in force levels and management.
The Army had already made a cut in its force level by about 50,000 in instalments over the past two years. The last of the cuts in the force level would be complete by the end of March next year. The cuts for all arms and services were done to plough back the savings for modernisation of the force.
General Malik also pointed out that while India had good relations with other neighbours like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Maldives, the Pakistan military remained Indo-centric. He said that while adequate mutual confidence building measures at military level with China were in place, Pakistans proxy war policy was dangerous not only for India but for the entire region.
"If militancy grows too big, both the initiator and the affected nation are tempted to use conventional war means." In Afghanistan, the Talibans emergence and near control of the country is a cause of concern. If this experiment, conceived and supported by Pakistan succeeded, "the spread of fundamentalism accompanied by violence may soon spread across South, West and Central Asia," he said. However, he hoped that the ongoing and future talks with Pakistan would improve the existing relations.
In fighting proxy wars in low intensity conflicts too there was scope for greater use of technology in different forms. In counter insurgency, however, he said human touch was equally important and military pressure alone could not resolve matters unless there was matching thrust on socio-political and socio-economic issues.
Expanding on non-conventional security threats, he said that security could no longer be visualised in narrow military terms. International terrorism, drug trafficking, ethnic conflicts, religious fundamentalism, migration, environment pollution all impinge upon the overall security of a nation.
He also explained the changing nature of war where wars no longer could be taken to the logical conclusion of military victories as in the past since these would be conducted to achieve political success rather than a military victory.
Highlighting the revolution in military affairs he brought out that technology was the engine of change. Surveillance, long range precision and capability combined with a wide range of delivery systems were emerging as the key factor in future warfare. Manoeuvre and tactical mobility along with high-tech communication and control systems were essential for future warfare.
Modernisation and force capability could be based on maintaining decisive technological edge over our adversaries.
While giving an overview
of the world geopolitical environment, General Malik
highlighted the gradual formation of a multi-polar world
where relations were going to be issue-based and driven
by functional national interests. Economic interest of
nations and people would become predominant. In this
environment international relations and national
attention would shift markedly towards economic and trade
issues on the one side and challenges to human
development on the other. This he said, does not
mean that any nation is prepared to compromise on its
security or give up its efforts to become powerful.
But it did indicate that the likelihood of nuclear and
high-intensity, conventional all-out wars had been
Naval version of 'Trishul' test-fired
KOCHI, Nov 12 (PTI) The naval version of the short-range surface-to-air missile, "Trishul", which can destroy enemy ships and sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, was today test-fired successfully for the second time in five months taking the country closer to its induction by the year 2000.
The missile, having a range of 9 km and a quick reaction of 2.5 seconds, was fired from the Indian Navys offshore establishment "ins Dronacharya" here against an electronically simulated target.
Initial "analysis from the test firing was very encouraging," Project Director A.J. Kapoor said.
Dr A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Controller (Research and Development) at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Delhi said immediately after the test-firing that todays flight of "Trishul" was important from the Navys point of view since the current series of tests would culminate in the formal induction of the weapon system by the year 2000.
The naval version of "Trishul" was test-fired for the first time from "ins Dronacharya" here in June this year.
In its sea-skimming role, "Trishul" could fly just above the waves to destroy enemy missiles.
NEW DELHI, Nov 12 (UNI) Irked over the apathetic attitude of foreign governments, weary relatives of the Malta boat tragedy victims, who waited for justice for two years, have instituted a private mission to track down the offenders responsible for the death of 350 persons, mostly Indians, on the high seas.
Unmindful of the arduous task ahead, a four-member mission left for Greece today.
The private investigation team, the first of its kind, is led by former Punjab Janata Dal President Balwant Singh Khera. The team will try to locate the boat owner, the persons who hired it and those behind the trafficking in human beings.
The boat, carrying Indians, mostly young persons from Punjab, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, sank on the high seas across Malta. The tragedy came to light on December 25, 1996. Only a few survived to narrate the harrowing tale.
The boat was arranged by agents to clandestinely migrate young men employment to other countries, Mr Khera told UNI.
He said his team had secured clearance from the government. Official instructions had been issued to Indian missions abroad for extending all assistance to the peoples fact-finding mission.
Capt Vikram Singh, who is chairman of the Bharatiya Janata Party ex-servicemens cell, said he would be coordinating from here with the team conducting the investigation abroad.
He said the team would visit Switzerland, Italy and Malta. In Switzerland, the team would meet officials of the International Human Rights Commission. It had already contacted the Marine Investigations Bureau of the USA to seek technical help.
They also planned a one-day token fast in front of the commissions headquarters and at the Vatican.
Capt Vikram Singh, who is managing director of a Delhi-based organisation of private detectives, said they had already retained reputed private detectives in Greece, Italy and Malta for undertaking the investigation.
The BJP leader said they took this step because none of the foreign governments had taken any action against the persons involved in the illegal human trade. These governments did not even register a police case in this regard, he said.
The Malta Boat Tragedy Sufferers Association, under whose banner the parents of victims had assembled, said 80 victims were from Hoshiarpur district in Punjab.
Narrating the tragic event as told by the few survivors from Punjab, Mr Khera said in a statement that 180 young men from India and others from Pakistan and Sri Lanka were taken in groups from Alexandria (Egypt) and Istanbul (Turkey) by air and then put on a boat. On the fateful night of December 24, 1996, the overcrowded boat carrying around 400 passengers was accidentally hit by another boat and developed cracks. The passengers were left with no choice but to leave the sinking boat by jumping into the icy waters of the sea without life jackets. In fact, there were no life jackets on the boat. Only 40 young men survived.
Satellite failure alert
MUMBAI, Nov 12 (UNI) The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) has alerted the stock exchanges, banks and service sector around the country using satellites of a possible communications failure on November 18 due to the approaching Tempel-Tuttle comet.
Though the chances of the five INSAT satellites and four remote sensing (IRS) being hit are less than 0.1 per cent, ISRO has said it has taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of Indian satellites.
The comet, 55P/Temple-Tuttle, is likely to enter the earths atmosphere between November 14 and 20, and probably be nearest to the earth on November 17-18. Estimates said the meteoroids storm would be at its peak around 0210 hrs on November 18 and might strike at the rate of 71 km per second. During the peak of the storm, zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) may reach about 1,50,000 particles per hour.
Satellites of ISRO, Intelsat, Panamsat and Asiasat in geostationary orbits around 36,000 km from the earth stand in the firing line from the particles of the comet and a leonid meteoroids storm.
To meet the first real test to its satellites from the meteors, ISRO has also reoriented the solar panels of the satellites to project a minimum surface area to the approaching debris.
Meanwhile, several stock
exchanges, including the National Stock Exchange and the
Bombay Stock Exchange which are hooked to ISROs
Insat-2B and Insat-2C, have alerted members to square off
their long-term positions to avoid any panic situation.
Banks and other service sectors using satellites have
also taken measures to avert any panic situation.
JDLP meeting: efforts on to avert showdown
BANGALORE, Nov 12 (PTI) Hectic efforts are on to avert a showdown on the issue of proposed change in Chief Minister J H Patels leadership at the Janata Dal Legislature Party (JDLP) meeting here tomorrow.
About 30 ministers and MLAs met former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who is leading the dissident camp, to impress upon him the need to prevent a trial of strength.
Senior minister M P Prakash told reporters after the meeting that they had told Mr Gowda that the leadership issue should not be raised at the JDLP meeting and a secret ballot should also not be insisted upon to decide the issue. Mr Gowda said he would take note of their views, according to Mr Prakash.
Before calling on Mr Gowda, the ministers held consultations with Mr Patel at his residence "Cauvery".
Mr Prakash and another senior minister M C Nanaiah said that showdown was not in the partys interest. They also ruled out the possibility of a split in the Janata Dal.
Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also met the Chief Minister in the morning.
The dissident MLAs have been insisting that Mr Patel should show his strength at the JDLP meeting. Mr Patel has agreed to do so if the situation warranted.
|15 undertrials escape
KOHIMA: At least 15 undertrial prisoners escaped from the Kohima district jail on Thursday. Police and jail sources said the inmates escaped when the main gate was opened to bring in food trolleys. The prisoners rushed to the gate, overpowered sentries and escaped. A search was launched and two of them were arrested. But unconfirmed reports said so far six inmates had been arrested. All entries to the capital town were sealed. UNI
6 killed in road
Women take out
30m diabetics in
stir on Dec 11
3 jawans beaten to
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |