|N A T I O N|
Sonias candidature from Bellary
Congress candidates contesting the Lok Sabha election from Delhi at a Press conference on Friday. Dr Manmohan Singh (centre) is flanked by Mrs Meira Kumar (right) and Delhi Congress unit president, Shubhash Chopra. Photo by Vijender Tyagi
Govt for ceasefire on N-E
Homage paid to Rajiv Gandhi
Remove exam phobia: experts
Ensure fair poll in Bihar: BJP
"BJP covered up telecom
EC notice to JD (U) Samata, Lok
Pakistan may review nuclear
Laloo Yadav defers release of
EC overstepping brief, says BJP
NHRC directive to Rajasthan
Put off poll in J&K: Bhim
SAD(B) to support BJP in Delhi
Two ISI agents arrested
DD move to reach more viewers
Cong may split in Tripura
BJP criticises Sonias
candidature from Bellary
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 The BJP today said the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, had failed in her attempt to secure "safe passage" by slipping unnoticed into the Lok Sabha from Bellary.
The party spokesman, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, told reporters here that the Bellary incident should act as a reminder to the Congress that truth had only one version and when there was more than one version, obviously it was a lie.
After making a "mockery" of the process of filing Mrs Sonia Gandhis nomination papers from Bellary, the Congress as usual put out more than one version of the "non-event", taking recourse to the only means its knows" lies, falsehoods, untruths".
Mr Naidu said the move to make Mrs Gandhi sneak into the Lok Sabha showed how insecure, and unsure the Congress President was.
He referred to a press report which quoted a Congress Working Committee member as saying after Mrs Gandhi filed her nomination from Bellary that "the game is up. Forever now we (the Congress) will have to explain why our leader hid from public view. It was almost like Quattrocchi trying to evade the CBI".
Mr Naidu said the Congress had floated several explanations ranging from the aspect of security threat to Mrs Gandhis familys love for South India, thus exposing the party.
He said the recent phase of Congress lies and untruths began with the Congress Presidents claim that she had the support of 272 MPs, "a number that was nothing short of gross exaggeration".
Charging the Congress with having perverted truth at every stage, Mr Naidu said the party had tried to paint the Kargil victory as a defeat, had found fault with the Telecom Policy ignoring the fact that its own leaders and MPs had sought the same policy in letters to the Prime Minister, and had disputed court rulings to the effect that Italian "wheeler-dealer" Ottavio Quattrocchi was the beneficiary, on behalf of somebody else, in the Bofors bribery scandal.
On issues of national importance too, Mr Naidu charged the Congress with choosing to obstruct and oppose, rather than stand by national sentiments and aspirations.
Govt for ceasefire on N-E
MOHISASHAN (Indo-Bangladesh border), Aug 20 (UNI) The Union Government is preparing to propose a unilateral ceasefire in the entire North East covering all militant outfits of the region.
As part of the process, the strength of the Army in the region, engaged in the counter-insurgency operation, has been reduced and Rs 285 crore is being pumped in to revamp the state police forces in the states.
Talking to the UNI here, the Joint Secretary (North East), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Mr Gopal K. Pillai, informed that already the blueprint had been prepared for the unilateral ceasefire and the final decision would be taken by the new government.
"Our basic idea is to extend the existing ceasefire of Nagaland to all parts of the region covering the whole bunch of the North East insurgents. It will coincide with the phased withdrawal of the Army from the North East engaged in the counter-insurgency operations, he said.
Mr Pillai has been coordinating with all counter insurgency operations of the region besides looking after the Indo-Bangladesh border fencing. He was on the border in the Karimganj sector to personally see the ground situation recently.
Regarding the modalities of this unprecedented ceasefire proposal, he said the ground rule of Nagaland could be extended in the rest of the North East. The NCSN(IM) and the Union Government had been observing ceasefire for two years.
"The two years of ceasefire in Nagaland have given back the voice to the people to talk peace. They have realised the importance of talking out the problem . You do not expect result in a couple of rounds of negotiations. This is a long process and we intend to cover the whole of the North East, he said.
As part of this confidence building measure in the region, there has been phased withdrawal of the Army engaged in the counter-insurgency operations from the 3 Corps Assam in Tezpur and the 4 Corps at Dimapur in nagaland. "The ministry in fact wants to strengthen the state police force by reducing the role of the Army further, Mr Pillai said.
"In the next couple of weeks the North East should get Rs 285 crore for complete modernisation of its police force. You wont see the vintage 303 rifle in the armoury of the state police. This money is being spent only on the technical modernisation of the state police forces, he said.
Besides there are the human resource development programme through various trainings.
The ministry is releasing the money next week and the entire amount will be spent over a period of three years with special emphasis on changing the weaponry to modern assault rifles.
"Personally I would have loved to see the modernisation being completed before the phased withdrawal of army. But since the process was hastened due to Kargil now the police forces will have to play a greater role in maintaining peace. I am confident that this will help the region which has been long opposing the presence of army, he said.
He ruled out the possibility that reduction of the Army was the primary reason behind the pre-Independence Day spurt of violence in Assam. "This is routine. There is nothing significant. In fact it was far less than we had expected, he said, adding that the ULFA was completely neutralised during the period.
Mr Pillai admitted that a series of blunders had been made in the North East in the past by playing with its emotion. "Lots of mistakes were made. Now everything is being undone. Look at the case of the Kangla fort which has a lot of emotional attachment for the people of Manipur. I am ensuring that the Assam Rifles move out by the end of the next year to its new location, he said.
Regarding the ceasefire, he added, "We will certainly not mind extending the ceasefire again in Nagaland and in Assam also we can extend it if the ULFA and the NDFB so desire.
"Specially the ULFA
should realise that time is fast running out for them.
They may become irrelevant in Assam within one or two
years. Then we may not even call them for negotiation.
Why should we when they are fast losing mass base and
contact with the ground, he reasoned.
Pak not owning its PoWs
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 India today accused Pakistan of dragging its feet over eight of its PoWs which are in Indian custody since the Kargil conflict. In a statement, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said while New Delhi had announced its readiness to hand over the eight Pakistani PoWs on the eve of the Independence Day of Pakistan (August 14), Pakistan has yet not acknowledged its PoWs.
"Consequently, their repatriation has not taken place so far", the spokesperson said expressing the hope that "Pakistan will acknowledge its PoWs, so that they can return to their families without delay".
"We also hope that Pakistan will not procrastinate as they did earlier in the case of the return of the bodies of their soldiers who died on the Indian side of the Line of Control during Pakistans intrusion in Kargil", the spokesperson said.
The Indian authorities have, as required under the Geneva Conventions, approached the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) with full particulars of the PoWs, to repatriate them to Pakistan, the statement pointed out adding that the ICRC is currently engaged in working out the modalities for their handing over.
Stating that these soldiers were being well-cared for in the highest traditions of the Indian Army, the spokesperson said an ICRC doctor had already examined them. Asked as to why New Delhi was insisting on Islamabads acknowledgement of its PoWs, the spokesperson said "we have to have a formal response". "They have to acknowledge that their PoWs are with us", she said adding that "they have yet not responded to our offer". It is indeed strange that Pakistan is not acknowledging its PoWs while earlier during the Kargil conflict, Islamabad had described Flt-Lt. K. Nachiketa as a PoW, official sources said.
On the one hand, Pakistan is not ready to formally acknowledge its PoWs "with us", they are in touch with the ICRC over the release of their PoWs, the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has accused India of politicising the PoW issue saying that New Delhi was trying to extract mileage out of the issue.
Remove exam phobia: experts
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (PTI) Too much stress on examinations and unimaginative teaching in schools is taking its toll on elementary education, making students learn by rote, and, in many cases, drop out before the secondary level, say experts.
The answer, they say, is more interactive teaching and a system of evaluation in which the students are judged in terms of their habits, attitudes and values, in addition to the knowledge and understanding of concepts.
"What is taught in our schools today is determined by what will be asked in the examinations. It is the tail wagging the dog, instead of the other way round", says Prof n k Ambasht, Chairman of National Open School (NOS).
And whatever little the students learn, he says, is not knowledge but mere information. With no system for the evaluation of the students understanding of concepts, they just learn things by rote and reproduce these in the examinations, he says.
Teachers too, says Ms Kusum Jain, an active member of a parent-teacher body, are content to limit themselves to topics likely to figure in the examinations.
"As in everything else, we have got used to shortcuts in education. Teachers now recommend guides to even first standard students and these guides and coaching classes seem to have taken over our education system," she says.
The result is illustrated by a school in Gujarat where the entire class x has been failing for the past three years. The reason, according to a teacher of the school, is that the students who take admission in class viii cannot even write their own names.
If such is the level of learning of class viii students, what is the remedy?
A revamp of teaching methodology and the system of evaluation in schools, says Professor Ambasht.
The teaching methods in most elementary schools are suggestive, not imitational, whereas children, particularly at the elementary level, learn by imitation, he says.
Besides, the method of teaching in schools does not create any yearning for knowledge in the students.
To change this, nos is planning to introduce what Professor Ambasht calls "examination on demand" which will test a students understanding of the given subject.
"Students can demand an examination whenever they feel they are prepared for it, and they will be free to consult any book while they are writing their answers, as it is their understanding of the concepts which will be tested, and books will not be of any help", he says.
Teachers education, says Professor Ambasht, is the most vital area for rectifying the current situation.
Besides being competent in the subject, the teachers must be trained in a milieu where values are placed above commercial or other interests," says Prof J.S. Rajput, Chairman, of the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
The ncte has made a small beginning towards improving teachers education under which the duration of the one-year B.Ed course has been increased to two years.
The new curriculum has already been introduced in the four regional institutes of education.
Professor Ambasht cites his own experiment in which students of an elementary school started by learning weaving. Once they had learned to weave a pattern, they were required to remember the sequence of coloured threads so that they could reproduce the pattern, thereby learning to count, to measure distances with a scale and write numbers.
Ensure fair poll in Bihar: BJP
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 The Bharatiya Janata Party has urged the Election Commission (EC) to treat Bihar as a special case in view of the prevailing situation there and make special arrangements to ensure a free and fair election there.
A three-member BJP delegation comprising the party Vice-President, Mr Kailashpati Mishra, the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha and the former MP from Patna, Mr C.P. Thakur, met the Chief Election Commissioner, Dr M.S. Gill, here today and handed a memorandum listing several malpractices that had taken place in the past elections in Bihar.
Mr Mishra told newspersons here that since the Assembly election of 1995, malpractices had become a common feature in Bihar.
The delegation informed the EC that in the 1995 elections, more than 60 lakh fake ballot papers for different constituencies were printed in the government press at Gaya by the then ruling party and put in duplicate ballot boxes, which were exchanged on the way to the strong room from the polling booths.
Mr Mishra said even though a writ petition was filed in the Patna High Court, four and a half years had elapsed and the case had not been opened as yet.
In the Betiah parliamentary constituency, he said thousands of stamped original ballot papers of last elections were recovered from at least 20 ballot boxes while they were being taken out from the stores for cleaning to be used in the forthcoming election. These ballot papers, he said, were stamped in favour of the BJP candidate, Dr M.P. Jaiswal, who was defeated in that election.
Mr Mishra said a number of duplicate ballot boxes were being recovered with Samastipur accounting for 440 such boxes, Siwan 510, Darbhanga 280 and Buxar 300. A total of 1652 such boxes had been found so far, he added.
The BJP delegation alleged that all the duplicate boxes were used in the 1998 election under the patronage of Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav.
The delegation urged that since there was only one officer in each constituency who looked after management of ballot boxes, in case of large-scale malpractices that officer should immediately be interrogated and debarred from the election process.
It demanded that printing of ballot papers and supplying them to the necessary booths should be conducted under the stern supervision of the EC.
The delegation also demanded that all the ballot boxes proposed to be utilised in the coming election in Bihar should be stamped by the EC and the numbers of these boxes should be made available to the contesting candidates before the counting started.
The memorandum said observers should be appointed immediately so that they are well acquainted with the constituency and the observers must have their word in the matter of deployment of paramilitary forces by the concerned officers.
"BJP covered up telecom scam"
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (PTI) Former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh today charged the BJP with scuttling attempts to unravel the telecom scam which, he alleged, ran into thousands of crores of rupees.
When the Congress was accused of "securities scam" during his tenure as Finance Minister, the government immediately ordered a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe, but the Vajpayee government was not even ready for a discussion on the telecom scandal, "to cover up the issue", he told reporters.
Opposition parties led by the Congress had only demanded a debate on the telecom issue in the Rajya Sabha and the BJP was not prepared even for that, leave alone a probe into the issue, Mr Manmohan Singh alleged.
"Telecom scam is massive and we want to know who is behind it", he said, adding, the government was prompt in taking action unlike the BJP on any allegation of a scandal during the Congress rule.
Asked if he was the Congress Prime Ministerial candidate, Mr Manmohan Singh brushed aside the suggestion saying it was only a media creation. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had already made it clear that the party's parliamentary board would elect its leader after the polls, he said. Mr Manmohan Singh said he was not playing "Sikh card" to garner support and was approaching the electorate purely as an Indian. He was talking to reporters at the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.
DPCC President Subhash Chopra, who introduced all seven Congress candidates for the polls, said Delhi being the national capital of the country, special care had been taken to select a highly talented and experienced team of candidates.
Stating that the Congress government in Delhi had so many achievements to its credit, he alleged that the previous BJP government had "ruined" Delhi and the people, in turn, had rightly "dumped" the BJP.
Mr Manmohan Singh
asserted that the Joint Parliamentary Committee probe
into the securities scam found nothing against him and
charged the BJP-led government with "shying
away" from a discussion of its controversial
policies and decisions.
84-riots case before
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 "The people of Sadar constituency would decide whether I am guilty or not in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot case," the former Union Minister and Congress candidate, Mr Jagdish Tytler, who recently had been given a clean chit in the case, said here today.
Mr Tytler accused the BJP candidate and former Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, of maligning him. "I have sent a legal notice to Mr Khurana and he should apologise by this month end, otherwise I will file a defamation suit for Rs one crore in the court," Mr Tytler, told The Tribune.
The Delhi governmnet, the CBI and the Delhi Police had "colluded with each other" in giving a clean chit to Mr Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, Mr Khurana said, adding that he had already met Home Minister, L.K. Advani, for conducting a time-bound inquiry into the "clean chit" given to Mr Tytler.
Earlier, at a "meet the press" at the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, Dr Manmohan Singh, the partys candidate for the South Delhi constituency, said "I have been absolved of all charges levelled against me in the securities scam."
"The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) conducted the probe and they could not find anything wrong against me," Dr Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister, said, adding "the BJP government has shied away from even calling the Rajya Sabha session to discuss the telecom scam."
"What kind of transparent and stable government can the BJP give when it cannot protect the borders. It is afraid to call the Rajya Sabha to discuss matters of national interest," the South Delhi candidate said.
The press meet of the Congress to introduce all the seven candidates standing for the parliamentary polls in the Capital turned out to be a fiasco with the party supporters shouting slogans and turning the meeting into a workers' meet.
Even before the reporters could ask a few questions, the meet was called off as the organisers could not control the "over-enthusiastic" workers.
Homage paid to Rajiv Gandhi
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (UNI) The nation today paid homage to the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 55th birth anniversar.
President K.R.Narayanan, Vice President Krishan Kant and Congress President and widow of the late Prime Minister Sonia Gandhi were among those who paid floral tributes to the departed leader at his samadhi at Virbhumi here.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who was accompanied by her daughter Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra, several Congress leaders and a large number of people sat through the hour-long ceremony, braving rain.
The solemn ceremony was marked by singing of songs in chorus by about 150 school girls in uniform and some disabled boys on crutches.
The ceremony over, Mrs Sonia Gandhi walked up a few steps to the school girls and complimented them.
The senior Congress
leaders present on the occasion included Delhi Chief
Minister Sheela Dixit, Union Minister Nagmohan, former
Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress General
Secretary Madhav Rao Scindia and former Uttar Pradesh
Governor Motilal Vora.
EC notice to JD (U) Samata, Lok Shakti
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) has issued notice to the Janata Dal (United), The Samata Party and the Lok Shakti for tomorrow on a petition by the Janata Dal (Secular) urging the recognition to the Samata Party and the Lok Shakti be suspended along with related facilities.
The three parties have been given time till 1500 hours on August 21 to respond to the petition, the EC sources said.
The Janata Dal (S), headed by the former Prime Minister, Mr H.D. Deve Gowda, had petitioned the EC on August 18 to suspend the recognition of the Samata Party and the Lok Shakti as they had joined with the Janata Dal (U) led by Mr Sharad Yadav.
Quoting media reports, the Janata Dal (S) General Secretary, Mr B.K. Prasad, said in the petition the Lok Shakti and the Samata Party had decided to contest the coming Lok Sabha and assembly elections under the banner of JD (U) and on its poll symbol "arrow".
In light of this, the JD (S) urged the EC to withdraw the facility of free air time on Doordarshan and AIR given to the Samata Party and the Lok Shakti as they would be appealing for votes in the name of JD (U), which had already been allotted separate free air time.
Giving free air time to
all three parities would amount to discrimination to the
other parties, the JD (S) contended and appealed the time
given to the Samata Party and the Lok Shakti be
distributed equally between the JD (U) and the JD (S).
Pakistan may review nuclear deterrence
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (PTI) Pakistan today said it would review its minimum nuclear deterrence if India went ahead with its proposed nuclear doctrine meant to make Islamabads "deterrent capacity ineffective".
Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said "We have achieved what I would call a minimum deterrent and we dont want to engage in a further arms race. So if India were to exercise restraint, then obviously our deterrence would be sufficient. But if India were to go ahead, we will have to review (it)".
In an interview to BBC radio, he said New Delhis decision of no-first use and no attack on non-nuclear states was designed to make Islamabads deterrent capacity "ineffective" because there was a "very large" conventional gap between India and Pakistan.
"In that context if
India were to attack us, for example, without any
justification and we have signed a no- first use, then
obviously our deterrence is gone." Mr Aziz said,
according to the interview transcript made available by
Laloo Yadav defers release of seats list
PATNA, Aug 20 (PTI) The RJD President Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, today deferred till tomorrow the release of the list of constituencies to be contested by the RJD, Congress and their Left allies in Bihar, but claimed a "total alliance" had been achieved.
"We have struck a total adjustment with the Congress, the CPI, the CPI (M) and the Marxist co-ordination committee and there is no room for any grievance," Mr Yadav told a joint press conference with (the) CPI (M) politburo member Mr Sitaram Yechury.
Though Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav attributed his decision to defer the release of the list of seats to be contested by each ally to the absence of the representatives of the Congress and the CPI, political observers saw it as a sign of persistent differences among the alliance partners, particularly the Congress.
The state Congress President, Mr Sadanand Singh, and the CLP leader Mr Ramashray Prasad Singh are reported to have registered a formal protest with the party high command for allegedly accepting lesser number of seats as part of the arrangement than the party was capable of contesting.
The two leaders have reportedly sought to contest half of the 54 Lok Sabha seats in the state which has been rejected by the RJD chief.
Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, however, said he would contest once again from Madhepura.
EC overstepping brief, says
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 The Bharatiya Janata Party today took exception to the Election Commissions directive against making the Kargil issue a debating point in the election campaign saying the "EC on Kargil has overstepped its jurisdiction".
BJP spokesman, Arun Jaitley, told reporters here that the Election Commission could not decide on what issues the politicians should take before the people.
The noted lawyer said the Election Commission was not an "ombudsman" of political ideologies and its role should be confined to conducting elections in a free and fair manner.
He said it would not be fair to prevent the ruling party from giving counter views to points raised by Opposition parties during the election campaign.
Refusing to answer a question on whether the BJP considered the Election Commission as "biased", Mr Jaitley said whenever the party found anything wrong in the decision of the EC it brought it to its notice.
It was for the second time in as many days that the BJP was joining issue with the Election Commission.
Yesterday the party had contested the ECs decision to bar reporters from accompanying the Prime Minister in his official aircraft saying this amounted to discrimination. Since the Prime Minister could not use a private aircraft for security reasons, the Opposition leaders using their own aircraft would have the advantage of carrying reporters on their election tours, the party said.
Mr Jaitley clarified
that it would be wrong to attribute any motives to the
Election Commission as it was a constitutional authority
but added that there was nothing wrong in bringing to the
ECs notice objections on certain decisions.
Denial of parole
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (UNI) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Rajastan Government to pay an interim relief of Rs 20,000 to a prisoner who was denied parole for making arrangements for his wifes treatment for the suffering, humiliation and harassment caused to him at the hands of jail officials.
NHRC sources said today that the commission was convinced that prima-facie the prisoner, Harbhajan Singh, had been victimised by the jail officials. It also asked the state government to order a probe into the alleged harassment of Harbhajan Singh by the jail officials with malafide intention and initiate action against those guilty.
On a complaint of Harbhajan Singh, who was undergoing life imprisonment in the Central Jail, Bikaner, following conviction in a murder case, that his request for grant of parole was refused as Jail Superintendent M.L. Chauhan intentionally sent a false report to the District Magistrate that the complainant planned to leave the country.
The Jail Superintendent misused a letter relating to another prisoner with the same name, who had already been released from the jail on completion of his sentence, the complaint stated. Alleging certain corruption charges against the Jail Superintendent, the complaint stated the price for torture-free stay in the jail was Rs 20,000.
A report from the Deputy Secretary (Home) of Rajastan said: The mixing up of papers of the two prisoners was due to the fact that when the letter was received in the jail, the other prisoner had been discharged from the jail long ago on the completion of his sentence.
Though the Jail Superintendent admitted the mistake, he described it as a clerical one. He said when the mistake was noticed, he reported it to the District Magistrate with a recommendation for grant of parole.
However, the prisoners son alleged that the mix-up was deliberate with a view to harassing the complainant and the parole was granted only when he met the District Magistrate and explained the role played by the prison administration.
An investigation team of the NHRC went to the jail to probe the matter and its report corroborated the complainants version. The team felt that the mix-up of papers of the two prisoners seemed more than a mere mistake. It recommended departmental action against the Jail Superintendent and the Senior Medical Officer whose conduct, according to the report, needed to be investigated.
The report stated that the Jail Superintendent had earlier demanded Rs 20,000 from the son of the complainant who was lodged in jail in August, 1994, or otherwise he (the complainant) would have a bad time inside the jail. A deal was struck for Rs 14,000, but the prisoners son could pay only Rs 10,000 to the Jail Superintendent.
In December, 1994, Harbhajans mother expired and he could get seven days emergency parole by paying Rs 3000 to the Jail Superintendent as illegal gratification. The prisoner was reminded that an amount of Rs 4,000 was still pending with him which he should arrange or else he would have a harrowing time in the jail.
But since he could not arrange the amount, he was subjected to harassment. Next time, when he got seven days emergency parole in January, 1995, for his sons marriage, he arranged for Rs 4,000 to pay to the Jail Superintendent.
However, when he applied
for parole on account of his wifes sickness in
January, 1996, the Jail Superintendent forwarded a letter
received in the name of another prisoner who had already
been released in June, 1995, to the District Magistrate.
The letter mentioned about Harbhajan arranging a passport
to go to the USA. In his forwarding letter the Jail
Superintendent mentioned that in view of the disclosures
made in the letter it would not be advisable to grant
parole as the prisoner might flee the country, the report
Put off poll in J&K:
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 Drawing attention to the large-scale intrusion of over 5000 Pakistan-backed foreign mercenaries in the Jammu region, the Panthers Party chief, Prof Bhim Singh, has asked the President, Mr K.R. Naryanan, to direct the Election Commission (EC) to postpone elections in three Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir.
Briefing newspersons about his visit to the Jammu region Prof Bhim Singh said the Pakistani intruders had managed to sneak into Kishtwar, Doda and Udhampur areas and had intensified attacks against the security forces and civilians.
The Panthers Party chief asked the Centre to immediately launch an operation flush out to meet the challenge from the foreign mercenaries including Afghans.
Expressing surprise over the ECs reluctance to postpone elecctions in the three parliamentary seats of Udhampur, Jammu and Baramula in the state, Prof Bhim Singh said he had written a letter to the President to direct the EC to defer the election in view of the grim security situation in these areas.
He said the EC would not be able to hold free and fair elections as nearly two lakh voters had been displaced from these areas due to the security situation. These people would not be able to participate in the electoral process, he said adding democratic institutions had to be saved.
SAD(B) to support BJP in Delhi
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 The Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today announced its decision to back the BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha election in the Capital.
Addressing a press conference here today, President of the Delhi unit of SAD (Badal), Mr Avtar Singh Hit, urged the Sikh community to vote, support and elect BJP candidates in all seven Parliamentary constitutencies.
Mr Hit said that the decision to support BJP candidates was taken at a meeting held today.
He also said that the Congress candidate for the South Delhi Parliamentary constituency, Dr Manmohan Singh, should withdraw from the electoral fray.
Dr Manmohan Singh has not worked for the welfare of the Sikh community, Mr Hit said.
Two ISI agents arrested
JAMSHEDPUR, Aug 20 (UNI) The Tata Nagar Railway Police arrested two suspected Pakistan-backed Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) agents, one of them from a compartment of the Howrah-bound Geetanjali Express, along with Rs 6.74 lakh in cash, here yesterday.
The railway police today said investigation was on and the two arrested, one of them an Afghan national, were being interrogated to ascertain their links with any subversive activities. He said the Intelligence Bureau was also informed about the incident.
The railway police had already intensified search operations, along with the Railway Protection Force (RPF), on trains and railway platforms since the past few days.
On a tip-off the police found Yusuf Khan in the down Bombay-Geetanjali Express. The police also found a briefcase containing Rs 6.74 lakh and some papers, bank drafts and a diary.
DD move to reach more viewers
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 The primary channel of Doordarshan, DD 1, which commenced 24-hour programming on August 15, has become available on the PAS IV satellite in addition to digital transmission on INSAT 2E in an attempt to reach more viewers within and outside the country.
DD 1 and DD II are now available on satellite as well as terrestrially and are telecast in digital and analogue mode. DD 1 will be available on 4033 mhz on the panamerican satellite. Pas iv stationed at 68.5 degrees east is already transmitting more than 20 television channels to india.
Doordarshan sources said the move had been adopted as Prasar bharati Chief executive officer rajiv r. Shah had failed to convince cable operators to beam dd 1 and dd II through their networks.
At a meeting they had with Mr Shah earlier this week, some cable operators reportedly said they were working within the law as they were transmitting two dd channels as provided for in the cable networks (regulation) act 1995.
The Act does not specify the dd channels that should be transmitted, and therefore most operators showed the dd language channels depending on the area in which they operated. (The Election Commission earlier this month rejected Prasar Bharatis suggestion for issuance of an ordinance to compel cable networks to show its main channels).
Thus, four channels
dd 1, dd india, dd Sports and dd News and Current
Affairs began transmission on the international
pas IV satellite on 4033 mhz and have become digital
channels in mcpc mode. The dd News Channel is also being
telecast on analogue mode via pas IV on 4155 mhz. Dd 1
and dd II are additionally available as digital channels
on scpc mode on insat 2E (3830 mhz and 3910 mhz,
respectively) from August 15.
Pak denies report on PoWs
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (UNI) The Pakistan High Commission here has denied as "baseless" the impression that it was refusing to accept its soldiers in Indian custody.
In a statement here late this evening. The High Commission said that its attention had been drawn to an External Affairs Ministry release "in which a false impression is being created that Pakistan was refusing to accept its soldiers in Indian custody".
Stating that it refuted
this impression, the Pakistan High Commission said that
once the Indian government made its intention known to
release the prisoners, Pakistan established contact with
the International Council of Red Cross (ICRC) requesting
its assistance in their repatriation to Pakistan. The
ICRC has since been in contact with both governments and
Pakistan was awaiting the handing over of these prisoners
to Red Cross so that they could be repatriated to
Pakistan, it added.
Cong may split in Tripura
AGARTALA, Aug 20 (UNI) The Congress in Tripura is heading for a virtual split with its top leader and former Chief Minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumder joining the Trinamool Congress, led by Ms Mamata Banerjee.
Mr Majumder, also a former Tripura Pradesh Congress President and a Rajya Sabha member, told reporters here today that Ms Banerjee had appointed him Chairman of the Trinamool Congresss Tripura unit. The names of other leaders of the state unit would be announced soon, he added.
"I have been associated with the Congress since 1960. I remained a true Congress though many leaders left the party," Mr Majumder said. "It was not my intention to leave the party, but the high command have sold the party to the CPM".
Foreigner found dead in guest
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 Body of a foreigner was recovered from Welcome Guest House in Pahargani in Central district today.
The body was identified
as that of Ms Ingrid-B.Bvel. She came to India on July 18
and had been staying in this guest house since August 18.
She came to the guest house along with her friend,
William, who is missing. The body has been sent for
postmortem, the police said.
Life term for criminal
AHMEDABAD, Aug 20 (PTI) Special Judge A.J. Bhatt has sentenced notorious criminal Abdul Wahab Abdul Majid Sheikh to life imprisonment for the murder of a bootlegger, Bhagwandas Dwarkadas Sindhi.
The Judge, in his order yesterday, also fined him Rs 10,000 and if defaulted he would have to undergo imprisonment for an additional three months.
|Nathu La to be opened
GANGTOK: The historic Nathu La in Sikkim will open to domestic tourists from September 15. The wind-swept pass, situated at an altitude of 14,000 ft on the Indo-Tibet border, some 55 km east of Gangtok, was so far inaccessible without a special Army permit. But, the Army authorities and the Sikkim Tourism Department took the initiative to throw open the pass to the adventurist whose dream of shaking hands with a Chinese Red Army Major or posing for a souvenir photograph with a Chinese Colonel will now come true. UNI
Leaf theft bothers tea
Prayer meet in
7 shops reduced
Yuva Vani to
beam on FM
A-I to celebrate
Militants kill 3
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |