|Monday, January 10, 2000,
George can be united partys
5 ULFA militants nabbed
Fissures in DMK over RS
Bihar needs 400 cos to ensure fair
Pak-trained ultras active
PM was on Kashmiri militants
10 TADA accused acquitted
India, Japan to open security
Films with unusual themes
Cataract patients lose eyes
26 take part in Miss India contest
New Delhi trains rescheduled
Docs: recognise acupuncture
Sonias removal: RVs
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 While removing Mrs Sonia Gandhi from the position of president of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) the present government has taken advantage of a rare administrative lacuna which was a legacy of a Congress regime.
While appointing Mrs Sonia Gandhi as a life trustee and thereby the president for life of the Trust, which controls the implicit complex coming up on a 23-acre plot of goverment land in New Delhis Central Vista, to the right of Raj path from the India Gate side, the then Minister for Human Resource Development, Mr Madhavrao Scindia had used his executive powers and not the collective will of the Union Cabinet. Yesterday a decision of the Union Cabinet was used to undo what Mr Scindia had done.
Though some legal sabre-rattling can be expected from the affected parties, little fault can be found with the government action which comes on the eve of a hearing in the Delhi High Court by a Bench headed by its Chief Justice, on a petition filed by one Narender Pande challenging the 1995 amendment made to the original Trust Act as a result of Mr Scindias orders.
At the last hearing in August the court had asked the government to take appropriate action and had said that the pendency of the writ petition will not come in the way. In effect the announcement made by the Culture Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar on Saturday, renders the petition infructuous.
The IGNCA was set up with Rs 50 crore goverment money as its corpus and another Rs 83 crore were given for the building fund, besides the 23-acres of prime land in the heart of the National Capital. For all practical purposes it is a government endeavour and thus the attempt to turn the IGNCA into a private trust had attracted flak, including the writ petition which would be coming up before the High Court on Monday.
The move to change the IGNCA into a government trust had been initiated in 1998 by the Human Resources Development Minister Mr Murli Manohar Joshi. The task has been completed by Mr Ananth Kumar who holds independent charge of the Youth and Culture portfolios which were then under Dr Joshi.
The very fact that the Congress party has not taken a position on the matter, though more than 24-hours have passed since Mrs Sonia Gandhi was divested of her preeminent position in the IGNCA(she has been retained as an ordinary member of the trust) whose 10-year tenure will end in 2001, shows that there is appreciation in the opposition of the legal niceties involved, the advantage of which has been taken by the present government.
What Mr Ananth Kumar has done on Saturday is to assert the right of the government to reconstitute the trust. By renominating former President R. Venkataraman, who had resigned in protest against the bid to privatise the trust, the government has indicated the vindication of Mr Venkataramans protest.
Along with Mrs Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, eminent scientist Prof Yashpal and Dr Abid Hussain have been retained. While all other former members, including Dr Kapila Vatasayan, Mr H.Y. Sharda Prasad, Mr K. Natwar Singh, Ms M.S. Subbulakshmi, Mr Ashok Vajpai and Mr Ram Niwas Mirdha, have been dropped.
The new trustees include Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Dr Bhupen Hazarika, Ms Anjolie Ela Menon, Ms Sonal Mansingh, Ms Aparna Sen, Dr M.S. Swaminathan and Dr L.M. Singhvi.
According to Mr Ananth Kumar in the former trust only seven of the 20 members were artists, educationists and scientists; now this number has gone up to 13 of the 19 members. Thus, while serving a googly at Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the government has taken care to guard its flanks.
The matter is scheduled to come up before the High Court on Monday judicial scrutiny will thus determine whether the governments action is justified or not.
George can be united partys chief: Paswan
PATNA, Jan 9 (PTI) Senior Janata Dal (U) leader Ram Vilas Paswan today said he had no objection to Defence Minister George Fernandes taking over the mantle of the new united party.
"For me, there is no objection if George Saheb becomes President of the new party. But such things can be discussed which, in fact, is my personal view," he told reporters here.
Appealing to the Samata Party to adopt a "conciliatory approach" towards formalising merger between the JD (U) and the Samata, Mr Paswan said: "We are ready to make any sacrifice for unity between the two parties."
"Our sole objective is to rid the people of Bihar of the jungle raj and corruption unleashed during the Laloo-Rabri regimes," the Union Communication Minister said.
"We have accorded top priority to dislodge the RJD regime. We have to be united when our enemy (Laloo) is strong and formidable," he said stressing the need for the Samata and JD (U) to contest the coming assembly poll in Bihar on a common symbol like the two did during the last Lok Sabha poll.
Stating the failure of talks on merger in New Delhi on January 6 had "to some extent demoralised party workers", Mr Paswan said: "We should not commit such mistakes with elections round the corner."
Stressing the need for firming up "a perfect and complete" seat-sharing during the coming poll, Mr Paswan said that steps were required to be taken for this purpose.
"Let us give thrust on ending the jungle raj to achieve our objective to bring development back on rails in Bihar and the posts for party presidentship or chief ministership should be secondary ones," he said.
Mr Paswan said he made several attempts for effecting the merger between the two parties during the rounds of talks the leaders of the two parties had in Delhi on January 4, 5, and 6 but senior Samata leader and Union Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar remained conspicuous by his absence.
Mr Paswan said he had already made it clear that he was not in the race for becoming the Chief Minister of Bihar.
"Time is running short. The issue of seat sharing should be decided soon," he contended saying, "if we have to take on Mr Laloo Parsad Yadav we have to fight unitedly."
He refuted allegations that the Centre had influenced the Election Commission to announce the dates for the assembly poll in Bihar before the Budget session of Parliament.
Union Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday ruled out possibility of merger of the two parties before the coming poll and clarified that the Samata Party would like to contest the elections on its own symbol (torchlight).
Meanwhile, Mr P.K. Sinha, Samata Party spokesman,today ruled out the partys merger with the Janata Dal (United), accusing the latter of trying to "hijack" its identity through such a move.
"The Samata will not allow the JD (U) to hijack its existence and identity. The Samata is more popular than the JD(U) in Bihar," Mr Sinha told reporters while referring to the proposed merger of the two parties.
He said his party could contest the coming assembly poll on its own symbol torchlight and the JD (U) can discuss the contentious issue of seat-sharing with the BJP and the Samata if it desired so.
He regretted that JD (U)
leaders were not ready to hold talks on the crucial
issues like modalities for merger, issue of leadership or
proposal for seat-adjustment "and in the given
circumstances the Samata decided to preserve its own
Using railway ticket after 26 years
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 (UNI) When 60-year-old Fakhruddin Husenbhai Takulla reaches here by train next week to see the Republic Day parade, he will be enjoying a unique privilege using a railway ticket 26 years after buying it.
It was in 1973 that the Mumbai-based small-time shopkeeper bought a chit for Rajdhani Express to fulfil his life-time ambition: to witness the golden jubilee celebration of his countrys Republic Day in the Capital. The ticket was purchased at a time when the Railway Board had issued a notification that "there will be no limit for advance reservation on Rajdhani Express tickets".
He bought the ticket on July 15, 1973, the rate then for travelling between Mumbai Central and New Delhi in AC chair-car being just Rs 120.
The notification was nullified two months after it was issued on April 4, 1973, but the new order said that those who had bought tickets under the scheme could avail of the facility. Mr Takulla, who was 34-year-old then, decided to "preserve" the ticket and use it at the apt time.
"Recently we got a letter from him recalling that he had bought an advance ticket 26 years ago. The letter also requested to avail him of a VIP or complimentary pass and also make arrangements for him to attend the function at Rajpath," Railway Board sources told UNI here today.
The board wrote back to him saying that his AC chair-car ticket has been converted into an AC three-tier ticket, and that even his return ticket has been arranged. The Railway Ministry has also made lodging arrangements for him.
5 ULFA militants nabbed
GUWAHATI, Jan 9 (PTI) Five ULFA militants, including its key central headquarter office secretary, were nabbed from two hiedouts in Shillong in joint efforts by the Meghalaya and city police.
Guwahati city police which was informed by its Meghalaya counterpart about the presence of the rebels in the hill state conducted raids in several areas during the past two days and nabbed the militants yesterday.
The city police first conducted a raid at Byrnihat near Jorabat in Meghalaya and arrested suspected ULFA cadre Bitopan, alias Bimal Chetri.
Further raids led to the arrest of four militants, including the outfits central headquarter office secretary Chitta Dihingia and two women cadres.
The outfits deputy publicity secretary Swadhinata Phukan, who was also present at one of the hideouts, however, managed to escape along with another unidentified rebel.
The other arrested were Deepak Bora, a member of the outfits central committee and woman cadres Sanghamitra Bora, wife of another top ULFA leader Siwapnanil Dekaraja, and Jul Bora.
Fissures in DMK over RS ticket
CHENNAI, Jan 9 (PTI) Discontent surfaced in the Tamil Nadus ruling DMK over the candidature for biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha with its senior leader Kaveri Maniam, piqued over denial of nomination, and two other key functionaries resigning from party posts.
Mr Maniam, considered close to Mr M.K. Azhagiri, son of Chief Minister and DMK president M. Karunanidhi, was the Madurai urban district secretary of the DMK and one of the partys heavy-weights in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.
A host of other leaders in the Madurai district unit of the party, including Madurai Mayor P. Kolandaivelu and Deputy Mayor Misa R. Pandiyan also resigned their party posts expressing solidarity with Mr Maniam.
Mr Karunanidhi, in consultation with the party general secretary K. Anbazhagan, immediatedly accepted the resignations.
Mr Maniam, a party loyalist right from the days of party founder C.N. Annadurai, had been continuously denied party ticket, first to contest the Madurai Mayors post and then for Lok Sabha elections.
When the partys strongman in the district, late Madurai Muthu, switched over to the AIADMK in 1977, it was Mr Maniam who stood solidly behind the party leadership in the district.
The Madurai district unit had protested over allocation of the Madurai Lok Sabha seat to N. Muthuramalingam, who had rejoined the DMK after his short stint in the MDMK.
Bihar needs 400 cos to ensure fair poll
PATNA, Jan 9 (UNI) At least 400 companies of the central paramilitary forces (CPME) are required to ensure a free, fair and peaceful poll in Bihar, state DGP K.A. Jacob has said.
Talking to UNI, Mr Jacob said extremists attacks during the elections could not be ruled out. However, he assured that the states 130 CPMF companies would strive to ensure foolproof arrangements during the poll.
He said the government was alarmed over the recent spate of extremist attacks in the state. He said it was alarming in view of non-metallic explosion used by the ultras, while the state had only those detectors which could check mines having metallic contents.
The first phase of the last Lok Sabha elections on September 18 was marred by landmine explosions, particularly in Palamu and Hazaribagh districts, killing 40 persons mostly security personnel.
The state administration was unnerved at the leaflets left by PWG extremists who jusitified such attacks on the railway property in retaliation for the killing of four PWG activists in Andhra Pradesh and one in Bihar in "fake" police encounters. They had also vowed to continue such attacks in future.
The PWG and another banned ultra outfit, the Maoist Communist Centre struck during the last Lok Sabha elections with a vengeance.
The merger of the CPI (ML) with the PWG enabled the latter to spread its reach in the state through its connections in Andhra Pradesh.
The state government,
apprehensive of the motives of the extremists groups
coupled with the task of ensuring free, fair and peaceful
Assembly elections, is trying to instil a sense of
confidence among the people by developing a viable
Pak-trained ultras active worldwide
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 (PTI) Though Pakistan repeatedly claims to oppose terrorism, the country harbours scores of training camps for militants of various nationalities, preparing thousands of them to spread the Islamic movement across the world, according to intelligence sources here.
The militants trained in these camps are deputed with arms and ammunition to various parts of the world, including Jammu and Kashmir, with an aim of launching "jehad" there, they said.
The prominent training camps existing in Pakistan are Markaz-e-Abdul bin Masood in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Markaz-e-ul-Kura in Chilabandi, Muzaffarabad, Markaz-e-Aska in Kotli, Muzaffarabad, Markaz-e-Toiba in Kunhar on the Pak-Afghan border and Garhi-Habibullah in Balakot, they said.
The camps, which produce thousands of well-trained and motivated militants, are frequently visited by international terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who is in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, for "special indoctrination sessions", they said.
Markaz-e-Abdul bin Masood is said to have capacity of training 2,000 militants at a time while Markaz-e-ul-Kura can train 1,000. Markaz-e-Aska and Markaz-e-Toiba, meant for advanced training, can host 500 and 300 militants respectively, they said.
Apart from Kashmiris, other militants trained in these camps are Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers, Chechens, Bangladeshis Egyptians, Afghans, Sudanese, American Negros, Burmese, South Africans, and British Muslims, the sources said.
Militant groups in Pakistan have become so autonomous that the government in Islamabad has not been able to exercise any tight control over their activities, says the new issue of "Time".
It said Pakistan had
exposed itself to criticism for tolerating Islamic
militia groups like Lashker-e-Toiba and
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which had been listed as terrorist
outfits by the US State Department.
PM was on Kashmiri militants hit list
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani and former Internal Security Minister Rajesh Pilot were on the hit list of Kashmiri militants last year, according to the Delhi police.
The police had intercepted a communication between two unidentified militants suggesting attempts on the lives of the three leaders by a suicide squad, a police document says.
Mr Pilot, who as the Internal Security Minister was in charge of the Kashmir affairs, had survived at least three attempts on his life. His convoy was attacked by militants in Kashmir twice in 1994-95 at Dalgate in the heart of Srinagar and in downtown Srinagar. At least three persons were killed in the exchange of fire between militants and security officials accompanying Mr Pilot. He was also attacked in Nagaland in 1998.
According to intelligence inputs received by the Delhi police, three terrorist outfits the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) had constituted a joint operation team of some foreign mercenaries and surrendered militants to target security forces, VIPs and intelligence officials at various places.
The team comprised an Afghan mercenary Abu Kasim (LET), Ghulam Nabi Khan, alias Amir Khan (HM), Rashid Multani, a PoK national (HUM) and Abdul Ghani, resident of Badgam district in the Kashmir valley (pro-AHL-e-Hadis).
The reports said Ranjeet
Singh, alias Neeta, alias Manpreet Singh, chief of the
Khalistan Zindabad Force, based in Pakistan, had entered
India to "personally guide the factors of violent
actions in the Capital in the near future".
10 TADA accused acquitted
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 (PTI) A Delhi court has acquitted 10 alleged terrorists in a 12-year-old TADA case after it found the confessional statements of three accused recorded by the then Deputy Commissioner of Police Amod Kanth "unreliable" and "untrustworthy".
TADA Judge R.C. Yaduvanshi outrightly rejected the confessional statements as DCP Kanth, now Joint Commissioner of Police (southern range), was unable to give proper account of the recording of the statements which formed the basis of prosecution case.
He acquitted accused Karam Singh, Hernek Singh, Santokh Singh, Major Singh, Baldev Singh, Ujagar Singh, Kulwant Singh, Surender Singh, Amarjeet Singh and J.S. Dhillon of charges under Sections 3 and 4 of TADA Act.
DCP Kanth, the then DCP (Crime and Railways), had recorded confessional statements of accused Baldev Singh, Ujagar Singh and Karam Singh here in September 1987.
However, during cross-examination by the defence counsel Dhanbir Singh, he could not tell as to who had produced the accused before him and by whom they were identified.
The case was registered by the Patel Nagar police after it was "confirmed" during investigation of another case that some terrorists had come from Punjab with a plan to kill innocent people in the Capital.
The court also pulled up the Investigating Officer of the case Inspector Jai Singh for his failure to perform his duty as a police official and asked the Commissioner of Police to take appropriate action against him.
The court took Inspector Singh to task for failing to take any action against accused J.S. Dhillon under the Arms Act despite recovery of arms from his possession.
India, Japan to open security dialogue
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 (PTI) India and Japan will open their first security dialogue since the Pokhran nuclear tests in May last year with Defence Minister George Fernandes leaving for Tokyo tonight on a five-day visit to hold talks with the Japanese leadership.
"Both countries will discuss issues relating to security besides topics of bilateral interest," Mr Fernandes told reporters before his departure.
Mr Fernandes voiced confidence that some concrete decisions would be arrived at during the course of his visit, the first-ever by an Indian Defence Minister to Japan.
Films with unusual themes
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 The 16-film package in the Indian Panorama of the IFFI 2000 has some sensitive films that probe unusual themes with aplomb. These films also reveal that the festival cinema in India, popularly branded "art" cinema, is coming to terms with the need to approach a larger audience without making compromises. Another striking factor about the films is that the issues of ecology and empowerment of Women, Dalits etc. can no longer be side-tracked.
Many-time awarded Assamese director Jahnu Barua has made a charming film, "Pokhi", that deals with the travails of a young girl, an orphan, who loves birds, animals and trees as much as she seeks love from human beings. She has a serene and pure heart like fresh dew drops and an uncommon grit to tide over suffering. She is pitted against a world quite opposite. Barua, known for his inimitable austere style and placid rhythm of the narrative, has produced, a breezy essay on celluloid.
Tamil director Santosh Sivan, an ace cinematographer, has Malli, a child of nature, in the eponymous film. The underlying idea is that childhood, flora and fauna of nature and human love are of the same kind. The rapacity and avarice of man is linked with his lack of love for nature. Both these films are not about mere environmental concerns, they lead us to the question of existential ecology.
Amol Palekars "Kairee" (The Raw Mango) is also about the struggles of a 10-year-old girl, displaced and uprooted from her moorings, in a hostile world. Girish Karnads "Kanooru Heggadithi" (Kannada), based on a novel, portrays the wretched life of a beautiful young woman married to an old landlord who refuses to change with time.
"Janani" (Malayalam) by T. Rajiv Nath is a sensitive film that transcends the man-made boundaries of human relationship. A woman, is a primordial mother. A convent is inhabited by old and debilitated nuns leading a highly centred life, some of them waiting for the final call. Their sombre, colourless and placid world is sent into a tizzy when on Christmas eve they discover an abandoned child in the chapel. As the mother inside all of them surfaces, the child becomes the locus of their existence till it is sent away.
Shyam Benegals "Samar" probes the psychic and physical wounds that the caste system in India has caused. By giving his screen play a twist, the director exposes those fighting against casteism but are themselves not free from the virus. Casteism has all along been, a crooked ploy to give a boost to ego and exercise power relations. The film spares on one, not even those who have been at the receiving end.
The narrative centres
round the reconstruction of a violent caste incident that
has occurred in Madhya Pradesh. The man who plays the
role of a "thakur" is a thakur in real life and
the actor who is to reconstruct the persona of low-caste
Nathu is Dalit. The former, while playing the role, lets
his hatred and prejudices against the low caste surface
while acting and when chatting with other members of the
film unit. That compounds the crisis. Benegal handles the
familiar theme with innovative deftness and carries the
Cataract patients lose eyes
PUNE, Jan 9 (PTI) Twenty persons, who underwent eye operations at Sangli Civil Hospital for cataract recently, have suffered post-operative complications with four of them losing one eye each, officials said here today.
While five of them have recovered, 11 are undergoing treatment for the complications, Divisional Commissioner Rajiv Agarwal said here today.
Sangli District Collector Nitin Kareer has initiated a detailed inquiry and will submit the report to the government by Wednesday, he said.
26 take part in Miss India contest
HYDERABAD, Jan 9 (PTI) Twenty-six of Indias most beautiful women participated in the preliminary contest of Femina Miss India 2000 in the presence of reigning Miss World Yukta Mookhey, at a function held at Lalit Kala Thoranam here last night.
Divya was crowned Miss Beautiful Smile, Lara as Miss Photogenic, Waluscha Miss 10 and Yogini Miss Talented by Yukta who was a special guest at the function.
The event got off to a spectacular start with a show by Samudera Centre for Indian and Contemporary Performing Arts, compered by actor Rahul Khanna and VJ Malaika Khan.
Bhangra pop singer Sukhbir and Jassi enthralled the audience with their rhythmic numbers.
New Delhi trains rescheduled
NEW DELHI, Jan 9 North India continued to reel under the cold wave conditions with snow and rain lashing most parts of the region in the past 24-hours.
While the Capital experienced intermittent rain since early hours of the morning, reports said some other parts of the region were lashed by heavy rain. As a result of the fog which has been sweeping the region for the past 10 days, the Northern Railway has also rescheduled a number of trains originating from New Delhi.
The Neelanchal Express from New Delhi to Puri has been rescheduled to start at 2. p.m and the Trivandrum Rajdhani, commencing from Hazrat Nizamuddin, will leave the city at 3.10 p.m, a Northern Railway release said here today.
The Gondwana Express will start for its destination at 11.50 p.m, the August Kranti Rajdhani Express at 7.50 p.m and the Poorva Express at 10.50 p.m.
Both the Vaishali and Janata Express will leave Delhi at 11.50 p.m while Satyagrah Express will start for Raxaul at 6.50 p.m.
The Mumbai Rajdhani and Lichhavi Express, which were scheduled to start today evening, will leave at 5.50 a.m and 11.20 a.m, respectively, tomorrow evening.
Docs: recognise acupuncture
NEW DELHI, January 9 The Health Ministry has constituted a standing expert committee on alternative system of medicine on the directions of the Delhi High Court. The committee is expected to give its recommendations by March.
The constitution of such a committee was likely to pave the way for long overdue recognition to various systems of medicine, including acupuncture and electrohomoepathy.
The sources said previous expert committees had rejected the recognition to acupuncture.
Dr G P Dureja, Professor of Anaesthesiology and head of the pain clinic at AIIMS said the governments reluctance to give recognition perhaps stemmed from the apprehension that quacks might misuse the system.
hits life in Khowai
3 held for links
7 held in
into suicide case
Tiger dies in
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