|Friday, April 7, 2000,
on PWG soon
Bravery awards for 55
Lawyers lay siege to HC
PM for consensus on major issues
NDA leaders seek legal
HC: ensure presence of suspended
Hurriyat dissident group, says
Notice to writer on Deepas
Speakers remark causes
Bank strike deferred
Muslim scholar embraces Hinduism
Kargil Divisional Commander
Ban on PWG soon
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) The Centre will soon ban the extremist outfit Peoples War Group (PWG) in the states affected by Naxalite violence, Home Minister L.K. Advani said today.
"It will be a central ban and it is expected very soon, Mr Advani told reporters after inaugurating a seminar organised by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) here.
On renewing the ban on the LTTE, the Home Minister said the Centre would act after the Tamil Nadu Government recommends extension of the ban. The ban on the LTTE is scheduled to expire by the middle of next month.
The government had earlier said it was considering banning outfits like PWG and formulating a uniform surrender policy for militants, including Naxalites.
This was decided at a meeting of Chief Ministers of states hit by left extremist violence on Tuesday last which decided to set up a Joint Operational Centre (JOC) soon to combat Naxalite violence.
The JOC would monitor both intelligence and operation against Naxalite violence in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Bihar.
Mr Advani also asked the security agencies to have a perfect blend of effective but unobtrusive security and easy accessibility of people in public life while providing security to VIPs.
"Security has become a status symbol in the country, Mr Advani said.
Lawyers lay siege to HC
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) Lawyers from subordinate courts today virtually laid siege to the Delhi High Court and thwarted attempts by advocates who wanted to resume work as per the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) decision to suspend the six-week-long strike.
The DHCBAs decision to resume work from today failed to materialise as none of its members were allowed to go inside the court building as strong groups of lower court advocates blocked all entry points.
The work in the high court was badly affected as even the proxy counsel appointed by the DHCBA to conduct proceedings before different Benches, were not allowed entry by the protesting lawyers, who accused the High Court Bar of taking a "unilateral" decision regarding suspension of the strike.
A group of protesting women lawyers sat at the main entrance and prevented DHCBA President A.S. Chandhiok and other high court advocates from going inside to attend their cases.
Mr Chandhiok was forced to sit with the protesting lawyers for a while at the gate by slogan shouting women advocates.
"High court advocates are ready to work but they cannot go inside as some lawyers are physically preventing their entry," he said.
"If the court could provide them protection they would have certainly resumed work," he said.
Some of the advocates, who tried to go inside the court building were manhandled by pro-strike lawyers.
Bravery awards for 55
NEW DELHI, April 6 (UNI) President KR Narayanan today conferred gallantry awards and decorations on 55 defence personnel including 39 Kargil heroes.
Of the Kargil heroes, Air Marshal Vinod Patney was given the Sarvottam Yuddh Seva Medal. Four others were given the Mahavir Chakra, 7 the Uttam Yuddh Seva Medal and 28 the Vir Chakra.
Three were awarded the Kirti Chakra while another 13 were given the Shaurya Chakra for their role in containing insurgency in Kashmir and North-Eastern parts of the country.
The one-and-a-half hour long ceremony at the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan was attended by Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes, Home Minister L K Advani, Chiefs of Armed Forces and other prominent leaders.
As many as 28 defence personnel were conferred awards posthumously.
Major Vivek Gupta, who sacrificed his life on June 13 in Dras sector, was among those conferred with the Mavavir Chakra. The award was received by his wife Major Rajshree Gupta.
Naik Digendra Kumar of Rajputana Rifles was awarded Mahavir Chakra for his courage during the June 13, 1999 encounter with the enemy at Toloing in Dras sector.
Major Padmapani Acharya, who was also awarded Mahavir Chakra posthumously. His father, Mr J Acharya received the award.
Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse was awarded Mahavir Chakra posthumously for displaying gallantry, indomitable resolve, grit and determination beyond the call of duty.
LT General Krishan Pal, Major General Mohinder Puri, Air-Vice Marshal Jagnandan Kumar Pathania, Air-Vice Marshal Satinder Singh Dhillon, Air-Vice Marshal Narayan Menon, Brigadier Prakash Chand Katoch and Brigadier Amar Nath Kaul were awarded Uttam Yuddh Seva Medal for distinguished service of exceptional order.
Sepoy Balbir Singh, Havildar Raksh Paul and Major Raman Dada were awarded Kirti Chakras posthumously for exemplary leadership, personal valour and bravery. While Sepoy Balbir and Havildar Raksh were killed in separate operations in Jammu and Kashmir, Major Raman Dada died in a raid on a militant hideout in Somitpur district of Assam.
Of the 27 Vir Chakra recipients, 16 defence personnel were awarded posthumously.
The Vir Chakra Award winners are Wing Cdr AK Sinha, Subedar Lobzang Chhotak of Ladakh Scouts (Indus wing)-posthumous, Sqn.Ldr Ajay Ahuja (posthumous), Sub. Chhering Stobdan (Ladakh Scouts), Hav Tsewang Rigzin (Ladakh Scouts-posthumous), Sub Randhir Singh, (18 Grenadiers posthumous), Capt Haneef Uddin (11 Rajputana Rifles-posthumous), Naib Subedar Mangej Singh (11 Rajputana Rifles-posthmous).
Lance Naik Ghulam Mohd Khan (J and K Light Infantry-posthmous), Captain Amol Kalia (J and K Light Infantry-posthmous), Sub Bahadur Singh J and K Light Infantry-posthmous), Company Havildar Major Yashvir Singh (Rajputana Rifles-posthumous), Capt Sanjeev Singh (J and K Rifles), Lt Col Yogesh Kumar Joshi (J and K Rifles), Naik Dev Parkash (J and K Rifles).
Rifleman Mehar Singh (J and K Rifles), Col Magod Basappa Ravindranath (Rajputana Rifles), Maj Rajesh Sah (18 Garhwal Rifles), Naik Kashmir Singh (18 Garhwal Rifles-posthumous), Capt Sumeet Roy (18 Garhwal Rifles-posthumous), Capt Jintu Gogoi (17 Garhwal Rifles-posthumous), Col Umesh Singh Bawa (17 Jat), Rifleman Shyam Singh (13 J and K Rifles-posthumous), Hav Madan Lal (18 Grenadiers-posthumous), Hav Kumar Singh (17 Jat-posthumous), Maj S Vijay Bhaskar (13 J and K Rifles), Maj Vikas Vohra (13 J and K Rifles), Sub Raghunath Singh (13 J and K Rifles).
Of the 13 Shaurya
Chakras, six were given posthumously. The awardees are :
LT Vembu Shankar (Dogra Scouts), Naik Rajesh Mishra (9
Para Special Force), Naik Payar Singh (22
Punjab-posthumous), Lance Naik Roop Singh (14 Rashtriya
Rifles-posthumous), Maj Suresh Kumar Joshi (18 Garhwal),
Lance Havildar Parshotam Singh (12 Grenadiers), Lt. Joga
Singh (10 Sikh Light Infantry-posthumous), Major Daya
Chand (16 Dogra), Sepoy Rajinder Singh (22
Punjab-posthumous), Paratrooper Gain Singh (6
Para-posthumous), Maj Dinesh Kumar Bisht (14 Sikh Light
Infantry), Hav Sujan Singh (9 Rashtriya
Rifles-posthumous) and Sepoy Bassappa Mugalihal (17
PM for consensus on major issues
NEW DELHI, April 6 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today called for consensus among all political parties on major issues of national interest saying unwarranted criticism would not strengthen democracy.
Addressing a rally on the 20th raising day of the Bharatiya Janata Party here, Mr Vajpayee said when his party was in the Opposition it had played a constructive role, but lately that practice had been given the go-by. He hoped that the Opposition would realise this and support the present coalition government on major issues.
Trying to assuage the feeling that the present government was attempting to destroy the Constitution by appointing the Constitution review committee, the Prime Minister clarified, we only want to review it to see whether any amendment or change is required.
However, the review committee included people of eminent judicial status who did not have any hidden agenda and would not bow to any dictates, he said adding that the recommendations would be placed before Parliament for its two-thirds clearance.
At the same time, it was also required that the coordination between the ruling coalition partners was very strong and differences, if any, he sorted out through discussions, the Prime Minister felt.
The coalition should take a lesson from the electoral outcome in Bihar where Mr Laloo Prasad Yadavs Rashtriya Janata Dal could have been prevented from coming back to power had the partners showed a little more coordination. The situation in Karnataka could also have been avoided, Mr Vajpayee said in a direct reference to the BJP allies losing power in the two states.
The senior BJP leader advised the party to introspect and step up its efforts to reach out to the masses, especially the dalits. The party is organising a mass rally of dalits later this month to bring them close to the party.
In the 25-minute address, Mr Vajpayee said even during the Congress regime, similar committees the Sarkaria Commission and the Swaran Singh Committee were formed.
NDA leaders seek legal opinion
PATNA, April 6 (UNI) The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders are seeking legal opinion for moving the Supreme Court against the continuance of Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi even after being chargesheeted in the disproportionate assets case.
Talking to mediapersons here today, state alliance president and former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Opposition leader in the Assembly Sushil Kumar Modi, state BJP president Nand Kishore Yadav and State Janata Dal (United) general secretary Vijendra Prasad Yadav said they were consulting legal experts on the issue.
Mr Kumar said the alliance had called for a "Bihar bandh" tomorrow to mobilise public opinion against Ms Rabri Devi to relinquish her post, adding the latter should not continue in the post until she proved her innocence in the case.
Meanwhile, the intensive agitational programme, launched by the NDA, entered the second day today to force Ms Rabri Devi to step down from her post.
The NDA leaders resorted
to state-level dharna and protest march, demanding Ms
Rabri Devis immediate removal from the office after
the CBI submitted chargesheets against the Chief Minister
and her husband.
Akali delegation meets Advani
NEW DELHI, April 6 (UNI) A five-member delegation of the SAD, (Badal) today called on Home Minister L.K. Advani and urged him to provide security to the Sikh population in Kashmir in the wake of the Chatti Singhpora massacre to rebuild confidence in them.
The delegation, headed by the All-India SAD (B) General Secretary, Mr Onkar Singh Thapar, also demanded the arrest and prosecution of Shahi Imam Abdullah Bukhari for his statement given in Banglasaheb gurdwara on Sunday giving a clean chit to Pakistan in the Chatti Singhpora massacre incident. Mr Thapar accused the Shahi Imam of trying to create discord between Hindus and Sikhs.
Mr Thapar said a seven-member delegation had also visited about 24 villages in Baramula district in Kashmir valley, including Chatti Singhpora, from March 30 to April 3. It told Mr Advani that the Sikh population in these villages was terrified and demanded effective steps by the government to restore their confidence.
HC: ensure presence of suspended judge
MUMBAI, April 6 (PTI) The Mumbai High Court today directed the authorities to ensure presence of suspended judge J.W. Singh before it tomorrow during the hearing of petition challenging his detention even as the accused pleaded for interim bail.
The order was delivered by a Bench headed by Justice Vishnu Sahai who considered Singhs plea to remain present tomorrow and also allowed him to amend his petition to urge for interim bail until the matter was disposed of on merit.
Singhs petition came up for hearing today but since he pleaded his presence before the court through his lawyers, the matter was adjourned until tomorrow after Advocate General Goolam Vahanvati said the state had no objection to produce Singh, who has been remanded to police custody since March 29 in a case of alleged extortion.
The judges, however, made it clear to Singhs lawyers, that either they would be allowed to argue or the petitioner himself but the court would not permit both to make submissions challenging the police action to book the suspended judge under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The court was then informed by Singhs lawyers R.M. Agarwal and I.P. Bagadia that the issue would be settled tomorrow in consultation with the petitioner. Agarwal submitted that his client was placed in a peculiar situation because he could neither seek relief before the trial court for bail nor urge for a finding on the "wrong" application of MCOCA in his case. Hence, he said, Singh had no option but to consent for the police custody until his petition before the high court was disposed of.
Meanwhile, Singh will be
produced today before the trial court as his remand
period expired today. The police will seek extension of
his remand and in all probability Singhs lawyers
may not oppose because the high court will decide on his
interim bail plea tomorrow.
Hurriyat dissident group, says Advani
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) The Union Home Minister L.K. Advani today labelled organisations like Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir as "dissident groups" and sought to make a clear distinction between talking to such groups and policy towards Pakistan.
Mr Advani defended yesterdays offer to hold talks with militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir saying the Hurriyat Conference was only a "dissident Indian group".
Asked by reporters as to what was expected out of the talks, he said "though much may not come out of such talks, the idea of releasing Hurriyat leaders was to draw a line between policy towards Pakistan and dissident groups within the country."
To a question about the released Hurriyat leaders talking to Pakistan, the minister sought to make light of it saying let them talk".
However, the three
Hurriyat leaders, who were released from Jodhpur jail on
Monday, remained non-committal on the governments
offer of starting talks. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman
of the Hurriyat Conference, said he would react to the
offer for dialogue only after receiving an official
communication in this regard. He also said Pakistan
should be involved in the talks.
World Heritage List
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) Out of the 582 world heritage sites in the world selected by UNESCO in 1999, India has just 21.
"Inclusion in the list brings many advantages - not only better conservation with the help of international experts, but also worldwide recognition for the site," says Shobita Punja, Member Governing Council, Indian National Trust for Conservation of Architectural and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
While, there is "no formal limit...o n the total number of properties" for inclusion in the list, UNESCO demands that "evidence of full commitment of the nominating Government" is demonstrated.
UNESCO brought out its most recent list in December last year and it proved to be a major embarrassment for the Indian Government as 11 sites nominated by it, the proposals for which had been prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), were rejected.
Only one, the picturesque Himalayan Railway at Darjeeling was deemed to be worthy of selection.
It was for the proper identification, protection, and conservation and protection of these sites that UNESCO adopted a World Heritage Convention in 1972.
The convention, which is concerned with sites of both natural and cultural significance, is in addition to the National Conservation Programmes and has been operational since 1976.
The convention, through the World Heritage Committee, selects sites and monitors their conservation. The list is updated every year. The committee then allocates funds to the selected sites which are used for the better conservation of the sites.
However, as far as the Indian sites are concerned since 1993, when Humayuns Tomb and the Qutub Minar complex were selected, no Indian site has made it to the list. With the addition of Darjeeling Railway, India now has 22 sites on the list, of which four are natural heritage sites and the rest cultural.
Since then, no wildlife area has made it to the list. Not a single natural heritage site was even nominated last year.
Among the sites rejected recently were Sarnath, Sikandra, Dholavira and Bhimbhetka, which are important, not just for Indians, but for the entire human kind. And they were rejected, not because UNESCO denies their place in history, but because the nominations were not properly drafted.
The tale of woes does not end here. The Indian Government is probably in for even greater embarrassment as one of the sites on the heritage list, Hampi (selected in 1986), might be struck off.
At the Morocco meet in December last year, Hampi had been placed in the "in danger" list, a section that includes sites that are no longer meeting the criteria for being a heritage site.
from the list will not only mean reduced international
monetary assistance, but also a huge loss of prestige for
the Indian Government. Hampi is also fast becoming
symptomatic of Indias heritage preservation
efforts, or rather a lack of it.
Notice to writer on Deepas suit
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today issued fresh notices to Calcutta-based author Sunil Gangopadhyay and publisher of his novel "Shei Shomay on a suit by film maker Deepa Mehta seeking damages and public apology from the writer for accusing her of plagiarising controversial film Waters script.
Mr Justice S.K. Mahajan, who had issued notices in the suit to the defendants earlier on March 24, said as per the report received by the court, Gangopadhyay and his publisher Badal Basu seemed to have not been served the notices.
Adjourning the hearing in the case to May 4, the court said fresh notices should be issued to seek their appearance on the next date.
The court had also issued notices to Aruna Chakaravarti, translator of Gangopadhyays novel into English under the title "Those Days" and a freelance journalist, who contributed an article relating to Gangopadhyays allegations in an English daily, The Pioneer.
Gangopadhyay had alleged that Mehta had lifted dialogues and scenes in the script of film Water from his book.
Besides seeking damages with cost, Mehta in her plaint had also sought public apology from the defendants which should be published in all leading newspapers in the country.
Speakers remark causes furore
CHENNAI, April 6 (UNI) Pandemonium broke out in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today after Speaker P.T.R. Palanivelrajan made an "objectionable" remark during a heated argument with the Leader of the Opposition S. Balakarishnan (TMC) when the latter levelled corruption charges against PWD Minister Duraimurugan without the Speakers consent.
Mr Palanivelrajan even offered to quit if the Opposition had no faith in his neutrality saying "he was one with self-respect unlike them.
This infuriated the Tamil Maanila Congress members who were on their feet and demanded the withdrawal of the remarks on "self-respect" with some members gesticulating and pointing their fingers at the Speaker.
When the situation seemed to be going out of control, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said the Speaker could expunge his remarks on "self-respect" to resolve the issue. Leader of the House K. Anbazhagan echoed similar views, but the Speaker did not budge.
Bank strike deferred
CALCUTTA, April 6 (PTI) The All-India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) today deferred its one-day nationwide bank strike on April 20 to 26.
Since the AIBOC was currently conducting an all-India Save Banks Campaign, the organisations affiliated to AIBOC and its state units found the time available for preparation of the strike as extremely short, AIBOC General Secretary, S.R. Sengupta said in a statement here.
Mr Sengupta said the All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) had also requested the AIBOC to defer the strike call by a couple of days since April 20 was AIBEAs foundation day. The AIBEA has extended unqualified support to the strike.
considering all these aspects, the AIBOC has decided to
defer the strike to April 26. Accordingly, bank officers
in all public and private sector banks will strike work
on that day, he said.
Muslim scholar embraces Hinduism
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, April 6 (UNI) Amid tight security and chanting of mantras, young Muslim scholar Hassan Palakkode and two others, including a woman, today embraced Hinduism at a ceremony held here according to vedic rites.
After the "Ganapati havan" and purification ceremony, the trio, Hassan Palakkode, Akbar and Jama, were formally converted to Hinduism and adopted new names Kamala Hassan, Raju and Uma respectively. The ceremony, organised by the state unit of the Shiv Sena, was held under the leadership of Acharya Yogananda Swami. It was attended by sanyasis from several ashrams.
A large posse of policemen stood guard outside the venue, near the famous Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, as Hassan, who completed a course to be eligible to become a maulvi, had attracted the wrath of Muslim fundamentalists for writing "secular" articles and questioning polygamy. He is reportedly facing threats to his life after he announced his decision to embrace Hinduism.
While the woman, Jama, is a Christian married to a Hindu, Akbar is Hindu-converted Muslim.
Thirty-year-old Hassan is the first Muslim intellectual in the state to change faith. His adoption of a new name Kamala Hassan evokes memories of a recent high profile conversion in the state-that of noted writer Kamala Das into Surayya.
Kargil Divisional Commander shifted
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) Controversial Army Divisional Commander Major General V.S. Budhwar who supervised operations during the Pakistani army intrusion in Kargil sector last year has been shifted from his command, according to army sources here.
He has been shifted as Chief of the Staff of the Indian Armys sole desert corp base at Jodhpur and has been replaced by Brigadier S. Thapyal on promotion to the rank of Major General.
Kargil report has proof to fix blame
NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI) The Kargil Committee report provides ample evidence for the Government and the army to fix responsibility for failures which led to the Pakistani intrusions and the subsequent conflict, Mr B G Verghese, a member of the panel, has said.
Govt saffronising ICWA
NEW DELHI, April 6 (UNI) The Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) today alleged that the Central Government was trying to saffronise the more than 50-year-old prestigious institution by putting pressure and increasing its interference in its affairs.
Addressing a press
conference here, ICWA president Harcharan Singh Josh
alleged that the basic idea behind governments move
to take control of the Sapru House, which has been
allotted to the ICWA for years, was to further the
intentions of the Sangh parivar.
owner in CBI net
seized in Assam
exams from April 24
from radiation: panel
UP govt told to
pay Rs 2 lakh
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