|Sunday, April 9, 2000,
India, Pak urged to eschew
Statute: Cong to oppose RSS agenda
Cong-Trinamool pact on
NCW for changes in Muslim law
Army to go in for full automation
White Paper on ISI likely: Advani
India, Pak urged to eschew violence
BANGALORE, April 8 (UNI) The three-day fifth joint convention of Pak-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy, which concluded here today, appealed to the governments of the two countries and the people of Jammu and Kashmir to eschew violence and find a solution acceptable to the people of the troubled state in the larger interest of maintaining peace in the subcontinent.
"The Bangalore declaration" also urged both the governments to resume dialogue at the highest level to reverse current military buildups and cessation of all hostilities to facilitate interaction of the people of both countries, who have a common culture and heritage.
Briefing a press conference about the convention, Mr I.A. Rehman and Admiral L. Ramdas (retd), chairman of Pakistan and Indian chapters of the forum, respectively, said society in both countries should impress upon their respective governments the need for demilitarisation, restoration of peace and conservation of resources for improving the lot of the people.
A horizontal and vertical de-nuclearisation and a comprehensive non-war pact between the countries, leading to a complete rollback of the nuclear weapons and delivery systems programmes and no-first strike agreement, consent to the CTBT and a move towards the declaration of South Asia as a nuclear-free zone were the other demands contained in the declaration.
The declaration also demanded that both the governments extend most favoured nation status to each other to improve bilateral trade and forge a common strategy on multilateral negotiations such as the WTO and plant breeders rights and cooperate with each other in ensuring food security through a sustainable agricultural strategy.
The declaration, while
demanding immediate steps for the realisation of
womens basic rights and their legitimate
aspirations called upon the educationists and people in
general to work towards inculcating values of
cooperation, tolerance, harmony, through all possible
means and monitor and discourage misuse of places of
worship and religious-educational institutions for
fomenting hatred and intolerance.
Statute: Cong to oppose RSS agenda
HYDERABAD, April 8 (UNI) The Congress and other secular parties will oppose "tooth and nail any move by the Bharatiya Janata Party to thrust the RSS agenda on the people by changing the basic structure of the Constitution, All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary V. Narayana Swamy said here today.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Swamy, who is also in-charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, alleged that Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee was succumbing to the pressure of the RSS whose main agenda of which was to convert the country into a "Hindu Raj". If this was allowed to take place, there would be no place for the minorities here, he added.
He said the partys doubts about the BJPs hidden agenda had been confirmed with the appointment of Mr P.A. Sangma as a member of the Constitution Review Committee.
Mr Swamy said the party had been requesting Ms Sonia Gandhi to have a relook of the economic policy as there was a feeling that the common mans problems were not being addressed to.
Asked about the outbursts of some Congress men against the leadership of Ms Gandhi in the wake of the partys poor showing in the recent Assembly elections, he said there was "no outburst. Some members could have expressed their views and these could always be discussed.
On the talk of a grand alliance between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, led by Ms Mamata Banarjee, in West Bengal, Mr Swamy said Ms Gandhi had made it clear that there could be an alliance only If Ms Banarjee dissociated herself from the "communal BJP. There was no question of the Congress joining hands with any party, which had a truck with the BJP.
Azad: no truck with BJP
CHENNAI, April 8 (PTI) Senior Congress leader, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad today said his party would not enter into any understanding with the BJP to dislodge the CPM-led government in West Bengal.
The Congress would have no direct or indirect truck with the BJP at any cost just to dislodge the West Bengal Government, Mr Azad told mediapersons here, while responding to queries on reports of a possible "grand alliance" between the Congress,the BJP and the Trinamool Congress to fight the Left Front.
The "grand alliance" was only a proposal from some leaders in that state, the aicc General Secretary said.
On the demand raised by NDA leaders for the resignation of the Bihar Chief Minister, Mrs Rabri Devi in the light of her being chargesheeted in the disproportionate assets case, Mr Azad said his party would not press for her resignation so long as the Union Ministers Mr L K Advani and Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, who had been chargesheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case, remained in their posts.
Earlier, Mr Azad had a 30-minute meeting with the TMC leader Mr G K Moopanar, at his residence.
Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad also ruled out any immediate change in the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) leadership.
"Change of leadership is a continuous process. There is no fixed time for it. At the moment there are no plans for any change, Mr Azad, incharge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, told mediapersons while replying to a query on reports of replacing the TNCC President Tindivanam K Ramamurthee.
He had discussed the possibility of organising a fortnight long agitation in Tamil Nadu against the NDAs "anti-people" policies and added that Mr Moopanar would talk to leaders of all secular parties who were not allies of the NDA on this issue.
NCW for changes in Muslim
NEW DELHI, April 8 The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken an initiative to empower Muslim women.
In its recently released report on the status of Muslim women, the Commission has lent a representative voice to 60 million Muslim women who suffer from disability on two counts, namely, problems of illiteracy, poverty and impoverishment and those stemming from the nature of customary laws.
The commission has made seven recommendations that promise welcome change to their veiled existence. These include banning of instant verbal triple talaq, codification of Muslim laws, standard nikahnama, imparting education and creating awareness, permission of the first wife for the second marriage and compulsory registration of marriages.
The NCW is of the view that it is necessary to codify the entire gamut of traditional laws governing the family life of the Muslims into an intelligible compendium.
Taking cognisance of the complaints against polygamy, the commission has recommended that the permission of the first wife for the second marriage be made mandatory.
The NCW has also endorsed the request made to the Muslim Personal Law Board that a standard nikahnama be approved and adopted and that be made mandatory in future for all Muslim marriages.
The study makes an attempt to provide a comprehensive view of the status of the Muslim women. The commission has made specific recommendations to the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and society to make efforts to being this section of the minority population to the mainstream.
The report has been compiled on the basis of data gathered in the post two years during public hearings organised in 12 states. The first public hearing took place in 1998 and the last in February 2000.
These hearings began after the NCW declared minority women as a thrust area of its work. An expert committee was appointed under Section 8(1) of the NCW Act and public hearings for Muslim women were organised with the help of (NGOs) in various states.
Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, member, NCW who carried out the study says Muslim women suffer from double disability arising out of gender and their own customary laws.
Dr Hameed is of the view
that Muslim women in north, south, west and east gave the
same accounts of their plight. Absence of maintenance,
inheritance, mehr and multiple marriages were
some of the common grievances.
CHENNAI: These are days of grand alliances. In West Bengal, the Trinamul Congress chief and Union Railway Minister, Ms Mamta Banerjee, and her aides have initiated moves to form a "mahajot" with like-minded parties, particularly the Congress, in a bid to topple the Marxist government in the Assembly elections next year. Not to be outdone, another former Congress leader, Mr G.K. Moopanar, heading the Tamil Manila Congress (TMC), has declared readiness to form a "grand alliance" against the "anti-people" regime of the DMK chief, Mr M. Karunanidhi. He has just returned from New Delhi after talks with the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. He told reporters that the Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu were already working together.
Over the past year, Mr Moopanar has been confounding both his supporters and opponents with his changing political postures. Keeping a distance from the AIADMK-Congress alliance, he had formed a third front the Progressive Peoples Front on the eve of the parliamentary general elections.
Although the state Assembly elections are not due until early next year, the major parties are gearing themselves up for the battle. It is in this context that Mr Moopanars moves for a "grand alliance" assume interest. It is difficult to foresee at this stage the outcome, but the TMC leader is apparently realising that any attempt to oust the DMK regime cannot be successful unless it is a straight fight between two major alliances. It is here that Mr Karunanidhi has an advantage, because his party will be heading the coalition of the various electoral partners. Even if Mr Moopanar takes on the task of forming the "grand alliance", he will have to be content with playing the second fiddle to the Congress and the AIADMK. Ms Jayalalitha is certain to claim the lions share of the seats to be contested. Other partners can hope only for a minority role.
Mr Moopanar has, of course, a chance to become an equal partner with the AIADMK, provided he decides to merge with the Congress. This is not exactly a far-fetched scenario considering the recent public utterances of the TMC leader and the political developments in Pondicherry where the TMC helped the Congress in toppling the DMK government and later joined in the Congress-led coalition. In fact, lately he has been sounding more a Congress leader.
At a function to facilitate the embattled TNCC President, Mr Tindivanam Ramamurthy, Mr Moopanar advised the latter to accept any decision of the Congress high command regarding the demand for his removal. "The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who appointed you as the TNCC President has the right to replace you as well," he told an apparently embarrassed Mr Ramamurthy.
In the current state Assembly budget session, the TMC has taken an aggressive posture against the DMK, Mr Karunanidhi has been taunting the TMC on various counts, provoking the latter to attack his regime. The Chief Minister, however, does not miss an opportunity to reaffirm his "love and affection" for Mr Moopanar. But the two have now become arch-political rivals and personal bonhomie is unlikely to bring them back as political allies.
The 76-year-old Karunanidhis undisputed hold and command over his party has been reaffirmed by his re-election as DMK chief for the eighth consecutive term. As things stand, he has reason to feel confident about retaining power in the Assembly elections next year.
Ms Jayalalitha is hoping for an early Assembly poll in August or September this year and is in full command despite her unending court battles. She has effected changes in top-level office-bearers in her party on the basis of complaints received from lower-level functionaries. There are murmurs of protest against her "arbitrary" methods, but none dares to criticise or challenge her.
CAG pulls up Pant hospital
NEW DELHI, April 8 (UNI) The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has castigated the super speciality G.B. Pant hospital run by the Delhi Government for its poor functioning and unsatisfactory service to the patients.
In its report on Delhi for the financial year 1998-99 tabled in the state Assembly on Thursday, the CAG observed that the management of the equipment required for patient care was unsatisfactory. A large number of machines had been lying in stores for years together without being issued to respective indenting departments.
"The Director of the hospital has not set standard operating procedures for indent, purchase, installation, commissioning and for ensuring operational status of equipment required for diagnostic and patient care services. As a result, the equipment purchased and its management has been attended to on an ad hoc basis," the CAG observed.
Pointing out another glaring lapse, the CAG said a new 120-bed ward, constructed at a cost of Rs 13.10 crore in 1995, was not made functional as of July 1999 due to delay on the hospital administrations part in laying of medical gases pipeline and compressed air system and the failure to create posts of medical and para-medical staff.
The hospital administration spent Rs 56.09 lakh up to July 1999 on 62 additional posts filled in 1997-98 for the new block while none of the 120 beds, for which these posts were filled, was made functional, it added.
As of July 1999, 77
pieces of equipment issued to various departments were
not installed or commissioned for six months to 10 years.
These included a high speed steriliser worth Rs 24.03
lakh which remained unused for 10 years and an x-ray
machine costing Rs 22.74 lakh which was not installed due
to delay in providing site and civil works.
Army to go in for full automation
NEW DELHI, April 8 (PTI) The Army is going in for total automation of its ammunition inventory for rapid reaction to meet exigencies like the Kargil conflict, according to Director-General of Army Ordinance Corps (AOC) Lt Gen Shailendra Kumar Bhatnagar.
Outlining the thrust of the Corps for the new millennium, he yesterday said this would involve "total automation" of inventory by optimum utilisation of Info-Tech and focussing on meeting the needs of the Army and other para-military forces in the shortest possible time.
He said the Corps had lived up to its reputation by moving almost 30,000 to 40,000 rounds of ammunitions, including the larger 155-mm artillery shells for Operation Vijay, and added efforts were now directed to move ammunition and ordinance to hot areas at the earliest.
General Bhatnagar, elaborating on the Kargil effort on the occasion of the 225th anniversary of the Corps today, told PTI the AOC "despite accretion" at the force level and the sudden induction of formation units with diverse equipment profile moved the ammunition of war to units in Kargil with utmost speed by rail, road and air through coordinated plans.
General Bhatnagar said the Corps had undertaken Herculean efforts to move a wide range of equipment and clothing to the battlefront.
The activities involved moving a large range of weapons, ammunition, communication equipment, battlefield surveillance equipment, vehicles, clothing, including snow clothing, and night vision devices which were pivotal to the success of the Indian forces, he said.
Placing on record the
appreciation for the Corps personnel including the
civilians, the General however, said "much remains
to be achieved and we must continue to consolidate on the
achievements of the previous year".
Cong-Trinamool pact on civic
CALCUTTA, April 8 Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress and A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury of the Congress have decided to launch a joint campaign under the banner of a grand alliance for the forthcoming civic elections in 82 municipalities in West Bengal to dislodge the Left Front alliance.
WBPCC (I) president Ghani Khan Chowdhury said "We are determined to go ahead with our campaign, whether, the AICC (I) likes it or not".
Mr Khan Chowdhury said Mamata had already proved herself as a suitable alternative to Mr Jyoti Basu and the Pradesh Congress would go along with her.
Ms Mamata Banejree has declared Mr Ghani Khan Chowdhury the leader of the anti-Left Front forces. She hoped that the grand alliance would capture all the 82 municipal bodies including Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) which will go to the poll in May-June. The elections are yet to be declared.
Of the 82 civic bodies
where elections are to be held soon, 30 are under the
control of the Congress and 14 under the Trinamool
Congress. The remaining bodies are held by the Left
front. Both Ms Mamata Banejree and Mr Ghani Khan
Chowdhury do not foresee any problems with regards to
seat adjustment with the BJP.
Karunanidhi re-elected DMK chief
CHENNAI April 8 (UNI) The old guard in the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu continued to maintain its grip on the party with the re-election of DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi as party president for the eighth consecutive term and other party seniors in organisational elections which concluded today.
With this election, Mr Karunanidhi has set a record in the countrys political history by remaining in the party saddle, irrespective of whether his party was in power or out of it, for 31 years. He was elected executive president of the DMK in 1969 when the post was created after the demise of party founder C N Annadurai.
lieutenants Education Minister K Anbazhagan and
Health and Electricity Minister Arcot N Veerasamy
were unanimously re-elected party general secretary and
treasurer respectively in the elections conducted by DMK
MP S Agniraj in the Swanky Kalaignar auditorium as the
party observed the golden jubilee of its founding.
White Paper on ISI likely: Advani
NEW DELHI, April 8 (PTI) The Government is reconsidering its decision to bring out a White Paper on the activities of Pakistans ISI, the Home Minister L.K. Advani said today.
"We are reconsidering the matter relating to the publication of a White Paper on ISI", Mr Advani said during an informal interaction with journalists at the Editors Conference on social sector issues here.
film gets award
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