|Saturday, April 15, 2000,
Back with family after 26 yrs
President presents Ambedkar awards
Democracy must for growth: Joshi
Coetzee, Moore bag awards
Rashmi restrained on Ilyasis
Cong ambiguous on
Urdu Adab award for Joginder Paul
X-ray machine handlers prone to
Back with family after 26 yrs
NEW DELHI, April 14 After languishing in captivity for 26 years in Pakistan on spying charges, Roop Lal Saharia, returned home this evening to a tearful reception from his family members and friends.
The 56-year-old Roop Lal, who survived the seemingly endless agony in the hope of seeing his daughter one day, saw his dream coming true today.
There was slight hesitation as he stepped forward to embrace his daughter Sunita, whom he had left as a six-year-old, in 1974 when he was arrested on charges of spying and sentenced to death by the Pakistani authorities. However, it was later commuted to life imprisonment at the intervention of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission.
Said Roop Lal, who was limping slightly after he suffered from paralysis of the left leg in 1987. "It is close to a dream. I cannot believe it that I am back in India. It is a rebirth for me. I can only thank God for the whole thing".
As Pakistan International Airlines flight touched down at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Sunita could not control her emotions.
"I am very happy" was all that she could manage to say. "It is a dream fulfilled", she added.
On reaching home, at his Hari Nagar residence in South-West Delhi, Roop Lal was greeted by the entire locality. Women from his colony took out an "aarti" and several of them danced to the beats of dholak.
But for his unshaven face, Roop Lal looked healthy and cheerful and was still sporting the thick moustache he had when he was caught by the Pakistan Rangers.
His son-in-law Kishan Kumar, a dentist, who struggled for more than 10 years for the freedom of his father-in law was all smiles. Roop Lal also had a touching union with his three grand-daughters Kanika (10), Bulbul (7) and Vatika (one).
"Welcome home nanaji" said a poster made by the grandchildren.
Recounting his experiences in the Pakistan jail, Mr Lal said he did not regret the duty done by him for the Indian Army. In the jail, he was allowed to mingle with other prisoners for an hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. He said he was mentally harassed and tortured in the Pakistani jails.
"I spent all my time exercising and reading the Gita", Mr Lal recalled.
He said there were around 150 Indian prisoners in Kot Lakpat jail in Lahore and he prayed for their release. Mr Lal said he had written several letters secretly to his family from the Pakistan jail. He used to get letters from India too, but after the Kargil war that had been completely stopped.
He said he did feel frustrated at times, but he became more relaxed after he learnt of his daughters marriage.
Roop Lal was accompanied by the First Secretary of the Indian High Commission, Mr T R Jute.
After Roop Lal was jailed in Pakistan, his wife married another man. Sunita was raised by Roop Lals mother.
Roop Lal was indicted on eight counts under the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to death. However, this was commuted to two years ago by the former Chief of Army Staff, General Jehangir Karamat, follwing a mercy petition filed on behalf of Roop Lal by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
"The death sentence of my father-in-law was converted to life imprisonment due to the efforts undertaken by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and especially, its chairperson, Asthma Jahangir," his son-in-law said.
President presents Ambedkar awards
NEW DELHI, April 14 (UNI) President K.R. Narayanan today gave away the Dr Ambedkar National Award for social understanding and upliftment of weaker sections for the year 1996 and 1998 to the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Narainpur (Madhya Pradesh) and the Kasturba Gandhi Kanya Gurukulam, Vedaraniam (Tamil Nadu).
Swami Trailokyanand on behalf of Ramakrishna Mission Ashram and Mr Vaidaratnam Pillai on behalf of Kasturba Gandhi Kanya Gurukulam received the awards from the President.
Ramakrishna Mission Ashram (recipient for the 1996 award) was started in the scheduled tribe-dominated area of Bastar in 1985 as an affiliated branch of the renowned organisation Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, West Bengal. The mission established a residential higher secondary school and 30-bed hospital for serving over 200 tribal villages.
The Kasturba Gandhi
Kanya Gurukulam, (recipient of 1998 award) was started by
Sardar Beda Rattnam Pillai, the famous freedom fighter.
Its main objective was to ameliorate the conditions of
the girls and women in general and those belonging to
scheduled tribes and poor and illiterate urban slum
dwellers suffering from drudgery and bondage in
Homage paid to Dr Ambedkar
NEW DELHI, April 14 (PTI) President K.R. Narayanan, Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress President Sonia Gandhi led the nation in paying homage to the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his 109th birth anniversary today.
Mr Narayanan, Mr Kant, Mr Vajpayee and Ms Gandhi visited Parliament House early this morning and offered floral tributes to the statue of late Ambedkar.
Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi, Union Ministers L.K. Advani, Satyanarayan Jatiya, C.P. Thakur, Munni Lal and O. Rajagopal, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Madhavrao Scindia, Haryana Governor Mahabir Prasad also paid floral tributes to Dr Ambedkar, who throughout his life fought for equality and social justice for the downtrodden.
Democracy must for growth: Joshi
HAVANA, April 14 (UNI) Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi said today that democracy, rule of law and personal freedom were values which were not pious declarations alone but essential conditions for growth and development.
Development was in ordinary word, Dr Joshi said, while addressing the G-77 South summit.
Pledging Indias commitment to participatory development, Dr Joshi, who is leading the Indian delegation at this historic Caribbean city, said that democracy and rule of law were values which were prerequisites for growth and development.
Emphasising the need for unity among the G-77 states, Dr Joshi said the fact that countries in this large group had different interests should not come in the way of holding common positions for the interests of the South.
Dr Joshi personally handed over a letter from Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee wherein he expressed his inability to attend the G-77 summit due to unavoidable reasons.
In the letter, Mr Vajpayee said India attached importance to the South summit. Keeping this in view, a senior member of the Cabinet, Dr Joshi has been designated to lead the Indian side at the summit.
Coetzee, Moore bag awards
NEW DELHI, April 14 (PTI) South African writer J M Coetzee and Canadian author Jeffrey Moore tonight bagged the Commonwealth Writers Award for the best book and the first best book for the year 2000, respectively.
Indian born author Salman Rushdie and senior journalist Raj Kamal Jha were among writers who were considered to be hot favourites for the award.
The awards, presented by External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, carried £ 10,000 and £ 3,000, respectively.
While Coetzee won the prize for his novel "Disgrace", Moore received the award for "Prisoner in a Red Rose Chain".
The Deputy High Commissioner of South Africa received the best book award on behalf of Coetzee.
Navy to commission 8 more ships
CALCUTTA, April 14 (UNI) Eight more ships of the Indian Navy would be commissioned during this year, Defence Minister George Fernandes said today.
This apart, the first indigenously-built aircraft carrier and a state-of-the art submarine were being built at Cochin and Mazgaon Docks respectively, he said.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of "INS Brahmaputra," the indigenously-built latest guided missile frigate of the Indian Navy, at the Gardenreach ship builders yard here, Mr Fernandes said the Indian Navy was growing in strength and recent developments had shown that there was an urgent need for a strong and vigilant defence force.
The Defence Minister also released a commemorative stamp on the occasion.
He said the country had entered into high-sea agreements with Japan and Vietnam for joint patrolling in certain stretches between the Arabian sea and the South-China sea to contain piracy and terrorist movement.
The joint operations could begin anytime, he added. "The agreements show that the Indian Navy has a responsibility that goes beyond protecting its own region and that even formidable forces like Japan have a faith in its capability."
Later, talking to newspersons, Mr Fernandes denied reports that the Sukhoi deal had run into trouble and said the contract was very much in force. "We are getting the required contract for the aircraft, and should also be producing them in the country in due course." the agreements were struck during Defence Ministers visit to these two counties.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sushil Kumar said "INS Brahmaputra, the 82nd warship built in the country, is fitted with Trishul, Indias latest surface-to-air missile.
The 400-feet long warship has a deadly weapon package and an extensive array of long-range sensors, incorporating radars, sonars and electronic warfare equipment capable of addressing contracts in surface, underwater and air.
For handling submarine threats, the ships helicopters are particularly useful, as they are relatively immune to sub-surface attack. The ship can thus bring to bear an array of helicopter-launched torpedoes and depth-charges.
Rashmi restrained on
NEW DELHI, April 14 The producer of TV serial, Suhaib Ilyasis Canada-based sister-in-law, Ms Rashmi Singh, undertook before the Delhi High Court today that she would not take his (Ilyasis) two-and-a-half-year old daughter, Aaliya, abroad without the permission of the court.
With this undertaking of Ms Rashmi Singh, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Mukul Mudgal and Mr Justice Madan Lokur deposed the petition filed yesterday by Ilyasis parents expressing apprehension that Ms Rashmi Singh might take away Aaliya to Canada.
The court yesterday restrained Ms Rashmi Singh from taking Aalia outside Delhi following the writ petition filed by Ilyasis parents. The court directed the Chief Secretary of the Delhi Government, Mr Omesh Saigal, and the Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr Ajai Raj Sharma, to prevent Ms Rashmi Singh if she tried to take the child out of the city.
Ms Rashmi Singh said in an affidavit, "I, with great respect, submit that I never have any intention to take Aaliya to Canada or anywhere else and ... we would obtain permission if we want to take her out anywhere."
Ilyasis counsel, Mr Vikas Pahwa, said his client had been allowed by a magistrate to see his daughter three times a week.
Yesterdays order came on a habeas corpus writ petition filed by Ilyasis parents, alleging that Ms Rashmi Singh had illegally taken possession of Aaliyas passport and was planing to take her to Canada without the childs consent.
Issuing notices to the Delhi Government, Ms Rashmi Singh and Ilyasis mother-in-law, Ms Rukma Singh, the Bench directed the Chief Secretary and the Police Commissioner to report to the court if any action had been taken on the complaint filed by Ilyasi in the magistrates court in which he accused his mother-in-law and sister-in-law of kidnapping the child a day after his arrest.
It may be recalled that Ms Rashmi Singh had claimed at a press conference in the Capital that Ilyasi had asked her to take Aaliya to Canada "from this environment."
Ilyasi was arrested by the Delhi Police on March 28 on charges of harassment for dowry, dowry death and tampering with evidence in the suicide of his wife Anju Iliyasi at their East Delhi residence on January 10. The charges were framed against him following the statement given by his sister-in-law and mother-in-law before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Preet Vihar in East Delhi, Mr Ravi Dadhich, that he used to torture his wife for dowry. Anjus suicide could be a sequel to the harassment meted out to her, Ms Rashmi Singh had said.
The petitioners had moved the court on Wednesday and acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta put it up for hearing at the residence of Mr Justice Mudgal in the evening.
The police arrested Ilyasi following the inquest report submitted by the SDM and recommended that a case be registered against him on the basis of the statement given by his mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Congress arousing Dalits sentiments
BHOPAL April 14 (UNI) Former union minister Sushma Swaraj today charged the Congress with arousing the sentiments of the Dalits on the issue of constitutional review.
Talking to newspersons she said the Congress was leading a disinformation campaign on the issue by saying that the review of the Constitution was an attempt to temper with the Constitution and a disrespect for Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
By raking up slogans like "save the Constitution, the party was trying to mislead the Dalits, Ms Swaraj said adding that it was "improper to give a political colour to the review.
Ms Swaraj brushed aside the allegations that the exercise to review the Constitution was a secret agenda of the BJP or the National Democratic Alliance government, saying the charges were "false and baseless".
The BJP and its allies had contested the elections on a common manifesto and we had promised to review the functioning of the Constitution, she said adding that we were simply trying to keep our promise.
Ms Swaraj asked as to why the re-examination of the Constitution after 50 years of its adoption was not being taken in a healthy spirit. A similar type of evaluation of achievements and shortcomings had been done when the nation celebrated its 50 years of Independence, she noted.
Brushing aside the
allegations that the review would deprive the Dalits of
reservations she said the reservation policy was studied
after an interval of 10 years and the arrangement would
be further extended for another 10 years.
No tension along LoC: Fernandes
CALCUTTA, April 14 (PTI) Defence Minister George Fernandes today allayed apprehensions about the movement of Pak troops along the Sir Creek area of Kutch in Gujarat and said it was "more of a defensive nature on the part of Islamabad".
Clarifying his earlier statement on the movement of Pak troops in Sir Creek, Mr Fernandes said: "There has been some movement. This is the word I have used earlier also which has been misinterpreted by the media.
He attributed the build-up of the Pak troops to two aspects. "one is more of a defensive nature on the part of Pakistan and the other is perhaps related to the Atlantique (shooting down) case now pending before the International Court of Justice."
He said there was no tension along the LoC. "There is nothing to be worried about so far as the LoC is concerned. There has not been any perceptible change in the LoC.
The Defence Minister was speaking to reporters here after launching state-of-the-art warship INS Brahmaputra, built by Gardenreach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd.
The Pakistani naval aircraft, Atlantique, was shot down by the Indian Air Force when it allegedly strayed into the Indian territory last August. All 16 Pakistani Navy officers and crew aboard the aircraft were killed prompting Islamabad to file a $ 60 million compensation case at the ICJ.
Cong ambiguous on
NEW DELHI, April 14 In a sharp attack, CPM General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet today asked the Congress to clarify its stand on the mahajot alliance proposed by the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and warned that the Congresss failure to take a firm stand will "irretrievably damage" it at the all-India level.
Briefing mediapersons about the two-day politburo meeting of the CPM which concluded yesterday in the Capital, the party General Secretary said the West Bengal unit of the Congress had declared its intention of teaming up with the Trinamool Congress which is allied to the BJP to fight the Left Front in the state.
"The all-India Congress leadership has allowed the West Bengal unit to go ahead with the proposal for aligning with the Trinamool Congress without stating clearly that such a combination should have no truck with the BJP", Mr Surjeet said adding that this was an "opportunistic vacillation".
While the Trinamool
leader, Ms Mamta Banerjee, has repeatedly declared that
she will continue to be in the NDA and support the Prime
Minister, the Congress leader, Mr Pranab Mukherjees
recent remarks "display an ambiguous attitude
towards an indirect alliance with the BJP through its
partner the Trinamool, the CPM leader pointed out
adding that the failure to take a firm stand that the
state Congress unit cannot have any truck with the BJP
and its ally brings into question the credibility of the
Congress in fighting the communal forces.
Sonia attacks review move
NAGPUR, April 14 (PTI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today launched a battle against the Centres plan to review the Constitution branding it as a "dangerous conspiracy" and declared that her party would not extend any cooperation to the review commission.
"Jo desh samvidhan
ke saath khilwad karata hai uski buniyad hilane lagati
hai, ham ise kabhi nahin hone denge" (the country
which tampers with its Constitution, harms its own
foundations, we will never allow it to happen), she said
while addressing a largely-attended "save
Constitution rally" here organised on the occasion
of 109th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, the architect
of Indias Constitution.
Urdu Adab award for Joginder Paul
NEW DELHI, April 14 (UNI) Well-known Urdu novelist and short story writer Joginder Paul has been awarded the prestigious Majlis Farogh-e-Urdu Adab Award for promotion and development of the language.
The award has been instituted for promoting the language and encouraging understanding through literature by the prestigious Majlis Farogh-e-Urdu Adab of Doha in Qatar and is given annually to writers from India and Pakistan.
Selected by separate
juries in India and Pakistan, the award comprises a cash
component of Rs 1.25 lakh, a gold medal and a citation
each. Headed by renowned author Prof Gopi Chand Narang,
the Indian jury also included Dr Shahryar, Mr Balraj
Komal, Mr Hamid Ullah Bhat who is chairman of the Urdu
Board, and Ms Sheema Rizvi who is chairperson of the Urdu
Academy of Uttar Pradesh. Renowned Urdu Editor and
journalist Idrees Dehlvi is the coordinator of the award.
X-ray machine handlers prone to genetic disorders
NEW DELHI, April 14 (PTI) A recent study which found genetic abnormalities in cells of personnel handling diagnostic X-ray machines has recommended a fresh look at the maximum permissible limits of radiation for such workers.
The study by Kurukshetra University in Haryana examined the effect of radiation exposure in 40 personnel handling X-ray machines for 5-20 years in medical colleges and establishments, and compared it with a group of 38 persons of similar age, weight and sex, who were not exposed to x-rays.
Delhi scribes to go on strike
NEW DELHI, April 14
(PTI) The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) and the
Delhi State Newspaper Employees Federation today decided
to go on a days strike within a fortnight to
protest the "inordinate" delay in the
announcement of Manisana Wage Board award.
Representatives of the two bodies will meet again on
April 18 to finalise the date for the strike, according
to a DUJ press note.
for opening of Nathu La pass
unveils hansa veena
snake costs a life
to reopen on May 16
Ranvir" best ship
adopts Bastar school
Held for biting
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