|Wednesday, May 10, 2000,
scribes wage awards
In search of those who failed to
Nepalese minister meets PM
I am with Sukh Ram: Shandil
BJP, TDP trade charges
Uma to seek Sonias
Gang making fake appointments
Assault on RS member referred to
Hearing in Jessica case from May
WB Cong in for another split?
IMMM network detected in AP,
NCC DG opens conference
Assurance on scribes wage
NEW DELHI, May 9 The government assured the Lok Sabha today that it would take effective action for the implementation of the recommendations of the wage board for journalists and non-journalists once the R.K. Manisana Singh panel submitted its final report.
The assurance was given by Labour Minister Satya Narayan Jatiya while responding to the concern expressed by members, cutting across party lines, over the delay on the issue and the action of the Indian Newspaper Society to approach the court on the matter. They said journalists and non-journalists had gone on a nationwide strike on the issue yesterday.
The minister said as soon as the wage board submitted its report to the government, "we will take effective action to implement it".
Referring to the newspaper owners going to court, he said legal proceedings in the Mumbai High Court and the Delhi High Court were on. The wage board, which has been given extension from time to time, is currently holding its meeting in Mumbai but declined to specify any timeframe for the submission of the report.
The issue was raised by Mr Madan Lal Khurana (BJP) and got instant support from Mr A.C. Jose (Cong), Mr Badudeb Acharia (CPM), Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) and Mr Sudip Bandhopadhya (Trinamool Congress).
Raising the issue, Mr Khurana said newspaper owners action of approaching courts in the matter was a conspiracy aimed at delaying the implementation of the wage board recommendations.
Stating that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister should intervene in the matter, Mr Bandhopadhya said it was for the Centre to take the initiative to sort out the difficulties for the early implementation of the report.
Both Mr Acharia and Mr Jose criticised the newspaper owners for adopting "delay tactics" on the issue. Mr Jose said the government was also responsible as it had not fixed a definite timeframe for the submission of the report.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha members, cutting across party lines, today made a forceful plea for the early submission of the wage board report.
Meanwhile, Centre today
opposed the petition by the INS in the Delhi High Court
seeking renotification of the tentative proposals of the
Manisana Wage Boards for journalists and non-journalists
on the grounds that it was "premature".
In search of those who failed to return
NEW DELHI, May 9 (PTI) The media hype generated by the release of Roop Lal from a Pakis-tani prison is dying down, but people instrumental in getting his death sentence commuted and ensuring his return to the motherland are still working overtime "To ensure the release of many other military and civilian prisoners on both sides of the divide, on whom information is available in tit-bits even as governments deny their presence."
One such prisoner is Capt A.K. Sharma, who was reportedly arrested by the Pakistani authorities on August 15,1996, when his capsized boat strayed into Pakistani territory from Jammu region.
Captain Sharma has been away only for five years. Theres an estimate that nearly 50 Indian soldiers are still languishing in Pakistani jails after they went missing in the 1971 war. After the recent release of 20 fishermen from Pakistan, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said there are about 115 more Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistani prisons.
"We have approached the Pakistani Government, but it has refused to acknowledge his presence in their jails," says Dr R.M. Pal, of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which is now working on securing the freedom of Captain Sharma.
Dr Pal says that he has definite information on Captain Sharma "We have been informed by the Indian intelligence officials privately that he is lodged in a Pakistani jail and also from friends in Pakistan, who have heard of the missing Captain from those released after serving their terms."
According to Dr Pal, there are unknown number of prisoners in both countries whose presence the authorities deny and also do not care much for. A redeeming factor, however, is that human rights organisations on both sides of the divide have taken up their cause at the behest of the relatives of such people and met with success too.
In fact Roop Lal, says the PUCL activist, owes his life to Dr Pal and Brig (retd) Rai Abid, who is an adviser to Pakistani Human Rights Commission (PHRC).
"Roop Lals son-in-law approa-ched me when he was sentenced by a military court and I wrote several letters to the PHRC and contacted Brigadier Abid, who is a friend of mine and he helped out," recalls Dr Pal, who migrated to India from East Pakistan during partition.
It was Brigadier Abid who pleaded Roop Lals case with the then Army Chief Jehangir Karamat and got his death sentence commuted to life term.
But, for many others life has been less fortunate, say human rights activists noting its time for putting in place some institutional mechanism to ensure the whereabouts of such missing people and ensure their safe return.
The activists categorise such people into three classes: Those caught for spying, PoW and those who inadvertently strayed across the boundary. It is those in the first two categories who are put to severe torture in bids to extract information, they say.
"While we do not concern ourselves with those caught for acts of terrorism, its the prisoners in the other mentioned categories that should be released," says Dr Pal.
The main hurdle is that Pakistan not only refuses to deny the presence of the PoWs but has also accused India of holding back 300 PoWs a charge India has vehemently denied repeatedly. Y.P. Chibbar, General Secretary of the PUCL, suggests that New Delhi take the initiative and unilaterally release all Pakistani fishermen and civilian detainees.
The PUCL, quoting External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh says that "India has been repatriating Pakistani people unless found to be in violation of any of our law."
It was in pursuance of this objective that ousted Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee agreed to address bilateral humanitarian issues with great urgency and sympathy during the Lahore Summit last year.
"Accordingly, the two premiers also decided to set up a two-member ministerial committee to ensure that a proper system be put in place," Mr Jaswant Singh has told the PUCL in a reply.
Nepalese minister meets PM
NEW DELHI, May 9 Visiting Nepalese Foreign Minister Chakra Prasad Bastola today called on Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and conveyed to him a message from Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Dr Bastola arrived here on a four-day visit on Saturday last.
Briefing mediapersons about the talks between Dr Bastola and the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, yesterday, an official spokesman said the proposed visit of the Nepalese Prime Minister was taken up during the talks and some tentative dates were identified for the visit.
The exact dates would be finalised through diplomatic channels. Mr Jaswant Singh and Dr Bastola discussed mutual security concerns, including ISI activities.
The two ministers agreed to constitute a high-level task force headed by the Principal Secretary from the Indian side and the Cabinet Secretary from the Nepalese side which would meet soon to evolve a fresh package of assistance for the development of infrastructure and related projects in Nepal.
The Foreign Minister of Nepal raised with Mr Jaswant Singh issues like special additional duties and facilities for Nepalese students in India. The two leaders also discussed the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty and matters related to the border issues, including Kalapani.
The External Affairs Minister said the permission for Phulbri route for Nepal would be extended beyond May, 2000, for a year.
The two leaders announced that the Ministries of Civil Aviation of both countries would work out the exact dates for the resumption of Indian Airlines flight to Nepal which were suspended in the wake of the hijacking of the IC-814 to Kandahar in December last.
It was also decided during the talks that the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary-level talks would be resumed shortly. The Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary-level dialogues were held in 1987 and 1988, respectively. The meeting of the Indo-Nepal Joint Commission would be held soon in New Delhi.
Dr Bastola invited Mr Jaswant Singh to Nepal for inauguration of 22 bridges built with Indian assistance. The cost of the bridges is about Rs 60 crore.
The visiting minister also held wide-ranging discussions, including anti-India activities of the ISI from the Nepalese soil with the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani. The two took up other security issues.
Earlier in the day, Dr Bastola met the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes.
The visiting Nepalese Minister is also scheduled to meet Human Resource Development Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi. During his meeting with Dr Joshi, the issue of facilities for the entry of Nepalese students to institutes of higher learning in India would prominently figure.
I am with Sukh Ram:
NEW DELHI, May 9 The Himachal Vikas Congress MP, Col Dhani Ram Shandil, today reiterated that he was with the HVC led by Mr Sukh Ram and did not support any breakaway group.
In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, he said he was explaining his position since there were some reports that he had extended support to the breakaway group headed by Mr Mohinder Singh.
Colonel Shandil said that Mr Mohinder Singh along with his friends had approached him recently with a request to sign some documents enabling them to succeed in their unity efforts.
"My efforts have so far been to bring around the dissident group in the mainstream of the party. I was assured by them that the documents will only be shown to Mr Sukh Ram and will not be used for any other purpose, he said in his letter.
He charged that "these friends had released the same to the Press and committed "breach of trust.
Meanwhile, in another statement the HVC Rajya Sabha member, Mr Anil Kumar, said both he and Colonel Shandil had pledged support to the HVC headed by Mr Sukh Ram.
Mr Anil Kumar, son of Mr Sukh Ram, said the executive committee of the party had authorised Mr Sukh Ram to hear the group headed by Mr Mohinder Singh after the meeting of the committee.
He said the dissident group which came to the residence of Mr Sukh Ram where the meeting was taking place insisted that Mr Mohinder Singh be allowed to attend the meeting.
BJP, TDP trade charges
NEW DELHI, May 9 (UNI) Two major allies of the NDA government the BJP and TDP today accused each other of misleading the masses of Andhra Pradesh on the central financial assistance to meet the drought situation in 17 district of the state.
After the three-day tour of Karnool and Mahboobnagar districts, two Lok Sabha members of the BJP Jitendra Reddy and A. Narendra charged Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu with diverting funds from the Rs 384 crore central assistance to his pet theme of Janambhoomi.
Speaking to reporters,
they said Mr Naidus claim that the Centre had
advanced only Rs 15 crore was wrong. "He is trying
to mislead the people of Andhra Pradesh," they
alleged and said Rs 384 crore was released in four
Uma to seek Sonias intervention
BHOPAL, May 9 (UNI) Former Union Minister Uma Bharati, MP, would soon meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi and seek her intervention to solve the issue of retrenchment of daily wagers in Madhya Pradesh.
Gang making fake appointments
NEW DELHI, May 9 With the arrest of three persons, the Delhi Police today claimed to have busted a racket running a parallel New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) office and fraudulently appointing people on various posts.
The prime accused, Virender Kumar, had been running this racket for three years in Rohini in North-West Delhi. He reportedly took the help of his father, Ganpati and younger brother, Dinesh, in this racket, the police said.
His father retired as an Office Superintendent from the Education Department of Delhi Government.
The police said Virender Kumar got the idea of making fake appointments after he had seen the appointment letter of his elder brother. His brother was appointed as a postman.
He got printed a similar appointment letter in the name of the NDMC and also printed its logo on top of the appointment letter.
Virender Kumar, who belongs to Basti district went to his native village and told the people there that he had been appointed as a caretaker in the NDMC and could help others in getting job in the NDMC. He demanded Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 for the job. He also told this to his neighbours in the Capital.
When people approached him for job he would ask them fill fake application forms after taking Rs 40,000 in advance. He issued appointment letters after taking Rs 50,000 more and appointed them on different posts.
With the money he received from the job-seekers he purchased properties including three multi-storeyed buildings, and land in Rohini area. He also constructed a permanent office of the NDMC at Mange Ram Park Extension in Rohini and employed 300 persons in that office.
Assault on RS member referred to
NEW DELHI, May 9 The Rajya Sabha Chairman, Mr Krishan Kant, today referred to the Privileges Committee of the House the alleged assault by police on Samajwadi Party member Munnavar Hasan in Uttar Pradesh recently.
"I refer this to the Privileges Committee," Mr Krishan Kant said after the entire Opposition was on its feet to press for the demand when Mr Hasan tore his kurta to show the bruises on his left, which he alleged were due to the police beating.
Senior Congress member Pranab Mukherjee said "this is a fit case for referring to the Privileges Committee since a member has been assaulted".
Earlier, raising the matter through a special mention, Mr Hasan charged that the police had attacked him while on a dharna in Muzaffarnagar district a few days ago in protest against the beating of a gram pradhan allegedly by the police.
The matter also rocked the Lok Sabha, forcing Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi to adjourn the House ahead of the scheduled lunch recess.
Agitated Samajwadi Party members stormed the well of the House immediately after question hour, protesting against the killing of Dalits in Tundla and the assault on Mr Hasan in Muzaffarnagar district.
Hearing in Jessica case from May
NEW DELHI, May 9 Almost a year after the "surrender" of the prime accused in the Jessica Lal murder case, Siddharth Vashist, alias Manu Sharma, son of Mr Venod Sharma, a former Union Minister, the first session of arguments in the case is scheduled to commence on May 11.
Additional Sessions Judge Sharda Aggarwal will hold the first session of the arguments.
While Manu Sharma is in jail, the other accused Tony Singh, Alok Khanna, Vikas Yadav, Amit Jhingan, Vikas Gill, Harvinder Chopra, Shyam Sunder Sharma and Yograj Singh are out on bail.
Ravinder, alias Titu, who works in the USA, escaped from India a day before Manu "surrendered", Dhanraj, a friend of the prime accused, who helped arrange for the car to escape to Chandigarh, is missing.
Legal experts said with so many accused in the case and two still absconding, it would be a long time before the case reached the trial stage.
They said during the first session of arguments the prosecution and the defence would argue on the validity of the charges levelled against the accused.
Based on the contentions, the experts said, the court would then frame charges against the accused and the trial would commence.
According to the chargesheet, on April 30, 1999, there was a party at the Tamarind Court restaurant of Qutab Collonade, owned by socialite Bina Ramani.
The police told the court that every Thursday, a party was held at the restaurant where drinks used to be served against coupons.
The police said during investigation, it was found that on April 29, Manu Sharma came to his farmhouse in Samkhala village in his black Tata Safari and then went to Vikas Yadavs house in B.R. Mehta Lane.
They then went to the house of Amardeep Singh Gill in Friends Colony (West). Here Alok Khanna and Amit Jhingan also reached Amardeeps house in their vehicles. All five of them then went to Qutab Collonade.
At 2 am when the party was over, Manu Sharma and his four friends went to the Tamarind Court. The police said Bina Ramanis daughter, Malini Ramani, and Jessica Lal, Shayan Munshi and a waiter were present there. Manu Sharma asked for more drinks to which Malini refused.
The chargesheet said according to the statement given by Shyam Munshi, Manu Sharma took out his pistol and fired the first bullet towards the ceiling. He then allegedly took aim and shot Jessica Lal.
Manu Sharma has been charged under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder) and section 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Vikas Yadav: The son of Mr D P Yadav, a Rajya sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, is accused of taking away Manu Sharmas Tata Safari from the scene of the crime and sheltering him at his fathers official residence. He is also accused of abandoning the vehicle in Noida.
Amardeep Singh Gill, alias Tony: A general manager in a soft drink major, he was with Manu Sharma at the restaurant at the time of shooting. He fled after the incident only to return to pick up Manu Sharmas Tata Safari. Amardeep Singh has been booked for harbouring a criminal (Section 212) the, disappearance of evidence (Section 201) and criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B of the IPC).
Alok Khanna: Another senior official of the soft drink major, he was also present on the murder spot on April 30. The Tata Sierra given to him by the company was used by Amardeep Singh and Vikas Yadav allegedly to bring back Manu Sharmas Tata Safari abandoned outside the restaurant on April 30. Charges are the same as against Amardeep Singh. He has been booked under sections 120-B, 201 and 212 of the IPC.
Ravinder Kishen alias, Titu: He was allegedly handed over the weapon by Manu Sharma to him before fleeing from Delhi. Ravinder Kishen, working as a waiter in a New York hotel, fled the country on May 4 with the help of Shyam Sunder Sharma, son-in-law of former President Shanker Dayal Sharma. The police has sought the Interpol assistance for his arrest. He has been charged with tampering of evidence (Section 201 of the IPC) and harbouring (Section 212 of the IPC).
Harvinder Chopra: A chartered accountant with the Piccadily group of hotels-owned by Manu Sharmas father Mr Venod Sharma, had arranged the stay of Manu Sharma at his father-in-laws residence in Saket on May 1. He was arrested under Section 212 of the IPC.
Dr Vikas Gill, alias Ruby: Drove Manu from Delhi to Chandigarh. Charged with harbouring of criminal. He was arrested for harbouring (Section 212 of the IPC).
Bina Ramani, Malini
Ramani and George Mailhot: While Bina Ramani holds a
British passport Malini is a US passport holder and
George Mailhot, the socialites husband, holds a
Canadian passport. They were arrested on May 8 for
running the restaurant beyond midnight and for possessing
and serving liquor illegally under the Excise Act 61 and
WB Cong in for another
CALCUTTA, May 9 Bengal Congress is heading for another split on the question of joining Ms Mamata Banerjees Mahajot in which the BJP is a partner.
WBPCC chief, Ghani Khan Chowdhury after his failure to persuade the AICC president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi for allowing the state Congress to support the Trinamool Congress candidate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha byelection at Panskura in Midnapore as Mahajot candidate against the Left front, virtually rebelled against the central leadership. He is returning to Calcutta tomorrow to finalise future strategy against the partys "vested" interests, namely, Mr Priya Das Munshi and Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who had forced the AICC to reverse the state Congress stand on Mahajot. The Panskura seat had fallen vacant following death of Mrs Gita Mukherjee of the CPI. Mr Khan Chowdhurys main lieutenant, Mr Somen Mitra MLA and a former WBPC president, told The Tribune today that they would support the Trinamool Congress candidate, no matter, what might be the consequences.
He said the state Congress had already decided to join hands with Ms Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal to dethrone the CPM from power as the states present political situation wanted that both the Congress and Trinamool Congress should stand united against the CPM.
Mr Khan Chowdhury, now in the capital, yesterday held detailed talks on telephone with Mr Mitra when he had expressed his desire to step down from the post of WBPC chief as he had felt insulted and disgusted at the arbitrary decision of Mrs Gandhi at the instance of some vested interests.
Mr Gani Khan Chowdhury said he himself was against the BJP on the question of secularism but still he wanted that the Congress in the state should join hands with Trinamool Congress against CPM as circumstances so demanded.
Dr Bhuiya, one of the state Congress general secretaries, who hails from Midnapore district, said the district Congress already had launched campaign in support of the Trinamool Congress candidate at Panskura as decided earlier and there was no question of backing out from the old stand. He said the party workers and supporters in the state had made up their minds to stand united with Trinamool Congress against the CPM and they would not change mind. Calling Mr Priya Das Munshi and Mr Pranab Mukherjee as blacksheep, Dr Bhuiya said these two persons were the enemies of the Congress and the Bengal people and the people would not forgive them. Dr Bhuya regretted that the Congress in West Bengal was heading for a split once again and this time also some interested few would be held responsible. He said in the recent Rajya Sabha election in West Bengal, the Congress stood divided and the election results had so vindicated and this time the division was again coming into the surface.
Trinamool Congress leader, Pankaj Banerjee said the Mahajot in the state was a reality and nobody could stop it. He said soon a chunk of leaders from the state Congress would join them and the Trinamool Congress would be the real Congress in West Bengal. He however, refused to reveal names of the Congress leaders joining their party.
PONDICHERRY (UNI): The Congress will never compromise on secularism and will not strike an alliance with the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, AICC General Secretary Gulam Nabi Azad has said.
Addressing a public meeting here yesterday to commemorate the formation of a Congress-TMC coalition government in the union territory, he said the Congress had decided to go it alone in West Bengal, where by-election was due in one parliamentary constituency.
Despite some minor problems with the Muslim League, the Congress -led UDF would be a stable and formidable front in Kerala, he said.
Referring to the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, he said his party wanted a peaceful solution to all outstanding problems. The legitimate rights and interests of all ethnic groups, including the Tamils, should be fully protected, he felt.
TMC President G.K. Moopanaar said the new government in Pondicherry would provide a stable and good administration.
The Shanmugam Cabinet would soon have Dalit representation, Mr Azad said hinting at Deputy Speaker M. Kandasamys inclusion.
IMMM network detected in AP, Maharashtra
NEW DELHI, May 9 (PTI) A joint communication network of the Indian Muslim Mohammedi Mujahideen (IMMM) activities under the command of Laskhar-e-Toiba has been detected in the towns of Nizamabad and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh and Aurangabad and Dharmabad in Maharashtra, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Replying to supplementaries, the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, said most of the communication was through courier and regular telephonic channels though the use of e-mail and mobile telephones has also come to notice.
To a question on central assistance to states for tackling the menace of terrorist activities, he said financial assistance is provided by the Central Government for modernisation of police forces in order to equip them to deal with terrorism and other security-related problems more effectively.
The Minister said steps taken in this regard have resulted in detection or neutralisation of various ISI-backed modules.
NCC DG opens conference
NEW DELHI, May 9 The Director-General of the National Cadets Corps, Lt-Gen A.S. Rao, AVSM, today inaugurated a three-day annual conference of the NCC Deputy Directors General (DDsG) of the states here today.
General Rao informed the DDsG about the "basic automation" planned to be undertaken up to the unit level. He also gave details regarding the recent government order extending medical facilities at military hospitals to retired whole time officers, whole time lady officers and girl cadet instructors of the NCC with effect from April 7, this year.
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Expedition to Mt
5 youths drowned
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kill four in Tripura
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