Friday, May 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

FIR against Mamata for inciting mob
CALCUTTA, May 25 — An FIR was lodged with the local police station today on behalf of the CPM against Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for inciting mob at Keshpur the stronghold of the CPM.

Dikshit files suit against Verma
NEW DELHI, May 25 — The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, has filed a defamation suit for a token amount of Re 1 against former Delhi Chief Minister and MP Sahib Singh Verma in the Delhi High Court.

Sonia for new law on SC quota
NEW DELHI, May 25 — Congress President Sonia Gandhi today demanded a new legislation for reservation for SCs and STs to overcome the difficulties faced by the backward communities in the existing reservation policy.

Women members of All India Safai Mazdoor Congress listening to the leaders at 34th annual sammelan of All India mazdoor congress at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi on Thursday
Women members of the All-India Safai Mazdoor Congress listening to their leaders at the Talkatora stadium in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo

Laloo, Rabri’s assets attached
PATNA, May 25 — With her maiden contest for Bihar legislature just a day away, the moveable property of Chief Minister Rabri Devi and her husband and RJD supremo, Laloo Prasad Yadav, has been attached by the Income Tax Department for their failure to clear tax liabilities to the tune of over Rs 42 lakh for the assessment period 1990-96.

Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri dead
MUMBAI, May 25 — Poet and film lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri and the man who gave the progressive movement of the Indian Left its war cry, died of a lung disease late last night.

SC stays Allahabad HC judgement
NEW DELHI, May 25 — The Supreme Court has stayed a judgement of the Allahabad High Court issuing certain guidelines for the transfer and posting of officers of the state.


Tibetan spritual leader Dalai Lama at the Symbiousis Institute of Management Studies National Seminar 2000 in New Delhi on Thursday
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies National Seminar 2000 in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo

EARLIER STORIES
 

Isolated rain in Punjab, Haryana
PUNE, May 25 — Forecast valid until the morning of May 27: Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at many places in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura; at a few places in Andaman and Nicobar islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, West Bengal and Sikkim, Konkan and Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, coastal and south interior Karnataka and Kerala and at isolated places in Orissa, Bihar, East Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Vidarbha and north interior Karnataka. Mainly dry weather will prevail over the rest of the country.

Shoot orders in Bihar
PATNA, May 25 — Amid shoot-at-sight order and high security alert, stage is set to hold the by-poll to three Assembly seats in Bihar tomorrow with Chief Minister Rabri Devi seeking people’s mandate from Raghopur constituency.

Priests of Tirupati temple offering prasad to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit to the temple on Thursday
Priests of Tirupati temple offering prasad to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during his visit to the temple on Thursday. — PTI photo

Vajpayee invokes Venkateswara
TIRUPATI, May 25 — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today offered prayer at the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, near here.

India to oppose Chaudhry’s sack
NEW DELHI, May 25 — India today vowed to work with the Commonwealth to reinstate the Mahendra Chaudhry regime in Fiji saying any move to oust a legitimately elected government would not be acceptable to it.

One burnt alive in N. Tripura
AGARTALA, May 25 — One person was burnt alive and an eight-year-old boy of a tribal family suffered severe burn injuries when unidentified miscreants set ablaze their huts in North Tripura district early today.

Maneka moots plan for disabled
NEW DELHI, May 25 — The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mrs Maneka Gandhi, today said her ministry would evolve a training schedule in consultation with the Rehabilitation Council of India to train 23,000 doctors working in primary health centres across the country.

Labourers fall victims to thugs
SHAMLI (MUZAFFAR-NAGAR), May 25 — A gang of thugs is on the prowl on the Ludhiana-Saharanpur railway line. During the past week, over three dozen Behari labourers have been victims of this gang, according to official police sources.

Civil services results declared
NEW DELHI, May 25 — Sorabh Babu, Santosh Kumar Mishra and S. Suresh Kumar are the three candidates who topped the Civil Services (Main) Examination 1999, whose results were declared by the Union Public Services Commission here today.

CBI to hold seminar on cyber crime
NEW DELHI, May 25 — The CBI has decided to take the lead in preparing the country to tackle cyber crimes and will hold a one-day seminar next month.

Kirnapur goes to polls today
KIRNAPUR, May 25 — The Kirnapur Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh goes to by polls tomorrow, would witness a triangular contest between the Congress, the BJP and the Janata Party.

Pension helpline for Railway ex-staff
NEW DELHI, May 25 — Over one million retired employees of the Indian Railways can now voice their grievances through a pension helpline on the Internet.Top




 

FIR against Mamata for inciting mob
From Subhrangshu Gupta

CALCUTTA, May 25 — An FIR was lodged with the local police station today on behalf of the CPM against Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for inciting mob at Keshpur the stronghold of the CPM.

The State Transport Minister, Mr Sushanta Ghosh, and Mr Lakshman Seth, MP, also lodged formal complaints with the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr M.S. Gill and Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu separately against the Railway Minister, holding her responsible for lawlessness in Keshpur and other areas of the Panskura Lok Sabha seat, where a by-election is slated for June 5.

The 12-hour bandh called by the West Bengal Congress to protest against the state’s deteriorating law and order situation, particularly at Keshpur, passed off peacefully though there were reports of stones throwing. The response was partial. The Trinamool Congress, the BJP and Left Front parties opposed the bandh initially called for 24-hours but later shortened to 12 hours.

The Railway Minister returned to the city early this morning from Keshpur after visiting areas hit by clashes between the CPM and Trinamool workers. Over 18 persons were killed in the past two days in Keshpur-Panskura areas in clashes between the CPM and Trinamool Congress.

The Trinamool Congress will observe a protest and condemnation day tomorrow against "armed attacks" on Trinamool Congress supporters.

Deputy Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said there was no response to the bandh call. Some 300 persons were arrested from different places for obstructing traffic. Ten were hurt in stone throwing. Buses, trams, taxis and mini-buses plied as normal while shops, markets and other establishments were open. Train services in both Sealdah and Howrah divisions were delayed due to obstructions by bandh supporters. Mr Bhattacharya himself was obstructed while going from his south Calcutta residence to Writers Buildings in the morning. The police, however, cleared the obstruction and arrested seven persons on the spot.

Chief Public Relation Officer of Eastern Railway, Mr Kausik Mukherjee said train services, both long-distance and mail trains, were affected by obstructions. He, however, said there would be no re-scheduling of mail and long-distance trains leaving Howrah and Sealdah, though some trains might be delayed.

PTI adds: A report from Siliguri said there was partial response in the six districts of north Bengal. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere, official sources said.

Siliguri was peaceful with state government offices reporting normal attendance. The sources, however, said educational institutions and business establishments remained closed.

According to district authorities, the bandh had no impact in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling and Cooch Behar district, barring Haldibari.

The bandh had partial affect at Haldibar with some shops and establishments remaining closed. Private vehicles were off the roads.Top

 

Dikshit files suit against Verma
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 25 — The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, has filed a defamation suit for a token amount of Re 1 against former Delhi Chief Minister and MP Sahib Singh Verma in the Delhi High Court.

Mrs Dikshit has filed the suit after the complaint filed by Mr Verma alleging corruption charges against her was "dismissed" by the Lok Ayukta.

The Delhi Chief Minister has moved the court as "great damage had been caused to her reputation by Mr Verma’s allegations."

The Lok Ayukta, Mr R. N. Aggarwal, dismissing the complaint observed, "Mr Sahib Singh Verma had filed the complaint merely on the basis of press reports and made no attempt to verify the correctness of these reports."

"No details or particulars of the alleged acts of corruption have been given," he observed.

The former Delhi Chief Minister filed the complaint after a section of Congress MLAs and senior leaders of the Delhi unit of the party levelled allegations of corruption against Mrs Dikshit.

The suit filed by the Chief Minister stated that "Mr Sahib Singh had been willfully making these imputations with a view to lower my reputation among the people."

"The impugned imputations have directly caused Mrs Dikshit substantial and irreparable loss, damage and injury. The damage has been caused as a direct and proximate result of the said imputation of Mr Sahib Singh. The injury is huge and gigantic," the suit said.

The suit said "by the said objectionable imputations Mr Sahib Singh has invaded Mrs Dikshit’s right to enjoyment of her reputation. There exists no standard for ascertaining the actual damage caused or likely to be caused by the former Delhi Chief Minister’s invasion, which is such that compensation in money could not afford adequate relief."

She urged the court to pass a decree of permanent prohibitory injunction restraining Mr Sahib Singh from in any manner directly or indirectly making or causing to be made or getting any allegation or imputation of corruption or wrong-doings published against Mrs Dikshit.Top

 

Sonia for new law on SC quota

NEW DELHI, May 25 (PTI) — Congress President Sonia Gandhi today demanded a new legislation for reservation for SCs and STs to overcome the difficulties faced by the backward communities in the existing reservation policy.

"Our demand is for enacting a new legislation to remove the difficulties faced by the SCs and STs community with regard to the present reservation policy", she said while addressing the 34th national convention of the All-India Safai Mazdoor Congress (AISMC) here.

Assailing the NDA government’s reservation policy, she said the five official memoranda of the Central Government were against the very spirit of the reservation policy guaranteed to the community in the Constitution.

She charged the government with trying to cover its "all-round failure" and to divert the attention of the people from the real issues.

"The appointment of a panel to review the Constitution was one such decision by this government", she said, adding that the Congress will not allow this government to "play with the Constitution" framed by illustrious men, including Mr B.R. Ambedkar.

Hitting out at the Vajpayee government’s alleged anti-poor and anti-people policies, she said "a government which cannot protect the interests of the poorest of the people has no moral right to continue in office".

Declaring his party’s unqualified support to safai mazdoors, Ms Gandhi said she would continue to follow the footsteps of former Prime Ministers Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in fulfilling the aspirations of these people.

She said her party had an "emotional" relationship with the Safai Mazdoor Congress as it was closer to its ideology and programmes.

"We cannot see ourselves separately as it was directly related to the traditions and ideology of the Congress", she said and lauded Mahatma Gandhi for launching "Antyodaya" programme for the uplift of the poor.

She said the Congress gave utmost attention to their uplift and the first amendment in the Constitution was the removal of "untouchability".

"I wanted to continue the tradition", she said adding that it was the reason why she initiated changes in the party constitution giving 33 per cent and 20 per cent reservation to women and backward sections in the organisational set-up.

The convention organised by party leader Buta Singh was also attended by AICC General Secretary S.K. Shinde, AICC spokesmen Ajit Jogi, Anil Shastri, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit, her Cabinet colleagues and party MLAs besides a large number of safai mazdoors from all over the country.

Earlier, the convention passed a 10-point resolution with regard to the overall development of the safai mazdoors in the country. The resolution also demanded withdrawal of the Constitution review panel and religious places Bill in Uttar Pradesh.

Besides, the resolution also sought amendment in the existing reservation law, housing schemes, special judicial courts to deal with the cases regarding SCs and STs and opposition to the ongoing privatisation of economy.

Supporting the resolutions, senior party leaders Sushil Kumar Shinde, Ajit Jogi, Delhi Minister Krishna Tirath assailed the Centre’s policies in this regard. and demanded that the Vajpayee government should withdraw these decisions.Top

 

Laloo, Rabri’s assets attached

PATNA, May 25 (PTI) — With her maiden contest for Bihar legislature just a day away, the moveable property of Chief Minister Rabri Devi and her husband and RJD supremo, Laloo Prasad Yadav, has been attached by the Income Tax Department for their failure to clear tax liabilities to the tune of over Rs 42 lakh for the assessment period 1990-96.

The attached assets include National Saving Certificates worth Rs two lakh, fixed deposit receipts and Kisan Vikas Patras. Bank accounts of the two in different branches of post office and State Bank of India in the state capital, Phulwaria and Gopalganj have also been frozen, Income Tax Department sources told PTI here today

The action against them was taken under Section 263 (3) of the IT Act 1961. A formal request for freezing the accounts of the Chief Minister and RJD president was sent to the bank authorities on Tuesday, the sources said.

They said the bank authorities had also been asked not to allow Laloo Yadav’s family members to operate their accounts.Top

 

Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri dead

MUMBAI, May 25 (UNI) — Poet and film lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri and the man who gave the progressive movement of the Indian Left its war cry, died of a lung disease late last night.

The 78-year-old, who was honoured with Indian cinema’s highest award — the Dadasaheb Phalke — a few years back, leaves behind his wife, son and a daughter.

The end came at the Leelavati Hospital where he was admitted 10 days back with complications of the lungs. One of the greatest poets in the Urdu language since the time of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Majrooh was especially famous for his romantic lyrics in dialogue form. He won immediate acclaim with his very first film "Shahjehan" for songs like "Jab usne gesu bikhraye" and "Gum diya mustakil". He went on to write the lyrics for around 350 films in a career spanning 50 years.

The all time favourites from his pen include: "Haal kaisa hai janaab ka" from the film "Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi" and "Chod do aanchal zamaana kya kahega" from the film "Nau Do Gyarah".

Majrooh’s latest work was for the film "Hum To Mohabbat Karega", which is ready for release.

Other than being a great lyricist Majrooh was also a noted Urdu poet and had written many books. His poem: "Main akela hi chala tha, jaanib-e-manzil magar/log saath aate gaye aur kaarvan banta gaya" was picked up as its war cry by the progressive movement of the Indian Left. It was, however, the film world that gave him fame. He worked with almost all music directors in Bollywood, including Chitragupt and later his sons Anand-Milind, S.D. Burman and R.D. Burman, Rajesh Roshan and O.P. Nayyar.

Among his famous films were "Aarti" and "Bheegi Raat" for music director Roshan in which songs like "Aap ne yaad dilaya to mujhe yaad aaya", "Kabhi to milegi baharon ki manzil raahee" and "Dil jo na keh saka wahi raaz-e-dil" proved to be superhits.

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on Thursday described lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, who passed away late last night, as a poet who enthralled the people with his compositions for years.Top

 

SC stays Allahabad HC judgement

NEW DELHI, May 25 (UNI) — The Supreme Court has stayed a judgement of the Allahabad High Court issuing certain guidelines for the transfer and posting of officers of the state.

The interim stay was granted by a vacation Bench comprising Mr Justice V.N. Khare and Mr Justice A.T. Misra while issuing notice on a special leave petition filed by the state government against the impugned judgement.

By the impugned judgement, the high court directed that there should be some specific period say, three years, before which no officer should be transferred.

"If an officer has any grievance against his transfer, then he can note a representation to the Chief Secretary and he has to dispose of his representation within six weeks. A civil service board shall be constituted within two months to deal with the transfer and posting of Class-I officers of the state", the high court said in the impugned judgement.

Earlier, it was contended by Mr Ajay Agrawal, standing counsel for the state, that the directions issued by the high court were violative of Article 154, 163 and 166 of the Constitution as the powers of transfers and postings have been vested in the Governor who could allocate them to the ministers concerned.

The high court judgement, resubmitted, was, therefore, illegal as the high court has no power to issue such direction which comes under the policy matters of the state.Top

 

Isolated rain in Punjab, Haryana

PUNE, May 25 (PTI) — Forecast valid until the morning of May 27: Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at many places in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura; at a few places in Andaman and Nicobar islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, West Bengal and Sikkim, Konkan and Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, coastal and south interior Karnataka and Kerala and at isolated places in Orissa, Bihar, East Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Vidarbha and north interior Karnataka. Mainly dry weather will prevail over the rest of the country.

Temperatures recorded in three metropolitan centres were:

Calcutta: Max 34 (-2) Min 27 (0)

N. Delhi: Max 41 (0) Min 31 (4)

Mumbai: Max 34 (1) Min 28 (1)

The trough on sea-level chart from North Gujarat coast to Karnataka coast now runs from North Gujarat coast to Kerala coast. The cyclonic circulation over Punjab and adjoining parts of Jammu and Kashmir now lies over Punjab and neighbourhood and extends up to lower tropospheric levels. The trough from this system extending up to lower tropospheric levels now runs to east-central bay across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and northwest bay. The embedded cyclonic circulation over Gangetic West Bengal and neighbourhood has merged with the above trough. A cyclonic circulation between 3.1 and 5.8 km a.s.l. lies over southeast Arabian Sea off Karnataka-Goa coast. Another cyclonic circulation between 3.1 and 4.5 km a.s.l. lies over west-central bay off south Andhra coast.

Rain or thundershowers have occurred at many places in Assam and Meghalaya and Rayalaseema; at a few places in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, Marathwada and Tamil Nadu and at isolated places in sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, East Uttar Pradesh, East Madhya Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, coastal and south interior Karnataka and Kerala. Very light rain has also occurred at isolated places in Gangetic West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar plateau. Mainly dry weather prevailed over the rest of the country.

The chief amounts of rainfall in cms are: Cuddalore 9.2, Kolar Gold Field 6.8, Valparai 5.6, Kurnool 4.7, Agartala 4.0, Aurangabad and Adirampattinam 3.6 each, Trichy 3.2, North Lakhimpur 2.9, Gangtok 2.4, Khammam 2.2, Tezpur and Jagdalpur 1.9 each, Cochi 1.6, Tuni 1.4, Imphal 1.2, Bahraich and Kavali 1.1 each, Honavar 0.8.Top

 

Shoot orders in Bihar

PATNA, May 25 (PTI) — Amid shoot-at-sight order and high security alert, stage is set to hold the by-poll to three Assembly seats in Bihar tomorrow with Chief Minister Rabri Devi seeking people’s mandate from Raghopur constituency.

The district Magistrates of Vaishali, Dhanbad and Jamui issued shoot order against those who would make any attempt to capture booths, official sources said.

The state Home Secretary, Mr U.N. Panjiyar, said all booths were declared sensitive in Raghopur, where Mrs Rabri Devi is locked in a straight fight against the NDA candidate Beera Devi. Bypoll would also be held at Jamui and Nirsa constituencies.Top

 

India to oppose Chaudhry’s sack

NEW DELHI, May 25 (UNI) — India today vowed to work with the Commonwealth to reinstate the Mahendra Chaudhry regime in Fiji saying any move to oust a legitimately elected government would not be acceptable to it.

"We condemn the undemocratic and criminal act under which a legitimate government was overthrown in Fiji , a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said here.

Referring to a move to bar the people of foreign origin from heading the government there, the spokesman said: "The only thing to be done was to restore the democratically elected government there.’’

He said India was ready to play an active part in putting international pressure on Fiji to restore democracy there. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh is already in London to hold talks with the Commonwealth officials on the Fiji crisis.He is also expected to meet British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.Top

 

One burnt alive in N. Tripura

AGARTALA, May 25 (PTI) — One person was burnt alive and an eight-year-old boy of a tribal family suffered severe burn injuries when unidentified miscreants set ablaze their huts in North Tripura district early today.

A group of unidentified miscreants, armed with lethal weapons, raided Juricherra, a sleepy tribal hamlet in the Fatikroy police station area, in the small hours and set ablaze two huts of the family, the police said.

Pusparai Debbarma (25) died on the spot while neighbours and surviving family members managed to rescue Raghumani Debbarma from the burning hut, but not before the boy suffered severe burns.Top

 

Civil services results declared

NEW DELHI, May 25 (PTI) — Sorabh Babu, Santosh Kumar Mishra and S. Suresh Kumar are the three candidates who topped the Civil Services (Main) Examination 1999, whose results were declared by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) here today.

A total of 411 candidates have been recommended by the UPSC for appointment to the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service, the Indian Police Service and the Central Services Groups ‘A’ and ‘B’.

The first three candidates in order of merit were Babu (roll no. 113076), Mishra (006918) and Suresh Kumar (001868), respectively, the release said.Top

 

Maneka moots plan for disabled
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 25 — The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mrs Maneka Gandhi, today said her ministry would evolve a training schedule in consultation with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) to train 23,000 doctors working in primary health centres across the country.

The minister said 2000 doctors who had attended the training programme initiated by the RCI will now equipped to provide preliminary counselling and ensure that the disabled get proper treatment. She said the trained doctors could also play an important role in educating the poor and illiterate on different aspects of disability and ensure that people come forward for timely intervention.

Mrs Gandhi was speaking at the inauguration of the conference of state secretaries and co ordinators of implementing agencies of the national programme of orientation of medical officers working in primary health centres.

The minister said over 70 per cent of the 50 million persons with disabilities lived in the rural areas and the biggest challenge was to ensure delivery of services close to their doorstep.

Mrs Gandhi appreciated the efforts of the state Health Secretaries for lending support in the implementation of the programme. She said the pace of implementation of the programme had been encouraging in Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The minister also released a catalogue of teaching learning material for children with special needs.

Principal Scientific Adviser to the government, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam made a presentation on an experimental model to empower healthcare system with technology.

He said the model proposed a three pronged strategy: repair, augment and make operational selective equipment in hospitals, develop modular advanced treatment facilities attached to speciality hospitals that could be taken to distant places and commercialise affordable options of new generation drugs and biological materials available through various trans-national individual and institutional collaborations. The model also proposed a satellite communication based network connecting distant healthcare centres for exchange of clinical data and centralised replenishment of hospital inventories.Top

 

Labourers fall victims to thugs
From K.G. Dutt
Tribune News Service

SHAMLI (MUZAFFAR-NAGAR), May 25 — A gang of thugs is on the prowl on the Ludhiana-Saharanpur railway line. During the past week, over three dozen Behari labourers have been victims of this gang, according to official police sources.

The sources told TNS today that last night, Behari labourers were looted in the Barauni-Amritsar Express between Ludhiana and Saharanpur. The police maintained that in last night’s incident, over three dozen Behari labourers who were on their way back to their homes in Bihar were looted by this gang after they fell unconscious on being administered some poisonous substance in biscuits. The Behari labourers were deprived of cash and goods worth over Rs 2 lakh by these thugs.

Last night’s incident is the second one during the last week. The Behari labourers who were administered poisonous substance were admitted to Government Hospital in Saharanpur in a semi-conscious state.

The incident reflects poorly on the ‘bandobast’ of the Government Railway Police (GRP) in Punjab, Haryana and even Uttar Pradesh on the railway line between Ludhiana and Saharanpur.

The police maintained that on the Amritsar-Barauni Express (No. 5210), this group of thugs had looted over three dozen Behari labourers of cash and goods worth several lakhs. Today, 20 Behari labourers, who were in a semi-conscious state, were taken off the train at Saharanpur. Likewise, over half a dozen such passengers were taken off the train yesterday and admitted to the Civil Hospital.

As the Barauni Express reached the Saharanpur railway station, the GRP was informed about the presence of some passengers in the train who were unconscious. As the GRP jawans entered the train, they found about 20 Behari labourers in an unconscious state. They were taken to the hospital immediately.

As per the GRP version in Shamli, the Behari labourers were given some biscuits to eat by unidentified passengers in the train between Phagwara and Jalandhar. Immediately, after consuming biscuits, the labourers fell unconscious. The thugs took away their goods and cash. Nobody knows at which station the group of thugs disembarked from the train. Even the exact number of the group of thugs is not known. But the police maintained that the group may comprise about six thugs.

Similarly, yesterday also about six Behari labourers were found unconscious in the Barauni-Amritsar Express at Saharanpur railway station. These people who were admitted to the hospital yesterday regained consciousness by last evening. They informed the police that they were given some biscuits to eat as ‘prashad’ and after consuming, they fell unconscious.

However, it is ‘sheer negligence’ on part of the GRP units of Punjab and Haryana that they could not find out how the Behari labourers had been looted. The two incidents during the past two days are not isolated.

Investigations made by this reporter indicate that after the reaping of the kharif crop and transplantation of paddy in Punjab is over, Behari labourers, who came in thousands as casual labour to Punjab, become frequent victims of such gangs operating on trains.

Police sources also maintained that such incidents cannot take place until and unless the constabulary of the GRP on duty was not in hand and glove with the thugs. Despite concrete evidence and information of the existence of such gangs on trains, the GRP has not taken adequate measures to save the poor Behari labourers from being looted.

No special task force has either been put on duty either in Punjab or in Haryana or even in Uttar Pradesh to ensure the safety of such passengers. The looted labourers, some of whom have been identified as Ganesh, Raju, Phula Dev, Ashok, Naresh, Pramod, Nagender, Rajinder and Sanjeev, lamented that they did not even have enough money to buy railway tickets from Saharanpur to their homes.Top

 

CBI to hold seminar on cyber crime
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 25 — The CBI has decided to take the lead in preparing the country to tackle cyber crimes and will hold a one-day seminar next month.

In an informal chat with correspondents, the CBI Director, Mr R. K. Raghavan, said two bureau officers had undergone training at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the USA.

The CBI, he said, plans to compile the available information on a CD-ROM which could be circulated easily to the police in all states.

"The CBI should be providing leadership and disseminating information on how to tackle cyber crimes’’ Mr Raghavan said.

He said in order to create awareness in the country among the police, the CBI had decided to organise a seminar on information technology at its academy at Ghaziabad.

The seminar will be attended by experts in the field and police from different states, especially on the clause of policing in the new IT Bill.

Earlier, this month the first-ever Information Technology Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha which has certain clauses on policing.

He said the officers of the CBI, who had undergone training on the subject would in turn be training other officers.

Mr Raghavan said the CBI would also hold a study group within the bureau to spread awareness in the office about it.Top

 

Vajpayee invokes Venkateswara

TIRUPATI, May 25 (PTI) — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today offered prayer at the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, near here.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, on arrival at the temple was received by the chief priest and devasthanam officials.

Mr Vajpayee stood for about 10 minutes before the idol of Lord Balaji with folded hands and offered prayer amidst chanting of vedic hymns by the priests.

The chief priest also invoked the blessings of the Lord on Mr Vajpayee and presented him with a sacred silk "vastram" and prasadams.

Later, he inaugurated a Rs 14 crore drinking water supply scheme for the benefit of lakhs of devotees visiting the water starved hill shrine.Top

 

Kirnapur goes to polls today

KIRNAPUR, May 25 (UNI) — The Kirnapur Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh goes to by polls tomorrow, would witness a triangular contest between the Congress, the BJP and the Janata Party.

The five nominees in the fray include Ms Pushpalata Kanware (Congress), Mr Bhuwanlal Pardhi (BJP), Ms Anubha Munjare (Janata Party), Mr Dilip Choudhary (Janata Dal-United) and independent Ram Prasad Bisen.

Byelection to this seat was necessitated following the murder of the State Transport Minister Likhiram Kanware in December last year. Ms Pushpalata Kanware is the widow of Mr Kanware.

The seat has traditionally been a Congress bastion.Top

 

Pension helpline for Railway ex-staff
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 25 — Over one million retired employees of the Indian Railways can now voice their grievances through a pension helpline on the Internet.

A press note issued by the ministry said here that the website http//www irpension.com/ designed and developed by the Western Railways had been extended to all zonal railways. The website offers contact details of officers, various types of pension, commutation table, methods of calculating pension and policy directives. Users can also access an online pension calculator.

The search facility helps in locating specific policy circulars.

The Western Railway plans to make the helpline an exhaustive database of all information on pension.Top

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS

Documents sought on flight diversion
NEW DELHI: All records relating to May 12 Alliance Air Delhi-Lucknow-Patna flight, whose route was reportedly changed to accommodate 27 MPs, will be placed before the Delhi High Court on July 19. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice D.K. Jain asked the Director General of Civil Aviation and Alliance Air Limited, a subsidiary of the state-owned Indian Airlines, to submit the records but did not issue any notice. — UNI

Bomb explodes in temple
VIJAYAWADA: A bomb exploded in Kodanda Rama temple here on Thursday, the police said. However, no one was injured in the explosion though the floor of the temple located in Krishna Lanka area of the city was damaged, they said. The police suspect that the explosion was engineered by burglars to blow up the padlock of the temple which houses some invaluable Panchaloga idols. — PTI

Gandhi Institute staff on ‘satyagraha’
VARANASI: Employees of the renowned Gandhian Institute of Studies here are using Mahatma Gandhi’s own weapon, "satyagraha", to get their unpaid salaries. The staff of the fund-starved institute, founded by Loknayak Jaiprakash Narain, have begun a "satyagraha" to demand payment of salaries they had not received for the past six months. Mr Kamaluddin Sheikh, President of the Employees’ Association, said the Central Government had not paid its grant to the institute, plunging it into a financial crisis. — UNI

Rajasthan Govt quota for disabled
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government has decided to provide three per cent reservation to disabled students in medical and engineering colleges in the state, official sources said here on Thursday. The decision was taken by a Cabinet Sub-Committee on Welfare of Handicap Persons here on Wednesday, an official press note said. The reservation for handicap students will be effective from the academic session beginning July this year. — PTI

2 boys buried alive in Banda
BANDA: Two young boys were buried alive when the mound of the earth they were digging caved in, the police said here on Thursday. The boys, belonging to potters’ families, used to go to Kirit Sagar locality under Mahoba police station of the town often to dig earth for making earthen pots, the police said. — PTI

Ex-minister kin shoots herself
ALLAHABAD: The daughter of a former Uttar Pradesh Transport Minister shot herself dead at her Georgetown area residence on Wednesday. According to the police, Savita (19), a student of BA II year in Jagat Taran Degree College here, was found dead by her brother when he returned from the market. She had shot herself in the abdomen with a licenced gun. — UNI

"Uttarakhand — Challenges Ahead"
DEHRA DUN: A "creative partnership" between the government and the people will be required to build "a new vibrant and prosperous Uttarakhand," according to Dr B.K. Joshi, former Vice-Chancellor of Kumaon University. In an article "Uttarakhand-Challenges Ahead," published in the journal "Mountains and People" by the Shri Bhubaneshwari Mahila Ashram, Dr Joshi says that the responsibility of building a bright future for the hilly region rests with its luminaries, thinkers and policy-makers. — UNI

Indian condoms to be modified
NEW DELHI: Indian condoms will now be of international standards to provide better protection against HIV as the government has made the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules more stringent by bringing in an amendment. In a gazette notification on April 26, 2000, the government has asked condom manufacturers to modify the water leakage, burst volume and pressure factor of Indian condoms to afford greater protection against AIDS-causing Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). — PTITop

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