Tuesday, May 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N


Braj Kishore Tripathy Minister of State for Steel (independent charge) assumes charge at his office in New Delhi on Monday
Mr Braj Kishore Tripathy, Minister of State for Steel (independent portfolio), assumed charge at his office in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photo

Family planning tops ministry agenda
NEW DELHI, May 29 — The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr C P Thakur who assumed charge today said that family planning would be on the top of the agenda of the ministry as population explosion was eating away the fruits of development.

Meeting on Punjab border areas today
NEW DELHI, May 29 — The possibility of Punjab getting an extension on the ad-hoc grant for farmers of border areas appears bright as the issue will be taken up at the inter-ministry meeting convened here tomorrow.

Laloo: CBI can’t probe assets case
PATNA, May 29 — RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadav today strongly contested the disproportionate assets case instituted by the CBI against him and Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, claiming the case was beyond the agency’s jurisdiction.

CISF to oversee security at city airport
NEW DELHI, May 29 — The Central Industrial Security Force which is overseeing security of 12 domestic airports, will soon expand operations to 11 more airports including Amritsar and Chandigarh, from next month.



EARLIER STORIES
 

BJP lambasts 4 ex-PMs
NEW DELHI, MAY 29 — The Bharatiya Janata Party today launched an attack on four former Prime Ministers for their ‘double standard’ in regard to economic policies on disinvestment.

Punjab girl wins Olympics prize
NEW DELHI, May 29 — While a 11-year-old girl Ms Aboli Satish Kadam from Pune has won the Sydney 2000 Visa Olympics of the Imagination, the second prize has been awarded to 12-year-old Ms Sukhmeet Kaur from Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab.

The 35 year old man, Mukesh Sharma, who reportedly tried to self-immolate himself in front of Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit's official residence opposite Pragati Maidan, in the heart of capital on Monday, lying in RML hospital with nearly 100 per cent burns
The 35 year old man, Mukesh Sharma, who reportedly tried to self-immolate himself in front of Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit's official residence opposite Pragati Maidan, in the heart of capital on Monday, lying in RML hospital with nearly 100 per cent burns. — PTI photo
Self-immolation bid by Cong worker
NEW DELHI, May 29 — A Congress party worker from Bihar, Mukesh Sharma (35), attempted to immolate himself in front of Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit’s residence on Purana Quila Road, this afternoon, he was reportedly under depression due to unemployment for a long time.

Manu denied bail in Jessica case
NEW DELHI, May 29 — The bail plea of the main accused in the Jessica Lal murder case, Manu Sharma, alias Siddharth Vashisht, son of a former Union Minister, Mr Venod Sharma, was today rejected by the Delhi High Court.

Rain likely in HP, UP areas
PUNE, May 29 — Forecast valid until the morning of May 31 rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at most places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim; at many places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Konkan and Goa, coastal Karnataka and Kerala; at a few places in Gangetic West Bengal and at isolated places in Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, hills of west Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Maharashtra, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu and interior Karnataka. Mainly dry weather will prevail over the rest of the country.

Pak-trained child soldiers fight in J&K
NEW DELHI, May 29 — They are victims of fate, caught in the quagmire of conflict. A sad but recent dimension of modern wars is the emergence of children as soldiers — in the state and non-state armies.

CBSE plus 2 results on May 31
NEW DELHI, May 29 — The results of senior school certificate exams (plus 2) will be declared on Wednesday for the Delhi, Chandigarh, Guwahati and Allahabad regions, the CBSE announced today.

Verdict on TV scam today
CHENNAI, May 29 — A Special Judge here will pronounce the final judgement in the Rs 10.16 crore colour TV scam case against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and nine others tomorrow, even as the police has made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order in the state.
Top




 

Family planning tops ministry agenda
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 29 — The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr C P Thakur who assumed charge today said that family planning would be on the top of the agenda of the ministry as population explosion was eating away the fruits of development.

He said improved primary health care would be next on the agenda as it would minimise the workload of district hospitals.

The minister said that all states, Departments of the Human Resource Development, Rural Development, Poverty Alleviation, Women and Child Development, Social Justice and Empowerment, non-governmental organisations, corporate sector, all medical practitioners and the general public would be involved in the government’s onerous task of providing better health care to all at affordable price and stabilising the country’s population with the present one billion mark.

Dr Thakur said efforts would be made to set up viable satellite medical centres in the state Capital and major cities. He said he would try his best to include hepatitis B vaccine in the national immunisation programme in light of its epidemic nature.

The minister expressed concern at the recent incidents of isolated cases of cholera in Delhi and blamed the bad management of water supply. He visited the Infectious Diseases hospital and the IIT hostel to see students who have recovered from cholera.

He said two types of diseases are afflicting the country, those associated with poverty such as malaria, tuberculosis and cholera and those associated with affluence such as diabetes and heart disease.

The minister called upon the senior officers of the ministry, the Director-General Health Services and the Project Director of the National AIDS Control Organisation to cooperate in carrying out the government’s plans of providing health care to all at the centre.Top

 

Meeting on Punjab border areas today
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 29 — The possibility of Punjab getting an extension on the ad-hoc grant for farmers of border areas appears bright as the issue will be taken up at the inter-ministry meeting convened here tomorrow.

According to sources the Planning Commission which had released a sum of Rs 8 crore as compensation last year to farmers whose cultivation was affected as their lands lay beyond the fence, could benefit this year too.

The issue had come up for discussion when the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, led a delegation which met Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr K.C. Pant, and urged him to continue the scheme.

"I can afford it" Mr Pant said after the meeting last Friday when asked whether the ad-hoc grant would continue.

However, Mr Pant did not make any announcement and the matter along with other issues raised by Punjab, including problems encountered by people residing close to the border, night-curfew, opening of more gates and maintenance of border roads, will figure in tomorrow’s meeting.

Apart from the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, who has called the meeting, the officers from the Ministries of Defence, Rural Development and Agriculture and Planning Commission and Border Security Force will also attend the meeting.Top

 

Laloo: CBI can’t probe assets case

PATNA, May 29 (PTI) — RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadav today strongly contested the disproportionate assets (DA) case instituted by the CBI against him and Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, claiming the case was beyond the agency’s jurisdiction.

Appearing on behalf of the Laloo-Rabri duo against the agency’s plea for framing charges in the Designated CBI Court in the DA case, their counsel P.N. Pandey and Chittranjan Sinha said as per the Supreme Court and the Patna High Court order, the CBI was entrusted to probe only those 41 cases registered by the state government relating to fraudulent withdrawals from various state treasuries after the fodder scam surfaced.

The case has been instituted by the CBI on the basis of the returns filed by both of them in 1996, they said, emphasising the DA case is in no way linked with the fodder scam.

"There have been recoveries and discoveries of evidences in connection with the fraudulent withdrawals from the state treasuries by the state Animal Husbandry Department. But in the instant (DA) case there has been no recoveries or discoveries," Mr Pandey said.

"How a matter which was being examined by the Income Tax Department came under the jurisdiction of the CBI probing the multi-crore fodder scam," he asked.

Hearing on the case for framing of charges, however, remained inconclusive as the Designated CBI Judge S.K.Lal asked Mr Pandey to resume his argument tomorrow.

He said according to set norms, the CBI would probe only those cases being handed over to it either by the respective state governments or the courts.

"There is not even an iota of evidence with the premier investigating agency to prove that the DA case has any relation with the fodder scam," he claimed.

Yadav was present in the court while Mrs Rabri Devi could not attend the proceeding. Her lawyer filed a petition seeking exemption of her personal appearance on the ground that she was preoccupied with official work.

The CBI’s counsel, Mr L.R.Ansari, while pressing for framing of charges in this case, had on Saturday charged the RJD chief with having committed the offence of criminal misconduct as public servant between 1990 and 1997 and earned property and pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income to the extent of Rs 46.26 lakh.

The Patna High Court had already granted provisional bail to Mr Laloo Yadav for three months earlier this month. Mrs Rabri Devi is on regular bail in this case.

The Income Tax Department had last week attached the moveable assets of the RJD leader and the Chief Minister for their alleged failure to clear the tax liabilities to the tune of over Rs 42 lakh during 1990 and 1996.Top

 

CISF to oversee security at city airport
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 29 — The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is overseeing security of 12 domestic airports, will soon expand operations to 11 more airports including Amritsar and Chandigarh, from next month.

In the wake of the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane from Kathmandu last December, the Centre had decided to induct the CISF for providing security cover at all airports in the country.

So far the CISF has been inducted at 12 airports in the country, including Jaipur, Patna, Guwahati, Vadodra, Port Blair, Agartala, Ranchi, Rajkot, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kochi.

The government had earlier decided that all 66 airports in the country would be covered in a phased manner covering all by the middle of the next year.

According to a tentative schedule prepared by the government, apart from Amritsar and Chandigarh, the airports to be covered by the CISF include Bangalore and Calcutta among others.

The CISF is expected to be inducted at airports in Shimla, Gaggal and Bhuntar during January-February, 2001, while the international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram will be included between March-June, 2001.

The airports in Jammu and Kashmir will be taken over later, according to a Union Home Ministry spokesman here today. Top

 

BJP lambasts 4 ex-PMs
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, MAY 29 — The Bharatiya Janata Party today launched an attack on four former Prime Ministers for their ‘double standard’ in regard to economic policies on disinvestment.

The party spokesman Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu expressed surprise over the statements by the former PMs in which they attacked the Vajpayee government for majority disinvestment in Air India. He pointed out that the process of disinvestment was started by the Congress, pursued by the United Front and continued by NDA government.

"I find no reason why these people should term the decision of disinvestment in Air India as anti-national," Mr Naidu said.

He said these former PMs had considerable knowledge and experience in governance and national affairs and the BJP was expecting a ‘more responsible and mature approach’ from them.

He said it was all the more surprising as they shared the platform with the Communist parties who were now consigned to ideological irrelevance the world over. He said the Communists wanted to use this forum to prop up and cobble another third front which had failed the nation.

The BJP leader accused the former PMs of helping the Congress which had ruled and ruined the country in the past 45 years.

Mr Naidu said that holding a two-year old government responsible for accumulated maladies of unemployment, illiteracy, poverty and economic disparity was also not justified. These maladies, he said, were inherited by the NDA government from previous governments.

The BJP would have appreciated if these PMs had said something on what they had done to tackle these problems, he said.

Regarding disinvestment, he said West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu in 1991 had written to the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao seeking privatisation of a steel plant using industrialist Swaraj Paul’s money and experience in this sector.

Similarly, it was the United Front government which had referred 40 public sector units (PSUs), including Air India, HAL, ONGC, NTPC and MTNL, for disinvestment in 1996. The common minimum programme of the United Front, of which the CPM was an ideologue, also spoke of disinvestment in non-core areas.Top

 

Punjab girl wins Olympics prize
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 29 — While a 11-year-old girl Ms Aboli Satish Kadam from Pune has won the Sydney 2000 Visa Olympics of the Imagination, the second prize has been awarded to 12-year-old Ms Sukhmeet Kaur from Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab.

The contest was open to children in the age group of 9 to 13 to create an original piece of art representing the Olympic motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher and stronger), a press note said today.

Children could depict athletes in the midst of competition or they could choose symbolic images to depict their interpretation or they could create an entirely different way to express the Olympic motto.

Ms Kadam’s artwork featured Lord Hanuman. "Olympics is a celebration of conquering the barriers of speed, power and limitations. My drawings bring the goodwill of Indian heritage to the festival of achievements," she said.

The second prize winner Ms Sukhmeet Kaur describing her artwork said "The whole world participates in the Olympic games. People represent their nations to prove that they are faster, higher and stronger. If all the nations of the world cooperate with each other, society will progress so much that our mother planet will be a better place to live on."

The contest received 6,190 entry artworks from across the country. The largest number of entries were from Andhra Pradesh (591), followed by Maharashtra (530) and Haryana (548).

Bal Vikas School, Panipat, Haryana, was given special award as the school sent the highest number of 426 eligible entries.

The panel of judges comprised Dr Madhu Pant, Director, National Bal Bhavan, Mr Ravi Shankar, Director, Children’s Book Trust, Mr Shabbir Wahid, Australian Counsel-General and Trade Commissioner, Dr Rani Raote, psychologist and Mr Raell Padamsee, theatre personality.

"The predominant theme across the artwork was a representation of nature and animals to depict the Olympic motto with a strong mythological element," said Mr Anant Pai, editor of Tinkle, who conducted the first round of judging.Top

 

Manu denied bail in Jessica case
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 29 — The bail plea of the main accused in the Jessica Lal murder case, Manu Sharma, alias Siddharth Vashisht, son of a former Union Minister, Mr Venod Sharma, was today rejected by the Delhi High Court.

Mr Justice R.S. Sodhi dismissed the bail plea of Manu Sharma, who had been in judicial custody for about a year, saying it was not an appropriate stage and the trial court was yet to frame charges in the case.

The court directed the police to ensure that the process of framing charges in the case was expedited and completed within a month.

The police had chargesheeted more than 10 persons in the case, including Vikas Yadav, son of a Rajya Sabha MP, Mr D.P. Yadav, for harbouring Manu Sharma and helping him in destroying evidence. All other accused are out on bail.

Manu Sharma has been accused by the police of shooting Jessica Lal in the head at a point-blank range with a licenced revolver at socialite Bina Ramani’s Qutab Colonade restaurant on April 30 1999, on her refusal to serve him liquor late at night.

The police said she was working as a bartender in the restaurant when Manu Sharma along with one of his friends arrived there around midnight.

Opposing the bail plea, police counsel S.K. Saxena said the accused, who was an influential person, could tamper with the evidence if released on bail at this stage.

Senior advocate Rajinder Singh contending on Manu Sharma’s bail plea said the involvement of his client in the alleged crime was doubtful as the police had not even been able to recover the weapon of offence.

The opinion of two ballistic experts on the two bullets seized from the site also differed, he submitted.Top

 

Rain likely in HP, UP areas

PUNE, May 29 (PTI) — Forecast valid until the morning of May 31 rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at most places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim; at many places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Konkan and Goa, coastal Karnataka and Kerala; at a few places in Gangetic West Bengal and at isolated places in Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, hills of west Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Maharashtra, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu and interior Karnataka. Mainly dry weather will prevail over the rest of the country.

Heavy rainfall warning: heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura during next 48 hours.

Temperatures recorded in four metropolitan cities were: Mumbai max 32C and min 26C, New Delhi max 42C and min 31C, Calcutta max 34C and min 22C, Chennai max 39C and min 26C.

Southwest monsoon further advanced into Nagaland, Manipur Mizoram and Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. Conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into Lakshadweep area, south Kerala and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim during next two to three days.

The trough on sea level chart from Punjab to northeast Bay across south Uttar Pradesh persists. The trough on sea level chart from south Gujarat coast to Kerala coast persists and extends in the lower levels.

Rain or thundershowers have occurred at many places in Assam and Meghalaya and coastal Karnataka; at a few places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, West Bengal and Sikkim and Konkan and Goa and at isolated places in Jammu and Kashmir, central Maharashtra, Rayalaseema and Lakshadweep. Mainly dry weather prevailed over the rest of the country.

Chief amounts of rainfall in cm are: Port Blair 8.6, Shillong 6.0, Calcutta 4.9, Panambur 2.9, Guwahati 2.8, Panjim 2.7, Jalpaiguri 2.3, Ratnagiri 1.8, Vengurla 1.6, Hut Bay and Shirali 1.3 each, Kathua 1.1 and Agartala 0.8.Top

 

Pak-trained child soldiers fight in J&K

NEW DELHI, May 29 (PTI) — They are victims of fate, caught in the quagmire of conflict. A sad but recent dimension of modern wars is the emergence of children as soldiers — in the state and non-state armies.

Today, an estimated three lakh such children are supposed to be recruited as regular forces fighting alongside adults. And what was for long perceived as a problem afflicting Africa, has now caught up with Asia where some 75,000 children are supposed to be engaged as soldiers, says Rory Mungovan of the "Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers."

According to the Coalition, which is spearheading a movement for a worldwide ban, in Sri Lanka, where Tamil secessionists have been involved in a running battle with the government, the Red Cross came across 140 dead bodies of LTTE cadres of which 49 were child soldiers — 32 of them girls.

Mungovan, who compares child soldiers with biological and chemical weapons, says "their use is as rampant as land mines and therefore needs to be redressed seriously by governments as well as non-government organisations".

According to Mungovan, the record of the state governments has been as poor as the non-state armed groups. "Even the governments have been found to recruit children much below the age of 16.

"It therefore requires a complete ban and setting of stringent global standards," he says citing the examples of Myanmar, Cambodia, several Latin American and African nations like Mozambique.

While Mungovan defines child soldiers as armed personnel less than 18 years of age and goes to the extent of branding even cadets of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in similar category, Mr D R Mohanty, a senior fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses says there should be clear distinction between state and non-state actors.

"Government soldiers are legitimate functionaries with the consent and will of the people, unlike cadres of armed rebel militia, who could be forced into war," notes Mohanty.

The biggest impediment that comes in the way of rehabilitation of these soldiers, at times, is extreme poverty or complete isolation that makes them join the fighting corps after being abandoned by their communities, notes Heinrik Haggstorm, Advocacy Director, Save the Children, a Swedish NGO.

"Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a programme of support for them." The problem, he says, is worse than child labour and the Coalition is trying to get an International Criminal Court, on the lines of War Tribunals, established to look into the matter and get justice delivered.

According to Haggstorm there are 36 areas of conflict across the world today and most of them have deployed child soldiers in one form or the other.

Similarly, Cambodia, under pressure from western countries, has banned child soldiers, they say noting that support for the cause has also been coming from countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand.

The cause, says Haggstorm, deserves special attention in India as a large number of child soldiers recruited in Pakistan and Afghanistan are fighting in Kashmir.

Naxalites too are using them as shields to defend themselves when under attack from state forces and also as cannon fodder in high risk areas, he says.

The condition of girls as soldiers is even pathetic, as they join the forces in guise of equality of sexes but end up being used as cooks and also abused sexually, he says.

The coalition is now in the process of mobilising public opinion across the world in favour of a proposed protocol banning recruitment of child soldiers and their rehabilitation.

The sooner they achieve their goal the better.Top

 

Self-immolation bid by Cong worker
From Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 29 — A Congress party worker from Bihar, Mukesh Sharma (35), attempted to immolate himself in front of Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit’s residence on Purana Quila Road, this afternoon, he was reportedly under depression due to unemployment for a long time.

He was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital by the guards posted outside the CM’s residence with 100 per cent burn injuries. He is in a critical condition, the police said.

In his statement to the police, he said he had visited CM’s residence thrice to seek a job but in vain. Top

 

CBSE plus 2 results on May 31

NEW DELHI, May 29 (UNI) — The results of senior school certificate exams (plus 2) will be declared on Wednesday for the Delhi, Chandigarh, Guwahati and Allahabad regions, the CBSE announced today.

The results would be provided on e-mail and the Internet to its schools located in different parts of the country and abroad. Student and schools may access the website for results at www.cbse.nic.in from 11 am onwards, a CBSE press note said.

In Delhi, regular candidates can have the result from their respective schools, private candidates from exam centres, and patrachar stream from Patrachar Vidyalaya.

Schools in Delhi may contact the office of the respective Deputy Director of Education for gazettes and marksheets. Requests for verification of marks can be made within 30 days from the date of the declaration of the results.Top

 

Verdict on TV scam today

CHENNAI, May 29 (PTI) — A Special Judge here will pronounce the final judgement in the Rs 10.16 crore colour TV scam case against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and nine others tomorrow, even as the police has made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order in the state.

Police personnel have been put on full alert to prevent the sort of violence that was unleashed by AIADMK supporters on February 2 when public transport buses were burnt and brickbatted in protest the conviction of Ms Jayalalitha in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case, the police said.

Three women students of Coimbatore Agriculture University were burnt alive in a bus at Dharmapuri in the violence that erupted after she was sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment in the case. Over 30 AIADMK members have been chargesheeted as participants in the chilling arson incident.

The verdict in the colour TV scam will be pronounced by Special Judge V. Radhakrishnan, who had earlier convicted her and her colleague T.M.Selvaganapathy in the hotel case. This will be the second case in which the final verdict will be pronounced by the trial court.Top

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS

11 killed in bus mishap
CHENNAI: Eleven persons, including five women and a child, were killed and 60 injured in a collision between two state transport corporation buses in Karur district of Tamil Nadu today, the police said. One of the buses was on way to Madurai from Erode, while the other was proceeding towards Erode from Tiruchirapalli. — PTI

Woman, kids jump into well, die
JAIPUR: A woman with her two children jumped into a well in Sabalon-ka-Khera village in Rajsamand district, the police said here on Monday. The 32-year-old woman, with her two-and-a-half-year-old son and five-year-old daughter had jumped into the well on Sunday. All three died before any help could be rushed. A case has been registered. — PTI

20 extremists nabbed
HAZARIBAGH: At least 20 extremists of different ultra Left groups were nabbed in a special drive in Hazaribagh district during the past 10 days. Police Superintendent Alok Raj told newsmen here on Monday that over 20 guns, explosives, police uniforms and Naxalite literature were seized from the arrested outlaws. He said deposit documents of post office and bank worth over Rs 1.25 lakh were seized from one of the ultras. — UNI

Rain snaps link to Tripura
AGARTALA: Tripura has been cut off from the rest of the country following heavy rains since Saturday, official sources said on Monday. The incessant rains also inundated the Assam-Agartala national highway, which connects the state with the rest of the country. Four major rivers — Juri, Deo, Kakri and Manu — in north Tripura were flowing just under danger level. — PTI

Hunt on for passport racketeers
BARODA: The police has launched a hunt for a Mumbai-based trickster, allegedly involved in issuing bogus passports for those desirous of travelling to Britain by charging hefty sums from them. The police were on the lookout for Girish Mehta along with two other local accomplices, Chandu Mistry of Porbandar and Manoj Medha of Goarana village, who are absconding after a case was registered against them. — PTI

Pondy ministry expanded
PONDICHERRY: The Congress-led coalition ministry headed by P. Shanmugham in Pondicherry was expanded on Monday with the inclusion of TMC member M. Kandasamy into it. Lieut Governor of the union territory Rajani Rai administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Kandasamy at a simple function at Rajnivas. With this expansion, the strength of the Cabinet has risen to six. — PTI

Clinton appreciates Assamese craft
GUWAHATI: The rich Assamese folk arts and craft have found newest admirer — US President Bill Clinton. The American President was presented with a traditional welcome plaque "Assamese sasi pat" made by Kolong Kola Kendra of the Young Folk Artists. The President received the plaque through the US consulate of Calcutta this month. He was prompt enough to send a thanks giving letter full of appreciation to the much-elated struggling folk artists. — UNI

Paswan’s gesture on NTR stamp
VIJAYAWADA: Union Commission Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has over ruled hitherto existing norms to facilitate the issue of a commemorative postage stamp depicting former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister late N.T. Rama Rao. This was disclosed by Chief Minister and Telgu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu last night at a function organised to release the stamp. — UNI

Dalits’ murder to be probed
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Monday ordered a Crime Branch-CID (CB-CID) probe into the murder of three Dalit youths at Puliyangudi village near Chidambaram on May 27, an official press release said here. The three victims — Gandhi (30), his brother Vellaiyan (20) and Mathiazhagan (35) — were murdered due to an enmity, while they were asleep under a tree in the village. — UNI

3 commit suicide in Alwar
ALWAR: Three persons, including a married woman, committed suicide by consuming poison in separate incidents since Sunday in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, the police said here on Monday. While an 18-year-old youth took his life by consuming poison in Madhogarh village, another 24-year-old youth ended his life in village Pathroda. In the third incident, a married woman died after consuming poison in Mundia Khera village. — PTITop

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