|Monday, June 19, 2000,
India deployed Agni in
Law panel for tribunal for defence
Repoll ordered in 200 Bihar booths
VHP for law to ban conversions
Why Indians immolate?
3 killed in ultras attack in
Badal opens hospital construction
|Flood situation in Assam grim
GUWAHATI, June 18 The Brahmaputra and its tributaries were rising alarmingly in five districts of Upper Assam affecting more than one lakh persons in 183 villages following a heavy rainfall during the past few days in the catchment areas, official sources said here today.
Job conditions of scribes
Novel way to keep police at bay
Shah Bano case lawyer dead
India deployed Agni in Kargil
NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI) India had deployed at least five nuclear tipped missiles including Agni for retaliatory strikes during the Kargil conflict, a security expert has claimed.
Quoting another expert that "four nuclear armed Prithvis and one Agni were deployed for retaliatory strikes during Kargil", the expert, Dr Sanjay Badri-Maharaj, said "this I later more or less confirmed independently."
In an article on "Nuclear Indias Status" in a leading Defence Journal, he said in 1996-97, India "actually began work on mating nuclear warheads to missiles" after the clearance given by the H.D. Deve Gowda government.
"This was confirmed to me in 1997 by a former artillery officer. This required modifications in safety locking systems and validating the mechanisms ability to withstand high-G (gravitation) forces," he said in the forthcoming issue of "Indian Defence Review".
Badri-Maharaj, who is authoring a book titled "the Armageddon Factor", said two tests for the mechanism to mount and trigger warheads were done on Prithvi SS-250 missiles before these were formally deployed in September 1997.
Stating that it was
difficult to estimate how many nuclear weapons India had,
the expert said the weaponisation programme "has
certainly taken place with full mock delivery
trials being completed by 1994". A rudimentary
system was in place from 1986-88, he added.
Law panel for tribunal for defence personnel
NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI) The Law Commission has suggested amendments to the Army, Navy and Air Force Acts to create an Armed Forces Appellate Tribunal (AFAT) for prompt disposal of cases challenging decisions of courts martial and to bring para-military forces also under its purview.
"The Army, Navy and Air Force Acts should be amended providing for creation of a tribunal to adjudicate disputes and complaints with respect to service conditions of persons appointed in Army, Navy and Air Force", the commission has said in its 169th report to the government.
"In case such a tribunal is created, Parliament may also consider bringing other paramilitary services too under the jurisdiction of this tribunal," the report said.
"It would contribute to greater discipline and prompt disposal of service disputes pertaining to the armed forces if a separate service tribunal is created", it said.
The commission had undertaken a review suo motu in view of a Supreme Court order pointing out several deficiencies in the existing Acts and suggested measures to the government to amend these accordingly, its member N.M. Ghatate told PTI.
The Supreme Court had in the Lt Col Prithvi Pal Singh versus Union of India (1982) case pointed out absence of the remedy of appeal against the orders of courts martial and that the courts martial must record reasons in support of their conclusions and orders, Mr Ghatate said.
The creation of an Appellate Tribunal was favoured by the Law Commission as over 5,000 cases relating to disputes of defence rank of Major General, Air Vice Marshal or a Rear Admiral were awaiting decision the report said, adding the tenure of the president and the members should be four years.
The report said that if an appeal is preferred by a person holding a rank higher than the rank held by a person appointed as member, the president of the tribunal would write to the central government to nominate a retired officer of a higher rank than that of the appellant to act as a member in that particular case.
The commission said that the amendment should further provide for a statutory appeal to the Supreme Court against the final decision and orders of such a tribunal.
The commission said it would be appropriate to provide further that every service matter should be decided by a bench of two members, one of whom should be a judicial member. In case of any difference of opinion between the members of the bench, the matter should be referred to a three-member bench including the judicial member.
It said that the service tribunal so created should be common to all three services and it should have four benches in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai with Delhi bench being the principal bench.
The commission also said
that pending amendments of the Army, Navy and the Air
Force Acts, the government should request the high courts
to amend their rules to provide that all services
disputes concerning the three armed forces should be
heard only by a division bench and that such disputes
should be disposed of within six months.
Repoll ordered in 200 Bihar booths
LUCKNOW, June 18 (UNI) Repoll will be held in 200 polling booths in the state where polling was held yesterday for the second phase of three-tier panchayat elections.
A State Election Commission (panchayat and local bodies) spokesman said here today that reports of violence and irregularities had been received from these booths during polling yesterday.
The spokesman said the third phase of polling would be held on June 20 in 215 development blocks of 71 districts. In all 2,24,76,074 voters would cast their votes at 36,335 polling booths to elect 1,64203 members of gram panchayats, 13,717 gram pradhans, 13844 members of kshetra panchayats and 1,92,315 members of zila panchayats. There are 4,33,476 candidates in the fray for the 1,92,315 posts.
A report from Gorakhpur said repolling would be held in booth numbers 64 and 65 in the Barauli gram sabha area of Sahajanava block and polling booth number 165 in the Sairogram panchayat area of Khazani block following reports of rigging, booth-capturing and other malpractices yesterday.
MAHARAJGANJ: Maharajganj District Magistrate and returning officer N.N. Pandey has issued shoot-at-sight orders against elements disturbing the June 20 panchayat elections in the four blocks of the district.
Mr Pandey said this had been decided due to apprehensions that the presence of a state minister and a Samajvadi Party MP could disturb polling.
He warned that those disturbing polling would also be booked under the National Security Act (NSA).
He said that the polling
party had already left for one of most difficulty areas
Sohagibarava forest area, situated between Nepal
and Bihar, where three gram sabhas would go to the polls
on June 20.
VHP for law to ban conversions
COIMBATORE, June 18 (PTI) The work of carving stones and pillars for the proposed Sri Ram Janambhoomi temple in Ayodhya is in progress and is expected to be completed within two years, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) central secretary, Mohan Joshi said.
About 150 artisans are engaged in carving pillars and stones at workshops in Rajasthan and Ayodhya and almost one-third of the work has been completed, Mr Joshi told reporters have last night.
He said "Sompura families", the group, which had constructed the Somnath temple, was designing the Ram temple.
Mr Joshi said the Ram temple, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 25 crore, would be built on the pattern of Somnath temple in Uttar Padesh.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has demanded a legislation to ban religious conversions and alleged that some Christian institutions are targeting tribal areas for mass conversion.
The VHP secretary, Mr Mohan Joshi, told reporters that the VHP would appeal to all MPs to support such a law.
He alleged some churches were targeting tribal areas for mass conversion in India and Nepal and had "hatched a conspiracy to smash Hindu culture".
An intelligence report by the Home Ministry has suggested prevalence of "Christian terrorists" in north-Eastern states, particularly Nagaland, Mr Joshi claimed and demanded a white paper on their activities.
He alleged that some churches were assisting these groups with the backing of the Pakistans ISI.
Why Indians immolate?
NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI) Self immolation in public as an attempt to communicate and underline a protest is bizarre and brutal. Yet it is apparent to be on the rise in India.
In the first six months of the new millennium, Kerala has recorded 21 self immolation deaths in May. In January, a jobless teacher in Orissa, who along with seven others committed self-immolation near the residence of state Education Minister in December last, succumbed to burns.
Recently, a Sikh youth committed self-immolation in front of the Lucknow Vidhan Sabha protesting against harassment at the hands of the police. And the latest in this disturbing phenomenon occurred in the capital two weeks ago near the official residence of Delhi Chief Minister and another near the Parliament House.
But why are more and more people taking this extreme step. Is there a political reason behind this uncanny expression of protest?
Socio-political analysts, see in self immolation a reflection of extreme frustration in the face of extreme indifference of the state.
"This sad trend", says Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of the School of Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, "can be managed through proper social education".
"These cases will become widespread if state apathy and indifference towards the individual continue", warns Ahmed refusing to see the act as one resorted to for gaining political mileage.
Media and social awareness can prevent this practice from growing into a social stigma and perhaps, help douse these flames of frustration, he says.
Ahmed considers self-immolation as "part and parcel of political violence. It is an example of making violence an instrument to communicate and emphasise a political message."
"In a society of indifference, extreme measures are apparently required to catch attention. The act in itself is dramatic, against the apathy of society," he says.
According to Ajay Mehra of the Centre for Policy Research, self-immolation is a dramatic statement, to express the levels of frustration of the individual and a message to the system.
"It is done in public so that the message is communicated and carried to a larger section of society. The self-immolator is aware of the power of the media that reports it. With audio-visual media, such acts are captured for history and communicated on larger scales", notes Mehra.
Political analyst Ashish Nandy of the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, says, offering to give up ones life for a cause has its origins in pre-colonial era.
"During colonialism, it resurfaced as in the case of Jatin Das who starved himself to death protesting against the colonial rule.
Imtiaz Ahmed feels that self immolation is not a planned act. "It is done spontaneously, at a moment of crisis, a state of mind created by individuals frustration. If that moment passes, he may stay away from taking the drastic measure."
Mehra agrees that there is a threat element in self-immolation. "But once you commit the act, there is no logical way in which to withdraw from it.
"Threat is when you know you can take it back. In self-immolation, you dont have that fall-back option. Those who do it are highly motivated or emotionally deranged and mentally imbalanced."
Mehra locates the roots of self-immolation as a political protest in India in the anti-Hindi riots and later in the Dravidian movement of Tamil Nadu in the sixties.
The first recorded case of self-immolation in the state dates back to 1937, at the height of the anti-Hindi agitation when two persons burned themselves to death and immortalised themselves as Dravidian icons.
Self-immolators were considered as martyrs, and in few cases, those who survived the bid made it to politics, raising doubts as to whether people are gaining political mileage from this menacing practice.
Some who threaten to self-immolate and some who have really survived the attempt may have taken political advantage of it, but that was neither an expected thing, nor deliberate. Such cases are to be considered as aberrations than as rule", observes Mehra.
Nandy says, "self-immolation is too risky a way to gain political mileage. In the process of the attempt the person may actually die. As a matter of fact, he did not do it to live."
"Often the masterminds are not those who immolate themselves, as in the case of the suicide bombers. The actual players are those who indoctrinate them," says Ahmed.
Ahmed observes that the self-immolator usually identifies himself with a cause, becomes engrossed with the task and loses touch with reality.
"They are seized by a strong unifocal thought, believing its the be all and end all of everything."
Trends on this tragic practice show that most of the victims are high school or college drop-outs or unemployed youth or very emotional personalities and generally, social outcaste.
"The victims are not integrated to the society that is going through tremendous changes. They feel marginalised in a world that offers no succour or hope. Without sufficient linkage or location in the community, they feel alienated and fall prey to such extreme emotional acts," observes Ahmed.
"Self-immolation is a political statement. The immolator is making a point to himself and to the society. The aims are social and political but the causes could be personal."
According to Mehra, the highly reactionary nature of Tamil politics makes self-immolation more prevalent. But the post-nineties trend shows it is gaining momentum in the north as well.
North India seems more apathetic to this mode of public protest. Both the Congress and the BJP Delhi units expressed similar views on the recent cases in the capital.
3 killed in ultras attack in Tripura
AGARTALA June 18 (PTI) Three persons were killed and three others injured in an attack by the United Bengali Liberation Front (UBLF) rebels in North Tripura district, the police said here today.
UBLF rebels hurled bombs
at an auto-ruckshaw carrying tribal passengers from
Kumarghat market to Darchui village yesterday killing two
persons on the spot while injuring three, the police said
adding one person succumbed to injuries on the way to the
Badal opens hospital
NEW DELHI, June 18 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today inaugurated the construction work of Guru Harkishan Singh Hospital and Research Centre.
Addressing a gathering, he said it was a big achievement of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) which would go a long way in helping the needy and the poor.
Flood situation in Assam grim
GUWAHATI, June 18 (PTI) The Brahmaputra and its tributaries were rising alarmingly in five districts of Upper Assam affecting more than one lakh persons in 183 villages following a heavy rainfall during the past few days in the catchment areas, official sources said here today.
In Jorhat district, 25 villages, several acres of agricultural land, including three tea gardens, have been inundated following the breach of embankments at two places along the Puthi river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra.
The situation in Majuli, the worlds largest river island was alarming with severe erosion threatening several villages.
The water level of the Gai and Jiadhol rivers in Dhemaji district also continued to rise with more than 100 villages affected and people moving to highlands for safety.
In Jonai subdivision of the district, several bridges have been damaged and breaches have occurred in several points, the sources said.
Job conditions of scribes insecure
NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI) Press Council Chairman Justice P.B. Sawant today expressed serious concern over the effects of globalisation on media and said it was high time a solution was found to the insecure job conditions faced by mediapersons, particularly freelance journalists.
"Unless media owners, journalists and government representatives sit together to find a solution, the problem will multiply," he said inaugurating a three-day seminar on "effect of globalisation on Indian print media and freelance journalists" here.
Stating that globalisation of economy, commerce, information and media were inter-connected, he said the new economic order recognised "profit, more profit and still more profit" as a result of which media was being run as a business and industry, applying the same rules of the game.
He said with the advent of on-line journalism, mediapersons today longer met "deadlines as they were now required to meet minute-lines."
"Not only that, journalists have to acquire new skills. They have to go to a spot with a microphone and a computer-operated camera," he said, observing that service conditions had not only deteriorated but become "more and more precarious".
Expressing concern over
contract system in journalism, he said it had made jobs
insecure for mediapersons and freelance journalists were
worst sufferers at the hands of media-owners and monopoly
Novel way to keep police at bay
CHENNAI, June 18 (UNI) A woman bootlegger has adopted an ingenious method to escape from the long arm of the law to disrobe and run in the nude.
The die-hard bootlegger, who is in the business, along with her husband, for the past several years in a village in Dindugul district of Tamil Nadu, is in no mood to wind up despite prior convictions in the past.
According to Prohibition Enforcement Wing sources, whenever a police party is hot on its heels, she takes cover in a nearby sugarcane field, disrobes herself and streaks in the nude on the streets shouting "help me...help me". The bewildered police has no choice but to beat a hasty retreat in such a none-too unenviable situation.
The police are a worried lot as women engaged in the trade often resort to the ploy of police misbehaviour when cornered or about to be nabbed, the sources said.
She also shifts the place of her business to hoodwink the police.
Shah Bano case lawyer dead
NEW DELHI, June 18 (UNI) Noted jurist and senior Supreme Court advocate Danial Latifi, an expert on Muslim Personal lLaw in south Asia, died here today, at 83.
He is survived by wife, Pakeeza Begum.
Mr Latifi had been suffering from cancer for several years and was admitted to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences two months ago but was discharged after some tests. The end came as a result of cardiorespiratory arrest this evening. Last rites will take place at the Royal Cemetery in Nizammuddin area tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.
Grandson of the late
Justice Badruddin Tyabji, who was president of the Indian
National Congress in 1887, Mr Latifi, had for long aided
successive union governments on Muslim Personal Law and
had achieved fame for contribution to empowerment of
Muslim women when he successfully appeared for the
petitioner in the noted Shah Bano case in 1985.
pay tributes to freedom fighters
Six killed in
Express to ply from Doon
DAE to cater to
population to touch 177 million
Rajasthan BJP chief
derailed near Chennai
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