|Sunday, June 25, 2000,
visit from today
PM asks states to probe attacks on
Statute review: BJP flays
PM urges states to set up rights
Shankaracharya to meet Geelani
Custodial death case handed over
Leftist leaders arrested
HC Bench: PM urged to exercise
Make cooperatives competitive:
Monsoon active in Assam, Meghalaya
Music teacher faces music
Vajpayees Italy visit from today
NEW DELHI, June 24 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee leaves here tomorrow on a five-day visit to Italy and Portugal during which he will attend the first ever India-EU summit aimed at giving a new thrust to New Delhis relations with the grouping on both political and economic planes.
The 15-nation European Union (EU) wishes to make India a "privileged partner" and is looking forward to the summit on June 28 in the Portuguese capital Lisbon as an opportunity to enable bilateral trade surpass $ 20 billion and give their relations a "clear identity and political consistency," EU officials said.
The Prime Minister will be paying a two-day official visit to Italy, an important interlocutor for India both politically and economically besides being a significant trading partner and an important investor in this country, from June 25.
In Rome, Mr Vajpayee will hold bilateral talks with Italian President Ciampi and his Italian counterpart Amato and attend a business meeting organised by the FICCI and its Italian counterpart. An agreement on cooperation in tourism will be signed during the visit.
Stating that India was emerging as a "major global player," Italian Ambassador to India Benedetto Amari said Rome viewed Mr Vajpayees visit as "timely" and "very important" since it acknowledges New Delhis new and active role in coming years on the international scene.
UN reforms, nuclear issue and menace of international terrorism are expected to top the agenda of discussions between the two sides.
From Rome, the Prime
Minister will fly to Lisbon on June 27 and as a precursor
to the summit, he will address on India-EU business
meeting organised by the CII and the Portuguese Chamber
of Commerce and Industry. About 30 representative Indian
companies and over 200 European firms are expected to
participate in the meeting.
PM asks states to probe attacks on Christians
NEW DELHI, June 24 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today asked state governments to thoroughly investigate every incident of violence against the Christian community and bring the culprits to book speedily.
Stating that reports of recurring incidents of violence against institutions and individuals belonging to Christian community "are a matter of deep concern to all those who believe in communal harmony and national unity," Mr Vajpayee said in a statement here that his government was committed to upholding the law of the land which guarantees equal rights to all citizens without any discrimination.
No individual or organisation belonging to any community has a right to spread ill-will and hatred towards another community, Mr Vajpayee said.
"Since law and order is a state subject, I urge all state governments to apply the law of the land fairly, firmly and impartially, investigate every incident thoroughly and bring the culprits to book speedily," Mr Vajpayee said.
He would like every Indian to realise that "together we are building a strong and resurgent nation whose confident march forward is being keenly watched by the whole world," he said, adding "Let nothing be done that would slacken the momentum of this March."
"These incidents are an aberration and an exception to the general texture of peaceful and cordial relations between various communities that constitute our diverse society. Even so, they damage our secular ethos based on the age-old principle of sarva panth samabhava (equal respect for all faiths)," he said.
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has expressed deep anguish over the removal of crosses from a few graves in a cemetery in Rajahmundry.
Mr Naidu termed it as the most heinous crime which showed that the culprits did not even give respect to the dead.
This uncivilised act deserved condemnation, he said, and added that the guilty would be punished severely.
Statute review: BJP flays Cong
NEW DELHI, June 24 The BJP today lashed out at the Congress for its opposition to the review of the Constitution, saying it was the same party which had amended the Constitution several times.
Addressing mediapersons on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency, the party spokesman, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, said the Constituion, including its basic structure, had been amended 50 times during the regime of one family and 69 times by other Congress governments. A total of 177 amendments were brought in various articles, affecting 377 clauses spread over 10 chapters of the Constitution, he pointed out.
It was ridiculous that the same party was opposing review of the Constitution on the pretext that it would be an insult to Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the BJP leader said.
Mr Naidu said the Congress had "shown its respect" for the Constitution by imposing the Emergency without even the approval of the Cabinet. "It is a shame that the Congress is equating the Constitution Review Panel with the Simon Commission appointed by a foreign ruler", he added.
The BJP vice-president, Mr K. Jana Krishnamurhty today released two booklets Remember the Emergency and Strengthen Democracy, as well as Darkness at Noon recalling the Emergency imposed 25 years ago.
Mr Jana Krishnamurthy said these were meant to make the younger generation aware of the circumstances due to which the Emergency was imposed.
He said during the Emergency parliamentary rules were misused affecting tens of thousands of people. The release of the booklets coincides with the 25th anniversary of the imposition of internal Emergency by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Mr Krishnamurthy said
the youth must know how scores of Opposition leaders were
jailed throughout the country. The party is organising a
week-long programme from tomorrow throughout the country
to educate people about the dark chapter in Indias
democracy and to accord them to remain vigilant to prevent
Fernandes recalls Emergency
NEW DELHI, June 24 (PTI) Defence Minister George Fernandes today sought to downplay the presence of some ministers in the Vajpayee government who were with the establishment during the Emergency days 25 years ago.
"Every saint has a past and every sinner a future. If those who made mistakes have chosen to come out of that and work for a better India, why should not they be acceptable," he told reporters while sharing his experiences during the Emergency period.
Asked if it was not embarrassing to share power with those who had fought during the days of the Emergency, Mr Fernandes said if they wanted to help the people why should not they be given a chance.
Mr Fernandes, who had aggressively fought the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 26, 1975, told media about the draconian actions of the then government against those who fought for peoples right.
Asked if the country was not facing an "institutionalised fascism" especially in the context of frequent attacks on Christians and on media, he said the voice of people to highlight their problem was not being gagged. "Our government is the most transparent," he said.
On attacks on Christians, he said there was nothing new in it as such incidents had been taking place in the past too.
"But a systematic disinformation campaign is being carried out in this regard now though such incidents have taken place in states like Madhya Pradesh having a strong Congress government," he said.
Mr Fernandes said he had
discussed the issue of attacks on Christian community
with late Archbishop Alan de Lastic on many occasions and
had told him that any violation of human rights should
not be linked to religion.
PM urges states to set up
NEW DELHI, June 24 The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee has urged states to set up State Human Rights Commissions expeditiously.
Mr Vajpayee was speaking at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan here on Friday evening to honour the former Chief Justice of India and former Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah, with the Rotary India award on human rights.
The award carries a cheque of Rs 2 lakh and a citation. This is the first time that the trust has instituted an award in the area of human rights.
Stressing the need for setting up state commissions to check gross abuse of human rights, the Prime Minister said so far only 10 states had set up these commissions. He pointed out that Uttar Pradesh and Bihar account for 65 per cent of the 50,000 complaints received by the commission every year.
Mr Vajpayee said the commission had suggested some amendments to the human rights law following the report of the Justice Ahmadi Committee. He said the government would examine these suggestions and take prompt steps to enact necessary amendments to strengthen the legal framework for the protection of human rights.
He said, "It is important to be open and willing to fully recognise the deficiencies and infringements in the area of human rights in India".
The Prime Minister said no efforts should be spared to infuse greater sensitivity, efficiency and accountability in the functioning of the police, administration and other institutions that have a direct bearing on the human rights of citizens. "Wherever necessary, rules and procedures of these institutions should be overhauled to reduce the possibility of their contributing to the violation of human rights of our citizens. This is especially urgent in the context of the untold difficulties faced by the poor and illiterate in their dealings with the institutions in the state," he said.
Mr Vajpayee exhorted the persons working in these institutions to bear in mind that the more they enforce the rule of law, the better they promote human rights. In the same breath, he cautioned against the tendency among some human rights commentators in India to sensationalise and to wittingly or unwittingly project a negative picture of India around the world.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Vajpayee observed that the function had been planned knowingly or unknowingly two days before the 25th anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency in the country. He referred to the Emergency as the darkest period of Indian democracy and a direct assault on the fundamental human rights of the citizens. "It is our duty, and the duty of our succeeding generations, to ensure that it never revisits us."
Advanis terms for talks with ultras
NEW DELHI, June 24 (PTI) Home Minister L.K. Advani has said the government is ready to hold talks with Kashmir militant groups provided they accept the Indian Constitution and abjure the path of violence and terrorism.
"If they accept the Indian Constitution and leave the path of violence and terrorism, any issue can be discussed. So far, no talks have taken place an therefore, we cannot disclose our views or stand on issues involved," he told pro-RSS journal Panchajanya in London.
He said the issue of autonomy had been raised in Kashmir while the NDA election manifesto had favoured more powers to the states.
Shankaracharya to meet Geelani
NEW DELHI, June 24 (UNI) In an effort to gauge the mood of Hurriyat leaders on the Kashmir issue, Jagatguru Shankaracharya Swami Nischalanand Saraswati of Gobardhan Peetham will pay a visit to Kashmir valley from tomorrow and hold talks with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatist leaders on resolving the crisis.
The Swami, who will be accompanied by Pandit N.K. Sharma, former political secretary of P.V. Narasimha Rao, will also meet leaders of various political groups to ascertain their views on the proposed talks with the Centre and the security situation in the valley.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani has invited the Shankaracharya and Pt Sharma, who was instrumental in arranging the meeting. They will exchange views with the full executive of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference on Monday.
One of the emissaries of the Shankaracharya, Maulana Akhtar Hussain Delhvi, is currently in Srinagar to prepare the agenda for the talks and chalk out the programme for the Shankacharya and Pt Sharma in the valley, where the violence has increased in the past few weeks.
Custodial death case handed over
JAIPUR, June 24 The Rajasthan Government has handed over the Ajmer custody death case to the CBI. A decision in this regard was taken here yesterday by the Chief Minister, Mr Ashok Gehlot, after his return from Delhi.
The police had tried to hush up the case of the death of Dharmendra Medhwanshi in custody and had forced the Medical Officer on duty in the government hospital to conduct a medical check up even though the victim had already died. This however sparked off an agitation and in order to pacify the people the police headquarters transferred the entire staff of the Clock Tower police station to the Police Lines. But the father of the deceased demanded that all policemen on duty at the time of Medhwanshis death be arrested on charge of murder. After two days of protest and Ajmer bandh the police was forced to suspend the entire staff of the police station and a case of murder was registered. The SHO Harsahai Meena was arrested subsequently.
Meena was produced before the judicial magistrate at Ajmer on Friday after two-day police custody. The magistrate remanded him to jail till July 7. Meena has been sent to Ajmer Central Jail after the court order where he has been lodged in a separate cell.
Meanwhile, the Chief
Minister, Mr Ashok Gehlot called a high-level meeting at
Jaipur yesterday to review to situation at Ajmer which
was attended by Home Minister, Chief Secretary, D.G.,
Principal Secretary to the CM. The Chief Minister was
informed that the case had already been transferred to
the CID from the police. But he decided to hand over the
case to the CBI to ensure impartial investigation in the
case. A letter to this effect was sent to the Centre on
Leftist leaders arrested
HYDERABAD, June 24 (PTI) Prominent CPI and CPM leaders were arrested today when they staged a dharna, defying prohibitory orders, near the State Assembly to protest against the hike in electricity tariff.
About 50 workers, led by state CPI unit secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, former Assembly floor leader of CPI P Nageshwara Rao, CPM state secretary B.V. Raghavula and others were staging a dharna near the Assembly road when the police swooped on them and whisked them away in two vans.
The dharna was organised as part of the statewide demonstrations called by the CPI demanding rollback of the steep and unprecedented hike in power tariff and to protest against alleged lathi charge by the police on June 21 at Vijayawada on Left party workers and mediamen in connection with a similar demonstration.
Earlier, leaders of nine
Left parties, including the CPI, the CPM, the CPI (ML),
the Janashakthi, the CPI(ML) Liberation, the MPCI and
major trade unions, met Governor Dr C. Rangarajan and
submitted a memorandum with signatures of about 20 lakh
persons opposing the hike in electricity charges and
seeking the Governors intervention for the
rollback of tariff.
HC Bench: PM urged to exercise moral authority
BELLARY, June 24 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna today expressed the hope that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would exercise his "moral authority" in giving clearance for a separate High Court Bench in Hubli-Dharwad.
Mr Krishna, who led an all party delegation to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention on the said issue yesterday, told reporters during a brief halt at Bellary airport en route Bagalkot that Mr Vajpayee had understood that it was a long-standing problem of North Karnataka.
The Chief Minister said the delegation had also apprised the Prime Minister of initiative taken by Tamil Nadu in this regard by setting up a High Court Bench at Madurai.
Mr Krishna said there were three "crucial players" in this issue the Prime Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice. And since the Chief Justice of Karnataka was retiring today, "we have appealed to the Prime Minister to appoint the new Chief Justice immediately so that the new Chief Justice can have an open mind," he said.
NEW DELHI, June 24 The Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, wants the Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states to emulate Madhya Pradesh and amend laws to make cooperatives competitive in tune with times. In a letter to the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan.
Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi and Pondicherry, Mrs Gandhi said the amendments must be such to bring them in tune with the principles of cooperation. She also sent a copy of the law enacted by Madhya Pradesh.
Mrs Gandhi said that despite the potential of cooperatives they had not been able to fully participate in trade and production processes or take advantage of the liberalisation programme due to "archaic legal and regulatory environment".
She said it was difficult for an independent, democratic cooperative to grow and become competitive and sustainable unless a suitable legal and regulatory environment was created.
"When the role of
the state itself is undergoing radical change and markets
are becoming the driving force in development, the
state-sponsored cooperatives are finding survival to be
difficult. Only the genuine cooperatives which are
member-based, member-driven and member-owned can
survive," she said.
No emergency, yet
NEW DELHI: June 25 has become an important date in our political calendar. The BJP has decided to observe the 25th anniversary of Emergency, but the NDA Government is reluctant to associate itself with it. Often dubbed as a party with fascist leanings, the BJP wants to refurbish its own image taking advantage of the occasion.
For both the party and the government, there is an embarrassing situation. The present government includes some of those who acted as hatchetmen of Mrs Indira Gandhi and helped her become the "Empress of India" putting the Opposition behind bars, and perpetuating acts which only brought misery to the common people.
In a media contribution, mercurial Dr Subramaniam Swamy recalled certain facts which do no credit to some of those in the government, including the Prime Minister. How eager was the RSS to delink itself from the opponents of Emergency. The then RSS supremo wrote several letters to Mrs Indira Gandhi none of which was ever replied to discloses Dr Swamy.
Once a part of the BJP, Dr Swamy has for long been a strong critic, especially of Mr Vajpayee. He has kept the flag of the Janata Party flying. He was once a big defender of the AIADMK supremo, Ms Jayalalitha, with whose help he won a seat in the Lok Sabha but later turned into her foe on the issue of corruption.
Some of the leading lights of the NDA Government like Mr Jagmohan, Minister for Urban Development, who is now trying to rid the capital of illegal encroachments and unauthorised constructions, is remembered for his staunch support to Sanjay Gandhi, known as the "extra-constitutional authority", and demolition of hutments near the historic Turkman Gate literally throwing thousands on the roads. So is Ms Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Environment. Many remember magazine "Surya" with which she was associated those days. Mr K.C. Pant, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, was Energy Minister then though no excesses of power are associated with him.
Ms Sonia Gandhi, a new entrant to politics, claims to inherit the Nehru Gandhi legacy. But Mr J.P. Mathur, Vice-President of the BJP, says if that is true then she should also take the blame for everything that happened during Emergency.
BJP leaders have, however, found a freaky formula to absolve both widows, Sonia and Maneka, saying that they were mere housewives then. There was also a Delhi woman of great charm, Rukhsana Sultan, who shot into prominence because of her Sanjay Gandhi connections.
Enough has been said about the superannuation of the Supreme Court judges by those who were either affected or in the know of the facts. Mr Chandra Shekhar, then a leading light of the Congress, was put to solitary confinement where he wrote an account of events and memories which was later published as "Meri Jail Diary", described as the "best piece of Emergency literature" by an eminent critic.
Before the 1977 Lok Sabha elections the Congress made efforts to win him over but his message to the emissaries of Indira Gandhi was in the poetic lines of Tulsidas: "ehitan sati bhent ab nahin (non meeting with the lady in this form)".
The man who started it all is Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court. By his judgement on June 12, 1975, he set aside Indira Gandhis election on a petition by indomitable, Socialist leader Raj Narain. This led to the vociferous demand for Mrs Gandhis resignation. She responded by imposing Emergency 13 days later.
Mr Sinha, now retired, refrained from commenting on his own judgement or events that followed. Last week, for the first time, in an interview he talked briefly about those days not about his judgement which he prefers to leave to history and says Emergency was the blackest period of post-Independence India. It is an irony that it should have happened in a country that claims to be the largest democracy in the world.
While saying that posterity will not excuse the perpetrators of Emergency Justice Sinha asked what about the succeeding regimes? Violations of the Fundamental Rights of life and liberty continue on a large scale. According to one report, 75,000 violations have been reported this year in UP alone. Peaceful demonstrations are still subjected to use of excessive force. Custodial deaths and governments being called upon by courts to pay compensation are routine news... .
There is no emergency today yet atrocities persist. It appears we have learnt no lessons. These are dangerous portents and unless we take serious notice to rectify these evils, much-maligned Emergency may recur, albeit in a disguised form," he warns.
Justice Sinha does not go into details while talking about atrocities but apparently he also has in mind what is happening in the name of "sena wars" in Bihar where paying ex-gratia to kith and kin of the deceased as compensation has become a normal practice as if it is the remedy or the current campaign against Christians or some other minority groups.
In the case of Bihar, Mr
Vajpayee says the Centre cannot impose Presidents
rule as the Government lacks a majority in the Rajya
Sabha. Does that mean the "jungle raj", as the
Patna High Court put it, will continue there?
Monsoon active in Assam, Meghalaya
PUNE, June 24 (PTI) Forecast valid until the morning of June 26: Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at many place in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura and West Bengal and Sikkim, at a few places in Andaman and Nicobar islands, Orissa, Konkan and Goa, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep and at isolated places over the rest of the country. In Rajasthan and Kutch weather will be mainly dry.
The trough on sea level chart passes through Punjab, south Uttar Pradesh, north coastal Orissa and thence southeastwards to northeast bay. The cyclonic circulation between 3.1 and 5.8 km a.s.l. over north Gujarat region and neighbourhood persists. A western disturbance as an upper air system lies over Jammu and Kashmir and neighbourhood. System is likely to move east-northeastwards.
Southwest monsoon has been active in Assam and Meghalaya. Rain or thundershowers have occurred at many places in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura and West Bengal and Sikkim, at a few places in Andamann and Nicobar islands, Bihar plateau, Konkan and Goa, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Lakshadweep and at isolated places in Haryana, Punjab, madhya Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Very light rain also occurred at isolated places in Gujarat region. Mainly dry weather prevailed over the rest of the country.
Music teacher faces music
MADURAI, June 24 (UNI) A 30-year-old music teacher filed a complaint with the city Police Commissioner against his musician wife for demanding a dowry of Rs 20,000 and some gold from him for returning home. Police sources said the man, Thavechelvam, who taught music at a private school here, was married to Manimala, a Nadaswaram artiste, a few months ago.
However, Manimala soon
went back to her fathers house in Narayanapuram
here. When Thavechalvam went to bring her back, she
allegedly demanded a dowry of Rs 20,000 and three gold
sovereigns, besides refusing to return home.
quits SP, floats party
Naxals kill TDP
leader shot at
deadly escape bid
5 killed in
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