|Tuesday, July 11, 2000,
set for Amarnath Yatra
Landless urged to defy
Vital clues to church blasts
Khushwant Singh icon of our age
No hope of
third Press Commission
Bharti group to open school in HP
MLA brings rape victim to House
MTNL staff defer strike
All set for Amarnath Yatra
NEW DELHI, July 10 With the Amarnath Yatra scheduled to start on Friday, a senior official of the Union Home Ministry has reviewed the security arrangements for it.
The Special Secretary (Home), Mr Tilak Raj Kakkar, who returned here after a visit to the holy cave, said today central paramilitary forces, the Army and the local police will provide round-the-clock security cover to the estimated two lakh pilgrims this year.
He said like last year, two routes would be opened for pilgrims, including the traditional 34-km route of Pahalgam-Chandanwari and another shorter but steeper 16-km route from Baltal.
Although there have been no specific threats by any militant group to disrupt the yatra, the authorities are not taking any chance. Eight bomb disposal squads have been pressed into service which will survey the routes before permitting the pilgrims. However, the threat of attacks on the security forces through IEDs was one area of concern.
The administration has planned some 35 camps en route which will offer facilities for the yatris and also have medical facilities which will be provided by the Army and paramilitary forces.
He said while the Army and the BSF would patrol the higher reaches, the CRPF and the local police would provide security primarily at camps.
The pilgrims would be allowed in batches of 2,000 on the Baltal-Sonamarg route while batches of 5,000 would be allowed to proceed on the traditional route, he said adding that permission was granted on the basis of the conditions of the route.
Landless urged to defy
BHOPAL, July 10 The Ekata Parishad is organising the landless people of Madhya Pradesh and exhorting them to rise against the existing "feudal" system in the state. As a first step, they have been asked to gherao the MLAs and MPs of their areas on August 15 because "these are the people who are responsible for the enactment of the laws favouring the vested interests".
According the national convener of Ekata Parishad, Mr P.V. Rajgopal, September 11 will be observed as the "ghar vapasi" day when the tribal families will march to their original villages in the states 32 wildlife sanctuaries and 11 national parks. He said 4.5 lakh tribals were displaced over 10 years ago for setting up these sanctuaries and parks but these poor people were yet to be rehabilitated properly.
On October 2, he said, "a chakka jam" would be organised at 50 places in the state to highlight the faulty land policy and its "dishonest" implementation in the state. The central point of "chakka Jam" would be Gwalior as the roads to Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also lead from there.
Following his call, the landless people at several places were ploughing whatever land was available or was allotted to them by the government but was being forcibly occupied by the landlords.
Mr P.V. Rajgopal led a 190-day, Sheopur to Raigarh "bhoo-adhikar satyagraha yatra" (march to focus attention on the landless) which covered five comparatively more backward regions of the state Chambal, Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand, Mahakoshal and Chhattisgarh. During the march, the Ekata Parishad convener crossed through 1500 villages and had interaction with an estimated 5000 persons. Everywhere, he said, the people talked of hunger and lack of employment.
Mr Rajgopal said the state had 15 per cent of the total land as surplus in the fifties for distribution among the landless, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Today only 2 per cent of the land remained surplus. The 13 per cent, he claimed, did not go to the people for whom it was meant. Even where the government gave the pattas (ownership rights) to the landless people, they were denied possession by the musclemen of the landlords.
Even in the official records, he told mediapersons, the number of the landless in the state was 9.6 per cent of the states total population in 1971-72 and it had gone up to 15.2 per cent in 1991-92. The situation was continuously deteriorating.
Mr Rajgopal said he knew
that the state apparatus would try to ruthlessly suppress
the peaceful agitation but he and his people were
prepared for the consequences. Wouldnt it lead to
anarchy in the state? Yes, that was what was needed, he
Vital clues to church blasts
BANGALORE, July 10 (PTI) The police has obtained vital clues in the explosions that took place in some churches in Karnataka, including last nights blast in the city, Chief Minister S.M. Krishna said today.
"The police is inching towards nabbing culprits behind the explosions as they have stumbled upon vital clues," he told reporters here, assuring the minorities that his government would initiate all possible measures to protect their interests.
Surveillance and patrolling at all places of worship had been stepped up, he said.
The corps of detectives probe announced yesterday into the blast at St Lutheran church at Hubli, and twin explosions in Wadi last month, would also cover last nights blast at the St Peter and Paul Church, he said.
The Chief Minister ruled out entrusting the probe to the CBI, but added that the COD would work in close association with CBI exchanging information.
Mr Krishna said at attempts to create a fear psychosis in the minorities would be dealt with iron hand.
The Chief Minister, who had alleged a conspiracy to destabilise his government yesterday, said none could succeed in this direction (to destabilise his government) as his government enjoyed popular mandate of people.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Home Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge shared Mr Krishnas apprehensions, alleging that some "political vested interests" were trying to defame and destabilise the Congress government.
After visiting the St Peter and Paul Church in the city where an explosion took place yesterday, he told reporters that orders had been issued for setting up a special police team to probe the blast.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the samples, collected at the site (St Peter and Paul Church) by ballistic experts today, bore "resemblance" to the explosive materials used to trigger the blasts in Wadi last month and in the St Lutheran Church in Hubli on June 8. The police suspected the role of locals in the blast in the church here, he said.
NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday set a deadline of two weeks for the Centre and state government to give a report on the recent attacks on Christians and their institutions.
The order, which came after two incidents of bomb blast in churches in Karnataka was issued in view of "non-receipt of report, asked by the commission last month, from the centre, state government and union territories regarding attacks and atrocities on the Christian community."
The NHRC has also issued a show cause notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government asking why monetary compensation should not be paid to the next of kin of custodial death victim Vijay Kumar Ekka, a key witness in the murder case of a Christian priest in Mathura.
ALLAHABAD: The Samata Party, a constitutent of the NDA government at the Centre, has demanded that state governments should take strong action against those attacking Christians and their religious institutions.
The party, in its July
edition of newsletter, circulated at the conclusion of
the two-day national council meeting at Varanasi on
Sunday, also demanded the state governments should
conduct proper investigations to expose the elements
responsible for the attacks.
Attacks stifling womens rights
NEW DELHI, July 10 (UNI) Apart from being a violation of human rights, the recent fundamentalist attacks have set the clock back on womens empowerment, the Young Womens Christian Association of India (YWCA) today said.
Addressing newspersons here today, YWCA National President Susan Mathai said the organisation wanted to "bring together secular forces and condemn such acts, not as Christians but as Indians."
Talking about the increasing attacks on minorities in the country, Ms Mathai said such attacks had set back womens empowerment. "we have to hold on to the freedom we have won," she said adding that such activities would tear apart the secular fabric of the country.
Fundamentalism exists in every religion, Mary Khemchand, former YWCA President admitted, adding that these forces had to be reined in as they stifled womens rights.
Asked if they had initiated dialogue with certain Hindu groups, YWCA National General Secretary Sadhona Ganguli said, "We will not blame Hindus as a community, as we have lived harmoniously for centuries now. It is only certain communal elements in the sangh parivar that need to be addressed."
Referring to the consultation on the draft legislation on domestic violence, Ms Khemchand said a framework put together by the Lawyers Collective, a Delhi-based NGO had been circulated to all local groups, and a final version would be drafted within six months.
No hope of third Press Commission
HYDERABAD, July 10 (PTI) The Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), Justice P.B. Sawant, said today there was "no hope that the Centre will constitute the third Press Commission", though there was a need for it.
"In the present scenario, they (NDA government) have their own agenda and this matter (setting up of the Press Commission) appears to be last on the agenda", Justice Sawant said while inaugurating a seminar on Future of Print Media here.
However, the PCI could not continue waiting for the government to constitute the Press Commission but had decided to take the "initiative" to examine problems of the print media in the country and come out with measures to strengthen it in the context of the rapidly changing socio-political environment, he said.
Several changes had swept the country in the past two decades since the submission of second Press Commissions report in 1980, he pointed out.
"Our exercise is not borne out of fear of extinction of print media but out of a desire to strengthen it on healthy lines," the PCI Chairman said.
The measures to raise
the standards of media, promote freedom of the Press and
monitor development of monopolistic tendencies that might
obstruct free flow of information were among the areas
being focused by the PCI, Justice Sawant said.
Bharti group to open school in
NEW DELHI, July 10 The Bharti Foundation would soon open a primary school in Himachal Pradesh, the Chairman and group managing director of Bharti Enterprises, Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, told The Tribune, here today.
"The Bharti Foundation would open a primary school in Himachal within the next two months. This would be our first initiative in the state," he said.
Earlier, Bharti Enterprises entered into a tie up with IIT, Delhi, for setting up Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management in the Capital.
For this venture, he said the company has committed Rs 20 crore. Of this, Rs 10 crore would be spent on creating a new building complex for the school within the IIT, Delhi, premises.
MLA brings rape victim to House
AGARTALA, July 10 (UNI) In an unprecedented act, a Congress legislator in the Tripura Assembly brought an alleged rape victim to the House, demanding justice.
The victim, a minor girl, was allegedly raped by a youth recently at Mohanpur in west district.
MLA Ratan Lal Nath
brought the victim to the House and the entire opposition
demanded suspension of the officer-in-charge of the
Sidhai police immediately, alleging the officer did not
register the FIR.
Khushwant Singh icon of our age
NEW DELHI, July 10 (PTI) Differences between two founding fathers of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, had come to "such a pass" that even terminologies like "Patelite" surfaced in government circles and Nehru took to task those considered close to Patel, says noted writer and journalist Khushwant Singh.
"I never realised that differences between Sardar Patel and Panditji had come to such a pass that you either belonged to one person or the other," says Khushwant Singh in a free-wheeling interview to diplomat-author Pavan K. Varma for a new compendium "Khushwant Singh An Icon of Our Age".
Squarely blaming Krishna Menon for such an impasse, Khushwant Singh recalls "a man senior to me, Sudhir Ghosh, was fired entirely because Krishna Menon wrote to Panditji that he is a Patelite".
The volume, edited by media consultant, Kaamna Prasad, carries articles penned by a galaxy of popular personalities from a wide spectrum of life, including business tycoons, senior journalists, politicians and authors both from India and Pakistan throwing light on Khushwant Singh as a man, scribe and writer.
Recalling his short stint as a Public Relations Officer in the government, Khushwant Singh tells Varma about the circumstances that led to his resignation from the "good job".
"I did not know what a PROs job was. Then I had a very difficult boss in Krishna Menon who was hard to please .... I got on very well with him in the beginning but later he became rude and discourteous."
"I had been a great favourite and I was replaced by greater favourites P.N. Haksar and a few others".
Commenting on what really inspired him to take to creative writing and whether he read works of great authors, Khushwant Singh in his inimitable style says "on the contrary great authors gave me a feeling of inadequacy. I felt, why should I write ..... It was second rate writers who gave me encouragement".
The author of several celebrated works, including "Train to Pakistan" also maintains that patrons did not come his way.
Recalling Khushwant Singhs stint in the Rajya Sabha, Deputy Chairperson of the Upper House Najma Heptulla lauds his debates on the freedom of the Press.
In his piece, industrialist Bharat Ram recalls their younger days together adding "one can say that we were both fond of the same girl in school, his future wife".
In his contribution to the octogenarian writer and columnist, business tycoon Lord Swraj Paul describes Khushwant Singh as a "quintessential professional".
Pakistani journalist Nelofar Farooq in her essay "Delhis most famous living monument", maintains "getting away with just about anything has become Khushwant Singhs hallmark. Despite being a proclaimed agnostic, in April this year he was awarded the Nishan-e-Khalsa, the highest honour to be given by the Sikh community".
The volume, to be
released on July 15 by External Affairs Minister Jaswant
Singh, also has articles on Khushwant Singh written by
eminent personalities, including journalists M.J. Akbar
and H.K. Dua, author Namita Gokhale and filmmaker Pamela
PUNE, July 10 (UNI) Heavy rainfall is likely to occur at isolated places in Andaman and Nicobar islands, coastal Orissa, Saurashtra, Kutch, Konkan, Goa, coastal Karnataka and Kerala during the next 48 hours.
Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at most places in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Saurashtra, Kutch, Konkan, Goa, coastal Karnataka and Kerala, at many places in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, West Bengal and Sikkim, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, coastal Andhra Pradesh and interior Karnataka and at a few places over the rest of the country outside west Rajasthan where it will occur at isolated places.
Southwest monsoon has
been vigorous in west Madhya Pradesh and active in
sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Saurashtra, Kutch,
Konkan and Goa. Rain or thundershowers have occurred at
most places in coastal Karnataka, at many places in the
Andaman and Nicobar islands, Orissa and Kerala, at a few
places in Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh and
Madhya Maharashtra and at isolated places in Nagaland,
Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, plains
of west Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, east
Rajasthan, east Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Marathwada,
Vidarbha, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu
and interior Karnataka. Mainly dry weather prevailed over
the rest of the country.
MTNL staff defer strike
NEW DELHI, July 10 (PTI) The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) employees unions deferred their indefinite strike from midnight tonight following an assurance from Communications Minister Ram Vilas Paswan that outstanding issues would be resolved by July 21.
Potter coming to India
MP to implement
Padyatras for a
sticks seized, 4 held
Bhuria is chief
of Adivasi parishad
Cooperative Act: NGO
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