|Saturday, July 15, 2000,
India for racial equality
Army rescues 3,000 in Ahmedabad
Pak-backed group behind blasts
Hegde for panel on autonomy
Probe begins into drivers
Boy, girl found dead in car
Khurana floats apolitical
Provide security to Buddhists: NCM
84 riots panel for waiving
No govt housing on security grounds
Kashmiri Samiti seeks homeland
on July 21
What a waste!
All passport offices to
India for racial equality in Fiji
NEW DELHI, July 14 (UNI) India today said it would insist on Fiji having a Constitution which guarantees racial equality.
Briefing reporters on the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to discuss the developments in Fiji and Sierra Leone, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said India would not accept criminalisation of the polity in the South Pacific nation.
"Our first priority was the safe release of the hostages." Now that the deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his Cabinet colleagues had been set free, New Delhi would work towards ensuring that Fijis Constitution offered equal rights to all Fijians.
Fijian coup leader George Speight has said constitutional democracy would never return to Fiji and called for a new racially biased Constitution guaranteeing indigenous political domination.
Mr Jaswant Singh said India wanted something similar to the 1997 Constitution, if not the same one.
The meeting was attended among others by the Congress President Ms Sonia Gandhi and her party colleague Mr Manmohan Singh, DMK leaders Mr Murasoli Maran and Mr T.R. Baalu, Samajwadi Partys Mr Amar Singh, the BSP General Secretary Ms Mayawati, and CPI(M)s Mr Biplab Dasgupta.
The all-party meeting lasted nearly two hours.
Asked about whether any sanctions were proposed against Fiji, Mr Jaswant Singh said all options were being considered. "We are exercising our responsibility."
On Australia, New Zealand and Commonwealth opposing any racially-biased government in Fiji, he said they were in touch with New Delhi and their stand only reflected Indias viewpoint.
On Seirra Leone, he ruled out India pulling out its troops from the UN peace keeping mission as it had always been part of such tasks. At present, Indian forces were involved in UN operations in five different locations.
Maintaining that there was no need for change in the UN mandate for the peace keeping forces to arm them with peace enforcing powers, he said "At the present moment the mandate is adequate. It sufficiently empowers the peace keepers to deal with the situation."
"We have dealt with such situations in Africa. I have no doubt we will overcome the problems" in Sierra Leone.
Rain fury claims 135
MUMBAI, July 14 (PTI) At least 135 persons died in the past three days in incessant rains that savaged Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh as the Army today began rescue operations in marooned areas in Ahmedabad.
Maharashtra, which bore the brunt of the rain fury, accounted for 98 deaths, Andhra Pradesh 22 and Gujarat 15, officials sources said.
Torrential rains continued to pelt parts of Gujarat today as the Army rescued over 3,000 people in Ahmedabad which received 575 mm of rain in the past two days, the highest since 1953.
Over 1,000 people living in low-lying areas on the bank of Sabarmati river were shifted to safer places, Civic Commissioner K. Kailashnathan said.
Life remained crippled in the city with most markets closed and several areas under knee-deep water.
With rains tapering off, Mumbai limped back to normal even as seven more bodies were recovered from the debris of Wednesdays mudslide at Chirag Nagar at Ghatentral harbour. Rail and road traffic on the Mumbai-Pune and other major highways moved smoothly.
Heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh caused breaches in over 100 minor irrigation tanks and efforts were on to repair them, the officials said.
At Chirag Nagar in Ghatkopar, which witnessed a major landslide, rescue operations continued with the special team so far retrieving 65 bodies from the debris. Twenty persons still undergoing treatment at various city hospitals. Long-distance trains, including the Pune-Shatabdi Express and 2619 Matsyagandha, were cancelled while the Deccan-Guwahati Express was rescheduled, railway sources said.
Train services on the Mumbai-Goa route continued to be suspended owing to inclement weather and minor landslides.
Nasik, Dhule, Jalgaon and Kolhapur had a brief respite, this morning after incessant rains for the past few days.
Pak-backed group behind blasts
NEW DELHI, July 14 (UNI) Deendar Anjuman, a little-known sect backed by Pakistani national Zia-ul-Hassan, was behind the 12 bomb blasts in Churches in South India over the past six weeks, Home Ministry sources said today.
The sources said the breakthrough in the case came during well-coordinated investigations by the Intelligence Bureau conducted in Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh when Syed Ibrahim, injured seriously in a bomb blast in a Maruti van on July 9 in Bangalore, confessed to his involvement. Two other occupants, Mohammed Fida alias Rehaman Siddique and Zakir, died on the spot.
Ibrahim confessed that he had made visits to Goa in March and May this year to buy the Maruti van. The explosives recovered from the van have the same composition as those used in the blasts in religious institutions since May 21.
The sources said Zia-ul-Hassan visited India once a year for the urs of his father who was the founder of Deendar Anjuman. In Pakistan, he had set up Jamaat Hizbollah Mujahideen and operates offices in Mardan, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Sargodha. The activities of the sect had been noticed in some districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Investigations revealed that Zakir, one of the two who died in the van blast, had visited Pakistan in September 1992 along with seven other Anjuman members. Significantly, the source said he and his associates were given six weeks extension of visa in Pakistan and visited Karachi and other places for which they did not initially have permission.
Zakir was also arrested in August 1995 in Parbhani district of Maharashtra for attempting to create sectarian tension by defiling the statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
literature was recovered from the residence of the
injured Syed Ibrahim at Bangalore and the Vijayawada
office of the Anjuman. These include titles like
"The god that never was Jesus" and "Is
this the Bible you believe in"?.
Hegde for panel on autonomy
NEW DELHI, July 14 Former union minister Ramakrishna Hegde today suggested the setting up of a commission to examine the demand of autonomy being raised by several states including Jammu and Kashmir, and termed the rejection of Jammu and Kashmir resolution by the Union Cabinet as a "unwise" decision.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Hegde, President of the Rashtirya Nava Nirmana Vedike said he had been an advocate of autonomy especially greater devolution of financial powers.
The committee, he said, could consist of experts and eminent people to examine the Centre-state relations including autonomy. In his opinion, centralised administraiton would do little good for the country. It could lead to greater instability.
He said the Sarkaria Commission which went into Centre-state relations performed a "half-hearted" job and said that important questions raised by him and other Chief Ministers were not even cursorily examined especially Article 365 and the powers to dismiss Governors and state governments.
Mr Hegde said after the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly adopted the autonomy resolution, others states like Punjab, Assam and the North-East had also expressed their views on greater autonomy.
Describing Dr Abdullah as a patriot, Mr Hegde said it was "despicable" to call him a "traitor". "No one can question patriotism and loyalty of Dr Farooq Abdullah to India. Dr Abdullah had said many times that Kashmir would remain an integral part of India.
Probe begins into drivers confinement
LUCKNOW, July 14 (PTI) The police today began investigations into the alleged incident of confinement and torture of an oil tanker driver and cleaner by Uttar Pradesh Minister Raja Ram Pandey after both sides filed complaints against each other.
In the complaint filed last night at Gomti Nagar police station here, the driver of the tanker Baikunth Nath Rai said he and the cleaner were severely beaten by the minister, his driver and two others during the alleged confinement.
He said the four also threatened to "eliminate" them.
The ministers driver lodged a counter FIR accusing the tanker driver and the cleaner of hitting Mr Pandeys new car when he was travelling in it.
Boy, girl found dead in car
NEW DELHI, July 14 (PTI) A boy and a girl in their early twenties were found dead in a car parked inside a garage in Mansarovar Park area of North-East Delhi late last night, the police said today.
The half clothed bodies of Archana and Chander Sharma were recovered by the police around 2300 hours after Chanders brother Harish informed the police control room (PCR).
Some snacks and a liquor bottle were found inside the car, the police said, adding the bodies had been sent for a post-mortem.
According to preliminary investigations, Chander, who was accompanied by Archana, parked the vehicle inside the garage and asked his friend Navneet Bhalla to lock the doors from the outside.
He asked Bhalla to open the doors after two hours. When Bhalla opened the garage around 2230 hours, he found the duo dead.
Bhalla got panicky and immediately informed Chanders brother who informed the police.
Khurana floats apolitical body
NEW DELHI, July 14 (PTI) Sidelined Delhi BJP strongman and former Union Minister Madan Lal Khurana today launched an "apolitical forum" Delhi Vikas Mahasangh amidst a show of strength where he declared that he was not a "spent force".
Several Delhi BJP
leaders including former ministers, MLAs, municipal
councillors, former MLAs, and representatives of several
trade and other organisations joined the outfit, in which
interestingly Khurana himself has abstained from holding
TN to get water from Karnataka
NEW DELHI, July 14 (PTI) Karnataka today agreed to release 6 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu in the next 30 days making good the deficit in inflow into the Mettur reservoir for June.
This was decided at the first meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), two years after it was constituted in 1998.
It was agreed at the meeting presided over by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that Tamil Nadu would endeavour to make available the "required" quantities of water to Pondicherry, one of the basin states.
The authority also finalised rules and regulations for the conduct of its business, an official press note after the meeting said.
Besides the Prime Minister, the meeting was attended by Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Kerala Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar and Pondicherry Chief Minister P. Shanmugham.
"The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and in a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding with the aim of arriving at an acceptable solution for the issues in hand relating to implementation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunals orders", the note said.
Provide security to Buddhists: NCM
NEW DELHI, July 14 (PTI, UNI) The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) today asked the Jammu and Kashmir Government to provide full security and safety to the minority community and to bring to book the culprits responsible for the killing of three Buddhist monks on July 12 in the state.
Condemning the incident, NCM member T K Lochen Tulku Rinpoche in a statement said "Such dastardly acts tend to disturb the communal harmony and peace in the area."
84 riots panel for waiving
NEW DELHI, July 14 Demanding speedy action against those responsible for the 1984 riots, the All-India Riot Victim Relief Committee has demanded the waiving off of loans given to riot victims and construction of a memorial in the memory of those killed.
Talking to mediapersons here after presenting a memorandum to the Nanawati Commission today, Jathedar Kuldip Singh Bhogal, president of the relief committee, said that seven inquiries had been held in the past 16 years to the probe the 1984 riots but the guilty had still not been brought to book.
He said while the victims had not been given justice all these years, they were on the verge of having their properties attached. "The Finance Minister has even talked of sending them to jail in case they do not return the loans given," Mr Bhogal said.
Appealing to the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter, Jathedar Bhogal said that the families were not in a position to return the loans.
He said about Rs 23 crore were distributed among 18,000 riot-affected families. While loan amount up to Rs 50,000 had been waived off and interest rate drastically reduced by the previous governments, the I.K. Gujral government had agreed to the demand of waving off loan up to Rs 2 lakh, Bhogal said.
Claiming that over 20,000 persons were killed in the country in the 1984 violence, he demanded construction of a memorial for them near Parliament House. He said they were now approaching Mr Jagmohan, Union Urban Development Minister for the purpose.
Blaming some senior
Delhi Congress leaders for the 1984 happenings in which
over 3,000 persons were killed in the Capital, Jathedar
Bhogal said that cases relating to over 2,500 deaths were
either in courts or the police was still investigating
IT fuelling global growth
NEW DELHI: Rapid advances in information technology (IT) have opened up an opportunity of boosting economic growth in countries that are able to take advantage of IT. Global stock and service sectors already reflect the heady progress in IT, which though is still confined to industrial nations and a few developing countries like India. The global economy which slowed down in 1998 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis is set to record a growth of 3.5 to 4.2 per cent in 2000, according to the UN and the IMF estimates, respectively.
What is of greater significance is the strong rebound in world trade expected this year to be 8 per cent, double the growth rates recorded in the past two years. India should be able to take advantage of the buoyancy in global trade in goods and services if policies and procedures are given the necessary focus towards export promotion. Current trends in the countrys exports hold promise of a robust growth in 2000-01 above 20 per cent.
The UN World Economic and Social Survey 2000 says the economic rebound after the Asian crisis is likely to continue for some years though there may be short-term threats such as sharp swings in exchange rates of major countries resulting from trade imbalance, a large drop in asset prices, especially in the USA which has been having uninterrupted growth of 4 to 5 per cent during most of 1990s, and a prolonged spell of excessive oil prices.
The IT revolution may well "presage the formation of a new global economic era", the UN survey notes though many developing countries, particularly the poorest, are not yet benefitting from IT and might find it difficult to catch up without external assistance.
The "new economy" is adding an estimated $100 billion a year to the total output in the USA alone, and the IT revolution could help the worlds superpower sustain non-inflationary economic growth of 3 to 3.5 per cent a year, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Twentyeight advanced economies at present account for about 58 per cent of world output and 77 per cent of global trade while developing countries shares are 37 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.
For the developing economies, the growth average in the latter half of 1990s has been more than 5 per cent, with the exception of 1998 when there was slowdown to 2 to 3 per cent. Strong growth in China and India has contributed to the higher average of the 1990s. Of some 150 countries, at least 75 have reported rising per capita output.
There is now widespread
realisation that globalisation or higher growth in select
countries has not made any significant impact on poverty.
In Africa, the IMF notes, the level of real per capital
income today is lower than it was 30 years ago. The
number of very poor in the world has remained roughly
unchanged over the past decade.
Kashmiri Samiti seeks homeland
NEW DELHI, July 14 (PTI) The demand for a "homeland" for Kashmiri Pandits within the valley is gaining ground, with one more organisation of the community today stressing that a separate homeland is the only feasible option left for the minority Hindus in terms of rehabilitation.
"People are talking about the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir. But we want its quartrification so that the fourth part constitutes Panun Kashmir, our homeland," Kashmiri Samiti vice-president Sunil Shakdar said here.
Panun Kashmir had so far been the only Kashmiri Pandit organisation campaigning for a separate homeland within the valley with union territory status.
Seeking to justify the demand, Mr Shakdar told PTI that "Kashmiri Pandits who have been forcibly evicted from the valley want to live and die honourably in the land of our birth. A separate homeland is the only feasible option as far as our rehabilitation is concerned."
Regretting that none of
the central or Jammu and Kashmir political leaders had
done anything to help end the decade-old plight of the
displaced community, he said: "Our politicians
practice selective politics, vote politics. Since we do
not constitute a vote bank, we are simply ignored."
HPCC meeting on
NEW DELHI, July 14 The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee will hold its executive meeting at Shimla on July 21 to discuss the training programme to be held in the state.
The HPCC President, Mr Sat Mahajan, who was here to attend the one-day meeting of the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, with the PCC Chiefs and CLP Leaders, said the PCC would organise such training camps in all 12 districts before August-end.
Welcoming the idea of training camps, he said, it would help the party workers acquaint themselves with the policies and programmes of the Congress and carry the message forward.
The interactions and political discussions are bound to make the training camps more meaningful, he said.
Referring to the proposal of the HPCC to prepare a charge sheet against the Dhumal government, Mr Mahajan said the committee under Mr Thakur Kaul Singh was in the process.
He said there was
tremendous response on it and various blocks had been
requesting the PCC to extend the last date for finalising
the charge sheet. In any case, he said, the charge sheet
should be ready by the time the Dhumal government
completes two and-half years in office.The charge sheet
would concentrate on issues like corruption, lawlessness,
failure of the government on various fronts including
economic, fiscal and development.
No govt housing on security grounds
NEW DELHI, July 14 (UNI) The Home Ministry has said it would not recommend allotment of government accommodation on security grounds.
Mr R.D. Sahay, Additional Director of Estates at the Ministry of Urban Development, placed revised guidelines before the Delhi High Court today and said the existing rules were under consideration in consultation with the Home Ministry which had said that it would not recommend allotment of government accommodation on security grounds.
From now on, Mr Sahay said, national political parties which had been recognised by the Election Commission would be allowed to retain allotment of a housing unit from the general pool for their office.
The accommodation would be provided for three years during which the party would acquire a plot of land in an institutional area and undertake its own construction.
One residential accommodation would be allotted to be retained by party president of a recognised national party if he or she did not have a house in Delhi, Mr Sahay said in an affidavit while elaborating the revised guidelines.
The facility of office accommodation would also be given to state-level parties recognised by the Election Commission. But these should have adequate representation in Parliament and approval by the Accommodation Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
Other buildings allotted or in occupation of any political party stood cancelled, standing counsel Gita Mathur told a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice D.K. Jain. Six months would be given to move out.
Accordingly, the Congress would have to vacate three premises it was occupying by October 3: 5 Raisina Road, 26 Akbar Road and 2 Talkatora Road. It would be allowed to retain 24 Akbar Road for the party office.
The BJP would vacate 14 Pt Pant Marg but retain 11 Ashoka Road for the party office and AB 19 Tilak Marg for its president.
The Janata Dals accommodation at 1/B Maulana Azad Road and the Samajwadi Partys at 18 Copernicus Marg were under review while the CPI had been allowed to retain AB 4 Purana Quila Road and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at 12 Gurdwara Rakabganj Road for party offices.
At 15 Windsor Place, the Lok Dal (A) had been occupying the accommodation unauthorisedly.
What a waste!
PATNA, July 14 (UNI) Government Sanskrit School, Patna, is staffed by four teachers and four acharyas, besides the Principal, a clerk and a peon. Nothing unusual there except the fact that there is not even a single student on the rolls.
Even as Bihar continues to be in the grip of a severe financial crunch, wasteful expenditure by the administration under several heads makes the matters worse, revealed a latest report by the comptroller and Auditor-General of India.
The report pointed out that in clear violation of norms, the state exchequer had to bear an expenditure of Rs 29.31 lakh during 1995-98 on 10 teaching and non-teaching employees of the Sanskrit school where not even a single student was enrolled.
The report cited several instances of wasteful expenses by the administration in the state.
A sum of Rs 2.33 crore was incurred on pay and allowances of five officers and 63 staff of five consolidation offices of Bhojpur and Buxar districts, which remained without work during the period between July, 1992, to March, 1998.
All passport offices to
NEW DELHI, July 14 The Central Passport Organisation today launched a Rs 30-crore programme of comprehensive computerisation of all 28 passport offices, with the Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Ajit Kumar Panja, releasing the first machine-readable passports.
These state-of-the-art passports will have a scanned image and photograph of the passport holder and will replace the present passport which will be gradually phased out.
The machine-readable zone in the passport will have the personal particulars of the passport holder in alpha numeric form and this will make entry and exit at immigration computers quicker across the globe, a press statement said.
Heavy rainfall warning
NEW DELHI, July 14 Monsoon has been vigorous in west Rajasthan and active in east Rajasthan.
RAINFALL: Rain or thundershowers have occurred at most places in east Rajasthan, at many places in Jammu and Kashmir and west Rajasthan, at a few places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in the rest of the region. The chief amounts of rainfall in cm are: Haryana: Dadupur and Tajewala 4 each and Ambala, Jagadhari, Kalka and Naraingarh 1 each, Himachal Pradesh: Nahan and Paonta 3 each and Dharampur, Hamirpur, Kasauli, Rajgarh and Shimla 1 each, Jammu and Kashmir: Banihal, Pahalgam and Quazigund 1 each, Punjab: Amritsar 9, Ajnala 3 and Nakodar 1, Rajasthan: Mount Abu 10, Bali, Bundi, Jodhipur, Jhalawar and Pali 5 each, Bhinmal and Jalore 4 each, Bikaner, Devgarh, Erinpura Road, Kota, Suratgarh and Udaipur 3 each, Jaipur and Nasirabad 2 each and Ajmer, Beawar, Chittorgarh, Dholpur, Gangapur, Kishangarh and Sriganganagar 1 each and Uttar Pradesh: Hardwar 4, Joshimath 3, Bansi, Dehradun, Kakrahi and Uttarkashi 2 each and Agra, Banda, Balrampur, Birdghat and Regoli 1 each.
Forecast valid until the morning of 16th: Rain or thundershowers will occur at most places in Haryana, Punjab and north Rajasthan, at many places in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, south Rajasthan and northwest Uttar Pradesh and at a few places in the rest of the region.
Heavy rainfall warning: Heavy to very heavy rain is likely at a few places in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan and at isolated places in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh during the next 48 hours.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of 16th: Generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain/thundershowers, one or two may be heavy in some areas.
bulletin for Delhi
Forecast valid until the morning of 16th: Moderate to rather heavy rain will occur at a few places.
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