Saturday, March 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Stock markets crash

New Delhi, March 9
In a repeat of “Black Friday” syndrome, major stock markets today crashed following a payment crisis in the Calcutta Stock Exchange forcing corrective steps that brought shares of bluechip companies to the year’s lowest level.

The crash, the second since the budget last week, pushed the sensex down by 235 points in Mumbai when it opened, but bourses recovered slightly on reports from Kolkata that payment crisis was being resolved.

The plummeting of stocks shattered hopes of small and institutional investors alike a day after the Central Government had asserted that capital markets were safe and would not be afflicted by any payment problems.

Acting quickly and opening the stock exchange on a holiday, Kolkata bourse managers worked overtime to resolve the problem. CSE Executive Director Tapas Dutta said the payment of broker Dinesh Kumar Singhania and the outstanding of Harish Biyani “have been squared off bringing the extent of shortfall to Rs 45 crore from Rs 96 crore”.

The Bombay Stock Exchange slumped by over 235 points during the half-an-hour trading this morning but trends slightly reversed with the sensitive index closing 175 points below the previous closing. PTI


Taliban ‘dynamite’ Buddha statues

Kabul, March 9
Afghanistan’s Opposition today said the ruling Taliban had destroyed the two ancient Bamiyan Buddha statues in Central Afghanistan, despite worldwide pleas to save them.

Mr Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for the Opposition led by Commander Ahmad Shah Masood, said: “The Taliban dynamited both statues and they are completely gone”.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban nor was there any independent confirmation of the latest Opposition report.

“Basically, the destruction operation started on Thursday afternoon and our reports, which are accurate, say that both of them have been blown up by explosives and gun powder,” Mr Nadeem told Reuters by satellite phone from Daraye Souf to the north of Bamiyan.

The two Buddhas in the central province of Bamiyan tower 53 metres and 38 metres. Reuters


‘Hindus, Sikhs in Afghanistan safe’

New Delhi, March 9
Afghanistan Foreign Minister Mulla Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil has said it was unfair to compare the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha statues with the demolition of “Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.”

“In India Hindus are planning to build a temple there (in Ayodhya). We haven’t done anything like that,” he said in an interview with the weekly “Outlook”.

He asserted that the destruction of the Buddha statues was not aimed against any religion, nation or culture. “We haven’t destroyed any church, temple or gurudwara in Afghanistan. Hindus and Sikhs are free to practise their religion.” He claimed that Hindu and Sikh traders in Afghanistan enjoyed greater security under the Taliban than under any previous regime.

Justifying the destruction of the Buddha statues, he said keeping and worshipping statues was “unislamic”. UNI 

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