Saturday, June 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Man stabs 8 kids to death

Ikeda (Japan), June 8
Eight children were killed and 15 persons injured in Japan’s worst school tragedy today when a middle-aged man with a history of mental illness went on a stabbing rampage at an elementary school in western Japan.

Schoolchildren weep on the grounds of Ikeda elementary school in Osaka on Friday after fleeing from their classrooms.
Schoolchildren weep on the grounds of Ikeda elementary school in Osaka on Friday after fleeing from their classrooms. — Reuters photo

The injured were mostly seven and eight year-old students at the school in Ikeda, a suburb of the western city of Osaka, and seven of those killed were girls, Japanese media said.

Two teachers were also injured, the police said, including one male teacher who was in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery after the attack, considered unprecedented in traditionally safe Japan.

The tragedy began when the man, wielding a 28-cm knife, walked into a classroom in mid-morning and began to stab children in a rampage that media said lasted a little over 10 minutes. “He came in holding a knife and started stabbing,” a first grade female student said.

One sixth-grade girl said: “We were listening to an announcement over the loudspeaker, and then it was broken into by a scream and a noise like a desk falling down.”

“Then I heard someone scream from below, Run!”

Several children ran into a nearby supermarket yelling and crying for help, witnesses said. Reuters


Don’t provoke Ajit, PM tells Chautala
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, is believed to have advised his alliance partner, the INLD supremo and Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, as well as the would-be partner, Mr Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to exercise restraint and refrain from undertaking any such activity as may provoke the other.

According to sources, the Prime Minister’s advice came before he left for his knee operation in Mumbai.

The sources say that in view of Mr Vajpayee’s advice, Mr Ajit Singh is refraining from holding any public meeting in Haryana despite pressure on him by his supporters. However, the INLD is going ahead with its plans to hold rallies in western Uttar Pradesh, the home turf of Mr Ajit Singh. The party has also stuck to its stand of opposing Mr Ajit Singh’s entry into the National Democratic Alliance and his possible elevation to the Union Cabinet.

Just two days ago, Mr Chautala and his MP son, Mr Ajay Singh, who heads the youth wing of the INLD, told a TV channel that their party would have no objection if Mr Ajit Singh joined the BJP and then became a minister because in that case it would be an internal affair of the BJP. But if the RJD was made a member of the NDA, the INLD would have to reconsider the nature of its support to the NDA government.

The sources say that a section of the BJP has taken umbrage to the INLD stand. The section, patronised by a senior union minister, feels that Mr Chautala has no right to tell the BJP what it should do or not do to improve its poll prospects in UP.

BJP hardliners feel that retaining power in UP should be the party’s first priority because otherwise its leadership of the NDA would be considerably weakened and it would be increasingly open to blackmail by the allies.

The leadership of the UP BJP, the sources say, is unanimous that a tie-up with Mr Ajit Singh would pay rich dividends in the coming Assembly elections. The hardliners in the BJP high command seem to be convinced with the arguments of the UP unit. They are ready to take the risk of forcing Mr Chautala’s hand in case of Mr Ajit Singh’s inclusion in the Union Cabinet, which is expected anytime this month.

The BJP hardliners feel that the game of numbers in the Lok Sabha was in the party’s favour. The situation will further improve as and when Ms Mamata Banerjee returns to the fold of the NDA. This section of the BJP is also toying with the idea of finding an Ajit Panja in Haryana too.Back

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