Thursday, September 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Four killed in firing, curfew in Muzaffarpur

Muzaffarpur, September 26
Four persons, including a Samata Party activist, were killed and scores injured in large-scale violence and subsequent police firing here over the killing of a kidnapped child forcing the authorities to impose indefinite curfew in parts of the town today.

Official sources said among those killed in police firing, three were labourers while the fourth was identified as Mirtunjay Jha, a Samata Party activist.

The sources said widespread violence erupted in the town when residents agitated over the abduction and killing of a five-year-old boy Gautam last night burnt several official vehicles, damaged the car of District Magistrate Brajesh Malhotra.

The police used lathis and even opened fire at several places to disperse the mob. The district authorities later imposed indefinite curfew in the Nagar and Mithanpura police areas.

The sources said defying curfew orders, the people set to fire Saraiyaganj police outpost and an office of the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) in the Tilak Maidan area.

Pandemonium rocked the Bihar Assembly over the violence and police firing in Muzaffarpur forcing the adjournment of the House till lunch after only 20 minutes of the commencement of its proceedings.

The Opposition drew the Speaker’s attention to the incident saying the government had failed in its duty and had no moral right to continue.

Members of the NDA, including those of the BJP, the Samata Party and the Janata Dal (U), trooped into the well soon after the House assembled. They also waved posters and placards.

Opposition leader Sushil Kumar Modi (BJP) said cases of kidnapping were increasing in Bihar and prominent doctors and businessmen had been abducted under the very nose of the administration.

The members demanded that a probe should be conducted into the incident. They also demanded the dismissal of the District Magistrate and the Police Superintendent. UNI/PTI


HC stays octroi abolition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Directing the state of Punjab and other respondents against taking any step to abolish octroi, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for October 19 on a petition filed by three municipal councillors and a former councillor from Bathinda.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, the councillors had earlier sought directions for quashing the Punjab Government decision taken on September 17 abolishing octroi in the state. Directions to the state against issuing a notification for abolishing octroi till the Municipal Councils were provided with independent source of income at their own level had also been sought.

The petitioners had contended that the decision was violative of the mandatory provisions of Article 243-W of the Constitution, besides the directions issued by the High Court on September 12 in this regard. Going into the background, counsel for the petitioner had submitted that a similar decision was taken in December 1996 by the Congress Government under Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal but the order had to be withdrawn following intervention by the Chief Election Commissioner as the election process had started in the state.

He had added that the Akali-BJP leaders, taking into consideration the impending elections in the state, had started issuing statements regarding the abolition of octroi and a committee, headed by Mukerian MLA Arunesh Shakar, had also been constituted for the purpose.

Giving details of the income and expenditure of Bathinda Municipal Council, counsel had added that the MC authorities would not even be able to pay salaries to the staff if the income from octroi was cut off.

The High Court, while taking up public interest litigation on September 12, had asked Punjab’s Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal to take into consideration the provisions of the Constitution, imposing certain mandatory duties on municipalities in public matters, before taking any decision on the octroi abolition.

In a statement before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, the AG had stated that the issue regarding the abolition of octroi was being considered by the government. He had added that an alternate system would be evolved for compensating the loss to the municipalities as a result of octroi abolition.Back

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