Tuesday, October 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

India ready for any contingency: Tipnis
New Delhi, October 8
India is prepared to face any contingency which it might face following strikes in Afghanistan by the USA of America against the Taliban government and terrorist hideouts, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis said today.

IAF bids Hunter aircraft adieu
New Delhi, October 8
Indian Air Force (IAF) today bade farewell to one of its oldest interceptor and ground attack aircraft, Hunter, on its 96th anniversary which also saw the first flight of the newly-upgraded MiG-21 BIS aircraft.

Visitors view an SU-30 fighter aircraft, the IAF’s latest model, during a public viewing on Air Force Day in New Delhi on Monday. Visitors view an SU-30 fighter aircraft, the IAF’s latest model, during a public viewing on Air Force Day in New Delhi on Monday. — Reuters

Four caught near Advani’s home
New Delhi, October 8
Security and intelligence officials today interrogated two persons who were detained while they were reportedly moving around under suspicious circumstances near the Pandara Park residence of Home Minister, L.K. Advani.

Govt endorses attack
New Delhi, October 8
Expectedly, India today endorsed the USA-led military strikes on the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and made it clear that India was against the core ideology of export of terrorism, but not against Pakistan’s role in the post-Taliban set-up in the landlocked country.

High alert in West Bengal, North-East
Kolkata, October 8
West Bengal and other North-Eastern states have been alerted against possible terrorist strikes from across Bangladesh, where ISI-backed Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen have spread their network.



A travel mart  was  organised  in Jaipur to revive the tourism industry. 
(28k, 56k)


EARLIER STORIES

 

A Japanese C-130 'Hercules' military transport aircraft, carrying relief material to Afghanistan prepares to land at Netaji Subhas International Airport in Kolkata for refuelling on Monday.
— PTI photo

India ‘will’ have to fight own battle
New Delhi, October 8
The BJP President, Mr Jana Krishnamurthy, today asked the Opposition parties, especially the Congress, not to say or do anything that would in any manner contribute to undermining the efforts being made by the Vajpayee government to counter terrorism or confidence of people in the country.

India unlikely to get help in J&K
New Delhi, October 8
Despite the USA and the UK having launched strikes late yesterday against the terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan in their quest to wipe out terrorism from the face of earth, there are clear indications that India would have to fight its own battle in Jammu and Kashmir alone.

Action against Pak sought
New Delhi, October 8
Activists of the Hindu Mahasabha, Bihar Jagran Manch and Hindu Shakti Dal held a demonstration here today demanding action against Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border terrorism. Mahasabha President Dineshchandra Tyagi, while addressing hundreds of activists at Jantar Mantar, said people wanted to know when India was going to declare war against Pakistan.

BJP blamed for bunglings
New Delhi, October 8
Responding to the pointing out of irregularities by audit party of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) in Old Age Pension Scheme, Delhi Social Welfare Minister Krishna Tirath has clarified that many of the instances of inconsistencies in the scheme and harassment of senior citizens pertaining to the period between 1995 and 2000 occurred when the BJP was in power in Delhi.

Left parties slam US attack
New Delhi, October 8
Cautioning the Vajpayee government against participating in the US-led action, the Left parties today expressed strong reservation and opposition to the offensive launched by the USA and its NATO allies in Afghanistan.

Delhi BJP leaders target Jagmohan
New Delhi, October 8
The “big three” of the Delhi BJP Madan Lal Khurana, Sahib Singh Verma and Vijay Kumar Malhotra today made Union Tourism Minister Jagmohan the target of their attack during a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Sahmat blames govt for textbook row
New Delhi, October 8
Reacting to protests against the alleged derogatory references to the Sikh religion in the medieval history book of the NCERT, Sahmat a socio-cultural organisation today blamed the government for campaigning against NCERT textbooks of history.

Right to Education Bill in winter session
New Delhi, October 8
The 93rd constitution Amendment Bill to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, aims at making the Right to Education a Fundamental Right. The Bill replaces the 83rd Constitution amendement, introduced by the United Front Government in 1997.

SIMI activist held
Madurai, October 8
Tamil Nadu state vice-president of the Students Islamic Movement of India, Abdul Qudoos has been taken into custody here, the city police said today.

Scribes’ death condoled
New Delhi, October 8
The Press Council of India has mourned the death of four journalists who were killed in the plane crash on September 30 along with senior Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia.

Ex-Maharaja dead
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India ready for any contingency: Tipnis
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
India is prepared to face any contingency which it might face following strikes in Afghanistan by the USA of America against the Taliban government and terrorist hideouts, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis said today.

Addressing mediapersons after the Air Force Day celebrations, Air Chief Marshal Tipnis while refusing to go into the specifics of the contingency plans said: “We have formulated various contingency plans which we cannot specifically define at this juncture”. He said the three services had also been asked to remain on full alert following the strikes.

He said: “The operation requires innovation and we are no less innovative and can perhaps do it better”. He was commenting on the IAF’s preparedness to face any situation. He also pointed out that the threat to India was more of a political nature.

The three services chiefs had also briefed the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Defence Minister yesterday on India’s preparedness to face any contingency.

He refused to give details of his interaction with the political leadership after the allies’ air campaign against Afghanistan started yesterday. The process of formulation of combat development and evaluation strategy was on.

According to reports, all major air bases in western and south-western region, mainly Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, have been put on a high state of alert. There were also reports of the naval warship flotilla in the Arabian Sea as well as the Indian Ocean being on alert along with troops posted along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan.

Air Chief Marshal said the IAF’s helicopter fleet was being upgraded to give night attack and flight capability. He said both gunships and medium lift helicopters were “vulnerable” lacking missile warning, air defence and night vision systems.

“We are in the process of upgrading navigation as well as attack systems of all helicopters,” he said, adding that in the next few years the country could visualise the use of helicopters as a force multiplier.
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IAF bids Hunter aircraft adieu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Indian Air Force (IAF) today bade farewell to one of its oldest interceptor and ground attack aircraft, Hunter, on its 96th anniversary which also saw the first flight of the newly-upgraded MiG-21 BIS aircraft.

Though the cancellation of aerobatic exercises by Sukhoi-30 fighters and the “Surya Kiran” team of Kiran-MK jet trainers due to poor visibility was a disappointment, audience assembled at the Palam Air Force station cheered the formation of 19 HPT-32 aircraft which formed the letters IAF in the sky moments after Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis, completed his address.

Poor visibility also deprived the audience of the show of the last flight of Hunter escorted by two upgraded MiG-21 Bis aircraft. The Hunter later taxied into the parade ground for a general salute.

The audience included Chief of the Army Staff, Gen S. Padmanabhan, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar, Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain, first Chief of Intergrated Staff Committee (CISC), Lieut Gen Pankaj Joshi and a number of former air chiefs.

An aircraft of 1950s vintage, Hunter, till recently was used for providing operational training to pilots. It was inducted in IAF in 1957 and proved its mettle during the Goa action in 1961 and Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971.

In his address, Chief of the Air Staff called for further strengthening of vigilance and preparedness for security of information and infrastructure. “We have restructured our existing syllabi for creating new capabilities (of the air warrior),” he said.

Air Chief Marshal Tipnis stressed on indigenisation and invited private entrepreneurs to come forward.

The air chief gave away a Yudh Seva Medal (Group Captain Bijender Singh Siwach), 22 Vayu Sena Medals and 29 Vishisht Seva Medals besides trophies to best squadrons in various categories.

The trophies for squadrons went to 2 Squadron, 33 Squadron, 152 HU, 2204 Squadron and 33 SU.

Air Force Station, Hakimpet, received the award for best Air Traffic Services (ATS) station while 11 BRD the for best base repair depot. The trophy for the best parade contingent went to 1 Squadron of Western Air Command (WAC).
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Four caught near Advani’s home
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Security and intelligence officials today interrogated two persons who were detained while they were reportedly moving around under suspicious circumstances near the Pandara Park residence of Home Minister, L.K. Advani.

The suspects were identified as Arshad, Moinuddin, Nadeem and Sanu Hassan, originally from Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh and living in the Capital for the past five years. The police said their antecedents were being verified. Efforts were also being made to trace two other associates who the suspects claimed were supposed to stay with them, but for some reason never turned up.

The police also questioned the personal assistant of a Mizoram Congress Member of Parliament whose official flat in Pandara Park the suspects were trying to rent. The MP’s flat is next door to the official residence of the Home Minister.

Preliminary inquiries by the police have revealed that the two suspects who claimed that they were working in South Extension and Okhla, respectively, had contacted the personal assistant of the MP from Mizoram and had expressed their willingness to take the MP’s official flat on rent. A large number of MPs and other government officials are known to rent out their government flats, though it is illegal to do so.

They were caught by the security officials deployed outside the Home Minister’s residence when they had ostensibly come to finalise the rent deal.

The police said that they were trying to ascertain if the duo had deliberately tried to rent a place close to that of Mr Advani or their act was an inadvertent one. The Union Home Minister has been on the hit list of several militant groups and there have serious threats against him, specially after the crackdown on militant outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir and the banning of SIMI.
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Govt endorses attack
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Expectedly, India today endorsed the USA-led military strikes on the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and made it clear that India was against the core ideology of export of terrorism, but not against Pakistan’s role in the post-Taliban set-up in the landlocked country.

A spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said “Promotion of terrorism is what has brought Afghanistan to this pass.”

The spokesperson also welcomed yesterday’s statement of US President George W. Bush in which he had said that America’s current focus on Afghanistan was part of a broader battle against terrorism.

“We are glad that humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan is integral to the operations,” the spokesperson for the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah today said India would be happy to consider an American request for refuelling or landing facilities, though he clarified that the Indian air space was not utilised in the first wave of US-UK joint military strikes last night.
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High alert in West Bengal, North-East
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, October 8
West Bengal and other North-Eastern states have been alerted against possible terrorist strikes from across Bangladesh, where ISI-backed Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen have spread their network.

Activities of these outfits had been restricted by the Sheikh Hasina government so far. But these are now getting support and encouragement from the newly elected Begum Khaleda Zia government which has been known for its anti-India stand.

According to official reports, these terrorist groups are sending a large number of squads to the bordering towns of Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and other states following US strikes in Afghanistan. They are carrying firearms, RDX and missiles for launching attacks on India’s strategic installations.

The report has been corroborated by the arrest of 13 terrorists from North 24-Parganas town in Bongain last week and 35 more from Assam, Tripura and Mizoram.

Ten more activists were detained yesterday at border town, Basirhat, while fleeing towards Jassore in Bangladesh. A large stock of RDX and firearms and several incriminating documents and maps have been seized from their possession.

The terrorists were produced before the SDJM’s court at Basirhat in the evening. They were remanded in police custody till October 16. Two of them Rafikul (24) and Mominun Islam (27), who had Pakistani passport, told the police that they had been engaged by the ISI to work for Lashkar-e-Toiba to attack the strategic installations and settlements in the region.

West Bengal Chief Secretary Manish Gupta admitted that he had received caution from the Home Ministry against possible terrorist attack from across Bangladesh. The district police and administration had been directed to take precautions.

He said he had already contacted Chief Secretaries of the North-Eastern states for conducting a joint operation.

The Director-General of Police, Mr D.C. Bajpayee, has already left for border districts to re-organise the force for countering any attack by the ISI-backed terrorists.

He will meet the district police, the BSF and officials of the central intelligence wing in south Bengal and north Bengal to chalk out strategy. He will also visit Bhutan, where various terrorists groups have set up special camps in hideouts to train young men and women.
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India ‘will’ have to fight own battle
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
The BJP President, Mr Jana Krishnamurthy, today asked the Opposition parties, especially the Congress, not to say or do anything that would in any manner contribute to undermining the efforts being made by the Vajpayee government to counter terrorism or confidence of people in the country.

“It does not mean that the Opposition should not express its opinion. The Prime Minister is always available and the Opposition leaders should meet him as often as possible and convey their concerns,” Mr Krishnamurthy told newspersons here.

Stating that although for the first time the world opinion had turned around and started heading to what India had been saying about terrorism, he stressed that India would have to fight terrorism on its own.

“India will have to face terrorism on its own and should be prepared to face any eventuality in the wake of the US attacks on Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the USA at the moment was involved in teaching lessons to the Taliban in Afghanistan and was not coming forward at this juncture to join hands with India to defeat terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. “That should not make the people lose sight of the developing situation,” Mr Krishnamurthy said.

The BJP President asserted that in matter of this nature the government had greater responsibility in assessing the situation and take required steps. “What kind of action the government should take and what should be the timing of it, I think the government alone is in the best position.”

“This time the government cannot rush into policies without proper calculations,” he said and added that “the government cannot lessen its guard on matters of terrorism and I am sure it had told the Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry to take steps to safeguard our interest and root out terrorism.”

Referring to his meeting with the US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert Blackwill, he said: “I had drawn his attention to the possibility of Afghan militants moving towards Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of America’s attacks on Afghanistan.”

The US Ambassador assured me that he will keep his government informed and necessary steps will be taken, he said, adding that “I hope the USA will stand by its commitment ...but still India should be prepared for any eventuality.”
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India unlikely to get help in J&K
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Despite the USA and the UK having launched strikes late yesterday against the terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan in their quest to wipe out terrorism from the face of earth, there are clear indications that India would have to fight its own battle in Jammu and Kashmir alone.

Experts here point out that both the USA and the UK, although launching strikes together against terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan, are unlikely to come to India’s aid in wiping out terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. Even though the terrorist groups, which consist mainly of foreign mercenaries have been repeatedly targeting civilians, Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to get the same level of attention as Afghanistan.

There is a growing feeling, which apparently is now also clear to the establishment here, that despite all the intelligence inputs and other facilities, specially refuelling of aircraft being provided, it is not going to get the same level of support from the two when going after the mercenaries hiding in the border state.

This, the experts say, is evident from the fact that despite India repeatedly taking up the issue with the two countries, they have still not banned some terrorist groups, specially the Jaish-e-Mohammed. The terrorist group was involved in the fidayeen attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly last week in which more than 40 persons were killed and over 60 injured.

There was a view that although India has been assured that the JeM would be banned, but besides that there would be no other assistance coming forward. Both the USA and the UK view the situation in Jammu and Kashmir differently from the strikes which were carried out in New York and Washington almost a month ago.
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Action against Pak sought
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Activists of the Hindu Mahasabha, Bihar Jagran Manch and Hindu Shakti Dal held a demonstration here today demanding action against Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border terrorism. Mahasabha President Dineshchandra Tyagi, while addressing hundreds of activists at Jantar Mantar, said people wanted to know when India was going to declare war against Pakistan.

He said while USA could wage a war against Taliban regime for killing more than 6,000 people in the September 11 terrorist attacks, why India was keeping silent even as 50,000 people had so far been killed in Kashmir alone.”

Protesters, later, submitted a six-point memorandum to the Prime Minister and demanded military operation to bring situation under control in Jammu and Kashmir.
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BJP blamed for bunglings
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Responding to the pointing out of irregularities by audit party of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) in Old Age Pension Scheme, Delhi Social Welfare Minister Krishna Tirath has clarified that many of the instances of inconsistencies in the scheme and harassment of senior citizens pertaining to the period between 1995 and 2000 occurred when the BJP was in power in Delhi. She told reporters that the incumbent Congress government under the chief ministership of Ms Sheila Dixit had taken over in December 1998 only.

The CAG had pointed out that in some cases valid proof of age was not available while in others either the proof of age had been tampered with or pension sanctioned in the absence of valid or incomplete proof of income. The report also noted that in 428 cases, pension was sanctioned to those who were having more income than ceiling fixed for sanction of pension. Furthermore, multiple payments involving Rs 24 lakh were detected.

Addressing a press conference, Ms Tirath said since she took over as minister, the Social Welfare Department had taken measures to streamline the various schemes, particularly, the Old Age pension scheme. She listed decentralisation of this scheme and other schemes, computerisation of data, and payment through electronic clearing system as some of the achievements of her ministry.

She said physical verification was being enforced in all cases and that instructions had been issued to officers to conduct surprise visits so that staff of postal authorities did not harass beneficiaries.
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Left parties slam US attack
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Cautioning the Vajpayee government against participating in the US-led action, the Left parties today expressed strong reservation and opposition to the offensive launched by the USA and its NATO allies in Afghanistan.

“In a full-scale war against Afghanistan, the main sufferers would be the people of that country. The missiles and bombs rained on Afghanistan will kill thousands of innocent people”, the CPM, the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Block said in a joint statement here.

The statement, in the anti-US tradition of the Left parties in the country, called upon their respective units to mobilise people to hold demonstrations and meetings on October 12 all over the country to demand a halt to the war.

Signed by Mr H.S.Surjeet Mr A.B. Bardhan, Mr Debabrata Biswas and Mr K. Panakakshan, the statement said the Left parties from the outset had stated that those responsible for the terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11 should be brought to justice through the United Nations and on the basis of international law.

“The BJP-led government should, in no way, participate in this US-sponsored war. Such a step would have dangerous consequences for our region and the national sovereignty,” the Left parties said.
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Delhi BJP leaders target Jagmohan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
The “big three” of the Delhi BJP Madan Lal Khurana, Sahib Singh Verma and Vijay Kumar Malhotra today made Union Tourism Minister Jagmohan the target of their attack during a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The Prime Minister is understood to have admitted that Mr Jagmohan had dented the BJP’s prospects for the coming Delhi municipal elections and told the three veterans that he would soon hold a meeting with L. K. Advani and BJP president K. Jana Krishnamurthy to chalk out the winning strategy for the election.

Well-placed sources said the angry Delhi BJP trio, who were accompanied by colleague Lal Behari Tiwari minced no words in telling the Prime Minister that the shifting of Mr Jagmohan from Urban Development to Tourism Ministry was the “political compulsion”.

They told the Prime Minister that reports in the media that the Urban Development Ministry had been taken from Mr Jagmohan on their insistence, had severely marred their image before the electorate as such reports gave rise to speculations of their nexus with builders’ mafia.
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Sahmat blames govt for textbook row
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, October 8
Reacting to protests against the alleged derogatory references to the Sikh religion in the medieval history book of the NCERT, Sahmat a socio-cultural organisation today blamed the government for campaigning against NCERT textbooks of history.

“The government has a two-point agenda — to change and delete the text. The government announced that it would make some fundamental changes in the syllabus, which it has so far not revealed. But is an indication that it wants new books to be written. Then they encouraged all kinds of criticism of the books”, said historian Irfan Habib.

Professor Chandra in his book has written what the Sikh historians have themselves affirmed. A noted Sikh historian Prof. J.S. Grewal, has mentioned in his book,”The Sikhs of the Punjab”, that Guru Teg Bahadur was opposed by certain members of his family, pointed out Prof Arjun Dev, former head of the NCERT.

It was mentioned that Sangh Parivar’s new appointees in the NCERT had been proclaiming that the textbooks had insulted the religious sentiments of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.
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Right to Education Bill in winter session
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, October 8
The 93rd constitution Amendment Bill to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, aims at making the Right to Education a Fundamental Right. The Bill replaces the 83rd Constitution amendement, introduced by the United Front Government in 1997.

However, those working for the promotion of education the National Alliance for the Fundamental Right to Education, (NAFRE) — are not satisfied. They allege that the present provisions of the 93rd amendment will amount to withdrawal of children’s rights already available to them as a result of the Unnikrishnan judgement of 1993.

According to them, the Bill must cover early childhood care and education in the 0-6 years as part of the Fundamental right to education. Also, Article 45 must be retained and direct the state to ensure free and compulsory education to children in the age group of 14-18 within a specified time frame, instead of including children in the 0-6 age group in this clause.
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SIMI activist held

Madurai, October 8
Tamil Nadu state vice-president of the Students Islamic Movement of India, Abdul Qudoos has been taken into custody here, the city police said today.

With his arrest last evening, the number of those arrested in the city after the fundamentalist outfit was banned in the country, rose to five.
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Scribes’ death condoled
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
The Press Council of India has mourned the death of four journalists who were killed in the plane crash on September 30 along with senior Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia.

At a meeting, the council observed a two-minute silence in the memory of the journalists — Anju Sharma, Sanjeev Sinha, Ranjan Jha and Gopal Bisht.

“The journalists who were in the prime of their youth, had in such a short span of their professional career, carved a niche for themselves in the field of journalism,” the resolution adopted by the council.
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Ex-Maharaja dead

New Delhi, October 8
Pratap Kesari Deo, former Maharaja of Kalahandi, Orissa, died here on Monday of blood cancer, family sources said. Deo, 84, is survived by two sons and two daughters. He was a member of Parliament from 1957 to 1980. Founder of the Gantantra Parishad, a regional party, he joined the BJP in 1986. PTI
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

CAPTAIN VIJIT CREMATED
ALLAHABAD:
The mortal remains of Captain Vijit Kumar Singh, who laid down his life while fighting militants in the North-East recently, were consigned to flames with full military honours at the Rasoolabad crematorium here on Sunday. The funeral pyre was lit by his father Lt. Colonel (retired) M.M. Singh in the presence of various dignitaries. UNI

6 KILLED IN ROAD MISHAP
SHAJAPUR (MP):
As many as six persons were killed and 38 others injured when a private passenger bus collided with a truck on the Agra-Mumbai National Highway, around 8 km from this district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday. According to police sources, the mini-bus proceeding from Sarangpur to Shajapur rammed into the truck coming from the opposite direction. UNI

BODOLAND ACTIVIST KILLED
GUWAHATI:
A National Democratic Front of Bodoland activist was killed in an encounter with the Army at Khairani village in Assam’s Nalbari district on Monday, official sources said. UNI

HIMACHAL TIMES STARTS DELHI EDITION
NEW DELHI:
Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral here on Monday launched the Delhi edition of The Himachal Times. Among those present on the occasion were former Governor Bishma Narain Singh, former Speaker and NCP leader P.A. Sangma and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. TNS
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