Thursday, October 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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N A T I O N

Buta denies links with Baba Bhaniara
New Delhi, October 10
Senior Congress leader Buta Singh, who has been accused by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of laying the foundation stone of a “dera” of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, asserted today that he had nothing to do with the ideology of the controversial preacher.

A Sikh demonstrator holds up a placard during a demonstration in New Delhi on Wednesday. A Sikh demonstrator holds up a placard during a demonstration in New Delhi on Wednesday. Demonstrators from various organisations gathered in the heart of the Capital and demanded “the destruction of terrorism.” — Reuters


 


A unique exhibition of handmade dolls being held in Chennai.
(28k, 56k)

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
India has option to hit PoK camps: Omar
New Delhi, October 10
Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah has said military strikes against terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is an option but the stage has not reached yet.

Pak snaps Indian channel access
New Delhi, October 10
The Pakistan military regime has snapped access to all Indian news channels for the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

SGPC’s offer to Afghan Sikhs
New Delhi, October 10
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today offered to fund the passage of Sikh families stranded in Afghanistan and urged the Centre to seek the help of the Pakistan Embassy in getting them evacuated from the war-ravaged country.

Afghans huddle indoors
Kolkata, October 10
The Afghan colony in central Kolkata’s Chandi Chowk area now looks forlorn as its residents remain indoors worried and anxious about their relatives and friends living in Kabul and Kandahar, which are under US attack.

EARLIER STORIES

 

Karnataka told to release waters
New Delhi, October 10
The Cauvery River Water Authority, apparently bowing to the pressure from Tamil Nadu, today directed Karnataka to ensure inflows at Mettur reservoir as stipulated by the Tribunal in view of the drought situation faced by farmers in the state.

Tribunal to adjudicate ban on SIMI
New Delhi, October 10
A tribunal has been constituted to adjudicate the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India, a Home Ministry spokesman said today.

Farmers uproot crop hit by bollworm
Hanumangarh, October 10
The destruction of cotton crop by bollworm in the region has again shattered dreams of cultivators, who have suffered heavy losses in the past three years because of consecutive drought.

Govt notification on crackers
New Delhi, October 10
The Union Government yesterday issued a notification restricting the time and level of noise for bursting of crackers during the festivals of Dusehra and Diwali. The notification follows last month’s Supreme Court order.

U.R. Rao Prasar Bharati Chairman
New Delhi, October 10
The Centre today appointed Prof U.R. Rao as Chairman and Lt-Gen M.A. Zaki (retd), Prof Vidya Nivas Mishra and Mr S. Kasipandian as part-time members of the Board of the Prasar Bharti Corporation. An order, to this effect, was issued today by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Partial bandh in Hanumangarh
Hanumangarh, October 10
Traffic remained suspended for about four hours and markets closed till noon, in response to a bandh call given by the BJP yesterday.

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Buta denies links with Baba Bhaniara
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
Senior Congress leader Buta Singh, who has been accused by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of laying the foundation stone of a “dera” of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, asserted today that he had nothing to do with the ideology of the controversial preacher.

Talking to TNS here, Mr Buta Singh said he was a devotee of Guru Granth Sahib and had no association with the religious discourses or ideology of the Baba.

Condemning the recent incidents of sacrilege, Mr Buta Singh supported the demand of the Punjab Congress chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, for having a judicial probe into the incidents to ascertain the truth and punish the guilty.

He accused Mr Badal of trying to stoke communal feelings to consolidate Sikh votes with an eye on the coming Assembly elections. At a “sangat darshan” in Sangrur district yesterday, Mr Badal had alleged that the Congress was behind the acts of sacrilege.

Clarifying his position for the first time since his name came up with regard to having links with the controversial Baba, Mr Buta Singh said he had visited the Baba four or five times between 1985 and 1995 for treatment of his wife Manjit Kaur, who was suffering from several illnesses including problems of heart, kidney, skin and lungs.

Mr Buta Singh, who served as Union Home Minister between 1986 and 1989, said his wife got some relief from her problem of breathlessness due to the herbal medicine given by the Baba. He said it was in this connection that he visited the latter’s place in Ropar following suggestions from his supporters. “I did not visit the Baba after the death of my wife. She was taken for treatment to several hospitals in the country and expired in London in the last months of 1995,” said Mr Buta Singh, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Ropar several times.

Stating that he had no inkling about the religious thoughts of the Baba, Mr Buta Singh said that during his visits, he did not find the Baba indulging in any activity connected to religion. “At that time, the Baba was known in the neighbouring areas as a social worker and a healer,” Mr Buta Singh said.

He said the Baba used to go into the adjoining jungles to leave vegetarian food for animals.

“During one of my visits, he urged me to lay the foundation stone of a small structure for the stay of people coming for treatment of their diseases. Later, a plaque mentioning my name was put at the place,” the Congress leader said.

Denying that he had any “saint-disciple relationship” with the Baba, Mr Buta Singh said he had highest regard for Guru Granth Sahib and prayed regularly. “I am an Amritdhari, Shastradhari Sikh,” he said.Top

 

India has option to hit PoK camps: Omar

New Delhi, October 10
Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah has said military strikes against terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an option but the stage has not reached yet.

The government reserves the right to preserve sovereignty and integrity of the country and military strikes against terrorist training camps is an option, Mr Abdullah said participating in Karan Thapar’s “Line of Fire” programme of Sab TV.

“A point is reached when you no longer can take the sufferings, bloodshed and deaths by thousands of cuts,” he said, adding that “I don’t say we have reached that stage.

But it (strikes) cannot be ruled out.”

Stating that India had a “lot of patience”, he said even during the Kargil conflict Indian forces did not cross the LoC.

“We are not fools to decide suddenly to attack,” he said.

He said actions to close down training camps did not necessarily mean going to war with aircraft dropping bombs.

“Actions to close down training camps do not have to be overt. There are covert operations. There are covert agencies which can be trained and intelligence gathered to close down the camps,” he said.

There was also the UN resolution which empowered countries to go against those supporting terrorists, Mr Abdullah said.

He said National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra had provided to his US counterpart Condoleeza Rice evidence of the links between terrorist groups Operating in Jammu and Kashmir and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida. PTI
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Pak snaps Indian channel access

New Delhi, October 10
The Pakistan military regime has snapped access to all Indian news channels for the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

As a result, the Indian mission which was getting all Indian news channels through its satellite dish, is not able to do so now. “We are getting the full facts. If true, it is unfortunate. There is something amiss,” an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told reporters today.

She said the matter would be taken up with the Pakistani authorities. The Karachi Cable Operators Association, ostensibly at the behest of the Musharraf regime, had last month decided not to beam Indian channels in Pakistan through their networks. Asked whether India would retaliate by banning Pakistan television (PTV) in the country, she shot back: “This is not a zero-sum game”. PTITop

 

SGPC’s offer to Afghan Sikhs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today offered to fund the passage of Sikh families stranded in Afghanistan and urged the Centre to seek the help of the Pakistan Embassy in getting them evacuated from the war-ravaged country.

In identical letters to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, SGPC President Jagdev Singh Talwandi said there were reports that a good number of Sikh men, along with women and children were stranded in the Sikh shrines in Afghanistan.

He pointed out that some of the women may not be having passports or other documents with them as the Taliban regime had put severe restrictions on them. “It is apprehended that these people, if not rescued, might be massacred or used as hostage or human shield,” he added.

He suggested that the government could seek the help of the Pakistan Embassy to help evacuate the Sikhs in Afghanistan to Gurdwara Panja Sahib (Hassan Abdal) in Pakistan and subsequently to India.

Mr Talwandi said the SGPC would bear all expenses in this regard. The SGPC also authorised the Vice-Chairman of the Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh to liaise with the government for this purpose. The letter has already approached the government to take urgent steps to help the Sikh families stranded in Afghanistan.

According to Mr Tarlochan Singh, there were around 1500 Sikhs in Afghanistan and around 100 of them had fled to Peshawar in Pakistan.

He said several Sikhs wanted to come to India but the strict documentation process in India made their travel difficult. So far only two Sikhs have managed to come to India by train at the Attari border.

Mr Tarlochan Singh said the Home Ministry, which controls the arrival of passengers from Pakistan, should coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure smooth passage for genuine stranded families of Indian origin.Top

 

Afghans huddle indoors
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, October 10
The Afghan colony in central Kolkata’s Chandi Chowk area now looks forlorn as its residents remain indoors worried and anxious about their relatives and friends living in Kabul and Kandahar, which are under US attack.

The city Afghans say they feel safe and secure in Kolkata, but still they are spending sleepless nights as they are worried about their relatives. They spend most of their time in front of TV to get information about their homeland, which they left decades ago in search of greener pastures. Many of them still visit Afghanistan every year taking back money and material for their family. Most of them are engaged in the trade of selling fruits or are moneylenders.

As many as 27 Afghans now live in the small Afghan colony at Chandi Chowk, business hub of the city. Some have their names on the voters list and are also having ration cards. No longer are they treated as foreigners though they are living without passport and visas for decades.

Adam Khan, Sultan, Mir Afjala and Asham Khan are called “kabuliwallah” as they frequent the streets selling dry fruits.

Adam Khan’s cousin, Zahabaj (43) married a Bengali girl, Sushmita (40). He, however, does not live in Afghan colony, but share the worries of its residents.

They are all praying to God for an early end to the war and restoration of normalcy in Afghanistan under a democratic government.Top

 

Karnataka told to release waters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Cauvery River Water Authority (CRWA), apparently bowing to the pressure from Tamil Nadu, today directed Karnataka to ensure inflows at Mettur reservoir as stipulated by the Tribunal in view of the drought situation faced by farmers in the state.

The authority gave the direction “after taking note of the drought conditions in the basin in both the states,” an official press note said this evening.

The directive came hours after Tamil Nadu described the high-level meeting called by the Prime Minister to discuss the Cauvery dispute as “very disappointing.”

The Tamil Nadu Government decided to move the Supreme Court as Karnataka outrightly rejected its demand for 1 tmcft of additional water daily at the meeting called by Mr Vajpayee to discuss the Cauvery water dispute. Even the Prime Minister’s intervention on the issue failed to impress upon Karnataka.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr O. Paneerselvam, said the decision of the Cauvery Water Authority was to “leave the farmers of Tamil Nadu to the fate of the rain god.” He said the issue would be taken up with the Supreme Court.

He said Karnataka had not listened to Tamil Nadu’s plea. “Even the authority has not been helpful in solving the problem,” he said.

The Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr S.M. Krishna, expressing his inability to give more water to Tamil Nadu, said 42 of the 46 talukas in the cauvery basin were in the grip of drought.The Centre had issued no directions to Karnataka, he said.

The Prime Minister, however, said: “Should a situation of distress arise in Tamil Nadu, I would like to assure that the authority will meet at short notice and provide whatever is possible.”

He said at present the rainfall in Ayacut and the reservoir storage were adequate for carrying out the agricultural operations. “The situation, of course, needs constant monitoring,” he said.

The Prime Minister also made it clear that the riparian states were bound by the spirit and letter of the tribunal’s directions. “The tribunal clearly laid down that there has to be pro-rata sharing of the distress,” Mr Vajpayee said.

Disagreeing with Tamil Nadu’s contention, Mr Krishna said the state had provided 27 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu during the past month.

Tamil Naud Finance Minister C. Ponnaiyan said Karnataka’s failure to release 66 tmcft of water in the past four months had resulted in a loss of Rs 300 crore to Tamil Nadu farmers.Top

 

Tribunal to adjudicate ban on SIMI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
A tribunal has been constituted to adjudicate the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a Home Ministry spokesman said today.

The tribunal, headed by Mr Justice S.K. Agarwal of the Delhi High Court, will adjudicate whether or not there are sufficient reasons for declaring SIMI as an unlawful organisation.

After considering all arguments and evidences to be given by the government and SIMI, the tribunal will give its report within six months.

The declaration of any organisation or association as “unlawful” is required to be referred to a tribunal, constituted by a high court judge, within one month of declaring it as ‘unlawful.’

The Centre’s ban on SIMI came on September 27 in the wake of demands from UP, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in the wake of allegations that the organisation was carrying on anti-national activities and its activists were aligned with terrorist outfits like Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen.
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Farmers uproot crop hit by bollworm
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, October 10
The destruction of cotton crop by bollworm in the region has again shattered dreams of cultivators, who have suffered heavy losses in the past three years because of consecutive drought.

The situation has deteriorated to such extent that the cultivators have started uprooting both American and Indian cotton crops after all their efforts to save the crop from bollworm proved futile. Among the cultivators maximum are those who spray insecticides 10-12 times and still bollworm had destroyed the crop.

The cultivators are now preparing fields for the rabi crop. They are raising money by mortgaging lands with the financial organisations for the purpose. Though no official figure has been obtained the loss of crop is reportedly over 500 bighas. In some areas, the destruction has been up to 90 per cent.

Due to shortage of both water and electricity, the cultivators had sown cotton with priority to paddy. Good response encouraged many others to shift to the cultivation of cotton, but bollworm destroyed the crop when it was about to ripen.

The cultivators said though the cotton produce had been declining for the past few years, yet this year destruction of crop because of bollworm had been extensive. They said the loss of crop would further deteriorate their financial condition and the money lenders would refuse to lend money now.

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Govt notification on crackers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Union Government yesterday issued a notification restricting the time and level of noise for bursting of crackers during the festivals of Dusehra and Diwali. The notification follows last month’s Supreme Court order.

According to the notification, the noise produced by bursting of crackers is not to exceed 125 decibel. Also, crackers can only be burst between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Furthermore, restrictions are in place in the silence zone, which means no fire cracker will be burst within 100 metres from hospitals, educational institutions, courts, religious places or “any other area declared by the competent authority.”

The apex court order was given by a three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice A.S. Anand and Justices R.C. Lahoti and Ashok Bhan on September 27.Top

 

U.R. Rao Prasar Bharati Chairman
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Centre today appointed Prof U.R. Rao as Chairman and Lt-Gen M.A. Zaki (retd), Prof Vidya Nivas Mishra and Mr S. Kasipandian as part-time members of the Board of the Prasar Bharti Corporation. An order, to this effect, was issued today by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

These appointments have been made on the recommendation of the Selection Committee headed by the Vice-President of India where the Chairman of the Press Council and Mr T.V.R. Shenoy (noted journalists) are the other committee members.

The post of the chairman had fallen vacant due to the death of Mr Nikhil Chakraborty. Prof U.R. Rao, who is already serving as a part-time member, will now head Prasar Bharti as Chairman till 22.11.2003.Top

 

Partial bandh in Hanumangarh
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, October 10
Traffic remained suspended for about four hours and markets closed till noon, in response to a bandh call given by the BJP yesterday.

Agitators put the electricity poles on the town-junction road, that had been lying on the roads for the past many months, and blocked the traffic. Mr Nihal Chand, MP, Mr Ram Partap, local MLA, along with other party workers held a dharna on the road. Agitating party workers held a demonstration and asked shopkeepers to close their shops.

It was only in the afternoon that the life came back to normal when barriers from roads were removed and agitators allowed the shops to open.

The BJP had give the bandh call in support of their demands, including compensation to farmers for damage caused to their crops, pension to old age and handicap persons.

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Centre to revive Ayodhya Cell

New Delhi, October 10
The Ayodhya Cell, which was formed for interaction between Hindus and Muslims on the Ram Temple issue and remained defunct for five years, will be revived by the BJP-led Central Government as the Prime Minister is committed to solving the dispute by March 12 next year, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today said.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee yesterday assured VHP working president Ashok Singhal and chief of the Ram Mandir Nyas Mahant Ram Chander Das that the cell would be revived soon. UNI
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Staffer who got hijack call dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Air Alliance supervisor, who reportedly received the hoax hijack call, Shah Nawaz Wani, died a natural death yesterday Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), West district, Mr Taj Hasan, claimed today.

There was no mystery behind the death of the supervisor. He was admitted to AIIMS, where doctors on duty declared him brought dead. When he was admitted to AIIMS, blood was oozing from his nose. His post-mortem was waived as it was not an accidental case of death.Top

 

NDA’s volte-face

New Delhi, October 10
Contrary to the BJP and some of its allies’ stand during the previous Lok Sabha elections against Congress president Sonia Gandhi being a candidate for the Prime Ministership due to her foreign origin, the NDA government has defended President K.R. Narayanan’s decision in the Delhi High Court to invite her to explore the feasibility of forming a government after the fall of the Vajpayee ministry in 1999. PTI
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Bomb-like object found in Delhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
A bomb like object was recovered from waste material dumped in a park in the Nand Nagri area of north-east district today.

The object was found by some boys playing in the park. Bomb disposal squad of the Delhi police was called immediately which took the object in its possession to examine it, a senior official of the police said.
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Ex-minister held

Berhampur (Orissa), October 10
Former Orissa minister Raghab Parida was arrested from his residence at Kabisuryanagar, about 50 km from here, the police said today.

The arrest was made yesterday in connection with his alleged involvement in booth-capturing at Mahupadar in the Aska Assembly constituency during the 1995 assembly poll. PTI
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Undisclosed income up to 1,400 cr detected

Mumbai, October 10
The Income Tax (IT) Department has detected undisclosed income of up to Rs 1,400 crore in its nationwide searches on stock brokers and others since April.

The searches from stock brokers helped in detecting prima facie undisclosed income of about Rs 1,200 crore, while the concealed income found so far since April 2001 was in excess of Rs 1,400 crore, IT Director-General (Investigation) G. Saran said in a statement here today. PTI

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NATIONAL BRIEFS

5 JUDGES APPOINTED TO BOMBAY HC
NEW DELHI:
The government on Wednesday announced the appointment of five judges to the Bombay High Court for a period of two years. Dilip Ganesh Karnik, Jaiprakash Pursappa Devadhar, Rajiv Syamrao Mohite, Kanade Vidyasagar Murlidhar and Naresh Harishchandra Patil were appointed Additional Judges in order of their seniority, an official note said here. PTI

TRAIN FLAGGED OFF FROM DEHRA DUN
DEHRA DUN:
Northern Railway has started a train with express service between Dehra Dun and Kathgodam. It was flagged off by Mr Nitish Kumar, Union Minister for Railways, from Dehra Dun railway station on Tuesday. The train will provide a direct connection between Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttaranchal. TNS

RASHTRIYA RIFLES MARTYR CREMATED
DEHRA DUN:
Madan Singh Rawat, a 9 Rashtriya Rifles Havildar, who laid down his life fighting militants in Anantnag on October 6, was cremated with full military honours in the Doon valley. The body of Rawat of Shayampur village in Ambiwala here was brought to the Military Hospital on Tuesday from where it was taken in an Army vehicle to his house. Chief Minister Nityanand Swami, besides army officers and jawans, also paid tributes to the martyr. UNI

SHERGILL TAKES OVER AS IMA COMMANDANT
DEHRA DUN:
Lt-Gen T.S. Shergill took over as Commandant, Indian Military Academy, on Wednesday. The outgoing Commandant, Lt-Gen Yuvraj Mehta, retired from military service on September 30. Before assuming the office of Commandant, Lt-Gen Shergill was General Officer Commanding of Corps in the Eastern Sector. TNS

4 MORE COURTS FOR FODDER SCAM CASES
PATNA:
The Bihar government has decided to constitute four more special courts to ensure speedy trial of cases of the fodder scam after the Supreme Court shifted the 36 cases relating to the multi-crore fraud to Jharkhand, according to state Law Minister Shakeel Ahmed Khan. A decision to this effect was taken by a state Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Rabri Devi here on Tuesday, Mr Khan said. PTI

12 KILLED IN ROAD MISHAP
SHILLONG: Twelve persons were killed and 19 injured when a truck carrying them skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge at Mawlyndep, about 25 km from here, in Ri-bhoi district, the police said. Nine persons died on the spot while three succumbed to injuries on way to Shillong Civil Hospital. PTI


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