Thursday, November 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Centre’s bid to build up support for POTO
Chandigarh, November 7
If the recent letter written by the Union Home Secretary to the Chief Secretaries of all states is any indication, the Union Government appears to have drawn up a two-pronged strategy — both at the administrative and political levels — to create public opinion in support of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

POTO: Advani stands by his remarks
New Delhi, November 7
Unperturbed by severe criticism by opposition parties, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani today struck to his statement on Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) saying “those who help in the defeat of POTO will wittingly or unwittingly make the terrorist organisation happy.”


Bollywood actress Hema Malini (C) performs amidst co-actors during the staging of "Draupadi," a ballet, in Mumbai earlier this month. The ballet is based on Draupadi, wife of five warrior husbands from the popular Indian mythology "Mahabharata," which will be shown around the country next year. — Reuters




EARLIER STORIES

 

Ayodhya not to be UP poll issue: CM
New Delhi, November 7
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh today ruled out an immediate dissolution of the state Assembly and said the government would propose holding of elections in February next year.

Girl pulls a cart
A girl pulls a cart with drinking water containers to her home in Mumbai on Wednesday. Slum and road dwellers face an acute water shortage and have to fetch water from far-away tubewells or buy water at a premium. — Reuters

Heavy rain
The recent heavy rain in Chennai has left several low-lying areas inundated. A scene in Kolathur in north Chennai.
— PTI
On it's first anniversary, Uttaranchal's dreams of a progressive state go sour as people allege that not much has been achieved.
(28k, 56k)


The September 11 attacks have had little effect on tourism in Kerala.
(28k, 56k)

2.5 kg of ornaments have been stolen from the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar.
(28k, 56k)

Renowned Urdu poet Ali Jawwad Zaidi continues his quest to give Ramayana written in Urdu its rightful place.
(28k, 56k)

 

Air-India stowaway case: probe ordered
New Delhi, November 7
The Civil Aviation Ministry has ordered a high level probe into the incident of two Afghan nationals hiding on the Air India flight and reaching London without tickets.

Ask Bush for action in Kashmir: Cong
New Delhi, November 7
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee should impress upon US President George W. Bush the need to start the second phase of its action in tackling terrorism in Kashmir and Chechnya, the Congress said today.

India, France to hold naval exercises
New Delhi, November 7
India and France will begin their three-day joint Naval exercises in the Arabian Sea from tomorrow with four French navy ships participating along with the Indian ships.

Punjabi Tribune ex-editor gets academy award
New Delhi, November 6
Former editor of the Punjabi Tribune Gurbachan Singh Bhullar has received the Punjabi Academy’s annual award for outstanding contribution to the language, literature and culture.

No regularisation of Sainik Farms Colony: Centre
New Delhi, November 7
Taking a tough stand against the illegal construction in the posh Sainik Farms Colony here, raised on an area marked as green belt, the Centre today told the Delhi High Court that there was no plan to regularise it.

2 b lack food security, says UN report
New Delhi, November 7
By 2025, three billion people will live in 48 water-stressed countries, according to the United Nations Population Fund State of World Population Report (SWPR) released here today. The first copy of the report titled “Footprints and milestones: population and environment change” was presented to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr C.P. Thakur.





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Centre’s bid to build up support for POTO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
If the recent letter written by the Union Home Secretary to the Chief Secretaries of all states is any indication, the Union Government appears to have drawn up a two-pronged strategy — both at the administrative and political levels — to create public opinion in support of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to create public awareness about the ordinance by observing November 18 as National Unity Day against terrorism, the Union Home Secretary wants that police officers and others should also be sensitised about the new law to contain terrorism.

Unconvinced by the explanations given by both the political leadership and the central bureaucracy, the media has been up in arms against the new ordinance. Some of the media organisations have set in motion debates on the ordinance as to how it would infringe upon its working.

The NDA government, is, however, keen to create pro-ordinance opinion before the winter session of Parliament gets under way on November 19. A meeting of the Chief Ministers has been called in the Union Capital for November 17 to discuss POTO.

Stressing the need for installing a mechanism to ensure a fair and transparent implementation of the ordinance, the Home Secretary wants the states to allay all fears and “to bring to public attention the true spirit of POTO”.

During the two-day national Executive Committee meeting of the BJP in Amritsar both the BJP President, Mr Jana Krishnamurthy, and the Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley , not only defended the ordinance but also said that it was a central version of state acts on checking organised crime. Mr Jaitley had maintained that it was Congress-ruled Maharashtra which was the first one to introduce an Act to check organised crime. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka followed while West Bengal was in the process of having a similar Act.

“The only difference,” he said,” was that in place of organised terrorism, terrorist crime has been substituted. Against POTO, the state Acts are harsher as far as punishing members of the organised crime syndicates are concerned in comparison with supporters of terrorist crime. We have taken all safeguards to ensure that the new ordinance is not misused.”

Mr Jaitley also tried to allay fears of the media about POTO saying that there were provisions in the existing law, both under the Cr PC and the IPC, which necessitated any public man to inform the police about a crime.

Similarly, the media anxiety over the ordinance finds special mention in the letter, which says that all fears expressed by media personnel were “misplaced”. The Home Secretary says that Sections 3(8) and 14 of the ordinance provide for creating an obligation on everyone to furnish information. The existing provisions, though milder, are available under Section 39 of the Cr PC and Section 187 sub-section 8 of 3 of the IPC. The new ordinance, the letter said, did not interfere in any way with legitimate journalistic functions and activities.

“If the Press becomes privy to information regarding a terrorist act committed or about to be committed, he or she shall share this information with the law-enforcement agencies. Legitimately, journalists are also bound by a duty and responsibility to safeguard the interests of the nation,” the letter said admitting that the ordinance had been promulgated after a prolonged consultation process.

“The paradigm shift in the existing and emerging threat perceptions has advanced the time-table making it imperative to promulgate POTO without any delay on October 25,” the letter said, maintaining that under the new ordinance human rights concerns had been addressed.

The new ordinance not only clearly defined a “terrorist act” to reduce the scope of misinterpretation and misuse, the bail provisions were also more reasonable and less harsh than under TADA . Further, the periods of police and judicial custody had been reduced and appeals against orders of the special courts under POTO lay in the high court and not in the Supreme Court as was with TADA, the letter said.

Further, the Home Secretary, while describing special features, said that no court could take cognizance under the ordinance without the previous sanction of the Central Government or the state government, as the case might be.

Further, no officer below the rank of DSP could investigate offences under POTO. Confession before a police office not below a Superintendent of Police was admissible as evidence under the ordinance provided the person concerned was produced within 48 hours before the Chief Metropolitan/Judicial Magistrate with the confessional statement.

The new ordinance also provided for punishment to any police officer who exercised powers in a corrupt manner or maliciously. It also provided for the award of compensation to a person who had been corruptly or maliciously proceeded against under POTO.Top

 

POTO: Advani stands by his remarks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 7
Unperturbed by severe criticism by opposition parties, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani today struck to his statement on Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) saying “those who help in the defeat of POTO will wittingly or unwittingly make the terrorist organisation happy.”

“What is wrong in my statement... No terrorist organisation will like POTO and if it gets defeated in Parliament they (terrorist organisation) will be happy,” Mr Advani said interacting with journalists during the third Editors’ Conference on Social Sector issues.

His statement had assumed controversial dimensions at the recently held National Executive meeting of the BJP in Amritsar as the party President Mr Jana Krishnamurthi had denied that Mr Advani of having made such statement during the meet.

When told by reporters that the Home Minister had indeed made such a remark as they had been told by none other than the Law Minister Arun Jaitley, Mr Krishnamurthi had promised that he would seek clarification from the Home Minister for putting the record straight.

Defending the ordinance promulgated by the government earlier this month, the Home Minister said, “but for the stringent provisions in erstwhile Terrorist Activities and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act relating to confession, not even a single person accused of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination would have been held guilty.”

However, he maintained that the POTO had all inbuilt provisions to strictly act against terrorism and also to prevent its misuse.

The Home Minister had also strongly defended his statement seeking sympathetic consideration of the cases of Punjab police personnel, who were being tried for committing human rights violations during their fight against terrorism in the state.

“Extraordinary situation in Punjab warranted extraordinary action (from Punjab police personnel) and my only appeal is that the courts should take cognizance of the fact that whether their action was bona fide or mala fide and consider their cases sympathetically,” Mr Advani said asserting that he had never used the word “amnesty” or “immunity” during his visit to Jalandhar in September this year.

To buttress in viewpoint, Mr Advani said while during war emergency is promulgated, where fundamental rights of people are suspended, to enable the security personnel to effectively deal with the enemies...But while the country is facing proxy war and where there is no declared war security personnel are against all odds.

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Ayodhya not to be UP poll issue: CM

New Delhi, November 7
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh today ruled out an immediate dissolution of the state Assembly and said the government would propose holding of elections in February next year.

He said the BJP would not try to make the Ayodhya imbroglio an issue but expose those who were opposing the Centre’s decision to introduce the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) in Parliament and the ban on communal outfits like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Mr Rajnath Singh’s statement about the February poll date assumes significance as the VHP has planned for Ram Temple construction at the disputed site in Ayodhya in March.

The Chief Minister clarified that the Board examinations were held in March every year in which lakhs of students appear. The government believes it will be impractical to hold elections in the month of March. UNITop

 

Air-India stowaway case: probe ordered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 7
The Civil Aviation Ministry has ordered a high level probe into the incident of two Afghan nationals hiding on the Air India flight and reaching London without tickets.

The ministry has constituted a four-member committee, headed by Harishankar, Secretary (Security) in the Cabinet Secretariat, to go into all aspects of the Air India stowaway case. The committee has been asked to submit its report within a fortnight.

Reports here said other members of the panel are Veeranna Aivalli, Chief of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Anurag Goel, Joint Secretary in the ministry and K S Bains, Joint Director in the Intelligence Bureau.

Air India has already suspended four officials at IGI airport here following the security lapse. The airline, in its internal inquiry, is understood to have concluded that prima facie there “exists a lapse” on the part of its officials who were suspended. They were J.J. Singh, General Manager, G S Bankoti, Assistant GM (Security), V.K. Kataria, senior traffic manager and Jainendar Singh, Assistant Manager (Security).

The two Afghans, who on October 28 had boarded Air India flight AI 111 in Mumbai for Delhi on a domestic ticket, did not get off at their destination but instead reached London where they sought asylum.

They were arrested and handed over to the British Immigration authorities who are investigating as to how they could reach London without valid tickets and travel documents.Top

 

Ask Bush for action in Kashmir: Cong

New Delhi, November 7
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee should impress upon US President George W. Bush the need to start the second phase of its action in tackling terrorism in Kashmir and Chechnya, the Congress said today.

The Prime Minister should also convey to Mr Bush that the death of innocent women and children in bombing in Afghanistan was evoking worldwide sympathy and that it should be stopped, the party said.

Briefing mediapersons here, senior Congress leader and in charge of the party’s external affairs cell Natwar Singh, said the Prime Minister should also plead with Mr Bush to contribute his mite in eliminating terrorism not only from Afghanistan but also from India, Chechnya, Indonesia and Philippines.

Hoping that the Prime Minister would reveal to the people of the country what transpired at his meeting with the US President, Mr Natwar Singh said Mr Vajpayee should not utter anything that would escalate tension “like he did in Somnath.” It is essential that every one practise religious and social tolerance as efforts were on by some people to term the US action in Afghanistan as a war against Islam by the West, he said. Mr Bush should be told that there were many people who were neither with the Taliban nor with the Northern Alliance.

The Prime Minister should ask Mr Bush to urge Pakistan to stop promoting terrorists in Kashmir and warn that if nuclear weapons of Pakistan fell into wrong hands it would lead to dire consequences. UNITop

 

India, France to hold naval exercises
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 7
India and France will begin their three-day joint Naval exercises in the Arabian Sea from tomorrow with four French navy ships participating along with the Indian ships.

The exercise, the sixth between the two navies, is expected to give a fresh impetus to the defence cooperation between the two countries after the International Fleet Review in Mumbai, which was attended by the French navy.

Indian ships taking part in the exercise are from the Eastern and Western fleet and include ‘INS Ranvijay’, ‘INS Godavari’ and ‘INS Ganga’ along with their integral helicopters and submarine ‘INS Shankul’, naval Dorniers and Sea-Harriers.

The two navies conducted their first bilateral naval exercise (IN-FN-Passex) in Mumbai in May 1993.Top

 

Punjabi Tribune ex-editor gets academy award

New Delhi, November 6
Former editor of the Punjabi Tribune Gurbachan Singh Bhullar has received the Punjabi Academy’s annual award for outstanding contribution to the language, literature and culture.

Others who received awards for their contributions to the Punjabi literature were Mr Manmohan Bawa (best Punjabi litterateur), Dr Baldev Singh Badhan (best translator), Mr Devendra (best media personality), Ms Gurinder Harnam Singh (best Punjabi singer) and Mr Jagdish Kaushal (best promoter of Punjabi language). UNI
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No regularisation of Sainik Farms Colony: Centre

New Delhi, November 7
Taking a tough stand against the illegal construction in the posh Sainik Farms Colony here, raised on an area marked as green belt, the Centre today told the Delhi High Court that there was no plan to regularise it.

Giving assurance to the court to take “strong and prompt” action against illegal constructions that have come up in the city after March 31, 1993, Ministry of Urban Development in an affidavit said “the regularisation of colonies like Sainik Farms is not to be considered as these have come up in gross violation of land use regulation and building by-laws”.

The affidavit submitted before a Bench comprising Justice Usha Mehra and Justice C.K. Mahajan, said the government had already submitted detailed guidelines for the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the Capital in February and “these guidelines are not applicable to the Sainik Farms”. PTITop

 

2 b lack food security, says UN report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 7
By 2025, three billion people will live in 48 water-stressed countries, according to the United Nations Population Fund State of World Population Report (SWPR) released here today. The first copy of the report titled “Footprints and milestones: population and environment change” was presented to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr C.P. Thakur.

While drawing attention to hard facts stated in the report the UNFPA Representative in India, Mr Francois M. Farah said 800 million people in developing countries were chronically malnourished and two billion people lack food security. “The report suggests that there is a direct relationship between poverty, high fertility and environment degradation.” Quoting from the report, Mr Farah said according to an estimate, the atmosphere would warm by as much as 5.8°C in the next century.

Dr C.P. Thakur said eight weak performing states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the newly carved states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal had been identified for implementation and monitoring of family planning programmes.Top

  Mock exercise held

to check security

Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, November 7

Officials of government departments, including health, police and fire brigade, conducted a mock exercise to check security arrangements here yesterday.

The exercise started when the manager of local branch of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur rang up the police station at 5 p.m. to inform them that the bank had been looted. He told the police that the robbers had shot and injured three persons.

The SHO informed the SP, who ordered the setting up of nakas. Before the police reached the spot, the robbers fled in a vehicle taking Rs 10 lakh with them. The three injured persons were lying in front of the bank and were taken to a hospital.

At around 5.15 p.m. the District Collector and SP also reached the spot and reviewed the situation. After this an ambulance, two fire brigades and military personnel from Lalgarh cantonment also reached the spot. People started assembling outside the bank and in half-an-hour the news spread in the city. The police party after getting the message followed the robbers and caught them near Saptipura.

Only the District Collector, SP and the bank manager had been informed about the exercise. The District Collector, Mr J.P. Chandellia termed the exercise successful.

 

Fever grips two Bhadra villages

Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, November 7

After Nethrana and Fefena fever has gripped Sangra village of Bhadra subdivision in the district. Many villagers are suffering from fever in this village and medicines are not available at the health centre.

Villagers apprehend dengue. Some deaths were reported from Nethrana and Fefena villages a few days back. At the health centre 17 blood samples were taken. Reports of blood samples taken from Nethwana and Fefena vilages have also not reached the centre.

Reportedly villagers are going to Hisar and other cities for treatment. There is no proper cleaning arrangement in the village. Water supply pipes leaks, allege villagers.

Meanwhile, the CMIO, Mr Bhim Singh Karwasara visited the village. He denied the reports published in a section of press that about 300 persons of the village had fever. Blood tests of 52 persons was done yesterday. Seventy persons were examined. He has directed doctors to conduct a survey.

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS

GOODS TRAIN DERAILED
BANGALORE:
Seventeen wagons of a goods train, carrying empty oil tankers, derailed near Srirangapatna late Tuesday night, disrupting rail services between Mysore and Bangalore, Railway and police sources said on Wednesday. There was no loss of life in the mishap that occurred around 10 pm. Efforts were being made to restore traffic. PTI

BANDH PARALYSES LIFE IN ASSAM
GUWAHATI:
Life was paralysed in Assam’s Nalbari district on Wednesday in view of the 12-hour bandh called by the All-Assam Students Union (AASU). Work in government offices was disrupted. Shops and business establishments were closed. Banks and educational institutions also did not function and private vehicles were off the roads. However, traffic on the National Highway and train services were unaffected, an official report received here said. UNI

5 PWG ULTRAS, JAWAN KILLED
RANCHI:
At least five PWG ultras and a CRPF jawan were killed in separate encounters in Jharkhand’s extremist-dominated Palamau and Lohardagga districts early Wednesday morning. According to Director-General of Police T.P. Sinha, five PWG cadres were killed at Piparwar village under Vishrampur police station in Palamau. The police also recovered a gun and a rifle from the spot. In another incident, a CRPF jawan was killed in the Chulhapani jungle areas in Lohardagga district when Maoist Communist Centre ultras fired on the securitymen. UNI

KERALA FORMS “TRIBAL MISSION”
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
The Kerala Government constituted a “tribal mission’’ for the rehabilitation of tribals in the state on Wednesday. Chief Minister A.K. Antony told newsmen after a meeting of the state Cabinet here that a sum of Rs 50 lakh would be given to the mission for preliminary expenses. The Chief Secretary would be the chairman of the mission. The District Collector would be the chairman of the district-level tribal mission. UNI

WORLD’S LARGEST “POORI” ROLLED OUT
MUMBAI:
Competing against three groups of women to roll out the largest ‘poori’, a professional cook took the honours with a “masterpiece’’ measuring 4.25 feet in diametre, claimed to be the world’s largest. Suresh Kumar Shukla and his three assistants rolled out and fried the ‘poori’ in a specially designed non-stick pan on the Xavier’s School ground here. Organised as a promotional event, the fun-filled contest used a six-feet-long non-stick pan and 600 litres of oil. UNI

THICK BLANKET OF SNOW ON BADRINATH
DEHRA DUN:
A thick layer of snow has covered Badrinath shrine and Badrishpur in the higher reaches of the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttaranchal following snowfall which began on Monday night. A large number of pilgrims, from the last batch of the ‘’yatra’’ are still at Badrinath which is to close for winter on November 16. UNI

SC UPHOLDS ACT BANNING ‘SATI’
NEW DELHI: In a significant verdict, a five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the ban imposed by central legislation on “sati” and its glorification but did not specify whether such a ban would prevent holding of festivals at ancient “sati” temples. Section 2(C) of the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, defines ‘sati’ as meaning the act of burning or burying alive of a widow along with the body of her deceased husband. The Bench said the legitimate objective of the Act was to prohibit “sati” and its glorification while disposing of a bunch of petitions and appeals. PTI
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