Monday, November 19, 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 in touch with Shabir Shah: Pant
New Delhi, November 18
The Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir, Mr K.C. Pant, said today that “contacts” with senior separatist leader Shabir Shah were continuing even as he maintained that the onus for allowing holding of free and fair elections lay with the militants operating in the state.

SC refuses comment on Resettlement Act
New Delhi, November 18
After 19 years, the Jammu and Kashmir Government will now be working out the nitty-gritty of implementing the Resettlement Act after the Supreme Court has declined to give any comments on it. The Act provides for return of subjects of Jammu and Kashmir who have gone away to Pakistan occupied Kashmir or other parts of Pakistan.

Govt denies report on foreign bases
New Delhi, November 18
On the eve of the beginning of Parliament’s winter session, the government today took pains to issue a press note to rule out foreign bases on the Indian soil and joint combat operations.

Divali in Behmai
Lucknow, November 18
Behmai a tiny village celebrated Divali for the first time in 20 years to mark the death of Phoolan Devi, accused of a grisly massacre of upper caste men in the village.

Forest and Environment Minister of Uttaranchal announces anti-poaching measures to counter poachers in the Jim Corbett National park.
(28k, 56k)
A week-long children's film festival currently underway in Hyderabad is drawing huge crowds.
(28k, 56k)



 

EARLIER STORIES

 
A boy holds a sign in a protest against the Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden
A boy holds a sign in a protest against the Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden during a peace gathering in New Delhi on Sunday. The World Peace Organisation held the gathering to protest against terrorism.
— Reuters


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Raj Nath Singh with Bihar BJP President Nand Kishore Yadav
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Raj Nath Singh with Bihar BJP President Nand Kishore Yadav and Sushil Kumar Modi at the national unity day against terrorism in Patna on Sunday. — PTI

Legendary maestros
Legendary maestros Pandit Jasraj with Amjad Ali Khan at a Press conference in New Delhi on Sunday.

POTO: all-party meeting tomorrow
New Delhi, November 18
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has convened a meeting of all political parties on November 20 in a bid to evolve a consensus on the controversial anti-terrorism ordinance which was being opposed by the Congress and Left chief ministers.

Pak may divert funds to defence
Bikaner, November 18
The recent flow of international funds into Pakistan has raised apprehensions within the Indian defence services that these resources may be diverted for military procurement.

Navy chief: terrorism due to globalisation
Pune, November 18
Describing terrorism as an unfortunate legacy of the 20th century, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sushil Kumar today said that globalisation was one of the components which was responsible for spreading the “virus of terrorism.”

Tipnis blames crashes on human error
Shillong, November 18
Air Chief Marshal A. Y. Tipnis today stressed the need for the modernisation of Eastern Air Command to strengthen the country’s defence capabilities.

Controversial film taken to London
Kolkata, November 18
In the wake of the controversy over the selection of “Taurus”, a Soviet film depicting the life of Lenin for the Kolkata film festival, the director, Alexander Sokurov, and the hero of the film, Leonid Mozgovow (who plays Lenin’s role), suddenly left the city last night for London, to be present at the London film festival, where the film will be shown at cinema houses from next week.
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Centre in touch with Shabir Shah: Pant

New Delhi, November 18
The Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir, Mr K.C. Pant, said today that “contacts” with senior separatist leader Shabir Shah were continuing even as he maintained that the onus for allowing holding of free and fair elections lay with the militants operating in the state.

“We are in constant touch with Shah and I have personally held discussions with him directly as well as indirectly,” Mr Pant told PTI here. Stating that there was no setback to the Centre’s peace initiative, Mr Pant said the accusations against New Delhi that it was not serious about talks were totally baseless.

Referring to the Hurriyat Conference’s proposal for a ceasefire, he said: “Any suggestion or proposal, which can bring down the level of violence in the state, is welcome provided it is sincere”.

Indicating that the 23-party conglomerate was playing a game of one-upmanship by announcing the ceasefire, Mr Pant said: “It is necessary to recognise that as long as cross-border terrorism continues, the security forces are duty-bound to protect the citizens. It is time for all right-thinking persons to raise their voice against supporters of terrorism, who use this menace only to meet their political ends”.

Asked about his comments on holding informal parleys with the Hurriyat Conference, the Centre’s interlocutor said: “It is a fact. We were having discussions with them”.

However, he said the Hurriyat Conference was trying to bargain for their going to Islamabad and had made it a prestige issue. “They can play with the lives of Kashmiris but we cannot afford that as our main concern is to safeguard the people and not to score debating points”, he said.

Asked about the discussions on a proposal for granting more autonomy to the National Conference, Mr Pant, who also holds the post of Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, said: “I have had some interaction with Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and other state representatives. These discussions are continuing but so far they have mainly been at an informal level”, Mr Pant replied. PTI
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SC refuses comment on Resettlement Act

New Delhi, November 18
After 19 years, the Jammu and Kashmir Government will now be working out the nitty-gritty of implementing the Resettlement Act after the Supreme Court has declined to give any comments on it. The Act provides for return of subjects of Jammu and Kashmir who have gone away to Pakistan occupied Kashmir or other parts of Pakistan.

“The lordships at the Apex Court have said they have no comments to offer on the Act which justifies our stand that the Bill is in order and within the ambit of the country’s constitution,” was an interpretation of the State Assembly Speaker Mr Abdul Ahad Vakil.

The five-judge constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice S.P. Bharucha said the Bill cannot be struck down as it had already become an Act.

The Act, which was introduced during the regime of the former Chief Minister, Mr Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and came into effect on October 6, 1982, was termed by then opposition parties as “Notorious Bill No. 9”. PTI
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Govt denies report on foreign bases
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 18
On the eve of the beginning of Parliament’s winter session, the government today took pains to issue a press note to rule out foreign bases on the Indian soil and joint combat operations.

Responding to news reports in a section of the press about alleged proposals for an American military alliance with India, the establishment of American bases on Indian soil and India’s participation in joint operations, a press note issued by the Ministry of Defence late tonight said: “We have neither received any such proposals, nor does India contemplate any such actions.”

According to observers here, the move is clearly aimed at taking the sting out of a possible attack from the opposition in Parliament the winter session of which is beginning tomorrow.

The press note said: “The government has received specific requests for assistance in connection with Operation Enduring Freedom from certain friendly countries, including the USA.

Those requests that conform to our existing policy guidelines for overflights and refuelling of aircraft and port calls by naval ships have been approved. Top

 

Divali in Behmai
Sharat Pradhan

Lucknow, November 18
Behmai a tiny village celebrated Divali for the first time in 20 years to mark the death of Phoolan Devi, accused of a grisly massacre of upper caste men in the village.

Phoolan, who left behind her life as a dreaded bandit after serving 11 years in prison to become a parliamentarian, died in a hail of bullets outside her home in New Delhi in July.

People of the remote village of Behmai, where Phoolan was charged with killing 20 upper caste men in 1981, this week ended a vow not to celebrate the Divali festival until the massacre of their menfolk was avenged.

“Not a cracker was heard in the past 20 years in this village,” said Mr V.N. Sengar, a lawyer who had campaigned to reopen criminal cases against Phoolan which were dropped after she surrendered to the police in 1983.

The villagers of impoverished Behmai in India’s most populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh joined the rest of the country in lighting lamps and bursting fire-crackers to mark Divali.

Phoolan’s life began in poverty and violence and later became a legend. She denied leading the massacre, but said her career in crime was driven by her need for revenge, after a series of rapes she said upper caste men had subjected her to as a young woman.

Behmai villagers said that Phoolan had ordered 22 men to kneel down on the banks of the Yamuna river and gunned them down in February 1981. Only two had survived.

The Hindustan Times said shots were fired in the air in Behmai and the village folk scrubbed their huts clean to mark Divali this year.

“Its the beginning of a new era in Behmai,” the paper quoted the village headman, Mr Gandhi Singh, as saying.

Village youth, who had grown up pledging to avenge the death of the upper caste Thakurs, or warriors, held a feast of mutton and liquor to celebrate.

“Don’t you think this Divali is special for all of us,” said 20-year-old Lallan Singh. “After years of wait, the Almighty has delivered justice”.

The notorious bandit served 11 years in jail in the 1980s and was released on parole in 1994, after which she was twice elected to the lower house of Parliament on the ticket of a regional socialist group. Reuters
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POTO: all-party meeting tomorrow

New Delhi, November 18
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has convened a meeting of all political parties on November 20 in a bid to evolve a consensus on the controversial anti-terrorism ordinance which was being opposed by the Congress and Left chief ministers.

The meeting is being held a day after the commencement of the winter session of Parliament. The Congress holds the key to the passage of the Bill replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not enjoy a majority.

A conference of chief ministers on national security had yesterday failed to arrive at a consensus on the ordinance and the Prime Minister then said he would hold interactions with political parties. PTI
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Govt ‘sure’ of passing POTO

Bangalore, November 18
Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government was confident of passing POTO, and charged the Congress with playing a game of “political convenience” by opposing the anti- terrorism bill.

Speaking at a function organised by the BJP’s Karnataka unit, he said Congress’ opposition to POTO was “hypocrisy at its highest” as states ruled by the party like Maharashtra and Karnataka had tough laws against organised crime.

Stating that playing with national security for political convenience deserved a political punishment, he said Congress was now bound by a ‘chakravyuha’, with the only “exit route” being supporting the national cause against terrorism. Mr Jaitley expressed confidence that the bill would be passed in the Parliament session beginning tomorrow, despite strong opposition from Congress and several other parties. PTI
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Pak may divert funds to defence

Bikaner, November 18
The recent flow of international funds into Pakistan has raised apprehensions within the Indian defence services that these resources may be diverted for military procurement.

In the wake of the development, top brass in the defence services favour a reassessment of the needs of the Indian defence services.

Pakistan has received billions of dollars from various countries and international institutions after President Pervez Musharraf joined the global coalition’s fight against terrorism.

“These funds are most likely to be utilised by Pakistan to acquire modern military equipment,” a top Army officer told PTI.

He said Pakistan had already been acquiring modern military equipment for some time.

Refusing to specify the equipment procured by Pakistan, the officer said India would be requiring latest military hardware to “maintain the cutting edge”.

“Dynamics of the situation keep on changing and we have to be abreast,” another Army officer said, adding as equipment needs to be upgraded with requirements.

Apprehensions are also being raised over the movement of Pakistani troops close to the border in Punjab and Rajasthan.

Defence Minister George Fernandes, who visited several forward locations for an assessment of situation on the border earlier this week was apprised of the immediate requirement of “certain” equipment by the forces on the frontier.

Mr Fernandes assured them that he would ensure the procurement of the equipment at the earliest.

“It is my responsibility to ensure that the forces get all the equipment required to help them guard the border in a better way,” the Defence Minister told the troops.

He said with Pakistan moving troops and armoured units from strike corps close to border, India could not afford to take any chances.

“With Kargil still fresh in minds, we have to be alert,” Mr Fernandes told the troops at a forward location. PTI
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Navy chief: terrorism due to globalisation

Pune, November 18
Describing terrorism as an unfortunate legacy of the 20th century, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sushil Kumar today said that globalisation was one of the components which was responsible for spreading the “virus of terrorism.”

Globalisation has brought with it innumerable benefits but has at the same time engendered certain side-effects, terrorism being one of them, the Admiral said while delivering the General B.C. Joshi Memorial Lecture on “Current security developments.”

The memorial lecture was held under the auspices of the University of Pune’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies here.

With its overemphasis on materialism, globalisation has caused the human aspect to be forgotten thereby giving rise to glaring inequalities, Admiral Kumar remarked adding that the disparities were far deeper than imagined.

Terrorism, the Admiral said, had emerged as a sixth warfare medium. At the beginning of the 20th century, land and sea were the only two forms of warfare but the end of the century saw three more warfare mediums being added namely air, space and the electromagnetic spectrum. The September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, however, witnessed the mergence of the sixth warfare medium — terrorism.

The September 11 strikes, therefore, had altered security perceptions and had brought forth the realisation that terrorism cannot be combatted unilaterally.

Terrorism had to be fought globally as it knows no boundaries, the admiral said while pointing out that if one Osama bin Laden was finished off in one country, many more like him can sprout up in 70 other countries.

“Terrorism is spearheaded by insane and irrational people with distorted religious fervour to psyche up others using a religious platform.

Military option to root out terrorism may not always solve the problem and could even prove counter-productive if overdone, the naval chief said while pointing out the strange paradox of dropping bombs and food packets at the same time in Afghanistan.

The solution may lie in the philosophy propounded by Mahatma Gandhi — a philosophy that has become more relevant in the present times, the Admiral noted. UNI
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Tipnis blames crashes on human error

Shillong, November 18
Air Chief Marshal A. Y. Tipnis today stressed the need for the modernisation of Eastern Air Command to strengthen the country’s defence capabilities.

“The Eastern Air Command is second to none, but, the amount of focus was not given so much compared to other commands of the country”, Air Marshal Tipnis said while addressing a press conference at the Eastern Air Command headquarters here.

Though the command has the capability to defend the country from any threat, emphasis had been given to modernise it by inducting the latest fighter planes, Air Marshal Tipnis said.

Referring to crashes of the ageing MiG-21 jets, Tipnis said most of the accidents were caused due to human error and poor visibility in skies here as compared to western and West Asian countries.

“The capabilities of the Air Force in high altitudes is very good. We have to improve the low-level capability”, he said.

Asked why women were not being allowed to fly fighter planes, he said the fear of harassment in enemy country, if caught, was the main reason for not recruiting women pilots.

On recruitments to the Air Force, the Air Chief Marshal said the force had given importance to recruiting talented youths from local areas, particularly from the North-Eastern states. PTI
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Controversial film taken to London
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, November 18
In the wake of the controversy over the selection of “Taurus”, a Soviet film depicting the life of Lenin for the Kolkata film festival, the director, Alexander Sokurov, and the hero of the film, Leonid Mozgovow (who plays Lenin’s role), suddenly left the city last night for London, to be present at the London film festival, where the film will be shown at cinema houses from next week.

They carried with them the print of the film following the festival committee’s decision to stop the further screening of “Taurus” at the instance of Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharyya. Mr Bhattacharyya also left for New Delhi in the evening to attend the Prime Minister’s scheduled two-day meeting with the Chief Ministers beginning Friday.

Before leaving for the Capital, Mr Bhattacharyya, accompanied by the festival committee chairman, actor Soumitra Chatterjee (he has been selected to play Rabindranath Tagore’s role in Ismail Merchant’s forthcoming film on the life of the French legend Roman Rolland which Merchant, now in the city, himself conveyed to Soumitra), saw the film in a special projection at Nandan.

Mr Bhattacharyya apparently did not find anything wrong in the film, but still he ordered the cancellation of further screening of “Tauras” possibly to avoid any further controversy. He also conveyed the decision to Jyoti Basu over phone. As a result of the cancellation of the screening of the film, viewers, who had purchased tickets for the shows at New Empire, had to return disappointed.

Director Sokurov, who spent five days as a participant in the city’s film festival, was much hurt at the festival committee’s sudden decision. (His other film, “Miloch”, however, had been shown as schedule). He reportedly told his closed circles that he did not expect such a thing to happen in the cultural city of Kolkata. The film had been shown in several cinema houses in Moscow and elsewhere and the response was tremendous. There was no controversy anywhere. He said he had tried to project Lenin truly and honestly and there was no distortion of facts.

But still the controversy had arisen in Kolkata at various levels centering round the projection of Lenin in the last days, where he had been characterised as an old, crippled and morbid person — a greedy fellow and an womaniser, who would often go naked in love-making with his maid and in bathroom as well which had been the cause of anger to several Marxist old-guards and others.
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

4 SUFFOCATED UNDER HEAP OF COTTON
NANDED:
Four persons of a family died when a cotton heap weighing about 20 quintals fell on them at Apparao Pate in Kinwat tehsil of the district on Friday last. According to information reaching the district headquarters here on Sunday the cotton was kept in the house of a farmer Potanna Bhandre. The heap of cotton fell on Potanna, his wife and two sons while they were sleeping, said the police. It added that a case of accidental death had been registered. PTI

IDOL STOLEN FROM TEMPLE
BANDA:
A 600-year-old idol of Lord Krishna was stolen from a temple in Atrahat village here, the police said here on Sunday. The “asthadhatu” (congregation of eight metals) idol worth about Rs 10 lakh was found missing by the priest of the Radha Krishna temple on Saturday, the police said. No arrest has been made in this connection so far. PTI

53 INJURED IN BUS, TANKER COLLISION
NASIK:
Fiftythree passengers, including women and children were injured, 19 of them seriously, when an oil tanker collided with a state transport bus at Dahegaon near here, the police said here on Sunday. The accident took place on Saturday when the bus going towards Pune from Shahada collided with an oil tanker. The seriously injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital here, the police said. PTI

HEALTH CAMP BY LIFELINE EXPRESS
JAMSHEDPUR:
Lifeline Express, the hospital on wheels (train) for rural masses, promoted by the England-based non-governmental organisation Impact India, would hold its 51st camp at Ghatshila in East Singhbhum district from November 19 to December 21. In a joint press meet organised here on Saturday, Tata Steel Deputy Managing Director (corporate services) A.N. Singh and Chief Executive Officer, Impact India Foundation Zelma Lazarus said the objective of LLE was to provide modern medical services to the most marginalised rural communities. UNI

MP DRAFT BILL APPROVED
BHOPAL:
The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has approved the draft of the Madhya Pradesh Commercial Taxes Bill, 2001. The Cabinet, which met here on Saturday under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr Digvijay Singh, has decided to forward the Bill to the Centre for approval, an official release said here on Sunday. With the enactment of the Bill, the Value Added Tax (VAT) system would come into force in the state from April 1 next year in place of the existing sales tax. PTI

MAN KILLS WIFE, 3 DAUGHTERS
SASARAM (BIHAR):
A man allegedly burnt to death his wife and three minor daughters and kept the bodies in their house in Kureshi village in Rohtas district, a senior police official said here on Sunday. The incident came to light when the stench of the decomposing bodies began to spread in the area, the DSP, Mr R.P. Yadav, said, adding that the police had broken open the room and recovered the bodies on Saturday. The villagers have identified the bodies as that of Waheeda Begum (35) and her three daughters — Nazneen (11), Parveen (9) and Yasmeen (6). PTI
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