Wednesday, November 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

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N A T I O N

India for greater role in future Afghan govt
New Delhi, November 27
Calling upon the international community to join hands in helping the war-ravaged Afghanistan, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said India was making efforts to have a greater role in the establishment of a broad-based, non-aligned and fully representative post-Taliban regime there.

PM rules out another Partition
New Delhi, November 27
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today ruled out another Partition of the country and asserted that there was no question of India fulfilling Pakistan’s demand for handing over Kashmir to it to improve bilateral ties.

Defence Minister George Fernandes and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sushil Kumar Defence Minister George Fernandes and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sushil Kumar at a Cost Guard Commanders' conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. 
— PTI


EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

US warship spawns controversy
Chennai, November 27
A US naval destroyer that docked here yesterday has spawned a controversy after its reconnaissance helicopter flew over the Chennai air space but its Commander maintained there was no violation of the air corridor even as the opposition parties termed it as a “serious development”. 

In video:
Captain of US naval ship Geoffery T Pack denies US chopper violating Chennai's airspace. (28k, 56k)

Parliament okays Central rule extension in Manipur
New Delhi, November 27
The Centre today said it desired to hold Assembly elections in Manipur in February or March next year along with elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab even as Parliament put its seal on the extension by six months of President’s rule in the state beginning December 2.

Tabu
Bollywood actress Tabu (L) plays a lover in "Bhagmati Queen of Fortunes," India's first live-cum-animation feature film, in this handout picture on Tuesday. Though India's movie industry is the most prolific in the world with Mumbai's Bollywood churning out a film once in two days, animation features have not been popular. — Reuters

BJP’s threat to Cong on history distortion
New Delhi, November 27
Accusing the Congress of adopting “double standard”, the BJP today threatened to make ‘distortion of history’ an election issue if the Congress did not tender an apology.

Sikh MPs urged to back deletions in NCERT book
New Delhi, November 27
The National Commission for Minorities has written to all 21 Sikh MPs of both Houses of Parliament to support deletions on derogatory remarks about the Sikh Gurus from an NCERT history textbook.

High alert sounded on Nepal border
New Delhi, November 27
Amid concern over possible infiltration of Maoist rebels into India, the India-Nepal border districts in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim are on high alert to prevent any spillover of Maoist violence from Nepal.

In video: Defence Minister George Fernandes offers assistance to Nepal in flushing out Maoists. (28k, 56k)

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Bathinda refinery to be ready by 2005
New Delhi, November 27
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Ram Naik told the Rajya Sabha that the construction of the Bathinda oil refinery is on as per schedule.

Sonia goes extra mile to achieve unity
New Delhi, November 27
Having realised its limitations in bringing about unity among the Opposition parties in Parliament, the Congress has decided to support efforts being made by other parties.

VIDEOS
A three-day film festival was organised in Agartala recently.
(28k, 56k)
In an endeavour to impart education to underprivileged slum children, Udbhas, a voluntary organisation, is running a school in Kolkata.
(28k, 56k)
A world magicians' convention, Gili Gili 2001, was held in Udupi recently.
(28k, 56k)
Bihar Chief Minister says there is danger to her husband Laloo Prasad's life in Ranchi.
(28k, 56k)
Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University demonstrate against commercialisation of education.
(28k, 56k)

Top




 

India for greater role in future Afghan govt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Calling upon the international community to join hands in helping the war-ravaged Afghanistan, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said India was making efforts to have a greater role in the establishment of a broad-based, non-aligned and fully representative post-Taliban regime there.

He also called upon the international community to ensure that there was no division in Afghanistan.

Responding to a debate on the international situation arising out of the September 11 attacks in the USA leading to international intervention in Afghanistan and its impact on India, the Prime Minister said: “We are making efforts so that we have the maximum possible role” in the future of Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister said India was making efforts to ensure that the future dispensation in Afghanistan, unlike the Taliban, did not allow the country to be used for terrorist activities.

Mr Vajpayee pointed out that division in Afghanistan would not be of interest to anyone and that New Delhi’s efforts with the international community were to ensure that it did not happen.

He said while it was difficult to predict the future of Afghanistan, the need of the hour was that the international community joined hands in helping the war-ravaged country.

The Prime Minister also touched upon his recent visit to three countries and said during his talks with the US President George Bush there was no mention of Kashmir. On his visit to Russia, he said the two countries enjoyed deep-rooted relations and that they had agreed to further consolidate the bilateral ties.

He pointed out that the changes in the governments in the two countries had not affected the traditionally strong and friendly ties between India and Russia.

Referring to terror attacks in the USA which were followed by the suicide bomb attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, the Prime Minister said these should not be treated as isolated incidents.

He denied reports which quoted him favouring the inclusion of moderate elements from Taliban in the new establishment in Afghanistan.

He also dismissed Opposition’s criticism on his writing a letter to President George Bush in the wake of the terrorist attack on J&K Assembly and said India wanted cooperation with the USA on equal terms.

“The charge that Prime Minister was begging for friendship from the USA with folded hands was not only ridiculous but foolish,” he said while asserting that none could use such language against the Prime Minister of India.Top

 

PM rules out another Partition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today ruled out another Partition of the country and asserted that there was no question of India fulfilling Pakistan’s demand for handing over Kashmir to it to improve bilateral ties.

“The country will never accept another Partition,” Mr Vajpayee declared while winding up a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the international situation arising out of the September 11 terror attacks in the USA leading to international intervention in Afghanistan and its impact on India.

On the prospects of his meeting Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the sidelines of SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in early January, Mr Vajpayee recalled his earlier remarks, “If I go to Kathmandu and if Musharraf also comes there, then there is a possibility of the two meeting informally (chalte chalte).”

He said Pakistan was under the illusion that relations with India could improve if it got Kashmir. “This condition will never be fulfilled.”

Mr Vajpayee’s remarks come a day after President Musharraf suggested the resumption of bilateral dialogue but, at the same time, warned that Pakistan would “teach a lesson” to India if any offensive action was taken.Top

 

US warship spawns controversy

Chennai, November 27
A US naval destroyer that docked here yesterday has spawned a controversy after its reconnaissance helicopter flew over the Chennai air space but its Commander maintained there was no violation of the air corridor even as the opposition parties termed it as a “serious development”.

The helicopter had taken off from a naval destroyer USS John Gray of the Seventh Fleet and flew over Chennai air space for well over two hours reportedly without any permission from authorities and hovered above Kalpakkam atomic power station, 70 km from here early yesterday. The ship had anchored for refuelling and stocking of supplies.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) Executive Director Mr S.R. Rao said the matter had been referred to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for “appropriate action” after an alert Air Traffic Controller spotted the helicopter on the radar screen.

NEW DELHI: Taking a serious note of the issue, India on Tuesday decided to take up the issue with American authorities. “We will take it up with the US authorities concerned so that instances of this nature are not repeated. It was flying without prior intimation,” an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told reporters. AgenciesTop

 

Parliament okays Central rule extension in Manipur
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
The Centre today said it desired to hold Assembly elections in Manipur in February or March next year along with elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab even as Parliament put its seal on the extension by six months of President’s rule in the state beginning December 2.

Replying to a debate on the resolution with regard to the extension of the Central Rule in Manipur, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani said though the government wanted to hold Assembly elections in the state in February or March along with other three states, a decision on this had to be taken by the Election Commission of India.

The Rajya Sabha adopted the statutory resolution seeking the extension of President’s rule in Manipur unanimously through voice vote.

The resolution has already been passed by the Lok Sabha on November 20.

Manipur was brought under President’s rule on June 2, 2001, after all political parties in the state expressed their inability to form a government there.

Refuting the allegation that President’s rule was forced on the state due to difference among the NDA alliance partners in Manipur, Mr Advani said: “Though my party was in a position to form a government we did not stake our claim as fingers would have been pointed towards us for managing a majority from a mere five seats...Therefore, we applied the principle of ‘self-application’.”

In this context, he pointed out that the provisions contained in the anti-defection law had created an “unhealthy situation” and it would be good if it became a law that any member who decided to leave a party had to resign from the membership. “I don’t know whether the committee (Constitution Review Committee) set up is reviewing the issue,” Mr Advani said.

He also favoured law putting a ceiling on the size of the Cabinet and cited the example of Delhi to buttress his viewpoint. “A central resolution has limited the number of ministers to seven in Delhi Government. This is proving to be good.”

Earlier, intervening in the debate, Minister for North East Development Arun Shourie said Manipur was facing its worst ever financial crisis and the Centre had decided to slash 14,300 government jobs in the state.

“Against a revenue of merely Rs 60 crore, its annual expenditure is Rs 1100 crore,” he said adding the downsizing of the 93,000-employee state machinery would be done in a phased manner by following different methods such as putting a freeze on fresh recruitments, etc.

Elaborating further Mr Shourie said each government job in Manipur had cost nine jobs outside the state machinery since the expenditure on salaries did not leave any money for development purposes.Top

 

LS adjourned after BJP MP’s death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
The Lok Sabha was adjourned today after condoling the death of Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Jammu Vishnu Dutt Sharma (75), who died at the AIIMS here this morning. He is survived by wife, two sons and three daughters.

In his obituary reference, Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi described Vishnu Dutt Sharma as an active Parliamentarian who took keen interest in the proceedings of the House.

Sharma, who was elected for the second time from the Jammu Parliamentary constituency, was a graduate of Ayurveda from DAV College, Lahore, Mr Balayogi said. Sharma was a member of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 1998 and President, Municipal Council, Jammu, in 1972, Mr Balayogi said paying homage to the departed soul.

He served as a member of the Committee on Home Affairs from 1998 to 2000 and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the functioning of Waqf Boards during 1999-2000.

Before the House was adjourned, it observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect to the departed soul.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani along with several Cabinet colleagues were present in the House.Top

 

BJP’s threat to Cong on history distortion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Accusing the Congress of adopting “double standard”, the BJP today threatened to make ‘distortion of history’ an election issue if the Congress did not tender an apology.

The threat comes on the eve of BJP Parliamentary Party’s meeting, specially convened to arm its MPs with arguments and relevant materials pertaining to the issue of the deletion of certain portions from NCERT history books to counter opposition campaign.

“BJP Parliamentary Party meeting has been called tomorrow in which the MPs will be given details of the deleted portions in the NCERT history books which were insulting to the sentiments of the “Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Jat communities,” BJP Parliamentary Party Spokes-man Vijay Kumar Malhotra told newspersons today.

The MPs would be asked to go to their constituencies and expose the Congress and Samajwadi Party, which will “misleading” the people on the issue.

Justifying the government move, Mr Malhotra said: “No additions have been made in NCERT text books and only certain portions which refer to beef eating when special guests were invited, derogatory remarks on Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur and description of Jat community as a “tribe” which led the lives of plunderers in and around Delhi have been removed.”

The book had also insulted the Jain community by refusing to acknowledge the existence of 23 Teerthankaras before Mahavira, he said.

By taking the issue to people, the party wanted to teach the Congress and the Samajwadi Party a lesson for the “Talibanisation of history” during the Congress regime, Mr Malhotra said.

He said the BJP Parliamentary Party had renewed its three-line whip for its MPs to be present in the Lok Sabha when the Constitutional amendments to make right to education for children between six and 14 years and amendments on promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes employees would come up for discussion and voting. He said the government had proposed to give 85 per cent of the funds during the remaining period of the Ninth Plan to states for providing school infrastructure and 75 per cent during the Tenth Plan.Top

 

Sikh MPs urged to back deletions in NCERT book
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
The National Commission for Minorities has written to all 21 Sikh MPs of both Houses of Parliament to support deletions on derogatory remarks about the Sikh Gurus from an NCERT history textbook.

The Vice-Chairman of the commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh told TNS here on Tuesday that a majority of the Sikh MPs were from the Congress. “There has been a walkout in Parliament over the issue. This is a question of Sikh religion. They should spell out their stand on the issue and uphold the tenets of the Sikh community irrespective of their political affiliations,” says a letter sent to the MPs.

The letter reads, “On our suggestion and on the demand of the Sikh community, the NCERT has deleted the derogatory remarks about Guru Teg Bahadur from the history book written by Prof Satish Chandra.”

The letter further states that the NCERT Director did not agree to withdraw the entire book as it would not be in the interest of the students to do so, especially in the middle of the academic session.Top

 

High alert sounded on Nepal border

New Delhi, November 27
Amid concern over possible infiltration of Maoist rebels into India, the India-Nepal border districts in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim are on high alert to prevent any spillover of Maoist violence from Nepal.

Border patrolling has been intensified in these porous border districts, with police and security personnel maintaining a constant vigil and taking all precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incidents and to check infiltration.

“Violence in Nepal is a matter of concern to the West Bengal Government as there is a possibility of Maoists crossing over to Darjeeling district,” said the Divisional Commissioner of the Jalpaiguri division in Silguiri, Mr A. K. Jain.

A special security force would be set up to strengthen the border patrol and would take charge in the next few days, Mr Jain said.

Authorities on the Indian and Nepalese sides of the border are also in constant touch with each other to maintain peace.

“We have put all our police force in a state of high alert and patrolling along the 250-km-long border between Nepal and Uttaranchal has been intensified,” the DIG (Crime and Intelligence), Mr Anil Raturi, said in Dehra Dun.

A report from Maharajganj said special security bureau personnel had already been deployed in Lakhimpur and Pilibhit districts. PTITop

 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Bathinda refinery to be ready by 2005
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Ram Naik told the Rajya Sabha that the construction of the Bathinda oil refinery is on as per schedule.

He said a subsidiary company of the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited had been formed and registered as the Guru Gobind Singh Refineries Limited on December 13, 2000, to execute the refinery project along with associated facilities at Bathinda.

The minister said 806 hectares had been acquired and the boundary wall constructed. Various civil jobs at the refinery complex were under progress.

The location of single point mooring and crude oil terminal at Mundra had been identified. Route for crude oil pipeline (1011 km) from Mundra to Bathinda had been finalised. The acquisition of right of user in land work for the crude oil pipeline in Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan had commenced.

He said an expenditure of Rs 136.20 crore had been incurred on the project till November 22. The project was expected to be completed by 2005, he added.

Minister of State for Finance Balasaheb Vikhe Patil told the Rajya Sabha that the State Bank of India had reported that they had no proposal, at present, to open a branch at Jangla in Shimla district.

The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Dr Raman Singh, told the House that the growth centre has been allotted to Himachal Pradesh at Kangra. He said Jammu and Kashmir had been allotted two growth centres at Lassipora (Pulwama district) and Samba (Jammu district).

Two growth centres had been allotted to Punjab, one at Bathinda (Bathinda district) and the other at Pathankot (Gurdaspur district).

Mr Naik said all these growth centres had become functional as allotment of industrial plots had commenced in these growth centres. Top

 

Sonia goes extra mile to achieve unity
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Having realised its limitations in bringing about unity among the Opposition parties in Parliament, the Congress has decided to support efforts being made by other parties.

By attending yesterday’s dinner hosted by senior CPM leader Somnath Chaterjee, Congress President Sonia Gandhi signalled her desire to go an extra mile to achieve an understanding among the Opposition parties, mainly the Samajwadi Party and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with which the Congress does not enjoy the best of relations.

Though it is normally the main Opposition party which takes the initiative to achieve Opposition unity, the Congress has not forgotten the response to the attempt Ms Gandhi made in the last Parliament session. While the Samajwadi Party did not attend the meeting called by the Congress, the CPM leaders had left without attending the formal meeting.

The disunity among the Opposition parties was not only being used by the government to its advantage in Parliament, the BJP was set to exploit it in the coming poll to the UP Assembly. By coming together in Parliament on issues like POTO and the “Talibanisation of education,” the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are ostensibly sending a message to the electorate in UP though they are unlikely to commit themselves to an open electoral understanding in the state.

The “quiet understanding” between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress is also aimed at the post-poll scenario in UP where the two parties may have to join hands to form a government. With no clear signals coming from UP about the likely result of the Assembly poll and talk of a tacit understanding between the BSP and the BJP, the Samajwadi Party is looking forward to a scenario where it would have to form a government with support of the Congress.Top

 

Cong rules out poll alliance in UP, Uttaranchal
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 27
The Congress has ruled out any poll alliance with other political parties for the coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. It has claimed that the Congress will form the next governments in these two states on its own.

Mr Subodh Kant Sahay, secretary, AICC, talking to mediapersons here today, ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party or the BSP in these two states. “The Congress, is in a strong position and possibly will form the governments on its own,” he said.
Top

 

Babri demolition blamed on Mandal report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh today said that the Mandal Commission announcement prepared the ground for the flagging off rath yatra by the BJP which created a psyche leading to the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.

“Ayodhya, which was not on their (BJP’s) political agenda, for which they had made so many assurances, became their main agenda. It led to the rath yatra and building of a psyche which finally resulted in the demolition of Babri Masjid,” Mr V.P. Singh said while deposing before the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry.

The former Prime Minister equated the demolition of Babri Masjid with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and said the same psyche was the driving force behind the two incidents.Top

 

Oppn alliance elects leader in Meghalaya

Shillong, November 27
As a prelude to the formation of the next government in the state, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress-led United Meghalaya Opposition Forum (UMOF) today elected Dr F.A. Khonglam as leader of a coalition called the Peoples Forum of Meghalaya (PFM).

Earlier in the day, the NCP, bolstered by the return of its rebel legislators, withdrew support to the E.K. Mawlong-led Meghalaya Parliamentary Forum (MPF) government. The NCP will meet the Governor tomorrow to formally withdraw support. Eight MLAs of Mr Mawlong’s United Democratic Party also broke away to join the Opposition. UNI
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