Monday, April 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM: speech not anti-Islam

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Sunday expressed surprise and pain over the baseless and misinformed criticism” of his speech at a public meeting in Goa on Friday and said it contained nothing that was either against Islam or the Muslims.

“My remarks taken in totality contained nothing either against Islam or the Muslims”, he said in a statement. TNS

Sonia regrets remark on PM

New Delhi, April 14
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today expressed regret for her remark that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has lost his "mental balance."

She said: "I am not happy with the expression I used about the Prime Minister on the spur of the moment."

In a statement here, she said the expression used by her during the press conference in Guwahati was "not meant by me".

However, she said: "We, in the Congress party are gravely concerned at frequent changes in the stand of the Prime Minister on the secular issues in general and the disturbing situation in Gujarat in particular. The latest inconsistency is the contrast between the speech made by him in Gujarat and the one in Goa."

"It is important to note that Mr Vajpayee is not only a leader of the BJP, but the Prime Minister of India," the statement further said.

The Congress chief had said at a press conference that Mr Vajpayee had lost his mental balance, but later revised her assessment to say that his mental balance was disturbed. UNI


Two killed in Ahmedabad firing

Ahmedabad, April 14
Two persons were killed and five injured when the police opened fire to disperse rioting mobs indulging in violence and arson in the Dariapur locality of the walled city this afternoon, forcing the authorities to re-impose curfew on the locality.

The police said violence erupted in the area after people gathered on the roads and started pelting stones in which three persons were injured.

The mobs also set afire some houses by hurling burning rags, the police said.

The police first lobbed teargas shells and then opened fire to disperse the mobs.

Curfew was re-imposed on the area from 3.40 p.m. as tension mounted after the violence and arson.

Senior police officers rushed to the trouble-torn area and brought the situation under control, the police said, adding that a young woman was among the injured who have been hospitalised.

This was the second police station area put under curfew after Danilimda where a similar measure was clamped on Friday last following violence in which two persons were killed. PTI

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