Thursday, April 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Curfew in Bhavnagar, Bhiwandi
Mulayam-led team visits riot-hit areas

Curfew was clamped on Bhavnagar town of Gujarat and Bhiwandi town in Maharashtra on Wednesday as violence continued to spread in the areas.

Curfew was imposed on the Bhavnagar town at 7 p.m. following incidents of arson, stone-throwing and violence. Five persons were injured in stone and bottle-throwing and one in stabbing as mob set afire five houses and three shops, besides some vehicles.

The Army and the security forces were deployed immediately in the sensitive areas of the walled city in Bhavnagar.

Group clashes and incidents of arson were reported from Ahmedabad’s Amdupura area, which has been under curfew since last night. About 30 shanties were set afire in the area.

Five persons were injured in a explosion when they were assembling a crude bomb in the Gomtipura area of the city.

In other areas of the city, one person was stabbed at Jamalpur Darwaza, while five others were injured in Juhapura.

The police burst teargas shells in Vejalpur and Madhavpura police station areas to quell stone-throwing mobs.

Authorities have decided to relax curfew for women from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Gomtipur police station area, and in Charodia Chowki of Rakhial police station and Hardasnagar Chowki of the Bapunagar police station areas.

Curfew was imposed on Bhiwandi town after the local Bajrang Dal president Lalit Jain was shot dead by gunmen near a court premises in the broad daylight.

Advocate Jain was on his way to a court in his car shortly before noon, when three persons intercepted his vehicle near quarter gate of the court and fired three rounds killing him instantly, the police said.

Meanwhile, a seven-member delegation of the People’s Front, led by its convener Mulayam Singh Yadav, visited the sensitive areas, relief camps and hospitals here amid tight security and held the Gujarat and Central governments responsible for the situation, during their talks with riot victims.

A large number of people turned up to listen to the delegation in the relief camps sheltering the minority community. Indefinite curfew continued in six police station areas of the city after the death of eight more people yesterday.

The delegation includes former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh and CPM General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet. PTI, UNI


Advani rejects probe by SC Judge
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 24
The demand for a probe into the Gujarat violence by a sitting Supreme Court judge was rejected today by Home Minister L.K. Advani who said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had asked the Cabinet Secretary to monitor rehabilitation work and report to him every week.

Replying to a barrage of questions during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, the Home Minister said, “Never has a parallel inquiry been ordered by the Centre through a sitting Supreme Court judge”.

Mr Advani also informed the House that the NHRC report, which was critical of the situation in Gujarat, was being considered from all angles and every aspect was being given the attention it deserved.

To a query as to why Article 355, providing for Central intervention, was not invoked in Gujarat, he said, “in this case senior ministers have gone there....This government has done much more than sending Central teams” to find out what was happening.

“Gujarat is a case where the Centre is constantly in touch with the state and getting all information needed,” he said, adding that the Governor, too, had sent a report to the Centre.

Mr Advani dismissed the Opposition charge that relief and rehabilitation measures were not being properly monitored and said that the Prime Minister had assigned duty to the Cabinet Secretary to monitor the progress and report to him every week.

Referring to complaints of large-scale human rights violations in the state and indictment by the NHRC, Mr Advani said “the NHRC is an august body and its recommendations are treated with respect by the government.”

He said 824 persons had been killed till date - 656 in communal violence and the rest in police firing - and added that 2,385 persons were injured.

While the value of loss of property was being assessed, he said 10,280 houses, over 12,000 shops, 2,658 cabins and 3,002 vehicles had been torched.

Raising supplementaries, eminent jurist and nominated member Fali S. Nariman wondered why the NHRC recommendations were being brushed aside by the government and said “you might as well abolish the commission”.

To Mr Nariman’s suggestion for an inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge for instilling confidence in the minds of the people, the Home Minister said there had been no instance of any parallel inquiry by a Supreme Court judge.

However, he would welcome suggestions from a legal expert like Mr Nariman on this issue.

Commenting on the role of the Gujarat Governor, RJD member Premchand Gupta said when Mr S.S. Bhandari was in Bihar he used to dash reports to the Centre at the drop of a hat.

“Why does he not do it now,” he asked, supporting Mr Nilotpal Basu (CPM) who wanted to know whether Mr Bhandari had sent any report to the Centre.

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