Monday, May 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

M A I N   N E W S

Nepali Cong expels Deuba for 3 years

Kathmandu, May 26
The Nepali Congress Party today expelled Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba from the party for three years for dissolving the Parliament without consulting it.

“The party’s disciplinary committee has expelled Prime Minister Deuba for three years and asked all ministers belonging to the Nepali Congress to quit the ministry as the government headed by Mr Deuba is no longer a Nepali Congress government,” Nepali Congress Party deputy general secretary Govinda Raj Joshi said.

The expulsion came after Mr Deuba last week dissolved Parliament and called elections. PTI



BKU frees hostages
Shubhadeep Choudhury and Manoharlal Verma

Jind, May 26
Agitating Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) activists last night set free seven persons, including two DSPs and three other policemen, detained by them at Kandela village, about 10 km away from Jind.

DSP Jagdish Nagar
DSP Jagdish Nagar

DSP Ashok Kumar
Ashok Kumar

HC Amrik Singh
Amrik Singh

HC Rammehar

The success of the administration in bringing the eight-day-old drama to an end without any bloodshed is being claimed as an important political victory for the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

“Both Mr Bansi Lal and Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Chautala’s predecessors, had the police fire upon BKU agitators leading to several casualties. Though the provocation from the BKU was enough this time as it had taken police personnel as hostages, yet due to some deft handling of the situation by the government side, their release could be secured without firing a single shot”, pointed out an aide of Mr Chautala.

The hostages were brought to the Bulbul Tourist Complex around midnight from where they were sent to their respective places by the farmers. Those released from the captivity of the BKU are DSP Jagdish Nagar, his wife Rajwanti Devi, gunman Amrik Singh, DSP (Home Guard) Ashok Kumar Sheoran, Head Constable Ram Mehar, Constable Satya Vir and the driver of a private taxi. They were taken hostage on three separate occasions while passing through Kandela village on the Jind-Kaithal road during the ongoing agitation.

BKU leaders and the state government, however, have made conflicting claims about how the release of the captives was brought about. Government sources claimed that the hostages were released by the BKU unconditionally.

According to state government officials, the court order on Friday, following a habeus corpus petition filed by a relative of Mr Ashok Kumar, DSP, who was among the hostages, played a crucial role in mounting pressure upon the BKU for freeing the hostages.

“Some lawyers contacted by the BKU advised them against violating the court’s order “, the sources said. By all accounts, the idea of having a petition filed in the court by a relative of one of the hostages came from the state government’s side. While refusing to make any comment on the issue, the sources said the court order offered the government the opportunity to use force if necessary and justify its action by citing the judicial directive. Police forces were mobilised from the adjoining districts to secure release of the hostages. DGP, Mr M.S. Malik and Range IGP, Mr John V. George were camping in Jind to supervise the police action.

However, the BKU claimed that the hostages were released after talks between BKU leaders and a representative of the government was held at Dalamwala village yesterday night. Talking to mediapersons at Kandela today, Mr Ghasiram Nain, President of the BKU, said the detainees were set free after an assurance by Mr Darshan Singh, DSP, Rohtak, that the arrested BKU activists would be released by May 28. He said there was no written agreement on the issue. Mr Nain said demonstration by BKU workers at Kandela would continue and the agitation would be intensified if the BKU leaders were not released. Mr Darshan Singh had held talks with Mr Dharamvir Hooda, chief of BKU’s Rohtak unit, Mr Nain added.

Meanwhile, dharna by the farmers was continuing at Kandela since May 19 when the BKU organised a rally here to demand release of their comrades and writing off of power bill arrears.

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