Wednesday, September 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Sharon meets Kalam, lays wreath at Rajghat
Tribune News Service

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon scatters flower petals on the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat in New Delhi
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon scatters flower petals on the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

New Delhi, September 9
The visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Mr Ariel Sharon, today said the purpose of his historic visit was to strengthen relations with India which he described as “an important country in the world”.

Mr Sharon told reporters on the Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns after he was accorded a ceremonial welcome in the morning that during this visit, cooperation and understanding between the two countries in various fields would increase. He said both countries had an indomitable faith in democracy.

Mr Sharon was given a ceremonial welcome on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The function was attended by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, among others. The Israeli Premier also inspected a Guard of Honour.

Mr Sharon later called on President Kalam and during the 40-minute meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation in various fields and the situation in the Middle East.

According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman, a Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr R.M. Abhyankar and Indian Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Mr Raminder Jassal, were also present at the meeting in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Mr Sharon also visited Rajghat where he laid a wreath at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.

The visiting dignitary had arrived here by a special aircraft last night heading a 150-member high-powered delegation. This is the first-ever India visit by an Israeli Premier.

Mr Sharon and his delegation, comprising three Cabinet Ministers, senior officials and businessmen, were received at the airport by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Vallabhbhai Kathiria, Mr Abhayankar, Mr Jassal and Israeli ambassador-designate to India, Mr David Daniel.

Four bullet-proof cars have been specially flown in here from Israel for Mr Sharon’s four-day visit.

The four black-coloured cars were brought here in the aircraft which arrived here on Sunday, carrying the Israeli Prime Minister’s advance party to New Delhi. The cars were taken out of the aircraft yesterday, a few hours before the arrival of Mr Sharon.



Security cover throws traffic out of gear
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
Unprecedented security for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit threw traffic out of gear but did not deter the Left and Muslim organisations from holding protest marches in the Capital today.

As the leaders of India and Israel discussed ways of furthering cooperation in the fields of battling terrorism and defence, the first signs of developing relationship in the field of intelligence were visible. Indian security agencies exchanged notes constantly with the security officials from Israel who had thrown an umbrella of cover around Mr Sharon.

While the Delhi police and Central paramilitary organisations provided the peripheral security ring, the inner security rings were formed by the Israeli Prime Minister’s own security personnel.

The air traffic within a radius of 5 km of the Taj Mahal hotel on the Mansingh road were closed to prevent the eventuality of an ariel attack.

Meanwhile, the Left and Muslim organisations held demonstrations against the visit of Mr Sharon alleging Israel of “massacre” of thousands of Palestinians.

“Mr Sharon has led many instances of violence against Palestinians and how could he be taken to the Raj Ghat”, CPM leader, Mr Sitaram Yechury, said here.



Protest unwarranted, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Different leftist organisation stage protest against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's India visit
Different leftist organisation stage protest against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's India visit, in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, September 9
The BJP today termed as “unwarranted” the protest by Left party activists against the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Areil Sharon to India.

“The Left parties’ protest against the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to India is unwarranted as the NDA government has been and will be taking all steps keeping in view the national interest,” BJP spokesperson M A Naqvi told newspersons here.

Moreover, he said, Mr Vajpayee had already made it clear that there would not be any change in New Delhi’s stand vis-a-vis Palestine in the wake of Mr Sharon’s visit.

Enraged over India’s “red carpet” welcome to the visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Left party activists today took to the streets and courted arrest, dubbing Mr Sharon as ‘’an epitome of state terrorism’’ who had earned notoriety for repression of the Palestinian people.

The protesters were detained at the Tilak Marg police station and released after about 45 minutes.

The Israeli Premier arrived here last night on a four-day visit to discuss ways and means to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields, including defence and counter-terrorism.



Warning to Muslims ahead of Sharon’s visit
S. Iyer

Mumbai, September 9
The Maharashtra Government has asked Muslim bodies in the city against creating disturbances during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Mumbai tomorrow.

According to sources in the state Home Ministry, intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on the activities of a number of community leaders. However, no one has been arrested as a preventive measure as the police was busy with Ganesh immersions.

Organisations like the Raza Academy that are active in Muslim affairs in Mumbai have called on Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on the matter. A few ulemas or Muslim religious heads even demanded that that Sharon be prohibited from visiting Mumbai.

The ulemas under the leadership of Hazrat Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan, secretary of the All-India Sunni Jamiatul Ulema, in a memorandum to the Chief Minister said the Israeli Prime Minister should not be allowed to enter the state as he had committed atrocities against the minorities in his country.

A few Muslim groups had even threatened to gherao the airport where Mr Sharon is supposed to land. However, state government officials say attempts will be made to ensure that protesters are kept away from Mr Sharon’s view.

Though his itinerary is a closely-guarded secret, the authorities here say that a meeting with Mumbai’s industrialists is high on Mr Sharon’s agenda. The Confederation of Indian Industries will organise a meeting of top industrialists with Mr Sharon and his entourage.

Jews are expected to raise the issue of Israel closing its consulate in Mumbai.

Though the consulate was functioning since 1953 even before diplomatic relations were established between India and Israel, the Mumbai mission was closed down on July 31 due to financial reasons.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |