SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

SAD, BJP divided on Punjab Act
New Delhi, July 14
The NDA is sharply divided on the issue of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) backing it and the BJP opposing.

BJP walkout on water row
New Delhi, July 14
The BJP MPs today staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha in protest against Ms Sonia Gandhi’s refusal to clarify whether she had prior intimation about the Punjab Government’s new law cancelling its riverwaters treaty with neighbouring states.

Media reports on Soren rock RS
BJP questions his induction into Cabinet
New Delhi, July 14
There was a furore in the Rajya Sabha today with the opposition BJP launching a scathing attack on the Government over reports that Coal Minister Shibu Soren had been declared “proclaimed offender” for his alleged involvement in a murder in 1975.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Joschka Fischer at a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI




EARLIER STORIES

 

Heated debate in RS on farmers’ suicides
New Delhi, July 14
The government today informed the Rajya Sabha that a mechanism was being put in place to address the problems of farmers in drought-prone areas to prevent incidents of suicide.

Laloo regales Lok Sabha
New Delhi, July 14
Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav today kept the Lok Sabha in laughter mode as he regaled the lower House with his wit during his reply on the Railway Budget.

Talks with Hurriyat by July-end
New Delhi, July 14
The Centre today announced that Home Minister Shivraj Patil would hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference later this month or in early August as part of its commitment to carry forward the dialogue process in Jammu and Kashmir.

President’s recipe for development
Hyderabad, July 14
It was a presidential day out for Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he had a rare interaction with legislators of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today, where he blended wit with wisdom to drive home his vision of transforming the country into an economic super power.

AP Muslims get 5 pc quota
Hyderabad, July 14
The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh has provided for 5 per cent reservation in education and jobs to Muslims of the state, conceding a long-pending demand of the community.

Bishan Kaur, mother of BSP leader Kanshi Ram, arrives at the BSP President Mayawati’s residence to meet Kanshi Ram in New Delhi on Wednesday.Mother, brother meet Kanshi Ram on HC order
New Delhi, July 14
Armed with a High Court order, the mother and a brother of ailing BSP founder Kanshi Ram today met him at the official residence of party president Mayawati, who they allege is holding him captive.

Bishan Kaur, mother of BSP leader Kanshi Ram, arrives at the BSP President Mayawati’s residence to meet Kanshi Ram in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Birlas, Lodha file caveats
Kolkata, July 14
The Birlas today fired the first salvo in their war against Rajinder S Lodha by filing a caveat in the Calcutta High Court to prevent him from proving Priyamvada Birla’s will that bequeathed him Rs 5,000 crore of industrial assets.

Crime branch intensifies search for Kohli
New Delhi, July 14
The crime branch of the Delhi Police has intensified its hunt for Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, prime suspect in the murder of a 17-year old Hannah Foster of Southampton, London, on March 14, 2003, following an appeal by her parents.

Hearing on Bilkis plea for case transfer on July 26
New Delhi, July 14
The Supreme Court today fixed July 26 for hearing a petition by Gujarat riot victim Bilkis Yakub Rasool for transfer of her case outside the state after the CBI chargesheeted 20 persons, including six police officials and two doctors for their alleged involvement in it.

Integrating Lahat, Arjun possible
New Delhi, July 14
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had completed a project establishing feasibility of integrating ‘Lahat’ (laser homing anti-tank missile’) with battle tank Arjun, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.

Residents of Dadar Chatti village on the Patna-Muzzaffarpur- Sitamarhi highway shifting with their belongings In video (28k)





Residents of Dadar Chatti village on the Patna-
Muzzaffarpur- Sitamarhi highway shifting with their belongings to a safer place after the village submerged in floodwaters. — PTI


Videos
Woodcrafts made of coffee plants.
(28k, 56k)
Indian filmmaker's erotic murder mystery stars South African beauty.
(28k, 56k)

Top









 

SAD, BJP divided on Punjab Act
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The NDA is sharply divided on the issue of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) backing it and the BJP opposing.

At a meeting of the NDA held here, SAD leader S. S. Dhindsa made it clear that his party would fully back the Act and if the Amarinder Singh government tried to backtrack on the issue in any manner it would strongly oppose it.

He asserted that since Punjab’s economy was depended on agriculture, water was an emotive issue and his party would strongly back all steps that protected the interest of farmers.

The meeting was attended by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh, and NDA convener George Fernandes among others.

After the meeting, Mr Vajpayee told newspersons that “national interest is above all others and there should be a concerted effort to resolve this sensitive issue through negotiations between the states concerned.”

Briefing newspersons, BJP spokesperson Sushma Swaraj said the party was against “such an unconstitutional unilateral step” by a particular state even as it appreciated the right of the states to take up the issues affecting them.

“We are not opposed to demands from states to meet their water requirement, but what we are concerned about and opposed to is the manner in which the Punjab Government went ahead with the passage of the Bill on an issue which doesn’t fall in its domain and which will have far-reaching legal and constitutional consequences,” Ms Swaraj said.

Quoting provisions in the Constitution, she said adjudication of inter-river or river valley disputes fell under the Centre’s domain and accused the Punjab Government of posing an open challenge while the UPA government remained a mute spectator.

She also lashed out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA government saying “the passage of the Bill is a textbook example of outright failure of the Central government in discharging its responsibility as the guardian of the Constitution and also as protector of the confederation.”

“When a state is in a confrontationist mood, the Centre can’t remain a mute spectator,” she said.

On BJP MLAs in Punjab voting in favour of the Bill, she said: “They have been conveyed about the stand taken on the issue by the party high command and have been asked to conduct themselves accordingly.”

Meanwhile, the Haryana unit of the BJP has called for a state bandh on July 19 to protest against the Act.

Addressing a joint press conference here, BJP state unit leaders led by Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, MP from Sonepat, said the movement of essential goods and services would be spared.
Top

 

BJP walkout on water row
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The BJP MPs today staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha in protest against Ms Sonia Gandhi’s refusal to clarify whether she had prior intimation about the Punjab Government’s new law cancelling its riverwaters treaty with neighbouring states.

Referring to reports published in some newspapers, BJP leaders V.K. Malhotra and Mr Ananth Kumar alleged during zero hour that Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had met Ms Gandhi and got her permission to enact the controversial law. He, however, kept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ‘’in the dark’’ on the issue.

The Prime Minister had been bypassed as Ms Gandhi was the “super Prime Minister” of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, they contended.

All BJP members were on their feet in support of the contention, which was vociferously countered by ruling bench members.

BJP Chief Whip Malhotra insisted that Ms Gandhi, who was present in the House, should clarify whether she had prior intimation. But there was no response from the Congress President.

The Speaker, however, ruled that the members could not raise the issue again as the Prime Minister had yesterday made a statement in both Houses of Parliament and the Opposition had treated the matter as closed. 
Top

 

Media reports on Soren rock RS
BJP questions his induction into Cabinet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
There was a furore in the Rajya Sabha today with the opposition BJP launching a scathing attack on the Government over reports that Coal Minister Shibu Soren had been declared “proclaimed offender” for his alleged involvement in a murder in 1975. It sought to know whether information about the case was known at the time of his induction into the Union Cabinet.

There was a din in the House when BJP leader and former Law Minister Arun Jaitley said a warrant was pending against Mr Soren and he had not submitted himself to the judicial process.

The decision of a Jharkhand Sessions Court to declare the minister a “proclaimed offender” showed he was a “fugitive” who was running away from law, Mr Jaitley, supported by several BJP members, alleged amidst strong protests by ruling UPA benches.

Earlier, the House was adjourned during question hour following a pandemonium over media reports that a murder case was pending against Mr Soren. Opposition NDA members led by Mr Jaitley, Mr S S Ahluwalia and Ms Sushma Swaraj waved copies of newspapers and demanded action against the Minister.

Some Opposition members also demanded the arrest of Mr Soren who was present in the House during question hour. He left shortly before the House re-assembled after the 20-minute adjournment.

Countering the opposition attack, UPA benches raised slogans like “Chor Machaye Shor” (thieves crying foul).

Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat assured the House that Mr Soren would not go absconding.

Responding to the Opposition attack, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said a proclaimed offender was one who had absconded.

“This person contested elections, moved in public. This person is known to everybody.”
Top

 

Heated debate in RS on farmers’ suicides
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The government today informed the Rajya Sabha that a mechanism was being put in place to address the problems of farmers in drought-prone areas to prevent incidents of suicide.

Replying to a calling attention motion on the incidents of suicides by farmers in various parts of the country in the Rajya Sabha, Water Resources Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said according to the strategy, the crop-wise details of drought-prone areas would be collected and the plight of farmers there evaluated to take remedial measures and prevent them from taking their own lives.

He said the mechanism would involve placing an emphasis on the condition of the farmers in the drought areas while promoting overall agricultural growth in the country.

He said, “We will address the issue (of suicides) beyond political lines.”

The proposed mechanism, he said, would brief the government on the problems faced by the farmers, including debt problems, and urgent cases would be accorded priority while solving them.

Mr Dasmunshi said the current year’s Budget was prepared in a short time following the Lok Sabha poll. Still it contained several measures for agriculture and rural development. He criticised the previous government for a decline in agriculture investment to 1.3 per cent.

Earlier, members cutting across party affiliations, urged to government to implement the one-time settlement of dues at the earliest, while expressing concern over the death of 950 farmers, including 650 in Andhra Pradesh alone, in the country during the past two months.

They also urged the government to hike the Rs 11,000 crore action plan on agriculture and rural credit. They wanted that investments on agriculture and irrigation should be boosted. Trading charges, the treasury benches said it was the NDA government’s yielding to international pressure that was the cause of the problem, while the BJP members said their government had taken a number of steps to relieve pressure on farmers.

Initiating a debate on a call attention motion on the incidents of suicides in the House, former Minister Rajnath Singh (BJP) said the new Budget had nothing positive for the farmers.

Mr R Chandra Shekhar Reddy (TDP) wanted crop insurance schemes to be reorganised and demanded early release of water from Karnataka to Andhra.

Mr Ashwani Kumar of the Congress said indebtedness of farmers in Punjab had increased from Rs 5,700 crore in the nineties to Rs 10,000 crore at present.
Top

 

Laloo regales Lok Sabha
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav today kept the Lok Sabha in laughter mode as he regaled the lower House with his wit during his reply on the Railway Budget.

Taking a dig at the BJP-led Opposition for its decision to walk out during his speech, Mr Yadav said they were “showing their back” as they had not been able to digest their defeat.

“In Indian culture... (it is) said that it is not proper to attack someone who has shown his back to you and, therefore, I cannot speak against them,” the minister said in his typical Hindi. Moreover, after becoming a minister, “I have become disciplined,” he said amidst laughter.

The very next moment, he said though the Opposition members were boycotting him, he was sure they would be listening to his speech surreptitiously. He even parodied an old Hindi film song, “Chup chup khade ho zaroor koi baat hai.”

Though the Opposition and a section of the media was ridiculing him for promoting kulhars, khadi and milk products, the budget presented by him had won accolades all over, he said and added that it was regrettable that the Opposition “still calls me as a joker and say that I indulge only in drama”.

Referring to khadi, he said it was the “vardi” of freedom fighters. When UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi apparently did not understand, Mr Yadav, turning towards her, said, “uniform”.

Replying to members’ observations about lack of resources for the ambitious Railways projects, he said his endeavour would be to convert waste into wealth, as was the practice in the past. “Railways would cut down costs and re-use scrap for making wheels and axles,” Mr Yadav said.

The Railway Minister showered fulsome praise on Ms Gandhi and wondered why Opposition members developed an “allergy” whenever her name was mentioned. “We should keep some anti-allergic drugs in the House for them,” he said.
Top

 

Talks with Hurriyat by July-end
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The Centre today announced that Home Minister Shivraj Patil would hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference later this month or in early August as part of its commitment to carry forward the dialogue process in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Home Ministry, in a statement, said the initiative had been taken to settle a fresh date for talks at the Home Minister’s level in late July or early August in consultation with the Hurriyat leadership.

The statement referred to the Home Minister’s announcement about the government’s commitment to continue and carry forward the dialogue process in the state and said the recent incidents in the valley had caused serious concern and apprehension in the Hurriyat Conference.
Top

 

President’s recipe for development
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 14
It was a presidential day out for Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he had a rare interaction with legislators of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today, where he blended wit with wisdom to drive home his vision of transforming the country into an economic super power.

The lively interaction with legislators witnessed the President donning the role of a friend, philosopher and guide and handling with aplomb a wide range of questions from legislators, a majority of them first-timers.

What is the President’s prescription to root out corruption from the country?

Only three persons can ensure elimination of corruption: mother, father and primary school teacher.

Could you tell me why foreigner after foreigner invaded our country and ruled us for thousands of years?

Strength respects strength. One must be prepared to defend oneself when attacked.

What role do you envisage for the minorities for the development of the country?

The issue of development does not distinguish one community from the other. What is important for the minority community is greater focus on education for women.

What was the President’s most memorable moment?

“When I saw tears in the eyes of the parents of polio-afflicted children who were given light-weight calipers, originally developed by us for application in missile technology.”

Would the President use his good offices for the early passage of women reservation bill in Parliament?

“Though they constitute 50 per cent of the population, they are asking only for 33 per cent. My government will work for it.”

Would he consider conferring Bharat Ratna on Ms Sonia Gandhi, who renounced prime ministership?

“Normally, the people whom you recommend for the highest award show no interest in such honours. I am also one among them.”

Earlier, in a historic Address to the Assembly, Dr Kalam presented before the legislators a 10-point mission to herald social and economic transformation in the state. The mission contained strategies in areas like agriculture, irrigation, education, healthcare, power and rural connectivity.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala accompanied the President to the Assembly.
Top

 

AP Muslims get 5 pc quota
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 14
The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh has provided for 5 per cent reservation in education and jobs to Muslims of the state, conceding a long-pending demand of the community.

The government order, which will benefit the 64 lakh Muslim population (1991 census) in the state, will come into force with immediate effect.

The step fulfils a poll promise made by the Congress during the recent elections to the Assembly and Parliament.

With the latest concession, the reservation quota in the state has gone up to 52 per cent. A new category E has been added for the Muslims to the existing A, B, C and D for reservation under Backward Classes quota.

The Rajasekhara Reddy government issued the quota orders on Monday, following a report submitted by the Commissioner of Minorities Welfare, which went into the socio-economic conditions of the Muslims in the state. According to the report, 65 per cent of the Muslims in the state are living below poverty line and only 18 per cent of the Muslims are literate as against 44 per cent among other backward communities.
Top

 

Mother, brother meet Kanshi Ram on HC order

New Delhi, July 14
Armed with a High Court order, the mother and a brother of ailing BSP founder Kanshi Ram today met him at the official residence of party president Mayawati, who they allege is holding him captive.

Bishan Kaur, 95, and her son Darbara Singh spent about 40 minutes with Kanshi Ram under the supervision of Station House Officer, Tughlaq Road police station, Suresh Kaushik.

“We met him and asked his welfare but he is not in a position to speak ... he seems very afraid,” Darbara told reporters later.

Bishan Kaur, who had last met Kanshi Ram in Batra Hospital over a month ago, claimed that proper treatment was not being given to him. “She was only some water nearby,” she said.

The BSP, however, put forward an entirely different version of the meeting. “Kanshi Ram refused to recognise them and told them to go away. He said he is staying here of his own will,” Advocate P. Khadaria, representing the party, said. — PTI
Top

 

Birlas, Lodha file caveats

Kolkata, July 14
The Birlas today fired the first salvo in their war against Rajinder S Lodha by filing a caveat in the Calcutta High Court to prevent him from proving Priyamvada Birla’s will that bequeathed him Rs 5,000 crore of industrial assets.

“We have filed a caveat in the Calcutta High Court today so that Priyamvada’s will cannot be authenticated in the court by Lodhas”, Mr Basant Kumar Birla, patriarch of the Birla family, said.

Mr Birla, who held another round of meeting with important members of the Birla clan earlier in the day, also made it clear that the Birlas were not going to allow an ‘outsider’ to take over the assets of the family.

“As per law, the property of a person goes to the nearest relative. How can an outsider claim the Birla family property?,” he said.

Asked if the Birlas doubted the veracity of the Priyamvada Birla’s will, he said: “It is not the question of doubting veracity. It may be correct and it may be wrong, but we have to deal with it from the legal point of view for which steps are being taken.”

Declaring that the family had decided to challenge the will, he said the caveat was the first step in that direction.

“This will imply that Lodha will not be able to probate the will in a court without hearing our points as we are going to oppose it”, Mr Birla said.

Meanwhile, Mr Lodha has also filed a caveat in all courts of the city to stop the Birla family members from moving the court to challenge the will, sources in the Calcutta High Court said. — PTI, UNI
Top

 

Crime branch intensifies search for Kohli
J T Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The crime branch of the Delhi Police has intensified its hunt for Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, prime suspect in the murder of a 17-year old Hannah Foster of Southampton, London, on March 14, 2003, following an appeal by her parents.

The murder case which was being investigated by the crime branch after the issuance of an Interpol red corner notice against Kohli, has now gained momentum after Hannah’s parents arrived in India recently.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ranjit Narayan told The Tribune that a special team had been sent to Punjab, Chandigarh and adjoining places in search of Kohli, who fled to India on March 18.

“We are getting important details relating to this case. We have also detained Kohli’s friend and he has provided us with valuable inputs which would help us get the murder suspect arrested soon. The Punjab police is in constant touch with us and we are providing all necessary assistance to it in order to crack the case.” Mr Narayan who said the crime branch had some concrete information on Kohli also said the sleuths had been working on the case all along. He however refused to provide further details stating that it would hamper investigations.

The Delhi Police has also informed airports and other possible exit points to stop the murder suspect from escaping.

The local police of Southampton, which investigated the murder case of Hannah Foster, after discovering that Kohli had escaped to India on March 18, announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for information leading to his arrest.

The information was widely advertised through the media in India. The police suspects that Kohli, who was born on November 6, 1967, in Chandigarh is hiding in Chandigarh. 17-year-old Hannah Foster was abducted from a street near her home in Southampton and her body was found a day later in Allignton Lane. Post-mortem reports indicated rape and strangulation.

The bereaved parents of Hannah Foster hope to meet the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and other senior police officials to expedite the investigations into the case.
Top

 

Hearing on Bilkis plea for case transfer on July 26
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 14
The Supreme Court today fixed July 26 for hearing a petition by Gujarat riot victim Bilkis Yakub Rasool for transfer of her case outside the state after the CBI chargesheeted 20 persons, including six police officials and two doctors for their alleged involvement in it.

A Bench, headed by Ms Justice Ruma Pal posted the matter for hearing on July 26 before a three-judge Bench, which is seized of the Gujarat riot cases.

Bilkis, who survived a murderous attempt after her alleged gangrape in Panivela village of Dahod district in the post-Godhra violence, was on Monday asked by the Court to file an amended petition by making all accused as respondents, a necessary condition required under the law.

The hooligans had subjected Bilkis and some other women to sexual assault and she lost seven members of her family in the violence. She has sought transfer of the trial in the case outside Gujarat on the ground that she had no faith in the state authorities.
Top

 

Integrating Lahat, Arjun possible
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 14
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had completed a project establishing feasibility of integrating ‘Lahat’ (laser homing anti-tank missile’) with battle tank Arjun, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today. Mr Mukherjee informed the House that the Lahat could be fired from the barrel of the Arjun tank.

In reply to another question the Defence Minister said the Indian Air Force (IAF) has adequate number of MiG aircraft along with other aircraft to protect the country. However, he did not reveal the number of aircraft saying it would not be in the interest of the country.
Top

 
BRIEFLY

2 more farmers commit suicide
NAGPUR:
Apparently frustrated over crop failure due to insufficient rains in the region, two more farmers from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra have allegedly committed suicide in the past two days, taking the number of such deaths to over 15. Ramchandra Premchandra Chavan (36), a farmer from Pusad taluka of Yavatmal district allegedly hanged himself to death on Tuesday. Another farmer Gangadhar Namdeo Ambhure (27) from Narkhed taluka in rural Nagpur allegedly committed suicide by consuming insecticides on Monday. — PTI

Swami Kalyandeo dies
MUZAFFARNAGAR:
Prominent social activist Swami Kalyandeo has died at the age of 129, sources in the Shukdeo Ashram said here on Wednesday. Swami Kalyandeo, who had been ailing for a long time, died around midnight on Tuesday. Credited with having established hundreds of educational institutions in western Uttar Pradesh, Swami Kalyandeo had been conferred with Padma Bhushan in recognition of his services. — PTI

Narrow escape for PM’s Adviser
CHENNAI:
About 102 passengers, including Prime Minister’s Principal Scientific Adviser R. Chidambaram, had a miraculous escape when the Chennai-bound Indian Airlines flight from Mumbai made an emergency landing at the airport here on Wednesday. — UNI
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |