SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

PIL for securing Soren’s presence in trial court
New Delhi, July 24
Even as elusive Union Coal and Mines Minister Shibu Soren, facing charges in a 29-year-old massacre case, sent in his resignation, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court for securing his immediate presence in the trial court at Jamatra, Jharkhand, to face trial.

Soren’s resignation eyewash: BJP

CCS finalises brief for talks with China
New Delhi, July 24
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today met for 90 minutes under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finalised the brief for National Security Adviser J N Dixit for his July 27-28 talks here with Chinese Special Representative Dai Bingguo on the boundary question.

Kohli interrogated in Swiss woman’s rape case
Kolkata, July 24
Ms Hannah Foster’s alleged killer Maninderpal Singh Kohli, who was arrested on June 25 at Kalimpong near Darjeeling, could not be flown to New Delhi today by the CBI for further interrogation and his extradition to the UK as he had been admitted to the hospital following his sudden illness.

Comedy king of silver screen
Mehmood MEHMOOD'S the man who introduced the guffaws and bellylaughs to the movies. Before him there had been Johnny Walker, but the comedy wasn't quite riotous as Mehmood made it. What came to the known as "comic interludes" now became a stock ingredient of every film.





EARLIER STORIES

 
Villagers use a makeshift banana raft to cross flood waters at a village near Guwahati
Villagers use a makeshift banana raft to cross flood waters at a village near Guwahati on Saturday. 

Pakistani students pose with actress-turned-MP Jaya Prada
Pakistani students pose with actress-turned-MP Jaya Prada in Lucknow on Saturday. — PTI photos

Vajpayee to visit flood-hit areas of Bihar today
New Delhi, July 24
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would tour the flood-affected areas of Bihar tomorrow to have an on-the-spot assessment of the damage.

India peeved over Pak comments
New Delhi, July 24
India today voiced disappointment over certain comments made by Pakistan after the talks External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh had with President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, saying they do not reflect the comprehensiveness of the discussions.

Orientation course for MPs
New Delhi, July 24
Newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs today began a two-day orientation course to sharpen their skills for conducting their legislative work and follow the "Dos and Don'ts" of the Parliamentary life. The session was inaugurated by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachouri for a number of first-timers in the House.

HP minister meets Ahmed over hostage issue
New Delhi, July 24
Himachal Pradesh Cooperative Minister Kuldeep Kumar today met Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahmed and urged him to ensure safe release of the abducted Indian truck drivers in Iraq, two of whom belong to Una district of the state.

PPCC leader calls on Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi, July 24
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Vice-President M. M. Singh Cheema called on Congress President Sonia Gandhi here today and told her that the Act adopted by Punjab terminating all waters agreements had created a volatile situation in the state.

BSF, NCW to form vigilance panel
New Delhi, July 24
The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Border Security Force (BSF) have proposed constitution of vigilance committees in villages along the India-Bangladesh border to develop intelligence to prevent trafficking in women.

Rain god blesses Andhra
Hyderabad, July 24
The upper riparian neighbour might have refused to budge, but the rain god seems to be smiling on the parched lands of Andhra Pradesh.

Four injured in ONGC plant fire
Mumbai, July 24
A liquified petroleum gas (LPG) terminal, owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), located at Uran on the outskirts of Mumbai was damaged in a fire today morning.

RS bypoll
New Delhi, July 24
Byelections for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi, that fell vacant following resignations of Mr A.R. Kidwai and Ms Ambika Soni, will be held on August 16.

4 hurt in ONGC plant fire
Mumbai, July 24
A liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal, owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), located at Uran on the outskirts of Mumbai was damaged in a fire today morning. The blaze was doused in about two hours. Four persons living in shanties near the unit sustained minor burn injuries, according to the police. — TNS

10 massacred in Siwan
Siwan, July 24 
In a shocking incident, 10 persons, including a woman and three children belonging to a minority community, were killed at Bishunpura-Jagdishpur Tola village in Bihar’s Siwan district in the wee hours today, District Magistrate Brajesh Mehrotra said.
— PTI


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PIL for securing Soren’s presence in trial court
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 24
Even as elusive Union Coal and Mines Minister Shibu Soren, facing charges in a 29-year-old massacre case, sent in his resignation, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court for securing his immediate presence in the trial court at Jamatra, Jharkhand, to face trial.

The PIL filed by advocate V.K. Ohri has also sought a direction from the apex court to the Sessions Judge, Jamatra, to expedite the trial proceedings, which had already been delayed by about 30 years. A direction has also been sought to restrain the Jharkhand Government from withdrawing any criminal case relating to the Jharkhand Movement from the court.

The PIL also sought an inquiry into the whole episode as to why there was such a long delay in holding trial in the case and why the trial court judge failed to secure his presence all these years in a serious offence like mass murder, in which 10 persons — nine belonging to a minority community — were killed by a mob allegedly led by him.

Mr Ohri has named all states as respondents in the case apart from the Union and the Jharkhand Governments. He has pleaded the Supreme Court to lay down guidelines for all states and the high courts in the country to ensure that “trial of senior public functionaries, who are accused of serious offences, is monitored by them to ensure speedy disposal”.

Guidelines have also been sought for all states to ensure that investigations in heinous crimes is completed as fast as possible and chargesheets are filed within a reasonable time limit, especially when public functionaries who can influence the investigation, are involved.

“If influential persons are allowed to get away without facing trial in criminal cases, it will pose a big threat to society,” the PIL said.

To ensure fairness in trials involving public figures, there should be speedy disposal so that it is “insulated from the influence of the accused on the trial proceedings,” the petitioner has urged.

It is strange that the massacre case against Soren dates back to 1975 and his presence is being sought by the court 20 years after the filing of the chargesheet.

The petitioner has also said that attempt of the Jharkhand Government to withdraw criminal cases against certain accused arbitrarily “violated” the rights of the citizens, specially the victims of such crimes, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

As per the prosecution, a mob armed with lethal weapons and led by Soren had collected at Chirudeeh village in Jamatra district on January 23, 1975, and had indulged in violence, killing 10 persons and setting on fire an equal number of houses.

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Soren’s resignation eyewash: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
Questioning the “unprecedented” delay in seeking the resignation of the Cabinet Minister against who non-bailable warrant was pending, the BJP today described the resignation of Coal Minister Shibu Soren as “political drama and eyewash”.

“The resignation demanded by the Prime Minister is ‘c/o’ which is undemocratic, shameless and intended to mislead and confuse the people. The Prime Minister owes an explanation to the nation on the whereabouts of Mr Soren,” party Vice-President and Spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told mediapersons here.

Meanwhile, the BJP has decided to intensify its agitation against the Andhra Pradesh Government’s move to give five per cent reservation to the Muslims.

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CCS finalises brief for talks with China
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today met for 90 minutes under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finalised the brief for National Security Adviser J N Dixit for his July 27-28 talks here with Chinese Special Representative Dai Bingguo on the boundary question.

External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, who was present at the CCS meeting, told TNS today that only Sino-Indian border question and the upcoming talks between the two countries Special Representatives was discussed.

Asked if issues like the Iraq hostage crisis and the Shibu Soren episode also came up for discussion at the meet, Mr Natwar Singh replied in the negative.

Mr Dixit, who briefly spoke to the waiting reporters at the end of the CCS meet, said since there was a new government at the Centre, the last two rounds of talks between Mr Brajesh Mishra, National Security Adviser (NSA) in the Vajpayee government, and Dai were reviewed and the position finalised about "what we should say to him and what we should ask him to inform us". He said it was an ongoing process and the brief required a high-level political clearance.

The talks would be held at Hyderabad House. Mr Dixit would host a dinner in honour of Mr Dai on July 27.

This will be the third round of Special Representatives-level talks between India and China. In the previous two rounds, Mr Brajesh Mishra had held talks with Mr Dai. Mr Dixit had several rounds of meetings with Mr Brajesh Mishra after he took over as NSA and Mr Mishra briefed him on the stand taken by the Vajpayee government on many issues, including India's talks with Pakistan and China.

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Comedy king of silver screen
Devinder Bir Kaur
Tribune News Service

MEHMOOD'S the man who introduced the guffaws and bellylaughs to the movies. Before him there had been Johnny Walker, but the comedy wasn't quite riotous as Mehmood made it. What came to the known as "comic interludes" now became a stock ingredient of every film.

It was said that during his peak days in the film industry, some top heroes refused to work with Mehmood for fear of being overshadowed by him.

Mehmood's name was synonymous with a lungi, half moustache and a peculiar lingo, which was a combination of Hindi and South Indian languages. All this undoubtedly made him the comedy king of the silver screen, a position which he held for a decade.

Mehmood stepped into the celluloid world in keeping with his father, actor-dancer Mumtaz Ali's wishes. As things got bad at home, Mehmood did odd jobs and even worked as a driver with filmmaker P.L. Santoshi. When a junior artiste in Santoshi's film fell sick, Mehmood was asked to step in. The young boy did it only too gladly---- he was to get Rs 100 per day for the role. He even taught top actress Meena Kumari and her sister Madhuri table tennis. Eventually, the teacher and his student (Madhuri) fell in love and got married.

Being a self-confessed 'chamcha' of Johnny Walker, Mehmood followed him everywhere. This turned out to be a boon for him. Raj Khosla spotted him and offered him a small role in Dev Anand-starrer "CID" in 1956. Guru Dutt too offered him a bit role in "Pyaasa". Next came "Parvarish" with Raj Kapoor and "Chhoti Behan" with Tarachand Barjatya. Then came the landmark "Sasural" which branded him a comedian for life.

But on the personal front, his marriage to Madhuri broke and he married an American girl Tracy. He remained with her and their eight children.

Meanwhile, professionally, Mehmood's career rose to dazzling heights with films like "Dil Tera Deewana", "Beti Bete", “Phoolan ki Sej”, “Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai", “Love in Tokyo” “Gumnaam”, “Johar-Mehmood in Goa", “Neel Kamal” and “Aankhen’’. In his films like "Pathar Ke Sanam", "Humjoli", "Bhai Bhai", "Gunahon Ka Devta" and ‘‘Aulaad’’ he was paired with Aruna Irani. But earlier he made a hit pair with Shubha Khote and acted with their in several films in the '60s, including “Grihasti”, “Bharosa”, “Ziddi” and “Love in Tokyo”.

As his popularity increased, so did his ambitions. From being a supreme joker —who cracked smutty jokes, danced boisterously and indulged in whatever gags — he turned producer and director. Significantly, it was Mehmood, who as a producer, gave the present-day legend Amitabh Bachchan his first break as a hero in "Bombay to Goa".

Mehmood made films that were jubilee hits — "Chhote Nawab" in which musical genius R.D. Burman made his debut, "Pati Patni", "Bhoot Bangla", "Padosan" and "Kunwara Baap" with his polio-ridden son and Ginny aur Johnny" with daughter. He also ghost- directed "Garam Masala" "Bombay to Goa" and "Do Phool" for friends.

People, however, will remember Mehmood most for "Padosan" in which he plays Saira Banu's South Indian music teacher. Another all-time favourite is "Pyar Kiye Ja". Mehmood's evergreen scene wherein he tells Om Prakash a horror story that he plans to turn into a film is also the most remembered today.

Even in his twilight years Mehmood continued to do small roles in "Khalnayika" and "Udhaar Ki Zindagi" and was occasionally seen on TV in interviews. One of his sons, Lucky Ali, is a popular singer today.

Mehmood's health by now had deteriorated so much that he was constantly on oxygen. The most successful comedian of Hindi cinema breathed his last on Friday.

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Kohli interrogated in Swiss woman’s rape case
Our Correspondent & UNI

Kolkata, July 24
Ms Hannah Foster’s alleged killer Maninderpal Singh Kohli, who was arrested on June 25 at Kalimpong near Darjeeling, could not be flown to New Delhi today by the CBI for further interrogation and his extradition to the UK as he had been admitted to the hospital following his sudden illness.

Instead, Interpol officials and a batch of the Punjab Police would come to Darjeeling in a day or two for further interrogation.

Kohli was interrogated today by a Delhi police official in connection with the rape and murder of a Swiss national in New Delhi on October 15, 2003.

The Inspector-rank official arrived from the Capital yesterday and interrogated Kohli, who is at present in judicial custody here, Darjeeling SP Rajiv Mishra, said.

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Vajpayee to visit flood-hit areas of Bihar today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would tour the flood-affected areas of Bihar tomorrow to have an on-the-spot assessment of the damage.

Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani would visit Assam on July 27, BJP spokesman M.A. Naqvi told newspersons here today. The BJP condemned the “casual” comment of Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav on floods in his home state.

“It is unfortunate that the minister, who should have been working day and night to extend all possible help to the flood-ravaged people in Bihar, has made such casual remarks,” Mr Naqvi said.

Mr Yadav had yesterday reportedly told newspersons here that “the rising waters actually provided an opportunity to the poor to eat as much fish as they want”.

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India peeved over Pak comments

New Delhi, July 24
India today voiced disappointment over certain comments made by Pakistan after the talks External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh had with President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, saying they do not reflect the comprehensiveness of the discussions.

“We are disappointed at the tone and substance of some of the comments made in the press release issued by the Pakistan Foreign office yesterday” after the Singh-Musharraf meeting, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters here.

He was asked about the Pakistani statement in which it quoted Musharraf as having told Singh that there should be simultaneous progress on all bilateral issues including Kashmir within a reasonable timeframe.

Musharraf, according to the statement, told Singh “it is important to address this issue with sincerity with a view to reaching a final settlement that accorded fully with the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiris within a “reasonable timeframe”. — PTI
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Orientation course for MPs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
Newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs today began a two-day orientation course to sharpen their skills for conducting their legislative work and follow the "Dos and Don'ts" of the Parliamentary life.

The session was inaugurated by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachouri for a number of first-timers in the House.

Mr Dinesh Trivedi, one of the Vice-Chairmen, also made a strong case for using wit and humour, especially in charged-up situations, to prevent them from turning into unsavoury incidents.

Actress turned Parliamentarian Jaya Bachchan (Samajwadi Party) wanted to know who were the great Parliamentarians and the reasons for their greatness.

Mr Anil Ambani, also of the SP, suggested that the participation of a member in the House debates or the raising of questions should be put on the Internet.

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HP minister meets Ahmed over hostage issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
Himachal Pradesh Cooperative Minister Kuldeep Kumar today met Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahmed and urged him to ensure safe release of the abducted Indian truck drivers in Iraq, two of whom belong to Una district of the state.

According to an official spokesman, Mr Kuldeep Kumar conveyed the sentiments of the people of the state and particularly of the families whose members have been taken hostage by the militants.

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PPCC leader calls on Sonia Gandhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Vice-President M. M. Singh Cheema called on Congress President Sonia Gandhi here today and told her that the Act adopted by Punjab terminating all waters agreements had created a volatile situation in the state.

What he found disturbing was that the Act, therefore, confined the Rajiv-Longowal accord to the dust bin necessitating a Presidential reference under Article 143 of the Constitution on the issue of sharing of river waters among states.

Mr Cheema apprised Mrs Gandhi of the general political situation in the state and the cause of the party's poor showing in Punjab in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

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BSF, NCW to form vigilance panel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Border Security Force (BSF) have proposed constitution of vigilance committees in villages along the India-Bangladesh border to develop intelligence to prevent trafficking in women. The NCW and the BSF are putting their heads together to find a solution to the problem of trafficking in entry of women from Bangladesh to India.

The BSF Director-General, Mr Ajai Raj Sharma, told mediapersons here today that 2.5 per cent of the total number of prostitutes in India are from Bangladesh.

The NCW Chairperson, Dr Poornima Advani, wondered why Section 366 B of the Indian Penal Code is not invoked against persons allegedly involved in trafficking.

“We have to make sure that the law catches all those involved in the trafficking of a woman like the pimps, agents and brothel owners who somehow slip through the cracks while the poor and exploited women get caught.’’

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Rain god blesses Andhra
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 24
The upper riparian neighbour might have refused to budge, but the rain god seems to be smiling on the parched lands of Andhra Pradesh.

Even as Karnataka refused to release Krishna waters for AP from Almatti Dam even after the Centre’s intervention, heavy and widespread rainfall since yesterday in many parts of coastal Andhra and Telangana regions have raised hopes among the state’s farming community. On the other hand, cloud seeding operations that had hit snags for the first two days, finally bore fruit on Friday when the experiment seemed to have worked in the drought-prone districts of Kurnool, Mahbubnagar and Rangareddy districts, which received moderate rainfall.

Like icing on the cake, even Krishna waters from Almatti, according to state officials, will flow into Andhra without Karnataka’s help, as reservoir levels of Almatti Dam were increasing. 

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Four injured in ONGC plant fire
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 24
A liquified petroleum gas (LPG) terminal, owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), located at Uran on the outskirts of Mumbai was damaged in a fire today morning.

The fire began in a drain outside the ONGC complex in the Uran Charphatta area, said a fire brigade spokesman. Slum dwellers living close to the premises alerted the police and fire tenders were rushed to the site.

Before the fire tenders reached the spot, the fire had already spread to the LPG-2 storage unit and damaged it, said the fire brigade officials. However, the ONGC officials quickly activated the emergency measures and prevented the fire from spreading.

The fire officials suspected that the fire was caused by a short circuit in the powerlines located near the LPG-2 unit.

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RS bypoll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 24
Byelections for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi, that fell vacant following resignations of Mr A.R. Kidwai and Ms Ambika Soni, will be held on August 16.

The tenure of vacant seats will end on January 27, 2006. While notifications for the bypoll will be issued on July 30, the last date of filing nominations papers have been fixed as August 6. Scrutiny of nominations will take place on July 7 and last date of withdrawal of candidature has been fixed as August 9.

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BRIEFLY

Agra doctor surrenders
Agra
: The absconding Agra Mental Hospital doctor, accused of issuing false medical certificates, has surrendered before the Chief Judicial Magistrate here and remanded to a 5-day judicial custody. Psychiatrist S.K. Gupta surrendered in the court of CJM Sarvesh Kumar on Friday and was remanded to the judicial custody till July 27. 
PTI
In video (28k, 56k)

12 injured in group clash
Allahabad
: At least 12 people, including six policemen, sustained injuries when the police tried to control two groups clashing over a land dispute at Babhani Helthar village here on Friday evening. The police said the two groups were engaged in a clash over a land dispute. The police reached the village to pacify them. However, the people resorted to a chakka jam and clashed with the police. — UNI

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