SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Nafisa Joseph (file photo)Rows over fiance led Nafisa to suicide
Mumbai, July 30
Broken relationships, a tiff with her current beau and parental interference in her personal life are some of the reasons being attributed for the suicide of former Miss India and music channel video jockey Nafisa Joseph late last night.

In video (28k, 56k)
Nafisa Joseph (file photo)

Mufti Sayeed calls on Sonia
New Delhi, July 30
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the functioning of the coalition government in the state.

Hiren Mukherjee dead
Kolkata, July 30
Legendary Communist leader Hiren Mukherjee (97) died of a heart attack at SSKM Government Hospital today. An outstanding personality in the country’s Communist movement Prof Mukherjee had been admitted to the hospital with broken ribs and neck after falling from his bed.



EARLIER STORIES

 
Children hold posters during a demonstration for the release of three Indian hostages in Iraq
Children hold posters during a demonstration for the release of three Indian hostages in Iraq, in Kolkata on Friday. — Reuters

A physically handicapped student in action at a self defence training camp organised by the Delhi police
A physically handicapped student in action at a self defence training camp organised by the Delhi police on Friday.PTI

Met forecasts gloomy picture for Punjab, Haryana
New Delhi, July 30
The Department of Meteorology has forecast a gloomy picture of rain for Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for the coming days. The situation is likely to worsen in the region, especially in parts of Punjab and southern Haryana, which have not witnessed any rain over the past one month.

Boycott issue: Somnath to meet Advani
New Delhi, July 30
Speaker Somnath Chaterjee is likely to meet Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani on August 3 in an effort to end the stalemate over the NDA decision to boycott the parliamentary standing committees.

Forces modernisation getting delayed: Pranab
New Delhi, July 30
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that the modernisation, acquisition and expansion of the security forces especially that of the Coast Guards, was getting delayed due to the slow process in finalising the country’s Tenth Five-Year Plan.

MH wins Defence Minister’s trophy again
New Delhi, July 30
The Command Hospital, Eastern Command at Kolkata has bagged the Defence Minister’s Running Trophy for the best hospital for 2002.

Reject WTO draft proposals, farmers tell govt
New Delhi, July 30
The draft proposals put forward by the general council of the WTO, if accepted by the Indian Government, would strike a “death knell” for farmers and would play “havoc with the country’s food security.”

Anticipatory bail for Madhur Bhandarkar
Mumbai, July 30
A local court today granted anticipatory bail to film director Madhur Bhandarkar, who is accused of rape by an aspiring actress.

Kargil scam: SC refers plea to AG
New Delhi, July 30
The Supreme Court today referred to the Attorney-General a petition seeking a high-level probe into the purchase of arms, ammunition and other equipment during the Kargil war which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2,175 crore to the national exchequer.

‘Naitik Samman’ for Kidwai, Vittal
New Delhi, July 30
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today conferred ‘‘Naitik Samman’’ upon Haryana Governor A. R. Kidwai and four other personalities at a function organised by the Gulzari Lal Nanda Foundation.

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Rahul Gandhi criticises opposition on "tainted ministers" issue.
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Akshay Kumar and Saman Khan ready to tickle your funny bone!
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Rows over fiance led Nafisa to suicide
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 30
Broken relationships, a tiff with her current beau and parental interference in her personal life are some of the reasons being attributed for the suicide of former Miss India and music channel video jockey Nafisa Joseph late last night.

Joseph hanged herself to death at her residence in Versova in suburban Mumbai, the police said. She was 25. Post-mortem at Cooper Hospital confirmed the suicide, according to the police.

The police was called in by Joseph’s mother and neighbours after she locked herself up in a bedroom and hung herself with a “dupatta” from the ceiling fan.

“Circumstantial evidence indicates that she committed suicide,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Amitabh Gupta told reporters.

According to the police, there was tension between Joseph, her parents and her fiance, Gautam Kanduja, a 28-year-old businessman from suburban Mumbai. Joseph was to marry Kanduja next month, more than a year after they first met at a city disco.

Joseph had set up a television production company, 2s Company, with her fiance Kanduja financing the venture. Her wedding dress was to be designed by Manoviraj Khosla from Bangalore. The police has spoken to Kanduja, Joseph’s parents and friends over the matter.

Kanduja, already married is said to have obtained a divorce. The police says there were several altercations between Joseph and her parents with the latter demanding proof of Kanduja’s divorce. Joseph and her fiance were on the verge of breaking up after several rows over the matter, the police said.

Unconfirmed reports even say the two had called off their engagement following an altercation on Wednesday. Kanduja’s first wife, too, is said to have had a quarrel with the couple.

Joseph’s mother and friend, designer Poonam Agarwal, told the police that the model-actress locked them into a room while maid Durga Bisai was asked to leave the house. With only her pet dogs in her own bedroom, Nafisa Joseph then hanged herself from the ceiling fan with a “dupatta”.

“I called the building watchman and building secretary for help,” the maid told reporters later. Building watchman Ram Narayan then climbed up the scaffolding outside and entered the house to free Joseph’s mother and Poonam. They then broke into the room to find the actress-model hanging from the ceiling fan. They rushed the girl to Nanavati Hospital around 10 pm where she was declared brought dead.

According to her colleagues in show business, Joseph has had unhappy relationships in the past which left her severly depressed. However, she was known to be secretive and did not discuss her problems with friends.

A popular video jockey with Channel V, Nafisa Joseph hosted several popular shows. Apart from modelling, she also acted in films and campaigned for the cause of animals. At the time of her death Joseph was said to be discussing several movie scripts, including a Bengali film and a foreign production.

A Bangalore girl, Nafisa Joseph was educated at Bishop Cotton School and St Joseph’s College there before moving to Mumbai after winning the Miss India title in 1997. She is said to have begun her modelling career at the age of 12.

Tall, slim and telegenic Joseph was known to be artistically inclined. Painting and singing were said to be her hobbies.
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Mufti Sayeed calls on Sonia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the functioning of the coalition government in the state.

Mr Sayeed, who met Ms Gandhi for nearly 30 minutes, reviewed the political situation in the state where the two parties have been part of the multi-party coalition since November, 2002.

Prior to his meeting with the Congress President, Mr Sayeed had talks with AICC general secretary Ambika Soni and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also the chief of the state Congress.

Sources said the proposed Cabinet reshuffle and coordination among allies were discussed by the two leaders. The security situation in the state also came up for discussion. Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma, who belongs to the Congress, has been twice targeted by militants in the recent past.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has urged the Centre to increase by 100 MW its daily entitlement of power from the Central sector in view of difficulties faced by the state.

The Chief Minister, who met Power Minister P. M. Sayeed, also urged him to waive off a penalty of Rs 177 crore for “overdrawing power.”
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Hiren Mukherjee dead
Our Correspondent

Kolkata, July 30
Legendary Communist leader Hiren Mukherjee (97) died of a heart attack at SSKM Government Hospital today.

An outstanding personality in the country’s Communist movement Prof Mukherjee had been admitted to the hospital with broken ribs and neck after falling from his bed.

His body was kept in Peace Haven. The body will be kept at the CPI’s party office at Bowbazar for the people to pay tributes. He will be cremated on Sunday.

Prof Mukherjee fought life-long for the oppressed classes. He along with Mr Jyoti Basu and late Shnengshu Acharyya set up a Communist forum in their young days after being inspired by the Soviet revolution. He had been a Lok Sabha member for four different terms since the Independence.
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Met forecasts gloomy picture for Punjab, Haryana
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
The Department of Meteorology has forecast a gloomy picture of rain for Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for the coming days. The situation is likely to worsen in the region, especially in parts of Punjab and southern Haryana, which have not witnessed any rain over the past one month in over half a dozen districts, including Hisar, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Rewari and Fatehabad.

Mr B.P. Yadav, Director, Department of Meteorology, said here today that during the next two-three days rain was likely to be subdued or scanty in most parts of the north-western region comprising Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan though monsoon had once again activated in Central India, coastal parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

“As of today there is a low pressure area over central parts of the country and monsoon is normal. Due to weak low pressures in the Bay of Bengal, heavy rain will occur in the J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal but only moderate to subdued rain are expected in next two-three days in parts of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi,” he said.

The department maintained that out of 36 meteorological divisions in the country, 19 had so far witnessed normal to excess rain and the remaining 17 divisions had witnessed deficit or scanty rain. The department would undertake a mid-term review of the monsoon next week and was hopeful of rain in August.

In Haryana, the total rainfall has been just 13.5 mm so far as against 299 mm during the corresponding period last year. Officials said drought could be declared by the first week of August if rain was lower by 25 per cent.

Mr Yadav said in the north-western region, rain deficit was so far about 50 per cent in Punjab, 58 per cent in Haryana, 77 per cent in Delhi and about 60 per cent in Rajasthan. In the whole country, only 55 per cent of the areas had so far witnessed normal to excess rain. 
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Boycott issue: Somnath to meet Advani
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
Speaker Somnath Chaterjee is likely to meet Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani on August 3 in an effort to end the stalemate over the NDA decision to boycott the parliamentary standing committees.

The United Progressive Alliance is understood to have sought Rajya Sabha Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s services for resolving a crisis which is threatening to strike at the very roots of the parliamentary form of democracy.

Congress leaders, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mr Suresh Pachouri and Mr Ahmed Patel, had met Mr Shekhawat in this regard.

Sources said even though the Speaker’s office was not officially involved in any formal consultations, behind the scene efforts were on at various levels to break the deadlock as both NDA and the Congress were not ready to move an inch.

Mr Chaterjee, who will return from Kolkata on Sunday, will meet the Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday, after his return from Goa, sources said.

In the wake of the NDA’s decision to boycott the standing committees, it is becoming difficult for the Speaker to constitute the 24 committees for which notification was issued on July 20. According to the sources, the BJP had not given the names of members for the standing committees.

The need for the committees was urgent as these had to discuss the Budget and Finance Bill and submit reports to Parliament before the passage of the Bills as per convention.

The BJP had already made it clear that the responsibility for creating a conducive atmosphere for talks lay with the government and the party was hurt by the statement of the Leader of the House, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, condemning the Opposition.

The BJP maintained that Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement, criticising the NDA for its behaviour in the Lok Sabha, must be “amended”.
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Forces modernisation getting delayed: Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that the modernisation, acquisition and expansion of the security forces especially that of the Coast Guards, was getting delayed due to the slow process in finalising the country’s Tenth Five-Year Plan.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Coast Guard headquarters here, the first time after taking over as the Defence Minister, Mr Mukherjee said that though 10th Five-Year Plan was to have been in place from April 2002, in many areas, especially defence, the final outlay had not been worked out which was proving a constraint for expansion of forces like the Coast Guards.

As a result his ministry had taken up the early finalisation of the Defence Plans with the Planning Commission.

The minister again reiterated that the government would look into all proposals of the armed forces for expansion and modernisation but pointed out that the shortage of funds and manpower was affecting these plans.

Though the budget for forces had been hiked, it was only sufficient to meet the committed liability and would not allow moves for any fresh acquisition of weapons system, he said.

He pointed that currently the Coast Guard was short by 6,000 personnel but that was not being allowed to affect the operational deployment of the force.

Elaborating on the future plans of the
Coast Guard, the outgoing Director -General Vice-Admiral Sureesh Mehta said final touches were being given to the establishment of communication hotline link between the Indian Coast Guards and Karachi-based Maritime Security Agency.

Admiral Mehta said the other major plans of the force were to introduce International Ships and Port Security (ISPS) code in India as per regulation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

He said the Coast Guard had also proposed a legislation making it mandatory for ships and merchant vessels calling on the Indian ports to state their age and serviceable status.

In an answer to a question whether fund shortage would hit the setting up of more Coast Guard stations, the Defence Minister said 10 more Coast Guard stations were being set up and for this internal resources were being generated. 
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MH wins Defence Minister’s trophy again
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
The Command Hospital, Eastern Command at Kolkata has bagged the Defence Minister’s Running Trophy for the best hospital for 2002.

Presenting the trophy here today, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee commended the role of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) for its services in times of war and peace and said it had brought laurels to the nation whenever deployed as part of the UN Peace Keeping Force or India’s Humanitarian Missions overseas.

Citing the example of Iran’s earthquake where our medical teams were requested to extend their stay, the minister said Kabul’s request for the extended stay was a testimony to the efficiency and popularity of the AFMS team.

Mr Mukherjee praised military doctors, nurses and staff who had been working in extremely inhospitable terrains like Leh and other hospitals at strategic locations. He praised the role of the AFMS in providing succour during natural calamities, including the earthquake in Gujarat. The minister said the AFMS had kept pace with the advances in medical technology and adapted itself to the ever-changing requirements. 
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Reject WTO draft proposals, farmers tell govt

New Delhi, July 30
The draft proposals put forward by the general council of the WTO, if accepted by the Indian Government, would strike a “death knell” for farmers and would play “havoc with the country’s food security.”

The coordination committee of the National Kisan Panchayat (NKP), representing different farmer organisations, urged the government to reject the draft proposals. — TNS
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Anticipatory bail for Madhur Bhandarkar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 30
A local court today granted anticipatory bail to film director Madhur Bhandarkar, who is accused of rape by an aspiring actress.

Principal Judge R.R. Vachha of the Session Court while granting bail to Bhandarkar ordered the police to release him on bail of Rs 20,000 with one or two sureties of the same amount in the case of arrest.

Bhandarkar has been asked to stay in the city till further notice.

Aspiring actress Preeti Jain accused Bhandarkar of raping her 16 times over five years while he promised to cast her in a film.
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Kargil scam: SC refers plea to AG
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
The Supreme Court today referred to the Attorney-General a petition seeking a high-level probe into the purchase of arms, ammunition and other equipment during the Kargil war which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2,175 crore to the national exchequer.

When the public interest litigation petition filed by Mr K.G. Dhananjay Chauhan on this issue came up for hearing, a Bench of Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Mr Justice G P Mathur appointed senior advocate Rakesh Diwedi as Amicus Curiae to assist the court when it comes up for hearing after three weeks.
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‘Naitik Samman’ for Kidwai, Vittal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today conferred ‘‘Naitik Samman’’ upon Haryana Governor A. R. Kidwai and four other personalities at a function organised by the Gulzari Lal Nanda Foundation.

Congratulating the awardees, who also included former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal, Supreme Court senior advocate Anil B. Divan, Aware group of Hospitals chief P.K.S. Madhvan and D. P. Upadhyay, a close associate of the late Gulzari Lal Nanda, Dr Kalam said righteousness could not be given by a government to its people but had to be imbibed from elders at home.
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BRIEFLY

Online train inquiry
NEW DELHI:
The Railways has introduced online train-track inquiry to obtain information on the running position of important mail and express trains. According to sources in the Railway Ministry, train inquiries under the train track on the Net project can be made through the Internet website http://www.trainenquiry.com. — TNS

Shirdi-Puntamba track on cards
NEW DELHI:
The government plans to lay a 16.6-km-long new line to link Shirdi with Puntamba in Maharashtra. A Railway Ministry spokesperson told TNS here on Friday that the line would be laid at an estimated cost of Rs 48.78 crore. — TNS

Bengali singer Pratima dead
KOLKATA:
Bengali singer Pratima Banerjee died here on Friday after a protracted illness. She had been honoured with the Bengal Film Journalists Award (BFJA) for three consecutive years. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee mourned her death. — OC
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