SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Kalam gives away B.C. Roy awards
PGI Director among awardees
New Delhi, August 3
President APJ Abdul Kalam has called upon country’s medical community to focus research to develop vaccine for HIV/AIDS in view of the danger it poses to the world.

The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, gives away the B.C. Roy award to Dr Jai Dev Wig of Chandigarh and Prof S. B. Siwach (right) of Rohtak at a function in Delhi on Tuesday. The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, gives away the B.C. Roy award to Dr Jai Dev Wig of Chandigarh and Prof S. B. Siwach (right) of Rohtak at a function in Delhi on Tuesday. 
— Tribune photos by Mukesh Aggarwal

Rain claims 15 lives in Gujarat; 9 in Mumbai
Ahmedabad, August 3
At least 15 persons have died in rain-related deaths in Gujarat in the past 24 hours even as the monsoon fury subsided in most parts of the state. Over 10,000 persons residing in low-lying areas of Surat, Navsari and Valsad have been shifted to safer places. 



EARLIER STORIES

 

Drought aid package soon, says Pawar
New Delhi, August 3
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar yesterday stated that the Centre was formulating relief package for drought- affected states and it was likely to be unveiled later this week.

India floods Pak with 50 new proposals
Secretary Neena Ranjan (left) with her Pakistani counterpart Jaleel Abbas at the start of Indo-Pak delegation level talks in New Delhi on Tuesday. New Delhi, August 3
India today flooded Pakistan with more than 50 new proposals to boost people-to-people contacts in 10 different fields, while Islamabad remained silent on a long-standing New Delhi’s demand for lifting ban on Indian films and television channels in Pakistan.

In video (28k, 56k)



Secretary Neena Ranjan (left) with her Pakistani counterpart Jaleel Abbas at the start of Indo-Pak delegation level talks in New Delhi on Tuesday. 
— PTI photo

Indo-Pak defence talks from tomorrow
World page: India, Pak to hold talks on Siachen

Sidhu to be new Manipur Governor
PM holds talks with Left, Opposition
New Delhi, August 3
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today held consultations with Opposition and supporting parties in an effort to forge a political consensus on the handling of the volatile situation in the north-eastern state of Manipur.


China says Sino-Indian trade relations should strengthen more.
(28k, 56k)

Haryana justifies release of convicts in SC
New Delhi, August 3
The Haryana Government, in response to the Supreme Court notice, has justified premature release of eight murder convicts, out of which some of them had served less than three years of their life imprisonment, contending that it has been done as per the provisions of the law.

Centre orders probe into Tehri mishap
New Delhi, August 3
The Centre has ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident at the Tehri hydroelectric project in Uttaranchal, which killed 11 persons. According to an official spokesman, the inquiry committee will be headed by former Chairman of Central Water Commission and former Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Mr M.S. Reddy. The committee comprises a member from the Central Water Commission and member (hydel) of the Central Electricity Authority.

Vaghela demands White Paper on Godhra incident
New Delhi, August 3
Union Textile Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela today came strongly against use of Article 356 in Gujarat and charged the BJP, Bajrang Dal and VHP for the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents. He demanded setting up of a Special Investigation Team for a fresh probe and a White Paper on the episode.

 Tribune Impact 
Doctor finally records woman’s condition
Lucknow, August 3
Dufferin Hospital finally agreed to put on record the condition of Ramrati who had suffered a perineal tear only after a copy of the FIR filed in Nigohan police station was personally brought by a constable demanding a medico legal examination report.

'Talaq' case: lower court told to re-examine claims
Lucknow, August 3
In a landmark judgement the High Court today ordered the lower court to record evidence of both parties regarding their claims and give clear-cut findings whether the ‘talaq’ in question was in accordance with the Shariat law.

PM discusses Manipur situation with Left, SP leaders
New Delhi, August 3
The prevailing tense situation in Manipur was discussed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with major supporting parties of the ruling UPA coalition today. The meeting came a day after the government asked the Home Ministry to take necessary steps to restore normalcy in the trouble-torn north-eastern state.

A sculptor of Sunil Paul's studio gives finishing touches to a statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Kolkata
A sculptor of Sunil Paul's studio gives finishing touches to a statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Kolkata on Tuesday. The statue will be installed in the city on August 20 to mark his birth anniversary. — pti

BJP urged to withdraw remarks against Speaker
New Delhi, August 3
The Left parties today laid precondition of the BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra withdrawing his remarks against the Speaker to end the deadlock between the Opposition and the ruling UPA in Parliament.

BJP launches stir against Budget
New Delhi, August 3
Accusing that the UPA government’s policies have resulted in spurt in the prices of essential commodities, the BJP today launched a nationwide agitation against “anti-people features” of the Union Budget for 2004-05.

UP House adopts move on Hardwar, Udham Singh Nagar
Lucknow, August 3
The ruling Samajwadi Party today piloted through the State Assembly a resolution for the inclusion of Hardwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts of Uttaranchal in UP amid protests by the BJP.

Mulayam inducts ex-Deputy Speaker
Lucknow, August 3
UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav today effected a minor expansion in his ministry by inducting former Deputy Speaker Waqar Ahmed Shah as a Cabinet minister.

Haryana to sign pact with Malaysia for expressway
New Delhi, August 3
The Haryana Government is all set to sign an agreement with the Malaysian Government for the construction of a 130-km long four-lane toll Expressway in Haryana. Mr Prem Singh, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, Haryana told TNS here today that the signing of the agreement scheduled for August 6 had now been rescheduled for August 24 following a communication that the Minister of Works, Malaysia, Dato Seri Samy Vellu would like to be present at the signing ceremony.

Laloo meets Sonia, seeks funds for Bihar
New Delhi, August 3
Rashtriya Janata Dal president and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav met the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, today to seek adequate funds for flood-affected Bihar.
In video (28k, 56k)

Change needed in anti-defection Law: EC
New Delhi, August 3
The Election Commission has called for changes in the Anti-Defection Law as the ruling by the Speaker/Chairman have been marred with controversies and litigations in courts.

Agents appointed for rail bookings
New Delhi, August 3
The Railways have appointed 882 Rail Travellers’ Service Agents and Rail Tourist Agents across the country for reservation of berths and promotion of rail based tourism.

Rajasthan rues less supply of water by MP
Jaipur, August 3
After Punjab, Rajasthan is poised to fight the water war with its neighbour Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan Irrigation Minister Sanwar Lal Jat informed the Vidhan Sabha today that water supply from the Chambal inter-state project was not being received as per agreement.

Bhujbal attends NCP meeting
New Delhi, August 3
Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, whose absence from a recent party meeting in Mumbai had drawn a mild rebuke from party chief Sharad Pawar, today attended a meeting of NCP leaders in the Capital.

HC reserves order on Shahabuddin’s bail plea
Patna, August 3
The Patna High Court today reserved its order for Monday next on the bail petition of RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a CPI-ML (Liberation) worker Munna Chaudhary three years ago.

Panel on law commission report
New Delhi, August 3
The Law Ministry has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of retired Justice B.P. Saraf to study the 176th report of the Law Commission relating to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2003.

Thai SC judges in India
New Delhi, August 3
A 10-member delegation of Thailand Supreme Court judges currently on an Indian tour has been studying the functioning of various courts in the country. During their seven-day stay in the country, they would get first hand experience of the functioning of the Indian courts, the procedure followed by them in adjudicating the matters and would exchange their views with judges and judicial officers.

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Kalam gives away B.C. Roy awards
PGI Director among awardees
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
President APJ Abdul Kalam has called upon country’s medical community to focus research to develop vaccine for HIV/AIDS in view of the danger it poses to the world. Dr Kalam, who presented the B.C. Roy National Awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan, said India had an advanced programme in AIDS research. 

He said producing vaccine for the disease should be a priority for the scientists.

The President said scientists should work earnestly in the area of stem cell research which had great potential in treating diseases like heart dysfunction and blindness. Another area for attention was cure for crippling diseases like Parkinson’s, he said.

Fifty-four eminent personalities were given B.C. Roy awards. The awardees included former Health Minister C.P. Thakur, PGI Chandigarh Director K.K. Talwar, Prof S.B. Siwach, Head of Medicine Department, PGIMS Rohtak, and Dr S.K. Sama, Chairman, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Dr Sama, who heads the Gastroentrology Department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, was given the award in the medical man-cum-statesman category. Prof Talwar and Prof Siwach were given the award in the eminent medical teacher category.

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that an integrated approach was needed to improve rural healthcare system in the country.
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Rain claims 15 lives in Gujarat; 9 in Mumbai
Tribune News Service and UNI

Ahmedabad, August 3
At least 15 persons have died in rain-related deaths in Gujarat in the past 24 hours even as the monsoon fury subsided in most parts of the state. Over 10,000 persons residing in low-lying areas of Surat, Navsari and Valsad have been shifted to safer places. Incessant rains have led to water-logging in various places and flooding of rivers and dams in the region.

In Navsari, Purna river crossed the danger level after midnight. While Ambica river, which was flowing above the danger level, has slightly receded this morning, Madhuvan Dam, near Vapi, was also overflowing, forcing the authorities to open its flood gates, sources said. People living in the catchment areas have been alerted.

Five members of a family died when their kutcha house collapsed due to heavy rains at a village under Borsad taluka of Anand district early this morning.

Borsad police Sub-Inspector G.N. Parmar told UNI that those killed were identified as Vikram Goswami (40), his wife Chhaya (35) and their three children aged three, six and 10 years.

Three persons were killed in different parts of south Gujarat last night. Two persons got drowned while another was killed in a wall collapse in Valsad district yesterday, official sources said here today.

Four persons were killed when their Maruti van fell into the swollen Karjan rivulet between Netrang and Dediapada near Bharuch. They have been identified as Harshad Shah, Naimesh Patel, Soma Vasava and Shahid Khan Diwan. The van was untraceable, sources said.

Mumbai: At least nine persons have lost their lives in different parts of Maharashtra due to heavy rain continuing for the third consecutive day. According to the state police, the deaths were recorded in the past two days. Water from overflowing dams in Raigad district adjoining Mumbai today, cutting off the town of Mahad, 140 km near here, from the rest of the country.

According to state government officials, attempts are being made to rush supplies to Mahad using country boats. Residents requiring medical attention, too, would be evacuated and moved to other parts of the state for treatment, officials said.

According to officials here, the Bombay-Goa highway has been closed temporarily and road traffic on the route is being diverted via Pune. Traffic on the Nasik-Pune and Mumbai-Agra National highways, too, has been disrupted.

The pilgrim town of Nasik, too, is facing the fury of nature. Officials say the Godavari river has breached its banks near the town after the pilgrim centre of Trimbakeshwar upstream received 200 mm of rainfall.

Guwahati: The toll in Assam floods rose to 237 with the death of two more persons even as the water levels of the rivers in the worst-affected districts of Morigaon, Karimganj and Cachar started receding.

A two-year-old boy, Radha Kanta, of Rangarti village in Hailakandi district, reportedly got drowned and one more person died in Karimganj district in a boat capsize in flood waters.
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Drought aid package soon, says Pawar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar yesterday stated that the Centre was formulating relief package for drought- affected states and it was likely to be unveiled later this week.

Talking to reporters, he said the package could include rescheduling of farm loans and greater employment.

Mr Pawar, who reviewed the situation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night, said the states facing scarcity conditions would not be left bereft of resources and would be provided adequate assistance, including food grains.

Under the liberalised package being prepared, he said the Centre proposed to provide fresh credit to farmers with assistance from the states and putting a two- year moratorium on the earlier loans taken by them.

He said the scheme could be implemented only with active cooperation of states which will have to bear the additional burden of interest for the earlier credit taken by the farmers.
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India floods Pak with 50 new proposals
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
India today flooded Pakistan with more than 50 new proposals to boost people-to-people contacts in 10 different fields, while Islamabad remained silent on a long-standing New Delhi’s demand for lifting ban on Indian films and television channels in Pakistan.

An encouraging aspect of the first day of the two-day talks here today between the Indian and Pakistani delegations headed by the two countries’ Culture Secretaries was that Pakistan reacted positively to the Indian proposal for increasing the ceiling on number of pilgrims from India to Pakistan on occasions of Guru Nanak Birthday and Baisakhi from 3,000 to 5,000, sources told The Tribune.

The two sides exchanged a number of proposals for promotion of friendly exchanges aimed at further intensifying people-to-people contacts.

The Indian proposals, running into four pages, are in the following ten fields: art and culture, education, science and technology, youth affairs, media, tourism, exchanges between the Election Commissions, prisoner matters, visa regimes, and visits to places of religious importance.

The Pakistanis also gave a number of proposals for increasing cooperation between the two countries’ institutes involved in tourism promotion and agricultural research. Moreover, the Pakistanis also proposed to allow more people to visit each other’s shrines and an increase in the number of the shrines that can be visited. Yet another Pakistani proposal was better facilitation of visas for travellers.

Following are some of the Indian proposals to Pakistan:

l Exchange of artists, painters, poets, musicians and sculptors.
l
Holding of art and culture exhibitions in each other’s country and exchange of publications and theatre groups. India is to invite Pakistani painters for an exhibition to be organised by the Lalit Kala Akademy here early next year.
l
Cooperation between libraries.
l
Organising book fairs in each other’s country and holding joint seminars.
l
Closer interaction among each other’s educational institutes.
l
Exchanges and cooperation between institutes of excellence in the field of science and technology.
l
Exchange of youth delegations and coaches in the field of youth affairs and sports.
l
Organising each other’s film festivals.
l
Remove ban on Indian films and television channels in Pakistan.
l
Set up a joint working group to tackle piracy of Indian films and music in Pakistan.
l
Delhi Transport Corporation and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation to start group tours to places of tourist interest.
l
Greater cooperation between the two countries’ Associations of travel agents.
l
Special 14-day visa for tourists.
l
Regular exchanges between the two countries’ Election Commissions. Pakistan Chief Election Commissioner could visit India at invitation of Indian CEC and exchange experiences.
l
Exchange civil prisoners and amend the 1982 Consular Access Agreement to increase the number of jails in each other’s country for consular access. India requested Pakistan once again to make an attempt to locate the 54 Indian Prisoners of War (POWs) of the 1971 war and gave the list of the POWs.
l
Liberalisation of visa regimes on reciprocal basis for such diverse categories as students, businessmen, journalists, senior citizens, children and reputed artists and allowing multi-entry visas for them.

The two delegations, led by Ms Neena Ranjan (India) and Mr Jalil Abbas (Pakistan) will continue discussions tomorrow.

On August 5 and 6, the two countries’ Defence Secretaries are scheduled to meet here for talks on the Siachen issue under the composite dialogue framework.
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Indo-Pak defence talks from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
After years of conflict for the world’s highest battle field, India and Pakistan are due to begin talks on the issue from Thursday with a high-level defence delegation from across the border arriving here tomorrow for the two-day negotiations on Siachen.

As Pakistan and India held talks, as part of the composite dialogue, here today on various issues which included tourism and trade, secretary-level talks on Siachen Glacier begin from Thursday. The talks will again be held as a part of ongoing composite dialogue and confidence-building measures (CBMs) initiated between both the countries.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) here said today that the main issue during the two-day talks between the two sides would be the de-escalation in the 20-year-old conflict at the Siachen Glacier. Its demilitarisation would be on top of the agenda besides other important defence-related issues, such as Sir Creek, which incidentally, would be discussed by another Pakistani delegation.
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Sidhu to be new Manipur Governor
PM holds talks with Left, Opposition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today held consultations with Opposition and supporting parties in an effort to forge a political consensus on the handling of the volatile situation in the north-eastern state of Manipur.

Meanwhile, the Centre appointed former Civil Aviation Secretary S.S. Sidhu as the next Manipur Governor. He replaces Arvind Dave on the expiry of his five-year term. It is learnt that more changes in the civil administration are also in the offing as part of the ongoing efforts to defuse the tense situation.

Besides an hour-long meeting with Left leaders Harkishan Singh Surjeet and A.B. Bardhan, Dr Singh also met Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani, former Defence Minister George Fernandes, Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and BSP chief Mayawati.

Dr Singh is learnt to have sought their views on the possible ways of handling the growing turmoil in Manipur, triggered by the demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. While giving their suggestions, the leaders extended support to the government on its action plan. There was, however, no official word on whether these discussions are learnt to have dwelt on the feasibility of scrapping the contentious Act.

Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibodi Singh, who has assured the agitating public that he would get the Act scrapped by August 15, also met the Prime Minister tonight. He has already met Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee in this connection.

Manipur came under the Centre’s scanner following reports that a special Assembly session is to be convened to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, similar to what the Punjab legislature did on the water-sharing accords.

CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan refused to divulge the details of the meeting but he indicated that the demand for doing away with the Act was not a simple affair. “There are complications which have to be understood,” he added.

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes also expressed his reservations about scrapping this controversial Act to presspersons after his meeting. He said this was not a new demand and no previous government had agreed to it, adding that its removal would create problems for the Army in doing its job.

Today’s meetings come a day after the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) reviewed the situation in Manipur and asked the Home Ministry to take appropriate decisions in consultation with the Chief Minister. However, the CCPA also made it clear that it would not be pressured by deadlines and that it would act as per its own perceptions.Top

 

Haryana justifies release of convicts in SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 3
The Haryana Government, in response to the Supreme Court notice, has justified premature release of eight murder convicts, out of which some of them had served less than three years of their life imprisonment, contending that it has been done as per the provisions of the law.

Haryana Government’s Jail Department in an affidavit placed before a Bench of Mr Justice S N Variava and Mr Justice A.K. Mathur yesterday, said all actions had been taken by the government as per the provision of Article 161, which deals with Governor’s power to grant pardon, remission or commutation of sentence of a convicted person.

It also claimed that the procedure laid down under the CrPC in this regard has been followed by the government.

The affidavit of the state government came in reply to a batch of public interest litigations (PILs) challenging premature release of hardened criminals even after their sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court.

While issuing notice to the state government on the PILs last year, the court had stayed any further premature release of convicted prisoners.

The state government in its reply admitted that it had released eight lifers prematurely and the matter relating to the release of nine others was under consideration but held up due to a petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Petitioner Anil Sharma, an advocate and Society for Human Rights and Civil Liberties (SHRCL), in separate PILs had challenged the Haryana Government’s 2002 decision regarding premature release of murder convicts on the ground that this had been done by the state without following its own rules and even when the sentences of the convicts were upheld by the apex court.

Though the Haryana Government has only admitted about the release of eight prisoners, petitioners’ counsel at the time of issuance of notices by the court had alleged that nearly 165 such prisoners had been released by the Chautala Government.

The Jail Department in its reply said that the mercy petitions of the convicts had been accepted by the state government on the grounds that some of them had old parents to look after, some had no one to look after their children and one of them was a postgraduate in linguistics and library science and two were law graduates. In a case the state had granted remission on the ground that the accused was implicated in a false case even when his sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

In his rejoinder, petitioner advocate Anil Sharma has accused the Haryana Government of “suppressing” the facts from the Court. 
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Centre orders probe into Tehri mishap
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Centre has ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident at the Tehri hydroelectric project in Uttaranchal, which killed 11 persons. According to an official spokesman, the inquiry committee will be headed by former Chairman of Central Water Commission and former Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Mr M.S. Reddy. The committee comprises a member from the Central Water Commission and member (hydel) of the Central Electricity Authority.

The inquiry follows a high-level meeting held by Power Minister P. M. Sayeed, who has been reviewing the relief operations.

The committee will look into the accident and determine the cause and find lapses, if any. The committee has also been asked to suggest measures to prevent recurrence of any such accident. It is expected to submit its report within a month.

The spokesman said 11 bodies had been extricated by noon today but more causalities were expected. Ten injured persons have been rescued while three of them with serious injuries have been shifted to Dehra Dun. The project authorities with the support of the district administration have removed the debris.

The accident occurred at an underground site at the project due to a massive rock fall. The victims and injured were working for M/s Jaiprakash Associates, who are the main contractors executing the civil works of the project. The contractor stated that the workers were insured for Rs 10 lakh each and a supervising engineer who died was insured for Rs 20 lakh, the spokesman said.
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Vaghela demands White Paper on Godhra incident
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Union Textile Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela today came strongly against use of Article 356 in Gujarat and charged the BJP, Bajrang Dal and VHP for the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents. He demanded setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a fresh probe and a White Paper on the episode.

“The use of Article 356 in morally and politically wrong”, Mr Vaghela said, adding the BJP and the rest of the Sangh parivar were involved in the incidents to get electoral gains out of it.

Asked about the inquiry ordered by Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in the train burning incident, the minister said the inquiry would be limited in its scope.

He said the former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani had got Article 355 passed in the Rajya Sabha which demanded Court of Inquiry to look into the incidents. But, being in power, the BJP did not go for that.
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Tribune Impact
Doctor finally records woman’s condition
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 3
Dufferin Hospital finally agreed to put on record the condition of Ramrati who had suffered a perineal tear only after a copy of the FIR filed in Nigohan police station was personally brought by a constable demanding a medico legal examination report.

In its report, the medical officer confirmed a two-and-a-half-inch-long perineal tear that had turned infectious. Ramrati is being treated for infection. Charging the hospital staff with highhanded behavior, the survivor’s mother, Kalawati, said the hospital staff “was rude and did not realise that my daughter has been wronged and is suffering”.

According to her, “they are openly saying that we had gone to the Press and made a ‘heroine’ out of our daughter”.

Sharing their spine-chilling encounter with the government health machinery from the CHC to the district hospital in Lucknow, Ramrati’s mother, aunt and uncle gave details of the sequence of events from the day she delivered the child on the roadside.

It may be recalled that Ramrati had delivered a stillborn child at the gates of the Mohanlalganj CHC on Friday after the staff turned her out when the family could not pay Rs 10,000 being demanded by the CHC.

Later, a woman member of the three-member doctor team appointed by the Lucknow CMO internally examined her twice, allegedly causing the vaginal tear in the process.

Dismissing the charge, the Lucknow CMO said that that the tear had occurred during delivery.

However, Ms Jashodaras Dasgupta of Healthwatch UP, Bihar, demanded to know why then the CHC staff had discharged Ramrati without stitching her when was admitted at the CHC after the delivery on a public hue and cry.

“If she was in such a bad condition with a two-and-half-inch tear why the CHC staff discharged her after administering glucose. Why was she not given proper treatment or referred to another hospital.” In both cases, health officials could not escape responsibility, she pointed out.

Demanding compensation for Ramrati and her family, NGO’s monitoring the case insisted on fixing responsibility in cases of maternal deaths.
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'Talaq' case: lower court told to re-examine claims
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 3
In a landmark judgement the High Court today ordered the lower court to record evidence of both parties regarding their claims and give clear-cut findings whether the ‘talaq’ in question was in accordance with the Shariat law.

Taking reference of the Shamin Ara decision in the Supreme Court in 2002, Mr Justice I.M. Qudusi of the Lucknow Bench of the High Court quashed an order of the lower court and asked for reconsideration in the light of several observations made by the High Court.

Among the observations of the High Court was to ask the lower court to reconsider the claim of the minor son to get maintenance under Section 125 even while the divorce was being disputed. Hearing a case for maintenance of Ms Sadiqur Nisa, a resident of Sitapur district, Mr Justice Qudusi also directed the lower court to decide on the application for interim maintenance within two months.

Earlier arguing Ms Sadiqur Nisa’s case, her lawyer, Mr Khaliq Ahmed Khan, pleaded that no specific reason had been mentioned for the divorce nor was there any evidence of any reconciliation or arbitration between both parties. At the same time, he maintained, the divorce had not come through in three sittings and hence was not according to the law laid down by Muslim Shariat. Claiming benefit under Section 125, Cr PC, Mr Khan had argued that the claim of the son should not be disputed at all.

The case for maintenance was originally filed by Ms Sadiqur Nisa in the court of the Additional Judicial Magistrate, Sitapur, demanding maintenance for herself and her minor son. It had been turned down on the grounds that her husband had already divorced her under the Muslim Women Protection of Rights and Divorce Act, 1986 and she was, therefore, not eligible for maintenance.
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PM discusses Manipur situation with Left, SP leaders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The prevailing tense situation in Manipur was discussed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with major supporting parties of the ruling UPA coalition today. The meeting came a day after the government asked the Home Ministry to take necessary steps to restore normalcy in the trouble-torn north-eastern state.

Dr Manmohan Singh had an hour-long meeting with Left leaders Harkishen Singh Surjeet and A.B. Bardhan and another with Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh and Ram Gopal Yadav.

CPI General Secretary Bardhan refused to disclose about the deliberations, saying they discussed “how to deal with the situation” in the state which was “very sensitive”.

The meetings the Prime Minister had today, came in the wake of weeks of agitation in Manipur in protest against the rape and killing of a 30-year old woman allegedly by Assam Rifles personnel.

The agitators, who alleged that the woman was killed while in custody of Assam Rifles, were also demanding the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act which had been in force there for the past 27 years.

However, Assam Rifles had claimed that the woman who died, belonged to an underground outfit. 
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BJP urged to withdraw remarks against Speaker
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Left parties today laid precondition of the BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra withdrawing his remarks against the Speaker to end the deadlock between the Opposition and the ruling UPA in Parliament.

CPI leader A.B. Bardhan told mediapersons after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with CPM General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet that the BJP had been adopting confrontationist strategy from the very first day of the formation of the UPA government as it still did not come to terms with the poll debacle. 
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BJP launches stir against Budget
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Accusing that the UPA government’s policies have resulted in spurt in the prices of essential commodities, the BJP today launched a nationwide agitation against “anti-people features” of the Union Budget for 2004-05.

During the week-long protests senior BJP leaders President M. Venkaiah Naidu, M. M. Joshi, Yashwant Sinha, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Arun Shourie will address a series of meetings of “prominent persons, businessmen and opinion builders” across the country to “highlight ill-effects” of the Budget on the society.

“The party will draw attention of people towards the anti-people and economy damaging aspects of the Budget,” BJP Vice-President and spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told newspersons here.

He alleged that the Budget proposals were particularly adverse to the interests of farmers, labourers, youths and housewives.

The farmers of the country are already reeling under the continuous price increase of petroleum products like petrol, diesel, LPG and necessary commodities have become costlier due to “short-sighted” declarations made in the Budget, Mr Naqvi charged.
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UP House adopts move on Hardwar,
Udham Singh Nagar

Lucknow, August 3
The ruling Samajwadi Party today piloted through the State Assembly a resolution for the inclusion of Hardwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts of Uttaranchal in UP amid protests by the BJP.

The resolution would be sent to the Centre for necessary action so that Hardwar and Udham Singh Nagar could be merged with UP.

The main opposition BJP protested that the matter was sub judice and pending before the Supreme Court. Later, BJP members staged a walkout.

Introducing the recommendation to detach Hardwar and Udham Singh Nagar from Uttaranchal, Revenue Minister Ambika Choudhury said the people of the two districts were “anxious” to be with UP and had even launched an agitation for the cause.

He said his party had always opposed the inclusion of the twin districts in Uttaranchal during the bifurcation of UP in December, 2000. In the recently held Lok Sabha poll, the SP had won the Hardwar seat.

Leader of the Opposition Lalji Tandon observed it was a wrong precedent in the house to take up a sub judice matter. The recommendation, he observed could influence the court verdict. Later Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey held a meeting with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Leader of the Opposition to sort out the deadlock. Parliamentary Affairs minister Mohammad Azam Khan said it was merely a recommendation made to the Central government to include the twin towns in UP.

The speaker adopted the resolution on consensus even as the BJP boycotted the proceedings of the House. — UNI
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Mulayam inducts ex-Deputy Speaker

Lucknow, August 3
UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav today effected a minor expansion in his ministry by inducting former Deputy Speaker Waqar Ahmed Shah as a Cabinet minister.

Governor T.V. Rajeshwar administered the oath to Mr Shah at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan here this morning in the presence of the Chief Minister, several ministers and other leaders.

With this expansion, the number of ministers in the SP-led coalition has gone up to 60.

The state is allowed to have a maximum of 61 ministers, which is 15 per cent of the State Assembly’s strength. — UNI
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Haryana to sign pact with Malaysia for expressway
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Haryana Government is all set to sign an agreement with the Malaysian Government for the construction of a 130-km long four-lane toll Expressway in Haryana. Mr Prem Singh, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), Haryana told TNS here today that the signing of the agreement scheduled for August 6 had now been rescheduled for August 24 following a communication that the Minister of Works, Malaysia, Dato Seri Samy Vellu would like to be present at the signing ceremony.

The agreement for the Rs 1200 crore project is likely to be signed by the Construction Industry Development Board, Malaysia and Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) in the presence of the Malaysian Minister of Works and the Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

Mr Singh said that the expressway would link four national highways. It would start from Kundli, south of Sonepat on National Highway number 1 and cut across National Highway number 10, south of Bahadurgarh. It would then link National Highway number 8, north of Manesar and join National Highway number 2 near Palwal. The Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Western UP bound highway truck traffic from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra would be diverted to the expressway. 
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Laloo meets Sonia, seeks funds for Bihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav met the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, today to seek adequate funds for flood-affected Bihar.

Party leader and Company Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta joined Mr Yadav in requesting the Congress president to direct the Central Government to initiate talks with Nepal to check the perennial flood problem in the state.

Talking to mediapersons after meeting Ms Gandhi at her residence here, Mr Yadav said, “We have apprised her about the flood situation in the state and told her that Bihar was being ruined due to floods every year. We requested her to initiate talks between India and Nepal to control floods.’’

The RJD president said Ms Gandhi assured them of help after getting a report on the state from a Central team.
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Change needed in anti-defection Law: EC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Election Commission has called for changes in the Anti-Defection Law as the ruling by the Speaker/Chairman have been marred with controversies and litigations in courts.

The commission has suggested that the disqualification of members on grounds of defection should be decided by the President or the Governor on the advice of the Election Commission.

“The question of disqualification of members on ground of defection should also be decided by the President and Governors on the opinion of the Election Commission, which is now a three-member constitutional body,” said the CEC T.S. Krishna Murthy.

In his electoral reforms’ proposals to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said all questions of post-election disqualification of a sitting member of Parliament or a state legislature are decided by the President or the Governor, as the case may be, on the opinion of the Election Commission, except the question of disqualification under the Anti-Defection Law.

Mr Murthy said, “If the decisions relating to anti-defection matters are rendered by the President or the Governor on the opinion of EC the same will receive more respect and acceptability from the common people.”

Further, the commission has expressed the need to set up an independent secretariat for the EC.

He suggested that all three members of the Election Commission should have protection of their tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner.

The Election Commission has sought powers to regulate registration and de-registration of political parties in order to check the proliferation of non-serious parties.

Presently, more than 650 parties are registered with the commission, but only about 150 of them contest the elections, the commission pointed out to the government.

“Certain looseness” in Section 29-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has resulted in the “mushrooming and proliferation” of a large number of non-serious parties which causes considerable load in elections, it said.
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Agents appointed for rail bookings
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Railways have appointed 882 Rail Travellers’ Service Agents (RTSAs) and Rail Tourist Agents (RTAs) across the country for reservation of berths and promotion of rail based tourism.

According to a press note issued by the Railway Ministry here on Tuesday, monitoring is stepped up at important stations during the peak rush period.

The Railways have introduced modern computerised system of internet booking. Other State-of-the-art facilities as reservations through mobile phones and e-ticketing are underway for convenience of passengers. 
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Rajasthan rues less supply of water by MP
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, August 3
After Punjab, Rajasthan is poised to fight the water war with its neighbour Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan Irrigation Minister Sanwar Lal Jat informed the Vidhan Sabha today that water supply from the Chambal inter-state project was not being received as per agreement. The state was getting 1.25 MAF of water less than what had been mutually agreed upon. 

The total capacity of the dams constructed on the Chambal is 8.4368 MAF, including 5.1936 MAF in Gandhi Sagar, 2.355 MAF in Rana Pratap Sagar and 0.055 MAF in Jawahar Sagar. In addition, the Kota barrage capacity was 0.0908 MAF. The inadequate supply of water was because of the construction of 152 anicuts and minor irrigation systems in the command area of Gandhi Sagar by the MP Government and the diversion of about 0.229 MAF of water to these channels.

Rajasthan would urge Madhya Pradesh to demolish these unauthorised constructions and ensure free flow of water as envisaged earlier.

This issue would also be raised at the next meeting of the standing committee of the Madhya Pradesh - Rajasthan Control Board constituted to consider and resolve such disputes. 
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Bhujbal attends NCP meeting
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, whose absence from a recent party meeting in Mumbai had drawn a mild rebuke from party chief Sharad Pawar, today attended a meeting of NCP leaders in the Capital.

The meeting, presided over by Mr Pawar, discussed political situation in Maharashtra and NCP’s strategy for the coming Assembly elections in the state.

Several Maharashtra ministers of the NCP and party leaders, including state NCP chief R.R. Patil, who is also the state’s Home Minister, and Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suryakanta Patil attended the meeting.

Mr Pawar, who is also Union Minister for Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, had said yesterday that some Congress leaders were giving conflicting statements regarding alliance for the coming Assembly poll.
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HC reserves order on Shahabuddin’s bail plea

Patna, August 3
The Patna High Court today reserved its order for Monday next on the bail petition of RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a CPI-ML (Liberation) worker Munna Chaudhary three years ago.

After hearing the arguments of Shahabuddin’s counsel Y V Giri and state counsel, Justice Bal Krishna Jha reserved his order for Monday next.

Shahabuddin, MP from Siwan, is at present lodged in Siwan jail in connection with the case. He had been granted bail by the HC in three other cases.

Shahabuddin’s counsel Giri argued before the court that there was no evidence against his client in the case and even witnesses, including parents of Munna Chaudhary, had not spoken about the MP’s involvement.

He also contended except for his client, five other accused in the case filed with muffasil police station of Siwan in 2001 had been enlarged on bail, but Shahabuddin is lodged in the jail for the past one year.

The state counsel also said none of the 16 witnesses in the case had told about the involvement of the MP.

After completion of hearing, Mr Justice Jha reserved his order for Monday next.

This was one of the four cases in which the former Director General of Police D P Ojha had ordered to file charge sheet against Shahabuddin and other accused. — PTI
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Panel on law commission report
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 3
The Law Ministry has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of retired Justice B.P. Saraf to study the 176th report of the Law Commission relating to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2003.

The committee will study in depth the implications of the recommendations made by the commission and submit its report to the government after inviting public opinions on the issue, the Law Ministry in a statement here said.

The committee will seek the views, particularly from the legal fraternity and the persons interested in the law of arbitration, it said.

The commission’s report has already been put on the Law Ministry’s website for public perusal to invite suggestions on the amendment bill, it said. Top

 

 

Thai SC judges in India
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 3
A 10-member delegation of Thailand Supreme Court judges currently on an Indian tour has been studying the functioning of various courts in the country. During their seven-day stay in the country, they would get first hand experience of the functioning of the Indian courts, the procedure followed by them in adjudicating the matters and would exchange their views with judges and judicial officers.

The delegation is a part of exchange between the Indian and Thai judiciaries under the aegis of the US-Asia Environmental Partnership (USAEP) programme.

The delegation yesterday met Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti and other Supreme Court judges and watched the proceedings of the apex court for a while. 
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BRIEFLY

Five insurgents arrested
Agartala:
Five insurgents of banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (Biswamohan faction) have been arrested from Chandrakumarpara in North Tripura district, the police said. Five ultras were caught collecting subscriptions from Chandra Kumarpura villagers on Monday, the police said. — PTI

Fake stamps seized
Patna:
Fake judicial/ non-judicial stamps, revenue tickets, film papers and documents worth over Rs 2 crore have been seized here, Superintendent of Police Amrit Raj said. Acting on a tip-off, a police team raided the house of one Manohar Kumar Mishra at Maheshpur under Mehdiganj police station in Patna city on Monday. — PTI

Dacoit Nirbhay’s case
Etawah:
The wife and foster son of bandit Nirbhay Gurjar would be produced before the Special Court (Anti Dacoity) on Wednesday. Gurjar’s wife Neelam Gupta and his foster son Shyam Jatav had surrendered before the Special Court here on July 31. Later, Special Judge Naresh Singh had sent the duo to 14-day judicial custody. — UNI
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