SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Centre may amend forces Act in Manipur
New Delhi, August 14
The Congress-led UPA government might have to consider amending certain draconian provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the wake of the volatile situation prevailing in Manipur.

It’s lonely at the top, confesses PM
Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, August 14
When a senior Congress leader met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently, he is learnt to have confessed that “it is lonely at the top.” Congressmen are not really surprised at the PM’s candid confession.

NAC finalises draft on right to information

Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore and her daughter Soha Ali Khan at the release of new editions of Jawaharlal Nehru’s classic works Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore and her daughter Soha Ali Khan at the release of new editions of Jawaharlal Nehru’s classic works, An Autobiography, The Discovery of India and Glimpses of World History, in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI photo 





EARLIER STORIES

 

India watching developments in Maldives

Police Medals for Sidhu, Bhullar
New Delhi, August 14
A total of 111 police personnel are to be awarded, including 17 posthumously, in the Independence Day honour from different states, central police organisations, and paramilitary forces.

2 Lieutenants get Kirti Chakra
New Delhi, August 14
Two Lieutenants of the Army have been awarded the Kirti Chakra, the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantry award on the occasion of Independence Day, for their fight against militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

Actor-turned-politician Govinda with Bollywood stars Anil Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee
Actor-turned-politician Govinda with Bollywood stars Anil Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee at the launch party of TV serial "Pratima" in Mumbai on Friday night . — PTI

Bihar withdraws case against Taslimuddin
Patna, August 14
The Bihar government today withdrew the criminal case against Union Minister Mohammed Taslimuddin.

Violence mars Manipur bandh
Imphal, August 14
A child was seriously injured and a house burnt when the police burst tear gas shells at many places here today. A 14-hour bandh against partial lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Imphal municipalities in Manipur severely affected normal life in the valley districts.

Pranab dismisses Pak protests over fencing
New Delhi, August 14
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today asserted that India will not tolerate obstructions in the erection of anti-infiltration fence along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Trains back on Ambala-Ludhiana track
New Delhi, August 14
Passenger and goods trains are coming back on the track in a phased manner on the Ambala-Ludhiana section as promised by the Northern Railway.

Firm seeks govt help in securing release of executives
New Delhi, August 14
Unable to secure the release of its two senior executives, who are serving jail sentence for over a month in Turkey after being held responsible for the death of two children, Punj Llyod has asked the government to take up the matter with the authorities in Ankara.

US Embassy official, friend found dead
New Delhi, August 14
A US Embassy official and his friend were found murdered at his house in South Delhi today.

“Munnabhai” gets Best Popular Film award
New Delhi, August 14
Marathi film ‘Shwaas’, a moving portrayal of the relationship between a grandfather and a grandson who is about to lose his vision, won the Best Film award while Bengali filmmaker Goutam Ghose bagged the Best Director award for ‘Abar Aranye’ at the 51st National Film Awards for 2003 announced here today.

5 women held for murder
Nagpur, August 14
Five women have been arrested in connection with the killing of Akku Yadav in the local court premises yesterday.

 

Videos

Chennai zoo authorities successfully breed two endangered species. 
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Centre may amend forces Act in Manipur
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The Congress-led UPA government might have to consider amending certain draconian provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the wake of the volatile situation prevailing in Manipur.

Repealing the AFSPA as demanded by the people of Manipur is not going to bring an end to the insurgency problem, highly placed sources said and maintained that the Act, however, does not give the “licence to kill.”

Clearly, a view gaining ground is that certain provisions of the AFSPA are sweeping and need to be tempered with inherent checks and balances so that incidents like the alleged killing of Thangjam Manorama by the Assam Rifles on July 11 did not recur.

It is apparent the Centre is keeping close tabs on Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s coalition arrangement in Imphal and assessing the impact of the state government’s decision to partially withdraw the AFSPA from certain parts in and around Imphal.

The UPA government is unlikely to be harsh on the Manipur Chief Minister or destabilise his government following the delicate law and order situation in the north-eastern state for more than a month now.

Considering the compulsions of Mr Ibobi Singh, the Centre is expected to go along with him without trashing the AFSPA as well as being in touch with new Manipur Governor S.S. Sidhu. Besides, the UPA government wants to watch the impact of the partial withdrawal of the AFSPA in Manipur even though it has the powers to overrule the withdrawal of the Act as evidenced in the case of Nagaland.

A senior Union Minister is expected to visit Manipur shortly for assessing the situation first hand and whether a political initiative can be launched. With tempers running high in Manipur, former Chief Minister Reishang Keishing and others from the state have urged the UPA government to scrap the AFSPA.

The BJP insists that the Act should not be repealed because of the overall security environment in the North-East. However, the main opposition party has called for amending certain draconian provisions of the Act.

While the CPI wants the draconian Act to be scrapped as it has failed to solve the insurgency problem for nearly four decades, the CPM has adopted a guarded line. It observes that the Centre and the state administration take steps to shift the Assam Rifles headquarters out of Kangla, review the jurisdiction of the AFSPA so that the people are not put to any hardships and create conditions for talks with the rebel groups.

That the AFSPA has serious infirmities is now being acknowledged. The escalation of tension over the conduct of Assam Rifles may subside if the two panels of inquiry probing the death of Thangjam Manorama speed up its work.

The Assam Rifles are engaged in counter insurgency operations in Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. They have also been tasked with maintaining law and order in these states and guarding the North-Eastern border.

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It’s lonely at the top, confesses PM
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
When a senior Congress leader met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently, he is learnt to have confessed that “it is lonely at the top.”

Congressmen are not really surprised at the PM’s candid confession. They believe this was bound to happen, given the disconnect between the party and the government.

There is also simmering resentment that Dr Manmohan Singh has cut himself off from his party colleagues who could provide him useful political inputs in dealing with intractable issues. They point to the fact that it is three weeks since a new AICC team took over but the Prime Minister is yet to meet the office-bearers. Although they put this down to Dr Singh’s innate shy nature, party leaders believe it would go a long way in bridging the communication gap if the PM was to meet them occasionally.

Party insiders admit the Congress is experimenting with a new model of governance with the party and the government headed by two different persons. But hundred days after the formation of the Congress-led UPA government, partymen are unable to shake off the feeling that the two are functioning on parallel tracks.

“With the new system in place, it is imperative to work out a mechanism of ensuring coordination between the party and the government so that the two are interdependent, without it amounting to interference,” said a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

AICC functionaries said party leaders often need to convey the sentiments and problems of their respective states and constituencies to the government. But they are finding themselves handicapped in view of this gap between the party and the government.

State party units have urged the AICC to ensure that Congress ministers visit the PCC offices on their visits to the state capitals so that there is regular communication between the two. The Tamil Nadu unit, it is learnt, complained recently that though their state had three representatives in the Cabinet, none of them visited the PCC office when they came to Chennai. “Imagine a DMK minister not going to his party office,” they pointed out.

Although Congress President Sonia Gandhi meets the Prime Minister and other Central ministers regularly to discuss the issues of the day, partymen believe she is being too cautious about her role in the new government. Contrary to public belief, they would like her to be more proactive and involved in the government’s functioning.

They argue that it is Mrs Gandhi who fetched them the votes and she is the one who will be seeking votes for the party the next time round. “Can she then maintain that she has no knowledge about what has been happening in the government,” remarked another AICC leader.

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NAC finalises draft on right to information

New Delhi, August 14
The drafts of legislations seeking to guarantee rural employment across the country and provisions relating to right to information were finalised today at a meeting of the National Advisory Council (NAC) chaired by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Discussions were also held on issues pertaining to health, including a scheme for health insurance for poor families.

It was agreed that a detailed agenda for action would be formulated for further consideration in the council, whose next meeting is slated for August 28, the release added.

Meanwhile, the Drafting Committee of the AICC met here this evening to give final touches to the draft resolutions to be discussed and adopted at the one-day AICC meet to be held at the Talkatora Stadium here on August 21.

The Drafting Committee, headed by Defence Minister and CWC Member Pranab Mukherjee, considered the drafts prepared by the sub-committees on resolutions on political and economic situation and on external affairs in its final meeting today.

Another resolution on Panchayats would be moved at a CWC meeting on August 20. — PTI, UNI

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India watching developments in Maldives
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, august 14
India is concerned about the developments in Maldives and is watching the developments after the Maldivian Government clamped emergency in view of escalated protests from pro-democracy activists, a foreign office spokesman said today.

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Police Medals for Sidhu, Bhullar

New Delhi, August 14
A total of 111 police personnel are to be awarded, including 17 posthumously, in the Independence Day honour from different states, central police organisations, and paramilitary forces.

President’s police Medal for Gallantry: J&K: Shakeel Ahmed, constable (posthumously), Jatinder Singh Chib, PSI, Rajesh Kumar, constable (posthumously), and Neeraj Charak, constable (posthumously).

BSF: Anil Kumar Roy, AC, Sandeep Mishra, AC, K. Srinivasan, ADIG, C.P. Trivedi, 2 I/C, M.R Binuchandran, AC, Rajesh Singh Badoria, constable, Des Raj, ADIG, and MD. Firdosh Khan, HC (posthumously),

CRPF: V.T. Methew, 2 I/C (posthumously), Raghvendra. S., constable/GD, Dhirender Singh, constable (posthumously), Nemi Chand, Inspector/GD, T.C. Santosh, constable, V. Govind Bhai, H C and H.S. Sahota, Commandant.

ITBP: Kamal Kumar, constable, Jitender Kumar, HC/GD.

Police Medal for Gallantry: N C T of Delhi: Raj Kumar, SI (EXE), Rajbir Singh, ACP, Mohan Chand Sharma, Inspector, Govind Sharma, SI, Sanjay Dutt, SI and Ajit Singh, HC.

Haryana: Ram Kumar, ASI.

J&K: Karan Singh, constable (posthumously), S.M. Sahai, DIG, Abdul Aziz, constable, Sharbat Hussain Shah, constable, Farooq Ahmed, DIG, Bal Krishan Koul, (posthumously), Ashok Kumar, SGCT, Kunj Lal, constable, Sameer Pandita, SGCT, Ashiq Hussain, SGCT and Ravi Singh, PSI.

Punjab: H.S. Sidhu, SSP (1ST bar to PMG), Jaswinder Singh, HC, Pushap Bali, HC and Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP

BSF: Madho Singh, AC Birender Singh, constable Shiva Kumar P, constable Sarwan Kumar, constable Dinesh Chandra ray, constable Tejpal Daber, AC, Kalyan Singh, HC, Kumbarkar Lala, constable Jogeshwar Pal, constable Shaji Philip, HC, J.P. Lakra, HC, Laxman Singh, constable Rajesh Kumar, constable, Nem Singh, constable (posthumously), Himanshu Gaur, AC, Hemchandra Joshi, HC (RO), Kuldeep Singh, HC, Manik Chandra Nath, HC (RO), Neel Kamal Das, constable Omvir Singh, constable ,M.S. Rathore, Comdt Parmod Kumar, Mohd. Sikander Khan, constable, and Amrit Hazang, constable.

CRPF: D. Mallick, constable, Ramesh Kumar, constable/ (posthumously), D.G. ADE, constable/buglar (posthumously), D.S. Indurkar, constable, Nitin Sureshrao Puttewar, RECTT/ Gd /const (posthumously), Harbans Singh, Inspector Vikas Choudhary, AC Sathish Kumar, constable, Bashir Ahmed, constable , Mohd. Shafi Tantary, constable, P. Rajendra Kumar, constable, and Jagtar Singh constable/ (posthumously). — UNI

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2 Lieutenants get Kirti Chakra
Tribune News Service and UNI

New Delhi, August 14
Two Lieutenants of the Army have been awarded the Kirti Chakra, the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantry award on the occasion of Independence Day, for their fight against militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

Lt Kanavdeep Singh and Lt Dheerendra Singh have been given the award posthumously, along with a BSF officer Narindera Nath Dubey. The three figure on the list of 243 armed forces personnel figuring on the President’s Independence Day honours list. The awardees include 33 Shaurya Chakra, with as many as 21 of them being honoured for making supreme sacrifice of their lives in fighting militancy.

Following is the list of Gallantry award winners.

KIRTI CHAKRA: Lt Kanavdeep Singh, 10 Sikh (posthumous), Lt Dheerendra Singh Atri, ASC 3 Rajput (posthumous), Narindra Nath Dhar Dubey, BSF.

SHAURYA CHAKRA: Major Sanjay Singh Tanwar, SM, 16 Punjab, Major Aditya Chauhan, 6 Mahar, Major Lalit Prakash, 3 Rajput (posthumous), Capt Vivek Mishra, 16 Garhwal Rifles, Capt Perikalamkattil Abraham Mathew, SM, 3 Sikh, Subedar Prit Pal Singh, 4 Grenadiers, Subedar Jai Singh Jat/45 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Subedar Khilona Singh, 14 Jat (posthumous), Subedar Moshat Lamkang, SM, 8 Assam (posthumous), Naib Subedar Ajit Singh, Punjab/37 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Naib Subedar Babu Ram, 25 Punjab, Havildar Ramakant Singh, 5 Assam Rifles (posthumous), Havildar Virendra Singh, Guards/21 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Havildar S Samy Kannan, 4 Corps INT and FS Coy (posthumous), Naik Munna Lal Mundel, 9 Jat, Naik Anil Kumar, 16 Jat (posthumous), Lance Naik Deshpal Singh, Rajputana Rifles/9 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Sepoy Jasbir Singh, 7 Sikh, Sepoy Kiran Kumar, 6 Mahar (posthumous), Rifleman Lakshman Singh, Rajputana Rifles/9 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Rifleman Hasta Bahadur Gurung, 4/4 Gorkha Rifles (posthumous), Grenadier Arjan Singh, 12 Grenadiers (posthumous), Sappper G Prakash, Engineers/44 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Paratrooper Chetan Kumar Rana, Para/31 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Gunner Bobichen Koyikalam Alex, Artiller/19 Rashtriya Rifles, CP Labour Shiring Dorjee, Border Roads

Organisation, Constable Balbir Singh, BSF (posthumous), Vivek Saxena, BSF (posthumous), Dilip Agrawal, Indore, Madhya Pradesh (posthumous), Farooq Ahmed, J&K police (posthumous), Abdul Rashid, J&K police (posthumous), K Sudarshan Reddy, BSF (posthumous), Miss Udita Karmakar, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal.

Bar to Sena Medal (gallantry): Major Sukhminder Singh, SM, Artillery/45 Rashtriya Rifles, Capt Rajeshwar Singh Bazad, SM, Rajput/23 Rashtriya Rifles, Lance Havildar Fazal Hussain, SM, 5 J & K Light Infantry.

Lt Colonel Vijay Mehta, 11 Jat, Major Sujan Singh Kular, Jat/45 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Virender Singh, 12 Grenadiers, Major Arjun Segan, 10 Para (Special Forces), Major Sanjay Prakash Sinha, 7 Rajputana Rifles, Major Alok Mathur, Engineers/85 Road Construction Company (posthumous), Major Rajender Singh 28 Madras, Major Rajesh Sethi, 4 Jat, Major Amit Kabthiyal, 16 Garhwal Rifles, Major Jagdeep Singh Maan, Artillery/2/3 DET EC LU, Major Hrishikesh Bhalchandra Gramopadhye, 11 Maratha Light Infantry, Major Ajit Singh Yadav, Artillery/52 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Vikash Slathia, J & K Rifles/3 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Mandeep Singh, 16 Garhwal Rifles. Major Navneet Vats, 3 Gorkha Rifles/32 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Major Neelesh Anand Pagulwar, 8 Assam, Major Jitender Singh Rathore, Armoured Corps/28 Assam Rifles, Major Nikhil Ganapathy, Armoured Corps/35 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Kundan Sharma, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles/28 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Fazaluddin Jelal, Engineers/1 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Sunil Raina, 12 Jammu and Kashmir Rilfes, Major Krishan Singh Bandhwar, Rajput/23 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Shabbarul Hasan, Arty/14 FD Regt, Major Jaishankar Chaudhari, 8 Assam, Major Ajay Singh, Armoured/3 Ladakh Scouts, Major Pawan Pal Singh, Mahar/51 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Sarjeet Yadav, AD Arty/17 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Chandar Dev Singh Sambyal, 12 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Major Aditya Singh, 7 Rajputana Rifles, Major Sameer B Gujar, 19 Garhwal Rifles, Major Amit Dogra, 5 Para, Major Sachin Jain, 18 Maratha Light Infantry, Major Zosangliana Hualngo, 5/3 Gorkha Rifles, Major Piar Singh Attri, 18 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. Capt Pathiyeri Sunil Kumar, Mech Infantry/28 Assam Rifles, Captain B Shyam Vijaya Simha, Army Service Corps/31 Rashtriya Rifles, Capt Jitesh Bhutani, Armoured/31 Composite Intelligence Unit (posthumous), Capt Mridul Sharma, Air Defence Artillery/51 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Capt Harish Raman, Artillary/13 Rashtriya Rifles, Capt Amit Ashok Kumar Verma, Artillery/15 Rashtriya Rifles, Captain Arindam Ghosh, 7 Rajputana Rifles, Capt Harsh Kumar Jha, 10 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Capt Vijay Singh Rawat, Army Service Corps/11 Raj RIF, Capt Sanjeev Bajpai, Maratha Light Infantry/17 Rashtriya Rifles, Capt Ajay Singh Rana, Artillery/60 Field Regiment (posthumous). Capt Prasad Santosh Krishna, Artillery/22 Assam Rifles, Capt Pradeep Sharma, Engineers/19 Rashtriya Rifles, Lt Sachin Wakankar, Artillery/22 Special Forces, Lt Deepak Singh Patwal, 12 Grenadiers.

Lt Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, 19 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Lt Mupparty Sanjeev, 21 Jat Regiment, Lt Prashant Shantappa Appaji, Signals/45 Rashtriya Rifles, Lt Inder Pal Singh, 19 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Lt Shashank Tripathi, 237 Engineer Regiment, Lt Rakesh Madaan, Army Ordinance Corps/2 Jat, Lt Vishesh Arora, 15 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Lt Joginder Singh, 4 Grenadiers, Lieutenant Ankur Vashishtha, 7 Sikh Regiment, Lt Srikant Ramachandran, 14 Jat, Lt Pankaj Kumar Arora, 18 Maratha Light Infantry (posthumous), Lt Pawanmeet Brar, 18 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Lt Nithin Hariram, 9 Jat Regiment. Subedar Anurag Chandra Singh, Grenadiers/29 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Gurbachan Singh, 3 Sikh Regiment, Subedar Suresh Kumar Yadav, Artillery/30 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Dhyan Singh, 13 Punjab (posthumous), Subedar Shanikar Ganapati Devkate, Maratha Light Infantry/41 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Dharampal Singh, 7 Rajputana Rifles, Subedar Bhura Ram, Jat/5 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Albel Singh 21 Jat Regiment, Subedar Khem Singh, Mahar/1 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Daulat Ram, 8 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Subedar Ali Mohammad, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry/51 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Ram Bahadur Roka, 5/8 Gorkha Rifles, Naib Subedar Sultan Singh Rathore, Artillery/45 Rashtriya Rifles, Naib Subedar Dharam Singh, Artillery/17 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Naib Subedar Akbal Ahmed Khan, Grenadiers/29 Rashtriya Rifles, Naib Subedar Shaik Akbar, 11 Maratha Light Infantry (posthumous), Naib Subedar Prabhu Singh, 3 Rajput (posthumous), Naib Subedar Bharat Singh Gurjar, 3 Rajput, Naib Subedar Diwan Singh, 12 Garhwal Rifles (posthumous), Naib Subedar Dharamvir, 6 Mahar Regiment (posthumous), Naib Subedar Satyapal, 6 Mahar Regiment, Naib Subedar Gopal Singh Saini, 12 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Naib Subedar Pukar Lama, 19 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Naib Subedar Ramesh Chander, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry/8 Rashtriya Rifles, Naib Subedar Girman Rana, 1 Gorkha Rifles/15 Rashtriya Rifles, Havildar Bhupinder Singh, 9 Para (Special Forces), Havildar Ramappar Mirji, 18 Maratha Light Infantry (posthumous), Havildar Sumer Singh, 11 Rajputana Rifles, Havildar Harpal Singh, 9 Jat, Havildar Pratap Singh, 21 Rajputana Rifles, Havildar Shishupal Singh, 16 Garhwal Rifles, Havildar Dabal Singh, 16 Garhwal Rifles, Havildar Trilok Singh, Garhwal Rifles/36 Rashtriya Rifles, Havildar Ramdhan Boro, 6 Assam (posthumous), Havildar Kesh Bahadur Chhetri, 2/9 Gorkha Rifles, Havildar Manzoor Ahmed Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry/23 Rashtriya Rifles, Havildar Badri Prasad, 10 Para (Special Forces), Havildar Vinod Janardhanan, Madras/8 Rashtriya Rifles (posthumous), Havildar Jaswant Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles/28 Rashtriya Rifles.

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Bihar withdraws case against Taslimuddin

Patna, August 14
The Bihar government today withdrew the criminal case against Union Minister Mohammed Taslimuddin.

This was announced by state Law Minister Shakeel Ahmed Khan after a high-level meeting held at Chief Minister Rabri Devi’s residence.

Claiming that the state government was empowered to review such cases as the prosecutor had submitted that no case was made out against the Union Minister and even the complainant later withdrew the charges, Khan said we decided to drop the case.

The BJP’s vice president Sushil Kumar Modi had on Thursday revealed that a case under various Sections of the IPC, Arms Act and Explosive Substance Act was registered against Taslimuddin at Araria police station and a court in March 2000 had ordered attachment of his property after Bihar police failed to execute a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.

Launching an attack against the BJP for continuing a tirade against Taslimuddin, Khan said communal forces were bent upon maligning the image of ministers in the secular UPA government. — PTI

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Violence mars Manipur bandh

Imphal, August 14
A child was seriously injured and a house burnt when the police burst tear gas shells at many places here today. A 14-hour bandh against partial lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Imphal municipalities in Manipur severely affected normal life in the valley districts.

Official sources said the clashes between the public and the police, pelting of stones by supporters of the bandh, blockade of roads and burning of vehicles tyres on main streets were also reported from various places. — PTI

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Pranab dismisses Pak protests over fencing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today asserted that India will not tolerate obstructions in the erection of anti-infiltration fence along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

While asking Pakistan to show more honesty in curbing cross-border movement of militants, the Defence Minister rejected protests from across the border over the fencing work now in its last stages over 560 km of the mountainous LoC terrain. He categorically said that New Delhi would not accept any interference in the fencing work.

Addressing the armed forces personnel during his customary speech on the eve of the Independence Day, he said, “the fencing work is being undertaken keeping in view the nation’s security and it is being erected well within Indian territory”.

He pointed out that of late there had been indications of some positive changes in Islamabad attitude but Pakistan would have to shed its old attitude for restoration of friendly ties with India by stopping support to militant activities.

“We want peace with our neighbours and wish to resolve all disputes through dialogue. But for this Pakistan should make honest efforts. If terrorism ends, this will not only help both the countries, but have a very positive impact in the whole south-Asian region,” Mr Mukherjee said.

He again emphasised the need for modernising the armed forces and pointed out that it’s was being undertaken.

Disclosing that the new Government proposed to bring more transparency in the weapon purchase procedures, the Defence Minister made it clear that efforts would be made not to surrender any budget capital outlay.

Patting the jawans and officers for displaying exemplary courage in the conduct of anti insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and in North-East, Mr Mukherjee said, “it is due to your relentleess efforts that a large number of misguided youths had come overground and surrendered”.

Similarly, he said it was the efforts of the armed forces personnel, which had resulted in a large number of militant outfits coming to the dialogue table.

He said in the new Budget, defence expenditure had gone up and this had been done keeping in view the need to rapidly modernise the armed forces.

Pointing to the acquisitions he said more advanced jet fighters would be inducted into the Indian Air Force and more bullet proof jackets, snow gloves and night visions would be procured for the forces engaged in anti-militancy operations.

He said for the artillery new long range guns and rocket systems were being purchased and advanced light helicopters for army aviation.

He said efforts were also underway to remove hurdles which had come in the way of warship acquisition and building programme, so that the country’s shipbuilders were in a position to manufacture and deliver new highly sophisticated weapon platforms.

Mr Mukherjee added that Indo-Russian Brahmos supersonic cruise missile was ready for induction into the Indian Navy warships.

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Trains back on Ambala-Ludhiana track
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
Passenger and goods trains are coming back on the track in a phased manner on the Ambala-Ludhiana section as promised by the Northern Railway.

Chief Public Relations Officer of the Northern Railway Davinder P.R.S Sandhu said here today that rail traffic which was disrupted for more than a week due to torrential rain and waterlogging was being restored in three phases.

Sources in the Northern Railway said trains which had been restored today were the 3007 Udhyan Abha Toofan Express, 3049 Howrah-Amritsar Express, 3050 Amritsar-Howrah Express, 3151 Sealdah Jammu Tawi Express, 8101 Muri Express, 8237 Chhattisgarh Express, 2925/2926 Paschim Express, 2903/2904 Golden Temple Mail, 9367/9368 Malwa Express, 9023 Janata Express, 4888 Jodhpur-Kalka Express, 4887 Kalka-Jodhpur Express, 4888A Howrah Link, 4887 A Howrah Link, 4673/4649 Shaheed Express, 3307 Ganga Satluj Express, 3308 Ganga Satluj Express, 5708 Katihar Express, 2715 Sachkhand Express, 2029 Amritsar Shatabdi Express, 2030 Amritsar Shatabdi Express, 4645 Shalimar Express, 3006 Amritsar-Howrah Mail, 5212 Jan Nayak Express, 5088 Amarnath Express, 1057/1058 Dadar Express, 2926 Paschim Express, 4033 Jammu Mail, 4034 Jammu mail, 1078 Jhelum Express, 2403 Pooja Express, 2404 Pooja Express, 2471/2472 Swaraj Express and 5210 Jan Sewa Express.

Trains which will be restored on Sunday are the 2715 Sachkhand Express, 9023/9024 Janta Express, 4674/4650 Shaheed Express, 4660 Amritsar Intercity Express, 4681 Jalandhar Intercity Express, 2013 Amritsar Shatabdi Express, 4682 Jalandhar Intercity Express, 4659 Amritsar Intercity Express, 4722 Sriganganagar Intercity Express, 4731 and 4732 Bathinda Intercity Express, 4721 Sriganganagar Intercity Express, 2497 and 2498 Shan-e-Punjab Express, 4646 Shalimar Express, 4003 Jammu Mail, 4004 Delhi-Fazilka Link and 8237/8238 Chattisgarh Express.

Trains which will be restored on Monday are the 3152 Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express, 5708/5707 Katihar Express, 2716 Sachkhand Express, 8101 Muri Express, 2014 Amritsar Shatabdi Express, 4712 Intercity Express, 4711 Intercity Express, 4553 Himachal Express, 4554 Himachal Express, 4609 and 4610 Hem Kund Express, 4512 Intercity Express, 4035 Dhauladhar Express, 4521/4522 Bathinda Intercity Express and 3008 Udyan Abha Express.

Trains which will be restored on Tuesday are the 4036 Dhauladhar Express and the 8102 Muri Express.

Mr Sandhu said the Northern Railway had introduced 24-hour patrolling on the tracks on the Ambala-Ludhiana section and the Ambala-Chandigarh-Kalka section were being inspected every hour. After round-the-clock repair for more than a week, the Northern Railway ran two freight trains on the Ambala-Ludhiana section on Friday. The smooth run of the trains gave them the confidence to run two passenger trains, one from Ambala to Una and another from Ludhiana to Ambala and three Mail Express trains, the Jammu Mail, Pooja Express and Jehlum Express.

He said the August Kranti Rajdhani from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi to Bombay Central was cancelled on Saturday due to breaches between Baroda and Dahod.

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Firm seeks govt help in securing release of executives

New Delhi, August 14
Unable to secure the release of its two senior executives, who are serving jail sentence for over a month in Turkey after being held responsible for the death of two children, Punj Llyod has asked the government to take up the matter with the authorities in Ankara.

The Indian construction giant has failed to secure the release of its manager N.J. Patel and deputy manager V.P. Saxena despite filing a legal compensatition agreement in a Turkish court in the wake of two children getting drowned in a trench dug by the company on July 9, its chairman Atul Punj said.

“We have informed the Indian Foreign Ministry, Indian Embassy in Ankara and Turkish Embassy here. They have been detained for over a month now on the charge of involuntary manslaughter”, he said.

“We have also filed a compensation agreement according to which the nearest relative of the children will get $ 50,000 each as compensation,” he said. — PTI

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US Embassy official, friend found dead

New Delhi, August 14
A US Embassy official and his friend were found murdered at his house in South Delhi today.

Pushkin Chandra (37), son of retired government official A.K. Chandra, and his 25-year-old friend, whose identity is being ascertained, were found murdered this morning at Chandra’s house in the Anand Lok area of Defence Colony. Chandra was working as the Development Official in the US Embassy, the police said here today.

“Pushkin had deep wounds on the neck and abdomen. His throat was slit and he was found naked. His friend Vishal, was also found with deep neck and abdomen wounds,’’ it said.

The family had gone for a party last night. Today when the servant went to wake up Chandra in the annexe of the house this morning, he did not respond. When the door was opened with the help of a key from his father, the bodies were found. Chandra’s Opel Astra car is missing.

A case of murder has been registered.

“The US Embassy is cooperating with the Delhi police and the matter is under investigations,’’ an Embassy official said today. — UNI

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Munnabhai” gets Best Popular Film award

New Delhi, August 14
Marathi film ‘Shwaas’, a moving portrayal of the relationship between a grandfather and a grandson who is about to lose his vision, won the Best Film award while Bengali filmmaker Goutam Ghose bagged the Best Director award for ‘Abar Aranye’ at the 51st National Film Awards for 2003 announced here today.

Tamil actor Vikram picked up the Best Actor award for “Pithamagan” and Malayalam actress Meera Jasmin won the Best Actress award for ‘Padam Onnu Oru Vilapam.’

Bollywood comedy “Munnabhai MBBS” was adjudged the Best Popular Film.

Best Feature Film awards in different languages were given to “Raghu Romeo” (Hindi) and “Dance Like a Man” (English).

Pankaj Kapoor received the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance as a mafia don in “Maqbool” (Hindi) and veteran actress Sharmila Tagore bagged the Best Supporting Actress award for “Abar Aranye”, which won three awards. — UNI

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5 women held for murder

Nagpur, August 14
Five women have been arrested in connection with the killing of Akku Yadav in the local court premises yesterday.

The case, meanwhile, has been handed over to the CID, according to the police.

The police said three women, Anjana Kisan Borkar (60), Bhagirathabai Harichand Adikane (50) and Pinki Ajay Shambharkar (23) were arrested from Kasturba Nagar, and two other women, Lila Raghunath Sangode (50) and Savita Vishnu Vanjari (27), were arrested from the Jaripatka locality in north Nagpur, where Yadav had spread a reign of terror by committing various crimes like murder, rape, extortion and looting. — UNITop

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