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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Bail for women accused of lynching gangster
Mumbai, August 18
Five women accused of being part of a mob that lynched an alleged gangster in a Nagpur court were given bail by the district court there, according to reports received here.

Vajpayee opts out of panel
New Delhi, August 18
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has opted out of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs to which his party had nominated him without his consent.

Rathore, Shekhawat felicitated
New Delhi, August 18
Both Houses of Parliament today congratulated trap-shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for winning a silver medal in the Athens Olympics. And, the Rajya Sabha felicitated Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for bagging the “Anuvrat Award” for promoting untiy and communal harmony.

Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan with Pakistani students in Mumbai on Tuesday. Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan with Pakistani students in Mumbai on Tuesday. 
— PTI  photo


MPs for national holiday on September 1
New Delhi, August 18 
An all-party delegation of MPs today met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and urged him to declare September 1 as national holiday as a mark of respect to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The delegation included former union ministers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Sukhbir Badal, newly elected RS member Tarlochan Singh, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Preneet Kaur, Muktar Abbas Naqvi, K. Yerran Naidu and P. A. Sangma. — TNS

Cable operators suspend strike
New Delhi, August 18
Cable operators today suspended their strike from 8 p.m. tonight in view of the Olympics. Mr Virendra Gaur of the All-India Cable TV Forum (AICTF), a group of Multi Service Operators (MSOs), announced the suspension of the strike. — PTI



Bhaskaran, who suffers both hearing and speech disability, adjusts bottles inside a factory in Chennai on Wednesday
Bhaskaran, who suffers both hearing and speech disability, adjusts bottles inside a factory in Chennai on Wednesday. Officials of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages company said on Wednesday that they recruited 88 physically-impaired workers in an effort to provide them with a regular income and help reduce their dependence on family. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
Director Ashikul Islam directs cameraman Sahiful Mondal while shooting at the Kolkata Press Club for their forthcoming documentary film
Director Ashikul Islam (right) directs cameraman Sahiful Mondal while shooting at the Kolkata Press Club for their forthcoming documentary film, in Kolkata on Wednesday. Both eleven-year-old boys, residents of Kolkata's Muktaneer Destitute Children's Home, have won the overall grand prize for their first film Ami at the children's international film festival, held in Athens back in June. — PTI

Setback to BJP in Bihar as
ex-minister quits

New Delhi, August 18
The BJP today suffered a setback in Bihar when former Union Minister Nagmani resigned from the party to “strive for the polarisation of anti-Laloo Prasad forces in Bihar and formation of a formidable force against the BJP in both Bihar and Jharkhand.”

Protests in Parliament on Savarkar issue
New Delhi, August 18
For the second consecutive day today the Veer Savarkar issue rocked Parliament with agitated Shiv Sena and BJP members demanding an apology from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for reportedly ordering the removal of a plaque.

Lodha files caveat on Birlas’ probate plea
Kolkata, August 18
A day after Birlas moved to probate two mutual wills of M P Birla and his wife Priyamvada Birla by which the entire assets of M P Birla group would go to charities, their auditor and purported inheritor of the assets, Rajendra Lodha, decided to challenge it.

Natwar denies plans to cede Ladakh area to China
New Delhi, August 18
External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh today categorically denied in the Lok Sabha that India wanted to surrender a portion of Ladakh to China in lieu of the latter’s assurance of ‘no disturbance on its part’ in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

President to visit S. Africa next month
New Delhi, August 18
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will embark on his next overseas visit next month when he leaves for a two-nation tour of Tanzania and South Africa.

SC verdict on strikes ‘under review’
New Delhi, August 18
The Centre today said the Supreme Court judgment holding strikes by government employees as illegal was under review. “The Supreme Court judgment is under review. It is not proper for me to mention what is the viewpoint of the government”, Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances Suresh Pachauri said in a reply to calling attention motion in the Lok Sabha today.



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Bail for women accused of lynching gangster
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 18
Five women accused of being part of a mob that lynched an alleged gangster in a Nagpur court were given bail by the district court there, according to reports received here.

The five women were released on bail after defence lawyers put up by local residents argued before district judge G S Kasawa that there was little evidence to keep the accused in jail. Police officials and prosecutors reportedly did not press for the women to be kept in jail.

All women were let go on furnishing a bond of Rs 5,000 each.

Several hundred local women assembled outside the court and threatened to court arrest if the five accused women were not set free. Bharat, alias Akku Yadav, a notorious gangster active in Nagpur town, was lynched by women who stormed the court premises on August 13.

According to reports, Yadav and his gang indulged in indiscriminate raping of women living in Kasturba Nagar.

There were 24 cases of extortion, murder and eve-teasing against Yadav. Surprisingly, there was no case of rape registered against him.

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Vajpayee opts out of panel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has opted out of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs to which his party had nominated him without his consent.

Party sources said BJP Parliamentary Party Secretary Ashwani Kumar wrote to the Lok Sabha Secretary-General last week requesting that Mr Vajpayee’s name might be withdrawn from the committee headed by party MP Laxmi Narayan Pandey.

The sources said Mr Vajpayee was not “consulted” by BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra and Chief Whip Santosh Gangwar.

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Rathore, Shekhawat felicitated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
Both Houses of Parliament today congratulated trap-shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for winning a silver medal in the Athens Olympics. And, the Rajya Sabha felicitated Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for bagging the “Anuvrat Award” for promoting untiy and communal harmony.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said Rathore had fetched for India its first-ever individual silver medal in the Olympics and the entire nation was proud of him.

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Setback to BJP in Bihar as ex-minister quits
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
The BJP today suffered a setback in Bihar when former Union Minister Nagmani resigned from the party to “strive for the polarisation of anti-Laloo Prasad forces in Bihar and formation of a formidable force against the BJP in both Bihar and Jharkhand.”

Mr Nagmani, who represented the BJP in the 13th Lok Sabha from the Chatra parliamentary constituency in Jharkhand, put in his papers to party president M Venkaiah Naidu, citing the BJP’s “return to Hindutva” as the main reason behind his decision.

“I felt suffocated following the BJP’s return to its earlier Hindutva agenda,” he said in a direct attack on the party’s return to old agenda.

Mr Nagmani said he was free now to “expose” the saffron brigade which was out to “vitiate” country’s secularism and once again “conspired to bluff the people by flashing the Hindutva card.”

As he originally belonged to Bihar, it was his “utmost responsibility to relieve the state of Laloo-Rabri misrule”, he added.

Mr Nagmani, who is likely to take up the membership of Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, however, refused to open his cards when asked to spell out his future political plans. “You will come to know by tonight under whose leadership the polarisation of the anti-Laloo forces would be effected for a positive political change in Bihar.”

However, he said Mr Paswan was “strongly behind us” and that he would come to the forefront if and when required.

The meeting, he said, was being attended by veterans in Bihar who had stood against Mr Laloo Prasad’s “misrule” and had also been opposing the BJP’s “saffron diktats”.

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Protests in Parliament on Savarkar issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
For the second consecutive day today the Veer Savarkar issue rocked Parliament with agitated Shiv Sena and BJP members demanding an apology from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for reportedly ordering the removal of a plaque.

The government's attempt to douse the Opposition ire by saying that Mr Aiyar's views on Savarkar were personal failed as angry members of the two parties forced adjournments in both the Houses.

Mr Sanjay Nirupam of the Shiv Sena said there were several plaques inscribed with quotations from several freedom fighters, including Bahadurshah Zafar, Subhash Chandra Bose and Savarkar, who were imprisoned in the Cellular Jail.

But one of the plaques containing the poems of Savarkar was missing and wanted to know from the government at whose instance it was removed.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat expressed anguish over the behaviour of the members of the House and observed that discussions were not taking place.

Stating that such behaviour hardly raised the prestige of the august House, he said the House was meant to be a forum for discussions in the larger interest of the people.

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Lodha files caveat on Birlas’ probate plea

Kolkata, August 18
A day after Birlas moved to probate two mutual wills of M P Birla and his wife Priyamvada Birla by which the entire assets of M P Birla group would go to charities, their auditor and purported inheritor of the assets, Rajendra Lodha, decided to challenge it.

Two caveat applications were filed on behalf of Lodha before the Calcutta High Court to secure his right to be heard when the probate applications for two “wills” submitted by the Birlas were taken up for legal authentication, his solicitors said here today.

Legal experts in the city are of the opinion that both Birlas and Lodha have some genuine grounds for their respective claims of M.P.Birla’s property, which will not be an easy matter to immediately settle. — OC/PTI

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Natwar denies plans to cede Ladakh area to China

New Delhi, August 18
External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh today categorically denied in the Lok Sabha that India wanted to surrender a portion of Ladakh to China in lieu of the latter’s assurance of ‘no disturbance on its part’ in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

The Minister, while replying to a query by a member from Ladakh during question hour, also reiterated that India considered Tibet as an autonomous region of China.

He dismissed as “mere speculation” the assertion of the member that secret official inquiries were being made to ascertain the Ladakhi people’s reaction if a portion of their territory were to be given away to China. Mr Natwar Singh said the third round of talks between special representatives of the two countries on the boundary issue were held here on July 26-27 and both had agreed to hold the next meeting in Beijing at a mutually convenient date. — TNS

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President to visit S. Africa next month
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will embark on his next overseas visit next month when he leaves for a two-nation tour of Tanzania and South Africa.

Though the exact itinerary of the Presidential visit are still being worked out through diplomatic channels, the trip is likely to take place during the second week of September, official sources said.

The President would be back before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly session.

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SC verdict on strikes ‘under review’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
The Centre today said the Supreme Court judgment holding strikes by government employees as illegal was under review. “The Supreme Court judgment is under review. It is not proper for me to mention what is the viewpoint of the government”, Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances Suresh Pachauri said in a reply to calling attention motion in the Lok Sabha today.

The SC verdict had come on a batch of petition by Tamil Nadu government employess on August six last year. The employees had challenged their en masse termination from service by the state government after they had gone on strike to press for certain demands.

The court had ruled that the government employees had no “fundamental, equitable or moral” right to strike. It had also said the employees could not be allowed to take public to ransom by using the weapon of strike.

“The Central Government is alive to the legitimate concerns of the government employees, especially for a fully functioning grievance redressal mechanism”, Mr Pachauri said.

The Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) Scheme has been working for many years and has proved its usefulness both to the government and government employees. Its object is to promote harmonious employer-employee relations and to secure the greatest measure of cooperation between them, in matters of common concern to the government as employer, and the general body of its employees and to improve the efficiency of the public service, the minister said.

“The JCM, therefore, provides a time-tested forum for the resolution of differences, if any, between the Central Government and its employees’ associations and unions”, Mr Pachauri said.

He said there were “enough safeguards” available to protect the interests of the employees. The government does not propose to change the existing arrangement.

The conditions of service of the Central Government servants are governed by the rules made by the President under Article 309 of the Constitution or under the Act of Parliament under the same Article, he said.Top

 
BRIEFLY

New Jharkhand Speaker
RANCHI:
Mrigendra Pratap Singh was elected unanimously as Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly at a specially convened session on Wednesday. Earlier, Chief Minister Arjun Munda, moved the resolution naming Mr Singh for the post of Speaker which seconded by former Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari. — UNI

Bandh disrupts life in Assam
GUWAHATI:
Normal life was disrupted on Wednesday throughout Assam following a 12-hour bandh called by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) though no untoward incident was reported so far. All shops, business establishments, schools and colleges, private offices and commercial organisations remained closed while attendance in government offices and banks was thin. — PTI

Sisters kill each other’s husbands
MUMBAI:
Two sisters allegedly shot dead the husband of each other after an altercation between them in Juhu area of West Mumbai on Tuesday night, the police said on Wednesday. Firoz alias Ram Jadhav was shot dead allegedly by his sister-in-law Farida at Muna Apartments in Juhu following an argument over an intercast marriage with her younger sister Gajala, the police said. — PTI
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