SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

NDA to stall House proceedings; attacks Sonia on Bharati issue
New Delhi, August 24
Holding Congress President Sonia Gandhi “directly responsible” for declaring a “war” against it and the people on the issues of Veer Savarkar and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, the NDA today decided to continue stalling parliamentary proceedings and hit the streets to expose the Congress-led government.
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Parliament adjourned over Uma,
Savarkar issue

New Delhi, August 24
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were today adjourned for the day without transacting any business amid uproarious scenes with members of the Opposition and ruling benches trading charges against each other on the issues of resignation of Uma Bharti and the continuance of “tainted” ministers in the UPA government.

Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh at a high-level meeting on the law and order situation of Hubli, in Bangalore on Tuesday. Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh at a high-level meeting on the law and order situation of Hubli, in Bangalore on Tuesday.
— PTI



EARLIER STORIES

 

Aiyar rebuts Opposition charges
New Delhi, August 24
Union Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today denied the allegations of the Opposition that he was a “traitor” and had collected money for the Chinese during the 1962 invasion. Mr Aiyar claimed that had he been so, he would not have been “hand-picked” by the then Foreign Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to head the Karachi Consulate.

Students from Lahore University of Management Studies at the IIM Bangalore complex on Tuesday
Students from Lahore University of Management Studies at the IIM Bangalore complex on Tuesday .
 

Manipur CM for withdrawal of Act
Imphal, August 24
Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh today said that his government also wanted the complete removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state, but would not tolerate violent agitation for that. In a statement here, Mr Singh said the government was not against democratic agitation and non-violent movement launched by the people for lifting the Act.

Rahul meets UP MPs, promises to venture out of Amethi
New Delhi, August 24
Congress party’s heir apparent Rahul Gandhi today had an hour-long meeting with MPs from Uttar Pradesh where he assured them that he would venture out of his constituency Amethi and start touring the state in the near future.

Hostage crisis to figure in talks with Kuwaiti minister
New Delhi, August 24
The Iraq hostage crisis will come up for discussion with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who arrived here this evening on a visit which has immense political and economic significance because Kuwait is the Chairman of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

Government asked to check Maoists, MCCI, PWG nexus
New Delhi, August 24
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has asked the government to check the growing nexus between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Maoist Communist Centre of India and the People’s War Group saying it has a “direct bearing” on India’s internal security scenario.

Jaya urges CMs to oppose POTA repeal
Chennai, August 24
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today urged all Chief Ministers to oppose the repeal of POTA. In a statement she said: “I have written to the Chief Ministers of all states to give serious considerations to this issue in the light of the prevailing internal security situation and to take up the matter with the Government of India to withdraw its hasty decision to repeal POTA.”

MPLADS fund to be regulated
New Delhi, August 24
The government has decided to regulate the flow of funds to the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to check accumulation at the district level. This was disclosed by the Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Mr Oscar Fernandes, at the interactive meeting he had here yesterday with MPs from UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Attack on Hasina condemned
New Delhi, August 24
Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran today said the recent unsuccessful bid on the life of Bangladesh’s Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina was “a danger signal” to democracy in that country.

Rs 80 crore sanctioned for Amritsar airport
New Delhi, Aug 24
The Centre has sanctioned about Rs 80 crore for development works including re-surfacing of runway in the Amritsar International Airport. Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha said Rs 79.27 crore had been sanctioned for the development works and the work on the 500-passenger capacity terminal would be completed by May 2005.

HC withdraws code of conduct for lawyers
Chennai, August 24
The Madras High Court this evening withdrew the contentious 25-point code of conduct for lawyers, bringing the curtains down on the nearly month-long agitation by lawyers in Tamil Nadu.

6 Uttaranchal SIs sacked
Dehra Dun, August 24
Six Sub-Inspectors of the Uttaranchal police have been sacked after irregularities were detected in their recruitment. The decision comes much after allegations of tampering with their answersheets to increase the marks were established.

1,000 pilgrims stranded at Patalganga
Dehradun, August 24
Torrential rain in Uttaranchal has caused hundreds of yatra pilgrims to be trapped after mudslides at a number of places on the yatra route. Bad weather in the region has affected the rescue operations.

Gujarat riots case: SI arrested
Ahmedabad, August 24
A Sub-Inspector was arrested for allegedly tampering with evidence and siding with accused persons in the Ambika society massacre case at Kalok town of Panchamahals district in which 11 persons of a minority community were killed on March 1, 2002, official sources said here today. Sub-Inspector R.J. Patil, currently posted in Rajkot district, was arrested from Anand district last night. — PTI


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NDA to stall House proceedings; attacks Sonia on Bharati issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
Holding Congress President Sonia Gandhi “directly responsible” for declaring a “war” against it and the people on the issues of Veer Savarkar and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, the NDA today decided to continue stalling parliamentary proceedings and hit the streets to expose the Congress-led government.

The NDA demanded immediate withdrawal of cases against Ms Bharti, reinstallation of Veer Savarkar’s plaque at the Cellular Jail in Port Blair and removal of all “tainted ministers” from the Union Council of ministers.

However, the Opposition NDA decided to allow the passage of General Budget “without disruption and debate”, the procedure and time for which will be decided by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

Making a scathing attack on Ms Gandhi, a meeting of NDA MPs, chaired by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, passed a resolution which accused her of “ordering her party’s government in Karnataka to reopen a baseless 10-year-old case against Ms Bharti in a Tricolour-hoisting incident in Hubli.”

“This is a blatant and desperate attempt by the Congress to protect several tainted ministers in the UPA government, whose removal is now sought even by some constituents of the UPA themselves,” the resolution said.

“Indeed, our worst fears about Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin have now come true because she has sought to equate Ms Bharti, who agitated for the citizens’ right to hoist the Tricolour at any public place, with those in the UPA government who are charged with heinous crimes like murder, kidnapping, extortion, fraud and loot of the public exchequer,” the resolution said.

It alleged that by “protecting” tainted ministers on the one hand, and seeking Ms Bharti’s arrest on the other, Ms Gandhi has “clearly shown that she does not understand the history and ethos of India, nor the psyche of the Indian people.”

Justifying stalling of Parliament by the Opposition, NDA convener, Mr George Fernandes, said “when the Government is stubborn and deliberately trying to suppress the Opposition’s voice, it had no other option.... Moreover, the onus of ensuring smooth conduct of the House lies on the government.”

“We had raised three important issues — tainted ministers, Veer Savarkar and Uma Bharti, but the government of the day is adamant not to address these issues. How can anyone justify the act of Union Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is seen in the Parliament complex, but not in Lok Sabha,” Mr Fernandes told newspersons.

He accused the Congress of adopting this strategy to divert the attention of the people from its failure on the economic front, especially to check spiralling inflation.

Mr Fernandes also charged the UPA government with “tapping” the telephones of select Opposition leaders.

“There are indications that telephone tapping has become the order of the day,” he said.

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Parliament adjourned over Uma, Savarkar issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were today adjourned for the day without transacting any business amid uproarious scenes with members of the Opposition and ruling benches trading charges against each other on the issues of resignation of Uma Bharti and the continuance of “tainted” ministers in the UPA government.

The Lok Sabha was first adjourned for 30 minutes shortly after it assembled in the morning as RJD members alleged that higher funds were alloted to Andhra Pradesh under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) during the period when BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu was the Minister of Rural Development in the erstwhile NDA government.

RJD members were seen flashing a newspaper which reportedly carried a news item saying that Andhra Pradesh had got an additional Rs 300 crore over and above the earmarked amount under the PMGSY scheme during Mr Naidu’s stint as the Rural Development Minister.

BJP members sought to raise the issue of Uma Bharti’s resignation as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister. Even though Speaker Somnath Chatterjee allowed Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani to speak on the issue, nothing could be heard in the din.

When the House reassembled at 11.30 am, BJP Deputy Leader V.K. Malhotra suggested that that House be adjourned for the day till the matters were resolved and the Finance Bill could be passed.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad agreed to this suggestion and the House was adjourned for the day.

In the Rajya Sabha also, no business could be transacted as an unrelenting Opposition continued to demand the removal of “tainted” ministers and also sought an apology from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on the Veer Savarkar issue.

Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat first adjourned the House till 2 pm. Similar scenes were witnessed soon after it reassembled and Deputy Chairperson Rehman Khan adjourned the House for the day. 

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Aiyar rebuts Opposition charges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
Union Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today denied the allegations of the Opposition that he was a “traitor” and had collected money for the Chinese during the 1962 invasion. Mr Aiyar claimed that had he been so, he would not have been “hand-picked” by the then Foreign Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to head the Karachi Consulate.

“There is a vicious campaign being carried out to defame me by saying I raised money for the Chinese during 1962 when I studied at the Cambridge. It is a total lie, baseless, defamatory and mischievous,” he said.

Mr Aiyar said during his 26 years period as a civil servant, he had held most crucial offices including that of Joint Secretary (External Publicity) and Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister Office.

He said journalist Diren Bhagat in May 1986 had reported a “lie” in the British magazine “Private Eye”, which was made the basis for the allegation.

“I did not publicly deny the article that time as I was the Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office and civil servants are not allowed to defend themselves. But privately, I had spoken to Bhagat on the article,” he said.

“If the only evidence they (NDA leaders) have is an article by a dead journalist in a British magazine which is prone to defamation suits, I am entitled for an apology,” he said, pointing out that he had stated on the floor of the Lok Sabha on February 5, 2004 that he had never “collected any money for the Chinese on any occasion.”

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Manipur CM for withdrawal of Act

Imphal, August 24
Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh today said that his government also wanted the complete removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state, but would not tolerate violent agitation for that.

In a statement here, Mr Singh said the government was not against democratic agitation and non-violent movement launched by the people for lifting the Act.

But, he said, indulgence in violence and anti-national activities in the name of demanding lifting of the Act would mislead the people and the government would not remain a silent spectator.

Mr Singh said the dishonouring of the National Flag, misuse of educational institutions and wasting of precious time of students, boycott of India-made goods, slogans such as “go back Indian Army” during the agitation had compelled the government to detain the agitation leaders under the National Security Act.

The Chief Minister said people had been facing insurgency problem, extortion and threat to lives for years and his ministry had been trying its best to restore normalcy and order in the state.

He said the question was raised why such Act was not imposed in Tamil Nadu where Rajiv Gandhi was killed or in Delhi where Parliament was attacked by terrorists.

Mr Singh clarified that the Act had not been imposed in these two states because there was no secessionist movement in the two states.

He regretted the threat to MLAs to resign from the state Assembly and added if the people wanted to teach them a lesson, they could do so at the time of elections.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister today appealed to students not to surrender their text books to the authorities as threatened from tomorrow. — PTI

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Rahul meets UP MPs, promises to venture out of Amethi
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
Congress party’s heir apparent Rahul Gandhi today had an hour-long meeting with MPs from Uttar Pradesh where he assured them that he would venture out of his constituency Amethi and start touring the state in the near future.

After his electrifying appearance at Saturday’s AICC meeting, this was Rahul Gandhi’s first foray into acquiring a larger role for himself in the party. Revival of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh is high on party president Sonia Gandhi’s agenda. AICC general secretary incharge of UP had, in his recent report to her, suggested that they use all their assets, which includes Rahul Gandhi, to galvanise the party cadres.

The MPs, who met him today, are learnt to have reiterated their longstanding demand that the young Gandhi play a more proactive role in reviving the state unit.

They suggested that Rahul should tour the state and meet party workers after the October byelections. To begin with, they said, he could hold public meetings at the commissionary level and follow these up with district and block-level interactions.

Since the Congress support base in Uttar Pradesh has eroded substantially over the years, it was felt the castiest brand of politics being practisced here could be countered effectively if Rahul Gandhi was to become more active in the state. His presence, they contended, would enthuse the youth, cutting across caste lines.

Among the UP representatives who attended the meeting included Union ministers Mahavir Prasad and Sriprakash Jaiswal and Lok Sabha MPs Manvendra Singh, Rajesh Mishra, Brijendra Singh and Surendra Goel. Rajya Sabha MPs from the state were not present at this meeting.

Rahul Gandhi, it is learnt, heard out their suggestions smilingly but did not say much beyond assuring them that he would start touring the state after the byelections. Smitten by the Gandhi charisma, an MP gushed after the meeting, “Hum to bus unki muskurahat par mar gaye.”

It is learnt the meeting was primarily focussed on ways of strengthening the party organisation with the MPs putting forth a host of suggestions. Besides urging Rahul Gandhi to take on greater responsibility in UP, they also stressed the need for “social engineering” and giving greater representation to a broad coalition of social forces in the state unit and frontal organisations like Youth Congress and Mahila Congress.

They further emphasised the importance of preparing a” second line of defence” in the state unit for greater involvement of younger persons and in case the PCC president is to be changed, the new incumbent should have a clean image.

It was suggested that the Congress UP unit should build up pressure on the Mulayum Singh Yadav government on the speedy implementation of development projects in the state.

They also asked Rahul Gandhi to see that Central funds for development schemes be sent directly to the districts as these never reach the beneficiaries for whom they are meant.Top

 

Hostage crisis to figure in talks with Kuwaiti minister
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
The Iraq hostage crisis will come up for discussion with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who arrived here this evening on a visit which has immense political and economic significance because Kuwait is the Chairman of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman Hamad Al-Atiyah has already arrived here in this connection to supplement the efforts of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, who also represents the GCC.

Sources said the Indian leadership would use the opportunity by discussing the 35-day-old hostage crisis with the Kuwaiti minister as the kidnapped Indians’ employer firm is Kuwaiti. All his engagements with the Indian leaders are tomorrow.

Mr Al-Sabah will call on President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister will meet External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh twice tomorrow, at delegation-level talks in the morning and to sign three bilateral agreements in the evening — (i) extradition treaty, (ii) agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and (iii) Memorandum of Understanding for Setting up of Strategic Consultative Group.

Kuwait will be the third Gulf country after the UAE and Bahrain to sign an extradition treaty with India. Talks for signing an extradition treaty with Oman are at an advanced stage.

The MoU on setting up a Strategic Consultative Group with Kuwait is seen here as a major step forward with Kuwait as it will entail exchange of intelligence and other information. The group is likely to be headed by Foreign Secretaries of the two countries.

As the current Chairman of the GCC, the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister will also sign the India-GCC Framework Agreement for Economic Cooperation. From the Indian side, the Minister for Commerce and Industry will sign the agreement.

The GCC, which comprises the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman, is keen on signing a Free Trade Area (FTA) pact with India. UAE Finance Minister Mohammad Khalfan bin Kharbash went on record saying during his visit here in February that the Gulf nations were looking at India as an investment destination. The GCC looks upon India for expertise in areas such as information technology, entertainment and healthcare.

After the FTA regime comes into place between India and the GCC, India’s trade with the GCC is expected to double or treble. With Kuwait, India’s bilateral trade is not even half a billion dollars. On the other hand, with the UAE Indian trade is more than 4.5 billion dollars. Kuwait is important for India as there are more than 4.5 lakh Indians working in Kuwait.Top

 

Government asked to check Maoists, MCCI, PWG nexus
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has asked the government to check the growing nexus between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) and the People’s War Group (PWG) saying it has a “direct bearing” on India’s internal security scenario.

The committee in its 109th report, presented to Parliament yesterday, said that links between the CPN (Maoists), the MCCI and the PWG continued to exist and there had been exchange of men and material between them.

Significantly, the report comes at a time when Maoist rebels are on a warpath against the government in Nepal and are threatening to de-stabilise the country.

The report says that CPN-Maoist cadres were reported to have received military training in MCCI camps in Bihar and Jharkhand.

MCCI operatives, after carrying out violence in north Bihar, were reported to have sought refuge with CPN-Maoist cadres in the border areas of Nepal adjoining north Bihar.

Union Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh, in a presentation to the committee, gave an overview of the internal security scenario in the country and said that Pakistan’s ISI had links with Northeast insurgent groups, in addition to the nexus with militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir.

He told the committee that to neutralise the ISI activities, the government pursued a multi-pronged approach which included strengthening border management, gearing up intelligence machinery, modernising and upgrading central and state security forces and bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation for curbing its (ISI) influence in our immediate neighbourhood and abroad.

The committee expressed concern over the “disturbing and increasing trend” in the violence being perpetrated by the extremists and said that Naxalism continued to expand its area of influence and now its tentacles were spread over as many as 55 districts of states affected by it.

“The committee expresses its concern at the indifferent attitude of the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry and also for not paying any attention to the recommendation of this committee to release the backlog amount of Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources,” the committee, headed by BJP MP Sushma Swaraj, said.

The committee said the Home Ministry should pursue with the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission for enhancement of budgetary allocation under the NLCPR to enable justified developmental activities as projected by it for the North-Eastern region at the revised estimate (2004-05) stage.Top

 

Jaya urges CMs to oppose POTA repeal
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, August 24
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today urged all Chief Ministers to oppose the repeal of POTA. In a statement she said: “I have written to the Chief Ministers of all states to give serious considerations to this issue in the light of the prevailing internal security situation and to take up the matter with the Government of India to withdraw its hasty decision to repeal POTA.”

She emphasised that in matters concerning the territorial integrity of the nation, there could be no discontinuity in the Union Government’s attitude and policy towards anti-national, whatever the internal pressures and contradictions of the “coalition dharma”.

Ms Jayalalithaa said that law and order was a state subject and the repeal of POTA directly undermined the state governments’ ability to counter terrorism.

“The unilateral decision of the Central Government to repeal it without consulting the state governments and without a national debate has to be opposed by all state governments,” she added.

She said there was pointed intelligence available with both central and state agencies on the continuing extent and range of subversive activities of terrorist organisations.

Ms Jayalalithaa said by enforcing POTA in Tamil Nadu she had ensured that terrorist groups and fundamentalist forces were kept under check.

She said, “It is difficult to conceive that conditions in the country have changed so much in the last four months that the Union cabinet has now decided to repeal POTA, which was enacted to deal with the internal security fallout of cross border terrorism.”

She felt that a country whose two former Prime Ministers were assassinated by terrorists on its
own soil could ill afford to go two steps back on internal security and its legislation to counter terrorism.

“This is bound to send all wrong signals to the international community that the compulsions of internal electoral politics in a coalition government have made India a ‘soft state’ and a soft target for terrorists,” she said.

MDMK General Secretary Vaiko had been arrested under POTA by the Jayalalithaa Government in 2002 for his open support to the LTTE and kept in jail for 18 months. It was Mr Vaiko’s arrest, which raised a storm all over the country that POTA was being misused by ruling parties to silence and harass their political opponents.

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Jaya moves SC for recalling order for trial in Bangalore
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 24
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in another efforts to escape trial in the two disproportionate assets (DA) cases outside the state, has moved a curative petition in the Supreme Court for recalling of its order transferring her cases to a special court in Bangalore.

The petition was moved yesterday soon after the court had given one week’s time to the Tamil Nadu Government to transfer the records of her cases from a Chennai court to the special court at Bangalore to ensure speedy trial.

In her petition, Ms Jayalalithaa has said that her case would be “prejudiced and irreparable loss would be caused to her” if the trial was held in Karnataka where the atmosphere against her was highly “surcharged” due to the Cauvery water dispute between the two states.

She has also cited the language problem as one of the ground against the trial in the Bangalore court, saying the entire case documents had to be translated in Kanadia, which would negate her right to free and fair trial.

“The balance of convenience is in favour of grant of stay of proceedings in Karnataka and no prejudice would be caused to the prosecution due to this,” the Chief Minister in her petition said.

The court had yesterday directed the Karnataka Government to send a senior officer to Chennai to bring the case records to Bangalore in police protection.

The apex court had passed order for transfer of her cases to Bangalore on November 18, last year, as 64 witnesses had turned hostile under alleged prssure from the Chief Minister and rejected her review petition on February 27 last. 

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MPLADS fund to be regulated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
The government has decided to regulate the flow of funds to the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to check accumulation at the district level. This was disclosed by the Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Mr Oscar Fernandes, at the interactive meeting he had here yesterday with MPs from UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Last week Mr Fernandes had met MPs from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The minister said that accumulation of huge amounts of funds lying unutilised with the districts, which amounted to Rs 2100 crore, was a cause for concern.

It will not be in public interest to keep MPLADS funds unutilised for longer periods in the districts as the government is paying heavy interest on the borrowings, he said.

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Attack on Hasina condemned
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran today said the recent unsuccessful bid on the life of Bangladesh’s Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina was “a danger signal” to democracy in that country.

Mr Saran, told the journalists in South Block here this afternoon, that the attack on the Awami League leader had dangerous portents for the political parties in Bangladesh.

He said, the Government of India had noted the fact that Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia had condemned the attack on her political rival and instituted a judicial commission to inquire into the incident. 

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Rs 80 crore sanctioned for Amritsar airport
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, Aug 24
The Centre has sanctioned about Rs 80 crore for development works including re-surfacing of runway in the Amritsar International Airport.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha said Rs 79.27 crore had been sanctioned for the development works and the work on the 500-passenger capacity terminal would be completed by May 2005.

In response to a question by Tarlochan Singh (Ind), the minister said the money had been sanctioned for extension and re-surfacing of runway for operations of AB-300 type aircraft, extension and re-surfacing of existing apron, construction of a new link taxi tract, a new isolation bay, fire station, cargo complex, car park besides provision for CAT-I ILS.

Mr Patel informed the House that construction of a new technical block cum control tower and other ancillary building for better management of air traffic was in progress and likely to be completed by December this year.

About the delay in the completion of the project, the minister said the work awarded to the earlier contractor had to rescinded due to unsatisfactory performance.Top

 

HC withdraws code of conduct for lawyers

Chennai, August 24
The Madras High Court this evening withdrew the contentious 25-point code of conduct for lawyers, bringing the curtains down on the nearly month-long agitation by lawyers in Tamil Nadu.

A decision to this effect was taken by a full court meeting, chaired by Chief Justice B. Subhashan Reddy here. Registrar General Sampath Kumar said “the amendment to the Advocates Act, paving way for issuance of a notification, specifying 25-point of code of conduct is repealed’’. — UNI

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6 Uttaranchal SIs sacked
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 24
Six Sub-Inspectors of the Uttaranchal police have been sacked after irregularities were detected in their recruitment. The decision comes much after allegations of tampering with their answersheets to increase the marks were established.

The Sub-Inspectors have been removed from service under a provision of the UP Temporary Government Servants (Termination of Service) Rules, a senior police official said. Even as the CBI is investigating the matter, which has some senior police officials in the loop, the Sub-Inspectors had already been sacked after the allegations were ascertained, he said.

The sacking of the Sub-Inspectors has brought the issue of serious irregularities in hiring 253 Sub-Inspectors in April, 2002, back in focus.

Investigations revealed that the answersheets of some candidates were tampered with for increasing their marks to bring them in the selection bracket. The same candidates were also given high marks in the interview. 

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1,000 pilgrims stranded at Patalganga
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 24
Torrential rain in Uttaranchal has caused hundreds of yatra pilgrims to be trapped after mudslides at a number of places on the yatra route. Bad weather in the region has affected the rescue operations.

Even as the road to Gangotri remains blocked with bulky boulders, more mudslides blocked the road at Baldaura between Joshimath and Badrinath again, apart from Taiyapur and Lambagar, on Tuesday. The 500-meter-patch of the road damaged by mudslides on Sunday could not be cleared, officials said.

Yatras to the Gangotri and Badrinath shrines are on hold due to blocked roads. Some of the roads which were cleared yesterday were blocked again after mudslides today, Disaster Management Department officials said.

According to Disaster Management Department estimates, about 1,000 pilgrims were stranded at Patalganga, 500 at Joshimath and 200 at Govindghat and 20 at Badrinath.

The Border Roads Organisation is undertaking the road clearance on war footing but given the size of rubble, clearing the road might take over a week, BRO officials said. While the road is being cleared, the government has made all arrangements for the pilgrims at the affected places, said Tourism Secretary N.N. Prasad.Top

 
BRIEFLY

Ministry downsized
IMPHAL:
Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh on Tuesday reallocated portfolios to ministers after downsizing the ministry to 12 from 31 in July last, a government notification said. The chief minister has kept home, finance, general administration, personal and administrative reforms, cabinet, planning and election with himslef. — PTI

80 doctors suspended
Patna:
In a major crackdown on doctors not attending duty in flood-affected districts, the Bihar government has suspended 80 of them and dismissed 50 others on various charges, state Health Minister Shakuni Chaudhary said on Tuesday. The doctors, many of them sent on deputation in the flood-affected areas to check outbreak of epidemic, were suspended on the basis of reports received by the Health and Medical Education department. — PTI

Subrata appears in court
haldia (wb):
Kolkata Mayor and Trinamool Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee along with 16 others appeared on Tuesday before an East Midnapore court in connection with a 35-year-old case of dacoity and snatching at Contai. The SDJM, Contai, Prasad Ranjan Roy, gave them bail on a bond of Rs 1,000 each. — PTI

3 rail staff run over by train
chennai:
Three railway employees were run over by a train near suburban Avadi on Tuesday. The incident occurred when the Garudathree Express was coming to Chennai from Tirupati, railway sources said. — PTI

Rajasthan minister gets bail
JODHPUR:
A Railway court which had issued a non-bailable warrant against Rajasthan Forest Minister Laxmi Narayan Dave, today granted bail to him after he appeared before it in connection with a four-year-old rail roko agitation. Railway Court Magistrate Brijendra Kumar Jain asked Dave to furnish a surety of Rs 5,000 and a personal bond of an equal amount. — PTI

37 UP districts drought-hit
LUCKNOW:
Seven more districts in Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, were today declared drought-hit taking their total number to 37. Of the 70 districts, 37 have been declared drought-hit, Relief Commissioner Anant Kumar Singh said. — PTI
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