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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

On Sonia’s advice, PM becomes more accessible
New Delhi, June 27
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken serious note of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s repeated suggestion that there should be greater coordination and interaction between the party and the government.

Juggernauts roll on
New Delhi/Puri, June 27
The ‘Rathyatra’ of Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his brother Balbhadra (Balram) and his sister Subhadra, commemorating the deities’ visit to the countryside in summer, was enthusiastically staged in several parts of the country, amidst tight security arrangements.
The 129th annual Jagannath Rathyatra in Puri on Tuesday Yatra stalled





The 129th annual Jagannath Rathyatra in Puri on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

 




EARLIER STORIES




Crisis of governance feeding Naxalism, says Ved Marwah
New Delhi, June 27 More than the lack of development, Naxalism is thriving due to a “crisis of governance’’ where the political will to tackle the menace is “lacking’’, feel experts. According to them, the oft-given excuse of underdevelopment to explain the reason for growing insurgency is nothing but an ‘’alibi for inaction’’.

JD (U) MLA arrested, gets bail
Patna, June 27
Ruling JD (U) MLA Sunil Pandey, charged with creating ugly scenes at a posh hotel and threatening mediapersons, was arrested from his official residence here. A team of Gandhi Maidan police station, where the FIR was lodged against the MLA, arrested him from his Bailey Road bungalow last night, but released him subsequently on bail, Senior Superintendent of Police Kundan Krishnan said today.

BPO worker siphons off Rs 1.5 cr from clients’ accounts
Bangalore, June 27
India’s Information Technology capital has now also been tainted with a scandal involving defrauding London-based HSBC customers of 233,000 pounds (Rs 1.5 crore).

YUVA for ‘victory on AIDS’ launched
New Delhi, June 27
More than two crore volunteers will travel to different parts of the country to spread AIDS awareness as a part of the Youth Unite for Victory on AIDS (YUVA). YUVA, a nationwide programme, was launched in the Capital today by Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. It will be conducted by various youth organisations under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Under the effort, more than 2.2 crore volunteers from seven youth organisations will travel to different corners of the country in buses called “youth caravan” to spread awareness about the disease.

7 of family get life term for killing bride
Varanasi, June 27
A court here has sentenced seven persons, including the husband, father and mother-in-laws of a woman, to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of burning her to death for failing to get dowry and thereafter throwing her body into a well two years ago.

Four of family gunned down
Biharsharif, June 27
Four members of a Dalit family were gunned down by unidentified persons at Srinagar in Bihar’s Nalanda district, Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar said today. Around 25 gunmen arrived at the village last night and shot dead Rajmani Devi, Sania Kumari, Laxmi Kumari and Rajan Manjhi, all members of the same family, the SP said.

Videos
Sonia Gandhi visits drought-stricken village.
(28k, 56k)
Stones as offerings for the revered God.
(28k, 56k)
Adulteration of petro products to be curbed.
(28k, 56k)
Police files charge sheet against Shahabuddin.
(28k, 56k)
A painting and a movie after Bipasha Basu.
(28k, 56k)

 

 

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On Sonia’s advice, PM becomes more accessible
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken serious note of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s repeated suggestion that there should be greater coordination and interaction between the party and the government.

Following up on this advice, the PM held a long interactive session with Karnataka MPs and legislators, state unit office-bearers and party workers when he visited Bangalore last week. Dr Singh plans to hold similar meetings with party cadres on his subsequent trips.

He is scheduled to visit the Vidharba region this month-end to assess the extent of the agrarian crisis in this belt, which has recorded one of the highest number of farmers’ suicides. He is also slated to tour Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh before the monsoon session of Parliament next month. A long overdue visit to Kolkata is also on the cards.

UPA sources said that in addition to his official programmes, the PM will also meet state leaders and local party workers on these trips. Such interactive sessions will provide an excellent opportunity to Dr Singh to explain government’s policies to party cadres who, in turn, can further convey these to the people. On the other hand, party cadres can provide valuable feedback to the government on the public response to these policies and its political ramifications.

In addition, these interactions will also dispel the widespread notion in the party that Dr Singh is “apolitical”, that his policy decisions lack political inputs and that he does not give sufficient time to Congress workers.

For instance, when Dr Singh met Karnataka party leaders, including PCC chief Mallikarjun Kharge and CLP leader Dharam Singh, they expressed their concern about the soaring prices of petrol, diesel and other essential commodities. They also complained about the arbitrary functioning of the state Governor and the harassment being meted out to Congress workers by the JD (S) cadres.

The Prime Minister, on his part, explained the reasons for hiking petrol prices. Urging the party cadres to place the correct picture before the people, Dr Singh pointed out that the international oil price had jumped from $ 23 per barrel during the NDA regime to $ 70 today because of which the government was compelled to resort to a hike. As for the spurt in the prices of pulses and vegetables, Dr Singh assured the assembled party leaders that this was a seasonal phenomenon and will be brought under control.

West Bengal PCC working president Pradeep Bhattacharya and CLP leader Manosh Bhuinaya, who met the Prime Minister today, were assured that he will make time to meet state leaders and PCC workers when he visits Kolkata before next month’s Parliament session. They also pointed out that the West Bengal government had usurped the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act as its own and was not giving any credit to the Centre for this programme. This and other issues pertaining to the functioning of the state government can be expected to figure in the proposed meeting with the PM.

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Juggernauts roll on

New Delhi/Puri, June 27
The ‘Rathyatra’ of Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his brother Balbhadra (Balram) and his sister Subhadra, commemorating the deities’ visit to the countryside in summer, was enthusiastically staged in several parts of the country, amidst tight security arrangements.

In Puri, the traditional site of the festival, over a million devotees braved the scorching heat to witness the trip of the ‘lord of the universe’ for a nine-day sojourn to the Gundhicha Temple.

Scores of dancers led the procession followed by cymbal players, buglers and drummers, encouraged the servitors carrying out the strenuous task of pulling the chariots, on which the three presiding deities of the Jagannath Temple were ensconced. Before they began, Puri Sankaracharaya Swami Nishalanda Saraswati had a darshan of the raths and offered prayers.

The chariots began rolling down the Grand Road one after another soon after Puri King Divyasingh Dao came in a decorated palanquin called “Mehana” and performed the “Chhera Pahanra” (cleaning the three chariots with a golden broom) ceremony.

The chariot carrying Devi Subhadra here was pulled exclusively by women, a tradition which has been observed for the past three decades.

As a special security arrangement, bomb disposal units, dog squad, snippers, long range movie cameras, besides, closed circuit TVs were deployed in the holy city to face any eventuality during the festival.

The chariots finally began to roll at around 2.30 pm as the crowd eagerly pulled the long ropes attached to the temporary wooden vehicles.

Sadhus clad in saffron and foreigners, members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), were conspicuous by their presence in 
the crowd.

People occupied every available space on the roofs and balconies of buildings on both sides of the road to witness the proceedings.

As non-Hindus are prohibited from entering the temple, this is an occasion when people from different religions have an opportunity to have a glimpse of the deities outside the shrine, ‘sevayats’ said.

The deities, who are treated as humans, had made an appearance before the devotees on the occasion of “Naba Jauban or “Netrotsav” only yesterday after remaining in seclusion for a fortnight.

After being bathed with 108 pots of water on the occasion of “Snan Yatra” on June 11, the deities, as per temple tradition, are believed to have fallen sick and were confined to the “Anasar Ghar” (sick chamber) since then.

Tribal priests known as “daitas” remained in charge of the deities offering them fruit and water mixed with cheese. A “Raj Vaidya” (physician) treated the deities as they recuperated.

The temple doors remained shut for all these days before it was thrown open yesterday to allow devotees to have “Darshan” of the deities in “Naba Jouban” attire.

Rath yatra is also being held today in many places of Orissa, including Baripada, Kendrapara, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Koraput and Parlakhemundi. — PTI

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Yatra stalled

Bhavnagar, June 27
The rath yatra, which began from Bhagawaneshwar Temple in the city this morning, was stalled for over an hour after the organisers of the yatra protested against the administration’s move to ban ‘lathis’ (baton) from the yatra.

Police officials overseeing security arrangements along the yatra prevented gymnasts and wrestlers from local ‘akhadas’ (clubs) from weilding batons during the yatra.

Citing security reasons, they took away the batons used by the gymnasts performing enroute, police said.

The organisers of the yatra objected to this move and halted the yatra near a women’s college, just 500 metres away from the temple.

The organisers said yatra would proceed only after the administration gave permission to the carry batons. — PTI

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Crisis of governance feeding Naxalism, says Ved Marwah

New Delhi, June 27
More than the lack of development, Naxalism is thriving due to a “crisis of governance’’ where the political will to tackle the menace is “lacking’’, feel experts.
According to them, the oft-given excuse of underdevelopment to explain the reason for growing insurgency is nothing but an ‘’alibi for inaction’’.

At a discussion on ‘Left Wing Extremism’ here last evening, former Manipur Governor Ved Marwah said nearly one, fourth of the country’s area was afflicted by the menace ‘‘where no government writ holds good’’ and hence, talking of eight-nine per cent growth was “misplaced and grotesque’’.

“Some misconceptions that Naxalism was a political problem and needed a political solution, that democracy was their ultimate goal and that their ideology was the core obstacle in negotiations were grossly off the mark,’’ he said.

Questioning the government’s sincerity in solving the problem through regular funding of tribal areas in the past 50-odd years,MrI.T .Roy asked “where 
had all the thousands of crores gone ?”

“How many teachers, patwaris and other officers from the tribal areas have been inducted and how many of them actually have a say in local governance?,’’ he wondered.

The heart of the crisis lies in the 'type of governance'. The truth is divorced from the government claims of development and progress, he said adding ''The poor and the downtrodden are being further marginalised with the new policies which stress on creation of wealth and not addressing the problem of poverty alleviation. They just don't feel the role of the governance,'' he said.

Decentralisation of governance could help solve the problem as local solutions for local problems were the key to the uplift of a particular area, Mr Roy said.

Talking about tackling the menace, former Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police H J Dora said the police was ''ill equipped'' to tackle the menace. Besides the right type of training and equipment needed for it, proper communication channels, adequate numbers and field craft and above all the motivation needed for it was lacking.

''Small trained groups and not platoons were required to handle emergency situations and instant needs,'' Mr Dora said.

Also, there was a lack of a clear policy on surrender, despite the fact that a number of insurgents were willing to lay down their arms. ''Surrender affects the morale of the group and it should be used effectively,'' he said.

''The problem could be solved provided the will was there,'' Mr Dora added.

Summing up, Mr Marwah said a change in the mindset and political will were vital to addressing the issue.

''While the need for a negotiated settlement could not be denied, a soft approach would not help as the methods used by them were not welcome in a democratic set-up,'' Mr Marwah said.

''Howsoever imperfect our democracy may be, it was better than the socalled people's government the Naxals propose. The problem could be solved if we were serious about it and keep off the masterly inaction,'' he added.

''The twin strategy of first containing violence and then pushing development in those areas could help,'' he said.—UNI

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JD (U) MLA arrested, gets bail

Patna, June 27
Ruling JD (U) MLA Sunil Pandey, charged with creating ugly scenes at a posh hotel and threatening mediapersons, was arrested from his official residence here.
A team of Gandhi Maidan police station, where the FIR was lodged against the MLA, arrested him from his Bailey Road bungalow last night, but released him subsequently on bail, Senior Superintendent of Police Kundan Krishnan said today.

The SSP said the case registered against the MLA was bailable and he was released on bail after the completion of legal formalities. The hotel management had not lodged any complaint against the MLA and the police had registered the FIR on their own.

Pandey, the legislator from Piro in Bhojpur district whose name was linked to the kidnapping of neuro-surgeon Ramesh Chandra last year, stayed with his wife in the hotel without making any entry in the register.

When mediamen sought his reaction, a furious Pandey, apparently in an inebriated condition, threatened to shoot them. Pandey was creating scenes at the hotel, which was recorded by TV channels, at a time when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was present in the hotel in connection with some official function. — PTI

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BPO worker siphons off Rs 1.5 cr from clients’ accounts
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 27
India’s Information Technology capital has now also been tainted with a scandal involving defrauding London-based HSBC customers of 233,000 pounds (Rs 1.5 crore).

The scandal is the third in the line of controversies which have marked the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country.

In June this year, a Gurgaon-based call centre employee was charged with selling confidential data, while in April 2005, five employees of the BPO wing of Mphasis were arrested for defrauding 20 New York-based Citibank account holders. The crime has been registered under Sections 66 and 72 of the Information Technology Act read with 408, 468 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

The alleged fraudster—Nadeem Kashmiri— against whom the HSBC Electronic Data Processing India Private Limited (HDPI) had lodged a complaint in the Cyber City Police Station on June 22, has been arrested by the police today. Nadeem is accused of ‘‘accessing personal information, security information and debit card’’ of some of its customers in the United Kingdom. He is alleged to have passed on the information to his “co-fraudsters” who conducted fraudulent transactions through ATMs, credit cards and telephone banking services at his behest.

Bank officials, while talking to TNS, said the fraud had come to light when 20 customers of its branch in London claimed that money amounting about £ 2,33,000 had been transferred from their accounts between March and May this year through ATM, debit card and telephone banking services without their authorisation or knowledge.

An internal inquiry conducted by the bank revealed that Nadeem had accessed the customers’ account without logging his access on the front end of the business application as is the normal procedure. Nadeem changed the personal information, security information as well as the debit card information which he then passed on to his accomplices. His accomplices in turn cleared the procedural security requirements and asked him for the balance information. Following this they conducted the fraudulent transactions.

In another revelation which is set to question the recruitment practices of the BPO industry, it has come to light that Nadeem did not give correct facts prior to joining HSBC-HDPI. He did not disclose that he had earlier worked with another BPO firm Accenture and gave false references for conducting reference checks.

Scrutiny of back end system logs of the BPO firm have revealed that Nadeem started accessing customers ’ accounts unauthorisedly from the day he joined the company in February this year. These logs have now been handed over to the police.

Earlier in June this year, a reporter of the Sun tabloid had claimed that he has purchased bank account details of nearly 1,000 Britons for about $ 5.50 each from an employee of Infinity E-Search, a BPO functioning from Gurgaon, following a sting operation. In April, 2005 five employees of MsourcE, the BPO wing of MphasiS, were arrested for allegedly defrauding New York- based Citibank account holders of nearly 
$ 425,000. 

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YUVA for ‘victory on AIDS’ launched
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
More than two crore volunteers will travel to different parts of the country to spread AIDS awareness as a part of the Youth Unite for Victory on AIDS (YUVA).
YUVA, a nationwide programme, was launched in the Capital today by Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. It will be conducted by various youth organisations under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Under the effort, more than 2.2 crore volunteers from seven youth organisations will travel to different corners of the country in buses called “youth caravan” to spread awareness about the disease.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shekhawat said awareness and information were keys to stop the spread of AIDS. “I am sure the campaign will make people aware about how to prevent the disease,” he added.

In the first part of the campaign, a two-day conference began here today to discuss the implementation plan and strategy of YUVA. The programme will eventually be launched at the state, district and panchayat levels in the second phase starting on August 9.

As per Union Youth Affairs, Sports and Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, though the country had more HIV-infected patients than any other country, 99 per cent of Indians were HIV-free. “This gives us hope about the future,” he added. An interactive series of quiz shows on AIDS, which will be shown on television, along with internet and print versions, has also been planned as a part of the programme.

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7 of family get life term for killing bride

Varanasi, June 27
A court here has sentenced seven persons, including the husband, father and mother-in-laws of a woman, to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of burning her to death for failing to get dowry and thereafter throwing her body into a well two years ago.

Additional Session Judge U.C. Pandey pronounced the order yesterday sentencing Kiran’s hunsband Jai Shankar, his parents Gaya Prasad and Sursati and four other relatives to the life term after finding all seven of them guilty in the case.

According to the prosecution, Kiran was set on fire and her body thrown in a well by her in-laws family on December 30, 2004, at Jitapur village after her parents had failed to give a colour television and motor cycle in dowry. — PTI

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Four of family gunned down

Biharsharif, June 27
Four members of a Dalit family were gunned down by unidentified persons at Srinagar in Bihar’s Nalanda district, Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar said today.
Around 25 gunmen arrived at the village last night and shot dead Rajmani Devi, Sania Kumari, Laxmi Kumari and Rajan Manjhi, all members of the same family, the SP said.

Dispute over a piece of land was stated to be the reason behind the killings, Mr Kumar said. Patrolling was intensified as tension prevailed in the area.

The district administration announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased following directive of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. — PTI

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