SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Left punches holes in N-deal
New Delhi, July 23
The much-hailed Indo-US civilian nuclear deal could come under severe attack in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning tomorrow with Left parties raising several objections to the changes being proposed by the American Congress and the Senate, which aims to undermine the country’s national interest and sovereignty.
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has a meeting with leaders of different political parties on the eve of the monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has a meeting with leaders of different political parties on the eve of the monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi on Sunday.
— PTI photo

Madarsas not centres of terrorism: Patil
New Delhi, July 23
Giving a clean chit to Islamic madarsas, often accused of being the breeding ground of militancy, the government today said these religious seminaries were not centres of terrorism.



EARLIER STORIES


Another bomb scare in Delhi
New Delhi, July 23
A packed multiplex in West Delhi was today evacuated and scoured by bomb disposal squads after the police received a telephone call about explosives planted in the complex that later turned out to be hoax.

A cop uses a sniffer dog following a phone call of a bomb planted inside a multiplex in New Delhi on Sunday. The call was later found to be a hoax. — PTI photo

Unprecedented security around Parliament
New Delhi, July 23
Concerned over threat to Parliament and VVIPs after the Mumbai blasts, the security agencies have made unprecedented security arrangements as the monsoon session is starting from tomorrow.
A cop uses a sniffer dog following a phone call of a bomb planted inside a multiplex in New Delhi

Top Maoist leader gunned down
Hyderabad, July 23
The Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh today suffered a major blow when state secretary of the CPI (Maoist) Madhav was killed in a gunbattle along with seven other Maoist guerrillas.

SC cancels Punjab resident’s pension
New Delhi, July 23
Freedom fighters pension rules have to be followed by authorities in letter and spirit so that no undeserving person got it and lowered the honour of those who had fought for the country’s independence, the Supreme Court has held the above, while canceling the pension to a person from Punjab.

Jaswant’s book embarrasses BJP
New Delhi, July 23
“Call to honour” of former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh is turning out to be a “matter of honour” for the BJP. The BJP leadership appears to be at loss to take even a note of the book of Mr Jaswant Singh who served as Minister of Finance and External Affairs for six years in the NDA government.

Lalu to find place in Harvard curriculum
Patna, July 23
His detractors may think of him as a spent force after his defeat in the Assembly poll in Bihar held last year. Some more hardcore detractors may call him a “joker” for his quotable quotes.

Army to get Brahmos by Sept
New Delhi, July 23
The Indian Army hopes to become the first force in the world to field supersonic cruise missiles by operationalising the Indo-Russian 290-km range Brahmos surface-to-surface missile by September next year.

Ships with 900 evacuees to reach today
New Delhi, July 23
The body of Indian Debesh Kumar Swain, who died in South Lebanon, will be brought to Delhi tomorrow morning while ships carrying 900 Indian evacuees would reach Mumbai and Chennai by tomorrow evening.

Boy beaten to death by teacher
Godhra, July 23
In yet another case of corporal punishment turning fatal, a 13-yr-old boy, a village watchman’s son, was allegedly beaten to death by his teacher. According to an FIR lodged by the student’s father at the Lunawada police station, the teacher of Viraniya Middle School at village Bhayasan, Praful Patel, asked a question to Pravin Pameshbhai.

AIDS patient kills self, two daughters
Allahabad, July 23
A woman, suffering from AIDS, committed suicide last evening along with her two minor daughters in Bagdaha Hawasabad village under the Phoolpur police station by consuming Celphos.

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Left punches holes in N-deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
The much-hailed Indo-US civilian nuclear deal could come under severe attack in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning tomorrow with Left parties raising several objections to the changes being proposed by the American Congress and the Senate, which aims to undermine the country’s national interest and sovereignty.

“This deal will not lift the existing embargoes on technology, will keep Indian foreign policy a permanent hostage to the US and impose a host of discriminatory restrictions on the Indian nuclear programme. In its current form, the deal will not be acceptable to Indians,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said today.

He said the nuclear deal was above partisan party politics and the Left parties would reach out to other political parties to evolve a consensus on the issue and pave the way for Parliament to set out parameters on the basis of which such cooperation agreements could be reached.

The sentiment of Parliament on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) restricted the government’s action, he added.

Karat, expressing apprehension over the way the agreement was negotiated with the USA, said Washington had brought in “new issues, reciprocity and sequencing that had gone beyond what was first stated by the Prime Minister in Parliament.”

He said the two versions of the Bill as drafted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, that were to be reconciled with each other prior to being passed, contained provisions which were not only a clear departure from the understanding contained in the Manmohan Singh-Bush agreement of July 18, 2005, and the Separation Plan tabled in Parliament, but also seek to permanently lock India's foreign policy to the US requirements and subject its scientific research and development capabilities to intrusive inspections by the IAEA and even American inspectors.

He said the agreement would not only put our independent foreign policy under pressure, but also tighten the screws on the Indian nuclear civilian R&D and strategic programmes.

He asked what the country gained by such a deal—a maximum of 10,000 MW of installed capacity by 2015 by this nuclear route as indicated by the Planning Commission’s figures.

“In energy terms, the percentage is even smaller, a meagre 2-3 per cent of our energy needs will be met by nuclear energy as against 40-45 per cent from the hydrocarbon route. In purely energy terms, giving up the cheap Iran gas route to invest in much more expensive nuclear power, makes little economic sense,” he pointed out.

Incidentally, Manmohan Singh himself had expressed apprehension over the fate of the nuclear deal during his meeting with US President George Bush on the sidelines of the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg. He was assured that the parameters laid down in the July 18 statement, the Indian separation plan, and the statement of March 2, 2006, would be the guiding factors in the final shape of the legislation that US Congress would adopt.

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Madarsas not centres of terrorism: Patil

New Delhi, July 23
Giving a clean chit to Islamic madarsas, often accused of being the breeding ground of militancy, the government today said these religious seminaries were not centres of terrorism.

“We believe that Islamic madarsas are seats of social service. They are not the centre of terrorism,” Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil told a symposium here.

“Some violent incidents have taken place in the recent past — in Varanasi, Jama Masjid and in Delhi. Someone must have done that. They will definitely get punishment. But for that it is wrong to blame the entire community. It is wrong and we will not allow that to happen,” he said.

Participating as the chief guest at the symposium on “Are madarsas viable seats of social service or breeding ground of terrorism”, Mr Patil said madarsas, where knowledge of humanism was being imparted and where human values were being taught, could only be termed as “servants of humanity”.

“We are not ready to accept that they are the breeding ground of terrorism. We don’t accept that. And keeping this in mind, our government will go ahead and work,” he said.

Referring to the recent Mumbai blasts, where nearly 200 people lost their lives, Mr Patil said vested interests were trying to break the social fabric, communal harmony and brotherhood, which the government would not allow.

“Fortunately, a majority of people in our country as well as in our neighbouring countries want peace,” he said.

Lauding the key role played by madarsas in imparting education to a vast section of people, Mr Patil said the government appreciated the significant contribution being made by Islamic seminaries in eradicating illiteracy and spreading the message of human values and unity in society.

“I know that madarsas are doing excellent work. Our leader Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and our government know that. There should not be any doubt on that and there should not be any apprehension,” he said.

Mr Patil, however, appealed to the authorities of the seminaries to keep a vigil on their wards to find out if they “strayed away” from the path of religious education and to bring them back to the right path.

Observing that many innocent Hindus and Muslims have lost their lives in recent violent incidents in different parts of the country, Mr Patil said the people should remember that many Hindus and Muslims helped each other immediately after these incidents. — PTI

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Another bomb scare in Delhi

New Delhi, July 23
A packed multiplex in West Delhi was today evacuated and scoured by bomb disposal squads after the police received a telephone call about explosives planted in the complex that later turned out to be hoax.

The alert was declared a hoax after a 90-minute search and two teenagers, were arrested for making the false call.

The police emptied the Satyam theatre complex in Patel Nagar at around 12:30 p.m., reviving bitter memories of the May 22 blasts last year at the multiplex which had injured several persons.

The complex, which was showing the Hindi movie, ‘Corporate’, was cleared off in an orderly fashion without much panic, senior police officials said here.

However, the search by bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs proved futile and the call was declared a hoax, Deputy Commissioner of Police Robin Hibu (West Delhi) told PTI here.

He said the call was traced to a public call office in nearby Ranjit Nagar and two persons working there were arrested.

Jitender (24) and Naeem (14) told the police that they were checking a faulty phone by dialing the police control room number and reported about the bomb just for fun. — PTI

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Unprecedented security around Parliament
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
Concerned over threat to Parliament and VVIPs after the Mumbai blasts, the security agencies have made unprecedented security arrangements as the monsoon session is starting from tomorrow.

“The security agencies cannot take any chance keeping in view the terror attack in Mumbai. All corners of Parliament, including its sanitation system, minor drains have also been thoroughly checked as some one can hide explosive there too,” a senior official of security agency told The Tribune today.

The sources said security agencies are putting more stress on patrolling after receiving threat of terror attack during the Parliament session. Duration of the patrolling had been increased. At the same time number of personnel in patrolling team had also been increased.

The entire surrounding of the Parliament and its periphery look like a fort.

Stress is also on the “verification of personnel on duty”, he said. A thorough watch is also being kept on all personnel on duty, irrespective of rank and file, he added.

Plaincloth securitymen have been deployed to check unwanted elements in the area. Sleuths are keeping vigil in sensitive areas of the Capital. All guesthouses, restaurant and hotels are being checked. Owners and managers of all the hotels have been directed to register all details of their guests.

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Top Maoist leader gunned down
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 23
The Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh today suffered a major blow when state secretary of the CPI (Maoist) Madhav was killed in a gunbattle along with seven other Maoist guerrillas.

The dead include four women militants. The encounter took place in Barabayalupenta village near Erragondapalem in the thick Nallamalla forests of Prakasam district, about 300 km south of here.

According to the police, the gunbattle started when the Grey Hounds, the anti-Naxal wing of the state police, while combing the forests came across a group of 35 Maoists holding a meeting. In the ensuing encounter, the Maoists opened fire and the police retaliated.

While eight bodies were recovered from the encounter site, the rest of the guerrillas managed to escape in the forests. Police forces launched a massive hunt for the armed militants on the run and sealed all exit routes.

The police recovered an AK-47 rifle, two 303 rifles, three double-barrelled guns, two single-barrelled guns and eight kit bags from the scene of the gunbattle.

Today’s encounter is the latest in a series of fierce exchanges recently in which the police has been able to gain an upper hand following intensive combing operations.

The death of Madhav, a top leader of the rebel outfit, is likely to deal another big jolt to the underground movement, which was already feeling the heat of intensive combing operations by police in the Nallamala forests.

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Six Maoists killed

Ongole, July 23
Six Maoists, including three women, belonging to the CPI (Maoist) group, were killed in an encounter with the police in the Nallmala forest areas of Erragodupallem Mandal in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh today.

The police sources said that during the combing operations a group of Maoists opened fire at the police party. The police returned the fire killing six Maoists on the spot. — UNI

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SC cancels Punjab resident’s pension
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 23
Freedom fighters pension rules have to be followed by authorities in letter and spirit so that no undeserving person got it and lowered the honour of those who had fought for the country’s independence, the Supreme Court has held the above, while canceling the pension to a person from Punjab.

“The genuine freedom fighters deserve to be treated with reverence, respect and honour. But at the same time it cannot be lost sight of those people who had no role to play in the freedom struggle,” a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta observed.

The court set aside a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court justifying the pension claim by Avtar Singh under the ‘Swtantrata Saiinik Samman Pension Scheme’, 1980 which was cancelled by the state government in December 2000 on the ground that the inquiry conducted by it had indicated that he had presented two versions about his imprisonment during the Quit India Movement.

In his affidavit before the Punjab Government the period of imprisonment was indicated to be from October 20, 1942 to October 20, 1993 by Avtar Singh but in another affidavit sent by him to the Union Government with an application, the jail duration period was stated to be between October 20, 1942 and August 15, 1943, the court said.

Avtar Singh, however, had admitted that he had indicated different versions in two applications but attributed it to his illiteracy. Besides, the authorities stated that another person who had certified Avtar Singh’s imprisonment as a co-prisoner, was “black listed” by the government for not being a genuine freedom fighter, the court said.

On these backgrounds the Punjab Government had challenged the High Court order in the apex court with a view to maintain the “sanctity” of the Freedom Fighters’ Pension Scheme. The government stand was that the requirement of law as laid down for the grant of pension had to be fulfilled.

The court allowed the appeal, holding that the High Court was not justified in granting the relief to Avtar Singh as in his case the basic requirements of a certificate from jail authorities or record of his imprisonment was not filed. “On this score, the application was defective,” it ruled.

The apex court, however, clarified that the pension already paid to Avtar Singh “shall” not be recovered and if he was able to file “requisite authentic documents” with a fresh application, the same shall be duly considered by the government on merit without being influenced by the findings recorded in this case on factual position.

As per the guidelines for freedom fighters’ pension, a jail certificate is required to be submitted with the application about his imprisonment which should not be less than six months and if no such certificate was produced, Non-Availability Record Certificate from concerned authorities is to be submitted. In that case separate certificates about the claimant’s imprisonment by two co-prisoner clearly enumerating the category has be submitted to the authorities.

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Jaswant’s book embarrasses BJP
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
“Call to honour” of former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh is turning out to be a “matter of honour” for the BJP. The BJP leadership appears to be at loss to take even a note of the book of Mr Jaswant Singh who served as Minister of Finance and External Affairs for six years in the NDA government.

While party General Secretary Arun Jaitley avoided all questions on the book saying, “I haven’t read it”, another leader said, “Not only has Jaswant Singh caused embarrassment to the party by the timing of the book but he has also struck at the very root of the BJP”.

The party’s offensive against the UPA government in the coming monsoon session of Parliament has been blunted, an office bearer said as the treasury benches would launch a counter attack on the BJP by referring to controversial contents of the book.

“Could he have not timed the book in June when there was no story for the media”, a leader observed, adding, “The debate that the book has unleashed is just a beginning”.

“There is more to come as till now only the opposition and our rivals have reacted to the contents but the real punch is going to come from Sangh”, a senior leader, who has virtually retired from active politics, said.

“Jaswant’s observations on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah are bound to result in adverse reaction from the RSS”, he said.

A state leader’s suggestion to ban the book by the party was possibly an apt comment on the current state of thinking in the BJP.

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Lalu to find place in Harvard curriculum
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 23
His detractors may think of him as a spent force after his defeat in the Assembly poll in Bihar held last year. Some more hardcore detractors may call him a “joker” for his quotable quotes.

But senior officials of the Indian Railways are jubilant over the reported move by the prestigious Harvard Business School to include Mr Yadav’s success story in which he has effected a turnaround in the biggest ever public sector unit of India in its curriculum.

The fate of Indian Railways was virtually written off by the Rakesh Mohan Committee by terming it as a “white elephant”.

Even before the Harvard move, few prestigious IIMs in the country have already decided to make Mr Yadav’s success as Railways Minister a case study for posting a fund balance of Rs 11,280 crore in March 2006.

Against this backdrop, the move by the Harvard can just be considered as an addition of another feather to his cap.

Once Harvard finally decides to incorporate Indian Railways success story into its curriculum, the thrust would be on how a railway system under the jurisdiction of a coalition government could be put on the road to success.

Sources further disclosed that a former faculty member of Harvard was also scheduled to visit India later this year to study the Railways model.

A senior congress leader of Bihar, who refused to be identified, said with Mr Yadav succeeding in bringing back the Railways on track, it was likely to help the economist-turned-Prime Minister to tackle in a more balanced manner the pulls and pressures from his pro-active reformist Finance Minister and the Opposition.

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Army to get Brahmos by Sept

New Delhi, July 23
The Indian Army hopes to become the first force in the world to field supersonic cruise missiles by operationalising the Indo-Russian 290-km range Brahmos surface-to-surface missile by September next year.

The Army has given its go-ahead for production of the land version. Army chief General J J Singh was present when the surface-to-surface version of the missile was successfully test-fired at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan.

All three trials of the missile to test its range and accuracy have been highly successful and the Army has already sent artillery officers to Hyderabad for training to operate Brahmos, a highly placed defence source said.

When raised, the new Brahmos missile units would be the third such missile formations in the country. The Army, under its lone 40th Artillery Division has already raised specialised groups to operate short-range 150-300 km Prithvi missile and longer range Agni-I (700 kms) and Agni-II (1,500-2,500 km).

Brahmos’ biggest advantage, according to missile experts, is that if produced in large numbers it could tilt the conventional arms balance between India and Pakistan. — PTI

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Ships with 900 evacuees to reach today

New Delhi, July 23
The body of Indian Debesh Kumar Swain, who died in South Lebanon, will be brought to Delhi tomorrow morning while ships carrying 900 Indian evacuees would reach Mumbai and Chennai by tomorrow evening.

An official spokesman said here today that the body of Swain was being brought to Delhi by Flight No RB 501 of Syrian Airways at 0700hrs tomorrow and then would be taken to Bhubaneswar.

The ships carrying the evacuee Indian Nationals, around 900, were expected to reach Cyprus in the early hours tomorrow and thereafter two aircraft were to carry these evacuees to Chennai and Mumbai and were expected to reach there by tomorrow evening. — UNI

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Boy beaten to death by teacher

Godhra, July 23
In yet another case of corporal punishment turning fatal, a 13-yr-old boy, a village watchman’s son, was allegedly beaten to death by his teacher.

According to an FIR lodged by the student’s father at the Lunawada police station, the teacher of Viraniya Middle School at village Bhayasan, Praful Patel, asked a question to Pravin Pameshbhai. Unable to answer, the boy was allegedly beaten till he fell unconscious.

The police said the incident took place on July 19. The boy was admitted to Government Cottage Hospital where he succumbed to injuries. The body was sent for post-mortem.

Lunawada Police Sub-Inspector M D Puwar lodged a complaint against the teacher under Section 302 of the IPC and other charges today, after a post-mortem report confirmed the death due to flogging. — UNI

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AIDS patient kills self, two daughters

Allahabad, July 23
A woman, suffering from AIDS, committed suicide last evening along with her two minor daughters in Bagdaha Hawasabad village under the Phoolpur police station by consuming Celphos.

According to reports, Meera's husband Subhash Chandra Dube had contracted AIDS when he had gone to Mumbai few years ago in connection with his work. Meera also became the victim of AIDS there after.

Her husband died the disease three years ago. Her father-in-law also died after sometime. There were no means of livelihood with her. The villagers had also boycotted her and she was living along with her three minor children. — UNI

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