SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

India’s no to British Harriers
New Delhi, October 14
The Indian Navy has declined to buy eight British Sea Harrier FA/2 fighter jets that were phased out of the Royal Navy in March this year. According to a report in the October issue of the defence magazine India Strategic, the eight Harriers, which were also the last to serve the Royal Navy, were on offer but without some vital components like missiles and Blue Vixen fire control radar.

Death to Afzal: Farooq fears threat to judges
New Delhi, October 14
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is opposed to the execution of Mohammad Afzal, has said the death penalty for the Parliament terror attack convict is “far too extreme” and feared for the life of the judges who had sentenced him.

Justice eludes gang-rape victims
Lucknow, October 14
Exactly a year has elapsed since the gruesome incident on October 15, 2005, when a daughter-mother duo was gang-raped amidst the frenzy of the Mau communal riots. Handing over the case to the CBI, the Allahabad High Court had declared, “It is not possible to expect a fair and impartial investigation by the present prosecuting agency”.



EARLIER STORIES


DGP Kiran Bedi is welcomed on her arrival for the inaugural function of the CRPF Annual Welfare Exhibition-2006, in New Delhi
DGP Kiran Bedi is welcomed on her arrival for the inaugural function of the CRPF Annual Welfare Exhibition-2006, in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI

Alexander concerned over pendency of RTI cases
New Delhi, October 14
Four major measures to improve the implementation of the Right to Information Act, were today suggested by Rajya Sabha member P.C. Alexander. In his keynote address on the second day of the RTI Convention here, he said there was a necessity to give a personal hearing to the appellants before the Commission.

Centre to meet states on quota issue
New Delhi, October 14
The government finds itself on a sticky wicket in implementing quota in unaided institutions of higher education. With three cases pending in courts against the decision to include unaided institutions in the quota ambit, the process is all set to become a long-drawn battle.

3 booked in drive against corrupt officials
Patna, October 14
In what appeared to be on the lines of his promise to provide a “corruption free” administration, the Nitish government conducted raids all day long yesterday in different parts of the state and booked a District Magistrate, a Assistant Commissioner and an officer in charge on bribery charges.

Gujarat HC verdict: BJP seeks Lalu’s dismissal
New Delhi, October 14
In an obvious indication about its plans to rake up a political hue and cry over the Gujarat High Court’s verdict, terming the Centre-appointed Justice U. C. Banerjee Godhra probe panel as “unconstitutional”, the BJP today said it would wait for a couple of days if Railway Minister Lalu Prasad would be dismissed by Prime Minister Mohan Singh if the former doesn’t quit on his own.

SC nod to genetic trials on mustard
New Delhi, October 14
The Supreme Court, which had restrained the Genetic Engineering Authorising Committee from permitting any field trials on any crop earlier in the wake of apprehensions of dangerous genes polluting the environment and causing damage to traditional varieties of crops in the country, has permitted Delhi University to experiment on mustard.

Death of Kashmiri youth being probed
New Delhi, October 14
The Delhi Police has registered a case and launched an investigation into the murder of a Kashmiri youth, Irshad Ahmed Lone, in the Capital recently, an official spokesperson said today.

8 children killed in accident
Dehradun, October 14
Eight students were killed on the spot of the accident and several others injured today when a school bus fell into a gorge in Simli area of Chamoli district of Uttaranchal, Deputy Inspector General of police, Garhwal, R.S. Meena said.

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India’s no to British Harriers
Gulshan Luthra

New Delhi, October 14
The Indian Navy has declined to buy eight British Sea Harrier FA/2 fighter jets that were phased out of the Royal Navy in March this year.

According to a report in the October issue of the defence magazine India Strategic, the eight Harriers, which were also the last to serve the Royal Navy, were on offer but without some vital components like missiles and the Blue Vixen fire control radar. The prime consideration was to use them to train pilots and to fill in the gaps caused by the loss of six Harriers in the Indian Navy due to accidents spread over more than 20 years.

Indian Navy pilots and Defence Ministry representatives inspected and assessed the aircraft for technical and financial evaluation but it was decided not to go in for them as the jets needed considerable expense in upgrading their avionics and arming them.

Published reports indicate that India has 22 Sea Harriers, 16 of them being the FRS/51 fighter version. They are to be gradually replaced by MiG-29K aircraft, some 40 to 50 of which are likely to be acquired from Russia.

India has already contracted to buy 16 MiG-29Ks as part of the deal with Russia to acquire the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, but more such aircraft would be needed as the Indian Navy grows to its required size and capability.

As for the Royal Navy Harriers, the Indian Navy was initially enthusiastic, but then felt that "devoid of their offensive systems, they wouldn't be of much use". For training "the navy is already considering either the BAe Hawks or Boeing/BAe Goshawks", a source said.

Indian Navy pilots are now being given advanced carrier takeoff and landing training at the US Navy's Pensacola facility to prepare them for the arrival of Gorshkov and MiG-29Ks. — IANS

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Death to Afzal: Farooq fears threat to judges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 14
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is opposed to the execution of Mohammad Afzal, has said the death penalty for the Parliament terror attack convict is “far too extreme” and feared for the life of the judges who had sentenced him.

Mr Abdullah told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme that If Afzal was hanged “Some crook will come and murder the judges”. He claimed that India would “go up in flames”. He feared that if as a result the peace process collapsed General Musharraf might be “thrown out” by the Pakistan Army.

During the half-an-hour interview, which would be broadcast on Sunday, Mr Abdullah initially said Afzal was innocent but later said the sentence was “too harsh”.

Mr Abdullah said Afzal was innocent but it could not be proved because the lower court turned down his request for appointment of a lawyer for his defence.

He maintained if Afzal had got the right lawyer in the lower court his case would have been proved that he was not directly involved. He maintained that the Supreme Court judges were “also fallible” and the evidence put forward by the police “is not absolutely infallible”.

Later in the interview, the former Chief Minister said, “The judges have analysed the evidence put

forward before them but the sentence passed by them is too extreme. Too harsh”.

Asked whether Afzal was no longer innocent and had be rightly convicted, but the sentencing was wrong, he replied “yes, wrong.”

“You want to hang him? Go ahead and hang him. But the consequences of hanging him must also be remembered. One of the consequences will be.....we have paid the price of Maqbool Butt’s hanging by the judge, who was shot in Kashmir. Those judges will need to be protected like anything.

“Some crook will come and will murder them. So my request is, for God’s sake, see that they are protected like anything. Some crook will come and will murder them,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

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Justice eludes gang-rape victims
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 14
Exactly a year has elapsed since the gruesome incident on October 15, 2005, when a daughter-mother duo was gang-raped amidst the frenzy of the Mau communal riots. Handing over the case to the CBI, the Allahabad High Court had declared, “It is not possible to expect a fair and impartial investigation by the present prosecuting agency”.

Mr Justice Barkat Ali Zaidi in an order on September 21, 2006, had observed, “It seems the order of the High Court passed earlier, as noted above (order of March 30) has had no effect on the prosecuting agency and the Superintendent of Police, Mau, seems to have ignored the same”.

Severely indicting the investigating agency, the order further says, “In these circumstances, it is not possible to expect a fair and impartial investigation by the present prosecuting agency and it is necessary in the ends of justice that the matter be entrusted to a more responsible and independent agency so that justice may not be scuttled”.

The SP of Mau had been directed to “take steps for the protection of the two applicants and their family members, until the proceedings terminate”.

Mr Justice Zaidi’s order had also reproduced the earlier High Court order by Mr Justice Vinod Prasad of March 30, 2005, on petition No. 3310 of year 2006 in which the 15-year-old applicant had charged the investigating officer of conniving with the accused and trying to protect them by not recording her statement under Section 164 of the Cr P.C.

Nothing happened and six months later Mr Justice Zaidi in the strongly worded six-page order notes that in the FIR “names of persons who committed the carnage have been specially enumerated but till today after a lapse of 9 months only one person out of 15 has been arrested”.

Another 23 days had passed since Mr Justice Zaidi’s order yet the CBI had not started its investigation. The Director, CBI, had been asked to submit a progress report to the High Court “after 60 days so that this court may monitor the progress”.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mau SP Ashutosh Kumar, who took over charge barely a month ago, said the CBI team was expected to visit Mau on October 16. According to the SP, the survivors had been provided police protection as ordered by the latest High Court order. “We have placed women constables there”, he informed.

The FIR in the case was lodged by a Class X survivor of the gang rape. A resident of Mohalla Rahzania under Koatwali police station of Mau, in the FIR she had narrated the sequence of events of that fateful afternoon of October 15 when a mob of around 100 persons armed with knives, lathis and hockeys on a looting and burning spree gang-raped her and her mother.

When some of the rioters were going to kill the father, the mother fell over her husband requesting the rioters to spare him. However, the rioters not only hit the mother with an iron rod, but also they fractured the leg of the father with a hockey, brutally beat up the brother and tore off the clothes of the applicant.

Then eight persons “had forcible intercourse” with the 15-year-old girl “under threats of killing her”.

The FIR lists them as Sudarshan of Chhoti Rahzania, Chhotey Lal, Manoj of Bari Rahzania, Ram Prasad, Om Chandra, Budh Ram, Ram Chandra of Mohalla Nawapura Ali Nagar and Triveni Sunar of Munshi Pura.

Later, the FIR continues, seven persons gang-raped the crying mother before the very eyes of the 15-year-old. The culprits had not only been named in the FIR but also been described by their profession.

They are Rajesh, driver of Badi Kamharia, Kedar of Navapura line, Khadthu of Badi Kamaria, who owns a floor mill in Ali Nagar, Prahlad of Ali Nagar, who installs pumping machines, Nagal of Navapura, who runs a tea and pakauri shop, Dr Pintoo Kumar of Navapura Ali Nagar, who runs a clinic, and Rabhu Nath Chauhan of Kamharia.

A year has gone by. Despite two High Court orders justice still eludes the mother and daughter, who dared to raise their voice.

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Alexander concerned over pendency of RTI cases
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 14
Four major measures to improve the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, were today suggested by Rajya Sabha member P.C. Alexander.

In his keynote address on the second day of the RTI Convention here, he said there was a necessity to give a personal hearing to the appellants before the Commission. “It is the fundamental right of the appellant to be heard even if the case is decided in his favour.”

Expressing concern over the high rate of pendency of cases in all Information Commissions, both at the National and State level, Dr Alexander indicated that the Commissions should have full logistic support in terms of finance and administration. “There is a provision of ten Commissioners being posted in each Commission which needs to be considered.

Pointing out that one year has gone by in the implementation of the RTI Act, he suggested that penalty must be given for wilful disobedience or offence under the Act. It is only then that the Act would be strengthened.

Dr Alexander pointed out that there was a lot of misuse at the state level about fiduciary relationship in the RTI Act. It needs to clearly define as to what was private information.

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Centre to meet states on quota issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 14
The government finds itself on a sticky wicket in implementing quota in unaided institutions of higher education.

With three cases pending in courts against the decision to include unaided institutions in the quota ambit, the process is all set to become a long-drawn battle.

The Centre has been forced to call a meeting of Chief Ministers on October 19 and 20.

While there is political consensus on the issue, a small percentage of unaided institutions has agreed to comply with the policy, but others are opposed to it, say sources.

With no political faction ready to oppose quota, the Bill on reservation that will be placed in the winter session of Parliament is expected to be passed without opposition.

The government is hopeful that the meeting with Chief Ministers will throw up some solutions, the sources say.

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3 booked in drive against corrupt officials
Tribune News Service

Patna, October 14
In what appeared to be on the lines of his promise to provide a “corruption free” administration, the Nitish government conducted raids all day long yesterday in different parts of the state and booked a District Magistrate, a Assistant Commissioner and an officer in charge on bribery charges.

The move came close to the decision already taken by the state government to appoint retired CBI officials on contract to strengthen the vigilance bureau to step up its drive against corruption.

The District Magistrate of Madhepura H.C. Jha was held by the state vigilance department while on his way to Patna to attend a two-day seminar on “Speedy criminal justice” which began today.

Acting on a tip off, a team of police and vigilance officials intercepted the official vehicle of Mr Jha at Malsalami police station near Patna in the evening and subsequently recovered cash amounting to Rs 1.9 lakh from a bag and Rs 25,000 from his pocket.

The team also raided his house till late night on Friday and interrogated him for hours.

The Additional Director-General Vigilance Neelmani told the media that a case of disproportionate assets has been registered against Mr Jha. The arrested DM was also produced before the special vigilance Judge today.

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Gujarat HC verdict: BJP seeks Lalu’s dismissal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 14
In an obvious indication about its plans to rake up a political hue and cry over the Gujarat High Court’s verdict, terming the Centre-appointed Justice U. C. Banerjee Godhra probe panel as “unconstitutional”, the BJP today said it would wait for a couple of days if Railway Minister Lalu Prasad would be dismissed by Prime Minister Mohan Singh if the former doesn’t quit on his own.

“The court was clear that the interim report of former Supreme Court Judge U. C. Banerjee Committee appointed by Mr Yadav ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections was “colourable exercise and mala fide action” 31 months after the Justice Nanavati Commission was appointed to go into the issue,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told newspersons here.

Reiterating the party’s demand for the dismissal of Mr Yadav for using a former judge to further his political agenda and playing with the basis tenets of federalism, Mr Javadekar alleged that the Gujarat High Court verdict was a big slap on the Congress-led UPA government.

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SC nod to genetic trials on mustard
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 14
The Supreme Court, which had restrained the Genetic Engineering Authorising Committee (GEAC) from permitting any field trials on any crop earlier in the wake of apprehensions of dangerous genes polluting the environment and causing damage to traditional varieties of crops in the country, has permitted Delhi University to experiment on mustard.

The interim permission was granted purely on experiment basis by the court with the condition that the university would take all precautions as mentioned by it in an application and would be subject to further order about uprooting of the plants grown for Genetically Modified Organism (GOM).

A three-judge Bench permitted the university to continue with the experiment after its counsel, P.P. Rao, gave an assurance that the plants being grown by it on a plot of 200 sq mtrs would be uprooted and destroyed after the experiment.

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Death of Kashmiri youth being probed
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, October 14
The Delhi Police has registered a case and launched an investigation into the murder of a Kashmiri youth, Irshad Ahmed Lone, in the Capital recently, an official spokesperson said today.

In reply to Jammu and Kashmir Government’s communication seeking investigation and a report into the killing of Lone, Delhi Police Commissioner K.K. Paul said a case of murder had been registered and thorough investigation launched.

“The injured, identified as Irshad Ahmed Lone of Srinagar, was found in an absolutely naked condition by the roadside in Delhi on October 8 morning by a passerby, who reported the matter to the police. At the time of his admission to a hospital in the Capital, he was alive and managed to give his phone number and also uttered Lal Chowk before succumbing to wounds,” Mr Paul wrote in his reply to the state government.

He said the case was initially registered under Section 308 of the IPC but later changed to 302, IPC, after his death. “The deceased used to stay in Gurgaon but had moved to Delhi on October 6. His presence in Delhi was confirmed through the telephone calls made by him to his relatives in Srinagar,” the Police Commissioner said.

Protests had erupted in Srinagar after the news of the death of Lone and when his body reached there. The murder was condemned by mainstream, separatist, social and other organisations.

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8 children killed in accident

Dehradun, October 14
Eight students were killed on the spot of the accident and several others injured today when a school bus fell into a gorge in Simli area of Chamoli district of Uttaranchal, Deputy Inspector General of police (DIG), Garhwal, R.S. Meena said.

Top district police and administrative officials have rushed to the spot for the rescue operation, he said.

The exact cause of the accident was not immediately known, he added. — PTI

 

 

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