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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

File affidavits on number plates,
SC directs states

New Delhi, November 25
In view of 19 states failing to submit their replies to the Supreme Court notices on the implementation of the high security number plate scheme for vehicles to prevent their misuse in terrorist activities, the state governments have been directed to file affidavits within four weeks.

SP leadership flays Governor’s role
Lucknow, November 25
Top Samajwadi Party leaders today did not mince words to criticise Governor T.V. Rajeswar for what they described as "meddling in the affairs of the state government".

Rajnath set to lead BJP again
New Delhi, November 25
BJP President Rajnath Singh is all set to get a renewed three-year term as the party president tomorrow. Mr Singh will file his nomination papers for the top party post tomorrow, the last day for filing nominations.

Dying declaration must be in mother
tongue: HC

Kolkata, November 25
The Calcutta High Court has ordered that a dying declaration should be recorded in the mother tongue as the utterances of a dying person could be changed while translating them into another language.





EARLIER STORIES


A NOBLE CAUSE

Iran's first Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi releases a book "The Place Where We Live is Called a Red-Light Area" during a press conference in New Delhi
Iran's first Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi releases a book "The Place Where We Live is Called a Red-Light Area" during a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI

Mumbai blasts: Verdict on Sanjay Dutt soon
Mumbai, November 25
The verdict in the case pertaining to the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts is drawing to a close with the fate of just 18 of 123 accused remaining to be decided. The most prominent among them is actor Sanjay Dutt whose fate, along with eight other accused, will be decided from Monday.

Bharti Yadav in India: lawyer
New Delhi, November 25
Ms Bharti Yadav, a key prosecution witness in the 2002 murder of Nitish Katara, has arrived in India from London, her lawyer confirmed Saturday. She reached Mumbai Friday night and would be present in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, lawyer Subhash Bhuttan said. In video (56k)

Garib Rath Express changes route
New Delhi, November 25
Ministry of Railways has decided to run the 2203/2204 Amritsar-Saharsa-Amritsar Garib Rath Express via Gorakhpur-Lucknow-Moradabad-New Delhi-Panipat-Ambala Cantt. The new route will come into effect from November 29 from Amritsar and from December 1 from Sahrasa.

Farewell
Bhai Avtar Singh
Singer par excellence
Bhai Avtar Singh ‘Raagi”, born at Saidpur in the erstwhile state of Kapurthala, passed away on November 24, 2006, after a brief illness in Delhi. He and his brother Bhai Gurcharan Singh were the sons of the legendary Sikh kirtania, Bhai Jawala Singh.

In Bihar village, women do what men could not
Patna, November 25
The Masoraha village of Bihar where 20 women have taken up farming as a full-time profession after their men of the village reportedly abandoned their farms. Officials in the Agriculture Department said it was one Shanti Devi who first began the revolution.

Suicides: Psychological counselling in IAF
New Delhi, November 25
The spate of suicides and fraticides in the armed forces, especially in the Army, has forced the Indian Air Force to start a new drive to provide its staff with psychological counselling so that they can adapt to severe working conditions.

Nitish to address IIM faculty
Patna, November 25
Soon after presenting a report card titled "Development with justice," upon completing one year in office yesterday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar left for Ahmedabad to address the IIM faculty there on the "turnaround of Bihar."

Left divided over Land Ceiling Bill
Kolkata, November 25
The state government’s decision on transfer of agricultural land to industrial groups has suffered a set back with its allies expressing opposition to the clause “any required hectares of agricultural land” in the proposed Land Ceiling Bill at a Left Front meeting yesterday.

Jet Air grounds Rahul's wife
Mumbai, November 25
Jet Airways has grounded its commander Shweta Singh, wife of Rahul Mahajan, following alleged violation of standard operating procedures during a Delhi-Hyderabad flight 9W-825 on November 16.

Video
Tamilnadu, Kerala dam row hits common man.
(56k)





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File affidavits on number plates, SC directs states
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 25
In view of 19 states failing to submit their replies to the Supreme Court notices on the implementation of the high security number plate (HSNP) scheme for vehicles to prevent their misuse in terrorist activities, the state governments have been directed to file affidavits within four weeks.

The issue had been brought before the court by former Youth Congress President M.S. Bitta almost two years ago seeking implementation of the HSNP scheme as the terrorist organisations were using fake registration numbers to deceive the security agencies.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, said though the notices were issued to all states, seeking their replies on the implementation of the scheme, which had been approved by the Union Home Ministry, majority of the states had not even responded.

The court said if the states failed to respond within the stipulated time, the Chief Secretary of each state “shall” explain the reasons for not responding to the notices and not implementing the HSNP scheme.

It pointed out that the implementation of the scheme was far necessary in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, infested either by militancy or Naxal violence.

Meghalya was the only state to implement the order and Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh were the few which though had initiated some action but not been able to implement it.

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SP leadership flays Governor’s role
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 25
Top Samajwadi Party leaders today did not mince words to criticise Governor T.V. Rajeswar for what they described as "meddling in the affairs of the state government".

A day after Raj Bhawan was used to display the Samajwadi Party's strength to the world, SP's top brass spewed venom against the Governor, Mr TV Rajeswar, and threatened to launch a movement for his dismissal if he continued to interfere in the running of the government.

Addressing a day-long special convention of its state unit, SP's leadership, including Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr Amar Singh, Mohammad Azam Khan, MPs Beni Prasad Verma, Gyaneswar Mishra, Ramgopal Yadav and many others addressed party workers at the Laxman Mela Maidan on the Banks of the Gomti.

Hinting at a major political upheaval if there was any move to topple his government, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav threatened: "If my government is dismissed, we will not let the government run in Delhi".

Despite a political polarisation against his government, Mr Yadav asserted that any conspiracy to topple his government would be thwarted, as according to him, "no party could win a poll with the help of Governor’s house".

Expressing concern over the way his party workers were involved in a factional fight in some districts, Mr Yadav called upon them to sink their petty differences to face the major political challenge that the Vidhan Sabha elections ahead presented.

Going a step further, SP national general secretary Amar Singh described the Governor as "a Goebbels sitting in Raj Bhawan".

Charging Mr Rajeswar of "churning out falsehood and repeating it end number of times before the media in a bid to make it appear as if it was the truth", Mr Singh drew a parallel between the Governor and the World War II Nazi intelligence chief.

Mr Singh said like Goebbels, Mr Rajeswar was also an intelligence officer and was spying on all political confabulations going on in UP".

Referring to the Governor's reported comments on the state’s ‘poor’ law and order situation, Mr Singh said he would, however, not succeed through this route as “the state government is extremely alert on that front”.

Member of Parliament Ramgopal Yadav cited the National Crime Record Bureau statistics to prove that Uttar Pradesh's law and order situation was much better than other states .

Threatening to organise a rally in Delhi to lobby for the Governor’s removal if he did not mend his ways, the party MP said despite facts to the contrary, the Governor seemed to have a different theory on the law and order front.

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Rajnath set to lead BJP again
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
BJP President Rajnath Singh is all set to get a renewed three-year term as the party president tomorrow.

Mr Singh will file his nomination papers for the top party post tomorrow, the last day for filing nominations. His re-election to the saffron party's top post appears to be a mere formality as he enjoys absolute backing of the top BJP leaders, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani.

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told The Tribune that since no contest was expected, the BJP's National Returning Office O.P. Kohli after scrutinising Mr Singh's nomination papers would declare the result.

The declaration of the result is expected by afternoon tomorrow, he said.

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Dying declaration must be in mother tongue: HC

Kolkata, November 25
The Calcutta High Court has ordered that a dying declaration should be recorded in the mother tongue as the utterances of a dying person could be changed while translating them into another language.

The dying declaration recorded in a language other than a person's mother tongue was not acceptable as evidence in a court of law, a Division Bench of Justices P N Sinha and P S Dutta said while acquitting a man sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly killing his wife.

The order was passed on Tuesday but a certified copy was available only yesterday.

Fatik Let was acquitted by the court after it observed that his illiterate wife's dying declaration was recorded in English in August, 1992.

The Court observed gross inconsistency in the separate dying declarations submitted by the doctors and said that people did not speak in any language other than their mother tongue in a dying stage. — PTI

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Mumbai blasts: Verdict on Sanjay Dutt soon
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 25
The verdict in the case pertaining to the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts is drawing to a close with the fate of just 18 of 123 accused remaining to be decided.

The most prominent among them is actor Sanjay Dutt whose fate, along with eight other accused, will be decided from Monday. Dutt's turn is most likely to come up on Tuesday.

Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said there were five charges against Sanjay Dutt. Those included conspiracy, illegal possession of arms and attempts to destroy evidence in connection with the blasts.

The judgements in the blasts case commenced on September 12. So far 83 accused have been found guilty and 22 acquitted in the case.

Judge Pramod Kode, who is expected to finish reading out the judgements on Wednesday, after which he will hear the appeals of those convicted.

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Bharti Yadav in India: lawyer

New Delhi, November 25
Ms Bharti Yadav, a key prosecution witness in the 2002 murder of Nitish Katara, has arrived in India from London, her lawyer confirmed Saturday.

She reached Mumbai Friday night and would be present in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, lawyer Subhash Bhuttan said.

"Yes, she is in India and we may meet her tomorrow (Sunday)," said Bhuttan.

"Since I had no knowledge of her presence in India on Friday, I refused to acknowledge some media reports." Bhuttan said: "She is definitely apprehensive of the developments in the case but not scared."

Speaking about the high court's refusal to entertain Ms Bharti's plea that Neelam Katara, the mother of Nitish Katara, should be kept away during Bharti's deposition, Bhuttan said: "We urge the court to keep away Neelam Katara so that my client does not feel any kind of apprehension."

Bharti's brother Vikas and cousin Vishal are the prime suspects in the murder of Nitish Katara as they reportedly objected to her relationship with him.

Katara was abducted on the night of February 16, 2002, from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and later murdered. Ms Bharti, daughter of politician D.P. Yadav, left India immediately after Nitish's murder. She has not appeared before the court since then despite repeated summons.

Asked if any security would be extended to Ms Bharti, the lawyer said: "We are not availing of any security and the court has already taken back its direction on this issue."

Meanwhile, Neelam Katara said Ms Bharti should not feel scared. "I don't think Bharti is against my presence in the court. I am sure she will reveal the truth.

"I am always confident of getting justice, and her arrival is a step forward in the right direction," Ms Katara said. — IANS

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Garib Rath Express changes route
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
Ministry of Railways has decided to run the 2203/2204 Amritsar-Saharsa-Amritsar Garib Rath Express via Gorakhpur-Lucknow-Moradabad-New Delhi-Panipat-Ambala Cantt.

The new route will come into effect from November 29 from Amritsar and from December 1 from Sahrasa. It will replace the present route of the train via Gorakhpur-Sitapur-Shahjahanpur-Moradabad-Saharanpur-Ambala Cantt.

Train number 2204 Amritsar-Saharsa Garib Rath Express train will depart from Amritsar every Wednesday and Sunday at 5.30 pm and reach New Delhi at 11.30 pm the same day. The train will depart from New Delhi at 11.40 pm to reach Saharsa at 9.30 pm the next day. The 2203 Saharsa-Amritsar Garib Rath Express train will depart from Saharsa on Tuesday and Friday at 6 am and reach New Delhi at 3.15 am the next day. The train will depart from New Delhi at 3.25 am to reach Amritsar at 9.30 am. the same day.

The air-conditioned Garib Rath Express train will stop at Beas, Jalandhar city, Ludhiana, Ambala Cantt, New Delhi, Moradabad, Bareilly, Lucknow, Barabanki, Gorakhpur, Siwan, Chhapra, Hajipur, Barauni and Khagaria stations en route in both directions.

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Farewell
Bhai Avtar Singh
Singer par excellence
Bhai Sikandar Singh

Bhai Avtar Singh
Bhai Avtar Singh

Bhai Avtar Singh ‘Raagi”, born at Saidpur in the erstwhile state of Kapurthala, passed away on November 24, 2006, after a brief illness in Delhi. He and his brother Bhai Gurcharan Singh were the sons of the legendary Sikh kirtania, Bhai Jawala Singh. They were the 11th-generation flag bearers of the original style of shabad singing of Sikh Gurus in the medieval Punjab.

The compositions they sang date back to the period of the gurus and some of them were sung note by note as the Gurus sang them. For 60 years they performed kirtan. They were accompanied by their nephew Bhai Swaran Singh, an accomplished artist of tabla.

Bhai Gurcharan Singh, the elder brother, is still living but he has not sung kirtan for over a decade. With the younger brother’s death, another generation has passed into history.

The brothers were apt in singing all the raag variants, lores (dhunian) and the other variants of the music forms incorporated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. At least for the last half century their kirtan was regarded as a standard against which gurmat sangeet of shabad reet parnali (traditional compositions/ kritis) singing was to be measured.

Gurmat sangeet, or shabad kirtan, was not mere singing of gurbani in raags, rather it was a unique fusion of shabad raag and tal. Shabad-reets are compositions of the Guru period. Some of them were the originals sung by the Gurus themselves.

Besides other achievements and their contribution to this art form, the two brothers did a great service to the world of musicology by recording 500 of their original medieval compositions (48 hours) and annotating them before donating the same to Punjabi University, Patiala. The two volumes, Gurubani Sangeet-Pracheen Reet Ratnavali, were published in 1976. This was a unique gesture in itself as very few artists of repute would easily share the core of their art with outsiders, leave alone documenting and donating the same to an institution.

They extensively disseminated their art in the UK, North America and Canada -- both in the community and outside. In fact, there seemed to be more admirers of this tradition of kirtan outside than in India.

Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Gurcharan Singh were perhaps the only kirtanias who reflected the original intent of the Gurus in their kirtan. Their work is a cherished heritage of the sacred music of North India.

The tradition has been passed on to the next generations in the family. Kultar Singh, son of Bhai Avtar Singh, a mechanical engineer by profession, joined Bhai Avtar Singh’s jatha in 1999. Since then he has been practising the family tradition with his father and carrying it forward. Bhai Baldeep Singh, rooted in the family tradition and a grandnephew of the senior Bhai Sahib, is an accomplished musician, researcher, preservationist and a musicologist in his own right carrying the heritage into the 13th generation.

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In Bihar village, women do what men could not
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 25
The Masoraha village of Bihar where 20 women have taken up farming as a full-time profession after their men of the village reportedly abandoned their farms.

Officials in the Agriculture Department said it was one Shanti Devi who first began the revolution. From sowing seeds, ploughing fields to driving tractors, these women do everything. Men, who did not wish to work, remained at home. All they did was to eat, drink and sleep.

The change reportedly began eight years ago when these women were forced to take up agriculture as a to bring up their children due to laziness of their husbands.

They sold their jewellery to borrow land. And after eight years of struggle, today they have 35 acres of land and are employing latest methods and tools for farming.

Bihar is the first state in the country to have over 1 lakh elected women representatives in three-tier panchayat system.

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Suicides: Psychological counselling in IAF
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The spate of suicides and fraticides in the armed forces, especially in the Army, has forced the Indian Air Force (IAF) to start a new drive to provide its staff with psychological counselling so that they can adapt to severe working conditions.

Air Marshal A.K. Singh, Chief of the Western Air Command, told reporters here yesterday that of late, many of their staff members and Army men had committed suicide and the rate of fratricide had also gone up. “And most of them allege that severe training and postings in unfriendly areas are the root causes of such actions,” he said.

But, he said investigations had revealed that the actual problem was the “psyche that refuses to adapt.”

As a part of the efforts, the IAF would be holding workshops, seminars and programmes to equip officers and airmen with coping skills and help them psychologically in their work and societal roles.

“Society is changing very rapidly and one needs to recognise societal changes. It often happens that our officers and other employees get married to career-oriented women and problems crop up between them within a short span of time as our men refuse to recognise the professional demands of their wives,” he said.

“It will take time, but initiation has taken place, our men need to identify changes and react, imbibe and be receptive.”

Briefing reporters about the Western Air Command’s conference of station commanders beginning on November 27, Air Marshal A.K. Singh said it would discuss all issues related to the IAF and air defence. The conference was a forum for station commanders to interact and discuss operational and professional matters as well as welfare activities.

Flying, maintenance, administration and interaction for better understanding would be the focus. Guest lecturers and reviews of different aspects of air defence would be held.

Besides regular reviews, interaction and discussions, the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P Tyagi, would give away awards to various air bases under the Western Air Command for their performance in various competitions. He would also lay the foundation stone of the Aerospace Museum at Palam on November 30.

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Nitish to address IIM faculty
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 25
Soon after presenting a report card titled "Development with justice," upon completing one year in office yesterday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar left for Ahmedabad to address the IIM faculty there on the "turnaround of Bihar."

The IIM has announced that along with delivering a lecture on the turnaround of Bihar, Mr Kumar will also preside over the closing ceremony of Confluence-2006, the institute's international business summit.

He announced the setting up of the Bihar Development and Investment Council and the Bihar Foundation. While the BDIC is expected to act as a think-tank, the Bihar Foundation is supposed to bring together prominent people who belong to the state for its development.

While presenting the report card containing the key decisions by his government, he claimed that he favoured "all inclusive" development to unite society beyond caste, creed and religion.

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Left divided over Land Ceiling Bill

Kolkata, November 25
The state government’s decision on transfer of agricultural land to industrial groups has suffered a set back with its allies expressing opposition to the clause “any required hectares of agricultural land” in the proposed Land Ceiling Bill at a Left Front meeting yesterday.

The meeting could not take any decision on the proposed Bill. It would now be referred to the Select Committee of the Assembly for further scrutiny and appropriate amendments before presenting it at the current Assembly session. — TNS

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Jet Air grounds Rahul's wife
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 25
Jet Airways has grounded its commander Shweta Singh, wife of Rahul Mahajan, following alleged violation of standard operating procedures during a Delhi-Hyderabad flight 9W-825 on November 16.

Shweta is charged with deploying speed brakes and improper wing flap position for landing though the aircraft was flying at a height of 20,000 feet. The normal procedure for such an operation is when the aircraft is around 4000-5000 feet, according to a senior commander.

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BRIEFLY

Youth enacts “Sholay”
Hyderabad:
A love-lorn youth, who climbed on to a floodlight tower and threatened to commit suicide, if the parents of the girl he loved did not allow her to marry him, was tactically brought down by the police at Lal Bahadur Stadium here on Saturday. According to the police, Kiran (24), an engineer from Vijayawada, was in love with Bhavani of Guntur, a minor girl studying in intermediate. As Kiran approached the girl's parents, they turned down his request for marriage. Following this, Kiran, who came to Hyderabad along with two friends, climbed on to the floodlight tower and threatened to jump down if his wish was not fulfilled. — UNI

Summons for Thackeray
Mumbai:
The Metropolitan Magistrate attached to the Railway Mobile Court on Friday issued summons to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in connection with a contempt-of-court case filed by a local advocate. — TNS

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