SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Scrap inquiry panels headed by HC judges: SC
New Delhi, November 27
The Supreme Court today directed the states to discontinue with inquiry commissions headed by sitting high court judges, except those at the fag end of probe and likely to submit their reports soon.

Nitish doesn’t want BJP crutch
Patna, November 27
After 10 years of association with the BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seems to be in the mood to look beyond the saffron. Known as “Chanakya” in the divided JD parivar, Mr Kumar wants to build his own vote bank on socialist agenda without the BJP.

60 Cong workers hurt in UP lathicharge
Lucknow, November 27
Around 60 Congress workers, a few policemen and some passers-by were injured in front of the Vidhan Sabha today when the Lucknow police resorted to lathi charge to control a slogan-shouting gathering on the concluding day of the week-long Congress-sponsored “Jail Bharo” campaign.
Policemen try to disperse Congress activists gathered in front of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in Lucknow during a 'jail bharo' agitation Policemen try to disperse Congress activists gathered in front of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in Lucknow during a 'jail bharo' agitation on Monday.
— PTI photo







EARLIER STORIES


Shivani case
Sharma’s plea reserved
New Delhi, November 27
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the application of former Haryana IG (Prison) R K Sharma, the prime accused in journalist Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, seeking a gist of statements of victim’s husband as recorded by the police in its case diary.

Ex-judge’s plea on resignation rejected
New Delhi, November 27
The Supreme Court today rejected the plea of a former Rajasthan High Court Judge who resigned in March 2003, alleging that the was forced to put in his papers by the then Chief Justice of India V N Khare.

Oppn corners Patil over Afzal case
New Delhi, November 27
Cornered by the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on the government’s ambiguous stand on hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said that the stand of the government is the Constitutional fact. “What is required by the law will be done.

TN parties protest Rajapakse’s visit
Chennai, November 27
Authors and intellectuals held a protest demonstration here today against the visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinde Rajapakse while mayors of six major cities in Tamil Nadu boycotted the Mayors' Conference in Dehra Dun citing different reasons.

LS adjourned as Jan Morcha, SP clash
New Delhi, November 27
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for over 90 minutes today following heated exchanges between Samajwadi Party members and cine star-turned-politician and Jan Morcha leader Raj Babbar who accused the Mulayam Singh Yadav government of "repression" of minorities and farmers.

SIMI indicted for blasts in Malegaon
Mumbai, November 27
Investigations into the serial bomb blasts in Malegaon on September 8, which claimed 38 lives, is complete, according to Maharashtra’s Director-General of Police P.S. Pasricha.

Top green award for Ropar school
New Delhi, November 27
It is a fairly lesser-known school when compared to top-notch institutions like Sanskriti and Mother's International in the Capital. But this government school from small Boormajra village, 12 km ahead of Ropar in Punjab, has beaten several heavyweights in the country to bag the top honour for the best environmental practices.

Lankan tips on tsunami
Dehra Dun, November 27
Sri Lanka was one of the worst affected countries by the tsunami on December 26, 2004. Despite the extensive damage to the country, the situation now seems to be under control.

Sanjay Paswan also deserts Laloo Yadav
Patna, November 27
RJD leader and party spokesman Sanjay Paswan today deserted Mr Laloo Prasad to join the Congress. More famous for his love for snakes, Mr Paswan had earlier served the BJP as an MP from Nawda and was a minister of state in the Vajpayee Cabinet.

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Scrap inquiry panels headed by HC judges: SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 27
The Supreme Court today directed the states to discontinue with inquiry commissions headed by sitting high court judges, except those at the fag end of probe and likely to submit their reports soon.

The direction was issued by a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice S.H. Kapaidia, while asking the Union Government to expedite the appointment of other three members of the RK Raghvan Committee to suggest measures to check ragging in universities and colleges.

The court was informed by Additional Solicitor-General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam that the Centre, as per the court’s earlier order of October 26, had sought details from Chief Secretaries of all states as to how many sitting judges were heading various inquiry commissions at present.

The court said the tendency of appointing sitting judges as head of probe panels even for minor matters by the state governments, affected the functioning of courts, so it should not be encouraged.

The ASG told the court that the Centre had finalised names of three members of the RK Raghvan Committee. They were the Director of IIT, Kanpur, the Director of Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, and the Principal of Ramjas College of Delhi University.

The court was hearing petitions on issues of ragging and university elections, apart from the death of professor H.S. Sabharwal during student union election in Ujjain earlier this year in mob violence.

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Nitish doesn’t want BJP crutch
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 27
After 10 years of association with the BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seems to be in the mood to look beyond the saffron.

Known as “Chanakya” in the divided JD parivar, Mr Kumar wants to build his own vote bank on socialist agenda without the BJP.

Soon after the NDA completed one year in office on November 24, signals indicated unease in the BJP-JD (U) alliance.

This was evident from the remarks by the Chief Minister and action by JD (U) supremo Sharad Yadav with regard to his party’s attitude towards the BJP.

Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Modi must have been surprised when, at the time of releasing the report card on the NDA’s achievements on completing a year in office, Mr Kumar made public the broad differences between the two parties on the issue of reservation for Muslims. He said while his party supported the demand to include Dalit Muslims and Christians in the Scheduled Caste list, the BJP was opposed to it.

In his bid to make a dent into the Muslim vote bank of Mr Lalu Prasad, Mr Kumar has been advocating the cause of Dalit Muslims. His “overtures” to LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan was also noticed by the quarters concerned. This was preceded by Mr Paswan’s appreciation of Mr Kumar’s effort to develop Bihar.

Dalit Muslims constitute over 70 per cent of the total Muslim population in the state. The recent decision by Mr Kumar to reserve 20 per cent seats for the extreme backward class during the panchayat poll is being viewed as a calculated move on his part.

Mr Sharad Yadav had already made it clear to treat the BJP-JD (U) understanding beyond Delhi on a case-to-case basis. The fallout was that the JD (U) decided to fight the coming UP Assembly poll with Apna Dal.

Observers, however, feel that it was a mistake on the part of Mr Kumar to underplay the efforts of the BJP in Bihar. A senior BJP leader pointed out that Mr Kumar had gained the maximum during his association with the BJP by becoming the Chief Minister, besides a tenure as the Union Railways Minister.

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60 Cong workers hurt in UP lathicharge
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 27
Around 60 Congress workers, a few policemen and some passers-by were injured in front of the Vidhan Sabha today when the Lucknow police resorted to lathi charge to control a slogan-shouting gathering on the concluding day of the week-long Congress-sponsored “Jail Bharo” campaign.

Just when the wave of small Congress processions heading towards the Vidhan Sabha turned into a massive rally shouting slogans demanding to be arrested in protest against the Mulayam government’s reported “jeb bharo” (lining of pockets), something went amiss.

Within seconds, the police started using water cannons and bursting tear gas shells to disperse the largely peaceful gathering. The police admitted resorting to a “mild lathi charge to control the crowd” but Lucknow SSP Goswami denied the use of rubber bullets as claimed by Congress sources.

Decrying the police action at the Congress workers being “brutally battered” at highlighting the “jungle raj” of the ruling party, UPCC president Salman Khurshid said there was no provocation to lathi charge, the peaceful Congress protest.

The Jail Bharo campaign had been launched by the Congress on the call of party president Sonia Gandhi at Bareilly on September 20.

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Shivani case
Sharma’s plea reserved
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 27
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the application of former Haryana IG (Prison) R K Sharma, the prime accused in journalist Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, seeking a gist of statements of victim’s husband as recorded by the police in its case diary.

Sharma’s plea for seeking gist of various statements of Shivani’s husband Rakesh Bhatnagar, recorded by the Delhi police, was rejected by the by the Delhi High Court, which he had challenged in the apex court.

The Delhi police claimed privilege on the gist of the statements recorded in case diary, with Additional Solicitor-General Vikas Singh arguing that only statements of a witness recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC could be supplied to the accused persons.

The gist of statement recorded in case diary was a procedure for the internal investigation by the probe agency, which could not be made a basis for examining a witness.

But Sharma’s lawyer said if it formed the material for recording statement of a witness under Section 161 CrPC by the police, it had to be supplied to the accused.

Trial in the 1999 murder of the Indian Express journalist has been held up due to the controversy.

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Ex-judge’s plea on resignation rejected
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 27
The Supreme Court today rejected the plea of a former Rajasthan High Court Judge who resigned in March 2003, alleging that the was forced to put in his papers by the then Chief Justice of India (CJI) V N Khare.

Justice Khare after his retirement had gone on record that he forced Justice Arun Madan to resign following certain allegations of misconduct against him after holding an inquiry by a committee of judges.

Justice Madan’s counsel tried to build a case on the ground that under Article 217 if a High Court judge preferred to resign, his resignation should be sent directly to the President and it should be in his own handwriting, while in his case it was a typed letter only bearing his signature.

In the resignation letter sent by him on March 1, 2003, he had cited health ground as the reason for quitting. But the high court had communicated to him about the withdrawal of the work only on December 24, 2004, his lawyer told a Bench, headed by Mr Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal.

Rejecting his petition, filed after the lapse of such a long time, the court said neither the delay could be condoned, nor his interpretation of Article 217 that the resignation should be only in the handwriting of the judge, could be accepted.

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Oppn corners Patil over Afzal case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
Cornered by the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on the government’s ambiguous stand on hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said that the stand of the government is the Constitutional fact. “What is required by the law will be done. The matter under the Constitution has to be decided by one authority. Any other authorities should not take responsibility for such an issue.”

Afzal has been sentenced to death for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

Mr Patil made this point after interrupting Shiv Sena member Manohar Joshi’s speech during a short duration discussion on internal security scenario in the country.

Mr Joshi said that the delay for hanging of Mohd Afzal Guru has upset the citizens.

Not satisfied with the Home Minister’s brief statement on the matter, the Shiv Sena member said, “Certain people think that it is for the appeasement of one community that the government does not want to express its opinion. Advani, the BJP leader has said that he (Afzal) be hanged at once.”

He said that these policemen saved our lives and the body of Parliament and it would be a matter of shame if they return the awards.

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TN parties protest Rajapakse’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chennai, November 27
Authors and intellectuals held a protest demonstration here today against the visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinde Rajapakse while mayors of six major cities in Tamil Nadu boycotted the Mayors' Conference in Dehra Dun citing different reasons.

Though major political parties like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Opposition All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhzagam (AIADMK) and other national parties did not organise any protest, regional parties like the MDMK, the PMK, the Dalit Panthers and the Tamils National Movement protested.

Hundreds of people held protests and demonstrations in major towns in Tamil Nadu.

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LS adjourned as Jan Morcha, SP clash
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for over 90 minutes today following heated exchanges between Samajwadi Party members and cine star-turned-politician and Jan Morcha leader Raj Babbar who accused the Mulayam Singh Yadav government of "repression" of minorities and farmers.

During zero hour when Atiq Ahmed (SP) raised the issue of his arrest in Maharashtra where he went to attend a Muslim rally and claimed that the UP Government never took such "anti-democratic" measures, Mr Babbar challenged him and said he himself was arrested four times by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government while leading farmers.

To Mr Ahmed's complaint that the security given to him by the state government was taken away, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said he would look into the matter.

However, the exchanges between Mr Ahmed and Mr Babbar continued when the Speaker asked Congress member Rajagopal to raise his issue.

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SIMI indicted for blasts in Malegaon
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 27
Investigations into the serial bomb blasts in Malegaon on September 8, which claimed 38 lives, is complete, according to Maharashtra’s Director-General of Police P.S. Pasricha.

Dr Pasricha announced here today that the anti-terror squad of the Maharashtra Police set up to probe the blasts case arrested eight activists of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The town is categorised as sensitive with several riots between Hindus and Muslims having occurred here in the past.

Investigators achieved a breakthrough in the case following the arrest of SIMI activist Noor-ul-Hooda two days after the blasts. The arrests of Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah Ansari and Raees Ahmed followed. All conspirators were finally apprehended earlier this month, Dr Pasricha said.

Efforts are on to trace some Pakistani nationals involved in the operation. The police officials hinted that some of the religious leaders also played a major role in the arrest of the bombers.

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Top green award for Ropar school
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
It is a fairly lesser-known school when compared to top-notch institutions like Sanskriti and Mother's International in the Capital. But this government school from small Boormajra village, 12 km ahead of Ropar in Punjab, has beaten several heavyweights in the country to bag the top honour for the best environmental practices.

Government Senior Secondary School, Boormajra, today won the first-ever Green School Awards, instituted by the Centre for Scince and Environment(CSE), for environmental practices that it has been quietly living up to as per the Supreme Court’s directive on the imperative of environmental education in schools.

The award has been conferred upon the school, which has just 370 students on its roll, for implementing futuristic techniques for water management within its premises.

The school harvests water from taps, the spillage of drinking water, and reuses about 55 per cent of it. The school collected precise data about the modes of transport, mostly non-polluting, that its students and staff use.

For the school team, comprising Principal Sawaran Singh, English lecturer Baljeet Kaur and Class XII students Devinder Kaur and Sangeeta Ram, it was a proud moment to receive the award from NCERT Director Krishna Kumar in the presence of CSE Director Sunita Narain and an auditorium full of cheering students and teachers of 19 other schools, who received the awards for good environmental practices at the India Habitat Centre.

“It is an honour for the entire state…. We are very happy, ” the smiling foursome told The Tribune.

Prof Krishna Kumar termed the Boormajra school an example from which other schools in Punjab could learn and help revive the “fertile land in the state that was suffering from overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and bring it back to life. Students study in the school must be linked to their lives outside it,” he said, asking youngsters from different schools, some of whom had come from as far as Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, to be more like “activists when it came to conservation of environment”.

The 20 schools to receive awards under the CSE’s Gobar Times Green Schools Programme were shortlisted through a scientific rating methodology. The next best awards on the list went to Sholia School, Kodaikanal, and Evergreen Public School, New Delhi.

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Lankan tips on tsunami
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 27
Sri Lanka was one of the worst affected countries by the tsunami on December 26, 2004.

Despite the extensive damage to the country, the situation now seems to be under control. Thanks to the municipal corporations of the nation, most of the worst-hit areas seem to have been rebuilt, bringing life back to normal, Mr M.N.M. Shamnawaz, chief co-ordinating officer to the Mayor of Colombo, said here today.

On the three-day Asian Mayors conference, he said this would not have been possible without the central government’s help. Colombo’s MC was not much affected. Other MCs also adopted smaller cities and provided them funds from their budget to help build roads, buildings, health facilities, etc.”

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Sanjay Paswan also deserts Laloo Yadav
Tribune News Service

Patna, November 27
RJD leader and party spokesman Sanjay Paswan today deserted Mr Laloo Prasad to join the Congress. More famous for his love for snakes, Mr Paswan had earlier served the BJP as an MP from Nawda and was a minister of state in the Vajpayee Cabinet. He is the third leader in the last fortnight to have left the RJD.

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BRIEFLY

19 killed in road mishap
Hosur,(Tamil Nadu):
Nineteen persons were killed in Sunday night's road mishap at Kathiripallam in Krishnagiri District near here. And six more have succumbed to injuries. Police sources said the deceased included nine women. In all 64 persons were injured in the incident. They were admitted to government hospitals in Denkanikottai, Hosur, and Anjatti. Eight of them, who were in a critical condition, were referred to hospitals in Bangalore for treatment. — UNI

21 injured in stampede
Aizawl:
The Mizoram Police today said about 21 persons sustained injuries during the concert of the British music band Smokie at the Assam Rifles Ground here on Sunday. As many as 19 were injured persons, they were given first aid, two of them had to be hospitalised and one had to undergo an emergency operation, the Aizawl Civil Hospital authority said. — UNI

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