SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Lt Gen Kapoor is Army Vice-Chief
New Delhi, January 1
Lieut Gen Deepak Kapoor today assumed charge as the Vice-Chief of Army Staff in place of Lieut Gen S.Pattabhiraman, who retired on Sunday after serving the Army for four decades.

63 Cavalry: Celebrating 50 years of golden glory
Roorkee, January 1
A spectacular mounted parade kicked off the golden jubilee celebrations of 63 Cavalry here today, with the present generation paying tributes to the regiment's founding fathers and the equipment of yore which had embellished many a battlefield.
T-72 tanks are put through their paces during the golden jubilee celebrations of the 63 Cavalry Regiment in Roorkee on Monday T-72 tanks are put through their paces during the golden jubilee celebrations of the 63 Cavalry Regiment in Roorkee on Monday. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Will 2007 be Rahul’s year ?
New Delhi, January 1 As the crucial Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh near, questions have again propped up over what lies ahead for Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in the new year. Congress leaders, big and small, have been pressing for long for drafting Rahul Gandhi, MP from Amethi in UP, in the organisation and the AICC plenary held in January last at Hyderabad was seen as a launching pad for the young leader, who is projected as a ‘future leader’ of the party and the country.





 

 

EARLIER STORIES




Ali Mohammad (left) and Samiullah (R) members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba who were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police are produced in front of the media in New Delhi on Monday
Ali Mohammad (left) and Samiullah (R) members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba who were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police are produced in front of the media in New Delhi on Monday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Salem hopes to contest UP bypoll
Azamgarh, January 1
Don Abu Salem hopes to contest the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election while his posters pasted all over Mubarakpur here greet people happy New Year and Baqrid. Earlier, Salem, awaiting verdict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, had sent more than 50,000 posters to Mubarakpur wishing people of the constituency during the twin festivals of Diwali and Id.

Tight security for Ardha Kumbha
Allahabad, January 1
Amid threats of terror attacks during the Ardha Kumbha mela beginning January 3 here, the security has been tightened with the deployment of a special task force of the Uttar Pradesh police in the area.

CPM to discuss use of farmlands for industries
Kolkata, January 1
The three-day CPM Politburo and the central committee meeting, which began in the city today, will review the Singur issue vis-à-vis the party’s future policy to be adopted regarding the use of farmlands for industries.

Fill vacancies in soldiers' welfare boards: Antony
New Delhi, January 1
Defence Minister A.K. Antony has written to all state governments to fill vacancies in the state and district-level soldiers' welfare boards to make them more responsive to the problems of armed forces personnel, both serving and ex-servicemen, and their families.

PM greets President on Id-ul-Zuha
New Delhi, January 1
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called on President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and greeted him on the New Year and Id-ul-Zuha. The meeting lasted 15 minutes.
The other dignitaries who greeted the President included Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai. Over 2,000 persons from all walks of  life also greeted the President.TNS




Family members of the presidential staff greet President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the occasion of New Year and Id at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday. — Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal
Family members of the presidential staff greet President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the occasion of New Year and Id at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday

2 women pledge to name their sons Saddam
Anand, January 1 At least two pregnant women from Hadgud village in this district have pledged to name their child, if born a son, as Saddam Hussein after the deposed Iraqi President who was hanged.

Lucknow varsity students resort to "Gandhigiri"
Lucknow, January 1
After being expelled from Lucknow University, the students began their new year by resorting to "Gandhigiri" distributing roses to the Vice-Chancellor and other university officials.

Daughters light mother’s pyre
Jaipur, January 1
Seven daughters of a 72-year-old woman in Bhilwara set an example in the conservative Rajasthani society when they not only lit the pyre of their mother but also carried her to the funeral site.

Militant outfit gets breather
New Delhi, January 1
The suspension of operations agreement between the security forces and Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), a militant outfit operating in Assam, has been extended for a one more year up to December 31, 2007, a Home Ministry spokesperson said here today.


Videos
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Antony asks Pak to match words with deeds.

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PM Manmohan Singh meets President Kalam.

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Lt Gen Kapoor is Army Vice-Chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
Lieut Gen Deepak Kapoor today assumed charge as the Vice-Chief of Army Staff in place of Lieut Gen S.Pattabhiraman, who retired on Sunday after serving the Army for four decades.

However, since today was a holiday, the ceremonial aspects of the taking over will be conducted on Tuesday.

As part of the ceremonies General Kapoor would lay a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate and then inspect a guard of honour at the Army Headquarters.

General Kapoor is likely to be elevated as Army Chief when incumbent Gen J.J Singh retires in September 2007.

Commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery on June 11, 1967, General Kapoor has held important staff and command appointments. An alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has done the higher command and National Defence College courses.

In addition, he represented the country as the Chief Operations Officer for all United Nations Forces deployed in Somalia from 1994 to 1995, for which, he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in January 1996.

General Kapoor, who took active part in the 1971 operations for the liberation of Bangladesh, was awarded Sena Medal(devotion to duty) in January 1998 for his service as a Brigade Commander on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

He was awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal for his

excellent command of 33 Corps deployed on the Sino-Indian border.

He commanded one of the most prestigious formations of the Army, the RAM division that was part of a strike corps, during Operation Parakram - the year long deployment along the India-Pakistan border following the December 2001 attack on Parliament.

He has also served as Chief of Staff of 4 Corps in the northeast fighting insurgency in Assam. After his stint with 33 Corps, he headed the Army Training Command at Shimla and later the Udhampur-based Northern Command.

General Kapoor has a Masters degree in political science and a Masters degree in military science. He holds a diploma in business management and has completed his Masters in Business Administration from Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.

He is an excellent sportsman and has played hockey, basketball, golf and tennis at various levels.

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63 Cavalry: Celebrating 50 years of golden glory
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Roorkee, January 1
A spectacular mounted parade kicked off the golden jubilee celebrations of 63 Cavalry here today, with the present generation paying tributes to the regiment's founding fathers and the equipment of yore which had embellished many a battlefield.

At a special Heritage Review, the regiment's first Commandant, Brig Harmandar Singh, took the salute from a column of 15 tanks, led by the present Commandant, Col A.P.S. Aulakh. The purpose of this unique ceremony was not for the veterans to adjudge the present state of the regiment, but for the present generation to convey the message that they would uphold the traditions and ethos of the unit.

Old equipment of the regiment, which included Diamler-armoured cars, on which the regiment was raised 50 years ago, Stuart tanks, M-133 personnel carriers, Vijayanta and T-55 tanks, were also brought on parade.

Later, two golden jubilee trophies were also unveiled.

One of them was made from the contributions of all junior commissioned officers in the regiment.

A large number of serving and retired regimental officers, along with their family members, are attending the three-day event. Among them are Lt-Gen S.S. Mehta, former GOC-in-C, Western Command, and Lt-Gen S.P.M. Tripathi, a former parliamentarian.

Colonel of the Regiment, Brig N. Sodhi, as well as several past commandants were also present.

The regiment was raised on January 2, 1957, in the princely state of Alwar in Rajasthan. It was the third cavalry regiment to be raised after Independence. The rank and file of the regiment initially comprised Rajputs, Dogras, Jats and Sikhs. This was subsequently changed to Rajputs, Jats and Sikhs.

The regiment served with distinction in Congo in 1961-62 under a United Nations mandate, where it earned several gallantry awards. During the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, it was the only medium-armoured regiment deployed in the eastern theatre. The regiment was divided into several sections, which attacked from various directions, creating chaos among the enemy and thereby earning the epitaph "The Ghost Regiment" before it entered Dacca. For its actions, it was awarded the Battle Honour Bogra and Theatre Honour East Pakistan.

It has also come to the aid of the civil administration on numerous occasions, notably during the 1992 floods in Punjab and the devastating earthquake in Gujarat in 2001. It has combated the menace of terrorism in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East. In 1982, the regiment was presented the Guidon by then President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy.

A conference of veteran officers was also held to discuss regimental affairs. A road map for the future was laid out, which included a special scheme to assist in the resettlement of soldiers hanging up their spurs. A barakhana for all ranks, their families and invited guests was held in the evening.

Besides other events, a special sainik sammelam will be held tomorrow, which will be addressed by senior serving and retired officers.

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Will 2007 be Rahul’s year ?

New Delhi, January 1
As the crucial Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh near, questions have again propped up over what lies ahead for Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in the new year.
Congress leaders, big and small, have been pressing for long for drafting Rahul Gandhi, MP from Amethi in UP, in the organisation and the AICC plenary held in January last at Hyderabad was seen as a launching pad for the young leader, who is projected as a ‘future leader’ of the party and the country.

But nothing has happened for the past one year during which Rahul has led a victorious campaign for his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli after she quit the seat in the wake of the office-of-profit controversy. He was the manager in the bypoll.

A section of the party felt that the Rae Bareli victory was an ideal occasion to launch Rahul in active politics ahead of the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, which in the past was considered as route to power in the Centre.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad had even suggested that Rahul be projected as the chief ministerial candidate for the UPA in the key state of the Hindi heartland, a view promptly rejected by the Congress, which was not amused by the statement.

Congressmen said that the Railway Minister’s statement was significant in view of the fact that Lalu himself had not hidden his ambition of becoming Prime Minister, like Leader of Opposition L K Advani and BJP chief Rajnath Singh.

Main opposition BJP has ridiculed the leadership qualities of the young leader and drawn attention to his ‘not so bright’ record in Parliament.

Partymen feel that Rahul, who has already become active in the UP polls, would be entrusted responsibilities in the organisation sooner than later.

A section feels that Rahul should be made a Minister at the Centre to ensure that he has a ‘safe landing’. Failure in an organisational role was fraught with severe consequences for him as also to the party. Indira Gandhi had become a junior minister in the Lal Bahadur Shastri Ministry when she was launched into politics.

AICC general secretary, Ashok Gehlot, who is in charge of party affairs in UP, has disfavoured suggestions that Rahul be asked to lead the party in UP.

He wanted the young leader to be made a party general secretary in charge of the frontal organisations as was done by his father Rajiv Gandhi before becoming Prime Minister.

Sonia Gandhi has always been maintaining that it was for Rahul to decide what he wanted to do and she would always be glad if he joined the Manmohan Singh government or a party role.

Amid all this, UPCC chief Salman Khurshid has said that Rahul is the ‘face of the party’ in the state, giving hints that the young leader is expected to call shots in the key state, where the party has fallen on bad days for the past two decades. — PTI 

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Salem hopes to contest UP bypoll

Azamgarh, January 1
Don Abu Salem hopes to contest the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election while his posters pasted all over Mubarakpur here greet people happy New Year and Baqrid.
Earlier, Salem, awaiting verdict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, had sent more than 50,000 posters to Mubarakpur wishing people of the constituency during the twin festivals of Diwali and Id.

However, the posters did not mention the name of the publishers, which is mandatory as per law. Investigations in the case are still on.

This time, the posters have been sponsored by don’s advocates Ashok Saravagi and Rashid Ansari.

The don had already expressed wish to contest from Mubarakpur and approached all national political parties for the ticket.

Although Salem does not hail from Mubarakpur, his elder sister resides there. His brother-in-law Mohammad Takiuddin is spearheading his campaign. His family has been living in Saraimeer, Azamgarh district since 25 years.

After meeting the District Magistrate on October 28, Saravagi had said the don would contest the 2007 Assembly election in any case and efforts to include his name in the electoral list would be started soon.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Naizamabad Vidhya Shankar had already rejected Salem’s request to include his name in the electoral rolls.

The don had recently formed a political party in Mumbai.

On November 12, Azamgarh District Magistrate Subhash Chandra Sharma had sent all documents of the case to Nizamabad tehsil as Salem was a resident of Pathankot locality under the Saraimeer police station area, which comes under the same tehsil.

However, don’s family said they would take the case to the apex court.

Salem was extradited from Portugal on November 11, 2005, and has been lodged in the Author Road jail. About eight cases are pending against him of which three each are in Mumbai and Delhi and one each in Hyderabad and Lucknow. The don has been charged with supplying arms and explosives to carry out the Mumbai blasts. — UNI

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Tight security for Ardha Kumbha

Allahabad, January 1
Amid threats of terror attacks during the Ardha Kumbha mela beginning January 3 here, the security has been tightened with the deployment of a special task force of the Uttar Pradesh police in the area.

Entry of vehicles into the city would be suspended from tomorrow in view of the Paush Poornima, the first auspicious bathing day during the Kumbh, official sources said, adding that vehicles entry would resume on January 4.

Arrangements were almost complete for the mela, he said, adding that an STF team, headed by an Additional Superintendent of Police, had arrived at the mela ground in view of the threat perception of terrorist attacks.

The sprawling mela ground continues to bustle with activity with yet another body of sadhus, the Anand Akhara, making its ceremonial entry today. So far three akharas, Joona, Agni and Niranjani, other than Anand have made ceremonial entry.

Kalpavasis (family men who come to observe a month of penance) too have started pouring in. An insurance cover has been put in place for the Kalpavasis as also the officials doing mela duty and people running stals of different organisations.

For the first time, those who become physically disabled on account of any mishap at the congregation would also have an insurance cover, which only included deaths till the last Kumbh held in 2001.

To facilitate the pilgrims’ travel, the railways would be running 250 special shortdistance trains during the period.

Besides, a total of 112 ticket counters have been set up at a number of places in the city as well as trans-Ganga and trans-Yamuna areas of the district. — PTI

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CPM to discuss use of farmlands for industries
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 1
The three-day CPM Politburo and the central committee meeting, which began in the city today, will review the Singur issue vis-à-vis the party’s future policy to be adopted regarding the use of farmlands for industries.

But so far as the Tata Motors project was concerned, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had been allowed a “go ahead” despite TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s days-long hunger strike and the Opposition parties’ protest against the eviction of farmers and transferring of lands to Tata Motors.

The party will also discuss the strategies to be adopted regarding the party’s stand with other like-minded forces in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other states.

Party secretary Prakash Karat has already endorsed the Chief Minister’s policy of rapid industrialisation in the state with foreign investment and the use of agricultural lands for setting up new industries. But to what extent the farmlands could be used for industries and what specific formula should be taken for transferring of farmlands to industries had not been decided so far. The three-day meeting is likely to adopt these policies.

Mr Jyoti Basu has demanded that a special committee be set up with the representations of the political parties and the government officials be set up to finalise the process of transferring of farmlands to industries.

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Fill vacancies in soldiers' welfare boards: Antony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
Defence Minister A.K. Antony has written to all state governments to fill vacancies in the state and district-level soldiers' welfare boards to make them more responsive to the problems of armed forces personnel, both serving and ex-servicemen, and their families.

In a letter to Chief Ministers and Lieut-Governors of union territories, the Defence Minister has regretted that despite past requests for action on a priority basis there has been little progress on these issues.

This is Mr Antony’s second letter to the Chief Ministers in the past two weeks. This has been done to ensure that soldiers and ex-servicemen face little problem back home.

Earlier, he had sought help from the state administration in this regard.

“I understand that a number of posts continue to remain vacant(in the Rajya Sainik Boards and Zila Sainik Boards) for a long time, which adversely affects the efficiency and effectiveness of these institutions,” Mr Antony wrote.

Pointing out that the boards at both state and district levels “are not equipped with the minimum basic facilities in terms of manpower and accommodation,” Mr Antony expressed confidence that once strengthened “these institutions can be effectively utilised for attending to the problems of armed forces personnel and give timely feedback.

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2 women pledge to name their sons Saddam

Anand, January 1
At least two pregnant women from Hadgud village in this district have pledged to name their child, if born a son, as Saddam Hussein after the deposed Iraqi President who was hanged.

Over 70 per cent of the people in Hadgud are Muslims. Iklas Banu is a teacher who already has a three-year-old girl whom she has named Saira Banu. This teacher, who has MA and B.Ed degrees to boast of, says she will surely name her second child as Saddam if it is a boy.

''It was wrong to hang Saddam Hussein. Had he been allowed to live in prison, he would have realised his follies and felt bad about his misdeeds some day,'' says Iklas. Saddam Hussein was not offered an opportunity to repent for his crimes, she says.

''Saddam Hussein was like a lion. That is why he refused to wear the black hood at the time of his execution,'' says Saida Banu, another Hadgud resident who too has resolved to name her yet-to-be-born son as Saddam.

Unlike the highly-educated Iklas, Saida, however, had to discontinue studies following the Vadodara riots in which her house was burnt. Saida later married Ilyas and shifted to Hadgud. The couple has a five-year-old son Kabir and Saida has vouched that if her second child is also a son, she will name him as Saddam. — UNI 

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Lucknow varsity students resort to "Gandhigiri"

Lucknow, January 1
After being expelled from Lucknow University, the students began their new year by resorting to "Gandhigiri" distributing roses to the Vice-Chancellor and other university officials.

"We have launched the disobedience movement under the banner of the Chhatra Swabhiman Mukti Morcha against the university’s decision to portray us as criminals," former university students union president and morcha convenor Abhishek Singh Ashu said.

Singing devotional songs like “Raghupati Raghav Rajaram” and others, these students met the Dean, Students Welfare, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teachers Association president and city Mayor, who happened to be a professor in university to drive home the point that they were innocent and presented them roses.

He said they had criminal cases against them but these were lodged while fighting for the cause of students. — PTI

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Daughters light mother’s pyre

Jaipur, January 1
Seven daughters of a 72-year-old woman in Bhilwara set an example in the conservative Rajasthani society when they not only lit the pyre of their mother but also carried her to the funeral site.

One of the daughters Lata Madrecha said their mother Kanchan Devi used to consider them as sons. She never wanted a son in spite of having seven daughters and encouraged them to stand on par with boys.

Kanchan Devi's daughters bid farewell to their mother by carrying their mother's body to the funeral site and lit the pyre yesterday amid tears.

In a society, where girls are considered a burden and sons a blessing, these daughters, however, departed from the routine. Even their husbands, relatives and neighbours supported the move whole-heartedly. — UNI

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Militant outfit gets breather
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
The suspension of operations agreement between the security forces and Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), a militant outfit operating in Assam, has been extended for a one more year up to December 31, 2007, a Home Ministry spokesperson said here today.

The agreement between the DHD and the security forces has been in operation since January 1, 2003.

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BRIEFLY

Passenger looted
Kanpur
: A railway passanger was allegedly looted by unidentified men after they served him some intoxicating sweets, the police said here on Monday. The passenger, who was looted of his cash and other valuables, was found unconscious in a bogy of Delhi-Howrah Janta Express at Kanpur Central station. —PTI

Police to follow ‘gandhigiri’
Indore
: Motivated by popular film “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”, the Indore police has planned to go the gandhigiri way by presenting roses to people caught breaking traffic rules. The violators will be presented rose and will also be quizzed about what they had got in breaking the traffic rules and the talk would be broadcast by the local FM radio station, IGP Rajendra Kumar said. — UNI

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