SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Criminals in elections: panel opens debate
New Delhi, January 18
A parliamentary committee on electoral reforms has asked people to express their views on whether it is proper to disqualify a candidate from contesting a election at the stage of framing of charges or after conviction.

Salwa Judum has increased violence: Report
Women bearing the brunt of anti-Naxal campaign
New Delhi, January 18
The campaign for peace in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Salwa Judum, officially described as spontaneous uprising of people against Naxal violence in the state, has instead divided the society, split communities and led to atrocities against women.

Howrah-north India train services may come to halt
Kolkata, January 18
Train services between Howrah to New Delhi and to other parts in north India via Patna may be stopped following the developing of some major cracks on the railway lines near the Asansol-Raniganj areas

UK backs seat for India in Security Council 
Bangalore, January 18
British Chancellor to the Exchequer Gordon Brown yesterday said that Britain strongly supported India's bid for a permanent place, with others, on a larger Security Council even as he cautioned that a failure in the current WTO talks would damage international cooperation.

24 children to get National Bravery Awards
New Delhi, January 18
Six-year-old Pooja, who saved her two younger brothers after her house was set on fire, despite her mother being stabbed to death in front of her eyes, is among the 24 children, including 12 girls, named for the National Bravery Awards for 2006.
Winners of the National Bravery Awards-2006 pose for photographers in New Delhi on Thursday Winners of the National Bravery Awards-2006 pose for photographers in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI





Suspected Harkatul-Jihad-e-Islami militants Lukhtur Rehman from Bangladesh  and Mohammed Ameen Wani (right) from Kashmir arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell on Wednesday, are presented to the media in New Delhi on Thursday
Suspected Harkatul-Jihad-e-Islami militants Lukhtur Rehman from Bangladesh (left) and Mohammed Ameen Wani (right) from Kashmir arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell on Wednesday, are presented to the media in New Delhi on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

EARLIER STORIES




TN transfers kidney scam cases to crime branch
Chennai, January 18
The Tamil Nadu Government today ordered transfer of all cases pertaining to the "kidney scam" from the city police to the crime branch CID of the state police. The case relates to several poverty-stricken fisherwomen here resorting to selling their kidneys after being affected by the tsunami two years ago.

SC reserves verdict in Sidhu’s case
New Delhi, January 18
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s petition for stay of the conviction in a road rage death case even as the Punjab Government and main complainant strongly opposed it, saying that the Apex Court had not given the relief to anyone in its 57-year history.

Speakers flay legislators’ disorderly conduct
New Delhi, January 18
In a bipartisan move, speakers of Assemblies of NDA-ruled states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, today joined Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in passing a resolution condemning the vandalism perpetrated by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress in the West Bengal Assembly last November.

SC upholds disqualification of 2 Goa BJP MLAs
New Delhi, January 18
The Supreme Court today upheld the disqualification of two BJP MLAs from Goa by the state Governor on the recommendation of the Election Commission (EC) for holding office-of-profit.

Sanjay Dutt’s bail extended till Feb 6
Mumbai, January 18
The special court set up under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act to hear the 1993 Mumbai blasts case today adjourned hearing on actor Sanjay Dutt's plea for probation till February 6.

Indian Navy takes over USS Trenton
Mumbai, January 18
The US Navy formally handed over USS Trenton, an amphibious transport dock ship to the Indian Navy yesterday. She will be rechristened INS Jalashva and inducted into the Indian Navy next month, according to sources.

AIDWA concerned over SC ruling on dowry
New Delhi, January 18
The All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) today said it would file a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking reinterpretation of the Apex Court's recent ruling on dowry in the case of Appasaheb and another versus the State of Maharashtra.

Japan favours India-specific waiver by NSG
New Delhi, January 18
India should not be a target country but a partner nation for international non-proliferation efforts, Japanese Ambassador here Mr Yasukuni Enoki said today. He said the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should make a onetime waiver for India in changing its laws to allow India reap the benefits of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Hurriyat team leaves for Pak
New Delhi, January 18
A delegation of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference from Jammu and Kashmir led by its Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq left for Pakistan today in a bid to evolve a consensus among the separatist and militant leaders across the border on its self-rule proposal.

All-women CRPF force for Liberia
New Delhi, January 18
An all-women armed contingent of the CRPF will leave for strife-torn Liberia today to join the United Nations peacekeeping operations there, making India the first country to contribute such a team.

SC notice to Centre on Haj subsidy
New Delhi, January 18
The grant of subsidy worth hundreds of crores by the Union Government to Haj pilgrims annually has been challenged in the Supreme Court by BJP MP Prafull Goradia on the ground that the Port Haj Committee Act and subsequent amendments to it violated a number of provisions of the Constitution.

Swamy to visit China

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Criminals in elections: panel opens debate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
A parliamentary committee on electoral reforms has asked people to express their views on whether it is proper to disqualify a candidate from contesting a election at the stage of framing of charges or after conviction.

Throwing open the forum to political parties, intelligentsia, legal luminaries and citizens, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has invited their views on the Election Commission's proposal to enact a law which aims to nip in the bud political aspirations of criminals.

The existing provisions debars a candidate from contesting elections only after the conviction in cases having punishment above two years in keeping with the legal wisdom "innocent till proved guilty".

The Election Commission has proposed that a candidate should be disqualified the moment courts decides that there is enough weight in the prosecution case not to discharge him, but to frame charge against him.

"The idea is to stop criminal elements from the process of obtaining a stay on the conviction and escape disqualification", parliamentary committee chairperson E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan told newspersons during a press conference.

"But by making framing of charges in the court a point of disqualification, we are also making a very big departure from relying more on the prosecution than the decision of the judge", Mr Natchiappan said.

The committee chairman said while considering disqualification, the election commission would also consider how many times the person had been convicted earlier.

In cases such as Telgi, the public image of candidate would also taken into consideration so that allowing such person to contest may not outrage public conscience.

But then should the commission be swayed by the notoriety of the candidate and disqualify him? There may be case that the whole course of prosecution turns around and person is found completely innocent in the end and we find that he just became victim of legal machinery, Mr Natchiappan added.

The commission has based its proposal on Law Commission's report reforms of the electoral laws which seek addition of new section 8b in the Representation of People Act.

This stipulates disqualification on framing of charges for the following offences: Section 153a (Promoting enmity between community, disrupting communal harmony), election-related offences under sections 171e (bribery), 171f (undue influence or impersonation), 171g (false statement in connection with an election), 171h (illegal payments), 171i (failure to keep election accounts, Section 376 (rape), Section 505 (statements made in public or religious places resulting in enmity in classes).

Section 10 and 12 of Unlawful activities (prevention) Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and any other offence punishable with life imprisonment or death.

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Salwa Judum has increased violence: Report
Women bearing the brunt of anti-Naxal campaign
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
The campaign for peace in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Salwa Judum, officially described as spontaneous uprising of people against Naxal violence in the state, has instead divided the society, split communities and led to atrocities against women.

In other words, if a report by Committee Against Violence on Women (CAVOW) is any indication, instead of being a campaign for peace the state-sponsored Salwa Judum has resulted in an increase in violence, especially against women and children.

The report, released today by writer Arundhati Roy, has come up with some startling details on fate of women in Dantewara district of Chhattisgarh ever since Salwa Judum, which literally means purification hunt in Gondi, started in June 2005.

Terming the document a disturbing report, Arundhati Roy said at the heart of the problem was the country’s economic policy which believed in taking over the land of poor people at price lower than market rates and passing them on to corporates at subsidised rates.

“We are injecting bloodstream of the country with violence. Moreover, the attempt to maintain sensex and the growth rate is creating a massive society of uprooted people who are not allowed to be in city, and not allowed to be in villages,” she added, criticising the government on its policy on special economic zones (SEZs).

The report, also taken up by the National Commission for Women (NCW) for further investigation and action, says that Salwa Judum is stark instance of state-sponsored repression of the worst-ever kind on the people, particularly on the adivasis of Chhattisgarh.

“ Thousands of women and children have been victims of atrocities unleashed by goons of Salwa Judum, accompanied by the police and the paramilitary forces,” says CAVOW convenor Shoma Sen.

NCW member Malini Bhattacharya, who was present at the release of the document, said the report suggested that violence had increased in tribal areas since Salwa Judum. “ The NCW had recommended tribals to be sent back to villages with complete security, instead of being lodged in camps, immediate stop to the ad hoc recruitment of villagers as special police officers and undertrial women to be given all legal and human rights aid,” she added.

The report says methods like “Salwa Judum and wanton militarisation of society of Dentewada is certainly not the way to solve the problems of underdevelopment and political dissent in the Naxal infested areas.” In other words political problems need political solutions.

The large Salwa Judum rallies that took place during the second half of 2005 were followed by forced evacuation of villages by Salwa Judum mobs, assisted by the police and para-military forces.

The campaign has led to the creation of cadre of vigilante youth, special police officers trained and armed by the government. This has led to forced displacement of thousands of people from villages that are suspected of being sympathetic towards Naxals. These displaced are put in relief camps, where conditions are subhuman.

Dantewada today is heavily militarised, leading to brutal repression of impoverished people seeking social justice," says the report.

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Howrah-north India train services may come to halt
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News service

Kolkata, January 18
Train services between Howrah to New Delhi and to other parts in north India via Patna may be stopped following the developing of some major cracks on the railway lines near the Asansol-Raniganj areas

The road links on the route through National Highway 2 had been already cut off due to the subsidence in the large areas of the coal belt since Tuesday.

Trucks and other vehicles carrying foodgrains and other essential commodities, however, were being transported for the time being through alternative routes.

The cracks developed in several areas on the National Highway 2 and the adjoining railway lines following successive blasts in the areas, which according to experts of the Geological Survey of India, was due to the prolonged illegal mining and the coal theft in the local collieries.

As a result, a large number of trucks,cars and other vehicles had been held up on the roads,creating heavy congestion. The railway authorities feared that the train services on the Eastern Railway's main lines might be stopped if the cracks were developing further on the tracks.

So far only the mails and the long-distance trains like the Rajdhani Express, the Satapdi Express, the Delhi-Kalka mail, the Jodhpur Express, the Punjab Mail, theAmritsar mail etc had been running through the second alternative lines but their speed limits in these areas had been restricted. Worried about the detection of the cracks on both the road and rail link near Asansol, the state government today requisitioned the Army.

The Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee after reviewing the situation at an emergency meeting at Writers Buildings today told mediapersons that he hoped within next two-three days, trucks and other heavy vehicles could ply on the roads.

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UK backs seat for India in Security Council 
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 18
British Chancellor to the Exchequer Gordon Brown yesterday said that Britain strongly supported India's bid for a permanent place, with others, on a larger Security Council even as he cautioned that a failure in the current WTO talks would damage international cooperation.

Delivering the key note address at a special plenary on globalisation at the CII Partnership Summit here, Mr Brown said, "It is time to formally recognise on a more consistent and regular basis the realities of the new emerging world order". He said, "We should focus on modernisation of the United Nations so that it has the right role for the modern world". He also commended India for being third largest UN peacekeeping force in the world.

Speaking on the issue of WTO talks, Mr Brown said, "Failure on trade will damage international cooperation just as a successful trade round will itself be an important declaration that international institutions can work". He said, a resumption of the negotiations to secure a fair deal on free trade was both necessary and urgent.

The British Chancellor of Exchequer said that he believed both the US and Europe wanted the trade talks to be resumed. He said that both however must take a decision on agricultural subsidies which were a cause of concern for developing countries. Mr Brown said that Europe needed to offer further market access and the US needed to reduce trade distorting agricultural domestic support. He said, “Emerging markets must go beyond what is on the table on industrial goods and services”.

Brown said that he had visited the high-tech companies and research institutes in Bangalore yesterday and would discuss ways and means to deepen links between both countries during his discussions with financial service leaders in Mumbai on Friday. He quoted that to help expand trading ties U K Trade and Investment (UKTI) in India would increase its support in order to full fund the Indo-British Partnership Network. "My aim is to double exports to India by 2010 and quadruple exports by 2020".

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24 children to get National Bravery Awards

New Delhi, January 18
Six-year-old Pooja, who saved her two younger brothers after her house was set on fire, despite her mother being stabbed to death in front of her eyes, is among the 24 children, including 12 girls, named for the National Bravery Awards for 2006. Three of these awards would be conferred posthumously.

Exhibiting exemplary courage that defied her tender age, shy and soft-spoken Pooja Kabadwal wiped off her tears right in front of her dead mother and rushed to save her two siblings from the raging fire set by the intruder who had come to steal. One of the younger child was three-year-old, while the other aged only 18 months. Pooja will be the youngest to receive the National Bravery Award.

On that night, she had quietly opened the window and sneaked out with her two brothers. She waited till dawn before seeking any help. She also pulled away all clothes from the place of fire to stop it from spreading further.

Thirteen-year-old Vandana Yadav from Uttar Pradesh will receive the prestigious Geeta Chopra Award for braving 17 stab wounds while fending off attackers. The Sanjay Chopra Award goes to V. Teja Sai (12) and C.V.S. Durga Doondieswar (13) of Andhra Pradesh (both posthumously) for saving four of their school mates from drowning in a river.

Ankita Bhosale (7) saved two women from drowning by throwing a saree towards them and pulling them out from the river. All this, while her brother, mother and two aunts sank right in front of her eyes in the Urmodi river. The three had jumped into the river to save her brother who had slipped into the deep waters by accident.

The Bapu Gayadhani Awards went to 13-year-old Asma Ayyub from Maharashtra for shifting around 40 children of her school to a safer place during Mumbai floods, 13-year-old Sushila Gurjar of Rajasthan for revolting against child marriage and 15-year-old Shilpa Janbandhu of Chhattisgarh for joining the anti-Naxal programme. From Punjab, Kashika Singh’s name figured among the award winners.

Among the other recipients, who will receive the annual awards from the Prime Minister on January 24 and participate in the Republic Day Parade, four are from Rajasthan, three from Maharashtra, two from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattishgarh and one each from Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Kerala.

Initiated in 1957 by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), the National Bravery Awards have been conferred on 710 children, including 198 girls, so far. — UNI

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TN transfers kidney scam cases to crime branch
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, January 18
The Tamil Nadu Government today ordered transfer of all cases pertaining to the "kidney scam" from the city police to the crime branch CID of the state police. The case relates to several poverty-stricken fisherwomen here resorting to selling their kidneys after being affected by the tsunami two years ago.

These women were offered up to Rs 1 lakh for a kidney by the "organ brokers", who took them to distant places like Madurai to get the surgeries done, official sources said.

Sometimes, the donors were not even paid half the amount offered and they often ended up being perennially ill after not getting proper post-operative care, they said.

The scam came to light when a 19-year-old mother of two children, was driven out of the house by her husband, who took the money given to her by the brokers for donating a kidney.

In addition to the investigation of the cases by the city police, the Tamil Nadu Government also ordered an inquiry by the Revenue Divisional Officer, Ms M.S Sangeetha. After getting her report, the government decided to transfer the cases to the CB-CID, the sources said.

Some donors told the RDO that they had decided to sell their kidneys as they had no other means of survival.

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SC reserves verdict in Sidhu’s case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 18
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s petition for stay of the conviction in a road rage death case even as the Punjab Government and main complainant strongly opposed it, saying that the Apex Court had not given the relief to anyone in its 57-year history.

Citing the parameters laid down by a constitution Bench in 2005 on stay of the conviction for contesting elections by convicted legislators, senior advocate Sushil Kumar and Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the government and complainant Jaswinder Singh, respectively urged the court to take into consideration the wide ramification the order of stay could have and added that no one should be placed above the law. They told a Bench of Mr Justice G.P Mathur and Mr Justice R.V Raveendran that maintaining of probity and high moral standards in public life was essential, particularly when question of a law maker was involved in a political scenario.

“In past 57 years not even in a single case of stay of conviction has been granted and even the orders passed by the high courts have been reversed by this court,” Dwivedi said, pointing out that it was the Apex Court which had forced the Union Government to amend the Representation of People Act and tightened its provisions against the people with criminal background.

The focus should not shift on this account by making any exception in the present case otherwise it would open a flood gate and any politician convicted would approach the Apex Court to seeks such relief, Dwivedi said. He made it amply clear that his remarks were not intended against Sidhu but concerned more about setting any precedent for the future by making an exception in the BJP leader’s case.

“Focus should shift from individuals. It is Sidhu today and it may be any other politician with criminal background tomorrow. Parliament should not suffer due to any order in favour of any individual,” Dwivedi said, when the Bench asked why should the stay not be granted in the present case when the sentence is only for three years.

Punjab Government counsel went a step further questioning the “high moral” ground taken by Sidhu first by resigning from Lok Sabha and then coming with a plea to let him contest from the seat he had quit.

Sidhu’s counsel Harish Salve had yesterday argued that Sidhu’s intention to go to the people’s court was an important factor, that should be considered and if the stay was not granted, it would cause him “irreparable” damage.

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Speakers flay legislators’ disorderly conduct
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
In a bipartisan move, speakers of Assemblies of NDA-ruled states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, today joined Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in passing a resolution condemning the vandalism perpetrated by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress in the West Bengal Assembly last November.

Trinamul Congress members, who had launched a campaign against the West Bengal Government’s decision to allot agricultural land in Singur to Tata Motors, had stormed into the state Assembly premises, indulged in violence and even destroyed furniture to lodge protest.

A meeting of the of the Standing Committee of the Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies in India, held under Mr Chatterjee’s chairmanship, had a detailed discussion on the increasing incidents of disorderly behaviour by members and passed a unanimous resolution condemning the violence in the West Bengal Assembly. The strongly worded resolution even went as far as to suggest that such disorderly conduct in legislatures called for “exemplary punitive action”.

The resolution did not name the Trinamul Congress, but took serious note of the fact that those responsible for preserving and enhancing the dignity of the House were responsible for this violence and destruction. Among those who attended today’s meeting included Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, Lok Sabha’s Deputy Speaker and the Speakers of West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh legislative Assemblies.

This resolution is bound to further strain the already tense relations between Ms Banerjee and Mr Chatterjee since the two have always had an uneasy relationship given political rivalry in West Bengal. Ever since Mr Chatterjee became Lok Sabha Speaker, Ms Banerjee has, on several occasions, charged him of treating her party unfairly. Mr Chatterjee had rejected her resignation but the NDA had rallied around the TMC chief and have, since then, periodically launched a campaign against the Speaker.

That today’s resolution got the unanimous support of Speakers from the Assemblies of NDA-ruled states appears to have vindicated Mr Chatterjee’s stand, who has always maintained that he was being treated unfairly by the Opposition.

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SC upholds disqualification of 2 Goa BJP MLAs
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 18
The Supreme Court today upheld the disqualification of two BJP MLAs from Goa by the state Governor on the recommendation of the Election Commission (EC) for holding office-of-profit.

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G Balakrishnan, Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Mr Justice D.K Jain dismissed the appeals of Dayanand Rayu Mandrekar and Rajendra Arkekar against the Bombay High Court verdict, upholding the EC order disqualifying them.

They had moved appeals against the High Court’s Panaji Bench order of 2005. While Mandrekar was Chairman of the Khadi Board, Arkekar was heading a public sector corporation.

During the pendency of the appeals, the Apex Court though had permitted them to participate in the Assembly proceedings, but restrained them from drawing any salary and vote in any resolution passed by the House.

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Sanjay Dutt’s bail extended till Feb 6
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 18
The special court set up under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act to hear the 1993 Mumbai blasts case today adjourned hearing on actor Sanjay Dutt's plea for probation till February 6.

Dutt's lawyers made a plea for bail under a little known law which allows convicted persons for release on probation for good behaviour. Under this law the court may decide to award a suspended sentence to an accused on certain terms and conditions.

The court extended bail for Sanjay Dutt till February 6.

A number of prominent citizens filed testimonials certifying for Dutt's good conduct.

Among those who filed testimonials supporting Sanjay Dutt's good conduct and character included veteran actor Dilip Kumar, former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama, anti-drug activist Yusuf Merchant and child activist Vipula Kadri.

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Indian Navy takes over USS Trenton
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 18
The US Navy formally handed over USS Trenton, an amphibious transport dock ship to the Indian Navy yesterday. She will be rechristened INS Jalashva and inducted into the Indian Navy next month, according to sources.

More than 300 crew members of the Indian Navy had undertaken general shipboard training with the Trenton's crew at Norfolk, Virginia in the United States since November before taking charge of the ship.

According to military.com, the website which covered the training undergone by members of the Indian Navy in the US, the sailors were imparted classroom instructions, shipboard training in port, and training while underway with an emphasis on safety.

As INS Jalashva, Trenton will be used mainly as a transport and landing ship including landing of seaborne commandos in conflict zones.

INS Jalashva, which will be the second largest ship in the Indian Navy after INS Viraat, has been purchased at a cost of Rs 218 crore. She comes with four Mark Eight landing craft and six H-3 Sea King helicopters which cost an additional Rs 175 crore. The 570-foot ship can be used to carry 900 troops and tanks apart from the Sea king Helicopters and landing vessels.

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AIDWA concerned over SC ruling on dowry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
The All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) today said it would file a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking reinterpretation of the Apex Court's recent ruling on dowry in the case of Appasaheb and another versus the State of Maharashtra.

A three-member AIDWA delegation led by Rajya Sabha MP and Vice-President of the Association Brinda Karat has submitted a memorandum voicing their concern on the consequences of the ruling to the Chief Justice of India, Justice Balakrishnan.

The Supreme Court has ruled, “A demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry.”

The case heard by the Supreme Court pertained to the dowry murder of Bhima Bai. She died within two-and-a-half years of marriage. In its memorandum, AIDWA has requested the Apex Court to review the judgement in Appasaheb's case as it sets a wrong precedent and will allow dowry takers and murderers to get away scot free.

The association has further voiced apprehension that the ruling will allow and encourage extortion and coercion in the name of dowry after marriage.

AIDWA has stated in its memorandum, “The judgement goes on to hold that the giving or taking of property or valuable security must have some connection with the marriage between the parties and a co-relation between the giving and taking of property or valuable security with the marriage of the parties is essential. We feel that the judgement totally misinterprets the definition of dowry by stating that all demands made after marriage in some way be shown to be in connection with the marriage.”

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Japan favours India-specific waiver by NSG
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
India should not be a target country but a partner nation for international non-proliferation efforts, Japanese Ambassador here Mr Yasukuni Enoki said today. He said the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should make a onetime waiver for India in changing its laws to allow India reap the benefits of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

“However, the NSG decision was bound to trigger a me-too request from Pakistan to the international community. If India is an exception, there should be only one exception (by the NSG). How to legitimise the Indian case (by the NSG) is the question. The NSG decision will trigger this debate,” Mr Enoki said.

The Japanese envoy was categorical in his response that as far as a formal position by Japan, a key NSG country, was concerned, it still remained the same. Japan has remained equivocal on its support for the Indo-US nuclear deal so far. That is why Mr Enoki’s remarks assume a lot of strategic importance.

Mr Enoki said there was one view and quite valid one that by making an exception to the NPT regime may weaken the treaty itself. On the other hand, India’s clean non-proliferation record and its vibrant democracy were factors that appeared to be boosting the Indian case in a big way.

The Japanese envoy said Pakistan’s proliferation antics and its nexus with North Korea were a security threat for “us as well as you”. 

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Hurriyat team leaves for Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
A delegation of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference from Jammu and Kashmir led by its Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq left for Pakistan today in a bid to evolve a consensus among the separatist and militant leaders across the border on its self-rule proposal.

The three-member delegation will also hold consultations with the Pakistani leadership on President Pervez Musharraf's four point formula for resolving the protracted Kashmir issue.

The Hurriyat team is visiting Islamabad at a time when there have been clashes between the moderates and the hardliners in their ranks as well as a grenade attack on the Mirwaiz's residence.

On their return from Pakistan, the Hurriyat leaders expressed their deire to hold consultations with the Manmohan Singh government.

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All-women CRPF force for Liberia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
An all-women armed contingent of the CRPF will leave for strife-torn Liberia today to join the United Nations peacekeeping operations there, making India the first country to contribute such a team.

The specialised police unit, comprising 125 female officers of the paramilitary force, has received training in crowd control, handling of weapons, teargas and unarmed combat, a release said.

The team, led by Commandant Seema Dhondiya, will be armed with pistols, Insas and AK-47 rifles and light machine guns.

The force is expected to undertake joint patrolling and general area domination besides riot control, training of officers of the Liberian National Police.

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SC notice to Centre on Haj subsidy
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 18
The grant of subsidy worth hundreds of crores by the Union Government to Haj pilgrims annually has been challenged in the Supreme Court by BJP MP Prafull Goradia on the ground that the Port Haj Committee Act and subsequent amendments to it violated a number of provisions of the Constitution.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, took cognisance of the public interest litigation (PIL) and issued a notice to the Union Government seeking its reply.

The provision of subsidy to Haj pilgrims was made under the 1959 amendment to the Act. The petitioner has sought to strike it down, claiming that it violated Articles 14 (equality), 15 (religious discrimination) and 27 pertaining to the regulation of tax matters.

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Swamy to visit China
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
Janata party president Subramanian Swany is undertaking a two-day visit to China from January 25 to finalise the list of Chinese participants at an international conference on “India-China-US Triangle” to be held in Ernakulam, Kerala, in January next year.

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