SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Gorakhpur IG replaced
Fresh violence in eastern UP

Lucknow, January 31
In view of intermittent violence continuing in various parts of Gorakhpur division for the fifth consecutive day, the state government replaced the IG Gorakhpur zone, Mr Vinay Kumar Verma, by Mr Jagmohan Yadav. Meanwhile, there were reports of fresh violence in the eastern parts of the state today.

Defying society, rape victim says no to abortion
Patna, January 31
It is the story of a rape victim’s spirited battle, as she defies twin threats by a so-called civil society and religious leaders, and decides to give birth to the child who was forced on her.

Plea against JAG puts Army in predicament
Chandigarh, January 31
The filing of a petition in the Delhi High Court last week, challenging the law degree of the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the Army’s senior-most legal officer, has generated a fresh controversy.

Desmond Tutu advocates freedom for Tibet
New Delhi, January 31
Nobel laureate and South African anti-apartheid struggle hero Desmond Tutu today caught the Indian leadership unaware by strongly advocating independence for Tibet soon after receiving the coveted Gandhi Peace Prize.
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presents Gandhi Peace Prize 2005 to Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI photo
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presents Gandhi Peace Prize 2005 to Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday

SC nod to govt for quota in PG medical courses 
New Delhi, January 31
The Union Government was today allowed by the Supreme Court to carry out admissions in the postgraduate medical courses under the 50 per cent central quota with reservation to SC and ST students available as per the constitutional provisions.



hi-tech sadhu
A sadhu uses a laptop on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi on Wednesday
A sadhu uses a laptop on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi on Wednesday.— PTI

EARLIER STORIES




SC admits petition on mercy killing, Centre opposes move
New Delhi, January 31
The Supreme Court today admitted a petition seeking to make the right to die with dignity a legal right to those suffering from incurable ailments in spite of the Centre opposing the move.

60 years on, Puja at Katasraj on Mahashivratri
New Delhi, January 31
Puja will start at the Katasraj temple in Pakistan on Mahashivratri day after a gap of six decades. The Pakistan Government is expected to issue visas to Indian pilgrims on Mahashivratri to take part in it.

Modi’s removal routine: BJP
New Delhi, January 31
Contrary to popular perception, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's removal from the BJP parliamentary board is not because party president Rajnath Singh has perceived in him as a threat, but because chief ministers traditionally have not been part of the highest decision-making forum.

Skeletal remains found in Murshidabad
Kolkata, January 31
A large stock of human skeletons, strewn over the forest area at Lalbagh, Murshidabad district, had been unearthed today while excavating the area by the Public Works Department (PWD).

European Parliament to discuss draft report on Kashmir in February
Record 455 amendments submitted
New Delhi, January 31
The European Parliament will start discussions next month on its damning draft report on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and voting on adoption of a hard-hitting resolution will come up in March-end.

500 students to attend first EU-India science meet
New Delhi, January 31
EU-India cooperation in Science and Research will reach a new milestone when the first-ever EU-India ministerial meeting on Science takes place here from February 7-8.

CBI officials meet families in Nithari
Noida, January 31
CBI officials today went door-to-door in Nithari village, the site of gruesome serial killings of children and women, talking to the families of the victims as well as those whose kin are missing.

Nithari traders clash with protesters
Noida, January 31

Ugly scenes were witnessed in Nithari today as local traders clashed with the family members of missing children, who have been staging a protest. The traders allegedly manhandled the protesters. At around 11 am, around 40 men claiming to be local traders reached the spot and asked the protesters to move, complaining that the demonstration was harming their business.



People whose children are missing block a road in protest at Nithari, near Noida, on Wednesday. — PTI photo

People whose children are missing block a road in protest at Nithari, near Noida, on Wednesday

Plea on Greater Hyderabad dismissed
Hyderabad, January 31
The Andhra Pradesh High Court today dismissed a writ petition challenging constitution of Greater Hyderabad by merging several municipalities and gram panchayats around the city.

‘Jal joro’ to revive water bodies through traditional methods
New Delhi, January 31
The Jal Biradari, comprising individuals and organisations working on water-related issues in the country, has launched an all-India movement for revitalisation and enumerating water resources and systems through a unique “Jal Joro” campaign.

31 air chiefs to attend Aero India show
Bangalore, January 31
As many as 37 Air Force chiefs of various countries are likely to visit Aero India 2007 which will be held here from February 7 to 11 even as India's largest-ever proposed Rs 45,000 crore fighter aircraft contract is likely to burn the Bangalore skies.

IIMB hikes post-graduate fees
Bangalore, January 31
The Board of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, (IIMB) yesterday approved a fee hike for post-graduate courses besides approving a 7 per cent hike in the intake of students from the Other Backward Castes (OBC) community.

Coast Guard steps up security
New Delhi, January 31
Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral R F Contractor today said that aerial and surface surveillance had been stepped up to counter terrorist threat to vital offshore oil platforms specially as the attacks could come through the sea route.

Govt wants peace process to begin early, says Lankan minister
New Delhi, January 31
Sri Lanka's new Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama categorically said today that his government wanted the peace process in the island country to begin as early as possible.

Majority of women want part-time work, finds survey
New Delhi, January 31
Only 23 per cent of rural women aged 15 years and above and 28 per cent of urban women in the country have shown preference for regular fulltime jobs with the majority -- 72 per cent in rural areas and 68 per cent in urban areas -- seeking part time employment.

Foreigner marries Indian bride in Khajuraho
Khajuraho, January 31
Enamoured by Indian tradition, a Scotland-resident has adopted the Hindu religion and has tied the knot with his Indian girlfriend in this world-renowned tourist destination.

Hokishe Sema dead
Kohima, January 31
Former Nagaland Chief Minister Hokishe Sema died here today. He was 86. He is survived by five sons and a daughter. Sema was also Chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Government and a former MP.

Fatmi panel misses deadline
New Delhi, January 31
An official committee assigned to go into the education aspect of the Sachar panel assessment on the plight of Muslims today skipped its January 31 deadline to submit the report as an ailing HRD minister Arjun Singh was not available, sources said.

Navy team first military unit to ski to South Pole
New Delhi, January 31
An Indian Navy team has become the world’s first defence unit to ski to the South Pole. The 10-member team led by Commander Satyabrata Dam reached the South Pole on December 28, 2006 after skiing through the white continent and hoisted the tricolour in the coldest region of the world.

Sari goes places in USA, Europe
New Delhi, January 31
The Indian six-yard wonder is going places and not just limited to Madonna, Naomi Campbell or Goldie Hawn, but fast emerging as a complete garment for many a foreigner.

Gotheborg given warm welcome
Chennai, January 31
The replica of the 18th-century Swedish sailing vessel Gotheborg and its crew were accorded a traditional and rousing reception when the ship docked at the Chennai port here today.

Videos

Bollywood celebrities mesmerize Mumbai.
(56k)

A museum of 'desi' designed vintage cars.
(56k)

 

Top









 

Gorakhpur IG replaced
Fresh violence in eastern UP
Shahira Naim

Lucknow, January 31
In view of intermittent violence continuing in various parts of Gorakhpur division for the fifth consecutive day, the state government replaced the IG Gorakhpur zone, Mr Vinay Kumar Verma, by Mr Jagmohan Yadav. Meanwhile, there were reports of fresh violence in the eastern parts of the state today.

DGP Bua Singh rushed to the city to personally monitor the situation. He visited the curfew-bound areas. A flag march was also carried out with the assistance of the paramilitary forces. Taking into consideration the sensitive situation in the region, the DGP is scheduled to stay there for another day.

The district administration has order the closure of all schools and colleges till February 3.

There was news of fresh violence from other parts of the region, particularly in eastern UP. Late last night, anti-social elements indulged in looting and violence after stopping a passenger train by pulling the chain near Tulsipur-Kawvapur on the Gorakhpur-Gonda line of the North East Railway.

After the incident the Railways decided to suspend all passenger trains on this stretch till further orders. NE Railway Chief PRO Manoj Kumar Singh said express trains would, however, continue to run with RPF escorts.

In Kushinagar, two local journalists were injured and their cameras snatched. According to Secretary Home Department Arun Kumar Sinha, clashes between the two communities were reported in districts Ghazipur of Varanasi division, Koshambi of Allahabad division and Ferozabad of Agra division. However, in Patkapur in Hariaya tehsil of Basti district, large-scale arson was reported.

Meanwhile, two BJP MPs S.S. Ahluwalia and Santosh Gangawar were arrested while they were heading towards Gorakhpur early this morning. Another senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra was arrested at Basti. State Congress President Salman Khurshid and UP Legislative party leader Pramod Tiwari were also detained.

Meanwhile, the BSP staged a statewide protest against the SP-run state government.

Top

 

Defying society, rape victim says no to abortion
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 31
It is the story of a rape victim’s spirited battle, as she defies twin threats by a so-called civil society and religious leaders, and decides to give birth to the child who was forced on her.

For the poor 15-year-old rape victim from Muzzafarpur in Bihar, even 59 years after Independence, it is religious dictate and not civil laws that dominates her fate.

The Muslim girl, Sajda (name changed), reportedly became pregnant after being raped repeatedly by Munna, a schoolboy of her village.

What caught the girl between the devil and the deep sea was the contradictory stands of society and the clerics.

Sources in the district administration said, that on one hand, some persons from her village threatened Sajda of dire consequences if she gave birth to the child growing in her womb. On the other side, the ulemas issued a decree against the "sin" of abortion under Islam.

Unfortunately, the local police is yet to take the matter seriously even after a violent mob ransacked Sajda`s house late on Monday night.

A resident of Benibad on the NH 57, Sajda`s father, Aseer Ahmed, earns a living by selling biscuits in the countryside.

Efforts by Ahmed to persuade Munna and his family to accept his daughter as their "bahu" proved futile as Munna is absconding.

The undaunted victim has now reportedly decided to give birth to the child.

She has also filed a case in the district court against Munna and plans to bring the newborn before the judiciary for justice.

Top

 

Plea against JAG puts Army in predicament
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The filing of a petition in the Delhi High Court last week, challenging the law degree of the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the Army’s senior-most legal officer, has generated a fresh controversy.

A signal sent by the Western Command JAG Branch to the Army Headquarters states that since the case involves the JAG, the case should not be referred to the JAG Branch at the Army Headquarters for legal advice or opinion, sources said. Alternatively, the matter should either be referred to the Western Com and or the Ministry of Law for advice and instructions, the signal added.

Meanwhile, Headquarters Delhi, has ordered a court of inquiry to investigate the circumstances under which the petitioner may have been instigated to file the case.

The petition has also placed the Army in a confusing situation. On one hand, the Army is defending the JAG in court with the government counsel pleading the case and the central government is among the respondents. On the other hand, it is questioning the validity of law degrees of some officers who had obtained their qualifications during the course of their service. This may result in the Army taking different stances on the same issue in the same court of law.

The petition challenging the JAG, Maj Gen Nilendra Kumar’s qualifications, alleges that his degree is invalid because he was posted at a different place when he was supposed to be undergoing the course at Lucknow and hence could not have fulfilled the mandatory requirement of attending lectures.

There are six officers from other arms whose transfer to the JAG Department is held up over the same issue. Recently, the Military Secretary’s (MS) Branch, circulated a letter asking officers to furnish details of their degrees and their whereabouts at the time of supposedly undergoing the course. The letter came when the said officers had already qualified in the JAG Departmental examination and had been undertaking regular legal work.

One of the officers, Lt Col Mukul Dev has moved court over his transfer to the JAG department being held up. He alleged that in spite of being fully qualified and having received a clear-cut sanction order for his transfer, the MS branch has posted him back to the Artillery.

The MS branch, however, claimed that the officer’s law degree was invalid as he was not posted at the place where he was enrolled. Though the cases of several officers are held up, the Army recently transferred a similarly-placed major to the JAG department.

Against an authorised strength of 116 officers, the JAG department has only 88. Of these, a large number are those who have converted to the JAG from other arms and services after having obtained a law degree. Such officers include several brigadiers and colonels. The others are direct entry officers.

The High Court is yet to issue any notice of motion in the case challenging the JAG’s degree as the counsel for the petitioner had sought a few more days to file additional documents. The case will come up for hearing in two weeks and it remains to be seen what stand the Army takes on the matter, which now affects several JAG

Top

 

Desmond Tutu advocates freedom for Tibet

New Delhi, January 31
Nobel laureate and South African anti-apartheid struggle hero Desmond Tutu today caught the Indian leadership unaware by strongly advocating independence for Tibet soon after receiving the coveted Gandhi Peace Prize.

“We thank you for giving refuge to one of greatest human beings Dalai Lama (Tibetan spiritual leader) and pray that you help bring about freedom of his Tibet,” the 76-years-old human rights activist from South Africa said after President Abdul Kalam presented the Rs 1-crore award to him at a function in the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and a galaxy of dignitaries were present.

Keeping in mind the sensitivity of ties between India and China, PMO sources were quick to point out that India recognised only one China and termed the remarks by Tutu as his personal views.

Tutu, who rose to fame as an opponent of apartheid, has also sought India’s help in bringing about the “freedom” of Burma and release of pro-democracy leader Aung Sans Suu Kyi.

The South African leader said, “I dedicate the award to the people of South Africa, to the freedom of Darfur and to Aung Sans Suu Kyi”.

The Prime Minister said Tutu and his comrade-in-arms Nelson Mandela fought for the end to apartheid and the right to live in peace with all races, all religions and all communities.

“Today, in conferring the Gandhi Peace Prize, we are only adding our own voice to the global recognition of Bishop Tutu’s Gandhism”, he said. — PTI

Top

 

SC nod to govt for quota in PG medical courses 
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 31
The Union Government was today allowed by the Supreme Court to carry out admissions in the postgraduate medical courses under the 50 per cent central quota with reservation to SC and ST students available as per the constitutional provisions.

The Centre had earlier moved an application seeking to rationalise the 22.5 per cent SC and ST reservation in PG courses as sequel to Apex Court’s 2005 judgement stating that it had not taken out the reservation to these communities in the education institution of specialised courses in the Inamdar case judgement.

The court had clarified that in the Inamdar case judgement, it had not prevented the reservation SCs and STs but for other categories.

A Bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Mr Justice D K Jain said since SC and ST reservation was a constitutional requirement, it had to be provided in the medical PG courses whether the admission was through the central or state quota.

Since PG course seats in all institutions were divided on equal basis of 50 per cent each between the central and state quotas, the 22.5 per cent reservation for these communities would be applicable in the same manner. While SCs were entitled to 15 per cent reservation, the quota for STs was fixed at 7.5 per cent.

The apex court had provided for a fixed schedule of admission for PG courses with the process starting in January and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the entrance exams for central quota seats across the country.

Top

 

SC admits petition on mercy killing, Centre opposes move
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 31
The Supreme Court today admitted a petition seeking to make the right to die with dignity a legal right to those suffering from incurable ailments in spite of the Centre opposing the move.

A petition filed by social organisation Common Cause was admitted by a Bench of Mr Justice B.N. Agrawal and Mr Justice P.P. Naolekar after its counsel said the issue needed to be heard in detail.

The Common Cause sought a direction to the Centre to adopt a suitable procedure in consultation with states to ensure that persons of deteriorated health or terminally ill be able to execute a document titled ‘My Living Will and Attorney Authorisation’ to be presented to the hospital concerned for appropriate action for his mercy killing.

If a terminally ill person is not admitted to a hospital, clear guidelines should be laid down for his peaceful death to save him from agony, it said.

But Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Centre, rejected the idea outright, saying mercy killing could not be permitted as it would be misused.

He said even the Law Commission, in its report, had rejected the proposal on the ground that it would be a licence to kill, particularly in the greed for property.

The Common Cause tried to make a case for direction on the issue on the ground that “right to die with dignity” could be equated with the “fundamental right to live with dignity” as laid down in Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court had issued a notice to the Centre, seeking its reply to the public interest litigation moved by the Common Cause on the issue.

But the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in its affidavit, raised a question mark on such a plea asking “can a doctor claim to have the knowledge and experience to say the disease is incurable and the patient is permanently invalid to live”.

It would be difficult to quantify the suffering which might always be subject to the changing social pressure and norms and defining the condition of a bedridden patient with the changing time was always medically possible.

Top

 

60 years on, Puja at Katasraj on Mahashivratri
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
Puja will start at the Katasraj temple in Pakistan on Mahashivratri day after a gap of six decades.
The Pakistan Government is expected to issue visas to Indian pilgrims on Mahashivratri to take part in it.

The news of the restart of the puja was conveyed to Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani by a three-member visiting delegation of the Archaeological Department of Pakistan, which was on a 10 day trip to India.

The idea of renovating the ancient temple, 200 km from Lahore, was mooted during the NDA regime. Mr Advani had laid the foundation stone of this project during his trip to Pakistan in June 2005.

The move is a part of the confidence-building measures agreed to between New Delhi and Islamabad and is related to places of pilgrimage in the two countries.

Briefing mediapersons about the talks between the visiting Pakistani delegation and Mr Advani, BJP secretary Balbir Punj said since the Archaeological Department of Pakistan did not have experience of renovating Hindu temples, rather structures, it had decided to come to India to study it.

The Pakistani delegation had gone to Varanasi, Ajanta and Ellora, Pushkar and Akshardham in Delhi.

The Punjab Government in Pakistan had sanctioned a sum of Rs 10 crore for the renovation.

Leader of the visiting delegation Orya Maqbool Jan Abbasi told Mr Advani that the renovation was being done in phases and the first phase would be completed in 2007 at a cost of Rs 6.3 crore, Mr Punj said.

Mr Abbasi further said the basic conservation work at the main Shiv temple would be completed soon so as to make it ready to receive Hindu pilgrims, including a contingent from India, on Mahashivratri.

Expressing satisfaction at the development in the Katasraj temple, Mr Advani expressed the hope that the Government of Pakistan would also begin similar conservation and renovation projects at the Hinglaj temple in Baluchistan, the Lav temple at the Lahore fort and the Shiv temple in Karachi, which was recently visited by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Abbasi said the Punjab Government planned to renovate the Valmiki temple outside the Lahore fort.

The Katasraj temple complex had been turned into ruins and stood in utter neglect since Partition.

Top

 

Modi’s removal routine: BJP
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
Contrary to popular perception, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's removal from the BJP parliamentary board is not because party president Rajnath Singh has perceived in him as a threat, but because chief ministers traditionally have not been part of the highest decision-making forum.

Mr Modi was nominated to the board by Mr Singh when he became the BJP president after Mr L.K. Advani had to step down from the post in the wake of the Jinnah controversy.

"It was an interim measure as Assembly elections were not due in Gujarat", a BJP leader said, adding that since Assembly elections were going to take place in the state next year, there was "no question of keeping him in a forum which decides about the party candidates".

Mr Singh constituted the board and other important committees as he was authorised to do so at the three-day session of the party's national executive and national council.

Nobody is contradicting the perception about Mr Modi, being carried forward by both electronic and print media, as it is benefitting the BJP in the context of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The dropping of Mr Arun Jaitley as the chief spokesman has hogged media attention and is surprisingly being seen as his demotion, but a fact which is being ignored is that he has been given the prestigious post of the secretary of the parliamentary board, a post held by the late Pramod Mahajan.

Top

 

Skeletal remains found in Murshidabad
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 31
A large stock of human skeletons, strewn over the forest area at Lalbagh, Murshidabad district, had been unearthed today while excavating the area by the Public Works Department (PWD).

According to initial reports, at least 50 such skeletons were recovered while the earth-cutting work was still continuing in the area.

The findings of such large number of human skeletons at a time in one place caused sensation and panic in the palace-town of the Nawab of Murshidabad, located near Bangladesh.

Only last week, a huge stock of human skeletons was unearthed in Malda. But so far the police could not resolve the mystery of the findings.

But the police and the district administration did not rule out if the Nithari-type of serial killings had taken place recently at Lalbagh and Malda.

Forensic experts and the investigation team of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) were pressed into service. The CID also started an investigation.

The paramilitary forces were now guarding the areas.

Top

 

European Parliament to discuss draft report on Kashmir in February
Record 455 amendments submitted
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
The European Parliament will start discussions next month on its damning draft report on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and voting on adoption of a hard-hitting resolution will come up in March-end.

A record 455 amendments have been suggested to the European Parliament’s draft report, Mr Francisco Da Camara Gomes, EU Ambassador and head of EU delegation, here said today.

Such a large number of amendments to the draft report indicates that Pakistan has succeeded to a limited extent in delaying the passing of the resolution, which was expected to be done this month itself.

“A total of 455 amendments to a draft report! This is a record, fit enough to go into the Guinness Book of Records”, Mr Gomes remarked.

Pakistan has gone on a diplomatic overdrive ever since the draft report came out.

Islamabad is well aware of huge diplomatic embarrassment it will face internationally, and that too, from such a powerful body like the EU, if the resolution is adopted on the basis of the draft report.

As part of these diplomatic efforts, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz yesterday met EU’s foreign policy head Xavier Solana in Brussels.

Mr Gomes, in response to a pointed question on the European Parliament’s draft report on Kashmir, said Pakistan was “upset” ever since the draft report came out.

He, however, said the draft report was “independent”, “not biased” and was not in anybody’s favour or against.

The European Parliament’s rapporteur Baroness Emma Nicholson had prepared a draft report on Kashmir, which was released on November 23 last.

The draft report hauls up the Pakistan Government over coals on a vast array of issues, including human rights, development and terrorism vis-a-vis Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

Top

 

500 students to attend first EU-India science meet
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
EU-India cooperation in Science and Research will reach a new milestone when the first-ever EU-India ministerial meeting on Science takes place here from February 7-8.

The meeting will be co-chaired by the German Federal Minister for Education and Research, Dr Annette Schavan, the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Dr Janez Potocnik, and the Indian Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Mr Kapil Sibal. The three leaders will also address the EU-India Science Icons meeting in Delhi at Vigyan Bhavan on February 8, the German ambassador, Mr Bernd Mutzelburg, told reporters, here today.

On February 8, leading figures of science and research from Europe and India will have a chance to interact with around 500 Indian PhD science students. The event is based on similar gatherings that take place in Europe, which generate an interest in and enthusiasm for science as a career.

The Science Ministerial will be attended by ministers or their designated high-level representatives from the 27 EU member states, many of which have recently signed bilateral agreements with India. The objective of the conference is to discuss ways to further strengthen the scope and quality of scientific co-operation with India including, through added Indian participation in the EU's Research Framework Programme.

The EU-India summit in October 2006 highlighted the importance of research in the EU-India relationship. Between 2002 and 2006 more than 75 projects were funded within the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) that involved Indian researchers. Significant new opportunities for international partnerships are opening up with the advent of the Seventh Framework Programme, the German Ambassador said.

Top

 

CBI officials meet families in Nithari

Noida, January 31
CBI officials today went door-to-door in Nithari village, the site of gruesome serial killings of children and women, talking to the families of the victims as well as those whose kin are missing.

The CBI spent around three hours in the village, meeting the parents of victims and missing children and women as well as their neighbours as part of their investigation into the killings.

There were some tense moments during the CBI team’s visit to Nithari, with a victim’s relative losing his temper as the officials came to his house and complaining about his situation.

The investigating agency has also asked the families of missing children and women to submit blood samples at the CBI camp office in Noida for DNA tests. — PTITop


 

Nithari traders clash with protesters

Noida, January 31
Ugly scenes were witnessed in Nithari today as local traders clashed with the family members of missing children, who have been staging a protest. The traders allegedly manhandled the protesters. At around 11 am, around 40 men claiming to be local traders reached the spot and asked the protesters to move, complaining that the demonstration was harming their business.

“We have been sitting idle in our shops with no business. Who will compensate us?” said Babu Lal, a representative of the Timber Trader Association.

He said their business was getting affected as the protesters had blocked the road leading to Nithari. — PTI

Top

 

Plea on Greater Hyderabad dismissed
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 31
The Andhra Pradesh High Court today dismissed a writ petition challenging constitution of Greater Hyderabad by merging several municipalities and gram panchayats around the city.

The Rajasekhara Reddy Government had approved in 2005 the creation of Greater Hyderabad by merging the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad with 12 municipalities and eight villages surrounding the city.

The Bench consisting of Chief Justice Ganpat Singh Singhvi and Mr Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy, while dismissing the petitions, however, directed the government to complete the process of hearing the representatives of municipalities and panchayats, which are likely to be affected on account of constitution of Greater Hyderabad.

The court overruled all objections raised by petitioners and declared that courts could not interfere with policy making of the government. The petitions were filed by Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi and Sayanna of the TDP.

With major changes in the character, size, boundaries and population, Hyderabad would no longer be the same with 10 municipalities from Ranga Reddy district and two from Medak district — and eight gram panchayats joining the big family and taking the population beyond the 60-lakh mark.

Presently spread over an area of 172 sq km, the enlarged corporation will have an area of about 750 sq km and is expected to enable the state government to claim the mega city status, providing access to certain types of funding for infrastructure.

Many political parties such as the TRS and the MIM as well as NGOs such as Forum for Development of Hyderabad opposed the proposal, saying Greater Hyderabad would not only increase the burden of taxes on the peripheral areas, but also would result in erosion of local government through centralization of power.

Top

 

‘Jal joro’ to revive water bodies through traditional methods
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
The Jal Biradari, comprising individuals and organisations working on water-related issues in the country, has launched an all-India movement for revitalisation and enumerating water resources and systems through a unique “Jal Joro” campaign.

Under the campaign, “water warriors” will create awareness among people “on the water crisis in the country “ and also make a list of existing, dried-up and encroached water bodies. The exercise will be followed by attempts to revive the water resources and systems, using traditional technology and wisdom and emulating the example of revival of the Arvari River in Rajasthan.

Magsaysay award winner (1991) Rajinder Singh, the leader of the movement, says the government’s water management practices are lacking and water bodies should instead be revived through traditional methods and community cooperation.

According to Mr Rajinder Singh, the need of the hour is to create awareness of the water situation among people and revive water systems through community cooperation in order to overcome the water crisis in the country.

“Unless the national water policy is designed on the basis of Indian water ethos and policy, our water crisis will not be resolved. Unfortunately, the government is doing everything to destroy water resources by adopting importing policies and practices of water management, ignoring traditional practices and wisdom,” he says.

Quoting the example of Tarun Bharat Sangh, the Magsayasay awardee says that it was with traditional technology and wisdom that drying River Arvari in the Alwar district of Rajasthan was revived.

Launched in the Capital from Raj Ghat as part of Jal Satyagraha at the end of four-day water sammelan yesterday, “water warriors” from different states, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnatataka, Tamil Nadu and Assam, took a vow with bottles of polluted water from their regions in their hands, to end water crisis in the country.

The movement will also get technical and judicial support from experts. 

Top

 

31 air chiefs to attend Aero India show
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 31
As many as 37 Air Force chiefs of various countries are likely to visit Aero India 2007 which will be held here from February 7 to 11 even as India's largest-ever proposed Rs 45,000 crore fighter aircraft contract is likely to burn the Bangalore skies.

Air Force chiefs of countries, including the United States, Russia, France, Israel, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden and South Africa, are likely to visit the show.

It is the new generation fighters which are likely to be the cynosure of all eyes due to the buzz over the fighter contract. The big players in the fray, including the American F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Russian MIG-35 and the Swedish Saab Gripen will be showcased. The French Rafael is also likely to be a star attraction along with the P-3C Orion. A number of companies have confirmed flying displays of their products at the show.

It is partly due to the contract as well as an increased interest in India's indigenous aircraft, including the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA-Tejas), Intermediate Jet Trainer and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-Dhruv) that the aero show this time is likely to see a 40 per cent rise in international participation. Bulk bookings have already been received from Russia, France, Israel, Germany, Australia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, Brazil, and the United States. In all, around 500 companies will participate in the event which will see around 85 aircraft being displayed.

This will also see the static display area of the show increasing this time from 10,000 square meters to 15,000 square metres. Major aviation companies like Sukhoi, Thales, Bell Helicopter, Rolls Royce, Airbus and Bombardier have also increased their display space as compared to the last show.

Boeing will display its Boeing 737-800, Lockheed Martin will display F-16 and F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft. Dassault Aviation will showcase Falcons 900 EX and 200 EX while Raytheon of US will display Hawker 850, 1000 and 4000. BAE systems will display its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) HERTI in the first ever public display outside the UK. The UAV is suitable for both civilian and military uses and is entirely computer-controlled.

The show is being organised jointly by a consortium consisting of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Farnborough International Ltd., a global leader in aerospace exhibitions. 

Top

 

IIMB hikes post-graduate fees
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 31
The Board of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, (IIMB) yesterday approved a fee hike for post-graduate courses besides approving a 7 per cent hike in the intake of students from the Other Backward Castes (OBC) community.

The board hiked the fee for all post-graduate courses from Rs 1.75 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per annum. The fee for foreign students has been hiked from $ 8,000 to $ 15,000.

IIMB Director Prakash G. Apte disclosed here that the fee hike was partly due to an increase in the disbursal of freeships following the increase in the number of students from economically and socially backward sections of the society as well as a general increase in the infrastructure maintenance and other costs.

Mr Apte also disclosed that the board, which was chaired by Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani, also approved a 7 per cent hike in the intake of OBC students in keeping with the recommendations of the Oversight Committee which had recommended 27 per cent reservation for OBC students in institutes of higher learning.

The IIMB head said the institute was committed to increasing its number of seats but that this process would take place in a phased manner. "We are increasing the seats by seven per cent this year which will see the strength of the PG management courses go up from the present 250 to around 280-290". He said the fee hike would be uniform in all the IIMs but each institution would ratify the decision individually.

Mr Apte said the IIMB was increasing the seats by expanding its present infrastructure and that it had dropped its earlier plans for building another campus to ensure the smooth intake of the increased OBC students. He said more class rooms and halls will be built in the present campus itself with the Union government approving an additional budget of Rs 45 crore for this purpose. The IIMB had asked for Rs 140 crore to create additional facilities to accommodate OBC students.

The IIMB has also decided to ensure that OBC students have ample opportunities for freeships as well as soft loans. "No student will have to suffer for want of money to pay the required fee", Mr Apte said. The board also decided to give more incentives to its faculty to retain talent in the premier institution. This includes allowing teachers to retain the Rs 6 lakh earned by them through consultancy fees. Earlier they had to remit as much as 60 per cent of their consultation fee to the institution. Now only earnings more than Rs 6 lakh will be shared equally with the institution. 

Top

 

Coast Guard steps up security
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral R F Contractor today said that aerial and surface surveillance had been stepped up to counter terrorist threat to vital offshore oil platforms specially as the attacks could come through the sea route.

Talking to the media on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Indian Coast Guard, Vice-Admiral Contractor said, “The Coast Guard has stepped up its aerial and surface surveillance to safeguard our assets against subversive threats from the sea”.

He said the emerging security situation in the backdrop of global terrorism called for the coast guard to be at the highest state of vigil while on patrol at sea.

As part of the effort fishing boats entering the Indian waters were being surveyed through aircraft, he added.

Admiral Contractor said that all services were seized of the problem.

The Coast Guard had commissioned three new stations last year at Puducherry, Beypore and Kakinada to bridge the surveillance gap along the coast.

The stations at Puducherry assume significance with oil and gas finds off Chennai and in the Krishna Godavari basin.

He thanked the government for approving the XIth Development Plan (2007-12) which envisaged acquisition of 15 major ships and 23 aircraft that include Multi Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA) from abroad, twin-engine helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

On the organisation’s expansion plan, he said five fast patrol vessels, two advanced offshore patrol vessels, three pollution control vessels, three inshore patrol vessels and 11 interceptor boats were being constructed.

Top

 

Govt wants peace process to begin early, says Lankan minister
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
Sri Lanka's new Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama categorically said today that his government wanted the peace process in the island country to begin as early as possible.

"We are striving for lasting peace while dealing with terrorist acts with a firm hand," Mr Bogollagama observed here after meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee during the day.

Making his first visit to India after becoming Foreign Minister on January 28, the visiting dignitary affirmed "our government wants peace by addressing the peace process in a pluralistic manner".

He emphasised that Mahinda Rajapakse was beginning the second era of his Presidency by building a consensus that there should be a negotiated settlement for lasting peace.

He insisted that the Sri Lankan Government was approaching the peace process from a "strong position as it enjoyed a two-third strength in Parliament”.

“We want to consolidate the political situation and make things happen. The security of the people is the priority. Terrorism has to be eliminated. The LTTE must join the peace process," he said.

In the last few months displaced people have returned to their homes. "We are encouraging resettlement and compensating the loss suffered by the people."

Asked if the Sri Lankan security forces can eliminate the LTTE, the minister said: "We are engaging in talks and recognise the outfit as a stakeholder. The LTTE should shift from being a terrorist movement to meeting the aspirations of the people."

Mr Bogollagama did not think that the LTTE was at a loss whom to nominate after the death of Anton Balasingham.

The LTTE had any number of people to represent it at the talks, he said.

Top

 

Majority of women want part-time work, finds survey

New Delhi, January 31
Only 23 per cent of rural women aged 15 years and above and 28 per cent of urban women in the country have shown preference for regular fulltime jobs with the majority -- 72 per cent in rural areas and 68 per cent in urban areas -- seeking part time employment.

Just 33 per cent of the women above 15 years of age in rural India, usually engaged in domestic duties, had reported availability for 'work' on the household premises while their numbers were at 27 per cent in urban India, the latest National Sample Survey report on "Participation of Women in Specified Activities along with Domestic Duties, 2004-05", released here today states.

They, however, cited need for either "initial finance on easy terms" or "training" or "working finance facilities" to take up work as desired. 
The report, whose findings will shed light on the vital contribution of women in economic activities apart from their household chores, notes that a sizable proportion of women in India are engaged in many other economically productive activities apart from their domestic chores.

Interestingly, about 40 per cent of the rural women above five years of age and 50 per cent of their urban sisters during 2004-2005 were classified as engaged in domestic duties. Of them, 37 per cent of rural and 18 per cent of urban women usually carried out some economic activity in their principal and subsidiary statuses, the report states.

This takes cognisance of the stand of women's groups that the low work participation rate for women may be partly due to the fact that investigators might not be able to enquire in detail about the economic activities performed by women in addition to their domestic duties.

An interesting finding of the survey was that about 54 per cent of the women aged five years and above in rural areas and 10 per cent in urban areas who were classified as "usually engaged in domestic duties", pursued one or more of the activities relating to farm production including free collection of farm products and processing of primary products produced by the households, for the households’ consumption.

For getting the upper bound of Worker Population Ratio (WPR), 16.4 per cent in rural areas and 4.6 per cent in urban areas engaged in domestic duties as per their usual status but found to be engaged in economic activities have to be added. Therefore, the upper bound of the WPR for women aged five years and above in rural and urban areas was 53.4 per cent and 22.6 per cent, respectively. — UNI

Top

 

Foreigner marries Indian bride in Khajuraho

Khajuraho, January 31
Enamoured by Indian tradition, a Scotland-resident has adopted the Hindu religion and has tied the knot with his Indian girlfriend in this world-renowned tourist destination.

The couple-Steven (32) and Vinita (28) -- entered into wedlock last evening. Earlier, Steven had adopted the Hindu religion and changed his name to Jeevan.

Prior to the marriage, Steven performed ‘puja’ in Mangteshwar temple.

The wedding procession-comprising the groom, his relatives and the usual trappings-was welcomed by the bride’s father Girija Prasad Sen, mother Gayatri and other relatives.

Two years ago Steven had met Vinita, who was then working in New Delhi. Both fell in love and Steven took Vinita to Scotland where both began to work as teachers. Now, both have to come to India for their wedding. Vinita’s father is a retired employee of Shilpgram, while his mother is a teacher. — UNI 

Top

 

Hokishe Sema dead

Kohima, January 31
Former Nagaland Chief Minister Hokishe Sema died here today.
He was 86. He is survived by five sons and a daughter. Sema was also Chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Government and a former MP.

Sema was the third Chief Minister of Nagaland and also the first Naga to become the Governor of Himachal Pradesh. Besides being a Cabinet minister in the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly, he had been the Chief Minister of Nagaland for three times. — UNI

Top

 

Fatmi panel misses deadline

New Delhi, January 31
An official committee assigned to go into the education aspect of the Sachar panel assessment on the plight of Muslims today skipped its January 31 deadline to submit the report as an ailing HRD minister Arjun Singh was not available, sources said.

Though the 13-member committee headed by minister of state for HRD M.A.A. Fatmi was ready with its report, it had been awaiting an appointment from Mr Arjun Singh, who was convalescing from illness.

Turning proactive, he had constituted the committee to prepare a plan of action to improve education among Muslims.— PTI

Top

 

Navy team first military unit to ski to South Pole

New Delhi, January 31
An Indian Navy team has become the world’s first defence unit to ski to the South Pole.
The 10-member team led by Commander Satyabrata Dam reached the South Pole on December 28, 2006 after skiing through the white continent and hoisted the tricolour in the coldest region of the world.

“It is a great achievement not only for the navy but for the country, which is proud of our men,” Minister of States for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said at a ceremony here on Wednesday to flag-in the expedition.

Congratulating the navy personnel, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta said, “The navy provides an opportunity to show how to be adventurous in a non-combative way and the efforts of our men have brought laurels for the country.”

The teamcomprised of Lt Cdr KS Balaji, Lt A Khajuria, Lt A Sharma, Raj Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Vikas Kumar, Manoj Kumar, B Singh and Sonam Tamchos. — PTI

Top

 

Sari goes places in USA, Europe

New Delhi, January 31
The Indian six-yard wonder is going places and not just limited to Madonna, Naomi Campbell or Goldie Hawn, but fast emerging as a complete garment for many a foreigner.

So much has its popularity grown that a large number of websites are now offering traditional varieties of saris online, Benarsi being one of them.

“Foreigners are today open to wearing a sari. In New York or London, many can be seen comfortably draping a sari, especially at Indian weddings and parties,” says Meera Mahadevia, a textile designer. — PTI

Top

 

Gotheborg given warm welcome

Chennai, January 31
The replica of the 18th-century Swedish sailing vessel Gotheborg and its crew were accorded a traditional and rousing reception when the ship docked at the Chennai port here today.

It was a historical occasion as for the first time in 260 years an East India man set sail from a Swedish harbour to China in October last to mark an expedition around the world, travelling along the same route as the trade vessel followed in the 18th century.

The ship had been retracing the historical route to China, passing India and the Mediterranean during the home-bound voyage. The arrival of the ship from Singapore yesterday was marked by fireworks display. — UNI

Top

 
BRIEFLY
 

Indefinite curfew
RAJGARH
: Indefinite curfew was clamped in Bioara town of Rajgarh district on Wednesday following a dispute between two communities over putting up of “objectionable” posters. ''The curfew was imposed at 3.30 pm,'' said the District Collector, G.P. Tiwari. The police used teargas shells and force to disperse the miscreants. — UNI

Kidnapper escapes
AHMEDABAD
: A woman, arrested on charges of kidnapping a child, escaped from the Vatva police station, here on Wednesday. The accused, Zarinaben, a resident of Vatwa, escaped by ''forcefully'' pushing aside a female constable while returning from the toilet at about 6 am. She was arrested on Tuesday for kidnapping the child of an adivasi labourer.— UNI

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |