SPECIAL COVERAGE
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LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

No land to be acquired at Nandigram: Left
Kolkata, March 17
The crisis, which was threatening the existence of the Left Front government in West Bengal over the Nandigram carnage, at last was averted today, mainly at the intervention of Jyoti Basu.

CBI arrests 10 with arms
Nandigram, March 17
Making a breakthrough in its investigation into the police firing here on March 14, the CBI today arrested 10 persons and seized a large quantity of arms and ammunition from them.

SPOs fight Naxals for just Rs 1,500
Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), March 17
Thirty-nine tribal youths, who were killed in the Naxalite attack at a police camp in South Bastar, were working as Special Police Officers (SPOs) on a honorarium of just Rs 1500 per month.



EARLIER STORIES




Ash-Abhishek wedding on April 18 likely
Mumbai, March 17
The wedding of actor Abhishek Bachchan with Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai is likely to be held on April 18.

Pawar’s daughter accused of dual citizenship
Mumbai, March 17
Supriya Sule, Rajya Sabha member and daughter of NCP strongman Sharad Pawar, is in a tangle with a petitioner accusing her of holding Singapore citizenship along with her Indian passport.

Political problems lead to social unrest: Kalam
New Delhi, March 17
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said simmering political problems need to be addressed promptly in the process of reforming the criminal justice system as unresolved issues lead to foreign elements taking advantage of them and perpetuating terrorism and mass killings.

Justice A.R. Lakshmanan (right) shakes hands with Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan during a seminar on "Delay in administration of criminal justice system" in New Delhi on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal
Justice A.R. Lakshmanan (right) shakes hands with Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan during a seminar on "Delay in administration of criminal justice system" in New Delhi on Saturday.

Students torch bus, six hurt
Varanasi, March 17
Six passengers were injured when students of Jagatpur Degree College, went on rampage here today, setting ablaze an Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) bus.

Bhardwaj for overhaul of CrPC
New Delhi, March 17
To cut down the long procedural delay in deciding the criminal cases and ensuring speedy justice to the accused persons, the government is thinking of overhauling the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that will help in sifting of the non-serious offences from the serious ones for settlement through plea-bargaining.

Sravan Kumar in Kalyug
Berhampur (Orissa), March 17
Carrying his mother on his shoulders for the past 11 years is no mean feat, especially so when his blind love for his blind mother helped him take her on a pilgrimage to the holy places across the country.

235 cadets commissioned into Army
Chennai, March 17
Arms and ammunitions smuggling from Tamil Nadu to the LTTE in Sri Lanka was a major concern for defence services and joint patrolling with the Sri Lankan Navy was feasible to combat it, Lieut-Gen Aditya Singh, GOC-in-C, Southern Command of the Indian Army, said here today.

Campaign against porno sites
Dehra Dun, March 17
The police has launched a campaign to check the youngsters accessing pornographic sites as well as playing CDs containing such stuff in the cyber cafes in Uttarakhand.

Same sex couple separates
Thiruvananthapuram, March 17
The much-talked about same sex couple-Sowmya and Sree Nandu-has decided to separate after about two years, when Soumya approached the police, alleging that she was assaulted by the latter.

Videos
Ram Gopal Verma— an ace director & producer.
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Jurassic age fossils discovered in Gujarat. 
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No land to be acquired at Nandigram: Left
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, March 17
The crisis, which was threatening the existence of the Left Front government in West Bengal over the Nandigram carnage, at last was averted today, mainly at the intervention of Jyoti Basu.

In a two-and-a-half-hour long Left Front’s meeting held at the CPI(M)’s Alimuddin Street party office in the morning, the three major partners - CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc, which had threatened to quit the front, protesting against the innocent killing of the poor farmers at Nandigram in a police firing, finally agreed to accept an eight-point compromise formula, drafted mainly on Basu’s advice, and they all agreed to remain in the front.

According to the compromise formula, it has been decided that no land at Nandigram will be acquired for industries and henceforth, all major government decisions will be taken at the Left Front meeting and not by the Chief Minister alone. The meeting also decided that the police force posted at Nandigram would be withdrawn gradually.

But neither Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee, nor the CPI(M) had been held responsible and accordingly indicted for the police firing and the killing of several farmers though it had been the major demand of the allies. The three leaders, Ashoke Ghose, Monju Mojumdar and Debabrata Bandopadhyya, who had been firm all through sticking to the demand for fixing the responsibility of the police firing, were finally persuaded by Basu. Bhattacharjee expressed regret at the incident of killing, adding that he did not foresee such a massacre to happen.

Though at today’s meeting, the Left Front’s internal problem was resolved, the political and the administrative crisis, which was created over the Nandigram and Singur issue vis-a-vis the government’s land acquiring move for industries, has deepened further.

Today also there were large-scale protests and demonstrations, including the burning of the Chief Minister’s effigies, attacking the government offices, CPI(M) party offices, disturbing the train and the vehicular movements, etc.

Historian Dr Sumit Sarkar and Tania Sarkar, both Marxists, today returned their Rabindra Puruskar ( Tagore prize), awarded by the state government, as a mark of protest at the killing at Nandigram. They also decided to donate their prize money to the Krishia Bachaoo Committee.

Dramatist Nabarun Bhattacharyya returned the Bankim prize awarded to him by the government.

BJP leader L.K. Advani, who visited Nandigram today along with some NDA leaders and made an on-the-spot inquiry into the firing and the killing of farmers.

Social activist Medha Patkar, who also visited Nandigram today and met injured persons in hospitals.

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CBI arrests 10 with arms 

Nandigram, March 17
Making a breakthrough in its investigation into the police firing here on March 14, the CBI today arrested 10 persons and seized a large quantity of arms and ammunition from them.

East Midnapore's SP G. A. Srinivas told PTI that the arrests were made at Khejuri this evening during raids by the CBI. He declined to specify the political affiliation of those arrested.

Srinivas said 14 improvised firearms, 500 rounds of assorted ammunition, binoculars and cellphones were seized by the CBI from a brick kiln. Earlier in the day, CBI sleuths inspected several areas at Gokulnagar village near here and dug up the earth at some places to ascertain whether arms and bodies had been buried there as was claimed by local people. — PTI

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SPOs fight Naxals for just Rs 1,500

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), March 17
Thirty-nine tribal youths, who were killed in the Naxalite attack at a police camp in South Bastar, were working as Special Police Officers (SPOs) on a honorarium of just Rs 1500 per month.

The SPOs get no other benefits. Now, the police has announced to provide a solatium of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of the SPOs, who had lost their lives in the Naxalite attack on a police camp at Ranibodli in Dantewada yesterday.

They were among the more than 4,000-odd tribal youth, in the age group of 18 to 25 years, who had been appointed as SPOs under the Police Act to act as scouts for the security forces in the sprawling shrub forests and hilly terrains of South Bastar.

Aware of the terrain and local dialect, these youth guide and assist the security forces in Dantewada district of South Bastar, where the Communist Party of India (Maoists) has a very strong presence. A vast area of the region falls under the ''liberated zone'' of Dandakaranya, while the government administration terms it as an area '' dominated '' by the rebels.

Official sources said a majority of tribal youth, who were appointed as SPOs, were earlier 'sangam members'- the local sympathisers of the rebels- and they were well aware about the possible hideouts and tactics of the Maoists. They are also offered a moderate training to handle weapons before being pressed into service to take on the dreaded guerrillas.

Large-scale appointments of local youth as SPOs began after June 2005, when the local tribals launched an anti-Naxalite campaign, naming it ''Salwa Judum'', which in the local Gondi dialect means peace mission.

A large number of SPOs have also been deployed in 17 relief camps set up by the state government in South Bastar to accommodate more than 50,000 local people, who had deserted their native villages following threat from the Naxalites. — UNI

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Ash-Abhishek wedding on April 18 likely

Mumbai, March 17
The wedding of actor Abhishek Bachchan with Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai is likely to be held on April 18.

Though there was no official confirmation, sources close to Abhishek's family said the marriage is expected to be solemnised on April 18 at Prateeksha, the bungalow of his father Amitabh Bachchan.

Abhishek is currently shooting for his friend Goldi Bhel's movie "Drona" and Aishwarya is busy with the shoot of "Jodha Akbar" directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar.

The rights for covering the mega wedding have reportedly been sold to an international media house. — PTI

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Pawar’s daughter accused of dual citizenship
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 17
Supriya Sule, Rajya Sabha member and daughter of NCP strongman Sharad Pawar, is in a tangle with a petitioner accusing her of holding Singapore citizenship along with her Indian passport.

In a petition filed before the Bombay High Court, Mumbai resident Vinod Ware contended that Singapore does not allow foreigners to hold property and only citizens of the island nation are allowed to do so. Sule had declared the flat in Singapore when she filed her Rajya Sabha nomination last year.

India does not allow its citizens to hold dual citizenship and the petitioner contended that in the event, Sule be disqualified as Rajya Sabha member.

The petition came up for hearing on Friday and Judge R.S. Mohite, of the Bombay High Court has adjourned the matter till March 23. Sule's counsel Usha Dahanukar, however challenged the petitioner's qualifications to challenge the election to Rajya Sabha.

The court asked Sule's counsel to show precedents in support of the argument that the petitioner was not qualified to challenge the election of Pawar's daughter to the Rajya Sabha.

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Political problems lead to social unrest: Kalam
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 17
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said simmering political problems need to be addressed promptly in the process of reforming the criminal justice system as unresolved issues lead to foreign elements taking advantage of them and perpetuating terrorism and mass killings.

Addressing a seminar on “delay in administration of criminal justice system”, organised by the Indian Law Institute (ILI) as part of its golden jubilee celebrations, Kalam said if the unresolved political problems simmered for long, at certain stage foreign elements enter into the fray to take advantage of the situation and encourage violence.

“Over a period of time, many of these activities transform into various forms of crimes ranging from extortion, abduction, drug trafficking, arms trade and brutal killing and massive attack on innocent people,” he said.

In this context he also referred to “socially conditioned” crimes like smuggling, illicit liquor, land grabbing which today had become an organised activity by powerful groups having political class patronage. They had even penetrated into other business like films and financial investments and developed a nexus with criminal elements.

The other trend leading to newer types of criminal activities were born out of rivalries between businessmen and politicians and these groups were also taking the “services” of criminals, he pointed out.

Over the period, all these elements developed various forms of linkages and social unrest due to invisible nexus among them and in the process administrative machinery was also affected knowingly and unknowingly. “It is against this complex background we need to address the subject of criminal justice in India today,” the President said.

Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, who presided over the function and law minister H.R. Bhardwaj felt that there was immediate need to improve the criminal justice system to inspire confidence of people in it.

The CJI, who is the president of the ILI, the only institution involved in judicial research and given the status of deemed university, said though people of the country still have a great faith in the judicial system, yet he was not satisfied with the manner judiciary was treated in the allocation of funds, particularly by the state governments.

Justice Balakrishnan said the judicial system needed immediate improvement and for that sufficient budgetary allocations were required. The pendency was increasing mainly because no additional courts were being created while the demand was increasing with the increase in population, he asserted.

The President also acknowledged that the subordinate judiciary and the police machinery, which formed the main apparatus to deal with criminal justice, lacked the basic facilities and suggested that the computerisation of lower courts and police stations was must in the changed scenario.

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Students torch bus, six hurt

Varanasi, March 17
Six passengers were injured when students of Jagatpur Degree College, went on rampage here today, setting ablaze an Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) bus.

Police said here the students were agitating against the shifting of their examination centre to Lal Bahadur Shastri Degree College in Mughalsarai (Chandauli), for the last three days.

They stopped an Azamgarh-Allahabad UPSRTC bus and then threw bricks on the bus resulting in injuries to at least six passengers.

After asking the passengers to get down, the students set the bus ablaze.

Getting information of the incident, police rushed to the spot and used force to disperse the angry mob. — UNI

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Bhardwaj for overhaul of CrPC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 17
To cut down the long procedural delay in deciding the criminal cases and ensuring speedy justice to the accused persons, the government is thinking of overhauling the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that will help in sifting of the non-serious offences from the serious ones for settlement through plea-bargaining.

This was stated by law minister H.R. Bhardwaj while addressing a seminar on reforms of criminal justice system here, organised by Indian Law Institute (ILI). “I will ask the home ministry to look into it. Really we have not done it, it is required,” he said.

The law minister said the recommendations of various panels, including Justice Malimath committee, which was comprehensive one on the reforms of criminal justice system, would be taken into account.

“Why not there be overhaul of the CrPC,” he asked, pointing out that if the non-serious offences were taken away for settlement through plea-bargaining as was done in the USA, the courts would be able to put the serious offences on fast-track trials.

He admitted that the clogging of courts with pending cases was mainly due to the failure of administrative machinery, including the police responsible for investigation of cases. The law minister, however, gave “clean chit” to judiciary for this.

“Courts are doing their best. They are concerned about improving the criminal justice delivery system. It is not their job to do investigation,” Bhardwaj said, expressing serious concern over the fall in the standard of public prosecutors over the years apart from inadequate investigation by the police who was not showing much seriousness in pursuing the cases.

He said due to lengthy trial procedure, under-trial prisoners remained lodged in jails for long. In fact, 70 per cent of jail inmates today were the under-trial prisoners, which was not a healthy proposition in a welfare state.

The law minister put the blame entirely on the police force for the deterioration and said from the day of the registration of FIR long time was consumed in probing the case. But at the same time, he felt the need to provide new technological backup to the police to make investigation scientific so that no criminal escaped from the clutches of law and no innocent person was punished.

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Sravan Kumar in Kalyug

Berhampur (Orissa), March 17
Carrying his mother on his shoulders for the past 11 years is no mean feat, especially so when his blind love for his blind mother helped him take her on a pilgrimage to the holy places across the country.

Thirty-five-year-old Kailash Giri Brahmachari, popularly known as “modern Sravan Kumar”, who has been carrying his visually impaired mother for the past 11 years, has entered this silk city on way to Puri dham.

A resident of Bargi village in Madhya Pradesh, Kailash has been carrying his 81-year-old mother Kirti Devi, weighing about 60 kg, on his shoulders in a makeshift swing by foot on “char dham yatra”.

His first halt was at Jagannath temple's Gosaninuagaon and Courtpeta here since Tuesday last and he left for Puri with his mother yesterday.

Kailash's mission started 11 years ago when he was 24 to fulfil the wishes of his mother to have a darshan of all the “char dham”- the four holy places in India.

“ When I was only five, my father died. My mother expressed her desire to visit char dham but then I had no money. I heard of Sravan Kumar and opted for the makeshift swing comprising a bamboo shaft,” Kailash said.

He said he started his journey from Hanuman temple in Ujjain and traversed through Kasi, Ayodhya, Chitrakut, Allahabad, Rameswar, Chennai and Tirupati covering a distance of about 4 km to 9 km a day.

The makeshift swing of Kailash weighs nearly 120 kg along with his mother and he never showed exhaustion with the load. — UNI

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235 cadets commissioned into Army
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 17
Arms and ammunitions smuggling from Tamil Nadu to the LTTE in Sri Lanka was a major concern for defence services and joint patrolling with the Sri Lankan Navy was feasible to combat it, Lieut-Gen Aditya Singh, GOC-in-C, Southern Command of the Indian Army, said here today.

After reviewing the passing-out parade of 235 cadets at the Officers Training Academy here this morning, he said insurgency had been a long-standing problem in this region and special significance was that local Tamils were also involved in it.

"There has been an increase in violence and people are indulging in arms and ammunitions smuggling for monetary gains. All insurgents need support. But unlike in Kashmir and the North-East region, Sri Lanka being an island insurgents there need outside support," he pointed out.

He said in the past joint patrolling in the high seas with Indonesian defence services near the Andamans had yielded results and a clear MOU with Sri Lanka would be of mutual benefit to protect the international waterways.

The General said, "However, there are various other influences and there are people of similar ethnic backgrounds in both countries and we need to tread a very mature path and elicit everybody's support. Tamils in Sri Lanka too want peace and a better future."

Among the 235 cadets who were commissioned into the Army today were 162 gentlemen cadets (GC) and 73 lady cadets (LC). A majority of the cadets were from north India with Uttar Pradesh topping the list with 39 cadets (28 GCs and 11 LCs). And interestingly, insurgency-torn Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where the number of LCs (six) is more than GCs (five).

There were 23 cadets from Rajasthan (19 GCs and 4 LCs), 19 from Haryana (13 GCs and 6 LCs), 16 from Punjab (9 GCs and 7 LCs), 16 from Himachal Pradesh (10 GCs and 6 LCs), 14 from Uttaranchal (7 GCs and 7 LCs), 11 from Jammu and Kashmir (5 GCs and 6 LCs) eight from Delhi (4 GCs and 4 LCs) and three GCs from Chandigarh.

The sword of honour and gold medal for best performance was awarded to Shyam Sunder Bisht of Uttaranchal.

The fact that his father a rifleman who died in Operation Pawan in 1988 in Sri Lanka as he was part of the IPKF did not deter this young man from Chamoligaon village to join the army.

The gold medal for being the best all-round lady cadet and the silver medal for second in overall performance also went to an LC, Anupreksha Rawat, who hails from Paudi Gharwal in Uttaranchal.

"I am the first generation to join the armed forces in my family," said Rawat, who was commissioned to the Signals Regiment today.

The General said from the next course at the OTA beginning in October, GCs and LCs would be treated on a par and all would receive for 49 weeks of training. Earlier, LCs received only 26 weeks of training.

The three defence services had approached the government to enhance the pay for defence personnel as not many youth were attracted to join the Army. At present, there was a shortage of 12,000 officers in the Army, he added.

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Campaign against porno sites
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, March 17
The police has launched a campaign to check the youngsters accessing pornographic sites as well as playing CDs containing such stuff in the cyber cafes in Uttarakhand.

SSP Sanjay Gunjiyal told The Tribune that owners of all 251 cafes here have been asked strictly to put up boards displaying the police instructions under the IT Act. The police stations have also been instructed to monitor compliance of these instructions in their respective areas.

The owners have been instructed to ensure that pairs of Internet users are disallowed from using cabins and these should remain open. The cabins must also have transparent partitions to ensure visibility of the activities of the users.

The owners will also have to check that no transmission of obscene MMS clips takes place. Moreover, all the porno sites must be blocked and porno movies and CDs prohibited. Lack of knowledge about the relevant IT rules would not be taken as excuse by the erring owners.

The action had been contemplated after the police raids on some cafes about 2-3 months back. The police had arrested owners of four cafes and seized porno CDs being shown in their cafes. Acting on a tip off, the police found school students including a girl watching pornographic stuff in these cafes.

The public outrage over involvement of a young boy and girl of the area belonging to different religions in a video clip posed a law and order problem besides causing communal tension. The issue was also figured prominently in the newly constituted Assembly.

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Same sex couple separates

Thiruvananthapuram, March 17
The much-talked about same sex couple-Sowmya and Sree Nandu-has decided to separate after about two years, when Soumya approached the police, alleging that she was assaulted by the latter.

Sowmya lodged a complaint with the Museum police station here yesterday, alleging that Nandu had misbehaved with her and even tried to manhandle her. The police called upon Nandu, who also put in a same complaint against Soumya.

This is Nandu’s second separation. Before meeting Sowmya, who belonged to nearby Pathanamthitta district, she had separated from Sheela, another woman with whom she had been living for four long years. — UNI

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