SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Fight poverty, Kalam asks Saarc
New Delhi, April 4
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has desired that the Saarc region should be rid of poverty by 2017 and urged the member countries to set up a prosperity index and knowledge platform to speed up development.

Sonia woos voters in Bundelkhand
Urai (Jalaun), April 4
Ridiculing the Samajwadi Party’s claim of converting Uttar Pradesh into ‘Uttam Pradesh’ Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the state government of misusing the funds sent for implementing poverty alleviation schemes like the mid-day meal and NREGP.

Rahul does a U-turn on Rao
Kanpur, April 4
Moderating his comments, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday suggested that he has "appreciation" for PV Narasimha Rao despite his criticism of the late Prime Minister over the demolition of the Babri Masjid.



EARLIER STORIES


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur (left) welcomes Pakistan Prime Minister's wife Rukhsana Aziz at a lunch hosted by her in New Delhi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur (left) welcomes Pakistan Prime Minister's wife Rukhsana Aziz at a lunch hosted by her in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI

Cong changes stand on caste-based census
New Delhi, April 4
Two days after it rejected the apex court’s suggestion for a caste-based census, an embarrassed Congress changed its stand today, indicating lack of clarity in the party on this politically sensitive issue.

Karat denies cadres’ role in Nandigram
New Delhi, April 4
Despite the CBI report pointing towards involvement of CPM cadres in the Nandigram firing, the party’s general secretary Prakash Karat today virtually rejected the role of his party workers in the incident in which 14 agitating persons were killed.

Wheat production to be 73.7 mt
New Delhi, April 4
The country’s wheat production is likely to be 73.7 million tonnes in 2006-07 against 69.35 million tonnes in 2005-06 as per the third advanced estimates released today. The second advanced estimates put this year’s wheat output at 72.5 million tonnes.

Cops rape gangrape victim
Dehra Dun, April 4
This is the horror story of a victim of alleged gangrape, first by three youths and then by police officials. A 20-year-old scheduled caste girl of the Bhimnagar area of Kashipur town in Udham Singh Nagar district went to lodge her complaint at the police station concerned.

Pravin had shown me pistol: Rekha
Mumbai, April 4
Rekha Mahajan, wife of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, today told a local court that her brother-in-law Pravin, who is accused of killing Pramod, had shown her the pistol in 1999 allegedly used by him in the murder.

Bandh hits life in Assam
Guwahati, April 4
Life came to a grinding halt throughout Assam during the 12-hour state-wide band called by the United Liberation Front of Asom today in protest against the ‘atrocities’ perpetrated by the Assam police on fasting wives of six “missing” leaders of the insurgent group.

In video (56k)
Children play cricket on a deserted street in Guwahati on Wednesday during a 12-hour bandh called by ULFA in Assam. — PTI photo
Children play cricket on a deserted street in Guwahati on Wednesday during a 12-hour bandh called by ULFA in Assam

Quota row: Bandh hits life in Andhra
Hyderabad, April 4
The day-long bandh supported by all political parties in support of OBC quota evoked total response in Andhra Pradesh. The bandh was called by the A.P. Backward Classes Welfare Association in protest against the Supreme Court’s stay on OBC quota in elite central educational institutions.

NHRC notice to Bihar govt
New Delhi, April 4
The National Human Rights Commission has asked the chief secretary of Bihar to respond to a recent news report on an appalling case of bonded labour near the state capital. The report draws attention to the plight of a couple of farm workers of Paipura Barki village who have been working for nearly three decades for their “masters”.

Lanka to participate in Surajkund mela
Chandigarh, April 4
Sri Lanka will participate in the 22nd Surajkund Craft Mela to be held next year. Haryana minister of state for tourism Kiran Choudhry met President of Sri Lanka Mahindra Rajapakse in Delhi today and requested him for his country's participation in the annual event, which was an important medium for artisans and craftsmen to have contacts with exporters.

Man buried with favourite car
Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu), April 4
A farmer in a Tamil Nadu village loved his car so dearly that when he died, his relatives decided to bury his old Morris Minor along with him as per his wishes. Narayanswami, headman of Sivapuram village near Kumbakonam, in southern India died last week at the age of 64.

Kashmiri kids meet Kalam
New Delhi, April 4
President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and home minister Shivraj V. Patil today met a group of 60 Kashmiri children who have come to New Delhi as a part of their study tour organised by the CRPF.

Punjab names new law officers in SC
New Delhi, April 4
The SAD-BJP coalition government in Punjab has appointed four additional advocate-generals and two standing counsel in the Supreme Court. The appointments were made after the old team of law officers, appointed by the previous Congress government, resigned on March 31.

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I love dancing says Neha Dhupia.
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Fight poverty, Kalam asks Saarc
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

Wants prosperity index, knowledge platform set up

Observer S. Korea seeks Saarc's support for resolving N. Korean N-issue.

Elections only after poll reforms: B’desh

New Delhi, April 4
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has desired that the Saarc region should be rid of poverty by 2017 and urged the member countries to set up a prosperity index and knowledge platform to speed up development.

Kalam, in an interface today with leaders of Saarc in Rashtrapati Bhawan here, alluded to three factors as playing a key part in tackling poverty. He referred to these as the annual growth rate of the GDP, improvement in quality of life, particularly of people living below the poverty line, and adoption of a value system derived from civilisation heritage in every walk of life.

These three factors, he observed, would help create a “national prosperity index” for every country.

“Based on this or a similar model, let us evolve a Saarc prosperity index which will represent the overall quality of life of the people in the region,”

Kalam believed this would enable Saarc and its system of programme management to implement programmes in an effective manner making a difference to the lives of the people in the region.

He favoured the setting up of a Saarc knowledge platform, encompassing areas like e-networks, energy, water, healthcare, agriculture, food processing and capacity building, for meeting the unique needs of regional development and drawing a roadmap for time-bound implementation.

He felt Saarc countries should ensure that poverty was eliminated from the region in a decade by 2017, empowering all citizens with quality education, healthcare and employment potential, leading to the overall enhancement in prosperity and happiness.

In a significant development, South Korea sought the support of Saarc for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and bringing stability in the Koren peninsula.

Attending the Saarc summit as an observer for the first time, South Korean foreign affairs and trade minister Song Min-Soon assured that his country was willing to work closely with Saarc. “The vestiges of the Cold War still linger in the Korean peninsula. South Korea has been exerting every effort to achieve lasting peace and stability. With the continued support of the international community, including Saarc member countries, I am confident that the process of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue will continue to move forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh apprised the Saarc leaders of the political situation in the country and that early elections were unlikely as electoral reforms were required first, which could take up to 18 months.

In his capacity as the chief administrator of Bangladesh, chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed stressed that only electoral reforms would provide a level-playing field for all. He told the Saarc leaders that the people wanted elections only after the electoral reforms were completed.

Ahmed also met Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz separately on the sidelines of the Saarc summit.

Ahmed's spokesperson Syed Fahim Munaim told mediapersons that there was pressure for fixing a time frame from political parties in Bangladesh as well from the US envoy in Dhaka Patricia Butenis. The process of electoral reforms was being undertaken by their country's Election Commission. The agenda included curbing the “three Ms - money power, muscle power and misuse of authority.”

Munaim sought to clear any misgivings that the civilian caretaker government in Dhaka was being backed by the military establishment in that country. “It is a government with assistance being rendered by the military,” he added.

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SAARC sidelights

The customary retreat of the Saarc summit at the stately Hyderabad House provided an opportunity to the leaders of the grouping to exchange notes and engage in informal discussions. The atmosphere was relaxed and the leaders exuded camaraderie among themselves. They carried their discussions from the opening session yesterday to discuss pressing regional issues, including terrorism, trade and stepping up connectivity in the region over a lunch prepared by leading chefs.

Fashion show

Even as the Saarc leaders were having their retreat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gurcharan Kaur treated the spouses of other heads of state or government to a fashion show in a five-star hotel by ace designer Ritu Kumar with spicy Malabar cuisine thrown in.

US hopes to gain foothold

With international observers being invited for the Saarc summit for the first time, the US hoped this would provide an opportunity to the only superpower to gain a foothold in the region. The US assistant secretary of state Richard Boucher felt that the lack of democracy in the South Asian region was holding back the enormous potential for growth and development. Trade and terrorism are two spheres where the interests of the US lay, Boucher stressed.

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Iran sixth observer nation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The Saarc today decided to associate Iran as an observer.

The heads of state or government welcomed the Islamic Republic of Iran to be associated as observer to Saarc, the declaration of the 14th Saarc Summit said.

Iran can now participate in Saarc meets along with other observers - the US, European Union, China, South Korea and Japan.

The region would benefit FRGM these external linkages and help in economic integration with the international community, the Saarc declaration said.

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15th Saarc Summit in Maldives
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The 15th Saarc Summit will be held in the Maldives.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is the Chairman of the 14th Saarc Summit, made this announcement at its closing ceremony. The decision was taken unanimously by heads of states of the eight-member grouping.

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Sonia woos voters in Bundelkhand
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Urai (Jalaun), April 4
Ridiculing the Samajwadi Party’s claim of converting Uttar Pradesh into ‘Uttam Pradesh’ Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the state government of misusing the funds sent for implementing poverty alleviation schemes like the mid-day meal and NREGP.

Addressing a public meeting at Urai on the first day of her two-day visit to Bundelkhand and Mulayam Singh’s stronghold Etawah, Congress president recalled the role of Bundelkhand in the first war of Independence and said the party’s vision for the coming Assembly elections was to bring ideology and policies back on centre stage. She said the Congress had to give up power in UP in order to uphold these principles.

She regretted the decline of UP in general and of Bundelkhand region in particular since the ascendance of caste and religion driven politics during the 17 years of non-Congress rule. “The problem of the common man, the farmer is no longer heard. I would congratulate you if these issues are heard once again”, she declared.

She reminded the large number of people from the drought hit hinterlands of Bundelkhand, who had come to attend her rally that the Congress-led UPA government had recently hiked the support price of wheat by Rs 100.

The Bundelkhand region comprising two divisions and seven districts sends 21 MLAs to the Vidhan Sabha. Despite facing drought for the past three years the region has not received any relief as it has not been declared drought hit by the Samajwadi Party government.

After concluding her speech at the sprawling Government Inter College Maidan Sonia Gandhi climbed down from the dais waving at the crowd and walked straight to the people, received applications and had a word with the women sitting in front rows. Her securitymen had a tough time keeping pace with her. Within seconds she was inside the red helicopter as it took off for Etawah, the venue of her next meeting.

Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to address a public meeting at Kanpur tomorrow before returning to Delhi.

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Rahul does a U-turn on Rao

Kanpur, April 4
Moderating his comments, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday suggested that he has "appreciation" for PV Narasimha Rao despite his criticism of the late Prime Minister over the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

"Just because I have criticised someone on the issue does not mean that I do not appreciate him," Gandhi told reporters in Kanpur taking a break from his whirlwind three-day roadshow in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi's remarks came days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed Rao as a "sanyasi in politics". Singh had also said Rao had been his friend-philosopher-guide.

While the young leader did not take the name of Rao, the reference was apparent. His remarks during the first roadshow that if anyone from the Gandhi-Nehru family was active in politics then, the Babri Masjid would not have fallen were seen as a broadside against Rao who was the Prime Minister at that time. — PTI

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Cong changes stand on caste-based census
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Two days after it rejected the apex court’s suggestion for a caste-based census, an embarrassed Congress changed its stand today, indicating lack of clarity in the party on this politically sensitive issue.

Congress spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi had told mediapersons at his daily press briefing on Monday that the party did not favour caste-based census as it would create unnecessary divisions in society. He was responding to questions on the apex court’s stay on the implementation of quotas for OBCs in premier educational institutions on the plea that instead of the 1931 census, the government should provide updated data to determine the quantam of reservations for backward castes.

Faced with increasing pressure from its allies on this issue, the Congress went into damage-control mode today. Distancing itself from its earlier stand, party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan reiterated the Congress’ commitment to social justice and maintained that it would take a final view on the requirement of a caste-based census after consulting its partners. “The Congress is committed to social justice and regarding all other issue which are related to this, we can only take a stand after consulting all our allies within the government,” she emphasised, adding that an all-party meeting would also be called to forge a consensus on this matter.

The Congress was compelled to clarify its stand in order to dispel the widespread impression that it was reluctant to implement the OBC quota Bill and that its rejection of a caste-based census was tantamount to clashing with the judiciary. The Congress had to tread carefully on this matter as its allies like the Lok Janshakti Party and NDA parties like the Janata Dal (U) have demanded that the government conduct a caste-based census in the wake of the SC ruling and to facilitate the implementation of the OBC quota Bill.

While the Congress was busy making amends for what was being seen as a serious lapse, a fresh dimension was added to this ongoing debate with former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh stating that a caste-based census was not required in this particular case as there could be no increase in the 27 per cent reservation announced for OBCs as the apex court had already capped reservations at 50 per cent.

He added that the Supreme Court had already upheld the implementation of 27 per cent reservations for OBCs in Central Government jobs.

At the same time, Singh admitted that as Chief Minister, he had written to the Union Home Ministry suggesting that the 2001 census be caste-based as the country continued to relay on 1931 figures which had obviously changed substantially since then. He said his proposal was rejected by the NDA government.

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Karat denies cadres’ role in Nandigram
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Despite the CBI report pointing towards involvement of CPM cadres in the Nandigram firing, the party’s general secretary Prakash Karat today virtually rejected the role of his party workers in the incident in which 14 agitating persons were killed.

“Several persons had stab wounds and other injuries. We have asked the party’s West Bengal unit to examine the circumstances and the handling of the matter that led to the police action. The truth will come out,” CPM general secretary said.

The party’s politburo and the central committee which met here for the past three days noted that some mistakes had been committed in the handling of the affairs by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

A day after politburo member Brinda Karat alleged US hand in the Nandigram incident, the CPM general secretary said if land had been the only question of the agitators, all attacks continued even after the Chief Minister had publically declared that no land would be acquired in Nandigram against the wishes of the people and the proposed chemical hub would not be situated in Nandigram if they did not want it.

“Despite this, the gang up of the Trinamul-Jamaat-SUCI, Naxalites continued with their violent activities,” he said.

He demanded that the Centre made substantial changes in the SEZ Act and rules on the lines of the proposals made by the Left parties.

Karat said there had to be an upper limit on the land provided for SEZs. We have suggested that multi-product SEZs should not have land beyond 2000 hectares. It is also necessary to decide which industries require SEZs. No scope should be given for real estate speculation. The exorbitant tax concessions provided for SEZs must be curtailed, he added.

“The CPI(M) cannot accept the SEZ Act and rules in the present form and will continue to demand changes in it and rules, both within and outside Parliament,” he said.

On the Supreme Court stay on implementation of OBC quota on institutions of higher learning, he said the Manmohan Singh government had convened an all-party meeting on April 5. Karat, however, ruled out the need for a caste-based census.

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Wheat production to be 73.7 mt
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The country’s wheat production is likely to be 73.7 million tonnes in 2006-07 against 69.35 million tonnes in 2005-06 as per the third advanced estimates released today.

The second advanced estimates put this year’s wheat output at 72.5 million tonnes. Wheat output in India stood at 69.3 million tonnes last year, down from an expected quantity of 73-74 million tonnes. The government’s optimism is buttressed by substantial rise in wheat acreage in the rabi season obviously encouraged by the higher prices for the commodity.

The government plans to buy 15.15 million tonnes from this year’s wheat crop compared to 9.23 million tonnes last year. The price of Rs 850 per quintal, offered by the government, however, seems not really that attractive to the farmer since the market price is hovering around Rs 1000-1100.

Meanwhile, India’s rice production is likely to be 91.05 million tonnes in 2006-07, according to the estimates, which were released by the Agriculture Ministry.

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Cops rape gangrape victim
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, April 4
This is the horror story of a victim of alleged gangrape, first by three youths and then by police officials. A 20-year-old scheduled caste girl of the Bhimnagar area of Kashipur town in Udham Singh Nagar district went to lodge her complaint at the police station concerned.

She was so terrified after experiencing an “apathetic official attitude” towards her plight that she came here disguised in a burqa to get justice along with Uma Mishra, another woman who gave her shelter after the incident. “I fear danger to my life, so I had to conceal my identity while coming here,” she said.

Instead of registering a complaint against the alleged accused, she alleged that police officials registered a false case of loot against her, Uma and her lawyer Sanjay Rohilla.

Angry with Rohilla for helping her, the police officials allegedly manhandled him when he accompanied the victim to Kashipur kotwali on March 30 to lodge a complaint.

Uttarakhand DGP Kanchan Chaudhary told The Tribune that she had assured the victim that justice would be done.

A woman officer of the SP rank has been deputed to probe the matter.

The victim alleged that she was raped by three youths on March 24 on the pretext of getting her rented accommodation in Kashipur. She charged Pappu, an acquaintance, with taking her in a car to a nearby forest and raping her along with two friends.

When she went to lodge an FIR with the police, R.K. Saklani, sub-inspector and in charge of the ITI police post at the Chaiti Mela camp, detained her on the night of March 27 and allegedly raped her along with two other policemen.

Refuting the allegation, Udham Singh Nagar SSP Amit Kumar Sinha said both women were of low moral character and were levelling baseless allegations.

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Pravin had shown me pistol: Rekha

Mumbai, April 4
Rekha Mahajan, wife of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, today told a local court that her brother-in-law Pravin, who is accused of killing Pramod, had shown her the pistol in 1999 allegedly used by him in the murder.

She said Pravin had brought the pistol to their Worli residence in 1999 when Pramod was away and showed it to her.

She described the pistol and said it had some number marking on it but she did not pay much attention to the other details.

Defence counsel Harshad Ponda cross-examined Rekha about the sequence of events from the date of incident on April 22, 2006, to April 27, 2006, when her statement was recorded by the police.

Rekha answered in the negative when asked if the police had shown her the clothes worn by Pramod and Pravin at the time of incident during the recording of the statement. The clothes are being used by the prosecution as evidence in the case.

Rekha told the court that Pramod was conscious while being taken to the hospital following the firing and had spoken to BJP leader Gopinath Munde asking him what offence had he committed for which Pravin fired a bullet at him.

Rekha, however, told the court that she had not said this in her statement to the police as they did not ask questions about it.

The hearing had been adjourned till April 10 where the cross examination would continue. — PTI

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Bandh hits life in Assam
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 4
Life came to a grinding halt throughout Assam during the 12-hour state-wide band called by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) today in protest against the ‘atrocities’ perpetrated by the Assam police on fasting wives of six “missing” leaders of the insurgent group.

Government offices and institutions all over the state remained closed during the bandh as the staff failed to turn up notwithstanding the bandh-eve directive from the state government to its district magistrates and divisional commissioners to keep the offices functioning.

All financial institutions, private and public business establishments, markets and all educational institutions kept their shutters down during the day. However, medical facilities and chemist shops, state electricity board offices, including power generation plants were exempted from the purview of the bandh by ULFA.

All private vehicles were off the road during the bandh while government-owned Assam State Transport Corporation buses maintained a skeletal service in absence of sufficient number of commuters.

However, railways and air services were hardly affected by the bandh as per information gleaned from Northeast Frontier Railway headquarter and Air Port Autority of India’s local office here.

The bandh passed off peacefully.

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Quota row: Bandh hits life in Andhra
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 4
The day-long bandh supported by all political parties in support of OBC quota evoked total response in Andhra Pradesh. The bandh was called by the A.P. Backward Classes Welfare Association in protest against the Supreme Court’s stay on OBC quota in elite central educational institutions.

The entire political class, including the ruling Congress, main opposition TDP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, CPI, CPM, BJP and MIM extended support to the bandh to express their solidarity on the OBC quota issue.

Normal life was hit as the government had ordered shut down of all schools and educational institutions and asked the state-owned road transport corporation to suspend the services all over the state.

Stray incidents of stone-throwing by protestors in Hyderabad and Warangal were reported.

With agitators blocking the roads and railway tracks at several places, the movement of vehicles on national highways was hit, and several trains were delayed.

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NHRC notice to Bihar govt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the chief secretary of Bihar to respond to a recent news report on an appalling case of bonded labour near the state capital.

The report draws attention to the plight of a couple of farm workers of Paipura Barki village who have been working for nearly three decades for their “masters”.

According to the report, 45-year-old Jawahar Manjhi has been working six days a week, eight hours a day for the past 27 years to repay a loan of 40 kg of rice. Manjhi, who was a teenager then, had taken the loan for a wedding from a moneylender. At that time, it was decided that Manjhi would repay the lender by working in the latter's field. In return, he would be given 1 kg of rice, which is one-third of the normal payment of 3 kg for a day's work.

The report said Manjhi's wife fears that her sons would also become bonded labourers as they have no money. 

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Lanka to participate in Surajkund mela
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Sri Lanka will participate in the 22nd Surajkund Craft Mela to be held next year.

Haryana minister of state for tourism Kiran Choudhry met President of Sri Lanka Mahindra Rajapakse in Delhi today and requested him for his country's participation in the annual event, which was an important medium for artisans and craftsmen to have contacts with exporters.

After her meeting with Rajapakse, she said the Sri Lankan President was enthusiastic about his country's participation in the next Surajkund mela. She said Rajapakse had also desired that such craft melas should be organised in his country. 
The mela is very popular with the people as it draws artistes of great repute from far and wide.

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Man buried with favourite car

Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu), April 4
A farmer in a Tamil Nadu village loved his car so dearly that when he died, his relatives decided to bury his old Morris Minor along with him as per his wishes.

Narayanswami, headman of Sivapuram village near Kumbakonam, in southern India died last week at the age of 64. A wealthy farmer with three sons and daughters, he bought his prized Morris Minor in 1958.

According to reports, Narayanswami was spiritually inclined but lavished his affection on his vintage car. He had earlier expressed the wish that he be buried with his car when he died.

When his friends and relatives gathered to bury him on Monday, they decided that the Morris Minor should definitely go with him.

A huge grave was dug with an excavator and a large crowd gathered to see the master and his machine laid to rest together. — IANS

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Kashmiri kids meet Kalam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and home minister Shivraj V. Patil today met a group of 60 Kashmiri children who have come to New Delhi as a part of their study tour organised by the CRPF.

The group comprised 23 boys and 37 girls, in the 3-17 age group, from Rahatghar, a rescue and rehabilitation centre in Srinagar.

Earlier in the day, the children met home minister Shivraj Patil at his residence.

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Punjab names new law officers in SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 4
The SAD-BJP coalition government in Punjab has appointed four additional advocate-generals (AAGs) and two standing counsel in the Supreme Court. The appointments were made after the old team of law officers, appointed by the previous Congress government, resigned on March 31.

The four new AAGs appointed are Jayshree Anand, Adish C. Agrawala, K.K. Khurana and Sanjeev K. Pubby. Advocate Kuldip Singh and Ajay Pal have been appointed as standing counsel.

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