SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

UP for grabs 2007
116 ‘tainted’ candidates in fray
Lucknow, April 22
The UP Election Watch has declared a red alert notice in nine constituencies that are going to the polls tomorrow. Each one of these constituencies has more than four candidates with criminal cases registered against them.

LeT men handed over to M’rashtra police
Kolkata, April 22
Laskar-e-Toiba operative Sheikh Naeem Samir, who was held early this month, was handed over to the Maharashtra police by the West Bengal CID today for further interrogation in connection with the Mumbai blasts.

UP is in a shambles: Rahul
Bindagi (UP), April 22
Sending a tough message to the incumbent Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today said that the state is in shambles due to the mis-governance of the Samajwadi Party Government.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at a public meeting in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
Another face of Cong campaign: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at a public meeting in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday. — PTI






EARLIER STORIES




Marital dispute turns into poll issue
Shohratgarh (Sidharth Nagar), April 22
A marital dispute between a husband and wife has turned into an electoral issue. The “other woman” has reportedly put the husband and wife on two sides of the electoral divide.

Katara issue: LS Speaker calls meeting
New Delhi, April 22
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has called a meeting of leaders of political parties on Wednesday to decide about the action over alleged human trafficking links of some MPs. In video (56k)

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat offers a Parshvanath idol at Varur Navagrah Kshetra, 22 km from Hubli, on Sunday on the valedictory programme of Mahamastabhishek of Lord Parshvanath. Code of ethics must for media, says Shekhawat
Hubli, (Ktk), April 22
Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today said there was a need to evolve a self-imposed code of ethics by the Press to report truthfully and without any bias.




Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat offers a Parshvanath idol at Varur Navagrah Kshetra, 22 km from Hubli, on Sunday on the valedictory programme of Mahamastabhishek of Lord Parshvanath. — PTI

Nitish Kumar to repeat Bihar formula in Uttar Pradesh
Patna, April 22
It is virtually near repeat of NDA’s winning formula in Bihar for UP where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar emerges as a key player to work out the final strategy to brighten the saffron prospects in the crucial last three phases of UP poll in eastern part beginning after April 24.

Nitish Kumar rewards engineer for hard work
Patna, April 22
Where there is a will, there is a way. Sunil Kumar, an alumnus of the BIT, Mesra, truly symbolises this spirit in a state where red tape is said to have often delayed many a project.

MISSION SAVE EARTH
Physicially challenged children dressed as endangered animals take part in a parade to mark Earth Day in New Delhi.
Physicially challenged children dressed as endangered animals take part in a parade to mark Earth Day in New Delhi, on Sunday. — AFP

Land policy: Parties unite against CPM
Kolkata, April 22
Responding to Mamata Banerjee’s call, several leaders of the WBPCC declared at a rally at the brigade ground here yesterday that they were ready to fight against the CPM in Bengal under Banerjee’s leadership.

Working in shifts shortens life span: Study
New Delhi, April 22
Working in shifts throughout the day instead of a normal day job could shorten your life span, a study has found.

Teachers suspended for ‘purifying’ school headed by Dalit
Mumbai, April 22
Two high-caste teachers have been suspended by the administration of Bhandara district in Maharashtra after they allegedly conducted “purification” rituals with cow urine in a village school after a Dalit headmistress was transferred out.

Cong, NCP talk tie-up on Goa poll-eve
Mumbai April 22
The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are in talks to put up a joint front for the elections to the Goa assembly scheduled for June 2.

No exam blues for Class X students?
New Delhi, April 22
Class X students could soon be saved from examination blues as the NCERT has mooted a proposal to do away with tests for those wanting to study further.

Superstitious mother kills baby
Chennai, April 22
In an extreme act of superstition, a woman killed her newborn girl child as she saw her as a bad omen at Nesapakkam area in the city.

6 of marriage party die in mishap
Guwahati, April 22
At least six persons were killed and as many injured, five of them critically, in a road accident at Sokholating under Pulidor police station in Jorhat district today.

Khanduri ready to face CBI probe
Dehra Dun, April 22
Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri has refuted that his government had any intention of initiating legal action against former Congress ministers out of political vendetta.

HIV positive couple weds in UP
Maharajganj (UP), April 22
Setting an example for those who think having a fatal disease is the end of the road, an HIV positive couple in UP tied the knot in a path-breaking marriage.

‘Sonam’: The fortunate one
Guwahati, April 22
The picturesque and snow-capped heights of Arunachal Himalayas along with the colourful life and lore of local Monpa tribe have been well captured in ‘Sonam’, a film that has traveled across the country participating in many top-line film festivals.


Videos
SRK statue in Tamil Nadu, a crowd puller
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KSTDC to operate luxury tourist train.
(56k)
Rising trends in Railway’s revenue earnings 
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UP for grabs 2007
116 ‘tainted’ candidates in fray
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 22
The UP Election Watch has declared a red alert notice in nine constituencies that are going to the polls tomorrow. Each one of these constituencies has more than four candidates with criminal cases registered against them.

Out of the 922 candidates in fray for the fourth phase, 116 candidates (12.58 per cent) have criminal cases pending against them. The scenario however, is slightly better than the previous three phases.

The worst was the first phase in which 130 of the 785 candidates (16.56 per cent) were involved in criminal cases. Similarly, in the second phase 102 of the 792 candidates (12.87 per cent) had criminal record while during the third phase 118 of the total 859 (13.73 per cent) had a criminal past.

Basing their report on the study of the affidavits filed by the candidates at the time of nomination, the UP Election Watch, a civil society initiative, has compiled exhaustive reports to help voters make informed choices during the elections.

While every party has indulged in election rhetoric of getting rid of criminals from politics none, not a single one of them is above board as far as choosing candidates with criminal records is concerned.

The worst offender is the ruling Samajwadi Party that has chosen 33.91 per cent MLA aspirants having criminal cases. But the BSP is not far behind. Around 29.49 per cent of its contenders are involved in crime, with the BJP a close third at 28.50 per cent such candidates.

Congress is crying itself hoarse by proclaiming to change the way the state is run. Still it is no different as far as the criminal record of its candidates is concerned. It also has a sizable 22.51 per cent candidates with criminal cases registered against them. Ajit Singh’s RLD, having 17.83 per cent contestants having criminal records, is relatively by far the best in this respect.

While almost half of the SP candidates in the fourth phase have criminal records, leading the pack is a BSP candidate from Utraula in Balrampur. Sameeulla Khan Meenai contesting from here has nine cases, including assault on a public servant, criminal intimidation with death threat, promoting enmity between communities on the ground of religion, three counts of gangster act and wrongful confinement pending against him.

The constituencies that have been put on ‘red alert’ for having more than four candidates with criminal records are Naugarh (8), Nighasan (5), Balrampur (5), Mehndawal (5), Biswan (4), Gainsari (4), Domariaganj (4), Itawa (4), and Shoratgarh (4).

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LeT men handed over to M’rashtra police

Kolkata, April 22
Laskar-e-Toiba operative Sheikh Naeem Samir, who was held early this month, was handed over to the Maharashtra police by the West Bengal CID today for further interrogation in connection with the Mumbai blasts.

DIG (Operations) CID Rajeev Kumar said here that a team of the Maharashtra police reached here early today for taking Naeem to Mumbai this evening.

Naeem had made some sensational revelations on Mumbai blast in his statement during a narco test, Kumar told PTI.

The LeT man was also stated to have made some confessions regarding his involvement in the blast during the test. Kumar declined to divulge more details.

Naeem and three other LeT operatives, who had planned a major strike in Jammu and Kashmir and were arrested by the BSF from Bongaon in North 24-Parganas district on April 1, were remanded to 14 days’ police custody by a local court on April 4.

They were handed over by the BSF to the district police which in turn passed them over to the CID after being sent to Kolkata.

Two of the four, who had Pakistani passports on them, were Md Yunus, a Laskar suicide squad member, and Abdullah Khan. Both were Pakistani nationals. Of the two others, Muzaffar Ahmed was from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir and Sheikh Naeem Samir from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

Three of the four arrested had procured fake I-cards from an agriculture university in Kanpur. The SIM cards of their mobile phones were missing. The police suspected that they had thrown them away just before their arrest. — PTI

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UP is in a shambles: Rahul

Bindagi (UP), April 22
Sending a tough message to the incumbent Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today said that the state is in shambles due to the mis-governance of the Samajwadi Party Government.

"Uttar Pradesh is in shambles, still the State Government is not bothered. Look at the hospitals, the schools, roads, and electricity; there is nothing to be happy about," said Rahul while speaking at a public meeting in Bindagi.

Rahul also blamed the State Government for not letting the people of the State progress.

"The state government has tied your hands and is not letting you work for progress. You need to think in a modern way to change this and I am here with you to work with you," Rahul said.

Commenting that the political parties used divisive forces for their interests, Rahul said: "Several Governments ruled the State for the last fifteen years and never thought of working for your welfare." "Now the time has come, we will work together for the development of the State and will get back the lost glory, and this can be done easily by the young people of the state," he added.

Reiterating the words of his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul alleged the State Government for misusing the central funds.

"The central government gave the biggest chunk of the central funds to UP, but the state government never utilised it. You should ask them- where is the money, which was supposed to be used for your development," he said. — ANI

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Marital dispute turns into poll issue
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Shohratgarh (Sidharth Nagar), April 22
A marital dispute between a husband and wife has turned into an electoral issue. The “other woman” has reportedly put the husband and wife on two sides of the electoral divide.

In this sleepy town on the Indo-Nepal border, a unique electoral battle is being fought for the second time. This time, the husband, Raveendra Pratap Chaudhury, alias Pappu Chaudhury, is the Congress candidate while his estranged wife Sushma Chaudhury is the BJP candidate from the same seat.

“For me, this is a battle for justice. I have decided to go to the people’s court”, declares 50-year-old Sushma Chaudhury.

A mother of four, she says her only fault is that she cannot become an “18-year-old pretty young thing once more”. Married to the scion of the Gharwaar estate in Barni, she had the support of her in-laws in her battle against the other woman.

“Last time, my mother-in-law had accompanied me when I had gone to file my nomination papers. She is no more. However, I know she would have been on my side had she been alive.”

Sushma Chaudhury disputes the accusation of her opponents that her political ambition and greed for property was the cause of her dispute with her husband. “I have been living apart since 1999. It was only in 2002 that I entered the political arena”.

In 2002 also she was the BJP candidate from Shohratgarh and was third (15.51 per cent of votes) behind her husband Raveendra Chaudhury (22.44 per cent) who was then the SP candidate. The Congress had won the seat with its candidate Dinesh Singh managing to poll 26.60 per cent of the votes.

However, this time the tables have turned. Singh and Chaudhury have changed places and Singh is the SP candidate while Chaudhury is the Congress candidate.

In a constituency considered to be a Congress stronghold, Chaudhury is, however, facing a tough fight from no one else but his own wife. Women in the region feel strongly about the wife’s decision to get justice in the people’s court. 

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Katara issue: LS Speaker calls meeting

New Delhi, April 22
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has called a meeting of leaders of political parties on Wednesday to decide about the action over alleged human trafficking links of some MPs. “Certain course of action would certainly be decided.” parliamentary affairs minister P.R Dasmunsi said here today. — TNS

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Code of ethics must for media, says Shekhawat

Hubli, (Ktk), April 22
Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today said there was a need to evolve a self-imposed code of ethics by the Press to report truthfully and without any bias.

"Only a credible press report had the potential to win the confidence of the people," Shekhawat said at the platinum jubilee celebrations of "Samyukta Karnataka", a prominent Kannada daily.

Noting that the most important aspect was to establish credibility of the press with the people, he said only a professionally responsible Press could remain credible.

"The times are now changing fast. The press also needs to prepare its future road map and carve out its role in the changed scenario and be able to mirror the wider and more fundamental issues facing the country," he said.

Media, he said, could also help in building national consensus in approach of action to successfully meet the formidable challenges faced by the nation.

Observing that the Constitution had guaranteed fundamental right to life and the Supreme Court had also held that the citizen had the right to live with dignity, he said the media should ponder whether the rights guaranteed under the Constitution had any meaning for the poor and deprived who did not have access even to basic healthcare, education, safe drinking water or shelter.

He asked the media to take up these cases of gross violation of the "sublime spirit" of the Constitution and ensure that the state was engaged to fulfil its obligation of providing every individual a dignified living. — PTI

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Nitish Kumar to repeat Bihar formula in Uttar Pradesh
Tribune News Service

Patna, April 22
It is virtually near repeat of NDA’s winning formula in Bihar for UP where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar emerges as a key player to work out the final strategy to brighten the saffron prospects in the crucial last three phases of UP poll in eastern part beginning after April 24.

As the deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Modi takes command to organise the campaign for the neighbouring constituencies of Varanasi and Gorakhpur regions of the eastern UP adjacent to Bihar, Nitish Kumar's move to broadbase the NDA's strength in UP by roping in Apna Dal is expected to pay rich dividends to it.

The perception that the Lalu-Rabri's regime in Bihar was beneficial only to a particular caste was said to have helped Nitish-led NDA in Bihar to combine non-Yadav most backward classes (MBCs) and upper castes to ground the otherwise invincible Lalu in November,2005 polls.

Sources in the BJP admitted that the same Bihar formula of bringing non-Yadav OBCs and MBCs towards the saffron outfit, besides its upper caste votes, was being repeated in UP too where Nitish played a key role.

In the backdrop of these developments, Nitish will camp in Eastern UP, along with Sushil Modi, on April 25 and 26 to campaign for Apna Dal and BJP candidates.

Besides, around 30 legislators of the BJP and the JD(U) have been asked to campaign in different segments of eastern UP in the next fortnight to tilt the balance in favour of NDA.

Nitish reportedly has been specifically approached by BJP`s top brass to lead the campaign with the slogan of "new UP" on the lines of "new Bihar".

It was Nitish who not only cemented the old ties between Apna Dal and the BJP in UP, but also made the JD(U)-BJP united fight happen in the crucial polls there.

A senior BJP leader from Bihar argued that while the decision to project Kalyan Singh, again a backward, as Chief ministerial candidate was only expected to restore the Lodh Rajput vote-bank of the saffron camp in central UP and the Bundelkhand region, Nitish and Apna Dal Chief Sonelal Patel, both backwards, could be crucial to win over non-Yadav OBCs and MBCs for the party in eastern UP.

In the 2002 assembly polls in UP Kalyan Singh, having parted ways with the BJP, had floated his Rashtriya Kranti Party to forge an electoral alliance with the Samajwadi Party. His decision to switch camps reportedly inflicted a severe damage on the BJP’s prospects, as the Lodhs,who comprise 2.7 percent of the total voter-base, deserted the NDA.

The same happened in Eastern UP where Apna Dal chief Sonelal Patel, a party representing Kurmis, had decided to fight the polls on his own damaging the BJP.

In the caste-dominated landscape of UP, OBCs comprise a good 30 per cent of the total electorate. While Yadavs reportedly constitute 8 per cent,4 per cent Kurmis are the next dominant group followed by Lodhas, Nisha and other non-Yadav groups.

Incidentally, against the application of Bihar formula of the NDA in UP, Mulayam depends on Muslim-Yadav (MY) combination of his arch rival Lalu to defend his position.

RJD Chief Lalu Prasad already campaigned in Bihar for the Congress.

However, the target of Lalu Prasad was seemingly more to pay back another Yadav satrap Mulayam Singh in the same coin the way the latter did it in Bihar assembly polls in November. "Yeh to gaya" (he is a gone case) was reportedly the comment of Lalu against Mulayam in his close quarter here.

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Nitish Kumar rewards engineer for hard work
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, April 22
Where there is a will, there is a way. Sunil Kumar, an alumnus of the BIT, Mesra, truly symbolises this spirit in a state where red tape is said to have often delayed many a project.

An assistant engineer with the state Building Construction Corporation, Sunil will soon visit Bangkok with his family at the expense of the government. The reason: He completed the bridge on the Baghmati river in record time.

The Baghmati bridge in Muzzafarpur, falling en route to Janakpur from Nepal, could not be completed for the past 18 years after work on it started under the then Congress regime in 1989.

However, the 18-year-old project, suffering from red tape, was completed in a record 18-month time to “bridge the waters of the Baghmati”, known as the "sorrow of Bihar" for causing recurring floods every year.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had earlier announced a perform-or-perish policy for government officials to check red tape, has reasons to smile as the bridge was completed before the stipulated deadline of June-July this year.

Inaugurating the bridge last Friday, he presented a small envelope to Sunil with a unique gift.

Inside, there was an all-expense paid return ticket to Bangkok.

Such gifts had never come the way of government servants in Bihar, said officials.

The Nitish government has initiated action against 50 government officials, including DG (home guard) Narayan Mishra, on charges of corruption in the past one.

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Land policy: Parties unite against CPM
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, April 22
Responding to Mamata Banerjee’s call, several leaders of the WBPCC declared at a rally at the brigade ground here yesterday that they were ready to fight against the CPM in Bengal under Banerjee’s leadership.

Addressing the gathering, former WBPCC president Somen Mitra admitted that the decision to expel Banerjee from the party in 1996 was a wrong step. The situation now demanded that all anti-Left parties should get united and fight against the CPM for dislodging the Left Front government.

The TMC supremo said she was ready to join hands with the Congress in the fight against the CPM but she would have to be accepted as a NDA partner.

The meeting was organised by the WBPCC which union minister Priya Dasmunshi and his closed aides like Subrata Mukheree, Abdul Mannan, Adhir Chowdhury, Sankar Singh and others boycotted, revealing once again the party’s inner rivalry.

Congress leaders Mitra Pradip Bhattacharyya, Manash Bhuiya and others alleged that a section in the party, hinting at Dasmunshi and his followers, had been more interested in grabbing power than fighting for the interest of the people.

Mitra said they were not against the industries be setting up on farmlands but they were opposed to forcible acquiring of lands. He asked Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to give up dictatorial attitude and high-handedness and create cordial atmosphere before inviting all parties at a meeting to resolve the present impasse over the Singur and Nandigram issues.

Meanwhile, Bhattacharjee while speaking at a convention at the science city auditorium said he was ready to talk to all parties and resolve a consensus on the future land use policy for industries. He admitted their land acquisition step at Singur was hasty and the land use policy at Nandigram was wrong and he was now ready to rectify it.

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Working in shifts shortens life span: Study

New Delhi, April 22
Working in shifts throughout the day instead of a normal day job could shorten your life span, a study has found.

A study of 3,912 day workers and 4,623 shift workers of the South Eastern Central Railway in Nagpur showed the former lived 3.94 years longer than their counterparts on shift duties, said the study by Atanu Kumar Pati of the School of Life Sciences in Pt Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur.

“Though the study was conducted on railway employees, it can also be applied to workers in other sectors, including the BPO industry,” Pati said.

Shift work affects the circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of humans that leads to several sleep-related and social problems.

Circadian rhythms are important in determining the sleeping and feeding patterns of all animals, including humans. Brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities are linked to this daily cycle.

Pati and his colleague K.Venu Achari analysed a database of dates of death, retirement and death of each worker and published their findings in the latest issue of “Current Science”.

They also studied data on deaths due to all causes of 594 railway employees, including 282 day workers and 312 shift workers, over a span of 25 years. The cause of death was not documented in the database.

All day workers performed duty between 9 am and 6 pm with an hour-long lunch break and included those on office job and doing miscellaneous duties, the study said.

Those coming for shift duties worked in a rotating system consisting of a day shift (8 am to 4 pm), first night (4 pm to midnight) and second night (midnight to 8 am).

They worked in each shift continuously for six days and had a single daybreak before resumption of the next shift.

“The longevity of each worker was computed from the dates of birth, retirement and death,” Pati said.

The researchers cited a number of animal studies that documented the life-shortening effects of weekly shifting of light-dark cycles. — PTI

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Teachers suspended for ‘purifying’ school headed by Dalit
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 22
Two high-caste teachers have been suspended by the administration of Bhandara district in Maharashtra after they allegedly conducted “purification” rituals with cow urine in a village school after a Dalit headmistress was transferred out.

Sharad Kaithade, a suspended teacher, conducted pujas in the school premises as part of the purification ceremony. His colleague Madhavi Raut went around the class sprinkling cow urine on the students, according to the local police.

She sprinkled cow urine on furniture, classrooms and the students since a Dalit official, Tilottama Tembhurkar, headed the school, said sources.

Kaithade was well versed in religious rituals and was grateful that he was appointed in place of Tembhurkar as school headmaster. He was backed by other upper-caste teachers in the school to conduct the rituals, added sources.

According to the police the incident happened last month, shortly, after the Dalit headmistress was transferred from the school run by the Zilla Parishad in Surewada village near Bhandara town.

Dalits in the village came out in protest after “go-mutra” (cow urine) was sprinkled on backward caste students.

The students were appearing for the final examinations and drops of cow urine fell on their answer sheets thereby provoking protests.

After students reported the matter to their parents, local Dalit activists took up the matter with the district authorities.

According to the superintendent of police, Suresh Sagar, a case has been filed against the two teachers under Sections 7, 1-D of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1985. Both teachers were arrested and later released on bail.

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Cong, NCP talk tie-up on Goa poll-eve
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai April 22
The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are in talks to put up a joint front for the elections to the Goa assembly scheduled for June 2.

According to sources from Panjim both parties have narrowed down their differences to just two seats. While the Congress is prepared to concede just six seats in the 40-member House, the NCP headed by deputy Chief Minister Dr Wilfred D'Souza has scaled down its demands from 10 to eight seats. At present the NCP has just two MLAs in the Assembly.

Though several important leaders in the Congress like former town and country planning minister Babush Monserrate are against tying up with the NCP, Dr D'Souza has the support of the All-India Congress Committee general secretary Margaret Alva with whom he has a close personal relationship. Sources say Alva is pressing hard for a tie-up between the two parties since D'Souza himself is not sure of winning from his traditional Saligao Assembly seat.

Incidentally, Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane of the Congress himself is pushing for a tie-up with his old foe from the NCP since he fears getting marginalised within his own party by new entrants like Monserrate. A big money-lender of Goa, Monserrate pushed for turning the whole of Goa into an urban zone last year before public protests forced him to quit.

With a hung Assembly already on the horizon, Rane openly asked the regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party today join in the Congress-NCP alliance as well. Congress stalwarts like Rane fear that the BJP headed by former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is slowly consolidating its base among Goa's majority Hindu voters. The Congress is now playing the caste card with its senior leader Ravi Naik of the Kshatriya Bhandari Samaj, the largest segment among Goa's Hindus angling for most of the ticket doled out by the party.

On the other hand Parrikar, whose government was brought down by defections to the Congress two years ago, is finding it difficult to woo the MGP since the party is experiencing a resurgence in Goan tribal belt.

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No exam blues for Class X students?

New Delhi, April 22
Class X students could soon be saved from examination blues as the NCERT has mooted a proposal to do away with tests for those wanting to study further.

The NCERT plans to ask examination boards to conduct final tests for students of Class XII with the option of them clearing the examination papers over a period of two years.

The focus group on examination reforms, constituted as part of the National Curriculum Framework 2005, has made these short-term and long-term recommendations to reduce stress and anxiety among students. — PTI

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Superstitious mother kills baby

Chennai, April 22
In an extreme act of superstition, a woman killed her newborn girl child as she saw her as a bad omen at Nesapakkam area in the city.

The police said the body of the child was found in a canal and the mother had confessed that she threw her three-month-old baby from the terrace of her house.

The mother said, after the birth of the girl, her husband’s business showed a dull trend and she also was afflicted by ailments. So, she decided to kill the child.

She was remanded to judicial custody. — UNI

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6 of marriage party die in mishap

Guwahati, April 22
At least six persons were killed and as many injured, five of them critically, in a road accident at Sokholating under Pulidor police station in Jorhat district today.

The accident occurred at about 6.15 a.m. when a van, carrying the party, collided with an oncoming oil tanker at the outskirts of Jorhat in upper asom.

District superintendent of police Surinder Kumar told UNI that the driver of the overloaded van lost his control and collided with the oil tanker.

Altogether 12 persons were travelling in the van, which was coming from Rajmai tea estate. — UNI

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Khanduri ready to face CBI probe
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, April 22
Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri has refuted that his government had any intention of initiating legal action against former Congress ministers out of political vendetta.

In an informal chat with mediapersons at his official residence, Khanduri categorically said at present there was no move to file FIRs against the former Congress ministers allegedly involved in some scandals. "But the guilty will face action on the basis of experts' opinion taken after detailed enquiry into each case," he said adding that his government was probing into such cases as promised in the BJP poll manifesto. The BJP had alleged 56 scandals against the previous Congress government.

Highlighting his non-partisan approach, Khanduri offered a probe by the CBI or any other agency by the Central government against him of any alleged irregularity done during his tenure as minister of surface transport in the NDA regime.

His gesture came in reaction to the reports in a section of the media that the UPA government was contemplating a probe into some alleged financial irregularities in the 'Golden Quadrilateral' road project executed by his ministry.

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HIV positive couple weds in UP

Maharajganj (UP), April 22
Setting an example for those who think having a fatal disease is the end of the road, an HIV positive couple in UP tied the knot in a path-breaking marriage.

The widely attended wedding, presided over by priests performing Hindu rites at a temple in Maharajganj, is considered to go a long way in creating awareness in a country where HIV is still a stigma and its victims socially ostracized and condemned.

Sunil Seth met his bride Suman, who lives in Maharajganj, at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Medical Institute when the cupid struck the two.

The couple said they hoped to live normal life despite being HIV positive.

"I met her in Varanasi where she had gone to the BHU to get her tests done. From there on, we became friends and even our families came closer. Then we decided to get married," said Seth.

Almost all families and relatives of the bride and groom were HIV positive, but among the guests were several NGO volunteers and government officials.

"We wish the couple best of luck. They have set an example of being positive. They have shown that being HIV positive is not the end of the world. With hope, and patience, the infected can lead a happy life. This is the state's first such marriage. I do not think it is any less popular than that of Bollywood stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai weeding," said Mukta Sharma, assistant director, Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society.

According to the government-run National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco), over 5.7 million Indians are infected with AIDS virus, and out of them 475,000 are in UP.

The rising prevalence of HIV in the country showed that a decade of government efforts had not slowed the virus, which is now estimated to have infected 5.7 million Indians.

According to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, 10 per cent of the world's HIV-positive population is in India.

According to estimates by the UN population division, if trends continue, nearly 49.5 million Indians will die of the disease between 2015 and 2050. — ANI

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‘Sonam’: The fortunate one
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 22
The picturesque and snow-capped heights of Arunachal Himalayas along with the colourful life and lore of local Monpa tribe have been well captured in ‘Sonam’, a film that has traveled across the country participating in many top-line film festivals.

‘Sonam’ in Monpa dialect means the fortunate one. It is the first film made in Monpa dialect that has created positive vibes among film critics.

The film was one of the only two Indian entries in the India International Film Festival held in Goa last year. It earned laurels in Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, Third Eye Asian Film Festival, Pune and Hyderabad Film Festival.

Monpa dialect is an Indo-Tibetan branch of languages spoken in the Himalayan region of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Tibet.

Director Ahshan (Raju) Mozid who made the film with a group of tribal actors said, “The objective is to highlight the region’s virgin beauty, including those beautiful snowcapped mountains, exquisite Buddhist monasteries lat great heights and the unique lifestyle of the tribal people. The film is being subtitled for screening abroad.”

‘Sonam’ deals with polyandry in a small society of ‘Brokpas’ (Yak shepherds) who live on snowcapped slopes of the Himalayan range. It is a custom in that society where a woman can have more than one husband.

Brokpa community is better termed as pastoral nomads as their existence depends upon Yaks only. The system of polyandry came in place in the Brokpa community so that the cattle wealth is not divided among brothers.

 

 

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