SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

India wary of Pak situation
New Delhi, May 13
India is closely watching the volatile political situation in Pakistan. The ministry of external affairs has chosen not to react to increasing groundswell of public support in Pakistan to the suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that has resulted in spiralling violence in Karachi where at least 30 persons were killed in clashes yesterday.

Defence imports likely to be $ 30 billion by 2012: Report
New Delhi, May 13
India’s imports of military hardware and software are expected to reach a whopping $ 30 billion by 2012 as its armed forces are expected to ink defence deals for multi-role fighter jets, 1.55 mm howitzers, a variety of copters and long-range maritime spy aircraft.

Observation system in space soon
Bangalore, May 13
India is set to have its own observation system in space in the form of a 500-600 kg satellite and is also in the process of finalising three international satellite launch contracts.


EARLIER STORIES




Rosy Pelicans fight for fish during feeding time at the Zoological Park in New Delhi on Sunday.
Rosy Pelicans fight for fish during feeding time at the Zoological Park in New Delhi on Sunday. — AFP
A mother and daughter join the 'Fight Hunger, Walk the World' to end child hunger which was organised by the United Nations World Food Programme in Kolkata on Sunday.
FIGHTING HUNGER: A mother and daughter join the 'Fight Hunger, Walk the World' to end child hunger which was organised by the United Nations World Food Programme in Kolkata on Sunday. — AFP

Ban on women working in night to go in Karnataka
Bangalore, May 13
Women in the IT capital of India can now work beyond the 8 pm deadline in the hospitality and small business sectors with labour minister Iqbal Ansari undergoing a “change of heart” following stiff opposition to the move and deciding to request the cabinet to repeal the provision in the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961.

Lok ayukta for sack of two ministers
Bangalore, May 13
The Janata Dal (Secular) has been caught on the backfoot with a pro-active Lok Ayukta recommending Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to drop two ministers, who had failed to submit their statements of assets and liabilities for 2005 to his office within the prescribed date.

CPI-ML dents Shahabuddin’s citadel
Patna, May 14
Beyond the fast-track special court constituted by the Nitish government that led to the recent conviction of the don of Siwan, Mohammad Shahabuddin, it was the sustained political and social agitation by the CPI-ML which largely helped the judiciary to finally book this RJD MP known for running the biggest-ever crime citadel of Bihar.

Dawood’s sister faces action
Mumbai, May 13
The Mumbai police is all set to charge Dawood Ibrahim's sister Haseena Parkar under the tough Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Sources said the charges may be brought against her as early as tomorrow morning, which would enable the police hold those suspected of aiding and abetting her without bail.

Centre to set up 500 ITIs, says minister
Jamshedpur, May 13
Union labour and employment minister Oscar Fernandes said today that the government would set up about 500 Indian Technological Institutions (ITIs) across the country by the next five years.

Hannah Foster Murder Case
Kohli’s extradition order likely today

New Delhi, May 13
The final order on the extradition of NRI Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, accused in the rape-cum-murder case of British teenager Hannah Foster, is likely to be pronounced by a city court tomorrow.

Shakti Kapoor upsets pandits
Jaipur, may 13
Bollywood ‘baddie’ Shakti Kapoor found himself in a controversy during the shooting of a film when he allegedly abused some local pandits of the holy town of Puskar in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, about 150 km from here, last night before he tendered an apology.

Human Trafficking
Speaker convenes all-party meeting
New Delhi, May 13
Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee has convened an all-party meeting on Tuesday to discuss the human-trafficking issue, which has sullied the image of parliamentarians.

Make pre-marriage counselling must: Activists
Guwahati, May 13
The activists, who have come under the banner of the Assam People’s Alliance to Combat HIV and AIDS, have raised the demand for a legislation making it mandatory for young couples to undergo counselling on the disease before marriage.

Mass marriage of Sikh couples
Hyderabad, May 13
City-based Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee today conducted a mass marriage ceremony for 15 Sikh couples who were economically backward with the blessings of Guru Granth Sahib.

Pandher transfers ownership to son
Ghaziabad (UP), May 13
Main accused in the Nithari killings case, Moninder Singh Pandher, has transferred all his moveable and immoveable property to his son Kuldeep Singh, an official said.

4 kg gold looted
Mumbai, May 13
A businessman was robbed of 4 kg gold jewellery that he was carrying to the city from a northern suburb in the early hours today, police said.

Magician’s early escape
Hyderabad, May 13
The much-publicised “great underwater escape” by magician Akash, son of famous conjurer Jadugar Anand, turned out to be a damp squib today as the young magician, in a hurry to break his father’s record, came out of the wooden box before it submerged in the Hussain Sagar lake here, where the event was held.

Dalits’ tales of woe
New Delhi, May 13
Stories of horror, angst and agony poured out as 60 Dalit victims of untouchability from across the country gathered at the capital to narrate their travails at the Indian People’s Tribunal - a public hearing that took place over the weekend.


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India wary of Pak situation
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
India is closely watching the volatile political situation in Pakistan. The ministry of external affairs (MEA) has chosen not to react to increasing groundswell of public support in Pakistan to the suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that has resulted in spiralling violence in Karachi where at least 30 persons were killed in clashes yesterday.

The MEA does not wish to give any statement on the Pakistan situation as yet because the developments are so far internal political dynamics of Pakistan. Giving any statement at this stage can be construed as “interference” in the internal affairs of the neighbouring country. At the same time, New Delhi is well aware of the fact that any political and law and order instability in a country impacts its foreign policy. That is why the developments in the neighbouring country are keeping the Pakistan-watchers here on tenterhooks.

The violence in Karachi erupted ahead of Chaudhry’s address to the Sindh High Court and the Sindh Bar Association on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the apex court. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf declared in Islamabad last evening that there was no need to impose emergency in the country.

The Indo-Pak peace process is at a tenuous stage and a tense and volatile Pakistan could impact it negatively. However, New Delhi’s sense is that the situation in Pakistan does not impact Indo-Pak relations or the peace process as yet.

The government of India’s belief is that a stable and prosperous Pakistan is in the best interest of the peace process. There is concern over the possibility of political turbulence in Pakistan getting out of hand in this crucial year when the presidential as well as national assembly elections are due.

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Defence imports likely to be $ 30 billion by 2012: Report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
India’s imports of military hardware and software are expected to reach a whopping $ 30 billion by 2012 as its armed forces are expected to ink defence deals for multi-role fighter jets, 1.55 mm howitzers, a variety of copters and long-range maritime spy aircraft.

The import projections have been made by Assocham emphasising that in the past 3 years, India spent as much as $10.5 billion on military hardware and software, making it the largest arms importer in the developing world.

The study by the chamber, which has been submitted to the defence ministry, highlights that with the ever-increasing demand for higher allocation to defence budgets and the limited capacity of the government to meet this demand, the defence sector requires a re-look to procure its goods and services from existing allocations in a more efficient manner.

Referring to the defence budget, chamber president Venugopal N. Dhoot said that the Indian military budget was about $20 billion in the last fiscal and is expected to grow 7 per cent annually over the next five years.

The country’s military spending amounts to roughly 2 per cent of the GDP which is without accounting for expenditure on defence pensions, para military forces and defence ministry itself as part of budgeted defence expenditure.

The study seeks larger private sector participation in all defence-related deals and imports, reminding the government that despite the defence ministry’s target of achieving 70 per cent self reliance in defence production 10 years ago, it has fallen short of the target by 40 per cent.

This is despite the fact that limited involvement of the private sector was granted in the national defence sector. 2001 witnessed the first step in this regard as the entry of foreign private players was permitted with 26 per cent FDI being allowed in the sector.

By 2005, there were about 5,100 companies supplying around 20-25 per cent of components and sub-assemblies to state-owned contractors in the defence sector, said Dhoot on findings of the paper.

India’s defence imports, the projections for which have been made for $ 30 billion by 2012, could be made cost effective by introducing competitive bidding process for supplies of defence needs for its forces.

Leading corporate houses like Tatas, Satyam Computers, Mahindra’s, Kirloskar Bros, L&T and many other companies can make defence equipment to suit and meet domestic defence requirement provided supplies are sought from them by involving their participation through competitive bidding process.

The committee report has recommended to the government to identify entry points for private players in defence sector with special care to promote small and medium-sized companies.

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Observation system in space soon
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 13
India is set to have its own observation system in space in the form of a 500-600 kg satellite and is also in the process of finalising three international satellite launch contracts.

The observation system will give the country simultaneous observation capability as it will have both an X ray and a Gamma ray band. The satellite could be turned to any part of the world as and when needed giving the country its first space platform.

Giving details of the project, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said the satellite would be launched into geo synchronous orbit in 2008.

Speaking about the proposed international satellite launch contracts, Nair said all three contracts were in the final stages. “We are going to sign them soon”, he said adding while two of the satellites would belong to European countries, the other was an Indonesian satellite. ISRO expects the satellite launches to take place in 2008-09. The satellites will have payloads ranging from 200 to 500 kg.

He said talks were also on the European Satellite Telecommunication Consortium - W2M for more commercial launches. He said the consortium was being offered a broad range of launch services by the space agency.

ISRO was also in the process of commercially marketing the images being beamed by its satellite CARTOSAT-2. “We are getting sharper images now and are trying to sell them outside the country”, Nair said, adding ISRO expected a good market for the images due to the small number of players in the specialised field. He said the Met Sat, which was providing data to the meteorological department, was already being shared with the USA for some international programmes.

Nair said the country was also going in for a more powerful Ocean Sat satellite which would replace the present Ocean Sat which was at the fag end of its operational cycle. He said the new satellite would have a scatterometer looking at winds from the surface of the ocean.

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Ban on women working in night to go in Karnataka
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 13
Women in the IT capital of India can now work beyond the 8 pm deadline in the hospitality and small business sectors with labour minister Iqbal Ansari undergoing a “change of heart” following stiff opposition to the move and deciding to request the cabinet to repeal the provision in the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961.

The minister had earlier stirred a hornet’s nest by announcing that the establishments act had been amended in the last meeting of the legislative council and that women would not be able to work beyond 8 pm in the hospitality and small business sector. The IT industry is out of the purview of the act.

The amendment also raised the penalty to be charged from violators from the earlier Rs 200 to Rs 10,000. The minister had claimed that the amendments had been made to the act following complaints received from a large cross section of women.

However, he did not reckon with the opposition to the ban. While a number of women organisations opposed it, what was telling was the stand taken by Karnataka State Women Commission head Pramila Nesargi. The commission head claimed that the proposed ban was arbitrary and was being promulgated without any debate on the issue.

Talking to TNS, Iqbal Ansari said he would appeal to the cabinet in its meeting scheduled for tomorrow to repeal the provision banning women from working beyond 8 pm in the act. He said the government would allow night shifts but would make it mandatory for employers to provide transportation and secure atmosphere to women employees. The minister apparently has also made a u-turn as far as his earlier statements were concerned, saying he was never against night shifts. “We were only concerned about the security conditions under which women work at night,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Women Commission has decided to appeal to the government to repeal section 25 of the establishments act which prohibits women from working at night without security arrangements.

Commission head Nesargi said with the act being amended there was every possibility of this section being enforced by the government. “We are for scrapping this section altogether as it is the responsibility of the state to provide adequate security atmosphere for women to work at night.” The chairperson said the commission would urge the state government as well as the centre to scrap the “retrograde section” in the act throughout the country.

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Lok ayukta for sack of two ministers
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 13
The Janata Dal (Secular) has been caught on the backfoot with a pro-active Lok Ayukta recommending Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to drop two ministers, who had failed to submit their statements of assets and liabilities for 2005 to his office within the prescribed date.

Both ministers, Y. Alkod Hanumanthappa and Sharanabasappa Darshanapur, had failed to file their returns before Lok Ayukta N. Santosh Hegde despite the fact that the deadline to do so was extended for them.

The Chief Minister admitted on Friday that he had received the recommendation. All he was willing to so was: “I will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time.” He also held consultations with legal experts regarding the issue. He is also slated to meet party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and JD (S) state president M.P. Prakash to discuss the issue, which is also likely to come up in the cabinet meeting fixed for Monday.

Earlier, the Lok Ayukta had rejected the explanations submitted by the ministers for not filing their returns. In November when the Lok Ayukta had submitted a report to the Governor seeking action against the legislators who had not filed their statements of assets and liabilities, the ministers had claimed that the Governor was not the competent authority to receive the report. They had claimed that the report should have been submitted to the Chief Minister for the necessary action.

One of the ministers concerned, Darshanapur, while talking to newsmen yesterday said he would abide by the Chief Minister’s decision on the issue. He said three months had been given to the Chief Minister to initiate action in the case.

Sources said the Chief Minister might not have much choice in the matter as there was an earlier precedent in 1999 when two ministers were forced to resign for failing to file their assets and liability report to the Lok Ayukta. Kumaraswamy has the option of writing back to the Lok Ayukta that he did not agree with the recommendations but in such an eventuality the Lok Ayukta could make a recommendation to the Governor seeking the removal of the ministers from their posts.

Justice Hegde said he had taken the necessary action after giving numerous opportunities to all legislators and members of the legislative council to file their returns. He said the recommendations submitted to the Chief Minister would be considered accepted in case there was no response to it within the three months period given for action in the matter. “After the expiry of the three-month period, the ministers will get two days to quit or else they could be removed by the Governor,” he added.

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CPI-ML dents Shahabuddin’s citadel
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 14
Beyond the fast-track special court constituted by the Nitish government that led to the recent conviction of the don of Siwan, Mohammad Shahabuddin, it was the sustained political and social agitation by the CPI-ML which largely helped the judiciary to finally book this RJD MP known for running the biggest-ever crime citadel of Bihar.

In fact, Siwan perhaps can be a role model in the country for how powerful mass movements by people daring money and muscle power can curb the growing criminalisation of politics in the country at a time when a section of political establishment, cutting across party lines, is allowing these lawbreakers to sit in the august house of lawmakers, both in parliament and the assembly.

The otherwise invincible Shahabuddin was awarded life imprisonment on June 8 for abducting CPI-ML activist Chote Lal Gupta in 1997. The whereabouts of Chote Lal are still not known and he is suspected to have been murdered by Shahabuddin.

Besides, Shahabuddin was sentenced a two-year jail term in another case in March this year - again involving the CPI-ML. It was regarding an attack on the CPI-ML party office in Siwan.

The conviction of Shahabuddin in two cases involving the CPI-ML perhaps indicates that unlike many other cases pending against him, where he either intimidated the witnesses against deposing before the court or silenced them through his money and muscle power, this criminal-turned-politician could neither overpower the CPI(ML) nor the 72-year-old Kaushalya Devi, the mother of JNU student leader and CPI-ML activist Chandrasekhar, who was gunned down by him in Siwan in 1997.

In fact, ever since the first crime committed by Shahabuddin in the form of an abduction in 1984, for 23 long years he had ruled Siwan.

Despite living on the wrong side of the law, he was a law unto himself that virtually silenced his opposition in the form of Congress, BJP and other parties, except the RJD to which he belonged.

Out of the 31 criminal cases pending against him now,18 are related to either killing or abductions of CPI-ML activists.

The brutal murder of her son Chandrasekhar for raising voice against Shahabuddin thus prompted the illiterate non-political Kaushalya Devi to challenge the might of the don of Siwan by contesting against him on the CPI-ML ticket in 1998 Lok Sabha elections from Siwan.

Kaushalya, who now wants to see Shahabuddin hanged and charges the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad with delaying the CBI probe into his son’s killing case, recalls that while other political parties were silent on the polling day in 1998, only her jeep chased Shahabudin’s goons as they hopped from booth to booth and stamped ballot papers.

The CPI-ML was thus virtually the only political opposition to Shahabuddin ever since he had changed the political dynamics of Siwan following his first election to the Bihar assembly as an independent “bahubali” candidate from the Jiradie assembly seat in 1990.

A detailed analysis of the outcome of six assembly segments under the Siwan Lok Sabha seat, which has been represented by Shahabuddin since 1996, clearly revealed how it was the CPI-ML versus the don, and not the so-called other mainstream parties.

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Dawood’s sister faces action
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 13
The Mumbai police is all set to charge Dawood Ibrahim's sister Haseena Parkar under the tough Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Sources said the charges may be brought against her as early as tomorrow morning, which would enable the police hold those suspected of aiding and abetting her without bail.

Parkar is absconding for nearly a month after a complaint of extortion was filed against her by a builder.

The Mumbai police is already facing some heat with a sessions court ordering the police to arrest Parkar by May 16. The police has come in for some criticism after it transpired that investigators delayed filing a chargesheet against the influential criminal.

Some of Haseena’s alleged co-conspirators in the case have been arrested and the police is under pressure to charge them under MCOCA. This would automatically make it binding for the same charges to be applied against Parkar as well.

Prior to proclaiming her as an absconder, the authorities have already begun to identify properties owned by Haseena. The list of such properties would be presented to the court for attachment. Around 30 properties, including several guest houses in South Mumbai, have been identified as being owned by Parkar in benaami registrations.

Sections of the police here feel that Parkar may have already left the country though her lawyers have told the court that she is still in India. She is wanted in a case involving cheating and criminal intimidation. The complaint against Haseena has been filed by Vinod Avlani, a developer, after a deal between him and another builder Krishnamani Shukla went sour. Shukla is now in jail.

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Centre to set up 500 ITIs, says minister

Jamshedpur, May 13
Union labour and employment minister Oscar Fernandes said today that the government would set up about 500 Indian Technological Institutions (ITIs) across the country by the next five years.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, Fernandes said the government had already set up 200 it is and targeted to set up another 300 well equipped such institutions by 2010.

He said the government had earmarked Rs 2.5 crore for the project and asked the respective states to provide land for the purpose. He said more than 5,000 technical institutions in the country would be upgraded.

The minister, however, said the participation of the private organisations was necessary as the government’s effort would not be enough to achieve the target.

“We need private-public partnership for imparting the technical know-how to the youth, who could carry forward the country towards the path of development and progress,” Fernandes said.

Earlier, delivering the 'Twentieth Michael John Memorial Lecture, organised by the Tata Workers Union here, the minister called upon the youth to shoulder responsibility to make the country prosperous.

“We need the empowerment of youth,” he asserted. — UNI

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Hannah Foster Murder Case
Kohli’s extradition order likely today
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, May 13
The final order on the extradition of NRI Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, accused in the rape-cum-murder case of British teenager Hannah Foster, is likely to be pronounced by a city court tomorrow.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau had on April 28 reserved the order on Kohli’s extradition to the UK after the government had favoured his deportation for facing trial there.

The ministry of external affairs had said he was a fugitive criminal and his conduct of fleeing from one place to another to avoid prosecution made it a fit case to extradite him to the country where he allegedly committed the crime.

The court, however, had decided to post the matter for May 14 for giving an opportunity to Kohli to respond to the stand taken by the ministry on the request of its British counterpart.

Kohli has been in custody for over two years after his arrest on July 14, 2004 at Kalimpong in West Bengal.

Opposing the extradition proceedings, which began in September, 2004, Kohli had said he was merely a suspect in the case.

Kohli is charged with the rape and murder of a 17-year-old British girl and then fleeing to India from the UK two days after the victim’s body was found.

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Shakti Kapoor upsets pandits

Jaipur, may 13
Bollywood ‘baddie’ Shakti Kapoor found himself in a controversy during the shooting of a film when he allegedly abused some local pandits of the holy town of Puskar in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, about 150 km from here, last night before he tendered an apology.

Babu Bhai Ghosi, a local shooting coordinator of the film told PTI over the telephone that Shakti Kapoor was returning from Ajmer’s sufi shrine of Khawaja Moinuddhin Chishti, near Puskar when the vehicle in which he was sitting was stopped at a check post for toll tax despite the fact that the same had already been paid.

Kapoor, in a fit of anger, uttered some harsh words. But today he apologised for his act in front of the local pandits of Puskar.

Kapoor later told local mediapersons that he was “quite disturbed yesterday as it was a hectic day. It is my bad luck as I did not intend to do what had happened. I apologise for all that has happened as I did not want to hurt the sentiments of anyone.”

Seeing the anger of local pandits who thronged the Hotel Master Paradise in Ajmer today where Shakti Kapoor and other artistes, including Milind Gunaji and Ishita Bhatt of the film were staying, the onscreen villian apologised for his act. Kapoor along with other artistes are camped at Puskar for the shooting of movie for the last three days. — PTI

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Human Trafficking
Speaker convenes all-party meeting

New Delhi, May 13
Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee has convened an all-party meeting on Tuesday to discuss the human-trafficking issue, which has sullied the image of parliamentarians.

The issue has caught the attention of members following the arrest of BJP MP Babubhai Katara and the issuance of notice to four other MPs by the police for their alleged involvement in the case.

The four MPs - Ramswarup Koli (BJP), Mohammad Tahir Khan, Ashok Kumar Rawat and Mitrasen Yadav (all BSP) - have been asked to appear before the Delhi police by tomorrow.

The speaker has convened the meeting to discuss the issue of ethics in the wake of the Katara episode. There were demands from certain quarters to do away with facilities such as diplomatic passports given to MPs. — TNS

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Make pre-marriage counselling must: Activists
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 13
The activists, who have come under the banner of the Assam People’s Alliance to Combat HIV and AIDS, have raised the demand for a legislation making it mandatory for young couples to undergo counselling on the disease before marriage.

Spokesperson for the alliance, which is affiliated to the Asia-Pacific Alliance to Combat HIV and AIDS, Jahnabi Goswami said today that the state government should enact a legislation to register all marriages and pre-marriage counselling on HIV and AIDS should be made compulsory.

The organisation stopped short of demanding mandatory AIDS detection test for couples before marriage on the ground that it would lead to creation of another avenue of corruption to procure fake certificates.

“We believe effective counselling just before marriage about the increasing threat posed to society by incurable diseases would persuade couples to opt for voluntary AIDS detection tests,” said Goswami, an HIV positive-turned-AIDS-activist.

She said she had become HIV positive after the virus was transmitted to her from her husband who died within a few months of her marriage. “I can realise the importance of counselling and voluntary AIDS detection tests before marriage,” she added.

The number of HIV positive people in Assam has been estimated at 1,780 as on February and out of these 578 are full-blown AIDS cases, according to the data available with the Assam State AIDS Control Society.

Assam is a neighbour to high-risk states like Nagaland and Manipur. The state, being gateway to the North East region, is abode to a huge volume of floating population vulnerable to the HIV virus. Nagaland has 2,440 HIV positive cases while the figure is 24,608 in Manipur.

The alliance is an amalgamation of 29 different NGOs, including the Assam Network of Positive People, Action Aid, UTI Bank, Catholic Relief Church and State AIDS Control Society representatives from print and visual media and All-India Radio among others.

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Mass marriage of Sikh couples

Hyderabad, May 13
City-based Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee today conducted a mass marriage ceremony for 15 Sikh couples who were economically backward with the blessings of Guru Granth Sahib.

According to a press note here, about 20,000 Sikh and other community members attended the marriage function conducted under the guidance of Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib head priest.

The committee performed the marriages free of cost. It also presented variety of household utensils to the newly wedded couples, who hailed from Hyderabad, Warangal and Medak districts and also from Karnataka and Maharashtra. — UNI

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Pandher transfers ownership to son

Ghaziabad (UP), May 13
Main accused in the Nithari killings case, Moninder Singh Pandher, has transferred all his moveable and immoveable property to his son Kuldeep Singh, an official said.

The transfer was done through power of attorney and Pandher signed the documents in Dasna jail here yesterday, District Magistrate M.K.S. Sundaram told PTI.

A deputy jailer signed the power of attorney as a witness before the sub-registrar.

Pandher owned properties in Noida, Delhi, Chandigarh and Ambala, whose combined value was not known.

The power of attorney authorises Pandher’s son to sell or purchase the properties and also operate all the bank accounts and lockers. — PTI

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4 kg gold looted

Mumbai, May 13
A businessman was robbed of 4 kg gold jewellery that he was carrying to the city from a northern suburb in the early hours today, police said.

Amrutlal Kagda, a gold jewellery manufacturer, was transporting the ornaments from his shop in suburban Dahisar to some contacts in the city in a car with two friends when the incident occurred, police said.

As they were travelling towards the city, a van blocked their way near Dahisar and six to seven persons came out of it.

One of them struck Kagda with a chopper on his head, injuring him, and took away the jewellery while another man threatened the occupants of the car with a revolver, police said.

The robbers then boarded the van and sped away, they said. Kagda was admitted to a local hospital, police added. — PTI

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Magician’s early escape

Hyderabad, May 13
The much-publicised “great underwater escape” by magician Akash, son of famous conjurer Jadugar Anand, turned out to be a damp squib today as the young magician, in a hurry to break his father’s record, came out of the wooden box before it submerged in the Hussain Sagar lake here, where the event was held.

“I should have waited till the wooden box was submerged in the waters for a while. Since it takes 25 seconds only for submerging, I was in a hurry to break my father’s record,” Akash told reporters after the event.

Renowned magician Harry Houdini performed the feat for the first time in 1912 in East River in New York. — PTI

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Dalits’ tales of woe

New Delhi, May 13
Stories of horror, angst and agony poured out as 60 Dalit victims of untouchability from across the country gathered at the capital to narrate their travails at the Indian People’s Tribunal - a public hearing that took place over the weekend.

Whether it was about the case of a Dalit woman being paraded naked, raped and then murdered in Rajasthan, being denied access to groundwater in Andhra Pradesh, untouchability being practised in an Orissa school or 21 Dalits shot in Uttar Pradesh over a land dispute, the stories are unbelievably shocking.

Some of them have been highlighted by media like the ones of Bant Singh of Punjab whose hands and legs were chopped off because he demanded that the upper caste miscreants who raped his minor daughter be punished. — IANS

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