SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Singur farmers would not get land back: Basu
Farmers to get adequate compensation
Kolkata, June 19
At a crowded press conference in his Salt Lake residence today evening, Jyoti Basu declared that the land that had been whose lands had been acquired for Tata Motors at Singur would not be returned to them. But they would be compensated otherwise.

Avoiding Nandigram
Karnataka planning innovation in land acquisition
Bangalore, June 19
To avoid Nandigram-like state of disorder Karnataka plans to introduce a new system of land acquisition for SEZs to take the state out of the land deal equation. Acquisitions at Bidadi for an SEZ project and three proposed airports will allow companies to negotiate directly with farmers and even take them on as stake holders.

Karunanidhi calls UNPA jokers’ front
Chennai, June 19
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M. Karunanidhi today described the newly-formed United National People's Alliance as a "jokers’ front" for calling the nomination of Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil by the UPA-Left combine for the presidential poll a joke. He said, "Such arrogant and flippant remarks will earn them the name of a jokers' front.



EARLIER STORIES


Malcha villagers stake claim to Prez post
New Delhi, June 19
Amid all the hectic political activity in the run-up to the presidential elections, the claim to the nation’s highest office has now come from unexpected quarters. People of Malcha village, who have now settled in neighbouring Haryana, claim to be the original owners of the land on which Rashtrapati Bhavan stands and say they deserve the top post.

Red alert sounded in flood-hit Assam
Guwahati, June 19
A red alert has been sounded in Assam because of worsening flood situation in the state. Water levels have been rising in the rain-fed main channel of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries in the Assam valley and the three major rivers in Barak valley in the southern part of the state.

TADA court defers sentencing
Mumbai, June 19
The Special Court set up under the Terrorism And Disruptive Activities Act has deferred the pronouncement of sentence on 16 convicted persons till June 21.The decision followed an application filed by some of the convicts citing a recent judgement which stated that the trial and convictions under TADA, which has already expired, could be a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.



Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt is escorted by policemen as he arrives at the TADA Court in Mumbai on Tuesday. — AFP photo

Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt is escorted by policemen as he arrives at the TADA Court in Mumbai

Hoshiarpur murder case
SC dismisses appeal, upholds acquittal of 9
New Delhi, June 19
A minor dispute among friends over some group photographs had taken an ugly turn 12 years ago and had resulted in the death of two persons. However, the Supreme Court today upheld the acquittal of nine of the friends convicted for the murder of two persons in the fight, saying that the prosecution had failed to prove that their assembly was unlawful with a common object to commit the crime.

Arrest warrant against Orissa DGP
Jaipur, June 19
A local court has issued bailable warrant against rape convict Biti Hotra Mohanty and arrest warrant against his father, Orissa DGP, Bidya Bhushan Mohanty, who had given surety for his son for parole.

Top French award for Shah Rukh
New Delhi, June 19
After superstar Amitabh Bachchan, it is now the turn of another superstar, Shah Rukh Khan, to be honoured by the French government.

PM briefs Kalam on G-8
New Delhi, June 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam this evening during which the two leaders discussed issues of national importance.

Ultras kill 2 CRPF men
Guwahati, June 19
Two CRPF personnel were killed and five others were injured when tribal militants ambushed a convoy at Dongkamokam under Howraghat police station this morning.

Policy to shield tigers
New Delhi, June 19
The Tiger Conservation Authority is finalising an eco-tourism policy for people living in the vicinity of tiger reserves in the country with the aim of providing them livelihood options and steering them away from exploiting natural resources of tiger reserves in an unsustainable way.

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Singur farmers would not get land back: Basu
Farmers to get adequate compensation
Tribune News service

Kolkata, June 19
At a crowded press conference in his Salt Lake residence today evening, Jyoti Basu declared that the land that had been whose lands had been acquired for Tata Motors at Singur would not be returned to them. But they would be compensated otherwise.

The Singur package was formally announced at Writers Buildings by the industries minister Nirupam Sen where no assurances had been given for returning lands to the land-owners whose had been forcibly evicted for providing their farmlands to Tata Motors. The package also did not sanction any extra amount of money to the unwilling farmers since no distinction was made "between the willing and unwilling farmers" whose lands had acquired for Tata Motors.

The press conference was organised on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the left front government. At the press conference Basu elaborated in details the government’s achievements during its long-three decades' in power in West Bengal. He claimed there had been over all improvement in most of the fields, including agriculture, education, irrigation, industries, rural development and health and family planning. But he admitted there was the need for further development in industrialisation for solving the present acute unemployment problems.

And ,therefore, they had drawn massive industrial expansion programme with foreign investment and private sector participation. Basu said the Singur's Tata Motors plant was one of such projects where the affected people at Singur would get job opportunities. He said the affected land-owners had been granted maximum financial benefits as compensation in addition to the assurance of an alternative job at least to every affected family.

Basu requested Mamata Banerjee and other opposition leaders to withdraw their agitation against land acquiring since the government had no other option but to acquire lands for industries. She criticised Mamata Banerjee for not serving the interest of the poor farmers as well as the state people by politicising the Singur and Nandigram issues of state for their political interests.

He said though the government decided in principle not to acquire any crop land for industries yet in exceptional cases, the acquisition of farmlands might be unavoidable, which the land-owners would have to sacrifice, he said. But the land-owners would be adequately compensated as included in the Singur package, he added.

Ms Banerjee, however, rejected the new package as rotten, adding that the package would not benefit the affected people in Singur. She said their agitation would continue. In fact, they would organise "bhukha michil" in New Delhi and Kerala on July 2 against the CPI(M) grabbing of farmland for industries.

She declared they would observe June 21, which has been the foundation day of the Left Front government in 1977, as the "condemnation day". The Congress (l) Somen Mitra lashed out at the state government's Singur package. He criticised that the so-called poor people's friendly Left Front government was now dislodging the poor farmers from their lands. He declared their agitation would be intensified.

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Avoiding Nandigram
Karnataka planning innovation in land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 19
To avoid Nandigram-like state of disorder Karnataka plans to introduce a new system of land acquisition for SEZs to take the state out of the land deal equation.

Acquisitions at Bidadi for an SEZ project and three proposed airports will allow companies to negotiate directly with farmers and even take them on as stake holders.

State infrastructure secretary V P Baligar while talking on the sidelines of a function held here today to announce a summit being held by the Confederation of Indian Industry - South Region on “Sustainable Public Private Partnerships (PPP)” said land acquisition had become a crucial issue in all PPP projects. He said many new ideas including a special package for small and marginal farmers were being formulated.

He said the government was in the process of acquiring 650 acres of land for the Hubli airport. He said similarly 100 acres of land was being acquired to expand the Mysore airport. He said the farmers were being offered a package of Rs 150 crore for this process.

The infrastructure secretary said the government had received 19 proposals from various companies following invitation of expression of interest on PPP model for three proposed airports of Gulbarga, Shimoga and Bijapur. He said in all three places the government had a large part of land needed in its name and would have to go in for limited land acquisition.

The secretary said tourism projects were also being taken up which followed the PPP model. He said a convention centre was proposed to be set up near the upcoming international airport on 35 acres of land.

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Karunanidhi calls UNPA jokers’ front
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, June 19
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi today described the newly-formed United National People's Alliance as a "jokers’ front" for calling the nomination of Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil by the UPA-Left combine for the presidential poll a joke. He said, "Such arrogant and flippant remarks will earn them the name of a jokers' front. It is the right of leaders to call themselves a front and meet, and even put up a candidate, but to deride the nomination of Patil as a joke is unbecoming of these leaders and undermines their stature."

Karunanidhi recalled the "prestigious" positions held by Patil during her long political career and the organisation founded by her and remarked, "If the nomination of such a personality is a joke, it can only mean they know nothing of any of the nine rasas. On the contrary, the only taste they have is for the meal served to them," hinting at the luncheon meeting of the UNPA hosted by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J.Jayalalithaa at her posh Poes Garden residence yesterday.

While Karunanidhi praised Patil for her "achievements" as a politician and a social worker, he deftly avoided any mention about President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's name being mooted by the UNPA to contest for the second term though the latter hails from Tamil Nadu.

Jayalalithaa has also sought the support of the DMK in favour of Kalam as he hailed from Tamil Nadu.

The DMK is in a spot on this issue as the regional party does not want to hurt Tamil sentiments and suffer embarrassment by clearly stating that it cannot support Kalam.

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Malcha villagers stake claim to Prez post

New Delhi, June 19
Amid all the hectic political activity in the run-up to the presidential elections, the claim to the nation’s highest office has now come from unexpected quarters.

People of Malcha village, who have now settled in neighbouring Haryana, claim to be the original owners of the land on which Rashtrapati Bhavan stands and say they deserve the top post.

Malcha village abuts the diplomatic enclave in the capital and is not far from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“Almost all of Lutyen’s Delhi including the Rashtrapati Bhavan stands on the land which originally belonged to us. After 1910, the Britishers chased us away and we were forced to settle in Sonepat district in Haryana with no means of living,” said Satish Kumar, the village sarpanch.

“After about a century of struggle, what we are left with is a pack of litigations in Tis Hazari court for land compensation. It is time the government restored our honour by giving us an opportunity for the top post,” he adds.

When asked whether it could be a reason to claim the President’s post, Kumar said, "We know we have no political backing but our claim is rather an attempt to draw attention to our plight.”

The villagers claimed that the borders of the erstwhile Malcha village and their agricultural lands stretched right from Paharganj till the present diplomatic area in Chanakyapuri. There is also a road named after the village in the Chanakyapuri area.

"The India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan and all other official buildings in the New Delhi area are built on our land. We were left landless by the British regime and to our surprise, we have failed to get justice even after Independence," says Narayan Singh, a village elder. — PTI

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Red alert sounded in flood-hit Assam
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, June 19
A red alert has been sounded in Assam because of worsening flood situation in the state. Water levels have been rising in the rain-fed main channel of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries in the Assam valley and the three major rivers in Barak valley in the southern part of the state.

The Army has been kept on standby for emergency flood rescue and relief operation. The heavy rainfall received in the lower ridge of Arunachal Pradesh hills located to the north and north-east of Assam have led to the first flooding of the year in the state.

State revenue minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman informed that the flood so far has inundated the houses of over 1.49 lakh people from 125 villages. Flood-hit people from the worse-affected Lakhimpur district in north Assam and Karimganj district in south Assam have been provided shelter in make-shift relief camps set up by the government.

He said that the flood situation had turned grim today with reports of breaches in embankments pouring from different parts of the state. Flood waters have submerged about 4,285 hectares of land including nearly 1,150 hectares of farmland.

Assam water resources minister Bharat Chandra Narah said that the situation was worse in Dibrugarh district in eastern Assam and Lakhimpur district in northern Assam.

The Brahmaputra is flowing at about 150 centimeters above the danger level near Dibrugarh town and Matmora in Lakhimpur district. The embankment at Matmora is in a precarious condition. The embankment on the Brahmaputra at Maijan in Dibrugarh town is under threaten because of heavy erosion by the swelling river.

The situation was grim in the Barak valley where Karimganj received the season’s highest rainfall of 130.2 mm today, a CWC source said.

The Barak river and its tributaries inundated new areas in Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts. All major rivers in the valley including Barak, Kushiyara, Katakhal and Longai have been flowing well above danger mark since last night.

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TADA court defers sentencing
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, June 19
The Special Court set up under the Terrorism And Disruptive Activities Act has deferred the pronouncement of sentence on 16 convicted persons till June 21.

The decision followed an application filed by some of the convicts citing a recent judgement which stated that the trial and convictions under TADA, which has already expired, could be a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Defence counsel Farhana Shah appealed before judge Pramod Kode that the case being heard in Mumbai be referred to a higher court like the Supreme Court or the Bombay High Court before continuation of the proceedings.

The defence counsel contended that under Section 1 (4) of the TADA Act, its provisions would cease to exist from May 25, 1995. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam contended the statements referred by the defence counsel were merely “expression of opinions by the apex court”.

So far, the TADA Court has sentenced 76 out of 100 persons who were convicted in the 1993 serial blasts case.

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Hoshiarpur murder case
SC dismisses appeal, upholds acquittal of 9
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 19
A minor dispute among friends over some group photographs had taken an ugly turn 12 years ago and had resulted in the death of two persons.

However, the Supreme Court today upheld the acquittal of nine of the friends convicted for the murder of two persons in the fight, saying that the prosecution had failed to prove that their assembly was unlawful with a common object to commit the crime.

It held that a spontaneous fight like this could not be covered under Section 149 of the IPC that deals with “unlawful assembly” of a group of people with common object to commit a crime.

Defining the “pivotal” question about the applicability of Section 149, the apex court upheld the acquittal of all those nine friends who fought for defending possession of photographs by one of them while the other group wanted to share some of them.

“The mere presence in an unlawful assembly cannot render a person liable unless there was a common object and he was actuated by the common object and that object is one of those set out in Section 141,” a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and B P Singh held. They clarified that one of the most important ingredients to prove unlawful assembly was a meeting of more than five persons with pre-meditated mind to commit a crime.

The Punjab government had prosecuted Sanjay, Satnam Singh, Parminder Singh, Gangadhar, Vishal Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Bedi, Sanjiv Kumar, Anil Kumar and Amir Kumar for the murder of Harbans Lal and Rakesh Kumar. The two had succumbed to injuries received during a fight after an altercation over the photographs at Kamlapur area in Krishanagar of Hoshiarpur district.

Several group photographs of the accused and some their friends, including the two who lost their lives in the fight, were taken in Manali in 1994 and were in the possession of Anil Kumar, but he was not ready to part with them.

On June 16, 1995 when the nine accused had assembled near a STD booth, their other friends Harbans Lal and Rakesh Kumar questioned Anil as why he had a problem in parting with the pictures. This was enough reason for an altercation resulting in a sort of riots in which sharp-edged weapons were freely used.

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Arrest warrant against Orissa DGP

Jaipur, June 19
A local court has issued bailable warrant against rape convict Biti Hotra Mohanty and arrest warrant against his father, Orissa DGP, Bidya Bhushan Mohanty, who had given surety for his son for parole.

Upper Chief Judicial Magistrate (No.2 ) Rajendra Kumar Bansal has given time till July 7 to the police superintendent (east) to get in touch with the director general of police, A.S. Gill, and make sure that the orders are carried out.

The Lal Kothi police had filed a petition in the court for issuance of the arrest warrant against senior Mohanty for aiding his son, who never returned to jail after he left it on parole.

The Rajasthan police had gone in search of senior Mohanty, several times but returned empty handed every time.

B.H. Mohanty was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a fast track court for raping a German scholar in Alwar in 2006. — UNI

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Top French award for Shah Rukh

New Delhi, June 19
After superstar Amitabh Bachchan, it is now the turn of another superstar, Shah Rukh Khan, to be honoured by the French government.

Shah Rukh Khan has been selected for France’s top cultural award, Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters), a French Embassy press note said here today.

The award is in recognition of his exceptional career as well as his contribution to the development of Indo-French cooperation in cinema.

It puts Shah Rukh Khan, whose recent film “Don” was partially shot in Paris, in an illustrious club of actors that include Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

In January this year, the French government bestowed its highest civilian award, Legion d'Honneur, on Amitabh Bachchan for his contribution to Indian and international cultural life.

Describing Shah Rukh Khan as an actor of great talent and unmatched popularity, French Ambassador Dominique Girard said: “The award also stands testimony to our gratitude to Shah Rukh Khan for his cooperation with the French cinema industry at a time when we are determined to further deepen the Indo-French collaboration in this field.”

The award is given to citizens of France and also foreign nationals, who have made significant contributions to arts and literature and to the development of culture and cultural understanding in France and throughout the world.

Previous winners of the award from India include author Mahasweta Devi and artist S. H. Raza. — UNI

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PM briefs Kalam on G-8

New Delhi, June 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam this evening during which the two leaders discussed issues of national importance.

During the 25-minute meeting, the Prime Minister briefed Kalam about his recent visit to Germany for the G-8 meeting, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman S. M. Khan said.

They also discussed issues relating to rural development, he said. There was no official word on whether the two discussed the presidential election. — PTI

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Ultras kill 2 CRPF men
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, June 19
Two CRPF personnel were killed and five others were injured when tribal militants ambushed a convoy at Dongkamokam under Howraghat police station this morning.

The police informed that the hill district SP Anurag Tangkha was returning in a convoy of the CRPF and Assam police after conducting a night-long operation against insurgents in an interior location when his convoy was attacked by militants belonging to Karbi Longri North Cachar Liberation Front (KLNLF).

Two CRPF personnel were killed in the attack while the SP had a miraculous escape.

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Policy to shield tigers

New Delhi, June 19
The Tiger Conservation Authority is finalising an eco-tourism policy for people living in the vicinity of tiger reserves in the country with the aim of providing them livelihood options and steering them away from exploiting natural resources of tiger reserves in an unsustainable way.

Official say that following initial meetings, the newly-constituted authority has already issued instructions to states to deploy local people in the task of wildlife protection. They have also been asked to rope in ex-servicemen for reserves situated in difficult areas and fill vacancies of frontline staff. — TNS

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