SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

India set to elect woman President
New Delhi, July 18
India is set to elect its first woman President, Pratibha Patil, in the election being held tomorrow as Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has suffered a serious setback with some of the NDA allies and the UNPA deciding to abstain.

Third Front decision a jolt, says Advani
New Delhi, July 18
In a candid admission, former BJP president L.K. Advani today said that the Third Front's move to abstain from voting and the Shiv Sena's decision to support UPA-Left presidential candidate Pratibha Patil were a jolt to his party.

Pranab briefs panel on Saarc developments
New Delhi, July 18
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee today briefed members of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs on the developments in Saarc.

From Raisina Hill to Chennai
Chennai, July 18
After the country's first woman President Pratibha Patil takes over, President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam will take recourse to his first love of teaching.


EARLIER STORIES




Women make national flags for the forthcoming Independence Day at Khadi and Gramodyog Sangha, Hubli, the only legally recognised institution for making national flags, on Wednesday.
Women make national flags for the forthcoming Independence Day at Khadi and Gramodyog Sangha, Hubli, the only legally recognised institution for making national flags, on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Assam students’ tirade
against ragging

Guwahati, July 18
Continuing with its tirade against ragging menace in educational institutions in the state the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) has formed an anti-ragging cell to save fresh students from harassment meted out in the name of ragging at the beginning of new academic year.

Same entry fee for Saarc visitors
New Delhi, July 18
In order to promote regional solidarity, visitors from Saarc and Bimstec countries will be charged the same entry fees to ASI’s ticketed monuments as Indian citizens.

Haneef’s wife wants him back, but with honour
Bangalore, July 18
Bangalore terror suspect Dr Mohammed Haneef’s wife Firdous Arshiya yesterday took on the Australian government which is contemplating deporting him even though he remains charged with terrorist links by saying she wanted her husband back but with “full respect and honour”.

Docs’ callousness costs injured girl dearly
Kolkata, July 18
The policy of doctors attending to patients on “first come first serve” basis in government hospitals in the state cost dearly a poor teenage girl, Tumpa Khatun, who with severe head injury had to stay over 10 hours outside the emergency ward at the Bangur Institute of Neurology (BIN) on Tuesday uncared and unattended and waiting for her turn, which, however, did not arrive.

Quota for Andhra Muslims
Students move court
Hyderabad, July 18
The Andhra Pradesh government's Muslim reservation policy has met with yet another challenge, this time from students who moved the High Court questioning the constitutionality of the recent ordinance providing for 4 per cent quota for socially and educationally backward Muslims in jobs and educational institutions.

Ammunition found in ex-minister’s house 
Guwahati, July 18
A former cabinet minister of Assam, Rajen Mushahary, was today detained by the police following recovery of 95 rounds of ammunition of AK-47 rifles from his city residence here today.

India’s Mallakhamb goes global
Mumbai, July 18
India’s Mallakhamb, an ethnic and home-grown sport that is often described as “yoga on ropes” or “yoga on poles”, is going global and has started garnering appreciation in foreign countries.

Missing chopper found, 4 killed
Balaghat (MP), July 18
The wreckage of a Chhattisgarh Government-owned helicopter that went missing five days ago and the bodies of four persons who were on board were today found at a remote site in Madhya Pradesh’s Lanjhi tehsil.

Maya govt cuts short budget session
Lucknow, July 18
Taking the Opposition by complete surprise the Mayawati government yesterday cut short the budget session by seven days by adjourning the house sine die after getting the appropriation bill for 2007-08 fiscal hurriedly passed.

Monica to be out on bail in a day
or two: Lawyer

Hyderabad, July 18
Former Bollywood actress Monica Bedi would be released from a city jail in “one or two days”, said her counsel.
Following her acquittal by the Bhopal court in a fake passport case, Bedi, the companion of underworld don Abu Salem, was brought here by train to complete the formalities of furnishing sureties before being released on bail. Bedi, who was also convicted in a similar passport forgery case in Andhra Pradesh, was granted bail by the Supreme Court on May 17.



Monica Bedi waits for the AP Express train at Bhopal railway station on her way to Hyderabad on Wednesday. — PTI photo
Monica Bedi waits for the AP Express train at Bhopal railway station on her way to Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Kerala school to admit HIV students
Kochi, July 18
The Mar Dionysius Lower Primary School in Kottayam, at the centre of a controversy after some parents opposed the entry of HIV-positive children, today informed the Kerala High Court that it had no objection to allowing such students into the classes.

Sinha envoy to Greece
New Delhi, July 18
Dilip Sinha, joint secretary at the headquarters, has been appointed ambassador of India to Greece, the ministry of external affairs announced today.

Ramdev’s guru missing
Dehra Dun, July 18
Mahant Shankerdev, ‘guru’ of famous Yoga exponent Ramdev, has gone missing in Hardwar, the police said today.


Videos
Potter fans keen to read last page.
(56k)
Online matrimony.
(56k)
Priyanka turns 25.
(56k)


Top









 

India set to elect woman President
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
India is set to elect its first woman President, Pratibha Patil, in the election being held tomorrow as Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has suffered a serious setback with some of the NDA allies and the UNPA deciding to abstain.

If the 4,896 members of the electoral college vote on party lines, then the Congress-Left nominee is certain to succeed incumbent A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on July 25 as the 13th President on the 60th year of India’s Independence. The counting of votes takes place on July 21.

Patil got the support of the Shiv Sena, which dumped its long-time ideological ally BJP, as she is a Maharashtrian.

The Janata Dal (Secular), which shares power in Karnataka with the saffron party, has decided to abstain. However, the rebel faction led by MP Veerendra Kumar has decided to vote in favour of Patil.

The Trinamool Congress, too, has decided to abstain to send home the message that it is neither siding with the BJP nor the Communists.

The ruling alliance is claiming that Patil will romp home with a margin of about three lakh votes while the BJP-led NDA believes that the conscience vote will help Shekhawat spring a surprise in an electoral college having over 10.98 lakh vote value.

During the month-long no-holds-barred campaign, the NDA camp sought to expose Patil for the lapses during her chairpersonship of a cooperative bank in Maharashtra and alleged diversion of MPLAD funds for a trust run by her husband.

The UPA attempted to embarrass Shekhawat by projecting the real face of the independent candidate, especially his RSS link.

The 4,896-strong electoral college comprises 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs from 30 states and union territories.

Of the total vote value of over 10.98 lakh, the UPA claims nearly six lakh in its favour to ensure a smooth sail for Patil.

The poll tomorrow is likely to see a record of sorts with over 50 MPs opting to cast their votes outside Delhi and some MLAs preferring to exercise their franchise in the Parliament House poling station.

At least two MPs undergoing imprisonment in Tihar Jail here, Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav (RJD), and Babubhai Katara (BJP) will be voting in Parliament House, following permission granted by the Delhi High Court.

Another RJD MP Mohd Shahbuddin and JMM MP Sibu Soren might vote in Patna and Ranchi, respectively.

While Shiv Sena MPs have expressed their desire to vote in Mumbai, at least six MLAs, mostly from Punjab, have sought permission to cast their ballot in the Capital for different reasons.

Amidst high security, two freshly painted ballot boxes were brought to the Parliament House complex today and were examined by senior officials ahead of tomorrow's exercise. The boxes would be shown to the polling agents of the two candidates and sealed in front of them before voting begins.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has issued detailed instructions to the members of the electoral college. It has asked the MPs and MLAs not to write their name, word, signature, initials or even a thumb impression in the ballot paper.

The poll panel has made it clear that the electors mark the ballot paper only with a pen, which will be officially supplied for the purpose.

Preferences shall be indicated in figures and not in words. While indicating the first preference against any one candidate is mandatory, the other preferences are 'optional', it added.

Top

 

Third Front decision a jolt, says Advani
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
In a candid admission, former BJP president L.K. Advani today said that the Third Front's move to abstain from voting and the Shiv Sena's decision to support UPA-Left presidential candidate Pratibha Patil were a jolt to his party.

Talking to a group of reporters, Advani claimed that the Congress had first come with a proposal to field Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as a consensus candidate in the election to deny a second term to incumbent A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

It was an adverse turning point..........The First jolt, Advani said referring to Shiv Sena's decision to back the UPA-Left candidate and went on to add that the UNPA or the Third Front to abstain was the second one.

Advani's candid admission today is being seen in the backdrop of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's observation at the NDA meeting that lack of cohesion within the opposition alliance and NDA numbers were a source of concern.

Satisfied over the NDA's campaign of Shekhawat and anti-Patil tirade in the presidential contest, Advani said it had resulted in creating serious doubts about the UPA's functioning and now the opposition was ready for a long haul.

The Leader of the Opposition, who played a pro-active role writing letters to voters, issuing appeal to UPA leaders to replace Patil and petitioning the EC to declare the UNPA's move to abstain unconstitutional, summed up the NDA's campaign as an exciting experience.

Advani, whose approach in the presidential campaign sharply contrasted with that of Vajpayee, said the BJP had initially received a proposal from the Congress to put up Shekhawat as a consensus candidate and Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for the Vice-President's post.

But we saw through it (the proposal). They had no such intention. Their proposal only showed how strongly they were opposed to Kalam, he said, adding he had discussed the offer with Vajpayee.

He said the Congress also wanted a commitment from the BJP that Shinde would be the successor to Shekhawat.

Advani, however, ruled out any boycott of Patil in the event of her being elected President.

Top

 

Pranab briefs panel on Saarc developments
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee today briefed members of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs on the developments in Saarc.

He also briefed members about the 14th Saarc Summit in New Delhi on April 3-4, which, for the first time, saw the expansion of the forum to eight members (Afghanistan) and attendance by five observer countries.

Mukherjee briefed the members on two important agreements signed during the Saarc Summit - establishment of the Saarc food bank and South Asian University.

He spoke about the other initiatives within Saarc, including India’s offer to take up asymmetrical responsibilities, including unilateral measures to liberalise trade, visa and tourism.

He also underlined the theme of physical, economic and people-to-people connectivity.

Besides, the minister dwelt on India’s partnership with African countries, including initiatives taken in the field of technical cooperation, human resource development, investment, trade, peacekeeping operations and support for NEPAD. He talked about the progress in the implementation by India of a PAN-African e-Network project.

The discussions on the two subjects would be continued at the next Consultative Committee meeting. 

Top

 

From Raisina Hill to Chennai
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 18
After the country's first woman President Pratibha Patil takes over, President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam will take recourse to his first love of teaching.

Next week the President will return to Anna University where he was a Professor Emeritus five years ago.

The vice chancellor of Anna University here Dr. D. Viswanathan today told The Tribune, "I personally received a call from the President who said he would reach the university on July 25 after quitting the highest office in the country."

Kalam specifically instructed the vice chancellor to ensure that no gala receptions were arranged for him as a "former President" when he reaches the university even by the students.

Viswanathan said, "However, I told him that there will be a simple reception by the students and the faculty.

"The President is the joint supervisor for doctoral students and has attended the meetings of the doctoral committee thrice after moving in to Rashtrapati Bhavan. He is keen to teach space application, biotechnology and nano-technology."

But, we would have further discussions with him to obtain the best of his services because of his knowledge of science and his love for teaching, he added.

Kalam has expressed his desire to reside at the university's guest house within the campus and teach at the under graduate level. However, he did not say how long the guest house would be his home as he hails from Rameswaram in southern Tamil Nadu.

Viswanathan said that regarding security cover for Kalam as he would not only be a former President but also "father of India's nuclear programme", the university would coordinate with the state government and make adequate arrangements.

Before becoming the "people's President", Kalam was staying in a single seated room in the university's guest house and working on projects to help the disabled.

Those staying in the university campus still remember him going out for long morning walks alone though he was one of the famous nuclear scientists of the country.

Top

 

Assam students’ tirade against ragging
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 18
Continuing with its tirade against ragging menace in educational institutions in the state the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) has formed an anti-ragging cell to save fresh students from harassment meted out in the name of ragging at the beginning of new academic year.

At the beginning of the new academic year, the students’ body has asked all the fresh students from any educational institutions to contact its anti-ragging cell without hesitation to report any incident of ragging. The AASU said that it had instructed all its units in different educational institutions to remain guard against ragging.

“Ragging is against the norms of any civilized society, and must be totally eradicated. Inflicting mental and physical torture on newcomers reflected a diseased mind, and cannot be accepted under any circumstances,” the AASU said in a statement.

The students’ body pledged its full cooperation to authorities of all educational institutions in taking punitive action against those students found guilty of inflicting harassment on new comers in name of ragging.

Pointing out that even the Supreme Court of India had to intervene in the matter due to wide prevalence of ragging in educational institutions all over the country, the AASU appealed to heads of all educational institutions in the state to take sternest possible measures to curb the menace.

The AASU is going to convene a meeting of union bodies of all colleges and other educational institutions of the state and chalk out an action plan for eradicating the evil that forces many students every year to lose valuable academic years, and in extreme cases to commit even suicide.

In city-based century-old Cotton College, the premier seat learning in the Northeast college authority and the students’ union of the institution have joined hands to keep ragging at bay. The institution has formed an anti-ragging committee to keep a close watch on college campus as well as all the hostels in the institution.

The General Secretary of the college students’ union Samiran Baishya claimed that so far the anti-ragging effort had been successful much to the relief of fresh students.

Top

 

Same entry fee for Saarc visitors

New Delhi, July 18
In order to promote regional solidarity, visitors from Saarc and Bimstec countries will be charged the same entry fees to ASI’s ticketed monuments as Indian citizens.

According to tourism and culture minister Ambika Soni, this is being done in acknowledgement of the common heritage between India and its neighbouring countries and promote regional solidarity.

Announcing this at a consultative committee meeting of parliament attached to the ministry, she said a debate on charging uniform entry fees from other foreign visitors was on, but the present differential rate of tickets would continue to be charged owning to a variety of reasons.

Bimstec stands for Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation. — TNS

Top

 

Haneef’s wife wants him back, but with honour
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 18
Bangalore terror suspect Dr Mohammed Haneef’s wife Firdous Arshiya yesterday took on the Australian government which is contemplating deporting him even though he remains charged with terrorist links by saying she wanted her husband back but with “full respect and honour”.

Firdous, who was reacting to Australian Immigration Minister Keven Andrew’s statement that Haneef would be deported, said her husband deserved to get the same respect which he had when he went to Australia last year and should not be treated as a criminal. Speaking to newsmen outside her parent’s residence here, she said it was wrong on the part of the Australian government to take any decision to deport Haneef under a cloud without clearing him of the charges he is accused of.

Firdous, who has recently given birth to a baby girl, said the family wanted him to be absolved of all charges so that they could live a life of dignity in India. “We deserve this since Haneef is not a terrorist nor involved in any terrorist activities”. She emphasised that in case Haneef was deported without being absolved of all charges against him, it would be a disgrace not only for the family but the country as well.

She, however, appreciated the stand taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue but said more would have to be done to ensure Haneef returned to India with his honour intact. She claimed Haneef’s case would have a fall out on other Indians also. “In case he does not come out clean other Indians going to Australia will also be viewed with suspicion”, she added.

She said her family would give all needed support to Haneef to enable him to come out victorious in the current trial he is facing in Australia. She said her husband was unlikely to stay on in Australia in case he is absolved of all charges of terrorism leveled against him. His wife said she did not think she would like Haneef to stay on in Australia after all he has undergone in that country.

Top

 

Docs’ callousness costs injured girl dearly

Kolkata, July 18
The policy of doctors attending to patients on “first come first serve” basis in government hospitals in the state cost dearly a poor teenage girl, Tumpa Khatun, who with severe head injury had to stay over 10 hours outside the emergency ward at the Bangur Institute of Neurology ( BIN) on Tuesday uncared and unattended and waiting for her turn, which, however, did not arrive.

Though bleeding profusely, she started groaning with pain and gradually gasping, the doctors refused to attend to her out of turn. Tumpa’s helpless parents and a few relatives accompanying her requested the hospital authorities and the doctors several times with folded hands to attend to their daughter but all in vain.

When Tumpa’s condition got worsened and she became unconscious, a few media persons present there phoned health minister Surya Kanto Mishra and drew his attention to Tumpa’s plight. Only then she could be admitted to the nearby SSKM Hospital.

But already it had got too late and Tumpa’s brain got clotted with blood due to continuous hemorrhage and she developed complications in several other organs. The doctors at the ICCU at the SSKM Hospital were trying their best to bring Tumpa back to normalcy but she was not responding to the treatment. The harrowing tale of Tumpa’s tale began on Friday morning when she was hit by a motorcyclist while she was returning home with a kerosene tin in hand from the nearby market at Kalitala in Behrampore town.

She was admitted to the Behrampore hospital where doctors treated her with their limited resources in the district hospital till Sunday. But in the night when she developed certain complications, she was sent to Kolkata.

On Monday morning, Tumpa was driven down to Kolkata from Behrampore in an ambulance available from a voluntary organisation, which was donated the ambulance by the local Congress MP, Adhir Chowdhury, from his MP’s fund.

Tumpa was first taken to the NRS Hospital near Sealdah, where the doctor in the emergency advised Tumpa’s parents to immediately take her to the Bangur Institute of Neurology since it was a serious neurological case. The parents took her to the BIN but the doctors there did not attend to her immediately and they advised the parents to take her to the nearby SSKM Hospital, where also she did not get any treatment out of turn.

Tumpa was then taken to the National Medical College and Hospital at Entally but the doctors in the emergency there told the parents to take the patient to the BIN, which could only treat such serious neurological patient.

However, Tumpa’s parents got the same treatment there from the doctors. — tns

Top

 

Quota for Andhra Muslims
Students move court
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 18
The Andhra Pradesh government's Muslim reservation policy has met with yet another challenge, this time from students who moved the High Court questioning the constitutionality of the recent ordinance providing for 4 per cent quota for socially and educationally backward Muslims in jobs and educational institutions.

Dubbing the quota ordinance as "unconstitutional, divisive and violative of the equality principle," three students K Sriteja, R Venugopal and GPavankrishna filed a petition challenging the government's decision to include Muslims among the backward classes.

One of the petitioners, who belongs to a Backward Class community, contended that clubbing Muslims with the BC list would deprive several BC students like him of the benefits of reservation.

The petitioners argued that the state BC Commission, whose report formed the basis for government's decision, did not follow "scientific methodology" to determine social backwardness among Muslims nor did it lay down any procedural guidelines for it.

"The Muslims, irrespective of their occupation, are not socially backward either in public perception or in their own self-perception," the petitioners said.

After a series of legal setbacks, the government had, on July 7, issued a fresh ordinance to provide 4 per cent reservation for 15 social groups among Muslims, identified as socially and educationally backward, excluding the "creamy layer".

A new group under the head "E" has been created in the Backward Classes list to accommodate these Muslims groups with the application of "creamy layer" norms of the central government except in the case of annual income limit which has been fixed at Rs 4 lakh.

The BC Commission's report was approved by the cabinet on July 4, paving the way for issuing the modified ordinance to scale down the quota to 4 per cent, as against 5 per cent planned earlier, to overcome the legal hurdles.

While reduction in quota will ensure that total reservations in the state will not exceed 50 per cent,a ceiling prescribed by the Supreme Court, the categorisation of the community on the basis of socio-economic status will help stave off criticism over religion-based reservations.

The high court had, in November 2005, quashed an earlier ordinance, terming it as "unconstitutional and arbitrary." The Supreme Court had refused to grant stay on high court order in January last year.According to the 2001 census, Muslims constitute 9.2 per cent of the state's total population of over 7 crore.

Top

 

Ammunition found in ex-minister’s house 
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 18
A former cabinet minister of Assam, Rajen Mushahary, was today detained by the police following recovery of 95 rounds of ammunition of AK-47 rifles from his city residence here today.

Mushahary who was a cabinet minister in the erstwhile Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) government in the state led by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, hails from Gassaongaon in Kokrajhar district of western Assam.

City ASP Rajen Singh said acting on a tip-off, a team of policemen searched the residence of the former minister here and recovered huge quantity of live ammunition. The police then picked up the former minister.

Mushahary had found himself in the eye of a storm while he was still a cabinet minister in the state in 1990s when a 16-year-old girl from his own Bodo tribe levelled charges of rape against him.

The minister was later forced to make an out of court settlement by marrying the girl and acknowledging that he was the father of her male child who was named 'High Court' in reference to the long drawn legal battle his mother had to fight to get justice from her ‘influential’ tormentor.

Top

 

India’s Mallakhamb goes global

Mumbai, July 18
India’s Mallakhamb, an ethnic and home-grown sport that is often described as “yoga on ropes” or “yoga on poles”, is going global and has started garnering appreciation in foreign countries.

After achieving a foothold in two countries in as many continents — Germany in Europe and Singapore in Asia — it is now poised for a hopefully encouraging reception in the US.

Mallakhamb will now be practised in New Mexico on a regular basis, albeit by a small group of players, Uday Deshpande, a coach and general secretary of the International Mallakhamb Federation said after returning from a fortnight-long trip to the US where he conducted workshops and demonstrations.

Over 100 Americans participated in the camp held in New Mexico, Deshpande said.

Mallakhamb, which provides maximum exercise to the body in the least possible time, has not been properly marketed so far. In India, there are about 10,000 players who regularly perform Mallakhamb, he said.

In countries like Germany and Singapore, it is practised by a small number of people who have taken it up as a fitness activity rather than treating it as a serious sport.

Deshpande, who has been making periodic trips abroad to popularise the sport, often takes with him a few Mallakhamb players from Mumbai’s Samartha Vyayam Mandir, a premier institution in the field, so that they can demonstrate the sport.

“People outside appreciate it and would like to pursue it. But there is no one to coach them on a regular basis,” he observed.

In New Mexico, however, a couple of trained Americans will be in charge of the sport, he said. — PTI

Top

 

Missing chopper found, 4 killed

Balaghat (MP), July 18
The wreckage of a Chhattisgarh Government-owned helicopter that went missing five days ago and the bodies of four persons who were on board were today found at a remote site in Madhya Pradesh’s Lanjhi tehsil.

The wreckage of the Eurocopter EC-135, which lost contact with air traffic control after taking off on July 14, was found on the Mahurkhodar hillock near Deverbeli, inspector-general of police Anvesh Mangalam said.

Squadron leader Dibya Shankar Mishra, a member of the search party, said, “We have traced the wreckage and the bodies. It is badly burnt. The bodies are also burnt beyond recognition.” — PTI

Top

 

Maya govt cuts short budget session
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, July 18
Taking the Opposition by complete surprise the Mayawati government yesterday cut short the budget session by seven days by adjourning the house sine die after getting the appropriation bill for 2007-08 fiscal hurriedly passed.

As their mark of protest the main opposition parties - Samajwadi Party and the BJP, boycotted the proceedings while Congress leader in the House Pramod Tiwari described the step as “unfortunate yet unavoidable”.

After two noisy days when proceedings were disrupted due to the Samajwadi Party’s protest over the Shrawasti mass rape, it was a relatively peaceful day inside the House and Question hour went on well.

At a matter of fact during zero hour MLAs across party lines expressed remorse over the manner in which “limits were crossed” during the last two days and even unparliamentary language and behaviour was displayed lowering the dignity of the house.

As soon as zero hour came to an end minister for parliamentary affairs Lalji Verma moved a resolution seeking to table the bill and the departmental grants though it was scheduled for July 24.

BJP and SP members once again were up on their feet and in the well of House protesting the move as “undemocratic and dictatorial”.

Despite protests the resolution was passed by voice vote and the House was adjourned for an hour and 45 minutes to enable the officials to prepare the bill so suddenly brought by the government a week before it was scheduled. .

When the house re-assembled, BJP leader Om Prakash Singh and SP leader Ambika Chaudhary decried the decision. Singh said all BJP members of the business advisory committee and other panels have resigned in protest against the move. Later the members boycotted the proceedings of the House.

Giving an explanation of sorts Verma said the decision to shorten the budget session had to be taken avoid any unpleasant incident inside the House that he apprehended given the way SP members had been behaving. He was hinting at the manner in which the SP protested inside the House over the Shrawasti incident.

Verma also cited the presidential poll scheduled for July 19 as a reason behind the move as he claim that the principal secretary Vidhan Sabha also had the responsibility of conducting the presidential election in the state.

Later the House passed an appropriation bill amounting to over Rs 1.10 lakh crore by a voice-vote in the absence of the main opposition parties.

The government had tabled the budget for year 2007-08 in the House on June 29.

Top

 

Monica to be out on bail in a day or two: Lawyer
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 18
Former Bollywood actress Monica Bedi would be released from a city jail in “one or two days”, said her counsel.

Following her acquittal by the Bhopal court in a fake passport case, Bedi, the companion of underworld don Abu Salem, was brought here by train to complete the formalities of furnishing sureties before being released on bail.

Bedi, who was also convicted in a similar passport forgery case in Andhra Pradesh, was granted bail by the Supreme Court on May 17. “Her father is expected to arrive here tomorrow to execute sureties and we hope to complete formalities in a few days for her release,” Bedi’s lawyer S. Pradeep Kumar said.

She was lodged in women’s prison at Chanchalguda here before being taken to Bhopal, about nine months ago, to stand trial in the fake passport case there.

A special CBI court in Hyderabad had sentenced Bedi to five-year rigorous imprisonment on September 29 last year on three counts.

However, the high court reduced her jail sentence to three years on March 8 this year. Subsequently, the apex court had granted bail with respect to the Hyderabad case pending disposal of her appeal for waiver of the remaining part of her sentence. 

Top

 

Kerala school to admit HIV students

Kochi, July 18
The Mar Dionysius Lower Primary School in Kottayam, at the centre of a controversy after some parents opposed the entry of HIV-positive children, today informed the Kerala High Court that it had no objection to allowing such students into the classes.

The submission in this regard was made by the school management at Pampady in response to a petition filed by Firm, a Thiruvananthapuram-based organisation working for the welfare of people living with HIV-AIDS.

The organisation had asked the court to direct the school to permit four HIV-positive students to continue their studies there.

The students have not been attending classes for the past few weeks after parents of other children objected to their presence in the school.

The petition, which came up before a division bench comprising chief justice H L Dathu and justice K T Shankaran, was adjourned till next week. — PTI

Top

 

Sinha envoy to Greece
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Dilip Sinha, joint secretary at the headquarters, has been appointed ambassador of India to Greece, the ministry of external affairs announced today.

Sinha is expected to take up his assignment shortly. He headed the MEA’s PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) division for more than three years before he handed over that charge to T.C.A. Raghavan a few months ago.

Top

 

Ramdev’s guru missing

Dehra Dun, July 18
Mahant Shankerdev, ‘guru’ of famous Yoga exponent Ramdev, has gone missing in Hardwar, the police said today.

The police is looking for the 75-year old mahant who was last seen leaving Ramdev’s Divya Yog Ashram in the Kankhal area on July 14, Acharya Balkrishana, in charge of the ashram, said.

A report has been lodged with the police.

Ramdev, whose televised Yoga programmes are seen by millions across the country and abroad, is a disciple of Mahant Shankardev.

The police has started efforts to look for the mahant, who frequently used to go to various ashrams in the city.

Ramdev, who is in the UK, has been informed about the disappearance of the mahant, Balkrishana said. — PTI

Top

 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |