SPECIAL COVERAGE
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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

N-deal: BJP, CPI want Parliament to ratify
New Delhi, July 21
The India-US civil nuclear energy cooperation deal must be ratified by the Parliament, politicians and experts demanded today. Senior BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, CPI National Secretary D Raja and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court J.S. Verma, speaking at a seminar here.

We will reconsider deal if we return to power: BJP
New Delhi, July 21
A BJP-led government will reconsider the nuclear deal if it returns to power as it feels India may be walking into a “trap” by falling for the “US proposal” to set up a reprocessing facility under international safeguards, says former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha.

Jubilations at Pratibha’s village
Nadgaon (Maharashtra), July 21
For this small village in the Jalgaon district of north Maharashtra, Diwali has arrived four months in advance. As Pratibha Patil, who hails from this village, was on her way to becoming India's first woman President news spread after counting in the Presidential poll got underway, the village erupted in joy and celebration.



EARLIER STORIES


Shekhawat puts in his papers
New Delhi, July 21
Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today tendered his resignation to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam after UPA-Left candidate Pratibha Patil convincingly defeated him in the presidential poll. Earlier, accepting his defeat, Shekhawat said he had sought time from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for a meeting to submit his resignation.

Shiv Sena, BJP heading towards splitsville?
Mumbai, July 21
With the Presidential elections finally over and the results indicating that most of the Shiv Sena MLAs might have voted for UPA candidate Pratibha Patil, the party’s ties with the BJP seem to have reached a breaking point.

Last male bastion in armed forces falls
New Delhi, July 21
The last male bastion, the position of Supreme Commander of India’s armed forces, today fell with the UPA candidate Pratibha Patil making it to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. She will be the first women Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces and hopefully would also bring about some kind of a change in the three arms of the country’s military might.

Man trafficking youths to Pak denied bail
New Delhi, July 21
A man from Gujarat charged with taking a number of youths to Pakistan for “jehad” training in the post-Godhra riots scenario has been refused bail by the Supreme Court holding that the detailed orders passed by a special POTA court and the Ahmedabad High Court at dismissing his plea needed no interference.

Gujarat Riots
NGO submits analysis of phone records
Ahmedabad, July 21
An NGO representing the post-Godhra riot victims today submitted before the Godhra inquiry commission their own analysis of a crucial compact discs containing the data of telephone calls made from mobile phones during the riots.

Criminal killed, three cops injured
Indore, July 21
An alleged criminal was shot dead and three policemen sustained injuries in an early morning gun battle here, police said. The incident took place when a police patrolling party spotted a motorcycle parked near a culvert on the bypass road following which they stopped and looked for suspected persons, SP Anshuman Singh Yadav said.

Khanduri assures industrialists
Dehra Dun, July 21
Capital investment worth Rs 300 crore within four months shows that inflow of industrial investment in Uttarakhand is continuing despite change of political guard in Uttarakhand.

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N-deal: BJP, CPI want Parliament to ratify
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The India-US civil nuclear energy cooperation deal must be ratified by the Parliament, politicians and experts demanded today.

Senior BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, CPI National Secretary D Raja and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court J.S. Verma, speaking at a seminar here, demanded legislation to subject all bilateral and multilateral treaties, including the Indo-US Nuclear Deal to ratification.

Joshi said that if the nuclear deal is struck under the framework of existing bilateral understanding, India would be forced to cease its territorial sovereignty and completely surrender its space achievements to the US with totally delink energy security from the deal. He called for formation of a forum in which the elected representatives of people and intelligentsia of country should be roped in to oppose the nuclear deal with the US and force the government to review it in a manner that can adequately safeguard India's legitimate interests.

"Once this deal is concluded we are bound by it and constrained in making nuclear weapons. Pakistan, a rogue state, is not (constrained) since it has not concluded the treaty, nor Israel neither North Korea," Joshi said.

Raja indicated that his party was opposed to Indo-US nuclear deal and favours that all treaties and agreements whether bilateral or multilateral should be subjected to a fresh parliamentary legislation for their wider acceptance.

Former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) chairman A. Gopalakrishnan pointed out how the US system makes their executive fully accountable to the legislature and therefore nothing that is not endorsed by the US Congress and Senate can be implemented, unlike the case of India where the government is not bound to come to parliament for ratification.

They made these remarks while addressing a seminar on Treaty Making Powers of the Government, strategic concerns for our economy, organised by the National Working Group on Patent Laws of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

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We will reconsider deal if we return to power: BJP
Manish Chand

New Delhi, July 21
A BJP-led government will reconsider the nuclear deal if it returns to power as it feels India may be walking into a “trap” by falling for the “US proposal” to set up a reprocessing facility under international safeguards, says former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha.

It is a move that will end up killing the indigenous nuclear programme and compromise the country’s nuclear sovereignty, Sinha said.

“If we (the BJP) return to power, we will reconsider the deal,” Sinha told IANS in an exclusive interview.

“There is a complete cleavage on this issue. There is split in the political establishment. There is split in the nuclear establishment. The government does not have the mandate to go ahead with this deal in this fashion,” Sinha stressed.

“We are absolutely shocked that India has made this proposal of setting up a stand-alone reprocessing facility under international safeguards. This will completely expose our three-stage nuclear energy programme to international surveillance.”

Echoing the opinion of top nuclear scientists like A.N. Prasad and A. Gopalakrishnan, he said: “This will make India a dumping ground of international nuclear waste.

He questioned the very rationale of going ahead with a deal that does not recognise India as a nuclear weapons state.

“Either the outcome will entail a deviation from the Hyde Act or it will end up reneging assurances given by the prime minister to parliament,” he said.

As he sees it, the main objective of the US is to achieve what it has failed so far: it plans to bring India in the international nuclear architecture that includes Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and Proliferation Security Initiative. — IANS

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Jubilations at Pratibha’s village

Nadgaon (Maharashtra), July 21
For this small village in the Jalgaon district of north Maharashtra, Diwali has arrived four months in advance.

As Pratibha Patil, who hails from this village, was on her way to becoming India's first woman President news spread after counting in the Presidential poll got underway, the village erupted in joy and celebration.

Firecrackers were burst and sweets distributed in the village in Bodhwad tehsil and about 50 km from Jalgaon, as the trends confirmed what was a foregone conclusion -- that their `beti' (daughter) would soon be ensconced in the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Villagers donned the traditional attire and organised a welcome march to celebrate Patil's victory.

Meanwhile, Confident that the 'daughter-in-law' of their village Pratibha Patil will occupy the country's highest office, residents of Choti Losal village in Rajasthan, especially women, were today jubilant.

Dancing to the beats of Rajasthani folk music, they gathered in nooks and corners since early this morning, with one slogan on their lips, "our bahu (daughter-in-law) will win and no one can stop her from becoming the President of India." Patil is married to Devisingh Shekhawat, who belongs to Choti Losal and is regarded by the villagers as their 'bahu'. — PTI

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Shekhawat puts in his papers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today tendered his resignation to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam after UPA-Left candidate Pratibha Patil convincingly defeated him in the presidential poll.

Earlier, accepting his defeat, Shekhawat said he had sought time from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for a meeting to submit his resignation.

After getting an appointment with the President, he drove to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to personally hand over his resignation letter to Kalam.

Rashtrapati Bhavan, in its official communique, confirmed Shekhawat's resignation. He was to complete his tenure on August 18.

Soon after Patil was declared elected for the top constitutional post, 84-year-old Shekhawat said he accepted his defeat with all humility.

In a brief statement, the Vice President congratulated Patil and said he would continue to work for the unity and integrity of the country.

Earlier, he had telephoned Patil to congratulate her.

He said he would continue to work for the uplift of poor and deprived sections of the society so that they can enjoy their fundamental rights with dignity.

Expressing gratitude to those MPs and MLAs who cast their "valuable" votes in his favour, Shekhawat expressed his gratefulness to the people of the country from giving him boundless love and affection during the presidential campaign.

With his resignation, curtains have been drawn on the state of politics that began with the Ram temple movement in Ayodhya, which saw the rise of the Bharatiya Janta Party in Indian politics.

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Shiv Sena, BJP heading towards splitsville?
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 21
With the Presidential elections finally over and the results indicating that most of the Shiv Sena MLAs might have voted for UPA candidate Pratibha Patil, the party’s ties with the BJP seem to have reached a breaking point.

Today, BJP’s state unit president Nitin Gadkari exhorted party workers in Pune to prepare for fighting the next Assembly elections on their own. “The BJP will contest all the 288 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly,” Gadkari told mediapersons in Pune.

For good measure, Gadkari added that the BJP was the stronger partner across Maharashtra till it tied up with the Shiv Sena nearly two years ago.

With the Sena indicating its preference for Patil last month itself, the BJP had begun to needle its partner in the Maharashtra Assembly and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the two share power.

On its part, the Shiv Sena, led by Uddhav Thackeray, is trying hard to save the alliance. Party sources say Thackeray has sent feelers to senior BJP leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani through mediators to save the tie-up.

Political observers opine the two senior leaders need the support of Sena MPs in their bid for power at the Centre and Uddhav is banking on this very point. Without an alliance, both the Shiv Sena and the BJP would find the going tough in Maharashtra. While the NCP has emerged as a tough contender for the Sena’s regional Marathi vote, BJP’s Hindutva vote is shrinking.

The Shiv Sena, however, enjoys a slight advantage over the BJP.

Its support to Pratibha Patil, a Maharashtrian, has given it an edge among the Marathi voters. The Presidential elections have also brought the Shiv Sena and the Congress closer. Senior leaders like Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh would happily sup with Uddhav Thackeray rather Shiv Sainik-turned-Congressman Narayan Rane, who is a contender for the top job.

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Last male bastion in armed forces falls
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The last male bastion, the position of Supreme Commander of India’s armed forces, today fell with the UPA candidate Pratibha Patil making it to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

She will be the first women Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces and hopefully would also bring about some kind of a change in the three arms of the country’s military might.

The armed forces chiefs and defence minister A.K. Antony have already hailed her as the Supreme Commander but winds of change are expected in the corridors of South Block following this change at the top.

Observers here said the military would definitely feel the impact of the change with a woman on the top. Although Pratibha Patil as President and Supreme Commander of the armed forces would have more of a ceremonial role to play, but as a reaction, there could be a change in the functional role of women in the forces.

For instance, at present women are not allowed into fighter aircraft or in a ship’s quarters and in the Army, they cannot go into combat units. But the President of India and the Supreme Commander can do all this.

Besides, it is no secret that women are marginalised in the Army. With over 30,000 officers, the women make a miniscule percentage with just about 1000 and that too in supportive roles like logistics and legal services. The Chiefs of Staff Committee, a panel of the three service chiefs, recently advised the government against bringing women into close combat roles.

However, the President elect herself has spoken of women’s empowerment as a priority and it will be interesting to see if her elevation makes a difference.

Observers pointed out that the first thing that might change was women being made the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) of the President elect. A cursory overview revealed that there was no instance of even a single female ADC, the ubiquitous young smart Captains and Majors who are a necessary part of the Presidents’ and Governors’ entourages.

There is no rule that bars women from being ADCs. But such is the culture of machismo that the convention of having men only as ADCs has come to be accepted as a rule in the armed forces.

Even as the Governor of Rajasthan, Pratibha had only smart young men as her ADCs. But this well might change with her becoming the Supreme Commander.

The military component is a major part of the office of the President of India. The President gets five ADCs, three from the Army and one each from the Navy and the Air Force, and has military secretaries, a Major-General from the Army, two deputy military secretaries and a Group Captain from the Air Force, and a Commander from the navy.

In the normal course of her tenure as President, she would be expected to visit major military commands, conduct a fleet review of the Navy and of the Air Force. Incidentally, President APJ Abdul Kalam has not only flown in a Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter aircraft and carried out an underwater sortie in a submarine besides being to the world’s highest and the coldest battlefield, Siachen.

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Man trafficking youths to Pak denied bail
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 21
A man from Gujarat charged with taking a number of youths to Pakistan for “jehad” training in the post-Godhra riots scenario has been refused bail by the Supreme Court holding that the detailed orders passed by a special POTA court and the Ahmedabad High Court at dismissing his plea needed no interference.

However, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Lokeshwar Singh Panta directed the special POTA court to expeditiously complete the trial in the case, in which a total of 82 accused were involved.

As per the charge sheet filed by the Gujarat police in September, 2003, only 39 accused, including Maulana Naseeruddin Mohd Haneefuddin, the alleged key trafficker of the youths to Pakistan, were arrested while other 43 were absconding.

Hannefuddin in his confessional statement recorded before a designated officer had admitted to have sent several youth to Pakistan. He was earlier granted bail in another case in October, 2004, on health ground but after his treatment he was again remanded in judicial custody.

According to the FIR registered on April 4, 2004, it was alleged that Mufti Safiyan and Rasul Khan had entered into a conspiracy in Ahmedabad and Hydrabad to “commit murder of some Hindu leaders through (Muslim) boys by imparting them training in arms in Pakistan. Later, POTA and the Arms Act were invoked in the case.

Though Haneefuddin had during on going trial proceeding retracted from his confession, claiming that it was recorded under pressure and he had never provoked any youth to go to Pakistan for “jihad training”, the apex court felt that this is entirely for the trial court to decide on the basis of evidence.

But the Gujarat government counsel submitted that the belated retraction by Haneefuddin was nothing but an afterthought. He said the retraction was also not done within the time stipulated for making change in the confessional statement as per the law.

Haneefuddin in his retraction had told the special court that the “serious act of sending youth to Pakistan in the aftermath of Godhra was done by Rauf” and not by him and in the absence of any prima facie material there was no basis for keeping him in the custody.

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Gujarat Riots
NGO submits analysis of phone records

Ahmedabad, July 21
An NGO representing the post-Godhra riot victims today submitted before the Godhra inquiry commission their own analysis of a crucial compact discs containing the data of telephone calls made from mobile phones during the riots.

The telephone data in the CDs are likely to throw light on the conduct of top Gujarat police officials, senior politicians and perpetrators of riots that had broken out in Gujarat in 2002.

During the hearing on May 12, the Nanavati-Shah Commission had ordered the NGO, the Jan Sangarsh Manch, as well as the government to submit their respective analysis of the CDs by July 21.

The Gujarat government, however, failed to submit their own analysis of the CDs evoking a sharp warning from the commission that if they fail to submit the same in the next two weeks, the panel will go ahead with the proceedings.

Appearing on behalf of the Gujarat government, advocate Arvind Pandya asked for additional time of two weeks to conduct an analysis of the CDs which was submitted to the commission by CBI officer Rahul Sharma (a Gujarat police official of the DSP-rank during the riots).

Pandya said the government was also inquiring about the whereabouts of the original copies of these CDs, which were prepared by the crime branch as part of the investigations into the Naroda Patiya massacre where over 80 people were killed during the riots.

Advocate Mukul Sinha representing the manch before the inquiry panel objected to government’s demand seeking more time. — PTI

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Criminal killed, three cops injured

Indore, July 21
An alleged criminal was shot dead and three policemen sustained injuries in an early morning gun battle here, police said.

The incident took place when a police patrolling party spotted a motorcycle parked near a culvert on the bypass road following which they stopped and looked for suspected persons, SP Anshuman Singh Yadav said.

Upon noticing the police party, two persons sitting under the culvert tried to escape but one of them, Ashish Gohil, was caught. Before police could search him, he opened fire at one of the Police constables injuring him seriously, Yadav said.

He then opened fire at another police team, which was approaching the gun battle spot, injuring two more constables. However, the police, Yadav said, killed Gohil in a retaliatory fire. — PTI

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Khanduri assures industrialists
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 21
Capital investment worth Rs 300 crore within four months shows that inflow of industrial investment in Uttarakhand is continuing despite change of political guard in Uttarakhand.

At an important meeting here with top honchos of leading corporate houses of the country yesterday, Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri assured them that his government would not allow the pace of industrial development to slacken at any cost.

For this, he assured to revive Udyog Mitra meeting every three months to facilitate regular interaction between government officials and industry representatives to sort out problems and implement their suggestions.

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NSCN (IM)-govt talks begin

New Delhi, July 21
Representatives of the outlawed separatist group, Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah), today began their two-day talks with the Centre here amid indication that the latter will press for further extension of the ceasefire that expires on July 31. The seven-member delegation of the NSCN (IM), led by Thuingaleng Muivah, began talks with government representatives. — tns

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