SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Compulsory registration of marriages
SC issues notices to states

New Delhi, July 23
The Supreme Court today took exception to the states keeping non-Hindu religious groups out of the ambit of compulsory registration of marriages and issued notices to all of them to furnish response on this aspect.

More foetus remains found in Orissa
Bhubaneswar, July 23
The police has recovered 23 more remains of female foetuses from Orissa’s Nayagarh district, where seven such foetuses were found about 10 days ago, officials said today.

Monsoon session of Parliament from Aug 10
New Delhi, July 23
The monsoon session of Parliament is to be held from August 10 to September 14. The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, met this evening and decided to recommend this schedule.

A Profile
Diplomat & academic who knows politics
The emergence of former diplomat Mohammad Hamid Ansari as the ruling UPA-Left’s vice-presidential candidate surprised many but has been a welcome development in the country’s politics which is under tremendous strain at the present juncture.      Hamid Ansari

PM calls on Shekhawat

Hamid Ansari






EARLIER STORIES


4 per cent job quota for Muslims
AP Assembly passes bill
Hyderabad, July 23
Amidst walkout by BJP members, Andhra Pradesh Assembly tonight passed a bill providing 4 per cent reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslims in jobs and educational institutions, excluding the creamy layer.

Andhra CM confidant in spot
Hyderabad, July 23
After making sensational corruption charges against Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy, controversial industrialist and MLC G. Janardhan Reddy is caught in a political storm in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh over his mining activities.

AGP’s Goswami seeks time till August-end
Guwahati, July 23
Facing flak for failing to lead the party with dynamism and vigour, president of the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Brindabon Goswami sought time till August-end to reconstitute the party’s central executive committee.

Kohli moves HC for review of order
New Delhi, July 23
Maninder Kohli, who is to be extradited to UK to face trial in the Hannah Foster rape and murder case, moved the Delhi High Court today to review its earlier order. Hearing the arguments of his counsel Rajesh Shrivastava, the division bench - headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal and PK Bhasin - adjourned the case to July 26.

SC threatens to stay Delhi master plan
New Delhi, July 23
The Supreme Court today threatened to stay the controversial Master Plan of Delhi, 2021, if different government agencies failed to furnish details about the infrastructure capacity with them to implement it ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth games.

Verification of weapon records ordered in Sirsa
New Delhi, July 23
Following a meeting today with peace committee from Sirsa, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked his principal secretary M.L.Tayal to verify on a priority basis the records of licenced weapons in the district.

‘Munnabhai MBBS’ galore
Kolkata, July 23 Life imitates art. And this time, it has been for the worst. Munnabhai’s capers in ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ may have left us in splits, but a real entrance test impersonation racket is surely an issue of serious concern. And the disrepute for the same has gone to West Bengal.

Pirated Harry Potter books seized
Bangalore, July 23
Harry Potter publisher Blooksbury and its Indian distributor Penguin Books’ initiative to begin an anti-piracy drive to coincide with the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows seems to have borne fruit with the Bangalore police unearthing an illegal printing press and seizing 10,000 copies of various pirated books, including the latest Harry Potter offering.

Private players play big in defence sector
Mumbai, July 23
The government is pushing towards a bigger role for the private sector in defence production. Sources here say some of the biggest private sector companies like the Tatas, Birlas, engineering giant Larsen and Toubro and even the Godrejs are among those being sounded out to take up defence contracts.

Bishnoi flags off yatra
New Delhi, July 23
Seeking to build statewide support before going ahead with his future political plans, suspended Congress MP Kuldeep Bishnoi today flagged off the first phase of the Kisan Gaurav Rath Yatra from the residence of his father and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

Detained Tamils
India to take up issue with Singapore
New Delhi, July 23
Union road transport and highways minister T. R. Baalu has been assured by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee that he would take up with his Singapore counterpart the plight of Tamils who had been detained in that country on charges of overstaying.

NCW to probe honour killing of couple
New Delhi, July 23
Taking a strong view of the honour killing of a couple in Haryana, the National Commission for Women has decided to investigate the incident. A two-member team of the Commission will visit Kaithal, Haryana, on July 26 to probe the incident.

Principal held
Guwahati, July 23
The principal of Jawahor Novadaya Vidyalaya at Bihpuiria in North Lakhimpur district, northern Assam, was arrested for trying to misbehave with a student of Class XII.

3 jump to death from Lucknow building
Lucknow:
Three persons, including two women, on Monday allegedly committed suicide by jumping from a building, which houses MLAs here. A woman jumped from the eighth floor of the building early in the morning and died on the spot, the police said. About two hours later, another woman and a man jumped from the seventh floor of the building. Both of them died on the spot, the police said. The bodies were yet to be identified. Prima facie the incidents appears to be of suicides. — PTI


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Compulsory registration of marriages
SC issues notices to states
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 23
The Supreme Court today took exception to the states keeping non-Hindu religious groups out of the ambit of compulsory registration of marriages and issued notices to all of them to furnish response on this aspect.

The court in an earlier direction had asked all the states to make registration of marriages compulsory to ensure that the women were not deprived of their right in husbands property either in the event of divorce or death.

But most of the states had only framed the rules in respect of Hindus under the Hindu Marriage Act and kept Muslims and Christians out of its ambit.

Barring five states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh, others had submitted their reports on the compliance of the court order on the registration of marriages, excluding those not covered under the Hindu Marriage Act.

But a Bench, headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, said the registration was compulsory for people of all religions to ensure that women’s and children’s right were protected.

The court in an order on Febraury 15 last year had said its directives on compulsory registration of marriages would apply to the people of all communities and the rules had to be framed by the Centre, states and Union Territories accordingly.

The court had said the registration of marriages was “compulsory” under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.

The registration of marriages has a great evidentiary value in the cases of custody of children, their rights and determining the legal age of a person to get married, the court had said.

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More foetus remains found in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, July 23
The police has recovered 23 more remains of female foetuses from Orissa’s Nayagarh district, where seven such foetuses were found about 10 days ago, officials said today.

The police has also arrested two persons, including the manager of a nursing home, from the premises of which the latest remains of foetuses were recovered, a senior police official said.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered a crime branch probe after local residents found seven female foetuses on July 14 inside a cave at Pratapgarh, near Duburi in Nayagarh district, about 100 km from here.

The foetuses were six to eight months old. They were packed in polythene bags.

The crime branch raided many private nursing homes and ultrasound clinics in the district yesterday.

The latest remains were found in an abandoned well near Nabaghanpur village, 2.5 km from Nayagarh town, the official said. It is on the premises of Krishna Nursing Home.

The manager and an employee of the nursing home have been arrested. Nursing home officials claimed that the well was built to dump medical waste.

A group of social activists, who had visited the area early this week, alleged that many unregistered private nursing clinics were involved in the crime. — IANS

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Monsoon session of Parliament from Aug 10
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
The monsoon session of Parliament is to be held from August 10 to September 14.

The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, met this evening and decided to recommend this schedule.

Although the monsoon session customarily commences in July itself, the UPA government deliberately delayed a decision on the schedule because of its preoccupation with the presidential election.

UPA managers were also waiting to see if NDA-backed presidential candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat would step down as Vice-President after his certain defeat in the July 19 election. Besides, they wanted to avoid a situation where Shekhawat would preside over the Rajya Sabha even if it was for a short period.

The CCPA moved in quickly to finalise the session’s schedule once the presidential election was over and Shekhawat resigned as Vice-President. UAP sources said it was decided to commence the monsoon session on Augsut 10 as all MPs will be in the Capital to participate in the vice-presidential election on the same day.

Like the previous sessions, this one is also expected to witness fireworks, coming as it does after the most bitterly contested presidential poll.

With relations between the opposition and the ruling combine touching a new low, often reflected in the repeated and prolonged disruptions in Parliament, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee has called an all-party meeting on July 26 on the smooth functioning of the House.

The Speaker will also elicit the views of the party leaders on his proposal to impose the “no-work-no-pay” rule on MPs.

Meanwhile, Somnath Chaterjee called on Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today to thank him for his cooperation in the smooth functioning of Parliament.

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A Profile
Diplomat & academic who knows politics
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

The emergence of former diplomat Mohammad Hamid Ansari as the ruling UPA-Left’s vice-presidential candidate surprised many but has been a welcome development in the country’s politics which is under tremendous strain at the present juncture.

Ansari, who has had a distinguished career as a diplomat having served as the country’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iran, as high commissioner to Australia and permanent representative to the United Nations, brings with him a rich experience of academics and diplomacy.

Asked how his experience as a diplomat would help his new assignment, Ansari told The Tribune in a telephonic conversation that after all diplomacy was the art of bridging the gap between the two different, rather two contradictory points of view.

It (diplomacy) helps in evolving a consensus, he pointed out, saying that in the deliberation of the committees, the art of diplomacy helps in reconciling different positions.

The debate whether a politician should occupy the top post was irrelevant as every citizen was an integral part of the country’s politics, he said.

In a democracy, every one was part of politics as he voted and played a political role. Every citizen participated in the political debate and this alone had helped in strengthening the democratic psyche and made India the biggest democracy of the world.

Ansari said he would remain accessible even if he became the Vice-President of the country.

Born on April 1, 1937, in Kolkata in a distinguished family, which participated in the country’s freedom struggle, Ansari is going to be a role model to millions of his brethren who are striving to emerge out of poverty, backwardness and squalor to find their role in the Indian society.

He is the grand nephew of Dr Mukhtar Abbas Ansari who was the Indian National Congress president in 1927 at the Madras session.

His elevation to the nation’s one of the top constitutional positions is bound to contribute to strengthening of faith of not only the 18.4 per cent Muslims of the country in the political system but also of the general masses.

His words in the welcome speech of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the National Commission for Minorities understandably contributed to the government's several initiatives to improve the lot of the minority community. After studying at St Xavier’s College and Aligarh Muslim University, Ansari joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1961 and served the country in different capacities.

Ansari was the NCM chairman when his candidature for the vice-presidential election was announced.

As the NCM chairman, he attended to complaints of riot-affected Muslims from Gujarat swiftly and dispatched a three-member team to Ahmedabad to take stock of the situation.

He came down heavily on the Gujarat government’s reluctance to help 5,703 riot-affected Muslim families resume normal lives in their original homes and through his intervention, things started moving for them.

In his capacity as the chairman of the working group on confidence-building measures (CBMs) in Jammu and Kashmir, Ansari went on to suggest many steps that helped in strengthening the confidence in the political system.

Once a student of Aligarh Muslim University, Ansari returned to his alma mater decades later, this time as vice-chancellor. Having served in the IFS, he brought with him the experience of a skilled administrator, a quality urgently required by a university prone to frequent spells of student unrest.

He got the Padma Shri in 1984.

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PM calls on Shekhawat
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, July 23
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today met outgoing Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who had resigned on Saturday after his defeat in the presidential elections, at the latter’s residence.

Sources said the meeting, which lasted nearly 20 minutes, was a courtesy call. Shekhawat had submitted his resignation to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam after he lost to Pratibha Patil in the presidential elections.

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4 per cent job quota for Muslims
AP Assembly passes bill

Hyderabad, July 23
Amidst walkout by BJP members, Andhra Pradesh Assembly tonight passed a bill providing 4 per cent reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslims in jobs and educational institutions, excluding the creamy layer.

The AP Reservation (in favour of socially and educationally backward classes of Muslims) Bill 2007 replaces an ordinance promulgated by the Governor Rameshwar Thakur on July 7 last.

The two-member BJP opposed the legislation on the ground that reservation on the basis of religion was unconstitutional. BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy led the walkout accusing the Congress government of indulging in vote bank politics.

Piloting the bill, Minorities Welfare Minister Mohammad Ali Shabbir said the quota would be applicable to 15 Muslim groups, which have been identified by the AP Backward Classes Commission as socially and educationally backward.

A new group will be created in the Backward Classes list for the purpose of providing reservation to Muslims 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 at its meeting here 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 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 is expected to 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 the High Court order in January last year.

It is estimated that the 15 groups, identified as backward, account for nearly 80 to 85 per cent of Muslim population. As per 2001 census, Muslims constitute 9.2 per cent of the state's total population of over 7 crores.

At present, the BCs, who are categorised into A, B, C and D groups, are being provided 25 per cent reservation while Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have 14 and 7 per cent quota respectively. — PTI

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Andhra CM confidant in spot
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 23
After making sensational corruption charges against Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy, controversial industrialist and MLC G. Janardhan Reddy is caught in a political storm in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh over his mining activities.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party has taken up cudgels against Reddy, a suspended BJP leader from Bellary, for allegedly resorting to “illegal” iron ore mining at Obulapuram in Anantapur district, bordering Karnataka.

Reddy, considered a close family friend of Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy, is the managing director of the Obulapuram Mining Corporation, which has come under scanner for allegedly obtaining mining lease in violation of the rules and extending mining activity beyond the leased area.

He is also the main promoter of Brahmani Steels Limited, which was recently given 10,670 acres in Chief Minister’s native district of Kadapa to set up an integrated steel factory.

The issue rocked the state Assembly today with the TDP members stalling the proceedings, leading to their suspension from the House.

They were protesting against the arrest of their leaders, including some MLAs and MLCs, at Obulapuram on Saturday last when they tried to storm the mining site, about 20 Km from Karnataka border, to examine the violations by the mining company.

It is alleged that the lease was granted without the sanction from the central government and the company had razed to the ground an ancient temple in order to extend the mining area.

Demanding cancellation of the lease order and a judicial probe into the police action, the TDP members created ruckus in the Assembly. As soon as the House assembled for the day, the opposition party moved an adjournment motion on the alleged mining scam, which was disallowed by Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy.

Later, 21 TDP members were suspended for the period of question hour as they continued to obstruct the business. Expressing solidarity with them, the CPI and CPM members staged a walkout.

The House later plunged into pandemonium when the Chief Minister, during the course of his clarification, made certain derogatory remarks against TDP floor leader N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The entire opposition condemned the remarks, which were later expunged from the records, saying that they smacked of the “dictatorial streak” of the Congress government.

“On the one hand, our workers are being beaten up and arrested by the police and on the other our voices are being muzzled in the Assembly. This is worse than the military rule,” Naidu said and vowed to continue the agitation against the “illegal” mining activity.

The Chief Minister, however, said the mining lease was given to OMC in February, 2002, when the TDP was in power.

Home Minister K. Jana Reddy blamed TDP leaders for creating a law and order problem at Obulapuram by assaulting the policemen on duty.

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AGP’s Goswami seeks time till August-end
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 23
Facing flak for failing to lead the party with dynamism and vigour, president of the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Brindabon Goswami sought time till August-end to reconstitute the party’s central executive committee.

Reacting to criticism about ‘failed leadership’, Goswami said he was not going to stand in the way if AGP wanted a change in leadership. He was speaking during the party’s general conference that was held here last night.

“I am not the one who hankers for power. The party workers should have patience till August end for constitution of a new central executive committee,” Goswami told the partymen.

He said he was even ready to give up the post of party legislature for the ‘greater interest of the party’.

He added that he was ready to give up as the leader of the Opposition in the Assam Assembly in the beginning of the next session of Assam Assembly, if the party so wished.

In fact, the Election Commission had already sent a letter to the state’s main regional party, asking it to re-constitute its central executive committee before its extended term expires on August 31 next.

In his reply to the marathon deliberation during the general conference, the AGP leader fired a broadside at a few senior functionaries of the party for not extending proper cooperation in leading the party during the last few years.

He also criticised the 15 party MLAs who chose to cast their votes in the July 18 presidential election, thereby defying the party decision of abstaining. The AGP has 24 MLAs in the 126-member Assam Assembly.

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Kohli moves HC for review of order

New Delhi, July 23
Maninder Kohli, who is to be extradited to UK to face trial in the Hannah Foster rape and murder case, moved the Delhi High Court today to review its earlier order.

Hearing the arguments of his counsel Rajesh Shrivastava, the division bench - headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal and PK Bhasin - adjourned the case to July 26.

The plea, filed by Kohli’s brother Ishpreet Singh, pleaded with the court to review its order of July 6, paving way for Kohli’s extradition.

Kohli’s attempts to seek redressal from the Supreme Court have also proved futile. His today’s petition is slightly different from the petition dismissed on July 6 and contends that High Court’s earlier order suffered from “some oversight”.

For instance, he contended that although the extradition magistrate lacked evidence to extradite him, yet, according to him, the High Court delivered the judgment because the only plea by Kohli’s counsel CS Bakhshi was that the findings recorded by extradition magistrate conclusively indicted him for the offence instead of giving an opinion prima facie. Besides, he added, the High Court failed to consider the first medical report showing no evidence of rape.

It also states that his extradition is sought on circumstantial evidences, which according to Kohli, don’t form basis for a prima facie opinion. — UNI

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SC threatens to stay Delhi master plan
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 23
The Supreme Court today threatened to stay the controversial Master Plan of Delhi, 2021, if different government agencies failed to furnish details about the infrastructure capacity with them to implement it ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth games.

A Special Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker and Lokeshwar Panta, monitoring the sealing and Master Plan-related case, said not to respond to the court’s May 7 specific direction by most of the government agencies “seems to be a deliberate attempt.”

“Unless we have the report and are satisfied about the viability of the infrastructure, we will not allow its implementation,” the Bench made it clear to solicitor general G E Vahanvati, representing the Union Government and the counsel for the Delhi government and the MCD and other agencies.

The court gave two weeks’ time to different government agencies to submit their affidavits. Except Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and Multipurpose Rapid Transport System no other agency had given details about the infrastructure capacity with them to sustain the Master Plan, which proposed to regularise 1,500 unauthorised colonies in the Capital, which would put tremendous pressure on the Capital’s resources.

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Verification of weapon records ordered in Sirsa
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
Following a meeting today with peace committee from Sirsa, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked his principal secretary M.L.Tayal to verify on a priority basis the records of licenced weapons in the district.

The peace committee members, who met him at Haryana Bhawan, apprised him of the "sensitivity" of the situation which could take a turn for the worse by a small incident. Urging the Chief Minister to talk to Punjab Chief Minister in finding early solution to the "core issue", they said that peace committees had been formed in the sensitive villages of the district and these had been urging people to thwart any attempt to disturb peace.

Hooda told the delegation that efforts would be made to solve the dera row and governments of Punjab and Haryana were making all efforts to maintain peace and harmony. Asserting that the law will take its own course in dealing with the Dera Sacha Sauda issue, he, however, said that there would be no interference in religious matters. Hooda said law and order would be maintained at all costs in the state.

Jagdeesh Chopra, a member of the committee, said they had collected one lakh signatures for peace and met the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda. They had also met the Jathedar of Akal takht. He said peace committee would tomorrow meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Sources said the Chief Minister's orders for the verification of records of weapons in Sirsa have come after reports about the possible accumulation of weapons.

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‘Munnabhai MBBS’ galore

Kolkata, July 23
Life imitates art. And this time, it has been for the worst. Munnabhai’s capers in ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ may have left us in splits, but a real entrance test impersonation racket is surely an issue of serious concern. And the disrepute for the same has gone to West Bengal.

A medical entrance test scam has been unearthed in the state in which senior medical students, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, impersonate for medical career aspirants and sit for their entrance exams.

A 25-year-old woman, who worked as an agent for several distance learning courses, was the latest to be arrested on Sunday from Durgapur, under Burdwan district, in connection with the racket.

“The racket is spread far and wide. We are tracking down those who are involved. So far, the Kolkata Police Detective Department (DD) has arrested four people,” deputy commissioner of Kolkata Police (DD) Ajoy Kumar said today.

“The case is still in the investigation stage and thus we don’t want to reveal any information,” he added.

Sumita Chatterjee, who was arrested on Sunday, used to act as a link between the candidate and the kingpin of the racket. This year, she had also introduced a girl to this kingpin and it was found that the girl paid Rs 6,00,000 to enroll herself in one of the institutes that arranged for the dummy candidates.

According to police, a second-year medical student of a university near Kanpur wrote the exam for the girl candidate and secured for her a rank in the list of 700. The Kanpur student is now on the run.

The detective department on Saturday arrested three people - Mihir Jha and Ranvijay Pathak of Bihar and Ayan Mukhopadhyay of Hooghly district in West Bengal - in connection with the racket.

The Kolkata police detective department began the investigations on June 18 after receiving an unnamed letter about the goings-on. Following that, the sleuths raided a house in central Kolkata and found out about an organisation called DAMS, which had been running the medical entrance racket for the last two years here.

Most of these dummy examinees are from Uttar Pradesh. All these dummies are either second or third year medical students. The investigators also said several doctors and medical students were involved in the scam.

Preliminary investigations suggest that a dummy gets Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 1,50,000 for writing the exam and the agent receives Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 for persuading a candidate to enroll at the institutes that make the arrangements. — IANS

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Pirated Harry Potter books seized
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 23
Harry Potter publisher Blooksbury and its Indian distributor Penguin Books’ initiative to begin an anti-piracy drive to coincide with the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows seems to have borne fruit with the Bangalore police unearthing an illegal printing press and seizing 10,000 copies of various pirated books, including the latest Harry Potter offering.

According to DCP (South) Alok Kumar, the police acted on a tip-off yesterday that illegal printing of books was taking place at two places in the city at Ilyasnagar. He said the accused had set up a printing press in a rented building and were storing pirated versions of latest novels, including those of Salman Rushdie and Paulo Coelho among others, in a nearby godown.

According to the police, one of the accused Inayat had been arrested while another, who had been identified as Babu, is absconding. Inayat was arrested while he was transporting the pirated books to a godown.

According to the police, the press is a part of an organised racket, which is spread all over the country. The DCP said the pirated books were slated to be sent to neighbouring Sri Lanka and also to other parts of the country, including Mumbai and Chennai. He said the quality of prints was much better than the usual pirated versions and that the covers were being printed in colour on quality glossy paper.

The seizure has had an impact on the sale of pirated books in the city with no pirated books being available on the pavements in commercial areas like Brigade Road and Commercial Street. The local police had also confiscated pirated books from pavements where books from the earlier Harry Potter series were being sold at around Rs 50 to Rs 70 each.

The police have put the value of the books seized from the illegal printing press at around Rs 40 lakh. Alok Kumar said more raids would be conducted in the city in the coming days to check piracy.

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Private players play big in defence sector
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 23
The government is pushing towards a bigger role for the private sector in defence production. Sources here say some of the biggest private sector companies like the Tatas, Birlas, engineering giant Larsen and Toubro and even the Godrejs are among those being sounded out to take up defence contracts.

While the Tatas and L&T have already entered the field of maintenance contracts, these companies would emerge as major producers in the coming years, defence sources say.

L&T has been trying hard to build ships for the Indian Navy in collaboration with foreign companies for the past several years and its efforts are likely to bear fruits, officials say.

The Indian Navy has an ongoing programme to enhance its submarine fleet. A public sector unit, Mazgaon Docks Ltd, is already building the Scorpene submarine with French collaboration. The private sector could help make up for the shortfall, observers say.

At a seminar held last week, chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta called upon the private sector to enter into the defence sphere with a long-term commitment, not only adapting advance military technology but also develop their own.

Bodies of industries like the CII are organising interfaces between defence authorities and private industry in a bid to promote a bigger role for the private sector in the field of defence. Companies like Tata Motors, Godrej and Boyce, Mahindra and Mahindra, L&T, Ashok Leyland and Bharat Forge are in the race for the status of Raksha Udyog Ratna.

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Bishnoi flags off yatra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
Seeking to build statewide support before going ahead with his future political plans, suspended Congress MP Kuldeep Bishnoi today flagged off the first phase of the Kisan Gaurav Rath Yatra from the residence of his father and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

Meena Parmar, a former organising secretary of the HPCC and organiser of the yatra, said the issue of farmers not getting a fair deal in SEZs was first raised by Bishnoi. She said corner public meetings would be held during the yatra, which would highlight the role of Bishnoi in taking up causes affecting farmers.

The first phase of the yatra will cover areas of south Haryana covering about 14 constituencies.

Some former ministers and MLAs were present at the residence of Bhajan Lal when the yatra was flagged off.

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Detained Tamils
India to take up issue with Singapore
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
Union road transport and highways minister T. R. Baalu has been assured by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee that he would take up with his Singapore counterpart the plight of Tamils who had been detained in that country on charges of overstaying.

Baalu said today that the response of the officials in the Indian High Commission in Singapore had not been encouraging.

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NCW to probe honour killing of couple

New Delhi, July 23
Taking a strong view of the honour killing of a couple in Haryana, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has decided to investigate the incident.

A two-member team of the Commission will visit Kaithal, Haryana, on July 26 to probe the incident.

“We will examine the circumstances under which the young couple was killed” NCW member Malini Bhattacharya said here today.

She would be accompanied by NCW member Manju Hembrom in probing the incident in which a couple, Manoj and Babli, were allegedly killed by the girl’s family recently because they had gone against tradition and married in the same ‘gotra’.

Bhattacharya said the NCW would also look into the allegations that Manoj’s family had been receiving threats. — PTI

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Principal held

Guwahati, July 23
The principal of Jawahor Novadaya Vidyalaya at Bihpuiria in North Lakhimpur district, northern Assam, was arrested for trying to misbehave with a student of Class XII.

Police said the girl alleged in the FIR that principal Sanjay Kumar had called her to his official residence on the school campus to quiz her over her alleged affair with a fellow student, and in the process, ended up trying to misbehave with her.

The incident had led to tension in the school yesterday when some students reportedly jostled the principal, besides damaging the school property. — TNS

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