SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Reliance’s Transfer Plea on SEZs
Notices to Haryana, Maharashtra

New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today issued notices to Haryana and Maharashtra governments on a petition by Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries seeking adjudication of all special economic zones related cases by the apex court to avoid multiplicity of litigation and different verdicts by different high courts.

Pratibha roots for agri growth
Calls for policy initiatives to boost farming sector
New Delhi, August 6
In her first public address, President Pratibha Patil asked the Manmohan Singh government to moot new policy initiatives for promoting the growth of farm sector.
President Pratibha Patil during a special lecture to commemorate the 60th anniversary of India’s independence organised by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi
President Pratibha Patil during a special lecture to commemorate the 60th anniversary of India’s independence organised by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, on Monday. — PTI photo

Amnesty International flays AP govt
Police Action at Mudigonda
Hyderabad, August 6
Amnesty International, the global human rights watch group, has flayed Andhra Pradesh police for “excessive and unnecessary use of force” against agitators at Mudigonda recently resulting in the death of seven persons.





EARLIER STORIES


Leader of the 15-member cycling expedition of Army’s EME from Leh to Kanyakumari, Maj Vishal Ahlawat (right), Lt. Gen Arvind Mahajan (centre) and Bravo, the mascot of the fourth Military World Games, hold the flame of the games in New Delhi
Leader of the 15-member cycling expedition of Army’s EME from Leh to Kanyakumari, Maj Vishal Ahlawat (right), Lt. Gen Arvind Mahajan (centre) and Bravo, the mascot of the fourth Military World Games, hold the flame of the games in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI

Khammam Firing
Karat, Bardhan meet Sonia
New Delhi, August 6
Left parties have called upon Congress president Sonia Gandhi to intervene and direct her party's government in Andhra Pradesh to fulfill their demands for land distribution among the poor, saying that the struggle would be further intensified if these demands were not met.

No confirmed news of Al-Qaida threat: Minister
New Delhi, August 6
Amid reports over the latest Al-Qaida threat warning that diplomatic missions here would be targeted, India today said there was no confirmed news till now on any such threat and that the security forces were always ready to face such threats.

UP flood toll crosses 150
Lucknow, August 6
Despite waters of major rivers continuing their downward trend during the last 24 hours, the death toll by floods in the 21 districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh crossed 150 today.
In video (56k)

Over 50 feared dead as boat capsizes in Bihar
Samastipur (Bihar), August 6
Over 50 people were feared to have drowned when a country boat capsized in the midstream of the Ganga here this evening. The boat carrying around 130 passengers lost control and overturned because of swift easterly winds in the swollen river.

Bihar flood situation improves
Patna, August 6
The flood situation in Bihar today showed signs of improvement with major rivers receding all along their course. Relief and rescue operations were further intensified with the help of motorised boats from the Army and the Indian Air Force helicopters in the worst-hit districts.

News Analysis
Developments in Pakistan have India worried
New Delhi, August 6
India is worried about the explosive situation in Pakistan and is not interested in making a short-term political capital by rocking Gen Pervez Musharraf’s boat. The logic behind the Indian empathy is the fact that if a neighbour’s house catches fire, you too are not safe.

Tech for future
Now tamper-proof degree certificates
Hyderabad, August 6
Tampering with and forging of degree certificates will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new technology called Radio Frequency Identification. In a first of its kind exercise in the country, the Hyderabad Central University has issued degree certificates embedded with a tamper-proof digital chip using RFID technology.

Bodhi tree branch was cut 3 years ago: FRI team
Dehra Dun, August 6
As per the findings of scientists of Forest Research Institute here, the incident related to the cutting of a branch of Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya that came to light some time back had actually taken place more than three years ago.

Special programme in Parliament on I-Day
New Delhi, August 6
A special cultural programme has been planned in the Central Hall of Parliament House on the evening of August 15 to celebrate 60 years of India’s independence. Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan will kickstart the 90-minute programme with the rendition of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymns, “Vaishnav Jan to” and “Raghupati Raghav”.

I-Day
Home secy reviews security
New Delhi, August 6
With just 10 days left for the Independence Day celebrations, union home secretary Madhukar Gupta today convened a high-level meeting to review security arrangements. The meeting was attended among others by Delhi police commissioner Y S Dadwal, Special Protection Group director B V Wanchoo and some of the top officials of the union home ministry.

Taj corridor case
Amicus curiae can take up plea against Guv’s order
New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain two PILs challenging the order of Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar of denying sanction for the prosecution of state CM Mayawati in the Taj corridor scam case, but gave permission to amicus curiae assisting it to raise the issue after examining the documents.

Sohrabuddin Case
SC notice to Gujarat cop
New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today issued notice to Gujarat police officer Narendra Ameen on state CID SIT’s plea for cancelling his anticipatory bail in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

SC go-ahead to Salem’s trial
New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today directed that the trial proceedings against underworld operative Abu Salem under TADA would continue in the Mumbai blasts case separated from other accused convicted recently.

Munna’s e-supporters warned of contempt
Mumbai, August 6
Those who have been pouring support over the Internet for imprisoned actor Sanjay Dutt have come in for strong criticism from the public prosecutor who helped incarcerate the ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ star for illegally possessing weapons.

Sanjay lawyers to file bail plea today
Pune, August 6
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is all set to file a bail plea in the Supreme Court tomorrow with his lawyer Satish Maneshinde completing the formalities here today. Mr Maneshinde met the actor on Monday and after securing the latter’s signature on a set of papers left for New Delhi.

Salman case hearing adjourned
Jodhpur, August 6
A court here today adjourned till Tuesday the hearing of an appeal filed by actor Salman Khan against his conviction in a blackbuck poaching case. District and Sessions Judge K.R. Singhvi heard the arguments of Salman’s counsels, S.R. Bajwa and H.M. Saraswat, in two sessions for nearly three hours before adjourning the hearing.


Actor Salman Khan arrives at Jodhpur court on Monday to appear for the hearing in the Chinkara poaching case. — PTI photo

Actor Salman Khan arrives at Jodhpur court on Monday to appear for the hearing in the Chinkara poaching case

Nine denied bail in female foeticide case
Nayagarh, August 6
A local court today denied bail to nine persons, including three doctors and the wife of a government doctor, who had been arrested following the furore over the female foeticide incidents here.

‘Check B’desh migrants’
Guwahati, August 6
The North-East Students Organisation, an amalgamation of all leading students’ organisations of seven northeastern states, has demanded an inner line permit shield for these states against illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

Veteran Forward Bloc leader Guha dead
Kolkata, August 6
Senior Forward Bloc leader, Kamal Guha, who was a former state agriculture minister, today died at a private nursing home in his home district at Coochbehar in north Bengal after his protracted illness. He was 82 and is survived by his wife, daughter and a son.

Poachers kill 1 more rhino
Guwahati, August 6
Poachers killed another endangered one-horned rhino of Kaziranga National Park in the wee hours today at a place called Bokial, just off the demarcated area of the wildlife sanctuary.

Coimbatore blasts: 5 more convicted
Coimbatore, August 6
A special court, hearing the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts case, today convicted five accused, for whom pronouncement of judgment was deferred on August 1.

Data from Kafeel’s hard disc retrieved
Hyderabad, August 6
The Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory has retrieved complete data from the hard disc seized from the house of Bangalore-based Kafeel Ahmed, the Indian engineer suspected to be involved in the failed terror attack on the Glasgow airport on June 30.

2 students drown
Kolkata August 6
Two school students, who did not know swimming, drowned in the Ganga after being egged on by their teacher to take a dip. Nabankur Banerjee, Partha Saha and six other students went with their teacher Bhaskar Roy to Mistiri Ghat, in North 24 Parganas last evening.

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Reliance’s Transfer Plea on SEZs
Notices to Haryana, Maharashtra
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today issued notices to Haryana and Maharashtra governments on a petition by Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries seeking adjudication of all special economic zones (SEZ) related cases by the apex court to avoid multiplicity of litigation and different verdicts by different high courts.

Taking cognisance of Reliance’s petition for transfer of all SEZ-related cases against the company from the high courts of Punjab and Haryana and Bombay to the apex court, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan also issued notices to the governments of the two states on the company’s application for stay of the high court proceedings.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Reliance, told the court that at least two petitions were pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, including the one filed by Kuldip Bishnoi, MP, and one before the Bombay High Court against acquisition of land for SEZs to be set up by the company.

Besides the acquisition of land, the Centre’s policy on setting up of SEZs had also been challenged in all these cases, Salve said, pointing out that the apex court had earlier issued notice on a petition challenging the SEZ policy and, therefore all matters involving identical question of law needed to be decided by it.

Haryana and Maharashtra governments’ decision on acquiring huge chunks of land near Gurgaon and Mumbai for Reliance’s SEZs had landed in a major controversy with opposition parties questioning it on various counts and farmers also opposing it.

As the entire gamut of the SEZ involved the interests of all parties - Centre, states and companies proposing to set up these zones - it needed broader view and the apex court was the right forum to decide the issue, he said.

After the Nandigram episode, the Centre had laid down detailed guidelines for setting up the SEZs imposing a cap of 5,000 hectare for acquiring land at one place by any company.

Under the guidelines it was also laid down that the state governments would not acquire fertile cultivable irrigated land from the farmers to hand it over to the private companies for setting up SEZs and emphasis was laid on acquiring barren land.

Meanwhile, the court dismissed a petition by an advocate, challenging the acquisition of land for Anil Ambani-owned Reliance group’s mega-power project at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh on the question of his locus standi in the matter.

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Pratibha roots for agri growth
Calls for policy initiatives to boost farming sector

R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
In her first public address, President Pratibha Patil asked the Manmohan Singh government to moot new policy initiatives for promoting the growth of farm sector.

“This is my first assignment after taking over as the President of India and the reason I am here is that everything can wait but not agriculture,” the President said in her address on agriculture and food security.

“It would be important to bear in mind that our agricultural strategies should not only be pro-poor and pro-nature, but also pro-women,” she said at a function organised by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Patil said the new initiatives should include improving the management of water resources, timely supply of quality inputs, easy and efficient access to credit at low interest rates, better post-harvest management, besides enhancing knowledge and skills of farmers, traders and other stake holders involved in agri business.

She said the other priority for agricultural revival includes bridging the substantial yield gaps existing in all states. This requires localised, state-specific strategies based on local agro-climatic conditions and constraints. Precision farming should be developed as a special thrust area wherein a farmer adjusts farm practices to match the variation of soil and terrain of his plot rather than follow the one size, fits all approach, the President said.

Agri-clinics to provide services such as soil health care, water conservation, integrated nutrient management, dissemination of information on value adding processes and marketing services at the farm gate could be a source of tremendous confidence to vulnerable farmers, she added.

She suggested a Knowledge Centre for every Gram Panchayat and said farmers could make use of various mediums to know about the latest techniques to improve farm productivity and propagate these in farmers, she added.

She also highlighted the importance of crop diversification, both for production and consumption. “We should not limit ourselves to a narrow crop basket. Widening and diversifying the current narrow food security basket to include local cereals, millets, sorghum, legumes, tuber crops, vegetables and fruits can be an effective strategy to combat hunger. A well-planned diversification strategy with crops, horticulture, livestock, poultry, fishery and other on-farm and off-farm enterprises needs to be pursued,” the President said.

Patil said the success story of the first Green Revolution had run its course and “we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.”

Quoting the Economic Survey, the President said agricultural growth has become lacklustre, as rain-fed areas still constitute about 65 pc of the total net sown area.

She said diminishing size of land holdings, degradation in land quality and soil health due to improper nutrient application and the threats of global warming are plaguing the country’s agricultural production environment. “Agriculture has to remain centre stage in our nation’s economic thinking for making it attractive and rewarding,” she said.

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Amnesty International flays AP govt
Police Action at Mudigonda
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 6
Amnesty International, the global human rights watch group, has flayed Andhra Pradesh police for “excessive and unnecessary use of force” against agitators at Mudigonda recently resulting in the death of seven persons.

“The action of the police at the demonstration (by Left parties) violated the principles and the victims’ right to life. The protests did not warrant such a response where at least 70 rounds were reportedly fired at the crowd. The use of AK-47 assault rifles is particularly inappropriate method of policing such demonstrations,” the Amnesty International said in a statement.

Welcoming the judicial inquiry ordered by the state government, besides suspension of three police officers, it called for “criminal prosecution” of any police officer found having resorted to excessive use of force.

The police firing, during the Left-sponsored statewide shutdown on July 28, has drawn flak from across the political spectrum with the main opposition TDP and CPIM calling for resignation of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy owning moral responsibility for the incident.

“The crowd was not given any warning that the police was about to open fire. Photographic evidence shows victims with bullet wounds to the abdomen, waist and head,” the Amnesty said.

Less than 10 members of the 500-member strong crowd responded to the beating by throwing stones, which prompted a senior police officer at the scene to open fire, the statement said. The elite anti-Naxalite squad reportedly carried out the subsequent firing.

Stating that judicial inquiry should be completely impartial, independent and thorough, it said “The probe should determine whether the use of force by the police was consistent with national law and international standards including the basic principles on the use of force and firearms, and the code of conduct for law enforcement officials.”

Under the international law to respect the right to life in all circumstances, in particular the Principle 5 of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, officers shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimise damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.

Meanwhile, internal inquiries by the home department revealed that, in all, nine weapons-three AK-47s, three self-loading rifles and three 9-mm pistols were used by the police personnel at Mudigonda when the agitation took a violent turn.

Five special police party personnel carried three SLRs and two AK-47 rifles and the third AK-47 rifle belonged to Ravi, gunman of additional superintendent of police Ramesh Babu who has since been suspended. The postmortem on the bodies of the firing victims showed that two of them received three bullets each while another victim was hit by two bullets.

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Khammam Firing
Karat, Bardhan meet Sonia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
Left parties have called upon Congress president Sonia Gandhi to intervene and direct her party's government in Andhra Pradesh to fulfill their demands for land distribution among the poor, saying that the struggle would be further intensified if these demands were not met.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI general secretary A.B Bardhan today met Congress president in the wake of police firing in Khammam district during Left's statewide protests as part of its "land movement”. Seven persons had died in the firing.

Coming out of the meeting, Karat said they had told Sonia about the land movement in Andhra Pradesh.

He said the state government had not conceded "legitimate" demands of the Left parties in spite of their three-month-long struggle.

He said Congress president should intervene in the matter. “The struggle will be further intensified if the demands are not met,” he said.

During the meeting the Left leaders did not raise their earlier demand of resignation of Chief Minister. Answering queries, Bardhan said the issue was "obviously not discussed."

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh today released to the media a copy of the letter that he had written to V.Srinivasa Rao, member, Central Secretariat, CPM, detailing the state government's response to the situation. Rao had written to Digvijay earlier, terming his comments on the firing as "misinformation."

Digvijay said his remarks were based on a report from the state government. Appending the report with his letter, he said the state government had already ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and had taken action against the police officials concerned.

On the land issue, he said the Congress was committed to provide houses to all homeless people by April 2009.

“I and the CM had personally gone to the CPM headquarters in Delhi so that our common objective of providing houses to the homeless could be implemented without any clash or conflict at the ground level,” the letter said.

Digvijay said it was decided to hold a meeting of revenue minister of AP and CPI and CPM leaders. "The meeting did take place, but the CPM refused to suspend its agitation," he said.

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No confirmed news of Al-Qaida threat: Minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
Amid reports over the latest Al-Qaida threat warning that diplomatic missions here would be targeted, India today said there was no confirmed news till now on any such threat and that the security forces were always ready to face such threats.

“There is no confirmed news of any such threat till now. However, our forces and the state machinery are always ready to face such threats,” minister of state for home Sriprakash Jaiswal said here.

“Our forces are alert to avert any such attempt. I want to appeal to the people that they need not worry about such threats,” Jaiswal said in a statement reacting to news reports on a new Al-Qaida video compiled by the outfit’s production arm, As-Sahab, and released yesterday.

The video reportedly proclaims that the targeting of Tel Aviv, Moscow and Delhi is its (Al-Qaida’s) legitimate right. It also accuses India of killing more than 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir with US blessings.

Meanwhile, union home secretary Madhukar Gupta, who chaired a high-level meeting to review the security arrangements ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, advised everyone to refrain from giving a “larger-than-life” image of such threats.

“We assess everything threadbare and everyone should refrain from making a larger-than-life image of such threats, which can also prove to be wrong at times,” Gupta told newspersons.

Security agencies have already swung into action to verify the veracity of the video, which comes at a time when the Al-Qaida has pledged to strike once again in the US and in Europe soon after the failed Britain terror plot.

The Indian authorities have asked IT companies in Bangalore and Hyderabad to step up security.

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UP flood toll crosses 150
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 6
Despite waters of major rivers continuing their downward trend during the last 24 hours, the death toll by floods in the 21 districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh crossed 150 today.

While the Army has been called in for rescue operation in the two worst affected districts of Barabanki and Gorakhpur, the PAC has been put to service in the districts of Shrawasti, Bahraich, Sidharth Nagar, Maharajganj, Gonda as well as Gorakhpur.

Twenty districts have been reporting widespread devastation due to heavy rains, dams giving way, rising rivers, house collapse, rescue boats capsizing and snake bites for almost a week now. The new district to be added to the list today was Etah in the central region that reported two deaths due to excessive rains.

Altogether, the floods have directly or indirectly affected the lives of some 21.32 lakh persons living in 2634 villages. Some 5.94 lakh hectares of land has gone under water.

According to statistics released by the Relief Commissioner’s office, while 2634 villages have reported loss of life, livelihood, cattle or crops the condition in around 1294 villages was very grim as they have completely gone under water causing great hardships to approximately 1.73 lakh villagers who had to be evacuated.

In a massive rescue operation some 2143 motorised boats and ferries have been put into operation to evacuate the villagers to safer places. Kerosene, food packets, candles were some of the items being made available to the flood hit residents.

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Over 50 feared dead as boat capsizes in Bihar

Samastipur (Bihar), August 6
Over 50 people were feared to have drowned when a country boat capsized in the midstream of the Ganga here this evening.

The boat carrying around 130 passengers lost control and overturned because of swift easterly winds in the swollen river while sailing towards Patharghat from Harpur-Saidabad on the other side of the Ganga, district magistrate M Shravan Kumar said.

While several passengers swam to safety or were rescued, around 50 were missing and feared to have been drowned. Two bodies have been recovered so far.

Though local divers were engaged to carry out rescue operations, these were hampered due to darkness, Kumar said.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and union home minister Shivraj Patil are scheduled to meet officials here tomorrow to assess the overall flood situation in the state. — PTI

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Bihar flood situation improves

Patna, August 6
The flood situation in Bihar today showed signs of improvement with major rivers receding all along their course.

Relief and rescue operations were further intensified with the help of motorised boats from the Army and the Indian Air Force helicopters in the worst-hit districts.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters at Madhubani that motorboats from the Army were pressed into service while four IAF helicopters continued to drop relief materials in the affected areas. — PTI

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News Analysis
Developments in Pakistan have India worried
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
India is worried about the explosive situation in Pakistan and is not interested in making a short-term political capital by rocking Gen Pervez Musharraf’s boat.

The logic behind the Indian empathy is the fact that if a neighbour’s house catches fire, you too are not safe. Besides, the peace process, which is showing signs of maturing up, could be a casualty if Pakistan remains in such dire straits for long.

Pakistan-watchers in the Indian government believe that storming of the Red Mosque by the Pakistani security forces is going to worsen an already tenuous situation. The bottom line is that an unstable Pakistan is not in Indian interests. And after Pakistan declared itself a nuclear weapon state in May 1998, even the world cannot afford to let Pakistan slide into anarchy.

The Indians can smile at the crowning irony of fate: A country which practised the policy of “a thousand cuts” to teach India a lesson for truncating it, is itself now falling victim to a thousand cuts from monsters of its own creation. However, nothing of the sort is happening in the corridors of powers in New Delhi. On the contrary, the mandarins in New Delhi are concerned about the fallout of Islamist jihadis becoming powerful in Pakistan.

The two countries are gradually learning to live with each other. The booming trade, the increasing people-to-people contacts and the ongoing dialogue are proof of that.

One important reason for Indian Pakistan-watchers sitting with their fingers crossed is that never before in Pakistan’s 60-year-old history the Pakistani ruler has vowed to take on terrorists. And of late, President Musharraf’s actions have matched his verbal commitments. India is watching with bated breath this unfolding, unprecedented contest between the Pakistani security forces and the jihadi terrorists. This is one of the main reasons why India is not rocking Musharraf’s boat. But then there are other reasons too for Indian concerns.

Historical reasons

New Delhi is justified in its sense of deja vu because at least twice before India had to pay a heavy price when the Pakistani polity underwent a tailspin. First in 1971 when Islamabad’s repression in the then East Pakistan led to hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighbouring India. Pakistani rulers’ brutalities in East Pakistan eventually triggered off a full-scale Indo-Pak war which led to birth of Bangladesh. India is still reaping a bitter political harvest because of close to half a million Bangladeshis who are living in India illegally, many of them because of the 1971 events.

The second event unfolded in 1996 when the Pakistan government-supported Taliban captured power in Afghanistan and ruled the roost in that land-locked strategic country till it was dislodged by post-9/11 American military operation in October 2001. The then Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s strategic experiment with the Taliban, which started in 1994 and culminated two years later, coincided with the worst period of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. During the Taliban’s regime, Pakistan used Afghanistan as virtually its fifth province. Terrorism in India acquired unprecedented dimensions during the five years of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

Then there is the nuclear factor. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early ’90s raised fears of the Soviet nuclear arsenal falling into terrorists’ hands. But the apocalyptic scenario never happened. Things may be different if Pakistan governance were to collapse.

Despite a strong presence of American troops in Pakistan, including American strategic forces deployed there to take care of the nukes in such a scenario, it would be difficult to completely eliminate the risk of Pakistani nukes falling into wrong hands. Pakistan remains the only Islamic state in the world to have nuclear weapons.

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Tech for future
Now tamper-proof degree certificates
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 6
Tampering with and forging of degree certificates will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new technology called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

In a first of its kind exercise in the country, the Hyderabad Central University has issued degree certificates embedded with a tamper-proof digital chip using RFID technology.

The university has partnered with IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to introduce the technology to curb the menace of fake certificates.

Making a beginning, the university, at its convocation held last week, distributed 1,700-odd degree certificates to its students with unique digital chip embedded in them.

“Our aim is to provide relief to students, recruiters, admission authorities and to consulates who take pains to verify the certificates. We want to eliminate the problem of fake certificates,” the university's controller of examinations Ch Venkateswara Rao said.

The RFID chip is divided into four sectors and contains university and student details such as name, course, subject and year of completion, along with a photograph in two sectors.

After adding the digitally-encrypted signature of the controller of examinations in two other sectors, the chip is locked.

The certificate can be verified by placing the chip on an RFID reader. Each certificate costs Rs 1,000, half of which is borne by the student, the university authorities said.

"We have decided to introduce these high-tech degree certificates considering the advantages they can offer to our students. In the coming years, each of our certificate will have an embedded microchip," Y. Narasimhulu, the university's Registrar, said.

Such fool-proof certificates can help companies check the background of students before recruiting them.

They can also be used to record future data related to employment.

This technology will be of particular help to IT companies which are facing the brunt of fake experience certificates and other forged documents.

The RFID chip also helps in tracking the lost certificates and prevent any data loss.

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Bodhi tree branch was cut 3 years ago: FRI team
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 6
As per the findings of scientists of Forest Research Institute (FRI) here, the incident related to the cutting of a branch of Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya that came to light some time back had actually taken place more than three years ago.

Scientific examination made by the FRI, on the request of Bihar government, followed a controversy over the incident due to religious sentiments attached with the sacred tree under which Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

"There is no scientific technique available in the world to determine exactly when a branch was cut," said Dr N.S.K Harsh, one of the three members of the FRI team that submitted its report to the District Magistrate, Bodh Gaya. On its part, the state government has decided to install cameras to maintain round-the-clock vigil around the tree.

On the related issue of a disease hitting the tree, the FRI scientists have recommended discontinuation of treatment with immediate effect. The state government had also requested the FRI to find out the cause of the scared tree's ill-health and suggest remedial measures. In 2000, a common plant disease known as milibug had affected the tree and it was being treated by scientists of Bihar Agricultural University.

"Besides the immediate discontinuation of its past treatment, we have suggested that since the tree has become weak, movement of pilgrims near it should be prevented to decrease pressure around it. Moreover, glare of lights should also be avoided,' added Dr Harsh.

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Special programme in Parliament on I-Day
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
A special cultural programme has been planned in the Central Hall of Parliament House on the evening of August 15 to celebrate 60 years of India’s independence.

Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan will kickstart the 90-minute programme with the rendition of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymns, “Vaishnav Jan to” and “Raghupati Raghav”. The two hymns were specially picked as a befitting tribute to Gandhi who led the country’s freedom struggle.

Well-known poet-lycricist Javed Akhtar will recite a poem titled “15 August” which he has penned for this occasion while its English translation will be recited by his actor-activist wife Shabana Azmi.

This will be followed by a presentation of “Aadhi rath mein suraj” and “Vande Matram” by the renowned classical Hindustani singer Pandit Jasraj. A short docummentary film on 60 years of independence, prepared by Lok Sabha TV and a short clip of Nehru’s famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech will be screened as part of this programme, being organised at the behest of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who believes legislatures should also pay tribute to those who led the country’s freedom struggle.

The Speaker, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the new Vice-President and President Pratibha Patil will also speak on the occasion.

This is not the first time that Central Hall will witness such celebrations. A special midnight programme was held a decade ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country’s Indpendence and more recently, ghazal king Jagjit Singh and classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal and writer Gulzar had enthralled those gathered here on May 10 to mark 150 years of the First War of Independence.

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I-Day
Home secy reviews security
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
With just 10 days left for the Independence Day celebrations, union home secretary Madhukar Gupta today convened a high-level meeting to review security arrangements.

The meeting was attended among others by Delhi police commissioner Y S Dadwal, Special Protection Group director B V Wanchoo and some of the top officials of the union home ministry.

The meeting took stock of various threat perceptions, including from militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, and reviewed the security arrangements, official sources said.

“We met to assess reports and inputs from various units of the security agencies,” Mr Gupta told newspersons after the meeting.

As part of the security drill, the Delhi police has already started sanitising the area in and around Red Fort, from where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the nation.

Besides, the local police has started verifying the guest lists at various hotels and motels across the national Capital.

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Taj corridor case
Amicus curiae can take up plea against Guv’s order
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain two PILs challenging the order of Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar of denying sanction for the prosecution of state CM Mayawati in the Taj corridor scam case, but gave permission to amicus curiae assisting it to raise the issue after examining the documents.

While a Bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, refused to entertain the PILs by Ram Mohan Garg and Rohtash Singh Nagar, a special Taj Bench of Justices S B Sinha, S H Kapadia and D K Jain, permitted amicus curiae advocate Krishan Mahajan to take up the issue after getting all papers from complainant Ajay Agrawal.

The Bench, however, said advocate Ajay Agrawal, on whose complaint the SC had ordered registration of an FIR and a CBI investigation into the case, would be kept away from the proceedings.

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for Agrawal, questioned the decision of the Governor, especially when there were clear findings by the SC that there was “prima facie” evidence against Mayawati and other accused.

Mahajan told the Court that he had already filed an application for a review of Governor’s order, which he described as devoid of merit and law.

Tulsi said the complainant had an important role to play in such cases, especially when the prosecuting agency had “collusion” with the accused and did not want to go ahead with her trial.

The CBI had simply chosen to sit over the Governor’s order and did not challenge it in any court of law, Tulsi said, pointing out that if the Governor’s findings were accepted, it would amount to overreaching the SC rulings laid down in at least half-a-dozen identical cases.

Mahajan is expected to present a detailed petition during the next hearing of the Special Taj Bench, which is yet to be notified.

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Sohrabuddin Case
SC notice to Gujarat cop
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today issued notice to Gujarat police officer Narendra Ameen on state CID SIT’s plea for cancelling his anticipatory bail in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

A Bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and P.K. Balasubramanyan issued the notice to him with a direction to submit reply by Friday to enable it to hear the case on Monday next.

The SIT has sought his custodial interrogation to quiz him about the alleged murder of Sohrabuddin’s wife Kausarbi in police custody after her husband was killed in a stage-managed encounter on November 26, 2005.

The name of Aameen, who is presently posted in the CID itself, had surfaced during the investigation as a constable had given a statement about his role in the alleged crime but later he had reportedly retracted his statement.

The charge sheet filed by the SIT had not been able to explain as to what happened to Kasaurbi after November 26 when her husband, an “inter-state extortionist”, was separated from her at a farmhouse at Ilol, near Ahmedabad, where they were kept after their detention.

Kasuarbi was reportedly cremated on November 29, 2005 as per the charge sheet. A constable who was present at the cremation site, had reportedly stated that her body was burnt in the supervision of Ameen. But he later retracted from his statement allegedly under pressure.

Ameen would be a fourth officer to face investigation in the case after the SIT had chargesheeted suspended DIG D.G. Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Rajasthan police IPS officer M.N. Dinesh along with 13 accused in the case.

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SC go-ahead to Salem’s trial
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 6
The Supreme Court today directed that the trial proceedings against underworld operative Abu Salem under TADA would continue in the Mumbai blasts case separated from other accused convicted recently.

While accepting Salem’s appeal against framing of the charges against him under TADA by the special court, a Bench - headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan - stated that the trial against him would continue but the judgment would not be pronounced, pending his appeal.

Salem, fearing the death sentence in the Mumbai blasts case as has been awarded to 12 accused found involved in conspiracy, challenged his prosecution under TADA and some other serious offences listed in the Indian Penal Code, which provide capital punishment.

He challenged his being charged for serious offences with death sentence on the ground that his prosecution for those was contrary to Indian Government’s commitment to Portugal courts and government that he would not be prosecuted for any offence where the maximum punishment is sentence death.

Under the commitment given by the Indian Government to Lisbon are included the exclusion of POTA charges, conspiracy charges under Section 120-B of the IPC, extortion by putting a person under threat of killing (Section 387) and theft by causing death (Section 382). Salem has been charge sheeted for all these offences by the CBI, his lawyer K T S Tulsi told the Court.

Meanwhile, the Court issued a notice to the CBI, seeking its reply to Salem’s petition against framing of charges against him by the trial judge. Tulsi agreed that the trial might not be stayed but the judgment should not be allowed to be pronounced as long as his appeal was pending.

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Munna’s e-supporters warned of contempt
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 6
Those who have been pouring support over the Internet for imprisoned actor Sanjay Dutt have come in for strong criticism from the public prosecutor who helped incarcerate the ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ star for illegally possessing weapons. Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has warned that anyone mobilising support to free Dutt may be committing a contempt of court.

Apart from the members of the online networking forum Orkut and sundry bloggers, even those belonging to the Bollywood fraternity are said to be summoning support for the jailed actor. Nikam, however, warned the fans that criticising the judiciary could amount to contempt of court.

“This type of campaign could affect the confidence of the common man in the judiciary. It is an indirect attempt at influencing a court of law,” Nikam told mediapersons. He further warned that as a public prosecutor, he could proceed against those supporting Dutt.

Some of the communities on Orkut are not only supporting Dutt but also have posts carrying abuses against Judge Pramod Kode of the TADA court, which sentenced the actor to six years in prison.

Many of these online communities have quickly ratcheted up as many as 5,000-6,000 members in just a few days after the actor was sentenced. An online petition - www.petitiononline.com/savebaba - is seeking the release of the actor.

Among those who have purportedly signed the petition include prominent movie actors. However, since there is no verification of those signing the petition, people can sign under any name.

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Sanjay lawyers to file bail plea today

Pune, August 6
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is all set to file a bail plea in the Supreme Court tomorrow with his lawyer Satish Maneshinde completing the formalities here today. Mr Maneshinde met the actor on Monday and after securing the latter’s signature on a set of papers left for New Delhi.

Close associate of the senior counsel told UNI that the lawyer will try to file the bail plea tomorrow morning in the apex court. The team of lawyers will move the court against the six-year sentence awarded to the actor on July 31 by special judge P D Kode in the Mumbai serial blasts case.

Ever since Dutt has been brought to Yerawada Jail, a constant stream of fans and his supporters have been milling around the Jail, some with the hope of getting a glimpse of him. He has the company of his close friend and an accused in the bomb blasts case, Yusuf Nullwala, who too has shifted to another cell in the same barrack. — UNI

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Salman case hearing adjourned

Jodhpur, August 6
A court here today adjourned till Tuesday the hearing of an appeal filed by actor Salman Khan against his conviction in a blackbuck poaching case.

District and Sessions Judge K.R. Singhvi heard the arguments of Salman’s counsels, S.R. Bajwa and H.M. Saraswat, in two sessions for nearly three hours before adjourning the hearing.

Salman, who arrived in the city last evening, stood in the palisade during both the sessions. He had failed to appear before the court several times in the past. Taking serious note of it, the court had directed him to make a personal appearance before it today.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Brijendra Kumar Jain had on April 10 last year convicted Khan in the poaching case and sentenced him to five years imprisonment. The court had also imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 on him. Salman has filed the appeal against the verdict.

The case relates to the poaching of blackbucks at Ujiyala Bhakhar near Ghoda Farm on September 28, 1998.

Salman has also been sentenced to one-year imprisonment in another poaching case of Bhawad and has filed an appeal against that decision also. But the hearing could not begin as the record is pending with the Rajasthan High Court.

Bajwa and Saraswat argued that the report filed in this case is not proper as mentioned in Section 55 of WildLife Protection Act. — PTI

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Nine denied bail in female foeticide case

Nayagarh, August 6
A local court today denied bail to nine persons, including three doctors and the wife of a government doctor, who had been arrested following the furore over the female foeticide incidents here.

Additional Sessions Judge B N Das today refused to grant bail to the accused on the ground that the crime branch of the police was yet to produce a case diary relating to the incidents.

The court asked the investigating agency to submit a case diary on August 14, the next date of hearing for the case.

The arrested persons included S K Brahma, additional chief medical officer of Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar and two doctors Banamali Swain and Ramesh Nayak, both from the district headquarter hospital at Nayagarh.

Brahma and Nayak had been shifted to the district headquarter hospital on medical grounds. “The doctor duo have also moved the court urging permission to shift them to SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack”, sources said adding that the doctors had complained of cardiac pain during their stay at Nayagarh jail. — PTI

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‘Check B’desh migrants’
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 6
The North-East Students Organisation (NESO), an amalgamation of all leading students’ organisations of seven northeastern states, has demanded an inner line permit (ILP) shield for these states against illegal immigration from Bangladesh. NESO chairman Samujjal Bhattacharrya said in view of constant pressure of unabated illegal migration from Bangladesh, all northeastern states must introduce the ILP system.

The ILP system, which is now in force in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, has been instrumental in preventing illegal Bangladeshi migrants from settling down in these states.

Any bona fide Indian citizen is required to procure the ILP to visit these three states and it can be procured only after presenting certain documents establishing the citizenship status in the country.

The NESO said because of illegal migration from Bangladesh, the indigenous population in Tripura had become a minority in its own state. Assam, it said, was facing a similar threat.

The NESO chairman criticised the Congress government in Assam for turning a blind eye to the burning problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh and demanded that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi serve a “quit notice” to the illegal migrants who had entered the state after March 25, 1971, the cut-off date for deportation as per the Assam Accord signed in 1985 by the Government of India.

NESO has threatened to launch a region-wide movement against the illegal migration if nothing was done against it.

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Veteran Forward Bloc leader Guha dead
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 6
Senior Forward Bloc leader, Kamal Guha, who was a former state agriculture minister, today died at a private nursing home in his home district at Coochbehar in north Bengal after his protracted illness. He was 82 and is survived by his wife, daughter and a son.

Guha who had been suffering from kidney and lung problems in the past few years, was in a critical condition during the past 13 days and he was put on the artificial respiratory system. His body had been brought to his hometown at Dinhata. His cremation will take place tomorrow.

An important political figure in the Left movement in Bengal, Guha played a significant role in bringing all secular and the anti-Congress forces into a common platform in the late sixties which led to the formation of the first united front government in the state in 1967 and in 1969 in two short terms.

Subsequently in 1977, the present Left front government with Jyoti Basu as chief minister, came to power and in these three consecutive governments, Guha had been the minister for agriculture. But in the last Assembly elections, he did not contest due to his fallen health and his son was nominated in his place to contest the election.

Known for his boldness and indomitable spirit, Guha did not hesitate to oppose his party bosses as well as the senior CPM leaders, including Jyoti Basu on the causes of the development of Coochbehar district as well as north Bengal. He had always stood against the “big-brotherly attitude” of the CPM, which some time put the Front Bloc and himself in the problem.

At one stage, he was suspended from the Front Bloc on various charges when he formed an alternative party in Coochbehar, which ultimately controlled the Front Bloc in the district as a vital force against the CPM and the Congress. But afterwards, he was welcomed back to the official Front Bloc and became the president of the party’s state unit.

Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi sent his condolence to the late Guha’s bereaved family. Jyoti Basu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Left Front chairman Biman Bose condoled his death. Senior Front Bloc leaders, Ashoke Ghose, Debabrata Biswas, Naren De and Paresh Adhikery said Guha’s death was a great a loss to the party. The leaders of various parties including the Congress, TMC, BJP, RSP, CPI and others also condoled his death.

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Poachers kill 1 more rhino
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 6
Poachers killed another endangered one-horned rhino of Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in the wee hours today at a place called Bokial, just off the demarcated area of the wildlife sanctuary.

With this poachers killed 11 one-horned rhinos of the national park so far this year much to the dismay of wildlife staff in Kaziranga park and green brigades. State’s chief wildlife warden M.C. Malakar said the rhino that had been killed at Bokial had strayed outside the core area of the national park few months back.

He said because of high density of rhino population in the park, where the successful conservation history dates back to more than a century, some aged rhinos were showing tendency to stray outside the park area.

One such straying rhino was now under constant observation of territorial forest stag near Jorhat town Upper Assam while another is roaming around near Sivasagar located further east.

Assam wildlife and forest minister Rockybul Hussain said in view of renewed threat from well armed groups of poachers to the rhino population in Kaziranga National Park, a high-level coordination committee of senior wildlife and police officials had been formed to hammer out joint strategy to tackle the problem.

The minister further assured that process was on to fill up all vacant posts of wildlife staff in Kaziranga park within 15 days. The park having an area of 860 sq km is facing a problem of manpower crisis. The state government recently provided two sections of armed home guards to augment the firepower of wildlife staff in Kaziranga park.

However, the vintage 303 rifles in possession of the wildlife staff can hardly match the firepower of poachers armed with SLRs and even assault rifles. The backbone of anti-poaching efforts in Kaziranga is the intelligence network set up by wildlife staff among villagers living at the periphery of the UNESCO world heritage site.

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Coimbatore blasts: 5 more convicted

Coimbatore, August 6
A special court, hearing the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts case, today convicted five accused, for whom pronouncement of judgment was deferred on August 1.

Special Court Judge K. Uthirapathy held the accused, Sarbudeen, Sikander, Mir Shabir Ahmed, Ayyappan and Ubaidur Rehman, guilty of minor charges.

Since major charges like criminal conspiracy were not proved against them, the judge asked them to file bail applications before the court.

It may be recalled that the judge had convicted 153 of the total 167 accused, including Al-Umma leader S. A Basha, and acquitted eight others, including Kerala-based People’s Democratic Party Chairman Abdul Nasser Maudhany.

Meanwhile, the court had started hearing the bail petitions of 84 people, convicted of minor charges. The judge asked the public prosecutor to file a list of persons from among the 84, against whom no other case was pending. — UNI

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Data from Kafeel’s hard disc retrieved

Hyderabad, August 6
The Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL) has retrieved complete data from the hard disc seized from the house of Bangalore-based Kafeel Ahmed, the Indian engineer suspected to be involved in the failed terror attack on the Glasgow airport on June 30.

According to the official sources, all the hidden and deleted data have been retrieved from the hard disc having more than 100 GB capacity, which was brought to the FSL laboratory two days ago.

The experts have started analysing the data on computers, the sources said adding that the FSL would take 10 to 15 days to analyse the complete data as it was busy with other cases. — UNI

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2 students drown

Kolkata August 6
Two school students, who did not know swimming, drowned in the Ganga after being egged on by their teacher to take a dip.

Nabankur Banerjee, Partha Saha and six other students went with their teacher Bhaskar Roy to Mistiri Ghat, in North 24 Parganas last evening.

On the instructions of their teacher Partha and Nabankur went into deep water and drowned, Barrackpore additional superintendent of police Basab Das Gupta said, adding that their bodies were yet to be found. The teacher and the principal of the school have been arrested, he said. — PTI

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