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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Monsoon session likely to be stormy
New Delhi, August 9
The monsoon session of Parliament, beginning tomorrow, is expected to be stormy one with the BJP led NDA bolstered by the Left's opposition training its guns on the UPA government on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

SC Hearing
It’s politics, says anti-quota lobby
New Delhi, August 9
The UPA government was today accused in the Supreme Court by anti-reservationists’ lawyer of using a “broad brush” to identify OBCs for the purpose of implementing the quota for them in the educational institutions. The lawyer said the law for this had been brought due to “political compulsions” in a scenario dominated by regional parties.

V-P poll: Numbers favour Ansari
New Delhi, August 9
UPA-Left nominee Hamid Ansari is in clear lead in the triangular contest in the vice-presidential poll scheduled for tomorrow. The results will be declared in the evening.



EARLIER STORIES



President Pratibha Patil with freedom fighters during at home hosted by her on the occasion of Quit India Movement Day at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday.
President Pratibha Patil with freedom fighters during at home hosted by her on the occasion of Quit India Movement Day at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo
A man gives final touches to a model of the Taj Mahal, made by using 60,000 roses, as a celebration for its entry into the seven wonders of the world recently. The model is on display at the 60th Year Independence Day Flower Show at Lalbaug in Bangalore.
Wah Taj: A man gives final touches to a model of the Taj Mahal, made by using 60,000 roses, as a celebration for its entry into the seven wonders of the world recently. The model is on display at the 60th Year Independence Day Flower Show at Lalbaug in Bangalore. — PTI photo

Centre reviews flood situation
New Delhi, August 9
The government today ordered quick disbursal of funds to flood-affected states after the union cabinet reviewed the grim situation prevailing in the country, which has resulted in the loss of 1,500 lives and an estimated damage of Rs 1,460 crore.

No preferential treatment to Sanjay: SC
New Delhi, August 9
Aware of Sanjay Dutt’s conviction hogging the media headlines, the Supreme Court today dispelled any impression among the other convicted persons in the Mumbai blast case that any preferential treatment will be given to him in hearing of his appeal or bail petition.

Kidnapped tea executive freed
Guwahati, August 9
The Army gunned down a hardcore ULFA militant this morning while a surrendered member of the militant group was shot dead last night by ULFA militants in Tinsukia district of upper Assam. Meanwhile, the kidnapped tea estate executive was set free by his captors at Udalguri district today.

Gujarat Congmen clash with police
Gandhinagar, August 9
Congress workers here today clashed with the police during a rally held here to protest against the ''BJP government's administrative failure''.

UNPA to grill govt on N-deal
New Delhi, August 9
Strongly opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal, the UNPA has decided to press for discussion in Parliament under rules which entail voting.

Singur Case
HC’s authority challenged
Kolkata, August 9
Appearing at the Chief Justice, S. S. Nirjjar's Division Bench at the Calcutta High Court yesterday, the state advocate- general, Balai Roy, challenged the high court's authority in dealing with the Singur's land acquiring cases.

Congress asks Ramoji group to surrender ‘excess land’
Hyderabad, August 9
In its ongoing war with media baron Ch Ramoji Rao, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh opened another front and initiated the proceedings to resume 1,363 acres of excess land from the Ramoji Group.

BJP condemns PM’s remarks on N-deal
New Delhi, August 9
The Bharatiya Janata Party today took strong exception to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assertion that 123 Agreement between India and the US on nuclear deal was non-negotiable.

NH six-laning okayed
New Delhi, August 9
In a significant decision, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved six laning of 838 km of national highways, including Gurgaon-Jaipur and Panipat-Jalandhar, under the National Highways Development Project at an estimated cost of Rs 5,610.77 crore.

Tata’s rooftop helipad plan hits roadblock
Mumbai, August 9
The Indian Navy has raised objections to a proposal by the Tata group to construct a roof-top helipad at the group's Taj Wellington Mews Luxury Residences in Colaba, South Mumbai.

PM releases book on Gandhi
New Delhi, August 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that the message of Mahatma Gandhi was not confined to his lifetime or to a region but it was universal and all encompassing.

Lincoln’s Inn membership for CJI
New Delhi, August 9
Chief Justice of India K.G Balakrishnan has been conferred membership of London’s Society of Lincoln’s Inn Bench, considered to be one of the prestigious jurists’ institution in the world. Justice Balakrishnan is the third Indian to have been conferred the honour of an honorary Bencher of the Lincoln’s Inn.

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Monsoon session likely to be stormy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The monsoon session of Parliament, beginning tomorrow, is expected to be stormy one with the BJP led NDA bolstered by the Left's opposition training its guns on the UPA government on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. Though the beginning of the month-long session will coincide with the Vice-Presidential election, in which the victory of UPA-Left nominee Hamid Ansari appears to be certain but otherwise the treasury benches are expected to be cornered on host of issues like the fluid political situation in Goa and fury of floods in different parts of the country.

Despite the Left parties, the key outside supporters of the UPA, rejecting the nuclear deal and thereby joining the opposition BJP and the UNPA on the issue, the ruling Congress has put up a brave face and dismissed projections that this could destabilise the government.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh will make a suo moto statement on the deal on Monday and Congress leaders appeared hopeful that the situation would be tackled by convincing their allies that the agreement was in the best interests of the nation.

The BJP has stressed that it might demand a discussion about the flood situation on the very first day in addition to Goa.

At the same time the main opposition party is training its guns on the government and has demanded the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to examine the text of the draft 123 agreement to implement the civil nuclear deal with the US. It also wants parliamentary approval to be secured before the deal is signed.

The BJP has dubbed the pact as an assault on the country's nuclear sovereignty and its foreign policy options and made it clear that it would be unable to accept this agreement as finalised.

The UNPA, popularly known as the third front, has made its opposition to the deal known and alleged that the government has mortgaged the country's sovereignty.

The eight-party alliance, which pulled in different directions in the presidential poll, will raise the police firing in Andhra Pradesh in Parliament in an attempt to corner the Congress and put up a united front.

Mohammed Salim, CPM's Deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, said the Left would also raise the issue of corruption in its various aspects, including the Ashok Malhotra affair that has rocked the national capital and seen the Congress and the BJP trading charges.

With Assembly polls in Gujarat round the corner, the BJP's detractors may use the occasion to raise issues like justice for those affected by riots in that state after the Godhra incident as well as those in Mumbai who were affected in the wake of the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992. Also on the agenda of the Left parties will be the plight of unorganised labour and price rise.

Among the prominent bills likely to be introduced during the session are the unorganised workers social security bill and another envisaging reservation for OBCs in unaided private educational institutions.

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SC Hearing
It’s politics, says anti-quota lobby
S.S Negi

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 9
The UPA government was today accused in the Supreme Court by anti-reservationists’ lawyer of using a “broad brush” to identify OBCs for the purpose of implementing the quota for them in the educational institutions. The lawyer said the law for this had been brought due to “political compulsions” in a scenario dominated by regional parties.

In day-long arguments before a constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G Balakrishnan, while questioning the validity of the new OBC Reservation Act, senior advocate Harish Salve said for the purpose of affirmative action under Article 15 “if the class is being identified on some broad brush basis, it must have a necessary degree of homogeneity.”

The remedial measures with a “specialised provision” of law for any affirmative action must be established on hard empirical data. “Even an experimental legislation must have some established sociological basis. This is all the more necessary in current times to separate genuine measures of social engineering from populist measures driven by vote-bank politics,” he argued.

The Bench having, besides the CJI, Justices Arijit Pasayat, C.K Thakker, R.V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari, had yesterday taken up the hearing on the validity of the Act after rejecting Centre’s plea for vacating the stay on its implementation from this academic year itself.

Salve said if the OBC quota was permitted to be implemented without proper identification of the actual population of the OBCs and excluding the affluent section, ‘creamy layer”, from the ambit of the Act, it would not only cause further discrimination of the worst kind but will also lead to multiple litigations.

Attacking the formula devised by the government to implement it by increasing seats in a manner, which virtually amounts to doubling the quota seats than the 27 per cent provided under the Act, Salve said it had no “co-relation with any reasonableness”.

If the formula, increasing the seats in an institution of annual intake of 100 seats to 154, devised by the government was allowed to be implemented, it would directly attack Article 29 which provides for rule of equality and reasonableness in terms of special provisions for backwards in all government or government-aided institutions.

But this formula simply ignored the interests of general category students for whom no seats were increased, while for the reserved categories these were doubled instead of being increased by 27 per cent in stricter sense, he said.

“Even if for identifying the OBCs the caste is equated with class, it must then exclude the ‘creamy layer’ as it is an integral feature of the special provision itself,” Salve said, pointing out that the implementation of the quota without excluding the ‘creamy layer’ would amount to “excessive delegation” of legislative powers to the government.

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V-P poll: Numbers favour Ansari
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
UPA-Left nominee Hamid Ansari is in clear lead in the triangular contest in the vice-presidential poll scheduled for tomorrow. The results will be declared in the evening.

While Najma Heptullah of the NDA and Rasheed Masood of the UNPA are in the fray, the number game is heavily loaded in favour of Ansari in the all-Muslim race.

The UPA-Left, along with the BSP, commands the support of 425 MPs of the total 788 members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

This is the first triangular fight for the Vice-President’s post. If he wins, 70-year-old Ansari will succeed Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who stepped down last month after being defeated by Pratibha Patil in the presidential election.

Ansari, who was chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, is set to be the third Muslim occupying the post of Vice-President after Zakir Hussain, who went on to become the President, and Mohammed Hidyatullah.

Parliamentary affairs minister P.R. Dasmunsi, talking to newspersons after a cabinet meeting, declined to hazard any guess as to how many votes Ansari would secure in the electoral college.

The NDA has the backing of 240 MPs, while the stand of one of its partners, the Trinamool Congress, is still not known and the Shiv Sena appears to be cosying up again to the BJP with whom its ties were strained in the presidential poll.

The JD (S) said it would maintain equidistance from the UPA and the NDA in the vice-presidential poll and would also not extend support to the third front nominee.

The third front, formally known as the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), has 81 MPs.

A successful candidate needs to secure 393 votes.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, last night hosted a dinner for MPs and leaders of the ruling alliance, the Left and supporting parties in a show of strength ahead of the vice-presidential election. Ansari was also present at the dinner.

The election has failed to generate heat, unlike in the presidential poll that witnessed unprecedented mud-slinging.

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Centre reviews flood situation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The government today ordered quick disbursal of funds to flood-affected states after the union cabinet reviewed the grim situation prevailing in the country, which has resulted in the loss of 1,500 lives and an estimated damage of Rs 1,460 crore.

Of the total corpus of Rs 21,333 crore under the calamity relief fund (CRF) for the period 2005-10, a sum of Rs 4,258.85 crore had been allocated for 2007-08, information and broadcasting minister P.R. Dasmunsi told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The government had already provided Rs 1,292 crore for 19 affected states, he said.

At the meeting, union home minister Shivraj Patil made a presentation, observing that 50 per cent of the centre’s share of Rs 3,194.14 crore in the CRF had already been released.

Upon this, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directed that the remaining half, amounting to Rs 1,597.07 crore which would be due for release only in December, should be made available to the states “at the earliest”.

Bihar, which was among the worst-affected states, has already been provided Rs 500 crore and the second instalment would be given after the utilisation certificate was provided by the state.

The issue was dealt state-wise with details of the support rendered till now and the Prime Minister ordered that further funds should be placed at the disposal of the affected states at the earliest.

Patil informed the cabinet that the state governments had evacuated over 11 lakh people to safe places, opened over 3,000 relief camps in which almost five lakh people had been accommodated. Nearly 1,100 medical camps and about 250 cattle camps had been set up.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved modifications to the special package for livestock sector and fisheries in the 31 suicide-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.

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No preferential treatment to Sanjay: SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 9
Aware of Sanjay Dutt’s conviction hogging the media headlines, the Supreme Court today dispelled any impression among the other convicted persons in the Mumbai blast case that any preferential treatment will be given to him in hearing of his appeal or bail petition.

This message came from two different Benches as the court said there would not be any discrimination in dealing with the case of any of the accused persons, who approaches it in appeal.

A Bench, headed by Justice B N Agrawal, the senior- most judge in the apex court after Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, gave an assurance to this effect to advocate Mushtaq Ahmed, counsel for Aziz Ahmed Mohammad Ahmed Shaikh, awarded five years sentence under TADA. He was convicted for abetting the crime.

Later the CJI, who was heading a constitution Bench hearing the OBC quota case, also sent the message loud and clear that no special treatment was being meted to Sanjay Dutt when senior advocate Fali Nariman, who had mentioned the actor’s appeal and bail petition yesterday, sought some clarification on listing of them for hearing tomorrow.

Since Sanjay Dutt’s petitions were listed only in a mentioning list and not in the list of regular hearing brought out by the Registry for Friday, Nariman told the Bench, headed by the CJI, that there might have been some “communication gap” regarding this.

But the court clarified that the case was not accepted for regular hearing but for inclusion in the Friday’s mentioning list only, which means that no date was fixed.

In view of this, the detailed hearing on Sanjay Dutt’s appeal and bail petition is ruled out tomorrow as at the most a notice to the prosecuting agency could be issued.

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Kidnapped tea executive freed
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 9
The Army gunned down a hardcore ULFA militant this morning while a surrendered member of the militant group was shot dead last night by ULFA militants in Tinsukia district of upper Assam. Meanwhile, the kidnapped tea estate executive was set free by his captors at Udalguri district today.

According to an Army source, a ULFA militant was shot dead by the Army after he threw a grenade on the vehicle of a patrol party of the J-K Rifles inside Bordubi Tea Estate under Tinsukia police station around 10.30 am today. The grenade failed to explode much to the relief of the Army personnel. Other members of the group of militants fled.

The killed militant was identified as Jayanta Moran, alias Kumud Bora, (24) from Nalani village under Tinsukia district.

Earlier, suspected militants of the proscribed ULFA shot dead a former militant-turned-businessman at Kerani Gaon near Kordoiguri under Doom Dooma police station at 9.30 pm last night.

According to a police source in Tinsukia district, the surrendered member of the ULFA, Pranab Moran who owned a grocery shop in the locality, was preparing to sleep inside his shop when two suspected ULFA militants posing as customers knocked at the door of the closed shop and asked for a packet of bread. As soon as Pranab opened the door, the ultras fired upon him from a point blank range.

On hearing the sound of gun shots, Army personnel from the nearby camp rushed to the spot and took the profusely bleeding Pranab to the nearby hospital. Pranab died on his way to hospital. The police suspected that the former militant had been killed by ULFA suspecting him to be an informer of the Army.

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Gujarat Congmen clash with police

Gandhinagar, August 9
Congress workers here today clashed with the police during a rally held here to protest against the ''BJP government's administrative failure''.

Deputy superintendent of police Brahm Bhatt was also injured.

Even as Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Bharat Solanki was addressing the rally, a commotion started, following which the police baton charged the workers. They also burst teargas shells. This angered the gathering, which started pelting stones at the police.

Meanwhile, Solanki, addressing the gathering, alleged that the state government had failed to check inflation, tackle farmers issues, the law and order situation in the state had worsened, while the much-hyped Sujalam Sufalam scheme was mired in corruption.

Besides Solanki, Leader of Opposition Arjun Modhwadia and several other prominent leaders were also present at the meeting.

Later they met Gujarat Governor Naval Kishore Sharma and submitted a memorandum. In the memorandum, the Congress alleged that the Narendra Modi government had failed on all fronts, and there was no communal harmony.

The memorandum said because of the communal violence perpetrated against the minority community, Modi was denied a visa by the US.

The farmers in the state are faced with a power shortage but the state government, instead of coming to their help, arrested 4,000 farmers who were protesting the unavailability of power, the memorandum said. The memorandum also cited the rape of two girls belonging to the Koli community on May 13 this year. — UNI

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UNPA to grill govt on N-deal
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
Strongly opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal, the UNPA has decided to press for discussion in Parliament under rules which entail voting.

UNPA leaders, who met here on the eve of the vice-presidential election, decided not to give any second preference votes and vote only in favour of their nominee Rasheed Masood.

Talking to the media later, UNPA leaders - Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu and Om Prakash Chautala - said India had “totally surrendered” to the US on the nuclear deal. “The government has bowed before a foreign power,” Mr Yadav said.

He said the government’s decision would lead to dangerous results in the future.

Naidu termed the nuclear deal as a “challenge to the soverignity” of the country. “The government has not been able to assert itself. The US may dictate whom we should support on the global stage. It is a clear deviation from the policy of non-alignment,” he said.

He said the UNPA had decided to hold rallies in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu against the nuclear deal.

Naidu also hit out at the Andhra Pradesh government for police firing in Khammam district. He demanded resignation of the state Chief Minister.

The TDP leader said UNPA would target the UPA government during the monsson session of Parliament for “victimisation” of opposition leaders including Mulayam Singh Yadav and its “inability to convince” the apex court for implementing OBC reservation in higher educational institutions from this academic session. Alleging that there was a scam in wheat import, he said SEZ’s were being turned into real estate business. The UNPA would also grill the government over its stand on the Justice Sri Krishna Commission report on Mumbai riots of 1992-93.

Besides the problems faced by farmers, the UNPA also decided to raise the issues concerning infiltrarion and peace in Assam and the recent killing of an IOC official.

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Singur Case
HC’s authority challenged
Shubrangshu Gupta
Tribune News service

Kolkata, August 9
Appearing at the Chief Justice, S. S. Nirjjar's Division Bench at the Calcutta High Court yesterday, the state advocate- general, Balai Roy, challenged the high court's authority in dealing with the Singur's land acquiring cases.

He alleged that the PIL petitions in this case had been filed in the court by the interested parties for their vested interests. Roy charged that the PIL petitions were often being misused now in the state and he sought the Chief Justice's protection against these misuses.

The advocate-general made it clear that the land already acquired at Singur and declared vested and handed over to Tata Motors would not be returned to the land owners at any case and the high court had the authority to make any such order.

The Chief Justice's Division Bench, which included Mr Justice Pinaki Ranjan Ghose, heard the state government's views in favour of the acquiring of farmlands.

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Congress asks Ramoji group to surrender
‘excess land’

Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 9
In its ongoing war with media baron Ch Ramoji Rao, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh opened another front and initiated the proceedings to resume 1,363 acres of excess land from the Ramoji Group.

The Land Reforms Tribunal of Ranga Reddy district, headed by revenue divisional officer Manikyala Rao, has issued notices to eight firms of the group to surrender the excess land within 15 days.

Claiming that Rao's family members and his group companies were holding excess lands under A P Land Reforms (ceiling on agricultural holdings) Act of 1973, the tribunal asked them to surrender the lands.

The holdings of the Group declared as excess belonged to Ramoji Film City on the city outskirts and other firms, including Usha Kiron Movies Ltd, Margadarsi Chit Fund Ltd, Margadarsi Housing Pvt Ltd, Usha Kiron Movies Ltd and Dolphin Hotel Ltd.

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BJP condemns PM’s remarks on N-deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The Bharatiya Janata Party today took strong exception to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assertion that 123 Agreement between India and the US on nuclear deal was non-negotiable.

Briefing newspersons, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the Prime Minister has displayed shocking disregard to public opinion by declaring the 123 Agreement as non-negotiable and asserted that it is not the deal but India's sovereignty "which is non-negotiable".

The Prime Minister should not forget that he is not carrying a majority national will as practically everybody outside the government and even the parties supporting the government from outside have expressed serious reservations over the Indo-US deal, Javadekar said.

"The BJP believes that the government of the day has no moral right to bind the nation in a 40 years agreement without a decisive mandate," the spokesman said and accused Prime Minister of making an arrogant statement.

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NH six-laning okayed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
In a significant decision, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved six laning of 838 km of national highways, including Gurgaon-Jaipur and Panipat-Jalandhar, under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) at an estimated cost of Rs 5,610.77 crore. The CCEA has approved six laning of 838.10 km of four sections of existing four lane national highways under public-private partnership (PPP) model, finance minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after the meeting.

The 291 km Panipat-Jalandhar national highway has also been approved for six laning at an estimated cost of Rs 2,198 crore. For the six laning of 225.6 km Gurgaon-Kotputli-Jaipur national highway, the CCEA has approved Rs 1,517 crore. The projects will also include the six-laning of 239 km Surat-Dahisar national highway at an estimated cost of Rs 1,355.47 crore and 82.5 km Chilkaluripet-Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 540.30 crore, he said.

All projects would be undertaken on the pattern of design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) basis under the NHDP’s fifth phase, he said.

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Tata’s rooftop helipad plan hits roadblock
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 9
The Indian Navy has raised objections to a proposal by the Tata group to construct a roof-top helipad at the group's Taj Wellington Mews Luxury Residences in Colaba, South Mumbai.

The facility is to be used by the top brass of the group and senior expatriate employees, according to company sources.

The helipad was to be used in ferrying senior executives from different destinations across the country to the group's headquarters at Bombay House, a short distance away from Colaba.

However, the Indian Navy has put a spanner in the works on the grounds that the proposed helipad is close to the naval base at Colaba. The naval base houses an air station with several landings and take-offs throughout the day.

Naval sources said they would send in their objections to the proposal to the defence ministry which would take up the matter with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the civil aviation ministry.

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PM releases book on Gandhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that the message of Mahatma Gandhi was not confined to his lifetime or to a region but it was universal and all encompassing.

The Prime Minister, who released a commemorative volume ‘Gandhian Way - peace, non-violence and empowerment’ at a function held here, said that Mahatma Gandhi's message continues to be relevant in "our troubled times."

The book, released on the anniversary of the launch of Quit India Movement, is based on the deliberations of the two-day international conference on Gandhian philosophy convened by the Indian National Congress earlier this year.

Enriched by archival material, the book's foreword has been written by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The book has been edited by minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma, who was present at the function held at Gandhi Smriti.

Priced at Rs 3,000, the book is unlikely to be easily accessible to the reading public in the country because of its cost.

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Lincoln’s Inn membership for CJI
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 9
Chief Justice of India K.G Balakrishnan has been conferred membership of London’s Society of Lincoln’s Inn Bench, considered to be one of the prestigious jurists’ institution in the world. Justice Balakrishnan is the third Indian to have been conferred the honour of an honorary Bencher of the Lincoln’s Inn.

The other two being former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Sujata V Manhor and Attorney General Milon K. Banerjee. The Lincoln’s Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in England.

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