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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Patna schoolboy kidnapped
Patna, August 10
A schoolboy was today kidnapped from here while he was on way to school, while another student, who went missing on August 8, returned home.

14-year-old clears BCA exam
Lucknow, August 10
With IIM as his target, Shailendra became the first student of Lucknow University, or probably the first in the state, to clear the BCA exam at the age of 14.


Shailendra, who became the youngest to complete BCA from Lucknow University, poses with his marksheet as his seven-year-old sister Sushma (left), who recently cleared the Class 10 examination of the UP Board, looks on in Lucknow on Friday. — PTI
Shailendra, who became the youngest to complete BCA from Lucknow University, poses with his marksheet as his seven-year-old sister Sushma (left), who recently cleared the Class 10 examination of the UP Board, looks on in Lucknow on Friday.

Civil Services prelims result announced
New Delhi, August 10
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) today announced the names of candidates who had qualified for admission to the Civil Services (Main) examination, 2007.






EARLIER STORIES




10 hurt in blast; ULFA man killed
Guwahati, August 10
Ten persons were injured, four of them critically, when a powerful explosion rocked the daily fish market at Diphu town of Karbi Anglong hill district of Assam at around 6.30 pm today.

Coimbatore blasts: 10 more get bail
Coimbatore, August 10
A sessions court here today granted bail to 10 more accused of minor charges in the 1998 serial blasts, raising the total number of those released on bail to 57. Judge K Uthirapathy after going through the petitions of 23 accused, granted bail to 10.

Houses adjourned
New Delhi, August 10
The monsoon of session of Parliament began today with both the Houses being adjourned for the day after paying tributes to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and other members who had passed away during the inter session.

Pranab to attend UN session
New Delhi, August 10
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will attend the UN General Assembly session in New York in September instead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Indo-Pak Coast Guard talks
Fishermen breathe easy post peace moves
New Delhi, August 10
The ongoing Indo-Pak peace process has shown positive results in yet another area as the number of hapless fishermen, who used to get arrested on either side in hundreds every year for inadvertently crossing into each other’s maritime territory, has come down substantially.

Her battle with cancer gave birth to CanSupport
New Delhi, August 10
Harmala Gupta’s story is one of unusual courage, compassion and achievement. What started as a personal struggle against cancer has turned into a nationwide campaign in hospitals to create a more caring and sensitive attitude towards patients suffering from cancer.

Taslima attack: Police denies leniency
Hyderabad, August 10
Andhra Pradesh police today denied that it was lenient in taking action against MIM leaders and asserted that it would act according to the provisions of law. “Three MLAs and other accused were arrested immediately. We booked them under whatever sections available, including non-bailable sections,” Hyderabad police commissioner Balwinder Singh said.

States directed to check corporal punishment in schools
New Delhi, August 10
Increasing incidents of corporal punishment has prompted the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to send a directive to all state governments to take effective steps to check incidents of corporal punishment in schools.

79 pc unorganised workers earn less than Rs 20 a day
New Delhi, August 10
Pointing that over 394.9 million Indian workers, 86 per cent of India’s working population, belong to the unorganised sector and work under “utterly deplorable conditions”, the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) has prescribed four comprehensive packages to provide social security and improve their quality of life.

Former dacoits turn land rights activists
New Delhi, August 10
Ninety-two-year-old Lokman Diskshit, the first among the 11 dacoits of Chambal valley to surrender in 1960, will participate in the people’s struggle here in October in support of land rights of forest dwellers.


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Patna schoolboy kidnapped

Patna, August 10
A schoolboy was today kidnapped from here while he was on way to school, while another student, who went missing on August 8, returned home.

Akash, a student of Class VII was allegedly abducted while he was on way to DAV school at Shastri Nagar from his house at Chanakya Puri in Raja Bazaar locality today. Three persons in a green car intercepted and bundled him into the vehicle and drove away, the police said.

The incident occurred near J D Women's College. Akash is the son of Yogendra Pandey, an employee of the Bihar public health engineering department.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Kishore Kunal, who was suspected to have been kidnapped from the Alamganj police station area two days ago, returned home on his own today, the police said.

Shambhunath Prasad, Kunal’s father had alleged in a complaint lodged today that his son had gone missing from outside his house in the Alamganj locality. However, Kunal returned home a few hours after the complaint was lodged.

The fresh kidnapping case came a few days after the body of Roshan, a student of Patna Central School, was found in Kankarbagh locality of the state capital on August 6, three days after he was allegedly abducted by his friends.

Meanwhile, taking a tough stand over abduction of Aakash, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today directed the police to make all out efforts to rescue him safely from the clutches of the kidnappers.

Superintendent of Police Kundan Krishnan told UNI that Aakash would be rescued, however, he admitted that the police was yet to get any clue about the abductors. He said the Special Task Krishnan said the registration number of the Maruti van (BR1M 9612) that was used for abducting Aakash was fake.

The kidnappers even tried to run over a woman who had tried to prevent them from taking Aakash into the car, police said. Taking cognisance of the abductions of children, Patna High Court yesterday directed the state government to file status report of kidnappings by October one and details of the action taken reports.

Through an affidavit, the government informed that about 1,204 cases of kidnappings are pending in various district courts, while the reports filed by the various district courts to Patna High Court, indicated that 1,514 cases were pending at various stages across the state. — UNI

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14-year-old clears BCA exam

Lucknow, August 10
With IIM as his target, Shailendra became the first student of Lucknow University, or probably the first in the state, to clear the BCA exam at the age of 14.

After basking in the glory of his seven-year-old daughter Sushma clearing the high school examination, daily wager Tej Kumar Verma celebrated his son’s success now.

Handing over the marksheet to Shailendra who secured a first division, Lucknow University Vice-Chancellor Ram Prakash Singh said the university would bear expenses of his future studies. Shailendra, who has already qualified TOEFL examination, secured admission in the university in 2004 at the age of 11, after clearing a special examination.

After securing an admission in the university, Shailendra got help from various organisations to pursue his studies and he was even selected by a foreign university but could not go. — PTI

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Civil Services prelims result announced

New Delhi, August 10
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) today announced the names of candidates who had qualified for admission to the Civil Services (Main) examination, 2007.

The UPSC announced the names of the candidates based on the result of the Civil Services (Preliminary) examination, 2007. The candidates will have to contact the facilitation counter near the Examination Hall Building of the UPSC campus between 1000 hrs and 1700 hrs, an official statement said. The result is also available at the UPSC website -- www.upsc.gov.in — UNI

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10 hurt in blast; ULFA man killed
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 10
Ten persons were injured, four of them critically, when a powerful explosion rocked the daily fish market at Diphu town of Karbi Anglong hill district of Assam at around 6.30 pm today.

The police said a few minutes before the explosion took place, people had spotted the bomb packed inside a polythene bag, but it exploded when the police tried to remove the people from the area before trying to diffuse it.

The police suspected the hand of tribal militants belonging to the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) behind the explosion. The condition of four of the injured was stated to be critical.

Earlier, one unidentified ULFA militant was shot dead and four other suspected members of the insurgent group arrested by the police late last night.

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Coimbatore blasts: 10 more get bail

Coimbatore, August 10
A sessions court here today granted bail to 10 more accused of minor charges in the 1998 serial blasts, raising the total number of those released on bail to 57. Judge K Uthirapathy after going through the petitions of 23 accused, granted bail to 10.

Of the 166 arrested in connection with the February 14 blasts during the visit of BJP leader L.K. Advani that claimed 58 lives, 158 have been convicted, with 69 for major charges like criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder, murder and promoting hatred between two communities. — PTI

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Houses adjourned
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
The monsoon of session of Parliament began today with both the Houses being adjourned for the day after paying tributes to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and other members who had passed away during the inter session.

The Lok Sabha observed a two-minute silence after Speaker Somnath Chatterjee read out tributes to the socialist stalwart. Chandra Shekhar died on July eight here at the age of 80 after a prolonged illness.

Earlier, the Speaker had sworn in Prem Kumar Dhumal (BJP) as a member the 14th Lok Sabha. Dhumal, former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, had won Hamirpur parliamentary byelection.

In Rajya Sabha, deputy chairperson Rehman Khan read out a tribute to the late leader describing him as an eminent parliamentarian, a socialist by conviction, a devoted social worker and an able administrator.

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Pranab to attend UN session

New Delhi, August 10
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will attend the UN General Assembly session in New York in September instead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Official sources said the Prime Minister would pay a bilateral visit to the US for a meeting with US President George Bush at his invitation.

The dates for the proposed meeting at the Crawford Ranch in Texas are still being worked out. — UNI

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Indo-Pak Coast Guard talks
Fishermen breathe easy post peace moves
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
The ongoing Indo-Pak peace process has shown positive results in yet another area as the number of hapless fishermen, who used to get arrested on either side in hundreds every year for inadvertently crossing into each other’s maritime territory, has come down substantially.

This has happened mainly because of pro-active measures taken by the two countries to address the humanitarian issue of fishermen’s arrests.

The Directors-General of Indian Coast Guard and the Pakistani Maritime Security Agency, who today concluded their two-day meeting here under the composite dialogue format, expressed satisfaction on this count. Both sides confirmed that the regular communication on the hotline had brought down the number of arrests of fishermen during the last nine months.

The Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on October 3, 2005, approving a hotline between chiefs of the two agencies. The hotline was eventually established on November 14 last. The MoU stipulates that the heads of the two organisations meet once a year alternately in India or in Pakistan to review the progress of the MoU. The August 9-10 meeting of chiefs of Indian Coast Guard and Pakistani Maritime Security Agency was held under the purview of this MoU.

The two agencies discussed various modalities of dealing with the violations of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to provide help to mariners in distress and carry out coordinated search and rescue operations. The two sides also evinced interest in information sharing. Information regarding the number of fishermen and boats in custody on either side as well as the modalities of releasing fishermen whose identities have been established and the fishing boats were also discussed.

Director-General Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (DGPMSA) Rear Admiral Tayyab Ali Dogar, before his discussions with Director-General Indian Coast Guard (DGICG) Vice-Admiral RF Contractor, called on the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Defence Secretary.

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Her battle with cancer gave birth to CanSupport
Charu Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Harmala Gupta’s story is one of unusual courage, compassion and achievement. What started as a personal struggle against cancer has turned into a nationwide campaign in hospitals to create a more caring and sensitive attitude towards patients suffering from cancer.

Another part of her endeavour, CanSupport, is to provide care and counselling to patients who lie at home, despondent, facing the prospect of death with the medical establishment having given up on them.

Harmala, who was detected with malignant cancer in her early 30’s, says, “It started when I was diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago while I was doing my PhD from McGill University in Montreal. My husband was an academic there and my son was three year old then.”

Then one day, I could not get out of bed. I went to wear one of my trousers and it slipped off me. I did not imagine at the time that it could be cancer, which was highly dreaded 20 years ago,” she recounts.

“I ended up in a hospital, and after investigations, the doctors broke the news extremely sensitively, saying it was Hotchkins Limfoma and it was malignant. My reaction was shock and denial,” she says. Later, she went in for chemotherapy and recovered from the dreaded disease.

“The behaviour of the doctors was a major factor behind my recovery. The way a patient is told about his ailment and the support extended by doctors and nurses is very crucial,” she feels.

On her return to India, Harmala was horrified at the way doctors handled the cancer cases. She elaborates, “I realized that there was ‘drama’ attached to the disease here. Due to lack of support groups and proper care for cancer patients, I felt an obligation to start CanSupport. Looking back, I think cancer came into my life to serve cancer patients in India.”

Harmala says: “I felt we needed palliative hospice care and though we don’t guarantee life, we do guarantee the best possible care.”

Ever enthusiastic and abounding with energy, she adds, “We have a mobile team that has a doctor, a nurse and a counsellor. We help people live their last days in peace. Our focus is on life - as it is. We also extend support to the family of the aggrieved and help them deal with the grief.”

Her five teams are stationed in various parts of Delhi. Harmala can be reached at her helpline (26711212).

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Taslima attack: Police denies leniency

Hyderabad, August 10
Andhra Pradesh police today denied that it was lenient in taking action against MIM leaders and asserted that it would act according to the provisions of law. “Three MLAs and other accused were arrested immediately. We booked them under whatever sections available, including non-bailable sections,” Hyderabad police commissioner Balwinder Singh said. On asked why the police did not take action against MIM floor leader in the assembly, Akbaruddin Owaisi, for holding out a threat to kill Nasreen if she visited Hyderabad again, he said the police had taken note of the matter.

Politicians condemn attack

NEW DELHI: Criticising the incident, BJP Parliamentary party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said: “The incident is condemnable as the attackers are part of the government.”

Editor of RSS mouthpiece ‘Panchjanya’ Tarun Vijay also condemned the attack

Meanwhile, Muslim intellectuals today strongly condemned the attack on Taslima Nasreen. Noted lyricist and author Javed Akhtar, Delhi Minorities Commission chairperson Kamal Farooqui, historian Irfan Habib and eminent writer Mahasweta Devi also condemned the attack. — Agencies

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States directed to check corporal punishment in schools
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Increasing incidents of corporal punishment has prompted the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to send a directive to all state governments to take effective steps to check incidents of corporal punishment in schools.

Expressing concern over “recent incidents of violence in schools”, in a letter to chief secretaries of states and UTs, NCPCR chairman Shantha Sinha said all forms of corporal punishment were a fundamental breach of human rights. She also asked the states to intimate action taken regarding directions taken within two months.

Citing a direction of the Supreme Court regarding ban on corporal punishment in schools, Sinha said the onus of responsibility in safeguarding children from punishment was with schoolteachers, education administration at all levels and those responsible for management.

The commission directed that the education departments of all states should ensure that “all children are to be informed through campaigns and publicity drives that they had a right to speak against corporal punishment and bring it to the notice of the authorities.” “They should have the confidence to make complaints and not accept punishment as a normal activity in the school,” she said.

“Every school, including hostels, JJ Homes, shelter homes and other public institutions meant for children, must have a forum where children could express their views. Such institutions could take the help of an NGO for facilitating such an exercise. Further a box where children could drop their complaints, even if anonymous had to be provided for in each school.”

“Moreover, there has to be a monthly meeting of the PTAs or any other body such as the SEC/VEC to review the complaints and take action. The PTAs are to be encouraged to act immediately on any complaints made by children without postponement of the issue and wait for a more grave injury to be caused. 

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79 pc unorganised workers earn less than Rs 20 a day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Pointing that over 394.9 million Indian workers, 86 per cent of India’s working population, belong to the unorganised sector and work under “utterly deplorable conditions”, the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) has prescribed four comprehensive packages to provide social security and improve their quality of life.

The NCEUS, headed by noted Economist Arjun Sengupta, in its 376-page report submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has presented its analysis separately for agricultural and non-agricultural workers, along with a 13-point ‘immediate and priority’ action programme, including two draft bills.

Of the 394.9 million, who work under utterly deplorable conditions with extremely few livelihood options, 252.8 million (64 per cent) are in agriculture sector, the report says pointing that only 0.4 per cent of the 394.9 million unorganised sector workers have access to any form of social security such as Provident Fund.

The commission finds that the common people, with incomes between 3/4th of the poverty line (Rs 9 per day) to only twice the poverty line (Rs 20 per day), constitute an overwhelming 77 per cent of the population. “Over 836 million Indians who haven’t even been touched by the euphoria of a buoyant economy,” the report said “79 per cent of the unorganised workers belong to this group of the common people who earn less than Rs 20 a day,” it said.

The commission has said there was need to “create a social floor that nobody is allowed to fall below”.

The four packages include separate protective measures for unorganised workers, marginal and small farmers, non-agricultural sector and measures to expand employment and improve employability.

The commission also proposed another scheme, the National Minimum Social Security Scheme, providing hospitalisation benefits for the worker and the family at Rs 15, 000 per year and sickness allowance for 15 days beyond three days of hospitalisation at Rs 50 per day and Rs 1000 as maternity benefit.

It also recommended Life cover for all unorganised workers, Rs 30, 000 for natural death, Rs 75, 000 for accidental death or total permanent disability and Rs 37, 500 for partial disability. It also recommended old age pension of Rs 200 per month to all BPL workers above 60 and Provident Fund for all other registered workers.

It noted that this special scheme, to be implemented within a period of five years, would need an outlay of Rs 19, 400 crore to cover all agricultural workers and Rs 12, 950 crore for non-agricultural workers.

“This sector needs to be properly taken care of for the alternative is only starvation,” he said.

Sengupta said the commission has also recommended that the target for the self-employment schemes should be raised to at least five million per year as against about two million per year proposed by the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12).

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Former dacoits turn land rights activists
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Ninety-two-year-old Lokman Diskshit, the first among the 11 dacoits of Chambal valley to surrender in 1960, will participate in the people’s struggle here in October in support of land rights of forest dwellers.

Apart from Dikshit of the once dreaded Mansingh gang, four former dacoits of Madhya Pradesh’s Chambal valley, 80-year- old Pancham Singh, 75-year-old Mohar Singh, Bahadur Singh and Ramesh Sikarwal, have pledged support to the movement spearheaded by the Ekta Parishad.

The names of Lokman Dikshit better known as Loka Pandit and Mohar Singh once spelt terror in and outside Madhya Pradesh. While Mohar Singh carried a reward of Rs 3 lakh on his head, Loka Pandit carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head.

Pancham Singh, Mohar Singh and Bahadur Singh were among the 176 dacoits who surrendered on April 14, 1972, due to the efforts of Jai Prakash Narain. Pancham Singh now lives in the Mahatma Gandhi Sewa Ashram in Joura in Morena district. Mohar Singh, who hails from Bhind district, has also been president of the district panchayat, Bhind.

Ramesh Sikarwal, 50, was among the 295 dacoits who surrendered in 1976 in the Mahtama Gandhi Sewa Ashram in Joura. Ramesh Sharma, a senior activist of the Ekta Parishad, a Bhopal-based organisation working for the land rights of the people since 1989, told The Tribune that Pancham Singh and Badahur Singh would join the 360 km padyatra scheduled to begin from Gwalior on October 2.

The padyatra participants would reach Delhi on October 28 where they would participate in dharnas and demonstrations. On the way, the participants would hold public hearings with local villagers.

“Our main demands are the creation of a national land authority for framing a national land use policy, fast track courts for resolving land disputes and a single window system facilitating land redistribution and the implementation of land law,” Sharma said.

He added that the former dacoits were now contributing to society by working as messengers of peace. “Most of them belonged to backward classes and took to arms in their youth because their land had been grabbed. They turned to farming after laying down their arms.”

He said Gwalior had been chosen as the starting point for the padyatra because it witnessed one of the most successful experiments of Mahatma Gandhi inspired non-violence in the course of surrender by dacoits between 1960 and 1976.

About 25,000 persons representing national and international people based organisations are expected to take part in the padyatra that would pass through the Agra-Mumbai National Highway-3.

Of the 10,000 participants from Madhya Pradesh, 5,000 are from Chambal valley. Besides, representatives from 16 states, including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are expected to participate. International organisations that have promised to send their representatives for the march are the MSD from Brazil, Solidarity from France, Kenya Land Alliance, Thai Labour Union, Assembly of Poor from Thailand and Via Campsena.

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BRIEFLY

I-Day boycott call by ULFA
GUWAHATI:
The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and three other militant organisations on Friday jointly called for a boycott of the Independence Day celebrations by calling upon the people of the North East to boycott the day by observing a general strike throughout the region from 1 am to 5:30 pm. — UNI

Former DGP moves SC
NEW DELHI:
Former Director General of Police, Jharkhand, Jagat Bandhu Mahapatra has moved the Supreme Court seeking to quash the order of the State Government dated August 3, 2007, removing him from the post of DGP-cum-IGP of the State. August 20 has been fixed for hearing of the writ petition filed by Mahapatra challenging his removal from the post of DGP, Jharkhand. — UNI

HUDCO chief
NEW DELHI:
K.L. Dhingra has been appointed chairman and managing director of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO). Official sources said on Friday that Dhingra would be holding the charge as CMD for a five-year term or till he attained the age of superannuation, whichever is earlier. — UNI

Ambassador
NEW DELHI:
H.V.S. Manral has been concurrently accredited Ambassador to the Central African Republic (CAR), the External Affairs Ministry announced on Friday. Manral, presently Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, will have residence in Kinshasa. — UNI

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