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N A T I O N

Two teachers suspended for thrashing girl
Bangalore, August 25
The parents of Sangeetha, 11-year-old girl, who was brutally beaten by a group of six teachers two days back, do not want to send her back to the school and are facing the dilemma of finding a new school for her.

Russia to deliver weapon systems on time: Antony
Gwalior, August 25
In the backdrop of reports of delay in supply of high-technology weapon systems like aircraft carrier and fighters from Moscow, the government today said Russia had assured India of making “serious” attempts to keep all armament deliveries on schedule.
Paracommandos drop from an Indian combat helicopter MI-17 during a mock exercise at the Indian Air Force Station in Gwalior on Saturday. Paracommandos drop from an Indian combat helicopter MI-17 during a mock exercise at the Indian Air Force Station in Gwalior on Saturday. — AFP

Transfer of power in Karnataka
BJP miffed at meeting cancellation
Bangalore, August 25
Fuelling an already widening rift between the partners of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition on the eve of the scheduled transfer of power to the BJP in Karnataka, the JD(S) cancelled a twice-postponed meeting of the coordination committee of the two parties today.






EARLIER STORIES




N-Crisis
Government in wait-&-watch mode
Chennai, August 25
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has adopted a “wait and watch” policy over the impasse over the nuclear agreement with the USA following the rigid stand of the Left parties but at the same time discussing the issues with other constituents of the coalition.

Karat, Bardhan discuss N-deal
New Delhi, August 25
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat today met his CPI counterpart A B Bardhan on the recent Central Committee meeting on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Salman moves HC
Jodhpur, August 25
Hours after Salman Khan was arrested and sent to jail here today, a revision petition was filed on his behalf in the Rajasthan High Court here challenging the jail term.

Chouhan expands cabinet
Bhopal, August 25
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today expanded his cabinet, inducting two Dalit and a tribal minister, and giving representation to all nine divisions of the state to provide regional balance, with fresh assembly poll barely a year away. The induction of the two Dalit and a tribal minister - Gauri Shanker Shejwar (cabinet) and Karan Singh Varma (minister of state), and Ranjana Baghel (minister of state) - was aimed at consolidating BJP’s hold over the Dalits and tribesmen.




Akhand Pratap Singh, one of the new cabinet ministers sworn into the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, seeks blessings from Governor Balram Jakhar after the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Bhopal on Saturday. — PTI
Akhand Pratap Singh, one of the new cabinet ministers sworn into the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, seeks blessings from Governor Balram Jakhar after the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Bhopal on Saturday.

College Poll
ABVP men cut loose
Dehra Dun, August 25
But for political patronage, hooliganism and beating up of policemen on duty by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), as part of victory celebrations, the student union election would not have been possible at one of the oldest educational institutions, DAV College, here last evening.

IOC plant shut after ultras’ threat
Guwahati, August 25
Threat from insurgents forced the IndianOil Corporation (IOC) to keep its only LPG bottling plant in Manipur under lock and key.

Soldier cremated 39 years after death
Dehra Dun, August 25
The semi-fossilised remains of 31-year-old Kamal Singh Bhandari, a soldier killed in a plane crash in a glaciated area of Himachal Pradesh in 1968, was today consigned to the flames in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.

Mohanti claims NBW defective, to move HC
Bhubaneswar, August 25
Suspended senior police official of Orissa B. B. Mohanti today claimed the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him by a Rajasthan court was “defective” in nature.

Brahmakumari chief dead
Mount Abu, August 25
Rajyogini Dadi Prakashmani, the chief administrative head of Prajapati Brahmakumari Ishwarya Vishwa Vidhyalaya passed away here today.

Withdraw ‘Rail Roko’: Minister
New Delhi, August 25
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi today appealed to the people and political parties of Tamil Nadu to desist from blocking train services to Kerala over the Salem railway division issue.

Vajpayee on the mend
New Delhi, August 25
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee continued to be in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), but doctors attending him said that his condition was stable.

Soren released
Dumka, August 25
JMM chief Sibu Soren was today released from Dumka central jail, four days after his acquittal in the Shashinath Jha murder case after being behind bars for nine months.

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Two teachers suspended for thrashing girl
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 25
The parents of Sangeetha, 11-year-old girl, who was brutally beaten by a group of six teachers two days back, do not want to send her back to the school and are facing the dilemma of finding a new school for her.

Sangeetha’s father K C Kutappa said. “My daughter does not want to go back to the same school” (Vinoda English High School at Horagunatepalya), adding that he was forced to think of other alternatives. Kutappa said he had paid a donation of Rs 14,000 for her admission. Now, they had to dish out more money for admission to another institution.

Kutappa was, however, hopeful that some other school would take Sangeetha but said paying donation would be a problem as most schools in Bangalore would seek donation from new students.

Sangeetha is still shocked at the treatment meted out to her. While recalling the incident, she said, “They forced me to lift my skirt and prompted the whole class to say 'Shame, shame’. I do not want to face the teachers or the students who were witness to my humiliation. I do not want to return to the same school”, she added.

Meanwhile, the school authorities today suspended two teachers, Lakshikala and Blazy. They have also denied the accusation that Sangeetha was beaten up by a group of six teachers. School president Srinivasamoorthy said only two teachers had beaten up the girl and action had been taken against them. The principal, while accusing the girl of being a “liar”, also said Sangeetha had been“punished” because she did not do her homework.

The Education Department, which sent a team to the school to conduct an inquiry, feels the school has erred. Public Instruction Department commissioner G Kumar Nayak said the school management had denied the incident but after meeting the girl in the hospital and talking to a cross-section of people, it had been revealed that Sangeetha had been beaten up by a number of teachers. The Child Welfare Committee has also sent a notice to the school and also filed a police complaint against the school management.

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Russia to deliver weapon systems on time: Antony

Gwalior, August 25
In the backdrop of reports of delay in supply of high-technology weapon systems like aircraft carrier and fighters from Moscow, the government today said Russia had assured India of making “serious” attempts to keep all armament deliveries on schedule.

“Such an assurance has been given on government-to-government basis,” defence minister A.K. Antony told reporters after witnessing a display by IAF fighters here.

“The Russians are now looking into the deliveries in a serious fashion,” Antony, who will go to Moscow to attend the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Military and Technical Commission in October, said.

Indian armed forces frontline equipment is mostly of Russian origin and any delay in delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to be inducted into the Indian Navy next year, and any slow down on rollout of Sukhoi-30 fighters, would hit the country’s defence preparedness.

“Intense parleys are currently on,” the defence minister said, adding that two official delegations from New Delhi were in Moscow to sort out the issue of cost escalation as demanded by the Russians. — PTI

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Transfer of power in Karnataka
BJP miffed at meeting cancellation
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 25
Fuelling an already widening rift between the partners of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition on the eve of the scheduled transfer of power to the BJP in Karnataka, the JD(S) cancelled a twice-postponed meeting of the coordination committee of the two parties today.

The BJP leaders were informed about the cancellation 15 minutes before it was to be held this morning.

This was done through a fax received from the Chief Minister’s secretariat, which further infuriated party leaders.

State BJP president Sadanand Gowda, while commenting on the cancellation of the meeting that had been postponed twice already on Thursday and Friday, said it was strange that such an important meeting had been cancelled at the last moment.

He said coordination meetings were not child’s play and that they should be used to address grievances, if any, among coalition partners.

The BJP leader said no reason had been cited for the cancellation of the meeting and stressed that the meting should be held at the earliest.

The BJP is apparently mounting pressure on the JD(S) to ensure it transfers power to it before the October 3 deadline.

Issues had come to a boil recently when BJP ministers had refused to attend a cabinet meeting on Wednesday after the Chief Minister made a statement that the secular credentials of the JD(S) had been hurt by aligning with the BJP.

The BJP leaders had also protested against the appointment of a JD(S) sympathiser to the Karnataka Public Service Commission when it was the turn of the BJP to fill the post.

Talking to mediapersons in Bellary, the Chief Minister said the meeting had been cancelled as he as well as other members were scheduled to visit various parts of the state today.

Not in a mood to buy this, BJP leaders said they had cancelled their prior appointments and made themselves available for the meeting on earlier occasions.

Meanwhile, the BJP high command has also got wary of the intentions of the JD(S). Senior leader Sushma Swaraj upped the ante yesterday without naming the JD(S) that credibility was important for all political parties and that if any party lost its credibility it would be eliminated.

She also asserted that she was confident that the JD(S) leaders were “very intelligent” and that the party would fulfil its promise to transfer power to the BJP before October 3.

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N-Crisis
Government in wait-&-watch mode
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, August 25
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has adopted a “wait and watch” policy over the impasse over the nuclear agreement with the USA following the rigid stand of the Left parties but at the same time discussing the issues with other constituents of the coalition.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Congress point man to mollify the Left parties, said here today: “The option before the government is to wait and watch.”

He was replying to a question about the Left insisting that the Centre should not go ahead with the nuclear deal.

He said: “I cannot go into more details as Parliament is in session. The issue will be debated in the house and the date of discussion will be decided by the business advisory committee.”

Mukherjee, who was once the bete noire of the Left in the early 80s for having scuttled central funds to West Bengal as the then union finance minister, now enjoys a rapport with Left leaders, as he hails from West Bengal.

He has been holding regular discussions with CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury, elected to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal, and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

Mukherjee said discussions with other political parties were also going on.

He was here to inaugurate the branch secretariat of the ministry of external affairs but also held a discussion with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi regarding the political scenario following the UPA’s standoff with the Left over the 123 agreement.

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Karat, Bardhan discuss N-deal

New Delhi, August 25
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat today met his CPI counterpart A B Bardhan on the recent Central Committee meeting on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

The leaders are understood to have also discussed the response they have received so far from the Manmohan Singh government as well as the Congress.

They also reviewed their plans to hold two Jathas (processions) in the first week of September to oppose the joint Naval exercises with the US.

Making it clear that the Left was not prepared to back the issue, Bardhan said it was up to the government to decide whether it wanted to continue or commit Sati on the issue. — TNS

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Salman moves HC

Jodhpur, August 25
Hours after Salman Khan was arrested and sent to jail here today, a revision petition was filed on his behalf in the Rajasthan High Court here challenging the jail term.

“We filed the revision petition under Sections 397 and 401 of the CrPC in the High Court, challenging the judgements of the district judge and the Chief Judicial Magistrate against Khan,” actor’s counsel Hastimal Saraswat said.

The petition contended that the district court had not properly considered the arguments made on his behalf.

The date for hearing is yet to be fixed. Sources said it might be taken up on Monday only in exceptional circumstances or listed for Wednesday. — PTI

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Chouhan expands cabinet

Bhopal, August 25
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today expanded his cabinet, inducting two Dalit and a tribal minister, and giving representation to all nine divisions of the state to provide regional balance, with fresh assembly poll barely a year away.

The induction of the two Dalit and a tribal minister - Gauri Shanker Shejwar (cabinet) and Karan Singh Varma (minister of state), and Ranjana Baghel (minister of state) - was aimed at consolidating BJP’s hold over the Dalits and tribesmen.

The induction of the three minister assumes significance as it comes amidst reports that BSP chief Mayawati is planning to replicate her successful social engineering in Uttar Pradesh, in this state.

The Chief Minister also inducted Harendra Singh Babboo, a Sikh from Jabalpur, to consolidate party’s hold over the community that has sizeable population in certain pockets of the state, mainly in Jabalpur and Hoshangabad.

The elevation of two ministers of state - Laxmi Kant Sharma, a Brahmin, and Nagendra Singh, a Thakur - as also induction of Akhand Pratap Singh, another powerful Thakur leader from Bundelkhand region, is also aimed at retaining party’s hold over their respective communities and weakening the Uma Bharti factor. — PTI

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College Poll
ABVP men cut loose
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 25
But for political patronage, hooliganism and beating up of policemen on duty by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), as part of victory celebrations, the student union election would not have been possible at one of the oldest educational institutions, DAV College, here last evening.

The police booked and arrested Jatinder Rawat, alias Moni, elected president of the union, and five of his associates and released them on bail under political pressure after a night in the lockup at Kotwali police station.

There was widespread resentment among public against unruly ABVP activists, as they held the city to ransom after the results were declared.

Petrol station owners observed a strike across the city today to protest against the ABVP activists who had refused to pay for the fuel at different places.

Angry villagers at Mehowala on the outskirts of the city chased the activists away after they beat up shopkeepers.

Terming it directionless politics, state NCP president and former president of the union Suryakant Dhasmana held the administration and college management responsible for turning a blind eye to the gross violation of Lyngdoh committee recommendations in conducting the election.

Sources told The Tribune that Umesh Aggarwal, a close aide of Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri, went to the Kotwali police station today and argued for the release of the booked student leaders in spite of a stiff opposition by SHO Mohinder Singh Negi.

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IOC plant shut after ultras’ threat
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 25
Threat from insurgents forced the IndianOil Corporation (IOC) to keep its only LPG bottling plant in Manipur under lock and key.

The LPG bottling plant which has a capacity to cater to 80 per cent of the state’s monthly requirement of 1.12 lakh LPG cylinders, has remained closed for about a month now after all officials left the state on being served an extortion notice by the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA).

According to a police source in Imphal, the ultras demanded about Rs 15 lakh from officials of the bottling plant located at Sekmai in Imphal West district. It was the only LPG bottling plant in the state.

KRA general secretary D T Haokip allegedly issued threat through workers on the LPG plant, stating that the outfit would not desist from targeting the officials and their families if they did not comply with the demand for money by the outfit.

The panic-stricken officials engaged in the IOC plant left the work place a couple of days back bringing the shutters down on the plant for the second time within a month. The plant was inaugurated by Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh last month.

Earlier, the plant remained shut for 13 days following abduction of two LPG tanker drivers by ultras. The drivers were later released on August 15 after alleged payment of a hefty amount.

The plant is source of sustenance for families of about 100-odd labourers and about 300 LPG tanker drivers. The workers’ union of the plant has appealed to the Union government for intervention to ease the impasse that led to the suspension of operation in the bottling plant.

The KRA had struck a deal with security forces for suspension of hostilities with them.

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Soldier cremated 39 years after death

Dehra Dun, August 25
The semi-fossilised remains of 31-year-old Kamal Singh Bhandari, a soldier killed in a plane crash in a glaciated area of Himachal Pradesh in 1968, was today consigned to the flames in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.

Thousands of people, including army, police and administrative officials, attended the cremation in the Agastmuni area as Harinder Singh lit the pyre of his father, whom he had never seen.

“The remains, wrapped in a packet was consigned to the flames without even opening it,” Rudraprayag superintendent of police V P Singh, who was present there, said.

The remains were brought to his native Dalrigi village in Rudraprayag last evening, and the soldier was given a Guard of Honour by the army at the cremation. The state government has announced Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia for the family members - his wife Amar Dai and son Harinder. An army expedition found the semi-fossilised bodies of three missing soldiers at an altitude of 17,500 ft near Chandrabhaga peak in the Lahaul-Spiti area of Himachal on August 9.

Bhandari’s identity was established from the ID-cards found at the crash site and the other two are believed to hail from Gurgaon in Haryana. The transport aircraft bound for Leh in Ladakh took off on a “routine logistics sortie” from Chandigarh on February 7, 1968 carrying 102 army personnel on board but crashed in the Lahaul-Spiti valley. — PTI

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Mohanti claims NBW defective, to move HC

Bhubaneswar, August 25
Suspended senior police official of Orissa B. B. Mohanti today claimed the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him by a Rajasthan court was “defective” in nature.

Mohanti, whose whereabouts were not known either to Orissa police or the government, sent a letter to home secretary T K Mishra, making the claim that the NBW was not in accordance with the law, Mishra said.

Mohanti has been accused of harbouring his rape convict son Bitihotra who jumped parole from a jail in Rajasthan in December last.

He said that in a four-page letter, Mohanti claimed that the arrest warrant was “defective” because all the charges made against him by the Rajasthan police were bailable and there was no scope for issuance of the NBW.

Meanwhile, he may move the Rajasthan High Court on Monday. — PTI

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Brahmakumari chief dead

Mount Abu, August 25
Rajyogini Dadi Prakashmani, the chief administrative head of Prajapati Brahmakumari Ishwarya Vishwa Vidhyalaya passed away here today.

Her mortal remains have been kept for ‘darshan’ in the Diamond hall of Shantiwan house. The body would be taken to Pandav Bhawan tomorrow at 9.00 am, the international headquarters of the sect and kept at the central hall of Om shanti Bhawan to enable people to pay their tributes.

Her body would then be brought back to the Diamond hall of Shantiwan house. The cremation would be held at on Monday.

Dadi Prakashmani was born in 1922 in Hyderabad in Sindh province. In 1950, she left Pakistan and came to Mount Abu where she set up Madhuan, the head quarters of the sect. In 1969, Dadi Prakashmani set up the centres of Brahmakumari in India and in other 80 countries. — UNI

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Withdraw ‘Rail Roko’: Minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi today appealed to the people and political parties of Tamil Nadu to desist from blocking train services to Kerala over the Salem railway division issue.

The ruling DMK and other political parties announced “Rail Roko” in Salem, Coimbatore and Erode districts demanding creation of the new division by including Coimbatore and Tirupur sections. The minister appreciated Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's initiative for smooth movement of trains to Kerala and expressed hope that the agitators would heed Karunanidhi's advice.

Ravi said Kerala and Tamil Nadu share common culture and interests. He said that people of both states had been living as good friends and neighbours and issues as Salem division should not come in the way of such a camaraderie.

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Vajpayee on the mend
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee continued to be in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), but doctors attending him said that his condition was stable.

He is progressing well and his vital signs are stable, AIIMS spokesman Shakti Gupta said. But he declined to comment on when he would be discharged from the hospital.

Vajpayee (83), was admitted to the private ward in the cardio-thoracic and neuro-sciences centre at AIIMS on August 21 after he complained of giddiness and drowsiness.

“Reports of all the tests, including MRI, CT and ECG, are normal. We will review his condition today, before deciding on when he could be discharged” Gupta added.

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Soren released

Dumka, August 25
JMM chief Sibu Soren was today released from Dumka central jail, four days after his acquittal in the Shashinath Jha murder case after being behind bars for nine months.

A large number of supporters gathered outside the jail to receive the former coal minister. The Delhi High Court on Thursday acquitted Soren and four others in the Shashinath Jha murder case of 1994 in which he was accused of plotting the murder of his former private secretary.

Soren, who had been serving a life term since November 28 last year, was brought here from Tihar jail in January after a Jamtara court issued a production warrant asking him to appear before it in the Chirudih massacre case of 1975. He had subsequently received bail in the case. — PTI

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