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N A T I O N

N-deal: Karat meets Basu
Kolkata, September 1
The CPM general secretary, Prakash Karat, has demanded that henceforth the country’s all international treaties should be passed in the parliament and accordingly, the Constitution should be amended. Karat made these demands while addressing a political conference in Kolkata yesterday.

UPA communally dividing nation: BJP
New Delhi, September 1
The office-bearers of the BJP and the prabharis of different states met at New Delhi today. They discussed the political situation of the country and the party’s organisational preparedness to deal with this situation.

Sonia asks parties to unite against terror
Hyderabad, September 1
In her first public comments on the Hyderabad twin bombings, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today appealed to parties not to "politicise" the issue and called for a united fight against the scourge of terrorism.


EARLIER STORIES


An inmate of 'Shishu Bhavan' (destitute children home) enjoys a special lunch in Kolkata on Saturday, as part of Mother Teresa's 10th death anniversary programmes
An inmate of 'Shishu Bhavan' (destitute children home) enjoys a special lunch in Kolkata on Saturday, as part of Mother Teresa's 10th death anniversary programmes. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997. — AFP

Pranab, Buddha stress on fighting terror
Kolkata, September 1
The external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee and the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya today shared the stage at a conference organised by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperationin the city and both spoke against war and terror.

Deficient rains in Haryana, Punjab
New Delhi, September 1
With just three weeks to go before southwest monsoon ends its 2007 sojourn in India, the two agricultural states of Haryana and Punjab are deep in red as far as this year’s monsoon-rain quota till August is concerned.

Dutt seeks divine help
Mumbai, September 1
A number of actor Sanjay Dutt’s mega releases are on hold as the actor has chosen to seek divine intervention to stay out of jail instead of fulfilling his commitments to his producers.

Assam blast kills 1
Guwahati, September 1
One person was killed and 11 were injured when a bomb blast ripped apart a market in the heart of Guwahati city today. The death toll may go up given that the condition of some of the injured was stated to be precarious by doctors attending on them in Guwahati Medical College Hospital.
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Boiling dal poured on Dalit women
Patna, September 1
Regime change in the name of good governance and casteless social order in Bihar under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seemed to have failed to yield desired results even after 21 months of NDA rule in the state.

Murder of Kanpur doctor
Co-passenger held, case solved
Lucknow, September 1
The state STF police has solved the murder case of a Kanpur gastro specialist with the arrest of Brij Kumar Verma from the old city of Lucknow. Brij Kumar Verma, who was the co-passenger of the victim Dr Anurag Mittal, was arrested when he was exchanging the robbed foreign currency in the old city.

Root out social evils: Pratibha
Sriperumbudur, September 1
President Pratibha Patil today urged the youth of the country to eradicate social evils and dedicate themselves towards serving society.

Sena hits out at Left
Mumbai, September 1
Shiv Sena today took potshots at the Left parties over the nuclear deal controversy, but remained non-committal regarding it’s own stand on the deal.

Yet another party by Tamil actor
Chennai, September 1
Going by the tradition in Tamil Nadu of films stars in politics, another political party came into being with Tamil film star R. Sarath Kumar, a former DMK MP, who was also for a short while in the AIADMK, forming his own political party, Akila India Samuthuva Makkal Katchi.

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N-deal: Karat meets Basu
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 1
The CPM general secretary, Prakash Karat, has demanded that henceforth the country’s all international treaties should be passed in the parliament and accordingly, the Constitution should be amended. Karat made these demands while addressing a political conference in Kolkata yesterday.

During his one-day visit to the city, the party general secretary met veteran Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence and sought his advice in salving the party from the present political mess created over the nuclear deal issue.

Karat also held talks separately with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Biman Bose on the issue.

It is learnt that Basu had advised the politburo to adopt the “go slow tactic” over the nuclear deal issue, but at the same time they should launch massive campaign against the “vices” of the nuclear pact and ultimately force the government to abandon the nuclear deal.

He also endorsed the stands taken by the politburo and the central committee’s against the nuclear deal.

Karat recently visited the city a number of times but had never visited Basu’s residence to discuss any problems with him. However, on the question of the party’s pulling out the support from Manmohan Singh government, it had been cleared that the party’s hardliners were in the wrong foot and the pragmatic Basu took the right stand.

The veteran leader had been all through advocating against the pulling out the support from the UPA vis-à-vis the snap poll, but he was insisting that the party should oppose the Indo-US nuclear deal tooth and nail, both inside the parliament and outside and accordingly, due pressure be created on the government. But in no case at this stage, the support be withdrawn, which

would facilitate the BJP and other communal forces to once again come to power and destroy the nation, he stressed.

The majority of the CPM in the state also sided with Basu and both CM and Biman Bose openly opposed the decision of pulling out the support from the government and precipitate the snap poll.

Initially, Karat and other politburo members had taken Basu’s stand but later, suddenly a section in the party stuck to the CPM’s decision on pulling out the support which gave the Congress (l) and other UPA partners an extra political mileage over the issue.

The crisis though for the time being be avoided but it was not altogether resolved after the Manmohan Singh’s yesterday’s public announcement at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, where addressing a group of science graduates and engineers, Singh scotched the speculation that “they were backing down the US deal”.

Karat though, still in the back foot, strongly responded and declared that they would take appropriate steps after considering the findings of the special committee. But he reiterated yesterday in Kolkata that there was no possibility now of toppling the government.

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UPA communally dividing nation: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 1
The office-bearers of the BJP and the prabharis of different states met at New Delhi today. They discussed the political situation of the country and the party’s organisational preparedness to deal with this situation.

The BJP believes that there is a national drift under the UPA government. An indecisive government, which is callous towards India's security and a weak leader, are the hallmark of the UPA rule. They said events of the past few days have convinced the BJP that the UPA government is divisive in its policies and its continuation will hurt the country.

While addressing the meeting, party president Rajnath Singh first evaluated the progress made on various issues and committees constituted at the last National Executive meeting of the party in Delhi. Rajnath thereafter stressed that the next year is one of challenges and elections, and in this context the party has to gear up to effectively deal with all of them. The party is now in election mode and needs to project effectively itself as the alternative. He pointed out that the national situation is delicate and the nation is at the crossroads. As a nationalist party, the BJP has to shoulder the responsibility of providing the people of the country with a stable, secure and responsive government.

The BJP president spoke at length about how the Action Taken Report on the Justice Sachar panel's recommendations leaves no one in doubt that the UPA's lust of vote bank politics would result in creating an atmosphere of distrust and divisiveness in the country. “From religion-based job reservation, we all are now moving towards communal development expenditure and communal budgeting,” he said.

Rajnath Singh said that the UPA is trying to divide the country on communal lines. He said the BJP will not tolerate this and announced the formation of a committee under M. Venkaiah Naidu to launch a countrywide agitation and mobilise national opinion against the implementation of this report.

He said, “Poverty cuts across religion. All Indians need jobs and development irrespective of their mode of worship. The Sachar recommendations are a case of reverse discrimination which the BJP will vehemently oppose.”

The meeting also deliberated on other issues including the Hyderabad blasts where many innocents lost their lives as a result of cross-border terrorism being perpetuated by, what the BJP leaders called, an outsourced wing of the al-Qaida on one hand and the weak-kneed policies of the UPA government on the other.

They observed that the UPA's policies on tackling terror are not linked to security considerations but to the pursuit of vote bank politics. They said even terrorists are finding it easy to attack mainly states ruled by pseudo-secular parties since the security apparatus in these states has got political signals to go slow on searches, intelligence gathering, interrogations and even busting modules which either organise terrorism or give logistical support to it. The terrorist strikes in the past two years have been mainly in Mumbai, Delhi, Malegaon, Hyderabad, Varanasi and Ayodhya.

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Sonia asks parties to unite against terror
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 1
In her first public comments on the Hyderabad twin bombings, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today appealed to parties not to "politicise" the issue and called for a united fight against the scourge of terrorism.

The bomb blasts, which claimed 43 lives, were meant to terrorise people and destabilise the country, she said while addressing a public meeting at the coastal town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.

"Those who spread terror have no religion or race. They are enemies of India and of humanity and they do not want our country to march ahead," Sonia Gandhi said.

Stating that she was pained to hear about the blasts, she said, “On such occasions, political parties should keep their politics aside and join hands in the fight against terrorist forces.”

The Congress president expressed confidence that the perpetrators of the heinous crime would be brought to book. Gandhi was on a day's visit covering East Godavari, West Godavari and Guntur districts during which she launched the second phase of "Indiramma" housing for the poor, the Congress government's pet programme, inaugurated an urban variant of women self-help groups and a low-income housing colony.

Meanwhile, there was no major breakthrough in the investigation into the twin blasts that occurred at Lumbini Park, located at an arms length of the Secretariat and Gokul Chat Bhandar, a popular eatery in the busy Kothi area, on Saturday last.

The police have taken four persons into custody for their alleged role in the smuggling of a large quantity of RDX into the city from Bangladesh in February this year.

They four were part of a group that allegedly brought explosives to the city. "We are trying to verify whether the same explosives were used in the recent blasts," city police commissioner Balwinder Singh said.

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Pranab, Buddha stress on fighting terror
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 1
The external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee and the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya today shared the stage at a conference organised by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in the city and both spoke against war and terror. But they avoided referring to the Indo-US nuclear deal and the prevailing controversies over the issue.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mukherjee said since the Parliament was in session it was not possible for him to say anything about the deal.

“But I can tell you that we are committed to work on the mechanism for resolving the issue and we will be proceeding on that direction,” he added.

The CPI (M) and other left parties brought out a “mahamichil” (large procession) today in the city streets against war and terror in which Bhattacharya, Left front chairman Biman Bose and other Left leaders took part.

The procession, which was taken out from Deshbandhu Park at Shambazar, ended at the maidan area at Rani Rashmoni Road where a meeting was held which these leaders addressed.

The procession, which was brought out violating the restriction order of Calcutta High Court, paralysed the entire traffic and transport in Kolkata. Earlier, addressing the SAARC seminar, Bhattacharya urged upon all the SAARC countries to unite against war and terror. He said many of the border problems including infiltration, smuggling and terrorism could be solved through international operations.

He stressed all SAARC countries would get united and fight against terrorism, which had now become a common problem for all.

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Deficient rains in Haryana, Punjab
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 1
With just three weeks to go before southwest monsoon ends its 2007 sojourn in India, the two agricultural states of Haryana and Punjab are deep in red as far as this year’s monsoon-rain quota till August is concerned. The official farewell date for monsoon is around September 21, but there can be year-to-year variations depending upon different factors.

According to data compiled by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Haryana is 32 per cent deficient and Punjab 21 per cent deficient. In its rain report card ending August, the hill state of Himachal is also lagging behind at minus 32 per cent rains.

As far as other members of the north India are concerned, Jammu and Kashmir is 13 per cent in excess, Uttarakhand 26 per cent in excess and Delhi four per cent in excess. The country on the overall is at plus two per cent.

The story, as far as Punjab and Haryana are concerned, is more or less a repeat of the past five years, barring 2003 when the situation was better.

The two states have been recording deficeint rainfall as a scrutiny of the data of rains up to August during the past five years reveals that in 2006 Punjab was minus 14, Haryana minus 38 and Himachal minus 27 from the average rainfall. In 2005, Haryana was 18 per cent deficient, Punjab 16 per cent deficient and Himachal 11 per cent deficient.

The situation was worse for Punjab in 2004 when the state recorded 34 per cent deficient rains. Haryana was slightly better off that year with minus 13 per cent, but Himachal remained 41 per cent deficient. In 2003, Haryana faired much better with 31 per cent excess rains, though Punjab continued in the red with 11 per cent deficiency. The situation was the worst during 2002 when Haryana was 60 per cent deficient, Punjab 43 per cent deficient and Himachal 26 per cent deficient.

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Dutt seeks divine help
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 1
A number of actor Sanjay Dutt’s mega releases are on hold as the actor has chosen to seek divine intervention to stay out of jail instead of fulfilling his commitments to his producers.

The producers of ‘Dhamaal’, which is scheduled to hit theatres on Friday next, were hoping that the actor would use his time off from jail to promote the movie. The comedy, directed by Inder Kumar, could have got a boost at the turnstiles had Dutt hit the promotional circuit.

Similarly, Sanjay Gadhvi’s ‘Kidnap’ and Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Alibaug’ are in various stages of production. “By shooting two shifts at a stretch for about three weeks, both films could have been completed,” says an industry source.

But Sanjay Dutt has more pressing problems. He will most probably return to jail on September 27 when the TADA court gives him a copy of the order sentencing him to six years in jail for possessing weapons in violation of the Arms Act. To stave off a further stay at Pune’s Yerwada jail, the actor is making rounds of temples around the country.

Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak temple has seen at least two visits since Dutt got bail from the apex court. The past three days have seen him, accompanied by his companion Maanyata, perform special puja at the Shani Shignapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district.

The actor then proceeded to the Saibaba shrine at Shirdi and is now on his way to Vaishno Devi to seek divine blessings, according to reports. Several of Dutt’s close friends seem to be praying for his well-being as well. His close friend Sanjay Gupta organised a pooja at his residence where several Bollywood personalities showed up with Dutt performing the aarti.

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Assam blast kills 1
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, September 1
One person was killed and 11 were injured when a bomb blast ripped apart a market in the heart of Guwahati city today.

The death toll may go up given that the condition of some of the injured was stated to be precarious by doctors attending on them in Guwahati Medical College Hospital. The police suspected the hand of the ULFA in the blast.

DIG of the Assam police Gyanendra Pratap Singh informed that 12 persons were injured, five of them critically, when the improvised explosive device planted by suspected ULFA militants exploded in the Railway Colony market at the Bamunimaidan area in the city around noon today.

The bomb was in a van which was blasted into pieces by the impact of the explosion.

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Boiling dal poured on Dalit women
Tribune News Servic
e

Patna, September 1
Regime change in the name of good governance and casteless social order in Bihar under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seemed to have failed to yield desired results even after 21 months of NDA rule in the state.

Notwithstanding the recent cabinet decision to form a “Mahadalit” Commission to uplift the lot of “most oppressed among Dalits” and other policy decisions in the past one year to remove the caste barrier in upward social mobility, a series of attacks and related humiliating gestures on Dalits in recent times, apparently proved to be a major setback for Nitish government’s resolve to bring social reforms in caste ridden Bihar.

The latest among the list was an incident when a group of Dalit boys were beaten up and two woman suffered burn injuries in a clash with upper caste men who attacked the boys for playing near a temple. The incident took place at Shahpu today.

Men belonging to an upper caste community roughed up the boys for playing in the temple premises calling it sacrilege. The men later followed the children into their huts and started abusing their mothers. In the argument, the men poured burning hot dal on two women who are now in the hospital.

Police said a case under the Atrocities on Scheduled Castes (Prevention) Act was registered against the attackers.

The incident comes close on the heels of another such case when a Dalit man, Shiv Kumar, in flood hit Madhubani district, was blinded when acid was poured into his eyes by the muscle-flexing husband of a village head and his henchmen early this week for demanding his bit of the flood relief provided by the government to feed his two hungry children.

Shiv Kumar, in his late 20s, and the father of two small daughters, was abused, threatened and allegedly tortured by Kapileshwar, husband of the village mukhiya.

IG Ratan Lal Kanaujia directed Madhubani district SP Amritraj to inquire into the matter and submit a report immediately. Kanaujia also ordered the police officials to arrest the culprits.

Last but not the least in the series of Dalit humiliation, a panchayat chief of Kaimur district was barred from unfurling the Tricolour on Independence Day this year.

Much to the embarrassment of political establishment in the state, the incident reportedly took place in the parliamentary constituency of none other than union minister for social justice and empowerment Meira Kumar.

Dumari panchayat chief Sinhas Ram was assaulted and chased away by some members of the upper caste on August 15 when he and panchayat secretary, also a Dalit, reached the panchayat bhavan to unfurl the National Flag.

In another recent shocking incident of “untouchability” arising out of caste factor, a Dalit woman, Lali Devi, was prevented from cooking mid-day meal for schoolchildren at Rohtas.

When Lali went ahead with cooking, school secretary Umashankar Tiwary, who represents upper caste, and his associates, reportedly dragged her out of the kitchen and assaulted her husband publicly. It was only after Nitish Kumar took serious note of the incident that an FIR was lodged against Tiwary.

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Murder of Kanpur doctor
Co-passenger held, case solved
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, September 1
The state STF police has solved the murder case of a Kanpur gastro specialist with the arrest of Brij Kumar Verma from the old city of Lucknow.

Brij Kumar Verma, who was the co-passenger of the victim Dr Anurag Mittal, was arrested when he was exchanging the robbed foreign currency in the old city. This brings to an end what may be one of the state STF police’s swiftest murder investigation.

DGP Vikram Singh, while briefing the media, informed of the arrest of Brij Kumar Verma, a resident of Gajafarpur Paisra, in Fatehpur Chaurasi police station this morning. The police have also recovered from him the stolen $8000, a motorcycle and laptop bought from the looted money along with the slain doctor’s mobile phones and cash worth Rs 4,600.

Dr Anurag Mittal had left Kanpur for New Delhi by an AC first class coupe on the Shramshakti Express on August 27 and never reached his destination next morning. His body was found near the tracks at the outer signal of Hathras station.

As Rs 1 lakh in cash, $ 8000 and his two mobile phones were missing, the police were considering robbery as the prima facie reason for the murder. The murder in a moving train had not only shocked the family and the medical community in Kanpur but had equally baffled the police.

Following his arrest, the accused admitted that after the TTE left he waited for the doctor to go to sleep. He strangulated Anurag with a string, took all his money, dragged the body to the door and threw it out of the moving train. Later, he threw out the remaining luggage as well. At Dankaur station, the accused quietly slipped off the train and returned to Kanpur.

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Root out social evils: Pratibha
Tribune News Service

Sriperumbudur, September 1
President Pratibha Patil today urged the youth of the country to eradicate social evils and dedicate themselves towards serving society.

While delivering the foundation day lecture at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development here today, she said, “It is incumbent upon the youth of the country to prepare themselves for the responsibilities that lie ahead and to look at the challenges facing the nation.”

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Sena hits out at Left

Mumbai, September 1
Shiv Sena today took potshots at the Left parties over the nuclear deal controversy, but remained non-committal regarding it’s own stand on the deal.

“Perhaps Left was not bothered about the deal per se, but they wanted to show China how they brought the government on its knees, made the Prime Minister prostrate and Pranab Mukherjee run around,” an editorial in the today’s edition of party’s mouthpiece Saamana said.

The Left’s opposition to Indo-US nuclear deal has created a “public opinion” that by doing so, the Left parties are weakening the nation and it amounts to “treachery”, the editorial said.

In a more explicit tone, the editorial further asks: “A scientist like Dr Anil Kakodkar approved of the deal, would he do it without studying it? Does the Left think that only Yechuri, Prakash Karat and D. Raja can figure out the deal and Manmohan Singh and Dr Kakodkar cannot?” — PTI

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Yet another party by Tamil actor
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 1
Going by the tradition in Tamil Nadu of films stars in politics, another political party came into being with Tamil film star R. Sarath Kumar, a former DMK MP, who was also for a short while in the AIADMK, forming his own political party, Akila India Samuthuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK).

The actor who is from the dominant Nadar community in southern Tamil Nadu, unveiled the red and yellow flag of his party.

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