SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Security beefed up in Mathura
New Delhi, September 3
The President, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister today greeted the nation on the occasion of Janamashtmi, saying the countrymen should derive inspiration from the life and teachings of Lord Krishna and work for the creation of a just and peaceful society.
A view of Sri Krishna janamasthan (birth place of Lord Krishna) in Mathura Janamashtami




A view of Sri Krishna janamasthan (birth place of Lord Krishna) in Mathura
on Sunday night. 
— PTI

Manmohan Bush’s best friend: Left
New Delhi, September 3
In a clear indication that relations between Left parties and the UPA were acetous, the CPM today openly attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the best friend of US President George W. Bush, while asking the Congress-led coalition not to proceed with the nuclear deal.






EARLIER STORIES




A man pays tribute before a board, carrying the names of all 42 victims of the twin bomb blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat on August 25, put up in front of Lumbini Park gate in Hyderabad
A man pays tribute before a board, carrying the names of all 42 victims of the twin bomb blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat on August 25, put up in front of Lumbini Park gate in Hyderabad on Monday — PTI

Kalam backs PM on N-deal
New Delhi, September 3
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has found support for the nuclear deal from former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who has described it as "unique".

N-Panel
Cong divided down the middle

New Delhi, September 3
While the centre is still mulling the composition of the UPA-Left joint panel on the nuclear deal, the Congress is in the throes of a raging debate on whether or not the party should redefine its relations with the Communists.

Rise in productivity levels in S. Asia: ILO
New Delhi, September 3
Productivity levels in South Asia have risen by around 50 per cent in the past decade and the share of working poverty has “decreased tremendously”, the International Labour Office (ILO) said today.

UP bypoll: BSP wrests two seats, SP one
Lucknow, September 3
The Samajwadi Party’s loss was BSP’s gain as the ruling BSP wrested two of the three seats in the byelection the results of which were declared today.

All-party meeting inconclusive
Kolkata, September 3
The all-party meeting called by the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on the chemical hub issue vis-à-vis the future use of farmlands for industries in the state was inconclusive. The meeting was held in the evening at Writers Buildings today.

Citizenship Row
MLA’s name struck off voters’ list

Patna, September 3
LJP legislator Nagina Devi’s name has been removed from the voters’ list on the orders of Sitamarhi subdivisional officer Bharat Jha after she failed to produce any documentary evidence to prove her Indian citizenship. She represents the Bathnaha constituency.

Curfew relaxed in Uttar Pradesh
Allahabad/Agra, September 3
Curfew,clamped in both the cities of Uttar Pradesh, was today relaxed after the situation returned to normal.

3 suicides rock UP
Lucknow, September 3
At least three suicides were reported in Uttar Pradesh during the last 24 hours.

Teachers’ Day
314 teachers to be honoured

New Delhi, September 3
As many as 314 primary and secondary school teachers, 88 of them women, will be honoured by President Pratibha Patil on Teachers’ Day on Wednesday, it was announced today.

22 killed in road accidents
Hyderabad, September 3
As many as 22 people were killed and 19 others injured in four separate road accidents in Andhra Pradesh today.

Ex-Army officer’s protest over non-promotion
New Delhi, September 3
In the first incident of its kind, a Major-General, who retired from service after not getting promoted to Lieut-General, today came to his old office at the Army Headquarters and refused to budge from it.

UPA-Left panel to be a political, says Raja
Puducherry, September 3
Urging the Centre to constitute at the earliest the UPA-Left parties committee for looking into the Left parties’ concerns over the Indo-US nuclear deal, CPI on Monday said the committee would be apolitical in nature.

Tulbul project doesn’t violate treaty: India
New Delhi, September 3
Maintaining that the Tulbul Navigation Project in Jammu and Kashmir does not violate the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, India today made clear its determination to pursue it because of its crucial importance for movement of boats in the Kashmir valley.

Khanduri’s comment gimmick: Cong
Dehra Dun, September 3
Reacting to the statement by Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri today in the Capital to initiate action in cases of alleged corruption during the Congress regime, the state Congress leadership has called it a publicity stunt.

India concerned over Bangladesh developments 
New Delhi, September 3
India is concerned over the situation in Bangladesh, its worst nightmare being the possibility of the army formally seizing control.

Govt to import wheat
New Delhi, September 3
The government today decided to import nearly 8 lakh tonnes of wheat at an average price of $389 a tonne, which is about 20 per cent higher than the last round of tender, a top food ministry official said.

 
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Security beefed up in Mathura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 3
The President, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister today greeted the nation on the occasion of Janamashtmi, saying the countrymen should derive inspiration from the life and teachings of Lord Krishna and work for the creation of a just and peaceful society.

Janamashtami
Advisory

The Centre has issued a security alert to states asking them to step up vigil during the coming Janamashtmi and Ganesh Chaturthi festivals in view of the recent twin blasts in Hyderabad. The Home Ministry in an advisory to all state governments has asked them up to step up surveillance and enhance deployment of security forces for keeping an extra vigil in view of Janamashtmi and Ganesh Chaturthi festivals, a ministry spokesman said today. 

In her message, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said the life and teachings of Lord Krishna had a universal message, which signified the triumph of virtue and righteousness.

“Lord Krishna in his message has preached duty without thought of reward. May this festival inspire all of us to follow the path of virtue and righteousness in thought, word and deed,” she said.

Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari said the countrymen should derive inspiration from the life and teachings of Lord Krishna. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also greeted citizens in India and abroad on the auspicious occasion of Janamashtmi, which will be celebrated tomorrow.

MATHURA: An unprecedented security network has been put in place to avoid any untoward incident with over 7 lakh devotees and visitors expected in this township, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, on the occasion of Janamashtmi tomorrow.

Every year, the janambhoomi receives 30 lakh devotees and tourists around this time of the year. Keeping this in mind, the entire city has been divided into three zones viz red, yellow and green.

“The red zone is close to the Krishnajanambhoomi where unprecedented security arrangements have been made,” district magistrate Arti Mesram said.

“Nobody can enter the temple without being physically checked. The temple has electronic gadgets and additional CCTVs have also been put,” she added.

The entire city has been divided into 13 sectors. Each sector has a sector magistrate who will report to a senior police officer in charge of that sector. Also, additional CRPF forces, PAC and heavy state paramilitary forces have been added to the security network. Besides this, adequate traffic arrangements have been put in place. — UNI

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Manmohan Bush’s best friend: Left
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 3
In a clear indication that relations between Left parties and the UPA were acetous, the CPM today openly attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the best friend of US President George W. Bush, while asking the Congress-led coalition not to proceed with the nuclear deal.

“The Prime Minister has stated that George Bush is the greatest friend of India and he has helped India in this (nuclear) deal. In his own country, Bush is regarded as the most unpopular President and has the lowest public ratings. So, how come a man who is not friendly to his own people has suddenly become India's best friend? The truth is quite the opposite,” the CPM said.

This is the first direct attack on the Prime Minister who had challenged the Communists to withdraw support.

The move by the Communists comes close on the heels of Sonia Gandhi coming out in full support of Manmohan Singh in the Congress monthly, Sandesh.

The party has brought out pamphlets on the nuclear deal as the Left parties launch their ‘jatha’ against the joint Indo-US naval exercise slated to begin in Vishakapatnam tomorrow. Apart from US, naval ships from countries like Australia and Japan will also participate in the exercise.

The CPM said the nuclear deal has little to do with the interests of India or the Indian people. It is not a stand-alone agreement like a train compartment standing separately on a platform, but part of a wider strategic alliance to make India the outpost of American interests in Asia.

"The majority of Indian Parliament" was against the deal, but the government refused to accept this, it said.

In a move to counter the argument that it would result in energy security, the CPM said while coal-based power stations could produce power at Rs 2.50 per unit, nuclear energy would cost between Rs 5.10-5.50 per unit.

"Not only will it cost twice as much, but it will cost three times as much money to build a plant with an imported nuclear reactor, as it would to build a coal-based power plant," the pamphlet read.

Claiming that the nuclear reactor industry in the US was in a "deep crisis", it said, "very few countries are buying their plants. In America itself, not a single nuclear plant has been set up since 1996.

The government says it has no money to expand the power sector. But it is prepared to pay lakhs of crores of rupees to the American nuclear industry to get their plants installed in India for electricity that ordinary people can never afford," it said.

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Kalam backs PM on N-deal

New Delhi, September 3
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has found support for the nuclear deal from former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who has described it as "unique".

"It is unique, what he has done," Kalam said on NDTV's 'Walk the Talk' programme when asked whether the Prime Minister can be complimented for having clinched the deal.

Kalam's endorsement comes at a time when the Left parties have again upped their ante against the deal and warned the government of facing a "crisis" if it went ahead with its operationalisation.

Asked whether he thought scientists opposing the deal were going too far, Kalam, who demitted office in July, evaded a direct response. "Fortunately, in our democratic set-up, scientists can always approach at the highest level".

The 75-year-old nuclear scientist also did not feel that the scientists were being ignored. "I didn't feel like that at all. Whatever has happened is (for) good," Kalam responded when his view was sought on the deal on which the Prime Minister had consulted him.

Kalam said he had met the Prime Minister before "finishing my assignment (as President)" and highlighted the importance of thorium reactors. "I told the Prime Minister that thorium reactors are very important," he said.

The Prime Minister too agreed that progress must be made on that front, the former President said. — PTI

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N-Panel
Cong divided down the middle
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 3
While the centre is still mulling the composition of the UPA-Left joint panel on the nuclear deal, the Congress is in the throes of a raging debate on whether or not the party should redefine its relations with the Communists.

The party is predictably divided down the line. Those in the organisation and in the Rajya Sabha are advocating a tough stand, while Congress members in the Lok Sabha and in the government have been suggesting that the Left be treated with kid gloves.

A very vocal section in the party, including senior AICC office-bearers, wants the leadership to call the Left’s bluff and press ahead with the nuke deal, irrespective of the consequences.

Their argument is based on the premise that the Left parties are unlikely to pull down the UPA government, as they are not prepared for an election because of their internal problems in West Bengal and Kerala.

Besides being ill at ease with coalitions, senior Congress leaders are particularly uncomfortable with the increasingly strident attack being mounted by Left leaders against the very government they are supporting.

Many senior AICC leaders are openly disapproving of the centre’s decision to set up a joint panel on the nuke deal.

“There should be clarity in our thinking... we have only created more confusion by agreeing to set this committee,” remarked a senior AICC office-bearer, adding that the ruling party.

Congress members in the Lok Sabha and those enjoying ministerial berths are clearly worried that the face-off with the Left could eventually result in a snap poll.

They would like the leadership to be more understanding of the Left’s demands as a mid-term election could pave the way for the BJP’s return.

The Left parties, according to this section, are Congress’s natural allies and the two may have to do business with each other again in the future. “Why sour our relations. and part on a bitter note,” remarked a senior Congress minister, who believes the two sides should call a truce and mutually agree on a timetable for elections.

Meanwhile, the proposed joint mechanism on the nuke deal is likely to comprise six members from the Left and eight from the UPA.

Left representatives will be Prakash Karat, A.B. Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury, D. Raja, Abani Roy and Debabrata Biswas.

The UPA is likely to be represented by Kapil Sibal, A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, Pranab Mukherjee, Lalu Yadav and a nominee each from the NCP and the DMK.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to be its convener.

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Rise in productivity levels in S. Asia: ILO

New Delhi, September 3
Productivity levels in South Asia have risen by around 50 per cent in the past decade and the share of working poverty has “decreased tremendously”, the International Labour Office (ILO) said today.

A new ILO report titled “Key indicators of the labour market” shows a rapid increase in productivity, measured as output per person employed, in South Asia, from $5,418 in 1996 to $7,998 in 2006.

However, workers in the region still produce only one-eighth of what a developed economy worker does. The USA still leads the world by far in labour productivity.

Workers in East Asia now produce twice as much as they did 10 years ago, but this is still only one-fifth of what a worker in the developed economies produces.

In Southeast Asia and the Pacific, labour productivity “was stagnant and much slower than other regions” with an average annual increase of only 1.6 per cent between 1996 and 2006 and workers in the region produced a seventh of their developed economy counterparts.

Increases in productivity are mainly the result of companies combining capital, labour and technology better. A lack of investment in people (training and skills), equipment and technology can lead to an underutilisation of the productive potential of labour and so perpetuate poverty.

The report found a positive trend in the amount of working poverty in South Asia, which fell from 56.6 per cent in 1996 to 33.5 per cent in 2006. — PTI

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UP bypoll: BSP wrests two seats, SP one
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, September 3
The Samajwadi Party’s loss was BSP’s gain as the ruling BSP wrested two of the three seats in the byelection the results of which were declared today.

While the SP lost its seats of Suar Tanda and Farukhabad to the BSP, it managed to retain the Gunnaur Assembly seat. The worst hit were the Congress and the BJP as their candidates lost deposits in two constituencies each.

The most impressive win was at Suar Tanda in Rampur where the scion of the erstwhile Nawab of Rampur, Kazim Ali Khan, won by a margin of almost 49,250 votes from his nearest rival Shiv Bahadur Saxena of the BJP.

The SP candidate came third, while the Congress lost its deposit. Interestingly, Khan had earlier won on an SP ticket in the May poll and then quit his seat to join the BSP.

In Farukhabad also the BSP wrested the seat from the SP by a margin of more than 14,000 votes. This most keenly contested seat had minister for medical health Anant Mishra, a cousin of BSP senior leader S.C. Mishra, as the official BSP candidate.

Congress candidate Vijay Singh, who in the May election had won on an SP ticket, managed the second position. Days after the BSP came to power he had resigned from the SP to join the BSP in search of greener pastures.

In the third seat of Gunnaur, SP candidate Pradeep Kumar Yadav managed to win by securing 46.27 per cent of the votes. Byelection here was necessitated as SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav had vacated it after winning elections from both the constituencies of Gunnaur and Bharthana.

Here BSP candidate Deepak Kumar Yadav gave a tough fight by garnering 36.58 per cent of the votes.

With these two additional seats, the BSP now has strength of 211 MLAs in a House of 404, while the SP now has 95 MLAs.

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All-party meeting inconclusive
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 3
The all-party meeting called by the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on the chemical hub issue vis-à-vis the future use of farmlands for industries in the state was inconclusive. The meeting was held in the evening at Writers Buildings today.

Though the political parties present at the meeting agreed in principle on the decision on the chemical hub proposal and the industrial expansion programme but the leaders differed on the selection of sites and the acquiring of the additional 10,000 acre land needed for the programme.

Before attending the meeting, Bhattacharjee met a business delegation from GE international at his chamber and discussed with them about their offer of $8 million investment in the state on various development programmes including infra-structural improvement, setting up of the deep sea ports, better water supply and health and sanitation.

The Trinamool Congress and the SUCI, however, boycotted the all-party meeting, alleging that the Chief Minister had no moral right to be in the chair now and call such a meeting after the mass killing at Nandigram and Singur. Mamata Banerjee held a press conference at her Kalighat residence around the same time today where she reiterated their decision to launch a mass agitation against the use of farmlands for industries and the proposed chemical hubs at the cost of the livelihood of the poor people.

It is learnt the Chief Minister was now very keen to expedite the Salim's chemical hub proposal initially involving over Rs 10,000 crore since he feared that the foreign company might abandon its proposal from Bengal.

The proposal has already been delayed for about a year in the wake of land acquiring problems at Nandigram. Moreover, the licence issued by the Centre on the chemical hub proposal will expire by the end of the month.

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Citizenship Row
MLA’s name struck off voters’ list
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 3
LJP legislator Nagina Devi’s name has been removed from the voters’ list on the orders of Sitamarhi subdivisional officer Bharat Jha after she failed to produce any documentary evidence to prove her Indian citizenship. She represents the Bathnaha constituency.

In May, The Tribune had reported the findings of the union home ministry suggesting that Nagina Devi was not an Indian citizen.

The ministry, in its letter on May 15, had reportedly observed that under Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act, just being married to an Indian did not naturally qualify someone to become an Indian citizen. “Only an Indian citizen can contest elections in the country.”

Even though Nagina Devi had married to an Indian national, she could not be treated as an Indian citizen on the basis of her marriage,” the report had observed.

The ministry subsequently had asked the state home department to take up the issue and act according to the law.

The report was based on facts provided by the Sitamarhi district magistrate following a complaint by a political activist.

Confirming the news, district magistrate Suman Kumar today told the media that Nagina Devi’s name had been struck off the voters’ list after she was found to be a citizen of Nepal and not India.

Nagina Devi was to substantiate her claim regarding her Indian citizenship by August 24.

Kumar said Jha ordered the removal of her name from the voters’ list last week after receiving a letter from the chief electoral officer of Bihar. He had asked Nagina Devi to explain how her name had figured in the list.

In her explanation, Nagina Devi said she was born in 1958 at her grandmother’s house at Bhagwanpur village in Bathnaha block in Sitamarhi district and on the basis of her birth she was an Indian citizen.

But Jha rejected her claims in the absence of any documentary proof regarding her birth.

Talking to mediapersons today, Nagina Devi said even though she was supposed to submit the documentary evidence by August 24 before the district officials, she could not do so as Jha then was busy with a programme of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

It was learnt that while the LJP MLA’s name had figured as Nagina Devi in the voters’ list of 1995, she had been identified as Manorama Devi in the previous list.

The controversy came to light last year when a lawyer challenged her election in 2005 on the ground that she was Nepalese.

Soon after the assembly elections, the defeated JD(U) candidate from the same assembly seat, Rajkishore Singh Kushwaha, moved the Patna High Court challenging Nagina Devi’s election on the ground that she was not an Indian citizen.

Subsequently, the court had asked the district magistrate and the home ministry to verify the veracity of the complaint.

Born to her Nepalese parents, Nagina Devi was married to Yogiraj Prasad of Posua-Patania village in Bathnaha assembly constituency in Sitamarhi district.

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Curfew relaxed in Uttar Pradesh

Allahabad/Agra, September 3
Curfew,clamped in both the cities of Uttar Pradesh, was today relaxed after the situation returned to normal.

The district administration of Allahabad has lifted the curfew for three hours in the five station areas after noticing improvement in the situation, while schools and colleges remained closed today from security point of view.

Curfew was imposed in five police station areas of the holy city of Allahabad, following violence that had engulfed the district after rumour gripped Kaladanda area that some pages of a holy book were being set ablaze.

Thousands of people took to streets following which curfew had been imposed in Kareli, Atarsuia, Shahganj, Khuldabad, Kotwali and Rajroop police outpost of the Dhoomanganj police station. Several police personnel, including two sub-inspectors, were seriously injured in the protest, in which two police vehicles were also torched.

The agitated mob had gheraoed the Kareli police station and raised slogans. Three youth were injured after police opened fire and lobbed tear gas shells. Similarly, curfew, which was clamped at Taj city following violence over the death of four youths, had been relaxed during the day time in Mantola and Nai ki Mandi today. SSP Hari Ram Sharma said peace has been resorted in the city and curfew, imposed in six areas of the district, had been pulled up from Rakabganj, Lohamandi, Tajganj and Sadarganj. — UNI

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3 suicides rock UP

Lucknow, September 3
At least three suicides were reported in Uttar Pradesh during the last 24 hours.

An Assistant Engineer committed suicide allegedly out of depression in Gonda district late last night,the police said today.

Vinod Kumar was employed with Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) unit at Mankapur. He hanged self from the ceiling.

Meanwhile, a class IV employee of Ruhelkhand University in Bareilly, Raghvendra Singh (42), was found dead this morning under mysterious circumstances.

His wife, Gayatri, claimed Raghvendra had committed suicide over harassment by the varsity administration.

In another incident of Bareilly district, Chhote Lal (35) of Chander Nagar, ended his life after his wife went to her parents’ house following a tiff with him.

Chhote Lal, a rickshawpuller, was under the influence of liquor, when he took the extreme step, according to the police. — UNI

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Teachers’ Day
314 teachers to be honoured

New Delhi, September 3
As many as 314 primary and secondary school teachers, 88 of them women, will be honoured by President Pratibha Patil on Teachers’ Day on Wednesday, it was announced today.

The Award for meritorious work in 2005-06 carries a silver medal, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 25,000, a Human Resource Development Ministry statement said.

The winners include 11 Sanskrit teachers, 3 Arabic or Persian teachers and 12 teachers who promoted education of children with disabilities, the statement said.

All 314 are scheduled to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow.

The total number of awards earmarked is 366, but the winners have to be nominated by the respective state governments and union territory administration, the statement said.

Of these 20 are set aside for Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic teachers and 33 for teachers engaged in inclusive education of children with special needs.

Eligible teachers must have at least 15 years of continuous service - 20 years for principals or headmasters - or 10 years and 15 years, respectively, for awards in a special category.

The Teachers’ National Award instituted in 1958 are given away annually to celebrate Teachers Day. The day is observed nowadays in memory of Dr S. Radhakrishnan, a former President and philosopher, who had started out as a teacher. —UNI

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22 killed in road accidents

Hyderabad, September 3
As many as 22 people were killed and 19 others injured in four separate road accidents in Andhra Pradesh today.

The police said eight people, including four women and three children were killed and eight injured when the lorry, on which they were travelling, overturned near Ulindakonda village in Kurnool district.

The lorry, carrying empty bottles proceeding from Done to Hyderabad, skidded on the road at a curve and overturned. Bottles fell on the passengers who were travelling on the lorry.

In the second accident, seven people were killed and another six seriously injured when a van, in which they were travelling, collided head on with a lorry near Jeedipally village in Medak district. The van was on its way to Basara from Hyderabad when the mishap occurred.

While four people died on the spot, three others succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital. All the victims belonged to Jambagh area here.

In another road accident, six labourers were killed and four others injured when the lorry, on which they were travelling, overturned near Kottalankapalli village in Khammam district.

The driver of the cement-laden lorry lost control of the vehicle, which hit an electric pole and overturned. The lorry was proceeding to Vishakhapatnam from Jaggaiahpet in Krishna district.

In yet another mishap, one person was killed on the spot and another seriously injured when their motorcycle was knocked down by a lorry near Kanakadurga temple in Vijayawada. The mishap occurred when the motorcyclists tried to overtake an autorickshaw. The deceased has been identified as B.V Nageswara Sharma, a priest. — UNI

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Ex-Army officer’s protest over non-promotion

New Delhi, September 3
In the first incident of its kind, a Major-General, who retired from service after not getting promoted to Lieut-General, today came to his old office at the Army Headquarters and refused to budge from it.

Attired in civilian garb, Maj-Gen V.C. Jain, who retired on August 31 as the additional director-general (administration and coordination), entered Sena Bhawan, along with his lawyer, and refused all requests to leave the place, sources said.

The two-star general had been empanelled in the list for promotion to the higher rank but was not considered as there was no vacancy for a Lieut-General. Among the list, Maj-Gen K.P.D. Samanta, who was senior to Maj-Gen, was promoted to three-star rank and appointed the director-general of the Rashtriya Rifles. He replaces Lieut-Gen A.K. Saini, who retired on August 31.

The sources said both the Defence Ministry and the Army Headquarters had taken grave note of the conduct of Gen Jain, who only left the premises after a long-drawn argument, during which it was also pointed out that his act, in entering the restricted access installation, with his lawyer, amounted to unauthorised entry.

Gen Jain had filed a petition in the high court on the date of his retirement, but it had refused him an interim stay order and set September 24 for the hearing of the case. — UNI

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UPA-Left panel to be a political, says Raja

Puducherry, September 3
Urging the Centre to constitute at the earliest the UPA-Left parties committee for looking into the Left parties’ concerns over the Indo-US nuclear deal, CPI on Monday said the committee would be apolitical in nature.

Experts, scientists and economists could be invited whenever it was felt necessary so as to gather their views on the nuclear deal, CPI national secretary D Raja said.

Addressing reporters here, the CPI leader said his party was hopeful of a positive outcome of the discussions of the proposed committee.

The Left parties were prepared to wait till the discussions were over as it was agreed by the Centre to look into ‘certain concerns’ raised by the parties. — PTI

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Tulbul project doesn’t violate treaty: India

New Delhi, September 3
Maintaining that the Tulbul Navigation Project in Jammu and Kashmir does not violate the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, India today made clear its determination to pursue it because of its crucial importance for movement of boats in the Kashmir valley.

Water resources minister Saifuddin Soz emphasised that the Jhelum is a “symbol of our civilisation” and cannot lose the right of navigation on it. “I made it clear to them (Pakistan)... we want navigation in the Jhelum,” Soz told reporters. — PTI

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Khanduri’s comment gimmick: Cong
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 3
Reacting to the statement by Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri today in the Capital to initiate action in cases of alleged corruption during the Congress regime, the state Congress leadership has called it a publicity stunt.

Uttarakhand Congress spokesperson Surinder Aggarwal said by making such statements, the CM was actually trying to instill fear in the minds of his detractors within his party to further consolidate his own position.

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India concerned over Bangladesh developments 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 3
India is concerned over the situation in Bangladesh, its worst nightmare being the possibility of the army formally seizing control.

The foreign office today created a record of sorts when it came up with a view on the political situation in Bangladesh third time in as many weeks - this time in the wake of former premier Khaleda Zia’s arrest.

A ministry of external affairs spokesman said: “We would hope that the people of Bangladesh will be enabled to choose their representatives in a free, fair and democratic process.

In our view, the early and full restoration of democracy, due process of law and respect for individual rights will contribute to the evolution of a stable, democratic and prosperous Bangladesh.”

Every time the Indian foreign office aired its view on the political developments in Bangladesh in the past one month, the central theme of New Delhi’s averments has been that it favours early and full restoration of democracy in Bangladesh.

The very fact that the spokesman did not condemn Zia’s arrest is significant. Begum Zia’s five-year-tenure (2001-2006) as Prime Minister saw Indo-Bangladesh relations touching a new low. Gradually and systematically, Zia drifted away from India, went into a strategic embrace with Pakistan and China and turned a blind eye to increasing groundswell of support for jihadi brand of fundamentalism in her country.

Zia’s arrest comes close on heels of arrest of her archrival Sheikh Hasina. Both the Begums together make a formidable challenge for the military-backed caretaker government of chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed.

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Govt to import wheat

New Delhi, September 3
The government today decided to import nearly 8 lakh tonnes of wheat at an average price of $389 a tonne, which is about 20 per cent higher than the last round of tender, a top food ministry official said.

The decision was taken after a meeting of an EGoM chaired by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“We have decide to import 7.95 lakh tonnes of wheat at an average price of $389 per tonne,” the official said.

STC, which imports wheat on behalf of the government, had floated a global tender last month for importing unspecified quantity to be delivered between October and December at various designated ports.

Though bids worth only 5.3 lakh tonnes of wheat from six companies in a price range of $385-434 per tonne were received in the global tender, STC later on negotiated with the global suppliers to increase their volume of bids. The government has already contracted 5.11 lakh tonnes of wheat at an average price of $325.59 per tonne in the last round of tender in July. — PTI

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