SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

DGP rubbishes reports of impending terrorist attacks
Chennai, September 4
A routine alert by the Union Home Ministry to all state governments to beef up security and vigilance for Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi festivals following bomb blasts by terrorists in Hyderabad, has been converted into rumours by some television channels and newspapers about terror attacks in the city, leading to unnecessary panic among the people.

Plan to set up over 6,000 schools
New Delhi, September 4
The government plans to set up more than 6,000 schools across the country during the Eleventh Plan period with the aim of ensuring there is at least one school in every block.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, along with national awardee teachers, on the eve of Teachers’ Day in New Delhi on Tuesday. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, along with national awardee teachers, on the eve of Teachers’ Day in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI






EARLIER STORIES




Pomp, fervour mark Janmashtami
New Delhi, September 4
Amid tight and extra vigil, Janmashtami, the festival marking the birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated with pomp, splendour and religious fervour across the country today.


‘Govinda ala re’  In Video (56k)

The 'Dahi Handi' frenzy at its peak during the Gokulashtami festival as human pyramids of Govindas reach up to capture their pot of fortune at Dadar in South Mumbai on Tuesday. — PTI
The 'Dahi Handi' frenzy at its peak during the Gokulashtami festival as human pyramids of Govindas reach up to capture their pot of fortune at Dadar in South Mumbai on Tuesday.

AIIMS meeting today
New Delhi, September 4
Amid the controversy over the signing of the degree certificates, the AIIMS governing body will meet here tomorrow to discuss a host of issues, including the appointment of registrar.

Ramadoss signs

ISRO plans five launches a year: Nair
Bangalore, September 4
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today announced the successful carrying out of first orbit-raising maneuver of its latest satellite INSAT-4CR. It added that the communication satellite would be made operational within a month.

Terms of compassionate jobs can’t be challenged: CAT
New Delhi, September 4
An employee who accepts appointment on compassionate grounds unconditionally cannot seek seniority status same as that of other employees inducted through regular selection process, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has held.

Killing of 42 Muslims: Cops go scotfree
Lucknow, September 4
What happens to you if you kill 42 innocent Muslim men under your protection? Nothing, if you happen to be working for the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) in Uttar Pradesh.

Alleged child killer lynched by mob
Lucknow, September 4
A rape accused, who was on bail, was lynched by a mob in Lucknow’s downtown locality after his neighbours found the body of a three-year-old child in his room who had gone missing.




A person roughs up a man, accused of raping and killing a three-year-old girl, in Pandeyganj area in Lucknow on Tuesday. — PTI
A person roughs up a man, accused of raping and killing a three-year-old girl, in Pandeyganj area in Lucknow on Tuesday.

BJP smells scam in wheat imports
New Delhi, September 4
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today called the UPA government’s decision to import “a shameless loot of the nation” and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the costly imports as it was a “heist on national exchequers”.

Central team visits Bihar
Patna, September 4
A Central team has gone to Bihar on a four-day visit to assess the damage caused by the floods.

15 militants killed in Manipur
Imphal, September 4
Fifteen militants had been killed in insurgency-related incidents in Manipur since yesterday morning, officials said today.

Assam blast: Two ULFA conduits arrested
Guwahati, September 4
The Assam police today arrested two conduits of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), involved in September 1 blast in a city market that killed one person and injured 21.

Najma Heptullah’s husband dead
New Delhi, September 4
Akbarali A. Heptullah, husband of MP and former deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha Najma Heptullah, died here this morning.

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DGP rubbishes reports of impending terrorist attacks
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 4
A routine alert by the Union Home Ministry to all state governments to beef up security and vigilance for Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi festivals following bomb blasts by terrorists in Hyderabad, has been converted into rumours by some television channels and newspapers about terror attacks in the city, leading to unnecessary panic among the people.

Tamil Nadu DGP today specifically rubbished such reports of “impending terrorist attacks or infiltration by them in Chennai” and said they were nothing but “rumours”.

He said that after bomb blasts by terrorists in Hyderabad, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) issued a nationwide alert to step up security and vigil and it was very much routine in nature. There was no specific mention either about Chennai or Tamil Nadu, he added.

The DGP strongly warned rumours mongers for creating unnecessary panic among the people and asked the media to verify reports before telecasting or publishing it.

A senior IB official also confirmed about the routine alert and wondered how could “a section of the media behave in such an irresponsible manner and create panic among the people? In their bid to compete, they are, infact helping the terrorists who exactly want such a situation.”

Panic prevailed in the state after a television channel reported that the IB had intercepted telephone messages between members of two Islamic fundamentalist organisations about “arms sharing” and alerted the Tamil Nadu police about possible terror attacks on the day of Janmashtami.

One local newspaper even went to the extent of reporting a fake meeting between the top brass of the IB and the state Police chiefs to discuss the four Bangladeshi Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI) terrorists who were operating from a Chennai suburb. The news report also stated that a man acquitted in the Mumbai blast case had obtained training in Saudi Arabia and trying to form a “Muslim Defence Module”.

Residents in this metropolis were alarmed following the reports. Rajendran said, “There is no specific information of any extremist alert from the Intelligence Bureau to us or that there was any terrorist infiltration from any neighbouring states.”

As part of the routine procedure, following any terrorist attacks in part of the country, and on the eve of festivals, the police is keeping a watch on organisations which had indulged in violence in the past and their members as well as on foreigners who might be staying even after expiry of their visas.

The Chennai city police commissioner Nanchil Kumaran held a meeting with owners of cinema theatres and multi-plexes and metal detectors have been installed at the entrances of the halls. Outside food packets are not being allowed and bags of cine goers are being searched as a part of precautionary measures. However, this kind of speculation by the media about terrorist activities in Tamil Nadu has given an opportunity to politicians to criticise each other.

Opposition leader and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa accused the ruling DMK government of turning a blind eye to the terrorist threat and accused Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi of being surrounded by a “caucus” which was preventing him to see intelligence reports about terrorist activities in the state.

Strongly reacting to her charges, Karunanidhi today said her statement attracted action under criminal law and remarked, “Such statements by her showed her frustration and anger over being out of power.”

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Plan to set up over 6,000 schools

New Delhi, September 4
The government plans to set up more than 6,000 schools across the country during the Eleventh Plan period with the aim of ensuring there is at least one school in every block.

“We have a plan to set up 6,000 schools and 600 Navodaya Vidyalayas across the country which is under the consideration of the Planning Commission,” minister of state for HRD M.A.A. Fatmi said addressing a CBSE function to award teachers here today.

Thirteen teachers from across the country were awarded for excellence in teaching on the eve of Teachers Day.

Meanwhile, the CBSE has decided to introduce some new academic and industry-oriented courses for the students who have passed Class X to provide them with better job opportunities.

The new courses will include heritage crafts, visual arts and graphic learning, human rights and gender studies and film and media studies, CBSE chairman Ashok Ganguly said.

The new industry-oriented courses would be offered in collaboration with the NCERT, he said. — PTI

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Pomp, fervour mark Janmashtami

New Delhi, September 4
Amid tight and extra vigil, Janmashtami, the festival marking the birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated with pomp, splendour and religious fervour across the country today.

Prayers, fasting and revelry marked the day as the police and para-military forces stood guard near illuminated temples and crowded marketplaces to ward off any possible terror strike.

The Union Home Ministry had yesterday asked all states and union territories to step up surveillance in view of the festivities.

Long-winding queues of devotees, carrying offerings for the Lord, were seen outside tastefully-decorated temples which resounded with devotional songs.

Shops selling idols of Lord Krishna did a roaring business as traffic snarls were witnessed at many places on account of the festivities.

Tens of thousands of devotees thronged temples in Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, to offer prayers as the city was wrapped under a massive security cover.

In Surat, t-shirts depicting Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Lord Krishna surfaced at several places in the city.

Scores of people uprooted by the Tehri dam converged at Kandisaur village in Uttarakhand and prayed to Lord Krishna for peace and comfort.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari greeted the nation on the occasion. — PTI

‘Govinda ala re’

Mumbai: Millions of Hindus in India celebrated Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, with special prayers, spiritual discourses, dance and music. Many temples wore a festive look, bedecked with flowers and illuminated by lamps.

Janmashtami was celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety in Mumbai with chants of “Govinda ala re” ranting the air.

This year's Dahi Handi celebrations, where an earthen pot hung 20-30 feet from the ground with the help of a rope is broken by a human pyramid, saw the police throwing a security blanket to stop any untoward incident from happening in light of the recent bomb blasts in Hyderabad.

An euphoric atmosphere prevailed in Mumbai with young boys making teams of their “mandals” and trying their level best to break as many “handis” as possible and, of course, earning the prize money for their feat.

This Janmashtami, Dahi Handi celebrations in the city saw two NCP leaders taking political potshot (quite literally!) at the dahi handis - Worli’s MLA Sachin Ahir and Thane’s legislator Jitendra Avhad.

Avhad had hosted a 51-foot high (the highest ever) dahi handi with a 11-tier human pyramid in Thane. Apart from the prize money of Rs 51 lakh, audiences were also be treated to performances by DJ Aqeel and a 15-minute ramp-cum-dance show by Terence Lewis.

Ahir, on the other hand, had formed a 40-foot high 9-tier human pyramid with the first chance of breaking the “handi” being given to a girl band.

Among the prizes up for grabs, if a five-tier human pyramid succeeded in breaking a “handi”, it would fetch a prize of Rs 5,000 while a six-tier one would get Rs 7,000. A nine-tier pyramid would win a Hero Honda bike. “This year's prize money is Rs 11 lakh,” said Jitendra Awhad, NCP leader. — PTI

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AIIMS meeting today

New Delhi, September 4
Amid the controversy over the signing of the degree certificates, the AIIMS governing body will meet here tomorrow to discuss a host of issues, including the appointment of registrar.

The 11-member governing body, which is the highest administrative authority of the institute, will discuss the implementation of the decisions taken on January 24 and May 11 meetings, health ministry sources said.

Ramadoss signs

New Delhi: Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss has signed the degree certificates of AIIMS graduates following a Delhi High Court directive in this regard.

“The minister has signed all degree certificates and these will be distributed to students in compliance with the court orders,” ministry sources said here today. — PTI

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ISRO plans five launches a year: Nair
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 4
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today announced the successful carrying out of first orbit-raising maneuver of its latest satellite INSAT-4CR. It added that the communication satellite would be made operational within a month.

Spurred by the success of the GSLV launch, ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair said ISRO would go for five launches a year and that there would be two more launches of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) this year.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Nair said: “The first orbit-raising manoeuvre of INSAT-4CR was carried out successfully by firing the 440 newton liquid apogee motor on board the satellite for a duration of 27 minutes starting at 8.17 am yesterday by commanding the satellite from master control facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka.”

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Terms of compassionate jobs can’t be challenged: CAT

New Delhi, September 4
An employee who accepts appointment on compassionate grounds unconditionally cannot seek seniority status same as that of other employees inducted through regular selection process, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has held.

“Compassionate appointments are certainly made for a particular purpose and if later the person is found unfit for the job, the employer must also have rights,” the principal Bench of CAT, headed by Justice M. Ramachandran, said. The ruling came on an application of Savita Malhotra, an upper division clerk, posted at the Railway Board here, who had sought parity in seniority with other employees appointed through regular selection process.

Dismissing the application, the Bench termed Malhotra’s appointment due to sudden death of her husband as “purely ad hoc and not regular”.

“The very fact that if the government, as a model employer has thought fit to grant compassionate appointment, must not lead to situation that the employee concerned can take advantage of this largesse,” the bench, also comprising member Neena Ranjan, said.

Malhotra, was appointed by the Railways on August 20, 1983, on special terms and conditions. She worked at Lucknow and was later transferred to the Railway Board in New Delhi. Malhotra had accepted the date of seniority as May 1, 1987, in response to a memorandum which had laid down the conditions that the appointment was purely temporary and seniority will be from the date shown against each person.

It was also made clear that she would rank junior to all other candidates appointed on the basis of examinations in the 1985. — PTI

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Killing of 42 Muslims: Cops go scotfree
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, September 4
What happens to you if you kill 42 innocent Muslim men under your protection? Nothing, if you happen to be working for the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) in Uttar Pradesh.

PAC men reportedly shot 42 Muslims in cold blood on May 22, 1987. The incident came to be known as the Hashimpura killings and the those responsible were given “glowing entries” in their annual confidential reports (ACRs). There was no negative remark in the ACRs.

These startling facts have come out in the open after 20 years when the families of the victims and survivors filed 615 RTI cases in Lucknow on May 24, 2007, to know why the accused PAC men, charged with the killings by a Delhi Sessions Court, continued to be in active service.

Through the applications, the survivors and the families wanted to know if any disciplinary action had been taken against them, or if rewards and emoluments were given to them, besides copies of their ACRs.

The victims’ lawyer had demanded a copy of the report of the crime branch of the CID and wanted to know why the state had sanctioned criminal prosecution only against 19 PAC men and not all the others indicted in the report.

Speaking to TNS, the lawyer said some of the documents supplied in the reply were completely blank and had not been attested by the officer concerned, showing scant respect for transparency and the right to know.

While the government and the police department had not furnished all information sought through the RTI applications, whatever had been made public was enough to shock a conscientious citizen believing in the rule of law, the counsel said.

At least two of the PAC personnel suspended after eights years of the incident were reinstated within one and a half years. One of them, in a letter dated December 2, 1996, had pleaded that due to his suspension he was facing economic difficulties. He was reinstated the following day.

For the second one, the PAC argued that they could not do without his services and he was also reinstated.

This proves that their career prospects did not suffer in view of the CID inquiry.

The victims’ families and survivors have now filed four appeals and complaints with the appellate authority that would soon be heard in Lucknow.

The Hashimpura massacre occurred during the communal riots that broke out in Meerut in May 1987. The immediate provocation is said to be the Rajiv Gandhi-led Central government's decision to open Babri Masjid for worship by Hindus.

In April 1987, several areas of Meerut city were rocked by communal violence during Shab-e-Barat. The then Congress government in UP, headed by Vir Bahadur Singh, withdrew the security forces soon after the violence subsided.

Within days Meerut exploded again, and the state government was caught unawares. The scale of the riots can be imagined from the fact that 50 gazetted police officers and more than 60 companies of the PAC, the CRPF and the Army had to be pressed into service.

Curfew was imposed and PAC personnel conducted searches in several Muslim localities. On May 22, 1987, they booked hundreds of Muslim youths from Hashimpura, where no rioting had occurred.

Instead of taking them to the police station, the 19 PAC personnel, under platoon commander Surinder Pal Singh, allegedly took 50 of them, mostly daily wagers and poor weavers, in a van to the Upper Ganga canal in Murad Nagar, Ghaziabad.

They were shot one by one and thrown in the canal. Some were thrown in the Hindon canal in Makanpur. Six, however, escaped with injuries and filed FIRs.

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Alleged child killer lynched by mob

Lucknow, September 4
A rape accused, who was on bail, was lynched by a mob in Lucknow’s downtown locality after his neighbours found the body of a three-year-old child in his room who had gone missing.

Shiv Mohan died at a city hospital where he was brought this morning after people of his locality lynched him.

The mother of the deceased girl child received a call in the morning where she was assured by the caller that her child would reach home by 10am.

However, the neighbours got suspicious. On tracking the call, it was found that the caller was Mohan who made the call from a local PCO.

The neighbours raided his house and found the baby wrapped in a cloth with her throat slit.

“The neighbours located the accused and then beat him up. The accused succumbed to injuries,” said IG, Lucknow Zone, Arvind Jain.

The body of the child was sent for postmortem and test will be conducted to find out whether the child was raped by Mohan.

“Whether the girl was raped or not is not yet clear. We are waiting for the postmortem report,” Jain added.

Shocked people of Wazirganj locality are finding it difficult to believe that one of their neighbours had done this gruesome act of “raping and killing” the child.

“He used to take my child for outings and bring her sweets. We never thought that our neighbour would do this to us,” said the mother of the victim.— ANI

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BJP smells scam in wheat imports
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 4
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today called the UPA government’s decision to import “a shameless loot of the nation” and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the costly imports as it was a “heist on national exchequers”.

BJP national spokesman Prakash Javadekar described the fresh import of wheat at whopping price of $ 390 per MT a scam as it was a betrayal of farmers and a heist of national exchequer.

Javadekar said while the government had first rejected the tender, which had offered wheat at $ 263 per MT in June citing the reasons of price being very high, and then suddenly changed its mind and ordered import of 5.7 lakh tonnes wheat at $ 325 per MT.

In addition to this the government has called for a third tender and has placed an order for nearly 8 lakh tonnes more at the whopping price of $ 390 per MT, Javadekar said.

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Central team visits Bihar
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 4
A Central team has gone to Bihar on a four-day visit to assess the damage caused by the floods.

The toll in the state reportedly rose to 592 with 36 more deaths being reported from the affected districts.

Waters of major rivers, most of them originating from Nepal, have started receding in the absence of rain in the catchment areas.

Twenty districts of north and central Bihar were affected by the floods. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had submitted a detailed report on the floods to the finance minister P.Chidambaram during his visit to the state on Sunday.

Chidambaram had said a Central team would assess the damage caused by the floods and decide on the nature of financial assistance.

Manoj Srivastava, commissioner of the state disaster management department, told the media that the team comprised eight members, headed by Asim Khurana, joint secretary of the home ministry.

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15 militants killed in Manipur

Imphal, September 4
Fifteen militants had been killed in insurgency-related incidents in Manipur since yesterday morning, officials said today.

Three cadres of the People's United Liberation Front (PULF) were killed in a gun battle with a team of the Assam Rifles and state police commandos at Irilbung near here in the early hours today.

An official report from Tamenglong district said two militants of the NSCN-K were killed last night in a factional fight with the NSCN-IM cadres at Noney.

In a separate incident, suspected the NSCN-IM cadres gunned down 10 militants of the Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) at Hundung in Ukhrul district yesterday, the officials said.

While the autopsy of 12 militants would be conducted at Ukhrul and Tamenglong district hospitals, those of the three PULF militants be done at the Regional Institute of Medical Science and Hospital here, they said.

In the incident at Irilbung, about seven militants of the PULF fired at the team of the Assam Rifles and state police commandos when they stopped a vehicle for checking at 1 am. This sparked a gun battle that lasted for over five hours. Three militants, identified as PULF commander Mohammed Yasuf, assistant finance secretary Mohammed Akbar and Mohammed Doctor Sana, were killed. — PTI

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Assam blast: Two ULFA conduits arrested
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, September 4
The Assam police today arrested two conduits of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), involved in September 1 blast in a city market that killed one person and injured 21.

The police said ULFA conduits Kamaleswar Das and Joonjyoti Sharma were arrested today from two different places. Kamaleswar was arrested from Kumarikata in Tamulpur near the India-Bhutan border under Baksa district of Assam while Joonjyoti was arrested from the city.

The conduits confessed before the police to have had fitted the bomb with the help of an ULFA militant Dhiren Das alias Dipak Das to an auto van, which was parked at the Bamunimaidan Railway Colony market in the city about 20 minutes before the blast on Saturday.

The blast was carried out at the instruction of ULFA’s 709 battalion’s senior leader Akash Thapa. The duo had procured the auto van from Champak Barman about a fortnight ago by paying Rs 53,000 provided by the ULFA.

SSP Surendra Kumar saiod they took the auto van to Nalbari district on August 31 to strap the bomb to the vehicle there with the help of an ULFA explosive expert.

The police said both conduits were unemployed and drug addicts and were used by the banned ULFA to plant the bomb in lieu of money. They had triggered another blast at the Ganeshguri area in the city last month and were planning to carry out blasts in Fancy Bazar and the Anthgaon area in the city soon at the behest of the ULFA.

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Najma Heptullah’s husband dead

New Delhi, September 4
Akbarali A. Heptullah, husband of MP and former deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha Najma Heptullah, died here this morning.

Heptullah (75) is survived by his wife and three daughters.

He complained of stomach ache past midnight and was taken to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where doctors declared him brought dead. The burial will take place on Friday after the arrival of his two daughters from the US and one from Canada, family sources said. — UNI

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