SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

India to develop medium-altitude UAV
Bangalore, September 9
In a new first, the Defence Research and Development Organisation has decided to manufacture a medium-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle in collaboration with the Indian private industry. The country at present relies mainly on Israeli UAVs but has started the process of developing its own technology for Indian UAVs as part of an internal DRDO effort.

Cong, BJP in poll mode
Mamata gives NDA a jolt
New Delhi, September 9
Anticipating a snap poll, the Congress and the BJP, the two main contenders for political power at the Centre, appear to be donning the electoral hat as the two parties are busy in setting their house in order before hitting the street.

Congress inching towards Nitish
Patna, September 9
It is said that politics often makes strange bedfellows. This was evident when the AICC general secretary and incharge of Bihar affairs, Digvijay Singh, in presence of the former UP governor Motilal Vohra and state Congress chief Sadanand Singh, today made a calculated bid to distinguish between Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar and his BJP ally and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi.



EARLIER STORIES


Singer Asha Bhosle (centre) is felicitated by Bollywood music director Khayam (left) and veteran Marathi music composer Yashwant Dev on her 75th birthday in Mumbai
Singer Asha Bhosle (centre) is felicitated by Bollywood music director Khayam (left) and veteran Marathi music composer Yashwant Dev on her 75th birthday in Mumbai on Saturday night.
— PTI

Devotees carry a huge idol of Lord Ganesha through the streets of Mumbai
Devotees carry a huge idol of Lord Ganesha through the streets of Mumbai on Sunday. — AFP

Safeguard assets of charitable bodies, SC orders courts
New Delhi, September 9
The Supreme Court has directed courts to safeguard the properties of religious and charitable institutions from wrongful claims or misappropriation.

Khanduri set to gain from Koshiyari’s exit
Dehra Dun, September 9
After an emphatic victory in the Dhumakot assembly bypoll, Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri’s hold over the state BJP setup is also set to consolidate further with the imminent exit of his arch rival Bhagat Singh Koshiyari as the state unit chief this month.

Act against law offenders: Maya
Lucknow, September 9
Against the backdrop of violent protests by students against a ban on holding union elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today directed officials to initiate strict action against all those who disrupt law and order and destroy public properties.

Cracks in UNPA
Jaya sings a different tune
Chennai, September 9
Cracks seem to have developed in the recently formed United National Progressive Alliance with the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa today saying she wonders whether her party is part of the alliance at all.

Consider panel’s findings on N-deal: Left
New Delhi/Vishakapatnam, September 9
Ahead of the meeting of the joint panel to consider their concerns on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Left parties today said the government should consider the committee’s finding before taking any step to operationalise the agreement.

Panel pulls up ministry
New Delhi, September 9
Taking serious note of the gap between publication of draft rules and notification of the final rules and other shortcomings in the Pulses Grading and Marking Rules, a parliamentary panel has asked the ministry of agriculture to devise an appropriate mechanism to ensure timely framing of rules in future.

Mumbai Riots
Justice Srikrishna was reluctant to head panel
New Delhi, September 9
A former Supreme Court Judge, Justice B.N. Srikrishna, today said he was reluctant to take up the responsibility of the commission that went into the 1992-93 Mumbai riots.

Ambani mansion issue
BJP trying to garner Muslim votes
Mumbai, September 9
A decision by the Maharashtra Wakf Board to hand over a plot of prime land in South Mumbai to Mukesh Ambani for building his dream mansion has become a convenient stick for the opposition BJP to beat the ruling Vilasrao Deshmukh government.

TN medicos up in arms against Ramadoss
Chennai, September 9
Medical students in Tamil Nadu are up in arms against union health minister A. Ramadoss’s proposal to make one year of rural service mandatory for all medical graduates in the country from the next academic year.

School for beggars’ daughters in Bihar soon
Patna, September 9
After recently felicitating underprivileged “daughters of Bihar” for their achievements in various fields against all odds, the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government here is now working on an innovative school for the daughters of beggars.

Joint Army exercise with China in Nov, says Antony
Kerala, September 9
India will conduct joint army exercise with China in November this year, Defence Minister A.K Antony said here today. Addressing a leadership camp organised by the Alappuzha District Congress Committee, he said the country was also preparing to hold joint naval exercises with Russia next week.

Model’s condition improving, no signs of drug abuse
New Delhi, September 9
The condition of former ramp model Geetanjali Nagpal - admitted to a hospital here after she was found begging on the streets of the city - is improving and doctors have found no symptoms of drug abuse in her.

Human Trafficking Victims
UN office to engage corporate sector
New Delhi, September 9
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, South Asia, is engaging India's corporate sector to offer livelihood options to victims of human trafficking. The UNODC Regional Office for South Asia has invited over a dozen companies to participate in deliberations during its conference scheduled on October 10 and 11 here.

Cyber crime conference from Sept 12
New Delhi, September 9
The Seventh International Conference on Cyber Crime is being organised by IPSG in New Delhi from September 12 to 14. About 100 participants will attend this conference, being hosted by Central Bureau of Investigation, from more than 40 countries, 40 senior police officers/ forensic scientists as well as experts of CERT-In from India.

Realtor shot dead, Congress in soup
Hyderabad, September 9
The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh was today caught in an embarrassing situation following a shoot-out incident involving the state party chief K.Kesava Rao's son K.Venkat, leading to the death of a realtor.

Hyderabad blasts: two suspects identified
Hyderabad, September 9
The Andhra Pradesh police claimed to have identified two Bangladeshi nationals for their alleged involvement in the twin blasts and have also released their photos here today.

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India to develop medium-altitude UAV
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 9
In a new first, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has decided to manufacture a medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in collaboration with the Indian private industry.

The country at present relies mainly on Israeli UAVs but has started the process of developing its own technology for Indian UAVs as part of an internal DRDO effort. The proposed MALE UAV will be in the same class as the Israeli Heron being run by the armed forces.

The DRDO perceives increased orders for the Heron and has planned to develop a similar machine with the focus being on stealth features. This means the UAV will have an imported engine but will focus on advances made in the field of radar absorption, surveillance and detection by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), which is the nodal agency for the project.

It will have the capacity to fly at a height of 35,000 ft for a spell of 24 hours, besides automatic take-off and landing and a wheeled under-carriage.

Initially, around 80 to 100 machines are expected to be produced in three years with the number expected to grow according to the requirements of the Army. The relative short time span from planning to flight has been chalked out after deciding to partner with the Indian private industry.

“We have decided to build the air-frames and integrate the vehicle, the industry will manufacture them”, disclosed DRDO’s chief controller of research and development D. Banerjee while talking to TNS.

It has been decided to partner with the industry from the beginning of the project itself because it has been found earlier that delays occur due to the time gap between development of a prototype and its commercial production. The project will allow engineers from the industry to be associated with the design and development process so that it can bring in experts for speedy production.

Banerjee said the DRDO had already put out an expression of interest for the joint manufacture of the UAVs. He said a request for the proposal was expected to be sent out next month following which a ‘transparent’ system would be followed to select the industry partner.

He said the private industry would start on the project on the basis of committed orders from the Army provided they were able to deliver according to a definite time table.

The design capability developed in the process is also expected to be used to develop a high-altitude long endurance (HALE) vehicle.

“This is being done so that when we have an actual requirement we will have the technology in place to carry out the project,” Banerjee said, adding that another spin off was the work started on development technology for an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).

The UCAVs, also known as combat drones, are the latest class in UAVs and are designed to attack targets with a high degree of autonomy. It will incorporate stealth design and composite materials and be used for electronic warfare, air defence and surveillance and precision attacks.

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Cong, BJP in poll mode
Mamata gives NDA a jolt

Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
Anticipating a snap poll, the Congress and the BJP, the two main contenders for political power at the Centre, appear to be donning the electoral hat as the two parties are busy in setting their house in order before hitting the street.

While the Congress high command is likely to announce a reshuffle in the All-India Congress Committee soon, the RSS is about to redefine its relationship with the BJP as part of the plan to give a free hand to leader of the opposition L K Advani to lead the saffron party in the next general election.

Advani, who had been sidelined after he praised Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah about two years ago, is likely to get back the reins of the BJP to lead the party in the Lok Sabha elections.

Concerned over the rapid decline of the BJP's image and credibility in the public eye, the RSS leaders like Mohan Bhagwat and Madandas Devi have already hinted that Sangh is going to redefine its relationship with the political party with which it has had long and unflinching ties.

It was being felt that present BJP President Rajnath Singh was totally "misfit" to lead the party in the general election and that is why it was important to have Advani at the helm of affairs as he alone can unite the party and lead from the front.

The RSS meeting in Mumbai is understood have cleared Advani's preeminent role in the BJP and this is likely to be approved at the forthcoming meeting of the BJP naitonal executive in Bhopal, beginning September 21.

Former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Sekhawat is understood to be playing an active role in getting Advani a crucial role in the party, sources said adding that it was being done with the consent of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In case, Vajpayee expresses his inability to travel to Bhopal to attend the BJP national executive meeting, then Shekhawat will go there to formally usher in Advani's role, sources said adding that former Prime Minister has not been keeping too well.

On the other hand, the UPA has a series of measures lined up to shore up its credibiity in the popular perception. The announcement of follow-up action on the Sachar Committee's report on Muslims, an ambitious scheme of scholarships for Scheduled Caste students, the Bill for unorganised sector workers and a Bima yojana for the masses are the latest decisions to project its 'Aam Aadmi' image.

At the same time, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has become active on the organisational front with indications from the AICC that changes are on the cards in several states and at the national level. She appointed Rajay Sabha MP Jai Prakash Agarwal as the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief yesterday.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh summed up the mood in his party by saying, the Congress is not afraid of elections, but we do not want to thrust elections on the people of the country at this time.

Another AICC General Secretary, Ashok Gehlot, said it is high time to give a key role in the organisation to young MP Rahul Gandhi to propel a new generation of leadership to the front.

While the Congress does not have to worry over its coalition partners in the UPA, the NDA got a mild jolt with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announcing her decision to part ways from the alliance.

That is why, Advani is hosting a lunch for Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackarey this week to keep the party's oldest alliance partner in good humour.

Another intersting development a couple of days ago was a meeting that senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad had with AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa in Chennai.

The meeting came amid reports that she has been distancing herself from the Third Front, formally known as the United National Progressive Alliance. Her party voted for Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in the presidential poll despite the UNPA's decision to abstain.

Congress general secretary Margaret Alva's comment welcoming Banerjee's move has come at a time when talk of mid-term polls is gaining ground. Banerjee is an arch opponent of Left parties and the Trinamool is the main opposition in Left-ruled West Bengal.

Reports have suggested that a secret understanding between the Congress and Trinamool for contesting the next election in harmony led to the Left parties upping the ante on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

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Congress inching towards Nitish
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 9
It is said that politics often makes strange bedfellows. This was evident when the AICC general secretary and incharge of Bihar affairs, Digvijay Singh, in presence of the former UP governor Motilal Vohra and state Congress chief Sadanand Singh, today made a calculated bid to distinguish between Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar and his BJP ally and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi.

Digvijay’s positive attitude towards Nitish assumed significance in the backdrop of his preceding statement that the present electoral alliance between the Congress and the RJD, headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav was limited to 14th Lok Sabha polls.

“It is up to the Congress working committee to decide on the nature of alliance in Bihar for 15th Lok Sabha polls. We are committed to support Lalu ji till the end of 14th Lok Sabha polls," he asserted.

Talking to mediapersons here Digvijay refused to blame Nitish for the alleged lack of coordination in the state administration in handling the relief and rescue operations with regard to the current spate of floods in Bihar which has already claimed over 650 lives and damaged property and crops worth crores of rupees.

Rather, he squarely blamed Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi for the mess when Nitish had left for Mauritius in the initial days of floods and had to cut short his trip owing to the exigency related to flood.

Besides, Digvijay today also praised Nitish for handling the post-flood situation effectively, except for the fact that the Bihar Chief Minister was, according to him, too bureaucratic in taking decisions by delaying disbursement of funds meant for the victims. “Nitish ji was the secretary of the secretaries,” he remarked.

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Safeguard assets of charitable bodies, SC orders courts

New Delhi, September 9
The Supreme Court has directed courts to safeguard the properties of religious and charitable institutions from wrongful claims or misappropriation.

The ruling by the Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari was seen as cracking the whip on public servants and trustees/archaks/sebaits/employees of religious institutions, involved in grabbing the properties of deities, temples and Devaswom boards.

The judgement was handed down on a petition by A.A. Gopalakrishnan on allegation that the idols of lord Vishnu/Vigrahas of Updevdas, in possession of Karikkode Devaswom, Ernakulam, Kerala, for centuries had illegally been given to respondent number two to five.

The petitioner also alleged that the temple land has been shown in possession of the respondents and in exchange the land had been handed over to them through a fraud committed by the trustees of the board in collusion with some government officials.

The apex court, while allowing the appeal and setting aside the Kerala High Court judgement, noted, “The properties of deities, temples and Devaswom boards are required to be protected and safeguarded by their trustees/ archaks/ sabaits/employees.

The court further observed, “This is possible only with the passive or active collusion of the authority concerned. Such acts of ‘fences eating the crops’ should be dealt with sternly. The government, members or trustees and devotees should be vigilant to prevent any such usurping or encroachment. It is also the duty of courts to protect and safeguard the properties of religious and charitable institutions from wrongful claims or misappropriation.” It set aside the compromise dated August 30, 2000, and compromised degree dated September 18, 2000, and directed the Cochin Devaswom board to take the possession of land belonging to the temple.

The Bench also directed the Collector, Ernakulum, to hold an enquiry as to the circumstances in which the order dated February 21, 1976, was passed on the file of the special tehsildar, LR number II, Ernakulum, and take consequential remedial action.

The court said the board was at liberty to take action in accordance with law in regard to Survey Number 1043 and also directed the sub-court, Ernakulum, to dispose of suit No. 399 of 1998 in accordance with law if respondents three to five pursued the suit. — UNI

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Khanduri set to gain from Koshiyari’s exit
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 9
After an emphatic victory in the Dhumakot assembly bypoll, Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri’s hold over the state BJP setup is also set to consolidate further with the imminent exit of his arch rival Bhagat Singh Koshiyari as the state unit chief this month.

BJP sources said hectic lobbying was on to find a suitable successor to Koshiyari, whose claim to the top post was ignored by the central party leadership after the state assembly elections held this February.

The internal clash between both is well-known. The process of BJP organisational elections in Uttarakhand is on and a new state party chief will be elected before September 20.

The names of former union minister Bachi Singh Rawat and Ajay Bhatt, a former state health minister, are doing the rounds for the post. Both of them hail from the Kumaon region.

Taking into account the caste and regional considerations, Rawat, a senior BJP leader and protégé of Murli Manohar Joshi, stands a fair chance of making it. Since Khanduri is a Brahmin from the Garhwal region, preference to Rawat, a Thakur from the Kumaon region, seems a likely choice, according to sources.

But whosoever finally gets the nod of the central BJP leadership, it is going to be in favour of Khanduri whose hold over the state party setup will be further consolidated after exit of Koshiyari, considered a “parallel centre of power” in the state BJP politics.

His tenure as the state BJP chief had expired in September, 2006, but he was given an extension. Koshiyari, however, is likely to be adjusted at the central level.

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Act against law offenders: Maya

Lucknow, September 9
Against the backdrop of violent protests by students against a ban on holding union elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today directed officials to initiate strict action against all those who disrupt law and order and destroy public properties.

Mayawati said the state government was committed to improve academic ambience of universities and colleges and this was the reason for imposing a ban on holding students union elections.

The government will not allow violence to occur and make educational institutions into a hub of politics, she said. — PTI

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Cracks in UNPA
Jaya sings a different tune

Chennai, September 9
Cracks seem to have developed in the recently formed United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) with the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa today saying she wonders whether her party is part of the alliance at all.

Referring to reports quoting Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh that the UNPA backs an alternative mechanism to look into the views of political parties in case the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Indo-US nuclear deal fails to take shape, she denied the UNPA taking such a stand.

"Amar Singh is reported to have said there should be another mechanism for every political party to present its views on Indo-US nuke deal. This is definitely not the view of the AIADMK at all and cannot be termed as the considered or collective view of the UNPA," said Jayalalithaa in a release today.

Jayalalithaa said this was not discussed with the constituent parties of UNPA, especially the AIADMK. — PTI

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Consider panel’s findings on N-deal: Left

New Delhi/Vishakapatnam, September 9
Ahead of the meeting of the joint panel to consider their concerns on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Left parties today said the government should consider the committee’s finding before taking any step to operationalise the agreement.

“We are asking the government not to rush through with the next steps, which are necessary to operationalise the deal. The findings of this committee have to be taken into account,” CPI(M) Polit Buro member Sitaram Yechury said. The first meeting of the panel is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

He said: “Our agenda is the nuclear deal and the implications of the Hyde Act on national sovereignity and interest.”

In Vishakapatnam, Yechury indicated CPI (M) would not destabilise the government at this juncture saying there was no link between the nuke agreement and survival of the Congress-led coalition.

“We are fighting against the deal keeping in the mind the future interests of the country, its independent foreign policy, sovereignty and its place in the Asian politics,” Yechuri said.

CPI general secretary A.B.Bardhan said in Delhi: “We will go with an open mind” to the UPA-Left committee meeting.

Asked about the future course of action in case no amicable solution is found by the committee, Bardhan said: “We will see it then. I don’t want to speculate.” On the upcoming visit of the Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil K Kakodkar to Vienna for the IAEA meet, Bardhan said he understood that the India-specific safeguard proposals would not be put forward at the meeting and India will participate only as a member country. — PTI

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Panel pulls up ministry

New Delhi, September 9
Taking serious note of the gap between publication of draft rules and notification of the final rules and other shortcomings in the Pulses Grading and Marking Rules, a parliamentary panel has asked the ministry of agriculture to devise an appropriate mechanism to ensure timely framing of rules in future.

While expressing their displeasure over the extraordinary delay in notifying the final rules by the agriculture ministry, the Committee on Subordinate Legislation said “the Ministry should devise an appropriate mechanism to ensure timely framing of rules in future in strict compliance with the stipulations made in this regard.”

The committee in its report said Section 3(3) of the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937, provides that every rule made by central government under the Act should be laid before each House of Parliament as soon as may be after it is made.

The Pulses Grading and Marking Rules, 2003, notified by the ministry of agriculture in the Gazette dated April 17, 2004, were, however, not laid in Parliament within the specified period. — TNS

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Mumbai Riots
Justice Srikrishna was reluctant to head panel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
A former Supreme Court Judge, Justice B.N. Srikrishna, today said he was reluctant to take up the responsibility of the commission that went into the 1992-93 Mumbai riots.

“When I was asked to take up the responsibility to head the commission on Mumbai riots, I was in office for just about one year and one month or two months… I was shaken out of my wits. I ran to the Chief Justice and asked him why I was being asked to shoulder this responsibility.”

“Secondly, I told him that I am known as a ‘kattar’ Hindu (hardcore Hindu) who sits on the Bench with a red tilak on the forehead. So anybody who wants to come will have no faith that I will be able to hold this commission.”

“But the Chief Justice was good enough to tell me that ‘when you don the robe of a Judge, you dwarf the robe of religion and you do what the constitution and your judicial office requires you to do,” Justice Srikrishna said.

“That emboldened me to take this kind of responsibility,” Justice Srikrishna, who has now been given the responsibility of heading the Sixth Pay Commission for government employees, said while delivering the second V.M. Tarkunde memorial lecture on “Secularism under the Indian Constitution” here at India International Centre.

Justice Srikrishna, who dealt with the subject at length quoting various Supreme Court judgments, said Mahatma Gandhi, conforming to his high spiritual stature, reckoned secularism as “sarva dharma samabhava” or equal regard for all religions, and first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a self-proclaimed agnostic, too, enthusiastically adopted this conceptual vector, which was different in dimensions from its European cousin.

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Ambani mansion issue
BJP trying to garner Muslim votes
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 9
A decision by the Maharashtra Wakf Board to hand over a plot of prime land in South Mumbai to Mukesh Ambani for building his dream mansion has become a convenient stick for the opposition BJP to beat the ruling Vilasrao Deshmukh government.

The BJP is wooing the Muslims saying the community's property administered by the Wakf Board is no longer safe in the hands of the present government. Party leaders Gopinath Munde and Nitin Gadkari have become the toast of the minority community which has been receiving the rough end of the stick from the secular parties in the wake of recent terror attacks across Maharashtra.

On Friday, hundreds of Muslims gathered at a public function organised by the Anjuman-e-Tahafuze Auqaf in Aurangabad town to felicitate BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Eknath Khadse and other leaders. Muslims, who constitute the majority in this town, have been seething ever since scores of youths were arrested and allegedly tortured in police custody following the train blasts in Mumbai last year. The BJP has now become the community's unlikely saviour and is aggressively wooing them.

The BJP now alleges that the ruling Congress and NCP have illegally sold thousands of crores of rupees worth of Wakf Board properties. Incidentally, attempts by the Congress and the NCP to prevent Muslims from attending the meeting in large numbers did not succeed. Workers from both parties hooted and jeered while they went about canvassing against the BJP days before Friday's meeting.

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TN medicos up in arms against Ramadoss
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 9
Medical students in Tamil Nadu are up in arms against union health minister A. Ramadoss’s proposal to make one year of rural service mandatory for all medical graduates in the country from the next academic year.

And surprisingly they have received support from not only the CPM and the CPI but also from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. Ramadoss belongs to the PMK which is an ally of the ruling DMK in the state.

While medical students in other states are yet to realise the implications of the proposal, undergraduate and postgraduate medical students along with house surgeons have begun their protests in the form of boycotting classes.

Their protest is against the proposed law to be enacted to introduce the mandatory rural service as a pre-requisite for getting their degrees.

Ramadoss has recently stated that students after completing their courses would be given the MBBS degree only after they complete a period of mandatory one-year stint in the rural areas. This means instead of five-and -a-half years, a medical student has to wait for an additional year to receive the basic degree.

Yesterday, he again said, “This is an opportunity for students to have a look at the minimal medical services available in villages. Please do not politicise the issue.”

However, doctors as well as medical students here pointed out that the move was just a cover by the Central Government to freeze recruitment of doctors as each year around 30,000 medical graduates were produced in the country and if they were made to work in rural areas, there would be no necessity for recruiting doctors for executing the National Rural Health Mission.

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School for beggars’ daughters in Bihar soon
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 9
After recently felicitating underprivileged “daughters of Bihar” for their achievements in various fields against all odds, the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government here is now working on an innovative school for the daughters of beggars.

Sources disclosed that the proposed innovative school-cum-home for daughters of beggars, to be named “Balika Grih”, would soon come up in Patna to provide them a safe shelter and training in vocational courses, besides education.

A recent study of street children in the state revealed that nearly 2 lakh minors including 50,000 girls were engaged in begging.

Sources said that the school would be the first of its kind in Bihar with the sole aim of providing an opportunity for personality development to these girls based on the guidelines of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Already approved by the government, the project would cost the state exchequer Rs 20 lakh annually. “The blueprint of the school has been prepared and submitted to the government,” sources said.

One of the main objectives of the school for girls below 14 years of age is to prevent them from begging. Studies on beggars revealed that most of their daughters were also forced into begging due to lack of job opportunities. The move was also expected to control human trafficking from the state.

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Joint Army exercise with China in Nov, says Antony

Kerala, September 9
India will conduct joint army exercise with China in November this year, Defence Minister A.K Antony said here today.

Addressing a leadership camp organised by the Alappuzha District Congress Committee, he said the country was also preparing to hold joint naval exercises with Russia next week.

Rejecting the Left parties' criticism of the recent naval exercises with the US, Japan and Australia, Antony said such exercises need not be criticised as they were held with the sole intent of preparing the defence forces for any contingency.

Stating that such exercises were not a new thing, the Minister said India has been participating in such exercises since 1992 and had conducted them with the UK and France.

Regarding the civilian nuclear cooperation deal with the US, Antony said this was the only way for India to end the isolation imposed on it following the Pokhran-II nuclear tests during the previous NDA regime. Following these tests, 45 countries had imposed sanctions on India and the country was denied crucial technologies in several spheres. The proposed civilian nuclear deal with the US would help India to gain access to these technologies, he added. — UNI

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Model’s condition improving, no signs of drug abuse

New Delhi, September 9
The condition of former ramp model Geetanjali Nagpal - admitted to a hospital here after she was found begging on the streets of the city - is improving and doctors have found no symptoms of drug abuse in her.

“We have not found any withdrawal symptoms linked to drug abuse in her. The blood reports also do not indicate anything like that,” Nalnish of the Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (VIMHANS) said today.

“Her diet and hygiene are being taken care of and she is also undergoing psychotherapy. Her condition is much better now,” the doctor said.

Earlier, Nagpal, diagnosed as suffering from fear psychosis, was not talking to people and was abusive and irritated when approached. She is calmer now and doctors have started to form a rapport with her.

“Still, we are not taking up issues related to her past life with her and only talk about general matters like health conditions and hygiene,” Nalnish said.

Nagpal, who is under the care of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), was admitted to VIMHANS on September 3 with permission from the metropolitan magistrate at Karkardooma courts.

She might remain in the hospital for at least one or two more weeks and the DCW will then decide on where to shift her and her future plans, Nalnish said.

“Right now, we are not allowing anybody to meet her as there is a court order. Nobody from her family or any friends have tried to contact us,” he added. — PTI

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Human Trafficking Victims
UN office to engage corporate sector
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), South Asia, is engaging India's corporate sector to offer livelihood options to victims of human trafficking.

The UNODC Regional Office for South Asia has invited over a dozen companies to participate in deliberations during its conference scheduled on October 10 and 11 here. The conference “Global Initiative to fight human trafficking” (GIFT) will bring together for the first time representatives of well known companies as Microsoft, Reliance Health, Tata Steel, Naukri.com, Guardian Life Sciences, Shehnaz Herbals and Marie Claire to consider meaningful and life-changing interventions for victims of human trafficking.

Gary Lewis, Regional Representative, UNODC, South Asia said that most of the corporates have the sense of the problem, but don't know about the magnitude of the problem.

”We would like to form a coalition of business partners to combat human trafficking. We have gone to names that Indian citizens would recognise immediately. Besides, some of them have discharged corporate social responsibility in the past.

Microsoft, for example, supports technical training programme for victims of human trafficking. Some of them can share such good practices with other organisations.''

The UNODC Office in New Delhi also tries to offer in its own premises opportunities for former trafficked victims to learn new skills as part of a smaller reintegration effort. Lewis said that his office has invited cine stars who are household names, to throw their weight behind the issue. “We wish to draw attention to this very emotive issue. It is an issue with which people connect immediately.''

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Cyber crime conference from Sept 12
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The Seventh International Conference on Cyber Crime is being organised by IPSG in New Delhi from September 12 to 14.

About 100 participants will attend this conference, being hosted by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), from more than 40 countries, 40 senior police officers/ forensic scientists as well as experts of CERT-In from India.

The cyber world pervades almost every aspect of our existence today. The rapid growth and astonishing rise of Internet has been attributed to its borderless and transnational nature without any constraints or barriers.

However, in addition to the many positive aspects of global connectivity, internet has also become an extraordinary enabler for the criminals. Cyberspace is attracting a great deal of criminal activities ranging from vandalism to various types of serious crime, including cyber terrorism.

Attacks are also being directed against information infrastructure for commercial and strategic gains. These attacks threaten the substantial and growing reliance of commerce, governments and general public upon the information infrastructure to conduct business, carry messages and process information.

The conference, which will address these issues, will also have participation from various international organisations like UNODC, Council of Europe, Europol, G8, United Nations Interregional Crime Research Institute (UNICRI) and various central organisations of India, participation from various private and public sector companies like MIEL-eSecurity, eBay, TCS, Microsoft, SYMANTEC and C-DAC.

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Realtor shot dead, Congress in soup
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 9
The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh was today caught in an embarrassing situation following a shoot-out incident involving the state party chief K.Kesava Rao's son K.Venkat, leading to the death of a realtor.

While Rao said it appeared to be a case of suicide, the police suspects that the Congress leader's son had opened fire at Prashanth Reddy, a city-based real estate businessman, following dispute over business matters.

The incident took place at Venkat's residence in the posh Prashasan Nagar area here. Reddy was rushed to Apollo Hospital in Jubilee Hills, where he succumbed to the injuries. Reddy, who was said to be nursing differences with Venkat over a real estate property, had a gun shot wound on his right temple.

Venkat, the elder son of the Congress leader, has also been admitted in the same hospital. The nature of his injuries was not immediately known.

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Hyderabad blasts: two suspects identified

Hyderabad, September 9
The Andhra Pradesh police claimed to have identified two Bangladeshi nationals for their alleged involvement in the twin blasts and have also released their photos here today.

The police have learnt that Masiluddin and Hussain, both Bangladeshi nationals, were staying with Rizwan Ghani, a suspect in the twin blasts who is at large, ACP B Redanna said.

Earlier, the Special Investigation Team had released the sketch of a suspect involved in the blast at Lumbini Park on August 29, four days after the explosions that killed 43 people. — PTI

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