SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

TN ordinance provides quota for Muslims, Christians
Chennai, September 13
Despite the raging controversy throughout the country and court cases, the Tamil Nadu Government today promulgated an ordinance to provide 3.5 per cent each reservation to Muslims and Christians from Saturday, the 99th birth anniversary for the founder of ruling DMK and former Chief Minister C.N Annadurai.
Bouquets for Karunanidhi

Govt: Notification of beneficiaries’ list vital
New Delhi, September 13
In a significant development in the quota case being heard by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, the centre today admitted that the new OBC Reservation Act could not be implemented without notifying the identification list of intended beneficiaries.

16 kanwariyas crushed to death, violence follows
Gonda/Gorakhpur, September 13
At least 16 kanwariyas (devotees of Lord Shiva) were crushed to death by an Express train near Saryu Ghat Railway Station of Uttar Pradesh tonight, triggering arson and violent protests.




EARLIER STORIES




MPs are duty-bound to set standards: President
New Delhi, September 13
The frequent disruptions of the moonsoon session of the Parliament and the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adjourning sine die well in advance are weighing heavily on the mind of President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil.


President Pratibha Patil gives the 'Outstanding Parliamentarian' award for the year 2005 to finance minister P Chidambaram as Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee applauds at Parliament House in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI
President Pratibha Patil gives the 'Outstanding Parliamentarian' award for the year 2005 to finance minister P Chidambaram as Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee applauds at Parliament House in New Delhi on Thursday.

Ram Setu Issue
Advani: Manmohan, Sonia should apologise
New Delhi, September 13
Seeking to make political capital out of the Ram Setu affidavit in the Supreme Court, senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani today targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi by demanding an apology for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

Sri Sri says it’s not mythology
Bangalore, September 13
Spiritual leader of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar today said dismissing Lord as a fictitious character due to absence of scientific evidence was incorrect and against the established historical traditions of the country.

Ram Setu Issue
Cong in damage-control mode
New Delhi, September 13
Embarrassed over poritions of the affidavit filed by the ASI in Supreme Court on the Sethusamudram project which raised questions on the existence of Lord Rama, the Congress today sought to control the damage with party president Sonia Gandhi asking the UPA government to rectify the mistake.

We won’t let govt seal deal: Karat
New Delhi, September 13
The possibility of rapprochement on the Indo-US nuclear agreement between the Left parties and the Manmohan Singh government appeared bleak, with the communists today warning the UPA government they would not be there to help seal the deal.

Cops were discharged from services: UP police chief
Lucknow, September 13
Putting up a brave front, DGP Vikram Singh today observed that the 6,504 constables against whom action was taken two days ago had not been “dismissed” but had been “discharged from services”.

Cabinet okays old-age pension scheme for BPL persons
New Delhi, September 13
The Cabinet today decided to bring persons over 65 years of age living below the poverty line, under the old-age pension scheme. The social welfare scheme will be launched on November 19, the birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Chittsingpora
SC stays trial of five Army officers
New Delhi, September 13
The Supreme Court today stayed the trial proceedings against five Army officers charged with killing five “innocent” persons after branding them as terrorists allegedly involved in the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Chittisinghpora seven years ago on the eve of then US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India.

Six-month jail for Rajasthan minister
Jaipur, September 13
Rajasthan’s irrigation minister Surendra Singh Rathore has been sentenced to six months imprisonment by a court in Rajsamand district for violating safety norms in marble mines owned by him.

‘Panel should decide on terminally ill patients’
New Delhi, September 13
In a bid to prevent the harassment of doctors who withdraw life support to terminally ill patients, the Law Commission has recommended the formation of a panel of medical experts to clear such decisions.

Mayawati, Mulayam vie for Brahmin attention
Lucknow, September 13
While Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh today made a grand effort to woo the Brahmin community, Chief Minister Mayawati also made a major policy shift by converting her much touted Ambedkar Gram project from an ‘Dalit only’ to an inclusive rural development programme covering all the 380 rural Vidhan Sabha seats, today.

Man beaten to death in Jharkhand
Lohardaga (Jharkhand), September 13
A man accused of burglary was today lynched by villagers of Badla in Lohardaga district, a senior police officer said here.

‘Street justice’ rampant in Bihar
Patna, September 13
Today`s shocking lynching of 10 suspected thieves in Vaishali district by angry villagers is perhaps a grim pointer to how even an unbelievable 34 capital punishments reportedly awarded to lawbreakers through fast track courts during 21 months of the Nitish government in Bihar have apparently failed to restore the confidence of the people in law- enforcing agencies.

HC asks Shah Rukh to explain irregularities
Mumbai, September 13
The Bombay High court today asked Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to explain irregularities in the construction carried out by him adjacent to his bungalow in suburban Bandra.

Manipur’s protest against ‘black law’ gets global
Guwahati, September 13
A three-day global solidarity fast by people from different walks of life got under way in Manipur’s capital Imphal, besides in the US, UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh in support of the fasting lady Irom Sharmila as well as Manipuri people’s movement against the 'draconian' Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

ULFA peace negotiator Goswami ill
Guwahati, September 13
Jnanpith awardee and a nominated peace negotiator of the proscribed militant group ULFA, Dr Indira (Mamoni Raisom) Goswami suffered a ‘mild’ cerebral stroke and has been admitted to intensive critical care unit of a local nursing home here last night.

X-ray establishes knife in fraudster’s stomach
Kolkata, September 13
Amarendra Nath Ghosh, accused of defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 27 crore, does have a knife in his stomach he claimed to have swallowed to prevent his extradition from Germany, an x-ray done at a private diagnostic centre at the directive of the court, has said.

Judicial magistrate suspended
Ranchi, September 13
The Jharkhand High Court today suspended a judicial magistrate on charges of corruption and malpractices.

Will Bengal chemical hub actually come up?
Kolkata, September 13
Uncertainty prevails over the controversial chemical hub proposal in Bengal, which has landed the CPM-led Bengal government in trouble after the recent Singhur and Nandigram episodes.

Woman branded with hot sickle, 2 arrested
Saharsa (Bihar), September 13
Two persons have been arrested for branding a woman with hot iron and breaking her hand at Bishunpur village in this district.

Phoolan case: Sister points finger at Umed
New Delhi, September 13
In a new twist in the case of murder of bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi, her sister today alleged before a court here that the slain MP's husband “deliberately” created situations leading to her killing.

Pak actress gets treatment at Doon valley
Dehra Dun, September 13
Imaan Ali, the debutant heroine of super hit Pakistan film ‘Khuda Ke Liye’ showcasing moderate message of Islam is suffering from a nervous disorder 'multiple sclerosis' and is under treatment at Doon valley.

Centre to SC: Brothel customers to be prosecuted
New Delhi, September 13
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it proposed to amend the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act to treat women and children rescued from prostitution rings as victims and customers visiting brothels as criminals.

Over 4500 kids living with AIDS in West Bengal
Kolkata, September 13
An estimated 4500 to 5000 children are afflicted with HIV /AIDS in West Bengal.

Dirty MMS clips a rage with youngsters
Bangalore, September 13
The Karnataka government seems to have taken the easy option of banning mobile phones in schools, but is not paying any heed to the selling of X-rated multi-media clips in various parts of the city.

Why capturing Laden is a Herculean task
New Delhi, September 13
Six years after Al-Qaida conducted terror strikes in mainland America, its chief Osama bin Laden is as elusive as ever despite a global manhunt backed by state-of-the-art weapons and espionage equipment.

Videos
Human skeletons recovered.
(56k)
News on loudspeakers.
(56k)
Wildlife workers hatch cobra in captivity.
(56k)
Music industry tries to cash in on ring tones.
(56k)
Adnan Sami flooded with offers.
(56k)
Bollywood actress Mahima Choudhary turns 34.
(56k)

 

Top









 

TN ordinance provides quota for Muslims, Christians
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 13
Despite the raging controversy throughout the country and court cases, the Tamil Nadu Government today promulgated an ordinance to provide 3.5 per cent each reservation to Muslims and Christians from Saturday, the 99th birth anniversary for the founder of ruling DMK and former Chief Minister C.N Annadurai.

However, the reservation can be availed of only by those Muslims and Christians who possess a backward class certificate. The government has decided to allot a total of seven per cent quota to the two communities and it has been has been carved out of the 30 per cent reservation for BCs in the state.

Tamil Nadu has the highest reservation quota of 69 per cent in the country, comprising 30 per cent for OBCs, 20 per cent for most backward castes (MBCs) and denotified communities (DCs), 18 per cent for scheduled castes and one per cent for STs.

This prevailing quota system has been challenged in the Supreme Court on the basis of its 1992 judgement in which the judges had ruled that the aggregate of reservations could not cross 50 per cent.

Today’s ordinance will mean that Muslims and Christians will eat into the “Hindu OBC” quota and reduce it by seven per cent. While, it might alienate a large number of backward classes from the ruling DMK in the caste-ridden politics of the state, the party will gain substantially as far as its vote bank among the religious minorities is concerned.

After the High Court in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh struck down exclusive reservation for Muslims, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi adopted this method of providing reservation to backward religious minorities by carving it out from the existing quota to avoid the possibility of any legal hassle.

Justifying his government’s move, Karunanidhi stated that providing reservation for Muslims and Christians had been a major election pledge of the DMK before the 2006 Assembly poll, which brought his party to power. During the last budget session too he had made an announcement to this effect brushing aside all controversies throughout the country

Karunandhi had then said that the reservation was being provided on the basis of a report submitted by retired judge M.S Janarthanam who examined the matter on the basis of the findings a report prepared by J.A Ambashankar 25 years ago. Justice Janarthanam had recommended the possibility of extending separate quotas to religious minorities on the basis of caste denominations.

The Christian groups, which are part of the long 142-entry BC list, encompass converts from BCs and SCs regardless of the generation of their conversion. The sole exception is the fishermen community which has a concentration of MBCs. The government’s list includes Roman Catholics and Protestants belonging to various caste denominations.

The Muslims who are covered under this 3.5 per cent sub quota are Lebbais, Marakkayars, Moplahs, Sheikhs and Sayyids (those who trace their lineage to Prophet Mohammad). No differentiation has, however, been made between Tamil or Urdu speaking Muslims.

Bouquets for Karunanidhi

Leaders of various political parties, including PMK, a strong votary for quota for minorities, and Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and Tamil Nadu Wakf Board, hailed the government's decision. In a statement here, PMK founder Dr S. Ramadoss said since inception of his party, it had been consistently demanding reservation for the minorities.

TMMK president M.H Jawahirullah, in a statement, welcomed the Chief Minister's announcement and thanked him for fulfilling the long pending dream of Muslims.

Wakf Board chairman S. Hyder Ali said the announcement was doubly sweet as it comes on the eve of the 40-day fasting period for Ramzan.

Welcoming the quota for minorities, All-India Christian Council President G. Subburam said with today's announcement, the Chief Minister had wiped the tears of the Muslims and Christians. — UNI

Top

 

Govt: Notification of beneficiaries’ list vital
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 13
In a significant development in the quota case being heard by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, the centre today admitted that the new OBC Reservation Act could not be implemented without notifying the identification list of intended beneficiaries.

The statement to this effect came from solicitor-general G. E. Vahanvati when the five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, asked whether it was not mandatory for the government under Section 2(g) of the Act to notify the list of identified OBCs for implementing it.

Vahanvati said “technically” the court was right in drawing such a conclusion on the face of the provision of Section 2(g). But, he asserted that this could be rectified. He apparently meant that the lacuna could be overcome by notifying the list.

The Bench pointed out to the government counsel that “theoretically” the Act could not be implemented till the list relating to the identification of OBCs was prepared and notified, as it was the legal requirement under Section 2(g).

Top

 

16 kanwariyas crushed to death, violence follows

Gonda/Gorakhpur, September 13
At least 16 kanwariyas (devotees of Lord Shiva) were crushed to death by an Express train near Saryu Ghat Railway Station of Uttar Pradesh tonight, triggering arson and violent protests.

The mishap occurred on the Lucknow-Gorakhpur section when the Lucknow-Gonda passenger train slowed down on the bridge over Saryu river ahead of the station and a large number of kanwariyas got off the train in a bid to take water from the river for offerings at a temple at Karnelganj, Northern Railway divisional magistrate Ashima Singh said.

At this point, the Gorakhpur-bound Intercity Express pulled up on the adjacent track and crushed the kanwariyas to death, she said.

The death toll could go up further as several kanwariyas jumped into the river to avoid the train, superintendent of police N.K. Srivastva said.

Soon after the incident, a group of Kanwariyas set on fire one of the cabins of the railway station, some kiosks there and a fire tender, Srivastva said.

A relief train had left for the site. Movement of trains on the section came to a halt following the incident. — PTI

Top

 

MPs are duty-bound to set standards: President
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
The frequent disruptions of the moonsoon session of the Parliament and the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adjourning sine die well in advance are weighing heavily on the mind of President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil. This compelled her to exhort Parliamentarians that the highest legislative body in the country "bears the responsibility of setting standards for legislatures and indeed all elected bodies."

Being the national legislative body, Patil observed it was incumbent on all MPs to uphold the highest traditions of democracy and Parliamentary functions.

The President made the comments at a function in the high domed central hall of the Parliament here today while giving away the outstanding Parliamentarian's award to union ministers Sharad Pawar, P Chidambaram and Mani Shankar Aiyar as well as BJP Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who earned the distinction of being first woman Parliamentarian to be so honoured.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee also expressed similar sentiments.

Dr Singh said it is an achievement that the system of Parliamentary democracy has withstood not just the test of time but also the test of "our people's faith and conviction. The success of democratic institutions in India today gives hope to countries all over the world."

He hoped every MP will reflect on the role that they individually and collectively play in strengthening this great institution of democracy.

The Prime Minister called upon Parliamentarians particularly younger colleagues to strive for the very high standards of debate and discussion.

As the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Chatterjee remained anguished with increasing disruptions of the House coupled with the unsavoury instance of MPs being caught in scandals. "Of late, unfortunately there is a perception that the atmosphere in our legislatures is not in consonance with due discharge of members' duties to the society and that the quality of debates as also the behaviour of our members is not up to the desired level."

Chatterjee cautioned that by "proper conduct and behaviour both inside and outside the legislatures alone can we evoke respect and appreciation of the people." 

Top

 

Ram Setu Issue
Advani: Manmohan, Sonia should apologise
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Seeking to make political capital out of the Ram Setu affidavit in the Supreme Court, senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani today targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi by demanding an apology for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

Advani, who once helped his party to rise to power on Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir issue by taking out a countrywide rath yatra, also wanted the government to withdraw its affidavit before the Supreme Court describing it as blasphemous and arrogant after disapproving of the UPA’s decision to file a supplementary document in connection with the Sethusamudram project.

It (affidavit) is heaping contempt on crores of Hindus in the country and on Hindus abroad, the former deputy Prime Minister told a news conference as he announced that his party’s youth wing and state units would hold demonstrations tomorrow and burn copies of the Centre’s affidavit that said there is no evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram.

The BJP leader admitted that the affidavit issue would be part of party's election campaign.

“You are giving me a suggestion. I will certainly consider it”, he said when asked whether he planned a rath yatra over the issue.

He said the government must ensure protection of the Ram Setu, an undersea bridge believed to be built by Lord Ram, by redesigning the Setusamudram waterway project.

Top

 

Sri Sri says it’s not mythology
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 13
Spiritual leader of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar today said dismissing Lord as a fictitious character due to absence of scientific evidence was incorrect and against the established historical traditions of the country.

Sri Sri has come out with the statement to denounce the affidavit submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Supreme Court in the Ram Sethu bridge case stating there was no historical evidence to prove the existence of Lord Rama.

The spiritual leader, who issued a statement from Germany, which he is touring recently, said one should be clear about the historical traditions of the country. ''Ramayana and Mahabharata are called Itihasas. Itihas means it happened. This means that Sri Ram did exist as recorded in the Ramayana. The ancient seers had made clear distinction between Puranas and Itihasas.

Top

 

Ram Setu Issue
Cong in damage-control mode
Prashant Sood

New Delhi, September 13
Embarrassed over poritions of the affidavit filed by the ASI in Supreme Court on the Sethusamudram project which raised questions on the existence of Lord Rama, the Congress today sought to control the damage with party president Sonia Gandhi asking the UPA government to rectify the mistake.

Concerned over the issue snowballing into a major controversy at a time when there was a possibility of an early Lok Sabha poll, the Congress leadership followed the best possible option of accepting the mistake and taking remedial steps.

Sources said Congress President conveyed her views to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and it was decided that law minister H.R Bhardwaj would give an official response.

Later in the evening, Congress core group met at the residence of Prime Minister to discuss the political situation in the wake of recent developments. Party leader Mohsina Kidwai was also called for the meeting.

Sources said leadership had been receiving calls from confused party workers who wanted to know the party's stand on the issue. There was a realisation that the party may have to pay a heavy political price if amends were not made quickly in the affidavit. With the party set to face Assembly elections in Gujarat in three months, there was apprehension of the way the BJP would build up the issue by charging the government with hurting sentiments of the majority community. Though there was a feeling initially that the party had given on platter an issue to the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leaders seemed confident that the steps taken to limit the damage will not allow it to become a major election issue in Gujarat.

Source said several party leaders were of the opinion that ASI should have limited itself to giving its opinion only on the Ram Setu and scrupulously avoided commenting on the existence of characters in Ramayana.

While the party leaders sought to attribute the unwarranted submissions in the affidavit to "human error," the party is likely to find out how and at what level the grievous mistake occurred. There are also indications that responsibility would be fixed for the error. Though it is the law ministry which vets the government affidavits in important cases, culture minister Ambika Soni may also have some explaining to do when she returns this weekend from her visit abroad.

Congress leaders denied that the contents of the affidavit had been guided by a desire to placate DMK, which wants early completion of Sethusamudram project. Though the Congress has largely defended the Sethusamudram project, saying that it was merely carrying forward the process started during the NDA government, the latest controversy may induce the party to soften its stand on the project.

Sources said several UPA allies also expressed their unhappiness over the affidavit which has evoked strong reactions not only from the Sangh Parivar but some religious and spiritual leaders.

Top

 

We won’t let govt seal deal: Karat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
The possibility of rapprochement on the Indo-US nuclear agreement between the Left parties and the Manmohan Singh government appeared bleak, with the communists today warning the UPA government they would not be there to help seal the deal.

“We have made up our mind. We won't be there to help the government to conclude the agreement. It's now for the government to decide,” said CPM general secretary Prakash Karat at a seminar on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Karat said the government was “determined to go ahead with the deal” despite a majority in Parliament opposing the deal, which aims to “draw India into a military alliance with the US”.

He said we asked the government “don't go. Wait for some time. Listen to our objections. Examine these objections. Let Parliament opine on it… But they have not so far agreed…. This is not a normal matter of differences between us”.

The communists, who have 60 MPs in the Lok Sabha, had in the past warned the government of "serious consequences" if it went ahead with the deal, without spelling out what those consequences could be.

The strong statement from Karat virtually dumps the 15-member UPA-Left committee set up to allay the fears of the communists on the nuclear deal and the implications of the Hyde Act on India’s foreign policy.

To put the government on the defensive, the CPM general secretary revealed that the UPA had included “strategic partnership with the US” in the first two drafts of the common minimum programme, but was struck down after the Left parties objected to it.

The four Left parties met today and decided to submit a note on their objections on the US nuclear deal to the committee tomorrow, which is seen merely as an academic exercise. The committee would hold its next meeting on September 19.

Taking potshots at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh without naming him, Karat said, “Does the PM believe Bush is the greatest friend of India? The most hated president in the US is our greatest benefactor.”

“What has happened to great friends of Bush? British Prime Minister Tony Blair is no longer around. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has quit. Australian Prime Minister John Howard is on his way out. They are all going,” Karat said, hinting that the Manmohan Singh government may not survive should the Left parties withdraw support, making mid-term poll inevitable.

Suggesting to the non-Congress constituents of the UPA like the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam that the nuclear deal was set to become a key issue in the next elections, he said “all these parties in the government will have to answer to the people”. 

Top

 

Cops were discharged from services: UP police chief
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, September 13
Putting up a brave front, DGP Vikram Singh today observed that the 6,504 constables against whom action was taken two days ago had not been “dismissed” but had been “discharged from services”.

Completely denying the widespread resentment in various police lines following the state government’s orders of terminating the services of these constables, the DGP said, “It would be wrong to say that there are widespread protests. There was only slogan shouting in Jhansi, Agra and a few other places.”

He claimed that their anger subsided once it was explained that “they had not been dismissed but merely discharged from duty and would be given another chance within six months”.

Speaking informally to the media this morning, the DGP, however, admitted that the constables would not be paid any further salaries nor would any claim be made to ask them to refund their salaries.

“They did provide certain services for which they were paid a salary. There is no provision to ask them for a refund,”he said.

Meanwhile, news of the sacked cops protesting against the state government’s decision to terminate their services continued to pour in from Jhansi, Agra, Kanpur and Urai. While those recruited in 2006 were still undergoing training at the various centres, the 2005 appointees had already joined duty.

While some of them are planning to file a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court challenging their dismissal, others simply want their money back.

In a related development, some of the dismissed IPS officers had written a letter to the cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh questioning the legality of the Shailja Kant Mishra headed probe. The letter states that the then IG PAC (East) Mishra was required to scrutinise all records of the recruitments.

The letter also mentions violation of the Indian Evidence Act, as the committee did not open the sealed records in the presence of the members of the recruitment boards. 

Top

 

Cabinet okays old-age pension scheme for BPL persons
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
The Cabinet today decided to bring persons over 65 years of age living below the poverty line, under the old-age pension scheme. The social welfare scheme will be launched on November 19, the birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The destitute criterion has been substituted with ‘those belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families’, information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The funds for the scheme, involving payment of Rs 400 each a month as pension, would be contributed by the Centre and the states in an equal ratio (50:50). An estimated 15.719 million people are entitled to the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS) as part of the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the criteria change in his Independence Day address to the nation. The Centre has made a provision of Rs 4,300 crore for the scheme for the current fiscal.

Dasmunsi said the Cabinet referred to a Group of Ministers the proposed amendment to the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act. The issue will be reviewed again by the GoM and brought back to the Cabinet.

The proposed Sati (Prevention) Act will also be re-examined, particularly the technical issues involved in it, he said.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh had, on July 13, finalised amendments in the Commission of Sati (prevention) Act, 1987 to make it more sensitive to women and make the community more answerable for any sati incident.

The issue of life insurance through rural post offices, however, could not be taken up at today's Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as communication and IT minister A. Raja was not present.

The Cabinet also gave its concurrence to the "National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Ordinance, 2007, which seeks to give status quo in respect of several categories of unauthorised developments, including slums and jhuggi-jhompri clusters, hawkers and urban street vendors.

The other categories include unauthorised colonies, existing farm houses involving construction beyond permissible building limits, schools, dispensaries and religious institutions.

Dasmunsi said the status quo would be maintained in the case of cultural institutions and storages, warehouses and godowns used for agricultural inputs or produce (including dairy and poultry in rural areas built on agricultural land, commercial establishments in unauthorised colonies.

Top

 

Chittsingpora
SC stays trial of five Army officers
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 13
The Supreme Court today stayed the trial proceedings against five Army officers charged with killing five “innocent” persons after branding them as terrorists allegedly involved in the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Chittisinghpora seven years ago on the eve of then US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India.

A Bench of Justices B.N. Agrawal and P.P. Naolekar stayed the trial against the officers after additional solicitor general Vikas Singh made a special mention about an appeal of the Defence Ministry against the prosecution of its serving officers without obtaining sanction from competent authority required under law and the military rules.

The officers include, Brig Ajay Saxena, who was the commanding officer of 7-Rashtriya Rifles at that time, Lt Col Brajendra Pratap Singh, Saurabh Sharma and Amit Saxena (both holding rank of Major) and Idris Khan a JCO. While staying the trial, the apex court issued notices to the prosecuting agency CBI and Jammu and Kashmir Government after seeing their responses.

The attack in Chittisinghpora had taken place on March 20, 2000, and the five alleged militants were killed on March 25 in an operation carried out by the officers jointly with the police.

The ministry approached the apex court after the trial court and Jammu and Kashmir High Court had rejected their plea that prior sanction for chargesheeting any government officials being prosecuted for any act performed in the course of their duty was mandatory under law.

Though it was alleged that the five persons killed by the accused officers in a joint operation with police were not militants, the special leave petition filed in the apex court said they were “terrorists” and were identified as such by SSP Anantnag.

Top

 

Six-month jail for Rajasthan minister

Jaipur, September 13
Rajasthan’s irrigation minister Surendra Singh Rathore has been sentenced to six months imprisonment by a court in Rajsamand district for violating safety norms in marble mines owned by him.

Judicial magistrate Randhir Singh Mirdha awarded the punishment to the minister while giving his order on Tuesday on a petition after the death of a labourer in his own mines at Jogania village in Rajsamand district.

However, the judge suspended the sentence for one month, giving a chance to Rathore for appeal. The court also slapped a fine of Rs 5,500 on him.

Counsel for the ministry of mines K.K. Paliwal told PTI over phone today that Rathore was found guilty under various sections of the Mines Safety Act, 1952, for not taking safety measures.

Paliwal said a labourer was killed while working at Rathore’s mine in March, 2003. Soon, the ministry of mines taking cognizance of the media reports, sent the then deputy director, Mines Safety, R. Subramanium for an inspection.

Subramanium reportedly found various irregularities in the safety of mines following which the ministry filed a complaint in the court against the owner.

Defending the decision to go to the court, Paliwal said “the ministry-designates inspectors in various mines and if they find any irregularities, the ministry has right to go for prosecution against the violator of safety norms in court”. — PTI

Top

 

‘Panel should decide on terminally ill patients’

New Delhi, September 13
In a bid to prevent the harassment of doctors who withdraw life support to terminally ill patients, the Law Commission has recommended the formation of a panel of medical experts to clear such decisions.

Providing safeguards to doctors against litigation, the commission also encouraged patients and their relatives or friends to approach High Courts and get a declaration whether the decision to continue or withdraw life support is "lawful".

Once a High Court has declared that a doctor's decision is "lawful", it will be binding on civil or criminal courts not to proceed against him in any matter relating to the case, the Commission said in its 434-page report "Medical Treatment to Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners)".

Recommending the setting up of a three-member panel of reputed medical persons having at least 20 years experience to clear decision to withdraw life support, the commission said statutory body should form it and the names of the experts should be published in the gazette and official websites for quick access. — PTI

Top

 

Mayawati, Mulayam vie for Brahmin attention
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, September 13
While Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh today made a grand effort to woo the Brahmin community, Chief Minister Mayawati also made a major policy shift by converting her much touted Ambedkar Gram project from an ‘Dalit only’ to an inclusive rural development programme covering all the 380 rural Vidhan Sabha seats, today.

In the contest to woo Brahmins, CM Mayawati announced her cabinet’s decision to introduce the Dr Ambedkar Gramin Samagra Vikas Yojna for which the “criteria for selection of villages would be the population of the ‘sarvasamaj’ instead of scheduled caste/scheduled tribes”.

Briefing the press she said that a project taken up during her three earlier tenures called Dr Ambedkar Gram Vikas Yojana had selected villages having more than 50 per cent Dalits.

“Around 19,000 villages had been developed under the programme but now we will cover all gram sabhas as the Dalit villages have already been covered,” she claimed adding that maintenance work of the Dalit villages developed earlier would be taken up now.

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav also openly played the Brahmin card today as he entered into an alliance with a predominantly Brahmin outfit, Sanatan Samaj Party reportedly having 840 branches.

Yadav spoke of the interests of the Brahmins being neglected under the present government and declared that he was demanding the support of the uncared-for Brahmins to get rid of the “misrule” of the present government.

Reiterating this, SP national secretary Amar Singh dwelled into mythology by declaring that the Kshartiya kings had always come to the aid of the Brahmins when anarchy reigned supreme.

President of the Sanatan Samaja Party Dr Kripashankar Mishra said that the Brahmins in the state were living the life of bonded labourer under the present dispensation.

Top

 

Man beaten to death in Jharkhand

Lohardaga (Jharkhand), September 13
A man accused of burglary was today lynched by villagers of Badla in Lohardaga district, a senior police officer said here.

The villagers caught Parmeswar Oraon and rained blows and punches on him after charging him with sneaking into Ashok Mahto’s house with a motive to steal early this morning, superintendent of police Subodh Prasad said.

Oraon succumbed to the beating while being taken to a nearby health centre, he said. The police is investigating the matter. — PTI

Top

 

‘Street justice’ rampant in Bihar
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 13
Today`s shocking lynching of 10 suspected thieves in Vaishali district by angry villagers is perhaps a grim pointer to how even an unbelievable 34 capital punishments reportedly awarded to lawbreakers through fast track courts during 21 months of the Nitish government in Bihar have apparently failed to restore the confidence of the people in law- enforcing agencies.

This was evident with a series of "street justice" in the past few weeks in different parts of the state where people took the law into their own hands by either lynching the criminals or beating them mercilesslely that resulted in a damage to their eyes.

Besides the incident at Vaishali today ,there were such incidents in Nawada on September 3 and at Bhagalpur on August 27 where villagers mercileely beat the law- breakers in protest against the alleged apathy of the police in booking the culprits despite repeated complaints.

Notwithstanding the allegation of "jungle raj" against the Nitish government by the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad,besides a record 34 capital punishments to criminals, over 13,000 others were convicted in various cases in the past 21 months of NDA rule through fast track courts in pursuance of the promised good governance by the new dispensation.

The recent life imprisonment awarded to the RJD MP from Siwan Shahabuddin who was known to run the biggest-ever criminal citadel in the state, was still fresh in public memory.

The Nitish government also did not hesitate to put "bahubali" (muscle flexing) politicians behind bars for their unlawful acts in the recent past.

Top

 

HC asks Shah Rukh to explain irregularities

Mumbai, September 13
The Bombay High court today asked Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to explain irregularities in the construction carried out by him adjacent to his bungalow in suburban Bandra.

The High Court asked them to file their replies within two weeks on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Mumbai based NGO Bhrashtrachar Nirmulan Sangathana.

The NGO alleged that while carrying out the construction, the width of the road has been reduced. — PTI

Top

 

Manipur’s protest against ‘black law’ gets global
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, September 13
A three-day global solidarity fast by people from different walks of life got under way in Manipur’s capital Imphal, besides in the US, UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh in support of the fasting lady Irom Sharmila as well as Manipuri people’s movement against the 'draconian' Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

According to a source in Imphal, a large number of rights activists from outside the North East India joined the demonstration that is being organised in Manipur capital.

Noted among the demonstrators are members of Ashaparivar, an NGO headed by Magsaysay Winner and social activists Sandeep Pandey.

The protests are being organised to press for the demand for repeal of the ‘draconian’ AFSPA.

Top

 

ULFA peace negotiator Goswami ill
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, September 13
Jnanpith awardee and a nominated peace negotiator of the proscribed militant group ULFA, Dr Indira (Mamoni Raisom) Goswami suffered a ‘mild’ cerebral stroke and has been admitted to intensive critical care unit of a local nursing home here last night.

Doctors attending the litterateur informed that her condition was stable and improving. “She is talking to doctors and family members visiting her in the hospital. She is being treated for a mild cerebral stroke,” a spokesman of the hospital said.

Top

 

X-ray establishes knife in fraudster’s stomach

Kolkata, September 13
Amarendra Nath Ghosh, accused of defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 27 crore, does have a knife in his stomach he claimed to have swallowed to prevent his extradition from Germany, an x-ray done at a private diagnostic centre at the directive of the court, has said.

The diagnostic centre’s report said “there is one radio opaque shadow in the upper part of the left side of the abdomen. This is consistent with a foreign body.”

The latest x-ray report is in contrast to the jail doctor’s report presented to the court on Tuesday which had stated that the x-ray taken at the state-run M R Bangur Hospital had not found it. After the earlier report, the court had directed that Ghosh be x-rayed again at a reputed diagnostic centre.

Ghosh had swallowed the eight-centimetre knife on July 31, 2003, in a bid to scuttle his deportation from Germany.

Judge Indrajit Chatterjee, while extending Ghosh’s CBI remand by another five days, observed “even as a layman, I can see the presence of a foreign body in the x-ray plate of the abdomen of the accused.” — PTI

Top

 

Judicial magistrate suspended

Ranchi, September 13
The Jharkhand High Court today suspended a judicial magistrate on charges of corruption and malpractices.

Justice Amreswar Sahay directed Ranchi First Class Judicial Magistrate VC Pandey not to leave the state capital. The order came when judicial commissioner D.N. Upadhayay forwarded a complaint by Hyder Ali accusing the magistrate of indulging in corrupt deeds through his peon Bibhuti Kumar yesterday.

Kumar was soon produced before the judicial commissioner who handed him over to the police after Rs 13,350 were recovered from his possession.

Ali, in his complaint, claimed that he had given the amount as ‘advance’ to procure a bail for his father, Janab Saleem Saheb, who is in jail since September 10 following a land dispute. He claimed that the entire bribe was supposed to be of Rs 1.5 lakh.

Ali also said that he had videographed the entire incident on his mobile phone’s camera, which has been given to the judicial commissioner.

The complaint further alleged that Kumar acted as a conduit for the magistrate who yesterday rejected the bail petition of his father.

The judicial commissioner today suspended Kumar. — PTI

Top

 

Will Bengal chemical hub actually come up?
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 13
Uncertainty prevails over the controversial chemical hub proposal in Bengal, which has landed the CPM-led Bengal government in trouble after the recent Singhur and Nandigram episodes.

Since all opposition parties, including the Congress and Trinamool Congress, and the major partners of the Left Front, namely, the CPI and RSP, had strongly opposed the setting up of the chemical hubs at Nandigram and Haldia, the government now shifted the venue to the nearby Newchar islands on the sea bed in West Midnapore district as a third choice.

But it is yet to be decided if such chemical hub proposal could be executed at Newchar islands before getting the expert opinion of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and other environmentalists.

An expert team of the GSI, accompanied by the state industries department officials, visited the islands yesterday and made an on-the-spot survey of the areas and studied the nature of the land and other related matters.

Afterwards, the leader of the team G.Mukherjee told mediapersons that it would take at least four-five months to take any decision on the feasibility of the chemical hub proposal at the island.

Meanwhile, the Salim group of industries which had shown its interest in building the chemical hub, by spending over Rs 10,000 crore, had urged Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to take necessary steps in finalising the chemical hub site immediately since they were unwilling to wait for an indefinite period on the proposal, which was already delayed for over a year.

Though the Congress and some other parties which had been opposing the chemical hub plant at Nandigram and Haldia, in principle, agreed that the chemical hub could be built at Nayachar, the Trinamool Congess, the main opposition party, was still opposing it.

TMC leader Mamata Banerjee demanded that first the Singhur and Nandigram problems be resolved. Only then they could come to terms with the state government on the chemical hub proposal at Nayachar.

Top

 

Woman branded with hot sickle, 2 arrested

Saharsa (Bihar), September 13
Two persons have been arrested for branding a woman with hot iron and breaking her hand at Bishunpur village in this district.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Kosi range) Sahab Akhtar told PTI today that two people, Umesh Kamati and Rana Kamati were taken into custody last night in connection with the incident.

Akhtar said Neelam Devi had an altercation with her neighbour Umesh Kamati who allegedly beat her and broke her hand. Neelam lodged a complaint with a police outpost seeking action against her neighbours.

Later, a panchayat was called to settle the issue. Neelam refused to compromise. At this Neelam's in-laws branded her with a hot sickle all over the body on September two. — PTI

Top

 

Phoolan case: Sister points finger at Umed

New Delhi, September 13
In a new twist in the case of murder of bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi, her sister today alleged before a court here that the slain MP's husband “deliberately” created situations leading to her killing.

Turning up before Additional Sessions Judge V.K. Bansal, Munni Devi alleged that Umed Singh had sent all her vehicles to garage despite there being no fault in them, forcing her sister to go to Parliament with the prime accused on the fateful day.

Deposing as 104th prosecution witness, she told the court that accused Sher Singh Rana used to come frequently to her sister's official residence at 44, Ashoka Road. — PTI

Top

 

Pak actress gets treatment at Doon valley
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 13
Imaan Ali, the debutant heroine of super hit Pakistan film ‘Khuda Ke Liye’ showcasing moderate message of Islam is suffering from a nervous disorder 'multiple sclerosis' and is under treatment at Doon valley.

Arrived at the Chander Prakash Ayurvedic Research Centre, which is run here by a well-known Ayurveda practitioner Balendu Prakash with her sister five days back, she became an instant celebrity as the film also cats the Indian actor Naseerudin Shah, and is running packed houses in Pakistan.

Though she refused to talk to the media for the medical reasons, Balendu Parkash when contacted told The Tribune that she came to his center for the treatment as she had heard about the successful treatment of her problem in Dehradun. "She is suffering from the fatal nervous disorder that is commonly known as Whiteman's disease which has hit the sub-continent too," he informed.

In the film she has portrayed the character of a UK-bred Pakistani Muslim girl who is brought to her family's native country for marriage but is deeply anguished by the travails of the Muslim society as she finds herself caught between the ongoing conflict between fundamentalist and moderate forces. Imaan Ali is also a successful model in her country.

She has been suffering from the disease since 2005 but came in contact with Balendu Prakash last year during his visit to Pakistan. "Apart from medicines, her treatment consists of a diet balanced with regular exercises. In Ayurveda, this disease is cured with gold ash," he added. Interestingly, Imaan and Naseerudin are his patients. She will be in Dehra Dun for a month for the purpose. 

Top

 

Centre to SC: Brothel customers to be prosecuted

New Delhi, September 13
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it proposed to amend the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act to treat women and children rescued from prostitution rings as victims and customers visiting brothels as criminals.

The proposed amendment seeks to impose imprisonment ranging from three to six months on customers visiting brothels for sexual exploitation of women.

The move to amend the Act assumes significance as under the existing provisions it is the women who are prosecuted and the men visiting the brothels are left scot-free as there are no provisions under which they can be prosecuted.

The present amendment reverses the provision by making the men accountable and the women being treated only as exploited victims.

Meanwhile, proposed amendments in the anti-Sati Law and the Immoral Trafficking Act, aimed at making the laws more pro-woman, could not get the approval of the Union Cabinet today.

The Cabinet felt that technical issues are involved in the proposed changes in the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, and these have to be examined, Information and Broadcasting Minister P.R. Dasmunsi told reporters after the meeting.

"There are some technical issues which have to be examined and the amendments will be brought to the Cabinet again," he said. — PTI, TNS

Top

 

Over 4500 kids living with AIDS in West Bengal

Kolkata, September 13
An estimated 4500 to 5000 children are afflicted with HIV /AIDS in West Bengal.

The convention on the rights of the child(CRC) here, has revealed that the total number of children living with HIV/AIDS in West Bengal is estimated to be 4,500 to 5,000.

Speaking at the inauguration of a two-day state-level consultation on the rights of the child, state health and family welfare minister Dr. Surjya Kanta Mishra said here yesterday, “Since 2004, progress has been made in several areas, including setting up of a centre of excellence at Calcutta Medical College for reducing the HIV risk among vulnerable school children.” “Setting up of prevention of parent to child transmission services in medical colleges, district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals and maternity homes is an important achievement in the area of prevention of new HIV infections among children below 15 years,” he said.

The consultation, organised by the state women and child development and social welfare department and UNICEF, aimed to seek views of a cross section of the society on the progress towards implementation of the provisions of the CRC which was ratified by India in 1992. — TNS

Top

 

Dirty MMS clips a rage with youngsters
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 13
The Karnataka government seems to have taken the easy option of banning mobile phones in schools, but is not paying any heed to the selling of X-rated multi-media clips in various parts of the city.

The government, which has not paid much heed to the MMS porno-industry in the city, also faced criticism from cell phone companies with one such company claiming today that mobile phones offered security to children in metros.

Meanwhile, the pornographic media clips are apparently a rage with teenagers and are freely available in the Majestic area of the city, which is famous for the sale of cheap electronic goods and accessories. Other places where such clips are available include Shivaji Nagar and Jaya Nagar.

MMS clips are sold for Rs 50 to Rs 100 with imitations based on Bollywood heroines being a favourite. A brief visit to the Majestic area revealed that shop owners have thousands of MMS clips recorded on their computers and memory cards.

The clips are even hawked under labels aimed at teenagers with labels saying “Indian”, “Black”, “Indian Housewife”, and “School Girl” and so on. Clips labeled “Delhi Public School” are also being sold in this area besides impersonations of various Bollywood actresses as also local Kannada film heroines.

Apparently, the shopkeepers, who are able to unite under one banner in the event of a raid and also enjoy political patronage, are carrying out this business without much bother. “We sell according to the demand and obviously a large number of our customers are youngsters, including teenagers”, said one shopkeeper. He said the ‘business’ did not attract much attention from the law enforcing agencies because there was no apparent breaking of the law in the transaction. ‘It is innocent fun’, were his words as way of justification.

Mobile operators are meanwhile gearing up to challenge the government’s version about mobile phones. Tata Teleservices Karnataka Circle head Manzoor Ameen while speaking to newsmen said mobile phones offered security to children. He said as far as the issue of health concern was concerned, no study had established that mobile phones were health hazards. “When we do not have any data on the health concerns stated by the State Health department while proposing to ban mobiles in schools, how can we make them a reason for taking such a step”, he added.

Top

 

Why capturing Laden is a Herculean task
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Six years after Al-Qaida conducted terror strikes in mainland America, its chief Osama bin Laden is as elusive as ever despite a global manhunt backed by state-of-the-art weapons and espionage equipment.

Here is a brief checklist of operational difficulties for capture of Laden, dead or alive.

The most important operational obstacle for the Americans is to get any of their agents close to bin Laden.

Access to bin Laden is extremely restricted and virtually prohibited to an unknown person.

In the rare case of a man getting an appointment with bin Laden, who hardly meets women, he is put under a polygraph test to verify his story.

After he clears the polygraph test, the appointment-seeker is picked up from a place and time of Al Qaida’s choosing.

He is stripped and searched for bugs, blindfolded and then taken to the location via a circuitous route.

Top Al Qaida men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mohammed Atef, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abu Faraj al-Libi, who have been either captured or killed, met this fate primarily because it was their operational requirement to establish and maintain communications with the outside world. Laden has no such compulsion.

Scouring a vast, traditionally lawless area with rugged terrain for bin Laden is not unlike locating a needle in a haystack.

Washington has had a taste of it four years ago in the famous case of “Olympic Bomber” Eric Rudolph, who was able to avoid one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history. 

Top

 

 

 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |