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N A T I O N

OBC Quota
Why not spend on basic education first, SC to Centre
 

New Delhi, September 27
The Supreme Court today raised questions over the Centre’s education policy proposing to spend Rs 36,000 crore for upgrading infrastructure with institutions of higher learning to implement the OBC quota while the elementary education was in “doldrums” even as the government defended the fixation of 27 per cent reservation for backwards in central institutions.

N-deal: CPM Politburo meeting today
Kolkata, September 27
The crucial meeting of the Politburo and the CPM central committee, beginning at the Alimuddin Street party office in Kolkata from today, may finally endorse the decision of pulling out their support from the UPA government on the nuclear  deal issue.

‘Sarees’ may bring down govt
JD (S)-BJP crisis
Bangalore, September 27
The alleged distribution of ‘sarees’ by supporters of a BJP leader may well bring down the 20-month-old JD (S)-BJP government in Karnataka. Though the violence, which erupted after JD (S) workers protested against the alleged distribution of ‘sarees’ on the eve of the local body elections by a relative of a BJP leader, is responsible for the present crisis between the coalition partners, the fissure lines go deeper due to the personalities involved.




EARLIER STORIES




Jaya distances herself from BJP, Sangh Parivar
Chennai, September 27
Tamil Nadu Opposition leader and AIADMK supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa today distanced herself from the BJP saying that she was in no hurry to form alliances and that her party possessed independent views irrespective of the stand taken by the Sangh Parivar on the Sethusamudram project.

BJP demands sacking of DMK government
New Delhi, September 27
Calling the attacks on its party offices in Tamil Nadu, allegedly by DMK workers, as a constitutional breakdown, the BJP today urged President Pratibha Patil to dismiss the Karunanidhi government.

DMK demands action against MP Vedanti 
Chennai, September 27
While the Tamil Nadu police registered yet another case against former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti for his “fatwa” on beheading of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, the DMK today appealed to the Centre to initiate immediate action against the VHP leader for reiterating his remarks.

Free Power to Farmers
Volte-face by Naidu

Hyderabad, September 27
In a bid to come back to power, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), headed by N Chandrababu Naidu, today promised free power to farmers if voted to power in the next Assembly polls, a concept it had detested while in power.

Judicial probe ordered into Mizanur’s death
Kolkata, September 27
A judicial probe has been ordered today into the mysterious death of Mizanur Rahaman, a 27 year old computer engineer who had married Priyanka (23), the daughter of Asoke Todi, a businessman who did not approve of his daughter marrying Mizanur and had been wanting her back home. Mizanur married Priyanka under a proper marriage Act on August 18 and they had been leading a happy marriage life at Mizanur's house at Tiljala. But on Sept 21, Mizanur's body was found on the railway track near Dum Dum Station.

Setback for CID in Vaishali lynching case
Patna, September 27
A local court in Hajipur refused to entertain the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) plea for issuing non-bailable warrants (NBW) against ten persons accused of lynching 10 suspected thieves in Vaishali district of Bihar on September 13 for want of sufficient evidence.

Search operation put off due to harsh weather conditions
Dehra Dun, September 27
A joint search undertaken a week back by two separate teams to look for 5 unidentified dead bodies presumably of some trekkers in higher altitude area near Indo-Tibetan border in Uttarakhand could retrieve only one body so far.

7 killed in road mishap
Allahabad, September 27
Seven persons, including two women, were killed and two others seriously injured in a road accident here,the police said.

Old beauties steal heart
Guwahati,September 27
It was a pleasant surprise for those hitting the road in morning hours in the city today. People were awed by as many as 35 old beauties that brought the vehicular traffic to a halt as motorists and bikers chose to park on the roadside to feast their eyes on the cavalcade of vintage cars that passed by.


A foreigner dances with a local girl at Junagarh Palace on World Tourism Day
in Bikaner on Thursday. — PTI
A foreigner dances with a local girl at Junagarh Palace on World Tourism Day

Extended reprieve for Sanjay Dutt
Mumbai, September 27
Sanjay Dutt will remain out of jail for at least another three weeks after his lawyers failed to obtain a copy of the judgment sentencing him to six years in prison from the TADA court here.


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OBC Quota
Why not spend on basic education first, SC to Centre 
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 27
The Supreme Court today raised questions over the Centre’s education policy proposing to spend Rs 36,000 crore for upgrading infrastructure with institutions of higher learning to implement the OBC quota while the elementary education was in “doldrums” even as the government defended the fixation of 27 per cent reservation for backwards in central institutions.

A five-judge Constitution Bench hearing arguments on the validity of the OBC Reservation Act raised the questions in the wake of government’s defence to implement the quota saying if it had so much funds why should it not be spent first on improving the elementary education system.

“You cannot go to the second floor without going to the first floor first,” the Bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said, pointing out that the Centre planned to spend Rs 36,000 crore on upgrading infrastructure in the central institutions of higher learning but a vast population was being deprived of the basic education.

“Should the government go back on its obligation to the fundamental right of education and social empowerment,” the court asked.

However, solicitor general G.E. Vahanvati defended the government’s decision to implement the 27 per cent quota for OBCs in education institutions of higher learning claiming that the Centre was equally alive to its obligations to improve the primary and elementary education and the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was aimed at that direction.

While reading out figures on the implementation of social empowerment programmes under the SSA, Vahanvati tried to rebut the arguments of petitioners’ lawyers against the 27 per cent quota for OBCs mainly on the ground that it had been approved by the apex court in the Mandal Commission case verdict on public employment.

He said if 27 per cent reservation for OBCs was approved by the court for government jobs, why should it be opposed for admissions in educational institutions.

The government counsel claimed that the Mandal Commission had estimated the OBC population at about 52 per cent but the 27 per cent figure was accepted as “adequate” representation to them by it.

He said even the National Sample Survey Organisation in its report of 2006 based on random survey done between July 2004 and June 2005 had put the figure of OBC population at 41 per cent, and therefore the 27 per cent quota for them could not be described as over estimated.

Countering the arguments of petitioners that the government should first establish the total population of OBCs with a reliable data, he said if the proportionate reservation had to be provided to them then it could even be higher than the 27 per cent.

“Since the court has put a cap of 50 per cent on total reservation, we are also urging for the 27 per cent on the same reasons, which is very reasonable”, he said while concluding his arguments.

“It took 40 years to provide reservation for OBCs in government jobs and it took 57 years to talk about it in educational institutions as part of the government’s social empowerment programme,” Vahanvati said making a strong plea for permitting the government to implement the quota. The hearing would resume on October 3.

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N-deal: CPM Politburo meeting today
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 27
The crucial meeting of the Politburo and the CPM central committee, beginning at the Alimuddin Street party office in Kolkata from today, may finally endorse the decision of pulling out their support from the UPA government on the nuclear 
deal issue.

But still the CPM will not vote against the government in the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha and invite the snap poll.

Party sources said a resolution to this effect which was drafted by the party general secretary, Prakash Karat after consulting several senior party leaders would be once again discussed at tomorrow’s Politburo meeting before finally placing it in the subsequent two-day central committee meetings to be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The senior Politburo member, Sitaram Yechuri, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal, is likely to formally place the resolution for its vetting in the Politburo and the central committee. Most of the Politburo leaders and the central committee members from different states have already arrived in  the city.

The Kerala chief minister, V.S.Achuthanandan and Tripura chief minister, Manik Sarkar will be arriving tomorrow morning.

Though the party leaders in general now feel that at this stage there has been no alternative but to withdraw their support from the government than to become the party to the UPA in “selling out the country’s unity and sovereignty to Bush”, but still it will not be an easy task for the party’s hardliners to adopt the decision of pulling out their support from the UPA government since the leadership has been still sharply divided on the Indo-US nuclear deal vis-à-vis the withdrawal of their support from the government.

The veteran Jyoti Basu and the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as well as the state party secretary, Biman Bose, among many others in the state party, are still strongly opposed to the withdrawal decision and a snap poll in the Lok Sabha.

Meanwhile, the moves of the Bengal unit of the party would come under close scrutiny of political leaders, as well as the stock market analysts, which is witnessing upward rally of crossing 17,000 points in five trading sessions, as the utterances of CPM leaders would give out signals on the stability of the Manmohan Singh government.

There are clear indications that the CPM would formulate its strategy to deal with the situation in case it had part ways with the UPA coalition, it would, however, be looking for some indications of leeway in the October 5 meeting of the UPA-Left Committee on the nuclear deal to reduce political temperatures.

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‘Sarees’ may bring down govt
JD (S)-BJP crisis
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 27
The alleged distribution of ‘sarees’ by supporters of a BJP leader may well bring down the 20-month-old JD (S)-BJP government in Karnataka.

Though the violence, which erupted after JD (S) workers protested against the alleged distribution of ‘sarees’ on the eve of the local body elections by a relative of a BJP leader, is responsible for the present crisis between the coalition partners, the fissure lines go deeper due to the personalities involved.

Trouble erupted in Bellary yesterday when JD (S) workers took a posse of policemen to a house near the Airport Road. The house, they alleged, belonged to a nephew of BJP MLC Janardhan Reddy. The BJP MLC, a prominent mine owner of the area, was earlier responsible for accusing state Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy of collecting Rs 150 crore as bribes from the mine owners of the district.

The JD (S) workers claimed that people from Andhra Pradesh had gathered in the area to collect ‘sarees’ which were being distributed to influence voters in the corporation elections, scheduled for tomorrow. An argument ensued following which Reddy and tourism minister B. Sriramulu also reached the spot. Following this, there was a clash between the two groups which was quelled by the police through a lathi charge.

The Bellary police registered a case of attempt to murder against Reddy and Sriramulu besides 150 BJP workers, who have been accused of assaulting JD (S) workers. Sriramulu also approached the police with a written complaint accusing state Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy of conspiring to eliminate him. He has alleged that the district police was also involved in the conspiracy and has also named a police officer in the complaint, which has not been registered.

Sriramulu, while reacting to the incident, has said that he had to fall on the feet of a police officer and beg for his life “after the goons and police personnel attacked me”.

The Bellary BJP unit has come out in support of Sriramulu. Bellary MP Karunakar Reddy has approached the EC against the Bellary district police chief, who he has accused of having political loyalty to the JD (S). This is likely to make it difficult for the BJP to take “action” against Sriramulu as has been indirectly demanded by JD(S) President H. D. Deve Gowda.

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Jaya distances herself from BJP, Sangh Parivar
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 27
Tamil Nadu Opposition leader and AIADMK supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa today distanced herself from the BJP saying that she was in no hurry to form alliances and that her party possessed independent views irrespective of the stand taken by the Sangh Parivar on the Sethusamudram project.

Talking about possible alliances in the near future, she said, “The AIADMK is not in a hurry to forge an alliance with any political party at this time.”

Regarding mid-term Lok Sabha polls, she said, “The situation is fluid. We do not know when the elections will take place. We do not know whether there will be general elections and simultaneous Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. We will discuss the issue of alliance at the time of elections.”

Commenting on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s charge that her party along with the BJP and Sangh Parivar were trying to stall the project on the pretext of ‘Ram setu’ on religious lines, Jayalalithaa said, “I am not a part of the Sangh Parivar. I have no alliance with the BJP. We are an independent party with our own ideologies and convictions. This accusation is not relevant as far as my party is concerned.”

Asked whether her silence over Karunanidhi’s ‘disparaging’ remarks on Ram gave the opportunity to the BJP to grab the centre stage, she replied that she was the first person to condemn the remarks.

She said, “If a common man had made the remark, by now an FIR would have been filed against him and he would have been arrested. Karunanidhi should resign or the Centre should drop DMK ministers from the Union Cabinet and dismiss the ‘minority’ government.”

Jayalalithaa refused to comment on the UNPA, which was formed at her residence in June this year, saying, “I will not answer any question related to the UNPA at this moment. I will talk about it at the appropriate time.”

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BJP demands sacking of DMK government
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 27
Calling the attacks on its party offices in Tamil Nadu, allegedly by DMK workers, as a constitutional breakdown, the BJP today urged President Pratibha Patil to dismiss the Karunanidhi government.

"If the ministers instigate, provoke and lead the attack, then it is evident that there is a complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state, warranting immediate remedial measures", the BJP memorandum to the President said.

After calling on the President, BJP president Rajnath Singh said it was a situation of constitutional breakdown as it were the ministers who instigated, provoked and led the attack. “We want the DMK government to be dismissed.”

The BJP also sought security of life and property during the October 1 bandh called by the DMK in support of the Sethusamudram project.

Security of life and property to all, including the opposition, should be insured on October 1, Rajnath Singh said, adding DMK chief M Karunanidhi should apologise for his blasphemous statement.

The BJP's memorandum also demanded dismissal of the DMK ministers at the Centre.

All the minsters of the DMK in the UPA government also be sacked forthwith, Rajnath Singh said.

The BJP delegation, led by Leader of Opposition L K Advani, also included party leaders Jaswant Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The ongoing tussle between the saffron brigade and DMK, over Karunanidhi's questioning the existence of Lord Rama, took a violent turn on September 23 when DMK activists allegedly attacked 'Kamalayalam', the state BJP headquarters in Chennai, and ransacked the house of a senior state BJP leader.

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DMK demands action against MP Vedanti 
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 27
While the Tamil Nadu police registered yet another case against former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti for his “fatwa” on beheading of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, the DMK today appealed to the Centre to initiate immediate action against the VHP leader for reiterating his remarks.

Union shipping minister and DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu wrote to union home minister Shivraj Patil pointing out that in a recent interview to a Tamil magazine, Vedanti had again made “outrageous remarks against our leader”.

Baalu stated that the situation in Tamil Nadu was already tense and such repeated “fatwas” against the Chief Minister might lead to a serious law and order problem.

Meanwhile, the police in Coimbatore registered cases against Vedanti for promoting enmity between two groups or religions, spreading rumours and threatening life following a complaint from a local DMK leader.

The Chennai police had already registered a case against him following a complaint by a city resident on Sunday. 

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Free Power to Farmers
Volte-face by Naidu
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 27
In a bid to come back to power, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), headed by N Chandrababu Naidu, today promised free power to farmers if voted to power in the next Assembly polls, a concept it had detested while in power.

The key policy shift was approved by the party politburo, which met here. The meeting accepted a report of the committee of senior leaders, set up last year to suggest an alternative economic policy with a pro-poor focus.

Apart from free power, the opposition party decided to promise a string of pro-poor measures, including seed subsidy and low-cost loans, to win back the confidence of farmers and the rural poor.

When it was in power, the TDP had strongly opposed the concept of free power, on the ground that it would play havoc with power sector.

While announcing the party’s shift in stand at a press conference here, Naidu sought to justify the move saying the farming community deserved free power supply till they came out of the present agrarian crisis.

Asked why he had made the U-turn, the former CM said “At that time, we were in the midst of implementing reforms in power sector. 

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Judicial probe ordered into Mizanur’s death
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 27
A judicial probe has been ordered today into the mysterious death of Mizanur Rahaman, a 27 year old computer engineer who had married Priyanka (23), the daughter of Asoke Todi, a businessman who did not approve of his daughter marrying Mizanur and had been wanting her back home. Mizanur married Priyanka under a proper marriage Act on August 18 and they had been leading a happy marriage life at Mizanur's house at Tiljala. But on Sept 21, Mizanur's body was found on the railway track near Dum Dum Station.

Mizanur's family and his friends alleged Mizanur had been murdered by the police engaged by the businessman for getting his daughter back, though Priyanka herself was unwilling. 

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Setback for CID in Vaishali lynching case
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 27
A local court in Hajipur refused to entertain the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) plea for issuing non-bailable warrants (NBW) against ten persons accused of lynching 10 suspected thieves in Vaishali district of Bihar on September 13 for want of sufficient evidence.

CM Nitish Kumar had ordered a CID probe into the shocking street justice incident after the gruesome killing sent shockwaves across the nation by lowering the image of his government.

The CID reportedly named Nawal Kishore Rai, Raj Kishore Rai, Ram Ishwar Singh, Ganesh Rai, Bhagwat Rai, Rama Rai, Parmanand Rai, Shatrughan Singh, Prem Kumar Singh and Ranjit Rai as the chief accused in the case.

On September 13, the 10 accused reportedly saw a group of gypsies, belonging to backward "kueries" caste, walking in somewhat suspicious manner. Soon they raised an alarm and gave a chase to the gypsies. After catching up with them near Dhelphorwa Chowk, the strong mob then beat them up mercilessly until ten of them died. The CID claimed that all the 10 accused were present during the incident.

But CJM (Hajipur) Anil Kumar Singh turned down the CID`s request seeking issue of the NBWs against these residents of Rajapakar on the ground that evidence required for showing their prima facie, direct and indirect involvement, were ‘insufficient’.

On its part the CID on Monday had prayed for the issuance of NBWs against them as it wanted them for an identification parade before one of the survivors of the gory incident Ranjit Kureri, admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Meanwhile, under flak from the opposition and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the state government reportedly has decided to initiate departmental proceedings against the police officers of Vaishali.

Nitish Kumar already shifted the DM and SP of Vaishali following the incident.

The incident further landed the Nitish government red-faced after the recovery of the half-burnt bodies of seven of the 10 victims from Hajipur who were flown for cremation. 

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Search operation put off due to harsh
weather conditions

Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 27
A joint search undertaken a week back by two separate teams to look for 5 unidentified dead bodies presumably of some trekkers in higher altitude area near Indo-Tibetan border in Uttarakhand could retrieve only one body so far.

The operation has been abandoned for the time being due to harsh weather conditions there.

District Magistrate, Chamoli D.S.Garbyal told The Tribune that the search party could find only a single body whose identity would be ascertained after postmortem examination.

Two search parties of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Uttarakhand police sent by the administration of Uttarakashi and Chamoli districts to look for 5 dead bodies on the Harsil-Mana trek route in snow-bound Garhwal Himalayas today returned back as further search was not possible due to heavy snowfall in the area for the past 3 days.

A 34 member team comprising 24 porters, 5 persons each from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Uttarakhand police was sent on the mission to retrieve five highly decomposed bodies including one of a presumably foreign woman sighted by members of an Army trekking expedition.

The information had sent the police and administration of both districts into tizzy in the absence of any missing report of trekkers in the area.

The team sent from Chamoli district was caught in heavy snowfall above 15,000 feet and returned to Badrinath today.

Since the bodies were sighted on the border of both districts, another team of 37 members led by Uttarkashi District Disaster Management Officer, Manoj Pandey has also been asked to call off its search trek due to inclement weather.

While, 25 porters of the team had reached Nandanvan, its officers could only reach up to Bhojwasa. 

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7 killed in road mishap

Allahabad, September 27
Seven persons, including two women, were killed and two others seriously injured in a road accident here,the police said.

The mishap took place near the Naini bridge in the district when a truck coming from across the Yamuna river overturned crushing seven person to death on the spot.

Among the deceased,two were locals, four persons, including the two women, were pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh while one is is yet to be identified, in-charge, Kydganj police station, Sushil Kumar Singh said.

The driver and helper of the truck were also seriously injured in the accident and were admitted to a local hospital, he added.— PTI

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Old beauties steal heart
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati,September 27
It was a pleasant surprise for those hitting the road in morning hours in the city today. People were awed by as many as 35 old beauties that brought the vehicular traffic to a halt as motorists and bikers chose to park on the roadside to feast their eyes on the cavalcade of vintage cars that passed by.

It was simply classical to celebrate the World Tourism Day.

The state tourism department could stage such a unique display of old cars, courtesy, Palash Deka(Piklu).

Deka owns a 1948 model (back engine) Renault 749 CC, Sunbeam 800 CC (convertible) of 1933, Morries 800 CC (convertible) of 1948, Perefect Ford (hard top) of 1948, Volks Wagon (back engine) of 1949, Ford Jeep of 1942, Ford Care of 1939 and a Buick of 1945.

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Extended reprieve for Sanjay Dutt
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 27
Sanjay Dutt will remain out of jail for at least another three weeks after his lawyers failed to obtain a copy of the judgment sentencing him to six years in prison from the TADA court here.

According to officials at the TADA court, the judgment, running into more than 6000 pages, was not yet ready as court officials were still preparing the document. In all 100 persons were sentenced in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and separate copies of the judgment would have to be prepared for all those convicted.

Sanjay Dutt, who was among the last of the convicted persons to be sentenced, would also be among the last of them to get his copy, according to sources.

Sanjay Dutt was originally expected to receive the copy of the judgment today, but with the court failing to provide it, the actor’s bail would be extended further. The Supreme Court has ordered Dutt to surrender when his lawyers receive a copy of 
the judgment.

As soon as his lawyers receive the judgment, the actor would be sent back to the same jail.

Meanwhile, Dutt is now working hard at completing his professional commitments. He has set up production house in partnership with his sisters.

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