SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Speaker favours ‘right to recall’
New Delhi, September 28
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today said he favoured introduction of measures like ‘recall’ vested with the people to ensure accountability of the members.

I am spiritual person: Sunita Williams
Hyderabad, September 28:
Astronaut Sunita Williams addresses the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad on Friday. Astronaut Sunita Williams said here today that she was a spiritual person. The American astronaut of Indian origin said, “ I am a spiritual person. My father is a Hindu."

Astronaut Sunita Williams addresses the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad on Friday. — AFP photo

Quashing Haryana Patwaris’ appointment
Apex court overturns HC order

New Delhi, September 28
In a major relief to over 1200 patwaris in Haryana whose appointment was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Supreme Court today set aside the impugned order and directed that the matter be adjudicated afresh.


EARLIER STORIES


BJP moves closer to talks with Gowda
Bangalore, September 28
The BJP today moved a step closer to resuming talks with former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and his JD (S) by getting its tourism minister B Sriramulu to “clarify” that he had not charged Chief Minister H D Kumarswamy of attempting to murder him.

Rural job guarantee extended to entire country
New Delhi, September 28
Two days after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to extend the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to the entire country, the government today announced the extension of the ambitious programme to all districts of the nation.

Cases Against Children
Panel seeks data from states

New Delhi, September 28
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked all states for the exact number of cases of children in conflict with law (CCL) pending with Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs), and data of those who have been incarcerated in juvenile justice homes or undergoing trial proceedings for more than three years.

Corruption Case
Bhattal withdraws plea from SC
New Delhi, September 28
After the trial judge had taken on record the receipts on the spending of Rs 20 lakh by Punjab Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal from the CM’s relief fund when she headed the state government in 1996, Bhattal today withdrew her petition from the Supreme Court challenging her prosecution on the question of improper sanction.

Congress bracing up for early poll
New Delhi, September 28
With the UPA government not inclined to shelve the Indo-US nuclear deal under pressure from the Left parties, the Congress has begun to gradually prepare for an early Lok Sabha polls.

‘Idol’ clash: Army called in
A motorcycle set afire by a mob angered over remarks by an RJ about Indian Idol winner Prashant Tamang in Siliguri on Friday.Prashant appeals for peace in Siliguri
Kolkata, September 28
"Indian Idol" Prashant Tamant today appealed for peace in Siliguri after violence and arson rocked this commercial town, where curfew was imposed and the Army was called in.

A motorcycle set afire by a mob angered over remarks by an RJ about Indian Idol winner Prashant Tamang in Siliguri on Friday. — PTI photo

CBI closes case against Jagdish Tytler
New Delhi, September 28
Jagdish TytlerThe CBI today closed a 1984 anti-Sikh riot case against senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Jagdish Tytler saying it was unable to find witnesses to support its charges against him. The probe agency, in its closure report filed before a court here, is understood to have said that many of the witnesses in the case were either dead or did not want to testify. The closure report also included the name of late Congress MP Dharam Das Shastri. Meanwhile, the agency filed a charge sheet in one of the related cases in which Suresh Kumar was accused of inciting a mob against the Sikhs. — PTI

Vigilante Justice
One more lynched in Bihar
Gopalganj (Bihar), September 28
Yet another man today became the victim of ‘vigilante justice’ in the state, when he was beaten to death by angry villagers here for allegedly entering a house to steal.

It’s unsafe to convict on mere dying declaration: SC
New Delhi, September 28
The Supreme Court has cautioned that it is unsafe to convict a person on the basis of a dying declaration alone, where suspicion is raised as regards the veracity of the deceased’s statement.

Music students celebrate the birthday of Lata Mangeshkar in Bikaner on Friday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LATA: Music students celebrate the birthday of
Lata Mangeshkar in Bikaner on Friday.
— PTI photo
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Steps to protect Victoria Memorial
Kolkata, September 28
Calcutta High Court today ordered immediate shifting of the city's main bus terminal from the maidan vicinity for protecting the beauty and sanctity of the historic Victoria Memorial against pollution and other environment hazards. The government, however, was given six months time for making an alternative bus terminal elsewhere.

Student procession lathicharged
Patna, September 28
Over a dozen students and youth were injured after the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the activists of All India Students Federation (AISF) and All India Youth Federation (AIYF), both affiliated to CPM, at R block today.

Court stays order against HIV+ woman
Jaipur, September 28
The session’s court here on Friday stayed the order of a lower court that denied HIV positive woman custody of her minor daughter.

‘Infiltration is at lowest level in Kashmir’
New Delhi, September 28
Outgoing Chief of Army Staff General J.J. Singh today said that infiltration and militancy levels in the disturbed state of Jammu and Kashmir and that of the North-east have been brought down to minimum levels.

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Speaker favours ‘right to recall’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 28
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today said he favoured introduction of measures like ‘recall’ vested with the people to ensure accountability of the members.

"It is time for us to look for devices such as ‘recall’ to ensure accountability of the members of democratic institutions at all levels, before the common man gets totally disillusioned with the prevailing system," he told reporters at the end of the 53rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference here.

The Lok Sabha Speaker pointed out that it is in this context that the people’s ‘right to recall’, midterm, an elected representative who fails to live up to the expectations of his constituents, assumes significance as a potent democratic tool.

The ‘recall’ device has also the potential to encourage the citizens to keep themselves abreast of contemporary public issues in order to monitor the conduct of their elected representatives. Any involvement in activities which are unbecoming of a people’s representative while representing one’s country abroad, should be one of the grounds on which a Member of Parliament should be recalled, Chatterjee said.

Era Sezhiyan, former Member of Parliament, said the recall mechanism is being used widely in presidential systems with full separation of Legislature and Executive. In the Commonwealth countries, British Columbia Province in Canada, Uganda and Guyana have recall provisions. There should be an in-depth study of progress of the recall schemes in these countries and the experience the voters and the Legislatures have gained so far.

T.R. Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, and a former Solicitor General of India, said recall tends to produce in a legislator conditions of irresolution as to whether he should do what he thinks he ought to do in the interest of the public, or should withhold doing anything, or should do as little as possible, in order to avoid controversy.

That being so, the recall mechanism if misused may pose a threat to the stability of the government. In a way, recall weakens the fabric and practice of representative government and encourages short-term over long-term thinking; a member would act only according to what seems acceptable to the public at the time.

Recall for alleged misconduct by a Member of Parliament may operate unjustly as the recallers do not have to prove the charges and sometimes the real motive for the recall may be quite different from the stated ground of misconduct, he added.

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I am spiritual person: Sunita Williams
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 28:
Astronaut Sunita Williams said here today that she was a spiritual person. The American astronaut of Indian origin said, “ I am a spiritual person. My father is a Hindu. He gave me a copy of Bhagawat Gita which I read everyday and tried to understand the dilemmas of Arjuna. And a nice, fat Ganesha was with me. He would make me smile every morning.”

Sunita spoke to the media here after giving a presentation on the concluding day of the 58th International Aeronautical Congress here. She was the hero of the day with students and visitors vying with one another to have a glimpse of her and interact with her.

Sharing her experiences, Sunita, who spent a record 195 days at the international space station, said the first glimpse of earth was incredible, and that she was never bothered about the possibility of danger to her life during the long sojourn.

She expressed her wish to embark on Mars Mission. She said she was in favour of building human colonies in outer space. It seems logical, Sunita, who likes

adventure-filled trips, outdoor sport activities and raising pet animals, said.

Speaking of the borderless earth as viewed from the space, Sunita said that even

without going to space, Mahatma Gandhi gave a similar message.

Thanking Indians for the love and affection showered on her, she said she would like Indian women to go to space sometime in future.

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Quashing Haryana Patwaris’ appointment
Apex court overturns HC order
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 28
In a major relief to over 1200 patwaris in Haryana whose appointment was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Supreme Court today set aside the impugned order and directed that the matter be adjudicated afresh.

While protecting their appointment, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and D.K. Jain remanded the case back to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, saying that it had not applied the law relating to the appointments in identical cases, as laid down by the apex court.

The Bench gave six months time to the High Court to decide the matter afresh by taking into consideration correct position of law as evolved by the apex court.

It also allowed the patwaries, whose appointments were quashed in 2005, to become the party in the case, if they so desired. The 1,248 odd selected candidates, whose appointment was set aside by the High Court on the plea of those who had filed to get through in the selection process, had moved the apex court soon after the High Court had announced the verdict in 2005.

Their counsel Nidesh Gupta, Jasbir Malik and others alleged that the High Court had solely relied upon a particular judgment in Satpal Singh case, while quashing the appointments but ‘ignored’ the latest position of law settled in other such cases by the apex court.

The High Court had refused to approve the selection criteria laid down by the Haryana Subordinate Staff Selection Board, providing for 60 per cent marks for academic record, 5 per cent for sports, 25 per cent for interview and 10 per cent for handwriting.

The case lingered on for several years as the selection process was started in 1992, the result was declared in 1994 recommending sending the selected candidates for training and on completion of the same, they were absolved in the service as per the requirements of the state’s revenue department. Nidesh Gupta had argued that after undergoing the entire exercise, the High Court had quashed the appointments mainly on the ground that 25 marks for interview was on higher side.

The Haryana government was granted permission in April this year by the apex court to go ahead with the fresh appointments.

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BJP moves closer to talks with Gowda
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 28
The BJP today moved a step closer to resuming talks with former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and his JD (S) by getting its tourism minister B Sriramulu to “clarify” that he had not charged Chief Minister H D Kumarswamy of attempting to murder him.

It is also in the process of getting its Karnataka in charge Yashwant Sinha here so that he can hold talks with Deve Gowda and ensure smooth transfer of power before October 3.

Even as these developments took place today, the JD (S) continued to be intransigent with its coalition partners with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy committing a flip-flop on the issue of transfer of power. The Chief Minister, who had said yesterday that he would quit by October 3 as he did not want to be seen as reneging on a promise, today denied making the statement. Kumaraswamy clarified that he had only stated that the issue of transfer of power would be decided after September 30. He said the issue would now be decided only after a meeting of the JD (S) legislators on September 30.

BJP leader and tourism minister B Srirramulu today denied that he had charged Kumaraswamy with trying to murder him despite submitting a written complaint stating this specifically at the Cowl Bazar police station in Bellary two days back. Talking to mediapersons after casting his vote in the corporation elections, he said he had only claimed that atrocities were being committed against BJP workers in the name of the Chief Minister.

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Rural job guarantee extended to entire country
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 28
Two days after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to extend the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to the entire country, the government today announced the extension of the ambitious programme to all districts of the nation.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by finance minister P. Chidambaram, rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Planning Commission officials. The decision has come amid talk of Lok Sabha elections being held before schedule due to standoff between the UPA and Left parties on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Rahul Gandhi, who was appointed Congress general secretary earlier this week, met Prime Minister on Wednesday along with senior party leaders to demand that NREGA, which guarantees 100 days’ employment to each rural household, be extended to the entire country.

The Congress delegation had told the Prime Minister that NREGA was one of the key promises in the party manifesto and an element of the national common minimum programme of the UPA.

Rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said today that NREGA would be extended to the entire country from April 2008. The programme is likely to cost Rs 20,000 crore annually.

The NREGA, which intially covered 200 most backward districts, was extended to 130 more districts later.

Notified in September 2005 and launched in February 2006, it aims at enhancing the livelihood security of the people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment in a financial year, to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

NREGA provides for the extension of the programme to the entire country within five years of its notification. The Centre has also planned to launch the Aam Admi Bima Yojana, Health Insurance Scheme for BPL Workers and the National Policy for Farmers. The Unorganised Sector Workers Bill has already been introduced in Parliament.

Answering to queries on the government expediting the move to extend NREGA to the entire country after Rahul Gandhi made such a demand, Raguhvansh Prasad Singh said he was happy over the support from the Congress leader for the ambitious programme. To queries about efforts by the Congress to claim credit for the programme, the minister said it was the initiative of the UPA government, which was led by the Congress.

Ministry sources said that the government had not shown any undue haste after the demand for extension was made by Rahul Gandhi, as such a proposal was on the cards. They said a meeting to clear this proposal could not take place earlier due to Prime Minister's surgery. They said that Rahul's meeting with the Prime Minister had been timed in a way to let the young leader of the Congress claim credit for the progarmme for his party and the UPA government.

Offiicial sources said NREGA was able to provide employment to 2.10 crore rural households in the 200 districts in the first phase , creating 90.50 crore persondays in which more than 60% share was of ST and SC groups and 40% of women. Of nearly 8.00 lakh works taken up in the first phase, nearly 54% pertained to water conservation and water harvesting.

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Cases Against Children
Panel seeks data from states
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 28
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked all states for the exact number of cases of children in conflict with law (CCL) pending with Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs), and data of those who have been incarcerated in juvenile justice homes or undergoing trial proceedings for more than three years. This follows after Punjab and Haryana sent in their figures to the recently formed panel regarding the exact status of cases of CCL pending in different districts of their respective states.

As per the report, there are 1734 cases of CCL pending in Punjab, 4592 in Haryana and 341 in Chandigarh. New Delhi has around 4,000 such children in its juvenile justice homes whose cases are pending, says NCPCR member Sandhya Bajaj. She adds many of these children were incarcerated in these homes for petty crimes along with those who had indulged in more serious criminal activities like rape and murder.

Bajaj, who met Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice Vijender Jain on September 12, urging for speedy justice in cases related to the CCL and setting up of more courts for children in the two states, told The Tribune today that the Punjab and Haryana governments sent in their figures following the meeting with the Chief Justice.

“The main points of discussion included pendency of cases before different Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) in the two states and strategy, if any, for early disposal of such cases. The Chief Justice was very positive on all our suggestions and it was following his direction that the two states sent their data to us. But, now we want other states to tell us the exact number of children who have spent more than three years in these homes,” she says.

The data would be utilised by the commission to conduct further studies and built up a database for the betterment of the young population of the country. With close to with 42 per cent persons under the age of 18 years, India clearly needs better protection of child rights, says the commission.

The commission’s prime objective is to discuss the possibility of early setting up of children’s courts as envisaged under the NCPCR Act as the number of children’s courts is far from adequate in most states of the country.

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Corruption Case
Bhattal withdraws plea from SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 28
After the trial judge had taken on record the receipts on the spending of Rs 20 lakh by Punjab Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal from the CM’s relief fund when she headed the state government in 1996, Bhattal today withdrew her petition from the Supreme Court challenging her prosecution on the question of improper sanction.

Bhattal, appointed PPCC president recently, is facing trial under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the provisions of Indian Penal Code for criminal breach of trust by a public servant for alleged “misappropriation” of the money from the CM’s relief fund.

Her counsel Nidesh Gupta sought the withdrawal of the petition informing a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P. Sathasivam that since the trial judge has conceded her plea under Section 173 of CrPC to take on record the receipts as evidence to prove her innocence, she would not like to continue with the proceedings in the apex court.

The trial court had permitted the police to file a report pertaining to the new evidence, which it had failed to find earlier at the time of filing of the charge sheet, he said.

Gupta told The Tribune later that since Bhattal stands better chance of acquittal after the emergence of the new evidence, there was no point in continuing with the proceedings in the apex court on the issue of sanction, which would have taken longer time to be settled.

Bhattal had moved the apex court in 2004 after her petition was rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the question of alleged “improper” sanction for her prosecution.

The complaint against her for alleged misappropriation of Rs 20 lakh from the CM’s relief fund was filed by a lawyer Balwant Singh in May 2001.

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Congress bracing up for early poll
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 28
With the UPA government not inclined to shelve the Indo-US nuclear deal under pressure from the Left parties, the Congress has begun to gradually prepare for an early Lok Sabha polls.

While the Congress leaders have not given up hope of the Left showing some flexibility on its stand over operationalisation of the nuclear agreement, they are simultaneously getting the party in poll mode so that the organisational machinery is well oiled in the event of the government losing support of its biggest outside ally.

Party sources said that the next month would be crucial to the longevity of the government. They said the government may start negotiations with IAEA next month on India-specific safeguards forcing the Left to take a decision on support. They said that if Left does not climb down from its stand the UPA would be left with no alternative but to decide on the timing of next general elections.

The Congress is creating awareness among its workers on the various aspects of nuclear deal to nail the Left and BJP criticism about the deal being against the interests of the country.

This week’s organisational revamp, which brought party’s scion Rahul Gandhi in the party’s core strategy team, has been done with the general elections in mind.

With the government today extending the NREGA to the entire country after Rahul made such a demand, the Congress sought credit for the ambitious programme. Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi today said that NREGA was a unique initiative, which was part of Congress manifesto. “Such an initiative has never been taken since Independence,” he said.

The Congress has also decided to keep a distance from the unfolding scenario in Karnataka where BJP-JD (S) coalition is under a strain ahead of the date for transfer of power. Sensing early elections, the Congress is keen to take advantage of anti-incumbency in the state against both the BJP and JD (S).

Party leaders want the BJP-JD (S) government to fall under its own weight rather than the party being seen as a player in bringing it down.

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‘Idol’ clash: Army called in
Prashant appeals for peace in Siliguri

Kolkata, September 28
"Indian Idol" Prashant Tamant today appealed for peace in Siliguri after violence and arson rocked this commercial town, where curfew was imposed and the Army was called in.

"I urge you all to maintain calm, otherwise I may not be able to concentrate in my career," Tamang said in an appeal on a private TV channel in Bengali and Nepali.

Tamang expressed the hope that peace would return "and everyone will remain as happy as ever". The Army and BSF were called in to control widespread violence in this north Bengal commercial town after fans of Prashant Tamang and local people clashed on Friday and torched cars.

The police fired three rounds, injuring two persons after local people clashed with the fans who had to take shelter in the court compound chased by a mob, inspector-general of police (North Bengal) R.J.S.Nawla said.

Firing was resorted to when teargas failed to control the stone-throwing mob. Several people were injured in the brickbatting. The protesters damaged several vehicles., Nawla said.

The trouble erupted when the fans, numbering around 2000, were proceeding to submit a memorandum to the sub-divisional office for the derogatory comments by an FM radio jockey in Delhi against Prashant Tamang. — PTI

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Vigilante Justice
One more lynched in Bihar

Gopalganj (Bihar), September 28
Yet another man today became the victim of ‘vigilante justice’ in the state, when he was beaten to death by angry villagers here for allegedly entering a house to steal.

The incident occurred in the backdrop of killing of 10 suspected thieves by a mob in Bihar’s Vaishali district earlier this month, and similar acts of lynching by mobs since then.

The incident took place in Shulkal Wan village, when 30-year-old Ashok Nath allegedly entered the house of Chote Lal Baitha at the village, and was captured by the family members, police said.

The villagers clobbered the youth, who hailed from Dahidthata village, with sticks leading to his death on the spot, Mahesh Singh, officer-in-charge of Town police station, said. — PTI

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It’s unsafe to convict on mere dying declaration: SC

New Delhi, September 28
The Supreme Court has cautioned that it is unsafe to convict a person on the basis of a dying declaration alone, where suspicion is raised as regards the veracity of the deceased’s statement.

In such cases where there are suspicion about the deceased’s statement, “The court may have to look for some corroborative evidence by treating dying declaration only as a piece of evidence,” a bench of Justices R. V. Raveendran and B. Sudershan Reddy observed, while acquitting a murder convict.

According to the apex court, the medical evidence and surrounding circumstances altogether cannot be ignored and kept out of consideration. In this case, appellant Nallapati Sivaiah was convicted to life term by a Sessions Court in AP for the alleged murder of Dasari Srinivasa Rao with the help of two others due to previous enmity. — PTI

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Steps to protect Victoria Memorial
Tribune News service

Kolkata, September 28
Calcutta High Court today ordered immediate shifting of the city's main bus terminal from the maidan vicinity for protecting the beauty and sanctity of the historic Victoria Memorial against pollution and other environment hazards. The government, however, was given six months time for making an alternative bus terminal elsewhere.

A division bench, comprising Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharyya and Justice R.N. Banerjee, also issued instruction today to the state government and Calcutta Police for restricting the vehicular movement along Red Road and other adjoining thoroughfares for making the area pollution free which would help properly preserve the white-marble-built beautiful historic monument.

The car parking and the whistling of horns in and around Victoria Memorial were also banned.

These judgments were delivered on a writ petition filed by an environmentalist, Subhas Dutta and several other welfare organisations, including Concern of Calcutta and Society for Environment Protection.

Incidentally, Calcutta High Court earlier banned the Calcutta Book Fair and holding of all other exhibitions and fairs in maidan for protecting ‘the city's lung’.

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Student procession lathicharged
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 28
Over a dozen students and youth were injured after the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the activists of All India Students Federation (AISF) and All India Youth Federation (AIYF), both affiliated to CPM, at R block today.

Over hundreds of AISF and AIYF activists were assembled near the R block in their bid to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to hand over a memorandum containing 10 point charter of demands.

The demands included unemployment allowance of Rs,1000 to youth, free education to students in areas affected by floods.

The AIYF leader Madan Kumar Murari alleged that police lathicharged on them without any provocation. “We only wanted to handover the memorandum to Chief Minister”, he claimed.

The senior SSP of Patna Kundan Krishnan said that police arrested 16 activists for violating prohibitory order under section 144 imposed in the area located near the state secretariat and the assembly.

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Court stays order against HIV+ woman

Jaipur, September 28
The session’s court here on Friday stayed the order of a lower court that denied HIV positive woman custody of her minor daughter.

Married to a soldier in 1995 from which she allegedly contracted the disease, the woman was thrown out of her home by her in-laws after her husband died in 2003 and her daughter was taken away.

Widowed and ostracized by the community, the mother then approached the court for custody of her 11-year-old child. — IANS

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‘Infiltration is at lowest level in Kashmir’

New Delhi, September 28
Outgoing Chief of Army Staff General J.J. Singh today said that infiltration and militancy levels in the disturbed state of Jammu and Kashmir and that of the North-east have been brought down to minimum levels.

Talking to reporters after the ceremony of handing over of the baton of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Army Chief said situation is fast coming to normal and grounds have been created for a final settlement of these issues. Iron fist and velvet gloves policy is a resounding success, he said and disclosed that security forces' casualties were reduced to one-third of what they used to be few years ago. — TNS

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