SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Cong all set to chalk out strategy
New Delhi, October 2
Faced with the possibility of an early Lok Sabha election, the Congress is getting ready to devise its future political strategy at an AICC session in the light of the lessons learnt from managing its first coalition government.

Karnataka Crisis
Yediyurappa, BJP ministers resign
Bangalore, October 2
Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and all BJP ministers submitted their resignations to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy late tonight.

Decision lies with JD(S), says BJP
New Delhi, October 2
A worried BJP’s leadership remained engaged in informal consultations here the whole day to find ways to get an “honourable” solution to the Karnataka stand-off with the JD (s) as state party in charge Yashwant Sinha held discussions with party MLAs and other state leaders in Bangalore.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa at function in Bangalore Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa at function in Bangalore on Tuesday.
— Reuters photo





EARLIER STORIES


Pro-Myanmar democracy activists raise slogans during a protest in New Delhi
Pro-Myanmar democracy activists raise slogans during a protest in New Delhi on Tuesday. The protesters also demanded the Indian government to review its current foreign policies with Myanmar.
— Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Wily Gowda turns tables on BJP
Bangalore, October 2
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who has been apparently in the driver’s seat since seizing the opportunity given by allegations by BJP tourism minister B. Sriramulu to suspend talks with the BJP, has used incidents to his own advantage and become the protagonist when by all accounts he should have been the defendant.

CM blames BJP for delay
Bangalore, October 2
Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy today blamed coalition partner BJP for delay in the transfer of power as “it was not ready to ‘sit and talk’ with him to thrash out the modalities.” “I am ready to hand over Chief Minister’s post to the BJP tomorrow itself.

Delayed Cases
Industrial tribunals can’t reject workers’ claim, says SC
New Delhi, October 2
A practice by industrial tribunals to reject cases of employees merely for the reason of their approaching them with delay has been disapproved by the Supreme Court terming it as a "bad law".

Image conscious Lalu talks tough to RJD workers
Patna,October 2
In what appears to be a conscious move by keeping in mind his development-oriented image as railways minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav is now determined to ensure no more alleged forcible grabbing of seats and berths of bona fide passengers in trains by the enthusiastic RJD supporters during his proposed "chetwani"(warning) rally at Gandhi Maidan on October 28.

Gandhi’s message universal: PM
New Delhi, October 2
Affirming that Mahatma Gandhi’s message is more important today than ever before since nations across the world continue to grapple with the threat of conflict, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh maintained that his message “of love and peace, of non-violence and Satyagraha, of equality of all peoples, of harmony between all regions is a universal message.
In video (56k)

Tributes paid to Shastri
Gandhi my role model: Sunita

President Pratibha Patil pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

President Pratibha Patil pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in New Delhi

Sethu Samudram
Project recipe for disasters: Environmentalists
New Delhi, October 2
With political opinion remains divided over Sethu Samudram project, environmentalists continue to oppose it citing ecological reasons. Terming the project as non-sustainable, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology has said excavation of sand from the canal will kill marine life, especially the coral reefs which, with the mangroves, were protectors during the tsunami.

The Ganga is shifting its course
Patna, October 2
The Ganga may have shifted a long way when next time Kumbh is organised in Allahabad. Sources here disclosed that the central government had for the first time recorded the phenomenon, which gathered pace in the past few years.

Bengal clashes over flood aid claim life
Kolkata, October 2
On Gandhi Jayanti today, supporters of the CPM and the Trinamool Congress clashed in Jagacha and other areas in Midnapore district, about 80km from here, over the alleged bungling in the distribution of the relief meant for flood victims.

ULFA: Appeal of Gen provocative
Guwahati, October 2
The proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) termed an appeal made by the GOC, 4 Corps of Indian Army, Lt-Gen B.S. Jaswal, to the families of ULFA militants to call back their misguided boys as ‘provocative, threatening and unbecoming of any disciplined Army officer of a civilised democratic country’.

Justice Bedi refuses to hear Punjab plea against Raninder
New Delhi, October 2
The hearing on the Punjab Government’s petition seeking the cancellation of bail of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh and their close relative in the Ludhiana city centre scam case could not proceed further in the Supreme Court, as one of the judges in a division Bench, Justice H.S.Bedi, refused to hear it.

Govt blocks 5 channels
New Delhi, October 2
Taking a tough stand, Prasar Bharati has dropped five channels from its DTH (direct to home) service ‘DD Direct Plus’ for not paying the carriage fees. The broadcaster blacked out Aaj Tak, Headlines Today, TV9, Akash Bangla and Star Utsav after they failed to pay the carriage fee despite repeated notices and extensions.

Arundhati’s Saga
Maneka blames national park for negligence
New Delhi, October 2
Seventyfive-year-old female elephant Arundhati's irreversible condition may have been a compelling reason for the Uttarakhand Wildlife authorities to opt for inevitable mercy killing. But, animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has pointed an accusing finger at the authorities of Rajaji National Park for criminal negligence in Arundhati's “rescue and care”.

General Kapoor to visit J & K
Will pay obeisance at Vaishno Devi temple
New Delhi, October 2
The new Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, will visit Jammu and Kashmir from Friday to get a first-hand knowledge of counter-insurgency operations in the militancy-hit state and the situation on the border.

Patna HC fines lawyer for frivolous PIL
Patna, October 2
In a remarkable judgement the Patna High Court has slapped a fine of Rs. 10,000 on an advocate for filing a frivolous public interest litigation (PIL) against Manmohan Singh challenging his continuance as Prime Minister despite not being a member of the Lok Sabha.

‘Incredible India’ campaign bags PATA award
New Delhi, October 2
India was awarded the much coveted Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) award for Marketing under the banner of a highly successful ‘Incredible India’ campaign, at the special awards ceremony in Bali Indonesia yesterday.

16 missing as boat capsizes in Gandhak river
Gopalganj, October 2
As many as 16 persons are feared drowned in Gandak river after their boat capsized midstream near Salehpur village in Bihar's Gopalganj district today.

Videos
Collection dedicated to Gandhi.
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Tribal protest.
(56k)
Mallika’s turning into a pagli.
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Himesh on a high.
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Cong all set to chalk out strategy
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
Faced with the possibility of an early Lok Sabha election, the Congress is getting ready to devise its future political strategy at an AICC session in the light of the lessons learnt from managing its first coalition government.

The session, which is likely to be held anytime between Dasera and Diwali, will be the first since the appointment of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi as AICC general secretary. The last session was held in Hyderabad last year where Gandhi junior took the floor for the first time and assured anxious cadres that he was ready to work for the party. Now that he has been formally inducted into the organisation, the forthcoming session will be yet another occasion to “launch” him as the party’s youth icon.

The session becomes significant as it comes at a time when the Congress party’s relations with the Left parties are at best tenuous and the air is thick with speculation about mid-term election. The differences between the Congress and the Left parties over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal are far from over and though the two sides have set up a special panel to discuss this issue, neither side is likely to budge from its stance.

Admitting that each UPA partner has begun internal assessment about its respective poll prospects, Congress leaders said it has, therefore, become imperative to lay down a roadmap for the future. In particular, it will have to do some deep introspection on its experiment in coalition politics and whether it has served the Congress well.

While discussing pre-poll alliances and its future relationship with the Left parties, the Congress leadership will have to be content with a growing view in the party that the Congress should chart an independent path even it means sitting in the opposition. Several senior Congress leaders firmly believe that coalition politics has actually impeded the party’s growth.

Pointing to the party’s gradual demise in key states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the Congress once enjoyed an eminent position, several senior leaders have suggested that their first priority should be to rebuild the party from scratch by reinventing itself and pulling in new constituencies.

As a first step, however, the Congress will focus on devising its poll strategy for the Assembly elections in Gujarat. In fact, the outcome of this election is expected to have a bearing on subsequent political developments. A good showing by Narendra Modi in Gujarat could fuel fears about the BJP-led NDA’s revival at the Centre and thus compel the warring UPA partners to sink their differences.

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Karnataka Crisis
Yediyurappa, BJP ministers resign
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, October 2
Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and all BJP ministers submitted their resignations to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy late tonight.

Kumaraswamy, however, advised Yediyurappa, who submitted the resignations to him, to wait till the October 5 meeting of the national executive of the JD (S) where “everything will be settled”. Yediyurappa said he would bring Kumaraswamy’s “request” to the notice of the party’s central leadership.

The BJP resignation move, which occurred after a meeting of its legislature party which was presided over by senior leader Yashwant Sinha, has put the pressure back on the JD (S). Now, the JD (S) will have to take a decision on the future of the coalition government.

The BJP ministers unanimously decided not to give in to the diktats of JD (S) national president and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who wants his son Kumaraswamy to be allowed to continue in power in view of the party’s showing in the recently concluded local bodies elections. Giving vent to the mood of the party legislators, Sinha said BJP ministers had decided to hand in their resignations as the JD (S) was not sticking to the power sharing agreement reached between the two parties 20 months back.

The BJP had earlier given Kumaraswamy a deadline of 6 pm this evening to submit his resignation to ensure its senior leader B.S. Yediyurappa takes over as Chief Minister tomorrow.

Kumaraswamy is still playing the game of political brinkmanship and termed the resignations as a childish step. He claimed that the BJP would now be responsible if a snap poll was imposed on the people of Karnataka. He also claimed though BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had met his father on the issue of power transfer no one had spoken to him. “They are also giving deadlines to me through media”, he said while speaking about the BJP.

Earlier in the day the JD (S) disowned the power sharing agreement arrived at by Kumaraswamy with the state BJP leaders. JD (S) state president Mirujudding Patel said the party was not involved in the agreement and so not bound to honour it. He also said there was no question of the Chief Minister resigning his post.

Continuing in the same vein, Deve Gowda also said the party’s national executive would take a final decision on power transfer and that its decision “would be binding to all”.

However, state BJP president Sadanand Gowda had set the scene for the late night development by clearly stating that there would not be any further negotiations and that the party would not backtrack on its demands. He had also made it clear that the party would not wait for the JD (S) PAC meeting to take place on October 5 before charting its next course of action saying “the meeting does not come into picture as far as we are concerned”.

Though the latest move has pushed the coalition government to the brink, the situation could still be salvaged in case legislators of either the JD S) or the BJP pressure their parties to go back. Legislators of both parties do not want a mid-term poll, but are still waiting to see who blinks first.

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Decision lies with JD(S), says BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
A worried BJP’s leadership remained engaged in informal consultations here the whole day to find ways to get an “honourable” solution to the Karnataka stand-off with the JD (s) as state party in charge Yashwant Sinha held discussions with party MLAs and other state leaders in Bangalore.

“There is nothing much to be done. The ball is in the court of the JD (s). Our effort is to get the agreement with the JD (S), which was entered between the two coalition partners publicly, honoured so that the credibility of the political parties does ont get eroded,” a senior BJP leader said.

“We are waiting as the final decision has to be taken by the JD (S). The message from our side is clear and loud. Today is the last day for the JD (S) to keep the promise,” said a top party source.

“We are even ready to knock the people’s door for their decision. There is no point in waiting till October 5 or 15,”he stressed.

Irked by the unwillingness of the JD (s) to pass on the baton agreed to 20 months ago, the BJP had given time till today to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to step down and his party to give a letter of support to the Governor.

“The BJP’s confidence comes from both its improved performance in the local body elections and a dismal chance of the Congress extending a friendly hand to the JD (S),” sources added.

With reports of infighting within the BJP suggesting that a former union minister and a senior party leader were lobbying against deputy chief minister D.S. Yediyurappa, the party was also forced to make a statement projecting an intact House. The party was united and one behind Yediyurappa. He would be the next Chief Minister and reports suggesting otherwise were baseless, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

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Wily Gowda turns tables on BJP
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, October 2
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who has been apparently in the driver’s seat since seizing the opportunity given by allegations by BJP tourism minister B. Sriramulu to suspend talks with the BJP, has used incidents to his own advantage and become the protagonist when by all accounts he should have been the defendant.

Gowda used the complaint filed by Sriramulu to “return” to Bangalore from Delhi when in fact he knew about the incident when he set off to Delhi to meet the BJP central leadership on his own volition. After coming back to Bangalore, he said it was up to the BJP to resume talks after creating a congenial atmosphere for the same.

The BJP fell to his bait and dispatched its senior leader Yashwant Sinha to hold talks with Gowda, besides making its tourism minister B. Sriramulu resign from the Cabinet.

Gowda then made Yashwant Sinha wait for nearly two days before granting him a brief audience. Even though Sinha had arrived the preceding evening, he set off to Tiruchurapalli on a temple visit, which took up his entire day rather than meeting up with Sinha.

When he did meet up with Sinha he did not negotiate. He only handed over a fait accompli to the BJP leader clearly stating his son Kumaraswamy should be allowed to continue in office, besides asking for more time for “discussion on contentious issues” where none existed accept handing over the Chief Minister’s chair to the BJP.

When Sinha rejected these demands and it seemed no further excuse could be given to keep hanging on to power in the state, the near non-existent parliamentary affairs committee (PAC) of the JD (S) was activated. PAC member Danish Ali issued a statement saying the power transfer issue would now be decided only by the PAC, which would meet on October 5.

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CM blames BJP for delay

Bangalore, October 2
Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy today blamed coalition partner BJP for delay in the transfer of power as “it was not ready to ‘sit and talk’ with him to thrash out the modalities.” “I am ready to hand over Chief Minister’s post to the BJP tomorrow itself. But when they (BJP) are not ready to discuss the issue and are depending only on the media to put across its messages how can I say how long it will take for the transfer of power to take place?” he asked.

In an interview to a private Kannada TV Channel, Kumaraswamy said he did not want a ‘constitutional void’ to be created in Karnataka by handing over his resignation to the Governor even before the party (JD-S) prepared itself for the shift.

“I am committed to leave the Chief Minister’s post and hand it over to our coalition partner. But we need time to work out the modalities and there is a need for a detailed discussion to take place,” he said.

The Chief Minister claimed he was not to be blamed for the delay as the BJP had not bothered to speak to him about the power transfer.

“None of the top leaders have come to me to for a meaningful discussion. Excepting Yashwanth Sinha speaking to Deve Gowda three days ago, there has been no interaction on the eve of power transfer. There is need for such an interaction for the successful continuation of the coalition government,” he opined. — UNI

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Delayed Cases
Industrial tribunals can’t reject workers’ claim, says SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 2
A practice by industrial tribunals to reject cases of employees merely for the reason of their approaching them with delay has been disapproved by the Supreme Court terming it as a "bad law".

The apex court has directed the Haryana Government in one such case to pay a daily wager Rs 60,000 as final settlement in spite of his services being terminated.

“The industrial tribunal cannot invalidate the reference on the ground of delay. If the employer says that the workman has made a stale claim, the employer must challenge the reference by way of writ petition and say that since the claim is belated, there was no industrial dispute,” a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H.Kapadia ruled.

The court said that the employer simply could not lead the defence of delay when the employee has approached the industrial tribunal, a statutory body set up under the law to deal with the disputes between the employee and the employer.

“The tribunal cannot strike down the reference on this ground… it is a bad law,” the court said.

The tribunal had rejected the application of Karan Singh, a daily paid worker, engaged by the Haryana State Marketing Board in 1993 because he approached it after a gap of six years from the termination of his service.

He had worked till October 1994 when his services were terminated. Before the tribunal, he had sought regularisation on the grounds that the persons junior to him were confirmed in the service, but his case was ignored. At the same time, he had claimed full back wages with all consequential benefits.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also upheld the tribunal’s order on the grounds of delay on part of Karan Singh to seek legal remedy against the department.

Since Karan Singh could not give a satisfactory reason in the Supreme Court also for the delay of six years in approaching the tribunal, it expressed helplessness in giving him the relief of restoring him back to service, but laid down the law that the delay would not be the only reason for not rejecting his claim.

Eventually, the apex court granted him the relief of Rs 60,000 as final settlement of his dues with all applicable benefits of which he was legally entitled till he continued in the service.

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Image conscious Lalu talks tough to RJD workers
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna,October 2
In what appears to be a conscious move by keeping in mind his development-oriented image as railways minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav is now determined to ensure no more alleged forcible grabbing of seats and berths of bona fide passengers in trains by the enthusiastic RJD supporters during his proposed "chetwani"(warning) rally at Gandhi Maidan on October 28.

The move by Lalu is in the backdrop of the charges earler levelled against the RJD workers by passengers for forcibly occupying seats unrserved for them in trains during the "lathi rally" and the "maha ralia" in the past when the party was in power in the state.

Near about a month before chief Minister Nitish Kumar completes his two-year rule in Bihar on November 24, the RJD supremo decided to organise the rally to expose the alleged all round failure of the NDA government.

Talking to the media persons here Lalu said,"This time there will be no forcible grabbing of seats and berths of bona fide passengers. RJD workers and supporters coming to attend the rally by train will have reservation provided for by the party".

He has already asked party leaders to prepare lists of workers and supporters who want to travel by train sufficiently in advance so that necessary funds could be allocated for reservation.

It is argued that the changing stance of Lalu is linked to his desperation to recapture power in Bihar based on his new found development oriented image in the backdrop of the appreciation received by him in recent times from different quarters for the turnaround of the Railways under his stewardship.

Before he assumed the charge of the Railways in 2004, the RJD rule in Bihar,either under him or his wife Rabri Devi,was allegedly held responsible for the soaring crime graph and related underdevelopment in the state.

Referring to the RJD-sponsored October 28 "chetawani rally", Nitish, however, termed it as an attempt by a person short on self-confidence to gauge his popularity and party`s strength in the changing perspective of the state on positive graph under the present NDA rule.

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Gandhi’s message universal: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
Affirming that Mahatma Gandhi’s message is more important today than ever before since nations across the world continue to grapple with the threat of conflict, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh maintained that his message “of love and peace, of non-violence and Satyagraha, of equality of all peoples, of harmony between all regions is a universal message. It is a message for all times, for all societies and for all peoples.”

As long as there is temptation to resort to violence in the human mind, the Mahatma’s message of “non-violence will tug at our hearts,” Dr Singh said at an event here today even as the world celebrated the Mahatma’s 138 birth anniversary as the International Day of Non-Violence.

The Prime Minister also released a set of four commemorative stamps on the occasion. The stamps are titled Satyagraha, reflecting how a colossal revolution took place based on the philosophy of non-violent resistance.

He had no doubt about the fact that the international community had today come to observe the day in memory of Mahatma Gandhi should ensure that generations to come would never forget the eternal message of the Mahatma.

Dr Singh maintained that the ideas and ideals of Gandhi would continue to resonate as long as there was strife and injustice, inequality and indignity, pain and suffering, and violence and hatred.

“There is permanence in these principles and values that transcends and unites humankind,” the Prime Minister said.

“Gandhiji’s philosophy has stood the test of time and I believe will continue to do so as long as humankind seeks peace and equality of all people.”

The Prime Minister said Gandhiji’s message of non-violence had been underscored time and again by the lives and teachings of great men of peace such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

“Wherever and whenever injustice is redressed and freedom won through peaceful means, Gandhiji will always be remembered.”

“Let us not forget,” the Prime Minister said, adding “Gandhiji was not some lofty saint. He was also a great political leader. He was regarded as a mahatma because he practised what he preached. Because he cared for the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the weak.”

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Tributes paid to Shastri

New Delhi, October 2
A grateful nation today paid rich tributes to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 103rd birth anniversary.

President Pratibha Patil, vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, home minister Shivraj Patil, minister of state in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and several Congress Working Committee members, MPs and MLAs among others visited his samadhi at Vijay Ghat here.

His sons Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri were among the first who paid their respects at the samadhi.

Later, parliamentarians and CWC members paid floral tributes to the former Prime Minister in the Central Hall of Parliament. — PTI

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Gandhi my role model: Sunita

New Delhi, October 2
As the world celebrates International Non-Violence Day, Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams said today that Mahatma Gandhi was her role model and she was proud to be part of a peaceful space project.

“Mahatma Gandhi was an incredible individual. His non-violence policy affects every sphere of our life. The whole world has to learn a lot from him,” she said, interacting with students of a school here on the 138th birth anniversary of the father of the nation.

Describing herself as a citizen of the universe, she said she took Indian culture to space as her father hailed from India.

Remembering Kalpana Chawla, Sunita said she was following in the footsteps of the late Indian-American astronaut. — PTI

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Sethu Samudram
Project recipe for disasters: Environmentalists
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
With political opinion remains divided over Sethu Samudram project, environmentalists continue to oppose it citing ecological reasons.

Terming the project as non-sustainable, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology has said excavation of sand from the canal will kill marine life, especially the coral reefs which, with the mangroves, were protectors during the tsunami.

The foundation said the canal would need a constant dredging and would create a permanent source of profit for the companies involved, while destroying the life of the sea and coastal people.

Pointing out that highways and railways freight corridors had already been expanded to move goods from North to South, East to West, the foundation said massive project was being planned so that giant ships of corporations take a little less time by not sailing around Sri Lanka.

“Sethu Samundram project is in fact a massive subsidy to global corporations, with the price being paid by marine ecosystems and coastal communities,” it said.

Referring to reports, the foundation said to take ships through an area where the sea bed along a 5 km stretch near Adams bridge was only 4 m deep, would be a recipe for disasters.

The region has also been identified as the most vulnerable region in the Bay of Bengal to severe tropical cyclones, it said, adding that Sethu Samundram canal will create a deep-water route for cyclones and tsunamis causing huge destruction in Kerala.

It said while belief in Lord Ram was a matter of faith, Sethu Samundram was about the destruction of a rich and fragile marine ecosystem and species and communities dependent on it. “All citizens, organisations and political parties committed to the protection of nature and people livelihoods should join the movements to oppose the Sethu Samundram,” it said.

“The destruction to be caused by Sethu Samundram of the fragile marine ecosystem and of fisherman’s livelihood is a matter of science,” it said, adding that “The science relevant to the Sethu Samundram debate is ecology, not archaeology.”

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The Ganga is shifting its course
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, October 2
The Ganga may have shifted a long way when next time Kumbh is organised in Allahabad.

Sources here disclosed that the central government had for the first time recorded the phenomenon, which gathered pace in the past few years.

A recent study by a team of the Central Water Commission reportedly confirmed that the sacred river for Hindus was changing course fast and in future might pose danger to Phaphamau town, if remedial measures were not taken soon.

It was learnt that the technical team comprised experts from Ganga the Flood Control Commission, Bihar and UP governments, ministry of railways and the Central Water Commission. The team has found that the course of the Ganga has moved towards Phaphamau side and the change has been rapid in the past few years.

There were said to be primarily two reasons for Ganga gaining pace in changing course. First, higher silt generation leading to more deposits on the bank and second, more wastage generated by human discharged into the river.

The committee observed that about 1.5-2 km upstream of the river, there had been erosion of the river belt. “Even though no danger is posed to railway bridges and a road leading to the town right now, the river is fast shifting its course and immediate precautionary measures are needed. The road leading to Phaphamau town is 600 metres away from the river flow and protects the town”, the committee said.

In the past few years, the Ganga has also swirled a lot at many places, including Varanasi and Patna, which the scientists term as a natural course of river flow. But, the committee cautioned that if human interference was not checked the shift might gain pace in future.

The committee recommended morphological studies with remote sensing techniques within 20 km to study the impact of the Ganga changing its course.

The Bihar and UP governments have reportedly been advised to conduct a model study of the river in the vicinity of bridges and roads to analyse its future impact on infrastructure.

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Bengal clashes over flood aid claim life
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, October 2
On Gandhi Jayanti today, supporters of the CPM and the Trinamool Congress clashed in Jagacha and other areas in Midnapore district, about 80km from here, over the alleged bungling in the distribution of the relief meant for flood victims.

In the clashes, which began last evening, a Trinamool supporter, Kartick Kundu, suffered head injuries. He succumbed to his wounds this afternoon at Kokkjata’s SSKM hospital. Several others, who were injured either in the police lathicharge or stone-pelting and bombing during the clashes, were admitted to different hospitals and health centres of the district.

Paramilitary forces and RAF personnel from Kolkata were rushed to the areas where the clashes took place.

The clashes were continuing in several places till the filing of the report. The police fired several rounds of teargas shells and bullets to disperse the warring groups.

Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, accompanied by several other party leaders, left for Midnapore this evening. She alleged that CPM cadres and the police was jointly involved in attacking the flood victims who were demonstrating in front of the panchayat office to lodge their protest against the improper distribution of the relief materials.

However, the CPM leadership at the Alimuddin Street party office denied the charges. The leaders alleged that a group of Trinamool supporters and local anti-social elements attacked the panchayat office and tried to loot the relief materials. They attacked the police and panchayat officials with bombs and bricks, they alleged.

In several parts of the flood-hit districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Bankura, Birbhum and Hoogly, there had been a series of violent incidents over the alleged smuggling of the rice and wheat meant for the flood-affected people.

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ULFA: Appeal of Gen provocative
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, October 2
The proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) termed an appeal made by the GOC, 4 Corps of Indian Army, Lt-Gen B.S. Jaswal, to the families of ULFA militants to call back their misguided boys as ‘provocative, threatening and unbecoming of any disciplined Army officer of a civilised democratic country’.

The Army commander stated that the families of ULFA militants should better call back their misguided sons, who are in the ranks of the banned ULFA, so that later they would not have to experience the agony of seeing their wards die young on being killed by bullets of security forces.

He also called upon the ULFA militants to surrender and join the mainstream and get rehabilitated to avoid getting killed by the security forces engaged in counter insurgency operations.

In the latest edition of its mouthpiece, ‘Freedom’, a soft copy of which was e-mailed to the media here, the banned ULFA today criticised the Indian Army commander for issuing such a ‘threatening’ statement.

The ULFA stated that no mother in Assam would heed to the ‘command’ of the commander of colonial Indian Army to call back their sons engaged in the ‘freedom struggle of Assam’ after 10,000 youths had laid down their lives fighting for the ‘restoration of sovereignty of Assam’.

The ULFA stated that the comment of Lt-Gen Jaswal reflected the attitude of ‘colonial Indian rulers and its military’ to continue to suppress the voice of freedom aspiring people of Assam.

In a caustic remark, the ULFA said, “Those in Assam who still believe Assam is a part and parcel of India should now rethink in the wake of such a threatening comment made by the commander of Indian Army. The Army has made it clear that those who dare to raise their voice against colonial Indian state will be shot down.”

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Justice Bedi refuses to hear Punjab plea against Raninder
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 2
The hearing on the Punjab Government’s petition seeking the cancellation of bail of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh and their close relative in the Ludhiana city centre scam case could not proceed further in the Supreme Court, as one of the judges in a division Bench, Justice H.S.Bedi, refused to hear it.

Since Justice Bedi comes from Punjab, he declined to hear the case yesterday, and eventually Justice S.B.Sinha, heading the Bench, ordered that the case be placed before another Bench after a mention being made about it before the Chief Justice.

Though the Punjab Government had moved a special leave petition (SLP) against the Punjab and Haryana High Court order granting bail to Raninder and Raminder, a son-in-law of Amarinder’s brother more than two months ago, it came up for hearing only yesterday.

A battery of law officers of the Punjab Government and senior advocates engaged by it and the other side were present, but Justice Bedi’s refusal to hear the matter proved to be a damp squib for the state government.

The Punjab Government has also moved a separate SLP for the cancellation of the bail of Amarinder Singh, but it is yet to be listed for hearing by the apex court. Now both SLPs are likely to be listed together.

While the Punjab Government had hired senior advocate K.K.Venugopal to plead its case, Amarinder Singh had engaged Harish Salve to counter his legal acumen.

Another SLP of the Punjab Government for the cancellation of the bail of former local bodies minister Jagjit Singh was also listed along with the petition against Raninder.

While the Punjab Government has raised various questions of facts and law to make a case for reversal of the high court order, Raninder and Raminder, in their replies, have directly attacked Chief Minister Parkash Sing Badal of “framing them up” in the case due to “political vendetta”. They had claimed that there was no evidence about their involvement in the case.

The Vigilance Bureau, in its counter affidavit, had refuted the charge, claiming that the FIR was based on an investigation and not as an outcome of any “political malice”.

The bureau has described the allegation of “political vendetta” as “fashionable and attractive” for the accused persons in their attempt to make the case look like a result of “political rivalry”.

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Govt blocks 5 channels

New Delhi, October 2
Taking a tough stand, Prasar Bharati has dropped five channels from its DTH (direct to home) service ‘DD Direct Plus’ for not paying the carriage fees.

The broadcaster blacked out Aaj Tak, Headlines Today, TV9, Akash Bangla and Star Utsav after they failed to pay the carriage fee despite repeated notices and extensions.

Earlier the public broadcaster, which claims to be the largest DTH service beaming into more than five million Indian homes, had given a deadline of August 15 to these five channels to pay up. The deadline was extended several times on their request.

“They probably thought Prasar Bharati would not do anything. But we decided to act tough and dropped them. Afterall we have to meet our operational expenses also,” a senior Prasar Bharati official said.

The broadcaster said sufficient time was given to these channels and as a policy decision it was decided that DD Direct Plus would not carry any channel, which is free.

Under the latest rules, a domestic channel is required to pay Rs 25 lakh per annum as carriage fee whereas for the foreign channels it is Rs 50 lakh per annum.

DD Direct Plus, which positions itself as the world’s only free DTH, does not charge any subscription fee from the viewer as a matter of policy.

All channels that are shown on this are free to air channels. It has no pay channel on board. — PTI

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Arundhati’s Saga
Maneka blames national park for negligence
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
Seventyfive-year-old female elephant Arundhati's irreversible condition may have been a compelling reason for the Uttarakhand Wildlife authorities to opt for inevitable mercy killing. But, animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has pointed an accusing finger at the authorities of Rajaji National Park for criminal negligence in Arundhati's “rescue and care”.

Gandhi told TNS here today that Arundhati's “rescue'' following her fall in a ditch recently was not good and she did not receive proper treatment for multiple fractures on her right foot.

Chairperson of People for Animals (PFA), an animal welfare organisation, Gandhi alleged that although Arundhati developed gangrene, the state wildlife authorities chose to put her on antibiotics instead of giving her painkillers. “They wanted to use magnesium sulphate to put her to sleep. That is a cruel way of killing, as the injection is pumped into the heart. And if the injection misses the heart, it is pumped repeatedly till the animal dies.”

Gandhi said that she suggested to the wildlife authorities to use sodium pentothol instead or shoot down Arundhati.

“First they said that they did not have sodium pentothol. They resisted help from our volunteers for the supply of sodium penthothol or any analgesics. Then, they wasted four days to move a file to procure sodium penthothol and explained the delay to their preoccupation with Animal Welfare Week (October 1 to 6) celebrations. When they finally procured sodium penthothol, they figured out that not one of the three veterinary doctors stationed there could pump in the injection.”

So, they sent for Dr N.V.K. Ashraf, head of Wild Rescue Programme at Delhi-based Wildlife Trust of India.

Gandhi said that this case should serve as an eye-opener to the government to impart training in wildlife medicine to veterinary doctors.

Animal rights activists, however, have called for more caution in rescue, as the elephant population in the country is dwindling. They point out that the female elephants have a very long intercalfing interval and usually deliver a single calf.

There are rare cases of a female elephant giving birth to twins. According to experts, the life expectancy of an elephant in the wild varies from 65 to 70 years. In the case of captive elephants, life expectancy is 80 years.

Ashok Kumar, vice-chairman, Wildlife Trust of India, says that situations like Arundhati's rescue and survival pose a serious challenge to Forest Service Officers. He said that Indian Forest Service officers are not trained in wildlife medicine. “Their basic training is forestry management. A national park should be in touch with organisations that have trained persons in wildlife medicine. They often take the help of government veterinary doctors who are trained in treating cattle, donkeys, horses, cats and dogs. There is no reason why every state government should not employ some trained wildlife veterinarians.”

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General Kapoor to visit J & K
Will pay obeisance at Vaishno Devi temple

New Delhi, October 2
The new Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, will visit Jammu and Kashmir from Friday to get a first-hand knowledge of counter-insurgency operations in the militancy-hit state and the situation on the border.

General Kapoor, who ruled out troop reduction in the state soon after taking over as the 23rd chief of the Army yesterday, would review the situation in the Jammu region as well as the Kashmir valley during his stay in the state, official sources said here.

During his visit, he is likely to have meetings with state police officials and other members of the Unified Headquarters in which emphasis would be laid on a concerted effort to counter-insurgency operations, they said.

The Army chief will also pay obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi temple during his visit.

General Kapoor, who had served in Jammu and Kashmir as a Brigade Commander in 1998 and also headed the prestigious Udhampur-based Northern Command, has ruled out troops reduction in the state. There cannot be any curtailment of the Army's role in combating terrorism keeping in view the geo-political situation vis-a-vis the threat from terrorists, he had said.

The Army chief was categoric in stating that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir did not yet warrant any withdrawal of forces.

"As and when things improve, we can take a fresh look at troop positions," he said.

His statement came at a time when the PDP, the alliance partner of the ruling Congress, was trying hard to score a political point by demanding immediate reduction of troops in the valley. — PTI

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Patna HC fines lawyer for frivolous PIL
Tribune News Service

Patna, October 2
In a remarkable judgement the Patna High Court has slapped a fine of Rs. 10,000 on an advocate for filing a frivolous public interest litigation (PIL) against Manmohan Singh challenging his continuance as Prime Minister despite not being a member of the Lok Sabha.

Dismissing the PIL yesterday, a Division Bench of the court comprising Justices Narayan Roy and M Sharan imposed the fine on advocate Shruti Singh.

In their order reportedly based on the recent guidelines by the Supreme Court to discourage such frivolous PILs to save the precious time of judiciary, the judges observed,"such frivolous PILs should not be filed. This merits imposition of a fine in order to discourage the practice of filing frivolous litigations".

Shruti Singh had filed the PIL earlier this year seeking the court`s intervention for ousting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from office as he was not a member of the Lok Sabha.

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‘Incredible India’ campaign bags PATA award
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
India was awarded the much coveted Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) award for Marketing under the banner of a highly successful ‘Incredible India’ campaign, at the special awards ceremony in Bali Indonesia yesterday.

India also bagged two gold awards for Cultural Tourism (Aranmula) and Marketing Brochure (Kumarkom) awarded to the Kerala Tourism.

Leveraging India’s colour, cultural diversity and intelligent use of traditional and interactive media, including micro-sites and online contests, that targeted at the international visitors, the Incredible India campaign has helped drive strong double-digit growth rates in foreign visitor arrivals into India.

“Excellent visuals and print material combine in a creative way to highlight the many little-known reasons to visit India. And strong growth in visitor arrivals during the period proves that it has worked. “This is a memorable, evocative, emotive campaign”, judges commented.

After accepting the award, S. Banerjee, secretary, ministry of tourism, Government of India said PATA’s recognition of our efforts was a great honour and encourages the Indian tourism industry to promote India as a destination for all seasons.

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16 missing as boat capsizes in Gandhak river

Gopalganj, October 2
As many as 16 persons are feared drowned in Gandak river after their boat capsized midstream near Salehpur village in Bihar's Gopalganj district today.

Gopalganj Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Raghunath Prasad, who is now camping near the spot, said the mishap occurred when the country boat that was ferrying as many as 60 persons from Ahiraulidanchak village in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh to Salehpur village in Gopalganj, was caught in the swirling waters of the Gandak and capsized immediately.

All passengers fell into the river. Though 44 passengers swam to safety, 16 could not be traced so far. The search and rescue operation is on. — UNI

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