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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Anti-Scavenging Law
SC gives states 2 months’ time
New Delhi, October 5
The states which have not implemented the law preventing manual scavenging were today directed by the Supreme Court to notify the central Act passed in 1993 and were given two months to complete the formality.

Special courts to try high-profile lawbreakers
Patna, October 5
Emboldened by the speedy trials of criminal-turned politicians through fast track courts set up in the districts, the Nitish government now plans to set up special courts in concurrence with the Patna High court for expeditious trial of criminal cases against high profile lawbreakers.

Ram Setu: SC tells TN to protect swami
New Delhi, October 5
The controversy over Ram, arising from the Sethusamundram project, continues to surface in one form or the other, with a petition being moved in the Supreme Court by a Hindu saint alleging that activists of the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu were harassing the disciples of Lord Ram.



EARLIER STORIES




Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. The IAF is celebrating 75 years of existence on October 8. — AFP

N-Deal
UPA, Left agree to disagree
New Delhi, October 5
The third meeting of the UPA-Left joint panel on civil nuclear agreement may have ended on a cordial note with both sides agreeing to continue with their deliberations but there has been no substantial shift in their respective positions on the controversial nuke deal.

Palace-on-Wheels mishap 
Statutory probe ordered

New Delhi, October 5
The government today ordered a statutory inquiry into the boiler tube explosion aboard the luxury train Palace-on-Wheels in which two railways employees were killed. Commissioner of railway safety (northern circle) Bhupender Singh will conduct the inquiry on Monday and Tuesday in the Northern Railway divisional manager's office.

Basu hints at removal of Kolkata police chief
Kolkata, October 5
In the severest indictment of the role of the police in the death of Rizwanur Rehman, who was threatened by senior officers to separate from his Hindu wife, CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu today said two officers had been removed and the police commissioner might not be spared.

Now ATMs on trains
New Delhi, October 5
Passengers would be able to withdraw money while travelling as Indian Railways are planning to install ATMs in selected trains.

Lovely Anand challenges court order
Patna, October 5
Former Member of Parliament Lovely Anand today filed an appeal in the Patna High Court challenging the life imprisonment awarded to her by a local court on October 3 in connection with the murder of former Gopalganj district magistrate G.Krishnaiya in 1994.

Political Vaccum
Left parties to build third front in AP

Hyderabad, October 5
Sensing a political vacuum in Andhra Pradesh, left parties are quietly working on building third front at the state level as an alternative to the ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party.

I-cards for daily wage earners
Guwahati, October 5
Lakhs of daily wage earners working in the hugely unorganised sector in Assam are all set to get identity cards provided the Congress government in the state has its way.

Woman survives, loses 4 daughters in suicide bid
Begusarai (Bihar), October 5
A woman, harassed by her husband and in-laws for not bearing a son, today tried to commit a suicide along with her five daughters but survived while four of the girls died, police said today.

Relief for DD, AIR employees
New Delhi, October 5
In a relief to over 38,000 Doordarshan and AIR employees across the country, a group of ministers (GoM) today decided to treat them on a par with Central government employees and extend them the same benefits.

Muslims’ quota not based on religion: AP
New Delhi, October 5
Andhra Pradesh government today contended before the Supreme Court that the law providing 4 per cent reservation to Muslims in professional and educational institutions was not on religious lines but based on careful identification of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) among the community.

HC orders Sessions Judge to undergo lessons in CrPC
New Delhi, October 5
Terming Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Tiwary “incomptent”, the Delhi High Court today ordered him to undergo a three-month course in the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C) at the Judicial Academy.

Free surgery for kids with cerebral palsy
Tirunelveli, October 5
The Department of Orthopaedics of Tirunelveli Medical College (TMC) hospital will perform free surgeries on 100 children affected with cerebral palsy, starting on October 8.


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Anti-Scavenging Law
SC gives states 2 months’ time
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 5
The states which have not implemented the law preventing manual scavenging were today directed by the Supreme Court to notify the central Act passed in 1993 and were given two months to complete the formality.

The court also took note of the fact that the Railways, an important central department, was still employing manual scavengers for cleaning railway stations and tracks despite the practice being banned by a central law.

The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 was aimed at stopping the centuries old inhuman practice of manual scavenging being performed by people belonging to the Scheduled Castes across the country.

A Bench of Justices H.K Sema and Lokeshwar Singh Panta issued the direction to the states on a PIL by a union of scavengers under the banner of the Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA).

The court said when the law had been enacted by Parliament, why it should not be implemented in letter and in spirit.

The SKA said as per the data of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, despite the passage of the Act, nearly 6.76 lakh people were still engaged in manual scavenging all over the country.

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Special courts to try high-profile lawbreakers
Tribune News Service

Patna, October 5
Emboldened by the speedy trials of criminal-turned politicians through fast track courts set up in the districts, the Nitish government now plans to set up special courts in concurrence with the Patna High court for expeditious trial of criminal cases against high profile lawbreakers.

It is believed that the Nitish government is now perhaps in the mood to use judiciary as its shield to prevent any possible backlash after the convictions of these high and mighty offenders as some of them are linked to his own party, the JD (U), besides his opponents, the RJD and LJP.

Sources in the police disclosed that presently 21 criminal-turned-politicians, who are often referred to as ‘bahubalis’, are under the scanner of the state home department in the wake of the death sentence pronounced by a Patna sessions court against former MP Anand Mohan on Wednesday and life imprisonment awarded by a Siwan court to RJD MP Mohd Shahabuddin few months back.

Some of the babubalis, cutting across political lines, reportedly include Prabhunath Singh, Suraj Bhan Singh, Pappu Yadav, Shahabudin, Deo Nath Yadav, Anant Singh, Ranvir Yadav, Rama Singh, Aditya Singh, Babloo Deo, Pappu Deo, Surendra Prasad Yadav and Rajendra Yadav.

State home secretary Afzal Amanullah said the proposed special courts would conduct trial of cases against these high profile persons. Additional director general (Headquarter) Abhayanand, who was specially appointed by Nitish to take on high profile criminals, would monitor the trial of these cases at the headquarter level.

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Ram Setu issue: SC tells TN to protect swami
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 5
The controversy over Ram, arising from the Sethusamundram project, continues to surface in one form or the other, with a petition being moved in the Supreme Court by a Hindu saint alleging that activists of the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu were harassing the disciples of Lord Ram.

Swami Govinda Ramnujadasa, who claimed himself to be the president of International Sri Vaishnava Dharma Samraksha Society, appearing in person before a Bench of Chief Justice K.G.Balakrishnan and R.V.Raveendran, sought protection of all “Ram Bhaktas” (disciples of Lord Ram) in Tamil Nadu.

The court while sending the matter to the Madras High Court directed the Karunanidhi-led government to provide protection to the Swami whenever he goes to the high court to file the petition or his case is listed for hearing.

Tamil Nadu’s Advocate-General R.Viduthalai gave an undertaking to the court that every protection would be provided to the Swami. He claimed that there was no threat to those believing in Lord Ram in the state.

However, the Swami insisted that if constitutional functionary like Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi himself makes “irresponsible” statements against a Hindu deity like Lord Ram, it was enough indication for his followers to insult them.

The Chief Minister had further gone on questioning the engineering competence of Lord Ram to build the Ram Sethu, and such a statement from a person holding such high office amounted to a “deliberate” attempt to “hurt the sentiments of millions of Hindus”, he said.

After such a tirade of Karunanidhi against Lord Ram, revered by millions of Hindus, “Ram Bhakats in Tamil Nadu live in fear”.

It was not only an attack on their faith but also amounted to violation of their fundamental right of religion, life and liberty, guaranteed in the Constitution, Swami, who made a special mention of his petition, contended.

Meanwhile, former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana filed a complaint case in a city court for registration of an FIR against Karunanidhi for his “derogatory” remarks against Lord Ram.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate A.K.Kuhar fixed hearing on Khurana’s application for tomorrow.

According to the complaint, Karunanidhi had made the statements against Lord Ram with “ulterior motive” to gain political mileage on the Sethusamundram controversy by raking up the Ram and Ram Sethu issue.

Khurana said he had no option but to approach the court to invoke CrPC provision to get the FIR lodged by a judicial order after the police had refused to register a case against the Tamil Nadu CM for hurting the sentiments of millions of Hindus.

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N-Deal
UPA, Left agree to disagree
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 5
The third meeting of the UPA-Left joint panel on civil nuclear agreement may have ended on a cordial note with both sides agreeing to continue with their deliberations but there has been no substantial shift in their respective positions on the controversial nuke deal.

The Left parties remain steadfast in their opposition to the deal and have made it clear that they do not want the government to pursue formal discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to negotiate India-specific safeguards. The UPA, on its part, has explained that it is not possible to go back on international commitments and that formal discussions with the atomic agency cannot be put on hold indefinitely.

If the UPA and the Left have decided to remain engaged despite these opposing views, it is only because neither side wants to take the blame for pulling down the government. Judging by today’s discussions, it appears there is going to be no let-up from this brinkmanship as the UPA and the Left wait to see who blinks first. As a result, the current spell of uncertainty regarding the UPA government’s longevity will continue.

In a fresh move, the Left today asked the government to first discuss the nuke deal in Parliament, even if it has to convene a special session for this purpose. External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, it is learnt, replied that they were wiling for a debate but wondered if the BJP would allow it to take place. The Left, is insisting on a parliamentary debate to underline the fact that the UPA is isolated on this issue.

While the deliberations between the two sides have been fast-tracked, the conflicting signals being sent out by the Left have stretched everybody’s nerves. In fact, Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav today wanted to know if the Left intended to withdraw support to the government.

The RJD chief even counselled the Marxists not to be too rigid on the nuke deal as they all may be required to work together in case of a general election. The Left leaders on the joint panel, however, insisted that they never said they were going to withdraw support to the UPA government.

Meanwhile, the Congress continues to put up a brave face in public despite the continuing threat to the UPA government. Dismissing suggestions that the UPA has been reduced to a minority on the nuclear issue, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi maintained that the government is in the same position was it was after the 2004 Lok Sabha poll. There is no question of lack of support or lack of majority at the Centre, he added.

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Palace-on-Wheels mishap 
Statutory probe ordered

New Delhi, October 5
The government today ordered a statutory inquiry into the boiler tube explosion aboard the luxury train Palace-on-Wheels in which two railways employees were killed. Commissioner of railway safety (northern circle) Bhupender Singh will conduct the inquiry on Monday and Tuesday in the Northern Railway divisional manager's office.

A notice by the Railway Safety Commission said that those who have any information to share can either meet Singh personally or write to him. Locomotive inspector Richhpal Singh and engine driver Raghivir Singh died yesterday in Safdarjung hospital. Three others who suffered injuries are under medication. — TNS

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Basu hints at removal of Kolkata police chief

Kolkata, October 5
In the severest indictment of the role of the police in the death of Rizwanur Rehman, who was threatened by senior officers to separate from his Hindu wife, CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu today said two officers had been removed and the police commissioner might not be spared.

“Heads will roll and even police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee may not be spared,” Basu said.

Basu criticised the police chief for his press conference two days after Rizwanur’s death on September 21 defending police officers who threatened him to part with his Hindu wife Priyanka, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi.

“It is very bad and undesirable. It has come to the notice of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” Basu said.

Asked why no action was taken against two other senior police officers, who threatened Rizwanur, Basu said “the court is hearing a case on a petition (by the victim’s family) praying for a CBI probe in this matter.” “Let us wait for the court’s decision,” Basu said.

Meanwhile, home secretary P.R. Roy said no decision had been taken for the removal of the police chief and if necessary action might be taken against deputy commissioner (headquarters) Gyanwant Singh and deputy commissioner (detective department) Ajay Kumar. — PTI

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Now ATMs on trains

New Delhi, October 5
Passengers would be able to withdraw money while travelling as Indian Railways are planning to install ATMs in selected trains.

“We already have ATMs at railway stations. Now, as a pilot project, we are planning to install ATMs in some trains,” said a senior railway ministry official.

“We are in discussion with some banks to finalise the project,” the official said, adding that a study is also being conducted to examine the feasibility of the proposed plan. In the first phase, ATMs would be installed in popular trains and depending upon the success of the facility it would be extended to other trains. — PTI

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Lovely Anand challenges court order

Patna, October 5
Former Member of Parliament Lovely Anand today filed an appeal in the Patna High Court challenging the life imprisonment awarded to her by a local court on October 3 in connection with the murder of former Gopalganj district magistrate G.Krishnaiya in 1994.

In her petition, Anand maintained that the judgement of the trial court was ''illegal'' and ''unwarranted'' and urged the high court to set aside the order sentencing her to life imprisonement in connection with the case. — UNI

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Political Vaccum
Left parties to build third front in AP
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, October 5
Sensing a political vacuum in Andhra Pradesh, left parties are quietly working on building third front at the state level as an alternative to the ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party.

The communists' calculation is that the people are yearning for a genuine alternative as they see Congress and the TDP as two sides of the same coin, pursuing similar economic agenda. Senior leaders of the CPI and CPM met here today for a ‘preliminary round’ of discussions on a joint political strategy, particularly in the backdrop of speculation over possible snap polls.

"We are keen on forging Third Front here and any party or individual is welcome to join our efforts to offer an alternative economic agenda," the state CPM secretary and politburo member B.V. Raghavulu said. The buzz in political circles here is that the reigning Telugu film star Chiranjeevi might be roped in to lead the front. However, the actor has so far been tightlipped over his political ambitions.

Cutting across party lines, leaders of the powerful ‘Kapu’ community, to which the matinee idol belongs, have been trying hard to persuade him to take the plunge. The two left parties had fought the 2004 elections in alliance with Congress. While, CPM has severed its ties with the ruling party and started gravitating towards the TDP, the CPI is yet to end the alliance though it has stepped up attack on the government on various issues.

Today's meeting between the two left parties marked a significant step towards working out a joint political strategy.

Interestingly, the TDP, which is in the forefront of efforts to forge third front at national level, rubbished the idea of replicating at state level, saying political situation here did not warrant such a front.

On the other hand, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy is confident of continuing the alliance with left parties in the next elections.

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I-cards for daily wage earners
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, October 5
Lakhs of daily wage earners working in the hugely unorganised sector in Assam are all set to get identity cards provided the Congress government in the state has its way.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today informed that his government in response to demands from different NGOs on behalf of daily wage workers was considering to issue identity cards to this section of the working class. He said the basic objective was to shield these vulnerable daily wage workers against harassment meted out in the name of detection of illegal Bangladeshi migrants as well as in operations against insurgents in the state.

He said these identity cards which were not being considered as proof of citizenship of the country, would be given to only genuine Indian citizens so that it becomes easier to detect illegal Bangladeshi migrants living in the state.

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Woman survives, loses 4 daughters in suicide bid

Begusarai (Bihar), October 5
A woman, harassed by her husband and in-laws for not bearing a son, today tried to commit a suicide along with her five daughters but survived while four of the girls died, police said today.

Meena Devi, wife of Balram Paswan, had jumped into a pond with her daughters at Shahpur Kamal village under the Balia police station in Bihar's Begusarai district in the evening hours.

She had been subjected to mental torture by her husband and in-laws for bearing only daughters.

She took all of them, ranging from ages three years to 10 years and pushed them into the pond, before jumping into it herself.

The woman was saved by locals but four of her daughters drowned.

A fifth girl was rescued from the pond, police said.

A case was registered against Paswan and his parents for coercing the woman to attempt suicide. However, all of them were absconding.

Meena was taken into custody for her act, the police added. — PTI

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Relief for DD, AIR employees

New Delhi, October 5
In a relief to over 38,000 Doordarshan and AIR employees across the country, a group of ministers (GoM) today decided to treat them on a par with Central government employees and extend them the same benefits.

The GoM meeting chaired by home minister Shivraj Patil, decided that the employees of Prasar Bharati-run DD and AIR would be on “deemed deputation” with the public broadcaster. Lack of clarity on service rules of Prasar Bharati deprived its employees deputed from other central government departments of regular facilities of housing, medical and education of children.

The GoM, also attended by minister of information and Broadcasting P R Dasmunsi, Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli, cleared the air on the issue and decision will be now put before the Cabinet.

“The decision is bound to bring benefits back to these employees which they were deprived of after being deputed to Prasar Bharati. It is also expected to boost their sagging morale,” a senior I & B official told PTI.

The government has already constituted a committee under the chairmanship of secretary, I& B, to look into the employees’ demand for amendment in the Prasar Bharati Act for smoother functioning of the broadcaster.

The employees’ service rules issue was cleared on priority as the Centre has to submit its reply to the Supreme Court by November 2 on the problems faced Prasar Bharati employees. — PTI

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Muslims’ quota not based on religion: AP

New Delhi, October 5
Andhra Pradesh government today contended before the Supreme Court that the law providing 4 per cent reservation to Muslims in professional and educational institutions was not on religious lines but based on careful identification of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) among the community.

“The Act providing 4 per cent reservation to the socially and educationally backward Muslims is based on careful identification of the SEBCs of Muslims based on best expertise available in the field ...,” the state government said in an affidavit.

The apex court, while stopping any further admissions under the controversial law on September 28, had sought response of the Andhra Pradesh Government on sub categorisation of SEBC Muslims for extending the benefit of reservation.

Defending the legislation, the state government said “neither the Act nor the report of the Commission based on which an Ordinance was promulgated and subsequently the Act was passed can be termed as religious based”.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has accepted the report of the P.S. Krishnan Commission which contended that bulk of Muslim SEBCs were lost sight of over several decades, whereas other groups had the benefit of reservations for over 30 years, including the Scheduled Castes converted to Christianity. — PTI

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HC orders Sessions Judge to undergo lessons in CrPC

New Delhi, October 5
Terming Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Tiwary “incomptent”, the Delhi High Court today ordered him to undergo a three-month course in the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C) at the Judicial Academy.

“Since the Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Tiwary doesn’t have even elementary knowledge of the Cr. P.C, it would be appropriate if he undergoes a refresher course at the Delhi Judicial Academy for the law at the earliest for three months, Justice V.B. Gupta said in an order.

Noting the order passed by Mr Tewari shows that he “lacks even elementary knowledge about the Cr. P.C,” the HC judge said it also seemed that he also did not know that the subordinate courts are constitutionally bound by the decisions of the high courts. “Yet, he has chosen to comment on the order passed by the high court, which amounts to judicial indiscipline,” he said.

Petitioner Rohit Kumar, accused of power pilferage, had moved the High Court against non bailable warrants issued by Mr Tewari. His lawyer argued that the HC had stayed, on September 17, the petitioner’s arrest til September 19. Yet, the trial court took the petitioner into custody on September 19, and denied him bail.

What piqued Justice Gupta was the observations made by the Tewari casting aspersions on the functioning of the Delhi High Court. — UNI

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Free surgery for kids with cerebral palsy

Tirunelveli, October 5
The Department of Orthopaedics of Tirunelveli Medical College (TMC) hospital will perform free surgeries on 100 children affected with cerebral palsy, starting on October 8.

“A team of doctors will screen the children at a special camp to be held tomorrow at Francis Xavier Engineering College at Vannarapet ,” Dr S Ramaguru, Head and Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, TMC, told UNI here today.

“We expect more than 2,000 children from different parts of the state to attend the special camp. A team of doctors will evaluate the affected children to find out those requiring surgery,” he said.

The selected children will be admitted to TMC hospital. Around 25 surgeries would be performed each day for four days. — UNI

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