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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Bill for creating Armed Forces courts cleared
New Delhi, November 8
The Union Cabinet today cleared the Amendments to the Bill to be tabled in the Parliament for creating special courts of appeal for Armed Forces personnel.

Village close to power project about to go under
Dehra Dun, November 8
A hydro-electric project has caused Chain village in Chamoli district to cave in. Geologists have recommended that over 100 families and property should be relocated immediately before it is too late.

Cabinet bonanza for Rae Bareli
New Delhi, November 8
The aviation boom in the country has brought about a bonanza for Rae Bareli, the prestigious Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh represented by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, with the Union Cabinet today clearing the modernisation of the state-run Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Akademi there.

Nandigram Violence
Medha Patkar attacked
Kolkata, November 8
Social activist, Medha Patkar was beaten up today and her vehicle broken on her way to Nandigram by the CPI (M) cadres. Medha alleged she had been dragged out of the vehicle and physically assaulted by the CPI (M) musclemen near Kapasberia, about 5 km away from Nandigram.

Privilege move against ex-IAS officer
Hyderabad, November 8
The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh is set on a collision course with a retired IAS officer who had recently made sensational corruption charges against several politicians and bureaucrats.

Police yet to recover Shashi’s body
Lucknow, November 8
The police investigation into the much-hyped Sashi Prasad abduction case is yet to make any progress even as the Uttar Pradesh government is awaiting a formal acceptance from the CBI to take up the case.


A woman stands next to a policeman sitting alert at the entrance of a street market in New Delhi ahead of Diwali on Thursday.
On high alert: A woman stands next to a policeman sitting alert at the entrance of a street market in New Delhi ahead of Diwali on Thursday. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES


Left-UPA meeting rescheduled
New Delhi, November 8
The Left-UPA meeting scheduled for November 16 has been deferred in view of suggestions that it will be more reasonable to hold it after the winter Parliament session.

Lakshmi making steady progress
Bangalore, November 8
The condition of two-year-old Lakshmi, who underwent a marathon 27-hour-long surgery to part with her extra limbs, is “progressing steadily”, a senior doctor said here today.

Iran says US factor will not affect ties with India
New Delhi, November 8
A touch skeptical about India’s growing ties with the USA, Iran today hoped the government would maintain its foreign policy as before and not allow external elements to affect its relations with the West Asian region.

Rahul’s speech stirs hornet’s nest
New Delhi, November 8
Rahul Gandhi's advocacy of the need to be practical for the party to keep pace with changes led to various interpretations, including reports that he favoured the Congress not being strict about abstinence, a must for new entrants.

Four CRPF jawans killed in Tripura
Agartala, November 8
At least four Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed and another was injured following an altercation among them at Jagabandhupara in north Tripura today.

President, PM greet people
New Delhi, November 8
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice-President Mohd Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have greeted the people of the nation on the occasion of Diwali.

2 officials held for taking bribe
Jaipur, November 8
Two government officials were arrested by the state anti-corruption bureau for allegedly accepting bribe here, officials said today.



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Bill for creating Armed Forces courts cleared
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The Union Cabinet today cleared the Amendments to the Bill to be tabled in the Parliament for creating special courts of appeal for Armed Forces personnel.

“The proposed Amendments answer major concerns which emerged during deliberations on the draft Bill by the Standing Committee of Parliament on Defence,” finance minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Bill had been tabled in the Rajya Sabha in 2005 and had then been referred to the committee. After the Amendments that had been suggested were incorporated, the Law Ministry vetted the Bill before it was sent for the Cabinet’s approval.

The tribunal, once it is constituted, would deal with appeals against court martial verdicts and grievances relating to conditions of services, including promotions, confirmations and appointments.

The changes are expected to make the adjudication by the Armed Forces Tribunal more effective, transparent and equitable, thereby making it more acceptable to service personnel in general.

The decision to form the tribunal had been taken in the light of a Supreme Court directive for setting up such a body. This apart, the Defence Ministry has long felt the need for a body to prevent military personnel from going to civil courts for redressing their grievances.

The tribunal would function on the lines of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act would have to be amended before the tribunal is set up.

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Village close to power project about to go under
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 8
A hydro-electric project has caused Chain village in Chamoli district to cave in. Geologists have recommended that over 100 families and property should be relocated immediately before it is too late.

The team of geologists of the state disaster management department and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology had visited the village on the request of the district administration.

Residents had complained about frequent landslides and subsequent danger of cave-in allegedly caused by the ongoing construction of the power house of the 400-mW Vishnuprayag hydro-electric project on Alaknanada river.

After 30-odd houses were declared unsafe, panicky residents started shifting out even as the district authorities offered them temporary shelter at the railway bhawan, a fair distance from the village.

The villagers alleged that their houses developed cracks after a cave-in following the construction of an underground six-storey power house and a 12-kilometre water tunnel.

Disaster management cell director Piyush Rautela said the experts’ team had submitted a preliminary report to the government recommending the shifting of the village.

Initially, the problem was attributed to large-scale landslides but the experts concluded that it was a cave-in. To ascertain its exact cause, the experts have asked for the study of the documents pertaining to construction plan of the power house.

“The use of a large number of explosives during construction work is proving destructive now,” alleged village head Ram Lal.

Noted enviromnmentalist Chandi Parsad Bhatt, who visited the village, also alleged that the landslides were the initial signs of unimaginative planning of developmental activities in the ecologically fragile Himalayan regions.

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Cabinet bonanza for Rae Bareli
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The aviation boom in the country has brought about a bonanza for Rae Bareli, the prestigious Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh represented by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, with the Union Cabinet today clearing the modernisation of the state-run Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Akademi (IGRUA) there.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also approved a major scheme for upgrading the Existing National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) into a full-fledged centre at Rae Bereli.

In an effort to further augment the availability of pilots in the country, the Cabinet also cleared the AAI proposed setting up of a JV Company - the National Flying Training Institute (NFTI) at Gondia in Maharashtra. The Institute is to be named as Rajiv Gandhi National Flying Training Institute. The government had earlier approved a NIFT extension centre at a cost of Rs 20 crore and Ms Gandhi inaugurated it in February this year.

In the aviation sector there had been a proposal for a management contract agreement between Canadian pilot training firm CAE Inc and IGRUA to enhance its capacity to churn out 100 pilots each year instead of 40 at present.

The upgradation and modernisation of IGRUA would cost about Rs 43.25 crore, including the cost of single and multi-engined aircraft and computer-based simulators.

The decision to set up the Rae Bareli NIFT campus at par with its centres in the national capital and six other places would be the first effort to set up such a centre in any backward area of the country, finance minister P.Chidambaram told reporters after the meeting.

The Cabinet also gave its approval for setting up a foundation in the name of Jagjivan Ram, the late Dalit leader from the Congress. The proposal was mooted by the ministry of social justice and empowerment headed by Meira Kumar, daughter of the late leader.

The Cabinet gave its approval for setting up the foundation named ‘Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation’ as a society under the ministry. The foundation is proposed to be set up with a one-time corpus fund of Rs 50 crore and an additional Rs four crore would be provided for starting its activities.

The foundation would facilitate implementation o various schemes for the social, educational and economic empowerment of the disadvantaged sections of society.

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Nandigram Violence
Medha Patkar attacked
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, November 8
Social activist, Medha Patkar was beaten up today and her vehicle broken on her way to Nandigram by the CPI (M) cadres.

Medha alleged she had been dragged out of the vehicle and physically assaulted by the CPI (M) musclemen near Kapasberia, about 5 km away from Nandigram.

Medha further alleged that the police pilot van which escorted her from the airport to Nandigram and other security personnel, accompanying her were no where in the vicinity when they were attacked.

Several other social workers, educationists and literary people including Sunanda Sanyal, Anupama Talwar, Tarun Sanyal, Bolan Gangopadhyya and Sujata Bhadra, the APDR chief, who had been accompanying Patkar, were also man-handled. Some media persons and TV channel crew were also targeted. A private TV channel’s vehicle which was carrying two reporters was kept “confined” inside the local CPI (M) party office. Medha and others were now camping near Kapasberia to make a fresh attempt to enter Nandigram.

Earlier, they had organised demonstrations on the roads and blocked the movement of the vehicles in the area. The Trinamool Congress MP, Mukul Roy, and MLA Subhendu Adikery were also attacked at Tekhali bridge when he along with several other TMC workers and supporters were proceeding towards Nandigram in the morning.

Roy was hit on the head with an iron rod. His car was also broken. The Congress (l) leader in the Assembly, Manash Bhuia and the SUCI MLA, Debaprasad Sarkar who were going to Nandigram in two separate cars today were also attacked near the Tekhali bridge.

Later they returned to Kolkata without visiting Nandigram. The Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was not present at the Writers Buildings to brief the media persons today. But the state chief secretary, A.K.Deb said there was no report of an attack on the social activist and others but admitted they had been obstructed while trying to enter Nandigram. The police, however, had been instructed to take adequate measures for Medha’s protection and take necessary steps for facilitating her to visit Nandigram safely and smoothly.

Deb said the government had now decided to sanction an ad hoc grant of Rs 2,00,000 to each bereaved family of the 14 people who were killed during the clash in Nandigram on March 14.

He said the police would now enter Nandigram with the help and co-operation of both the Trinamool Congress and the CPI (M) so that law and order could be restored. The people of both the groups now living in camps would be rehabilitated to their respective places.

Mamata Banerjee spoke to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and, the home minister Shivraj Patil demanding the Centre’s intervention. She demanded for Nandigram to be declared as a “disturbed area” and brought under the direct control of the Centre. She said she would visit Nandigram tomorrow to meet the evicted farmers.

The CPI (M) central committee member, Shyamal Chakraborty condemned the attack on Medha Patkar but defended the CPI (M)’s action as a spontaneous response of the people who had been living in the camps at Khejuri for so long. Chakraborty, however, alleged that the Maoists and a few anti-social elements had taken control over Nandigram and Mamata Banerjee was trying to utilise the situation for her political gains.

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Privilege move against ex-IAS officer
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 8
The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh is set on a collision course with a retired IAS officer who had recently made sensational corruption charges against several politicians and bureaucrats.

Firing a salvo, 10 Congress legislators have moved a privilege move against former state vigilance commissioner R.C Samal for making "sweeping allegations" with an intention to defame the government.

The MLAs, led by Sailajanath, submitted the privilege motion to Speaker K. R Suresh Reddy, contending that the retired IAS officer had committed a gross breach of privilege of the assembly by his actions.

They demanded that Samal, who had come out with a stinging document on corruption in high places soon after his retirement in September, be summoned to the House to seek an explanation from him. The Speaker referred the notice to the Assembly Privileges Committee which will take a decision on how to proceed against the former vigilance chief.

Samal had set off ripples in political circles when he named 18 IAS, IPS and IFS officers, including a former DGP, for indulging in corrupt practices and accused CM's office and Home Minister K. Jana Reddy of "harbouring and protecting corrupt bureaucrats".

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Police yet to recover Shashi’s body

Lucknow, November 8
The police investigation into the much-hyped Sashi Prasad abduction case is yet to make any progress even as the Uttar Pradesh government is awaiting a formal acceptance from the CBI to take up the case.

The police has not yet recovered the body of the Dalit girl who went missing from Faizabad on October 22 for which the state food processing minister Anand Sen Yadav had to resign from the Mayawati ministry on Tuesday last.

The IG (Lucknow zone) A.K. Jain said here today that the police was investigating the case and efforts were on to recover the body of the girl, allegedly murdered by Vijay Sen Yadav, the driver of the former minister.

The IG said the government was waiting for the formal acceptance from the CBI to take over the case. He also said Faizabad police will plea in the court for further remand of the main accused Vijay this evening.

The police has already announced a reward of Rs 10,000 for giving any clue on the missing girl. — UNI

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Left-UPA meeting rescheduled
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, November 8
The Left-UPA meeting scheduled for November 16 has been deferred in view of suggestions that it will be more reasonable to hold it after the winter Parliament session.

CPI leader A B Bardhan told The Tribune here today that he had received a communication from office of Pranab Mukherjee, who is convener of the committee, that the meeting has been postponed and new dates will be announced later.

Bardhan had said earlier that it will be more reasonable if the panel's meeting was held after the discussion on the deal takes place in Parliament. The winter session of Parliament begins on November 15.

The CPI leader said they had not asked asked for postponement of the panel's meeting but if Parliament was to discuss the deal it will be more appropriate if the meeting was held after the discussion.

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Lakshmi making steady progress

Bangalore, November 8
The condition of two-year-old Lakshmi, who underwent a marathon 27-hour-long surgery to part with her extra limbs, is “progressing steadily”, a senior doctor said here today.

“We are satisfied with the progress she is making,” Dr Yohannan John, who was part of the 36-member team which carried out the procedure on Lakshmi at Sparsh Hospital on Tuesday, told PTI.

Currently put on ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the condition of Lakshmi is “very stable”, he said.

A number of tests were being conducted at regular intervals to assess her condition, he said.

“Currently, all her essential parameters are okay,” he said, adding that her condition was constantly being monitored by various doctors.

“In fact we haven't slept for the last two nights,” said Dr Sharan Patil, who headed the team of surgeons, which conducted the surgery. He said the next 24-48 hours were very crucial for her.

The little girl is still unconscious but her parents will be allowed to see her today. They were permitted to have a glimpse of their daughter yesterday.

Lakshmi, who was born with four arms and four legs and had a parasitic headless twin fused together at the pelvis, was considered a “reincarnation” of a goddess back home in Bihar.

She was brought to Sparsh Hospital, a part of the Narayana Health City, from a village in Araria district by her parents Shambu and Poonam on October 3. — PTI

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Iran says US factor will not affect ties with India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
A touch skeptical about India’s growing ties with the USA, Iran today hoped the government would maintain its foreign policy as before and not allow external elements to affect its relations with the West Asian region.

Iranian interior minister Mostafa Mohammadi, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders, expressed confidence that the two countries would soon be able to resolve the technical problems in implementing the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

Mohammadi told mediapersons here that India-Iran relations are of importance, deep rooted and very old. Noting that the two countries enjoy good relations and cooperation in cultural, economic and political spheres, the visiting minister hoped that this country’s national interests and ties in the region would not be affected by external factors.

On his meetings with Dr Singh and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, Mohammadi said both sides were clear that they were opposed to unilateralism.

About the recent developments in Pakistan, the minister said that Iran would like to see a stable country where democracy is respected. "We understand the problems of Pakistan and wish that law and order and democracy returned to that country as early as possible in the interest of the region."

About his country’s nuclear differences with the international community, Mohammadi affirmed that it was a peaceful programme. He drew pointed attention to Iran being a signatory to the NPT and abiding by all international rules and obligations.

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Rahul’s speech stirs hornet’s nest

New Delhi, November 8
Rahul Gandhi's advocacy of the need to be practical for the party to keep pace with changes led to various interpretations, including reports that he favoured the Congress not being strict about abstinence, a must for new entrants.

At a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Wednesday, in which he made his debut, Rahul talked of the necessity to be practical during discussions on changes in the party constitution when some senior leaders also spoke on the subject.

However, his remarks were interpreted as the young leader advocating drastic changes in the party constitution which mandates certain do's and don'ts to join the organisation.

They include being a habitual wearer of khadi and keeping away from alcohol.

CWC sources said that Rahul's remarks came after senior leader Karan Singh suggested an amendment in the party constitution calling for wearing of Khadi or "swadeshi" (made in India) prompting an impromptu and brief debate.

While Congress officially steered clear of reports concerning the remarks of the young leader at Wednesday's meeting, some CWC members said those were not properly interpreted. — PTI

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Four CRPF jawans killed in Tripura

Agartala, November 8
At least four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and another was injured following an altercation among them at Jagabandhupara in north Tripura today.

The police said the jawans had been deployed for road opening duty between Ambassa and Gandacherra.

SP (operation) Nepal Das said the incident took place after an altercation between constable Bisram Singh of Uttar Pradesh and havildar P. K. Sharma of Assam.

Singh fired indiscriminately from his service rifle killing havildar Sharma and constable R. K. Shil Sharma on the spot.

Two others received bullet injuries and were later declared dead in hospital, Das added. — UNI

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President, PM greet people

New Delhi, November 8
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice-President Mohd Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have greeted the people of the nation on the occasion of Diwali.

In her message, the President said the ‘festival of lights’ was the time for celebrations and family and friends to come together.

Manmohan Singh, greeting the nation on the joyous occasion said “Diwali is a national festival in which all communities rejoice and contribute to promoting brotherhood and camaraderie.” — TNS

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2 officials held for taking bribe

Jaipur, November 8
Two government officials were arrested by the state anti-corruption bureau for allegedly accepting bribe here, officials said today.

Assistant commercial tax officer of Udaipur Mohan Lal Meena was caught red-handed for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 for releasing a Delhi-bound truck, the officials said.

Food manager of Rajasthan State Tourism Development Corporation , Jaipur, Ramesh Mathur was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000 from a vendor. — PTI

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