SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI




THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Somnath Chatterjee decries judicial activism
New Delhi, November 14
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today decried judicial activism saying the judiciary's frequent interventions in the exclusive jurisdiction of the legislature was only helping in furthering eroding the authority of Parliament.
Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee

Andhra Speaker ‘walks out’ of Assembly
Hyderabad, November 14
In an unusual outburst of anger, Andhra Pradesh speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy today left the House in a huff after severely reprimanding the main opposition Telugu Desam Party members for their unruly behaviour.

PM’s Singapore, Uganda trip bifurcated
New Delhi, November 14
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Singapore and Uganda next week, which was earlier being treated as one visit, has now been bifurcated to ensure that he is available for Parliament on the first half of November 22.

Winter session likely to be stormy
New Delhi, November 14
Despite assurances of good behaviour by all political parties, there are indications that the winter session of the Parliament which commences here tomorrow, is unlikely to have any improvement on the previous one which failed to conduct any substantial business due to sustained disruptions by the opposition parties.






EARLIER STORIES


Karnataka cabinet freezes decisions
Bangalore, November 14
The BJP-Janata Dal (Secular) “marriage of convenience” is already on the rocks two days after B.S. Yeddyurappa took over the reins of the state with the JD (S) objecting to the decisions taken by the five-member BJP cabinet.

Reddy only obstacle to separate Telangana state: Cong leader
Hyderabad, November 14
The Telangana statehood issue is proving to be a minefield for the Congress leadership in Andhra Pradesh. The simmering differences over the sensitive issue occasionally come to the fore, putting the ruling party on the defensive. But, the latest missive from the maverick septuagenarian Congress leader M. Satyanarayana Rao has sent shock waves in the party.

CPI firm on opposing deal, says Dasgupta
New Delhi, November 14
Asserting that there was no climb-down in its stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal, the CPI today said it was willing to show flexibility on the issue and consider any government proposal to go to the IAEA for talks provided no document was initialled till the outcome of the discussions was discussed and thrashed out at the meeting of the UPA-Left committee.

Nandigram lesson well heeded
Assam not to acquire farmers’ land
Guwahati, November 14
Learning a lesson from the tragedy that has struck Nandigram in neighbouring West Bengal, the Assam government has decided against acquiring the agricultural land from farmers in a big way to facilitate setting up industrial units by outside investors.

NHRC team to visit Nandigram
New Delhi, November 14
A six-member team of the National Human Rights Commission will visit Nandigram tomorrow to study the situation and suggest measures to restore peace. The team, headed by S.P Singh, SSP, will look into the exact nature of the incident, the genesis, the reasons that led to casualties and alleged molestation. 

Assam House faces elephantine problem
Guwahati, November 14
The Assam government has sought help from experts of the WWF for solving the problem of growing man-elephant conflict in the state, which has witnessed rampant encroachment upon elephant migration corridors by the expanding human habitats.

Jaswant didn’t offer opium, says Dilawar
Jaipur, November 14
Rajasthan social welfare minister Madan Dilawar today categorically denied charges of serving and/or tasting opium during a socio-religious ceremony at Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh’s native village Jasol recently.

Muslim body against TV ‘reality’ shows
Thiruvananthapuram, November 14
A prominent Muslim educational body has opposed “reality” shows on TV channels featuring teenagers alleging that they often breach the cultural barriers.

SC to go ahead with scrutiny of all Bombay riot cases
New Delhi, November 14
The Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra today came in for sharp attack in the Supreme Court for raising objections to the scrutiny of all 214 Bombay riot cases listed in a joint affidavit by victims and some NGOs demanding a fresh probe alleging that they were closed without a proper trial.

India worried over Pak nukes falling in jihadi hands
New Delhi, November 14
India today joined the world chorus of concern over the possibility of Pakistani nukes falling into the hands of jihadi elements in the context of ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan.

Children’s Day
No answers to their tough questions
New Delhi, November 14
These children carry a special burden - the violence associated with terrorism and insurgency. As they voiced their thoughts here on Children’s Day today, they raised questions none could answer.

36 children honoured                        
New Delhi, November 14
Minister of state for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury today presented the National Child Awards to 36 children for exceptional achievements to mark the Bal Diwas.
President Pratibha Patil meets schoolchildren during the Children’s Day celebrations in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

President Pratibha Patil meets schoolchildren during the Children’s Day celebrations in New Delhi

Arjun promises 150 more bal bhawans
New Delhi, November 14
The nation today remembered the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 118th birth anniversary, with President Pratibha Patil leading the countrymen in paying tributes to the architect of modern India.

Exhibition of Corbusier works opens in Delhi
New Delhi, November 14
Forty-two years after his demise, French architect and town planner Le Corbusier known for his genius, continues to live through his breathtaking buildings and furniture designs.

Uttarakhand hikes money for bravery awards
Dehra Dun, November 14
Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri has announced unprecedented hike in gallantry awards money as well as annual grant for the soldiers hailing from the state.

Chandrayan-2: ISRO to provide orbiter
Bangalore, November 14
The Indian Space Research Organisation today claimed the agreement signed between it and Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) on November 12 would involve a lunar orbiting spacecraft and a lander on the moon’s surface.

ULFA not sincere about talks: Gogoi
Guwahati, November 14
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today fired a broadside at the banned United Liberation Front of Asom for being ‘insincere’ towards coming forward for talks with the government to find a solution to the insurgency problem respecting the people’s longing for restoration of peace.

Warrant against Punjab ex-Guv’s son
New Delhi, November 14
The Supreme Court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Ranjit Malhotra, a son of former Punjab Governor Surinder Nath, for not complying with its order to pay back the money of several consumers to whom he had promised the dealership of cooking gas.

India lodges protest with Pakistan
New Delhi, November 14
Unidentified persons broke into the house of Indian high commissioner Satyabrata Pal in Islamabad two days ago, prompting New Delhi to lodge a strong protest with the Pakistan government today. The break-in occurred during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday and involvement of some state agencies is suspected.

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Somnath Chatterjee decries judicial activism
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today decried judicial activism saying the judiciary's frequent interventions in the exclusive jurisdiction of the legislature was only helping in furthering eroding the authority of Parliament.

It will do us good to remember that such frequent interventions in the exclusive jurisdiction of legislature, would only contribute to further eroding the authority of Parliament, the Speaker said delivering the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture on 'Status of Parliamentary Democracy in India'.

Chatterjee said the much talked about judicial activism of today was sought to be justified because of the perceived decline in the effectiveness of parliamentary accountability.

Not many seem to notice that once the judiciary gets involved with an issue, which falls within executive domain, it precludes the possibility of the legislature exercising its assigned role of ensuring executive accountability through effective legislative scrutiny, he pointed out.

In the background of frequent disruptions of parliamentary proceedings and business, the Speaker said for Parliament to discharge is constitutional duties, it is essential that it functions smoothly and by the rules of procedure which are devised to facilitate its orderly functioning.

It is essential for members to follow strictly the rules of procedure and conduct themselves with utmost sense of responsibility and with dignity and decorum, he said, a day before the commencement of winter session of Parliament.

Chatterjee said unfortunately a stage had come when questions were being asked about the utility and relevance of parliament in the country's polity.

Because of the competitive and confrontational politics that has overtaken the country today, parliament cannot appropriately discharge its essential functions.

While the public perceives a general decline in all our institutions of governance, it is the Parliament and the state assemblies that have come in, it seems justifiably, for strong criticism, he said.

Chatterjee said debates and discussions, the hallmarks of democracy, had been over-shadowed by disruptions, confrontations and other non-democratic alternatives, which have made the great institution itself a subject of ridicule, inviting public opprobrium.

He also said one would not be wrong to say that confrontational politics in the country have sharpened religious, linguistic and chastest divisions in the society and worryingly political power has got polarised around identities of caste, religion and language .

Chatterjee said that in the continuous non-functioning of Parliament, people, of late, are beginning to see a pattern designed to underline the system from within.

He said it was a matter of agony for presiding officers that several legislations of far-reaching importance, and even the budget of a billion plus people, are passed by Parliament without any serious discussion.

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Andhra Speaker ‘walks out’ of Assembly
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 14
In an unusual outburst of anger, Andhra Pradesh speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy today left the House in a huff after severely reprimanding the main opposition Telugu Desam Party members for their unruly behaviour.

The opposition members incurred the speaker’s ire when they created ruckus by surrounding his podium and making angry gesticulations at the chair.

Reddy, known for his suave approach and mild manners, lost his cool when slogan-shouting opposition members refused to leave the podium despite his repeated appeals to them to resume their seats.

“You are making a mockery of the House and democracy. What is this tamasha? This is the most unfortunate behaviour I have ever seen,” an exasperated Reddy said.

He chided the TDP members for “misusing” the opportunity given to them to raise public issues and trying to convert the Assembly into a forum to settle political scores.

The trouble erupted during the Question Hour when opposition members sought to corner the Congress government over poor spending on welfare of the backward classes.

In the midst of frayed tempers and angry exchanges, the TDP members stormed the podium and argued with the Chair, demanding that their deputy floor leader T. Devender Goud be allowed to continue his speech.

“What sort of behaviour is this? There is a limit for tolerance. You cannot hijack the House. This is totally uncalled for and cannot be tolerated. I cannot run the House in this way,” Reddy fumed.

At one stage, he got up from the Chair in a bid to restore the order.

Reddy asked the floor leaders of all parties to take note of the members’ behaviour and advise him on how to conduct the House in such a hostile atmosphere.

Both Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy and opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu were present in the House during the hour-long furore but chose not to intervene.

In the midst of noisy scenes, the speaker abruptly announced that he was adjourning the House.

“I will not come to the house unless all floor leaders come to my chamber for discussion. Till then I am adjourning the house,” he said before withdrawing to his chamber.

Later, he held a meeting with the floor leaders who assured him full cooperation in running the House. The TDP, however, stayed away from the meeting.

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PM’s Singapore, Uganda trip bifurcated
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Singapore and Uganda next week, which was earlier being treated as one visit, has now been bifurcated to ensure that he is available for Parliament on the first half of November 22.

This may have been done to facilitate the Prime Minister’s address to Parliament on November 22 on Indo-US nuclear deal. On November 15, when the winter session commences, Parliament is expected to have a discussion on the deal. However, it remains to be seen whether the much-awaited discussion kicks off on November 15 as the BJP has lot of ammunition on Nandigram flare-up.

On November 16, the UPA-Left meeting is scheduled which is likely to consume the entire day. These confabulations may continue informally for the next couple of days. On November 20, the Prime Minister will leave for Singapore for East Asia Summit, a multilateral event whose calendar cannot be dictated by India.

Originally, the Prime Minister was to leave Singapore on November 21 evening for Uganda for attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM) and he would have returned home only on November 25 evening.

The Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of External Affairs have done some choreography to rejig Manmohan Singh’s schedule. As per the amended programme, the Prime Minister leaves for Singapore on November 20 morning as scheduled, but returns home the next evening. He leaves for Uganda on November 22 afternoon and comes back on November 25 evening.

The Prime Minister’s official and media delegations remain the same because both East Asia Summit and CHOGM are multilateral events, preparation for which has been done weeks in advance.

The PMO is tightlipped about the PM’s engagement in Parliament on November 22.

However, speculations are that he may use the first half of November 22 to make a suo motu statement on Indo-US nuclear deal to once again allay fears of the Opposition as well as the Left about nuclear deal adversely impacting Indian strategic programme.

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Winter session likely to be stormy
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Despite assurances of good behaviour by all political parties, there are indications that the winter session of the Parliament which commences here tomorrow, is unlikely to have any improvement on the previous one which failed to conduct any substantial business due to sustained disruptions by the opposition parties.

The winter session can expect to witness a head-on collision between the government and the opposition which has identified a host of issues, ranging from Nandigram and the Indo-US nuclear agreement to price rise, FDI in retail, wheat imports, to put the ruling combine and the Left parties on the mat.

The opposition made their intentions clear at an all-party meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker today to discuss the smooth functioning of the House.

The Left parties, especially the CPM, will find themselves in the dock as the NDA is all set to focus on the Nandigram issue, even pushing the N-deal into the background, particularly now that the ruling combine and the Communists have arrived at a compromise on the matter.

Leader of opposition L.K.Advani, who visited Nandigram yesterday, has already indicated the NDA’s intention to push for a debate on this issue. The main opposition party has already given a a notice for the suspension of question hour on November 16, the first working day of the session, for an immediate discussion on Nandigram.

The Left parties will seek to counter this attack by seeking a discussion regarding Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s role in Godhra.

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Karnataka cabinet freezes decisions
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 14
The BJP-Janata Dal (Secular) “marriage of convenience” is already on the rocks two days after B.S. Yeddyurappa took over the reins of the state with the JD (S) objecting to the decisions taken by the five-member BJP cabinet.

The cabinet at a meeting yesterday took major decisions, including awarding contracts for building airports at Shimoga and Gulbarga. It also made some bureaucratic transfers.

The decisions have come under attack from JD (S) legislature party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, who claims they are illegal and has threatened to take up the issue with Raj Bhawan to get them annulled.

Kumaraswamy said the cabinet, which he plans to join at a later date, couldn’t take crucial decisions till it proves its majority on the floor of the House.

While the BJP went ahead with the cabinet decisions without consulting its coalition partner, the JD (S) wants all important decisions okayed by a coordination committee to be headed by Kumaraswamy.

Yeddyurappa responded to the criticism today by saying the government would take decision only after winning the vote of confidence on November 19.

Meanwhile, the JD (S), which is trying to set its house in order, announced that all 18 ministers in its quota under the power-sharing agreement would take the oath of office on November 21.

The JD (S) is having difficulty in quelling the rebellion among legislators who did not get a representation in the ministry during the earlier coalition with the BJP.

Legislature party leader Kumaraswamy announced that he would call upon H.D. Deve Gowda along with other senior leaders to finalise the list of ministers.

Kumarswamy, when asked, said the demand for first-time legislators to be accommodated in the ministry was not an “anti-party activity” but did not elaborate on the issue.

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Reddy only obstacle to separate Telangana state: Cong leader
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 14
The Telangana statehood issue is proving to be a minefield for the Congress leadership in Andhra Pradesh. The simmering differences over the sensitive issue occasionally come to the fore, putting the ruling party on the defensive. But, the latest missive from the maverick septuagenarian Congress leader M. Satyanarayana Rao has sent shock waves in the party.

Rao, a former minister known for courting controversies with his off-the-cuff remarks, has dropped a bombshell, saying that Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy was the “only obstacle” to the creation of a separate Telangana state.

“As long as Rajasekhar Reddy is the Chief Minister, Telangana state cannot become a reality,” he said, sending the ruling party circles into a tizzy.

In a chat with reporters in the Assembly lobby, the former APCC president, a staunch supporter of Telangana cause, went on to claim that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told him that the Centre had no objection to formation of a separate Telangana state but Reddy was not keen on dividing the state.

“The Prime Minister had, in fact, suggested the state Congress leaders should convince the Chief Minister first. So, we will convince him. I am sure he will not go against the wishes of the Telangana people,” said Rao, who had participated in the statehood movement in the late 1960s.

He also claimed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi was not opposed to the formation of the Telangana state.

“Since Rajasekhar Reddy belongs to the Rayalaseema region, he is not keen on Telangana. It is but natural,” he said.

The senior Congress leader was forced to quit the cabinet last year after his bete noire and Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K. Chandrasekhar Rao won the byelection from the Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituency by a handsome margin.

The byelection was necessitated when TRS chief accepted the challenge thrown by Rao to quit his Lok Sabha seat and seek a fresh mandate. Rao’s sudden outbursts indicate a growing sense of restiveness among protagonists of Telangana within the Congress who have been pitching for statehood cause.

The Telangana Regional Coordination Committee of Congress (TRCCC) had recently held a meeting here and adopted a resolution requesting the high command to take a positive stand on the issue.The TRCCC leaders are also planning to meet Sonia Gandhi on the issue.

So far, the Congress has taken a public stand that it favours constitution of a new States’ Reorganisation Commission (SRC) to go into demands for smaller states, including Telangana.

It had constituted a committee of UPA partners to ascertain views of various political parties and build a consensus over the issue, a task that has not made much headway.

The party had lost its pre-poll ally TRS which had pulled out of the UPA government last year protesting against the delay in the creation of a separate state.

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CPI firm on opposing deal, says Dasgupta
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Asserting that there was no climb-down in its stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal, the CPI today said it was willing to show flexibility on the issue and consider any government proposal to go to the IAEA for talks provided no document was initialled till the outcome of the discussions was discussed and thrashed out at the meeting of the UPA-Left committee.

CPI leader in Lok Sabha Gurudas Dasgupta said the flexibility shown by the party should not be viewed as a climb-down by his party and the Left. He said the CPI was firm in its opposition to the deal which was not in the nation’s interest.

Though CPI leaders were not willing to come on record to say that the flexibility being shown by them was to provide a breather to the government, there were indications that it was a fallout of the UPA leadership expressing concerns about international ramifications.

Dasgupta also took exception to the winter session of Parliament being convened only for three weeks, saying that there were effectively 10 working days. He said during the brief period, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would travel out of country twice. “Disrespect is being shown to Parliament. During Jawaharlal Nehru’s days, no minister was allowed to go out of the country during the session. Now even the Prime Minister is going out,” he said.

Dasgupta said Parliament was being “sidelined” by the Congress “in collusion” with the BJP.

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Nandigram lesson well heeded
Assam not to acquire farmers’ land
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 14
Learning a lesson from the tragedy that has struck Nandigram in neighbouring West Bengal, the Assam government has decided against acquiring the agricultural land from farmers in a big way to facilitate setting up industrial units by outside investors.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today informed about the scarcity of suitable plot of bigger sizes had been a major impediment in the state’s efforts to lure investors to set up industrial units.

“Every prospective investor wants large plots of land just off Guwahati city. But there is scarcity of land and the state government has taken a decision not to acquire agricultural land for industrial units to avoid antagonising the farming community,” Gogoi said.

He claimed that there would have been more industrial units in the state had there been available land near Guwahati. He said all the investors wanted land near Guwahati for security reasons as they were afraid of setting up industrial units in remote areas of the state out of fear for insurgents.

To tackle the problem of land, the state government is setting up some industrial growth centres in other parts of the state including western, central and northern Assam areas where adequate security cover would be provided to facilitate setting up cluster of industrial units.

A West Bengal based two-wheeler and tractor-manufacturing company has set foot in Assam to set up the region’s first two-wheeler manufacturing unit at the industrial growth centre at Chayygaon in Kamrup district.

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NHRC team to visit Nandigram
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
A six-member team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will visit Nandigram tomorrow to study the situation and suggest measures to restore peace.

The team, headed by S.P Singh, SSP, will look into the exact nature of the incident, the genesis, the reasons that led to casualties and alleged molestation. The NHRC team will also look into the role of the police and the local administration to find out if there were any lapses on their part.

At the same time, the NHRC team will review the progress made in the investigation on the incidents of violence in the same area in March this year.

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Assam House faces elephantine problem
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 14
The Assam government has sought help from experts of the WWF for solving the problem of growing man-elephant conflict in the state, which has witnessed rampant encroachment upon elephant migration corridors by the expanding human habitats.

Assam forest minister Rockybul Hussain today stated in the state Assembly that there was no immediate respite in sight the problem of elephant depredation or man-elephant conflict unless new human habitats on traditional elephant migration corridors were not cleared.

He said, “Elephant being a highly mobile animal required vast area to roam around. Because of continuing encroachment upon elephant migration corridors in the state the man-elephant conflict has reached an alarming proportion. We have sought opinions from global experts including those from the WWF for finding a solution to it.”

The minister called upon the state legislators to take initiative to remove human habitats from elephant migration corridors in the state. He said a two-pronged strategy had been adopted by the state government to tackle the problem. The strategy revolved around planting of fast growing fodder plantations for elephants as short-term measure while trying to regenerate elephant habitats at the same time as a long-term measure.

Assam is home to about 2,500 wild elephants while over 5,000 elephants roam around in the north-east traversing through all the states following their traditional migration corridors.

The northern parts of Assam has been especially bearing the brunt of elephant depredation specially in Lakhimpur, Majuli, Bihpuriua, Biswanath areas that resulted in the loss of human lives besides extensive damage to the standing crop during the harvesting season.

A team of experts from Australia has advised the Assam government to use chilly bombs like those used in African countries to scare away herd of wild elephants straying on to the human habitats. The Assam Wildlife and Forest Department is examining the suggestion.

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Jaswant didn’t offer opium, says Dilawar

Jaipur, November 14
Rajasthan social welfare minister Madan Dilawar today categorically denied charges of serving and/or tasting opium during a socio-religious ceremony at Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh’s native village Jasol recently.

Dilwar, who is among the 10 BJP leaders against whom an FIR of violation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 has been lodged at the Balotra police station, said that neither the opium was served by host Mr Singh during the ceremony nor he and other fellow BJP leaders had tasted the contraband.

Dilawar said his father was an authorised opium grower for several years and he was familier with the taste and flavour of opium.

“Therefore, I can responsibly say that what was offered by host Singh did not contain opium and was merely Kesar dissolved water,” Dilawar asserted.

An FIR has been lodged against Dilwar, Singh, Rajasthan education minister Ghanshyam Tiwari, former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s son-in-law and industries minister Narpat Singh Rajvi, Government Chief Whip Mahavir Prasad Jain, sitting MP and BJP national vice-president Kailash Meghwal, former BJP state presidents and sitting MPs Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi and Raghubir Singh Kaushal and sitting MLAs Shankar Singh Rajpurohit and Jogeshwar Garg for alleged violation of the NDPS Act during the function. — UNI

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Muslim body against TV ‘reality’ shows

Thiruvananthapuram, November 14
A prominent Muslim educational body has opposed “reality” shows on TV channels featuring teenagers alleging that they often breach the cultural barriers.

“We are not against art. But what is now happening is that youngsters and adolescents are being used for imitation of vulgar scenes taken from films,” Fazal Gafoor, president of Muslim Educational Society (MES) that runs several schools and colleges in Kerala, told PTI.

The views expressed by MES president has sparked a debate, especially among women, who often figure prominently in popular music and cinematic dances beamed during prime time by channels.

Gafoor said while MES was not against artistic freedom or music or dance competitions on channels, the organisation would strongly oppose what was now going on in the name of art.

“Often, before the telecast of these shows, the youngsters stay together for rehearsal. Can these kind of things be allowed in the name of art and culture? Nothing should cross the cultural limits a society allows for its people.”

The MES’ views on this issue should not be taken as the concern of the Muslim community alone as this was a matter concerning the entire society, he added.

He also clarified that MES has not issued any instruction to its students to boycott these programmes. It was for the parents to decide on the matter. However, the MES has banned staging of cinematic dances in youth festivals on the MES campuses.

Asked for comment, state Mahila Congress president Shanimol Usman said, it was largely a matter of individual choice on whether to participate in these kinds of shows or not.

“It is better to avoid creating social controversies on matters which are largely individual decisions,” she said.

Striking a different note, prominent women’s rights activist Ajitha said though most of these shows were meant for commercial purposes, the argument that women alone should stay off these kind of programmes was not acceptable.

“If men can participate in such shows, what prevents women from being part of them ?,” she asked. — PTI

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SC to go ahead with scrutiny of all Bombay riot cases
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 14
The Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra today came in for sharp attack in the Supreme Court for raising objections to the scrutiny of all 214 Bombay riot cases listed in a joint affidavit by victims and some NGOs demanding a fresh probe alleging that they were closed without a proper trial.

Senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan, appearing among a battery of lawyers for an NGO, told a Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan that though the Chief Minister after apex court’s August 1 order for a joint affidavit, in a public statement, had said he would extend full cooperation for reopening of the cases “here the state comes with a stand that it is not possible, it is very strange”.

The Bench having Justices R.V. Raveendran and J. M. Panchal as the other two judges, after an acrimonious argument on the issue from both sides, rejected the Maharashtra government’s stand. It said it would go ahead with the scrutiny of the 214 cases listed in the joint affidavit by various petitioners to find out as how many of them would actually require a fresh investigation or trial.

The court on August 1 had asked all the petitioners to file a joint affidavit listing the cases required to be reopened and re-investigated as recommended by a commission headed by Justice V.N. Srikrishna.

The court had issued a direction after the petitioners had sought the implementation of the Srikrishna Commission report to which the successive governments in the state had developed a “cold feet”. The commission had indicted a large number of police officials, including 30 officers of different ranks, for dereliction of duty during the riots.

Since voluminous documents had been compiled all these years, including three action taken reports, by the government on the Srikrishna Commission’s recommendations, the apex court had devised the methodology of a joint affidavit to make easier for it to find out as how many cases actually needed a fresh look.

After the court took a tough stance on the issue, senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for the state government, sought eight weeks to submit his reply to the 247-page joint affidavit and the Bench eventually posted further hearing for January 22 next.

While passing the August 1 order, the court had said it could issue orders for the reopening of those cases in which either the FIRs were not registered by the police deliberately or the cases were closed or not tried properly in the same manner as was done in the Gujarat riot cases.

The court had said the joint affidavit should clearly indicate the FIRs registered, cases not registered despite complaints, accused discharged without action, public prosecutor were not appointed, if appointed did not carry the trial procedure properly and any other glaring mistakes.

But Desai said the list of 214 cases in the joint affidavit did not give such information and it was not possible to “zero in” on the cases actually required to be reopened.

But Dhwan said the government’s stand was quite “contrary” to what the Chief Minister had said after the court order. The Chief Justice said it was not possible for the court to have a “roving” inquiry into the matter or examination of each case individually and that was the reason for devising the joint affidavit procedure. “But if you make it complex, it will lead nowhere,” the court said.

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India worried over Pak nukes falling in jihadi hands
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
India today joined the world chorus of concern over the possibility of Pakistani nukes falling into the hands of jihadi elements in the context of ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, while delivering a lecture here, made a direct mention of the political situation in Pakistan and voiced concern over proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He also cited the nuclear game run by disgraced Pakistani scientist A Q Khan.

Pakistan observers here attach a lot of significance to Mukherjee’s direct references to Pakistan. Mukherjee’s remarks have come a day after Iran handed over a set of blueprints to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that detail precisely how one might shape weapons-grade uranium into a form useable in a nuclear warhead.

The IAEA has been after hard copies of the plans for two years, ever since an inspector accidentally stumbled across a few pages of them while investigating Iran’s nuclear program. Iran asserts that it received the plans unexpectedly from the Pakistanis who supplied them with certain technologies years ago.

The external affairs minister conveyed his concerns in his speech on “The world today: An Indian perspective” after inaugurating the new home of the Foreign Service Institute here. Consider the relevant quotes: “In India, we are acutely aware of the ferment in our neighbourhood and the need to ensure a peaceful periphery for our and the region’s development… Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the possibility of their falling into the hands of terrorists must rank among the most critical challenges facing the world today. The issue cannot be addressed merely by focusing on supply-side technology controls. The so-called A Q Khan network made a mockery of these controls.”

Mukherjee said a new approach was required, which also prioritised disarmament. In this context, he called for the need for a no-first use agreement internationally.

The minister pointed out that India had always pursued the objective of global disarmament, based on the principles of universality, non-discrimination and effective compliance.

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Children’s Day
No answers to their tough questions

New Delhi, November 14
These children carry a special burden - the violence associated with terrorism and insurgency. As they voiced their thoughts here on Children’s Day today, they raised questions none could answer.

Zuber, 12, from Godhra in Gujarat wanted to know if the people who burnt down his home and mercilessly killed his father in the 2002 riots would ever be brought to book.

Pranjal, 16, from Assam wanted to know when his brother’s murderers would be punished.

Zafar, 7, from Kashmir said his father, who was a militant, was the reason behind the destruction of his family. “He is gone, but now no one is ready to take us in schools. Will we ever get employment?” he asked.

In response to the queries that these children posed, minister of state for home affairs Prakash Jaiswal could only say that the healing process would take time.

“It will take time. Justice will prevail. It is your responsibility now to distance yourselves from the negative forces in society. That is the strongest stand that you can take against them,” Jaiswal told the children who had gathered for a programme called the National Campaign for Protection of Rights of Children in the capital today.

Nearly 1,500 children from various riot- and terrorism-affected places across the country, like Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Assam, came together in the capital for this programme.

Chandan Majumdar, who runs the NGO Anand Ghar in West Bengal for the benefit of HIV positive children, said for the innocent children every day is a struggle for survival.

“The hospital that we run doesn’t have adequate anti retro viral treatment facility. The children are shunned by society and not allowed to attend school,” Majumdar said during the programme.

While some children narrated their problems, millions of kids across the country went about their daily chores-washing dishes, chopping vegetables, scrubbing floors-unaware that they can even voice their thoughts, let alone be rescued.

Raju, 9, who works in a dhaba in the national capital, does not know what Children’s Day is.

Raju is one of the million children whose tiny hands are tired, not of holding pens and pencils but of making tea in the dhabas, rolling out rotis and washing dishes in restaurants or scrubbing floors in houses. Instead of a colourful dream, all they see are their chapped and scalding hands.

Giving a puzzled look on being asked what Children’s Day meant to him, Raju said: “It’s just a normal day...I will work until night”.

Raju’s statement was yet another reminder of the failure of the law which came into effect last year and prohibits children below the age of 14 from working in hotels, restaurants, dhabas and homes.

For those kids who were luckier than the others, it was a day that they have been looking forward to eagerly. After all it’s not everyday that one has no classes, gets to wear anything but their uniform to school and, for a change, have their teachers regale them.

Anoushka Gupta, a class IV student of the Shri Ram School in the capital, for instance, was unusually excited by the thought of school on Wednesday. “We went to school in clothes that we chose and there were special games as well as special food,” she said. — IANS

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36 children honoured
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Minister of state for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury today presented the National Child Awards to 36 children for exceptional achievements to mark the Bal Diwas.

These awards are given every year by the ministry to the children in the age group of 4 to 15 years to recognise their exceptional achievements in the fields like art, culture, sports and academics. The awards carry a medal, certificate and a cash prize of Rs 20,000 for gold medal and Rs 10,000 for silver medal.

The gold medal at the national level was awarded to Fenil Chetan Shah of Gujarat for winning several national and international chess tournaments. Silver medals were awarded to 35 children for their exceptional achievements at the state level. These children include budding scientist, mathematician, painter, folk singer, classical dancer, international skates player and child with exceptional photographic memory. The awardees also include four children with physical disabilities.

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Arjun promises 150 more bal bhawans
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
The nation today remembered the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 118th birth anniversary, with President Pratibha Patil leading the countrymen in paying tributes to the architect of modern India.

A large number of children dressed in white khadi visited Shanti Van, his memorial, to pay tributes to their ‘Chacha’ Nehru.

Besides the President, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, home minister Shivraj Patil, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit paid floral tributes at the memorial.

Later, dignitaries, including Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, the Prime Minister, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P.R Dasmunshi, H.R. Bharadwaj and others paid tributes to Panditji’s potrait in the Central Hall of Parliament.

Meanwhile, human resource development minister Arjun Singh said today that there would be 150 more bal bhavans in the country by next year.

Inaugurating the International Children’s Assembly and Integration Camp on the occasion of Children’s Day, Arjun Singh said there were only 74 bal bhavans that do not suffice the need of children. “Our aim should be to bring up 150 more bal bhavans next year and one in each village in the future,” he said.

Arjun Singh released the bal bhavan publications - “Voice of youth on sustainable development” in Hindi and English reflecting children’s thoughts on sustainable development. The theme of this year’s assembly is “Education for sustainable development”.

A cultural programme was also organised on this occasion in which besides children from India, children from Syrian Arab Republic, Norway and China are also participating in this year’s assembly.

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Exhibition of Corbusier works opens in Delhi
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Forty-two years after his demise, French architect and town planner Le Corbusier known for his genius, continues to live through his breathtaking buildings and furniture designs.

In the absence of any inheritor of his rich legacy, it is the Le Corbusier Foundation, which is keeping his memory alive through expositions and symposiums across the world.

French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont today inaugurated ‘Le Corbusier, From Marseilles to Chandigarh -1945-1965’, the first important exhibition on Le Corbusier’s works, ever produced in India.

It will showcase more than 200 works of Corbusier, including plans, models, paintings, sculptures, tapestries, manuscripts, books, drawings, photographs and other pieces from the collections of the Le Corbusier Foundation.

Speaking on the occasion, the French Ambassador said, “We are hoping to get the nomination of Le Corbusier on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In India, this will of course apply to Chandigarh. India and France are joining efforts to preserve Le Corbusier’s heritage all over the world.”

The exposition promises the Indian public a view of the final 20 years of Le Corbusier’s work. The French Embassy which is holding the exhibition with the foundation, says it dates back to the building of the Unite d’ habitation (housing units) in Marseilles (1945-1952), the first large-scale work undertaken by him at the age of 58 - to the last works, finished or in gestation: the plan and institutional buildings in Chandigarh or the Hospital in Venice, the Chapel at Ronchamp, the Couvent de la Tourette or the Cabanon at Cao Martin.

What is interesting is that this glorious record is not exempt from equally resounding failures: the failure of the Plan d’ urbanisme for Saint-Die in 1945, the failed venture of the competition for the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1947 or his non-participation in the 1951 UNESCO competition in Paris.

The exhibition at the Visual Arts Gallery in India Habitat Centre will be on till November 24. In Chandigarh, the exhibition is scheduled from December 6 to 22 at the Fine Arts Museum at Punjab University. The exhibition’s last stop in India is in Ahmedabad from January 5 to 22 at the Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association.

Duport who is the President of the Le Corbusier Foundation said the foundation held exhibitions on Corbusier’s works from time to time to keep his memory alive.

“Apart from exhibitions in Delhi, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad, an exposition of Corbusier's works is scheduled in Mori Museum in Tokyo. Another exhibition organised by Vitra Museum in Wiel Aum Rhine began from Rotterdam and will travel to Lisbon, Liverpool and Berlin,” she added.

“The foundation was created by Corbusier to preserve his memory and his designs which Corbusier built in nine countries- Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. Apart from Chandigarh, he designed four buildings in Ahmedabad- one for the Sarabhai family, one for the Shodan family, the Ahmedabad museum and a building of the Mill Owners Association,” Duport said.

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Uttarakhand hikes money for bravery awards
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 14
Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri has announced unprecedented hike in gallantry awards money as well as annual grant for the soldiers hailing from the state.

Starting with the highest awards given in recognition of exemplary bravery, the winners of Paramveer Chakra will receive Rs 25 lakh as compared to Rs 1,72,500 earlier. The annual grant of Rs 1000 has also been increased to Rs 1.50 lakh. Similarly, a lump sum amount of Rs 1.45 lakh and an annual grant of Rs 800 given earlier to winners of Ashok Chakra have been hiked to Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1.20 lakh, respectively.

From Rs.1.15 lakh award money and Rs 400 annual grant given earlier to Mahavir Chakra winners has been raised to Rs 15 lakh besides an annual grant of Rs 1.14 lakh. Kirti Chakra winners are entitled to Rs 15 lakh and Rs 1 lakh as annual grant instead of Rs 87,000 with an annual grant of Rs 350. Winners of Veer Chakra and Shuarya Chakras will receive Rs 10 lakh each while the annual grant in case of Veer Chakra winners has been increased to Rs 66,000. Shaurya Chakra winners will get Rs 50,000 annually.

Though award money in the case of Sarvottam Yudh Sewa Medal will remain unchanged but the annual grant for the winners of honour has been raised from earlier Rs 600 per annum to Rs 4,000. As compared to Rs 75,000 earlier, the winners of Uttam Yudh Sewa Medal will now get Rs 1.27 lakh. Their annual grant has also been enhanced from Rs 350 to Rs 4200. Not to be left behind, the war widows in the state will be entitled for monetary help of Rs 25000 instead of Rs 5000.

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Chandrayan-2: ISRO to provide orbiter
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 14
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today claimed the agreement signed between it and Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) on November 12 would involve a lunar orbiting spacecraft and a lander on the moon’s surface.

The space agency said under the agreement, which was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Russia, ISRO would be responsible for the orbiter while Roskosmos would be responsible for the lander.

ISRO said the mission, Chandrayan-2, would involve lunar orbiting and landing on the moon. The agency said a few scientific instruments from other space agencies may also be accommodated on these systems. The Chandrayan-2 would be launched on India’s GSLV around 2011-12 time frame.

ISRO, meanwhile, announced that activities for launching Chandrayan-1, India’s first unmanned mission to moon during April 2008, are progressing well. The spacecraft was in the final stages of integration and testing, and would be launched on board India’s PSLV. This mission features a spacecraft orbiting around the moon for two years at an altitude of 100 km, mapping the topography and the mineralogical content of the lunar surface.

The Chandrayan-1 will also have a Moon Impact Probe payload for demonstrating the technology needed for accurate landing on the moon’s surface.

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ULFA not sincere about talks: Gogoi
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 14
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today fired a broadside at the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for being ‘insincere’ towards coming forward for talks with the government to find a solution to the insurgency problem respecting the people’s longing for restoration of peace.

In reply to a debate on an Opposition-sponsored cut motion against demands for supplementary grant for the state police, Gogoi said the banned ULFA had lost a golden opportunity last year to start a political dialogue during the 44-day period when the government declared a unilateral ceasefire against the militant group during August-September 2006.

Dismissing Opposition’s allegation that the government had utterly failed to contain insurgents, Gogoi said the situation had improved during the Congress rule since 2001 compared to the situation during the AGP’s regime during 1996-2001.

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Warrant against Punjab ex-Guv’s son
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 14
The Supreme Court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Ranjit Malhotra, a son of former Punjab Governor Surinder Nath, for not complying with its order to pay back the money of several consumers to whom he had promised the dealership of cooking gas.

“Let a non-bailable warrant be issued for securing the arrest of Ranjit Malhotra,” a Bench of Justices G.P. Mathur and V.S. Sirpurkar in a brief order issued on November 12 said after a large number of affected consumers had filed a contempt petition against him for “failing” to implement the order.

The apex court had issued directions on April 4, 2005, to Jammu-based Malhotra to refund the money he had collected from the consumers.

The consumers had alleged that various government agencies did not take action against him and his two companies - Malhotra Troika Group and Olympia Gases - “due to political backing”.

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India lodges protest with Pakistan

New Delhi, November 14
Unidentified persons broke into the house of Indian high commissioner Satyabrata Pal in Islamabad two days ago, prompting New Delhi to lodge a strong protest with the Pakistan government today. The break-in occurred during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday and involvement of some state agencies is suspected.

The ministry of external affairs summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner Afrasiab here and lodged a “strong protest”, official sources said. A similar protest was lodged in Islamabad by the Indian high commission. Pakistan has assured that the matter will be looked into. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Gujarat ex-minister held
Ahmedabad:
Former Gujarat minister and BJP leader Babu Bokharia, accused in an illegal mining case, was arrested after he landed at the Sardar Patel international airport here from London, the police said. Bokharia was taken into custody by the Porbandar police after he arrived on a Jet Airways flight on Wednesday. The police had sent a team to Ahmedabad to arrest Bokharia on his arrival from London. — PTI

Probe purchase by CM’s wife
Bhopal:
A local court on Wednesday directed the Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta to initiate an inquiry into the “purchase” of four dumpers in the name of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s wife Sadhana Singh. — UNI

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