SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

UP Blasts
Police zero in on HuJI militant
New Delhi, November 25
The security agencies and the UP police are zeroing in on the role of Mohammed Tuffail Hussaini, Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia (HuJI) militant and a mastermind of 1993 train blasts, in connection with the Lucknow serial blasts as his kin has been picked up for questioning.

UP govt was alerted on possible attacks: Jaiswal
Lucknow, November 25
Putting the ball back in the Mayawati government’s court, union state minister for home Sri Prakash Jaiswal said the UP government had been alerted about the possibility of terrorist attacks at public places,

E-mail Threat
Tight security in Chennai
Chennai, November 25
Tight security arrangements are in place with the wake of the e-mail threat to several cities, including Chennai, with the police drawing up an urgent action plan to thwart any possible terror attacks.




EARLIER STORIES




Controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen and her brother Faizal at the Rajasthan House in New Delhi on Sunday. Taslima ready to return to Kolkata
Says no official word yet
New Delhi, November 25
Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen is understood to have expressed her desire to go back to Kolkata but she is yet to hear from the West Bengal government on its readiness to welcome her. Asked by the All-India Progressive Women’s Group’s general secretary Kumudini Pati about the invitation extended to her by the West Bengal government, Nasreen said nothing of this sort has been communicated to her.

Controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen and her brother Faizal at the Rajasthan House in New Delhi on Sunday. — PTI

Govt to arrange Taslima’s return, stay: Buddhadeb
Security personnel deployed outside the Rajasthan House in New Delhi on Sunday, where Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was staying for the past two days.Kolkata, November 25
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today broke his silence on the Taslima Nasreen’s “eviction issue” by saying that the state government would arrange her return and stay in the city if she so desired. He denied that she had been forced to leave Kolkata. Bhattacharjee made these remarks while addressing a CPM rally at Siliguri town in Darjeeling today.
Security personnel deployed outside the Rajasthan House in New Delhi on Sunday, where Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was staying for the past two days. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Government may make a statement today
New Delhi, November 25
The government may make a statement in Parliament tomorrow on the issue involving controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.

Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh and BJP president Rajnath Singh during office-bearers’ meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.
Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh and BJP president Rajnath Singh during office-bearers’ meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. — Tribune Photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Row Over Taslima
BJP for political refugee status to Taslima
New Delhi, November 25
The BJP today demanded the status of a political refugee for controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen. In a political resolution adopted at a meeting of its office-bearers, the party today said Taslima was entitled to all rights given to Tibetan refugees in the country.

Rehabilitation policy to protect agri lands flayed
New Delhi, November 25
The Centre’s new rehabilitation policy intended to discourage the acquisition of agricultural land for non-farming purposes and for setting up a commission to look into resettlement aspects has come up for criticism from the People’s Movement.

Activists of the Jharkhand Adhikar Manch burn an effigy of Prime Minister and Assam Chief Minister in protest against Saturday's violence between locals and members of the Assam Tea Tribe Students Association in Ranchi on Sunday.
Activists of the Jharkhand Adhikar Manch burn an effigy of Prime Minister and Assam Chief Minister in protest against Saturday's violence between locals and members of the Assam Tea Tribe Students Association in Ranchi on Sunday. — PTI

N-deal
Much-awaited debate this week
New Delhi, November 25
The much-awaited discussion on the Indo-US nuclear deal is scheduled to take place in the Lok Sabha this week, which is likely to see BJP and Left parties on the same side in attacking the UPA government.

Kalam urges teachers to impart moral education
Bhopal, November 25
Asking teachers to impart “education with human values” to students, former President A P J Abdul Kalam today said moral science should be taught in schools once in a week to inculcate values of love and compassion.

Eco-friendly legless amphibian discovered
New Delhi, November 25
Zoologists claimed to have discovered a new species of legless amphibian in northern Karnataka which vacates its marshy habitat at the slightest hint of pollution.

Patil congratulates Dola, Kamlesh
New Delhi, November 25
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today congratulated Kamlesh Sharma on his election as Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

Gowda ignores Prakash outbursts
Bangalore, November 25
Janata Dal (S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda today chose to ignore the “ante of revolt” upped again by rebel leader M.P. Prakash and said “any leader is free to come into or go out of the party.”

150 agitating doctors sacked
Guwahati, November 25
The Assam government today terminated 150 junior doctors working in Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) on charges of blackmailing the government and putting lives of patients in danger and arrested over 100 agitating junior doctors.

Uttarakhand govt directive to depts
Dehra Dun, November 25
The state government has asked government departments to invite elected representatives either to preside over or as chief guest instead of bureaucrats at public functions to be organized by them.

Rlys official asked to explain denial of pension benefits
New Delhi, November 25
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Allahabad, to spell out the grounds for denying pension benefits to a woman whose late husband worked with the North Central Railway.

Gandhi's charkha goes hi-fi
New Delhi, November 25
Light, action and entertainment! The hand-cranked spinning wheel, popularised by the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, has now been given an electronic tweak to transform it into a hi-tech gadget that not only produces yarn but also light a bulb on demand and is can even power a transistor radio.

Bihar govt publishes ‘report card’ on 2nd anniversary
Patna, November 25
The Bihar government yesterday published a comprehensive analytical ‘Report Card-2007’, highlighting its achievements during the past two years. The ‘Two years of Development with Justice’, a 36-page booklet provides a detailed account of the performance of every department of the coalition government in different areas since it assumed office on this day exactly two years ago.

Political violence on the rise in Tamil Nadu
Chennai, November 25
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunaidhi has come down heavily on the police due to the sudden rise in cases of political violence in Tamil Nadu, and instructed them to intensify their vigil and curb anti-social activities irrespective of political affiliations.

Woman bites sub-inspector
Vellore, November 25
A differently-abled woman attacked police officials and bit one of them when they had gone to arrest her at night without lady personnel, for allegedly selling illicit liquor at Vaniyambadi in the district.

Children suffering from insomnia in Nandigram
Nandigram, November 25
The long drawn violent events in the area have robbed traumatised children of sleep, who toss and turn at night and often wake up sobbing.

ULFA peeved at Naga group's campaign
Guwahati, November 25
The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has fired a broadside at the Naga International Support Centre (NISC), a human rights organisation that supports many demands of the Naga rebel group NSCN-IM, for being part of ‘anti-ULFA propaganda’ sponsored by Indian security forces and agencies.

Special commandos deployed at Sabarimala 
Sabarimala, November 25
A 10-member team of special commandos has been deployed at Sabarimala temple as part of increased security arrangements in the hill shrine, where the main pilgrimage season is now underway.

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UP Blasts
Police zero in on HuJI militant

New Delhi, November 25
The security agencies and the UP police are zeroing in on the role of Mohammed Tuffail Hussaini, Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia (HuJI) militant and a mastermind of 1993 train blasts, in connection with the Lucknow serial blasts as his kin has been picked up for questioning.

Sleuths have picked up his brother, who runs a travel agency, from Ameenabad area of Lucknow for questioning as Tuffail, on whom the CBI has announced a cash reward also, continued to elude the police.

The cops strongly suspect that Tuffail, who was also instrumental in arranging the cadres for HuJI, could have masterminded the Lucknow serial blasts as his previous plan to carry out serial blasts in buses had failed.

The 41-year-old Tuffail, who heads the Mujahiddin Islam Al Hind which is perceived as a shadow name of HuJI, is believed to have fled the country to Pakistan or Bangladesh via Kathmandu but was masterminding all the nefarious activities from across the border.

The detention of his brother, who runs a travel agency, may not reveal much except his present location, the sources said.

Across the state, many people had been rounded off for questioning, including some of the Bangladeshis who had been staying illegally in the country, they said.

The name of Tuffail, who had not figured in any terror-related cases after the 1993 serial train blasts, started doing the rounds again this year when two militants, who were carrying bombs for planting on various UP roadways buses, got injured when the explosives went off prematurely.

Both the militants - Naushad and Aftab - were injured in the incident. While one of them died, the other spilled the beans about his role in masterminding the failed attempt besides his involvement in the Gorakhpur railway station blasts.

The explosions in Gorakhpur occurred on May 22 night this year when militants triggered three near-simultaneous blast. The explosives were stuffed inside tiffin boxes and tied to bicycles. In the recent incident also, the militants had used bicycles and the six bombs went off within a span of 15 minutes.

The officials were also trying to ascertain the identity of the person who had sent the e-mail from a cyber cafe in East Delhi threatening of more blasts.

Sketches were being prepared with the help of locals at the cyber cafe and the authorities could also seek the help of a HuJI militant Jalaluddin Mollah, alias Babu Bhai, arrested by the UP police in June this year.

He had told the investigators that he had handed over 15 kg of deadly RDX to a HuJI militant named Guru alias Rocky ahead of the serial blasts in Delhi in 2005.

The e-mail, sent from an East Delhi cyber cafe on November 23, was sent by a person with dark complexion and a height of nearly 5.8 feet.

The e-mail had a prefix “guru” and the security agencies were wondering whether it could be the same person who had been in contact with Babu Bhai. — PTI

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UP govt was alerted on possible attacks: Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 25
Putting the ball back in the Mayawati government’s court, union state minister for home Sri Prakash Jaiswal said the UP government had been alerted about the possibility of terrorist attacks at public places,

Speaking in Kanpur today, Jaiswal maintained that the central intelligence agencies had been regularly giving information about terrorist activities and the UP administration was alerted that terrorists might strike at a public place in the state.

Immediately after the blasts, Chief Minister Mayawati had attributed the serial blasts in the civil courts as the “failure” of central intelligence agencies for alerting her government.

United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav also criticised the Mayawati government for not owning responsibility for the blasts and putting it entirely on the central government.

As part of a UNPA delegation that visited the blasts sites in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad today, Yadav while speaking to the media on the Lucknow civil court premises said, “It is wrong to put the entire blame on Delhi”.

Former Andhra Pradesh CM and Telegu Desam leader Chandrababu Naidu, who was also part of the UNPA delegation, declared that both the central and state governments would have to share the blame as despite the arrests of terrorist in Lucknow last week they did not take adequate precautions.

“There were no safety measures in place before and even well after the serial blast,” charged Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala who was also part of the delegation.

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E-mail Threat
Tight security in Chennai

Chennai, November 25
Tight security arrangements are in place with the wake of the e-mail threat to several cities, including Chennai, with the police drawing up an urgent action plan to thwart any possible terror attacks.

The police had maintained and heightened vigil all through the night and in a “Storming Operation” involving 437 patrol beats rounded up about 1,000 people in the city, a police release said.

An e-mail sent to a TV channel in New Delhi warned of terror attacks in Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Islamabad by a so far unknown organisation called the 'Indian Mujahideen' following which the Delhi Police was investigating the threat after sounding an alert across the nation.

In this backdrop, Tamil Nadu director general of police P Rajendran had directed all inspector generals and senior police officials to be on high alert and take all precautionary measures to preempt possible attempts by the extremist groups to create panic and terror.

Following this and as a part of efforts to free the city from rowdy elements, the police stepped up night patrol in the city and its suburbs and rounded up about 1,000 persons.

A strong contingent led by city police commissioner Nanjil Kumaran, additional commissioners S. R. Jangid and Sunil Kumar, joint commissioners Ravi, Balasubramaniam, Durairaj and deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners went around the city and nabbed 765 persons as a preventive measure besides arresting 103 habitual offenders, 128 old convicts and 16 persons against whom warrants were pending.

Besides, 68 people were held for drunken driving and eight others for rash and negligent driving. More than 1,400 persons were also fined for not wearing helmets.

The “Operation” came two days after Chief Minister M karunanidhi ordered crackdown on criminals in the wake of rising political killings in the state.

According to sources, the state police has drawn up an emergency action plan to handle the new e-mail threat. Permanent metal detectors will be installed at all the important vital installations.

The city police would also immediately install equipment to identify explosive materials at busy areas like T Nagar, Pondy Bazaar and Parrys Corner. Besides, Central and Egmore railway stations, Koyambedu bus terminal and all important places of worship would come under a thick security blanket.

At the airport, officials of the Central Industrial Security Force have tightened the security. “We review and monitor security situation perodically even in the absence of any threat,” an official said and added though they had not received any particular ‘lead’ from their higher-ups, security at the airports, domestic and international, would be tight.

Meanwhile, the top police officials across the state were busy preparing lists of known criminals, hardened offenders, goons available on-hire and crime syndicates in their jurisdiction.

The list is likely to be sent to the DGP’s office next week for coordinated action, the sources added. — UNI

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Taslima ready to return to Kolkata
Says no official word yet
Tribune News Service/PTI

New Delhi, November 25
Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen is understood to have expressed her desire to go back to Kolkata but she is yet to hear from the West Bengal government on its readiness to welcome her.

Asked by the All-India Progressive Women’s Group’s general secretary Kumudini Pati about the invitation extended to her by the West Bengal government, Nasreen said nothing of this sort has been communicated to her.

“There is no information reaching her directly. She has just a television to watch what is happening outside,” Pati said.

Nasreen, who is confined in Rajasthan House in the national Capital, is learnt to have accompanied by her elder brother Faizal.

Pati said the writer has expressed her desire to go back to Kolkata. “She said that she knows the culture and the political situation there. It doesn’t matter to her what government is in West Bengal,” Pati said quoting the 46-year-old writer.

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Govt to arrange Taslima’s return, stay: Buddhadeb
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, November 25
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today broke his silence on the Taslima Nasreen’s “eviction issue” by saying that the state government would arrange her return and stay in the city if she so desired. He denied that she had been forced to leave Kolkata.

Bhattacharjee made these remarks while addressing a CPM rally at Siliguri town in Darjeeling today. He, however, did not explain why and how Taslima had to leave Kolkata “suddenly and silently” on Thursday when Kolkata was returning to normalcy after Wednesday’s violence.

According to one of Taslima’s close friends who had accompanied her from her Rawdon Street flat to the airport on Thursday evening, the Centre was now taking the custody of Taslima and arranging her “shifting” to a safe place either inside the country or abroad . The Chief Minister had been also informed accordingly, he claimed. He said he had phone talk with Taslima twice after her departure from the city. He was now holding the key of Taslima’s flat which was handed over to him by her before leaving the city.

Meanwhile, Idris Ali , president, All India Minority Forum, who was arrested yesterday in connection with Wednesday’s violent incidents, was refused bail when he was produced before the judicial magistrate at Bankshall Court, Kolkata, today. He was remanded to police custody at Lalbazar till November 28. Idris, who belonged to the Congress, was dismissed from the party immediately after his arrest. When he was produced before the magistrate today, a large number of his followers and members of the Minority Forum, who assembled there, demanded the Chief Minister’s resignation and the extradition of Taslima.

Idris Ali alleged that he had been falsely implicated in the Wednesday’s incident. Former WBPCC(l) president Somen Mitra declared today that they would bring out a “Mahamichil” in the city on November 27, demanding the application of Article 365 in the state, a demand which L.K.Advani, Mamata Banerjee and several opposition parties also made to Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

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Government may make a statement today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The government may make a statement in Parliament tomorrow on the issue involving controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) denied having made any statement on the matter even as some news channels continued to report Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s view that hardliners could not be allowed to dictate terms to the government on who could or could not stay in India. At the same time, the sources told The Tribune that they did not rule out a statement by the government in Parliament tomorrow

Bulletins by some news channels on Sunday attributed a statement to PMO sources that the government would not bow down to pressure from hardliners and instead adopt a tough stand against the anti-Taslima forces.

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Row Over Taslima
BJP for political refugee status to Taslima
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The BJP today demanded the status of a political refugee for controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen. In a political resolution adopted at a meeting of its office-bearers, the party today said Taslima was entitled to all rights given to Tibetan refugees in the country.

In an attempt to corner both the Centre and the Left, the saffron party criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government for remaining silent on the issue. The party said while the Centre and the state government in West Bengal were welcoming millions of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, they had shut doors on Taslima for the sake of their “vote bank”.

“A victim of political persecution is being persecuted further since fellow travelling with fundamentalism wins vote banks. The irony of this issue is the customary silence of the Prime Minister and the Central government politics,” the BJP said in context of the controversy.

“Mass-scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh had served both the Congress and the CPM as a convenient vote bank even though it may have hurt India’s security concerns,” the party added, alleging that the Congress lacked confidence to criticise, the CPM, its political ally .

The resolution stated that Taslima’s harassment by the West Bengal Government had thrown up an important question as to how a victim of persecution is treated by a civilised state in which the victim seeks a refuge as an asylum. “Taslima is a victim of religious persecution in Bangladesh. She is a refugee in India. To eject a refugee under pressures from religious groups is to submit to hardline Islamic fundamentalists,” it added.

Drawing a parallel between the eviction of the Bangaladeshi writer and the enactment of a legislation to nullify the effect of the Shah Bano judgement in the late 1980s, the resolution stated that both involved surrender to “Islamic fundementalists”.

The meeting was chaired by party president Rajnath Singh and attended among others by senior leaders L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, party vice-presidents, general-secretaries and state-level leaders. Addressing the meeting, Advani dubbed Nandigram as a “ turning point” in the country’s political history.

On Nandigram, the party resolution said developments there had shown “the real, ugly and fascist face of the CPM. The CPM is hostile to any form of dissent and criticism. To use the political cadres as an instrument of repression on dissidents is unprecedented”.

Regarding terror attacks in UP, the party said it was symbolic of the terrorists’ ability to strike at will, reminding of the helplessness of the Central government. The resolution also criticised the BSP saying that its government in UP had been a dismal failure on the security front.

“The BSP government recently enacted a POTA type law to tackle organised crime. Why can’t such a law be used against terrorists? This is motivated by the vote bank politics of the UP government,” it added. 

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Rehabilitation policy to protect agri lands flayed
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The Centre’s new rehabilitation policy intended to discourage the acquisition of agricultural land for non-farming purposes and for setting up a commission to look into resettlement aspects has come up for criticism from the People’s Movement.

The policy - the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007 - assumes importance in the backdrop of controversies over the setting up of SEZs. The acquisition of farming land for SEZ has been the cause of violent protests at many places, including Nandigram.

The policy envisages setting up a committee to review and monitor the progress of implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement schemes across the country, besides a rehabilitation commission at the national level to look into settlement issues of families displaced from their land following its acquisition for projects.

Action 2007, a conglomerate of several NGOs and people’s movements, however, has criticised the policy, calling it a “mockery of people’s struggle against displacement by negating a fair and participatory development planning process”.

Important features of the new policy are also that the acquisition of agricultural land for non-agricultural use in a project would be kept to the minimum and multi-cropped land avoided to the extent possible for such purposes. It also calls for the acquisition of irrigated land, if unavoidable, to be kept to the minimum, while wasteland, degraded land or un-irrigated land, be made the option for acquisition.

Action 2007, led by activist Medha Patkar, says that the document is “clearly intended to justify, defend or increase the ongoing displacement; and not to minimise displacement, provide protection to loss of livelihood, shelter and property to anyone who is affected and make rehabilitation a participatory and people-friendly process”.

“ The People’s Movement had requested the Rural Development Ministry to consider the National Advisory Council 2005 draft and not the NDA government’s 2003 draft as the base from which any future policy related processes should be initiated. However, from the present draft, it is clear that they have not taken into account the argument and have gone ahead with an anti-people and non-participatory displacement policy,” says Patkar.

"Through the policy, the government seems to be taking the safety-valve of the argument that these displacements and developments will assure employment generation to a large number of people. However, there is no mechanism in place to check the validity of these employment claims, before sanctioning a project and in relation to also existing employment lost due to displacement and land acquisition.It is shocking that the policy does not guarantee land for land for project-affected people and is still riding high on claims of greater cash compensation," People's Movement alleges, asking for wider consultations before the government notifies or enacts the new policy.

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N-deal
Much-awaited debate this week

New Delhi, November 25
The much-awaited discussion on the Indo-US nuclear deal is scheduled to take place in the Lok Sabha this week, which is likely to see BJP and Left parties on the same side in attacking the UPA government.

Last week, the Congress and the BJP were seen on the same side in attacking Left parties, especially the CPM, during debate on Nandigram in Parliament.

Parliamentary affairs minister P.R.Dasmunsi has already said the debate is scheduled in the Lower House on Tuesday.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee will reply to the debate on the nuclear deal.

The government was ready for an early debate on the matter, but the Opposition had insisted on the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the discussion.

During that time, the Prime Minister was to go abroad.

The debate on the deal will take place at a time when the government has approached the IAEA for India-related nuclear safeguards after the Left okayed the move.

The Left, providing crucial outside support to the Congress-led coalition, is a consistent critic of the deal and has warned the government against operationalising it.

Several US leaders, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, had met senior leaders of the BJP which is also not in favour of the deal. The BJP leaders included L.K.Advani and Rajnath Singh. — PTI

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Kalam urges teachers to impart moral education

Bhopal, November 25
Asking teachers to impart “education with human values” to students, former President A P J Abdul Kalam today said moral science should be taught in schools once in a week to inculcate values of love and compassion.

“Moral science should be taught in schools once in a week to inculcate values of love and compassion. It can help develop enlightened citizens,” Kalam said, interacting with students and teachers at the concluding function of the week-long science exhibition organised on the sidelines of Bhartiya Vigyan Sammelan here.

Citing the role played by Sister Antonia in ending a prison riot in Mexico, Kalam said human education allows people to inculcate love and compassion which can help overcome great hurdles.

Sister Antonia, whose selfless service was respected by the prisoners, generated respect prompting them to control themselves and urged them to do what she wanted, a task that armed police could not carry out.

Appealing to the youth to “navigate time towards their mission in life”, Kalam said, “seconds fly, minutes fly, days fly and years fly. We have no control over it. The only thing we can do is we can navigate time. Let not thy winged days, be spent in vain.”

Kalam said students can make their first contribution towards development of the nation by excelling in studies. Education system should instill capacities of inquiry, creativity, technology, entrepreneurship and moral leadership in the students mind.

“It will prepare an autonomous learner - a self directed, self controlled, life-long learner - who will have the capacity to both respect authority and at the same time is capable of questioning authority, in an appropriate manner,” Kalam said.

He said “creativity, courage and righteousness were the main ingredients of knowledge. A combination of these characteristics can generate enlightened citizens”.

On the Indo-US nuclear deal, Kalam said dearth of uranium has led to such treaties. “I believe that in the next five-ten years, our scientists will develop a technology to utilise abundantly available thorium as nuclear fuel making us self-reliant.”

“While transforming India into a developed nation by 2020, prime sectors that need attention are agriculture, education, information technology, infrastructure development and self-reliance in critical technology,” Kalam said.

Sharing his vision of a developed India by 2020, he said it will be a nation where rural and urban divide gets reduced to a thin line, there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water and agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.

“It will be a nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination, which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists and investors and where best of health care is available,” he said.

“A developed India will have a responsive and transparent governance and it will be prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy, and continues with a sustainable growth path,” Kalam said.

Replying to a query, Kalam said he did not believe in destiny or future, but relied heavily on acquiring knowledge and achieving success through hard work. — PTI

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Eco-friendly legless amphibian discovered

New Delhi, November 25
Zoologists claimed to have discovered a new species of legless amphibian in northern Karnataka which vacates its marshy habitat at the slightest hint of pollution.

Two independent researchers, who teamed up with scientists from the Zoological Survey of India, came across the unique species at the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary which falls in the biodiversity-rich western Ghats region.

“It is commonly known as a two-headed snake but a closer look brings out the ringed nature of the amphibian creature,”Gopalkrishna Bhatta, an independent researcher, told PTI from Shimoga in Karnataka.

K P Dinesh of the Zoological Survey of India, P Prashanth of the Agumbe Rain forest Research Station and Goa-based independent researcher, Nirmal Kulkarni, took part in the study.

“We recently collected three specimens resembling each other which fit the generic diagnosis for genus Gegeneophis, but which differ from all known species,” they said in ‘Current Science’.

A new species of caecilian, a legless amphibian, has been named Gegeneophis mhadeiensis. It is described on the basis of three specimens collected from the surroundings of Rameshwar temple in Chorla village of Belgaum district. The locality is situated adjacent to the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary.

The creature feeds in earthworms and other decaying material and helps enriching the soil, Bhatta said.

With 10 named species, Gegenophis is now one of the most diverse caecilian genera that reaffirms the sensitivity of the locality as a biodiversity hotspot.

G mhadeiensis, the zoological name of the species, can also be used as a bio-indicator for the region. “This species vacates the place of its stay the moment it begins to get polluted,” Bhatta said. The very presence of this species in an area signifies the rich organic content of the locality. — PTI

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Patil congratulates Dola, Kamlesh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today congratulated Kamlesh Sharma on his election as Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

In her message, the President said, "Your elevation to this post is a recognition of your outstanding abilities, which you have shown during your long diplomatic career. The achievement is even more worthy as you will be the first ever Secretary-General of the Commonwealth from India, thus emphasizing the respect that our country has in this grouping of nations."

Patil also congratulated Dola Banerjee for wining the Gold Medal in the women's individual recurve competition at the Archery World Cup. In her message, the President said "by becoming the first Indian to win this title you have boosted the morale of all our archers for the Olympic Games in Beijing next year".

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Gowda ignores Prakash outbursts

Bangalore, November 25
Janata Dal (S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda today chose to ignore the “ante of revolt” upped again by rebel leader M.P. Prakash and said “any leader is free to come into or go out of the party.”

Reacting to Prakash’s earlier statement in Belgaum that he would not attend the November 29 party working committee meeting in the city and instead would hold a “parallel” meeting of “like-minded” legislators a day earlier, Gowda retorted “many leaders have come and gone during the last four decades. They are free to go wherever they want to. Let us see how many legislators will attend Prakash’s meeting.”

Meanwhile, KPCC president Mallikarjuna Kharge said the party would not at any cost align with any group belonging to the JD(S).

“No, we are not going to realign with JD(S), including Mr Prakash’s splinter group. We are looking for an early decision from the Centre on effecting President’s rule and mid-term elections,” Mr Kharge who met Governor Rameshwar Thakur to discuss the present political situation, said.

In Mysore, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the political parties in the state had “no option” to face mid-term elections. “Congress holds an advantage to secure majority,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP prepared grounds for the month-long “janajagruti yatra” beginning tomorrow to ‘highlight’ how JD(S) had “conspired” and “betrayed” the party, resulting in the fall of week-old Yeddyurappa Government. It would also “highlight” the good governance provided by the BJP ministers during the 20 month rule of JD(S)-BJP government.

The ‘yatra’ would begin in the city and traverse through many parts of the state till December 26. — UNI

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150 agitating doctors sacked
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 25
The Assam government today terminated 150 junior doctors working in Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) on charges of blackmailing the government and putting lives of patients in danger and arrested over 100 agitating junior doctors.

The junior doctors were on strike since Friday night to press for their demands for adequate security on the GMCH campus and introduction of reverse referral system. The agitating doctors didn’t even care to attend to hundreds of injured Adivasi persons who were injured in a bloody clash on Guwahati streets yesterday afternoon.

In a sharp reaction to the attitude of striking junior doctors, Assam health minister Dr Himanta Bishwa Sharma today announced that all 150 agitating junior doctors, who were signatory to the demand letter submitted to the government, had been terminated from service with immediate effect.

The minister also ensured that over 100 junior doctors, who had gathered at the GMCH campus today to have a meeting with the minister, were arrested by the police.

According to representatives of junior doctors associations in the GMCH, they were not averse to serve to treat injured Adivasi protestors and went to have a talk with the health minister on the hospital premises.

Dr Sharma said the Assam government would not allow junior doctors to blackmail it. He said the government would appoint a large number of new junior doctors in the hospital from tomorrow besides bringing doctors from other hospitals in the state to tide over the huge work load in the GMCH that was now teemed with hundreds of injured Adivasi patients.

The minister also threatened to lodge complaint with the Medical Council of India (MCI) against the ‘blackmailing tactics’ adopted by doctors at the GMCH.

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Uttarakhand govt directive to depts
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 25
The state government has asked government departments to invite elected representatives either to preside over or as chief guest instead of bureaucrats at public functions to be organized by them.

The development comes after Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker directed the state government on the issue on the demand of the legislators who felt that their status as public representatives was being usurped by the bureaucrats.

Recently, the education department organised a function at which the state education secretary was chosen to preside over it in place of the education minister.

This happened after the minister was made the chief guest in place of the Chief Minister who pulled out due to his busy schedule. The legislators took strong exception to the bureaucrat concerned being given precedence over the area legislator.

Expressing displeasure over this, the Speaker directed the government to ensure that only elected representatives whether belonging to the ruling party or the opposition should be accorded due respect as per their status at the government functions.

The legislators also alleged that the education department was deliberately ignoring the protocol by inviting bureaucrats instead of the area MP and MLA at the functions organized by it.

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Rlys official asked to explain denial of pension benefits
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Allahabad, to spell out the grounds for denying pension benefits to a woman whose late husband worked with the North Central Railway.

After hearing Tundla-based Sushila Gautam's complaint early this month, Information Commissioner, M.M. Ansari pointed out that the delay on part of the respondent in taking a decision on the complainant's claim shows that they have a weak grievance redress system.

Representing the complainant during the hearing, her son told the CIC that the respondent had not paid the balance salary, pension, guard allowance and gratutity despite several representations to the Office of the DRM, North Central Railway.

Disposing of the complaint, Professor Ansari said, “The complainant has grievances relating to her entitlement for pension and other benefits on account of the services rendered by her late husband. In spite of oft-repeated requests made by the complainant, the respondent has not done the needful as yet. More than a decade has lapsed in the process of taking a decision in the matter which demonstrates weakness of grievance redressal system of the respondent.''

The Information Commissioner has also directed the respondents to allow Sushila Gauatam to seek the inspection of the relevant records relating to calculation of benefits as the salary balance, guard allowance and gratuity to enable her represent the case to the competent authority.

The Information Commissioner has said that the complainant is free to approach the CIC again if she is not satisfied with the compliance of the decision by North Central Railway. 

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Gandhi's charkha goes hi-fi

New Delhi, November 25
Light, action and entertainment! The hand-cranked spinning wheel, popularised by the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, has now been given an electronic tweak to transform it into a hi-tech gadget that not only produces yarn but also light a bulb on demand and is can even power a transistor radio.

Called the 'e-charkha,' the invention by a Bangalore-based engineer is an ordinary charkha fitted with a battery and connected to a LED light. The energy produced by the charkha while it is being spun is used to charge the battery attached to the bottom of the spinning wheel and the power thus generated can power up a LED light used in home lamps.

The maintenance-free lead battery fixed to the charkha functions as an inverter, and charges itself from the energy generated when the charkha is spun.

"The big spinning wheel is connected to a generator and using the charkha for approximately two hours can generate enough power to light up an LED bulb, or to play a small transistor radio for around 6 to 7 hours," says Hiremath, an engineer who has patented the invention.

Launched formally by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at the function in the capital recently the gadget has won approval of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, which is planning to induct two lakh pieces across Khadhi weaving centres across the county.

The engineer, whose company Flexitron, has patented the invention says, "In remote areas of the country, uninterrupted and regular electricity is still a dream. The charkhas will help boost the income of the weavers in rural and far-flung areas as well as break the monotony that they are accustomed to. They can listen to the radio while they spin."

Priced at Rs 3,000 per unit, the 'e-charkha' is cost effective too, he says adding, "The LED light unlike ordinary bulbs does not wear off easily and can be used for at least 30 to 35 years. Also, the battery is an easy maintenance one and uses the latest 3 phase AC generator technology to produce electricity, so even this can be used for over 30 years." "The user will be very happy as compared to the investment the returns are high. We have aimed the product at users in the country's deepest and poorest villagers who have no or erratic power connections. This I think is an unique solution for providing light, income and entertainment," say Hiremath, who has given up a career in engineering and found his vocation in developing products for the disabled.

The sale of e-charkhas through KVIC outlets is part of the Government's scheme for enhancing productivity and competitiveness of the khadi industry. Several steps like overhauling, repairing and replacing obsolete equipment as well as providing assistance to product and design development among others are being pursued by the government. — PTI

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Bihar govt publishes ‘report card’ on 2nd anniversary

Patna, November 25
The Bihar government yesterday published a comprehensive analytical ‘Report Card-2007’, highlighting its achievements during the past two years. The ‘Two years of Development with Justice’, a 36-page booklet provides a detailed account of the performance of every department of the coalition government in different areas since it assumed office on this day exactly two years ago.

Speaking before a large gathering to mark the occasion, the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar claimed that as a result of “sustained and dedicated efforts of his Cabinet colleagues and the government officials” the general conception about the state as one of the most backward had undergone a “sea change”.

“Days are not far-off when Bihar will be known to the outside world as one of the most successful states in every sector,” Kumar asserted before the gathering.

Claiming that the state government had undertaken a major industrial rejuvenation programme besides ensuring all-round development in healthcare and education and substantial improvement in the law and order situation along with emancipation of the womenfolk and backward classes, the CM said in order to improve the socio-economic condition of women in the state, particularly those belonging to the backward classes, the government had decided to introduce four new programmes in the fields of healthcare and education.

Elaborating the schemes, he said under the new programmes known as the ‘Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana’,’Mukhyamantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana’, ‘Lohia Swachhta Yojana’ and ‘Mukhamantri Alpsankhyak Vidyarthi Protsahan Yojana’, a total amount of Rs 341 crores had been earmarked from the state ex-chequer during the current fiscal. — UNI

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Political violence on the rise in Tamil Nadu
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, November 25
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunaidhi has come down heavily on the police due to the sudden rise in cases of political violence in Tamil Nadu, and instructed them to intensify their vigil and curb anti-social activities irrespective of political affiliations.

At a high-level meeting attended by Cabinet members, top bureaucrats and police officials, recent murders and attacks on politicians were discussed and the police were instructed to step up vigil and concentrate on intelligence gathering.

The enquiry conducted by a senior IAS officer M. F. Farooqi into the attack on the Tamil Nadu Congress president N. Krishnaswamy on October 29 at Ramanathapuram also pointed to intelligence failure as one of the reasons. Krishnaswamy was stabbed with a spear on his abdomen on way to a Dalit village to participate in a function.

Tamil Nadu, which is claimed as a “haven of peace” by its rulers, has witnessed some gruesome political murders and attacks over the past few weeks.

Other than the attack on the Congress president, there was an attempt on the life of state Youth Congress president Mayura Jayakumar by armed men belonging to his own party, while a DMK leader and two AIADMK workers were brutally murdered.

K. Kalaichelvan, the DMK Tiruvarur district secretary, was killed in a novel manner by assailants as they pretended to invite him to a function. Nine men were later arrested from adjoining districts.

An AIADMK leader, Kumar, who was also vice-chairman of Chengalpattu municipality in Kanchipuram district, about 60 km from here, was hacked to death along with a party worker last week.

According to the police, both the DMK and AIADMK men who were murdered had a criminal background.

While Karunanidhi mourned the death of the DMK district secretary, AIADMK supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa condemned the DMK government blaming it for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

But what came as a bolt from the blue was the reaction of DMK’s ally, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder, S. Ramadoss who compared the state of affairs in Tamil nadu with Bihar.

He warned, “Tamil Nadu would soon go the Bihar way, if political murders were not prevented and the nexus between politicians and criminals broken. Gone are the days when gang leaders sought to curry favour with political party leaders and sought to work behind the scenes in politics. Today, they are directly involved in politics and leaders nurture and protect them.”

He further warned that these murders posed an unprecedented danger to people in public life unless the trend was checked and also cautioned political leaders against using statistics about how many murders took place under which party’s regime to score debating points.

Ramadoss urged, “All leaders should be united in curbing criminalisation of politics and weed out criminal elements from their organisations while allowing the police a free hand to go after them.”

Actor-politician Vijayakanth flayed the DMK regime for its poor handling of law and order. During the past five years some notorious political murders have taken place in Tamil Nadu. In 2003, a veteran DMK leader, T. Kiruttinan, was savagely hacked to death in Madurai during his morning walk. Karunanidhi’s elder son, M. K. Azhagiri, is the principal accused in the case.

In December 2004, another DMK leader and former minister Aladi Aruna while on a walk with a friend was brutally hacked with long knives.

Few months ago the chairman of Sivaganga Municipality in southern Tamil Nadu was killed in an explosion engineered with a remote control while he was getting in his car within the office premises.

However, there have been killings by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelaam (LTTE) using firearms and explosives the most famous one being the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The coastline of Tamil Nadu has been used by the LTTE over the past few years for smuggling explosives and bomb making materials to their stronghold in Jaffna in Sri Lanka. As a result, rowdy elements in the state are getting access to arms and are using them to settle political rivalries.

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Woman bites sub-inspector

Vellore, November 25
A differently-abled woman attacked police officials and bit one of them when they had gone to arrest her at night without lady personnel, for allegedly selling illicit liquor at Vaniyambadi in the district.

According to police sources, sub-inspectors Kripakaran and Chenniyan along with a constable had gone to nab 27-year-old Maheswari at 8 pm yesterday, on a tip-off that illicit liquor had been stored at her residence.

On being questioned, Maheswari, who was alone at home, denied the charge of selling illicit liquor. However, the officials went around the house and allegedly found a few cans containing liquor.

During the altercation that followed, Maheswari, who has a deformity in one of her legs, fell down on the ground. The officials tried to take her towards the police jeep, when she bit Kripakaran on his thigh.

According to sources, blood had oozed out of the wound. The officials, however, managed to take her to the police station. The police said they had seized 120 litres of illicit liquor from the house. — PTI

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Children suffering from insomnia in Nandigram

Nandigram, November 25
The long drawn violent events in the area have robbed traumatised children of sleep, who toss and turn at night and often wake up sobbing.

"I have found at least 20 to 25 children, mostly in the age group of 7 to 12, suffering from sleeplessness. The nightmarish experience of the past 11 months has scarred them mentally," district secretary of the Red Cross Rameshwar Mishra said.

These children are mostly from the former Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee strongholds of Sonachura, Satengabari, Gokulnagar, Adhikaripara and Mahespur, which fell after being "recaptured" by the CPM cadre.

"They can't come out of the traumatic experience and occasionally stay awake the whole night," Mishra said.

Raju (8) of Satengabari has seen his house burning before his eyes. "He is so afraid that he cannot go out of the relief camp alone and frequently wakes up at night sobbing uncontrollably," he said.

His mother Kalpana says, "I don't know what has happened to my son, but I am very worried. He has been unable to have a sound sleep. I don't have money to take him to Kolkata for treatment."

Minati (7) of Sonachura sleeps so long as she is on her mother's lap but the moment she is put on the bed, she starts crying.

These are not isolated cases.

"I have visited many trouble-torn places, but I haven't seen children insomniacs in such large numbers," said a member of the Red Cross team.

"The problem in Nandigram has been continuing for such a long time that a fear psychosis has taken deep root in tender minds," he said.

"We have not been able to reach out to everybody, but in the relief camp I have found at least 20 children who have been suffering from this nightmarish experience." He said outbreaks of diarrhoea and dysentery in camps were normal, but not insomnia.

"Diarrhoea and dysentery are understandable. The toilets are bad and drinking water is not upto the mark. These can be tackled with medication. But psychological trauma is very hard to remove," said another member of the team.

"This psychological problem might have a dangerous effect. Unless cured this might to lead to serious psychological disorder later on," he said.

"A number of organisations are providing relief to the people of Nandigram, but they have not noticed this problem.

If proper care is not taken then a generation here might live in fear all their lives," he warned. — PTI

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ULFA peeved at Naga group's campaign
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 25
The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has fired a broadside at the Naga International Support Centre (NISC), a human rights organisation that supports many demands of the Naga rebel group NSCN-IM, for being part of ‘anti-ULFA propaganda’ sponsored by Indian security forces and agencies.

In a statement issued by its central publicity secretary, Raju Baruah, the ULFA lambasted the NISC for echoing what the India security forces have been saying in pursuing its design to brand the ULFA as an international terrorist organisation.

The ULFA in the statement accused the NISC of speaking on behalf of its masters in the NSCN-IM and the Indian security forces while trying to malign the image of the militant group from Assam.

The banned ULFA also criticised the NISC for supporting the illegal encroachment on to ‘Assam’s territory ‘ by the NSCN(I-M) and establishing of sub-divisions in these encroached areas in a planned manner in the name of setting up a Greater Nagaland or Nagalim.

The ULFA has issued the statement in reaction to a statement issued by the NISC against the ULFA on November 19 last accusing the outfit of adopting terror tactics and trying to split the Naga community.

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Special commandos deployed at Sabarimala 

Sabarimala, November 25
A 10-member team of special commandos has been deployed at Sabarimala temple as part of increased security arrangements in the hill shrine, where the main pilgrimage season is now underway.

A 60-member team of personnel in plain clothes has also been pressed into service at the uphill ‘Sannidhanam’ temple complex and the base camp Pampa, where piligrims converge in thousands.

According to a senior police officer, seven commandos under an inspector had been deployed in the temple complex while three others posted at Pampa from where the uphill trek starts.

The plainclothes personnel would mingle with the crowd, and alert their superiors if they come across anything unusual or anybody moving in suspicious circumstances, the official said. Their team leaders would meet in the evening and give a briefing about the developments of each day to the special officer in-charge of security, he added. — PTI

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