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 Court Blasts
Two HuJI militants nabbed

Lucknow, December 22
The Uttar Pradesh police today arrested two Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia (HuJI) militants and claimed to have cracked the serial blasts case in which terrorists had detonated nearly half-a-dozen bombs in and outside court premises in three cities last month.

Tackling Terror
CJI against brute power to government
New Delhi, December 22
The Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, today dismissed the arguments in favour of giving brute power to the state in the name of tackling terrorism, Naxalism and organised crimes, saying it had a great potential of violation of human rights. He advocated the maintenance of a fine balance between the enforcement of the rule of the law and the protection of individual’s rights.

Patil dispels impression of judicial ‘overreach’
New Delhi, December 22
Home minister Shivraj Patil today tried to dispel the impression that the UPA government has any complaint against the judiciary about its “overreach” in the spheres of the executive and legislature, saying the courts were interpreting the laws dispassionately, which is a duty cast upon them by the Constitution.






EARLIER STORIES




Marine police stations in TN to curb LTTE activities
Chennai, December 22
For the first time in India marine police stations will operate on the coasts of Tamil Nadu to curb the activities of the LTTE whose back has been pushed to the wall with Sri Lankan defence forces launching a major onslaught recently.

Teji Bachchan cremated
Mumbai, December 22
The mortal remains of Teji Bachchan, mother of actor Amitabh Bachchan, who passed away here on Friday was cremated this morning at the Ruia Park crematorium in Juhu.



Amitabh Bachchan (right), along with brother Ajitabh (centre) and son Abhishek, performs the funeral rites of his mother Teji Bachchan in Mumbai on Saturday. — AFP
Amitabh Bachchan (right), along with brother Ajitabh (centre) and son Abhishek, performs the funeral rites of his mother Teji Bachchan in Mumbai on Saturday.

Rane isolated in Congress after remarks against CM
Mumbai, December 22
Maharashtra revenue minister Narayan Rane, who has never hidden his ambition for the top job ever since he joined the Congress from the Shiv Sena more than two years ago, has been cornered after he criticised Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh yesterday.

PM may visit Nandigram
Kolkata, December 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to visit Nandigram to personally assess the situation in the wake of the two conflicting reports received by him from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and several other leaders of opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool and the BJP.

PM condoles death of AP Cong chief
New Delhi, December 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condoled the demise of Arunachal Pradesh Congress President Omem Moyong Deori. He said, “I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Deori.”

Ramadoss does damage control
New Delhi, December 22
Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who risked the wrath of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for allegedly making irresponsible statement about Bihar doctors, has attempted damage control by clarifying that he never intended to denigrate the image of doctors.

Taslima not confined to Delhi: Pranab
Kolkata, December 22
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said here today that the Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasreen, was not being kept confined to the national Capital. “She is free to go anywhere she wants, but for her own security Taslima has now been kept in a safe place”, he added.

IAF plane crashes in Orissa
Bhubaneswar, December 22
An Indian Air Force (IAF) plane caught fire and crashed during take off at the Biju Patnaik Airport here today but its pilot escaped with minor burns.

Death of Minors
Panel seeks reports
New Delhi, December 22
On the basis of a complaint regarding the death of two children in plastic factories in Gujarat, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the state government to submit a detailed report on the matter.

Jharkhand seeks more forces to combat Naxals
Patna, December 22
The Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand has decided to requisition 40 more companies of central paramilitary forces to combat Left extremism in the state. Besides, it is also considering a special package for Naxals to help them join the mainstream.


Street plays to fight menace

Husain’s exhibition raises hackles of Bajrang Dal
New Delhi, December 22
An exhibition of acclaimed painter M. F. Husain, whose allegedly obscene portrayal of Hindu Goddesses had invited the wrath of Sangh Parivar, ran into rough weather in the capital today after organisers received a threat purportedly from Bajrang Dal.

Jaya flays Karuna for neglecting rain-affected TN
Chennai, December 22
Tamil Nadu opposition leader and AIADMK supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa criticised the ruling DMK for neglecting the poor who are suffering over the past few days due to lashing rains as the death toll reached 40.

’84 Riots
BJP: Talk to priest witness
New Delhi, December 22
The BJP today asked the CBI to take cognisance of claims made by a Sikh priest that he was witness to senior Congress leader inciting anti-Sikh mobs during riots in 1984.

HC quashes externment order against Sethi
Mumbai, December 22
Manjit Singh Sethi, who led the fight for rights of the Dance Bar Owners Association, scored a major victory against the Maharashtra government recently, with the Bombay High Court quashing the externment orders against him.

Mob guns down murder accused
Patna, December 22
In a shocking case of people taking law into their own hands to settle issues, a man, who allegedly shot dead the brother of his grandfather, was mercilessly beaten up by a mob before being gunned down at a village of Jehanbad district in Bihar.

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UP Court Blasts
Two HuJI militants nabbed

Lucknow, December 22
The Uttar Pradesh police today arrested two Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia (HuJI) militants and claimed to have cracked the serial blasts case in which terrorists had detonated nearly half-a-dozen bombs in and outside court premises in three cities last month.

The two, Mohammad Khalid and Mohammad Tariq, were arrested outside Barabanki railway station by the special task force of the UP police following specific information provided by the central security agencies.

While Khalid, who hails from Jaunpur district, is alleged to have executed the three blasts on November 23, Tariq, who hails from Azamgarh district, is accused of being involved in serial blasts in Gorakhpur on May 22 last.

RDX weighing 1.25 kgs, six detonators, nine ammonium nitrate rods, four cell phones and a SIM card were recovered from their possession, additional director-general of police (STF) Brijlal told reporters here.

The police claimed that Khalid was responsible for near-simultaneous explosions in Faizabad, Varanasi and Lucknow courts that left more than a dozen people dead and scores of others injured.

The duo had roped in some Kashmiri terrorists for planting the explosives on the fateful day, they said adding Khalid had also undergone arms training in the valley.

Meanwhile, both militants have been remanded in 14-day police custody. The court said of the 14 days, the duo would be in the custody of the Lucknow police for three days.

In view of the recent attack on three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants by advocates in a Lucknow court, the chief judicial magistrate heard the case inside the district jail. — PTI

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Tackling Terror
CJI against brute power to government
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 22
The Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, today dismissed the arguments in favour of giving brute power to the state in the name of tackling terrorism, Naxalism and organised crimes, saying it had a great potential of violation of human rights. He advocated the maintenance of a fine balance between the enforcement of the rule of the law and the protection of individual’s rights.

Though the maintenance of internal security was essential for the governance of the nation, in the process the violation of human rights could not be “swept under the carpet and violators not really brought to the book or punished,” the CJI said, while delivering the 20th Intelligence Bureau (IB) Centenary Endowment Lecture at the Vigyan Bhawan here.

The theme of the lecture was “preserving internal security and protecting human rights through efficacious criminal justice system”.

In this context, the CJI made a special reference to the National Human Rights Commission’s serious note on the post-Godhra riots, in which the rights panel had taken a swipe at the state administration’s “comprehensive failure to control the persistent violation of the rights of life, liberty, equality and dignity” of the people of Gujarat.

“Security agencies must necessarily revolve around strong public confidence. This will also lead to the civic acceptance of security legislation and ensure faith in the legal system. A loss of public confidence has immense implications for the nation, and threatens the very existence of our democracy,” he said.

Upholding the rule of law and human rights in the face of an internal security crisis was a test of the “inner strength” and the moral fabric of a nation and its people, the CJI said.He added “in such times the faith of the citizens in fundamental rights and the Constitution, which enshrines human rights and guarantees that some of these rights cannot and should not face suspension by the government, is tested.”

He reminded the authorities that the people of the country had stood up to face every crisis internal or external faced by the nation with “solemn resolve” to uphold the tenets of the law even when threatened with greatest danger.

Acknowledging that the terror attacks on Parliament, Akshardham temple in Gujarat, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Mumbai train and Malegaon blasts and the massacre of labourers in Assam were serious threats to the national security, he said yet the fundamental rights of citizens could not be curbed merely in the name of law enforcement.

For maintaining a fine balance between the two, he emphasised the need for improving the justice delivery system, which at present was facing tremendous pressure due to the heavy load of pending cases as the infrastructure back up for the judiciary was not matching the increasing requirement of a billion population.

While referring to the success of security agencies in curbing the worst form of terrorism in Punjab and Mizoram, he cautioned against “their highhandedness and human rights violations by them as it greatly alienates people, who then fell prey to those working against national interests.”

To emphasis his point, he referred to the misuse of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Manipur, repealed TADA and POTA and also raised questions on certain provisions of the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He said any attempt to “communalise and politicise” such laws was fraught with a great danger to the unity of the country.

The conference was attended by home minister Shivraj Patil, UP and Chhattisgarh Governors T.V. Rajeswar and E.S.L Narasimhan, both former IB chiefs, national security adviser M.K. Narayanan and IB chief P.C. Haldar.

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Patil dispels impression of judicial ‘overreach’
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 22
Home minister Shivraj Patil today tried to dispel the impression that the UPA government has any complaint against the judiciary about its “overreach” in the spheres of the executive and legislature, saying the courts were interpreting the laws dispassionately, which is a duty cast upon them by the Constitution. These views were expressed by him while speaking at a seminar organised by the Intelligence Bureau.

Dwelling at length on a “tight rope-walk situation” the government faced in maintaining a fine balance between protection of human rights and enforcing the rule of law while handling dealing sternly with terrorists, Naxalites and organised crimes, the home minsiter admitted that executive might commit mistakes in this process and it was the job of the judiciary to correct them.

“My assessment is that executive is doing its duty as best as possible but in the process it must be committing some mistakes and then the care is taken by the legislature and judiciary. Even if legislature is commits some mistakes, then it is for the judiciary to take care,” Patil said.

Since the judiciary has nothing to take from the public unlike the members of the executive and legislature, Patil said “it is doing its duty dispassionately.

He assured the Chief Justice of India that the suggestions made by him on maintaining the fine balance between protection of human rights and enforcement of the rule of law would be taken note of when the government implements its policy.

He said only two days back, the Prime Minister in the conference of Chief Ministers on internal security has assured the nation that the government intended to deal with the crime of terror and Naxalism with stern hand but at the same time it would extend the fruits of development to the most deprived sections of society so that they did not become a fertile ground for breeding extremism.

Patil said the difficulty for the government arose when votaries of human rights organisations and those favouring to deal with the terrorism, Naxalism and organised crime with stern hand, take extreme positions.

When a reference is made to violation of human rights, it has to be kept in mind that it should also include human rights of “innocent people and the police personnel and security forces personnel killed in terror attacks in the same manner as custodial killings and extra-judicial killings.

“We have to take a balanced view and the pendulum should not go from one extreme to the other,” Patil said, while paying tribute to those IB personnel who had laid down their lives “unsung” as due to secret nature of their job and even their sacrifices to the nation were not highlighted.

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Marine police stations in TN to curb LTTE activities
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, December 22
For the first time in India marine police stations will operate on the coasts of Tamil Nadu to curb the activities of the LTTE whose back has been pushed to the wall with Sri Lankan defence forces launching a major onslaught recently.

Jagan M. Seshadri, ADGP and chief of coastal security wing today told The Tribune, “The 12 marine police stations on the 1,000 km coastline will soon be operating up to six nautical miles within our territorial waters to begin with and have all the law enforcing powers.”

At present, it is the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy which operates within the Indian Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) but they do not have policing powers and as such after apprehending terrorists or smugglers hand them over to the state police, he said. The Coast Guard operates up to 200 nautical miles into the deep sea.

Seshadri said, “The stations should be ready soon. Many policemen have been given training on board Coast Guard ships for the first time in the country and coaching in deep-sea swimming. We will be taking over the buildings as soon as the Tamil Nadu police housing corporation finishes constructing them. The work is progressing fast and senior government officials are monitoring the growth every month.”

He said that the entire project is part of a central government scheme and cost around Rs 45 crore and the marine police stations will be equipped modern weaponry and wirelesses to communicate with its men aboard ships in the sea.

Each of these marine police stations will receive two well equipped vessels fitted with machine guns, costing Rs 3.5 crore. The central government will provide 24 such gun ships to the Tamil Nadu police and will also bear the fuel expenses for the first five years.

To begin with the Nagapattinam district, 350 kms from here and which was ravaged by tsunami, will have three marine police stations, while Tanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts will have two each. The districts of Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari will have one marine police station each.

Seshadri said, “Each police station will have 42 policemen attached to it. While the buildings are about to finish constructing we are already operational and smuggling of arms and ammunitions to the LTTE in Sri Lanka which was rampant in Ramnathapuram and Tuticorin districts has been brought under control.”

At present, Tamil Nadu has only one police station on the coast and that is the B6-Port Marine station, attached to the Chennai City Police but it is managed by the Chennai Port Trust.

Seshadri said that all the 12 marine station, which would be a vital part of the state’s coastal security wing, would work closely with the “Q” branch of the state police which deals with terrorist activities as well as the Coast Guard, the Indian Navy, Customs and the Narcotics Control Bureau.

This year there had been a spate of smuggling of arms and ammunition from Tamil Nadu through its porous coastline meant for the LTTE in Jaffna in the island nation.

After the recent attacks by the Sri Lankan defence forces on the LTTE, its men and sympathizers have infiltrated along with refugees and tried to smuggle even boats. Last week the “Q” branch of the police arrested a prominent member of the Sea Tiger, the naval wing of the LTTE, and two LTTE sympathizers who were trying to smuggle a mechanized boat through the coast in Thanjavur district. Their entire operation was funded by a London-based LTTE operative and ran into lakhs of rupees.

Early this year, the police arrested five persons and seized three tonnes of steel ball bearing that were being smuggled to the LTTE. In February, the Indian Coast Guard intercepted an explosive laden boat near Kodiankarai (Point Calimere) and held a hard core LTTE member and four others. The Tamil Nadu police and the Coast guard later destroyed the fibre boat after its sides were found to be stuffed with improvised explosive devices.

Seshadri said following the increase in militant activities along the coastal area the need for marine police stations for constant surveillance was felt to curb clandestine activities and infiltration by the terrorists into the country.

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Teji Bachchan cremated
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 22
The mortal remains of Teji Bachchan, mother of actor Amitabh Bachchan, who passed away here on Friday was cremated this morning at the Ruia Park crematorium in Juhu.

Amitabh Bachchan lit the funeral pyre.

A number of prominent personalities, including politicians like former vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, Sahara Parivar boss Subroto Roy, industrialist Anil Ambani and people from the film world were present at the funeral.

The funeral procession which began from the Bachchan‘s Juhu bungalow ‘Pratiksha’ at 10 this morning took an hour to reach the crematorium, a short distance away. Security was tight and scores of onlookers came out on the streets to have a look at the stars.

The Bachchan family had brought in a priest from the Kashi Vishwanath temple at Varanasi for the funeral rituals.

Though she was born in a Sikh family, Teji had followed Hindu religious practices throughout her life, according to reports.

The family was aware of Teji’s impending end as she had been shifted to the ICU of Leelavati Hospital in the past few weeks. Relatives, including Amitabh and Ajitabh, were at the hospital.

Officials at the hospital said Teji had died of multiple organ failure arising out of old age. She had been in a semi-comatose condition for nearly a year.

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Rane isolated in Congress after remarks against CM
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 22
Maharashtra revenue minister Narayan Rane, who has never hidden his ambition for the top job ever since he joined the Congress from the Shiv Sena more than two years ago, has been cornered after he criticised Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh yesterday.

Rane’s remarks that the Deshmukh government was not working for the people of Maharashtra anymore and that it aimed to further the interests of the Chief Minister alone had drawn flak in the state. Though there is dissent against Deshmukh, several prominent Congressmen are opposed to elevating Narayan Rane to the top job.

Though Rane played a major role in increasing the Congress’ numbers in the Maharashtra Assembly in the past two years, he was miffed at being denied his due. A former Chief Minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government, Rane is said to have played a major role in sabotaging the Shiv Sena’s comeback efforts in the last Assembly elections. With Bal Thackeray clearly hinting that son Uddhav might bid for the top job, Rane worked hard to prevent the Shiv Sena from coughing up the numbers.

Rane has been waiting it out in the Congress ever since his entry into it with much fanfare. Deshmukh himself is said to have played a major role in wooing Rane away from the NCP, which was on the wily politician’s radar. With Sharad Pawar already pledging the top job to the Congress at the time of government formation, Rane understood that his prospects for chief minstership were the best in the grand old party.

Deshmukh’s enemies in the Congress like Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Party president Prabha Rao and AICC general secretary in charge of the state Margaret Alva only helped fan Rane’s ambitions. In fact, Rane is said to have met Alva hours before his infamous press conference on Friday where he lambasted the Chief Minister.

Today, Alva disassociated herself from Rane’s remarks as Deshmukh pulled his clout with the party leadership. Prabha Rau, who has never hidden her own chief ministerial ambitions, too had fallen silent on Deshmukh’s performance in the past few months.

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PM may visit Nandigram
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, December 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to visit Nandigram to personally assess the situation in the wake of the two conflicting reports received by him from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and several other leaders of opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool and the BJP.

Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi sent a separate report to him after visiting Nandigram, which contradicted Bhattacharjee’s report.

According to WBPCC (l) sources, Manmohan Singh told Malda MP Abu Hasnat Khan Chowdhury that he would be visiting Nandigram soon.

Though BJP leaders like L.K.Advani, Rajnath Singh and several social workers, writers and intellectuals, including Medha Patkar, Prof Amal Dutta, writers Mahasweta Devi, Arundhuti Roy, visited Nandigram more than once, neither the Prime Minister nor the Chief Minister so far went to Nandigram.

Singh reportedly admitted to the Congress leaders that he was receiving two different reports on the March 14 incident at Nandigram, and as such now he wanted to talk to the affected people personally at Nandigram and Khejuri to hear from them.

Though no dates were fixed for the Prime Minister’s visit, the WBPCC leaders claimed, he would be visiting Nandigram some time in the second week of January after holding two separate public meetings at Nandigram by Buddhadev Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee, respectively.

Sonia Gandhi’s visit might coincide with the Congress’s election meeting for the panchayat polls to be held in February-March.

Mitra claimed that Singh had expressed his dissatisfaction at the Chief Minister’s wrong handling of the Nadigram problem and he was now waiting for the CBI’s inquiry report on the March 14 incident, before finalising the Centre’s stand on Nandigram.

Trinamool Congress and WBPCC (l) demanded the Centre’s intervention into the Nandigram problem by declaring Nandigram as “disturbed area” under the Article 357, as it was done during the prolonged tribal unrest in Tripura under the CPM rule. L.K.Advani also made the same demand to Singh.

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PM condoles death of AP Cong chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condoled the demise of Arunachal Pradesh Congress President Omem Moyong Deori. He said, “I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of Deori.”

“A prominent personality in Arunachal Pradesh, Deori was held in high esteem for her important contributions to the progress and development of the state.

As a dedicated functionary of the Congress, she always remained in the forefront to spread its ideals and consolidate its position in the state. Her manifold activities in this direction endeared Deori to her numerous friends, associates, colleagues and admirers.

A multifaceted personality, she had the distinction of being a Member of Parliament and effectively playing her role as a legislator. Her unfortunate passing away due to illness is a major loss to the people and the state.”

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Ramadoss does damage control
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who risked the wrath of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for allegedly making irresponsible statement about Bihar doctors, has attempted damage control by clarifying that he never intended to denigrate the image of doctors.

The IMA took exception to his recent remarks that the Indian medical degree was derecognised in the UK in the mid-seventies as a “postgraduate Bihari doctor had examined abdomen for palpating spleen on right side instead of left”.

In a letter to all Cabinet ministers and MPS, the IMA said if Ramadoss fails to substantiate his December 14 statement by putting relevant facts on record, it would demand his expulsion from the Cabinet.

In his letter to railway minister Lalu Prasad and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Ramadoss said: “I have high regard and esteem for Bihar doctors who have contributed immensely to the medical profession as well as the welfare of the general public.”

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Taslima not confined to Delhi: Pranab
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, December 22
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said here today that the Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasreen, was not being kept confined to the national Capital. “She is free to go anywhere she wants, but for her own security Taslima has now been kept in a safe place”, he added.

Mukherjee was talking to media persons at Calcutta University where he had come today to attend a function. The state Governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, was also present there.

The minister reiterated that Taslima could stay in the country as long as she so desired and she would be given all help and cooperation as done in case of any foreign national. But like other foreign nationals she should also observe certain norms and decorum so that no one could hurt her.

He said Taslima had been living in Kolkata for some time and she had no problem living in the city. But recently there had been some unpleasant incidents following her writings, which hurt a religious community and her security was also at stake. Accordingly, she had been made to leave Kolkata. However, she was now under the protection of the union government and as long as she wanted she could remain in India.

Though Mukherjee did not say if Taslima could return to Kolkata in the immediate future, the officials his ministry made it clear there was no such possibility. The officials said every time Taslima’s visa was to expire either the Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, or the state officials had requested for extending her visa. But this time, there had been no such request.

Protesting against Taslima’s forcible eviction from Kolkata and demanding her immediate return, city intellectuals and others today took out a protest march in the Esplanade and Chowringhee areas.

The protesters criticised the Marxists for yielding to the pressure from the fundamentalists. They warned they would intensify their protest till Taslima was not allowed to return to Kolkata.

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IAF plane crashes in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, December 22
An Indian Air Force (IAF) plane caught fire and crashed during take off at the Biju Patnaik Airport here today but its pilot escaped with minor burns.

The ‘Surya Kiran’ aircraft caught fire when it skidded off the runway and crashed into a ditch during take off after refuelling at the airport, Khurda collector N.C. Jena said.

“The entire aircraft was burnt and parts were spread over an area of 30 to 40 metres radius,” said SP Amitabh Thakur, who rushed to the spot. — PTI

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Death of Minors
Panel seeks reports
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
On the basis of a complaint regarding the death of two children in plastic factories in Gujarat, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the state government to submit a detailed report on the matter.

The commission had received a complaint regarding the death of two children- Dinesh Dhirubhai (10) on November 29 while working in a plastic factory “Dhanabhai No Delo” in Kumbharwada Circle and a 16-year-old child on November 30 in another plastic factory in the same area.

Following the complaint the NCPCR wrote to the secretary, Department of Labour & Employment, asking for a detailed report within 21 days on the facts and circumstances of both the cases. It also asked the department whether the police was informed and postmortem conducted in both cases and if so then a copy of those reports also.

Besides, the NCPCR has also asked whether the place where the accident took place was a factory within the definition of the Factories Act, 1948, and also whether it falls within the purview of the State Shops and Establishments Act.

The child rights’ commission had also demanded to know whether the plastic factories in question involve occupation and processes, prohibited under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. And if so, how could a 10-year-old child be engaged in such a factory despite prohibition.

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Jharkhand seeks more forces to combat Naxals
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 22
The Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand has decided to requisition 40 more companies of central paramilitary forces to combat Left extremism in the state. Besides, it is also considering a special package for Naxals to help them join the mainstream.

Reports reaching here said after his return from the internal security meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, Chief Minister Madhu Koda held a high level meeting with senior officials where the demand for more security forces was finalised.

The decision was reportedly taken in view of the fact that 18 of 24 districts in the state were affected by Naxal violence. “Jharkhand is surrounded by West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, making it easy for the Naxalites to criss-cross the borders after perpetrating crimes”, Madhu Koda was reported to have stated at the meeting, justifying the claim for additional central forces.

Sources said the Centre had already agreed to approve 3,500 special police officers to be deployed in the Naxal-infested areas and arm all state police personnel with modern weapons.

Koda also favoured a multi-pronged strategy to control Naxalism.

Subsequently, he was reported to have asked the officials to work out a package to help the extremists join the mainstream. “A final decision in this regard will be taken soon”, the sources said.

Besides, the Jharkhand government has already decided to raise a Special Task Force (STF) on the lines of “Greyhounds” of Andhra Pradesh to exclusively deal with the Naxals.

The Tribune had reported about the government plan to raise an STF.

Incidentally, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh accounted for the maximum number of Naxalite violence incidents in the recent past among 13 affected states, followed by Bihar and Orissa.

The sources said out of the 33 Naxal-affected districts recently chosen by the Centre for special development oriented packages, 10 were from Chhattisgarh, followed by seven from Jharkhand. “This speaks volume about the enormity of the situation in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh”, the sources added.

The seriousness on part of the Madhu Koda government to step up offensive against the Left extremists was evident from the fact that more than 700 people had died in Naxalite-related violence in Jharkhand since its creation in 2000.

The situation reached an alarming proportion in March when the ultras gunned down Lok Sabha member Sunil Mahto of the Jharkhand Mukti Morch. Besides, state’s former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi’s son Anup Marandi was killed at Chilkaridih in Giridih in October.

Street plays to fight menace

In a unique move, the Jharkhand Police is organising street plays to combat Naxalism in the state.

“Bhatke Rahi (Misguided Traveller)”, is a 30-minute play written by SP, Ranchi, M.S. Bhatia, aimed at stopping youths from going astray. The play reportedly showed how Naxalites rob happiness and deny development to common people by illusory dreams. 

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Husain’s exhibition raises hackles of Bajrang Dal

New Delhi, December 22
An exhibition of acclaimed painter M. F. Husain, whose allegedly obscene portrayal of Hindu Goddesses had invited the wrath of Sangh Parivar, ran into rough weather in the capital today after organisers received a threat purportedly from Bajrang Dal.

The India International Centre (IIC), where Husain’s ‘Mughal India’ painting series were on display, suspended the exhibition for today after it received the threats from Bajrang Dal, sources said.

The IIC had received the threats, which said it had to face “serious consequences” if the capital’s high-profile cultural organisation continued to exhibit the works of the controversial artist, they said.

Bajrang Dal Delhi unit president Ashok Kapur claimed the outfit’s youth had gone to the venue to enquire about the exhibition and had told the exhibitors that Husain had insulted India’s culture and his works should not be displayed here.

A decision whether to restart the exhibition, which contains 20 paintings permanently displayed at Fida Museum in London, will be taken at a meeting of the IIC Directors later.

This is the first major exhibition of Husain’s work in Delhi after about 20 years. — PTI

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Jaya flays Karuna for neglecting rain-affected TN
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, December 22
Tamil Nadu opposition leader and AIADMK supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa criticised the ruling DMK for neglecting the poor who are suffering over the past few days due to lashing rains as the death toll reached 40.

She said neither chief minister M. Karunanidhi nor his son M.K. Stalin, who was local administration and rural development minister, visited the areas inundated due to heavy rain in the past few days. There were 40 rain-related deaths all over the state, with roads, bridges and culverts being damaged and water flooding innumerable homes.

She alleged that while people were dying and dislodged from their homes, Stalin and his family were on a holiday at Kumarakom in Kerala, and Karunanidhi gave the pretext of being in New Delhi to attend the National Development Council meeting. However, even there his neglect towards the state was evident as he skipped the Chief Minister’s conference on internal security citing ill-health, she further alleged.

Jayalalithaa said the DMK ministers were still gloating over the recently concluded conference of its youth wing at Tirunelveli which was “nothing but an ostentatious extravaganza that resulted in no benefit for the ‘youth’.

Describing the conference as a circus, she said, “In the name of a big conference, Karunanidhi wanted to crown his son, but it ended in a massive failure, because of a family member’s objection to the announcement.”

She alleged, “It was marked by widespread misuse of power and official machinery. Thousands of government and private buses were commandeered to transport DMK supporters and as many as 186 buses were heavily damaged by raucous and inebriated DMK men.”

Meanwhile, heavy rain that pounded Tamil Nadu during the past 36 hours abated to some extent Friday evening, but, left 40 dead all over the state due to various causes.

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’84 Riots
BJP: Talk to priest witness

New Delhi, December 22
The BJP today asked the CBI to take cognisance of claims made by a Sikh priest that he was witness to senior Congress leader inciting anti-Sikh mobs during riots in 1984.

The party said the CBI should collect information from Surinder Singh, who made the claims in a television sting operation, during its re-investigation into an anti-Sikh riot case as ordered by a Delhi court earlier this week.

“We demand that a fair inquiry be conducted to unearth the truth and security be provided to Singh. The court should also take cognisance of the development,” party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

He said it was shocking that the “real culprits” of the Sikh “carnage” had not been punished even after 20 years. — PTI

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HC quashes externment order against Sethi
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 22
Manjit Singh Sethi, who led the fight for rights of the Dance Bar Owners Association, scored a major victory against the Maharashtra government recently, with the Bombay High Court quashing the externment orders against him.

Sethi, who was fighting a high-pitched personalised battle against Maharashtra’s deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil ever since the dance bars were closed two years ago, was asked by the police to stay away from Mumbai about a month ago. The Mumbai police said the externment orders were filed against Sethi after he allegedly abused policemen raiding a bar owned by him.

Sethi denied abusing them and alleged that the policemen were acting at the behest of Patil, who also holds the home ministry in the Maharashtra Cabinet.

Since his externment from Mumbai, Sethi lived in Navi Mumbai, just outside the city limits.

Sethi’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani contended that the bar owner was being harassed at the behest of the politicians. According to the petitioner there was no proof that Sethi was indulging in a prostitution racket, the allegation on the basis of which he was

externed. The order issued by the police also said that the presence of the middle-aged Sethi in Mumbai would cause ‘alarm among the public’.

Sethi was earlier convicted in an abduction case in 1997 by the sessions court. The verdict has been challenged before the Bombay High Court which had also set bail for Sethi.

He was earlier sent to jail on a breach of privilege issue after he threatened that the jobless bar girls would not let ministers’ wives move about on the streets.

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Mob guns down murder accused
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 22
In a shocking case of people taking law into their own hands to settle issues, a man, who allegedly shot dead the brother of his grandfather, was mercilessly beaten up by a mob before being gunned down at a village of Jehanbad district in Bihar.

The development took place despite the standing directive by the Nitish Government asking people either to desist from taking law into their own hands or face punitive measures, including fines, in the wake of the gruesome Vaishali lynching case there months back, when 13 persons were killed by the mob on suspicion of being thieves.

The police said Shivraj Yadav, an accused in the murder of his grandfather, shot dead Rajju Yadav at Qazichak under Makhdumpur police station of the district yesterday night before being overpowered by the locals. The angry villagers then thrashed Shivraj before one of them shot him dead.

Shivraj had allegedly shot dead his grandfather Mukund Yadav following a quarrel in May this year and Rajju Yadav was said to be an eyewitness in the case.

Shivraj was absconding after killing his grandfather while Shivraj’s father Hulas Yadav has filed an FIR against unknown persons for the killing of his son. Rajju Yadav’s son Jodhan Yadav has filed a separate FIR against Shivraj for killing his father.

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