SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Strike hits banking operations across country
New Delhi/Mumbai, September 24
Banking operations, including ATM services, came to a standstill, with employees of Public Sector Banks (PSB) across the country taking part in the two-day nation-wide strike which began today to protest the Centre’s move to privatise and merge PSBs.
Employees of various public sector banks under the banner of United Forum of Unions shout slogans against the C Employees of various public sector banks under the banner of United Forum of Unions shout slogans against the Central Government during two-day strike on long pending issues in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Pay Disparity
Antony knocks at PM’s door

New Delhi, September 24
The issue of restoration of pay parity for the armed forces after the implementation of the sixth pay commission has taken a new turn. Union defence minister A.K. Antony has now made a strong case for the forces and written a formal letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking restoration of parity for the forces saying all four demands of the forces were genuine. 




EARLIER STORIES

Cong comes out with comparative chart
Says POTA was a failed law
New Delhi, September 24
The Congress today countered the BJP’s repeated demand for a POTA-type terror law with a “comparative chart” of anti-national incidents recorded between 1999 and 2003 when the BJP-led NDA government was in power vis-a-vis the Congress-led UPA regime from 2004 till date.

Amend law on adverse possession, SC tells govt
New Delhi, September 24
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to make “suitable changes” in the law of adverse possession which “is extremely harsh” for the true owner and a “windfall for a dishonest person who has illegally taken possession of the property.”

Ban radical groups, NCM tells Centre
New Delhi, September 24
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) today unanimously pitched for a ban on radical organisations that create hatred and provoke people into acts of violence.

Scribes demand interim relief
New Delhi, September 24
Thousands of journalists and non-journalists today staged a demonstration in front of the UPA chairperson residence here demanding immediate interim relief and threatened a nationwide agitation if a notification in this regard was not issued by October 10.

India restricts entry of Chinese milk products
New Delhi, September 24
Even as China copes with its toxic milk crisis that sickened close to 53,000 children and left many dead, India’s health ministry moved to restrict the entry of Chinese milk products into Indian markets.

Nano Project
WB Guv critises govt’s land use policy

Kolkata, September 24
Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi today publicly criticised the government’s land use policy for industries, stating new industries could be built and various development schemes could also be implemented without forcibly acquiring farmlands. He said the development of both agriculture and industries could be achieved side by side without disturbing the either.

Tata officials to meet state govt today
Dehra Dun, September 24
The suspense over the shifting of the Nano car project from Singur in West Bengal has further deepened following reports of the moving out of some vital equipment from the Singur factory to the Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand and the proposed meeting of Tata officials with the state government officials on September 25 here.

Nano not ready, but prepares to drive out
Kolkata, September 24
In the first sign that it was translating threat into action, Tata Motors has begun moving out equipment from its under-construction plant at Singur in West Bengal to another facility to meet the roll-out obligation of the ultra-cheap car Nano.

Batla House Encounter
‘Sajid’s injuries were of peculiar nature’
Shahira Naim writes from Azamgarh
Seventeen-year-old Sajid, killed during the Batla House encounter, had around 10 holes on his upper skull-visibly bullet injuries fired from point- blank range.

Karnataka women can work in bars
Bangalore, September 24
In a significant ruling, the Karnataka High Court today allowed women to be employed as hostesses in bars and restaurants, where liquor is served.

Fresh violence in Kandhamal, 1 killed
Bhubaneswar, September 24
In fresh violence in the strife-torn Kandhamal district of Orissa, one person was killed and several others were wounded as tribal demonstrators clashed with the police to force the release of two accused arrested in connection with the recent communal riots.

HC wants fresh board to hear Nalini’s plea
Chennai, September 24
The Madras High Court today ordered the constitution of a fresh advisory board to hear the demand of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who are seeking early release.





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Strike hits banking operations across country

New Delhi/Mumbai, September 24
Banking operations, including ATM services, came to a standstill, with employees of Public Sector Banks (PSB) across the country taking part in the two-day nation-wide strike which began today to protest the Centre’s move to privatise and merge PSBs.

The strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to protest the proposed privatisation of PSU banks, the government’s plan to merge banks, reject Raghuram Rajan and Anwarul Hoda Committee recommendations and stoppage of unrestricted entry of FDI in banks.

UFBU convener C.H. Venkatachalam said they had no option but to go for the strike after a conciliatory meeting, convened by the chief labour commissioner here yesterday, failed to break the impasse. “The strike was the result of the failure of talks on various issues with the chief labour commissioner,” Venkatachalam said.

Meanwhile, UFBU’s Bengal unit convener Malay Roy said the talks failed due to a ‘negative’ approach by the Indian Bank Association (IBA).

They also demanded implementation of MoU between the IBA and the UFBU on issue of one more option for pension to PF and others and announcement of pension benefits for employees.

In the capital city, about nine lakh bank employees of 26 public sector banks are on strike, with nearly 50,000 employees from 26 public sector banks like the State Bank of India and the Punjab National bank participating in the protest. In Madhya Pradesh, about 40,000 employees in nearly 2,500 branches of various nationalised banks joined the UFBU’s strike.

Some private bank employees, including the Bank of Rajasthan, also became part of the agitation. In Bhopal, rallies were taken out and meetings organised on the first day of the strike. In West Bengal, the union workers sat on dharnas before the gates of banks ensuring that no employee could get in.

In Karnataka, more than ten lakh employees joined the strike, while the strike disrupted transactions in as many as 50,000 branches of Maharashtra, including about 15,000 branches of the SBI and its six subsidiaries. — UNI

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Pay Disparity
Antony knocks at PM’s door
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24
The issue of restoration of pay parity for the armed forces after the implementation of the sixth pay commission has taken a new turn. Union defence minister A.K. Antony has now made a strong case for the forces and written a formal letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking restoration of parity for the forces saying all four demands of the forces were genuine. The finance ministry was in concurrence on the matter and the same has also been conveyed.

Antony, in his letter sent yesterday, had demanded restoration of parity as there was resentment among the forces. The forces see this as a “wrong” that their status has been lowered vis-ŕ-vis their civilian counterparts. The armed forces have also informed the minister that the matter should not be referred to the anomalies committee.

To bolster their claims, the forces have pointed out how the anomalies committee of the fifth pay commission was given 42 anomalies of the armed forces and in 12 years only 11 were sorted out.

Separately, a suggestion within the ministry of defence to implement the pay commission for the forces, even as the pending four issues are being sorted, had been cold-shouldered by the forces. The three chiefs have made it clear that the pay hike will be implemented only when the anomalies are sorted out. The chiefs have also made it clear that a reference of the issue to the anomalies committee is not acceptable.

Meanwhile, the finance ministry is convinced that the demand of the forces was genuine. It has also reportedly given a go ahead saying the financial burden, about Rs 110 crore, can be absorbed. Sources said everything is likely to be okayed. The finance ministry has also not taken it kindly as to how such a matter was left out by the group of secretaries. 

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Cong comes out with comparative chart
Says POTA was a failed law
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24
The Congress today countered the BJP’s repeated demand for a POTA-type terror law with a “comparative chart” of anti-national incidents recorded between 1999 and 2003 when the BJP-led NDA government was in power vis-a-vis the Congress-led UPA regime from 2004 till date.

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed today said during the NDA regime, 36,259 anti-national terror activities, that included communal, naxal and extremist incidents, and 11, 714 civilian deaths, were reported. In comparison, between 2004-08, relatively lower 24,967 violent incidents and 6,636 civilian deaths were reported, clearly showing that POTA was a failed law.

“During the NDA regime, 3,761 cases of communal violence and 1,959 civilian deaths were reported, while during the UPA regime from 2004 till date, 3,472 such incidents and 573 deaths have been recorded,” the minister of state for home said.

Though Ahmed did admit that there has been an increase in the number of incidents of naxal violence with the Congress at the helm of affairs at the Centre. As while during the regime of the NDA government, 6,695 incidents and 2,185 casualties were recorded, the number of violent incidents increased to 7,228 and that of civilian deaths to 2,281 between 2004 and 2008. 

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Amend law on adverse possession, SC tells govt
R. Sedhuraman/Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 24
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to make “suitable changes” in the law of adverse possession which “is extremely harsh” for the true owner and a “windfall for a dishonest person who has illegally taken possession of the property.”

“The law ought not to benefit a person who in a clandestine manner takes possession of the property of the owner in contravention of law. This in substance would mean that the law gives seal of approval to the illegal action or activities of a rank trespasser or who had wrongfully taken possession of the property of the true owner,” the apex court said in a judgment delivered yesterday.

A Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Harjit Singh Bedi further noted: “We fail to comprehend why the law should place premium on dishonesty by legitimising possession of a rank trespasser and compelling the owner to lose its possession only because of his inaction in taking back the possession within limitation.”

In their considered view, the Judges said, there was an “urgent need” for a fresh look at the law on adverse possession.

“We recommend the Union of India to seriously consider and make suitable changes in the law of adverse possession,” they said, marking a copy of the judgment to the secretary, ministry of law and justice, department of legal affairs, Government of India, for “taking appropriate steps in accordance with law.”

The judgment, written by Justice Bhandari, further said the bench deemed it appropriate to observe that the law of adverse possession “is irrational, illogical and wholly disproportionate.” The court came out with these views in a civil appeal No. 1196 of 2007 relating to illegal occupation of a land measuring about seven acres in a Gujarat village, Yavarpura in Deesa Taluk. 

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Ban radical groups, NCM tells Centre
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) today unanimously pitched for a ban on radical organisations that create hatred and provoke people into acts of violence.

Officially adopting their reports on anti-Christian violence in Karnataka and Orissa, the commission said extremist organisations like the Bajrang Dal should have no place in civil society and should be banned.

“Action is essential. It was long overdue considering the BJP has given a long rope to the Bajrang Dal to indulge in vandalism, arson and loot. The BJP should now stop supporting such groups,” NCM chairperson Mohd Shafi Qureishi today told The Tribune.

It is to be seen if the Prime Minister manmohan Singh will give in to the demands of the UPA allies, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janashakti Party and Samajwadi Party to ban Bajrang Dal and other such outfits. NCM’s recommendation has just strengthened this voice.

Qureishi said he would raise the issue with the Prime Minister once he returns from the USA and France.

The commission has also supported invocation of Article 356 in the states in question, if the situation did not improve. “Notices under Article 355 of the Constitution have already been issued; the centre should take further appropriate action if necessary,” Qureishi said.

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Scribes demand interim relief

New Delhi, September 24
Thousands of journalists and non-journalists today staged a demonstration in front of the UPA chairperson residence here demanding immediate interim relief and threatened a nationwide agitation if a notification in this regard was not issued by October 10.

All national federations, trade unions and local unions affiliated to the newspaper industry took part in the rally, held under the aegis of the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisations. Raising slogans against the government, they decried the delay in the announcement of the interim relief and asked the government to act fast in the matter. — PTI

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India restricts entry of Chinese milk products
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24
Even as China copes with its toxic milk crisis that sickened close to 53,000 children and left many dead, India’s health ministry moved to restrict the entry of Chinese milk products into Indian markets.

In a letter to the customs department, the health ministry today sought proper checking of all milk products coming into India from China. The ministry also said the customs could impose a temporary ban on such dairy products if a thorough check was not possible. The customs will have to basically check the Chinese dairy products for melamine, an industrial chemical with high toxicity.

Indian authorities, meanwhile, today joined the group of many countries, including Taiwan, who have limited or banned Chinese dairy products.

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Nano Project
WB Guv critises govt’s land use policy
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 24
Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi today publicly criticised the government’s land use policy for industries, stating new industries could be built and various development schemes could also be implemented without forcibly acquiring farmlands. He said the development of both agriculture and industries could be achieved side by side without disturbing the either.

Gandhi was addressing a seminar at the Science City auditorium today which was attended by eminent businessmen and corporate bosses. Though the Governor did not specifically mention the ongoing Singur crisis, yet his criticism was directed at the land-acquiring problems at Singur and Nandigram.

The Governor, who had made much efforts to bring both Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the negotiating table for resolving the Singur crisis, has lost all hopes, finding the government and the opposition still sticking to their respective stands.

In addition to the Singur crisis, the state government got a setback today following a threat by the German multinational Metro Cash & Carry company of withdrawing their Rs 150 crore retailed trade on consumer commodities from the state after the refusal by the Forward Bloc minister Naren De to renew their license.

Mamata, who is also opposed to the multinationals’ operation in the retailed trade, however, after meeting the Governor today, said they were still hopeful about a solution of the Singur problem.

The Chief Minister held a meeting with the industries minister Nirupam Sen and other senior officials at the Writers Buildings today to find out if any solution could be found which would refrain the Tatas from withdrawing the Nano car project from Singur.

Ratan Tata had already told the Chief Minister that they could not wait endlessly for the government to solve the Singur crisis.

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Tata officials to meet state govt today
S.M.A.Kazmi
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 24
The suspense over the shifting of the Nano car project from Singur in West Bengal has further deepened following reports of the moving out of some vital equipment from the Singur factory to the Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand and the proposed meeting of Tata officials with the state government officials on September 25 here.

According to reports, Tatas have started shifting equipment needed for the cheap Nano car from Singur to Pantnagar to meet the deadline of launching the car in December this year. With no end in sight to the imbroglio facing the Singur plant, there is likelihood that Tatas may decide to shift the plant to Pantnagar.

Industry officials believe that if not the entire plant, many parts of the car would be manufactured in the Uttarkhand plant.

Tatas already have a 1000-acre plant at Pantnagar, manufacturing ACE trucks. The company has demanded 200 acres more to construct houses for its staff. The state government has already sanctioned 50 acres for the purpose.

Tata officials are coming to Dehra Dun on September 25 to discuss various pending issues with the state government. Confirming the meeting, principal secretary P.C. Sharma told mediapersons that there were many issues on which Tata officials were in touch with the state government.

There is likelihood that they may also take up the issue of the shifting of the Nano car plant to the state.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Maj-Gen B.C. Khanduri (retd) has said that if the Tatas are interested in coming to Uttarakhand to avail the industrial package in the state, they are welcome. 

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Nano not ready, but prepares to drive out

Kolkata, September 24
In the first sign that it was translating threat into action, Tata Motors has begun moving out equipment from its under-construction plant at Singur in West Bengal to another facility to meet the roll-out obligation of the ultra-cheap car Nano.

Sources familiar with the development said equipment was being carted out from the plant and the cargo was believed to be moving to the company's plant in Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.

Tata Motors was tight-lipped about the development, although sources said the transfer of equipment was a virtual sign that the company would pull out of Singur, where protests spearheaded by the Trinamool Congress led to the suspension of work on the plant. — PTI

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Batla House Encounter
‘Sajid’s injuries were of peculiar nature’
Shahira Naim writes from Azamgarh

Seventeen-year-old Sajid, killed during the Batla House encounter, had around 10 holes on his upper skull-visibly bullet injuries fired from point- blank range.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune at his native Sanjarpur village, Arshad, the elder brother of Sajid, said he had noticed the peculiar nature of the injuries when the Delhi police handed over the body to him before the burial. Similarly, Atif had gunshot injuries on both sides of his stomach and also on the back.

However, neither Arshad nor Atif's brother could see the post-mortem report nor were they given a copy of it, complained Arshad. "During the post mortem, the doctors had shaved Sajid's head. The gaping holes in his skull were clearly visible when I was giving him a bath. They had fired bullets from a close range. Wasn't one enough to kill him?” alleged Arshad.

It seemed that the shots had been fired from above. If Sajid was in the flat on the fourth floor and the police was firing from below, how he sustained the injuries on the upper skull? he asked.

Arshad, who works in Saudi Arabia, and was here to celebrate Ramzan and Id with his family, told The Tribune after returning from Delhi today that till now the police had officially not informed his family about the death of his brother in the encounter.

"After reaching Delhi on Monday, I got in touch with Raghib, the brother of Atif, the other boy from my village who was killed in the encounter.We went to Jamia Nagar police station and requested for handing over the bodies."

According to him, personnel of the special cell of the Delhi police took both of them to AIIMS where they were asked to identify the bodies of their brothers.”After we identified the bodies, the post- mortem started. We had no idea where the boys would be finally buried".

After the post-mortem, the bodies were taken in a police vehicle to the Nizamuddin graveyard for burial.

"I demanded to take the body to the Jamia graveyard as a large number of people from our area live there. However, the police turned down my request as a huge crowd had collected there and the police apprehended trouble", said Arshad. He said he noticed the injuries after the bodies were handed over to them.

After the burial, he was warned not to take the Kaifiyat Express, the direct train to Azamgarh, on his way back.

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Karnataka women can work in bars

Bangalore, September 24
In a significant ruling, the Karnataka High Court today allowed women to be employed as hostesses in bars and restaurants, where liquor is served.

The court, while passing orders on a batch of petitions held Rule 9 of the Excise Rules and section 20 (2) of the Karnataka Excise Act as violative of the Constitution.

Earlier, the petitioners C. Rameshhad submitted that he was running a bar and restaurant, which was licensed by the authorities and it was his desire to provide employment to women as hostesses to provide better facilities to customers. — PTI

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Fresh violence in Kandhamal, 1 killed

Bhubaneswar, September 24
In fresh violence in the strife-torn Kandhamal district of Orissa, one person was killed and several others were wounded as tribal demonstrators clashed with the police to force the release of two accused arrested in connection with the recent communal riots.

The police said one person died when it fired last night at an unruly mob, which stormed the Raikia police station to take back the arrested persons.

Hundreds of tribals, including women, armed with lethal weapons gheraoed the police station, demanding the release of the two villagers.

The mob made an attempt to take the two from the police custody, and when the CRPF on duty prevented them from doing so, it pelted stones on the guards.

When attempts to disperse the mob by firing in the air failed, the CRPF resorted to firing, in which three tribals were seriously wounded. One of them later succumbed on way to the MKCG Medical College and Hospital.

Two other injured had been admitted to hospital. — UNI

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HC wants fresh board to hear Nalini’s plea

Chennai, September 24
The Madras High Court today ordered the constitution of a fresh advisory board to hear the demand of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who are seeking early release.

The court also urged Nalini Murugan and others to approach the Tamil Nadu government afresh with their demand, saying only the state had the power to effect premature release of life convicts.

Justice S. Nagamuthu, however, struck down the government order rejecting the demand for premature release, saying it was based on improper recommendations of the advisory panel. — IANS 

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BRIEFLY

GANGTOK
Object found near CM’s venue:
An unidentified object was found at Guizing in west Sikkim, where Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling was to address a Janata Mela meeting on Wednesday morning. Gangtok DIG Akhshya Sachdeba said the object was found 150 m away from the ground, where the Chief Minister was to address the public meeting. — PTI

AGARTALA
2 rebels killed:
Two insurgents of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have been killed in an encounter with Tripura State Rifles (TSR) personnel at Hamlayiapara in north Tripura district, the police said on Wednesday. Around six NLFT personnel fired at the TSR personnel, when they were conducting search operations at Hamlayiapara, a tribal hamlet about 35 km from Kanchanpur police station on Tuesday. — PTI

KOLKATA
Sanmarg editor dies:
Doyen of Hindi journalism and Editor-in-Chief of the “Sanmarg”, one of the largest selling Hindi daily in eastern India, Ram Awtar Gupta, who died at a city nursing home here on Tuesday, was consigned to flames at Nimtala crematorium on Wednesday. — UNI

Ranchi
14 live bombs found:
A major train mishap was averted at Taljhari railway station on the Bhagalpur-Barharwa loop section in Sahebganj district of Jharkhand following recovery of 14 live bombs from the tracks. Railway sources said UP Guwahati-Dadar and DN Malda-Bhiwani Farraka express trains were to pass through the station. SP P.R. Das said the bombs, packed in plastic bags, were locally manufactured. He claimed that it could also be an act of miscreants to create panic among people. The nature of bombs was being investigated. — UNI

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