SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

We have lost Singur battle: Buddha
Kolkata, October 5
We have lost the Singur battle, but our battle for industrialisation is not over, remarked Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee while speaking at a function for laying foundation stone of an IT company at the Rajarhat industrial complex here today.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee talks to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during the foundation stone-laying ceremony of "Orion Techcity" in Kolkata on Sunday. — PTI

Tatas inspect site in Karnataka
Hubli, October 5
Senior Tata Motors officials today conducted a site inspection at three places in and around the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka which is trying to woo the automobile major to set up its Nano car project in the state.



EARLIER STORIES

3 killed in Maharashtra communal clashes, curfew imposed
Maharashtra, October 5
Three persons were killed and 82 were injured as two groups clashed in North Maharashtra’s Dhule town prompting authorities to clamp curfew, the police said today.

Maoists claim responsibility for murder of VHP leader
Bhubaneswar, October 5
Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati that unleashed violence against Christians in Orissa district but the state government did not give credence to the claim.

Scavengers urge PM to allow sub-grouping of SCs
New Delhi, October 5
Scavengers from across the country want the government to approve the Usha Mehra Commission report recommending sub-classification of Scheduled Castes to allow reservation benefits to be evenly distributed.

Parties rally for voters’ support
Political temperature rises with focus on Advani, Amar Singh and Raj Babbar
Lucknow, October 5
The political temperature of the state is rising with leading parties holding rallies in various parts of the state today. If L.K. Advani promised to show the courage of the Modi government to combat terrorism, Amar Singh wanted the Bihar seat-sharing formula for Uttar Pradesh and Raj Babbar fell just short of joining Congress.

First BrahMos squadron by 2012
Chandigarh, October 5
The IAF is expected to have its first squadron equipped with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by 2012. The missile would add a tremendous punch to the IAF's long-range precision attack capability.

This picture from a publicity pamphlet shows the conception of a Su-30 armed with a BrahMos cruise missile.

NGO for probe into Batla encounter
New Delhi, October 5
The demand for a judicial inquiry into the Jamia Nagar encounter grew loud with a group of students and residents of Batla House area today staging a dharna here claiming that the police theory of the incident has many loopholes. “We demand a judicial probe into September 19 shooting incident and release of the two students arrested then as they have nothing to do with the Delhi blasts,” said Kamran Siddiqui of NGO ‘Real Cause’, which led the demonstration at Jantar Mantar.

Residents of Batla House, under the banner of Real Cause, demand judicial inquiry into the Batla House encounter at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Chandigarh may be home to IAF’s Hercules
New Delhi, October 5
The Indian Air Force is likely to base its six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for carrying out Special Forces operations at Chandigarh and Hindon air bases near Delhi.

Jodhpur stampede has left colonies of widows
Jodhpur, October 5
Four colonies in Jodhpur, where the stampede took place at the Chamunda Devi temple, have come to be known as the colonies of widows with 45 newly-wed women losing their husbands in the tragic incident.

Khanduri, cousin compete to own H.N. Bahuguna’s legacy
Dehra Dun, October 5
The grant of the central university status to the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar, by the Union government and earlier starting of a medical college at Srinagar, has come as a welcome gift for the people of Garhwal. But the Centre’s move is witnessing a fierce political competition between two cousins to own the political legacy of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister H.N. Bahuguna.

Sanitation revolution by women, children in rural West Bengal
Hadipur Jhikra (West Bengal), October 5
Muskura Begam, who has worked tirelessly to bring a silent sanitation revolution in the village, is eagerly awaiting the day when the Nirmal Gram Puraskar would be bestowed on the hamlet.

Proceedings on appointment of Allahabad HC judge stayed
New Delhi, October 5
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the proceedings in the Allahabad High Court in a case relating to the appointment of a judge, on which the judicial and administrative wings of the HC have apparently taken different stands.

Protest against Tata project in AP
Hyderabad, October 5
Even before a team of Tata officials met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy over the possibility of setting up the Nano car project in the state, protests took place at one of the proposed project sites near here today.

Nainital HC dismisses Van Gujjars plea
Dehra Dun, October 5
The Nainital High Court has dismissed Rajaji Van Gujjars petition seeking forest rights from the park authorities in the aftermath of promulgation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers Act 2006.

Days after murders, SSP visits crime site
Dehra Dun, October 5
Days after the bodies of Christian missionary Samuel Francis and his disciple Mercy were recovered from Samarpan Ashram in Sahaspur, SSP Amit Sinha and forensic experts visited the crime site on Thursday.

A personnel of the NSG bomb squad defuses a live bomb in Agartala on Sunday. Live bomb found in Agartala
Agartala, October 5
Just four days after the serial blasts here, one live bomb with a detonator, powerful battery and a mobile set as trigger was found near Radhamadhab temple at Radhanagar as the five-day Durga Puja festival began today.


A personnel of the NSG bomb squad defuses a live bomb in Agartala on Sunday. — PTI

Durga astride elephant has devotees fuming
Jaunpur, October 5
The fervour of Durga Puja was marred by political overtones when in a puja pandal, the idol of Goddess Durga was shown astride the elephant, which happens to be the party symbol of ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh.

Curfew in Maharashtra town after communal clashes
Mumbai, October 5
The local administration of Dhulia (Dhule) town today imposed curfew after riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims ahead of a public meeting by activists of an Hindu organisation.

Patil warns Karnataka against violence
New Delhi, October 5
Union home minister Shivraj Patil, who visited Karnataka last evening, has cautioned the state to be “more careful” and restore peace and normalcy.







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We have lost Singur battle: Buddha
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, October 5
We have lost the Singur battle, but our battle for industrialisation is not over, remarked Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee while speaking at a function for laying the foundation stone of an IT company at the Rajarhat industrial complex here today.

The Chief Minister alleged that the “irresponsible Opposition” was fully responsible for the Tatas’ decision of moving out of Singur with the Nano car project. Ratan Tata had assured him that they would come back with new industrial projects provided the condition was favourable, he told the gathering.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was present, stressed the need for rapid industrialisation in the state, but criticised the forcible acquiring of farmlands for industries. He admitted that the Tatas’ decision to move out of Singur would have an adverse effect on the state’s new industrialisation programme. He advised states to follow the UPA’s new SEZ policy for avoiding Singur-like problems.

The CPM today took out protest marches at Singur and elsewhere and burnt the effigies of Mamata Banerjee and Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, holding them responsible for the fate of the Nano project. CITU president Shyamal Chakraborty and CPM MP Tarit Topdar alleged that the Governor had played a nasty political game in the name of mediating between the two opposite groups for resolving the Singur crisis.

While Chakraborty openly accused the Governor of acting on behalf of Mamata Banerjee, Topdar said the Chief Minister had trusted the Governor too much.

Mamata, however, squarely blamed the Chief Minister and the CPM for the present Singur situation. She alleged that the Chief Minister had acted like Stalin and forcibly acquired poor farmers’ lands at Singur creating the present crisis. Several leaders of the CPM allies like the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc also publicly criticised the Chief Minister of mishandling the Singur situation.

Mamata said they would lead a deputation to the Prime Minister some time in the third week of October, urging upon him to intervene and ensure return of the Singur lands to the farmers, which the state government was now denying. She declared that they would relaunch their agitation at Singur and elsewhere after the puja festival.

State industries minister Nirupam Sen, however, had declared that the acquired lands at Singur would not be returned but would be utilised for new industries.

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Tatas inspect site in Karnataka

Hubli, October 5
Senior Tata Motors officials today conducted a site inspection at three places in and around the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka which is trying to woo the automobile major to set up its Nano car project in the state.

A team led by Tata Motors' managing director G Ravikant and accompanied by Karnataka Industry Minister, Murugesh Nirani visited the Belur Industrial area, Mummiatti and another area around the airport near Hubli.

The team met Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and discussed with him the offer made by the state to the company to shift the Nano car project to Karnataka. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Yeddyurappa said, “I have made an offer and assured them of all facilities, including land, water and power. Now it is for them (the Tatas) to communicate”, he said, adding that he will hold talks with Tatas Chairman Ratan Tata.

It is the fourth round of discussions that Karnataka is having with the Tatas after the firm announced plans to pull out of the Singur project in the wake of agitation over land allotment for the project and second one involving the CM. The state cabinet has already taken a decision to grant 1000 acres of land and offer various concessions, if the Tatas plan to set up the small car plant in Karnataka.

The Tatas currently have a manufacturing facility at Dharwad. Besides Ravikanth, other Tata officials who attended the meeting with CM were Girish Wagh, who is heading the small car project, Tapan Mukhopadhya, GM Finance, A S Puri, GM Legal Adviser. Principal secretary of industry and commerce department, Umesh, state finance commissioner M R Srinivasmurthy and GM of Karnataka Industrial Area and Development Board, Shyam Bhat were also present in the meet. — PTI

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3 killed in Maharashtra communal clashes, curfew imposed
Tribune News Service & PTI

Maharashtra, October 5
Three persons were killed and 82 were injured as two groups clashed in North Maharashtra’s Dhule town prompting authorities to clamp curfew, the police said today.

T.K. Khot, civil surgeon, Dhule civil hospital, told that of the three deceased, two were killed in stone pelting and one was allegedly killed in police firing.

The injured included additional collector M.Y. Patel, eight policemen and two women.

The riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims ahead of a public meeting by activists of an Hindu organisation.

According to sources, tension has been building up in the town ever since the bomb blast in Malegaon that sparked of rioting and attacks on police personnel.

The Banghar Bazaar area of Dhulia was the worst affected. This area is said to be dominated by people of the minority community and they had opposed the putting up of banners by Hindu bodies.

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Maoists claim responsibility for murder of VHP leader

Bhubaneswar, October 5
Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati that unleashed violence against Christians in Orissa district but the state government did not give credence to the claim.

The state government facing intense criticism for lax investigations into the alleged rape of a young nun violence broke out in Kandhamal district in August, meanwhile asked its additional resident commissioner Satyanarayan at Delhi today to meet the victim, now taking shelter in the national capital.

Top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda told private Oriya channels yesterday at an undisclosed location that the Maoists decided to eliminate Saraswati as he was “spreading social unrest” in the tribal-dominated Kandhamal district.

Panda alias Sunil said Maoists had earlier asked Saraswati to desist from “such works” or face consequences, the reporters of the channels claimed.

“As Saraswati did not pay heed to our warning, he was killed,” Panda told the reporters, adding similar warnings have also been issued to 14 other persons, mostly belonging to the Sangh Parivar in Kandhamal.

Ignoring the claim, home secretary T.K. Mishra expressed confidence that the culprits will be nabbed “soon”.

Indicating that the special investigation team (SIT) probing the killing of the VHP leader was close to nabbing the culprits, he said though a large number of people were interrogated, no one was arrested so far.

“Though I cannot give deadline, I am sure those involved in the killing will be booked,” Mishra told reporters adding the investigation was on the right track.

“We are extremely worried over the (nun) incident,” Mishra said, adding the government has assured all help to the catholic woman. — PTI

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Scavengers urge PM to allow sub-grouping of SCs
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 5
Scavengers from across the country want the government to approve the Usha Mehra Commission report recommending sub-classification of Scheduled Castes to allow reservation benefits to be evenly distributed.

A national-level delegation of scavengers and Balmikis led by Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence and argued for sub-classification of Scheduled Castes, citing examples of powerful SC lobbies pocketing most of the quota benefits.

The delegation also urged the PM for a separate ministry to look after the development of the scavengers, which remain at the lowest rung of caste groupings in India. The Usha Mehra Commission, had, in its report submitted to the government this May, confirmed that two powerful castes in Andhra Pradesh were drawing all benefits of reservation, pushing other scheduled castes deeper into poverty.

The commission had recommended a constitutional amendment to allow sub-grouping of the SCs as had earlier been done by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

The notification had been challenged in the court, which then led the Andhra Assembly to adopt a resolution in favour of the SC sub-classification. The government eventually referred the matter to a National Commission, which gave a go-ahead for such sub-grouping terming it healthy and fair.

Vijay Prakash, one of the 40 delegates who met the PM this morning, told The Tribune that the scavengers had also requested the Prime Minister for a separate budget and a special component plan. “We urged the Prime Minister to sympathetically view our demand because he is the chairman of the Planning Commission,” Prakash said, adding that the scavengers’ main demand relates to fair distribution of reservation benefits.

In its report to the ministry of social justice and empowerment, the Usha Mehra Commission had gone to the extent of saying: “In order to give effective representation to castes, races or tribes of the SCs, the Constitution be amended to provide for sub-categorisation and micro-classification of the SCs included in the Presidential list under Article 341 (1) and (2).”

The existing provisions of the Article allow only Parliament to include or exclude any caste from the Presidential list.

It was on the basis of this constitutional provision that the Supreme Court in November 2004 struck down the special Act passed by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly in 2000 to enable sub-classification of the Scheduled Castes to ensure judicious distribution of the benefits.

The government is already posted of the issues involved and the social justice ministry is still examining the Usha Mehra Commission recommendations on the subject.

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Parties rally for voters’ support
Political temperature rises with focus on Advani,
Amar Singh and Raj Babbar

Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 5
The political temperature of the state is rising with leading parties holding rallies in various parts of the state today. If L.K. Advani promised to show the courage of the Modi government to combat terrorism, Amar Singh wanted the Bihar seat-sharing formula for Uttar Pradesh and Raj Babbar fell just short of joining Congress.

Addressing another Vijay Sankalp rally in Bareilly today BJP's prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani urged the nation to stand united to fight terrorism just as it had rallied around in 1977 to defeat then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Holding the Modi government in Gujarat as a model, the former deputy prime minister told a crowd in Bareilly, having more than 33 per cent Muslim population, that if elected to the Centre his government would show the same resolve to combat terrorism.

He recalled how the Gujarat government gave an exemplary example of good governance while addressing the problem of plague in Surat, earthquake in Kutch and the floods following the breach in the Morvi dam.

After terrorism, Advani also highlighted rising prices and the problems of the farmers as the issues that his government would immediately address if voted to power.

Addressing a political rally in Saharanpur, the Samajwadi Party national general secretary Amar Singh suggested that the Bihar formula of seat-sharing should be adopted in Uttar Pradesh.

Once again giving a hint that the Congress-SP seat sharing was not going on smoothly, Singh said that his party was not ready to give more than 12 seats to the Congress in UP.

Requesting the Congress to adopt the Bihar formula under which seat was shared with Lalu Yadav's RJD and Ramvilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti party Singh said that the formula had worked to everyone's advantage.

In Agra it was a bit of an anti-climax, as film star and rebel Samajwadi Party MP Raj Babbar did not formally join the Congress party as was expected.

While he addressed a grand rally where UP in-charge AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh and UPCC President Rita Bahuguna Joshi were present, there was no formal announcement of his joining the party.

By praising Congress President Sonia Gandhi for her commitment to the cause of the Indian farmer, Babbar did give an indication of things to come, but Digvijay Singh gave a signal that the terms were probably still being negotiated by clarifying that Babbar had graciously agreed to speak from the party's platform but had not formally joined it.

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First BrahMos squadron by 2012
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The IAF is expected to have its first squadron equipped with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile by 2012. The missile would add a tremendous punch to the IAF's long-range precision attack capability.

"Trials for the missile's air launched version are scheduled to commence in 2009. The IAF's plans call for the missile to be operational with at least one squadron by 2012," chief executive officer of BrahMos Aerospace, Dr A.S. Pillai, told The Tribune here today.

The Su-30 is the chosen platform with which the missile would be integrated and the requisite modification work is underway. Given its size and weight, only one missile would be carried by a Su-30 on its centerline pylon.

The product of a joint venture between India and Russia, the surface-to-surface version of BrahMos has already been inducted into the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. A number of naval ships are equipped with this missile, which is the only supersonic cruise missile in the world.

Dr Pillai said an underwater launch version of the missile has also been developed and is awaiting trials. The missile would be launched underwater from submarines to attack surface land or sea faring targets. "We are now waiting for the Navy to make an underwater launch platform available for the trials," he said.

The BrahMos has a speed of Mach 2.8 and a range pf 290 km, while enhancing its target penetration capabilities vis-ŕ-vis subsonic missiles, it reduces the enemy's reaction time by one-third. The missile and its associated systems are also compatible with the Network Centric warfare.

Dr Pillai, who is also the chief controller, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said the endeavour was now to expand the production of the missile. "We would like to stabilise production at about 100 missiles a year," he said.

A host of public as well as private enterprises are engaged in the manufacture of the BrahMos missile. What is encouraging in the public-private enterprise is that over a hundred private firms are engaged in its production, Dr Pillai said.

On the heels of the supersonic BrahMos is a hypersonic variant, which could have speeds in excess of Mach 5. A report from Moscow estimated that India could purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its armed forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to other countries during the same period.

A number of foreign countries have also expressed interest in the BrahMos missile. While declining to name the countries, the DRDO chief controller said interested nations include those from NATO.

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NGO for probe into Batla encounter

New Delhi, October 5
The demand for a judicial inquiry into the Jamia Nagar encounter grew loud with a group of students and residents of Batla House area today staging a dharna here claiming that the police theory of the incident has many loopholes.

“We demand a judicial probe into September 19 shooting incident and release of the two students arrested then as they have nothing to do with the Delhi blasts,” said Kamran Siddiqui of NGO ‘Real Cause’, which led the demonstration at Jantar Mantar.

Yesterday, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh had called for a similar investigation into the encounter at the Batla House, where, according to the police, some suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists who were behind the Delhi blasts were hiding.

“We have already lodged a complaint with the NHRC which asked the Delhi police commissioner to give a report into the incident in 14 days. We will also submit a memorandum to the President and the Prime Minister,” Siddiqui said.

He claimed that eyewitnesses to the incident are being pressurised by the police but added: “We will produce them in court.” “Why didn’t the special cell of the Delhi police take the local police into confidence as has been the practise. Also there is doubt about the police version that two militants have escaped.

Two students of Jamia Millia Islamia University, Sajid and Atif, were killed in the shootout while two others, Saif and Arif, were arrested. Inspector M C Sharma of the Delhi police’s special cell was critically injured in the encounter and later died in hospital.

The protesters included Muslim and Hindu students from Jamia Milla Islamia University, where the terror suspects were pursuing their higher education, and also residents of the Batla House area where the encounter took place.

They carried placards reading “stop arrests of innocent Muslims in the name of terrorism”, “arrest real culprits of terror” and “stop terror of police”.

Sheila, a student of the university said, “The police shouldn’t have done this. There is a fear in the university campus after the incident. We still feel that some one among us died and the real culprits have escaped.”

“We will meet the suspects in jail and provide them legal aid. Already a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court in this regard. Also public awareness programmes will be held till the truth is revealed,” Siddiqui, the NGO general secretary, said.

Cong rejects SP demand

The Congress today rubbished Samajwadi Party’s demand for a judicial probe into the Jamia Nagar encounter, saying it is inappropriate for a political party to take a stand on any police action. “Our stand is clear on this. It is extremely inappropriate for a political party to take a stand on any police action, either in support or in opposition,” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said. — PTI

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Chandigarh may be home to IAF’s Hercules

New Delhi, October 5
The Indian Air Force is likely to base its six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for carrying out Special Forces operations at Chandigarh and Hindon air bases near Delhi.

"The IAF is actively considering Chandigarh and Hindon air bases as the initial home bases for the C-130J Hercules. A final decision on the permanent bases for the aircraft will be taken once the acquisition is complete. A couple of the aircraft will certainly be at Hindon though," a senior IAF official said here today.

The IAF zeroed in on Chandigarh as one of the home bases for the aircraft due to the presence of Special Forces troops in the area and its proximity to Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

"Most of the operations of our Special Forces are carried out in Jammu and Kashmir. We need to have our aircraft close to the area, where our troops operate and Chandigarh seems to be fitting the bill," he said.

Chandigarh is also currently used by the Air Force to create an "air-bridge" between the plains and high-altitude Siachen Glacier and various parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Home to the two workhorses - IL-76 heavylift and AN-32 transport aircraft - of the Air Force, Chandigarh air base houses two squadrons of these aircraft for air maintenance of Army troops in Leh and Siachen.

"Chandigarh, being a transport base, already has the infrastructure and experience of hosting 'big birds' like the IL-76s and AN-32s. It can easily operate the C-130J mediumlift transport aircraft," the IAF official said.

Hindon, on the other hand, is in contention because the base is close to Delhi and Manesar, where the elite National Security Guard commandos are based.

"The NSG commandos are also required to be rushed in to different parts of the country at very short notice. So, we have to place the C-130J aircraft close to them also," said the official.

Though Palam airfield is closer to Manesar, it was not considered for C-130J stationing, as it already has heavy commercial and military aircraft traffic, and may not be suitable for placing a Special Operations aircraft which has to fly out at short notice, officials said.

This air base is used by IAF to train its own Special Forces - popularly known as 'Garuds' - who were recently deployed during the 'Red-Flag' NATO air exercise at the US' Nellis air base. IAF had for the first time participated in the exercise this August-September.

The IAF is working with US-based Lockheed Martin for development of infrastructure at these bases, where the C-130Js would be stationed immediately after induction.

Lockheed Martin India's Chief Executive Officer Douglas A Hartwick, asked about the plans for C-130Js for the IAF, said the company's infrastructure division would be working with the Air Force to develop infrastructure at these air bases for C-130Js.

India had last year signed a deal worth a billion US dollars for procuring six C-130J Hercules aircraft for carrying out special operations. — PTI

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Jodhpur stampede has left colonies of widows
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Jodhpur, October 5
Four colonies in Jodhpur, where the stampede took place at the Chamunda Devi temple, have come to be known as the colonies of widows with 45 newly-wed women losing their husbands in the tragic incident.

As many as 45 newly-wed women lost their husbands in the stampede, S.M, Thanvi, special secretary, home, told The Tribune this evening.

Many were married only a few days ago and had their traditional bangles and mehndi intact. There are some like Gayatri, who are into the ninth month of pregnancy. A few days ago, she was dreaming about bearing a child and today she did not know how she would rear a father-less child, she being being unemployed and not properly educated.

The areas like Kalal Colony, Maderna Colony, Sur Sagar and Masuria Colony were the worst hit by the tragedy. A majority of 224 persons killed in the stampede were youngsters and residents of these colonies.

Gayatri is hospitalised since her husband Bikram Singh died. There are other women in Kalal colony also who were hit by the tragedy the same way.

“Our colony was full of young newly-married couples. They were the attraction of the evening gatherings, festivals and parties. Now the men are not there and women are a picture of utter sadness,” said Yogesh Kumar, who lost a nephew in the stampede.

Rameshwari, a newly-wed from Masuria colony, has not spoken since the fateful morning of September 29. Her husband had gone to the temple to pray for a child. He didn’t return. And since then she is sitting in a room of the house sifting through their wedding albums.

There are several such families in these colonies. “A shroud of grief has engulfed these areas, which were vibrating with life,” said Nanshi Lal, a septuagenarian of Sursagar colony, who remembered most of the dead youngsters as kids and had seen them grow up.

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Khanduri, cousin compete to own H.N. Bahuguna’s legacy
S.M.A. Kazmi
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 5
The grant of the central university status to the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar, by the Union government and earlier starting of a medical college at Srinagar, has come as a welcome gift for the people of Garhwal. But the Centre’s move is witnessing a fierce political competition between two cousins to own the political legacy of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister H.N. Bahuguna.

The competition to own the legacy of Bahuguna has been going on between Uttarakhand Chief Minister Major-Gen B.C. Khanduri and his cousin Vijay Bahguna. While H.N. Bahuguna was the maternal uncle of Khanduri, Vijay Bahuguna, Lok Sabha MP from Tehri Garhwal, is his son. Khanduri, a former Union minister, is in the BJP, but Vijay Bahuguna is in the Congress.

The race started with Khanduri working overtime to start the Srinagar Medical College from July this year. Having 100 seats, Khanduri has ensured that the Srinagar Medical College becomes the cheapest medical school in the country. A medical students has to pay only Rs 15,000 per annum to study in the college with a condition that the candidate will serve the state for a certain period after completing the degree course.

The start of the medical college at Srinagar, that too with low fees, enhanced the image of the Chief Minister among common Garhwalis. Not to be left behind, his cousin Vijay Bahuguna lobbied hard to get the approval of the Union Cabinet for the central status to the Garhwal university.

Vijay Bahuguna, being a senior Congress leader, is well connected, having a close relationship with the Gandhi family. His sister Rita Bahuguna Joshi is the Congress president of Uttar Pradesh. The grant of the central status to the Garhwal university will not only benefit teachers, students and employees, but will also enhance the political stature of Vijay Bahuguna, who has been trying to match his cousin.

The Garhwal university was started by the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister H.N. Bahuguna in 1972 at his native place. Vijay Bahuguna and Khanduri will be fighting another political battle in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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Sanitation revolution by women, children in rural West Bengal

Hadipur Jhikra (West Bengal), October 5
Muskura Begam, who has worked tirelessly to bring a silent sanitation revolution in the village, is eagerly awaiting the day when the Nirmal Gram Puraskar would be bestowed on the hamlet.

Muskura, a 22-year-old anganwadi worker and motivator for sanitation, has used children as agents of change for transforming this backward, poor Muslim-dominated village for bringing 100 per cent sanitation in the area.

The village with a population of about 15,000 had only 7 per cent toilet coverage in 2001, but now every single household can boast of its own toilet. This is a great achievement for a village where 76 per cent population lives below the poverty line.

For years Muskura used to visit door-to-door trying to convince the villagers about the harmful effects of open defecation and how having toilets would not only improve health and hygiene of the family but also provide dignity and sense of privacy to their women and children.

Moreover, she also pointed out that by spending a few hundred on toilet they would save money in the long run by not having to visit doctors due to waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea.

“I first focused on creating awareness among children coming to the anganwadi about the beneficial effects of using toilets instead of open defacations. Later, these children holding posters about sanitation visited all households in the village and convinced them about the issue,” she told a team of visiting journalists, who witnessed the progress of sanitation campaign at the grass-root level.

However, the biggest challenge for Muskura was the abject poverty of the villagers as most of them expressed inability to even pay the subsidised cost of Rs 210 for the toilet. The government provides 50 per cent subsidy on the soak pit toilets which cost Rs 420.

“So, I adopted an innovative method and started visiting their houses everyday and whatever women used to save be it Re 1 or even 50 paisa, I collected it and maintained a separate account for all of them. Soon, even the poorest of the families had money to build the toilet,” she said.

Now the village has applied for the Nirmal Gram Puraskar given to villages with 100 per cent sanitation and Muskura has dreams of utilising the prize money of Rs 5 lakh for building drainage system for the village, along with community toilets, at village market place and garbage pit.

According to gram pradhan Abdul Gani Deewan, the basic problem in achieving total sanitation was to change the mindset of people especially the elders who resist the change from open defecation to use closed toilet. However, this challenge could be overcome by convincing women and children of the beneficially role of toilets and NGOs, along with Panchayati Raj Institutions, could play a major role in this. — UNI

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Proceedings on appointment of Allahabad HC judge stayed
R. Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 5
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the proceedings in the Allahabad High Court in a case relating to the appointment of a judge, on which the judicial and administrative wings of the HC have apparently taken different stands.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued the order on a petition moved by the High Court, seeking a stay on an order passed by one of its own Benches.

Allahabad HC Justices Shushil Harkauli and Vikram Nath had passed on order on September 17 on a petition challenging the appointment of Justice Satish Chandra as a Judge of the HC. The Judges had asked the court to produce the report of the collegium that had recommended the appointment of Dr Chandra as a Judge.

However, the administrative side of the court refused to divulge the details of the collegium’s report and moved the SC, seeking a stay on the HC order.

Appearing for the HC, senior advocate Harish Salve said the proceedings had raised a question mark on the entire procedure for the appointment of Judges. Citing an apex court order, he said the merits of selection of Judges should not be subjected to judicial review.

The writ petition by Advocate S.P. Gupta had questioned the eligibility of Dr Chandra to be appointed as a Judge.

Mr Salve avoided making open arguments in the court on several points and merely mentioned the relevant paragraph numbers in the case file, pleading with the Judges to read the relevant portions themselves.

The case comes close on the heels of views raising doubts over the effectiveness of the collegium system for the selection of the Judges. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and law minister H.R. Bhardwaj have also made their points on the issue in the wake of the CJI recommending the impeachment of tainted Calcutta HC Judge Soumitra Sen.

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Protest against Tata project in AP

Hyderabad, October 5
Even before a team of Tata officials met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy over the possibility of setting up the Nano car project in the state, protests took place at one of the proposed project sites near here today.

Residents of Sitaramapuram in Ranga Reddy district, about 40 km from here, held protests against a Tata team and government officials who came to see the land available for the project, the police said.

The villagers objected to the team surveying their land without their permission, they said.

The protesters were pacified by the police and the government officials.

The extent of land proposed for the project in the village is 1,200 acres which belong to the Endowment Department, the police said.

Meanwhile, the Tata team also visited Aloor village near the city, official sources said.

The Tata team of officials met the Chief Minister in the evening to explore the possibility of setting the Nano car project, shifted from Singur in West Bengal, in the state. — PTI

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Nainital HC dismisses Van Gujjars plea
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 5
The Nainital High Court has dismissed Rajaji Van Gujjars petition seeking forest rights from the park authorities in the aftermath of promulgation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers Act 2006.

Dismissing the contempt petition filed by one Noor Alam of the Ban Gujjar Kalyan Samiti, the HC categorically held that the Director of the Rajaji Park was not a competent authority to determine on forest rights and thus they can’t seek restoration of their rights from Rajaji authorities.

In the counter affidavit earlier submitted to the court, the Rajaji Park authorities had contested the claims made by the Van Gujjars. It has held that as per the provisions contained in the section 6 of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers Act, the gram sabha was the sole authority to initiate the process for determination of claims of forest rights of individuals and community.

It also held that the subdivision committee was the authority for disposal of petitions submitted by the persons aggrieved by the resolution passed by the sabha concerning forest rights and the final decision had to be taken by the district-level committee.

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Days after murders, SSP visits crime site
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 5
Days after the bodies of Christian missionary Samuel Francis and his disciple Mercy were recovered from Samarpan Ashram in Sahaspur, SSP Amit Sinha and forensic experts visited the crime site on Thursday.

According to sources, the site has provided important clues, which the police hopes will help track down the culprits.

Christian missionary Samuel Francis and his disciple Mercy were strangled to death at the ashram on September 22. Subsequently, the police had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for providing information about the murderer.

The police earlier suspected that a boy who used to deliver newspapers to the ashram could be involved in the crime, but the latter was found to be a minor and was in Dehra Dun at the time of the incident.

Since then, the police has been clueless regarding the case.

Despite the fact that four investigating teams are questioning scores of people of Vikasnagar and Sahaspur area everyday, nothing substantial has come up so far.

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Live bomb found in Agartala

Agartala, October 5
Just four days after the serial blasts here, one live bomb with a detonator, powerful battery and a mobile set as trigger was found near Radhamadhab temple at Radhanagar as the five-day Durga Puja festival began today.

The police said a team of National Security Guard (NSG) and members of the state’s bomb squad recovered the bomb, which was kept inside a bag, during a joint search.
The bomb was later defused, the police said, adding the mobile set with a live SIM card, seized at the spot, was likely to provide clues.

Agartala was rocked by serial blasts at five places, including Radhanagar bus stand, on Wednesday night which left about 100 persons injured. — PTI

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Durga astride elephant has devotees fuming

Jaunpur, October 5
The fervour of Durga Puja was marred by political overtones when in a puja pandal, the idol of Goddess Durga was shown astride the elephant, which happens to be the party symbol of ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh.

The incident came to light at a pandal set up in Phalwali Gali during the ongoing Navratra, where the idol of the Goddess was placed on an elephant rather than a lion. Reportedly, Jaunpur Nagar Palika Parishad chairman and BSP leader Dinesh Tandon installed the idol.

It immediately caught the fancy of the political mongers, who spared nothing to highlight it as a deliberate attempt of some over enthusiastic BSP supporters to showcase the party symbol in an objectionable manner.

The matter did not stop here, as one advocate Arvind Kumar Singh lodged an application with Chief Judicial Magistrate court (CJM), demanding an FIR in this connection.

Meanwhile, the CJM court has sought a report from the police and would further take up the matter on Monday. — UNI

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Curfew in Maharashtra town after communal clashes
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 5
The local administration of Dhulia (Dhule) town today imposed curfew after riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims ahead of a public meeting by activists of an Hindu organisation.

According to sources, tension has been building up in the town ever since the bomb blast in Malegaon that sparked of rioting and attacks on police personnel. However, after the Bajrang Dal and other outfits in the area put out banners announcing the public meeting, several young men belonging to Muslim organisations tried to pull them down.

This sparked off violence and several shops and places of worships in the area were attacked, the police said. Sources said the police first fired teargas shells and later had to fire in the air to disperse rampaging mobs in the town. Later, a curfew was imposed till 6 am on Monday.

The Banghar Bazaar area of Dhulia was the worst affected. This area is said to be dominated by people of the minority community and they had opposed the putting up of banners by Hindu bodies.

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Patil warns Karnataka against violence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 5
Union home minister Shivraj Patil, who visited Karnataka last evening, has cautioned the state to be “more careful” and restore peace and normalcy.

Sources in the MHA said today Patil gave the warning after he reviewed the situation with Governor Rameshwar Thakur in Bangalore yesterday.

During his visit to Bangalore, Patil met state home minister, law minister, chief secretary and DGP. Parts of Karnataka have witnessed a series of attacks on churches and members of the Christian community by alleged activists of Sangh Parivar outfits.

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BRIEFLY

RPF forms bomb detection and disposal squad
TIRUCHIRAPALLI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Tiruchirapalli Division of the Southern Railway has formed an exclusive bomb detection and disposal squad to check bomb threat in the wake of increasing bomb blast incidents. RPF sources said this was the third exclusive squad of the RPF in the state, the other two were in Chennai and Coimbatore. The squad was formed after the acquisition of vapour tracer, bomb suppression blanket, bomb disposal suit, telescopic extension mirror, and under-vehicle search mirror and other sophisticated equipments, the sources said. — UNI

Minister’s kin die in mishap
LAKHISARAI:
Two persons, relatives of union minister of state for water resources Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, were killed in a road accident near Sinhchack village under the Chanan police station. The police said here on Sunday Brajnath Prasad Singh and Yadavendra Singh were hit by a tractor-trailer when they were returning from Lakhisarai market on Saturday night. Both of them died on the spot. Brajnath Prasad Singh was a security personnel in Bihar police and posted in Jamui district. — UNI

3 booked for ragging
JAIPUR:
Ashok Karol, a first year art student who was allegedly ragged on September 12, later went into coma on September 20 and died in the ICU on Saturday, the police said. The college management has announced an exgratia of Rs 25,000 to the victim's family. However, the management and the police held that it was not a case of ragging but a simple tiff and scuffle over minor issue of seating arrangement. The victim's family has reiterated that Ashok was the victim of ragging. — UNI

Left parties hold protest
PUDUCHERRY:
The Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Puducherry Munnetra Congress held a joint black flag demonstration here on Saturday evening. The agitation was to protest against the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. Wearing black badges and carrying black flags, the activists of the three parties assembled near the Venkatasubbareddiyar statue where they hoisted a black flag. — UNI

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