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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Centre to States
Sift through old terror cases

New Delhi, January 27
The Central security and intelligence agencies have advised the police in all the states to go through interrogation reports related to terrorism cases of past several years to look out for important clues that may help in painting a larger picture.

Cabinet ignores holiday suggestion by pay panel
New Delhi, January 27
While the Union Cabinet has cleared the pay hike recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, it has refrained from curbing the number of holidays to government servants to three which was also suggested by the commission.

Work begins on third rail coach factory
Lalganj, (Rae Bareli), January 27
Coaches of India’s own bullet train would be manufactured at the Rs 1,685 crore third rail coach factory here, work on which commenced today.



EARLIER STORIES



Another cut in petrol prices soon: Sonia
Lalganj (Rae Bareli), January 27
Petrol prices may come down further in the near future giving a fillip to the economy in the times of recession, declared UPA president Sonia Gandhi here today.

PM making steady progress
New Delhi, January 27
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is making steady progress after his coronary bypass surgery and is likely to be discharged from the hospital in three or four days.

Obituary
RV — A copybook President
New Delhi, January 27
The ever-smiling Ramaswami Venkataraman, India's eighth President, was perhaps the only statesman who worked closely with all the Prime Ministers, right from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh.

UPA taking people for a ride: Maya
Lucknow, January 27
Chief Minister Mayawati today charged UPA president Sonia Gandhi for taking the people of the state for a ride in the name of development. “If the Congress had been so serious about development then at least the situation of Rae Bareli and Amethi should have been better after 61 years of independence.”

Rajasthan BJP expels 38 ‘dissenters’
Four former MLAs among those shown the door
Jaipur, January 27
Continuing with its strict intolerance against dissension within the party instead of appeasement, the state BJP has expelled four ex-MLAs and 34 other leaders and workers from the primary membership.

Rajasthan Patrika invites entries for award
Jaipur, January 27
The Rajasthan Patrika Group has announced the Second Karpoor Chandra Kulish International Award 2008 (KC Kulish Award 2008).

Bihar awards 15-yr-old for bravery
Patna, January 27
The 15-year-old girl from a village in Purnea district, Bihar, Farzana Begum, had never imagined that she would be decorated with the state’s highest gallantry award for civilians on the Republic Day for saving five children for drowning in a flood in Bihar last year.


Bihar CM Nitish Kumar congratulates Bibi Farzana for her bravery. — Tribune photo
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar congratulates Bibi Farzana for her bravery

Mangalore Pub Attack
Sri Ram Sena founder held, but in another case
Bangalore, January 27
Stung by the criticism pouring in from various quarters over the attack by hooligans of Sri Ram Sena on women customers in a pub in Mangalore in Dakshina Kannada district on Saturday, the BJP government in Karnataka today arrested Sena founder Pramod Mutthalik.

Cong flays incident
New Delhi, January 27
Condemning the attack on women by activists of a fringe group Shri Ram Sena at a pub in Mangalore, the Congress on Tuesday trained its guns on the opposition BJP and other right -wing organisations like the RSS and the VHP.

MNS goons damage varsity property
Mumbai, January 27
Activists of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) today let loose their terror on the Mumbai University campus in protest against a circular that made Marathi language optional for the students of social sciences.

Maritime Security
US offers to share info
New Delhi, January 27
The US today offered to share information with regards to maritime security. This comes less than two months after Pakistan-based terrorist travelled on board a ship to attack targets in Mumbai.

SC rejects plea on Pragya
New Delhi, January 27
The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a judicial inquiry into the "illegal" arrest and torture of Pragya Singh Thakur and others by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Mumbai police for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast case.

6 die in hotel collapse
Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), January 27
Six persons were killed and three injured, when a portion of a hotel under construction collapsed near railway station on the Pendra Road in this district’s Gorela area, the police said today.





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Centre to States
Sift through old terror cases
Man Mohan
Our Roving Editor

New Delhi, January 27
The Central security and intelligence agencies have advised the police in all the states to go through interrogation reports related to terrorism cases of past several years to look out for important clues that may help in painting a larger picture.

Sources said the investigations into the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (November 26-29) and the earlier serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad have shown that the interrogation reports of some suspects arrested in February 2008 in some other states, including Uttar Pradesh, contained possible clues to future terrorist strikes.

“These interrogation reports were not systematically followed up. It is possible that a large number of interrogation reports are yet to be read, analysed and acted upon in different states,” a senior official of the Union Home Ministry said. “It is also possible that many such interrogation reports were not read and they were filed by those policemen who are not capable of reading between the lines,” he explained, commenting that “you never know that the piles of files gathering dust may contain valuable clues about the future terror plans”.

A fragment of information uncovered in one case can unearth an entire network of terror in another state.

That is why, the police departments in all the states have been advised to continuously look out for intelligence by sifting through interrogation reports of captured terrorists, suspects and sympathisers, through scraps of information like a phone number, a name, a receipt from a bank transaction, tailor marks on clothes, letters etc., which may yield important clues.

According to a field officer of the Intelligence Bureau, “The Mumbai attacks might have been carried out by Lashker-e-Taiba boys. But our suspicion is that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been using the LeT as well as Al-Qaida against India.”

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) sources said that the core of the Al-Qaida has established new sanctuaries in the ungoverned spaces, tribal areas, and frontier provinces of Pakistan, which helps it to reconstitute leadership, recruit new operatives, and regroup its capability to attack. Then there are reports indicating that many self-directed groups with some ties to an established terrorist organisation are operating as ‘Al-Qaida franchises’ in Pakistan and India, RAW sources said.

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Cabinet ignores holiday suggestion by pay panel
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
While the Union Cabinet has cleared the pay hike recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, it has refrained from curbing the number of holidays to government servants to three which was also suggested by the commission.

The Cabinet has already taken a decision that the holidays that allow extended weekends to government servants at the cost of tax payers’ money have to continue.

The Union Cabinet had okayed a pay hike much higher than what was recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission. The increase was in annual increment and the payment of arrears and was incorporated after intervention from the top.

When the hike was announced, the Sixth Pay Commission had suggested that the holidays be curtailed. It said that offices should be closed only on three national holidays. All gazetted holidays should be abolished and compensated by increasing the number of restricted holidays from the existing two to eight. This was to meet the needs of the employees who may prefer to avail a holiday on a particular religious festival. This would have stopped the practice of government declaring gazetted holidays for all major religious festivals.

The decision of the Cabinet has come to light now. The matter was raised in the Lok Sabha by Avinash Rai Khanna, MP from Hoshiarpur under rule 377. Prithviraj Chavan, Minister for Personnel, has told Khanna in a letter dated January 23 that the Cabinet has decided not to accept the recommendations of the pay commission with regard to curtailment of holidays.

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Work begins on third rail coach factory
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lalganj, (Rae Bareli), January 27
Coaches of India’s own bullet train would be manufactured at the Rs 1,685 crore third rail coach factory here, work on which commenced today.

Prevailing over various political and legal hurdles, UPA president Sonia Gandhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and AICC general secretary and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi finally pressed a button to formally launch work for the coach factory.

Addressing a mammoth crowd that had come to witness the historic event, UPA president desisted from criticising the state government but Yadav did not spare the Mayawati government for delaying the project by earlier cancelling the land leased for the factory.

“Governments should not indulge in useless politics. Instead they should work for creating jobs so that our people are not forced to go to Mumbai and get beaten up there,” said Yadav.

Describing the Indian railways as a ‘jersey cow’, Yadav said it brought prosperity wherever it went. Criticising the NDA government for taking the railways to its nadir, Yadav said during their time staff was being handed pink slips and there was talk of privatisation. “When I became the Railway Minister people wondered how I am going to turn things around. I told them when I could control buffaloes then why not the railways?” he quipped.

Sharing his recent visit to Japan where he saw the bullet trains, he promised the local people that the coaches of such state of art train would be made here. He also promised to set up a railway apprentice institute here, wherein youth would receive training.

He hoped that the factory would even change the prospects of the state and would encourage other industries to set up works here.

Sonia Gandhi assured the local populace that the factory would be completely pollution-free as the standards being observed in the factory would be comparable to the best in the world.

At least 8,000 people would directly find jobs in the factory and many times that number would find employment in the auxiliary industries that would come up in the region, informed the local MP.

Sonia Gandhi described the factory as a ‘major development milestone’ for her district.

Describing himself as ‘junior MP for Rae Bareli’, Rahul Gandhi representing neighbouring Amethi guaranteed that the coach factory would change the face of the area as the country’s second coach factory set up in Kapurthala completely changed that region.

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Another cut in petrol prices soon: Sonia
Tribune News Service

Lalganj (Rae Bareli), January 27
Petrol prices may come down further in the near future giving a fillip to the economy in the times of recession, declared UPA president Sonia Gandhi here today.

Speaking at a function organised to formally launch the work on the third rail coach factory being built here, the AICC president said despite the country’s economy not being totally unaffected by the global recession, the UPA government had provided a subsidy of Rs 1 lakh crore so as to ensure that the people did not suffer.

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PM making steady progress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is making steady progress after his coronary bypass surgery and is likely to be discharged from the hospital in three or four days. Singh walked around in his room today and his diet now includes regular meals, an update on his health issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said this evening.

He is being supported by a team of cardiac rehabilitation and physiotherapy experts. Singh is being weaned off ICU care and will receive routine care from tomorrow. This morning, the Prime Minister had breakfast with his wife and daughters.

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Obituary
RV — A copybook President
Tribune News Service & PTI

A file photo of former President R Venkataraman with former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on August 15, 1999
A file photo of former President R Venkataraman with former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on August 15, 1999. — PTI

New Delhi, January 27
The ever-smiling Ramaswami Venkataraman, India's eighth President, was perhaps the only statesman who worked closely with all the Prime Ministers, right from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh.

Fondly known as RV, the copy-book President with a clean image had the distinction of being a freedom fighter, minister in the state and at the Centre before being elected as the Vice-President in August 1984 and subsequently to the highest office in July 1987.

A deeply religious person, he had great interest in music, art and culture and had an abiding commitment to the country's development as a minister in the state and at the Centre, holding important portfolios such as industry, finance and defence.

He was closely associated with Nehru for 14 years and then with Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, who made him Vice-President, and Rajiv Gandhi, who elevated him further. During his tenure at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (1987-1992), he had to deal with four Prime Ministers -- Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar and P.V. Narasimha Rao. In 1980, when he became Finance Minister, he chose Manmohan Singh as his Finance Secretary. In 1991, he again had a role in Singh becoming the Finance Minister in the Rao government. He helped both Singh and Rao in ushering in economic reforms.

A lawyer by profession in his early days, he had doctoral degrees in law as well as social sciences. He enrolled himself at the Madras High Court in 1935 and subsequently in the Supreme Court. He had been a member of the Provisional Parliament (1950-52) of the Madras Legislative Council (1957-67), Member, Planning Commission (1967-71) and President of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal (1968-79). He was a Lok Sabha member during 1952-57, 1977-79 and 1980-84.

The trying times demanded RV's decisions on a gamut of tricky constitutional and political issues - Sri Lankan crisis, Bofors gun deal, assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, stocks scam and the Defamation Bill.

There were repeated controversies on the role of governors, the split and disqualification of members in Parliament even as debate surfaced from time to time on the discretionary powers of the President - several constitutional issues that have normally eluded answers.

In fact, these thorny subjects set the stage for his biography 'My Presidential Years', published after he relinquished office.

Born on December 4, 1910, in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, RV followed a regimented lifestyle that helped him remain healthy until a few days before the end came. He was living with his wife and three daughters after demitting the office of the President 16 years ago.

Despite his governmental and Constitutional responsibilities that kept him busy, he was actively associated with various music associations and the institutions of the Shankaracharyas.

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UPA taking people for a ride: Maya
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, January 27
Chief Minister Mayawati today charged UPA president Sonia Gandhi for taking the people of the state for a ride in the name of development.

“If the Congress had been so serious about development then at least the situation of Rae Bareli and Amethi should have been better after 61 years of independence.” She asked the Congress the reason for the closure of 11 of the 20 factories set up in Rae Bareli and most of the 19 set up in Amethi.

Describing such politics as “unfortunate” she accused the Rae Bareli MP of twice laying the foundation stone of the rail-coach factory. “She had earlier laid the foundation stone on February 13 2007 near Bainswara. “Now that the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner she again laid the foundation stone today. What was the Central government doing during these past five years? “

Charging the Congress-led UPA of deciding to go ahead with work on the rail-coach factory on October 13 last without proper clearance of land, the BSP supremo asserted that her government was not against the factory but only wanted the formalities regarding land to be complete before launching such an important project.

“The Congress-led central government not providing the Rs 80,000-crore central package for the development of the entire state is a proof of their indifference. Why are all their schemes limited to just two districts when the state has 71 districts?” asked Mayawati.

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Rajasthan BJP expels 38 ‘dissenters’
Four former MLAs among those shown the door

Tribune News Service

Jaipur, January 27
Continuing with its strict intolerance against dissension within the party instead of appeasement, the state BJP has expelled four ex-MLAs and 34 other leaders and workers from the primary membership.

The action comes at a time when former Chief Minister and now leader of opposition Vasundhra Raje was facing strong opposition from within the party to her leadership as well as corruption charges levelled against her by Congress and BJP leaders alike.

The expelled members were indulging in anti-party activities, said Madan Lal Siani, president of the disciplinary committee of the Rajasthan BJP. The party had incidentally suffered a major loss in the assembly elections at the hands of the rebels.

The party strategy guided by Raje alienated the rebels further who caused major dent in the party’s fortunes.

It was thought that the BJP would try to placate many rebels and check dissent within the party but this does not seem to be the case.

The expulsion has been made on disciplinary grounds, said Saini, stressing the state BJP president OP Mathur, who is also on the committee panel along with Raje, and other party general secretaries approved the action. “This step will also convey right message before the Lok Sabha election to the party members to abide by the rules of the party,” he said.

Four ex-MLAs expelled are Hansraj Sharma (Sawai Madhopur), Roopa Ram (Makrana), Kundan Lal Miglani (Ganga Nagar) and Madan Rathore from Sumerpur. Laxman Ram, Director, Grain Market, has also been expelled.

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Rajasthan Patrika invites entries for award
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, January 27
The Rajasthan Patrika Group has announced the Second Karpoor Chandra Kulish International Award 2008 (KC Kulish Award 2008).

This annual award in the memory of Karpoor Chandra Kulish is aimed at recognising efforts of thought leaders in media, journalist's outstanding contributions to upholding professional values as well as protecting and promoting ethics and morality, right and freedom of the people for better quality of life.

The award theme for the year 2008 will be |"Terrorism & Society". One award of $ 11,000 will be given to the winner of KC Kulish Award. One medal and certificate will be given to each team member, the trophy and prize money will be awarded to the institution or team leader (in case of independent team) on behalf of the team.

Stories should have been published on or after January 1 2008 till December 31 2008.

January 31 2009, 6pm, will be the last date and time for sending the entries.

Non-Hindi and English entries must be accompanied by full and accurate English translations. Hindi entries should have a brief of the story in English attached to the entry otherwise the entry will not be entertained. Awards are restricted to Print Media only.

Entries fulfilling all requirements should reach the following address: KC Kulish International Award, Rajasthan Patrika Private Limited, Kesargarh, JLN Marg, Jaipur 302004, Rajasthan, India.

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Bihar awards 15-yr-old for bravery
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 27
The 15-year-old girl from a village in Purnea district, Bihar, Farzana Begum, had never imagined that she would be decorated with the state’s highest gallantry award for civilians on the Republic Day for saving five children for drowning in a flood in Bihar last year.

She was given this award during the Republic Day ceremony here yesterday by Governor RL Bhatia. She was also given a cheque for Rs 45,000 by the state government.

She was recommended for this award by the District Magistrate of Purnea, Sridhar Cherevellu.

The recommendation note says that Farzana was washing clothes on the river bank at Baisi ghat under the Baisi block when she saw the overcrowded country boat capsizing into the river.

Without wasting time she jumped into the river risking her own life and lifted five children to the banks braving the swirling currents.

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Mangalore Pub Attack
Sri Ram Sena founder held, but in another case
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 27
Stung by the criticism pouring in from various quarters over the attack by hooligans of Sri Ram Sena on women customers in a pub in Mangalore in Dakshina Kannada district on Saturday, the BJP government in Karnataka today arrested Sena founder Pramod Mutthalik.

Mutthalik, who was picked up in Belgaum, was arrested in connection with a case different than the Mangalore pub incident. Sonia Narang, superintendent of police (SP), Belgaum district, told The Tribune that Mutthalik was arrested by the Belgaum police in a case pending against him in Davangere district. The case related to giving provocative speeches. “We shall be handing Mutthalik over to the police of that district,” she said.

N. Satish Kumar, SP, Dakshina Kannada district, said, “We are yet to establish Pramod Mutthalika’s complicity in the Mangalore pub attack.”

Kumar said 27 activists of the Sri Ram Sena had been arrested so far in connection with the pub attack. Those arrested include Prasad Attavar, the Mangalore leader of the Sena, Kumar said.

The incident has exposed the state government, headed by the BJP, to attacks by its political rivals, who are accusing the ruling party of having a truck with the Sri Ram Sena. While the opposition JD(S) has demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister and the home minister on the issue, similar demands have also been made by the main opposition party Congress.

BJP’s all-India chief Rajnath Singh, who met mediapersons here this morning, however, ruled out his party having any connection with the Sena.

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Cong flays incident

New Delhi, January 27
Condemning the attack on women by activists of a fringe group Shri Ram Sena at a pub in Mangalore, the Congress on Tuesday trained its guns on the opposition BJP and other right -wing organisations like the RSS and the VHP.

The party termed the Mangalore incident not as an independent and an isolated peace-meal incident but a part of “a much larger paradigm of established pattern in different parts of the country”. — TNS

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MNS goons damage varsity property
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 27
Activists of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) today let loose their terror on the Mumbai University campus in protest against a circular that made Marathi language optional for the students of social sciences.

Alleging that the act was a mark of “disrespect” to the Marathi language, the MNS activists ransacked the university property.

MNS vice-president Shirish Parkar said the activists had sought an appointment from the university high-ups, but it was not given. Therefore, said he, (MNS) activists went on a rampage.

According to police, 13 MNS activists had been arrested. They also damaged the registrar's office, police said.

Meanwhile, the police today arrested Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut for allegedly leading an attack at a five star hotel in the city last week. Raut was accused of leading a large crowd of Shiv Sena activists to protest the sacking of employees of the Intercontinental Hotel at Sahar.

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Maritime Security
US offers to share info
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
The US today offered to share information with regards to maritime security. This comes less than two months after Pakistan-based terrorist travelled on board a ship to attack targets in Mumbai.

India’s vast coastline poses a challenge and the Indian and US navies can share an understanding of process to secure the country’s territorial waters, Admiral Robert F. Willard, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, told reporters here today.

There is a technical and operational challenge to better understand what is in the water, The two Navies can share an understanding of processes,” Willard, who is on a visit here, said.

This will have to bring the two navies on a common platform. The Communications Inter-operability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) is one of three pacts with the US that have been pending for long. The other two are the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) under which the two militaries can refuel ships and aircraft in cashless transactions that are balanced at the end of the year and an end-user agreement on the sale of US military hardware to India.

Of these, the third is proving to be the most contentious since it involves annual inspections by US officials of the use to which the equipment is being put. Indian officials have often said that “a way out” can be found to avoid physical inspections but Willard said the agreement was “language specific and not open to interpretation. Willard termed the Mumbai terror attacks as outrageous and hoped Pakistan, would quickly take action against the perpetrators.

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SC rejects plea on Pragya
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 27
The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a judicial inquiry into the "illegal" arrest and torture of Pragya Singh Thakur and others by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Mumbai police for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast case.

Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam dismissed the plea, asking petitioner Kaushal Kishore Chaudhary to approach the trial court for redressal of his grievances.

The petitioner, appearing in person, said Maharashtra police had implicated the sadhvi and Lt Col Prasad Purohit in league with the state government as part of a political conspiracy to win over the minorities on the eve of elections.

He said there was no concrete evidence against her and even the state police had initially suspected SIMI for the blast.

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6 die in hotel collapse

Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), January 27
Six persons were killed and three injured, when a portion of a hotel under construction collapsed near railway station on the Pendra Road in this district’s Gorela area, the police said today.

Sub-divisional officer (Police) SS Pekara said a portion of the Gopi Hotel collapsed suddenly last evening and the debri-removing drive continued till late night. During the accident, rubble fell on a pickup van standing on the road and passers-by. — PTI

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