SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Kidnapping of MLA’s daughter: 4 nabbed
Bangalore, February 7
Four persons have been arrested in connection with the abduction of the daughter of a Kerala MLA in Mangalore yesterday. Among the arrested are the driver and the conductor of the Karnataka Transport Corporation bus in which Shruti, daughter of CPM legislator CH Kunhabbu, was traveling with her male friend Shabib, said DGP Ajay Kumar Singh here today.

Mangalore Trouble
K’taka being Talibanised, says Renuka

New Delhi, February 7
Coming down heavily on the BJP government in Karnataka in the wake of Mangalore incidents, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury on Saturday said there was a ‘breakdown’ of law and order in the state where “Talibanisation” is happening.

NCW seeks report
New Delhi, February 7
A day after rejecting its own report on the Mangalore pub case, the National Commission for Women has asked the Karnataka government to explain its position on the reported abduction of a Kerala MLA’s daughter and her male friend by an alleged saffron group in Mangalore.




EARLIER STORIES

Foreign tourists hold the 11-feet long moustache of Rajasthan’s Girdhar Vyas during International Desert Festival-2009 in Jaisalmer on Saturday.
MOOCH MASTER: Foreign tourists hold the 11-feet long moustache of Rajasthan’s Girdhar Vyas during International Desert Festival-2009 in Jaisalmer on Saturday. — PTI

Cops Crack Case
9 held for Bangalore blasts
Bangalore, February 7
With the arrest of nine persons, the Bangalore police today claimed to have cracked the case of last year’s serial explosions in the city. Addressing a press conference, Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari said all the accused hail from Kerala. “The perpetrators belong to an organisation based in Kerala. I am not going to give out the name of the body now,” he said.

Constitution of Armed Forces Tribunal challenged
Chandigarh, February 7
The Delhi High Court Bar Association has challenged the constitution of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). The body has contended that the functioning of the AFT would violate statutory provisions of law and would by-pass the jurisdiction of the high courts.

Nanhi Chhaan spreads wings
New Delhi, February 7
Less than one year into existence, Nanhi Chhaan, the Impact Group’s initiative to better the lot of the girl child and the environment, has proved that projects don’t change mindsets; people do. With this concept at its core, Nanhi Chhaan is now preparing for its flight beyond Punjab, where it sought to make the first difference for obvious reasons.
Harpal Singh, Chairman of Nanhi Chhaan Foundation,is all set to extend the novel project to Delhi and Rajasthan. A Tribune photograph
Harpal Singh, Chairman of Nanhi Chhaan Foundation,is all set to extend the novel project to Delhi and Rajasthan.

HC: Book cops involved in fake encounters
Hyderabad, February 7
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ruled that cases should be registered against policemen involved in encounter killings and investigation be done to establish whether the police firing was justified.

Lankan Conflict
Self-immolation bid by Cong man
Chennai, February 7
A Congress functionary belonging to Napattinam district of Tamil Nadu today attempted self-immolation, urging his party at the Centre to save Sri Lankan Tamils.

Abducted oil company officials untraced
Guwahati, February 7
Four officials of Indian Oiltanking Limited, who were abducted by unidentified tribal militants from a remote area in North Cachar Hill district of Assam on Thursday afternoon, remained untraced though the police claimed they were safe and within the district.





Top








 

Kidnapping of MLA’s daughter: 4 nabbed
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
Four persons have been arrested in connection with the abduction of the daughter of a Kerala MLA in Mangalore yesterday.

Among the arrested are the driver and the conductor of the Karnataka Transport Corporation bus in which Shruti, daughter of CPM legislator CH Kunhabbu, was traveling with her male friend Shabib, said DGP Ajay Kumar Singh here today. The other two accused are from Kasaragod district of Kerala, he added.

Asked if the accused were members of the Sri Ram Sene, the DGP said, “They had no identity card or membership proof of any organisation”.

It was alleged by Shruti’s father Kunhabbu that the activists of Sri Ram Sene, who earned notoriety in the wake of the recent attack on women in a Mangalore pub, had held his daughter and her companion hostage for a few hours during which they were also assaulted.

The Sene was apparently enraged by Shruti’s friendship with a Muslim boy. Talking to the Tribune over phone, Prasad Attavar, convener of Sri Ram Sene’s state unit, rubbished the charges. “We condemn the abduction,’ he said. Flaying the incident, the CPM alleged that the attackers were emboldened by the presence of BJP government in the state.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa termed the incident as a conspiracy by the Congress and JDS to tarnish the image of the state government.

Top

 

Mangalore Trouble
K’taka being Talibanised, says Renuka

New Delhi, February 7
Coming down heavily on the BJP government in Karnataka in the wake of Mangalore incidents, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury on Saturday said there was a ‘breakdown’ of law and order in the state where “Talibanisation” is happening.

“All instruments of democracy will be used to stop such incidents,” she said commenting on Friday’s kidnapping of the daughter of a Kerala MLA and her Muslim male friend from a bus in Mangalore by activists of Sri Ram Sene.

“The state government is not in control of the law and order situation. Talibanisation is happening. There is a clean communal divide where a Hindu girl is prevented from talking to a Muslim boy, it is a very dangerous trend,” the minister said.

“There is a breakdown of law and order in Karnataka and I think we should look at it as a national security problem,” she said.

Asked why the Centre was not intervening, Chowdhury said the government is “respecting the 
Centre-state ties” but nobody should think that it is ‘weak or cannot do anything’.

“We are repeatedly warning the state government that they should take cognizance. When it is necessary we will take a step,” the Minister further said.

Referring to the recent attack by Sene activists on women in a Mangalore pub, she said the issue should not be diluted by saying that it is only about “pub culture”.

“It is a much deeper rot. Today it is a pub, tomorrow if you are sitting in the staircase in front of your house, they will come and slap you. It is fascism, there is an attempt to spread an ideology of hatred in Karnataka, an attempt to bring a communal divide,” Chowdhury said.

Slamming the BJP-led regime, she said, “it is fascism supported by a state government that we need to be concerned about.” Chowdhury said she will continue to pressurise the state government along with the civil society.

Voicing apprehension that similar incidents may take place on Valentine’s Day, she said, “I have no confidence on the state government. I am watching the situation to see how best to carry this forward. I am still giving a long rope to the state government. I will talk to the Chief Minister and is writing a letter to him”.

“We have various instruments of democracy to use when the situation arises,” Chowdhury warned.

“We want the state to react, if they don’t or cannot or they are helpless then according to situation we will react,” Chowdhury said when asked if the Centre can act against Karnataka government based on a report by the WCD Ministry. — PTI

Top

 

NCW seeks report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 7
A day after rejecting its own report on the Mangalore pub case, the National Commission for Women has asked the Karnataka government to explain its position on the reported abduction of a Kerala MLA’s daughter and her male friend by an alleged saffron group in Mangalore.

NCW chairperson Girija Vyas today said the report had come to her notice and she was very concerned about what had happened. “We will decide the future course of action once we get the report from the state government,” she said. Notably, a suspected saffron group kidnapped the daughter of CPM MLA CH Kunhambu from the Manjeshwar constituency and her male companion yesterday. The miscreants let off the duo after holding them captive for nearly an hour. The abduction comes soon after Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik’s men issued fresh threats to anyone who celebrates the Valentine’s Day.

Top

 

Cops Crack Case
9 held for Bangalore blasts
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
With the arrest of nine persons, the Bangalore police today claimed to have cracked the case of last year’s serial explosions in the city. Addressing a press conference, Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari said all the accused hail from Kerala. “The perpetrators belong to an organisation based in Kerala. I am not going to give out the name of the body now,” he said.

Bidari, who got the DGP Ajay Kumar Singh to attend the press conference held in the conference room of the office of the former, said the accused in the case were arrested between January 20 and February 6. Four out of the nine arrested are from Mallapuram district of Kerala, four are from Kannur district, while one is from Ernakulam.

Four others, who were also involved in the blast, were killed in an encounter with the security forces in Kashmir in October 2008, the commissioner said.

The serial blasts rocked the IT city on July 25 last year, killing a woman and injuring eight persons. The bombs went off in nine different locations in quick succession. Gopal Hosur, joint commissioner, who is heading the team constituted by Bangalore police for investigating the blasts, said probing the serial explosions was a tough challenge. “There were no clues, no eyewitness to give us credible informationm,” he said.

To pick up the threads of the case, the police had to travel to various states, including Gujarat, Maharastra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and J&K, which was a pointer to the huge network established by the terrorists. Hosur said the pieces started falling into place with the arrest of one Abdul Sattar. Some members of the Indian Mujahideen, who were arrested by the police from Mangalore with the help of Mumbai crime branch, had told the police about the “Kerala angle” to the blasts.

Bangalore cops spent weeks in Kerala and finally zeroed in on Sattar as the brain behind the micro-chip based timer devices used in the blasts. Sattar, who hails from Mallapuram, was picked up from Hyderabad where he has a second wife.

The conspiracy to carry out the blasts was reportedly hatched in a series of meetings held in various places in Kerala during April and May last year. Raw materials of the bombs - ammonium nitrate, nuts and bolts to be used as splinters, printed circuit boxes, wires, cement, etc - were kept in the house of one Mujeeb, whom the group had earlier set up in Bangalore. After assembling the bombs, the group left the bombs on various locations identified earlier.

Top

 

Constitution of Armed Forces Tribunal challenged
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Delhi High Court Bar Association has challenged the constitution of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). The body has contended that the functioning of the AFT would violate statutory provisions of law and would by-pass the jurisdiction of the high courts.

A division bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising Justice Madan Lokul and Justice S. Mridul has issued notices to the Union of India for March 20 on the matter.

The association has contended that the AFT Tribunal would take away the statutory power to hear the first appeal of cases pertaining to armed forces personnel. According to a Supreme Court ruling, the high court is the first court of appeal and any aggrieved party cannot by-pass the high court.

“Further, the AFT would also compromise the independence of judiciary as members of the AFT would not have the same level of safety and security as that of a HC judge,” Manoj Goel, association’s counsel told The Tribune.

He said the association was also of the view that the executive could exercise indirect control over the AFT as the service conditions, salaries etc of AFT members are to be decided by the government, whereas in the case of HC judges these are decided by Parliament.

The much-awaited AFT, set up on the lines of the Central Administrative Tribunal, would take up issues related to armed forces personnel, including review of court martial verdicts, promotion and posting matters.

The AFT was established to lower the pendency of armed forces related cases in various high courts. Aggrieved service personnel would not have to approach high courts, but file their cases in the AFT.

Top

 

Nanhi Chhaan spreads wings
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 7
Less than one year into existence, Nanhi Chhaan, the Impact Group’s initiative to better the lot of the girl child and the environment, has proved that projects don’t change mindsets; people do.

With this concept at its core, Nanhi Chhaan is now preparing for its flight beyond Punjab, where it sought to make the first difference for obvious reasons. With neighbouring Haryana, Punjab shares the infamy of having the lowest child sex ratio in India.

Some of that might have changed since Harpal Singh, chairman, Nanhi Chhaan Foundation and mentor, Fortis Healthcare, launched his small but ambitious drive from the Harmandar Sahib in Amritsar last year.

Records suggest that thousands of women queued up through the year at the Nanhi Chhan counter in the Golden Temple and vied for their share of the earth - the sapling - which they then took home to plant and celebrate womanhood. Four lakh saplings were sent to homes across Punjab to remind families of the shared greatness of nature and woman - the primary life-givers.

It is now time for the saplings to find a new home in the national capital where Harpal Singh plans to launch Nanhi Chhaan this March. Today he was here to share with the leaders of different faiths the concept of his project and have them on board to ensure the campaign becomes citizen-led and goes far.

So we had Pir Hassan Nizami of Dargah Nizamuddin talking of equal property rights Islam guarantees to girls, and Issac Malekar sharing the Jewish tradition wherein the girl, when she turns two, is made to plant a sapling; she must then marry under the shade of this very tree.

“That is also the message of Nanhi Chhaan, where we give away saplings as offerings and encourage families to plant them whenever a girl enters the household. We are now taking the project to Delhi and Rajasthan, where we will launch it from Ajmer Sharif Dargah and two temples at Jaipur. We have sought the support of leaders of faiths to ensure our movement retains its secular fabric,” Harpal Singh today told The Tribune.

During discussions, even the disciples of Jain Acharya Mahapragya pitched in, with a Frank Wright quote offering a perfect backdrop for the pledges that were to follow. “I believe in God. Only I spell it nature,” it read, as Singh, and some 20 civilians and representatives of Muslim, Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, Parsi, Sikh, Bahai and Jew faiths, drove home the importance every religion attaches to women and nature.

By the end of a two-hour dialogue, everyone had agreed to support Nanhi Chhaan in Delhi, and throw open the places of worship for distribution of saplings. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has already promised free saplings. “We have also contacted local farm owners for a place to grow the saplings which we can distribute to the nearest places of worship,” Harpal Singh said.

Top

 

HC: Book cops involved in fake encounters
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, February 7
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ruled that cases should be registered against policemen involved in encounter killings and investigation be done to establish whether the police firing was justified.

Delivering a far-reaching verdict, the five-member larger bench of the court, headed by Chief Justice A R Dave, ordered that the names of police officers involved in encounters should be made public.

The pronouncement was made after hearing a petition by Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, which sought the names of police personnel who took part in an encounter on July 23, 2006, in which eight senior Maoist leaders were killed.

The petitioners had sought the information in order to file a case against police officers involved in the encounter.

“It is necessary to examine the larger issue of the powers of the police and the rights of the civilians in such cases,” the bench, comprising justices V V S Rao, R Subhash Reddy, Ramesh Ranganathan and G Bhavani Prasad, said in its 150-page order.

The court made it clear that the routine magisterial inquiry (inquest), generally done by a revenue authority immediately after such deaths, is not an alternative to the obligation to record the information in the FIR and to conduct investigation and arrest the offenders, if necessary.

The judgment assumes significance for AP in view of its long, blood-soaked history of police encounters in which several Naxalite leaders were killed. The civil rights groups have been dubbing them as “stage-managed cold-blooded murders” and calling for judicial inquiry into all such encounter killings.

In a majority of encounter cases, the police claim that they had to open fire in self-defence and the cases are invariably closed without any investigation.

The human rights groups have been demanding that the names and details of police officials involved in encounters be made public. However, the successive governments have rejected such calls on the ground that the police would be demoralised if such a step was taken.

The court ruled that it is mandatory for the police to register an FIR under the relevant sections of the law whenever an encounter death takes place. Thereafter, it is the magistrate, and not the police, who should decide whether to continue the trial or to close the case after hearing the police argument.

Top

 

Lankan Conflict
Self-immolation bid by Cong man
Tribune News Service

Chennai, February 7
A Congress functionary belonging to Napattinam district of Tamil Nadu today attempted self-immolation, urging his party at the Centre to save Sri Lankan Tamils.

The man Ravichandran, joint ward secretary of Seerkazhi unit of the party, was admitted to the nearby Mayiladuthurai hospital with serious burn injuries in a critical condition.

When a few reporters approached him, he said he had attempted self-immolation to save the island Tamils. He said the Sri Lankan government was deliberately killing Tamils, while the Centre was complacent in the issue. He appealed to his party at the Centre to protect the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

When Congress leader visited Ravichandran at the hospital, the crowd, which had gathered, pelted stones at him before the police dispersed them using mild lathicharge.

Two persons Muthukumar of Tuticorin and Ravi belonging to Dindigul had already committed self-immolation in the issue. Another youth, who jumped from a cellphone tower, is being treated at Cuddalore hospital. Three school students who consumed poison too were being treated.

Top

 

Abducted oil company officials untraced
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 7
Four officials of Indian Oiltanking Limited, who were abducted by unidentified tribal militants from a remote area in North Cachar Hill district of Assam on Thursday afternoon, remained untraced though the police claimed they were safe and within the district.

The officials were carrying out seismic survey as part of an oil exploration project in the area.

Inspector General of Police (Special Branch) Khagen Sharma said the police had launched search operations in certain areas of the district to trace the officials.

“As of now, we can say that the abducted officials are safe and are within the hill district. We have to be very careful while searching for kidnapped persons so that their lives are not subjected to danger. The motive of the abduction seems to be extortion,” the police official said.

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |