SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI
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N A T I O N

BJP prepares to break off with Shiv Sena
Mumbai, March 9
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has drawn up contingency plans to contest as many as 36 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in case its alliance with the Shiv Sena breaks off.

A ‘Holika Dahan’ effigy of Ajmal Kasab, stands in a city neighbourhood in Mumbai on Monday. 26/11 trial from
March 23

Mumbai, March 9
Mohammad Ajmal Amir
Iman, alias Kasab, the
lone terrorist to be taken
alive in connection with
the Mumbai terror attack
of November 26 last, would
be put on trial before a
special court from March 23.

A ‘Holika Dahan’ effigy of
Ajmal Kasab, stands in a city
neighbourhood in Mumbai
on Monday. — AFP photo




EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS




File photo taken on September 7, 1959, shows Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama (left) offering a traditional Tibetan white sash to then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in New Delhi, during his first visit to the Indian statesman since his arrival in exile to India.
File photo taken on September 7, 1959, shows Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama (left) offering a traditional Tibetan white sash to then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in New Delhi, during his first visit to the Indian statesman since his arrival in exile to India. Tibetan lobby groups based in Dharamsala on Monday said thousands of protesters would mark the 50th anniversary of the failed apprising that forced them into exile. — AFP photo

‘Pak’s N-bomb kept India
from attacking it’

Kolkata, March 9
Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons prevented India from attacking that country after the terror strikes in Mumbai and the attack on Parliament, former Army chief Gen Shankar Roychowdhury has said.

We will send reply to Pak
soon: Pranab

New Delhi, March 9
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said India would soon send to Islamabad its reply to the queries made by Pakistan in response to the Indian dossier on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

PM likely to meet Obama on
margins of G-20 summit

New Delhi, March 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen to attend the G-20 summit in London on April 2 on the sidelines of which he will have an opportunity to meet US President Barack Obama and other world leaders, officials said today.

Special children grapple to smear each other with ‘gulal’ at a special school - Society for the Edcuation of the Crippled during Holi celebrations in Mumbai on Monday.
Special children grapple to smear each other with ‘gulal’ at a special school - Society for the Edcuation of the Crippled during Holi celebrations in Mumbai on Monday. — AFP photo

India plans radars in space
New Delhi, March 9
After have being successful for the
third time in launching an interceptor
missile to bring down an incoming
“enemy missile”, the Defence
Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) today unveiled
the contours of the missile, its
capabilities and the future plans.

2 held for xeroxing secret Army papers
Mhow (MP), March 9
The sixth detachment of the Central Command liaison unit, Army Intelligence, seized top secret army documents this morning from a photo copy shop here in the city, the police said.

2,800 pvt Gujarat docs on strike
Rajkot, March 9
Around 2,800 private doctors in the Saurashtra-Kutch region struck work for a day today to protest harassment by civic officials who have been raiding their clinics after the death of 62 patients in the state in February-March due to the suspected use of infected syringes.

Madrasa gang-rape accused let off
Allahabad, March 9
Two years after the madrasa gang-rape case rocked Uttar Pradesh, a court here has acquitted all the five accused for lack of evidence.

Lalu, Nitish ‘pale’ticise holi
No celebrations due to Kosi deluge
Patna, March 9
As Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD Chief Lalu Yadav have announced the decision not to celebrate ‘Holi’ this year, the festival of colours is going to be a low-key affair in political circles here.

Naveen keeps all options open
Bhubaneswar, March 9
A day after snapping ties with the BJP at the state level, the BJD today sent mixed signals on its strategy for the Lok Sabha polls saying it was "still part of the NDA" while keeping open its option of joining a third front with Left parties.

We are the only national party, says Congress
New Delhi, March 9
With regional players emerging as strong contenders in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Congress is going all-out to position itself as the only national party with a proven record in providing “good governance” while branding the Third Front as a “rag-tag” grouping of small parties.

NDA allies ask for more from BJP
New Delhi, March 9
The BJD’s decision to break free of the BJP on the eve of the General Election has jolted BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani’s aspirations, though on the face of it the party is trying to maintain a brave face.

Murder Cases
If backed by medical, kin account okay: SC
New Delhi, March 9
The Supreme Court has ruled that conviction can be handed out in murder cases on the basis of interested witnesses’ version if it was supported by medical evidence.

Six kids burnt to death in Jharkhand
Ranchi, March 9
Six children were burnt to death and two went missing in a fire in a village in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district, police said on Monday.

Girl killed in UP over bowl of wheat
Lucknow, March 9
A 12-year-old girl accused of stealing a bowl of wheat was brutally killed by a couple in Uttar Pradesh, the police said today.

Six held for Dalit killings
Tirunelveli (TN), March 9
As many as six persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of two Dalits at Seethatti village in the district following a dispute over offering worship at a local temple.

 





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BJP prepares to break off with Shiv Sena
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 9
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has drawn up contingency plans to contest as many as 36 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in case its alliance with the Shiv Sena breaks off.

According to BJP sources here, its leaders are unhappy at the way the Shiv Sena is driving a hard bargain.

The national party was forced to concede a number of seats to the Sena, including that of Kalyan. The Sena was to concede Bhiwandi to the BJP, but there is some confusion about that.

A section of the BJP has been pitching an alliance with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena headed by Raj Thackeray.

The MNS which has said it would contest all the seats in the state has not named any candidate so far.

Though an announcement was made in Delhi on Sunday regarding seat sharing between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, it was clear that meetings between them were continuing today.

Sources say, talks ended in a stalemate, with more talks scheduled for later
tonight or tomorrow.

According to sources here, negotiators of both outfits are still holding talks to sort out a number of issues that have been hurting the two-decade-long relationship between the two parties.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi today only confirmed the proceedings behind the scenes when he told reporters that most issues have been settled. “No serious controversy remains on seat-sharing," Joshi said.

He, however, admitted that a number of minor issues between the two parties remain to be sorted out.

BJP leaders in Maharashtra have been demanding that Uddhav Thackeray should openly disassociate himself from the Nationalist Congress Party and Sharad Pawar.

The younger Thackeray has chosen to play coy though he said to have reaffirmed the Sena's commitment to the BJP in private.

According to information put out by both parties, the BJP is to contest 26 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra leaving the rest to the Shiv Sena.

According to sources, the Shiv Sena is unhappy with the BJP putting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in charge of its campaign in Maharashtra.

Senior Shiv Sena leaders, including Joshi, are said to be opposed to Modi because of his strong speeches perceived to be antagonistic to Muslims.

Joshi himself has been quoted as saying that he had lost the 2004 elections from Mumbai because of Modi's campaigning.

Meanwhile, local-level leaders of both the Shiv Sena and the BJP are waiting and watching the latest developments as there is tremendous confusion among the rank and file of both parties.

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26/11 trial from March 23
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 9
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, alias Kasab, the lone terrorist to be taken alive in connection with the Mumbai terror attack of November 26 last, would be put on trial before a special court from March 23.

The court would be set up within the high-security Arthur Road jail here. Metropolitan Judge NN Shrimangale, who has been officiating in the case, today committed the case for trial.

Kasab, who was not produced before the magistrate due to security reasons, was questioned by the court via video teleconferencing.

He told the court that he wanted a copy of the chargesheet in Urdu as he did not understand either English or Marathi. However, Kasab was asked to apply his request before the special court.

Lodged within the Arthur Road jail with his exact location known only to a handful of security officials, Kasab is likely to be moved to the special egg-shaped Anda Cell in the jail where he would be the sole prisoner.

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‘Pak’s N-bomb kept India from attacking it’

Kolkata, March 9
Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons prevented India from attacking that country after the terror strikes in Mumbai and the attack on Parliament, former Army chief Gen Shankar Roychowdhury has said.

“Do nuclear weapons deter? Of course, they do. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons deterred India from attacking that country after the Mumbai strikes,” he told a seminar here on ‘Nuclear Risk Reduction and Conflict Resolve’.

Stressing the need for nuclear disarmament, he said in 1988 the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had proposed a 20-year plan for it.

Commissioner in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) Lt Gen VR Raghavan said Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were in safe hands.

“By all indications, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, are in safe hands and under tight control. But nobody can say what will happen if the system breaks down. There is concern in the West about whether the system in Pakistan can be sustained only through aid,” Raghavan said yesterday. — PTI

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We will send reply to Pak soon: Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said India would soon send to Islamabad its reply to the queries made by Pakistan in response to the Indian dossier on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

“We will send our reply to Pakistan shortly. We are in touch with the home ministry,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee’s statement comes a day after Pakistan asked India to reply as soon as possible to its 30 questions seeking more information on the Mumbai attacks.

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PM likely to meet Obama on margins of G-20 summit
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen to attend the G-20 summit in London on April 2 on the sidelines of which he will have an opportunity to meet US President Barack Obama and other world leaders, officials said today.

Singh has accepted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s invite to attend the summit to discuss the global strategy to deal with the economic slowdown.

The officials said the British PM wanted Dr Manmohan, an economist of repute, to attend the summit and share his thoughts on the economic situation and suggest how the global community could together grapple with the crisis.

An advance team, comprising security personnel and officials from the PM’s office and the External Affairs Ministry has already left for London to make arrangements for PM’s visit.

Indications are that PM would leave here on April 1 and return home on April 4. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will officiate on the PM’s behalf during the latter’s visit.

During the course of the visit, the PM is expected to meet Obama and other top leaders, converging for the summit.

This will be the first meeting between Dr Manmohan and Obama at which the two are expected to review the Indo-US relations and the situation in South Asia, particularly Pakistan’s action against the masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon is already in Washington to meet top officials of the new administration and do the groundwork for the meeting.

The PM had also attended the first G-20 summit on global economic crisis, convened by former US President George W Bush in Washington in November last year.

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India plans radars in space
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
After have being successful for the third time in launching an interceptor missile to bring down an incoming “enemy missile”, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today unveiled the contours of the missile, its capabilities and the future plans.

It also claimed that such an interceptor missile had to be home grown “We cannot buy, beg or borrow,” said the DRDO chief controller (research and development) and air defence programme director, VK Saraswat, as he talked to the media about India’s ballastic missile defence system. Only US, Russia and Israel have the capability as of now. These can intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles.

Saraswat claimed that DRDO had a better and faster “interceptor missile” than the US made patriot-3. The US, Russia and Israel were in the race to provide such interceptor missiles to India.

He, however, added that “the indigenous system, will be ready for deployment by 2011. Our missile is 20 per cent superior to the US one.”

Saraswat said the US or Israel had been making these interceptor missiles for its own threat perceptions and threat profiles.

“We have our own threats and these do not match with threats faced by other countries. We cannot take a system and impose it on India. It cannot work like this he said while talking about the American patriot missile or Israel’s Arrow missile.

“All our future users were present during last Friday test and are satisfied. The
test was a key element in the efforts of the DRDO to put in place a missile defence
shield to protect populated areas and vital installations like nuclear power plants
from nuclear attacks.

“India is also planning space-based radars to overcome the range impediment for its missile defence system.

“At present the DRDO has demonstrated its ability to kill missiles up to 2,000 km. In phase-II, we are developing a missile that can kill missiles beyond that range.

“The Indian Space Research Organisation is developing a space-based surveillance system that will help us in phase-II,” Saraswat added.

Airborne radars mounted atop aircraft, which India is acquiring from Israel, will help track missiles above 2,000 km.

For tracking missiles of the range of 6,000 km, the interceptors will take help of radars mounted on satellites. Currently, ground radars can cover an area of a radius of 600 km.

Explaining the working, Saraswat said the whole process of target acquisition took
30 seconds and the interceptor missile could be launched within 100-120 seconds
of target detection.

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2 held for xeroxing secret Army papers

Mhow (MP), March 9
The sixth detachment of the Central Command liaison unit, Army Intelligence, seized top secret army documents this morning from a photo copy shop here in the city, the police said.

Two persons, Vipul Jain and Ajay Sanghi, have been arrested under Section 3 of Official Secrets Act and detailed investigations was being done by the Army and police, they said.

The intelligence unit commanding officer, Major Vikram Sinho, got a tip-off that large scale photocopying of army documents was being done at the shop of Vipul Jain in Chota Bazar area.

A team sent by Sinho raided the shop and recovered more than 1,000 copies of books, which contain training methodology and tactics of the Indian army of the Infantry school, three CDs and six floppy discs, they said.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural), Satyendra Shukla said the police
were interrogating the accused to find out whether these books were sold to any
outsider or not.

He said some army officers had given this stuff to the shop owner for making more copies and binding them properly like a book.

Shukla said army authorities were themselves interrogating the duo to find out the names of the army personnel involved in it. — PTI

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2,800 pvt Gujarat docs on strike

Rajkot, March 9
Around 2,800 private doctors in the Saurashtra-Kutch region struck work for a day today to protest harassment by civic officials who have been raiding their clinics after the death of 62 patients in the state in February-March due to the suspected use of infected syringes.

“Private physicians in Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Upleta, Junagadh, Jamnagar and Bhuj have proceeded on strike to protest harassment by municipal officials even when doctors have complied with medical waste disposal rules in the region,” Atul Pandya, a spokesman of the Rajkot Chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), told here.

The 62 Hepatitis B deaths took place in north Gujarat, but civic officials have been raiding clinics and hospitals all over the state for medical waste disposal compliance.

Pandya said fines worth hundreds of thousands of rupees had been collected by
the municipal authorities in the Saurashtra-Kutch region in the past week from
doctors even when their hospitals and clinics had a clean record of safely disposing
of medical waste.

“We have asked some of our members not to join the strike in their respective regions and remain available at hospitals for emergency duty. There is no question of any patient suffering in the hospitals during the strike,” Pandya claimed. Doctors in government-run hospitals in the region have not joined the strike.

The state government in a directive today asked the superintendents of government hospitals in the Saurashtra-Kutch region to closely monitor the strike situation and offer help to patients at private hospitals in case of emergency, a senior health official in Gandhinagar said.

More than 100 tonnes of medical waste has so far been seized in Gujarat from the cities of Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat in the past 12 days. — IANS

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Madrasa gang-rape accused let off

Allahabad, March 9
Two years after the madrasa gang-rape case rocked Uttar Pradesh, a court here has acquitted all the five accused for lack of evidence.

Additional Sessions Judge Brijesh Kumar Mishra acquitted the five for want of evidence and the failure of victims to identify the accused.

“The prosecution has failed to produce any evidence of the complicity of any of the accused in the crime,” the judge said on Saturday.

Two minor girls were gang-raped on January 17, 2007 after they were dragged out of a madrasa in Kareli area of the city.

The police initially registered a case of “misbehaviour and teasing” after the madarsa’s manager lodged a complaint. — PTI

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Lalu, Nitish ‘pale’ticise holi
No celebrations due to Kosi deluge
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 9
As Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD Chief Lalu Yadav have announced the decision not to celebrate ‘Holi’ this year, the festival of colours is going to be a low-key affair in political circles here.

Interestingly, both the top politicians are giving the same reasons for not playing Holi - the Kosi deluge.

On the concluding day of the Budget session in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha when some MLAs tried to smear ‘abir and gulaal’ on the Leader of the House, Nitish did not allow them saying that he had decided to refrain from Holi celebrations this year because of the disaster caused by Kosi river.

The breach in the eastern embankment of Kosi at a place called Kusaha (Nepal) had created havoc in the eight bordering districts of Bihar.

Hundreds of people and thousands of heads of cattle perished in the sudden floods and around 1.50 lakh people were rendered homeless.

Nitish has been charging the Centre with not providing funds required for rebuilding the flood-affected areas despite the Prime Minister calling it a national calamity.

Apparently, aware of his arch-rival Nitish Kumar’s intentions to make the Kosi deluge a major issue in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has also announced that he would not play Holi this year.

“How can I celebrate when thousands of my brothers and sisters were still suffering the miseries of Kosi floods as the state government has not done anything for their rehabilitation”, Lalu told newsmen in reply to a question whether he would play Holi at Patna or Delhi this time.

Going by the utterances of both Nitish and Lalu, it goes without saying that both of them are going to use the Kosi floods as a weapon against each other (Centre vs State) in the General Election.

Notably, it would be the second consecutive colourless Holi for the Bihar Chief Minister. Last year he was mourning his wife’s death.

Lalu has also been playing Holi at Delhi and not Patna ever since his party (wife) lost power in Bihar.

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Naveen keeps all options open

Bhubaneswar, March 9
A day after snapping ties with the BJP at the state level, the BJD today sent mixed signals on its strategy for the Lok Sabha polls saying it was "still part of the NDA" while keeping open its option of joining a third front with Left parties.

“We are still part of the NDA. Therefore, it will be premature to say anything now on the role of the BJD in national politics,” party secretary general Damodar Rout said, adding things would be clear once the polls were over.

The BJD stand drew flak from the BJP. “The BJD is misleading all by saying it is
part of the NDA. How can a party be a member of the NDA while forging pre-poll
alliance with the Left parties and the NCP?” asked BJP's youth wing leader and MP
Dharmendra Pradhan.

With BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik being non-committal on joining the third front, the indications are that the party would await the results of the Lok Sabha elections before deciding its future course of action.

CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury had rushed to Orissa to formally invite Patnaik to join the anti-BJP, anti-Congress platform. — PTI

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We are the only national party, says Congress
Anita Katyal and Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
With regional players emerging as strong contenders in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Congress is going all-out to position itself as the only national party with a proven record in providing “good governance” while branding the Third Front as a “rag-tag” grouping of small parties.

Although Congress is publicly proclaiming that that it is emerging as the only “natural choice” for the people in this election, jittery party leaders privately admit that the Biju Janata Dal’s entry into the Third Front had given the non-Congress, non-BJP grouping a major boost and could change the complexion of the electoral battle.

“This election is increasingly becoming a fight between the Congress and the Third Front while the NDA has now slipped to third position,” remarked a senior Congress leader, adding that the grand old party had reason to worry.

The Congress is, however, drawing solace from the fact that communal forces were being contained while the space for secular parties was expanding.

The Third Front membership, which spawns over eight states and includes regional satraps like BSP’s Mayawati, AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, has gradually grow in strength and stature while the Congress was still struggling to finalise its pact with allies whose popularity is actually on the wane as compared to the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress’ two main allies - the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the DMK - which propelled the UPA to victory have slipped on the popularity charts while the Congress itself has no significant presence in key states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, which account for nearly 200 seats.

Well aware that regional aspirations and issues will dominate the election discourse, the Congress attempt is to keep the focus on national matters.

This was underlined by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in her speech to party MPs last month and was reiterated in the party mouthpiece “Sandesh” today.

She maintained that while regional parties have their space and importance, the Congress is the only viable option at the national-level.

“We are in coalition in some states with like-minded parties but we remain the only national party, the only party with an all-India perspective while being sensitive to regional and local aspirations,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said in her letter to party members.

She emphasised that this is a crucial message, which must be reinforced as part of the party’s election campaign.

For the record, however, the Congress put up a brave face while playing down the BJD-Left partnership.

Dismissing the suggestion that the BJD-Left alliance will benefit the emerging Third Front and harm the UPA alliance, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said that in terms of vote percentage and allies, the UPA formation was way ahead.

“As of now, there is no Third Front,” she added. Focusing her attack on the BJP-led NDA, Natarajan asserted that the NDA formation had lost all credibility.

“There is no NDA grouping left anymore. The Indian National Congress has every reason to be confident that the (electoral) battle has already been won…even before elections’ results have been announced,” she said.

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NDA allies ask for more from BJP
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
The BJD’s decision to break free of the BJP on the eve of the General Election has jolted BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani’s aspirations, though on the face of it the party is trying to maintain a brave face.

Since December 10, 2007, when the BJP announced Advani’s candidature, it has been persuading more parties to join the NDA.

It worked hard to persuade AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa. Apart from adding to the NDA numbers, this would have given the BJP a much-needed foothold in Tamil Nadu.

But disappointing it, Jayalalitha went with the Third Front. After a lot of hard work they succeeded in getting back former allies, the INLD, the RLD and the AGP.

While the AGP came to a seat-sharing agreement with the BJP, it repudiated BJP’s effort to include it in the NDA.

Even Ajit was lackaidasical and non-committal about the relationship with the NDA and BJP leaders had to hurriedly call off the press meet without allowing Ajit to reply to any questions from the media.

After all this effort the NDA could only muster a figure of eight, including the BJP and BJD, at the last count, as against 24 members of the NDA alliance when it was ruling the country. Now, with the BJD out of NDA the figure has again dwindled to seven.

The BJP maintains that other parties will rush to it after the elections, once they see the NDA approaching the half-way mark after the election results. In the meantime, seeing the BJP in a tight spot, its existing allies have hiked their demand.

For instance when the TV screens flashed the news on Saturday of BJD breaking off its ties with the BJP, its general secretary Arun Jaitley was discussing seat-sharing arrangement with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Immediately Kumar announced that he had to catch the flight back home and deferred any further discussions for later.

As a result, the BJP has quietly agreed to surrender at least one more Lok Sabha seat to the JD-U and is now willing for a 25/15 seat sharing formula with the JD-U.

Simultaneously, it has also agreed to give three seats in UP to the party. Party sources said the BJP had also agreed to give two seats to it in Jharkhand.

As for Shiv Sena, the problem is not so much about seat sharing as other issues that the Sena has been raising. Recently the Saamna edit demanded a clarification from Advani on his stand in respect of Belgaum.

Belgaum in Karnataka, on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, has been a bone of contention between the states, often leading to violent agitations on both sides.

Alternatively, it has been threatening to plug for NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s prime
ministerial candidature.

Advani having his first government in this southern state is naturally in no position to take a stand that could displease the Kannadigas.

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Murder Cases
If backed by medical, kin account okay: SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 9
The Supreme Court has ruled that conviction can be handed out in murder cases on the basis of interested witnesses’ version if it was supported by medical evidence.

“When the evidence of the interested witnesses is corroborated by the medical
evidence, then the entire evidence of the interested witnesses ought not be
rejected on that ground," a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and MK
Sharma ruled.

The Bench made the observation while upholding the conviction of four persons for murder on the basis of the statement of the victim's mother, an eye-witness, despite all other witnesses (PWs 2-8) turning hostile.

The case pertained to the murder of one Prabha, son of Murugammal (prosecution witness-1), in Tamil Nadu in March 2001.

The accused, through their counsel, argued that Murugammal had also implicated them in the murder of her other son (Babu) five-six months earlier, but they were acquitted in that case.

Another ground for their appeal against the Madras High Court order was that the trial court had acquitted one of the eight accused.

So, they pleaded that they were also entitled to acquittal under the maxim "falsus in uno falsus in omnibus" (falsehood in one aspect, falsehood in other aspects as well). Of the seven convicted by the HC, only four had come in appeal to the SC.

"It cannot be said that just because the accused were set free in the case of Babu, PW1 has with the wrong intention implicated the accused in the present case," the SC verdict, written by Justice Pasayat for the Bench, reasoned.

The court further said the doctrine on falsehood "is a dangerous one specially in India" as it would bring to a "dead-stop" the administration of criminal justice.

Judiciary should separate truth from falsehood and only in cases where it was not possible it was advisable to discard the evidence in toto, the Bench clarified.

According to the mother, she was witness to her son being chased by the accused, convicted under Section 302 of the IPC, and stabbed repeatedly causing his death on the spot. The HC had also dismissed the appeals of the convicts./

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Six kids burnt to death in Jharkhand

Ranchi, March 9
Six children were burnt to death and two went missing in a fire in a village in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district, police said on Monday.

A woman was preparing snacks last evening when the fire from her stove spread and burnt her hut in Ishak Tola village in Dahutola panchayat, about 550 km from here.

The fire soon spread to nearby houses.Police said only women and children were present in the village at the time of the accident. All the men had gone to a weekly market.

Although the women managed to escape, they could not save their children. The dead children were aged between three and 12. The police said the dead bodies were sent for postmortem last night.

The district administration gave Rs 2,000 cash and 25 kg foodgrain to the families of the dead children.

Officials said an operation to remove the debris and trace the missing children has also been launched. — IANS

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Girl killed in UP over bowl of wheat

Lucknow, March 9
A 12-year-old girl accused of stealing a bowl of wheat was brutally killed by a couple in Uttar Pradesh, the police said today.

The couple, Mahapeeri and Dheer Singh, allegedly killed Soni in Godhna village of Muzaffarnagar district, 350 km from here, after they found a bowl of wheat missing from their kitchen.

“On the pretext of offering sweets to Soni, the couple residing in the same village on Friday took her to their house where they thrashed the girl and banged her head repeatedly against the wall,” police inspector Aman Singh told here on phone.

After beating the girl, the couple left her in the fields and escaped. Locals spotted Soni and rushed her to the hospital where she died Saturday morning.

A case has been registered against the couple at the Purkaji police station by the girl’s father Rajbeer alias Godhu.

“Soni’s postmortem report reveals she died of head injuries,” said Singh. The accused are absconding. —IANS

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Six held for Dalit killings

Tirunelveli (TN), March 9
As many as six persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of two Dalits at Seethatti village in the district following a dispute over offering worship at a local temple.

The six were arrested yesterday, the police said today. The police is on the lookout for 12 others.

DIG Tirunelveli Range P Kannapan and District Superintendent of Police Asra Garg visited the village yesterday, the police said. — PTI

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