SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Tribune Exclusive
CPM will not repeat 2004, says Karat

Prakash Karat New Delhi, March 23
Principal architect of the Third Front, the CPM today categorically ruled out supporting a Congress-led coalition at the Centre, saying the party was whole-heartedly concentrating on defeating it. “What happened in 2004 is not going to be repeated,” party general secretary Prakash Karat said in an exclusive interview to The Tribune today.

Prakash Karat

Finally, RJD keeps 28 seats, LJP 12
Patna, March 23
RJD chief Lalu Prasad has finally broken his electoral ties with the Congress in Bihar by announcing to contest 28 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats today.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav releases the list of party candidates for the Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, in Patna RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav releases the list of party candidates for the Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, in Patna on Monday. — PTI







EARLIER STORIES



Smoke billows out of a paint factory, near the Kolkata Airport, which caught fire
Smoke billows out of a paint factory, near the Kolkata Airport, which caught fire on Monday. — PTI

Cong-AGP row over Mittal, Subba
Guwahati, March 23
Involvement of two businessmen-politicians in Assam election scenario has made sparks fly between the ruling Congress and its arch rival regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

On Nano day, Mamata launches her manifesto
Regrets loss, but puts blame on Buddha, Tata
Kolkata, March 23
Monday definitely was a remarkable day in the lives of Tata Motors’ chairman Ratan Tata and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee. While Tata was busy launching his much-awaited Rs 1 lakh car in Mumbai, Mamata was gearing up to present her poll manifesto for the Lok Sabha election in Kolkata.

IPL turns Indian politics league
Cong-BJP in war of words over shifting of the game
New Delhi, March 23
Rallying behind Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the Congress today pushed the BJP on the backfoot in the controversy concerning the holding of IPL cricket matches alongside the general election.

Cong to release manifesto today
New Delhi, March 23
The Congress will reaffirm its steadfast commitment to providing the ‘aam aadmi’ of the country a life of security, dignity and prosperity while projecting Manmohan Singh as an able Prime Minister, who successfully ran a coalition for five years.

Maya assures quota for poor upper castes
Hyderabad, March 23
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said today that her party would strive for reservations for poor among the upper castes and minorities.

It’s blood gone wrong: Farooq on Varun
New Delhi, March 23
“Blood gone wrong” is how president of National Conference-led ruling alliance in Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah today described Varun Gandhi’s remarks at a rally in Pilibhit some days ago.

Repeal Armed Forces Act, legalise homosexuality: UN Commissioner
New Delhi, March 23
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay today raised serious concerns over disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir and said the UN supported an independent enquiry into these human rights violations to ensure the satisfaction of victims.

Royal challenge: Blue brigade vies for crown in UP
Lucknow, March 23
The days of the ‘raj’ are over and the kings no longer exist, but the urge to rule still persists. Not to be left behind in the poll race, members of the erstwhile royal families will be making efforts to woo the electorate in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections.

‘Ladli Laxmi’ grand success in MP
Bhopal, March 23
“Ladli Laxmi Yojana” — a Madhya Pradesh government scheme aimed at turning the girl child from an unwelcome guest to a harbinger of wealth - has met with spectacular success since its implementation two years ago as the state now has about 2.22 lakh “Ladli Laxmis”.

Doc to get pension as statistician: SC
New Delhi, March 23
A Rajasthan government employee, who retired as a homoeopathic doctor about 15 years ago, will now be treated as a statistician for the purposes of promotions that were due to him when he was in service and for revising his pension, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Lankan Issue
Vijaykanth flays Centre’s policy
Chennai, March 23
Even while Tamil Nadu Congress leaders are claiming that actor Vijaykanth’s DMDK would join their alliance, the actor-turned-politician launched a scathing attack on the Centre for not taking steps to stop the killing of Tamil children and women in Sri Lanka.

‘Revoke Prez rule in Meghalaya’
Guwahati, March 23
A conclave of 13 non-Congress political parties convened by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) here on Sunday demanded immediate revocation of President’s Rule in Meghalaya and call back of Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary.

Major acquitted of attempt to murder charge
Chandigarh, March 23
A general court martial (GCM) has acquitted an Army major accused of attempting to murder his commanding officer (CO). Maj Sandeep Ahlawat had faced three charges, including attempt to murder and destruction of evidence under provisions of the IPC and giving false evidence during preliminary investigations under provisions of the Army Act.

Shoe Attack on Judge
4 women get bail
New Delhi, March 23
The Supreme Court today granted bail to four women held in detention since Friday, when one of them had hurled a shoe at an apex court judge during hearing. A three-member Bench headed by Justice BN Agarwal granted bail to the four from the controversial Boss School of Music, Mumbai, after brief arguments by amicus curiae GE Vahanvati and the accused.

Body donations witness surge in Goa
Panaji, March 23
Goa has witnessed a sudden surge in number of people willing to donate their body for research purpose and organ extraction following the ‘Deh Daan’ movement launched by an NGO here.

Student’s Death
Classes not held at IIT-K; judicial probe soon
Midnapore (West Bengal), March 23
The IIT, Kharagpur, today said a judicial probe would be ordered into the death of a student, which sparked violent protests in the campus, even as students boycotted classes.





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Tribune Exclusive
CPM will not repeat 2004, says Karat
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
Principal architect of the Third Front, the CPM today categorically ruled out supporting a Congress-led coalition at the Centre, saying the party was whole-heartedly concentrating on defeating it.

“What happened in 2004 is not going to be repeated,” party general secretary Prakash Karat said in an exclusive interview to The Tribune today. He said the recently constituted “secular alternative” (the Third Front) was in touch with “all” non-Congress secular parties, both in UPA and NDA, to impress upon them the viability of a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative at the Centre.

“We are confident of the viability of such an alternative as nine parties have already arrived at a seat-sharing agreement in several states. The BSP has also professed post-poll support to us. Moreover, the UPA has disintegrated,” Karat said. He said the UPA as a national coalition had dug its grave the day the Congress insisted on no “national” and only “regional alliances”.

Asked if the Third Front would accept support from the Congress for government formation, Karat said the Front hoped it was never in a situation where it would have to take Congress’ help.

“We are committed to defeating the Congress. What will be the forces that support the alternative secular formation will be known later. We are expecting a major realignment of forces post polls, after which we hope to form the basis for a non-Congress, non-BJP government,” Karat said, dismissing surveys that have placed the CPM at the bottom of the heap in terms of pocketing Lok Sabha seats.

On the fact that CPM’s stand on defeating the Congress on the one hand and terming it as being “no untouchable” on the other was sending conflicting signals to the voters as regards the ideology of the Third Front, Karat insisted the Front was working right now to defeat the Congress for the latter’s retrograde anti-poor and neo-liberal policies.

“What I said was that the Congress can support us, if it wants to. But I repeat I hope no such situation arises,” said the communist leader.

About the controversial issue of prime ministerial face of the Third Front, Karat said the issue would be discussed after elections and it was improper to pre-empt it. “Let us not forget that the Left is a champion of coalitions. We have run a successful coalition in West Bengal for over three decades and also in Kerala. The type of coalition we have formed is a federation of parties, which will democratically choose their PM when the time comes,” he said.

When asked if Prakash Karat could be in the prime minister’s chair, the diehard communist shrugged, “I often tell my colleagues that I am not ready to give up the general secretary-ship of CPM.” On the issue of Jyoti Basu not taking up the prime ministership when the chance came, Karat said, “He would have been a communist PM dependent on the Congress, which was not a happy situation.”

“Whether it was a blunder, let the history judge,” said the CPM leader.

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Finally, RJD keeps 28 seats, LJP 12
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 23
RJD chief Lalu Prasad has finally broken his electoral ties with the Congress in Bihar by announcing to contest 28 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats today. The remaining 12 seats have been given to Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP, with whom the RJD has forged an electoral alliance in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Releasing the list of his party candidates at a press conference here, Lalu said the RJD had decided not to have any electoral pact with the Congress or JMM in Jharkhand as well.

Earlier, the RJD and LJP had left three seats for the Congress from where the party had its sitting MPs. But the latest list furnished by Lalu to newsmen revealed that Bihar RJD president Abdul Bari Siddiqui had been made party nominee from Madhubani against the sitting Congress MP and Union State Minister for Home Affairs Dr Shakeel Ahmed.

The RJD had given its party symbol to Lallan Paswan for Sasaram (SC) seat. He will fight against Meira Kumar, a Union minister from the Congress. Paswan, till a couple of days ago, was a JD(U) MLA from Chenari. But he has now climbed onto Lalu’s bandwagon and has been pitted by the RJD against the sitting Congress MP.

The RJD nominee against another sitting Congress MP, Nikhil Kumar, from Aurangabad is Shakeel Ahmed Khan. Khan, a senior advocate of Patna High Court and ex-law minister in the Rabri Devi regime will fight against the former police commissioner of Delhi.

Although, the RJD had declared its candidates against the three sitting Congress MPs, it was yet to finalise on its nominee against JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav from Madhepura, BJP candidate and cine actor Shatrughan Sinha from Patna Saheb and JD(U) parliamentary party leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha from Maharajganj, Prabhunath Singh. However, Lalu said the party would decide its candidates on these seats in a day or two.

On its part, the Congress had left three seats -- Saran and Pataliputra from where Lalu had declared his candidature and Hajipur, the constituency of Ram Vilas Paswan. In the words of BPCC president Anil Sharma, the Congress had decided not to field its candidates against Lalu and Paswan as a token of appreciation for their support in running the UPA government at the Centre.

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Cong-AGP row over Mittal, Subba
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, March 23
Involvement of two businessmen-politicians in Assam election scenario has made sparks fly between the ruling Congress and its arch rival regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

In reference to the seat-sharing deal between the AGP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to fight Congress jointly in Assam, Chief Minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi accused the AGP of shedding its regional character and selling it to Delhi-based businessman Sudhangshu Mittal for having a poll understanding with the saffron party.

This has triggered a sharp reaction from the AGP with its president Chandra Mohan Patowary today saying that for the AGP Mittal was a BJP leader and member of the BJP’s National Council who had been appointed by the party as co-observer to take care of the party’s campaign in Assam.

“There is no question of the AGP selling itself to Mittal. Being the Chief Minister, Gogoi should observe restrain and desist from making such shallow and baseless allegations,” Patowary said.

The AGP leader further went on to drag the Congress MP and one of the party candidates Mani Kumar Subba to the war of words.

“Congress, which has repeatedly fielded Mani Kumar Subba, a businessman against whom cases related to issues over his place of birth, date of birth, were pending in the Supreme Court following a CBI investigation, has no right to point accusing fingers at other parties. Gogoi should better put his house in order before pointing fingers at us,” Patowary said.

“Gogoi, who has admitted to have taken election fund from the tea industry, should not accuse us of getting sold to any businessman,” the AGP leader said.

Meanwhile, a team of Election Commission (EC), led by Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, today embarked on a three-day visit to Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to take stock of the election process and poll-related security arrangement.

The EC team met various political parties at Assam Administrative Staff College this afternoon before leaving for Meghalaya.

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On Nano day, Mamata launches her manifesto
Regrets loss, but puts blame on Buddha, Tata

Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, March 23
Monday definitely was a remarkable day in the lives of Tata Motors’ chairman Ratan Tata and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee. While Tata was busy launching his much-awaited Rs 1 lakh car in Mumbai, Mamata was gearing up to present her poll manifesto for the Lok Sabha election in Kolkata.

Ironically, both of them had a common connection - Nano. Ratan Tata initially wanted to roll out the car from the company’s Singur (West Bengal) plant, but Mamata’s party, in association with local farmers, drove him out of the state.

Today, the Trinamool chief said “it was regrettable that the Nano could not be produced at Singur”. But at the same time, she claimed that neither her party nor the poor farmers who fought against the “forcible acquisition of agricultural land” (for the Nano project) could be held responsible.

On the contrary, Mamata held Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as well as Ratan Tata responsible for shifting the Nano project from Singur to Gujarat. She said her party and the farmers had only demanded back 400 acres of cultivable land while the rest 600 acres could had been used for the plant. Today too, she reiterated the same demand, which has also been included in the TMC’s poll manifesto.

Meanwhile, Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, during an election meeting at Diamond Harbour, did not forget to criticise Mamata for depriving the state’s unemployed youth of job avenues in the Tata project.

He said the entire 1,000 acres of land at Singur, which had been handed over to Tata Motors, were still lying under the company’s possession and he did not know whether the Tatas were willing to use it for some other industrial project.

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IPL turns Indian politics league
Cong-BJP in war of words over shifting of the game

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
Rallying behind Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the Congress today pushed the BJP on the backfoot in the controversy concerning the holding of IPL cricket matches alongside the general election.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, also heading the Delhi Cricket Association, had earlier blamed the Home Minister for his reluctance to spare sufficient force to conduct the matches. Siding with Jaitley, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi had offered to hold these matches. But the Congress proved Modi-Jaitley claims of adequate security hollow by producing a letter of the state DGP expressing his inability to provide security from April 15 to May 3. On Sunday, Modi had dismissed Chidambram’s apprehensions about the timing of these matches.

In reply, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi here today released a letter by Gujarat DGP SS Khandwawala, mentioning saying that the matches cannot go alongside the state elections as Gujarat would not be in a position to set aside adequate police force for this purpose between April 15 and May 3.

It reads: “Lok Sabha polls in the state are scheduled for April 30. Therefore, we will not be in a position to demarcate police force for security purposes for the conduct of IPL matches that shall be played between April 15 and May 3… kindly explore the feasibility of shifting the match scheduled for April 22 to any other date…” Jaitley also railed the government: “This government is sullying the image of the country among cricket lovers of the world that India is no more safe for cricketers and cricket lovers.”

Terming it a “national shame”, he alleged that the UPA had surrendered before the terror threat. “Today, our country stands defeated before terror.” He claimed that most BJP-ruled states were willing to host these matches on schedule. Meanwhile, Singhvi said the BJP and its chief ministers were only interested in politicising the issue and were not really concerned about security and safety of the people and the country. “It seems that the state DGP is more concerned about the security while the chief minister only wants to indulge in cheap politics”.

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Cong to release manifesto today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
The Congress will reaffirm its steadfast commitment to providing the ‘aam aadmi’ of the country a life of security, dignity and prosperity while projecting Manmohan Singh as an able Prime Minister, who successfully ran a coalition for five years.

The party, heading the ruling coalition at the Centre, will be releasing its election manifesto tomorrow against the backdrop of a slowdown in the economy. A major emphasis will therefore be on securing for Indian economy the full benefits of global economic growth while protecting the people of the country from the more baleful consequences of the global economic downturn.

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Maya assures quota for poor upper castes
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, March 23
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said today that her party would strive for reservations for poor among the upper castes and minorities.

Mayawati, who was addressing a public meeting here, said: “I have written to the central government on the matter several times in the past. When we get an opportunity to rule the country, we will implement such a reservation policy.”

She said her party would contest all 42 Lok Sabha and 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh in the next month’s elections.

She further said she would give due importance to all castes in the distribution of party tickets.

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It’s blood gone wrong: Farooq on Varun
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
“Blood gone wrong” is how president of National Conference-led ruling alliance in Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah today described Varun Gandhi’s remarks at a rally in Pilibhit some days ago.

In the capital today to release “Kashmiriyat” —- a book on the turbulent history of Kashmir and its pluralistic culture, narrated by UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh, Farooq said he was shocked at the rabid, communal remarks made by Varun Gandhi and could not believe the great grandson of Pt Jawahar lal Nehru could say such things.

“I still recall how Pt Nehru would make it a point to pay obeisance at the mosques every morning,” said Abdullah, recalling the days Pt Nehru spent with his father Sheikh Abdullah.

The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister hoped the youth did not fall to the tragic outpourings of Varun Gandhi, and added, “The country needs a leader who is for all. But I must say in Varun Gandhi’s case, blood has gone wrong. You can’t have an India where such tragic things are said.”

Commending Mandanjeet Singh’s efforts to bring “Kashmiriyat” to life, Abdullah recounted the Partition of India and also how and when the crisis of brotherhood started in the valley.

“It all began with the Muslims rising up the social ladder and demanding their pound of the flesh. That was when the minority Hindus in the Valley, for the first time, became insecure about their and their children’s future,” Abdullah said, urging for an immediate solution to the Indo-Pak problem and asking for old wounds to be forgotten.

As president of the NC, Abdullah declared the intent of the J&K government to hold panchayat elections in the state soon after the LS polls.

“I also hope my son Omar, who is now the Chief Minister, does something to ensure that the properties of Hindus are not sold off fraudulently,” he said.

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Repeal Armed Forces Act, legalise homosexuality: UN Commissioner
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay today raised serious concerns over disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir and said the UN supported an independent enquiry into these human rights violations to ensure the satisfaction of victims.

The UN Commissioner hoped India would respond positively to the UN Human Rights Council’s urge to set up its operations in India. “A country so outspoken about democratic traditions should have no fear to have our office here,” said the Commissioner, who discussed this matter in her meetings with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram. The council does not have an office in India yet.

On her first state visit here, Pillay also called upon India to play an international role on advancing human rights, and asked the government to scrap the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act and laws that criminalised homosexuality.

“I must, however, say that the government did not assure us of the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and said it was only being used in conflict areas; it also did not show instant alacrity to our proposal of having a UN Human Rights Council’s office in India,” Pillay later told The Tribune. She said she would pursue the matter after general elections in India were over.

In her meetings with the government, the commissioner is also learnt to have called for an urgent review of outdated laws in India and the need to implement them effectively.

“I asked the government to do away with outmoded laws and referred to them the instance of South Africa which had inherited old colonial laws, including those that criminalise sodomy. The said law has hence been amended. I want the Indian government to address laws on the statute book and make them relevant to the time,” said Pillay, who backed India’s stand on Sri Lanka, commending it for sending humanitarian aid to the civilians trapped in conflict zones.

“I discussed the Sri Lankan situation with India, and reiterated that no success could be achieved with a military solution and a political situation would have to be worked out. We have asked Sri Lanka to ensure safe passage to civilians,” said Pillay, adding that acts being committed by the Government of Sri Lanka could well be constituted as war crimes.

The UN Human Rights Council has now written to Sri Lankan to have human rights monitors - a request Sri Lanka is yet to respond to.

Back in India, Pillay urged the government to address the concerns of civil rights groups.

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Royal challenge: Blue brigade vies for crown in UP

Lucknow, March 23
The days of the ‘raj’ are over and the kings no longer exist, but the urge to rule still persists. Not to be left behind in the poll race, members of the erstwhile royal families will be making efforts to woo the electorate in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections. With battle lines drawn, senior Congress leader Sanjay Singh, who hails from the royal family of Ramnagar in Amethi, is making efforts to win over his former “praja.”

He was elected to the state assembly and also won the Lok Sabha polls in 1998 on a BJP ticket. Having served as union minister once, Singh is back in the Congress and is seeking election from Sultanpur parliamentary seat. His wife Amita Singh is already an MLA from Amethi assembly seat, which is represented by Congress young turk Rahul Gandhi in the Parliament.

RPN Singh, is yet another member of the blue brigade, who will be testing his luck in the Lok Sabha polls. RPN Singh, who hails from Padrauna state, is already a sitting MLA of the Congress and is trying to enter the Lok Sabha as party candidate from Kushinagar district.

Another Congress candidate from Pratapgarh seat, Rajkumari Ratna Singh, is a desecendant of erstwhile Kalakankar state. Her father Dinesh Singh, ‘raja’ of Kalakankar estate, too was a parliamentarian. Married into a royal family, Ratna Singh was elected from this seat twice in 1996 and then again in 1999.

She, however, lost to a member of royal bridage Akshay Pratap Singh in the 2004 general elections. Akshay is cousin of sitting SP MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya of Bhadri estate. This time both the members of the royal brigade will be pitched against each other for the second time. While Ratna Singh will be contesting as Congress candidate, Akshay Pratap will be seeking re-election as SP nominee. Manvendra Singh, Congress sitting MP from Mathura, too traces his roots to a royal family. Singh is seeking re-election from Mathura.

Another ‘raja’, who is keen to maintain his dominance in the politics is Kirti Vardhan Singh of Mankapur estate in Balrampur district. — PTI

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‘Ladli Laxmi’ grand success in MP
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, March 23
“Ladli Laxmi Yojana” — a Madhya Pradesh government scheme aimed at turning the girl child from an unwelcome guest to a harbinger of wealth - has met with spectacular success since its implementation two years ago as the state now has about 2.22 lakh “Ladli Laxmis”.

Looking at the popularity of the scheme, the state government estimates that it would have to increase the current annual budgetary allocation for the scheme (Rs 145 crore) more than five folds in the next two to three years.

BJP’s PM-in-waiting, Advani, witnessing its success has resolved in his blog to implement the scheme across the country if his party gets to power in the Centre.

Under the “Ladli Laxmi” scheme, every girl child, registered as “Ladli Laxmi” before her first birthday, would get Rs 2,000 when she clears class V. When she sails through class VIII, the amount rises to Rs 4,000. On reaching class X, she will be paid Rs 7,500.

While studying in class XI and XII, she will get Rs 200 per month. And when she becomes an adult, she will get Rs 1 lakh, which can be used for her marriage or higher studies. The money comes from investment in National Savings Certificate made by the government in the name of the child. The child and a designated government official would be joint holders of the NSC.

The scheme has been cleverly crafted to ensure that it meets its objectives viz. improvement in sex ratio, higher women literacy, better health status of women and checking child marriages.

For one, only those parents who do not have more than two children are entitled to join the scheme and before registering their daughter(s) as ‘Ladli Laxmi”, they would have to adopt family planning. The final payment of Rs 1lakh will be made only if the girl appears (though not necessarily passes) in class XII examination and also does not get married before the statutory minimum age of 18 years.

“The reason why this scheme met with such a success was that instead of sermonising parents to treat boys and girls as equals, we adopted a more realistic and practical route,” says a senior functionary of the women and child development department that runs the scheme.

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Doc to get pension as statistician: SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 23
A Rajasthan government employee, who retired as a homoeopathic doctor about 15 years ago, will now be treated as a statistician for the purposes of promotions that were due to him when he was in service and for revising his pension, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A Bench comprising Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and MK Sharma handed out the verdict as the employee, SN Tiwari, was appointed as a homoeopathic doctor in December 1980 on a “purely urgent, temporary basis” for six months or till his replacement.

He, however, retired in the same capacity in August 1994 without being reverted to the Subordinate Statistical Services cadre.

The state government had come to the apex court, challenging a similar order passed by the Rajasthan High Court. Tiwari had joined the Department of Economic and Industrial Surveys of the state government as Grade-II Investigator in April 1959. He and other similarly situated persons were declared as surplus employees by the department and were sent to the Directorate of Medical and Health Services, Jaipur. He was statistical inspector in the directorate when he was appointed as a temporary doctor.

The apex court agreed with the findings of the HC that the lien of the employee always continued in the Department of Economics and Statistics. The mere fact that he continued to work for a long period would not result in loss of lien in the parent department.

“We find no infirmity in the order passed by the HC,” the SC Bench ruled in the judgment delivered this week.

“The appeals, therefore, fail and are dismissed,” the Judges said. The statistician-doctor had sought promotions, seniority, financial benefits, pay fixation and other dues to him after a re-assessment of the vacancies from 1964 till the date his immediate juniors were promoted from the post of statistical inspector to deputy director. He had also claimed the pension benefits by duly fixing his seniority and promotions.

The apex court clarified that “the term lien comes from the Latin term ligament meaning binding.

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Lankan Issue
Vijaykanth flays Centre’s policy
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 23
Even while Tamil Nadu Congress leaders are claiming that actor Vijaykanth’s DMDK would join their alliance, the actor-turned-politician launched a scathing attack on the Centre for not taking steps to stop the killing of Tamil children and women in Sri Lanka.

Launching the poll campaign even before announcing his party’s alliance strategy for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections at the silk town of Kanchipuram last evening, Vijaykanth said, “Even Tamil children in their wombs are being killed in artillery shelling and aerial bombing of the Sri Lankan military. The Centre has not condemned these attacks.”

Sending shock waves across state Congress leaders and functionaries, who are desperately seeking Vijaykanth’s hand to strengthen their alliance, the actor said, “Those parties in the Centre who did not stop the killing of island Tamils will come to seek votes of Tamil people here. Do not vote for them.” He also came down heavily on the DMK and AIADMK, saying they were cobbling up alliances and getting ministerial berths at the Centre to fill their coffers.

However, he did give a firm reply when the huge crowd that gathered around his van, loudly shouted at him to announce the alliance strategy. But, his attacks against the Congress indicates that his mind is made up against an alliance with that party. The actor, whose eight per cent vote share spread throughout Tamil Nadu could swing the results of the elections, said he would announce a clear decision on March 26 at Kanyakumari.

His tirade against the Congress, came hours after a party functionary at Pudukottai district in eastern Tamil Nadu, committed self-immolation, opposing a tie-up with the Congress. The functionary Balasundaram belonging to Kothamangalam village set himself ablaze, condemning the Centre’s support to the Sri Lankan government in its war against the LTTE and asking his party leader not to have an alliance with the Congress.

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‘Revoke Prez rule in Meghalaya’
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, March 23
A conclave of 13 non-Congress political parties convened by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) here on Sunday demanded immediate revocation of President’s Rule in Meghalaya and call back of Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary.

Talking to the media immediately after the meeting, Sangma said all the political parties after discussing the situation in Meghalaya unanimously condemned ‘unconstitutional’ act of the Government of India to put Meghalaya Assembly under suspended animation and impose President’s Rule by ‘misusing’ Article 356 of the Constitution.

The meeting also resolved to extend support to the region-wide agitation to be launched by the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) against imposition of President’s Rule in Meghalaya and authorised NCP leader Sangma to initiate all possible steps to revive the North East People’s Forum comprising non-Congress political parties to a forceful political platform to make the voice of Northeast heard in New Delhi.

On the national front, Sangma said the UPA was collapsing and the NCP, which has a seat sharing arrangement with the Congress only in Maharashtra, has kept its option open to take a decision on the post-poll alliance on the basis of outcome of the LS polls.

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Major acquitted of attempt to murder charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
A general court martial (GCM) has acquitted an Army major accused of attempting to murder his commanding officer (CO). Maj Sandeep Ahlawat had faced three charges, including attempt to murder and destruction of evidence under provisions of the IPC and giving false evidence during preliminary investigations under provisions of the Army Act.

The GCM, presided over by Brig Amrik Singh, commander of an artillery brigade, found the officer not guilty on all three counts. The trial, which began at Kanpur in November, concluded on Saturday. The verdict is subject to confirmation by the GCM’s convening authority.

Nine officers and 11 other ranks had deposed as witnesses. Many of the witnesses had turned hostile during the trial. Further, the names of three senior officers had also cropped up during depositions for allegedly threatening the accused.

The officer was accused xof assaulting his CO at Hisar military station three years ago. The CO had sustained serious injuries and was admitted to a military hospital. Consequently, the Army ordered investigations into the matter. In fact, three different courts of inquiries were held in the case.

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Shoe Attack on Judge
4 women get bail
R. Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 23
The Supreme Court today granted bail to four women held in detention since Friday, when one of them had hurled a shoe at an apex court judge during hearing.

A three-member Bench headed by Justice BN Agarwal granted bail to the four from the controversial Boss School of Music, Mumbai, after brief arguments by amicus curiae GE Vahanvati and the accused.

The Bench, which also included Justices GS Singhvi and HL Dattu, posted the next hearing for April 14. The court said the accused should furnish personal bonds to the satisfaction of the SC Registrar.

The accused — Leila David, Annette Kotian, Pavithra Murali and Savita Parikh -- had been lodged in the high security Tihar jail after the shoe attack in the court of Justices Arijit Pasayat and AK Ganguly.

While Justice Pasayat instantly handed out a three-month sentence to them for the contempt of court, Justice Ganguly did not agree with it, stating that the accused should be issued notices and given a chance to present their version before any verdict was passed. In view of this, the Bench referred the issue to Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and ordered that the accused would be in detention till a larger Bench considered it.

There was a heavy presence of women police personnel in the court today when the accused were produced there.

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Body donations witness surge in Goa

Panaji, March 23
Goa has witnessed a sudden surge in number of people willing to donate their body for research purpose and organ extraction following the ‘Deh Daan’ movement launched by an NGO here.

The Goa Science Forum (GSF) has taken up the cudgel to make people aware about ‘deh daan’ (body donation), resulting a rise in graph of individuals ready to donate their bodies for research purpose and organ transplantation.

“We began (this movement) in January this year and by now we have 70 donors of both the genders and cutting across all ages,” Goa Science Forum President Somu Rao said.

While majority of the people are willing to donate their body, few have approved that their specific organs can be extracted and body be given back to relatives for final rituals, Rao said.

“The organs can be extracted under transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994.. But if someone wants to donate the entire body, what he needs is just to file an affidavit with two witnesses with the Public Notary,” Rao added.

The first mass ‘deh daan’ was conducted this year in the coastal state in a function organised to felicitate renowned social and anti-mining activist Ramesh Gawas. The first day saw 54 persons donating their bodies, Rao claimed. — PTI

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Student’s Death
Classes not held at IIT-K; judicial probe soon

Midnapore (West Bengal), March 23
The IIT, Kharagpur, today said a judicial probe would be ordered into the death of a student, which sparked violent protests in the campus, even as students boycotted classes.

Asking students to resume classes, acting Director Madhusudan Chakraborty said a judicial inquiry would be conducted by a high court Chief Justice to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Rohit Kumar, a student of third year electrical engineering, and whoever found responsible would be punished. The name of the judge would be decided later.

Chakraborty, who was handed over charge by Damodar Acharya who resigned last night, said a helicopter would be kept ready for ferrying any critical patient to a referral hospital while the existing institute-run hospital will be upgraded under public-private partnership model.

The senior professor, who was earlier Deputy Director, however, resigned from the post of Chairman, IIT, Kharagpur Management Committee in the wake of violent agitation by students who damaged the bungalow of Acharya and allegedly heckled him demanding the superintendent of the institute hospital be immediately suspended.

The Chairman, IIT Board of Governors, B Muthuraraman, will visit the campus on Friday. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

IGNOU goes online
NEW DELHI:
IGNOU is set to introduce an online study guide for its students. Announcing the initiative, IGNOU pro-vice chancellor KR Srivathsan said the online web-accessible system would be a two-way learning support for all students. IGNOU chief public relations officer Ravi Mohan said an online query management system and a call centre would be established to help the students in clearing their doubts.

Eunuch menace
NEW DELHI:
With increasing complaints of passengers being harassed by eunuchs, the railway authorities have intensified the drive to stop the menace by arresting more than 400 of them in the first two months of this year. “There is a continuous drive against unauthorised entry in trains and stations. Those caught harassing passengers are also being prosecuted,” a senior official in Railway Ministry told. Maximum numbers of eunuch harassment cases were reported in South Central Railway (364) followed by Western Railway (274) and Central Railway (179).

Accreditation of schools
NEW DELHI:
Setting benchmarks for schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education will for the first time give accreditation to institutions affiliated to it on the basis of quality of education. The country’s premier school examination board has decided to launch the initiative, the first by any board in the country, before commencement of the next academic session. “The governing body has decided to start accreditation of the schools for the first time from this year. The purpose is to set benchmark for quality assurance among the schools in the country,” CBSE chairman Vineeth Joshi said here.

Himalayan glaciers
NEW DELHI:
Himalayan glaciers were probably the first to bear the brunt of climatic changes and began to melt during early to mid-18th century, claim a new study. Researchers studied composite organisms developed on the loops of the moraines formed by the Chorabari glacier near the famous Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand to arrive at the conclusion. The study, carried out by Ravinder Kumar Chaujar of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehra Dun, concluded that the period when the Chorabori glacier started receding from the point of its maximum advancement in this part of the Himalayas. The study was published in Current Science.

EC urged to tighten security
GUWAHATI:
In view of the ‘hostile’ atmosphere prevailing in Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District Council (BTADC) areas in Assam in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) has made an appeal to the Election Commission (EC) of India to ensure full-proof security for common people in the area to facilitate free and fair elections.

28 docs suspended
Ahmedabad:
Three doctors of a government-run hospital have been suspended for a year while 25 medicos have been put under suspension for a period of three months for allegedly molesting hospital nurses during Holi revelry, an official statement said on Monday. Nurses of an Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run hospital had alleged that three doctors, Dr Jaydut Tekani, Dr Prakash Patel and Dr Rajesh Punhari, alongwith other medicos, had molested them on March 11.

Source: TNS & agencies

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