SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Advani pledges dialogue with BJP leader LK Advani arrive for an election rally in Diphu constituency in Karbi Anglong district, Assam, on Wednesday. insurgents
Kheroni (Assam), March 25
Senior BJP leader and the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani today pledged to adopt dialogue as a key instrument to solve the lingering problem of insurgency in Assam and other parts of the north-east if the NDA was voted to power.

BJP leader LK Advani arrive for an election rally in Diphu constituency in Karbi Anglong district, Assam, on Wednesday. — PTI

BJP’s‘all-male show’ in North
Jalandhar, March 25
The BJP’s ‘all-male show’ in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and even to some extent in Haryana and Delhi in the coming Lok Sabha elections has made people to raise questions about party’s attitude towards the women empowerment.

BSP candidate held for killing of 10 cops
Patna, March 25
Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s (BSP) candidate from the Jamui constituency Arjun Ravidas was arrested by the police here today in connection with the killing of 10 policemen in a Naxal attack at Mahulitand village.



EARLIER STORIES

Rahul Gandhi PM achieved ‘hell of a lot’: Rahul
Says Manmohan has his full support
Puducherry, March 25
A day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi endorsed Manmohan Singh’s name as the prime ministerial candidate if the ruling coalition again came to power, her son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today said Manmohan Singh had achieved a “hell of a lot” and had both toughness and grit.

HC rejects Varun’s plea on FIR
Allahabad, March 25
In a setback to BJP Lok Sabha candidate Varun Gandhi, the Allahabad High Court today turned down the plea for quashing an FIR against hi for his alleged anti-Muslim speeches even as his counsel indicated that he is likely to challenge the order in the Supreme Court.

Kandhamal riot-hit want polls postponed
The delegation of tribal survivors of Kandhamal riots arrive for the press conference after meeting with the Election Commission in New Delhi on Wednesday. New Delhi, March 25
After enduring anti-minority violence of the worst proportion last September, the riot-hit tribals of Kandhamal are now struggling to protect their fundamental right to adult franchise. Nearly 22,000 Christians remain unaccounted for in the electoral lists of the district that witnessed rabid communal violence in the aftermath of the killing of Laxmanananda Saraswati, a local VHP leader in August last.


The delegation of tribal survivors of Kandhamal riots arrive for the press conference after meeting with the Election Commission in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI

Editors Guild condemns murder of Mazumdar
Chandigarh, March 25
The Editors Guild of India has expressed shock over the brutal murder of Anil Mazumdar, editor of Assamese daily Aji, on Tuesday night. The Guild had, on many occasions, expressed deep apprehensions about the safety of editors and journalists in Assam as many of them functioned under the shadow of threats. In a statement issued, president of the Guild Rajdeep Desai said journalists and editors in Assam were pressurised by terrorist groups and sometimes by government agencies, to write in favour of one or the other.

PMK’s absence to affect Cong?
New Delhi, March 25
The PMK is on the verge of making an official announcement of pulling out of the UPA family, but despite its allies walking away from one after the other the Congress today continued to put up a brave front, saying that it was still confident of forming the next government at the Centre.

SC reluctant on allowing criminals to contest polls
New Delhi, March 25
The Supreme Court today observed that denial of relief to persons convicted under POTA would bring down the number of members with criminal background in assemblies and other legislative bodies.

Pawar lost chance to ‘bury’ Cong in M’rashtra: Thackeray
Mumbai, March 25
Hitting out at Sharad Pawar for forging a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today said the NCP chief has missed the chance to "bury" Congress in Maharashtra.

EC likely to issue notice to Mulayam
New Delhi, March 25
After facing heat for its advice to the BJP not to field Varun Gandhi in the elections for his anti-Muslim speeches, the Election Commission is likely to slap a notice on Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav for allegedly threatening a woman poll officer for cancelling arms licences in Uttar Pradesh.

I’m fit to contest: George
George Fernandes Says people talking about his ill-health will get a befitting reply after polls
Patna, March 25
Veteran socialist leader George Fernandes, whose Janata Dal (U) has denied him a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls, today announced he was ready to run from his Muzaffarpur constituency and would formally announce this on Thursday after holding discussions with his friends and supporters.

Defence Minister reviews security situation
New Delhi, March 24
With Lok Sabha polls round the corner and the threat of terror strikes looming large, Union Defence Minister AK Antony today directed the Indian Army to deal with utmost firmness the situation arising out the recent spurt in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jaya blames Karuna for plight of Lankan Tamils
Chennai, March 25
Alleging that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was responsible for the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa today said the genocide of Tamils could have been prevented, if the DMK withdrew support to the UPA government, which was providing military support to the war.

People turn to god for good MPs
New Delhi, March 25
Will there be divine intervention? Desperate for some good and clean governance, a group of senior citizens in Ranchi, the Jharkhand capital, decided to appease the gods for it.

Will BSP’s ‘social engineering’ work in M’rashtra?
Mumbai, March 25
Mayawati’s BSP has unveiled its social engineering formula in Maharashtra where it is contesting all the 48 Lok Sabha seats.


Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and a Muslim cleric from Rampur to the media after a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and a Muslim cleric from Rampur to the media after a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Forest department officials display the tiger skin, measuring over 10 feet, which was seized from Guruguria village, in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Forest department officials display the tiger skin, measuring over 10 feet, which was seized from Guruguria village, in Kolkata on Wednesday. — PTI

First woman press photographer sells Fiat to buy Nano
Vadodara, March 25
A 96-year-old ‘first woman press photographer’ Homai Vyarawala staying in the city, has sold her 55-year-old original Fiat car for buying Tata’s Nano car. Vyarawala said she had sold her Fiat car to a vintage car lover in Mumbai after she found it difficult to get it repaired.

Prez Rule in Meghalaya
SC notice to Centre
New Delhi, March 25
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in Meghalaya on March 19 on the recommendation of the Governor who felt the constitutional machinery had broken down in the state.

MP govt official, wife murdered
Indore, March 25
Unidentified assailants murdered a senior Madhya Pradesh government official and his wife in their residence here, the police said today. The incident took place last night in Tilak Nagar under the Palasia police station area.

Cop sent to jail in gang rape case
Bhopal, March 25
A policeman was sent to jail by a local court in connection with the gang-rape of a minor girl in a police station in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh.

headstart: A Trinamool Congress party activist gets the party symbol painted on his head, ahead of Lok Sabha polls campaign in Howrah on Wednesday.
headstart: A Trinamool Congress party activist gets the party symbol painted on his head, ahead of Lok Sabha polls campaign in Howrah on Wednesday. — AFP

French authors Lapierre, Moro face defamation charge
Bhopal, March 25
Rejecting the plea that it had no power of jurisdiction over foreign nationals, the district court of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday registered a criminal case of defamation against French authors Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro.

CPM blasts Cong for price rise, malnutrition
New Delhi, March 25
The CPM on Monday lashed out at the Congress-led government for claiming credit for reduced inflation at a time when the prices of food articles and other essential commodities were on a persistent rise, and the economy was plunging towards deflation.

Grand Alliance: Stalemate over seat-sharing continues
Hyderabad, March 25
An already tenuous four-party opposition alliance in Andhra Pradesh came under further strain as stalemate in seat-sharing talks continued today.

Poll Platter

An man walks past a wholesale shop selling election campaign flags and other political party merchandise in New Delhi on Wednesday. — AFP
An man walks past a wholesale shop selling election campaign flags and other political party merchandise in New Delhi on Wednesday. — AFP

Woman Army officer commits suicide
Nagpur, March 25
A 29-year-old lady Captain employed with the Army Hospital in Pune committed suicide here, the police said today. The incident took place last week, they said. Captain Bharti Devikant Naranje had come to her parents’ house and injected some poisonous substance, they said.

No ‘objection’ to Upadhyay, Pandey contesting poll
Mumbai, March 25
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), investigating the 2008 Malegaon blast case today said it had no objection with two of the accused - Major Ramesh Upadhyay (retd) and self-styled religious leader Dayanand Pandey, contesting the forthcoming general elections.

‘Consider 5 observatories as heritage
 sites’

New Delhi, March 25
Measuring time for the past three centuries, five Jantar Mantars in the country could add more feathers to their cap if UNESCO accepts India’s proposal to accord World Heritage status to them.

Navy copter crashes in Goa
Mumbai, March 25
An Indian Navy helicopter, out on a routine sortie, today crashed off Goa coast. However, all three members onboard are safe, a Navy spokesperson here said. The incident took place at around 11 am, about 22 miles from the Goa coast, the spokesperson said.

Pak captures 72 Indian fishermen
Ahmedabad, March 25
Pakistan has captured 72 Indian fishermen, along with 13 boats, from near Sir Creek, the Gujarat Fish Forum Association said today. “Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PSMA) captured 72 Indian fishermen and seized their 13 boats yesterday. 

 

 





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Advani pledges dialogue with insurgents
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Kheroni (Assam), March 25
Senior BJP leader and the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani today pledged to adopt dialogue as a key instrument to solve the lingering problem of insurgency in Assam and other parts of the north-east if the NDA was voted to power.

Launching the party’s poll campaign from the Karbi Anglong district of Assam, Advani fired a broadside at the Congress for failing to even mention about illegal migration from Bangladesh in its poll manifest and vowed to tackle the same effectively if the NDA came to power.

Making bare the party’s strategy to corner the Congress on illegal migration issue, Advani said, “It surprises me that Congress poll manifesto has no mention of the unabated illegal infiltration from Bangladesh that has led to rise in criminal activities, unemployment all over the country, especially in Assam and other parts of the north-east.”

The BJP veteran said he would like to remind the Congress that its government was criticised by the Supreme Court for failing to effectively tackle illegal migration, described by the court nothing less than external aggression.

“Confrontation and use of force can’t always find solution to internal conflicts like insurgency. We should hold dialogue with insurgent groups that are willing to talk. The previous NDA government had initiated talks with Naga rebel groups and Bodo militants in the north-east and as a result peace has come back to those areas in the region,” he said.

Promising an effective and strong government at the Centre, Advani said the NDA, if voted to power, would aspire to complete all unfinished works of the previous regime led by Atal Behari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister.

Addressing the huge gathering of tribal, non-tribal and sizeable Hindi-speaking sugarcane cultivators here, he said, “Here among you I have felt that the country is united and just needs an effective, strong government at the Centre. Let the Congress rest for the next five years.”

The BJP has fielded young Kulendra Daulagupu, a graduate from Pune Film Institute and a member of Dimasa tribe, as its candidate from Autonomous constituency. Advani addressed two poll rallies at Silchar and Karimganj in South Assam later in the day. 

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BJP’s‘all-male show’ in North
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 25
The BJP’s ‘all-male show’ in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and even to some extent in Haryana and Delhi in the coming Lok Sabha elections has made people to raise questions about party’s attitude towards the women empowerment.

Also, in comparison to other parties especially the Congress, the BJP has shown less inclination towards youth as far as the northern states are concerned.

In Punjab, the party has put up Navjot Singh Sidhu, Vinod Khanna and Som Parkash in three seats- Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur, respectively. It did not consider the name of any women candidate in the state, as at least one seat should have gone to woman candidate if one goes by the logic of giving 30 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha constituencies.

In Chandigarh, the party has selected Sat Pal Jain, while in Himachal Pradesh it has fielded Rajan Sushant from Kangra, Dr Maheshwar Singh from Mandi, Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur and Virendra Kashyap from Shimla.

Meanwhile, Leela Karan Sharma will contest from J&K and Nirmal Singh from Udhampur. Both are male candidates.

Interestingly, in Haryana the party has selected Dr Sudha Sharma from Gurgaon, the only woman candidate put up by the BJP in Haryana.

It has also put up candidates in five constituencies in Haryana. ID Swami from Karnal, Kishan Sangwan from Sonepat, Ram Chandra from Faridabad and Rattan Lal Kataria from Ambala.

In Delhi also, the BJP has selected all male candidates except one--- Meera Kanwaria from the north-west (reserve) constituency. Meera is a former Mayor of Delhi. Other candidates put up by the party here include Vijay Goel, Jagdish Mukhi, Chetan Chauhan, Ramesgh Bidhuri, Vijendra Gupta.

BJP’s Sushma Swaraj was on the forefront on the issue of giving 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha constituencies. Along with communist leader Brinda Karat, she had also organised a dharna in front of Parliament to urge various political parties to pass the Bill in this regard.

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BSP candidate held for killing of 10 cops
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 25
Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s (BSP) candidate from the Jamui constituency Arjun Ravidas was arrested by the police here today in connection with the killing of 10 policemen in a Naxal attack at Mahulitand village.

IG Sunil Kumar (Patna Zone) confirmed the arrest of Arjun Ravidas from Jamui collectorate’s premises, where he had gone to collect nomination forms for the coming parliamentary polls.

The IG said he was named as accused in an FIR registered in connection with the incident of Naxal violence at Mahulitand on February 9. The police had earlier arrested three other accused in the incident.

Arjun Ravidas is said to have played a key role in the incident and since then he had gone underground. However, the police was hunting for him and today managed to arrest him. Top BSP leaders of Bihar could not be contacted for their reaction on the party giving its symbol to a hard core Naxal, allegedly involved in the killing of policemen.

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PM achieved ‘hell of a lot’: Rahul 
Says Manmohan has his full support

Puducherry, March 25
A day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi endorsed Manmohan Singh’s name as the prime ministerial candidate if the ruling coalition again came to power, her son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today said Manmohan Singh had achieved a “hell of a lot” and had both toughness and grit.

Rejecting BJP leader LK Advani’s charge that he was a weak leader, Rahul Gandhi said: “Let us not go back very far. During the (negotiations on) US deal, the Prime Minister showed tremendous grit, will and toughness. These are easy things to say. If he is a weak Prime minister, he did not buckle in front of terrorists in Kandahar. He has achieved a lot for the country. I do not think he is weak. As a young leader of the Congress, he has my full support.”

Addressing a press conference here, he said, “He has kept the country faster than it has ever grown. He has brought massive pressure on our neighbour over the Mumbai attacks and he has given us a strategic deal (with the US) which the previous government had not done.”

A war of words broke out yesterday between the Prime Minister and Advani. While Singh challenged the BJP leader’s ability to be PM, Advani hit back by again calling him weak.

But Rahul Gandhi avoided making any comments on Advani. He only said: “He is a senior leader. I can’t make comments about him. I am a youngster. I can only make comments about my leader.”

Rahul expressed his surprise over the allegedly inflammatory speeches of cousin Varun Gandhi that attracted a strong reprimand from the Election Commission. “I am surprised by his views. Those are his views. I have mine. I don’t carry hate and anger with me. Hatred and anger blind you,” Rahul said.

The Congress general secretary also made no bones in expressing his displeasure with the LTTE. He told the press conference, “The LTTE is a terrorist group. I am not particularly fond of LTTE myself. It killed my father (former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi).”

Gandhi, however, said that India was doing its best to protect Tamil civilians caught in the conflict between the LTTE and the military in Sri Lanka’s north. “We are trying to help the situation there,” he said. —IANS

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HC rejects Varun’s plea on FIR

Allahabad, March 25
In a setback to BJP Lok Sabha candidate Varun Gandhi, the Allahabad High Court today turned down the plea for quashing an FIR against hi for his alleged anti-Muslim speeches even as his counsel indicated that he is likely to challenge the order in the Supreme Court.

“The petition stands dismissed,” Division Bench comprising Justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and SC Nigam said in its order pronounced in a packed court room.

Varun had challenged the FIR filed on March 17 at Pilibhit’s Barkheda police station under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the IPC and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.

The charges entail a maximum punishment of three-year jail or fine or both.

On whether the order will be challenged in the apex court, Varun’s counsel Gopal Chaturvedi said outside the court, “I am sure they will, although it may not be necessary as far as the proceedings are concerned.

“But I am sure when a petition is being filed, then everything that has been said against Varun will be questioned in the Supreme Court,” he added.

Asked if Varun could be taken into custody, Chaturvedi said “arrest is a matter of satisfaction of the investigating officer”.

Chaturvedi further said Varun “is free to move anywhere in the country”.

The grandson of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had claimed that the FIR was a part of a political conspiracy” to ruin his political career and tarnish his “secular image”.— PTI

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Kandhamal riot-hit want polls postponed
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
After enduring anti-minority violence of the worst proportion last September, the riot-hit tribals of Kandhamal are now struggling to protect their fundamental right to adult franchise.

Nearly 22,000 Christians remain unaccounted for in the electoral lists of the district that witnessed rabid communal violence in the aftermath of the killing of Laxmanananda Saraswati, a local VHP leader in August last.

They were displaced and have since been subsisting on government-run relief camps, which the BJD government in the state is proposing to wind up, even when the situation has not returned to normalcy.

Alarmed by their human right violation, 20 representatives of Kandhamal’s displaced minority population today sought the Election Commission to advance polls in the district or arrange for their franchise. “Either postpone the elections or implement special measures to ensure franchise for us,” the tribals said in a petition to the EC.

They also met CPM general secretary Prakash Karat in the wake of growing proximity between the Left Front and the BJD in Orissa.

They were led by social activist Teesta Setalvad, who said Karat promised to convey the concerns of affected Christians to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

But the minorities, despite the BJP-BJD split in Orissa, are in mistrust of the latter, which had failed to act against saffron outfits that perpetrated carnage in Kandhamal.

The delegates said advancement of polls in Kandhamal and verification of displaced Christians was a must to allay the fears of minorities. So far, one lakh Christians in the district are displaced. “We have sought the EC to monitor continuing hate speeches by the perpetrators of mass crimes in Kandhamal,” said the delegates, claiming that women and children continued to be assaulted in the area.

They were equally concerned by the proposed closure of relief camps by the state government -- a matter they discussed with Karat today. “The situation is still volatile. The government should not forcibly close down camps unless livelihoods of minorities are restored and displaced persons rehabilitated,” 
said Setalvad.

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Editors Guild condemns murder of Mazumdar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Editors Guild of India has expressed shock over the brutal murder of Anil Mazumdar, editor of Assamese daily Aji, on Tuesday night. The Guild had, on many occasions, expressed deep apprehensions about the safety of editors and journalists in Assam as many of them functioned under the shadow of threats. In a statement issued, president of the Guild Rajdeep Desai said journalists and editors in Assam were pressurised by terrorist groups and sometimes by government agencies, to write in favour of one or the other.

Senior editors, who had visited Guwahati in their capacity as a members of the Press Council of India, had reported that the media in Assam was functioning at gunpoint. The editors had appraised the Chief Minister about the grave situation and sought governmental assurance for full protection for editors and journalists.

However, the brutal killing of Mazumdar has exposed the failure of the government to provide security to editors. The Guild has demanded an intensive investigation into the murder and also called upon the government, civil society and media establishment to provide complete security to journalists and editors. 

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PMK’s absence to affect Cong?
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The PMK is on the verge of making an official announcement of pulling out of the UPA family, but despite its allies walking away from one after the other the Congress today continued to put up a brave front, saying that it was still confident of forming the next government at the Centre.

“Based upon an objective assessment of political ground reality, I can assure you that secular parties led by the Congress will form the next government at the Centre,” Congress leader Ashwini Kumar said.

The PMK General Council on Thursday will take a final call on whether or not to go with the Congress in the next general elections. But observers say the alliance between the PMK and the Congress is over and done with and now just needs a formal announcement. The PMK’s alliance with AIADMK is almost complete, they add.

Unofficially, the Congress too appears to have accepted that it is curtains as far as its relationship with the PMK is concerned. “If they (PMK) go despite all our assurances, it means they have got a better deal elsewhere,” party sources said.

The PMK wanted seven seats, a demand the Congress would not concede. The AIADMK offered seven seats and support for a Rajya Sabha nomination in the next biennial polls, which the PMK readily accepted especially after its ties with the DMK reached a point of no return.

But the Congress has not given up trying to keep the PMK Vanniyar outfit inside the UPA and negotiations were on till late Wednesday evening. The party said it was yet to receive any official intimation from the PMK. In fact, there were also rumours of PMK leader and Union Health Minister A Ramadoss walking away from the PMK in defiance of his father and PMK chief S Ramadoss.

Political observers explain that Ambumani was torn between the Congress, whom he wanted to stick with and his father who wanted to switch allies. The junior Ramadoss apparently had also assured senior Congress leaders that he would try and convince his father not to go with the AIADMK. But the Congress is worried and not without a reason.

The observers explain that the PMK support base is mainly Vanniyars, who constitute about 15 to 20 per cent of the state’s population with a presence largely in north and northwest Tamil Nadu. But in about 12 to 15 Lok Sabha constituencies, they constitute 68 per cent of the vote share, which is why their presence or absence can made a huge difference to the Congress.

Last time, the Congress and its allies won all Tamil Nadu’s 39 seats, which is why the development is a major setback to the Congress. Its other ally in Tamil Nadu - the DMK- is likely to face anti-incumbency factor. The party was also confident of being able to convince actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK to form an alliance. But Vijayakanth opted to go and the UPA in the state will now be reduced to just the DMK and Congress, with the backing of the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi and a couple of Muslim outfits. 

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SC reluctant on allowing criminals to contest polls
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 25
The Supreme Court today observed that denial of relief to persons convicted under POTA would bring down the number of members with criminal background in assemblies and other legislative bodies.

A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, LS Panta and P Sathasivam expressed its sentiments during the mentioning of a petition by a POTA convict who wants to contest the assembly election in AP.

The Bench, however, posted the petition for March 30 after Meenakshi Arora, counsel for Mohammed Abdul Kadar, cited an apex court order specifying that application of mind was necessary while considering the pleas for interim relief in such cases.

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Pawar lost chance to ‘bury’ Cong in M’rashtra: Thackeray

Mumbai, March 25
Hitting out at Sharad Pawar for forging a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today said the NCP chief has missed the chance to "bury" Congress in Maharashtra.

"On the one hand, you say that a Maharashtrian should become the prime minister and on the other, you hurry to forge an alliance with the Congress," Thackeray said in an editorial comment in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

"Why could not Pawar show the daring that Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad had shown in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar?" Thackeray asked.

Pawar should explain to the people of Maharashtra as to how would the state have a go at the PM’s post by aligning with the Congress, the Sena chief said.

"Like Emperor Aurangzeb was buried in Maharashtra, Pawar had a chance to bury Congress in the state but he missed it," Thackeray said.

"Former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is angry that he had to demit the CM’s post due to Pawar." Pawar's strategy was to ensure that a weak leader comes at the helm of affairs in the state and he has succeeded, the Sena chief said, without naming Deshmukh's successor Ashok Chavan. — PTI

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EC likely to issue notice to Mulayam

New Delhi, March 25
Mulayam Singh YadavAfter facing heat for its advice to the BJP not to field Varun Gandhi in the elections for his anti-Muslim speeches, the Election Commission is likely to slap a notice on Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav for allegedly threatening a woman poll officer for cancelling arms licences in Uttar Pradesh.

Taking note of Mulayam’s controversial remarks against District Magistrate (DM) Ministhy Dileep at the meeting in Mainpur, the UP electoral officer yesterday forwarded a report, along with the CD containing the footage to the commission.

Yadav had warned that he would register a complaint with the EC against the DM whom he accused of losing her sense of proportion and not being able to differentiate between a criminal and a common man. An angry Yadav had also suggested that she should get her “head checked” and asked her to mend ways within a week.

The SP supremo was already under the EC’s scanner for his alleged distribution of money to the people at a Holi function. The EC is yet to decide on Yadav’s reply on its notice on the incident. — PTI

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I’m fit to contest: George
Says people talking about his ill-health will get a befitting reply after polls

Patna, March 25
Veteran socialist leader George Fernandes, whose Janata Dal (U) has denied him a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls, today announced he was ready to run from his Muzaffarpur constituency and would formally announce this on Thursday after holding discussions with his friends and supporters.

“Main taiyyar hun, main hun taiyyar (I am ready to contest),” Fernandes repeatedly said in chaste Hindi at a press conference he addressed in Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from here.

Fernandes lost his cool when asked about the ticket denial, his ill-health and the Congress.

“The people of Muzaffarpur will decide whether I should contest or not because they had elected me to Parliament time and again,” Fernandes maintained.

He was elected from Muzaffarpur for the first time in 1977 when he was behind bars. He had been jailed in 1976 for allegedly conspiring to blow up government property to protest the emergency that had been declared a year earlier. The Janata Party that came to power in 1977 withdrew the case.

Replying to a query, Fernandes said people talking about his ill-health would get a fitting reply after the Lok Sabha polls.

Fernandes had received a hero’s welcome from hundreds of supporters at the Patna airport on his arrival from New Delhi today. He left for Muzaffarpur soon after.

He also cancelled his padyatra (foot march) to the official residence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with whom he had sought an appointment to discuss the JD (U) decision of denying him a ticket. This was after he was informed the Chief Minister had left for New Delhi.

Fernandes had planned to walk to Nitish’s residence to demonstrate that he is in sound health and he can still contest elections. The JD (U) had denied Fernandes, 78, a ticket on grounds of his “advancing years and failing health”. — IANS

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Defence Minister reviews security situation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24
With Lok Sabha polls round the corner and the threat of terror strikes looming large, Union Defence Minister AK Antony today directed the Indian Army to deal with utmost firmness the situation arising out the recent spurt in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

At a meeting held today to review the security situation, Antony emphasised that the J&K incidents highlighted the nature of threat the country faced from terrorists. Besides, inputs had come from intelligence agencies as well about attempts at pushing in more foreign mercenaries to disrupt the polls.

The Minister was apprised of how the situation had changed in the past few weeks, with Pakistan violating the ceasefire (first time this year) only a few days ago. The matter was being taken up with Pakistan high-ups.

Then, 16 militants have been killed by the security forces in Kupwara district in the last five days. Eight Armymen, including an officer, too, lost their lives.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.

Antony also reviewed the maritime security with Admiral Mehta, Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral Anil Chopra and other senior officers of the Navy, Coast Guard and MoD.

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Jaya blames Karuna for plight of Lankan Tamils
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 25
Alleging that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was responsible for the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa today said the genocide of Tamils could have been prevented, if the DMK withdrew support to the UPA government, which was providing military support to the war.

Replying to Karunanidhi’s statement questioning Jayalalithaa’s concern over Sri Lankan Tamils, the AIADMK leader asked: “Did I abet the move to provide weapons and training to the Sri Lankan military to annihilate island Tamils?”

If Karunanidhi had withdrawn support to the UPA government, condemning its military support to the Sri Lankan military, the Centre would have fallen and Sri Lankan Tamils would have been saved, she said.

Even now, the British government had initiated moves to oust Sri Lanka from the Common Wealth of Nations, she said. The United Nations, too, had condemned the killing of innocent Tamils by the Sri Lankan government, Jayalalithaa said.

Instead of asking the Centre to support Britain’s move, Karunanidhi was a mere spectator to the genocide, she charged.” When I pointed out that the Centre was providing weapons and training to the Sri Lankan military, Karunanidhi only said the Chief Minister would not be consulted before such decisions, she said.

Reiterating that Karunanidhi knew the Centre’s move to accede Katchatheevu (an island near Tamil Nadu), beforehand, the AIADMK leader said the DMK leader should have held statewide protests and warned the Centre against the proposal. Due to Karunanidhi’s failure, the island of Katchatheevu was acceded to Sri Lanka.

Karunanidhi withdrew the case for Tamil Nadu”s rights on the Cauvery water dispute and he did not raise the water level of Mullaiperiyar dam, even after a verdict by the Supreme Court, she said and added that the rights of Tamils were sacrificed whenever Karunanidhi was in power.

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People turn to god for good MPs

New Delhi, March 25
Will there be divine intervention? Desperate for some good and clean governance, a group of senior citizens in Ranchi, the Jharkhand capital, decided to appease the gods for it.

Around 50 people, most of them above the age of 60, performed a ‘yagna’ or fire ritual in Ranchi, praying for good political representatives in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In the backdrop loomed a picture of US President Barack Obama.

“We are fed up with the nature of politics in our country. Candidates with criminal backgrounds and those involved in corruption are becoming MPs. We are left with no option but to seek the blessings of god to get good candidates who represent us,” said Mukhtar Singh, president of the Retired Employees Association.

They also took an oath in the name of Mahatma Gandhi that they would not choose candidates with an unsavoury past. —IANS

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Will BSP’s ‘social engineering’ work in M’rashtra?
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 25
Mayawati’s BSP has unveiled its social engineering formula in Maharashtra where it is contesting all the 48 Lok Sabha seats.

The party, which rode to power in the UP Assembly elections, has carefully chosen its candidates on the basis of the mix of caste in every constituency of Maharashtra. “Our candidates are drawn from across various sections of society. Our candidates include Brahmins, Muslims and Dalits,” says state party president Vilas Garud.

According to Garud, the BSP is getting huge response from Maharashtra’s Dalits after Mayawati trained her sights for the post of Prime Minister.

Among the more high-profile candidates is DS Kulkarni, a prominent builder from Pune. A Brahmin by caste, Kulkarni has been fielded in a city which has a very large number of Brahmins. In all, the BSP has fielded four Brahmins across Maharashtra.

Only last year, the BSP scored a major victory by enrolling in its ranks Sudhir Pujari, descendent of the famous priests of the Kalaram Temple at Nashik’s Panchvati. This temple has tremendous significance for the Dalits of Maharashtra since Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar led a satyagraha to allow them entry into the temple.

Sudhir Pujari is now the Brahmin face of the BJP and has participated in conferences for the community organised by the party across the state. The party has also fielded two Maratha candidates from western Maharashtra.

Though the BSP hasn’t won any seat in either the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections in Maharashtra, it has managed to make its mark by cutting into the votes of candidates from the UPA and the NDA.

The party had bagged more than 10 lakh votes in Maharashtra in 2004. In the Assembly elections that followed later that year, the BSP bagged more than 8 lakh votes in the Vidarbha region alone to grab a vote share of nine per cent. In subsequent years, BSP’s candidates have tasted victory in elections to local bodies in this part of Maharashtra.

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First woman press photographer sells Fiat to buy Nano

Vadodara, March 25
A 96-year-old ‘first woman press photographer’ Homai Vyarawala staying in the city, has sold her 55-year-old original Fiat car for buying Tata’s Nano car. Vyarawala said she had sold her Fiat car to a vintage car lover in Mumbai after she found it difficult to get it repaired.

She said the Fiat car was imported from Italy 55 years ago and was brought to India through sea route.

Vyarwala has clicked photographs of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, late Indira Gandhi, late Morarji Desai and other dignitaries and foreign dignitaries visiting the country. Her album contains photographs clicked by her.

Vyarawala said, “I will book Nano car whenever its registration begins in the city and wait for my turn to get the car.” The allotment of car is to take place by draw and she is hopeful of emerging luckier in getting this car, so that she could drive the car.

She, however, made it clear that she is not in favour of approaching Ratan Tata to get this car out of turn. — PTI

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Prez Rule in Meghalaya
SC notice to Centre
R Sedhuraman/Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 25
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in Meghalaya on March 19 on the recommendation of the Governor who felt the constitutional machinery had broken down in the state.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices JM Panchal and AK Ganguly posted the matter for hearing on April 13 after the petitioners' counsel TR Andhyarujina mentioned it before the judges.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma and three other legislators have filed the petition, challenging the Centre's move two days after the NCP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) had won the vote of confidence in the assembly.

According to the petition, the imposition of President’s rule and keeping the State assembly in suspended animation could not stand scrutiny under the Constitutional provisions.

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MP govt official, wife murdered

Indore, March 25
Unidentified assailants murdered a senior Madhya Pradesh government official and his wife in their residence here, the police said today. The incident took place last night in Tilak Nagar under the Palasia police station area.

The victims were identified as Ajay Kumar Jain (60) and Usha (55), IG (Indore Range) Anil Kumar said.

Jain was working as a joint director in the Industries Department and was scheduled to retire next month, he said. The blood stained bodies of the couple were recovered from the terrace of their house and initially, it appears that they were killed by sharp weapons, Kumar said.

The bodies have been sent for post-mortem and the investigation is on, he said. — PTI

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Cop sent to jail in gang rape case

Bhopal, March 25
A policeman was sent to jail by a local court in connection with the gang-rape of a minor girl in a police station in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh.

Simaria police station Sub-Inspector Narendra Singh Thakur was arrested yesterday on a complaint from the victim and later produced before the court, the police said today.

Two other cops, accused of sexually assaulting the girl, are yet to be identified, they said adding an identification par-ade would be done to find them.

The trio has been booked under Sections 376 (2-A), 342, 374 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, the police said.

In her complaints lodged with Panna collector N Shelvendram and DIG Chhatarpur Range Yogesh Mugdal, the 16-year-old victim of Kachiyana Mohalla in Simaria village said she was gang-raped by Thakur and two other policemen on March 2 when she approached them to file a complaint of rape by one Bhure Maharaj, alias Bhaiyaa Puranik, in Himachal Pradesh.

The victim had married Pyarelal Patel two years ago but later left her husband and went to Himachal Pradesh with Maharaj, who raped her for five months, after which she went to the Simaria police station to file a case against him. — PTI

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French authors Lapierre, Moro face defamation charge
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, March 25
Rejecting the plea that it had no power of jurisdiction over foreign nationals, the district court of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday registered a criminal case of defamation against French authors Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro.

Swaraj Puri, former DGP of the state, filed the case against the authors on charges that certain sections in their book “Five Past Midnight at Bhopal” showed him in a bad perspective. Dominique Lapierre, the co-author of “Freedom at Midnight”, along with Moro had penned a book on Bhopal gas tragedy. The book, entitled “Five Past Midnight at Bhopal”, was published in 2001.

Puri, who was the SP of Bhopal in December 1984, when the tragedy struck, claimed the book made “misleading, false and defamatory comments about him in a humiliating language. So much so that a reader may well conclude that he was personally responsible for whatever happened in Bhopal on the intervening night of December 2/3, 1984”.

The book says Puri, as the SP, “just short of garlanding”, accorded a hearty welcome to Warren Anderson, the chairman of the Union Carbide Corporation when he visited Bhopal in the aftermath of the tragedy.

It also says the SP got barricades erected at several places in the city making it difficult for the people to outpace the cloud of lethal gas that was chasing them and thus causing their deaths. Puri, in his claim, said he carried had out his duty as the police chief of Bhopal with due diligence and sincerity. “I am still suffering from the aftereffects of inhaling the gas,” he said.

Rajiv Singh, an ADJ of Jabalpur found no merit in the argument that the court had no power of jurisdiction over the accused, as they were foreign nationals. It was pointed out that India had an extradition treaty with France and the government of India could demand the extradition of the two authors.

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CPM blasts Cong for price rise, malnutrition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The CPM on Monday lashed out at the Congress-led government for claiming credit for reduced inflation at a time when the prices of food articles and other essential commodities were on a persistent rise, and the economy was plunging towards deflation.

Releasing the party’s campaign booklet featuring nine counts on which the CPM plans to take on the Congress, party’s politburo member Brinda Karat on Monday said the UPA had failed miserably in ensuring food security to people.

“Inflation in prices of food articles is 8 per cent and of food grains is 11 per cent higher than what it was a year ago. At the retail level in Delhi between March 2008 and 2009, sugar went up by 47 per cent, and onions by a whopping 111 per cent,” said Karat, making a mockery of the Congress’ poll slogan “Jai Ho”.

The CPM said the government needed to be ashamed of the fact that it was contributing miserly to subsidised food grains when the country was among the worst on the hunger index.

“We have always said the targeted system of food grain distribution must go and universal PDS restored. The poverty line basis for provision of subsidised food grains is a sheer mockery,” said Karat, referring to how the government was spending only one per cent of its GDP in providing subsidised food grains.

She said people were going hungry while the government granaries were holding stock 84 per cent above buffer norms. The CPM campaign promises food security and highlights how the government had cut allocation of food grains to the states by 325 lakh tonnes between 2006 and 2008, mainly under the APL category.

“The UPA continued a policy of dividing and excluding the poor through a targeted PDS system based on ridiculous destitution levels of Rs 11.80 per person per day for the rural areas and Rs 17.80 per person per day for the urban areas,” states the CPM’s campaign strategy in which it slams the UPA for promoting price rise, hunger and malnutrition in the country.

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Grand Alliance: Stalemate over seat-sharing continues
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, March 25
An already tenuous four-party opposition alliance in Andhra Pradesh came under further strain as stalemate in seat-sharing talks continued today.

Trouble was brewing for the “Maha Kootami” (Grand Alliance) as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) unilaterally declared their respective list of candidates for contentious seats.

On its part, the CPM, another alliance partner, announced that it would contest 20 Assembly seats in the next month’s elections as against 16 seats offered by the TDP. Overcoming serious internal differences, the TDP and the TRS had yesterday announced that the electoral agreement had been finalised. As per the hard-bargained deal, the TRS will contest 48 Assembly seats, out of a total of 119 seats in Telangana region, and nine Lok Sabha seats out of 17.

The CPI and CPM have been offered 16 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats each.

However, the TDP and TRS leaders could not come to an understanding on the choice of seats even after several rounds of intense negotiations. Their party offices here were swarmed by dissidents and ticket-aspirants who stood to lose in the seat-sharing agreement.

Two TDP protesters attempted self-immolation outside the residence of the party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. They were protesting the decision of the party to leave Mancherial Assembly seat in Adilabad district for the TRS. Another set of protesters raised slogans against the leadership for leaving Kodad Assembly seat, considered a traditional stronghold of the TDP, to TRS.

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Woman Army officer commits suicide

Nagpur, March 25
A 29-year-old lady Captain employed with the Army Hospital in Pune committed suicide here, the police said today. The incident took place last week, they said. Captain Bharti Devikant Naranje had come to her parents’ house and injected some poisonous substance, they said.

When family members broke open the door of the room, Naranje was found unconscious with a syringe lying close to her body, they said adding she was immediately rushed to a private hospital where she breathed her last yesterday. A suicide note was recovered from her room in which she said she was committing suicide and that no one should be held responsible for it, they said.

Further investigation is on in the matter, the police added. — PTI

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No ‘objection’ to Upadhyay, Pandey contesting poll

Mumbai, March 25
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), investigating the 2008 Malegaon blast case today said it had no objection with two of the accused - Major Ramesh Upadhyay (retd) and self-styled religious leader Dayanand Pandey, contesting the forthcoming general elections.

The investigating agency told the special MCOCA court here that it has no objection with Upadhyay and Pandey contesting the Lok Sabha elections.

The agency, however, said it was up to the Election Commission and the jail authorities to take a final decision on the duo’s application.

Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian, however, argued that the probe agency would raise objections if the duo later seeks release on bail for campaigning.

Both Pandey and Upadhyay have filed applications before the court seeking permission to contest the elections from Jammu and Kashmir and Pune, respectively, as independent candidates.

The court is expected to pass its order on the applications on March 30. — PTI

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‘Consider 5 observatories as heritage sites’

New Delhi, March 25
Measuring time for the past three centuries, five Jantar Mantars in the country could add more feathers to their cap if UNESCO accepts India’s proposal to accord World Heritage status to them.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has identified five astronomical observatories in Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura as significant heritage structures and has recommended to UNESCO to declare them as World Heritage Sites in this year’s serial nominations.

“The ASI has sent a proposal for a serial nomination of five Jantar Mantars in the country. The nominations form part of the tentative list sent to UNESCO, which is the approving authority,” ASI deputy director general BR Mani said.

He said the ASI had also mentioned about the five sites in the dossier that had been sent to UNESCO.

Constructed between 1727 and 1734 by Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur, the five astronomical observatories incorporate multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialised function for astronomical measurement. — PTI

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Navy copter crashes in Goa

Mumbai, March 25
An Indian Navy helicopter, out on a routine sortie, today crashed off Goa coast. However, all three members onboard are safe, a Navy spokesperson here said. The incident took place at around 11 am, about 22 miles from the Goa coast, the spokesperson said.

The crew members, who were rescued by a light helicopter, have sustained minor injuries, the sources said . — PTI

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Pak captures 72 Indian fishermen

Ahmedabad, March 25
Pakistan has captured 72 Indian fishermen, along with 13 boats, from near Sir Creek, the Gujarat Fish Forum Association said today. “Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PSMA) captured 72 Indian fishermen and seized their 13 boats yesterday. 

We got this information from our counterparts, Pakistan Fish Forum, and have forwarded the details to the authorities in India,” association secretary Manish Lodhari said here.

The fishing boats, all from Porbandar, were in the international waters near Sir Creek, the disputed coastal strip off Gujarat coast, when they were seized, he said. “This is the third time in a week that the PSMA has captured Indian fishermen and their boats,” he said.

A couple of days ago the PSMA had captured 12 Indian fishermen, along with their two boats. On March 21, it had seized five Indian boats and apprehended 31 fishermen on board them. These boats were later taken to Karachi, Lodhari said.

With the latest incident, the number of Indian fishermen in Pakistan’s custody has gone up to 528, while the number of seized boats has risen to 413, the association said.

Meanwhile, sources in the fisheries industry claimed that Pakistan, which earlier used to release Indian fishermen, has stopped doing so after the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Liberhan panel to seek extension
NEW DELHI
: The country’s longest-serving commission of inquiry, probing the demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, is unlikely to submit its report to the Home Ministry by March 31, the date when its 47th extension comes to an end. Sources in the ministry said the Liberhan Commission could ask for some more time to complete its report. Set up in 1992, the commission headed by retired Justice MS Liberhan got the last extension for six months on September 30, 2008.

Flying cars to hit road by 2011 
WASHINGTON
: Now the dream of owning a flying car might just be a reality with the successful test flight of the prototype for the first time by MIT students. The winged car taxied down a runway in Plattsburgh, New York, taking off it flew for 37 seconds. As a plane, its 20-gallon tank gives it a 450-mile range with a 115 mph speed. In about 30 seconds, it can turn from land cruiser to flying machine. Terrafugia, a company started by the students, hopes to start delivering its first roadable planes by 2011.

Clash during live TV programme
LUCKNOW
: Supporters of the BJP and the BSP clashed during a live TV programme here, leaving five persons injured, the police said on Wednesday. The clash took place at Ram Manohar Lohia park during Star News programme “Kaun Banega Pradhanmantri”, which was being aired live on Tuesday night. An FIR has been registered in the matter at Gomti Nagar police station by an injured person. Bureau Chief, Star News, Pankaj Jha said the channel would give a CD of the programme to the EC for taking appropriate action.

Farmers protest
BANGALORE
: As many as 200 farmers from Bellary met Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Wednesday, protesting against the BJP government’s decision to establish an airport at Bellary, displacing their farm lands. The farmers led by Diwakar Babu, YSV Dutta and Maruthi Manpade submitted a memorandum to Thakur, the police said. The government’s decision led to a stir by farmers in Bellary a few weeks ago and the police had to resort to lathi charge to bring the situation under control.

Bullfighting bill passed
PANAJI
: The Goa legislative Assembly has passed a bill amending Cruelty Towards Animal Act which will legalise traditional bullfights in the coastal state. The private members bill, moved by Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco was passed unanimously during the last day of state legislative Assembly session on Tuesday night. The bill gives legislative sanction to bullfighting, commonly known as ‘Dhirio’ in the state, which was banned by the High Court order as it amounts to cruelty towards animals. It mentioned that ‘dhirio’ is a traditional sport in Goa for centuries together and it needed to be protected.

Notice to varsity
CHENNAI
: The Madras High Court has ordered notice of motion on a writ petition challenging the establishment of university constituent colleges under public-private partnership (PPP) by Anna University, Coimbatore. While ordering notice on Tuesday, Justice K Suguna directed the university to file counter with two weeks. In its petition, the Association of Management of Coimbatore Anna University Affiliated Colleges, represented by its president, J Sudhanandhen, submitted that a new scheme of establishing engineering colleges under the ‘PPP’ was introduced following a resolution passed by the Syndicate in February.

Businessman rescued
LUCKNOW
: A businessman Ashok Agarwal, who was kidnapped last week allegedly for ransom, was rescued on Tuesday night on the city outskirts and four persons were arrested in this connection, the police said on Tuesday. He was kidnapped on March 19 while on his way to his residence and Rs 5 crore were demanded by the kidnappers as ransom, the police said. State Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Brijlal said, the police intercepted a car coming from Hardoi near Gomtinagar bandh here carrying Agarwal and four kidnappers. They were identified as Pramod, Agarwal’s old driver, Sanjay, Ajay and Vijay, both sons of a retired police head constable, the police said and added that the latter two had worn a police uniform during the kidnapping.

Police post targeted
BHUBANESWAR
: Maoist rebels set a mobile tower control room on fire and damaged a police post in Orissa’s Malkangiri district on Wednesday, the police said. The guerrillas set on fire the control room of the mobile tower of state-run telecom giant BSNL at Padia village in Malkangiri, 620 km from here. “The armed rebels set fire to the control room of the mobile tower and also damaged the police post building located nearby,” District Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said. The police has found posters and leaflets from the spot in which the rebels have asked people to boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Ansari barred
Lucknow
:In a major setback to the ruling BSP, the Allahabad High Court today denied permission to the party’s Varanasi candidate, jailed mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, to file his nomination papers.

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court today barred the independent MLA from Mau from contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by refusing him permission to file his nomination.

Source: Agencies

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