SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Naxals hijack train in Jharkhand
Go on rampage in Bihar, West Bengal on poll eve
Latehar/Patna/Kolkata, April 22
Striking on the second phase poll eve, Maoists today seized a train carrying nearly 700 passengers in Jharkhand's Latehar district for over four hours, bombed a BDO's office and shot a driver after setting ablaze trucks in Bihar. A security jawan stands near the trucks which were torched by Maoists near Naxal-hit Barachaati in Gaya on Wednesday.
A security jawan stands near the trucks which were torched by Maoists near Naxal-hit Barachaati in Gaya on Wednesday. — PTI

Political compulsions
Pranab, Lalu friends again

New Delhi, April 22
Political compulsions and eroding traditional vote banks have ensured that the two friends-turned-foes, the Congress and the RJD, kiss and make up and become friends once again.

Varun’s worth Rs 4.9 crore
Pilibhit, April 22
BJP candidate Varun Gandhi, who filed his nominations today at the Pilibhit District Collectorate, has declared assets worth Rs 4.92 crore. According to the affidavit submitted to the district returning officer here, Varun has movable assets worth Rs 1.71 crore. However, the young BJP leader does not own a vehicle.







EARLIER STORIES

Schoolchildren during an election awareness campaign in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Mobilising voters: Schoolchildren during an election awareness campaign in New Delhi on Wednesday. — AFP

Cong faces uphill task in Assam
Phase Two: 11 constituencies, 14,729,601 voters
Guwahati, April 22
The ruling Congress is facing an uphill task to maintain its dominance even as total 14,729,601 voters in Assam are expected to exercise their franchise tomorrow to elect representatives to 11 Parliamentary constituencies in the second phase of polling. The polling was held to only three constituencies in Assam in the first phase.

Fate of M’rashtra biggies to be decided today
Mumbai, April 22
The second phase of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for tomorrow will decide the fate of a number of senior politicians from Maharashtra.

‘It’s Naveen Patnaik, the CM…’
Among all national leaders, the Orissa Chief Minister made maximum personalised web-based calls to voters this election
This election voter has been the king in Orissa, waking up every now and then to a beseeching phone call from none other than the state’s Chief Minister.

India Votes
FIR against Prakash Jha
Patna, April 22
The district election authorities of West Champaran (Betiah) raided the office of LJP candidate and filmmaker Prakash Jha and seized Rs 10.25 lakh today.

Digvijay booked for remarks against Maya
Lucknow, April 22
A case was registered against senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh late last night for his alleged derogatory remarks against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati during an election meeting in Hardoi on April 20.

Mamata files nomination
Kolkata, April 22
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today filed nomination seeking re-election from the key South Kolkata Lok Sabha constituency.

Manipur: Over 60% turnout
Guwahati, April 22
Over 60 per cent voters exercised their franchise in total 970 polling stations in inner Manipur parliamentary constituency where elections were held amid tight security today.

Kasab’s plea for Urdu translation of chargesheet rejected
Mumbai, April 22
A special court today rejected the plea of the prime accused in the Mumbai terror attacks case, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, for allotting the Urdu translation of the 11,000-page charge sheet, noting that it was “immaterial”.

Declare ceasefire: Cong to Lanka
Rajapaksa to send emissary to India; Karuna calls for Tamil Nadu bandh today
New Delhi, April 22
Amid mounting concern in Tamil Nadu over the plight of civilians caught in the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka, the Congress today demanded that the Lankan government declare a ceasefire so that the humanitarian crisis could be resolved in a demonstrable way.

Jamia Milia’s book to correct ‘perverted’ image
New Delhi, April 22
Facing a “stereotype” against its decades-old nationalist image in the wake of the Batla House encounter, Jamia Milia Islamia university is coming out with a book to “correct” the “perverted” perception about the varsity and make people aware of its deep-rooted values.





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Naxals hijack train in Jharkhand
Go on rampage in Bihar, West Bengal on poll eve

Helicopters to maintain vigil

Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta reviewed the situation in Naxal-hit areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh where polling will be held on Wednesday. At a high-level meeting in New Delhi, Gupta said helicopters had been stationed in Naxal-hit states to carry out aerial surveillance and provide better logistical support to the security forces.

Latehar/Patna/Kolkata, April 22
Striking on the second phase poll eve, Maoists today seized a train carrying nearly 700 passengers in Jharkhand's Latehar district for over four hours, bombed a BDO's office and shot a driver after setting ablaze trucks in Bihar. Suspected Naxalites also killed three CPM workers in West Bengal.

The Naxals took control of the Gomo-Mughalsarai BDM train near Hehegarha railway station at about 7:30 am and released it at 11:39 am, without harming any of the passengers, Senior Divisional Railway Manager, Dhanbad, Neeraj Ambast said. Latehar is about 125 km from Ranchi.

A block development office in Bihar's Aurangabad district was blasted by Naxals, who also set ablaze eight trucks in neighbouring Gaya and shot dead a driver during a 24-hour bandh called by them in Bihar and Jharkhand to protest the killing of their cadres by security forces.

A series of landmine blasts rocked West Bengal's Lalgarh area, about 150 km from Kolkata, after three CPM activists were killed by suspected Naxals in adjoining Salboni region last night in West Midnapore district.

In widespread violence during the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 16, as many as 19 security force personnel were killed in planned attacks by the Naxals in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

Referring to the Latehar train siege, AK Chandra, CPRO, East Central Zone of the Railways, said: "The train had been disabled by disconnection of the break pipe." Security forces, including CRPF, had moved from nearby areas of Patratu, Bharwadi, Latehar and Daltonganj to the site immediately after the incident, he said.

Latehar Deputy Commissioner Sarvendu Tathagat said: “The target of the Naxals was the police...The police forces were moving cautiously." According to police, a group of Naxalites had warned the station master against any movement of trains during their bandh.

In Bihar, hundreds of Naxals descended on the office of the BDO in Aurangabad and blasted his chamber and adjacent conference hall at around 3 am, ADGP (Headquarter) Neelmani said in Patna. Nobody was present at the time of the incident.

The Naxalites, in another attack, intercepted eight trucks on the Grand Trunk Road in Barachatti police station area around 1.30 am and set them on fire, police said. A truck driver, identified as Lakshman Yadav, was shot dead when he tried to flee, he said.

In Salboni (West Bengal), tension prevailed after four landmine explosions rocked the area. West Midnapore District Magistrate NS Nigam said the blasts occurred when police went to take the bodies of the three slain CPM activists. — PTI

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Political compulsions
Pranab, Lalu friends again
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
Political compulsions and eroding traditional vote banks have ensured that the two friends-turned-foes, the Congress and the RJD, kiss and make up and become friends once again.

After trading verbal blows yesterday, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee had a tete-a-tete over the phone and allowed bygones to be bygones. Later, they even made requisite noises to prove how close the two UPA allies continued to be.

Speaking at an election meeting in West Bengal, Mukherjee chose to downplay his verbal attack at the RJD leader saying that it was his “broken Hindi” that created an impression that Lalu would not be in a government again. As per Mukherjee, Lalu called him up and clarified that he had not left the UPA.

“Yesterday I was in Samastipur and one of my comments there had created some confusion. My broken Hindi is perhaps the reason for the creation of the confusion,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying, a day after he tore into the Bihar strongman for his remarks that support for Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister could not be taken for granted.

But senior Congress leaders are clear that plain and simple political compulsions in the given circumstances were the reasons for this turn around.

“Pranab Mukherjee is a senior leader. He knew what he was saying. It was our way to ensure that Lalu behaves in future. We have not given any blank check to the RJD that its position in the government is clear. In fact, we are under no compulsions to keep Lalu in the Cabinet. If we have numbers without him, why would we need him,” they say.

Party sources say the Congress is already engaging in talks with Bihar Chief Minister and senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar over a liaison possibilities in future.

“ Possibilities and probabilities can never be ruled out,” they add.

Relationship between two former allies reached a new low yesterday with the External Affairs Minister saying that it would be difficult for the Railway Minister in the UPA government even to find a ministerial berth after the Lok Sabha elections.

“Who will form the government? The BJP, the NDA or the the Third Front or Lalu? Leave alone forming the government, Lalu will find it difficult to become even a minister because he is with nobody (not in any major front),” Mukherjee reportedly told an election rally in Samastipur.

Mukherjee even said the RJD leader had “treated the Congress like a doormat” and it had become “difficult to keep him as an ally”.

The RJD chief had responded by saying “time will tell who is with whom”. Mukherjee’s remarks followed Lalu’s statement that it could not be taken for granted that Manmohan Singh was the UPA government’s future prime minister.

Lalu’s telephone call to Muikherjee came just hours after the two engaged in verbal fisticuffs. Mukherjee said Lalu called him up and clarified that he had not left the UPA. Mukherjee said Lalu told him that he would be with the Congress in forming a government at the Centre.

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Varun’s worth Rs 4.9 crore

BSP changes Pilibhit candidate

Lucknow: The BSP at the eleventh hour has changed its candidate in Pilibhit from Budhsen Verma to Ganga Charan Rajput. The decision is believed to have been taken by party supremo Mayawati. — TNS

Pilibhit, April 22
BJP candidate Varun Gandhi, who filed his nominations today at the Pilibhit District Collectorate, has declared assets worth Rs 4.92 crore.

According to the affidavit submitted to the district returning officer here, Varun has movable assets worth Rs 1.71 crore. However, the young BJP leader does not own a vehicle.

Varun has cash worth Rs 20,000 while his bank deposits are worth Rs 1,642,000 and has bonds and shares worth Rs 195,000. His other financial instruments are worth Rs 9,884,000.

The BJP candidate also has jewellery worth Rs 1,618,000, silver utensils worth Rs 2,688,000, in addition to paintings worth Rs 1,010,000.

Varun also possesses weapons worth Rs 85,000, which include a .12 bore gun costing Rs 20,000, a pistol worth Rs 40,000 and a NPB rifle worth Rs 25,000.

As far as the immovable assets of Varun are concerned, it includes a 2/3rd share in a Vasant Vihar shop in Delhi worth Rs 2.33 crore, an advance payment given for a flat worth Rs 63 lakh and a share of Rs 25 lakh in a shop in Khan Market, Delhi. He has a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of London in association with the London School of Economics. — PTI

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Cong faces uphill task in Assam
Phase Two: 11 constituencies, 14,729,601 voters
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

PM, wife to cast vote in Guwahati

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, and his wife Gursharan Kaur will exercise their franchise in the city under the Guwahati parliamentary constituency tomorrow.

The Prime Minister has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1991.

Guwahati, April 22
The ruling Congress is facing an uphill task to maintain its dominance even as total 14,729,601 voters in Assam are expected to exercise their franchise tomorrow to elect representatives to 11 Parliamentary constituencies in the second phase of polling. The polling was held to only three constituencies in Assam in the first phase.

The second phase polling will be held in Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Mangaldai, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, Guwahati, Nagaon, Kaliabor, Jorhat and Dibrugarh constituencies in Brahmaputra River valley. Of these, six seats were won by Congress in 2004 while BJP and AGP won two each. The Bodo People’s Front (BPF) won Kokrajhar seat.

In fact, Congress won nine seats of the total 14 in 2004 Lok Sabha polls in Assam, securing 35.07 per cent of votes polled, compared to 22.94 per cent polled by the BJP and 19.95 per cent secured by the AGP, respectively. However, with the BJP and the AGP fighting this election as a combined force and Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) emerging as a force to reckon with, Congress will find it hard to hold its fort.

The Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF), an amalgamation of a dozen minority parties, led by Mumbai-based perfume mogul Badruddin Ajmal, is making huge inroads into the Congress bastion among Muslim voters, who are a deciding factor in Dhubri, Barpeta, Magaldai,Nagaon and Kaliabor constituencies. Already, the AUDF has put Congress in stick group in Silchar and Karimganj seats where polling was held in the first phase. It’s the AGP-BJP combine that stands to gain most at the expense of Congress in case of split in Muslim votes between AUDF and Congress.

The Congress is used to enjoy support of majority Muslim voters in Assam till last general election in 2004.

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Fate of M’rashtra biggies to be decided today
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 22
The second phase of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for tomorrow will decide the fate of a number of senior politicians from Maharashtra.

Among those, who will face the hustings, include Maratha chieftain Sharad Pawar (Madha), Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde (Solapur), Union Minority Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Antulay (Raigad), Suresh Kalmadi (Pune), Gopinath Munde (Beed) and former Union Power Minister Suresh Prabhu of the Shiv Sena (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg).

In all, the elections will be held in 25 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

With campaigning coming to an end yesterday, all major contestants are sitting back taking stock of their chances. “All major leaders are worried about rebels and parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) cutting into their votes,” says a political observer. However, the problem of rebellion is acutely felt by the Congress and the NCP, which dominate the sugar belt of Western Maharashtra. Nearly all seats here, or half of the 25 seats that go to poll tomorrow, will face multi-cornered contests with the BSP and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena fielding strong candidates in most of them.

In Nashik, Chaggan Bhujbal’s nephew Sameer Bhujbal faces the prospect of the BSP and the MNS eating into his votes. Outgoing MP from Kolhapur Sadashiv Mandalik of the NCP is contesting as an Independent after the party did not nominate him again. The party has gone for Sambhajiraje Chatrapati, a descendent of Shivaji Maharaj.

In Sangli, Congress candidate Pratik Patil, grandson of former CM Vasantdada Patil, is facing ‘wholesale’ rebellion from local party leaders.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP are said to be backing rebel party leader Ajit Ghorpade, who is said to enjoy the blessings of Maharashtra Revenue Minister Patangrao Kadam.

Meanwhile, the BSP has emerged as a major point of worry for many. Among those who are facing the heat from BSP rebels include Nilesh Rane, son of Shiv Sainik-turned Congressman Narayan Rane. The junior Rane who takes on sitting MP Suresh Prabhu faces the prospect of BSP candidate Jayendra Parulekar eating into his votes.

In Pune, strongman Suresh Kalmadi fronting onto the Congress, faces prominent builder DS Kulkarni, who is the BSP candidate.

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‘It’s Naveen Patnaik, the CM…’
Among all national leaders, the Orissa Chief Minister made maximum personalised web-based calls to voters this election
Aditi Tandon writes from Bhubaneshwar

This election voter has been the king in Orissa, waking up every now and then to a beseeching phone call from none other than the state’s Chief Minister.

For Naveen Patnaik, the effort may have meant only a couple of extra bucks here and there, but for the lakhs of phone users he reached across Orissa through a personalised recorded messaging system, the gesture meant quite a bit. It was a campaign strategy that rocked.

By the end of canvassing at 4 pm on Tuesday, the CM had made close to 50 lakh phone calls-often repeatedly-to the 60 lakh mobile and landline users in Orissa, at the cost of over Re 1 crore.

This is the maximum result any national leader has achieved so far in these elections through the use of automatic web-based calling machine technique offered by a Delhi-based political consulting and technology-providing firm. The technology works by feeding caller database into specialised software, which then makes automatic calls to phone users - five lakh calls being the maximum daily capacity.

In the last two days of phase 2 canvassing for tomorrow’s elections in Orissa, Naveen Patnaik’s recorded message was played to voters through 10 lakh calls - five lakh per day - the highest in any state.

“The Orissa Chief Minister was the top user of our technology this election. We also did the calling campaign for two MP candidates in the state - Bayjant Panda, chairman IMPHA group, contesting from Kendrapada and Kalikesh Singhdeo, the Bolangir royal contesting from his home segment,” Pallav Pandey of Viplav Communications, who overlooked Patnaik’s phone campaign, told The Tribune today. He said the company charged Re 1 per 30-second message that went through. Patnaik had two messages -of 54 seconds and 59 seconds, respectively.

Other politicians who hired the service include BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi in Varanasi (he wove his message around Holi, hoping Kashi would be terror-free for all times to come); Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia in Gwalior (he reminded people of UPA’s successes); RLD chief Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chowdhry in Mathura (he spoke for change) and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh (he recounted the failures of state Congress). BJP’s Darjeeling candidate Jaswant Singh is also in line, it is learnt.

But no one quite beat Naveen Patnaik, who campaigned ferociously this time. Despite the high day temperature, the Orissa CM addressed nine public meetings daily through electioneering days.

For returns, he is banking heavily on the phone calls made to the users in two rounds - 20 lakh by the end of phase 1 campaigning. In the second phase for which electioneering ended yesterday, Patnaik reached about 30 lakh users, who enjoyed being pampered.

“At first, I could not believe my ears. The caller said he was Naveen Patnaik, the CM, calling up to seek our blessings. He then mentioned his father Biju Patnaik’s dreams and said he wanted our support to realise those dreams,” said Sabani Sahu, a tribal from Barampalli village in Patnaik’s home district Ganjam.

The Orissa CM had got two messages recorded. The first one was emotional, harping on Biju Patnaik’s vision for Orissa, saying: “My father had a dream…a smile on every face, food and job for all. We are trying hard to realise that dream but to do so we need your support more than ever before. We hope you will continue to support us as always …”

The qualifying one was more election specific, with Patnaik describing Orissa as a poor state meted step-motherly treatment by the Congress-led UPA at the centre. “I am working for the cause of better Orissa and I need your help. Please vote for the conch,” the CM said in the second message. The conch is BJD’s party symbol.

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India Votes
FIR against Prakash Jha
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, April 22
The district election authorities of West Champaran (Betiah) raided the office of LJP candidate and filmmaker Prakash Jha and seized Rs 10.25 lakh today.

A raiding party led by Superintendent of Police KS Anupam and SDM Rajiv Verma also took in custody around 50 persons on the charge of an unlawful gathering from Jha’s office at Bettiah. Later, they were released after the police ascertained their identity. The police has registered an FIR against Jha under relevant sections of the Representation of Peoples Act (RP Act). Simultaneously, raids were also carried out at the election office of Congress candidate Sadhu Yadav and BJP candidate Sanjay jaiswal. The police also detained three persons, who were reportedly found in an inebriated state at Yadav’s office. None of the candidates were present at their respective office when the police reached there at around midnight on Tuesday.

The SP, KS Anupam, however, denied having taken Prakash Jha in custody as reported in a section of the media. She said the search operation was carried out on a tip-off that candidates were allegedly distributing money to woo voters.

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Digvijay booked for remarks against Maya
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 22
A case was registered against senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh late last night for his alleged derogatory remarks against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati during an election meeting in Hardoi on April 20.

According to reports, the objectionable remarks made by Digvijay Singh were taped and taken cognizance of by the district administration. In this connection, SDM Anand Kumar has lodged an FIR at the Mallawan police station against the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.

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Mamata files nomination

Kolkata, April 22
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today filed nomination seeking re-election from the key South Kolkata Lok Sabha constituency.

Banerjee, who has won the seat five consecutive times since 1991, submitted the documents at the office of the returning officer at Alipore in the city. CPM state committee member Rabin Deb, fielded in the seat, also filed his nomination today. The polling in the constituency, along with other seats in the city and in the suburbs, will be held in the fifth and the last phase on May 13. — PTI

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Manipur: Over 60% turnout
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 22
Over 60 per cent voters exercised their franchise in total 970 polling stations in inner Manipur parliamentary constituency where elections were held amid tight security today.

According to an election department official, an estimated 60 per cent polling was recorded, although the figure might increase as data from remote polling stations were still pouring in. The polling remained peaceful while the CPI has demanded re-polling in about 12 polling stations spread over different districts accusing rigging. Seven candidates, including a woman, were in the fray. The first phase of polling was held in outer Manipur parliamentary constituency on April 16.

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Kasab’s plea for Urdu translation of
chargesheet rejected

Mumbai, April 22
A special court today rejected the plea of the prime accused in the Mumbai terror attacks case, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, for allotting the Urdu translation of the 11,000-page charge sheet, noting that it was “immaterial”.

However, Judge ML Tahilyani granted time to Kasab’s lawyer SG Abbas Kazmi till May 2 to submit arguments on the charges proposed by the prosecution against the accused. The court did not agree with the defence lawyer that Kasab needs to understand charge sheet to prepare his defence.

“Not all instructions of an accused are based on the charge sheet. This document is mainly for the understanding of advocates. Hence the prayer to supply the copy of the charge sheet in Urdu is rejected,” the judge noted.

The court had to take into consideration whether any prejudice would be caused to the accused if Urdu translation was not provided, the judge observed.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, he observed that the supply of copies of charge sheet was “basically an issue of prejudice and not merely a technical point”.

“Here the question is not of technical nature but that of prejudice. I have examined the prayer of the accused from that point of view and feel that no prejudice will be caused to him if Urdu translation is not given,” the judge noted. — PTI

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Declare ceasefire: Cong to Lanka
Rajapaksa to send emissary to India; Karuna calls
for Tamil Nadu bandh today
Ashok Tuteja and Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
Amid mounting concern in Tamil Nadu over the plight of civilians caught in the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka, the Congress today demanded that the Lankan government declare a ceasefire so that the humanitarian crisis could be resolved in a demonstrable way.

The statement came a day after Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi asked the Centre to issue an ultimatum to Sri Lanka to declare an “immediate” ceasefire.

Today, Karunanidhi called for a Tamil Nadu bandh on Thursday, a call that was turned down by J Jayalalithaa and some other state leaders. The Congress was of the firm belief that a lasting solution to the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka would only be possible through democratic and political means, and not through military campaigns, party spokesman and Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said.

The miseries being suffered by the Tamil civilians due to the offensive launched by government forces against the LTTE in Sri Lanka has become a major poll issue in the state where political parties are left with no choice but to ask New Delhi to intervene and ensure that the hostilities came to an end.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight held an emergency meeting with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister AK Antony and National Security Adviser MK Narayanan at his residence to discuss the situation in the island nation. There were reports that Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapkse was sending his brother and adviser Basil to New Delhi to brief the Indian leadership on the developments in the country, where the armed forces had achieved major successes against the LTTE but the military action has rendered thousands homeless. The statement is being seen as reflective of a definite change in the party’s earlier stand on the issue. It had yesterday called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Sri Lanka, considering that the word “ceasefire” appeared to be more assertive.

Incidentally, when asked to react to Karunanidhi’s demand that the Centre issue an ultimatum to Sri Lanka to declare an “immediate and permanent ceasefire”, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan had yesterday stated: “We are demanding cessation of hostilities.”

Today, Anand Sharma said the Congress had always advocated the fulfilment of legitimate aspirations of the Tamil-speaking minority within the framework of united and federal Sri Lanka and any lasting solution to the ethnic strike in Sri Lanka would be possible through democratic and political means and not through military campaigns.

The Congress statement was vetted by party president Sonia Gandhi, PM and the foreign minister. Party sources said the Congress was under pressure from its ally, the DMK, to at least make a strong statement on the issue and prevent the AIADMK-PMK alliance from taking any advantage of the Lankan issue in the polls.

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Jamia Milia’s book to correct ‘perverted’ image

New Delhi, April 22
Facing a “stereotype” against its decades-old nationalist image in the wake of the Batla House encounter, Jamia Milia Islamia university is coming out with a book to “correct” the “perverted” perception about the varsity and make people aware of its deep-rooted values.

The book, a collection of articles written by several academics and Jamia insiders, is meant to make people know the “idea of the university which has been standing for plural nationhood and composite culture”. — PTI

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