SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

India not to sign NPT
New Delhi, May 6
The Obama administration appears to have started exerting pressure on India to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) but New Delhi is not unduly perturbed.

Contaminated water kills 7
Hyderabad, May 6
In a shocking incident that raised questions over the state of civic affairs in the IT-savvy Hyderabad, at least seven persons died and over 350 others were hospitalised after drinking contaminated water in the city.

Cigarette packs to have pictorial warning
New Delhi, May 6
Tobacco users beware! From May 31, scorpions and the x-ray of cancerous lungs will deter you each time you reach out for a cigarette, beedi or other tobacco products.

Importance of being Nitish Kumar
New Delhi, May 6
In an attempt to scotch rumours about JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Miniser Nitish Kumar switching sides and deserting the BJP-led NDA alliance after the poll results, the BJP has asked Nitish to campaign for the NDA in Punjab.



EARLIER STORIES

With most public transport vehicles being requisitioned for election duty in East Midnapore district in West Bengal on Wednesday, passengers hang precariously from a van on a highway.
With most public transport vehicles being requisitioned for election duty in East Midnapore district in West Bengal on Wednesday, passengers hang precariously from a van on a highway. — PTI

SC should justify Capt’s expulsion: ASG
New Delhi, May 6
The SC should decide whether the expulsion of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh from the Assembly last year fell within the “realm of internal existential self-regulation” and was in “aid” of the institution. Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium expressed this view while assisting the five-member Bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, in the expulsion case on behalf of Attorney General Milon Kumar Banerjee.

Man held for ‘raping’ daughter
Guwahati, May 6
A man in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya has been arrested by the police for allegedly raping his 14-year-old daughter.

Kasab pleads not guilty
Mumbai, May 6
Mohammed Ajmal Iman, alias Kasab, the lone terrorist to be held alive in connection with the last November’s terrorist attack in Mumbai, has pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against him. Earlier today, the special court, set up to try Kasab, admitted that 86 charges had been framed against him by the prosecution.





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India not to sign NPT
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 6
The Obama administration appears to have started exerting pressure on India to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) but New Delhi is not unduly perturbed.

“Our stand on the NPT is very clear…we won’t sign it as long as it is discriminatory in nature,’’ official sources said here today. These comments came following reports from Washington that quoted US assistant secretary of state Rose Gottemoeller as saying that Washington desired India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea to join the NPT.

Underlining that India stood for global nuclear disarmament, the sources said New Delhi was voluntarily fulfilling all its obligations that go with being a responsible nuclear power acting with due restraint.

The sources reiterated India’s long-standing normative approach to the treaty being inherently discriminatory in terms of setting different ‘rights’ and ‘obligations’ between the five nuclear ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.

They, however, also noted with appreciation the US official’s remarks in which she observed that the Indo-US nuclear deal, along with several other steps taken by New Delhi in the recent past, had brought India closer to the NPT.

The issue of non-proliferation has remained a major contentious issue between New Delhi and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, particularly the US.

It was being apprehended in Indian official circles even before Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20 that the new administration in Washington would pressurise India to sign the NPT, given the new US President’s strong views on non-proliferation.

A sense of the difficulties that India might encounter on the non-proliferation issue was given only yesterday by former US ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill in an address on ‘’The Future of US-India Relations’’ here.

“The Obama team endorses both the CTBT and a freeze on the production of fissile material. Neither of these appears to be acceptable to the Indian government today. President Obama is planning to put Vice-President Biden in charge of what is expected to be the difficult job of getting the Senate to ratify the CTBT,’’ Blackwill said.

Meanwhile, India will keenly watch the meeting President Obama is scheduled to have with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington later today to ask the two South Asian leaders to give a decisive push to the fight against the Taliban, which posed a serious threat not only to their region but to the US as well.

India is quite relieved with statements emanating from Washington attributed to top US officials in recent days that have said that the deteriorating security in Pakistan posed a ‘mortal threat’ to the safety and security of the country and the world.

At the same time, New Delhi is also bracing itself to turn down any request from Washington to reduce its military strength along the border with Pakistan. Islamabad has been arguing that it was unable to fight the Taliban effectively in view of the military threat it faces from India.

The sources said India has unambiguously told Washington time and again that it would not reduce the troops’ level along the Pakistan border as long as the neighbouring country continued to aid and abet terrorism emanating from its soil. In this connection, Washington’s attention has also been drawn to the fact that Pakistan has not taken any credible action so far in punishing those behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

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Contaminated water kills 7
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 6
In a shocking incident that raised questions over the state of civic affairs in the IT-savvy Hyderabad, at least seven persons died and over 350 others were hospitalised after drinking contaminated water in the city.

Several residents of Bholakpur colony fell sick after drinking polluted water from the taps. Panic gripped the locality as the number of affected people kept soaring and death toll mounting.

The officials of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board said the contamination occurred due to seepage of sewage water into the drinking water pipeline. Several unauthorised tanneries in the locality were also responsible for water contamination.

Trouble started yesterday with the death of a four-year-old child in the locality after severe dysentery and vomiting. Soon, many people, a majority of them being children, were admitted in hospitals with similar symptoms.

As the situation turned serious with the death of seven persons, mostly children below 10 years, furious residents staged violent demonstration and attacked the water board officials.

The residents alleged that they were getting “muddy water with foul smell” for the last three days but the authorities failed to take action.

The government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the victims. Ordering an inquiry into the lapses, Municipal Administration Minister K Ranga Rao promised to complete the laying of new pipelines.

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Cigarette packs to have pictorial warning
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 6
Tobacco users beware! From May 31, scorpions and the x-ray of cancerous lungs will deter you each time you reach out for a cigarette, beedi or other tobacco products.

The Centre today gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court to implement the law that mandated the manufacturers of tobacco products to carry these pictorial warnings on the retail packets.

Recording the assurance, a Bench comprising Justices BN Agarwal and GS Singhvi ruled that no court in the country would pass any order contrary to this undertaking.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that the Centre had authorised him to make the commitment and state that the deadline would not be extended under any circumstances.

The front panel of each packet would carry the pictorial warning that would occupy at least 40 per cent of the space. While cigarette and beedi packets would carry the picture of cancerous lungs, oral tobacco products would display the scorpion.

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Importance of being Nitish Kumar
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 6
In an attempt to scotch rumours about JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Miniser Nitish Kumar switching sides and deserting the BJP-led NDA alliance after the poll results, the BJP has asked Nitish to campaign for the NDA in Punjab. But rumours apart, Nitish is the only non-BJP leader bestowed with such a distinction by the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate LK Advani that just underlines the importance of being Nitish Kumar.

From the last few days it is evident that both the Congress and the Left are vigorously wooing Nitish Kumar and the BJP is fighting hard to retain Kumar in its camp.

So what is there about Nitish Kumar that all of them are keen to have him over on their side? First and foremost is the expectation that Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) would do well in the elections and command support of a substantial number of MPs this time round.

This emanates from two factors. One, the assumption that since his bete noire Lalu Prasad swept the polls in 2004, this time round it should be his turn to sweep Lalu out. The feel good stories in the media about Nitish’ Bihar have only added grist to the Nitish mill, and in turn the hopes of the BJP, Congress and the Left, neither of whom have any significant presence in Bihar. Whether it is the BJP, the Congress or even the Left, none of them seem to be in a position to win any significant number of Lok Sabha seats, without riding piggyback on Nitish or Lalu Prasad.

But more important is the related political question. Lalu Prasad ruled Bihar for 15 years. By the time he was actually displaced by Nitish Kumar, all other political formations - be it the Congress, or the Left or even the BJP - had either been fully decimated or dwarfed so badly that they proved no match to him.

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SC should justify Capt’s expulsion: ASG
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 6
The SC should decide whether the expulsion of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh from the Assembly last year fell within the “realm of internal existential self-regulation” and was in “aid” of the institution. Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium expressed this view while assisting the five-member Bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, in the expulsion case on behalf of Attorney General Milon Kumar Banerjee.

The ASG outlined several other parameters that should be applied for adjudicating the case arising from a petition filed by Amarinder challenging his expulsion for exempting 32.1 acres of land from the purview of the Amritsar Improvement Trust when he was the Chief Minister. These included: What was the area that could be legitimately claimed as belonging to the “province of privilege?” Can the legislature adjudicate and punish a member through expulsion for such an offence?

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Man held for ‘raping’ daughter
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 6
A man in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya has been arrested by the police for allegedly raping his 14-year-old daughter.

District police superintendent Ricky Dkhar informed that the accused Bordingson Maring had raped his daughter six months ago and the matter came to the light after the minor girl became pregnant.

Maring, a farmer, had been living with his children at Mawtnum village in the district after he was divorced by his wife.

The crime became public after the traumatised and pregnant daughter discussed the matter with an elderly woman in the village.

The elderly woman then informed the matter to the victim’s mother who had already married another person.

The mother after hearing about the incident from her daughter lodged a complaint with the local police against her ex-husband.

The police immediately swung into action and arrested the accused who had fled the village.

The police have collected blood samples of the traumatised daughter, the accused father and the foetus for examination by forensic experts.

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Kasab pleads not guilty
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 6
Mohammed Ajmal Iman, alias Kasab, the lone terrorist to be held alive in connection with the last November’s terrorist attack in Mumbai, has pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against him. Earlier today, the special court, set up to try Kasab, admitted that 86 charges had been framed against him by the prosecution.

The charges framed against him includes murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country, violations of the Passport Act and the Explosives Act, kidnapping, etc. In all, Kasab has been accused of carrying out 166 murders. Meanwhile, Kasab told the court that he was 21 years of age. Earlier, he had pleaded that he was a juvenile at the time of carrying out an attack.

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BRIEFLY

Barnala undergoes knee surgery
Chennai:
Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala successfully underwent a surgery for resurfacing of the right knee joint at Apollo Hospital here on Wednesday. Dr Surya Narayan did the procedure under regional anaesthesia. Barnala was said to be recovering well. — TNS

Probe ordered into distribution of controversial CDs
MUZAFFARNAGAR:
The district authorities here have ordered an inquiry into the alleged distribution of controversial CDs purportedly showing UP Chief Minister Mayawati making speech in support of Narendra Modi. — PTI

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