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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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N A T I O N

Maya has lost the plot, feel Dalit scholars
Lucknow, June 2
Dalit bureaucrats, scholars and politicians are trying to make sense of the confusing signals emanating from the corridors of power following the BSP being reduced to number three position in the state in the Lok Sabha election.

Speaker’s Post
Meira Kumar set for unanimous election
New Delhi, June 2
In line with her predecessor Somnath Chatterjee, former social justice and empowerment minister Meira Kumar is all set to be elected unopposed as Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha.
UPA candidate for Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar greet Secretary-General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary while filing the nomination papers in New Delhi UPA candidate for Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar greet Secretary- General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary while filing the nomination papers in New Delhi. — PTI





EARLIER STORIES



Parliament Diary
Ravneet Bittu’s excited act
Former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s grandson and Punjab MP Ravneet Bittu was so excited at the oath taking ceremony today, he ended up doing things unseen in the Lok Sabha.



BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Lalji Tandon at Parliament. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Lalji Tandon at Parliament

Cancellation Of Halts
Nitish blames Lalu for violence
Patna, June 2
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday squarely blamed former railway minister Lalu Yadav for violence and arson over the cancellation of several ‘Lalu halts’ in Bihar. Nitish said the incident had exposed the style of functioning of the former railway minister.

Mumbai Strikes
I didn’t inform police about Kuber: DIG
Mumbai, June 2
A top police officer today told a special court that he had not informed the city police patrolling boat about the abandoned marine vessel ‘Kuber’, which was hijacked by terrorists mid-way from Karachi to reach Mumbai by sea route.

War-like situation in Naxal areas, says Patil
Mumbai, June 2
Asserting that a “war-like situation” prevailed in the Naxal-infested districts of the state, the Maharashtra government today said it had chalked out a Rs 100 crore strategy to aggressively counter the menace.

Delhi teacher, boyfriend held for killing mother
Duo stabbed victim 24 times
New Delhi, June 2
The mystery behind the gruesome murder of a housewife in Paschim Vihar area of West Delhi has been solved with the arrest of deceased’s daughter Sakshi (26) and her boyfriend Sunny Batra (20).





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Maya has lost the plot, feel Dalit scholars
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, June 2
Dalit bureaucrats, scholars and politicians are trying to make sense of the confusing signals emanating from the corridors of power following the BSP being reduced to number three position in the state in the Lok Sabha election.

During the string of meetings with her party office bearers, MPs, MLAs and ministers, Mayawati declared to once again return to the Bahujan samaj agenda by giving top priority to the welfare of Dalits and most backward castes.

However, those familiar with her style of functioning are keeping their fingers crossed and waiting for more concrete things to happen on the ground.

“How can we believe her if the same set of upper caste advisors continue to surround her all the time. During the last two years instead of helping her focus on good and clean governance, they kept tempting her with the Prime Minister’s chair to the extent that she could see nothing else,” said a retired Dalit IPS officer on the condition of anonymity.

Retired political science professor of Feroze Gandhi College in Rae Bareli Ram Bahadur Verma has followed the rise of BSP for quarter of a century. In his assessment, Mayawati has completely wasted the unprecedented mandate given to her by the people of the state two years ago in May 2007.

“One single factor of her defeat was her arrogance that she could get away with anything. She returned to power in 2007 on the slogan “Chhad goondon ki chaati par, mohar lagegi haathi par ( overpowering goons, elephant will get elected) but rather than overpowering the goondas she empowered them by giving them party tickets,” points out Prof Verma.

Studying Dalit poltics for decades, Prof Verma describes Dalit self-respect phenomena as something beyond economics. In this context, he justifies Mayawati’s iconic politics of building symbols of Dalit empowerment by spending money on memorials for BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and other Dalit icons.

But this cannot be at the cost of other basic needs of the poor like rozi, roti, sehat, sadak, shiksha and bijli (employment, food, health, roads, education and power). How can there be any self-respect in the absence of these?” wondered Prof Verma.

Comparing Mayawati with Nitish Kumar, Prof Verma observed , “Look what Nitish Kumar has managed to do in Bihar. By sheer good governance he has vanquished his veteran political opponents.”

Another vocal critic of Chief Minister Mayawati is retired Dalit IPS officer SR Darapuri who also contested the recent election from Lucknow. Giving an example of her refusing to take feedback, he quoted how she had handed over her own party worker from East UP Ashok Pradhan to the police when he stood up to question her during one of these post-election party review meetings. “The police released him after grilling him for well over two hours and discovering that he indeed was a senior office bearer”.

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Speaker’s Post
Meira Kumar set for unanimous election
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 2
In line with her predecessor Somnath Chatterjee, former social justice and empowerment minister Meira Kumar is all set to be elected unopposed as Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha.

She filed her nomination papers today with all 13 political parties, including principal opposition, the BJP, backing her elevation to the coveted slot. The saffron group hopes to get similar support from the Congress for its deputy speaker-ship nominee Kariya Munda, the tribal leader from Jharkhand.

By 12 noon today, the deadline for filing of nominations for the Speaker’s post, 13 notices for Meira’s election had been received, said sources in the Lok Sabha. The only ones that stayed out were the Left parties and the TDP, which made a political point by not sending in their nominations. In a sense then, they registered their opposition to the move.

“We stayed out because we know she has the numbers. Theirs is no cause for action on our part,” said a senior leader of the CPI, as the Left parties today decided neither to support nor to oppose Meira’s candidature.

In the Congress, Meira Kumar’s name was proposed by UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and seconded by leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee while LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj acted as the proposed and seconded from the BJP.

Parties and their respective proposers of notices for Meira’s election as Speaker include Mamta Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress; TR Baalu of the DMK; Mulayam Singh of the Samajwadi Party; Bali Ram of the BSP; Sharad Yadav of the JDU; Arjan Sethi of the BJD; Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference; Lalu Yadav of the RJD; E Ahmad of the Muslim League Kerala State Committee; Asadudin Owaisi of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.

With the required support in place, the pro tem Speaker will now put to vote one notice of motion for Meira’s election as the Speaker. Usually the notice that is the first to be received is allowed, put to a voice vote and adopted. Speaker’s election is scheduled for tomorrow.

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Parliament Diary

Ravneet Bittu’s excited act

Former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s grandson and Punjab MP Ravneet Bittu was so excited at the oath taking ceremony today, he ended up doing things unseen in the Lok Sabha. As long as he was touching the feet of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, it was fine because many other Congress MPs were also doing that. But what he did after the feet-touching and oath taking act was particularly interesting. The young MP, dressed in sedate pink, handed over to Sonia copy of a magazine carrying turbaned Rahul Gandhi’s cover photograph. The Congress chief was red in the face. So embarrassed she was, she quickly slipped the magazine into her leather bag, and looked up at the press gallery, flashing a huge smile. She knew the news had been made. Ravneet later told The Tribune that the said magazine featured Rahul’s pictures from his Punjab visit. The Andnapur Sahib MP was present with his entire family, including his wife and his aunt Gurkanwal, former Congress MLA from Jalandhar.

Star-studded day

It was a day of stars in the Lok Sabha, as six film stars took oath today. The pack was led by the ever-gorgeous Jaya Prada, who looked happy after undoing Azam Khan’s dirty designs in Rampur. Then there was TRS’s Vijaya Santhi, the Amitabh of South and Bengali actress Shatabadi Roy. Shotgun Shatrughan Sinha and Tamil Nadu’s Shiva Kumar (he wore shades even in the House and looked no less than Rajnikanth) were the other stars who took oath. Not to miss former cricketer Azharuddin, whose actress wife Sangeeta Bijlani was seen in the galleries for the second day in a row. Orissa’s glamour brigade led by the Bolangir royal Kalikesh Singhdeo, industrialist Bayjant Panda was also present, so was Manik Tagore, the giant killer from Tamil Nadu, who did Vaiko in. Tagore was the last member to take oath. — Aditi Tandon

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Cancellation Of Halts
Nitish blames Lalu for violence
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, June 2
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday squarely blamed former railway minister Lalu Yadav for violence and arson over the cancellation of several ‘Lalu halts’ in Bihar. Nitish said the incident had exposed the style of functioning of the former railway minister.

Answering queries of mediapersons, Nitish said Lalu’s successor in Rail Bhawan was shocked to know that her predecessor had verbally ordered stoppage of so many trains (17 of them) at so many small stations and halts (33 places) in Bihar without caring to get his orders regularised in the prescribed manner by the Railways subsequently.

The Minister of Railways, Mamata Banerjee , was reportedly at her wits end to know that trains were made to stop in Bihar at the whims and fancy of her predecessor and not as per the rules and norms presc-ribed for this purpose by the ministry, Nitish Kumar said.

He said Mamata had already ordered an inquiry into this matter. Taking a pot shot at the zonal manager, Nitish asked him why the Railways not consulted its operations wing while deciding to stop the trains at the said stations. The official had no answer.

Charging Lalu with playing a “dirty game” over this issue, Nitish said at first he (Lalu) tried to put his successor in the dock. After being exposed, he had blamed the state government for allowing the miscreants to go on rampage and torch trains. “Why were they (the irate mob) shouting slogans like Lalu Yadav Zindabad, and Mamata Banerjee murdabaad,” quipped Nitish Kumar.

Expressing doubts over the claims of huge profits made by the Railways during Lalu’s tenure, Nitish said he had requested Mamata Banerjee to order an inquiry into it and find out the actual financial condition of the Railways. “I have been repeatedly raising this doubt after every Railway budget for the last few years. Why does the Railway Ministry seek financial help from the Centre if it had so much money of its own earned as profits?” Nitish said.

Notably, Nitish has been saying successor of Lalu Yadav in the Railway Ministry will be found pulling his/her hair. Probably he stands vindicated.

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Mumbai Strikes
I didn’t inform police about Kuber: DIG

Mumbai, June 2
A top police officer today told a special court that he had not informed the city police patrolling boat about the abandoned marine vessel ‘Kuber’, which was hijacked by terrorists mid-way from Karachi to reach Mumbai by sea route.

Deposing before the court, DIG (Force 1) Sarabanasamy Jaganath said although both Mumbai police and Coast Guard have the jurisdiction to conduct surveillance of sea, he had only informed the Coast Guard.

He, however, did not assign any reason for not informing the city police patrolling boat about Kuber, found abandoned four nautical miles off Mumbai harbour a day after the 26/11 terror strikes.

The witness said, on November 27 last year, he was posted in main control room as Additional Commissioner of Police and had received information about ‘Kuber’ which revealed that its navigator had been killed and his body was lying in the same boat. The terrorists had reached the coast by inflatable boat.

“I passed on this information to Coast Guard and asked them to search the boat,” the witness told Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and added that this has been entered in station diary of the control room. Sub-inspector Padmakar Dhole, who also deposed as a witness, told judge M L Tahaliyani that after conducting an inquiry he had lodged an FIR against prime accused Ajmal Kasab and ten others for hijacking M V Kuber and murdering its navigator.

Dhole said he lodged the FIR on the basis of statement of Kasab in which he had admitted to have killed the vessel’s navigator after “Namaz hours” on day of the terror strikes.

However, when cross-examined by defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi, the witness said Kasab’s statement did not mention that the murder had been committed after “Namaz hours”.

Another witness, Rajendra Bhosale, identified Faheem Ansari in the court saying he had helped him (Faheem) in getting accommodation in the city few months before the terror strikes.

Bhosale told prosecutor Nikam that Faheem had identified himself as Sahil Pawaskar and he had taken him (Faheem) to the landlady Shantiben who gave him accommodation on rent of Rs 3,000 per month. After staying there for some time, Faheem suddenly disappeared without collecting Rs 60,000 deposit. — PTI

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War-like situation in Naxal areas, says Patil

Mumbai, June 2
Asserting that a “war-like situation” prevailed in the Naxal-infested districts of the state, the Maharashtra government today said it had chalked out a Rs 100 crore strategy to aggressively counter the menace.

“The increase in rise of Naxal attacks on the police is a cause of concern. This is no longer a local or social issue. It is a war-like situation," Home Minister Jayant Patil said, during a discussion on the recent Maoist strike on the police in Gadchiroli district, at the Legislative Assembly here.

Patil said under the strategy the government had made provisions to increase the firepower of the Anti-Naxal Operations cell.

The Anti-Naxal Operations cell will be shifted from Nagpur to Gadchiroli district under a single command of a DIG.

Gadchiroli will be split into two police districts, while the Nagpur range will be divided into Gondia and two police districts of Gadchiroli, he said.

The Home Minister informed the House that State Reserve Police Force will man outposts in order to prevent Naxals from fleeing to neighbouring states after carrying out attacks. — PTI

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Delhi teacher, boyfriend held for killing mother
Duo stabbed victim 24 times

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 2
The mystery behind the gruesome murder of a housewife in Paschim Vihar area of West Delhi has been solved with the arrest of deceased’s daughter Sakshi (26) and her boyfriend Sunny Batra (20).

According to the police, the duo killed Kiran Kapoor (55) when she caught them in a compromising position inside her SBI Colony house in Paschim Vihar on May 28. “We have arrested the daughter, Sakshi, and her boyfriend, Sunny, in this regard. All the murder weapons (kitchen knives) and other items have been recovered from her possession. She has confessed to her role in the crime,” DCP (West) Sharad Aggarwal said.

Sakshi had told the police that two burglars had entered their house and attacked her mother in the bedroom while she saved herself by hiding behind a sofa. “The girl tried to project the murder as robbery but during interrogation we found her statements contradictory. Following intensive questioning she broke down and confessed to having killed her mother along with her boyfriend,” the DCP said, adding that they have also recovered the valuables that went missing from the house.

While Sakshi is a teacher at a prestigious play school in West Delhi, Sunny, a resident of Shalimar, is a second-year BTech student at Greater Noida Institute of Technology, Greater Noida.

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BRIEFLY

2 test positive for swine flu in TN
COIMBATORE:
A 34-year-old woman and her five-year-old son, are undergoing treatment at a government hospital here for swine flu after they tested positive with the infection. They were being closely monitored by the doctors. Though the detailed reports of H1N1 virus infection are yet to reach the hospital, the doctors have started giving Tamiflu capsule to both of them, hospital sources said. — PTI

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