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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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N A T I O N

News Analysis
Advani proves he is no pushover

New Delhi, June 22
Three days of heated debate at the BJP national executive saw senior party leader and Leader of the Opposition, LK Advani, sit silently and witness discussions on Hindutva and acrimonious mud-slinging by younger lot of leaders at each other.

RJD veteran joins JD(U)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomes Ramai Ram, who joined the JD(U), at party office in Patna on Monday.Patna, June 22
The JD(U) received a
shot in the arm today
with eight-time MLA
and former RJD
minister Ramai Ram,
his daughter Geeta
Kumari and hundreds
of their supporters
joining the party.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomes Ramai Ram, who joined the JD(U), at party office in Patna on Monday. — PTI photo



EARLIER STORIES

Cops move in a cavalcade on newly inducted motorcyles, which were presented to the police department by the Maharashtra government as part of a modernisation drive, in Mumbai on Monday.
Cops move in a cavalcade on newly inducted motorcyles, which were presented to the police department by the Maharashtra government as part of a modernisation drive, in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI photo

Rlys to have crew management system
New Delhi, June 22
The Indian Railways is all set to put in place a state-of-art computerised system across all crew booking lobbies of both drivers and guards for efficient train operations and safer journey.

Women’s literacy mission caught in gender debate
New Delhi, June 22
The government’s ambitious National Mission for Women’s Literacy has run into trouble even before the work on the mission document has started.

Azad ‘elusive’ as swine flu spreads
New Delhi, June 22
Congress’ organisational issues are keeping Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on his toes and out of the capital, while swine flu infections are soaring, unabated, causing alarm among the people.

Couple tests positive in Chennai
Chennai/New Delhi, June 22
A couple admitted to a city hospital with symptoms of swine flu has tested positive for the H1N1 virus.


24 confirmed cases in Delhi

Gehlot seeks special status for Rajasthan
Jaipur, June 22
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has urged the 13th Finance Commission to accord the special category status to Rajasthan, keeping in view the peculiar geographical, social and economic circumstances of the state.

No decision on U’khand: BJP
New Delhi, June 22
The crisis in Uttarakhand BJP has become a major headache for the party’s central leadership which discussed the issue at its core committee meeting here today.

Two held for killing rhino
Guwahati, June 22
Wildlife officials have managed to arrest two of the poachers involved in the Saturday’s killing of a full grown female rhino inside the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Orang, in Sonitpur district of Assam while two other poachers with the rhino horn are still at large.

Lid off Rs 1 cr credit card fraud in Ludhiana
Assistant manager of a bank among 3 held
New Delhi, June 22
Three persons, including an assistant manager at a Citibank branch here, have been arrested by the Delhi police for their alleged involvement in a credit card fraud case amounting to around Rs 1 crore.

 





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News Analysis
Advani proves he is no pushover
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
Three days of heated debate at the BJP national executive saw senior party leader and Leader of the Opposition, LK Advani, sit silently and witness discussions on Hindutva and acrimonious mud-slinging by younger lot of leaders at each other.

And on the last day of the meeting too, Advani was the last one to address, but as he spoke he proved the adage “he who laughs last, lasts laugh”.

With the nonchalance of an unchallenged leader, Advani began his speech: “At the outset, I would like to congratulate… the newly elected office-bearers in the BJP parliamentary party - Sushma Swaraj, deputy leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Raja Sabha…”

Starting his speech with a salutation to Arun Jaitley, who was then abroad on a holiday and was targeted by the likes of Arun Shourie, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha at the executive, was a clear snub to Advani/Jaitley baiters.

Later, while indicating what motivated him to jump to second generation leaders like Jaitley and Sushma and virtually asking veterans like Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie to step aside, Advani said, “It is sad that a certain train compartment mentality has got developed within the party… We must identify, train, groom and empower third, fourth and fifth generation of leaders in the BJP.”

But most important, Advani has rested back Hindutva, which he had patented way back in the late 1980s when the BJP was on an upswing.

In the process, he silenced recent converts like BJP president Rajnath Singh or the precocious ‘little boy’ Varun Gandhi, who thought he could pip all of them to the post by sounding more rabid and communal than the BJP, RSS, VHP and even Bajrang Dal by addressing Muslims pejoratively.

Notwithstanding all the formal denials, a tussle between the Rajnath and Advani camps has been on for long now, with Advani acolytes mocking Rajnath. On the other hand, Rajnath has taken cover behind “hard Hindutva”.

The preceding day, while reiterating BJP’s commitment to Hindutva and RSS, Rajnath stated, “I will like to say that Hindutva is not only ours but is an eternal way of life. Hindutva is the national essence of India. It is the natural flow of India’s national consciousness. Hindutva has not emerged out of a political resolution, from the parliamentary board or executive of a party or organisation, it is the national identity of India.”

He also dug in his heels and reiterated his party’s commitment to its three basic issues: abrogation of Article 370, imposition of uniform civil code and building the Ram temple at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid.

Sangh Sarsanghchalak Mohanrao Bhagwat had asked Advani before the general election to return to these issues to win back BJP’s vote base. But Advani brigade has moved on in life and feels uncomfortable at the mention of these.

Advani played that googly too with élan. Rejecting Kulkarni’s suggestion, he said, “In the aftermath of the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, two other issues have been raised: BJP’s relations with the RSS and the correct meaning of Hindutva…”

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RJD veteran joins JD(U)

Patna, June 22
The JD(U) received a shot in the arm today with eight-time MLA and former RJD minister Ramai Ram, his daughter Geeta Kumari and hundreds of their supporters joining the party.

Ram and Geeta took the primary membership of JD(U) in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Bihar JD(U) chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lalan.

Ram, an MLA from Bochaha and senior member in Lalu-Rabri cabinet for over 13 years, had quit the RJD and switched over to the Congress along with Lalu Prasad’s high-profile brother-in-law Anirudh Prasad, alias, Sadhu Yadav.

He had unsuccessfully fought the Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket from Gopalganj and had recently resigned from it charging its state leaders of a conspiracy to defeat him.

Ram criticised Lalu Prasad for ‘supressing’ his political abilities and not sending him
to the Lok Sabha where he wanted to raise the cause of Dalits and the extremely
backward class.

Describing LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan as ‘hawai neta’ (a leader without mass support), Ram alleged he was a self-seeker and instead of representating the cause of Dalits nurtured his political ambitions to cling to power. — PTI

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Rlys to have crew management system
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
The Indian Railways is all set to put in place a state-of-art computerised system across all crew booking lobbies of both drivers and guards for efficient train operations and safer journey.

The work for deployment of the system is in an advance stage and it will be operational soon.

According to reports, the crew management system (CMS) is being deployed in 300 crew lobbies, which aims at increasing the accountability of the drivers.

It would increase the efficiency of drivers and guards and help in better deployment of the crew.

So far the railways has completed the deployment at 288 lobbies and over 88,000 crew members have been covered, reports suggested.

A crew lobby is where drivers are assigned their duties and a record is maintained detailing their rosters and hours of work to be put in.

The system would help in improving the efficiency as the system will enable regulation of the working hours of drivers and put an end to complaints of fatigue. It would also help in improving the safety record of the railways further.

The crew have been provided with biometric access that would rule out the possibility of any proxy reporting.

As a result, no other driver other than the one assigned for the particular train would be able to take charge avoiding chances of any misuse.

Implementation of CMS was approved by the Railways in 2006. The task was entrusted to CRIS for developing and providing the system, which has borrowed the best of diverse system, though not of similar efficiency prevailing in other zones.

The system would automate day-to-day working of the crew, thereby providing information of their status throughout their duty.

It would also provide information on availability of crew at their home station and assigning crew to trains.

It also provides for global tracking of all crew on the system in real time whether they are on train, resting at headquarters, on training or on leave.

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Women’s literacy mission caught in gender debate
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
The government’s ambitious National Mission for Women’s Literacy has run into trouble even before the work on the mission document has started.

At the heart of the trouble is the issue of gender-parity with educationists and experts on the subject strongly objecting to the women-exclusive title of the mission, which, they say, would hamper the results of the programme by neglecting male interests altogether.

For the Human Resource Development Ministry, which has to rewrite the mission document of National Literacy Mission, to be recast as a Mission for Women’s Literacy, the problem might just be starting.

“Now that concerns have been voiced we will have to find a way around them. There is also evidence of increased domestic violence in homes where women have been educated against the wishes of men,” said top ministry officials, not ruling out the chances of renaming the mission announced by the President in her address to Parliament on June 4.

The government, in fact, said it was expecting such reactions to the all-woman title which raised concerns about the nature of resource allocation to the programme and also put question marks on whether women can come forward to study if their men are not taken on board.

Eminent educationist Vinod Raina, here today to attend the first national consultation on the subject, told The Tribune, “How can you even think of an exclusive mission for women’s literacy? In cultural context, conditions of illiteracy are rooted in conditions of patriarchy. You can’t afford to segregate a woman in home conditions where she depends on males for most decisions she takes. Moreover, you have not yet achieved 100 per cent male literacy as to only focus on women’s literacy. In most of the backward areas, there is barely a difference between the rates of male and female literacy. How would an exclusive women’s mission work in such places?”

All delegates asked the government to review the title of the mission and make
it gender-equal, besides demanding post-literacy and continuing education
components in the new mission.

“We will have to redefine literacy, link it to women’s empowerment,” said D. Purandeshwari, MoS, higher education, admitting that concerns regarding the title would have to be looked into.

The HRD Ministry would soon set up an inter-ministerial group on the matter, besides looking at ways of devolving power to states and setting up continuing education centres for women at gram panchayats.

The programme’s would cover 10,000 crore women and 5000 crore males, if the latter are taken on board (as per 2001 census).

The adult literacy programme already has Rs 6,500 crore allocation under the 11th Five Year Plan and would get more funds if needed, given the government’s commitment to the sector.

But the challenge lies in reconciling the stakeholders on the mission’s title and ensuring it offers considerable, if not equal, attention to men.

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Azad ‘elusive’ as swine flu spreads
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
Congress’ organisational issues are keeping Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on his toes and out of the capital, while swine flu infections are soaring, unabated, causing alarm among the people.

In Jammu and Kashmir currently for a post-election tour, Azad has not been seen in the Health Ministry headquarters at Nirman Bhavan for over a week now. Last week, he was in Orissa to review Congress’ performance in the recent general election.

In fact, the last formal appeal to the people he made from his Delhi office was on June 12 when he assured the nation that India was prepared to battle the spread and asked people to remain fear-free, and not panic.

Today, he was heard speaking from his home constituency of Bhaderwah, where
he talked of how the government was adopting a “multi-pronged” strategy to
combat the flu.

But the Health Minister’s absence from the headquarters, at a time when the country is bracing for the worst second wave of swine flu, is creating its own fears.

Ever since Azad left for his tours, the rate of H1N1 infection has risen sharply, with the confirmed cases now resting at 63 as against 15 on June 12.

As for the minister, he has organisational matters to attend, being AICC general secretary in charge of Congress affairs in Orissa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Congress is planning organisational changes in many states, especially those where it did not do particularly well.

After Bhubaneshwar, Azad took off to Kashmir with his officers confirming to The Tribune that he would not return to the capital before June 24.

Who will monitor the critical swine flu vaccine production developments in his absence is not known. The minister naturally wants a chance to make his presence felt in his state.

In the meantime, Health Ministry officials say they are doing everything possible to combat the flu, even considering home and private hospital quarantine to handle the rising numbers. They add that Azad is taking regular updates on the subject.

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Couple tests positive in Chennai

Chennai/New Delhi, June 22
A couple admitted to a city hospital with symptoms of swine flu has tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

The couple, whose identity was not disclosed by the officials, had arrived in the city on June 18 and test reports of the required samples confirmed they were infected with the H1N1 virus, a health department official said today.

They had been admitted to Government Communicable Diseases Hospital here.

All the people who had arrived here along with the couple would be monitored for any symptoms of the disease, the official added.

With this the number of positive cases of swine flu in Tamil Nadu has risen to four.

24 confirmed cases in Delhi

A total of 24 swine flu cases have been reported in the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said today, asserting that there was nothing to panic. — PTI

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Gehlot seeks special status for Rajasthan
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, June 22
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has urged the 13th Finance Commission to accord the special category status to Rajasthan, keeping in view the peculiar geographical, social and economic circumstances of the state.

Speaking at a meeting with members of commission, headed by its Chairman Vijay Kelkar at the Secretariat here today, the Chief Minister said Rajasthan had to face drought for 55 years in the past 61 years and the state had made progress even in these adverse circumstances.

Demanding special status to the state for drinking water, he said cost of delivery of services and facilities to the people was much higher as compared to other states.

Requesting that the share of states in Central taxes should be increased from 30.5 per cent to 40 per cent, the Chief Minister said the determination of share to the states should be on the basis of the geographical area and per capita income.

Besides, the determination of share should be on the basis of the population of 2001 instead of the population of 1971.

Referring to the important issues in the memorandum presented by the state government, Kelkar assured that the proposals regarding the future road map and targets for fiscal consolidation would be carefully considered by the commission.

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No decision on U’khand: BJP
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
The crisis in Uttarakhand BJP has become a major headache for the party’s central leadership which discussed the issue at its core committee meeting here today.

According to BJP sources, the issue of replacing Chief Minister BC Khanduri was discussed at length, but no decision could be arrived at.

The meeting, held at the residence of Leader of the Opposition LK Advani, was attended by BJP president Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ram Das Agarwal.

Even as some state BJP MLAs, demanding a change in the leadership, are still camping in the national capital, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “There was no further development on the Uttarakhand issue.”

He also virtually ruled out anything dramatic happening in the state anytime soon.

Dissident leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and some other MLAs have already returned to the state while Chief Minister Khanduri, who was here for the BJP national executive, is still groping in the dark about his future.

Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who has been demanding Khanduri’s removal, had resigned his Rajya Sabha membership last week in a bid to pressurise the BJP’s central leadership to accede to his demand.

He, however, was directed to take back his own resignation by the party chief.

According to the sources, the central leadership is weighing the pros and cons of effecting a change in leadership in the hilly state, where it was decimated in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

The sources said Koshiyari was front runner in case the party replaced Khanduri.

But Prakash Pant, state Minister for Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs, could emerge as a dark horse as Khanduri at least will have some say in the selection of his successor.

Rudy, meanwhile, said there were many factors that led to the BJP’s defeat in the elections when asked whether Varun Gandhi’s hate speech was the prime reason. “It could be one of the reasons.”

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Two held for killing rhino
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, June 22
Wildlife officials have managed to arrest two of the poachers involved in the Saturday’s killing of a full grown female rhino inside the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Orang, in Sonitpur district of Assam while two other poachers with the rhino horn are still at large.

Divisional Forest Officer and Director of the national park S Momin said two poachers, identified as Harmuj Ali and Manipuri youth from Churachandpur district Paokhang Thanga, were arrested from a hideout at Jokholabandha in the neighbouring Nagaon district yesterday while two other poachers, identified as Habi and Hajrat, were still at large.

“The arrested poachers have confessed to having killed the rhino,” the official said. It was the third rhino to be poached in Rajiv Gandhi National Park so far this year.

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Lid off Rs 1 cr credit card fraud in Ludhiana
Assistant manager of a bank among 3 held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
Three persons, including an assistant manager at a Citibank branch here, have been arrested by the Delhi police for their alleged involvement in a credit card fraud case amounting to around Rs 1 crore.

According to the police, the assistant manager, Ramneek Kapoor, would allegedly provide confidential credit card data of customers from Citibank server to another accused Jasmeet, who would then prepare forged documents to procure a new card on changed address.

Jasmeet, 21, and his father Kanwaljit Singh Saluja, 48, residents of Dungari in Ludhiana, have also been arrested.

The police has also seized documents relating to 15 ‘gold accounts’ of Citibank, opened on fake identities, from their possession.

Neeraj Thakur, DCP (Crime), said Ramneek met Jasmeet and his father somewhere in 2005 and used to open accounts for them.

“With time, the parties got close and decided to engage in credit card fraud. While Ramneek provided confidential credit card info, Jasmeet and his father would procure new cards on changed addresses by means of forged documents,” Thakur said.

The father-son duo had rented offices in Khanna, Gauriya, Jalandhar, Phagwara, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Bathinda and Saharanpur for receiving delivery of the credit cards.

“Also, Ramneek would pass on data of only those card holders whose credit limit was over Rs 10 lakh and took 30 per cent of the defrauded amount as his share. He also opened fictitious ‘gold accounts’ in Citibank in connivance with Jasmeet and his father,” Thakur said.

The father-son duo preferred using the cards at up-market jewellery showrooms in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad etc.

Thakur said the three were arrested by the Delhi police in Ahmedabad on June 16. The recovered goods included forged documents, computer accessories, mobile phones and two luxury cars.

Ramneek, the mastermind of the entire operation, is an MBA, Masters in English Honours and Software Engineer from Punjab.

He initially joined as a sales executive but later got an on-rolls job in Citibank.

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BRIEFLY

Hardcore ultra surrenders
AGARTALA:
A hardcore insurgent, identified as Saral Debbarma, of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), who fled from a base camp of the outfit in Bangladesh, has surrendered to paramilitary Tripura State Rifles (TSR) at Sidhai in West Tripura district, the police said on Monday. — PTI

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