SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Pak must take 26/11 probe to logical end: India
New Delhi, July 3
India has reacted cautiously to the Punjab provincial government moving the Pakistan Supreme Court against the Lahore High Court decision to release Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, one of the key plotters of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Pawar trying to please Sonia: Bal Thackeray
Mumbai, July 3
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray yesterday added to the speculation about the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) possible merger with the Congress by attacking NCP leader Sharad Pawar for naming the Bandra-Worli Sea Link after Rajiv Gandhi.

Naxalite Menace - X
Maoists thrive on extortion business
At gunpoint, Maoists have become billionaires. No effort is being made in the ‘Red Corridor’ to choke their economic lifeline.

PC, Azad, Moily meet over Sec 377
New Delhi, July 3
Home Minister P Chidambaram along with Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today held a meeting to analyse Delhi High Court's judgment decriminalising same gender sex.



EARLIER STORIES

Kandhamal riots
Panel blames it on conversion
Bhubaneswar, July 3
Conversion and re-conversion were among the major factors which led to the riots in Orissa’s Kandhamal district last year, a judicial commission probing the violence has said.

Monsoon covers entire India
Parts of Assam have been inundated with Brahmaputra waters. New Delhi, July 3
After a hiatus of more than two weeks over parts of central and east India, Met office today said elusive monsoon rains were now covering the entire country. However, cumulative seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole during this year’s monsoon has so far been 43 per cent below the long period average (LPA).

Parts of Assam have been inundated with Brahmaputra waters. — PTI

SP observes ‘Shok Diwas’
Lucknow, July 3
Over 500 Samajwadi Party activists were today arrested by the police in different parts of Uttar Pradesh as the party staged protests and observed a 'Shok Diwas' (day of mourning) against alleged misdeeds of the BSP government in the state, including use of public money for constructing statues and parks.

Another disaster unfolding in Sundarbans
Pathar Pratima (West Bengal), July 3
Almost a month after the devastating cyclone Aila hit the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest abutting the Bay of Bengal, another disaster is waiting to happen: thousands of residents are living in several island villages without food, water and basic hygiene.

Nod to filing of chargesheet against Varun
Lucknow, July 3
The Uttar Pradesh government today gave the green signal for filing of chargesheet against BJP MP Varun Gandhi for making allegedly inflammatory speeches in Pilibhit, moving a step closer to his trial in the case.

Lalgarh to be on rail map
New Delhi, July 3
Impoverished Lalgarh, in news for Maoist violence and security forces' operations against the Left ultras, will be on railway map, courtesy Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Engineer’s Murder
Charges framed against MLA
Lucknow, July 3
A special court today framed charges against BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari, his wife Vibha Tiwari, and eight others, in connection with the murder of PWD engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta in Auraiya in December last year.

Govt bans Black Widow
New Delhi, July 3
Acting tough, the Centre has banned the dreaded Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) or Black Widow militant group, which is responsible for a series of violent acts in Assam, including killing, abduction and extortion.

AI staff strike work for 2 hrs
Mumbai, July 3
Employees of Air India today observed a two-hour strike over the management's decision to delay their salaries. According to employees' unions of the national carrier, the strike was observed across the country. However, no flights were affected.

‘Advani is Liberhan's Achilles heel’
New Delhi, July 3
Anupam Gupta, counsel for the commission of inquiry that went into the Babri Masjid demolition, has said BJP leader LK Advani is "Achilles heel" of Justice MS Liberhan and "inputs" suggest that the former Deputy Prime Minister does not not seem to be among those "individually indicted".

26/11
7 nations revoke travel advisories
New Delhi, July 3
The government today said it was successful in getting seven countries to revoke the advisories issued by them warning their citizens against visiting India after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Security jacked up around Ajmer dargah
Jaipur, July 3
The state government has decided to introduce a detailed security protocol for Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer. As per the new protocol, the state police will take over the security of the shrine. At present, the security inside the Dargah is managed by its internal administration, while the police looks after the vigil around the shrine, depending upon the need. 

Fake notes: Investigators unveil cross-country network
Mumbai, July 3
Investigators probing into the recent haul of fake notes of Rs 1,000 denomination have established the existence of a distribution network that spread across the country.

AP holds prayers to appease rain gods
Hyderabad, July 3
With the rains playing truant, Andhra Pradesh is seeking divine intervention for rains. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, an autonomous body managing the affairs of the famous Tirumala temple, on Thursday commenced a three-day ‘maha varuna yagam’ to propitiate the rain gods. Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy inaugurated the yagam as over 150 vedic pundits performed the rituals.

Wife of murdered XEN held
Itanagar, July 3
The wife of a PWD executive engineer found shot dead at his residence here on Sunday, has been arrested, police sources said today. The police was looking for the wife of the 45-year-old engineer Koj Pussang since his decomposed body was recovered from his bedroom that was found locked from outside.





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Pak must take 26/11 probe to logical end: India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
India has reacted cautiously to the Punjab provincial government moving the Pakistan Supreme Court against the Lahore High Court decision to release Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, one of the key plotters of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

“They (Pakistan) must carry on with the legal processes to bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks,” official sources said.

The sources said Pakistan must take the investigations into the Mumbai mayhem to its logical conclusion to demonstrate its sincerity to tackle the menace of terrorism emanating from its soil.

They said India would take stock of the steps taken by Pakistan to address New Delhi’s concerns on terrorism when Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon meets his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir on the margins of the NAM Summit in Egypt. This would be followed by talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan premier Yousaf Reza Gilani, also in Egypt.

They said the western countries were well aware of India’s concerns vis-à-vis Pakistan on the menace of terrorism. Recently at his meeting with the EU troika, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had also drawn the western nations’ attention to the fact that the terrorist infrastructure was still intact in Pakistan.

He had also told them that India had no complaint with anybody giving developmental aid to Pakistan. But India’s grouse was that this aid was not being used for development purposes but for bolstering its conventional military capability by Pakistan.

He was told by the representatives of the European nations that they appreciate New Delhi’s concerns but could not stop developmental aid to Pakistan as they would not like India’s neighbour to become a failed state as that would spell disaster for the whole world.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee has added to its list of individuals three more individuals, all residents of Pakistan, for freezing their assets and imposing travel embargo on them. They are Arif Qasmani, Mohammed Yahya Mujahid and Fazeel-A-Tul-Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al_Peshawari.

According to the committee, Qasmani has worked with the LeT to facilitate terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, and the February 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts in Panipat.

Mujahid has served as the LeT media spokesman since mid-2001 and issued statements on the behalf of the terrorist organisation on numerous occasions, including after the December 2001 LeT attacks on the Indian Parliament and following the Mumbai attacks.

Peshawari has been providing assistance, including funding and recruits, to the Al-Qaida network. He also provided funding, explosive suicide vests and other resources to the Taliban.

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Pawar trying to please Sonia: Bal Thackeray
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 3
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray yesterday added to the speculation about the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) possible merger with the Congress by attacking NCP leader Sharad Pawar for naming the Bandra-Worli Sea Link after Rajiv Gandhi.

In a hard-hitting article in party mouthpiece “Saamna”, the supremo has been quoted as saying that the canny Pawar might be plotting to return to the Congress party.

“Sharad Pawar and his moneybag Praful Patel have got plum portfolios at the Centre despite being defeated. Now he is pleasing Sonia by naming the sea link after Rajiv Gandhi,” the article said.

Alluding to Pawar’s earlier return to the Congress party in the 1980s to become the youngest Chief Minister in India, Thackeray said the NCP leader might be keen on staging another ‘homecoming’.

Incidentally, the demand for the merger was first mooted by Congress leaders after the Lok Sabha polls on the grounds that the NCP was losing ground in the state.

Pawar’s sudden announcement to name the sea link after Rajiv Gandhi was a surprise to the BJP also.

The sea link, mooted first in the 1960s, had got the green signal when the BJP and the Sena were in office between 1994 and 1999. The state cabinet had then recommended that it would be named after Veer Savarkar.

In a sarcastic vein, the Sena supremo wondered whether Pawar would name roads after children of Bangladeshi nationals who were born in India.

For the first time, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has joined the BJP and the Shiv Sena in opposing the naming of the sea link after Rajiv Gandhi. However, the state government has decided to go ahead with the naming.

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Naxalite Menace - X
Maoists thrive on extortion business
Our Roving Editor Man Mohan writes from Bastar town (Chhattisgarh)

At gunpoint, Maoists have become billionaires. No effort is being made in the ‘Red Corridor’ to choke their economic lifeline.

Mao-tse-Tung’s socio-political belief was based on “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” But Maoists in India seem to have redefined it: “Money power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

It is ironical that in the name of revolution, Maoists are collecting money. In the ‘Red Corridor,’ that runs from Nepal border to Andhra Pradesh, they are minting money by levying ‘taxes’ on whosoever comes their way.

In Chhattisgarh alone, Maoists are said to be collecting about several thousand crores of rupees through ‘levy’ and claim that they are fighting a ‘people’s war’ against the state. Their party - CPI (Maoist) - says: “The central task of our revolution is to seize political power through a protracted people’s war.”

The Naxalism movement has now become a well-organised extortion business. Ask Maoists why do they demand money when it is a ‘people’s movement,’ pat comes the reply, “we need funds to run the movement.

However, reports from various parts of ‘Red Corridor’ indicate that the CPI (Maoist) leaders also spend the money collected from businessmen, contractors, transporters, government employees, private and public sector mines and other establishments to maintain a good lifestyle.

Nearly half of the money collected is spent on buying arms and ammunition from local and international sources, including terrorist outfits in India and in adjoining countries.

The Naxal empire runs like a corporate house. Salaries are paid to cadre members. Leaders are given specific responsibilities like procuring rations, running military training camps, enroling members, collecting intelligence about the ‘enemy’ - security forces. A document seized by the police shows that the Naxals also maintain an ‘internal audit’ report.

Besides imposing ‘taxes,’ the Naxals are also getting involved in kidnapping, looting and narcotics trade which fetch them crores of rupees. The Maoists, however, claim that “this is the job of local criminals.”

If one takes into account the income generated from ‘taxes' in seven Naxal-hit states - Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra - the amount may be over Rs 10,000 crore annually.

The police has seized ‘levy charts’ listing the exact amount to be collected from contractors, petrol pump and land owners, businessmen, transporters and industrial houses. They even issue receipts for ‘donation’ received.

The ‘levy’ ranges from 10 per cent of the project cost for those contractors making unpaved roads to 5 per cent for those building small bridges and others.

However, private and public sector units do not show in their records the ‘tax’ they pay to the Maoists. They, generally, allot huge tenders to a particular contractor through whom the ‘levy’ goes to the left-wing extremists.

Sometimes, contractors and businessmen themselves approach Naxals for giving ‘donation’ to get protection. Some contractors in league with the Naxals get roads and culverts blown and make more money by rebuilding them.

Many contractors and businessmen have become a conduit for investing the Maoists’ money in real estate, transport, showrooms and other businesses in Warangal, Nagpur, Raipur, Jagdalpur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Patna. A transporter of Narayanpur was hanged by the Naxals as they found him pilfering their money lying with him in trust.

In Chhattisgarh, the Maoists earn maximum money from the business of ‘tendu patta’ which is used for making bidis. They charge Rs 200 per bag of ‘tendu’ leaf packets and Rs 9,000 per truck during the collection season. A ‘tax’ of Rs 4,000 is levied on each truck transporting bamboos.

Interestingly, tribals in some parts of Bastar in the early 1990s had started a people’s movement (Salwa Jadum) against Maoists for seasonal unemployment due to their diktat not to pluck ‘tendu’ leaves. For Maoists, ‘tendu patta’ business is now a major source of funds.

Top officials of various government departments like forest, public works, engineering and roads have been paying protection money to Naxals. Shockingly, many police officers, including town inspectors, have been sending money to the red rebels for ‘survival.’ Teachers are paying Rs 200 and general stores in towns Rs 2,000 per month. “The IIMs must take up Maoist money-making business as a case study,” said Chhattisgarh’s director-general of police Vishwa Ranjan.

(Concluded)

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PC, Azad, Moily meet over Sec 377

New Delhi, July 3
Home Minister P Chidambaram along with Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today held a meeting to analyse Delhi High Court's judgment decriminalising same gender sex.

Emerging out of the meeting held at North Block, Moily said the trio would submit their report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "We met today and analysed the judgment and will submit our report to the Prime Minister," he said.

In what is considered as a victory for gay rights activists, the Delhi High Court had on Thursday legalised homosexual acts among consenting adults holding that the 149-year-old law making it a criminal offence was violative of fundamental rights and not punishable.

The government had yesterday avoided any direct reply on its next move following the judgment. — PTI

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Kandhamal riots
Panel blames it on conversion

Bhubaneswar, July 3
Conversion and re-conversion were among the major factors which led to the riots in Orissa’s Kandhamal district last year, a judicial commission probing the violence has said.

“Sources of the violence were deeply rooted in land disputes, conversion and re-conversion and fake certificate issues,” Justice SC Mohapatra, heading the one-man panel, said in his interim report on the violence in Kandhamal, which claimed 43 lives besides damaging many houses and churches.

He, however, did not elaborate on the conversions and re-conversions issue.

“Suspicion among the scheduled tribe and the scheduled caste inhabitants of Kandhamal is the main cause of riots with the tribal suspecting that ‘Pano’ Dalits were capturing their land through fraudulent means,” Justice Mohapatra said.

Besides the issues of land and conversion and re-conversion, Justice Mohapatra said fake certificates were another major factor that created discontent among the Kandha tribals who constitute 52 per cent of Kandhamal’s population.

Justice Mohapatra, who submitted the interim report on July 1, said the government should take steps immediately to remove differences between the communities.

“I know it will take at least two years to complete inquiry, but interim report will help the government to make immediate intervention,” he said. — PTI

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Monsoon covers entire India
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
After a hiatus of more than two weeks over parts of central and east India, Met office today said elusive monsoon rains were now covering the entire country.

However, cumulative seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole during this year’s monsoon has so far been 43 per cent below the long period average (LPA). Rainfall scenario between June 1-July 2 shows that out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, rainfall was excess or normal in seven and deficient or scanty in 29 meteorological sub-divisions.

In northwest, comprising Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, west Utter Pradesh and west Rajasthan, the percentage departure from the LPA in the period between June 1-25 was minus 50 per cent and June 1-July 2 minus 44 per cent. In all, deficiency in the region decreased due to rains in the last week but a wide gap between average and actual rainfall remains.

The monsoon advanced over the remaining parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Sikkim and entire Bihar, Jharkhand, east Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on June 29.

Subsequently, it advanced over many parts of northwest India on June 30 and remaining parts of northwest India on July 1 and July 3. “Thus, southwest monsoon covered the entire country about 12 days earlier than its normal schedule,” the IMD said.

Much to the relief of the government, after a long weak spell rainfall activity increased considerably during this week between June 25- July 1

Monsoon was vigorous along the west coast and northeastern states. East, central and northwest India also experienced rainfall activity at many places with isolated heavy falls. However, the rainfall remained subdued over interior parts of peninsula. During the week, rainfall was excess/normal in 13 and deficient/scanty in 23 out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions.

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SP observes ‘Shok Diwas’

Lucknow, July 3
Over 500 Samajwadi Party activists were today arrested by the police in different parts of Uttar Pradesh as the party staged protests and observed a 'Shok Diwas' (day of mourning) against alleged misdeeds of the BSP government in the state, including use of public money for constructing statues and parks.

In Lucknow, over 300 party workers and leaders, including Leader of Opposition in the Vidhan Parishad Ahmad Hasan, were arrested after they attempted to take out a procession from the SP city office at Kaisarbagh to the district collectorate, Home department officials said.

The SP leaders claimed that more than 500 party actvists were arrested in Agra and over 100 were detained in Basti.

"The police baton-charged party workers at a number of places including Lucknow, Agra and Basti while they were holding peaceful protests," SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said. — PTI

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Another disaster unfolding in Sundarbans

Pathar Pratima (West Bengal), July 3
Almost a month after the devastating cyclone Aila hit the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest abutting the Bay of Bengal, another disaster is waiting to happen: thousands of residents are living in several island villages without food, water and basic hygiene.

The cyclone tore through 13 of the state’s 19 districts of this eastern state on May 25-26, leaving a trail of destruction with houses levelled, trees uprooted, power cables snapped and 138 lives lost.

“Thousands of residents are living in relief camps in inhuman conditions waiting helplessly. There is an epidemic waiting to break out,” Gopal Pramanik, president of the Sunderbans Social Development Centre (SDC), told a visiting correspondent.

Pramanik, who has been working in this area as a volunteer for about two decades, said: “Most of the villages have no power supply, making relief efforts even more difficult. The relief material has to be taken on boats as they are the only mode of transport available to reach most of the villages.”

In Inderpur village in South 24 Parganas district, about 120 households are dependent on a single tubewell for all daily needs after their sweet water ponds were ingressed by seawater.

“The situation is bad and it is getting worse. The threat of diarrhoea and cholera is looming large over this area due to lack of clean drinking water facilities,” said Sangeeta, a public health promoter.

In Sitarampur village in the same district, 555 families are struggling to get back to their normal lives as their farmlands have been destroyed with the saline water entering the fields.

“We are living in a relief camp, our houses were destroyed. Our farms have also been contaminated by saline water. The water is still there. If it is not pumped out soon, it will not be possible to cultivate the land for the next three years as the salt will enter the lower layers of the land,” said a worried Podda Das who is living in the camp with her daughter and two grandchildren.

Bhaswar Banerjee, programme officer of Oxfam India and one who has been camping in cyclone-affected areas for the past month, told: “There are several cases of diarrhoea being reported in several villages in this area as local residents are forced to cook stored foodgrains which got contaminated when water entered their homes due to flooding.”

Lost livelihood is also forcing people to migrate to cities and nearby towns to work as daily wagers.

A resident of Sitarampur said: “We have no food to eat, we cannot do farming as the fields are still flooded with saline water. The only option we have is to migrate to the city to work as labourers.”

Kartik Maiti, 36, a volunteer for relief operations, said: “A large number of men have moved to the cities within and outside the state in search of livelihood. They have left behind their families, which are struggling to survive on their own”. — IANS

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Nod to filing of chargesheet against Varun

Lucknow, July 3
The Uttar Pradesh government today gave the green signal for filing of chargesheet against BJP MP Varun Gandhi for making allegedly inflammatory speeches in Pilibhit, moving a step closer to his trial in the case.

"The government has given a go-ahead to the district magistrate of Pilibhit to file chargesheet against Varun, who is accused of delivering inflammatory speeches during Lok Sabha polls," secretary (home) Mahesh Gupta said.

The Pilibhit administration, after receiving the report from Forensic Science Laboratory in Chandigarh on the CDs of Varun's alleged inflammatory speeches that Varun's voice was not tampered with, had sought permission from the government to file the chargesheet against the BJP MP, sources said.

The state Home Department had earlier sought advice from the Legal Department, which favoured prosecution of Varun, they said.

Cases were registered against Varun on March 17 in Pilibhit on the directions of the Election Commission for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches there on March 8.

The 29-year-old BJP leader is out now on bail in cases relating to making provocative speeches during campaigning for recent Lok Sabha elections.

The police had last month sought permission to file a chargesheet against Varun. — PTI 

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Lalgarh to be on rail map

New Delhi, July 3
Impoverished Lalgarh, in news for Maoist violence and security forces' operations against the Left ultras, will be on railway map, courtesy Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Railways have finalised plans to put Lalgarh, a tribal-dominated area in West Bengal, on the railway map.

Salboni would be linked to Jhargram via Lalgarh, Banerjee said.

"It is a small project and small is beautiful," she said.

Lalgarh is surrounded by nearest rail stations in Salboni, Jhargram, Midnapore and Bankura.

The rail link will help in development of the backward area, Banerjee said, adding bordering areas like Midnapore and Bankura will also be developed. — PTI

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Engineer’s Murder
Charges framed against MLA

Lucknow, July 3
A special court today framed charges against BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari, his wife Vibha Tiwari, and eight others, in connection with the murder of PWD engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta in Auraiya in December last year.

The charges against the accused include abduction, murder, criminal conspiracy and forced entry into the house. Special Judge Virendra Kumar fixed July 9 as the next date of hearing after Tiwari, his wife, and eight other accused were produced in the court. Manoj was beaten to death in Auraiya on December 23 allegedly by the BSP MLA and his aides. They were accused of extorting money from him for Mayawati's birthday celebrations. — PTI 

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Govt bans Black Widow

New Delhi, July 3
Acting tough, the Centre has banned the dreaded Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) or Black Widow militant group, which is responsible for a series of violent acts in Assam, including killing, abduction and extortion.

The decision to declare Jewel Garlosa-led DHD as outlawed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last evening, officials said here.

The move comes in the wake of DHD's involvement in several violent incidents in North Cachar Hills district where the group targeted businessmen, railway properties besides government officials.

The security forces have achieved major successes in neutralising the leadership of the organisation, fighting for a separate homeland. — PTI

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AI staff strike work for 2 hrs
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 3
Employees of Air India today observed a two-hour strike over the management's decision to delay their salaries. According to employees' unions of the national carrier, the strike was observed across the country. However, no flights were affected.

According to George Abraham, general-secretary of Air India Employees' Guild, the employees walked out of their jobs for two hours because the management did not abide by its commitment to pay salaries by today. He said all the major unions of the airline, barring pilots and engineers, participated in the walkout.

"The unions may stop further negotiations with management if our salaries are not released," Abraham said.

Earlier, the management had warned that it would cut salaries and withdraw productivity-linked incentive schemes for the employees if they went on strike.

On Thursday, AI chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav in a message to employees had stated that the troubled airline was forced to utilise its meagre resources for contingencies like fuel and operating expenses in addition to paying salaries. The airline said it was delaying payment of June salaries by the middle of this month.

The unions are alleging that Air India was forced into a loss by mismanagement. The Civil Aviation Minister is faulted for pushing the purchase of 68 new aircraft for Rs 6,000 crore that, the unions say, is bleeding the airline.

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‘Advani is Liberhan's Achilles heel’

New Delhi, July 3
Anupam Gupta, counsel for the commission of inquiry that went into the Babri Masjid demolition, has said BJP leader LK Advani is "Achilles heel" of Justice MS Liberhan and "inputs" suggest that the former Deputy Prime Minister does not not seem to be among those "individually indicted".

It was apparent that he (Justice Liberhan) wanted to "extricate" Advani from the imbroglio of the demolition, Gupta said in an interview.

Gupta, who dissociated himself from the commission more than two years ago following differences with Justice Liberhan on his approach to Advani, said "based on my decade-long association with Justice Liberhan, I am convinced that Advani is his Achilles heel." He said the real test of Justice Liberhan's report would be his analysis of Advani's role.— PTI 

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26/11
7 nations revoke travel advisories

New Delhi, July 3
The government today said it was successful in getting seven countries to revoke the advisories issued by them warning their citizens against visiting India after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, Tourism Minister Kumari Selja said efforts had been initiated to get the adverse advisories revoked with the help of the External Affairs Ministry and tourism offices abroad.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad had sought to know if any effort had been made to revoke advisories issued by several countries, including the US, on touring India.

Admitting that five months from January to May had witnessed a decline of 10.6 per cent in tourist arrivals compared to the corresponding period last year, Selja said the negative trend was due to both global financial meltdown and terrorist activities.

However, she said, decline in growth rate in foreign tourist arrivals in May over the corresponding period of previous year was only 1.9 per cent.

When Shiv Sena member Anant Geethe sought to know about the steps taken by the government to increase tourist flow after Mumbai attacks, she said her ministry was in discussion with the Home Ministry to increase security and that continuous efforts were being made in this regard. — PTI 

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Security jacked up around Ajmer dargah
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, July 3
The state government has decided to introduce a detailed security protocol for Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer. As per the new protocol, the state police will take over the security of the shrine. At present, the security inside the Dargah is managed by its internal administration, while the police looks after the vigil around the shrine, depending upon the need. 

During his visit to the dargah in the recently concluded ‘Urs’, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the new security map would be commissioned soon. He said the shrine needed highest security order round the year as it drew pilgrims from across the world. He, however, made it clear that the security plan would be drawn keeping in view the comfort of the pilgrims.

In another major move, the government has decided to provide permanent arrangement for stay of pilgrims visiting the shrine. Currently, the administration makes makeshift arrangement for the pilgrims. While the district authorities have already got some rest houses for the pilgrims, another rest house worth Rs 100 crore for the purpose has been proposed in the city. The Rs 100-crore rest house would come up at Kayad village, 7 km from Ajmer. It would have the capacity to accommodate 80,000 pilgrims, besides parking facility.

The shrine was bombed by terrorists a few years back. The state government by making tight security arrangements in and around the shrine wants to avert the repeat of any such incident.

Meanwhile, the Union Tourism Ministry has also expressed its interest in developing Ajmer as a tourist spot. Apart from extending various amenities to the pilgrims visiting the holy shrine, the ministry has also laid stress on beautification of Anna Sagar Lake in the town. Also it plans to beautify temples and lakes in Pushkar to attract more foreign as well as national tourists.

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Fake notes: Investigators unveil cross-country network
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 3
Investigators probing into the recent haul of fake notes of Rs 1,000 denomination have established the existence of a distribution network that spread across the country.

The Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai police, which is participating in the investigations, has established that the trail led from Bangladesh to West Bengal from where the fake notes were pumped into various parts of the country. These notes were circulated in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad and other places.

Investigators believe that only a fraction of the fake currency notes under circulation may have been unearthed so far.

"The notes were printed in sophisticated printing presses not available to small-time counterfeiters," ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi said. According to investigators, the counterfeiters have adopted more sophisticated methods so that there is very little difference between the fake notes and the genuine notes circulated by the RBI.

The counterfeiters had managed to print fake notes on paper like the original one and even managed intaglio printing, water mark and other features adopted by the RBI. The fake notes even carried signatures of RBI Governor D Subbarao, the police said.

Only a few features in the original notes could not be copied, ATS officials said. Colour quality of the numeral 1,000 and micro-lettering on the notes could not be copied.

The fake notes were detected last month. These notes have even found their way into banks and are being given out by ATMs.

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AP holds prayers to appease rain gods
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 3
With the rains playing truant, Andhra Pradesh is seeking divine intervention for rains. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, an autonomous body managing the affairs of the famous Tirumala temple, on Thursday commenced a three-day ‘maha varuna yagam’ to propitiate the rain gods. Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy inaugurated the yagam as over 150 vedic pundits performed the rituals.

Endowments Minister G Venkat Reddy and TTD chairman Adikesavulu Naidu were also present on the occasion. The government has instructed that prayers be conducted at temples, churches and mosques to appease the rain gods.

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Wife of murdered XEN held

Itanagar, July 3
The wife of a PWD executive engineer found shot dead at his residence here on Sunday, has been arrested, police sources said today. The police was looking for the wife of the 45-year-old engineer Koj Pussang since his decomposed body was recovered from his bedroom that was found locked from outside.

She surrendered before the police on Wednesday and confessed that she had allegedly killed her husband by shooting him at point blank with a .22 rifle on the night of June 27 before fleeing to Assam. She was persuaded by her relatives to surrender. — PTI

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