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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

College Admissions
90 pc quota illegal: HC
Mumbai, July 6
The Bombay High Court today struck down the Maharashtra government’s 90:10 reservation formula for admission in junior colleges, ruling that it was arbitrary and devoid of merits.

Tibet facing tough time, says Dalai Lama
New Delhi, July 6
As he celebrated his 74th birthday, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama today said his native land was passing through "difficult times" and a "steady depletion" of Buddhism is taking place in the region. Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and former President APJ Abdul Kalam during the celebration of former’s 74th birthday in New Delhi on Monday.
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and former President APJ Abdul Kalam during the celebration of former’s 74th birthday in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

G-8 Summit: PM leaves for Italy today
New Delhi, July 6
With both the Railways Budget and the General Budget having been presented in Parliament, It’s time for the Prime Minister to meet his international commitments.




EARLIER STORIES

Racial assaults
Oz laws to be made tough
New Delhi, July 6
In the wake of series of attacks on Indian students in Australia, laws there are being amended to make them more stringent and punitive against racial assaults.

FM cites Kautilya liberally in Budget speech
New Delhi, July 6
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was not alone in Parliament today when he presented the budget for 2009-2010. He had for company the legendary political philosopher Kautilya’s treatise on political economy - the ‘Arthashastra’. It guided the FM through his one-hour-45 minute budget speech in the Lok Sabha, where a disheartened opposition sat “reined in” (except for minor grunts by Mulayam and Lalu Yadav) like a horse that had just lost the Derby.

Hanging not most painful form of execution: SC
New Delhi, July 6
Observing that hanging is not the most painful form of execution, the Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL that sought to do away with the practice.

Nimbalkar Murder Case
Accused surrenders before court
Mumbai, July 6
An accused in Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case today surrendered before a UP court and the CBI will seek his custody soon to bring him to the city, officials said here.

Ranbir Case
CM may order CBI probe
Dehradun, July 6
The probe into the death of 24-years-old MBA Ranbir Singh in an alleged encounter may be handed over to the CBI. An indication to this effect was given by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

Curbs on free sale of acid likely
New Delhi, July 6
With acid having become a weapon of "serious" offence, the Centre today indicated it was considering regulating free sale of the substance after the Supreme Court favoured a similar action.

Thackeray hospitalised
Mumbai, July 6
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was admitted to a hospital here today following breathing problems, a party spokesperson said.

2,500 detonators looted in Chhattisgarh
Raipur, July 6
A day after a van laden with detonators went missing in Chhattisgarh's restive Bastar region, police said today that the van had been recovered but the detonators were looted by the unidentified people who had hijacked the vehicle.

Judge refuses to hear plea against SIT probe
Ahmedabad, July 6
The Gujarat High Court judge, hearing the petition challenging the probe by special investigation team (SIT) against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others, today declined from hearing the case.

Naga rebels kill 2
Guwahati, July 6
A 60-year-old Dimasa woman and another person were shot dead by suspected Naga rebels at Nutanwari village under Haflong police station in the trouble-torn North Cachar Hill district today even as a district-wide 24-hour bandh called by three organisations against continuing violence crippled life in the hill district.

Legislator freed on bail takes oath
Bhubaneswar, July 6
Manoj Pradhan, a prime accused in communal violence in Kandhamal last year and BJP legislator, took oath as a member of the new assembly today after he was granted bail by a court.

Malaria awareness through comic book
Shillong, July 6
A new comic has hit the stands but its aim is not just to amuse but to spread awareness about malaria that affects people in every part of the country, especially the northeast.





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College Admissions
90 pc quota illegal: HC

Mumbai, July 6
The Bombay High Court today struck down the Maharashtra government’s 90:10 reservation formula for admission in junior colleges, ruling that it was arbitrary and devoid of merits.

The court gave its ruling on a bunch of petitions filed by parents of students after the state government came out with a proposal on June 18 to reserve 90 per cent admission in first year junior colleges (Class XI) for SSC board students.

Terming the proposal as “unconstitutional”, the court said admissions could be granted only on the basis of merit.

It said the classification of students, as coming from the SSC board and non-SSC education boards, was “artificial and imaginary”.

The decision to reserve 90 per cent seats for SSC students results in meritorious students of other educational boards being denied admission in their preferred colleges. The court also refused to grant a stay on its order.

The government’s logic, on the other hand, was that marking in ICSE and CBSE exam was more liberal, so students from these boards scored better in Class 10 exam and “cornered” seats in top colleges.

SSC and non-SSC board students cannot be treated as equals, the government had argued.

The court, in today’s order, held that if the state wanted to bring parity in admission process, it could have devised a common entrance test or have taken some other measures, “well in advance”.

The 90:10 formula was brought in for political reasons, and to favour the SSC students, the court observed.

The decision to use the formula was “arbitrary, was taken without any data (to back it up) and without any application of mind,” it said.

The court also said the formula violates the high court’s earlier judgment in the ‘percentile’ case -- where the state’s decision to rationalise marks of SSC and non-SSC students was similarly struck down by the court.

The court remarked that all boards were “equally good in their respective ways”.

The 90:10 formula “ousts” non-SSC board students from top colleges, the court observed. — PTI

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Tibet facing tough time, says Dalai Lama

New Delhi, July 6
As he celebrated his 74th birthday, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama today said his native land was passing through "difficult times" and a "steady depletion" of Buddhism is taking place in the region.

Rejecting the charge that he was using worldwide travel to propagate Buddhism, he said he was only promoting secular values and different philosophy of humanities. "The region (of Tibet) is passing through difficult times and Buddhism is not being promoted in the way it used to be before," he said on the socio-political situation there.

"There is a steady depletion of the religion and our aim is to preserve and promote the religion. We need to work in the direction to strengthen Buddhism in Tibet and all over the Himalayan nations," he said at a function to mark 50 years of his presence in India which was attended by former President APJ Abdul Kalam and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

He thanked India for all help it had extended over the past 50 years of his presence here and echoed the secular thoughts of Gandhi, saying secularism didn't mean rejection of religion but it meant respect for religion and even respect for non-believers.

Striking an emotional chord with the audience, most of whom comprised Tibetans, he said: "Through all your wishes, I will live longer. I do not know whether I can live for thousands years, but I am sure I will stay alive till I am 100 years old," he said. — PTI

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G-8 Summit: PM leaves for Italy today
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 6
With both the Railways Budget and the General Budget having been presented in Parliament, It’s time for the Prime Minister to meet his international commitments.

Manmohan Singh leaves here tomorrow for Italy for the G-8 Summit, on the margins of which he will meet US President Barack Obama and other top world leaders.

But that is not the only overseas trip he is undertaking this month. The Prime Minister, who returns from Italy on July 10, will fly to France and Egypt on July 13. He is visiting France to participate as the guest of honour in the French National Day celebrations and Egypt for the Non-Aligned Summit.

Briefing reporters on the visit to Italy, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said this would be the fifth occasion when India would take part in the discussions with leaders of the world’s most powerful nations on how to grapple with the unprecedented economic crisis.

The G-8 comprises the US, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and Russia. India is one of the five emerging economies or G-5, consisting of China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, which are being specially invited for the G-8 summit meetings since 2003. The G-5 nations will also hold their stand-alone meeting to consider how they could jointly meet the challenge posed by the recessionary trends in the global economy.

Menon confirmed that he would be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in Egypt. He said the two sides would discuss what Pakistan had done to address India’s concerns on the issue of terrorism. New Delhi, he emphasised, had demanded that Pakistan bring to book the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in India, including those behind the 26//11 Mumbai carnage, and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its soil.

“We will report to our leaders our discussions who will then take stock of the situation,” Menon added.

The two foreign secretaries had been directed by Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to meet and discuss the steps taken by Pakistan to deal with terrorism when they met in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg last month.

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Racial assaults
Oz laws to be made tough

New Delhi, July 6
In the wake of series of attacks on Indian students in Australia, laws there are being amended to make them more stringent and punitive against racial assaults.

The 20-year-old Education Services for Overseas Act, a national act, will be reviewed while the Sentencing Act, a legislation of Victoria state where most of the attacks on Indian students have taken place, will be amended to have longer sentences for the offenders of hate crimes.

“The Victoria state government will amend the Sentencing Act with provision for longer sentence for those indulging in hate crimes. There will be a new section in the act with reference to racial attacks,” said Colin Walters, first assistant secretary from the Australian Department of Education.

Walters, who is leading a delegation to India, said the amended act would be of importance while adjudicating cases of hate crime.

“We will also review the Education Services for Overseas Act to regulate agents recruiting international students for Australia. At times, they do not give correct information to students on safety aspects,” Walters said.

Earlier in the day, the Australian delegation met officials of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. At the meeting, it was decided to set up a joint working group to coordinate between the two countries for ensuring safety of students. — PTI

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FM cites Kautilya liberally in Budget speech
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 6
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was not alone in Parliament today when he presented the budget for 2009-2010. He had for company the legendary political philosopher Kautilya’s treatise on political economy - the ‘Arthashastra’. It guided the FM through his one-hour-45 minute budget speech in the Lok Sabha, where a disheartened opposition sat “reined in” (except for minor grunts by Mulayam and Lalu Yadav) like a horse that had just lost the Derby.

That mattered little to Mukherjee as he went about announcing enhanced outlays for the social sector with NREGA leading the pack. While he carried on about the renewed focus on the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man), the stock markets tanked.

Inside the house he was busy invoking Kautilya at will - first when he had to justify balancing short-term fiscal stimulus measures with long-term prudence and fiscal sustainability objectives. “In the interest of the country’s prosperity a king shall be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those that happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the state,” he said, taking Kautilya's advice. He then turned to the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act that has targeted a reduction in fiscal deficit at the earliest, once the impact of the global meltdown on the economy was overcome.

A glass of water by his side (he drank the most before he started on tax proposals, knowing well he had nothing on offer expect a small ‘thank you’ concession for people), the FM kept quoting Kautilya selectively, invoking him for the second time when speaking on taxes and duties.

“Here I can’t resist the temptation of recalling Kautilya," Mukherjee said, quoting him: “Just as one plucks fruits from a garden as they ripen, so shall a king have revenue collected as it becomes due. Just as one does not collect unripe fruits, he shall avoid taking wealth that is not due because that will make the people angry and spoil the very sources of revenue.”

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Hanging not most painful form of execution: SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 6
Observing that hanging is not the most painful form of execution, the Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL that sought to do away with the practice.

"How do you know hanging is most painful," the CJI, KG Balakrishnan, asked a PIL petitioner who sought abolition of this form of death penalty by substituting it with administration of lethal drugs.

As the petitioner, Ashok Kumar Walia, who argued his case personally, failed to convince the court by citing some medical finding, Justice Balakrishnan said perhaps execution through other methods was even more painful to the convict.

"We have a very, very liberal regime and humanitarian principles," the CJI said, pointing out that death sentences in the country were far and few compared to the number of heinous crimes that came up for trial and the size of the population and the country.

It was a matter of mere practice that various countries had different methods of execution, including through gun fire, injection and electrocution, he said, heading a Bench, which also included Justice P Sathasivam.

Smaller countries had legal provisions for severe punishment even for minor crimes, the CJI told the petitioner, advising him to first "create public opinion" in favour of his contention and then approach the government, instead of seeking judicial remedy.

At one stage, the Chief Justice gave the impression that hanging was perhaps least painful by stating that "Once the noose is fastened on the neck..." He left the sentence hanging without completing it, but let his tone convey what was crossing his mind.

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Nimbalkar Murder Case
Accused surrenders before court

Mumbai, July 6
An accused in Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case today surrendered before a UP court and the CBI will seek his custody soon to bring him to the city, officials said here.

MP Padamsinh Patil and five others have been arrested for the murder of Nimbalkar in 2006.

"Kailash Yadav, who allegedly arranged the killers for Nimbalkar's murder, has surrendered today before a court in Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh," Rishi Raj Singh, joint director, CBI, told PTI.

The CBI will verify his identity and will send relevant documents to the court in Faizabad to seek Yadav's custody to bring him to Mumbai, he said.

A CBI team had been sent to Uttar Pradesh to trace Yadav but it failed to arrest him, officials said. Yadav is alleged to have arranged for the two persons, Pintu Singh and Dinesh Tiwari, to kill the Congress leader and his driver in Navi Mumbai in June 2006.

Yadav, who claims to be a BSP activist, has a previous criminal record and multiple cases registered against him in Uttar Pradesh.

CBI officials had said the motive for the murder of the Congress leader, a relative of Patil, was political rivalry and Nimblkar exposing the MP's illegal financial transactions. — PTI

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Ranbir Case
CM may order CBI probe
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, July 6
The probe into the death of 24-years-old MBA Ranbir Singh in an alleged encounter may be handed over to the CBI. An indication to this effect was given by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

He said in case the parents of the deceased demanded a probe by the CBI, the state government would not hesitate to do so. “Our government wants to proceed in the matter in a transparent manner. What matters most is that the parents of the victim are satisfied,” he said.

Meanwhile, union minister of state for labour and employment Harish Rawat has termed the action taken by the government in the case as “insufficient”.

“The incident has caused irreparable damage to the image of the hill state as well as the police administration,” he said. Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Dr Harak Singh Rawat said Dehradun being an educational hub, students from various parts of the country came here to study. The incident had left parents of most extremely “worried.”

“A CB-CID inquiry is not enough and the CBI must be told to probe the matter without delay,” he demanded.

The Dehradun Bar Association today boycotted work in protest against the killing. Demanding strict action against the policemen allegedly involved in the incident, association representatives submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate.

Meanwhile, new Dehradun SSP Abhinav Kumar has said his main focus would be to redeem the image of the police and at the same time enhance the morale of the force so that efforts to tackle crime did not suffer.

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Curbs on free sale of acid likely

New Delhi, July 6
With acid having become a weapon of "serious" offence, the Centre today indicated it was considering regulating free sale of the substance after the Supreme Court favoured a similar action.

"There should be some restriction on free sale of the corrosive substance. Acid is easily avialable," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam observed.

"It is a serious offence," the Bench said during the hearing of a PIL filed in 2006 by a Delhi-based minor girl Laxmi whose arms, face and other body parts were disfigured in an acid attack.

The Centre, which till March this year had failed to come up with a clear stand on making acid attack a "serious offence" and curbing the sale of acid, today said the new UPA government was working on the issue.

"There will be some positive development," Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told the Bench.

He said Home Minister P Chidambaram had taken up the issue on a priority basis and "something can be done on it". Parasaran said he would take instruction and sought eight weeks to respond to the court.

Earlier, the Centre had said the issue of banning the sale of acid had to be decided by the state governments and it had not found favour with them. — PTI

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Thackeray hospitalised

Mumbai, July 6
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was admitted to a hospital here today following breathing problems, a party spokesperson said.

“There is no cause for worry or panic. He has been taken there for a routine check-up and he is fine,” Shiv Sena spokesman Neelam Gorhe told IANS.

In a medical bulletin of Lilavati Hospital, senior surgeon and chief operating officer Narendra Trivedi said, “Thackeray is stable, there is no cause for concern.”

Thackeray, 83, was admitted to the same hospital June 18 for complaints of respiratory problems, causing concern among family and party workers. He was discharged after six days in the hospital.

Earlier, in March this year, Thackeray had spent 11 days in the hospital. — IANS

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2,500 detonators looted in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, July 6
A day after a van laden with detonators went missing in Chhattisgarh's restive Bastar region, police said today that the van had been recovered but the detonators were looted by the unidentified people who had hijacked the vehicle.

The Mahindra Max pickup van that had 2,500 detonators went missing yesterday on the way from Mandir Hasod on Raipur's outskirts to an iron-ore mine in Kirandul in Dantewada region.

"The van was recovered early Monday in a forested area but the detonators are missing," Inspector General of Police (Bastar) T.J. Longkumer told IANS.

The van driver claims that Maoist militants had hijacked the vehicle from Sonarpal village on National Highway 43 in Bastar district and took it to a forested area. The rebels allegedly off-loaded all the detonators and then let off the driver.

"We doubt the driver's claim and are interrogating him," said Longkumer.

The hijacked van was one of two hired by a Dantewada-based private mining company to blast rocks of the Bailadila hills for extraction of iron ore.

Police have set up several search squads, and all entry and exit points of Bastar district have been sealed in a bid to recover the detonators.

Police sources said Maoists mostly use detonators to set up landmines in. — IANS

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Judge refuses to hear plea against SIT probe

Ahmedabad, July 6
The Gujarat High Court judge, hearing the petition challenging the probe by special investigation team (SIT) against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others, today declined from hearing the case.

When the matter came up for hearing in the court of Justice H N Devani she said, "not before me" and declined to hear the matter due to some personal reasons.

The case will now be referred to another court based on instruction by the High Court Chief Justice.

The petition was filed last month by former BJP MLA from Lunavada Kalubai Hirabhai Malivad against the probe by Supreme Court-appointed SIT with regard to a complaint made by Zakia Jaffrey, in which she has alleged that Modi, his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided and abetted post-Godhra riots of 2002.

Zakia's husband ex-MP Ehsan Jaffrey was killed during the 2002 riots in Gulburg society along with 39 others.

The Apex court had ordered the SIT to probe the complaint within three months and submit its report.

Malivad, one of the persons named in Zakia's complaint, in his petition had demanded stay on investigations and directions from the court to restrain SIT from arresting persons named in the complaint, including Modi.

Raising questions on the investigation being carried out by SIT, Malivad had contended that the apex court had asked SIT to "look into" the complaint, and this does not empower it to investigate the case as per provisions of CrPC, as there is no FIR registered in this matter.

Last month, following the notice from the High Court, SIT had filed a reply to Malivad's petition in the form of an affidavit and said that the exercise undertaken by them in connection with the Supreme Court's order on Zakia Jaffery's complaint was a "preliminary inquiry" as per law.

The affidavit filed by SIT convenor Geetha Johri stated that the probe by the agency was as per the Supreme Court orders and was permissible, even though there was no FIR lodged in the matter, or court orders, under provisions of Section 173(8) or 202 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). — PTI

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Naga rebels kill 2
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 6
A 60-year-old Dimasa woman and another person were shot dead by suspected Naga rebels at Nutanwari village under Haflong police station in the trouble-torn North Cachar Hill district today even as a district-wide 24-hour bandh called by three organisations against continuing violence crippled life in the hill district.

A source in Haflong informed that 60-year-old Anjana Warisa and Jaipholal Warisa (40) were gunned down by suspected Naga tribe militants while they were working in their paddy field. The incident occurred at 1-30 this afternoon.

Three organisations, Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC), Dimasa Students’ Union (DSU) and Dimasa Women Society (DWS) called for a 24-hour bandh this morning in protest against continuing violence in the hill district and failure of the state government to control the same. The bandh paralysed life in the district.

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Legislator freed on bail takes oath

Bhubaneswar, July 6
Manoj Pradhan, a prime accused in communal violence in Kandhamal last year and BJP legislator, took oath as a member of the new assembly today after he was granted bail by a court.

He was the only one among the 147 legislators who was yet to take oath.

Pradhan, who represents G Udaygiri constituency in Kandhamal district, was arrested and jailed in October on several charges including those of murder, riot and arson.

He fought the Assembly election in April from jail and was elected, defeating senior Congress leader Ajaynti Pradhan. For his oath-taking, the Orissa High Court Saturday granted him 15-day bail and he was released Sunday. Pradhan had earlier approached the Phulbani court for bail but his plea was rejected.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing.

Although no communal violence has been reported from the region since October last year, nearly 1,200 people are still living in three government-run relief camps. — IANS

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Malaria awareness through comic book

Shillong, July 6
A new comic has hit the stands but its aim is not just to amuse but to spread awareness about malaria that affects people in every part of the country, especially the northeast.

'A Tale of Two Magic Potions' by Shillong-based content and service provider Chillibreeze Solutions is intended to educate while entertaining school-going children on the virulence of the disease. The company kicked off its malaria awareness campaign recently by distributing the comic book, which is the probably the first-ever health comic book in the country, among Class V students of three schools in Shillong, company director Nishi Viwanathan said.

To gauge the effectiveness of the comic book, the company staff conducted pre-distribution and post-distribution quiz contests. — PTI

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