Monday, April 19, 2010

Youths killed in clash over worship

Imphal, April 18: Two tribal youths were hacked to death and four were wounded in a clash between a batch of devotees of Lord Ibudhou Thangjing and local residents at Golthol in Manipur’s Churachandpur district last night. Police are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the altercation that led to the clash. The incident sparked tension between the local residents and the Meiteis residing in Churachandpur and Bishnupur district, bordering Churachandpur. Security has been tightened to prevent further flare-up. The two youths died on the spot. Their bodies were brought to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) here this morning and kept at the RIMS mortuary for identification and post-mortem. Lancha Haokip, 18, Mamang Haokip, 20, Seimang Kipgen, 52, and his son Khainingthang Kipgen, 18 — the four injured who are from Churachandpur district — have been admitted to RIMS. Every year, people, particularly the Meiteis, climb the Thangjing Hills to worship Ibudhou Thangjing, a Meitei deity, on the first Saturday after Cheiraoba (New Year of the Hindu Meiteis). This year, the Cheiraoba festival fell on April 14 and yesterday was the day for worshipping Ibudhou Thangjing. The tradition is to climb the hill at night in groups and return after worshipping the deity on Sunday morning. Many devotees had climbed the hill last evening. A preliminary police report said the clash broke out after a group of devotees had an altercation with some local people at Golthol atop the hill around 9.30 last night. The inspector-general of police range-II, C. Doungel, today rushed to Churachandpur for a spot inquiry and to supervise security measures. A police team led by the superintendent of police, Churachandpur, Bimolchandra Sharma, was present at the spot to inquire into the incident. “A preliminary report said an altercation between a group of devotees of Thangjing and some locals led to the clash. Two died on the spot and four were wounded. I will be making further inquiries and submit a report to the director-general of police (Yumnam Joykumar Singh),” the IGP said. The police are yet to question the injured persons. Doungel has contacted leaders of Kuki Inpi, the apex body of the Kuki community, and the Kuki Students’ Organisation to defuse tension in the district. “We have intensified patrol and security has been beefed up in and around Golthol and surrounding areas which are considered vulnerable, to prevent a backlash,” Doungel said. He said the situation was fully under control though tension prevailed in Churachandpur district and the neighbouring Bishnupur district. The superintendent of police, Bishnupur district, K. Jayenta Singh, has also stepped up security.

churachandpur, lamka

Israeli PM Netanyahu exhorts US, other countries to support ‘crippling sanctions’ against Iran

Netanyahu urges ‘crippling sanctions’ against IranWASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH’-hoo) is calling for “crippling sanctions” against Iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapons capability.In an interview broadcast Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Netanyahu said he worries that the international community isn’t acting aggressively enough to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.Netanyahu said the possibility Iran could develop a nuclear weapons program represents “the biggest issue facing our times.” He called for denying refined petroleum imports to Iran and said that if the member nations of the U.N. Security Council cannot agree on such a tough move, there is a “coalition of the willing” among other countries that also are worried about Iran.

Each child to get free uniform, books under RTE

New Delhi, Apr 19 (PTI) Each child from class I to class VIII in the country will be provided free textbooks and uniforms, if a raodmap prepared by the Centre to implement the Right To Education Act is accepted by the states.The roadmap to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act was discussed at a meeting of state Education Secretaries recently.According to the minutes of the meeting, nearly 7.8 lakh additional classrooms and seven lakh girls' toilets will have to be created to implement the new law which has come into force from April one. The government will spend Rs 1.71 lakh crore in the next five years for implementing the Act.Each child will be provided uniforms at Rs 400 per annum.Many states are already providing uniforms from their own budget.

MiG-21 being phased out: Antony

New Delhi, Apr 19 (PTI) The Indian Air Force has initiated the process to phase out MiG-21 fighter aircraft, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday.The MiG-21 aircraft are in their final phase of service and in the process of phase-out, he said answering supplementaries in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.Antony said the IAF maintains a mix of old and new aircraft in its fleet and each plane has a life span of 30-40 years.The Minister dismissed criticism over the crash of Kiran trainer aircraft during an airshow at Begumpet airfield in Hyderabad in March.He said the Kiran aircraft was inducted in the Navy in 1985 and the fleet has reported only three accidents in the past 25 years. All accidents are taken seriously by the government.

Jessica murder case: Family hails Supreme Court verdict

New Delhi, Apr 19 (ANI): Sabrina Lall, the sister of murdered model Jessica Lall, on Monday expressed satisfaction and happiness over the Supreme Court upholding Delhi High Court’s verdict in convicting all accused.Lall was shot dead by Manu Sharma on April 29, 1999, at the Tamarind Court Cafe restaurant, which was owned by socialite Bina Ramani in South Delhi.Interacting with media after the Supreme Court order, Sabrina said: "After 11 years...I am glad that the final door has been closed on this case. It has given us a lot of relief and satisfaction that the Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of the high court. I am happy.”An apex court bench consisting Justices P. Sathasivam and Swatanter Kumar upheld the Delhi High Court judgment on Monday.On December 18, 2006, reversing the order of acquittal recorded by the trial court, the Delhi High Court had convicted Sharma and awarded him a life sentence.The High Court also declared two other accused in the case — Vikas Yadav and Amarjeet Singh Gill — guilty for destruction of evidence.They have also challenged their conviction and four-year jail sentence.Sharma is the son of senior Haryana Congress leader Vinod Sharma while Yadav is the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav.Sharma who is serving a life sentence in Tihar jail challenged his conviction and life sentence given by the Delhi High Court.Sabrina described the apex court''s decision as a triumph for a common family."When the accused were acquitted by the lower court, that was a time that I had lost hope…In these cases where high profile and powerful people are involved, the important message is that it is not an impossible fight. If society works together and we continue to fight and don''t lose hope, it is not impossible to get the conviction...There is justice in the world and it''s possible not only for me, but for all those families fighting for it,” Sabrina said."In this case, middle-class people came out together in peaceful support. They created a movement for justice for Jessica. There are people I don''t even recognise who came out in open support," she added.Sabrina also demanded that witnesses be permitted who had turned hostile."Punishment to hostile witness should work as a deterrent in society. They will keep lying unless somebody is held accountable for the same," she said. (ANI)

Centre should probe role of big money in IPL: Vayalar Ravi

New Delhi, Apr 19 (ANI): Minister of Indian Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi on Monday said the Central Government should look into the role of big cash coming into the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket championship.Addressing reporters outside Parliament here, Ravi alleged the IPL was ''glorified gambling'' run with black money."It is for the government to look into the whole system, what is this IPL, who are these people, where the money comes? It is a matter of concern," he said.Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said the government should take over after scrapping cricket bodies, including the IPL and the national cricket board."IPL should be scrapped, government should take it over and nationalise it. The game of IPL should continue. All the cricket bodies like the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) should be scrapped," said Yadav.Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M) demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe on the issue."There is no full stop after the resignation of Tharoor, question is whether he is guilty or not, whether the post has been misused or not? Everyday new revelations regarding IPL are coming into light," said CPI-M politburo member Brinda Karat."It is said that the Income Tax Department knew for the last six months, even then the government did not intervene. Who are the patrons of the IPL in the government, this also should be investigated and that is why a Joint Parliamentary Committee is required," she added.Monday''s development came a day after Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and tendered his resignation over the Kochi IPL fiasco.Dr Singh accepted the resignation and formally sent it to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. A late night release from the President''s House confirmed the acceptance of the resignation.Tharoor was reportedly in trouble after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi tweeted to reveal that Sunanda Pushkar, a close associate of Tharoor, had been gifted sweat equity worth Rs 70 crores in the new Kochi team, which was sold for Rs 1530 crores last month.Modi in his email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Shashank Manohar had stated it was Tharoor who called him and instructed him not to reveal the identities of the stakeholders of the Kochi IPL franchisee.Tharoor, however, had denied this.Tharoor said he had ''enough'' of the controversy and denied securing any monetary interest in the Kochi IPL team. (ANI)

Maoists are anti-poor, anti-development: Chidambaram

New Delhi, Apr 19 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday described the Maoists as anti-poor and anti-development.Addressing the Rajya Sabha, Chidambaram criticized some human right activists for extending their tacit support to the Maoists.He said the Maoists have targeted all instruments of development."The Naxalites are anti-development and have targeted the very instruments of development - school buildings, roads, telephone towers etc. They know that development will mean the masses, especially poor tribals, wean them away from the grip of Naxalites," Chidambaram said."In 2009 alone, they have demolished 71 school buildings, 23 Panchayat Bhawans, two power plants, attacked 67 telephone exchanges or mobile towers were attacked, and demolished, 46 attacks on railway properties, 17 attacks on specific industrial establishments," he added.Taking some human rights organizations to task, he said: "Will anyone, any of the Human Rights organisations, any of the NGOs, will they stand up and tell the people of this country, ''Rebuild these school buildings and we assure you that CPI (Maoists) will not attack any more school buildings?”He reiterated that police action, would continue till territory under Maoist control is restored to the civic administration."Our response, therefore, will be police action to wrest the control of the territory that is now dominated by Naxalites, restoration of civil administration and undertaking development work. Meanwhile, we will encourage the state governments to talk to Naxalites, both individuals and local units, on the condition that they give up their misconceived armed liberation struggle," Chidambaram added.In his address, Chidambaram accepted that development works in these areas are slow and money allotted does not get spent."Huge money is being spent under various programmes. Extra money is being given under various programmes. Unfortunately, not all the money is being spent," he said.In the biggest attack of its kind, Maoists in Chhattisgarh ambushed at least 76 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on April 6. (ANI)

PM''s resignation a must for political consensus: Nepal Maoists

Kathmandu, Apr 19 (ANI): The Maoist Parliamentary Party meeting held here on Monday demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to pave the way for the formation of a national government.Concluding that the present UML-led government is a hindrance to political consensus, the meeting also said that there could be no solution to the current stalemate as long as the current leadership is retained.Talking to reporters after the meeting Maoist lawmakers said the current government is the main obstacle to resolving the political stalemate.They also decided to launch a struggle within parliament against the UML-led government.Meanwhile, Nepal has expressed frustration over the lack of cooperation from his own party.Kantipur quoted Nepal as, saying that the government has not been able to carry out its tasks due to a lack of necessary support from the party.He urged party lawmakers to understand the gravity of the situation and consider the complex circumstances under which the government had been formed. (ANI)

Meghalaya looking at fourth CM in 2 years

Meghalaya, the whirlpool of political instability, is soon likely to have its fourth chief minister in two years since the last assembly election in March 2008.In 12 years between 1998 and 2010, Meghalaya has had eight chief ministers. And since formation of the state in 1972, only two CMs completed their five-year terms.Current Chief Minister D.D. Lapang, who assumed office twice since the March 2008 assembly polls yielded a hung verdict, has admitted having lost majority in the Congress Legislature Party. His nemesis this time is Deputy CM Mukul Sangma.With 28 legislators, the Congress heads the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government. Its partners in the 60-member House are the regional United Democratic Party (10 MLAs), Hill State Peoples’ Democratic Party (2), Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (1) and three Independents.Opposition Nationalist Congress Party has 15 legislators and an Independent.“There is no denying that Mukul enjoys majority, but resolving the issue (change of guard) is up to the party high command,” Lapang said from New Delhi on Sunday. “As a disciplined Congressman I will abide by my party’s directives. I am prepared to step down for the sake of the party’s unity.”Lapang rushed to New Delhi on Sunday, a day after 21 Congress MLAs led bySangma took a flight to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “We have chosen Sangma unanimously as the new leader,” a senior Meghalaya Congress leader said from Shillong.Sangma could not be contacted but an aide said he was set to be the new CM.The Congress dissidents wanted Lapang to drop certain non-Congress and Independent legislators from the ministry and replace them with party MLAs. But Lapang resisted the move, arguing he could not remove ‘friends’ who had helped the Congress return to power last year.

Rupee eases by 25 p against dollar in early trade

Mumbai, Apr 19 (PTI) The Indian rupee depreciated by 25 paise to 44.57 a dollar in early trade today on capital outflows by foreign funds from equities and the dollar's gain overseas.The rupee closed higher by 11 paise at 44.32/33 a dollar in the previous session.Forex dealers said capital outflows by foreign funds from equities and dollar's strength against other Asian currencies, mainly weighed on the rupee sentiment.Meanwhile, the Bombay Stock Exchange index Sensex fell by 244.02 points, or 1.38 per cent to 17,347.16 points in the opening trade today.

Facebook deletes Osama Bin Laden's account

New York, Apr 19 (AFP) Facebook has said it had disabled an account on the social networking site under the name of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, which posted extremist Islamic content and had garnered over 1,000 "fans." "People often attempt to register fake accounts under the name of famous or infamous people and we have a number of technical measures designed to prevent this behaviour," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told AFP yesterday in an email. "Sometimes these fakes do get through but there is no evidence to suggest that the account in question or the other dozens of people who have tried to present themselves as Osama Bin Laden have any relation to the terrorist," he said. The account, which was disabled on Friday, had posted speeches and audio recordings of Islamic extremists, which were produced by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Sahab Media Group, ABC News reported.