Delhi prolongs Beijing agony
Ex-IG in Belur Math rampage
Jaya survives do-or-die case
Eight thugs, women aides lynched
Recast to overtake rebellion
Calcutta weather

 
 
DELHI PROLONGS BEIJING AGONY 
 
 
FROM PRANAY SHARMA IN NEW DELHI AND SUJAY GUPTA IN MCLEODGUNJ
 
Jan. 13 
India is trying to extract maximum diplomatic advantage from the Chinese dilemma over the Karmapa’s flight by delaying a decision on how it wants to treat the Buddhist leader though Beijing today asked Delhi to inform it about his presence here.

While China has asked India not to grant political asylum to the 14-year-old Urgyen Trinley Dorje, at the same time, it maintains that the Karmapa has not fled Tibet but gone abroad to buy musical instruments and black hats required for the Buddhist mass.

Delhi wants to take advantage of this contradiction and await an official request from Beijing to discuss the controversy. ‘‘How can the Chinese ask us not to grant him asylum when they themselves don’t believe he has escaped to India and is here to buy musical instruments and black hats?’’ a foreign ministry official asked.

In a statement this evening, a spokesman for the Chinese government reiterated that the Karmapa has gone to India to make purchases and ‘‘by doing so, he did not mean to betray the state’’.

The statement, however, asks India to inform China of his arrival. ‘‘It is reported that the 17th Living Buddha has arrived in India. But as far as I know India has not informed the Chinese side about this matter,” the statement said.

Foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal still maintains that Delhi is trying to ‘‘look into the circumstances of the Karmapa’s sudden arrival’’. That this has been the official line for more than a week indicates that South Block is in no hurry to make an announcement on the Karmapa.

Delhi is treating the teenage religious leader as a Tibetan refugee but will not show its cards until the Karmapa makes a statement on why he fled Tibet. “We are in no hurry to talk about it till China approaches us formally on the issue,’’ a foreign ministry official said.

Amid the tussle for diplomatic brownie points, the Dalai Lama’s administration beefed up security around the Gyoto Rinpoche temple near Dharamshala where the Karmapa is staying.

“His presence here has been noticed and reported. We have to be even more careful because we are not inclined to move him from here till we know of India’s decision,” a minister in the exile government said.

Tibetan officials who are keen to shift the Buddhist leader to the bigger Sherab Ling monastery in Baijnath, about 30 km from Dharamshala, conceded that the Karmapa’s stay at the Gyoto temple could be longer. “We understand India’s position. India cannot go completely against the Chinese and at the same time we are dependant on Indian support,” said a minister.

However, a member of ‘‘Tibetan parliament-in exile’’ has requested India to grant asylum to the Karmapa. Submitting a personal memorandum to the foreign ministry, Dolma Gyari asked Delhi ‘‘not to fall under Beijing’s pressure for deportation of the 14-year-old boy’’.

But South Block is not taking this appeal too seriously. “We receive hundreds of petitions daily. The memorandum submitted by the Tibetan lady is also being seen in that context,” an official said.

A 10-member team from Rumtek monastery — headquarters-in-exile of the Kagyu sect — called on the Karmapa today.    


 
 
EX-IG IN BELUR MATH RAMPAGE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 13 
A monk of the Ramakrishna Mission and Math was injured after being kicked in the stomach by the security guard of a Delhi-based retired IPS officer.

The officer, accompanied with his family, was forcing his way into Belur Math during the midday closing hours.

The injured monk, Shambhu Maharaj, has been admitted to Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan where he is recovering.

The retired inspector general of Delhi police, P. Chaturvedi, and his guard, K. Sharma, have both been arrested by the Howrah police. The former was later released on bail and admitted to a nursing home after he complained of illness due to “high blood pressure.”

Howrah superintendent of police Surajit Kar Purakayastha said Chaturvedi’s claims of being an IPS officer and his other statements are being verified with the Delhi police.

The trouble started around 12 this afternoon when Chaturvedi arrived with his family at the Belur Math in a car along with his guard. He demanded at the gate that he be allowed to drive his car right up to the temple.

However, as it was past visiting hours, the gateman refused to allow them entry. He also told them that prior permission was required to drive up to the temple.

Chaturvedi and Sharma continued to insist that he open the gate, even saying that he was a senior police officer. An altercation then ensued between the guard and the gateman, but the latter refused to budge.

This infuriated the guard. He whipped out his double-barrel gun and began to ruthlessly beat up the gateman with its butt.

Hearing the commotion, a number of visitors to the Math and local people gathered and tried to rescue the gateman. Soon, a few hundred people surrounded the securityman. Some among them tried to reason with the guard. When he guard remained adamant, the crowd began to beat him.

By this time, the matter came to the notice of the monks, who were on their way to the dining hall. Shambhu Maharaj, who is in charge of the maintenance of the premises, rushed to the spot.

Eyewitness said what angered the crowd more was that the former police officer was sitting in the car and passively supporting his guard’s action.

“We realised that the body-guard should be rescued or he would be lynched,” said a monk. As soon as they approached the spot, the mob cooled down. But the guard rushed towards the monks and attacked them with the butt of his gun. Shambhu Maharaj was in front. The guard caught hold of him first. “He kicked Shambhu Maharaj in the stomach and then beat him with the gun,” said the monk.    


 
 
JAYA SURVIVES DO-OR-DIE CASE 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Chennai, Jan. 13 
Dealing a blow to the DMK government’s efforts to nail Jayalalitha for corruption, the Madras High Court today discharged her from the Tansi land scam case for want of sufficient evidence.

The Tansi lawsuit was seen as the most water-tight case against the ADMK leader. Conviction in the case, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, would have disqualified her from contesting elections for six years.

Of the lawsuits still pending, the only strong case against Jayalalitha is the one relating to accumulation of wealth disproportionate to her income.

The Tansi case involves the sale of land and buildings belonging to the state-owned Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation (Tansi) at prices below the market rate to Jaya Publications and Sasi Enterprises, in which Jayalalitha and her confidante Sasikala were partners.

The prosecution had claimed that the sale of 3.02 acres, along with some buildings, in May 1992 had caused a loss of Rs 3.5 crore to the state exechequer.

Dismissing the charges for want of “sufficient prima facie evidence”, Justice S. Thangaraj said the code of conduct barring public servants from acquiring government property was not legally binding. Hence, Jayalalitha had not committed any offence by acquiring the Tansi land. The judge also wondered what was wrong with a chief minister being a shareholder in any company.

Justice Thangaraj said Jaya Publications and Sasi Enterprises had bought the property at a public auction, and the prosecution had not brought any evidence to show that as chief minister, Jayalalitha had acted fraudulently to clinch the deal. There was no breach of trust involved, he asserted.

The news of Jayalalitha’s acquittal was the best Pongal gift the ADMK could have hoped for. The party was stunned yesterday when a former MLA, G. Mallika, was sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment in a disproportionate wealth case.

Jayalalitha and her aides had filed almost a hundred interlocutory petitions in various courts to stall the Tansi case, and it reached the trial stage only in June. Both Jayalalitha and Sasikala had appealed to the high court against the framing of charges. Sasikala’s case is yet to come up for hearing.

Justice Thangaraj had earlier upheld Jayalalitha’s acquittal by the special court in the coal import case. Following today’s ruling, the prosecution’s hopes of nailing the ADMK leader rest on the disproprtionate assets case.    


 
 
EIGHT THUGS, WOMEN AIDES LYNCHED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 13 
Eight extortionists and two women who sheltered them,were lynched in Sonarpur.

The incident took place around 12 noon today when the miscreants, belonging to the notorious “Vinod gang”, were passing through Natunhat village, police said. Vinod used to extort money from Natunhat and adjoining areas. The gang was heading towards a nearby village for another extortion bid.

As the Natunhat villagers raised an alarm, the miscreants hurled bombs at two of them. In retaliation, at least 50 villagers started chasing the gang with lathis. The miscreants split in two directions, but the villagers intercepted four of them and beat them to death.

Police said the mob then combed the area and dragged out four other miscreants who had taken shelter in a village house, and lynched them.

Two women of the house were also killed for providing shelter to the miscreants. Police said the miscreants had a connection with the women.

The bodies of four have been identified.

Police rushed to the village which is still tense. Senior police officers of district, however, were not there as they are on duty in Sagar island for Gangasagar Mela.    


 
 
RECAST TO OVERTAKE REBELLION 
 
 
BY TAMAL SENGUPTA
 
Calcutta, Jan 13 
Forced by the growing skirmishing in the party over modernising its politics , the CPM politburo will go into an exclusive three day-session, beginning tomorrow to discuss updating of the party programme eight years after it was mandated to do the job.

The fate of the CPM — the spearhead of the Indian communist movement — in the days ahead will considerably depend on how, or whether, the politburo displays the vision to anticipate the train of changes and prepare the party by modernising its political programme.

Contrary to popular speculation, the rebellion by three important functionaries from the Bengal CPM — Subhas Chakraborty, Saifuddin Chowdhury and Samir Putatunda — who are believed to be acting as the cats’ paws for several heavyweights will most probably get reduced to a side-show in the coming session.

“You are mistaken if you think that we will devote our energies and attention to sorting out something which we think exists only in the media’s mind. The thrust of our meeting will be on charting out a new approach to ideological and political issues,” said Anil Biswas, state party secretary.

True, the rebellion has served to hasten the meeting on programme updating, but there is no reason to believe that it will overshadow the proceedings.

It is now clear that the party will shortly initiate the move to update the programme — a task which it was close to taking up in earnest in 1999 when it had got a near-opportunity to form a government at the Centre. But it could not get round to doing the job after Congress president Sonia Gandhi denied the communists the opportunity and paved the grounds for the elections.

There are no two minds that if the party begins to work on modernising its programme now, the rebels , who are believed to be using the campaign as a cloak for their personal ambitions, will have to suffer a setback to their raison d’etre.

In structural terms, the meeting will get under way after CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet places the draft report on programme updating that he has received from the five member-Programme Commission headed by Surjeet . The rest are chief minister Jyoti Basu, Biswas, P. Ramchandran and Sitaram Yechury.

All the sixteen politburo members — most of them flew in by Thursday evening — will discuss it threadbare in the next three days and formulate recommendations for examination by the central committee which will, in turn, hold further discussions before rejecting, modifying or endorsing them for implementation.

The CPM rebels , who have positioned themselves as pro-changers, have been campaigning for greater inner-party democracy and transparent working since early december, seeking to mobilise public opinion going over the party’s head. In doing so, they are believed to be tapping a network of disenchanted party comrades across the country.

Basu and his deputy Buddhadev Bhattacharya are believed to be soft towards the rebels , but they too have made it clear that they would not stake their efforts to force a split on the issues being raised by them. High on numbers and control, the hardliners have already showcaused Chowdhury and publicly reprimanded Chak-raborty. Putatunda is believed to be veering round.    


 
 
CALCUTTA WEATHER 
 
 
 
 
Temperature: Maximum: 30.8°C (+4) Minimum: 16.7°C (+3) RAINFALL: Nil Relative humidity: Maximum: 98%, Minimum: 39% Today: Partly cloudy sky. Not much change in night temperature. Sunset: 5.06 pm Sunrise: 6.24 am    
 

FRONT PAGE / NATIONAL / EDITORIAL / BUSINESS / THE EAST / SPORTS
ABOUT US /FEEDBACK / ARCHIVE 
 
Maintained by Web Development Company