The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

5000 convert to Buddhism

New Delhi: Nearly 5,000 persons, mostly Dalits, converted to Buddhism, thumbing their nose at the BJP, the Sangh parivar and the Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu for its recent Ordinance curbing religious conversion, reports our special correspondent.

The organisers said they were not worried about the Jayalalithaa government’s Ordinance and that similar “diksha mahotsava” would be held every year on October 14, the day B.R. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism at Nagpur in 1956. They also said those who embraced Buddhism had done so voluntarily.

The conversion was organised by the Buddhist Society of India in Delhi. Fifty bhikus (Buddhist monks) were present at the ceremony to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the “great dhamma diksha mahotsava”, which was led by Satyapal, a Delhi University professor of Buddhist studies.

Over 10,000 Dalits had converted to Buddhism last year on November 4, when Ram Raj, chairman of All India Confederation of SC/ST Employees, had organised a mass conversion ceremony to protest caste discrimination in Hinduism and counter propaganda by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Ram Raj himself adopted Buddhism and changed his name to Udit Raj at the same function.

Graft noose tightens on Badal

Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh today disclosed that Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal would soon be arrested on charges of corruption, reports our correspondent.

“Badal will be arrested soon. His arrest will not be political but based on specific charges of corruption during his tenure as chief minister. We are collecting foolproof evidence against him,” Amarinder said during the swearing-in ceremony of Justice Binod Kumar Roy as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The chief minister, however, refused to divulge when Badal would be arrested. “Soon,” was all he said, while refusing to elaborate on the charges likely to be framed against Badal.

Amarinder, who has recently started a verbal duel with Badal, said the former chief minister stood “alone” as far as the Punjab government’s battle against “large-scale corruption” was concerned.

Warrant issued against Sonali

Mumbai (PTI): A city magistrate on Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against film actress Sonali Bendre as she failed to appear before the court for framing of charges against her in a criminal case of alleged obscenity.

The warrant was issued by additional chief metropolitan magistrate Ravindra Gate. She had allegedly posed semi-nude on the cover of the magazine Showtime in March 1998. The three other accused were present in court.

Fire in train coach

Mumbai (PTI): A coach of a Churchgate-bound suburban train caught fire at Santacruz station on Monday morning disrupting services for nearly 45 minutes. However, no one was injured in the incident.

Extortionists in net

New Delhi (PTI): Three persons were arrested for allegedly making threat calls on telephone and of extortion. Ram Nivas, a resident of Mangolpuri, received four anonymous threat calls demanding Rs 30 lakh on October 8. Police traced the calls to Najafgarh. A trap was laid by informing the caller of the willingness to pay Rs 9.5 lakh and asking him to collect it at Sultanpuri. A country-made revolver was also seized.

AK-47 cartridges

Jalgaon (PTI): The Varangaon ordnance factory will produce AK-47 cartridges shortly, its general manager Ajit Naik said. Speaking on the eve of the factory’s anniversary, he said the factory will produce 7.62 mm bullets for AK-47.

PWG raid on village

Guntur (PTI): Suspected Naxalites of the People’s War Group raided houses and shops in Vemavaram village, and decamped with a booty of Rs 15 lakh. They disconnected telephone lines in the village before the raid. The 30 naxalites came in four tractors and raided two shops and three houses.

Bomb scare

Mumbai (PTI): The income tax building at the Bandra Kurla complex was evacuated on Monday after a bomb scare. The bomb detection squad was carrying out checks after an anonymous call about a bomb in the building.

Work is in progress to convert the Sangumal beach in the island town of Rameswaram, which attracts thousands of pilgrims, into a tourist attraction. A children’s park with toys, an aquarium and sports items will be provided for tourists.

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