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

Police foil puja bid at Qutab Minar

new delhi (PTI): Activists of the VHP, Sant Mahamandal and the Hindu Sena on Saturday made an abortive bid to perform puja on the Qutab Minar premises, a day after the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas hinted at raking up the Ram temple issue.

Police stopped the activists, led by Swami Pragyananda of the mahamandal, from reaching Qutab Minar, which the activists claim was “constructed by demolishing 27 Hindu and Jain temples”.

“Around 150 activists who had gathered here demanding the right to perform puja were stopped from entering the protected monument and later arrested,” additional deputy commissioner (south) Praveer said.

Swami Pragyananda of the Dev Sthan Mukti Yagna Samiti accused the government of “showing double standards by stopping the volunteers who were agitating peacefully and allowing only Muslims to perform namaz at the monument”.

“The minar has been built by demolishing more than 27 temples and Hindus have a legitimate right to perform puja at the site,” VHP general secretary Ram kishan Gaud said, adding that “our organisation will carry on the struggle”.

“The government should hand over the site to Hindus as the Arachaelogical Survey of India itself had installed boards which say the structure was built over temples,” Narendra Sharma, general secretary of the Hindu Sena, said.

200 take ill after chlorine leak

ahmedabad (PTI): Around 200 residents of Jageshwar village in Bharuch district fell ill following chlorine gas leakage from an Indian Petrochemicals Limited (IPCL) plant, official sources said.

Medical teams were rushed to the village and all the affected persons, who complained of severe throat irritation, were given on-the-spot treatment, Bharuch district collector Anju Sharma said.

A woman had to be hospitalised, Sharma said, adding that her condition is stable now.

IPCL public relations officer Devendra Amin said the gas leak is completely under control and the plant is ready to function.

“The exact cause of the leak is being investigated. No sabotage or mischief has been detected and it appears to be a technical fault,” Amin said.

Sharma said the sub-divisional magistrate will conduct an inquiry into the incident. Pollution control board officials and senior government officials along with state and IPCL medical teams have reached the village, she added.

Man shot on court premises

ghaziabad (PTI): One person was shot and another injured on the district court premises here in a suspected instance of gang war.

Sonu Tomar of Pilakhuwa village allegedly fired at Lokesh Pandit,a resident of Kherpur village, killing him on the spot, DIG (Meerut range) Gurdarshan Singh said. Pandit’s supporters also opened fire, forcing litigants and advocates to run for cover. District and sessions judge R.P. Tripathi said court work was hampered for an hour.

Bhattal case

chandigarh (PTI): Acting on an appeal by Punjab agriculture minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal seeking that a corruption case against her be dropped, a court has asked her to reply to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau notice on January 23. Bhattal has been charged with misappropriation of Rs 20 lakh during her tenure as chief minister.

Widow damages

jodhpur (PTI): Gujarat High Court has asked Dena Bank to consider granting monetary compensation as well as employment to a woman whose husband was mistakenly shot by the bank’s security guard last year.

150 students held

sant kabir nagar (Uttar pradesh) (PTI): As many as 150 college students were arrested while trying to close a business establishment in Khalilabad town during a bandh called by them to protest against Friday’s police firing in Anand Nagar in which three students were killed. Students put up road blocks across the town and disrupted bus services to adjoining areas.

Mother at 65

jaisalmer (PTI): A 65-year-old woman, Nainu Devi, gave birth to twins — a boy and a girl — in Galaberi village, about 10 km from Barmer, on December 7. “There is nothing strange in it. It is God’s gift and I am happy to become father again at this old age,” Nainu’s husband, 72-year-old Pema Ram said. “My wife and I are completely healthy persons. Our normal diet consists of simple dalia and dal,” he said. However, he also confessed to taking dodi, an opium popular in Thar desert. The 10th National Children’s Science Congress will be held in Mysore from December 27. Nearly 600 young scientists from across the country will gather at the five-day mega event, to be inaugurated by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

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