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Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Govt buries onion export phobia

New Delhi: With a glut of onions in the market and the resultant tumbling of domestic prices, the Cabinet has decided to allow the export of onions without quantitative restrictions, reports our special correspondent.

Onion exports have been a political hot potato for the BJP government. The party’s Sushma Swaraj lost the 1998 Assembly polls in Delhi mainly because the price of onions in the capital had shot up to Rs 80 a kilogram.

From October that year, the Centre had stopped export of onions. Later, when the situation improved, onions were exported under a quota regime.

With production peaking at 54.84 lakh metric tonnes during 2001-02, onion growers have been suffering. Indian exporters believe the country is losing out in markets in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, UAE, Bangladesh and Singapore because of the quota.

In 2001, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had fixed an annual ceiling of 500,000 tonnes for export, which was raised last year to 700,000 tonnes.

The Centre denied its export regime resulted in the fall of domestic onion prices. “The Cabinet…gave its consent to the removal of quantitative restrictions on exports of all varieties of onions,” a government statement said after the Cabinet meet.

Doubts on PWG role in bus attack

Hyderabad: A day after a bus was burnt between Dachepalli and Hyderabad and the People’s War Group blamed, questions are being raised about whether Naxalites were involved in the attack, reports our special correspondent.

Superintendent of police Ravi Shankar Ayyannar, who reached the spot on Tuesday morning, said he was not sure if the attackers were PWG men. “But the modus operandi was the same. Some of the splinter groups of extremists have turned out to be robber gangs on highways,” he added. The police suspect some splinter bodies of the Kondapalli group to be involved.

The attackers only carried sticks and axes and were in plain clothes. Naxalites are usually armed and in army fatigues.

The PWG has denied any role in the incident. “It is not our style to set fire to a bus full of sleeping passengers,” said a spokesman of the Guntur district committee.

3 militants shot dead in Valley

Jammu (PTI): Three Pakistani militants were among five killed in separate encounters in Poonch district where a Congress leader was killed by militants.

Militants barged into the house of Congress leader Choudhary Mohammad Afzal in Topa village on Monday night and shot him dead.

During a search-and-cordon operation in the Hari Bhudda forest belt the same night, the three Pakistani militants of Harkat ul Jehadi Islami were killed. Three AK rifles and five UBGL grenades were found .

In another encounter near a forward defence location in Sabzian, a militant was shot dead. Security forces also recovered a body of a militant from Mendhar in Poonch.

Police-mob clash

Jabalpur (PTI): Police burst teargas shells after a mob ransacked a power house in Madhatal area on Monday night to protest power cuts despite their plea to spare the area for Mahavir Jayanti. The state’s electricity board did not agree to the request by the organisers prompting the irate mob to pelt stones at the power house.

7 killed in collision

Hisar (PTI): Seven people were killed and 12 injured when a jeep turned turtle near Bhaini Maharajpur on the Hisar-Delhi National Highway. The driver of the jeep was trying to avert a collision with a matador when he lost control over the vehicle. Four persons died on the spot. Three succumbed to injuries later.

‘Witch’ beaten up

Samastipur (PTI): A 40-year-old woman was beaten mercilessly and forced to consume human excreta after being declared a witch in Purani chowk area. A group of villagers held Sita Devi responsible for the death of a local and after stripping her beat her with lathis and forced her to consume excreta on Sunday. The victim has lodged an FIR against six persons.

Man poisons kids

Ghaziabad (PTI): A man allegedly poisoned his four children aged between one and six years when his wife left him after an argument. The bodies were found on Monday.

A chintz exhibition, with displays of Indian art and performances by musicians and dancers including Akansha Tyagi of Kala Sangam dance group, opened in London. An epitome of “Englishness”, chintz-glazed cotton originated in the 12th century in India.

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