Briton home-bound after Blair step-in
London (PTI): A disabled British charity worker, who was jailed in India for possessing cannabis and released on compassionate grounds following intervention by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will return home next week.
Freedom for 52-year-old Ian Stillman, a deaf diabetic with an artificial leg, imprisoned in Shimla in 2001 after being handed down a 10-year term, came after discreet lobbying by Blair and foreign secretary Jack Straw.
The charity worker, who was arrested for possessing 20 kg of cannabis, said he was innocent, but was convicted by a court in June 2001, The Sunday Observer reported, adding that Stillman did not understand a word of his trial which was conducted in Hindi.
Blair wrote a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee last month, requesting him to free Stillman on compassionate grounds, while Straw and deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also pleaded for his release, it said.
Stillman had been a resident of Chennai for more than 25 years, where he founded Nambikkai (faith), a charity organisation that provides training, education and employment for the deaf.
Attack on scribe’s house
New Delhi (PTI): The house of a television journalist was attacked on Sunday with unidentified persons hurling a crude explosive. However, there was no damage or injury, police said.
A low-intensity explosive was hurled at the residence of Zee News correspondent Navin Kumar in Laxmi Nagar at 2 am, deputy commissioner of police (east) Nuzhat Hassan said. An object that looks like a “clip” was recovered from the site which has been sent for forensic examination, she added.
The splinters from the explosive were of very low intensity and did not cause damage even to the car parked outside the house.
Hassan said the exact nature of the explosive would be known only after examination.
The journalist lives in the first floor of the two-storeyed house and a post of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary is stationed outside his residence for his protection.
She said the number of persons involved in the attack was not known. A case under the explosives Act has been registered and an investigation launched, Hassan said.
Several persons have been questioned but no arrest has been made so far, she said.
Police sources said four persons lobbed two grenades at the house and were seen running away after the attack.
MLA imposter held at station
Nagpur (PTI): The Government Railway Police have arrested a man for trying to book a railway ticket posing as a Bihar MLA.
Ajay Kumar Shriram Singh Yadav (32) was arrested while trying to book a ticket for Durg from the current booking counter. When the railway clerk asked for his identity card, Yadav picked up a quarrel with him. The clerk summoned the police. A search of Yadav’s luggage revealed railway concession coupons with the seal and signature of the Bihar Assembly Speaker.
Jaipur (PTI): The situation in Manoharpur, where an idol in a temple was found broken on Friday, remained tense with business establishments staying closed for a third day in protest. Police said: “No fresh incident has been reported and extra forces have been deployed.”
Hyderabad (PTI): Six persons were killed and 12 injured when their tractor overturned on the outskirts of Miraspalli in Mehboobnagar district. The victims were on their way to a wedding.
Raipur (PTI): An accident was averted in the Raipur-Waltair section when a railway gangman noticed some persons attempting to cut the track in Chhattisgarh and informed the officials at the nearby station. Officials said the gangman noticed the miscreants minutes before three trains were about to pass the spot, but they managed to flee.
Shakeel man in net
Mumbai (PTI): Police have arrested an autorickshaw driver, allegedly owing allegiance to underworld don Chhota Shakeel, at Malad in north Mumbai. A country-made revolver and a live cartridge were recovered from him.
Phagwara (PTI): A monkey has terrorised the residents of Khati village and has attacked at least 10 people. The villagers have demanded that either the monkey be caught by the wildlife department or be killed by the authorities.
A national-level crafts mela on the lines of Surajkund will be organised in Kurukshetra during the Mahabharat Utsav-Gita Jayanti Samaroh commencing on December 11. As many as 70 craftsmen from different parts of the country will participate.