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

SC admits plea against terror law

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has admitted a batch of petitions challenging the Prevention of Terrorism Act, including the one filed by MDMK leader Vaiko.

While admitting the petitions and fixing the matter for final disposal in March, a bench of Justices S. Rajendra Babu and G.P. Mathur said it was an important issue and needed to be heard in detail.

The anti-terror Act is also challenged by the Peopleís Union for Civil Liberties and the All-India Human Rights and Justice Front on the grounds that its provisions, apart from being draconian, were violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

The NGOs, in their public interest petitions, had challenged the Act in toto while Vaiko had questioned the constitutional validity of its Section 21 that makes any words spoken in favour of a banned organisation an offence.

He has sought the quashing of the Section for violating the Fundamental Right of Freedom of Speech.

Vaiko was arrested by the Tamil Nadu government in July for his alleged statements in support of the banned LTTE. His party had supported the enactment of the Act in Parliament.

Rebels target traffic chief home

Srinagar (PTI): Militants exchanged fire with police guards at the residence of a senior police official while a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant was among two persons killed and one injured in separate incidents in the Valley since Sunday night, official sources said.

Unidentified militants attacked the guards at the residence of inspector-general of police (traffic) Satnam Singh at Maisuma in the heart of Srinagar.

The guards immediately fired back. There was no casualty on either side, the sources said.

Five suspected youths were detained for questioning in connection with the attack, which took place when Singh was not at home. He is presently functioning from the winter capital, Jammu.

In another incident, unidentified militants shot dead a civilian and wounded another at Dudipora in Kupwara district, the sources said.

Troops of 28 Rashtriya Rifles killed a Lashkar militant, Shahzad Malik, in an encounter at the Ladhu forest in Baramulla district on Monday, they said. An AK rifle and some ammunition were recovered from him.

Court returns Sidhu reference

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has returned unanswered a presidential reference on the removal of Punjab Public Service Commission chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu for his alleged involvement in the job-for-money scam, saying the matter has become infructuous after his superannuation.

The court said Sidhu has already attained superannuation and has also given an undertaking that he would not claim any retirement benefit.

The matter was referred for the apex courtís opinion after it was sent to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for appropriate action by the Punjab government under Article 317 of the Constitution.

Collision deaths

Hyderabad (PTI): Ten people were killed and five seriously injured when their jeep collided with a bus in Cuddapah district. Nine persons died on the spot while the jeep driver succumbed to injuries in hospital.

Four die in mishap

Vijayawada (PTI): Four persons were killed when their minitruck dashed against a stationary lorry on the national highway in Krishna district. The truck driver was seriously injured and was admitted to a Vijayawada hospital.

Naxalites kill cops

Jagdalpur (PTI): Two constables were killed in Nistoor in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh by Peopleís War Group Naxalites, police said. They attacked the constables with axes while the duo was purchasing vegetables, the police said.

Fire engulfs factory

Manipal (PTI): Fire broke out in a factory of Karla Cashew Chemical India Private Limited near Karkala, 35 km from here, police said. Fire-brigade sources said the loss was estimated at Rs 10 lakh. In another incident, three shops were gutted and two damaged in a fire near here.

Dacoity spree

Nashik (PTI): One person was killed and four were injured in two dacoity incidents in the district on Sunday, police said. They have sealed all exit points and are using the dog squad to trail the dacoits.

About 1,000 radio stations are likely to be set up in the country in 2003 by educational institutions following the Centreís nod to the community radio station scheme. Universities, IITs, IIMs and residential schools will take part in the scheme.

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