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Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Witness recall plea in Staines trial

Bhubaneswar: The three defence counsels in the Graham Staines murder case have filed a petition before a trial court seeking the recall of 16 prosecution witnesses who were earlier cross-examined, reports our correspondent.

The defence counsels led by Shyamananda Mohapatra said the recall was necessary as their deposition before the trial court of district judge M.M. Patnaik contradicted their earlier deposition before the Justice D.P. Wadhwa Inquiry Commission.

The defence counsels requested the court to call for the records, examine them and draw up proceedings against the four witnesses.

However, CBI counsels led by K. Sudhakar argued that the deposition by the prosecution witnesses should not be linked to their statement before the Wadhwa commission.

The court reserved its order on the petitions till Saturday.

Four of the prosecution witnesses — Paul Maurmu, Mathai Marandi, Raghunath Dehury and Solomon Marandi — belong to Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district, where the Australian missionary and his two young sons were set ablaze. Staines had gone to Manoharpur to attend a convention.

The trial, which started on March 1, 2001, has so far seen the cross-examination of all the 55 prosecution witnesses. The examination of the prosecution witnesses was completed on January 27. On Friday, the court was supposed to record the statement of the accused.

Pre-historic paintings found

Kota (PTI): Archaeologists have discovered pre-historic rock paintings in the Dura wildlife sanctuary near here.

The paintings, belonging to the Upper Palaeolithic era dating back to around 37,000 years, were discovered by researcher Tej Singh Mawai in Tipatia area inside the sanctuary, historian Jagat Narayan announced here.

The paintings would throw light on the culture and history of prehistoric time in this region, said Narayan, who discovered the first rock paintings at Alania in Kota district some years ago.

As the etchings by pre-historic human beings on rocks had been covered with orche and yellow colours, it is difficult to decipher the original ones, he said. Only a minute examination could reveal the original drawings, added Narayan.

Mawai, a history lecturer at Maharana Pratap College in Rawatbhata, had also found a number of rock shelters and rock paintings in Paukhunta area of the mountainous Dura sanctuary.

Five prisoners flee jail

Sonepat (PTI): Five undertrial prisoners have escaped from the district jail here.

The inspector-general of police (prisons) said an inquiry has been ordered, which would be completed in a couple of days.

He said some prisoners would be transferred to Gurgaon and Karnal by July end to check overcrowding. Haryana has started recruiting 1,500 jail wardens to tighten the security set-up in the jails, he added.

Three die in clash

Muzaffarnagar (PTI): Three persons were killed and 12 seriously injured in a clash between members of a community here, police said. The senior superintendent of police said the trouble started when one of the groups attempted to occupy a house and the other tried to prevent it.

Police firing

Warangal (PTI): A PWG member was killed in police firing in Mulugu Mandal district, police said. Following a tip-off that some Naxalites were holding a meeting in a village, the police surrounded them. As the rebels hurled bombs at them, the police retaliated, killing one Naxalite.

Threat to judge

Coimbatore (PTI): The first judicial magistrate here has received a threatening letter, reportedly from some fanatics, for recently convicting one of their leaders. Police said the letter, written in Tamil and addressed to the magistrate, threatened to “chop off” the magistrate’s legs.

Advocate boycott

Madurai (PTI): About 5,000 advocates in the district boycotted courts on Friday, protesting the arrest of four lawyers recently. Police said the boycott was in response to a circular to the Madurai Bar Association from the Advocates’ Associations in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

Bomb attack

Madurai (PTI): One person was injured when a six-member gang lobbed bombs at him, police said. Veeraputhiran was the prime accused in the murder of the Sankarankoil panchayat union chairman in 2000. Ten hi-tech mobile health units have been flagged off in Bhopal for five districts of Madhya Pradesh. Each van is equipped with doctors, counsellors, female health workers and para-medical staff, besides an operation theatre and oxygen cylinders.

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