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Govt ‘corrects’ Vaiko affidavit

new delhi: The Centre on Monday stuck to its assurance to its Dravidian allies and “corrected” the counter-affidavit it had filed on MDMK chief Vaiko’s petition against the anti-terror law, reports our bureau.

The BJP-led Centre approached the Supreme Court after deleting the paragraphs which unequivocally accused Vaiko of committing an “offence of terrorism” in his speech supporting the LTTE, made last year near Madurai.

“It is clarified that whilst Government of India fully supports the constitutionality of Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), it is of the view that the speech delivered by Vaiko on June 29, 2001, if properly interpreted and read in the entire context of the speech and the surrounding circumstances, does not attract the provisions of Section 21 of Pota,” the affidavit now reads.

The earlier affidavit had said “the petitioner (Vaiko) has been drawing support to LTTE, a banned organisation” which constituted “an offence of terrorism”.

A bench of Justices S. Rajendra Babu and G.P. Mathur asked the Centre’s counsel, A.D.N. Rao, to file the “corrected” affidavit after obtaining no-objection clearance from the parties to the case. The same bench will hear Vaiko’s petition challenging Section 21 of the anti-terror law on Tuesday.

The filing of the affidavit, however, was delayed after Vaiko’s counsel, Ramasubramanian, said he had received no instruction to give a “no objections” clearance. He said he would have to consult his client (Vaiko) first.

MDMK presidium chairman L. Ganesan, who met Vaiko in Vellore prison this morning, said his leader had welcomed the DMK’s demand on “withdrawal of Pota”.

The “additional affidavit”, from the ministry of home affairs, said “the contents of paragraphs 12 and 13 of the said counter-affidavit are based on a misapprehension of the stand of the government” and those paragraphs “be treated as deleted and substituted by what is stated herein above”.

The correction notwithstanding, BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu categorically said in Chennai today “there is no question of repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act”. He was speaking at a hurriedly called press conference after an NDA meeting.

The announcement prompted the DMK, a key NDA ally, to tone down its opposition to the anti-terror law. M. Karunanidhi later told reporters at the party headquarters that his party continued to support the law.

11 killed in train mishap

Lucknow (PTI): Eleven persons, including four children, were killed and eight injured when the Gorakhpur-bound Maurya Express rammed into a jeep at an unmanned crossing near Nonapaar railway station, according to reports reaching here on Monday. The jeep, carrying 19 members of a marriage party, was going to Tarauli, Bihar.

Five persons, including four children, died on the spot and six succumbed to injuries in hospital, sources said, adding that eight injured were admitted to the Sadar Hospital in Deoria.

PWG kills informer

Karimnagar (PTI): Naxalites of the outlawed People’s War Group shot dead a villager near Srirampur. About six Naxalites, headed by the Peddapalli guerrilla squad leader, opened fire at Nampally Ailaiah, suspecting him to be a police informer.

Lok adalats formed

Chandigarh (PTI): The Haryana State Legal Services Authority has constituted permanent lok adalats headed by a serving additional district judge in each district to redress grievances of people regarding public utility services. Member secretary of the body, R.S. Virk, said anyone having a dispute with a public utility service could file an application before the concerned lok adalat for settlement provided the value thereof did not exceed Rs 10 lakh.

Khalistan men held

Muktsar (PTI): Punjab police on Monday claimed to have caught two couriers of the Khalistan Commando Force and recovered 190 grams of RDX from them. The police also found two 12-bore pistols and seized the car in which the militants were travelling to Amritsar from Udaipur.

School ISO mark

Dubai (PTI): One of the largest Indian schools abroad has set its sights on securing ISO 9001 certification. The move by the Indian High School in Dubai, which has 8,600 students and 675 staff members, was “aimed at keeping the standards high so as to offer quality education to the students”, chairperson of the school, Ram Buxani said.

A Muslim driver in a village near Nasik has etched the Bhagwad Gita on 63 sheets of copper or “tamrapat”. Jamilbhai placed his project before local leaders of all religions at a function. He had begun scripting the Gita on copper on August 30, last year.

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