09032017-TTC-01.qxd 3/9/2017 1:35 AM Page 1 13 established in 1881 thursday, march 9, 2017 late city edition chandigarh | gurgaon | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 137 no. 67 | 28 pages | ~4.50 | regd. no. chd/0006/2015-2017 /thetribunechd /thetribunechd After12-hour op, UP terror suspect shot Snow March Was self-radicalised, no proof of foreign links: Cops Shahira Naim Tribune News Service People walk amid snowfall in Manali as biting cold wave conditions returned to Himachal on Wednesday. Manali saw 6 cm of snow and Kufri in Shimla 4 cm. The weatherman has predicted thundershowers, snowfall and rain in the region in the next five days. PTI PAGE 12 Bitter poll battle ends, all eyes on Varanasi Counting of votes in Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Goa & Manipur on March 11 Lucknow/Imphal, March 8 The two-month-long Assembly elections in five states, marked by frequent namecalling, ended today, with all eyes on the March 11 results that will be seen as a virtual referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity after his demonetisation decision. In Uttar Pradesh, Modi and his BJP party colleagues pulled out all stops during campaigning for the final phase that saw a 60.13 per cent turnout. The voting percentage in the staggered elections for the 403-member Assembly was nearly 61 per cent. SEIZURES BY EC ■ ~184.85 crore in cash in five states, which is 263% higher as compared to 2012 ■ 6,264 kg of drugs and narcotics worth ~31.78 crore ■ 175 Rado watches, besides ~52.30 crore worth of precious metals ■ 37.26 lakh litres of liquor worth ~83.21 crore EXIT POLLS TODAY Do or die in UP | AAP rise in Punjab | New tie-ups in Goa | Rebel trouble in U’khand Manipur witnessed a turnout of about 86 per cent in the second phase with an overall voting percentage of 85 for the 60member House. Elections were also held in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa. The elections are being billed as a litmus test for Modi as the BJP largely Aseemanand let off in Ajmer blast case ment will be pronounced on March 16. Public Prosecutor Jaipur, March 8 (CBI/NIA) Ashwani K SharAfter nine years and six ma said the convicts had months, a special NIA court been found guilty under vartoday acquitted prominent ious Sections of the IPC, the religious leaders Navkumar Explosive Substances Act Sarkar alias Aseemanand and and the Unlawful Activities Bharatmohan Lal alias Bharat (Prevention) Act, 1967. Bhai and five others in a case Aseemanand and Joshi were related to the 2007 Ajmer Dar- also accused of being involved gah blast that left in the Malegaon and three persons dead. Samjhauta blast cases. Three accused, At least 12 lawyers Sunil Joshi, Bhavesh connected with the Arvind and Devencase and mediaperdra Gupta, however, sons waited from 10 were convicted. am to 4.30 pm when NIA Special Judge the judgment was Dinesh Kumar Guppronounced in a jamta pronounced the Swami Aseemanand packed courtroom. judgment at 4.30 pm, On October 11, convicting the trio and 2007, a powerful blast acquitting Harshad (alias occurred at Ajmer Dargah Munna), Lokesh Sharma, during Roza Iftaar at 6.14 pm. Chandra Shekhar, Mafat Three persons were killed (alias Mehul) and Mukesh, and 15 others injured in besides Aseemanand and the incident. Of the 13 Bharat Bhai. Convict Joshi, a accused, three have abscondformer RSS pracharak, died ed and the NIA has on December 29, 2007. announced a reward of Rs 10 The quantum of punish- lakh each on their head. banked on his popularity in its bid for power, especially in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh where it has been out of government for 15 years. It is also the first major election after demonetisation on November 8 last year. The political discourse during campaigning in Uttar Pradesh was dominated by name-calling with offensive acronyms freely used to attack opponents. In his rallies, Modi ridiculed the Opposition SP-Congress alliance, saying the parties stood for ‘SCAM’ and dubbed continued on page 11 related reports page 7 Lucknow, March 8 Lone terror suspect Mohammad Saifullah, holed up in Lucknow’s densely populated Thakurganj since last evening, was eliminated today after a 12-hour operation by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad and the state police. Described as a self-radicalised terrorist, he had no proven links to any international terrorist group. Speaking to the media, ADG (Law and Order) Daljeet Chaudhury said five terror suspects had been arrested so far for the Bhopal-Ujjain train blast. The three picked by the Madhya Pradesh Police in Pipriya were Danish Akhtar and Atif Muzaffar from Kanpur and Sayed Meer Hussain from Aligarh. The two suspects arrested in Uttar Pradesh were Faisal Khan from Kanpur and Fakhrey Alam from Etawah. They had been booked by the ATS under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Chaudhury said acting on a tipoff, the ATS and the UP Police yesterday reached a Haji Colony house where Saifullah and three of his friends resided. “The suspect and his accomplices were self-proclaimed members of the Khurasan module of IS. There is no evidence that Award for Haryana’s beti Yash Goyal 30 dead as gunmen raid Kabul hospital Kabul: Gunmen dressed as doctors stormed Afghanistan’s largest military hospital on Wednesday, killing more than 30 persons in a six-hour attack claimed by the Islamic State group as it makes inroads into the war-battered country. Around 50 others were wounded in the assault on the Sardar Daud Khan hospital, with explosions and gunfire rattling Kabul’s diplomatic district as dense clouds of smoke rose in the sky. PAGE 15 Indian gets 15 yrs for plotting terror attacks New York: A 42-year-old Indian in the US has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for plotting terror attacks in India by providing material support and resources to the Khalistan movement. Balwinder Singh was a member of two terrorist groups and provided material support to “intimidate” the Indian government and harm persons who were not supporting the terrorism groups’ cause, said US Attorney Daniel Bogden. PAGE 2 AGENDA FOR PUNJAB-4 A qualitative change in the approach to governance is required to ensure public funding is not merely turned into dole; rather it should promote equity, productivity and competitiveness. OPED PAGE 9 Sunita Singh Choken of Rewari in Haryana receives Nari Shakti Puraskar from President Pranab Mukherjee on International Women’s Day in New Delhi on Wednesday. Choken, who brought laurels to Haryana by scaling Mount Everest in 2011, is the state’s brand ambassador for the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign. PTI ❝ Salutingofthe indomitable spirit, determination & dedication Nari Shakti on International Women’s Day. GoI’s various initiatives seek to facilitate economic empowerment, self-reliance & social equality as far as Nari Shakti is concerned. Narendra Modi, PM DIDN’T SURRENDER ■ The anti-terrorist squad and the police tried to nab self-radicalised IS terrorist Mohammad Saifullah alive ■ They repeatedly asked him to surrender, used tear gas shells and asked his relatives to speak to him ■ But Saifullah refused to budge, saying he would rather be a ‘martyr’ ■ 5 youths have been held for the Bhopal-Ujjain train blast they were receiving foreign funds,” said Chaudhury. The ADG claimed they repeatedly asked Saifullah to surrender and used tear gas shells to force him out of his hiding. They also made his relatives speak to him. But he refused to surrender, saying he would rather be a “martyr.” To catch him alive, the ATS drilled a hole in the roof of his rented room and dropped a chilli bomb. The suspect fired in retaliation, said Chaudhury. Finally, at around 3 am this morning, the ATS team broke open the door and shot him in No SC relief for realtor Gopal Ansal New Delhi, March 8 Ordered to surrender to undergo the remaining part of his sentence for the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy, realtor Gopal Ansal today failed to get relief with the Supreme Court refusing to extend the date for his surrender. A Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would take up his plea on Thursday. He has sought parity with his brother Sushil Ansal who, unlike him, was spared a jail term after paying a fine of Rs 30 crore. On behalf of Gopal Ansal (68), senior advocate Ram Jethmalani told the Bench that as per the top court’s February 9 order, the convict was required to surrender in four weeks, which would expire on Thursday. Jethmalani said he would not be available for rest of the week and requested the Bench to take up the plea today itself as the deadline would expire on Thursday. “It is very unlikely that we (two-judge Bench) will extend it,” the Bench said. — TNS an encounter. Inside the room, the police reportedly found eight pistols, four knives, 630 live cartridges of .32 bore, 71 empty cartridges, 45 gm gold, three cellphones, cheque books, ATM cards, PAN cards, four SIM cards, two wireless sets, pellets, two bottles of gunpowder and a banner. A motorcycle parked inside the house was impounded. Three passports issued in Lucknow were found too. A time table in English pasted on a wall described the suspects’ daily chores, from morning prayers and recitation of Quran to study hours. Chaudhury said till now there was no evidence to support that the killed or arrested youths were planning or had any intention to target anyone. “The group was active on the Internet and was visiting radical websites. They were getting indoctrinated,” he said. To a query as to why they were residing in Lucknow when they belonged to Kanpur and why had they ‘targeted’ a passenger train in Madhya Pradesh, Chaudhury said Lucknow was their “hideout”. Speaking to mediapersons in Kanpur, Saifullah’s father Sartaj Ahmad Khan and brother Khalid said they had not been in touch with him for the past more than two months. edit: isis is the new spectre Won’t accept traitor’s body: Saifullah’s father Kanpur, March 8 The father of suspected Islamic State operative Saifullah, who was killed in an anti-terror operation in Lucknow early this morning, refused to take the body of a “traitor”. Saifullah’s father Sartaj said his son had left home around two-and-a-half months ago after being reprimanded for not doing any work. He said he had hit his son a day before he left home. Saifullah had contacted his family last Monday and told them he was going to Saudi Arabia in search of a job. ❝ We will not take the body of such traitor... We are Indians...born in India. One who works against my country is not my son Sartaj, FATHER OF SAIFULLAH “What he has done is not in national interest. We will not take the body of such a traitor. A traitor cannot be my son. We are Indians, we were born in India, our forefathers were born in India. One who works against my country is not my son,” Sartaj said. His elder brother Khalid said Saifullah had told the family he was going to Mumbai to get a visa for Saudi Arabia, where he wanted to work in the leather industry. He had taken his Aadhaar card, passport and other papers continued on page 11 Punjab health plan beneficiaries in lurch Vishav Bharti Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 8 With Government Employees and Pensioners’ Health Insurance Scheme closed, a large number of Punjab employees and their dependents seeking reimbursement have been left in the lurch. A substantial number of cases rejected by the insurance company are of those who had applied under the scheme but were not given enrolment cards. The Finance Department now refuses to entertain their cases for reimbursement, asking them to approach the insurance company instead. As per the agreement, the company was to consider only those cases that it received within a month of the scheme closure ie till January 31. Before submitting the bill to the insurance company, each beneficiary was to get it verified by the hospital concerned. But there are several cases where The scheme, now closed, covered 11.8 lakh Punjab employees, pensioners hospitals have delayed verification. Even these cases are not being entertained. The government has now asked the company to show greater flexibility and consider the cases of those who received treatment before December 31 and approached it within a month of bill verification. When contacted, Hussan Lal, Additional Principal Secretary, Health, said they had held a meeting with the insurance company which had agreed to settle all “genuine” claims. About 11.8 lakh employees and pensioners enrolled under the health scheme were covered for cashless treatment up to Rs 3 lakh in 679 government and private hospitals. Minorities panel has virtually no members Punjab DGP may go to Centre New Delhi, March 8 The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) — an organisation established to safeguard the constitutional and legal rights of minorities and which was once headed by Hamid Ansari, now VicePresident — currently has no chairperson and virtually no members. The last of its members will retire tomorrow and the government has so far not finalised names of the new chairperson and members. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, asked about the reconstitution of ❝ I wrote twice to the government about the vacant posts, once during the tenure of Najma Heptulla and once to the present Minority Affairs Minister Naqvi. Both said the matter was being considered, but no new members were ever appointed. Naseem Ahmed, NCM FORMER CHIEF Process is on. We’ve received some names for members and chairperson, which I cannot disclose right now... It may be done soon. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, MINORITY AFFAIRS MINISTER the commission, said it might happen soon. The NCM has a sanctioned strength of seven members, including the chairperson, with each member having a fixed tenure of three years. At present, only one member— Dadi E Mistry—is in the commission and he is also slated to retire tomorrow. Earlier, members Farida Abdulla Khan retired in October last year, while Praveen Davar retired in January this year. Another member, Mabel Rebello completed her term in February 2016. The government did not appoint any persons to replace the outgoing members. So much so that the last chairman, Naseem Ahmed, who completed his term on March 3, twice wrote to the Minority Affairs Ministry to fill the vacant posts as the workload was increasing on the remaining members, but nothing was done. The NCM draws members from five recognised minority communities: Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis. — IANS Today’s issue is of 28 pages, including six-page Chandigarh Tribune and four-page Life+Style. Amaninder Pal Tribune News Service Chandigarh, March 8 Putting an end to speculation, the Punjab Government has told the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Election Commission that Director General of Police (DGP) Suresh Arora is “willing” to join a posting with the Central Government on deputation. In a letter to the Joint Secretary (Police), a copy of which has been sent to the Chief Electoral Office, the state government has said the officer would be relieved only on Suresh Arora conclusion of the election process. After the counting of votes on March 11, it will become clear as to which party will form the next government in Punjab. The new dispensation usually reshuffles officers, especially those at the top. There had been speculation that Arora may opt for a Central deputation after the Assembly elections and may be appointed Director General (DG) of one of the paramilitary forces. “Suresh Arora, DGP Punjab , has submitted his willingness for Central deputation. He has remained on deputation with the UT Administration of Chandigarh from January 1993 to August 1994 as SSP which is , regarded as inter-state deputation,” the letter to the MHA reads. The 1982-batch Punjabcadre officer was picked by the Badal government to head the state police in October 2015, following anti-government continued on page 11
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).