29052018-TTC-01.qxd 29-05-2018 01:21 Page 1 13 established in 1881 tuesday, may 29, 2018 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 2 no. 147 | 16 pages | ~4.50 | regd. no. chd/0006/2018-2020 /thetribunechd Jawan among two killed in Pulwama Night vigil for water: 9.25 pm, in Shimla /thetribunechd TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMIT KANWAR Anantnag: A jawan and a civilian were killed on Sunday evening during an exchange of fire between Army personnel and militants outside an Army camp in the Kakapora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. After the Centre announced cessation of operations during Ramzan, this is the first strike by militants where forces have suffered a casualty. Also, three Army men were injured in an IED explosion in Turkewangam village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Monday. INSIDE Says conducive atmosphere must for talks with Pak Smita Sharma tribune news service Former chief justice is Pak’s caretaker PM Islamabad: Pakistan’s former chief justice Nasirul Mulk was on Monday named as the country’s caretaker prime minister for an interim two-month period, ending the political wrangling between the ruling PML-N and the Opposition ahead of the General Election on July 25. The present government will complete its tenure on May 31. Mulk, 67, is likely to be sworn in on June 1. INSIDE CBSE Class X results today New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced that the results of Class X examinations will be declared on Tuesday. “Result for Class X examination for 2017-18 to be declared on May 29 by 4 pm,” School Education secretary Anil Swarup tweeted. Over 16 lakh students appeared for the Class X exams this year. PTI Talks, terror can’t go hand in hand: Swaraj Resigned to fate, residents line up to collect potable water from a natural water source at the old barrier in Shimla on Monday night. The acute water crisis in Himachal’s capital triggered a law and order problem with locals blocking roads, taking to social media urging tourists to stay away and the High Court summoning MC officials. EDIT: PARCHED QUEEN Sunanda’s mail ‘dying declaration’: Police New Delhi, May 28 “I have no desire to live... all I pray for is death,” Sunanda Pushkar wrote in an e-mail to her husband Shashi Tharoor nine days before she was found dead in a hotel here, the police have told a city court. The police also told the court that Sunanda’s death was due to poisoning and 27 tablets of Alprax were found in her room, but it was not clear how many pills she had consumed. Sunanda’s mail and mes- Sunanda Pushkar sages on social media have been taken as a “dying declaration”, Delhi Police told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who on Monday reserved for June 5 its order on whether to summon Tharoor as an accused in the case. The Delhi Police had on May 14 accused the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram of abetting Pushkar’s suicide and urged the court that he be summoned as an accused in the four-and-a-half-year-old case, claiming there was sufficient evidence against him. In a nearly 3,000-page chargesheet, the police have named Tharoor as the only accused, while alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty. The couple’s domestic servant, Narayan Singh, has been named as one of the key witnesses in the case. Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a luxury hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. The Congress leader has been charged under Sections 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the IPC. — PTI New Delhi, May 28 External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday insisted that her government had not said no to a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan but terror and talks could not go hand in hand. Addressing a press conference on four years of the Modi government’s foreign policy achievements, she reiterated that a conducive atmosphere was needed for talks with Pakistan, which faces a general election on July 25. Referring to an April meeting, called the Neemrana dialogue, between India and Pakistan, she said such meetings were an exception. The Track II initiative, an informal dialogue process to bring down hostilities between the two neighbours, saw a high-powered delegation of former Indian diplomats, military veterans and academics led by former MEA Secretary Vivek Katju travel to Pakistan to discuss ways to bring about a thaw in the frozen ties. Rejecting Congress’ claims of a flip-flop on Pakistan, Swaraj said the Modi government had succeeded in isolating Pakistan on the world stage and exposed its duplicity on terrorism. Swaraj also hit out at Pakistan for its ‘Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018’, which seeks to integrate the region, territo- ❝ We never said we are not ready for talks but there is a caveat. Terror and talks cannot go together, be it post-elections or before that. No talks so long as there are funeral processions on the border. Sushma Swaraj, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER ‘NO WORD WITH KIN OF AFGHANISTAN HOSTAGES’ Three weeks after seven Indian men working in Baghlan province of Afghanistan were abducted by armed men on May 6, their whereabouts remain unknown. With the families voicing protests, Sushma Swaraj on Monday admitted she had not spoken to them personally. She said she was in touch with the Afghan government and informed RPG group chairman Harsh Goenka as and when updates were available. The hostages are working for the company entrusted with setting up of transmission lines and power stations. rially claimed by India, with the rest of federal Pakistan. India on Sunday summoned the Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner to lodge a strong protest. In response, Pakistan rejected the Indian protest. Calling the entire Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory, it said: “Its disputed status is enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, which stipulate that the final status of J&K will be determined through a free and impartial plebiscite administered by the UN.” Swaraj described the Pakistani response as laughable. “Pakistan always distorts history and does not believe in law. The only thing I felt reading their answer was — look who is talking?” On the outcome of the recent “informal summit meetings” with China and Russia, she cited these as a new mechanism that no government had used before. “I told Foreign Minister Wang Yi not to tie down leaders to a fixed agenda and focus on increasing cordiality and confidence. These talks set a new template,” Swaraj said, referring to her talks with her Chinese counterpart in the runup to the Wuhan summit. “Both PM Modi and President Xi have said that either could pick up the phone when an issue crops up,” she added. EC ‘heat logic’ as Oppn turns the 76.6% Shahkot vote; ex-minister nabbed heat on ‘malfunctioning’ EVMs SAD calls it Cong ploy to restrict movement of polling agent in last 3 hours Deepkamal Kaur Tribune News Service/ PTI Tribune News Service New Delhi/Lucknow, May 28 Allegations of EVM malfunctioning returned to haunt the Election Commission as four Lok Sabha seats and nine Assembly constituencies across 10 states went for byelections on Monday amid a prestige battle between the BJP and the Opposition parties ahead of the 2019 General Election. The EC maintained that reports of “large-scale” failure of EVMs were “exaggerated” even as complaints mounted in Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana, where the BJP is trying to retain the Lok Sabha seat against a united Opposition in a communallycharged bypoll. Sources in the poll panel, which has in the past too faced allegations about EVMs, blamed inept handling of the paper-trail machines (VVPATs) by the ground staff for the malfunctioning. Shahkot, May 28 Polling in Punjab’s Shahkot Assembly byelection remained largely peaceful on Monday, with an impressive 76.6 per cent voter turnout. There were long queues outside all polling stations in Gidderpindi, Malsian and Shahkot in the morning, but the number began to dwindle in the afternoon as the mercury soared. Congress booths were abuzz with activity at Shahkot and Malsian throughout the day while those of the Shiromani Akali Dal drew crowds in Lohian and Mehatpur. As many as 29 VVPAT machines reportedly developed snags during the polling. There was a group clash at a polling station in Umrewal Billa village in Mehatpur. Two persons were hospitalised. The SAD cried foul as former Home Minister Brij Bhupinder Lalli, who quit the Congress and joined the Akalis on May 18, was (From left) Congress’ RPN Singh, SP’s Ramgopal Yadav and RLD chief Ajit Singh come out of Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Amid long disruptions in voting due to the breakdown of EVMs, Kariana recorded over 54 per cent polling, while 62 per cent cast their vote in the Noorpur Assembly constituency. There were reports of clashes between BJP and the RLD-SP supporters in both constituencies. Polling was held up in 30 Kariana booths for more than two hours because of malfunctioning EVMs and VVPATs, which the Chief Electoral Officer blamed on the intense heat. In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, Kairana RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan demanded re-polling continued on page 7 Former Punjab Home Minister Brij Bhupinder Singh Lalli in police custody at Malsian police post on Monday. TRIBUNE PHOTO arrested. Allegedly carrying a gun, he reportedly barged into the Sallah Nagar polling station where Congress candidate Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia had cast his vote in the morning. He was brought to the Malsian police post at 3 pm and booked under Section 188 of the IPC and Sections 132 and 134-B of the Representation of People’s Act. Livid, SAD spokesperson DS Cheema called his arrest “a deliberate Congress and police ploy to curtail the movement of their polling agent in the crucial last three hours of voting”. Lalli’s lawyer Karampal Gill denied he had carried a gun inside the polling station. “Lalli himself handed over his gun to the security personnel before going inside,” he claimed. He said the offences for which Lalli had been booked were bailable but the “tossing of my client’s turban” by his opponents was a serious offence and they would lodge a counter-complaint. Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP-Rural, said the police had acted on the complaint of presiding officers Ram Gopal and Harish Kumar Beri (polling booths 90 and 91). Lalli had vigorously campaigned for SAD candidate Naib Singh Kohar. He particularly helped the SAD in the Lohian belt to which he belongs. The seat fell vacant following the death of Naib Singh’s father, Ajit Singh Kohar, in February. Congress candidate Ladi had lost to Kohar by 5,000 votes in February 2017. The third candidate is AAP’s Rattan Singh. The counting will take place on Thursday. Stage carriage permits: HC sets aside notices to pvt bus operators Saurabh Malik Tribune News Service Chandigarh, May 28 Just about three months after show-cause notices were issued to private bus operators in Punjab for cancellation of stage carriage permits, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside the same after ruling that the State Transport Commissioner misinterpreted a High Court judgment while initiating the action. The court also set aside the basis on which the notices were issued. Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain ruled that the HC in Vijayant Travels’ case had only struck down a proviso in a scheme that empowered extension of operation in case of existing permits to an unlimited extent. As such, withdrawal of diversions and curtailments, besides increase and decrease in trips by the Commissioner vide his impugned order was totally unwarranted and uncalled for. The judgment is significant as the Punjab Government had earlier made clear its intent to cancel around 13,000 bus permits in compliance with the HC judgment. Justice Jain added that the Commissioner had totally misinterpreted the judgment, while issuing instructions to all regional transport authorities for issuing notices to private bus operators “not only for repeated extensions, but also for curtailments, diversions and increase/decrease of trips, etc”. The judgment came on a bunch of seven petitions. In one, M/s Rajguru Transport, through senior advocate Puneet Bali and Vibhav Jain, said it was aggrieved by the memo dated February 16, issued by the office of the ‘MALPRACTICES’ BY PUNJAB TRANSPORTERS Chandigarh: When Punjab framed its new transport policy, it also tried to stop malpractices adopted by private transporters, especially those having political influence. The operators would curtail trips allotted to them (for example, an operator allotted the Amritsar-Jalandhar route would end it midway if he found shorter distance trips to be more profitable). Other tactics to maximise profits included diverting the bus route (for example, a route allotted from Mohali to Khumano would go via Rajpura to have more passengers) and to increase or decrease the number of trips allotted on any route.Monday’s judgment said doing away with these three aspects was uncalled for. TNS State Transport Commissioner to the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, regarding implementation of the court order passed in case of “Vijayanta Travels versus the State of Punjab and others”. The petitioners had also challenged the notice dated February 21 by which the office of the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, issued the show-cause notice. The Bench was told that an offending proviso to Clause 10 in the scheme notified on December 20, 2011, was struck down by the HC in December 2012. The proviso to Clause 10 empowered extension of operation of existing permits to an unlimited extent. The Bench was told the respondents issued a memo dated February 16, misinterpreting the HC order regarding the validity of the proviso to Clause 10. Bali submitted that the proviso pertained only to the extension of trip and had nothing to do with the increase, decrease or curtailment of trips. The Bench set aside the paragraph in the February 16 order, which said the proviso to Clause 10 of the scheme modified on December 20, 2011, has been struck down. Therefore, all illegal extensions, diversions, curtailments, increase in trips/decrease in trips, etc, by Regional Transport Authorities beyond the permissible limit of 24 km, both prior and after December 20, 2011, deserve to be withdrawn/cancelled. TN orders permanent closure of Sterlite plant Chennai, May 28 The Tamil Nadu Government on Monday issued an order directing the state Pollution Control Board to seal the Vedanta group’s copper plant and close it down “permanently” following last week’s violent protests during which 13 persons were killed in police firing. The government order (GO) said it endorsed the recent closure direction of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, and also asked the TNPCB to “seal the unit and close the plant permanently”. The document cited the Constitution’s directive principles of state policy (Article 48-A) enjoining protection of environment and provisions of the Water Act, 1974, to order the permanent closure of the copper factory “in the larger public interest”. It referred to the PCB order of April 9 refusing to renew its consent to allow Vedanta’s copper smelter plant at Tuticorin to operate. Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the government had issued the GO in deference to the sentiments of the people. The locals had been protesting for the closure of the factory for 99 days. The protest turned violent on May 22, the 100th day of their stir, and 13 persons were killed in police action last Tuesday and Wednesday. — PTI
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