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Red Alert In States:Major Terror Threat On I-Day, by Insaf,9 August 2006 Print E-mail


New Delhi, 9 August 2006

Red Alert In States

Major Terror Threat On I-Day

By Insaf

New Delhi and all State Capitals are preparing to celebrate the 58th Independence Day on Tuesday amidst unprecedented security and anxiety, thanks to terrorist threats.  Various intelligence agencies have cautioned the Governments at the Centre and in the States of possible attacks on sensitive and vital installations, religious places, economic infrastructure and public functions.  The Union Home Ministry has sounded a red alert across the country. High on the terror list is Mumbai.  Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal reviewed the situation in Mumbai at a meeting with the Chiefs of Police and the  Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in New Delhi on Monday.  Other State Governments have likewise reviewed security measures for the annual I-Day celebrations.

Besides the terrorists’ threats, India’s peninsular States are having to brave another onslaught: nature-made “terror”.  Rains continued to pound Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Orissa for days together.  The downpour on the eve of the I-Day celebrations left behind a trail of death and destruction.  In Maharashtra itself, heavy rains have till the time of the writing claimed 52 lives. More than one lakh people have been evacuated by the Army, Navy and the Air Force teams. Two cadets of the National Defence Academy were also swept away in flash floods.  Similar grim situation prevails elsewhere in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Orissa.

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Centre-ULFA Talks In Jeopardy

Developments during the last fortnight or so indicate that the much talked-about direct peace talks between the dreaded ULFA of Assam and the Centre may not take place, at least in the near future.  While the Centre wants a “genuine” ceasefire before starting the talks, the ULFA leaders want their top leaders released.  Interlocutor Indira Goswami informed the Home Ministry that until the leaders are released, the outfit will not name its team.  The result?  More pressure for inclusion in the agenda of ULFA’s demand for sovereignty, more violence and a call for the boycott of Independence Day celebrations.  From the Government’s side, after a ten-month lull, the Army has mobilized its forces against serial attacks by the outfit. In an encounter in Assam’s Nalbari district, four ULFA militants were killed. The ULFA is now on the war path, while the Army is intercepting and hunting down militants in Barpeta, Baska and Kamrup districts.

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Situation Improves In J&K: CM Azad

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad firmly disagreed with the widespread perception created by the Opposition leaders and media  that  the militancy has increased in the State. On the other hand, he claimed in the State Assembly last week that there was “a discernable change for the better in the law and order situation.”  During his eight months in office, there had been a 17 per cent fall in the overall militancy-related incidents, 18 per cent decrease in civilian killings, 55 per cent fall in IED explosions and 66 per cent decrease in the killings of security and police personnel”. Importantly, he has ruled out talks with the militants on the pattern of the Centre’s talks with the Naga rebels. Azad considers the situation in J&K as totally different from the one obtaining in Nagaland. Those wielding the guns in J&K were non-State actors from Pakistan, Afghanistan and some other countries, whereas in Nagaland “we are talking with our own people.

Projecting Investment Climate In M.P.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is making a determined bid to project the State’s huge potential of investment opportunities.  Last week, he showcased in New Delhi the business-friendly approach and policies of his Government at a Global Investors Summit in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  Chouhan particularly highlighted the investment opportunities in mining, tourism, power, roads, IT, agro-processing and chemical and industry sectors.  The Chief Minister has promised the industrialists good infrastructure, like roads, power, water and clean environment. Already, several agro-parks have been established across the State, the age-old octroi system has been abolished and, most importantly, a “single window system” and “single table system” have been introduced for quick clearance of projects.

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Amarinder Set To Win Again

The Punjab Congress and its Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seem set to retain power in the State.  With barely six months left for the Assembly elections, the main Opposition, Akali Dal (Badal) and its ally BJP are in disarray. Various other groups of Akalis have come together once more to oppose the Badal group in the upcoming poll.  Anti-Badalism is their binding force.  Those who have joined hands against Badal include the radical leader Simranjit Singh Mann, Akali Dal (Delhi) President Paramjit Singh Sarna and Prem Singh Chandumajra of SAD (Longowal). They have got together to launch a Gurdwara reform movement to free the Sikh religious places of Badal’s influence.  Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has reshuffled his Council of Ministers to ensure better governance. 

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Congress Kicks Off Poll Campaign In UP

Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul kicked off the Congress Party’s campaign for the U.P. Assembly poll early next year on Tuesday at a mammoth rally in Kanpur, the State’s industrial hub.  This was the first of eight rallies to be addressed by the duo during the next few weeks. Rahul stepped out of the family’s boroughs of Sultanpur and Rae Bareli for the first time and, what is more, delivered his longest ever speech lasting 12 minutes. Significantly, he concentrated mainly on wooing the youth, who constitute about 52 per cent of the electorate.  He asked them to condemn the communal and caste politics practised by the non-Congress parties ruling the State during the last 16 years.  Sonia Gandhi, for her part, called upon her partymen to wage a do-or-die battle to regain popularity for the Congress in the country’s largest-populated State. The party today has barely 16 MLAs in a House of 402 members..

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Corruption Charges Against Gowda Family

Bangalore continues to witness a sensational running battle between the Karnataka Congress and the ruling JD(S) of Deva Gowda and son Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.  Now that the erstwhile Prime Minister’s long-time friend and former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has switched to the Congress along with his supporters, grave charges of corruption are being made against the Chief Minister and his family in a bid to destabilize the Government.  The latest allegation is that the CM’s wife bought a 9.72 acre software park in Bangalore, officially valued at Rs.36 crore. The family has been accused of having bought this huge property from a bribe of Rs.150 crore, collected from some mine owners in Bellary. The Chief Minister has rubbished the charges as politically motivated, designed to destabilise his Government.

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Farmers’ Suicide Continue

Farmers in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra continue to commit suicide at a distressing rate of two per day since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the six districts on July 1.  Despite the Prime Minister’s special package of Rs.1,075 crore, announced during his visit, the farmers are still suffering  greviously because of the failure of the crops during the last four years.  As Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar candidly told the Lok Sabha the other day, the remedy is not a mere relief package but adequate supply of water for irrigation, presently in short supply.  Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has directed his administration to ensure that all relief measures are properly implemented in Vidarbha’s six districts reporting maximum suicides. ---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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