AIADMK candidates file papers in Tamilnadu

Chennai

May 6 2002

Filing of nominations for the May 31 by-elections to the Saidapet, Acharapakkam and Vaniyambadi constituencies in Tamil Nadu began in the respective constituencies today.

The nominees of the ruling AIADMK, including Tamil film actor Radha Ravi, filed their nomination papers. Radha Ravi filed his papers for the Saidapet seat.

The erstwhile ruling party, DMK, has decided to contest only in two of the three seats, leaving the third Acharapakkam -- to PMK, to enable it to retain the seat.

50.01% French voters cast ballot in Pondy

Pondicherry

May 6 2002

Nearly 50.01 per cent of the total of 3,775 registered French voters in Pondicherry exercised their franchise for the final round of the French presidential elections on Sunday.

A total of 1,888 voters exercised their franchise. Fourteen votes were rejected as invalid, official sources said.

The polling was held in the premises of the French Consul General from 0800 hrs to 1800 hrs.

Pondy civic polls soon

Pondicherry

May 5 2002

The C. M. N. Rangasamy, said the civic polls in Pondicherry, due for more than twenty-five years, would be held soon. The Congress-led Govt is keen on restoring democracy at the grass root level, he told a meeting here today held on the occasion of the merger of the Puducherry Makkal Tamizh Desam with the ruling Congress.

The PCC leader, V. Narayanasamy, said the TMC too would merge with the Congress soon in Pondicherry.

Ties with BJP intact...DMK chief

CHENNAI

MAY 5 2002

Putting on a brave face despite the BJP decision to support the MDMK in Saidapet and remain neutral in Vaniyambadi, the DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, today said the differences between the DMK and the State unit of the BJP would not affect relations with the BJP at the centre. ``Each party has the freedom to take its own decisions. On that basis they (the BJP) have taken this decision,'' he told reporters. There was no connection between the DMK's difficulties with the State BJP and its relations with the BJP-led NDA at the national level, he said.

4 killed, curfew in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad

May 5 2002

At least four persons were killed and 20 others injured as violence once again broke out in Ahmedabad and Vadodara today, shattering the fragile peace in riot-torn Gujarat. ( According to UNI, six persons were killed, two of them burnt alive in the renewed violence.)

An indefinite curfew has been reclamped in Shahpur, Dani Limda and Behrampura police station areas in Ahmedabad after incidents of stone-throwing, arson and stabbing forcing the police to open fire. A couple of incidents of stabbing were also reported from Vadodara where a police jawan was among the victims, but there was no loss of life.

Even as the former Punjab police chief, K.P.S. Gill, took over as security adviser to the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, yesterday, violent mobs took to the streets again today topping barely four incident-free days.

Police said the trouble began in the Behrampura-Shah Alam locality where a violent mob set fire to a scrap market and the fire engulfed a few adjoining houses. The rival groups came out on the streets indulging in heavy stone-throwing. The local people said a number of bombs were also exploded though police did not confirm it.

Police also refused to confirm whether a person was burnt in the same locality but eyewitness accounts said that a two-wheeler rider was stabbed and when he fell from the scooter, he was set afire.

The disturbances soon spread to the adjoining Dani Limda area where about a two dozen houses and shops were set afire by hooligans. A boy was reportedly crushed in a melee caused by police chasing arsonists.

While one person was stabbed to death in Shahpur following which police imposed an indefinite curfew, one each was killed in police firing in Behrampura and Dani Limda localities. Police could not immediately say the number of rounds fired but confirmed that it would be more than 100. A number of teargas shells were also burst to disperse the stone-throwing mobs. At least 20 persons have also been injured in police firing, stone-throwing and bomb explosions.

Reports of disturbances were also received from Dudheswar and Madhavpura areas where violent mobs indulged in stone-throwing and arson but police claimed that the mobs were dispersed by tear-gassing.

Tension spread in Vadodara after one person was stabbed in Panigate locality while a police jawan was attacked in Navapura. Following the stabbing incidents, irate mobs also indulged in arson and stone-throwing but dispersed after police lobbed teargas shells.

The C. M. has convened a high-level meeting of the senior Home Department officials and top police officers to take stock of the renewed violence. The outbreak of violence when it seemed that the State was progressing fast towards normality has baffled the authorities. Mr. Gill was also believed to be present in the meeting.