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Tamil Nadu

Tuticorin Port Trust in Tamil Nadu to be renamed after V O Chidambaranar

The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal to rename the Tuticorin Port Trust in Tamil Nadu after the late freedom fighter V O Chidambaranar, who had launched the first indigenous Indian shipping service between Tuticorin and Colombo in 1906.


Ports in India are generally named after the city or the town in which they are situated. However, the Government, in special cases, after due consideration have renamed ports after great leaders in the past.

There have been frequent demands from several quarters in Tamil Nadu to rename Tuticorin Port Trust as V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust.


V.O. Chidambaranar Pillai (5th September, 1872 – 18th November, 1936) hailed from Ottapidararn near Tuticorin,


As part of the "swadeshi" movement, he started the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company, procured two ships and launched the first indigenous Indian shipping service between Tuticorin and Colombo in 1906. He was an erudite scholar in Tamil, a prolific writer, a fiery speaker, a trade union leader of unique calibre and a dauntless freedom fighter.


By renaming the Tuticorin Port Trust after him, the nation would be remembering the invaluable contribution made by him, an official press release added.


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4 Buddhist monks injured in attack in Chennai

An injured monk after unidentified persons attacked Sri Lankan Buddha Vihar last night, in Chennai on January 25, 2011. UNI PHOTO
An injured monk after unidentified persons attacked Sri Lankan Buddha Vihar last night, in Chennai on January 25, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Four Buddhist monks were injured when a ten-member gang trespassed into the Maha Bodh Society and attacked them in the Egmore area of the city last night.

The incident, which took place in the Maha Bodh Society, located right opposite the Chennai City Police Commisioner's office, led to tension in the area.

The attack appeared to be a sequel to the frequent attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy personnel and comes close on the heels of the killing of a disabled fishermen from Vedarnayam in the high seas two days ago.

The gang, which barged into the society premises, indulged in arson as they damaged the furniture in the reception. They also damaged television sets and vandalised statues before turning their ire on the monks who were staying there.

Police sources said at least four monks were injured in the attack by the gang, who also shouted slogans denouncing the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in the Society and in all the installations housing Sri Lankan offices.

Tight security arrangements were made at the Bank of Ceylon, the Maha Bodh Society and at the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in the city as various organisations have announced agitations to protest the killing of fishermen.

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HMK activists held for trying to picket Chidambaram's house in TN


About 50 activists of Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) and some women fisherfolk from Kasimedu area in North Chennai were arrested when they tried to picket the residence of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in the city today.


The agitation, organised by the fisheries wing of the HMK, was to condemn the Centre for its failure to prevent the frequent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel.


The HMK workers and some fisherwomen assembled in front of Shastri Bhavan on College Road to take out a march to Mr Chidambaram's residence at Pycrofts Garden Road, when police arrested them. Mr Chidambaram's house is just a stone's from Shastri Bhavan.


As various organisations have announced agitations to condemn the killing of fishermen, heavy police pickets were posted in front of the Union Minister's House. Security has also been tightened at the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission office in the city as some outfits, including the Socialist Democratic Party of India, had announced a picketing agitation.


The HMK activists shouted slogans denouncing the Centre for failing to take steps to prevent killing of fishermen by the Lankan Navy, before they were bundled into the waiting police vehicle.


The agitation comes a day after a fisherman from Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district was allegedly strangulated to death in the sea by men of the Sri Lankan Navy.


Meanwhile, reports received here said tension continued to prevail in Vedaranayam as fishermen did not venture into the sea for the second successive day to condemn the killing of fisherman Jayakumar yesterday.


Jayakumar was the second fisherman to be allegedly killed by the Sri Lankan Navy in less than ten days. On January 12, the Lankan Navy shot dead a fishermen, hailing from Jegadhapattinam village in Pudukottai district.


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India strongly condemns killing of fisherman by Sri Lankan Naval personnel

India today expressed its strong and unequivocal condemnation of the alleged killing of an Indian fisherman - the second in ten days - by Sri Lankan Naval personnel last night.


"We have received reports of the tragic killing of another Indian fisherman allegedly due to use of force by Sri Lankan Navy personnel," the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr Vishnu Prakash, said.


He said External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had expressed the Government's strong and unequivocal condemnation of this violent incident and conveyed his deep sympathies to the family of the deceased.


Mr Prakash said that, on receiving the news, the Government had immediately raised the matter with the Sri Lankan Government both in New Delhi and in Colombo.


"The Sri Lankan Government was requested to seriously investigate this incident and ensure that it does not recur. We have stressed that use of force must be eschewed in all such situations and have reiterated that the welfare and the safety of our fishermen in the waters between India and Sri Lanka will continue to receive very high priority by Government. The October 2008 Understanding reached between the two governments must be scrupulously adhered to in letter and spirit," Mr Prakash added.


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2 children drown in pond in Tamil Nadu


A 12-year-old girl and her younger brother met a watery grave while taking bath in a pond at Moongiloorani village near Manamadurai, here today.


Police said the deceased were identified as A Sangeetha and A Pandidurai (7).


While taking bath, Pandidurai drowned and on seeing this, Sangeetha attempted to save her brother. But she also drowned in the pond.


The bodies were fished out by the locals and sent to the Government Hospital at Manamadurai for post-mortem examination, police added.


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Mukherjee assures Karunanidhi of action to end attacks on fishermen

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee calling on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence, in Chennai on January 23, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee calling on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence, in Chennai on January 23, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today assured Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi that the Centre would take up with the Sri Lankan Government the issue of recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Talking to newspersons after a meeting with Mr Karunanidhi at the latter's Gopalapuram residence here this morning, he said the External Affairs Ministry would be asked to take up the issue of the killing of fishermen with the Sri Lankan government.

Mr Mukherjee said India had very good relations with the Sri Lankan government and was helping them in rehabilitating the internally displaced Tamils. There was no reason why the Lankan Navy should resort to such attacks, he said.

If the Indian fishermen do something wrong, they could be arrested and proceeded with due legal process, he said, adding "there is no point in justifying shooting at Indian fishermen by the Lankan Navy".

Mr Mukherjee warned that the relations between India and Sri Lanka would get strained if the island nation's government did not ask its Navy to stop the attacks on Indian fishermen.

He said the External Affair Minister would contact his Sri Lankan counterpart and prevail upon him to stop such attacks on Indian fishermen. The Indian envoy in Colombo would also be asked to take up the issue with the Lankan government, he said.

Mr Mukherjee said Mr Karunanidhi was very much worried that two fishermen were killed by the Lankan Navy in the past ten days.

Expressing his anguish and grief over the killing of fishermen, the Chief Minister asked the Finance Minister to ensure that such incidents did not recur in future, an official press release said.

The Centre should talk to the Sri Lankan government and take proper steps to prevent the attacks. The Centre should also prevail upon the Lankan government to take action against the Naval personnel, who had resorted to firing and attacks, he said.

Mr Karunanidhi brought to the notice of Mr Mukherjee that a 28-year-old fisherman from Nagapattinam district was allegedly killed by Lankan Navy personnel last night when he was fishing along with two other fishermen, the press release said.

Yesterday, the Indian Coast Guard Eastern Region Commandant S P Sharma met the Chief Minister and assured that all necessary steps would be taken to prevent attacks on fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel in future.

However, hours after the Coast Guard official gave the assurance, Jayakumar of Puzhpavanam village in Nagapattinam district was allegedly killed by Lankan Navy personnel.

He was the second fishermen to be killed by the Lankan Navy during this month. On January 12, the Lankan Navy had allegedly shot dead a fisherman and caused injuries to another fisherman.

On the night of January 21, the Lankan Navy personnel allegedly attacked a group of Indian fishermen and seized their GPRS gadgets and their catch, while they were fishing at mid sea.

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Another Tamil Nadu fisherman allegedly killed by Sri Lankan Navy men

A fisherman from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu was allegedly killed by Sri Lankan Navy personnel late last night, United News of India (UNI) reported today.

Jayakumar, 28, of Puzhpavanam village, near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district, had set out for fishing along with two other fishermen yesterday morning.


While the three were fishing on the high seas around 2300 hrs last night, the Sri Lankan Navy personnel intercepted their boats and attacked them, killing Jayakumar.


The other two escaped and returned to the shore, the report quoted an official press release issued by the State Government here as saying.


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakhs to the family of the fisherman.


Expressing grief and conveying condolences to the bereaved family, the Chief Minister ordered the solatium to the family of Jayakumar, the release said.


This was the second such incident in ten days. On the night of January 12, a fisherman, R Pandiyan, 25, from Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu, was allegedly shot dead and another injured by Sri Lankan Navy personnel near the controversial Katchatheevu Island.


According to a UNI report from Vedaranyam, Jayakumar and the other fishermen were fishing in the sea around 2300 hours when their boat was intercepted allegedly by about ten Sri Lankan Navy personnel who attacked them.


Two fishermen Rajendran and Senthil, who survived the attack, came to the shore with the body of Jayakumar and narrated details of what had happened.


According to them, after dashing against their fishing boat, the Sri Lankan Naval personnel asked them to jump into the sea. While Rajendran and Senthil did so, Jayakumar, Senthil's brother, who had a deformity in his hand and could not swim properly, remained in the boat.


As Jayakumar did not obey them, a naval personnel got into the fishing boat and tied a rope around Jayakumar's neck and pushed him into the sea.


Even as he was struggling for life, the naval personnel pulled him around with the rope, drowning him in a brutal manner, the two fishermen said.


Meanwhile, Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko, condemning the killing, urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take effective steps to stop the attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy.


In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Vaiko, who met Dr Singh yesterday, said unless the Centre gave a stern warning to the Lankan government, the people of Tamil Nadu would be forced to come to a conclusion that the Indian Navy and the Centre deliberately failed in thier duty to protect the fishermen.


"With deep anguish I point out that if further attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy are continued, then the UPA Government of India would be held responsible for the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen," he said.


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27, including 10 college students, hurt in Tamil Nadu bus mishap

As many as 27 people were injured in a collision between a private college bus and a Tamil Nadu State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) bus at Kovilvenni on the Nagapattinam-Thanjavur Highway in Tiruvarur district this morning.

Reports received at the state headquarters here said the injured included ten college students travelling in the college bus.


All the injured were admitted to Tiruvarur Government Hospital, the reports said.


The students, studying in Kodachery Poondi Sri Veeraiah Vandayar Memorial Pushpam College, were going to the college when the mishap occurred.


The SETC bus was proceeding to the temple town of Velankanni in Nagapattinam district from Bangalore.


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4 killed, 14 hurt in firecracker unit explosion in Tamil Nadu

At least four people were charred to death in an explosion at a fireworks manufacturing unit at Mudalipatti village in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu today.

Police sources in Virudhunagar told UNI over the telephone that, according to initial reports, four people were killed in the explosion that occurred at around 1130 hrs.


Preliminary reports said more than 15 people were working in the Rajesh Khanna Fireworks Manufacturing unit, situated near Periyavalliyur at Mudalipatti village, under Vachakarapatti police station limits, when the explosion occurred.


Reports received at the police headquarters here said at least 14 people were injured in the explosion, which had razed the entire building to the ground.


Fire service personnel, ambulances and senior police officials from the district rushed to the spot to supervise the relief and rescue works.


The impact of the explosion was such that it was heard upto a distance of one km and thick smoke engulfed the entire area.


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Will take more responsibilities if given bigger post: Azhagiri

Union Minister and Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) South Zone Organising Secretary M K Azhagiri today said he would accept more responsibilities in the coming Assembly elections if the party offerred him a bigger post.

In a brief chat with newspersons at the airport here before leaving for New Delhi, he said, "I will not ask for any post. If they offer, I will accept the same."


He was replying to a question whether he was being given a bigger post apart from South Zone Organising Secretary in the coming Assembly elections.


"I am already a Union Minister and South Zone Organising Secretary of the party," he said.


Mr Azhagiri evaded a direct reply when asked about reports that he had handed over resignation letters to his father and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi offering to quit the party post and step down from the Union Cabinet.


"The Chief Minister has already given a detailed explanation on this. I have nothing more to say," he said.


Asked whether the DMK would get an additional berth in the Union Cabinet, he said, "I am not the Prime Minister to answer this question."


Answering a question, he denied having demanded that the DMK should sack former Communications Minister A Raja for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.


"I have not made such demands. This is only a campaign launched by the media," he said.


Showing signs of rapproachement, Mr Azhagiri yesterday had called on Mr Karunanidhi, his father, at his Gopalapuram residence here.


This was the first time that Mr Azhagiri had called on his father after reports surfaced early this month that he was not happy with party affairs, especially in southern districts and offered to resign, both from the party post and from the Union Cabinet.


Mr Azhagiri was also reported to be unhappy with the party's handling of the 2G spectrum issue, refusing to distance itself from Mr Raja.


However, Mr Karunanidhi, reacting to reports that the Madurai-based Mr Azhagiri had handed over the resignation letters to him, had said "they were only media reports" and denied his son had given him any such letters.


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Child falls off grandma's lap in Chennai, dies

A two-and-half-year-old girl fell from her grandmother's lap after being jolted by high decibel levels during fireworks to mark the culmination of the annual Chennai Sangamam Festival at Wimco Nagar near the Northern Chennai suburb of Ennore last night.

Police said the child suffered head injuries and died at a private hospital around 0100 hrs.


Chennai Sangamam is an annual programme held during the Pongal festivities to promote the rural and traditional folk arts of Tamil Nadu.


Being organised through an NGO, Tamil Maiyam, that came under the CBI scanner following the 2G spectrum scam, the Sangamam, was the brainchild of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's poetess daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP.


Venkatesan and Kalpana had brought their daughter Bhavanisri to witness the Chennai Sangamam festival. The child was sitting on her grandmother's lap. They were sitting in an elevated area close to a giant loud speaker erected at the venue.


As the fireworks lit the skies and bursting of crackers followed, the decibel level went high following which the child got rattled and fell down.


The elderly woman could not react in time and the child's head hit a concrete slab. The child sustained head injuries and was rushed to a local hospital from where she was shifted to Child's Trust Hospital in the city, where she died in the wee hours today, according to Ennore Police Station Inspector Nedumaran.


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5 killed as car rams into another car in Tamil Nadu

Five people were killed and three injured when a car rammed into the rear of a stationary car at Thoramanvalam village near here today.


Police said the deceased were identified as Vellaisamy, Srinivasan, Satyamurthi, Pushparaj and Selvam.


The incident occurred when the deceased and the injured were attempting to replace a flat tyre of their car.


While Vellusamy and Srinivasan were killed on the spot, three others succumbed to injuries at Government Hospital here. The injured were admitted in the same hospital.


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Kerala authorities release partial list of Sabarimala stampede victims

Following is the partial list of those killed in yesterday's stampede near here involving Sabarimala pilgrims:


1.  Ajukumar(34), Pollachi, Tamil Nadu
2.  Ananth Solar(16), Belgam, Karanataka
3.  Anmaparsu(22), Dharapuram, Tamil Nadu 
4.  Aravindahan Majeriya, Andra Pradesh 
5.  Arul(20), S/o Ramachnadra, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 
6.  Arun(20), Medtak, Andra Pradesh 
7.  Ayyappan(30), Dharamapuri, Tamil Nadu 
8.  Babu, Prakash Nagar, Mysore, Karanataka 
9.  Balu (Balraj) Thirunelvelly, Tamil Nadu 
10. Balu, Balagi, S/o Lekshmanan, Thirupathi, Andra pradesh 
11. Basu Gokkat, Karanataka 
12. Chandhu (32), Belgam, Karanataka 
13. Ellappa Durgappa (26), Ellar, Belgam, Karnataka 
14. Govindaraj, Mettupalaym, Tamil Nadu 
15. Greenu(26), Housur, Nelkonda, Andra Pradesh 
16. Gudhi(30), (Praveen), Karnataka 
17. K Ramar, Thriuvannamali, Tamil Nadu 
18. Kalimani(31), Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu 
19. Korukutty, Vengara Malappuram, Kerala 
20. Krishnan, Dharmapuri, Potty Tamil Nadu 
21. Krishnanprasad(34), Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
22. Madhu, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
23. Maheshwar(26), S/o Lingappa Dharvada, Karnataka 
24. Maleswar(26), Gurghatti, Karanataka
25. Manjunath(21), Dharsak, Karanataka 
26. Murukesh(50), Meloor, Ootty, Tamil Nadu 
27. Nagarajan(26), Kaveri Nagar, Bangalore, Karanataka 
28. Nanguganesh(30), Andhra Pradesh 
29. P Churuli, Andhra Pradesh 
30. P N Unnikrishnan(48), Putiyakavu, Thripunitara, Kerala 
31. P Ramu, Mavettilnagaram, Andhra Pradesh 
32. Padbanabhan(46), Palakkad, Kerala 
33. Prasanth(44), Selam, Tamil Nadu
34. Purushotham(45), Gokat, Karnataka 
35. Rajarethinam(30), Pollachi, Tamil Nadu 
36. Rajkumar(30), Meloor, Ooty, Tamil Nadu 
37. Raju, Onkala Dt, Andhra Pradesh 
38. Ramachandra, S/o Muthuthevar, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 
39. Ramakrishnan(65), Coimbatoor, Tamil Nadu 
40. Ramar(25), Goodallor, Tamil Nadu 
41. Rambasu Redddy, Andhra Pradesh 
42. S Aravind(23), Vijyavada, Andhra Pradesh 
43. Sarvesham Ramanattu(31), Karinagar, Andhra Pradesh 
44. Seetharam(26), Gokka, Karnataka 
45. Selvaraj Ayya   
46. Selvaraj(38), Thirnelvelly, Tamil Nadu 
47. Servegam, S/o Rajamallia Udoor Village, Karnataka 
48. Sidhuram, Kudak, Karnataka 
49. Sivalinga Iyya(16), Murukkottumedu, Karanataka 
50. Sreenu Huzur, Andhra Pradesh 
51. Subramaniyan(35), Chinnakachipuram, Tamil Nadu   
52. Subramaniyan(38), Dhanavakpuram, Karnataka 
53. Suresh, Mysore, Karanataka 
54. Teepesh(26), Bellary, Karanataka 
55. Thankkam, C/o Karuppya 3 cent, Thoothukkudy Tamil Nadu 
56. Unnikrishnan, Trippunithara, Kerala 
57. Ushakanth(26), Sri Lanka 
58. Venketesh Parasuram(28), Belgam Karnataka 
59. Venkida Subbaya57), Pullampettu, Medal, Kadappa, Andhra Pradesh
60. Vishunumoorthy(25), Basuragu, Karanataka .


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India expresses concern over death of fisherman in firing by Sri Lankan Navy

India today took up with Colombo the reports about the death of an Indian fisherman due to firing by Sri Lankan Navy personnel and expressed its deep concern and regret at the incident.


Mr Vishnu Prakash, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in response to a question about the incident that the Indian High Commissioner had immediately taken up the matter with the Sri Lankan Government.


"We have emphasized that resort to firing in these situations has no justification and called on the Sri Lankan authorities to desist from use of force," he said.


The spokesperson said the welfare and the safety of Indian fishermen in the waters between India and Sri Lanka had received very high priority by Government.


"We have consistently emphasized to the Sri Lankan Government to refrain from firing on our fishermen and scrupulously adhere to the October 2008 Understanding reached between the two governments. We call on the Sri Lankan Navy to exercise maximum restraint and avoid use of force in such situations," Mr Prakash added.


The fisherman was allegedly shot dead and another injured by Sri Lankan Navy peronnel near the controversial Katchatheevu Island in mid- sea yesterday.


A senior police officer of Tamil Nadu Q branch police wing told UNI that the deceased, R Pandiyan (25), hailing from Jegadhapattinam coastal village in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu succumbed to bullet injuries on the spot.


Another fisherman Manikandan (24) was injured in the firing, he said.


They were among four fishermen from Jegadhapattinam who had set sail into the sea for fishing yesterday morning. The other two managed to escape unhurt in the firing.


The two, Manivel (23) and Bhaskaran (52), said a Sri Lankan naval boat surrounded a group of Indian fishing boats while they were fishing and began indiscriminate firing in which Pandiyan was killed on the spot.


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Jaya takes on Cong, seems to "closes door" on alliance


The AIADMK today seemed to close the door on forging an alliance with the Congress for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu with party supremo J Jayalalithaa describing the Congress-DMK alliance as a dangerous combine, "which is going to woo the voters with their loot in various scams, including the 2G spectrum."


In a statement here, Ms Jayalalithaa, who was so far keeping the door open for the Congress, for the first time accused the party of jointly cheating the nation to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G spectrum scam.


Alleging that the "DMK regime in the State has distinguished itself as the most corrupt in any State, ever," she said the Congress-led UPA Government, for its part, "stands totally discredited with the Aadarsh Housing Scam and Commonwealth Games scam keeping the spectrum scam, close company."


"Armed with all this loot, this dangerous combine is going to woo the voters of Tamil Nadu. The people of Tamil Nadu have to be vigilant. It is upto them to teach these criminal opportunists a fitting lesson," she said.


When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the city on January 2 (to inaugurate the Indian Science Congress), Mr Karunanidhi, after making a show of sabre-rattling against its national ally following raids on former Telecom Minister A Raja, decided that the party could not afford to break away from the Congress, she said.


Ms Jayalalithaa said the meeting between the Prime Minister and Mr Karunanidhi ended with both of them separately informing the media that the alliance between the two parties "which jointly cheated the nation (in the spectrum allocation)" was intact.


Thereafter, everything changed and barely three days later, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, "in a gross contempt of court," had rubbished the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the 2G spectrum allocation as totally erroneous, she said.


Mr Sibal claimed that not only had the nation not suffered any loss under Mr Raja, but that a loss of Rs 1,50,000 crore had been caused during the earlier NDA dispensation, she said.


"He tried every trick in his attorney’s handbook in a desperate attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the people. In short, once the continuation of the DMK-Congress alliance was sealed for the forthcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, Raja suddenly became a knight in shining armour," she said.


Alleging that the CBI investigation has run out of steam, she said the documents seized and the details obtained from interrogation had not led to any arrests.


The CAG’s protest that its calculation estimating the extent of loss to the nation were based on absolutely fool-proof and time-tested norms, have gone unnoticed and this constitutional authority has virtually been undermined, she said.


The AIADMK leader, who had offered support to the Congress-led UPA Government in the event of the DMK withdrawing support, accused the Congress leadership of stonewalling the Opposition demand for a JPC probe into the scam and allowed an entire session of Parliament to degenerate into a "no show".


"Mr Sibal, by choosing to debunk the CAG report at an open press meet rather than before the Supreme Court, which is hearing petitions relating to the case or the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, which is already looking into the issues raised in the CAG report, clearly shows that the Congress, for the sake of its ally, the DMK, is prepared to destabilise every constitutional authority in the country.


"It is becoming increasingly apparent that the spectrum probe is moving the Bofors way with the guilty going scot free," she said.


"There is reason for every right-thinking person in this country to be concerned," she added.


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CBI officials raid Indian Maritime University premises in Chennai

Officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at the premises of Indian Maritime University at Uthandi here today.

Police said the raids were being conducted following complaints of alleged misappropriation of University funds. The searches, which began in the morning, were continuing.


The CBI officials also raided the Kottivakkam residence of University Vice-Chancellor Dr P Vijayan, police added.


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Indian fisherman killed in firing by Sri Lankan Navy near Katchatheevu Island

An Indian fisherman was allegedly shot dead and another injured by Sri Lankan Navy peronnel near the controversial Katchatheevu Island in mid- sea late last night.

A senior police officer of Tamil Nadu Q branch police wing told UNI that the deceased, R Pandiyan (25), hailing from Jegadhapattinam coastal village in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu succumbed to bullet injuries on the spot.


Another fisherman Manikandan (24) was injured in the firing, he said.


They were among four fishermen from Jegadhapattinam who had set sail into the sea for fishing yesterday morning. The other two managed to escape unhurt in the firing.


The two, Manivel (23) and Bhaskaran (52), said a Sri Lankan naval boat surrounded a group of Indian fishing boats while they were fishing and began indiscriminate firing in which Pandiyan was killed on the spot.


The body of Pandiyan was moved to the Government Hospital at Aranthangi for post-mortem examination. Tension gripped the coastal hamlets, particularly Jegadhapattinam, after the incident.


The relatives and fishing folk resorted to blocking of roads to protst the action of the Sri Lankan Navy personnel. Various fishermen's associations also condemned the incident and described the firing as a gross violation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between India and Sri Lanka in January 2009 over the issue of fishermen crossing over to each other’s territorial waters.


Senior revenue, fisheries and police officials were camping in Jegadhapattinam village to bring back normalcy. A large number of policemen were deployed in Jegadhapattinam and its surrounding areas to prevent any untoward incidents.


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Engineering student commits suicide in Chennai


A second-year engineering student allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself to death after failing to clear the third semester examination, results of which were cleared last evening, police said.


Upset that he failed in all the five subjects, the 18-year-old student, V Ramachandran, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself to death on a ceiling fan at his house in the suburban area of Old Tambaram.


His parents, who run a tea shop, were away when the boy ended his life, the police said.


According to them, the boy returned early from college last evening and found the house locked. He visited his father at the tea shop to get the house key. When his father asked why he had come home early, he said he was suffering from headache and wanted to rest.


When the parents went home last night they found the house locked. They broke open the door and found the boy dead, the police added.


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9 AIADMK members suspended from TN House, Oppn. stages walk out

Nine members of the opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members were today suspended from the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the rest of the session for their unruly behaviour during the Governor's Address to the House on January 7.

Protesting against the suspension, members of the AIADMK, its ally Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the two Left parties twice staged a walk-out from the House on the issue.


Soon after the House assembled for the day, Leader of the House and Finance Minister K Anbazhagan moved a resolution seeking to suspend nine AIADMK members for disurpting the proceedings and the Governor's address.


The House adopted a resolution suspending AIADMK members D Jayakumar, K Hari, Pandurangan, Pollachi Jayaraman, S Velumani, L Ravichandran, Agri Krishnamurthy, Senthil Balaji and C Ve Shanmugham for their unruly behaviour and staging a protest inside the House, when Speaker R Aviduayappan ordered their eviction on that day for disrupting the Governor's address.


Condemning the suspension, the AIADMK members staged a walk-out. Its allies, the MDMK, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also followed suit.


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3 Ayyappa devotees killed, 12 injured in road accident in Tamil Nadu

Three Ayyappa devotees, including a 7-year-old boy, hailing from Kerala were killed and 12 others injured, when the vehicle they were travelling in rammed into a stationary truck near the Collector's office here today.

Police said the devotees were proceeding to Rameswaram to offer worship at Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple, after a pilgrimage to Sabarimala in Kerala when the mishap occurred. The truck was parked on the roadside due to a tyre burst.


The deceased were identified as S Shanmugham (55), S Ravi (35) and A Anil Kumar (7), all hailing from Palakkad. The injured were admitted to the government hospital here.



Further investigations were on, the police added.


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Tennis: Berdych, Tisarevic, Malaisse in last 4 of Chennai Open

Top seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, seventh seed Xavier Malisse and sixth seeded Serb Janko Tisarevfc moved into the semi-finals of the singles at the ATP Tour Aircel Chennai Open 2011 tennis championships with easy victories against their opponents here yesterday.

In the first quarter-final on the centre court, Berdych, in Chennai for the first time, downed world no. 108 Slovak Blaz Kavcic. The hard-hitting Czech won 6-3, 6-3 in a little more than an hour.

Tipsarevic (Serbia) did not have to stretch himself much while ending the run of Japan's Kei Nishikori. Playing Nishikori for the first time, Tisarevic, a crowd favourite here, outplayed the talented Japanese 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets.

On court no 1, world no. 60 Malisse closed in on his second final in this eventi, winning saving seven break points to crush German Bjorn Phau 6-0, 6-2 in 71 minutes. Malaisse had won the title here in 2007.

"I played a strong match," reflected Malisse. "I didn't make any mistakes and played a smart match. I like coming here to Chennai. It's very relaxing, the matches start at 5 pm so you can rest and recover well. I feel good here; the balls and the courts suit my game well," he said about his win.

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Seat sharing talks with Congress after Pongal: Karunanidhi

Asserting that the alliance between his Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Congress remained strong, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the party would hold seat-sharing talks with the Congress after the Pongal festival.

Talking to newspersons after a meeting of party MLAs here, the DMK chief said both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said the alliance between the two parties remained as strong as ever.


Earlier in the morning, Tamil Nadu Congress Commmittee (TNCC) President K V Thangabalu called on the Chief Minister at the new Secretariat, before the start of the Assembly session.


The Congress leader said he met the Chief Minister to extend his New Year greetings as he was not in the city at the time.


The Congress leaders have already said the alliance is strong and he had nothing to add, Mr Karunanidhi said.


On former telecom minister A Raja being allowed to be prosecuted in connection with the 2G spectrum scam, Mr Karunanidhi said he did not want to say anything as the matter was sub-judice.


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Tennis: Indian Express Paes-Bhupathi enter semis in Chennai Open

The "Indian Express" pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati ran over unseeded Phil Marx (Gemany) and Ken Skupski (Great Britain) to enter the doubles semi-finals of ATP Tour 2011 Aircel Chennai Open Tennis Championships here tonight.

The left-right combination of Skupski and Marx were hoping to derail the second-seeded famous Indian duo who had come together here again after five years in preparation for the Australian Open, the Grand Slam in which they were to play together after their split some years ago.

They had been playing together for India in the Davis Cup though.

Paes and Bhupati were in control right from the first set of this one- sided duel. They romped home 6-4, up 5-3, breaking Marx in the fifth game. The Indian duo served and volleyed well.

However, Marx and Skupsi picked up steam in the second set in which Paes and Bhupati made some unforced errors. However, forcing a tie- break after drawing level at 6-6, the Indian Express picked up great momentum to lead 4-1, 6-3 and wrapped up the duel as the nearly full centre court cheered them endlessly.

The contest lasted an hour and thirty minutes or so. Paes regaled the crowds hitting tennis balls into the stands with a cricket ball later.

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Leander felicitated by his alma mater MCC Higher Secondary School

Ace Indian Tennis Player Leander Paes addressing students at Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School where he had studied, in Chennai on January 7, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Ace Indian Tennis Player Leander Paes addressing students at Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School where he had studied, in Chennai on January 7, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Tennis ace Leander Paes, who is here to participate in the ATP Tour 2011 Chennai Open Tennis Championships, today dedicated his triumphs in the Grand Slams to his alma mater Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School.

Paes had studied in this school from 1986 to 1992, from class six to ten.

He said whatever he was in life, he owed it to the school and his teachers then. They had tought him the values in life, besides encouraging him to take to sports. Besides tennis, which he was learning at the now defunct BAT Amritraj Academy, he used to love playing football at school, Paes said, addressing the students.

He said he was about to begin a new career post tennis. "I cannot go on entertaining people with my tennis as age catches up. So I am now taking up a new career in films," Paes, who has signed four films, told the students, when one of then asked him about his new-found love for acting.

When a student asked him which career he loved more, Leander said the film career was to keep him active after his tennis.

Headmaster and Correspondent of the School G J Manohar said Paes' teachers recalled that he was mischievous. But he could balance his academics and sport in an organised manner.

Mr Manohar told UNI that Paes was felicitated on the occasion of the scool celebrating 175 years of existence as a famous institution which also produced many distinguished sportspersons for Tamil Nadu as well as India.

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PMK set to come back to DMK fold in Tamil Nadu


The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which broke away from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led alliance prior to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, is all set to come back to the DMK fold for the Assembly elections.


Confirming this, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi said the PMK joining the DMK-led alliance had almost been finalised.


Talking to newspersons after a meeting of party MLAs here, he said the PMK had given some signals and the DMK had also responded to the signals.


Both the parties would soon hold talks, he said, adding, "We have not yet fixed the date for talks."


The PMK joining the DMK-led alliance became evident when the party legislators did not join the opposition chorus to pin down the government.


During the previous session, the PMK members had opposed the government, but changed their stand now, giving clear indications that the party had come close to the DMK.


Party founder leader S Ramadoss, who had criticised the opposition for demanding Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam, welcomed the Governor's address.


The PMK, which fought the 2006 assembly elections in alliance with the DMK, broke away from the party after the DMK took exception to its senior leader Kaduvatti Guru who spoke against the DMK high command in a party meeting.


The relations became strained after the DMK government had detained Mr Guru under the National Security Act (NSA) (which was subsequently revoked).


Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the PMK chose to renew its ties with the AIADMK and contested seven seats, only to draw a blank.


After AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa refused to instruct party leader and former Minister C V Shanmugam to drop a criminal case against Dr Ramadoss and his son Anbumani Ramadoss, PMK distanced itself from the AIADMK.


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