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September 17, 2001 - September 17, 2001

Advani's arrival to boost BJP morale Monday, September 17, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: In a cleverly-planned strategy, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani has finally decided to come to Ahmedabad to campaign for the Sabarmati Assembly by-elections, and yet keep his vow of stepping into Gujarat only after the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank mess was cleared.

The details of the visit, however, are a closely-guarded secret especially after the turn of events consequent to the attacks in the US as also for "political reasons" since Advani's security is a sensitive issue for the police, sources said.

The BJP, in a press conference on Sunday, declared that the MMCB dues would be released to the depositors beginning Tuesday, and it was later confirmed that Advani would address an election meeting on Monday evening. He would then release the first cheque at a function on Tuesday.

With this, Advani has certainly hit two birds with a single stone. He might just win back the confidence of MMCB depositors numbering in lakhs, most of who are his voters. And second, he will pep up the campaign of BJP candidate Babubhai Jamnadas Patel on the penultimate day of campaigning.

Finally, the BJP camp is heaving a sigh of relief with their star campaigner returning. However, the BJP is tight-lipped about the news, in case Advani decides to call-off the visit.

According to highly-placed sources, Advani will arrive by the evening flight on Monday at around 8 pm, and address an election meeting on the grounds of Akash-Ganga Flats on Sola Road at 10 pm.

On Tuesday morning, he is expected to bring in a "lease of new life" for Madhavpura bank depositors by handing over cheques. It is no secret, however, that the BJP was certainly tense with the minister's decision about not visiting Gujarat, especially since Sabarmati falls in the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency from where Advani was elected.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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Cong alleges BJP is 'impersonating' them Monday, September 17, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee alleged on Sunday that BJP workers from the minority community were made to dress as Congress workers and distribute hand-outs campaigning for Sabarmati Assembly constituency candidate Narhari Amin in Hindu-dominated localities, with a motive to influence voters against the Congress.

Amin's supporter and former BJP legislator Yatin Oza told reporters that at least six persons were caught wearing wrongly printed Congress sashes, and caps worn by Muslims with visiting cards confirming their BJP identity, on their person, from the Naranpura and Nava Wadaj wards.

However, the Congress leaders fumbled when asked if the Congress would lodge a criminal complaint about this. Oza said they were not sure, but would examine the case from the legal angle.

GPCC vice-president Balubhai Patel said, "Yesterday we approached the chief election officer, the police commissioner and the collector about the illegal meeting held by the BJP at Stadium crossroads but there was no response - this attitude has deterred us from lodging a criminal complaint".

Patel said that these BJP workers were summoned to Gandhinagar by the vice-chairman of the Gujarat State Minorities Finance and Development Corporation, Kadarbhai Salot, and told that if they wanted their loans sanctioned from the corporation, they would have to visit certain localities of the Sabarmati constituency and campaign for the Congress.

According to Patel, "These workers were put under pressure and were asked to compulsorily wear their caps and the sashes which are different from the original Congress sashes, distribute the hand-outs and even abuse people to vote in favour of Amin, in order to tarnish the image of the party".

These workers reportedly went to the Naranpura and Ankur Road areas which are dominated by the BJP. "I got to know about this when someone from Naranpura called me up and said that four persons from the minority community had come to his place to campaign for Amin", said Oza.

The workers belonged to Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Gondal, and were even given vehicles for the campaign. Oza and Patel alleged that the "BJP had stooped to such level because they are sure that they would lose the elections".

The workers claiming to belong to the BJP are Sattarbhai Adambhai from Gondal, Iqbal Sipai from Rajkot, Nahin Kazi who is the general secretary of the BJP minorities cell, Bhavnagar, Hanif Qureshi from Rajkot, Harun Shah from Rajkot and Iqbal Bachchubhai from Gondal.

The Congress also distributed copies of the letter written by these 'impersonators' which stated that "the BJP had exploited their vulnerability and compelled them into this".

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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4 Gujaratis missing after attacks on WTC Monday, September 17, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: At least four non-resident Gujaratis (NRG), including Dipti Patel, a computer engineer working in the World Trade Centre, are missing after the dastardly terrorist attacks on the twin towers in New York on Tuesday, according to reports reaching at NRG control room here.

The NRG chairman, Hari Desai, who has been in constant touch with the functionaries of the Gujarati Samaj in the US told TNN that the identity of the missing woman employee has been confirmed.

Dipti Patel working with a computer firm has not reached her house, according to her father, Jayantilal Patel, who originally hails from Ode (Anand). This has been communicated by Jyotindra Patel, a leading NRG from New York, to the NRG chairman over telephone.

According to him, "We are trying our best to collect information regarding casualties, if any, of Gujarati people, but so far nothing concrete has emerged from any source."

A majority of Gujarati professionals who were inside the WTC had escaped to safety as the first tower was attacked.

One train carrying passengers from New Jersey had reached the subway station at WTC just when the first tower was slammed by the plane and it is feared that the train must have been buried under the debris of the tower.

Meanwhile, the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purshottam Sansthan of Swaminarayan organised prayer meetings at 132 centres all over America.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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Agonising wait for message from the US Monday, September 17, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
MEHSANA: Fall of the two WTC towers in New York on that terrible Tuesday sent shock waves in many families in the district from where thousands of people have settled in America.

Though most of the families from this part live in New Jersey, people commute to New York and other places.

Umang Rameshchandra Patel, who has settled in New Jersey with his wife Sonal, is a software engineer at a company on the 73rd floor of the first WTC tower. When the tower was hit Umang was in the office.

Umang dashed for the stairs which witnessed stampede. It took several minutes for him to reach the ground floor and to safety. He had hardly recovered from his ordeal when a second plane rammed into the second WTC tower barely 100 metres away.

Shanker Patel, his father-in-law, watched in horror at the terrifying TV images. He scrambled for the phone to contact Umang's family in New Jersey. But he had to wait for 14 hours to hear Umang's voice.

After being detained by authorities in New York for 12 hours, Umang reached New Jersey at 11 p.m. and waited for telephone lines to be restored. Shankerbhai Jhinabhai Patel of Vadnagar was all tears when he talked about the miraculous survival of his son-in-law.

Bharatbhai Chaudhary of Dhinoj, who lives in a society off the highway was anxious about the welfare of his sister's brother Shankerbhai Chaudhary. Bharatbhai made frantic attempts to contact his brother-in-law on phone and the Internet.

But he had to wait for 15 hours before he got the message that Shankerbhai and his wife were safe and would return once the flights were resumed.

A newly-wed couple from a village near here was lucky to escape the trauma since they had shifted from Marriot Palace Hotel adjacent to the first WTC tower where they worked.

They had shifted to their new working place outside New York only two days ago. But their family did not know about the change; they got the message of their welfare only on Wednesday.

Still many families in Kadi-Kalol, particularly those of '42 Samaj' known as 'Dollariya Samaj' of Patels were on tenterhooks to know about the welfare of their kith and kin who have settled at various places in America and worked in the towers.

Long queues at STD booths at these places with people waiting for their turn to make international calls tell us of the anxiety of such families.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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Astrology, vastu courses at MSU gain popularity Monday, September 17, 2001

BY JAHNAVI CONTRACTOR, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Some do not deem it a science, others call it a move to saffronise education. Notwithstanding the furore, Paurohitya karmakand (religious rites), Jyotirvigyan (Vedic astrology) and Vastushatra (ancient science of architecture) are becoming the 'in' career options for students wanting to earn even as a student and, possibly, emigrate.

Last year the Baroda Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya enrolled 250 students. This year, over 500 have joined these courses. "These subjects provide instant jobs. As the UGC decided to recognise these courses many more students are coming to us for admission", said BSM principal H M Pande.

According to him, this year there are five non-resident Indians, five from Nepal, and many more from other states - all to study the ancient wisdom and Vedic literature - a field that is fast gaining acceptance and is in demand both in India and abroad.

The students at BSM are from diverse areas: graduates in science, engineering, arts and law. Most want to make a career in the field, some are here for an interest and research of Sanskrit literature.

Not all come from families that have traditionally followed the profession of priests. Most students either set up a business or work in temples or five-star hotels that have astrology corners.

"I am a graduate in arts and law and was employed with the Petrofils until it closed down and I lost my job. I am emigrating to the US shortly. I have relatives there who are priests in temples. The demand for knowledgeable professionals is high there. So I have taken up the study of both Karmakand and Jyotish", says Vasant Pandya.

Medani Prasad Dahan, a student from Nepal , says that Jyotish is the only profession where clients pursue you. "In all others, I would have had to run after employers. Here I can earn even as a student. I already have a post graduate degree in Sanskrit and now I plan to finish this course and travel across my country spreading the knowledge to different regions", he adds.

Paulomi Dave, a first year student, says that after B Com she wanted to explore this field as it 'intrigued me'. "I plan to study further and take up a Ph.D in this field", she says. Dave, like her counterparts has begun earning and has an office where she makes astro-charts.

"All our students get lucrative job opportunities not after they complete the course, but even when they are in the first year", says Vedic astrology lecturer Rajendra Vyas. Himself a Mahavidyalay student, he has visited the US seven times, UK four times and Dubai and Bahrain three times each.

Vyas says he is happy that the UGC has finally woken up to this reality and given recognition to Vedic astrology.

"We get offers from NRIs. They have built temple in USA and UK. They arrange marriages and other ceremonies for which they need purohits and Vedic astrologers. So unlike earlier times, when study of such subjects was considered useless, it is now catching up and keeping pace with other professions", Vyas says.

Pandey says that the demand has propelled many students from Nepal, Bhutan, Vrundavan and other ashrams across the country to apply to the Sanskrit Mahavidyalay. He says many graduates are placed in hotels in India, Dubai and Bahrain where foreign visitors evince keen interest in the 'astrology corners'.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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