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Inquiry slams kidnap handling

LONDON — Britain yesterday banned military personnel from selling tales of their exploits to the media, in response to the outcry when sailors seized by Iran made deals for their story.

A boarding party of 15 British sailors and Marines was captured by Iran in the Persian Gulf in March and held for 13 days, prompting questions about why they had been taken with such apparent ease and why help was slow to come.

Upon their return, Defense Secretary Des Browne allowed the navy to permit two of them to sell their stories to newspapers, sparking more outrage.

INDIA

Candidate rapped for scarf remark

LUCKNOW — Islamic leaders demanded the ruling coalition withdraw its candidate from India’s presidential race yesterday after she said Muslim women should stop wearing their head scarves.

Several Muslim leaders called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to find a new candidate for the largely ceremonial post, accusing Pratibha Patil, a Hindu, of insulting Islam by suggesting that the head scarf is primitive.

Mrs. Patil was quoted over the weekend saying that women started wearing the head scarves in India to save themselves from 16th-century Muslim invaders and that it was time to drop the practice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports