- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

INDIA

Untouchables party to win election

NEW DELHI — A party championing the lowest castes appeared headed for a surprise win in elections in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh yesterday, while the country’s ruling and main opposition parties both lost seats.

The results were not expected to hurt Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s central coalition as the Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party also fared poorly, disproving exit polls that had forecast an improved showing.

The victory of the Bahujan Samaj Party, which represents India’s former “untouchables,” analysts said, could indicate that the state was moving away from divisive, caste-based politics and had voted for a new, broader coalition.

PAKISTAN

Activists detained before judge’s visit

KARACHI — Police in Pakistan detained hundreds of activists on the eve of an anti-government rally planned to welcome the country’s suspended top judge to Karachi, opposition leaders said yesterday.

Authorities confirmed some arrests had been made ahead of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s visit to the volatile city today, but didn’t say how many.

The government’s suspension of Mr. Chaudhry on March 9 angered the judiciary and the opposition, and has blown up into the most serious challenge to President Pervez Musharraf’s authority since he seized power in 1999.

INDIA

Muslim Romeo locked up

CALCUTTA — A father chained and locked up his 19-year-old son for three weeks for marrying his childhood sweetheart against the family’s wishes in eastern India, a police officer said yesterday.

Police rescued Raghu Amin Mollah from his father’s house Thursday on the outskirts of Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal state, said Joy Biswas, a police officer who took part in the operation.

The father, Abed Ali Mollah, has been arrested and charged with illegally detaining and torturing his son for 21 days, he said. He opposed the marriage because of a feud between the families.

INDIA

1857 uprising martyrs saluted

NEW DELHI — India paid homage with full pomp and honor yesterday to the “martyrs” who battled British rule 150 years ago in the country’s “first war of independence.”

Thousands of flag-waving marchers shouting “Jai Hind” or “Long live India” converged on the Mughal-built Red Fort in Old Delhi after retracing the route of rebellious soldiers for ceremonies kicking off a yearlong celebration of the bloody uprising against the mighty British empire.

INDIA

Nuke-capable missile fired from Chandipur

NEW DELHI — India test fired a medium-range nuclear-capable missile at midweek, a Defense Ministry official said. Last month, India successfully test fired Agni 3, a new missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads across much of Asia and the Middle East.

The surface-to-surface Prithvi, or Earth, missile, with a range of 95 miles, was fired on Wednesday from the test range in Chandipur in the eastern state of Orissa, the official said on the condition of anonymity. The area is 45 miles north of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state.

India and longtime rival Pakistan routinely test fire missiles. But they usually notify each other before missile launches in keeping with an agreement between the two nations. The Indian army already has adopted the Prithvi missile, which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, the official said.

Weekly notes …

A court in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, nearly doubled the prison term of a human rights activist after convicting her of slander for talking about deaths in the 2005 uprising in Andijan. Gulbakhor Turayeva said she saw about 500 bodies heaped in a schoolyard the day after the crackdown on the May 2005 uprising, and the regional court in Andijan found that statement was slanderous, said Andrea Berg, a researcher with U.S.-based Human Rights Watch. The government put the death toll at 187 …

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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