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India ready to back claim on Pak. role
India is getting ready to present both direct and circumstantial evidence to back its claims on Pakistan's involvement in the hijacking of Flight IC-814, according to well- placed sources in the Government.

Taliban disowns statement
In a sudden shift of tack, the Taliban today denied that any of its functionaries had stated that the five hijackers and three militants had left Kandahar for Quetta in north-west Pakistan.

'Harkat behind hijack'
The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based militant outfit, was responsible for the eight-day-long hijack of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 which ended in Kandahar on Saturday, information exclusively made available to The Hindu said.

 Leopard trapped in house
A leopard walked into an aged couple's house in Faridabad early this morning, creating panic among residents. It made itself comfortable in a bathtub for almost seven hours, before it was captured by experts from the Delhi Zoo.

'Release illegal'
The release of two top militant leaders from the Kotbhalwal sub-jail in Jammu and the Central Jail Srinagar, has generated much debate with legal experts saying that no norms were followed and that the exercise was ``illegal'', carried out ``under pressure'' and done in a hush-hush manner.

Clinton 'looking forward' to visit
The U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton, has said he is looking forward to visiting India. ``We are going to make it this time,'' he remarked in the course of a brief conversation with the Congress(I) leader from Mumbai, Mr. Murli Deora. Mr. Deora was among those invited to the White House for the millennium celebrations that included a dinner.

Chandrika for U.S.
The Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, is likely to leave for the United States shortly for further medical consultations and treatment for her right eye which, according to medical opinion, could have suffered permanent loss of sight when she survived an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber on December 18.

Oil pipeline blown up
Militants of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) blew up a portion of an ONGC pipeline near Disang bridge in Assam's Sibsagar district last night, causing oil spillage and fire.

Pak. shelling in Uri sector
Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked artillery and mortar shelling from across the border in Karnah and Uri sectors of Jammu and Kashmir last evening, targeting civilians and security installations. Some of the shells landed at Hajipir village but no one was injured.

Release of hostages is not the end of matter: U.S.
The Clinton administration has not said much officially on the whereabouts of the hijackers of the Indian Airlines flight 814; but is expected to be following the situation very carefully. For the record the administration has made it plain that while it is relieved that the sordid drama in Kandahar had ended without further loss of life, the larger story was far from over.

Why Zargar's release was sought
Including the former chief of Al Umar Mujahideen, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, in the list of militants whose release was demanded by the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight is significant in many ways. It was to give the hijacking a Kashmir colour and internationalise the issue, says observers.


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