MLC criticised for retracting statementBangalore: The senior Congress MLC and former Minister B.K. Chandrashekar has maintained that the allegation of bribes being taken from mine owners in Bellary district stood despite the BJP MLC Janardhan Reddy's retraction.

In a statement to the press, Prof. Chandrashekar noted that Mr. Reddy had stated that money was being collected from mine owners in the name of the Chief Minister. There was, thus, no denial of collection of money from the mine owners.

Prof. Chandrashekar strongly criticised Mr. Reddy for going back on his earlier statement. Mr. Chennigappa's statement that naxalites were extorting funds was amusing. Both the changed statements were nothing but lies, he said.

Special Correspondent

Islamic organisations deplore Mumbai blastsBangalore: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Karnataka and Goa zone, has strongly condemned "the act of madness carried out by anti-social elements" in local trains in Mumbai resulting in a large number of deaths and injuries.

"Whichever group is behind this gory incident deserves the severest punishment under the law. People should maintain peace and harmony in such troubled times," president of the zone Ibrahim Sayeed said in a statement.

The Students Islamic Organisation of India, Karnataka, deplored the serial blasts and expressed deep sympathies to the families of the affected persons in a statement issued by SIO Karnataka president Mohd. Hashmatulla Khan.

Special Correspondent

ABVP ends stir after fee reductionBangalore: The protests staged by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) against high fees for professional courses ended after the State Government agreed to revise the fee structure.

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, Prabudev Kappgal, ABVP State president, said, "Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has agreed to reduce the fees for medical, dental and engineering courses. Government orders regarding the same will be issued to private colleges on Monday."

An ABVP delegation met the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Minister for Higher Education D.H. Shankaramurthy on Friday and urged them to reduce the fees, said Mr. Kappgal. Staff Reporter

25th edition of IITM gets under wayBangalore: The 25th edition of India International Travel Mart (IITM) was inaugurated on Saturday by I.M. Vittal Murthy, Tourism Secretary, at Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here. The event has attracted many national and international participants. Over 175 stalls have been put up at the venue.

From Bangalore, the IITM will move to Chennai (July 21 to 23), Mumbai (September 2 to 4), Pune (December 2 to 4) and Hyderabad (December 8 to 10). Staff Reporter

Centre's intervention soughtBANGALORE: Minister for Water Resources K.S. Eshwarappa has sought the Centre's intervention to put an end to what he termed the "undesirable activities" of Christian missionaries at Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, he demanded that the Centre take action to stop a "hate campaign" against the Hindu religion by Christian missionaries. The Centre should take note of the recommendations of a five-member fact-finding committee headed by G. Bikshapathy, retired judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, he said.

Heads of various maths have decided to launch an agitation if the Andhra Pradesh Government does not take steps to stop the activities of Christian missionaries at Tirumala, he added. Special Correspondent