Love triangle death trail leads to wife’s detention
Ray will sit with Garbo in garden of greats
Civic body blinks at graffiti blitz
Boys admit fatal push
Stage set for Nipamacha ouster
Tripura knocks door of IT age
Northeast tribe seeks autonomy

 
 
LOVE TRIANGLE DEATH TRAIL LEADS TO WIFE’S DETENTION 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
 
There’s a love triangle, there’s money, there’s political clout, and there’s blood on the Bypass.

The case of Kunal Bose’s murder on May 26 took a dramatic turn on Sunday with his widow Aparajita, alias Munmun, being detained for interrogation at Tiljala police station on Sunday.

The victim was found in a bush on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass by three fishermen who informed the police. After he was taken to Chittaranjan Hospital, a badly-injured Bose had made a dying statement to the police.

Bose barely managed to whisper the name of Nantu Roy, suspected to be having an affair with Munmun, as his assailant, according to the officer-in-charge, Lake police station, Anil Kumar Jana.

On Sunday, in a major breakthrough, the police raided the residence of Nantu Roy at Adarshnagar, Behala, and seized a diary containing names of a host of political leaders and government bigwigs.

The police are now on the lookout for the driver of Nantu’s car, in which Bose took his last ride. A hunt is also on for another man believed to be involved in the killing and the murder weapon.

Munmun, who works for a cellphone company, met Nantu when the latter had come to buy a mobile. Although he didn’t take the connection finally, the two are said to have “grown close” and Nantu even offered Munmun a lucrative government job. He started frequenting her residence since August last year.

Munmun used Nantu’s car to go to office and also to drop her two sons to school.

Nantu and Kunal had also become friends. Kunal had given Nantu a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh to set up a liquor shop. Nantu had also moved into an apartment purchased by Kunal at Bansdroni with his belongings, even taking hold of the keys to the flat.

“I never liked Nantu. After he (Kunal) went missing, I suspected Nantu had a hand in it. He was acting innocent ,even though he knew everything,” alleged Kunal’s mother Anuradha Bose, who believes Nantu was having an extra-marital relationship with her daughter-in-law.

“They never told me anything about the loan or the liquor shop they were planning to set up’ but I always knew something was wrong,” Kunal’s mother added.

Nantu, when shown a photograph of the victim and his keys with Kunal’s name on it at Tiljala police station, denied any links with him.    


 
 
RAY WILL SIT WITH GARBO IN GARDEN OF GREATS 
 
 
BY SUVRO ROY
 
 
The government has taken up an ambitious project to construct a multi-crore cinema complex where, under one roof, one will be able to find out just about anything one wanted to know about movies.

The complex, meant to mark the centenary of the motion picture, is being built on the three bighas of the former Radha Film Studios in Tollygunge.

The first of its kind in the country, the complex — Cinema Shatabarshiki Bhavan — will be an audio-visual storehouse of information on international and national cinema and the industry. “It will be something like Science City, where you walk into the world of science. When you will walk into Cinema Shatabarshiki Bhavan, you will get to know everything about the movies and its evolution, with special emphasis on Bengali cinema,” said a senior officer of the film directorate.

Work on the complex has begun. The implementing authority, the Public Works Department (PWD), has started constructing the three-storey building at a cost of Rs 2 crore. The project, expected to be complete by the year-end, is so huge that the government’s film directorate is yet to estimate its total project cost.

While the centenary of the motion picture was celebrated in 1995, it took the government another five years to decide on the complex — a tribute to the industry and its greats. “We owe it to posterity, and like in other film-producing centres, steps have taken to design this cinema complex as a centre of excellence,” said Dilip Basu, director (films), West Bengal government.

The building will house an archive of Bengali cinema, including landmark and significant films; TV and video films from other regions and countries; a library and documentation centre for research and study; and a film museum where equipment, models, replicas, costumes and art work will be on display.

The existing archive on Satyajit Ray at Nandan and the Ritwik Ghatak Memorial Library, too, will be shifted to the complex once it is completed.

Besides, there will be a separate archive for still photographs. Stills from films and photographs of eminent cinematographers will be collected and preserved here. Efforts are being made to get as many pictures as possible through the state government’s photo records section. There will be an exhibition hall for display of stills of famous shots of directors. The subjects of these exhibitions will change periodically.

Statues of film greats will be displayed in a large garden. As in Victoria Memorial, the likenesses of personalities such as Jean-Luc Goddard, Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock, Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, along with Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, K.L. Saigal, Raj Kapoor, Pramathesh Barua and Uttam Kumar, are likely to adorn the garden.

There will also be an archive theatre and a preview room, mainly to be used by researchers. Seminars, exhibitions, lectures and study courses, on, for example, film appreciation, will be held regularly. Halls and auditoriums are being built for the purpose.

“The complex will meet the various needs of Nandan, the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, film clubs, researchers, critics and the general public,” said Bose.

To make the cinema complex a big success, the government has sought assistance from the National Film Archive, Federation of International Film Archive, ministry of information and broadcasting, the Centre’s Films Division, National Film Development Corporation, National Children’s Film Society and the Central Board of Film Certification.    


 
 
CIVIC BODY BLINKS AT GRAFFITI BLITZ 
 
 
BY DEEPANKAR GANGULY
 
 
The writing is well and truly on the walls, and the trees, as political parties paint the city red, green and orange in the run-up to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) polls.

From Tallah to Tollygunge, every single neighbourhood seems to be splattered and mutilated with multi-coloured graffiti.

The CMC is, of course, turning a blind eye, as any attempted clampdown at this juncture will surely be reduced to an exercise in futility. Take municipal commissioner Asim Barman’s “warning” to all political parties to clean city walls and trees by May 31 or “face consequences”.

The defacing of walls and trees is punishable under the Calcutta Municipal Corporation Act, 1980, says Barman, in the notification issued through the media.

It’s now well into June, but the level of “visual pollution” is still on the rise.

With the CMC polls barely three weeks away, political parties are fighting for every inch of space on walls and on trees, flouting all norms of environment protection.

“More than a million graffiti have already come up on the walls, and the number will rise in the next two weeks,” warns a civic official.

CMC officials confess that even if there is law against graffiti, it is difficult to punish the offenders if the owner of the building or the wall does not lodge an official complaint.

None of the owners of six-lakh residential buildings and about 25,000 public buildings affected by the pre-poll publicity blitz has lodged a complaint, yet.

“However, if the Election Commission asks us to clean up the walls of the public buildings, we will carry out the order,” Barman said.

Walls of government offices, schools, colleges and civic offices have been hit the hardest.

“Election does not take place every day. What’s the harm if a wall is used for 20 days or a month for election campaign ?” demanded Trinamul leader Anup Chatterjee.

“Owners of buildings seldom object to their walls being used for graffiti during election time,” he added.

The badly-affected areas include Beliaghata, Sealdah, Keoratala, Narkeldanga, Bhowanipore, Chetla, Tiljala, New Alipore, Topsia, Tangra, Behala, Jadavpur, Gariahat, Mudiali and Southern Avenue.

Walls in ward number 30, from where mayor Prasanta Chatterjee is contesting the civic polls, wear a particularly tainted look.    


 
 
BOYS ADMIT FATAL PUSH 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
 
The body of 12-year-old Santu Mukherjee was finally discovered on Sunday evening. Santu drowned off Beniatola Ghat on June 1 after being pushed into the Hooghly by four senior boys of his school.

Initially, the police had thought that a body recovered on Saturday was of Santu, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

The “bloated and partly decomposed’’ body of the boy was first spotted by people on Shalimar Ghat. They called in the police.

“The body was found at 4.30 pm. Santu’s parents arrived at 7.30 pm and identified the body. The couple broke down on seeing their son,’’ said Tapas Roychowdhury, inspector of river traffic police. The body has been sent for post-mortem.

Police were forced to launch an investigation into the case after a public outcry broke out over the way Santu was tossed into the river by four boys senior to him in Sarada Charan Vidyalaya.

Asim Ghosh, officer-in-charge of Jorabagan police station, said Avijit Lai, Animesh Pal, Abhijit Bardhan and Manab Samiran Dutta, remanded in police custody till June 16, confessed that they were teasing Santu.

“It was just a joke... We did try to locate him in the river. Manab and Animesh swam around to find him, but there was no trace of him... The current had swept him away,’’ Animesh said.

Avijit added: “Santu played cricket with us regularly at the BK Pal Avenue park. We used to tease him quite often and he never complained. It was extremely hot that day and so we decided to go to Beniatola Ghat and play by the river... We never expected him to disappear down the river after we pushed him playfully.”

Sources said officials of Sarada Charan Vidyalaya met informally at the residence of a senior teacher, where they decided to take “drastic action” against the four boys who had pushed Santu to his death.    


 
 
STAGE SET FOR NIPAMACHA OUSTER 
 
 
FROM OINAM SUNIL
 
Imphal, June 4 
A clandestine meeting between BJP leader R.K. Dorendra Singh and Speaker Sapam Dhananjoy in Calcutta recently has set the stage for a coup against the W. Nipamacha Singh-led coalition government in Manipur.

A source said Dorendra Singh, spearheading the Opposition’s oust-Nipamacha campaign ever since the chief minister began a new term in office, struck a deal with the Speaker at the meeting. However, he did not spell out what the former chief minister promised to Dhananjoy in return for his support. A dissident in the ruling Manipur State Congress Party said Dorendra Singh and the Speaker met in Calcutta to avoid speculation in political circles here. Dhananjoy also spoke to a section of National Democratic Alliance leaders during a visit to Bangalore recently. The alliance leaders reportedly asked the Speaker whether it would be feasible to form a BJP-led government in Manipur.

Sources said Nipamacha Singh, a wily politician with the ability to pre-empt any threat to his position, had entrusted three of his trusted ministers to keep tabs on Dhananjoy. However, the local Press spilled the beans, prompting the chief minister to assign the task to an Assembly official who accompanied the Speaker to Calcutta and Bangalore. However, sources said Dhananjoy, presently in Shillong for an official meeting, met Dorendra Singh without the Assembly official’s knowledge.

Loyal to Nipamacha Singh not long ago, Dhananjoy parted ways with the former after he gave deputy chief minister L. Chandramani Singh a higher billing in the protocol list. The Speaker was also unhappy over the chief minister’s habit of taking major decisions without consulting him. Dhananjoy was a political nonentity before being elected Speaker in March.

Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, the Speaker is now trying to be a key player in the machinations integral to Manipur politics. The meeting between Dhananjoy and Dorendra Singh is significant because dissidents in the MSCP appear to have changed their strategy to oust Nipamacha Singh. Having realised that the chief minister still has the support of the majority of MSCP activists, the dissidents have given up the idea of trying to effect a change in the party leadership.

They are instead backing Dorendra Singh’s parallel campaign against Nipamacha Singh and trying to split the MSCP in the hope that they can align with the BJP to form an alternative government.

However, the dissidents are not united. While one camp is led by Union minister of state for food processing Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, the other faction has the blessings of the Speaker. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee took away the youth affairs and sports portfolio from Chaoba Singh and gave him the food processing department instead. Observers feel the change in the Union minister’s portfolio is the BJP’s way of pressuring him to split the MSCP.    


 
 
TRIPURA KNOCKS DOOR OF IT AGE 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Agartala, June 4 
Encouraged by techno-savvy chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s success in Andhra Pradesh, Manik Sarkar’s Left Front government is toying with the idea of developing information technology on the lines of Andhra Pradesh.

The chief minister yesterday said the council of ministers have approved the state’s new information technology policy, which stresses on promotion of IT education, computerisation of government departments and incentives for setting up of IT industries in the state. The state government has already set up an information technology directorate to give impetus to IT development and setting up of a software park in the capital to promote investment in the field.

The three broad objectives of the IT policy are the development of human resources by the adoption of information technology in the educational institutions, promotion of electronic governance for effective functioning of government services, improved revenue collection, financial management and service, swift dissemination of information on the functioning of the government through websites.

The state Cabinet wants to project the state as an attractive location for investment by global and national companies through attractive packages.

Medical allowance: The Cabinet has approved a fixed medical allowance of Rs 100 per month to state government pensioners from April 1.

The council also approved the revision of issue price of salt from Rs 1.90 per kg to Rs 2.50 per kg. This was necessitated by the increase in the cost of procurement and distribution of iodised salt from the source itself.

Media conference

Press Council of India chairman Justice P.B. Sawant has said the Centre should take initiatives to strengthen information technology, particularly the telecom network, in the Northeast so that the media can play a greater role in news coverage and remove the feeling of isolation from the mindset of the people of this region.

Speaking in the Northeast media conference here yesterday, he said the media can act as a catalyst to remove the sense of alienation among the people of this region by giving due coverage to the government’s development programmes.

Press Council of India member Asim Kumar Mitra stressed on the growing incidents of violent attacks on journalists. BBC’s Subir Bhowmik said the main duty of a journalist is to expose the ills of society.    


 
 
NORTHEAST TRIBE SEEKS AUTONOMY 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Dimapur, June 4 
Joining the burgeoning list of autonomy-seekers in Assam, the Rengmas of Karbi Anglong district have petitioned the state government for creation of an autonomous district comprising areas where they are in the majority.

A five-member delegation of the Rengma Hill District Committee met chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta yesterday and submitted a memorandum demanding constitution of a “Rengma Hills Autonomous Regional Council” immediately.

It also urged the chief minister to upgrade Phentecho to the status of a subdivision. In the event of the government failing to create a new sub-division with Phentecho as its headquarters, the delegation suggested that Bokajan subdivision be brought under the proposed autonomous council’s jurisdiction. Sources said Mahanta assured the Rengma leaders that he would look into their grievances.

The delegation also demanded that the Bokajan Assembly constituency be either reserved exclusively for the Rengmas or a new constituency be carved out for the tribe. The tribal leaders said the Rengmas were the original inhabitants of the area and a large portion of Karbi Anglong district was known as the “Rengma Hills” till 1951.

They quoted passages from several books and attached a map to the memorandum in a bid to drive home their point. The memorandum to the chief minister claims that the Assam government erased the “Rengma Hills” from the state’s map without the tribe’s knowledge.

“The Assam government renamed the Rengma Hills area as Mikir Hills district in 1951 without the knowledge and consent of the Rengmas,” it states.

The memorandum also accuses the government of making no effort to protect the interests of the Rengmas, the “original sons of the soil”, when Karbi Anglong was declared a district on October 24, 1974. It says the Rengmas were always looked down upon and deprived of employment opportunities in their own homeland. “There are no basic amenities such as drinking water, health services, electricity and roads, leave alone development on other fronts,” it adds.

Two killed: Two Santhals were killed and five injured, two of them seriously, when suspected National Democratic Front of Boroland militants opened fire on refugees at a relief camp at Tongshi under Bogribari police station in Dhubri district, reports our Dhubri correspondent.

The victims have been identified as Laser Murmu and Ramu Tudu. Police have launched an operation to apprehend the assailants.    

 

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