Dawn raid on Behala killers
Metro halts for icons
Trinamul man gunned down
13 dead in Bankura tusker trail
Councillor assaulted
Southern Avenue pumping station
Mob fired on

Calcutta, July 22 
In a daredevil swoop at dawn, Behala police chased and arrested three criminals at Buroshibtala. They had shot dead a rival gang leader and mafia don, Chandan Das, alias Baban, a few months ago.

Baban was shot from point-blank range by the three while he was entering his restaurant on James Long Sarani. They hopped into a taxi and escaped after the killing. Enraged supporters of Baban had taken to the streets, damaging vehicles, terrorising people and putting up roadblocks.

Deputy superintendent of police Subhankar Chatterjee identified the three as Kartick Chowdhury, Rajesh Yadav and Tapan Mondal. According to officers of the special investigating team who conducted the raid, the three criminals and their leaders, Pulak Khatal and Tarak Mondal, had gathered on the spot to plot the murder of another rival, Mohan.

Pulak and Tarak fled when they scented a police raid in the offing. A source had tipped off the police about their plans on Friday night. The special investigating team fanned out in the area and kept in touch with each other over the wireless.

An officer, posing as a morning walker, saw a taxi screech to a halt in Buroshibtala at 5 am. He alerted his colleagues on the wireless. Police said three criminals got off the taxi and stood in front of a local club.

The six policemen zeroed in on them. On seeing they were surrounded, the three made a dash to flee. Police chased them and grabbed them by their shirt collars.

While the policemen were busy with the three, another taxi drew up with Pulak and Tarak in it. They saw their aides being chased and held. Pulak directed the driver to turn the vehicle into another lane.

Later, during interrogation, Kartick confessed that he and an accomplice, who is an associate of Munsef, crime lord of Pailan, had pulled the trigger on Baban.

According to police officers, Munsef and Pulak had killed Baban to gain control of the lucrative Taratala-Buroshibtala belt.

They were sore with Baban because he refused to team up with them and, instead, struck a deal with arch-rival Noche Naskar.    

Calcutta, July 22 
Mother Teresa and Uttam Kumar, two icons of the city, will be linked with another of its assets — the Metro Railway.

Metro’s Park Street station will be renamed after the Nobel laureate who worked for the downtrodden, and Tollygunge station will be known as Uttam Kumar station, Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Saturday.

While inaugurating a computerised rail reservation counter at the Hazra crossing, Mamata announced a spate of similar counters across the city and the state. Such counters will be set up at Behala, Shyambazar, Kidderpore, Burrabazar and Dakshineswar by the end of the current financial year. Bongaon and New Farakka will also get counters by then. Others in the offing are at Majerhat, Barrackpore and Rampurhat.

In response to mayor Subrata Mukherjee’s request, Banerjee has agreed to open yet another counter at the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. Next in line is a reservation counter at Netaji Subhas International Airport, which the minister will inaugurate on Sunday, thus linking air travel with rail travel.

The Calcutta Passenger Reservation System caters to more than 65,000 passengers a day, with an earning of almost Rs 2 crore, according to I.I.M.S. Rana, general manager, Eastern Railway. Rana is also Metro Rail’s general manager.

Earlier in the day, Mamata was at Munshirhat, in Howrah, to inaugurate the extension of the Howrah-Bargachhia broad gauge line to Mahendra Lal Nagar. Two new passenger halts will be covered in this six-km stretch. They are Pantihal and Munshirhat. She said the line would be extended to Amta. The project will cost Rs 16 crore.    

Calcutta, July 22 
In a daring daylight attack on Saturday, a Trinamul Congress supporter and a known anti-social, Gopal Dey, 34, was gunned down from point-blank range at Kadamtala Bazar, in Howrah. Immediately after the killing, traders downed their shutters and police rushed to the spot, but no one was arrested.

Police said the incident took place shortly after noon while Dey was shopping. Two youth on a scooter pumped three bullets into him and fled. Bystanders said the bullets pierced Dey’s head and forehead. Ramesh Podder, a witness, said: “The assailants escaped down Bombay Road.

Police said Gopal had a criminal record and lately, was indulging in “anti-left” activity. All the shops in the market were closed and tension gripped the area after the attack. Arup Roy, local Trinamul leader, claimed the police spirited Dey’s body out of the morgue within four hours of the incident and hastily cremated it in the evening.

Criminals killed: Two criminals were killed on Friday night under the Howrah flyover. Sheikh Marfat, 55, was hacked to death and Fatna Pandey, 22, was shot. Police said both had been arrested a number of times for peddling drugs and liquor.    

BANKURA, July 22 
A herd of eight tuskers lumbering across Panchel forest division in Bankura has been wreaking havoc for the past three months, claiming 13 lives so far. Many people have sustained serious injuries.

The latest victims were two people in Benagori and Silda villages, on Bankura’s border with Midnapore, on July 8. Forest officials, however, blame the killings on a different herd of tuskers from the Kankrajhor and Ranibasi jungles.

Meanwhile, it’s war between man and pachyderm. While the animals hurtle through huts and fences to forage on crops adjacent to the jungles, particularly in Bishnupur, the residents are gearing for a trial of strength with the beasts and forest officials.

The forest staff have been at the receiving end of public wrath. On June 19, the villagers sent a team of foresters packing, demanding that the killer tuskers be gunned down. They ransacked the forest office and took away a wireless set.

The foresters shot the elephant after declaring it a rogue on June 21. According to Kalyan Das, district forest officer, Panchet division, there are 12 elephants in Bankura, as per census. But the disturbing factor is that eight of them form an all-male group, causing havoc in their wake. “We aim to break their bonding,” said Das.

The foresters have succeeded in clubbing the tuskers into two groups. But more often than not, their attempts are frustrated, as the animals regroup at night.

Panic-stricken villagers draw little comfort from official assurances that the tuskers pose no threat. Armed with torches, crackers and drums, vigilante groups guard the villages. The forest department provides them with burnt mobil oil and diesel for torch fuel.

Said Basudev Lohar, whose seven-year-old son was killed at Basudevpur village by a herd of four tuskers on June 18: “The rogues are on the rampage and the government has done nothing. It seems a few more people will have to die before the authorities sit up.”

Foresters, however, feel there is no cause for worry, as the rogue bandleader had been killed on June 21 and there have been no further casualties since. Mobile guards are on constant vigil. An awareness campaign has been launched, urging people not to provoke the elephants. They have been advised not to venture out of their homes after sundown.    

Calcutta, July 22 
Trinamul Congress councillor of Salt Lake Minu Chakraborty was assaulted by a group of miscreants on Friday night near the Purbachal community hall.

The councillor from ward No. 20 lodged an FIR at Bidhan Nagar police station, alleging that the miscreants tore her sari and snatched her watch and a gold chain. Chakraborty said while she was on her way to Purbachal at about 9.30 pm, four persons attacked her. She has identified two of the assailants.    

Calcutta, July 22 
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation has decided to instal a pumping station in Southern Avenue to ease waterlogging in the area.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee said he and member, mayor-in-council, Rajib Deb, will visit Southern Avenue on Sunday to put final touches to the plan. It will take a year for the pumping station to become operational. “The project will cost Rs 6 crore,’’ the mayor said.    

Midnapore, July 22 
A Trinamul Congress supporter, Sankar Patra, 35, was killed and 10 others were wounded when the police fired 25 rounds to quell a 3,000-strong mob at Sankargeria village, in the Patashpur area. The mob turned violent and attacked police with bombs and lathis. When a lathicharge failed to disperse them, 50 rounds of teargas were fired. The villagers were resisting raids on their arsenals.    

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