Class ends early to beat jams
Blood, bullets on Bypass
Raids rein in 24 Romeos
Base stations to end mobile deadlock
Dacoits raid promoter’s house
Motive cloud on Bypass case
Trader killed
Pro-IMDT camp readies for battle
CBI to probe Ranchi civic panel scam
Blockade hits life in Shillong

 
 
CLASS ENDS EARLY TO BEAT JAMS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 29 
With the police mounting pressure on schools to stop parking their buses on roads to avoid jams, premier city institutions have changed their timings in an effort to beat office hour traffic.

The senior boys’ section of Birla High School, on Moira Street, starts an hour earlier, at 8.15 am, and ends at 2.15 pm.

Modern High School for Girls on Syed Amir Ali Avenue will send a circular to parents in the first week of September, suggesting a change in timings, according to principal Devi Kar. It only has chartered buses.

Sekhawat Memorial School for Girls on Lord Sinha Road, too, is not averse to changing the timings of its secondary section from 10.40 am to 3.50 pm.

Police earlier urged schools to change their timings to prevent traffic snarls.

According to Lalbazar traffic control room officials, the maximum number of vehicles move on city roads between 9 am and 11 am and between 4 pm and 6 pm. Over 600,000 vehicles ply on the city’s streets during this period, classified as “peak traffic hours’’.

Police said Moira Street, Darga Road, Mandeville Gardens, Cornfield Road, Fern Road, Loudon Street and Rawdon Street, Diamond Harbour Road, Lord Sinha Road and Syed Amir Ali Avenue get clogged between 9 am and 11 am and from 4 pm to 5 .30 pm.

Devi Kar said: “The new timings of Modern High School will be announced after we inform guardians in the first week of September.’’

Leena Sengupta, headmistress of Sekhawat Memorial School, was of the opinion that the timings of the secondary section should be changed to avoid chaos on Lord Sinha Road.

“Our chartered buses are parked on the road. The secondary section gets over almost at the same time as Shri Shikshayatan, which is just couple of buildings down the road. The situation become hellish and vehicles and even human beings can hardly move,’’ Sengupta admitted.

However, the school authorities said they were not authorised to change the timings.

“The director of school education decides on the timings and police officers can discuss the issue with him,’’ Sengupta asserted.

N.G. Khaitan, vice-president, South Point Education Society, reiterated on Tuesday that under no circumstances would the school resume its bus services.

Khaitan also said his school would not restructure timings. “It is not possible for us to change the timings, as our school functions in three shifts,” Khaitan said.    


 
 
BLOOD, BULLETS ON BYPASS 
 
 
BY DEBASHISH CHATTOPADHYAY
 
Calcutta, Aug. 29 
It was a day of blood, bullets and blaze off the EM Bypass. Kalo Hazra, 35, was killed in police firing at Chingrighata, in the Tiljala area ,on Tuesday afternoon.

Soon after, a mob set a police jeep ablaze and locked up three cops in a local Trinamul Congress office for about four hours. A sub-inspector of police was also assaulted.

Trinamul Congress supporters have called for a 24-hour bandh in the area on Thursday to protest the death of Kalo, who they described as a “party supporter”.

Trouble started at around 1 pm when three policemen from Parama Investigation Centre, under Tiljala police station, were patrolling the area.

Near Vijay Engineering, they spotted five youth taking away scrap material from the closed factory. The youth, while being chased by the cops, fired at them and hurled bombs. The police opened retaliatory fire, killing Kalo on the spot.

This sparked outrage among residents of the area, including women, who turned on the three cops. Their jeep was set on fire, but the driver managed to escape and alert the investigation centre.

The mob forced the cops into the local Trinamul office, demanding “the immediate arrest” of the officer who had killed Kalo and “the suspension” of all three.

Additional superintendent of police (headquarters) Damayanti Sen and additional superintendent of police (rural) Gyanbant Singh rushed to the spot from Alipore with a large force. But the residents refused to release the cops in custody till their demands were met.

The three policemen were finally set free on the intervention of local councillor Pankaj Makal. But tension continued to run high.

“The victim, Kalo, was our party worker. The police killed him deliberately as he had raised his voice against the anti-social activity in the area, which was being patronised by the police,” alleged Pankaj Makal.

“We demand proper punishment of the policemen who are involved in the theft of scrap material from the factory. We also demand proper compensation to the bereaved family of Kalo,” he added.

Weeping inconsolably, Basanti Hazra, widow of Kalo, said: “My husband was a daily-wage earner. He was never involved in any anti-social activity. Today, the police shot him dead while he was returning home.

“I have two minor sons and one daughter. I don’t know how I shall bring them up, as I have no source of income.”

Several local residents spoke of a police-anti-social nexus that was operating in the area.

One of them, Subrata Das, said: “The factory, which has been closed since 1975, has been a source of income not only for the anti-socials of the area but also for the police posted here. The antisocials, in connivance with police, often take away truckloads of scrap material from the factory during day and night.”

Some eyewitnesses claimed that the cops who had shot Kalo down were “drunk”.

“Kalo was never associated with these anti-socials, In fact, he would always protest the anti- social goings-on in the area,” asserted Das.

Later, Damayanti Sen clarified that “Kalo was not known to have a criminal record” but the police were still going through the files to run a check on him.

“In today’s clash, the police fired two rounds. No one was arrested in this connection. And none of the policemen involved in the incident was drunk,” she stated.    


 
 
RAIDS REIN IN 24 ROMEOS 
 
 
BY SUVRO ROY AND CHARLES NANDI
 
Calcutta, Aug. 29 
Scene I: Banabitan Park in Salt Lake at 5.30 pm on Tuesday. Couples in compromising positions behind bushes. Elderly people and children perforce avoid the park, close to FD and FE blocks, in the afternoons and evenings.

Scene II: Bidhannagar swimming pool around 5 pm. At least a dozen cellphone-toting dudes on motorbikes and in cars, hang around the entrance, passing lewd comments and making obscene gestures at women.

But, the dudes were in for a shock a little later in the day, when the administration swung into action and conducted raids in various areas of Salt Lake, including Banabitan, Netaji Subhas Park and near Haryana Vidya Mandir, and rounded up two dozen youth.

“We will put an end to eveteasing and immoral activity in Salt Lake once and for all,” said deputy chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya, in an interview with The Telegraph on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s extensive raids were well-orchestrated and appeared to have been directed from Writers’ Buildings by the police top brass.

These raids come a day after finance minister Asim Dasgupta vowed to eradicate eveteasing from Salt Lake, in consultation with Bhattacharya.

Dasgupta said on Monday he was determined to put an end to the harassment of women in Salt Lake, after his neighbours in FE block urged him to take action.

After Dasgupta spoke to Bhattacharya over the telephone on Tuesday morning, an elaborate plan was laid out. “That particular park (Banabitan) is a nuisance. I will have it raided a number of times so that these activities come to a stop,” Bhattacharya said.

Superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, Kuldeep Singh, said plainclothesmen were put on duty in the trouble spots.

“We are catching eveteasers and bringing them to police stations. Then we are contacting their parents and bringing them over as well, to create psychological pressure on the youth. Some of them were arrested depending on the magnitude of their crime,” Singh said.

By evening, as news of the police raids spread in Salt Lake, even those who hang out at street-corner addas had disappeared.    


 
 
BASE STATIONS TO END MOBILE DEADLOCK 
 
 
BY AVIJIT NANDI MAJUMDAR
 
Calcutta, Aug. 29 
Dial D for deadlock. That sums up the effort to get through to a cellphone in the city these days.

Not for long, promise cellphone operators. Representatives of both Command and Spice assured Calcutta Telephones’ chief general manager K. Ramanujam on Tuesday that more base stations will be set up to cope with increasing subscriber pressure.

Ramanujam had summoned the meeting after repeated complaints about cellphone lines being constantly jammed due to too many calls being made through too few base stations. (This was reported in Metro on Friday, August 25, 2000.)

According to Ramanujam, representatives of the two cellphone operators told him on Tuesday they would set up six more base stations each. They would be applying to the telecom department for a corresponding number of junction circuits to connect to these base stations.

While a base station converts electric signals generated by an incoming call into electro-magnetic signals received by a mobile set, circuit junctions transfer these signals from the base station to the handset.

A base station takes about six weeks to set up, at a cost of Rs 25 lakh. At present, the two cellphone companies operate about 90 base stations in the city.

“Despite the costs involved, the cellphone companies here have recognised the need for more base stations and work should start by September,” Ramanujam said.

D.K. Mitra, vice-president (technical) of Command, who represented the company at Tuesday’s meeting, said: “Our expansion plans have already been chalked out and this will definitely improve our services.” But S. Venkataraman, chief operating officer of Spice Telecom services, refused to comment on the meeting.

According to A.K. Maiti, general manager (planning) of Calcutta Telephones, a base station cannot handle more than 800 calls at any given point of time. “There are more than 150,000 cellphone users in the city and the number is growing by the day. Though the number of new base stations being set up is not very large, it should make a difference,” said Maiti.

Ramanujam was more optimistic. “I am sure things will improve considerably within a couple of months when the additional infrastructure is in place,” he said.    


 
 
DACOITS RAID PROMOTER’S HOUSE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 29 
A gang of seven dacoits raided a promoter’s residence at Santoshpur, in the Jadavpur (East) police station area, early on Tuesday. The dacoits, who were armed, looted cash and ornaments worth Rs. 50,000.

The robbers managed to flee with the belongings. Police have launched a search and arrested one of the gang members.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the incident took place around 3 am at Apurba Som’s residence. The dacoits broke open the main door with a concrete slab and entered the house when all the other neighbours were sleeping.

Som and his family woke up on hearing the sound of locks being broken. The miscreants aimed their country-made revolvers at Som when he and his family came out from their rooms.

S.P. Dutta, deputy superintendent of police (crime), said: “Som and others were instructed by the gangsters to stay still and hand over the keys of their lockers.”

The dacoits told Som to escort them to the lockers, where the money and other valuables were kept. After a half-an-hour operation, they left the area with the booty.

Police superintendent Arvind Kumar Maliwal said: “Efforts are on to track down the other gangmembers. Raids are being conducted at different hideouts. Neighbouring police stations have also been asked to keep a strong vigil.”    


 
 
MOTIVE CLOUD ON BYPASS CASE 
 
 
BY OUR LEGAL REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug.29 
Police officers investigating the Kunal Bose murder case have failed to prove that there was an illicit relationship between Nantoo Roy and Munmun Bose, the deceased’s wife.

Primary investigations revealed that Nantoo, who was having an affair with Munmun, murdered Kunal with the help of his driver, Goutam, and a few other accomplices.

The chargesheet stated that a gang spearheaded by Nantoo was involved in the conspiracy of murdering Kunal.

According to legal experts, the motive of the murder was not established clearly in the chargesheet and this would give Nantoo extra advantage from the judiciary.

Alipore court saw a massive turnout of curious people, who have been keenly following the course of this murder mystery, as both Nantoo and Munmun were produced before the court on Tuesday and the police handed over the copies of the chargesheet to them. The chargesheet also stated that Munmun had been aware of the plot to murder Kunal and was party to it.

“She actually helped Nantoo and his accomplices in their bid to murder Kunal by not opposing the move,” the chargesheet said.

Computer expert Kunal was murdered on May 26 and his body recovered by the police on June 2. The other accused in the case, Nantoo’s driver, is still at large.    


 
 
TRADER KILLED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 29 
A Howrah businessman was killed by two unknown youth who fired at him from point-blank range at Basantapur, near Amta bus stand, on Tuesday. Local residents said Bhutnath Sar, 47, was a garments trader who had his own shop at Howrah Maidan. Amta police said Sar was going to purchase garments with Rs 2,000 around noon when he was shot.

“The killers couldn’t take the money, which was tucked in his undergarments, “ police said.    


 
 
PRO-IMDT CAMP READIES FOR BATTLE 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Guwahati, Aug. 29 
Proponents of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act today geared up for round two of the battle over the contentious legislation, with the United Minorities Front leading the way by declaring its intention of moving the Supreme Court for a review of its ruling.

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice A.S. Anand and Justices Santosh Hegde and K.G.Balakrishnan yesterday observed that the Centre should repeal the Act by January next year. “Minorities are definitely going to face problems if the Act is repealed,” UMF president H.R.A. Choudhury told The Telegraph. However, he said the BJP-led government was unlikely to succeed in getting the relevant Bill passed in Parliament. “We will foil all attempts to repeal the legislation,” he said. The Congress, another staunch backer of the Act, sounded just as sure. “If any Bill pertaining to repeal of the Act is moved in Parliament, we will oppose it tooth and nail,” said Assam PCC chief Tarun Gogoi.

“We have always wanted the Act to remain in force. Foreigners must be deported, but it must be done through a legal process without harassing genuine citizens,” he added. The confidence exuded by the Congress and the UMF stems from the fact that the Telugu Desam Party, the Trinamul Congress — all allies of the BJP — are opposed to repeal of the Act.

Even if they do back the BJP, the ruling alliance will be hard-pressed to cobble up the numbers required to ensure passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

This ground reality is not lost on the Asom Gana Parishad. The party’s reaction to yesterday’s ruling was unexpectedly subdued.

“It is legal decision. We welcome it. We must honour a verdict of the Supreme Court and I hope everybody will honour it,” said party spokesperson and former Union minister Birendra Prasad Baishya. The AGP has been facing flak from the anti-IM(DT) brigade, especially the All-Assam Students’ Union, for its alleged doublespeak on the issue. The general opinion is that the Prafulla Kumar Mahanta-led party is wary of antagonising the minorities by openly demanding repeal of the Act. While the AGP is circumspect, the AASU, which has been the driving force of the campaign against the Act, feels vindicated by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Claiming a “moral victory” on the issue, AASU member Bipul Rabha today said the ruling was “the first step in the right direction”. However, he declined to comment on how the students’ panel and others opposed to the Act proposed to surmount the final hurdle. “We will devise a strategy after our senior leaders return to the city,” he said. Apurba Kumar Bhattacharyya, general secretary of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad, said the onus was now on the Centre and the Assam government to “fulfil their duties” and solve the problem of illegal migration for good. However, historian Amalendu Guha sounded a note of caution.

Expressing “disappointment” over the apex court’s ruling, he said, “The Act should not be scrapped as it protects genuine Indian minority citizens from the kind of harassment they were subjected to in the name of detection and deportation of foreign nationals under the Foreigners Act. Scrapping the Act may actually worsen the situation in Assam.”    


 
 
CBI TO PROBE RANCHI CIVIC PANEL SCAM 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Ranchi, Aug. 29 
The Ranchi bench of the Patna High Court has directed the CBI to probe financial irregularities to the tune of several crores of rupees in the Ranchi Municipal Corporation.

Hearing a public interest petition filed by one Rajneesh Kumar, the two-member bench of Justice M.Y. Iqbal and Justice A.K. Prasad asked the CBI to evaluate all financial transactions of the municipal corporation and submit its report within four months.

According to a report compiled by Phool Singh, commissioner of the South Chotanagpur subdivision, there are several irregularities in the financial records maintained by the municipal corporation.

“A cashier in the corporation, Baijnath Pandit, collected a sum of Rs 3,63,910 as taxes from various quarters between April 28 and June 3, 1989. This amount was not deposited with the corporation till 1994,” the commissioner stated.

Singh also said in his report that 23 employees of the corporation had been sanctioned “marriage advance” of Rs 5000 each, but the majority of them were yet to repay the amount. “At least eight employees who withdrew Rs 5,000 each as marriage advance have denied receiving any money,” he added.

Though the commissioner’s report did not hint at “embezzlement of funds as such”, the High Court felt there were “serious procedural lapses” which warranted an enquiry by the CBI.

Devotees pay homage to Tripura

Agartala. Aug. 29: Hundreds of followers and devotees of slain Hindu tribal saint Shanti Tripura have rushed to his ashram in Khumlung under Jirania police station to pay their homage, reports our correspondent.

The mortal remains of the seer will be kept in the ashram for a week. Official sources said the killing has triggered serious reaction among Shanti Tripura’s followers as the inmates of the ashram, along with the RSS and the VHP, have started accusing the Christian missionaries of conniving with the National Liberation Front of Tripura militants to kill the tribal saint. “I am deeply shocked. Christ was also crucified,” said Debabrata Koloi, a devotee of the slain saint. Koloi is also the leader of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura leader and chief executive member of the Autonomous District Council.

Benoy Tripura, a teacher and inmate of the ashram, said the priest was born in the Bagafa area of South Tripura. He spent many years in the Ramakrishna Mission and at Dakshineswar near Calcutta. He was deeply inspired by the ideals of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. When he returned to Tripura, the tribal saint set up three temples of goddess Kali — each with an ashram — in Sabroom, Khumlung and Dhalai district with donations from his devotees.

In the Khumlung ashram, a school with free hostel facilities for both girls and boys and a charitable dispensary has been set up by the saint. A large number of people, including a section of the educated elite of Agartala, were regular visitors of his ashram.

Train dacoity

Jamshedpur, Aug. 29: At least four Government Railway Police jawans allegedly involved in the 8001-Down Mumbai-Howrah Mail dacoity have reportedly gone underground to dodge arrest following pressure from the state director-general of police and the railway top brass, reports our correspondent. The jawans posted at the Tatanagar railway station were on duty between Tatanagar and Rourkela on August 24, the day passengers were robbed .

The jawans were charged with looting passengers in one of the compartments.

Railway sources said besides looting, the jawans also assaulted passengers and prevented them from disembarking at the Tatanagar railway station.The passengers were forced to go to Kharagpur.

Other Howrah-bound passengers lodged a formal complaint with the South Eastern Railway headquarters at Garden Reach following which an FIR was lodged at the Howrah Government Railway Police station.

Inspector-general of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Sultan Singh has directed the superintendent of railway police, Tatanagar, to inquire into the matter and submit a report to the railway authorities.    


 
 
BLOCKADE HITS LIFE IN SHILLONG 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Shillong, Aug. 29 
The “protest day” call by three youth organisations passed off peacefully barring few incidents of assault in different parts of the city.

The Khasi Students Union, Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People and Synjuk ki Seng Samla Shnong had called for the agitation programme in protest against the killing of three local youth by security forces at Nongshilliang on August 23.

Earlier, the three youth organisations had threatened to launch a “major agitation programme” against alleged state-sponsored terrorism.

The E.K. Mawlong-led government “managed” to “appease” them yesterday by “promising” an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Gauhati High Court. After the two-and-half-hour-long meeting with the government, leaders of the three organisations said they “welcome” the government’s decision to institute a judicial inquiry into the incident and would only observe a “token strike” instead of a major agitation.

Police sources said picketers stopped a number of public buses coming into the city from Guwahati on the G.S. Road between Mawiong and Mawlai and assaulted the drivers, conductors and even some passengers.

The sources said the youth stopped a Silchar-bound deluxe bus (AS 11- A-0622) near Mawlai and seriously injured three persons.

A 55-year-old passenger, S.B. Debnath of Silchar, sustain serious injuries in his left eye, while driver Manoj Dey sustained head injury.

Another passenger, Lalchand Ali, from Sonari in Upper Assam lost three teeth. Passengers of a Meghalaya Transport Corporation bus (ML-03-0048) also had similar experience at Mawlai this morning.

However, deputy commissioner of East Khasi Hills district L. Roy said passengers of only one Silchar-bound bus were assaulted. He claimed the injured passengers were rushed to the civil hospital and released after first aid.

Attendance in all government and semi-government offices were almost nil while schools, colleges and the North Eastern Hill University and financial institutions remained closed during the day.

However, shops and business establishments were open but most vehicles stayed off the roads.    

 

FRONT PAGE / NATIONAL / EDITORIAL / BUSINESS / THE EAST / SPORTS
ABOUT US /FEEDBACK / ARCHIVE 
 
Maintained by Web Development Company