Police rape mute prisoner
Train ploughs through wall, 15 injured
Basu bestows Bypass land on IT titan
Buddha culture mix for business renaissance
Sheikh Vinod’s political links under scanner
Business lobby shot in arm for malaria drive
Trader shot dead in Assam, Ulfa hand suspected
Manipur govt cancels tours

 
 
POLICE RAPE MUTE PRISONER 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Sept.20: 
A 19-year-old mute girl lodged in Presidency Jail was allegedly raped by two constables in a police van on Tuesday afternoon. She was returning from the sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court at Alipore, “under police protection”.

“Our (jail) doctor S.B. Dasgupta’s preliminary examination revealed that the girl was raped,” jail superintendent Parimal Das told The Telegraph on Wednesday. Quoting Dasgupta’s report, Das said the examination provided prima facie evidence of rape. Dasgupta, who oversees prisoners’ health in all central jails, was not available for comment.

Das said that the rape “might have been committed” by the two constables, who are now facing an inquiry. The jail authorities lodged a complaint late Tuesday night with Alipore police station, charging the policemen with raping the deaf-and-dumb girl. She has been lodged in Presidency Jail since September 9 in connection with a burglary case involving a doctor in the Watgunge area.

The policemen allegedly raped the girl after dropping off a lady homeguard escorting her to court. “Strangely, she was not in the van in which the girl was brought back to the jail,” an official said.

Jailer Srikanta Mondal said the girl went to her cell and kept to herself after returning from court.

“But when fellow-prisoners called her for dinner, they found her weeping. Then they noticed that her salwar was missing. When questioned, she indicated through sign language that the policemen had raped her and thrown the salwar from the prison van,” Mondal explained.

The girl, whose identity is being protected, is currently undergoing treatment for shock in the jail hospital, where officials from the Alipore police station questioned her on Wednesday.

Narayan Ghosh, deputy commissioner of police, detective department, admitted that a “complaint” has been lodged with the police.

“We will conduct a medical examination of the girl on Thursday to confirm whether she was raped,” he added.

Alipore police station, which is probing the complaint from the jail authorities, requisitioned the services of a teacher from a local deaf-and-dumb school to help them question the girl.

Tuesday’s rape was a brutal throwback to the case of Nehar Bano who had been raped by a rogue policeman several years ago inside the barracks of Phoolbagan.

DIG, prisons, P.D.Mondal, who visited the jail along with additional IG Dilip Chowdhury on Wednesday, said the policemen had forced the lady homeguard to get off the van while returning to the jail.

“We have definite information that the girl was raped soon after the lady personnel was dropped from the vehicle,” Mondal added.    


 
 
TRAIN PLOUGHS THROUGH WALL, 15 INJURED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept.20: 
Fifteen passengers of a local train, including five women, were injured when three coaches behind the driver’s cabin rammed into a boundary wall, seconds after they had jumped the rails near Ballygunge station on Wednesday afternoon. Subsequently, local train services in the entire Sealdah South section were disrupted throughout the day. All the injured were admitted to B.R. Singh Railway Hospital.

According to railway officials, a major mishap was averted as the train was running slowly. The derailment took place at 2.15 pm near Kakulia level crossing. The overcrowded Lakshmikantapur-bound train jumped the rails minutes after it left Ballygunge station.

According railway sources, the three coaches, including the ladies’ compartment, were damaged. The three smashed the boundary wall standing between Banerjeepara Lane and the railway tracks. The impact of the derailment damaged the train, twisting the iron rods fitted to the windows of the third compartment.

Soon afterwards, members of Banerjeepara Young Club rushed to the site and rescued the injured commuters. They were first taken to the club and given first-aid. Doctors from Sealdah went to the site and treated them. Later all of them were taken to the railway hospital in Sealdah. Senior officials of Eastern Railway’s Sealdah division went to the site for supervision.

Rita Roy, who was returning to her Lakshmikantapur residence, was too traumatised to describe the incident. “The train had just left Ballygunge station and I was in the ladies’ compartment. A minute later, I heard a loud noise and the train came to a sudden halt. The wheels screeched as they rolled on the sleepers,” she said.

Biswaranjan Mondal of Sonarpur jumped out of the compartment when he realised that something was wrong with it.

“I was standing at the entrance of the fourth compartment. Suddenly I heard a screech and felt a jolt. Moments later, I saw the third compartment had ran into the boundary wall. I thought it was a collision. I jumped out of the coach to save my life,” said Mondal lying in the local club.

Anup Jana, a local resident, brought the railway officer’s attention to the condition of the poor condition of the railway tracks. “These tracks are quite worn and need immediate replacement. But the railway authorities are not bothered. A major accident may occur any time,” Jana said.

Rail link with north Bengal: Eastern Railway authorities on Wednesday re-established railway links between Calcutta and north Bengal through a 500 km longer route via Bihar.

However, north Bengal and Assam remained cut off.

Darjeeling Mail left on Wednesday for north Bengal and will follow the new route via Asansol-Jhanjha Kiul-Jamalpur - Ponidanga and Malda.

Two more trains, the 5959 UpKamrup Express from Howrah and the 3453 Up Gour Express from Sealdah, will follow the same route and leave Calcutta on Thursday. However, services of 5657 Up Kanchanjumgha, 3141Up Teesta-Torsa, 3072 Down Jamalpur Express and 3133 Up Mughalsarai Express will remain suspended till Thursday. Railway links with north Bengal have remained cut off since Monday night following flooding of railway tracks near Nalhati.    


 
 
BASU BESTOWS BYPASS LAND ON IT TITAN 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Sept.20: 
The Marxists are rolling out the red carpet for arguably the richest Indian in the world.

Within a fortnight of Wipro chief Azim Premji meeting chief minister Jyoti Basu, the state government has decided to earmark 50 acres along the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass for the development of an Information Technology centre.

It is learnt that Wipro, the Rs 2,300-crore computer and software giant, will find pride of place there.

The decision was taken at the chief minister’s instance during a board meeting of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) on Wednesday. Basu, who is the CMDA chairman, took “a personal interest” in getting the proposal through during the meeting.

Two weeks ago, on a short but significant trip, Premji had met Basu, visited the Salt Lake Electronic Complex and expressed his desire to set up shop in the East.

“We plan to set up our sixth software development centre in the country and it will be a toss-up between Calcutta and Bhubaneswar,” said the Wipro chief, whose wealth is pegged at little more than US $ 13 billion.

“We have formed a committee which will fix the price of the land and look into its allocation. We want big companies to utilise this space near Ruby General Hospital along the Bypass’ Garia connector,” said Ashok Bhattacharya, minister for municipal affairs.

The CMDA also proposes to go in for a joint-venture project to promote a 6.5-acre, multi-storeyed office complex in Salt Lake. The offices will be sold to applicants from both public and private sectors.

Bhattacharya said projects worth about Rs 1,760 crore were discussed during the meeting. Augmentation of the city water supply by 18 million gallons a day from Garden Reach would be ensured by December this year.

Of this, 2 million gallons will be for Salt Lake, which Basu envisions as the “IT hub of the East”.    


 
 
BUDDHA CULTURE MIX FOR BUSINESS RENAISSANCE 
 
 
BY DEVADEEP PUROHIT
 
Calcutta, Sept.20: 
It’s one of the bigrao states of the country, where Naidu “dares” investors to enter at their own peril. But Buddhadev Bhattacharya is busy trying to recreate Sonar Bangla. The West Bengal deputy CM and his very own B-Team — a motley bunch of first-generation Bengali entrepreneurs of the city — have decided to give shape to a Great Bengali Dream.

The plan involves setting up of an Entrepreneur Development Institute by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BNCCI). With Bhattacharya as its patron, it will educate “the potential Bengali entrepreneur” about how to do-it-yourself.

There’s a B-to-C (read: business to culture) angle to the whole thing as well. All the culture minister’s men are keen to follow the American model of entering domestic and foreign markets through the cultural route. “We have set up Samarthan, a cultural oganisation, to meet this objective,” said Bhaskar Sen, managing director, Sika Qualcrete Ltd, a key figure in the initiative. The advisory board of Samarthan includes cultural heavyweights like Annada Shankar Roy, Suchitra Mitra, Soumitra Chatterje and Chintamoni Kar.

“The state government has already promised to give us 35 to 40 cottahs of land in south Calcutta for the institute, which we expect to get within four to six weeks. Initially, a seed capital of Rs 3 crore will be created with support from the Centre and financial institutions,” said Sen. Others in the business plan include S.K.Roy of Peerless, S.K. Ghosh of India Potteries, S.P. Roy Burman of Khadim’s, G.P. Sarkar of Allen Laboratories and B.N. Kumar, president of Bengal Chamber. The EDI has already started functioning from the offices of the Chamber.

“Manufacturing activity in the state has declined drastically over the past few years and trading has taken centrestage,” said S.K. Ghosh of India Potteries. “Through the initiative, we will sensitise traders and educate the youth, encouraging them to take the plunge into business. We will extend all possible support in setting up their units. This will go a long way in generating employment opportunities in the state.”

Sensitisation programmes at the institute will include workshops on the basics of how to conduct business, how to approach banks and financial institutions for loans, etc. There will be motivating sessions on “how to make it big”, where successful entrepreneurs will share their experiences with budding businessmen. Efforts are also on to tie up with an Ahmedabad-based institute for the course material.

Stressing the lack of entrepreneurial drive among young Bengalis, who prefer to opt for “a safe and secure job”, the partners in the project are planning to “promote” success stories from Bengal through the mass media. “One problem is that the young Bengali has no role models in business. To spread the message of entrepreneurship and inspire the youth, we are working on a 13-episode TV serial describing success stories of Bengali entrepreneurs like S.K. Roy, S.K. Ghosh and G.P.Sarkar,” said Sen.    


 
 
SHEIKH VINOD’S POLITICAL LINKS UNDER SCANNER 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept.20: 
The police on Wednesday said detectives were trying to unearth the political connections of dreaded don Sheikh Vinod, arrested along with an associate in south Calcutta on Monday.

Vinod, who had been evading the dragnet for several years, was arrested in connection with a number of murder and extortion cases. Vinod and his associates had unleashed a reign of terror in the city, in connivance with a section of political leaders.

Deputy commissioner of police, detective department, Narayan Ghosh, said his sleuths conducted raids at Mahisbathan, near Teghoria, and its adjoining areas on Tuesday night to net Vinod’s associates, including Baro, also involved in underworld activities during the past few years.

Several raids were conducted at night but no further arrests could be made in this connection, police said. Vinod terrorised the southern parts of the city under patronage of a CPM leader of South 24-Parganas. “Action may be taken against him if evidence is found of his links with Vinod,” the sleuths said.

Nasima, Vinod’s wife, has decided to write to President K.R. Narayanan, urging him to withdraw some “baseless” cases against her husband.    


 
 
BUSINESS LOBBY SHOT IN ARM FOR MALARIA DRIVE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept.20: 
Industrialists on Wednesday decided to help the civic authorities boost the anti-malaria drive and restore heritage buildings .

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee and his council members met the industrialists at Raj Bhavan. Governor Viren J. Shah was present at the talks. However, municipal affairs minister Ashok Bhattacharya, invited to the meeting, failed to attend.

Altogether 31 representatives from the Confederation of Indian Industry, Concern for Calcutta and different chambers of commerce came for the meeting. Among those present were Tarun Dutt, Brigadier Sudhir Johar, M.K. Jalan, B.K. Khaitan, P.K. Sen, J.P. Choudhary and S. Neogy.

The proposal for setting up parking lots in the Maidan area was rejected by Brigadier Johar, who represented the army. Concern for Calcutta, too, did not endorse the proposal, as it felt the move would choke the “lungs” of the city.

Mukherjee distributed a colourful brochure, ‘Industry and Calcutta Municipal Corporation- Synergy Initiative for a Better Calcutta’, among the invitees .

He sought cooperation from the industrial lobby for development projects in 15 specific spheres. They include computerised off-street parking, like a Parkomat, at key congested areas, an awareness campaign among slum-dwellers, modernisation of maternity-care centres, renovation and restoration of heritage buildings , etc.

The industrial lobby was keen on preserving heritage structures by holding lotteries and introducing competitions among representatives from 141 wards. Under this scheme, awards will be given to the wards for providing better civic amenities with full customer satisfaction.

They also agreed to help the CMC deploy mobile malaria-control clinics in every borough.

The CMC deployed two such mobile clinics on Tuesday. There are 15 boroughs in the city.

The CMC’s anti-malaria drive, being conducted by its health department, has run into rough weather for want of funds.    


 
 
TRADER SHOT DEAD IN ASSAM, ULFA HAND SUSPECTED 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Jorhat, Sept. 20: 
A businessman, Suresh Agarwal, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at Kuworigaon in Dibrugarh district this morning.

His father Ram Narayan Agarwal and an associate Jai Prakash Upadhya were injured. Police said two youth on a motorcycle opened fire indiscriminately. They are suspected to be Ulfa cadres since the outfit had been demanding money from the family.

Leopard, cubs die: A leopard and three cubs have died in Tinsukia forest division custody.

The three cubs were caught by the labourers of Hazelbank tea estate, adjacent to the Dibru-Choikhowa reserve forest in Tinsukia district, two months ago. They were later handed over to the forest department. They died on August 29 and 31 and September 3 respectively. “They were caught very young, barely 20 days old. We tried our best to keep them alive,” the Tinsukia divisional forest officer (Wild Life) said.

A leopard, caught by forest department employees from Verjan reserve forest in Tinsukia district on August 30 died two days later.    


 
 
MANIPUR GOVT CANCELS TOURS 
 
 
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
 
Imphal, Sept. 20: 
The Manipur government has cancelled all ministerial visits to the hill districts of the state.

The move has been reportedly prompted by the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah)’s threat to call off its ceasefire with the Centre if it is not extended to all contiguous Naga-dominated areas, including parts of Manipur.

A special Cabinet meeting convened by chief minister Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh recently resolved to oppose any move to extend the ceasefire to Manipur.

The Manipur PCC also reiterated its opposition to the NSCN(I-M)’s demand. “The Congress will not change its stand on the issue under any circumstances. There is no question of risking the territorial integrity of the state,” a senior Congressman told The Telegraph.

Apart from Manipur, the Asom Gana Parishad-led government in Assam has objected to the militant outfit’s attempt to pressure the Centre into extending the ceasefire beyond Nagaland.

Arunachal Pradesh, which also has some Naga-dominated areas, is yet to react to the move.

Sources said the Manipur government was closely monitoring the situation and would issue a fresh statement only after the Centre took a decision on the issue.

While the Nipamacha Singh ministry is treading with caution, the Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup — a local organisation — plans to hold a rally here on September 28 to mobilise public opinion against extension of the ceasefire zone. The rally will be held at Mapan Kangjeibung.

Muivah’s release hailed: The Naga National Party has hailed the release of NSCN(I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah on bail. “His release from a Thai jail is a shot in the arm for the peace process,” party president N.G. Hungyo said.

Two districts inundated

Hundreds of houses in the low-lying areas of Thoubal and Bishnupur districts in Manipur are submerged under water overflowing from the Loktak lake following incessant rainfall over the past few days.

Reports reaching here said flood victims in the Moirang area of Bishnupur are moving towards safer areas in the district. Houses built along the road to Sendra, a tourist centre in Moirang, have also been inundated. Besides, over 200 acres of standing paddy crop and 100 fish farms in the district have been damaged.

The worst-affected areas in Moirang include Konjengoam Leikai, Patlou, Phairembam, Mayai Leikai, Motrang Thana and Nungjeng.

Residents of Moirang have urged the authorities to take up essential relief measures, including release of water through Ithai barrage near Kumbi. Volunteers in Moirang have formed a joint action committee to assist flood victims. A flood relief centre has also been opened.

The inundation has rendered hundreds of villagers in Thoubal district homeless, particularly those in Arong Nongmaikhong, Arong Khunjao and Arong Khunyai. Nearly 600 acres of cultivable land and over 100 fish farms have been washed away in Arong Nongmaikhong.

Rail roko: Santhals in Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam will resort to a rail roko agitation on Monday to demand the inclusion of Santhali language and its script Olchiki in the Eighth schedule, BJP MP and leader of Santhali Bhasha Morcha Salkhan Murmu said, reports PTI.    

 

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