Spurned advocate hacks ‘wife’
High court stops puja after squabble
Director for tech school
German art gala back on rails
Northeast CMs reject truce

Calcutta, Sept.28: 
Hell hath no fury, it seems, as a ‘husband’ scorned. Moloy Dhar, 28, a high court advocate, attacked 20-year-old Paramita Ghosh with a chopper on Thursday afternoon. He slashed her face and neck, enraged by her repeated refusals to accompany him home.

Paramita was admitted to Ramakrishna Mission Hospital, where she is fighting for her life. According to doctors attending to her, “she has already been given eight bottles of blood’’.

Moloy and Paramita had, apparently, married at a registrar’s office in 1998. But her family claimed Paramita was a ‘minor’ then and so the marriage did not hold in a court of law.

The Tollygunge police arrested Moloy from Paramita’s Kalighat house. Acting deputy commissioner of police, south, Jayanta Basu, said Moloy has been charged with “attempt to murder” under Section 307 of the IPC.

Moloy arrived at Paramita’s Nakuleshwar Bhattacharya Street home on Thursday afternoon, with a chopper concealed in his trouser pocket.

“There was a bitter argument between the two. Moloy tried to force her to accompany him to his Behala house. She refused. Suddenly, he whipped out a chopper from his pocket and slashed her face and neck,’’ a witness said.

As Paramita slumped to the floor, her mother started screaming for help. Other members of her family overpowered Moloy and pinned him to the ground. Soon, the police arrived and arrested him.

The Ghosh family was too stunned to react. According to family members who preferred to remain anonymous, Paramita and Moloy had known each other for the past three years.

“Moloy forced her into a marriage at the registrar’s, against the wishes of her mother,’’ one of them said. “She soon saw through him and tried to avoid him. This made Moloy desperate.’’

“We are really shocked by the incident. Moloy was a frequent visitor to the house and we never thought that he could take such a heinous step,’’ a relative at the hospital said. A large number of local youth from Kalighat had turned up at the hospital.

Moloy told police officers that Paramita had refused to stay with him even after their ‘marriage’ as she found his Behala home “too small’’.

Initially, Moloy did not force the issue. But when he realised that he was “losing her,” he turned desperate.

“I tried to reason with her but she refused to listen. I could not concentrate on my work.. Of late, I found her hobnobbing with other boys. She is my wife. How can she go around with others?’’ Moloy asked police officers.    

Calcutta, Sept.28: 
Durga Puja ended the day after Mahalaya at AL block, Salt Lake.

Calcutta High Court on Thursday put a stop to “all Durga pujas” in the block. The court intervened after bitter infighting broke out among rival organisers laying claim to the puja.

Justice Ashok Ganguly, in his order, said: “Until the residents of the area can unitedly organise one puja, no puja will be allowed in AL block of Salt Lake.”

This year, the Salt Lake municipality has decided to enforce the ‘one-block-one-puja’ rule. The only exception being AE block, the biggest in Salt Lake.

AL block has one park which hosts the puja every year. Last year, before the pujas, the AL Block Association split over internal differences and a separate group, AL Block Abashik Samity, was formed. The municipality granted both the organisations permission to hold pujas. While the Association organised the puja in the park, the newly-formed Samity held their’s on a nearby street.

This year, the municipality urged the two organisers to come together and organise a single puja. But the warring factions refused to bury the hatchet. This prompted the municipality to invite a third force. Enter, AL Block Sarodotsav Committee, comprising mainly of the youth. With the full support of Abashik, the Committee approached the municipality for puja permission. Viewing this as an opportunity to end the dispute between the two rival organisers, the municipality gave the AL Block Sarodotsav Committee permission to hold Durga Puja, Lakshmi Puja and Kali Puja. So, the Committee went about making all arrangements for the puja.

But the AL Block Association, being left out in the cold, refused to give in without a fight. It moved the high court, labelling the move by the municipality to grant permission to the Committee as “illegal”.

“We have been organising the AL block puja for so many years and it is our legitimate right to host the pujas here,” said members of the organisation.

After hearing out representatives of the municipality, Association and Samity, the court concluded that the dispute could be ended with a ban on all pujas in the block.

According to the Samity, which claims to have the backing of “all eminent people” in the block — like present secretary of the state government and president of the body, Sukhvilas Verma and cultural secretary Siddharta Roy, ex-IAS.

“The trouble is being created by the president of the association, advocate Pradip Guha, who refuses to come to any sort of understanding,” complained a Samity member.

A pall of gloom has descended over the block. “We all look forward to these four days of the year. There are cultural functions every day and bhog twice a day. Now, our pujas have been ruined by infighting,” lamented a young girl, shattered by the court judgment.    

Calcutta, Sept.28: 
The Indian Institute of Information Technology, Calcutta, finally has a director. Professor Swapan Bhattacharya will take over as full-time director from acting director R.C. Bhattacharjee on November 1.

Bhattacharya’s appointment on Thursday by the council of advisers of the IIIT-C comes almost a month after the government’s showpiece IT school was officially inaugurated on its rented campus in Salt Lake on September 1.

A member of Jadavpur University’s computer science faculty, Bhattacharya has recently returned from a six-month stint at the Naval Post-Graduate School, California, where he had been a visiting professor. Prior to that, he had been in Turkey in a similar capacity.    

Calcutta, Sept.28: 
The cloud over the exhibition of Contemporary German Art, one of the showpieces of the German Festival of India in the city, has started to recede. CIMA Gallery, initially shortlisted as one of the venues for the prestigious show along with Birla Academy of Fine Arts, had, for reasons not specified by the department of culture, suddenly been dropped.

But a high-level team visiting the gallery on Thursday confirmed that CIMA was back in contention to host the likes of Kiefer, Baselitz and Beuys this December. “We are awaiting clearance from the curators and there is a fair chance that both venues will get the nod,” said S. Sathyamurthy, joint secretary, department of culture, New Delhi.

Sathyamurthy, who along with Georg Lechner, commissioner of the festival, dropped in at CIMA, gave a “verbal assurance” to the gallery management. “Yes, we have received an assurance from the joint secretary, but are keeping our fingers crossed till we get a commitment in writing,” said Pratiti Sarkar of CIMA.

Tina Kohler, one of the curators from the Haus der Kunst, Munich, who assessed facilities at CIMA on Tuesday, will submit her report to the department of culture as well as Max Mueller Bhavan. Government confirmation on the venues is expected within a week.    

New Delhi, Sept. 28: 
Chief ministers of four northeastern states today expressed reservations about Centre’s proposal to extend the ceasefire with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) to “other Naga-inhabited areas” in their states.

The refusal of the four states — Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya — has put a spanner in the Centre’s scheme of things.

Chief ministers of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at 7, Race Course Road and aired their “reservations.’’

They had been summoned as part of the Vajpayee government’s efforts to convince them and elicit a feedback on the proposed extension of the ceasefire to Naga-inhabited areas in the four states.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, an official spokesperson said the chief ministers felt that extending the ceasefire to Naga-dominated areas would create law and order problems.

The meeting, which lasted for over two hours, took place in the backdrop of the Centre’s principal representative in the Naga peace talks, K.Padmanabhaiah’s letter to NSCN(I-M) chairman Isak Chisi Swu on September 11, expressing the Union government’s willingness to consider extension of the ceasefire if the insurgent outfit did not interpret it as an “acknowledgement of its demand for a greater Nagalim.”

Padmanabhaiah also said the ceasefire would be extended only after consulting the concerned states. Swu reportedly accepted the condition.

The NSCN(I-M), which threatened to walk out of the ceasefire agreement, had been demanding extension of the ceasefire to Naga-inhabited areas in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and his Manipur counterpart W. Nipamacha Singh had earlier said they were against the extension of ceasefire in their territories since both the states were battling terrorism and “they should not be held responsible for violations of ceasefire norms.”

Nagaland, which had not been invited to today’s meeting, had even passed a Cabinet resolution against extension of the ceasefire. The stand taken by four chief ministers at the meeting, which was also attended by Union home minister L.K.Advani, K. Padmanabhaiah and home secretary Kamal Pande, was not unexpected. Sources said the chief ministers held a separate conclave to evolve a common strategy before proceeding to Vajpayee’s residence.    


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