Youth dragged off auto, killed
Govt gears up to stave off hike-or-strike threat
Cholera alert in Bypass colonies
Crime embers throw up two new dons
Karate kids strike gold at Sydney World Cup
Trio arrested
3 struck dead by lightning
2 drowned
Brighter look for city hub
Ulfa dupes constables in abduction drama

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
It was Sunday night, Dashami. Prosenjit Pal, 23, was headed home after a Bijoya visit to his grandfather. But he never made it back to his Dakshindari home in Lake Town, where his father, a retired railway officer, and mother, a polio victim, were waiting for him.

Prosenjit was dragged out of an autorickshaw and beaten to death by two local goons at the crossing of Rabindra Sarani and B.K. Pal Avenue. No one, in a locality that he had grown up in, came forward to save the youth.

The horrific incident took place after Prosenjit and elder brother Biswajit, 25, stepped out of their maternal grandfather’s house at 423, Rabindra Sarani, at around 10.30 pm.

The two got into an auto at the crossing of Rabindra Sarani and B.K. Pal Avenue. Suddenly, two young men turned up and ordered the brothers to “get off”.

Before they could utter a word in protest, or realise what was happening, the two were dragged out of the vehicle by the goons.

Biswajit managed to wriggle out and rush back to his grandfather’s house and inform family members. The criminals pinned Prosenjit to the tram tracks and started punching and kicking him. They also lashed him with a leather belt, which was later used to strangle him.

By the time Biswajit, accompanied by his maternal uncle, Tapas Roy, and some other family members, rushed back to the spot, Prosenjit was lying lifeless in a pool of blood.

“We rushed him to the R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, where he was declared brought dead,” said Roy.

The shocked family members were aghast at the apathy of the local residents.

“Both the brothers virtually grew up here and all the local people knew them well. It’s appalling that no one came to their rescue. Even the police, who are always near the crossing, chose to turn a blind eye,” said Roy.

Officer-in-charge, Burtola police station, P.B. Das, blamed it on the Pujas: “We were busy monitoring the immersion processions. News of the murder reached us around 12.45 am. We rushed to the spot at once and posted a big force there. Going by the descriptions given by Biswajit, we raided a local bustee and picked up Buro Roy and Sanjoy Sutradhar.”

Interrogation revealed that Buro and Sanjay didn’t realise they had killed Prosenjit. “So, they did not make any effort to flee the area and we found them both at home,” said Das.

The names of two other accomplices have cropped up and it is learnt that all four are wanted in a number of criminal cases.

Prosenjit was a commerce graduate and a commercial artist by profession. The Democratic Youth Federation of India, CPM’s youth wing, claimed he was a member of the organisation.

His father, Bisweshwar Pal, and mother Anjali are still “in a state of shock”. “The doctor is keeping a constant vigil on the father, who is on the verge of collapse,” said Kalyani Roy, Prosenjit’s aunt.

The gruesome murder took on a political hue with some locals, on condition of anonymity, accusing the Trinamul Congress of unleashing goonda raj in the area.

“After the Trinamul has come to power in this ward (no. 18), criminal activities have been on the rise and anti-socials like Buro and Sanjay have unleashed a reign of terror in the area,” said one.

To protest the murder, CPM activists blocked the intersection of Rabindra Sarani and B.K. Pal Avenue on Monday morning from 10.45 to 12 noon. They also called a 12-hour bandh in the area.

The CPM claims both Buro and Sanjay belong to the Trinamul camp. However, a Trinamul Congress spokesman refuted the allegation, saying that the party had no involvement in the incident.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
The revelry over, it’s back to ground reality. High on the priority list of the state government’s post-Puja agenda: A bid to pre-empt yet another transport strike-followed-by-fare-hike routine.

Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty will meet private operators on Tuesday at Netaji Indoor Stadium to discuss their demand for an upward revision in the existing fare structure.

Chakraborty was to meet the transport operators on Monday, but the meeting was called off at the last minute because of the minister’s preoccupation.

Representatives from the Bengal Bus Syndicate, Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, Bengal Taxi Association and some other organisations will attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Private transport operators have demanded a fare hike in view of the increase in prices of petroleum products.

The state government has agreed, in principle, to an increase in transport fares. But it has, apparently, deferred the meeting with the transport operators twice, anticipating a rollback in diesel prices.

Now, with no rollback in sight, the state transport ministry has decided to go ahead with the crucial meeting.

Private transport operators in the city and elsewhere in the state had threatened to go on strike immediately after the petrol price hike if their demand for a fare revision was not met.

But Chakraborty had persuaded them to defer their agitation till after the Pujas. The operators had responded to the minister’s appeal and all private buses, taxis and minibuses plied during the Pujas.

Chakraborty has already indicated that the government might increase ticket prices on state buses. “It will be difficult for bus operators to run their vehicles after the Centre has increased the price of diesel,” he said.

A representative of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate said each of the 7,000 buses in the city would have to bear an additional cost of Rs 300 per day due to the diesel price hike. “In the districts, we run 13,000 buses and will have to bear an additional cost of Rs 400 for each bus,” he added.

Ajit Saha of Bengal Bus Syndicate said they run 1,800 buses in Calcutta and Howrah. “We have to increase the fare in order to meet the extra cost.”

Kalyan Bhadra of Bengal Taxi Association said there are 30,000 taxis in the city. “After the price hike, each taxi-owner will have to bear an extra daily cost of at least Rs 60. They will be forced to withdraw their vehicles unless the government revises the existing fare chart immediately,” he said.

Bhadra said the issue would have to be thrashed out at Tuesday’s meeting, as a delay in revising the fare structure would prove “disastrous” for transport operators, forcing them to pull their vehicles off the road.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
The discovery of cholera germs in the city’s eastern fringe of Patuli has set off a special alert from the civic authorities to all residents, particularly those in areas ravaged by the recent tidal inundation. The authorities have warned against possible contamination of drinking water sources.

About 1,000 people in the CMDA’s newly-developed urban pocket along the EM Bypass in the Baishnabghata-Patuli area have contracted cholera over the past week. The death toll, however, has remained at one. More than 70 of the affected people were admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital, Beleghata, after their condition worsened at civic medical camps.

Deputy chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya toured the area on Saturday, while municipal affairs minister Ashok Bhattacharya visited the township with CMDA chief executive officer Nandita Chatterjee and member, mayor-in-council (health), Javed Ahmed Khan, on Monday.

The CMC health department, besides holding medical camps, has launched a door-to-door mass awareness drive against cholera and gastroenteritis. As advised by the municipal affairs minister, the conservancy department will go on a special campaign in the area on Tuesday. Javed Ahmed Khan said clinical tests confirmed that the gastro outbreak was caused by the O-139 strain of vibrio cholerae.

Laboratory tests of water samples also detected pathogens of cholera and gastroenteritis in the CMDA’s deep tubewells and hand tubewells of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the CMDA. “It is the same strain that attacked several parts of the city in 1992”, said chief municipal health officer Sujit Ghosh.

Though the situation is now under control, the CMC has decided to keep its camps open for another week, said Ghosh. Officials suspect that household septic tanks may have caused large-scale contamination of underground water sources during the monsoon, as e-coli and vibrio cholerae were found in the samples of water collected from the tubewells.

“We have started adding chlorine to the water from our deep tubewells in the area”, said a CMDA spokesman. Samples of water from these tubewells will be tested again on Wednesday.

The authorities fear a similar outbreak of gastro in areas flanking Tolly’s Nullah, which were flooded by the tidal rise recently.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
From the ashes of a mafia network razed to the ground by the police, Sukhdev Singh and Bapan are emerging as the new crimelords of Tollygunge. Fierce clashes between the rival gangs have broken out in the Regent Park, Tollygunge and Behala areas over the past fortnight, leaving a trail of blood — three dead and 16 injured. And the police, struggling to cope with the Puja pressure, have failed to check the gang war.

With Sridhar and Swapan, two dreaded gang-leaders of south Calcutta behind bars, and notorious Noche, out on bail, deciding to turn over a new leaf, the police were hoping for a lull in the proceedings. After all, two other crimelords of south Calcutta, Sheikh Vinod and Shahzada, are also out action. While Vinod is in custody, Shahzada is on the run. This had left the lucrative Tollygunge-Behala-Regent Park belt wide open for the new boys on the crime block.

With the emergence of Sukhdev and Bapan, the turf war for Tollygunge has returned to haunt both the police and the people of the area. According to additional superintendent of police, S.N. Gupta, Sukhdev is currently Calcutta’s “most wanted” criminal with six murder and several extortion and kidnapping cases pending against him at the Tollygunge, Behala, Charu Market and Regent Park police stations.

Bapan, from Vidyasagar in Behala, has quickly built up a formidable crime empire. He figures as a suspect in several criminal cases, but the police have failed to frame charges against him due to lack of evidence.

Underworld sources said Sukhdev Singh has struck a deal with Dom Pradip of Tollygunge in a bid to take over Sridhar’s territory. Pradip gunned down Sujit Halder, a close associate of Sridhar, on October 2. Three people have been arrested in this connection. Sukhdev is also learnt to have brokered a peace between Tootan and Bang, two warring crimelords of Regent Park, Behala and Tollygunge.

Officers at Charu Market and Tollygunge police stations said most criminals arrested during recent raids have confessed that they owed allegiance to Sukhdev Singh and were helping him take over Sridhar’s empire with Dom Pradip’s help.

Deputy superintendent of police Subhankar Chatterjee has carried out several raids in Tollygunge and Behala in a bid to corner Sukhdev. A few of his close associates have been arrested but Sukhdev has managed to evade the police dragnet every time.

Some residents of Behala, Tollygunge and Regent Park said, on condition of anonymity, that Sukhdev, accompanied by henchmen Khoka and Chandan, roam the areas freely, collecting protection money from promoters and residents.

“Three youth arrived two days ago and demanded Rs 10,000 from me for the Pujas. They identified themselves as Sukhdev’s men and threatened us with dire consequences if we did not pay the money or if we informed the police,’’ Suranjan Saha of Mahatma Gandhi Road said. Deputy commissioner of police, south, Ranjit Pachnanda, who has set up a special ‘anti-rowdy squad’ to deal with the spiralling violence, said he will soon convene a joint meeting of Calcutta and South 24-Parganas police officers to chalk out an action plan to tackle Sukhdev and Bapan.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
The colossal Olympic contingent from India, more than 120-strong, returned from Sydney with just a bronze to show for its efforts. But a squad of six, all from Calcutta, representing India in the World Cup of Martial Arts in Sydney, has done the country proud.

Our medals tally at the meet organised by the International Sports Karate Association: two golds and three silvers.

The winners: six-year-old Snehil Raghav, 10-year old Karuna Gautam and their instructor, Premjit Sen.

Snehil bagged a gold in Kata (demonstration) and a silver medal in Kumite (fighting) in the six-to-seven age group. Karuna won a gold in Kata in the under-10 category. And Premjit Sen cornered two silver medals in the seniors’.

Denied government support or corporate assistance, the self-funded team had boarded the flight from Calcutta on October 3. “Ladenge, aur zaroor jeetenge,” (We’ll fight, and surely win),” Snehil and partner Mayukh Dey had promised, just before leaving Salt Lake for Sydney. While six-year-old Mayukh, unfortunately, missed out on the medal rush, Snehil kept his word on October 7.

“I’m very happy with my son’s achievement. The fact that he’s the first Indian to win a gold in his age group makes it even more satisfying,” Snehil’s father, Sanjeev Raghav, said on Monday.

According to Raghav, the Class I student of St James School “was remarkably focused while preparing for the Sydney World Cup”. “Snehil would even practise in his dreams,” laughed the proud father.

The pride was all too evident in Ravi S. Gautam’s voice as well. When contacted at his B.T. Road residence, Karuna’s father said: “She has been competing at different levels since the age of five and has won several medals. But representing the country and winning a gold medal at the world level, so far away from home, is something really special.”

Karuna, a student of Class V at St Xavier’s Institution, Panihati, spoke to her father over the phone soon after her triumph. “Papa, main jeet gayee, were her first words,” revealed Gautam, who runs a transport business.

Both fathers are now counting the hours for the golden duo to return to home base. The team will touchdown late on Tuesday night.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
Three youth were arrested for disorderly conduct at Beleghata Chawlpatty on Monday morning. Police said Tarak Mukherjee, Tarun Dey and Samir Das were obstructing traffic by blocking the road with bricks.

They attacked two constables who had been sent to persuade them to remove the roadblock.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
Three youth were struck by lightning at Sankrail Station Road, in Howrah, 14 km from Calcutta.

Police sources said the trio, identified as Gopal Chakraborty (26), Prabhat Porel (29) and Prabir Das (30), were fishing in a local pond when the thunderbolt fell.

They were rushed to hospital, where they were declared “brought dead”.

Residents of the area said it had been raining heavily and the trio wanted to fish in the rain because “it seemed an adventurous idea”. Another youth, standing nearby, was struck dumb by the lightning.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
Two children were drowned on Monday at Gouripur, in the Kulpi police station area of South 24-Parganas. Police sources said Kushal Saha, 8, and his cousin, Bubun Adhikary, 6, were watching a Durga immersion at a local pond.    

Calcutta, Oct.9: 
Come Christmas, the lights will shine brighter and the roads will wear a cleaner look in a part of central Calcutta. Mayor Subrata Mukherjee has promised that the roads linking Victoria Memorial to Millennium Park on the banks of the Hooghly and the stretch from Writers’ Buildings to CESC’s Victoria House at Esplanade will be freed of hawkers and pavement-dwellers.

He announced this after a meeting with urban development minister Ashok Bhattacharya at Writers’ Buildings on Monday. “The entire area will be a permanent no-hawker zone,’’ he said.

The mayor also plans to supply 40 million gallons of drinking water to Lake Town and Salt Lake from Palta and another 18 million gallons to the city’s southern fringes from the Garden Reach reservoir. He also wants to take up the long-delayed Rs 6-crore desilting project for Tolly’s Nullah in December. The state government has also agreed to stand guarantor for the Rs 100-crore loan sought by the Corporation from Hudco.    

Oct. 9 : 
The United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) today released three Assam police constables a day after their dramatic abduction from Mayang in Morigaon district.

The three constables — Ganesh Bordoloi, Lukesh Deka and Bajaruddin Sarkar — were let off this morning at Dhing in Nagaon district, Morigaon superintendent of police Lungriading said. The three constables were “abducted” on Saturday after they arranged for a bus to ferry 12 persons dressed in olive green fatigues, who were militants in disguise. The rebels walked into Mayang police station at midnight and identified themselves as Army personnel. When they asked for a vehicle, the constables took them to the Mayang Puja mandap and arranged for a bus (ASN-2079). The rebels forced the constables into the bus and took them to an unknown destination. The bus was later found abandoned near Bebejia, a few km from Nagaon.

The abduction came to light when officer in-charge of Mayang police station contacted Army authorities to find out why they required a vehicle so late in the night. The incident is being perceived by security forces as a “show of strength” by the banned outfit in Nagaon district, where it has been hard hit by a spate of surrenders.

Police said the midnight “operation” was led by the outfit’s action group “commander” Bimal Boro alias Bijoy Chinese. Intelligence sources had reportedly warned that a rebel hit squad had sneaked into Morigaon. Police sources said vehicles are requisitioned by the Army only after receiving instructions from the deputy commissioner.

However, the incident proved that despite its success in counter-insurgency operations, the police was still playing second fiddle to the Army.

That policemen did not even ask the “Army jawans” to prove their identity. Last month, a top brass of the outfit’s Kolong-Kapili parishad Swapnil Dekaraja led over 200 of his comrades overground. Dekaraja was also accompanied by his wife Sanghamitra Dekaraja, also an Ulfa cadre.

New district: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Mukut Mithi today inaugurated the headquarters of Papumpare district at Yupia, reports PTI.    


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