Mob torches killer buses after death of youth
ER buses to plug rail gap
Contractor shot for refusal to pay
Four wanted for murder arrested
Kidnapped boy rescued
Vat baby out of incubator
Smuggler falls in net, tusks seized
Jorhat police bust Ulfa highway transit camp
JMM mounts cassette blitz on rally-eve
Naga minister admits jail security lapse

Calcutta, Oct.21: 
A 24-year-old youth was run over and his father injured on Saturday morning when a private bus hit them from behind immediately after they got off another bus at Maniktala.

The victim, identified as Rajani, alias Rajkumar Das, died on the spot, while his father, Shankar, was seriously injured.

The accident took place around 10.35 am when Rajkumar and his father got off from a bus on route number 234B/1 on APC Road near Bangiya Sahitya Parishad in north Calcutta. Another private bus on route number 234, which was trying to overtake the bus, hit them from behind.

Minutes after the accident, agitated local residents rushed to the spot. They took out petrol from the fuel tank of the buses and poured it on the vehicles and then set them on fire. In the confusion, the drivers and conductors of the buses fled. The injured man, who was lying in a pool of blood, was taken to RG Kar Hospital, where his condition is stated to be serious.

Although it was a Saturday and there were not too many vehicles on the road, traffic was thrown out of gear for over two hours in the area. The police barricaded the accident zone and vehicles were diverted through other routes.

Eyewitness said both the buses were reduced to ashes before firemen could reach the spot. Though officers from the nearby Burtolla police station arrived within 10 minutes, they were unable to control the mob.

Two fire tenders from the Canal West Road fire station tried to douse the flames, but were prevented by the mob from doing their job. Another fire tender from the Central Avenue fire station, too, failed to reach the spot.

The police said the mob did not allow the firemen to approach the spot, and, consequently, the buses were gutted even before the firemen could reach them.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Shankar Das is still unaware about the death of his son. He inquired after him when his relatives met him. But Rajkumar’s mother Usharani has been informed.

A relative said Sankar and Rajkumar, who was jobless in spite of being trained at the Industrial Training Institute, used to run a small factory near Rangana theatre in north Calcutta.

They manufactured sofa sets and seats for buses and other vehicles. The accident took place when they were coming from their Kali Park residence to open the factory.

Crackers seized

In a pre-Kali puja drive on Saturday, the police seized 2250 kg of banned crackers in the city and its suburbs. About 2,000 kg of crackers were seized from Barasat during a raid at Narainpur in the Nilgunge area under Barasat police station. Three persons were arrested, the police said.

The crackers were being smuggled into the city for sale.

In another raid, 250 kg of crackers were seized by the city police. DC, DD, Narayan Ghosh said 50 kg of crackers were seized from Maheshtala in Budge Budge. Another 200 kg were seized from BB Ganguly Street in the Bowbazar police station area. Three persons were arrested in this connection.

After Saturday’s operation, altogether 35,000 kg of banned crackers have been seized in the city so far, Ghosh said.    

Calcutta, Oct.21: 
Eastern Railway is planning to introduce bus services to the flood-affected districts of West Bengal. The bus service will be linked with the existing railway network, making it an integrated rail-cum-bus service, an ER spokesperson said.

Buses will ply between Karna Subarna and Salar on the Bandel-Katwa-Azimganj section and between Beldanga and Rezinagar on the Krishnanagar-Lalgola section.

The routes will be 40 km and 10 km in the Bandel-Katwa-Azimgunj and Krishnanagar-Lalgola sections respectively. However, ER authorities have not initiated any dialogue with the private bus operators’ union in this matter.

IIMS Rana, general manager, Eastern Railway, said: “We are targeting total restoration of rail links in the flood-hit districts by January 2001. Since the rail bridges and culverts are seriously damaged, as in the Debagram-Lalgola section, they can’t be repaired immediately. So, we have decided to introduce another mode of transport”.

Meanwhile, a special Bhagirathi Express is being run from Sealdah to Khagrahat via Naihati-Bandel-Rampurhat-Nalhati-Azimgunj as an alternative rail link. The government has been requested to run bus services from Khagrahat.

Restoration work at Paglachandi bridge on the Krishnanagar-Lalgola section is in full swing.

Professional divers from the Indian Navy have been requisitioned for underwater work at Paglachandi bridge. Territorial Army personnel and engineers are at work in Beldanga and other areas on the Lalgola section.

Ministers to tour Bongaon

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta and deputy chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya will visit Bongaon to inspect relief work.

The state government has released Rs 465 crore for relief and rehabilitation in nine flood-affected districts so far.

The flood situation in the state has improved except at Gaighata in North 24 Parganas. The toll remained 1267 with another 164 persons reported missing so far.

Fisheries minister Kironmoy Nanda on Saturday said: “We must learn a lesson from this year’s flood and vowed to remove all encroachments from our water areas.’’

“There is no point in spending crores in relief every year neglecting water bodies which are there to absorb excess rain water. They are our safety valves against floods’’, Nanda said.

According to the minister, the state fisheries sector has incurred a loss of about Rs 415 crore alone in nine flood affected districts. At least 69,000 hectares of fish producing water bodies are destroyed leaving 6.5 lakh fishermen homeless and jobless.    

Calcutta, Oct.21: 
An extortionist, Durga, raided the apartment of a railway contractor, Ramesh Prasad, at Phoolbagan around 2.45 pm on Saturday, and shot at him while fleeing from local residents who chased him. Durga managed to escape but Prasad was injured in his right leg. He has been hospitalised.

As soon as the news of attack spread in the locality, people blocked the intersection of Narkeldanga Main Road and CIT Road for over two hours from 3 pm. They demanded that Durga be arrested immediately. The blockade was lifted after police officers intervened.

Police said Durga went to Ramesh Prasad’s flat in Shibkrishna Daw Lane and demanded money from him. When Prasad declined to oblige Durga, a scuffle ensued.

Prasad raised a hue and cry, at which local residents came to his rescue and surrounded Durga.

As he was being chased, Durga shot at Prasad who was leading the crowd on the chase. Prasad slumped on the road as a stray bullet pierced his right leg. He was admitted to a nearby nursing home.

Preliminary police investigation revealed that Durga, a historysheeter, has been extorting money for the past two years. Local residents alleged that the police were aware of the activities of Durga and his henchmen. But no action has been taken against them.

In another drive conducted by officers of the Garden Reach police station, a 28-year-old extortionist, Chitta Raju, was arrested on Saturday. The police seized a six-chambered revolver and a round of cartridge from him. Police said Raju was involved in a murder.

Diarrhoea death: A 40-year-old unidentified woman died at National Medical College and Hospital on Saturday. Police said the woman, suffering from diarrhoea, was abandoned at the hospital late on Friday night.

However, the deceased’s relatives are yet to be traced.    

Calcutta, Oct.21: 
Four henchmen of criminal Dom Pradip were arrested in a night-long raid on Friday undertaken by the detective department along with officers of Tollygunge and Charu Market police stations.

A team of about 50 policemen raided a number of houses in Bawali Mondal Lane in the Tollygunge police station area and nabbed them in their hideout. The criminals, all aged below 30, were identified as Biplab Ghosh, alias Billa, Joydeb Malakar, alias Mandela, Raju Halder, alias Kata Raju, and Bapi Halder. Two one-shotter revolvers, four rounds of ammunition and a dagger were found in their possession.

The criminals were wanted for a number of murders and cases of extortion in Behala.    

Calcutta, Oct.21: 
The Howrah Government Railway Police (GRP) on Saturday night rescued Jitendraraj Purohit, 9, a resident of Golabari in Howrah from a local train on Friday night near Dankuni railway station. Jitendraraj is a student of Class IV of St. John’s High School in Howrah.

According to police sources, two plainclothesmen spotted Jitendraraj crying in the train compartment. He was in his school uniform. No one has been arrested in this incident.    

Calcutta, Oct.21: 
The tags on all the 20-odd infants in the baby care unit at the Marwari Relief Society Hospital carry their mother’s name. Save one. The four-day-old girl on bed number SBC 325 is just called “Newborn Baby.”

The baby, found in a garbage vat on Sitanath Road in north Calcutta early on Wednesday, was abandoned by its mother. Locals handed it over to the Jorasanko police station, whose personnel got it admitted to hospital.

On Saturday, she lay in her cot, kicking her limbs in spite of being weak from a bout of malaria and septicaemia. The baby’s condition improved and she was taken out of the incubator.

“Pathological tests on Thursday revealed that she had malarial parasites as well as toxicity in her blood,” said Subrata Dutta, paediatrician and resident physician at the hospital.

“She has since responded to the chloroquine and antibiotics administered to her intravenously. The fever has gone and her recovery is satisfactory,” the doctor said, adding that the girl was being bottle-fed formula. “The problem of digestion has eased a bit and she is accepting the feeds.”

Several childless couples visited her on Saturday, too. They have been doing so ever since she was found. Hospital authorities said the couples wanted to adopt her.

“They even offered to pay all the treatment costs but we have refused. We cannot accept such offers as our responsibility is to rehabilitate the baby and return it to the police in a healthy condition. Since our hospital is a welfare institute, we will bear the costs till its discharge,” an official said.

Heroin haul: About 14 gm of heroin, worth Rs 1.4 lakh, as seized by the police on Saturday from Cossipore Road and Nandaram Sen Lane. Two men were arrested.    

Siliguri, Oct. 21: 
The kingpin of a timber and wildlife smuggling racket was arrested and three tusks were seized at Gairkata near Birpara on Friday.

A task force, comprising Jalpaiguri wildlife department and police personnel on Friday, had Ashim Kumar Pal, a Jalpaiguri-based timber merchant, under surveillance for the past three months. “We had information that Pal was on the verge of clinching a major deal of wildlife contraband. On several earlier occasions, he had given us the slip,” an official said.

On receiving a tip-off that Pal would meet a buyer at Gairkata on Banarhat-Birpara Road, the task force laid a trap and arrested him along with three elephant tusks.

Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife-II) Jalpaiguri division, Raju Das said: “The seized tusks include a full-grown one while two other are ‘tips’ of tusks of a mature animal.

The elephants could be from either Assam or Bhutan or the Buxa Tiger Reserve.”

Pal has been booked under the Wildlife Prevention Act 1972 for a non-bailable offence. He was produced in court of the chief judicial magistrate, Jalpaiguri today. He has been remanded to police custody till October 25.


Jorhat, Oct. 21: 
An Ulfa transit point along National Highway 37 in the heart of the town was busted by the police today.

Three persons were arrested in this connection and the house used by the extremists was seized. Huge quantity of incriminating documents, including letters from the outfit’s general headquarters, have been recovered from the house. The police learnt about the activities inside the house when neighbours complained about an incident of “theft” on Thursday when they discovered an LPG cylinder lying outside the house.

Jorhat superintendent of police Kanak Chandra Deka said the house was purchased in the name of Ranjan Hazarika by two Ulfa militants — Pankaj Konwar and Dulu Dutta alias Diganta Saikia — four months ago for Rs 4.50 lakh.

While Pankaj died in an encounter with the security forces in Dibrugarh in August, Dulu was shot dead by the police in Guwahati a couple of days ago.

The house was used by Gojen Das and Jayanta Bora for trading in scrap materials. However, it was mainly used by the Ulfa as a transit point. Gojen, a salesman in a shop, Jayanta and Ranjan Hazarika were picked up by the police. Ranjan is a labourer at Naharkatia in Dibrugarh district.

The superintendent of police said the documents revealed that several top Ulfa activists, including members of the outfit’s Volcano unit, have used the house as a transit point.

Prabin Kalita, a member of the “action group” who was killed in an encounter with the police here in August, had stayed in the house, the police officer added. He said the rebels had stayed at Gojen’s house also and used his telephone. In a letter to “Eagle”, a “Tango” — commandant of the outfit’s “20th battalion” — rued the death of Munna Mishra.    

Ranchi, Oct. 21: 
Thousands of audio cassettes containing hymns praising JMM chief Shibu Soren were played today in the Jharkhand region as the party launched a campaign to garner people for tomorrow’s Vijay rally here.

The rally is being organised to mobilise public support for Shibu Soren’s claim to the post of the Jharkhand chief minister.

Counsel for Soren, R.K.Anand today said he would challenge the CBI special court judgment to lodge FIRs against JMM leaders in the disproportionate assets case at the apex court next week.

Anand, who arrived here today to take part in tomorrow’s rally, said the investigating agencies sought recourse to the court to put the leaders behind bars because they failed to come up with concrete evidence to nail them.

Referring to the JMM payoff case in which both P.V.Narasimha Rao and Buta Singh were convicted, Anand said the CBI special court judgment smacked of a “political conspiracy” since the Supreme Court had long upheld the immunity of the members of Parliament.

Anand expressed fears that the investigating agencies were likely to fall back on the court to arrest Shibu Soren and other JMM leaders once the FIRs were lodged. He said the case was very weak since the CBI had failed to locate the source of funds with which the then Prime Minister P.V.Narasimha Rao had allegedly tried to bribe the JMM leaders. He hoped that he would be able to secure necessary relief including a stay on the CBI court order once the challenge petition was ready.    

Kohima, Oct. 21: 
Nagaland jail minister Sedam Khaming today admitted that neglect of duty by Mokokchung district jail authorities had led to Wednesday’s jailbreak. He asked the inspector-general (prison) to initiate appropriate action against the erring officials and staff.

Altogether 15 undertrials, including 11 militants, had escaped from the jail on Wednesday morning by removing bricks from the 10-inch-thick adjoining toilet wall despite the presence of 30 Nagaland Armed Police personnel on the outer periphery of the prison. The bricks had been removed with the help of a “sharp object”.

All the escapees were shifted from Tuensang district jail in August following the collapse of the prison’s boundary wall due to incessant rain. All of them were put in a single barrack without assigning proper security cover.

“Keeping the prisoners of Tuensang jail in a separate barrack without assigning guards for proper watch and ward duties led to the jailbreak,” the minister said. The minister, along with senior prison officials from Kohima, rushed to Mokokchung after the jailbreak and reviewed security measures inside the prison. He also expressed serious concern over the frequent jailbreaks.    


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