Taxis vanish to protest cabby murder
Crime spurt in Salt Lake
Foursome on mission to kill doctor caught
How to manage colleges
Goons snatch Rs 2.55 lakh
Naga leader freed by Kuki militants
Four killed in Orissa bus mishap
NLFT rebel killed in joint raid
Malkangiri tense over refugee clash

Calcutta, April 21: 
Almost 15,000 taxis of the 30,000 in the city and the suburbs, went on a wildcat strike to protest the killing of Ramsundar Yadav, 32, a taxi-driver of Narkeldanga.

Yadav was abducted on his way home on April 18. His body was found in Dhanbad the next day, with multiple stab injuries and three gun-shot wounds in the head. His body was brought to his residence on Saturday.

As soon as Yadav’s body reached home, some taxi-drivers decided to withdraw their cabs to mourn his death. They placed Yadav’s body in a van and drove it around the city, announcing all the while that the Progressive Taxi-men’s Union has called a strike. Some of them went on a rampage, throwing stones at passing vehicles and blocking roads in areas such as Bhowanipore and Gariahat. Almost 14 vehicles were damaged in different parts of the city on Saturday. The taxi-drivers staged a demonstration at Ganjapark in Bhowanipore.

However, Madan Mitra, president of Progressive Taxi-men’s Union and general secretary of the Trinamul, was not in support of a strike. He claimed that about 1,500 taxi-drivers came to his office on Saturday morning, declared that they wanted to mourn Yadav’s death and coerced him into declaring a strike.

Mitra said he told the agitated taxi-drivers that a strike would not solve any problem. Instead, he asked them to put black flags on their cabs. The taxi-drivers, however, did not heed his suggestion.

Rumours of taxis being damaged began to spread fast and most cabbies refused to take passengers to south Calcutta. They were more interested in going to Salt Lake. A taxi-driver was beaten up by some angry passengers at Gariahat when he refused to take a patient to a nursing home in Bhowanipore.

“Three taxi-drivers have been abducted in the last six months. We have only been able to recover the body of Ramsundar Yadav,” said Banibrata Basu, deputy commissioner of police, detective department.

According to the detective department, criminals abducted most missing taxi-drivers. “Taxis have lately become a soft target for criminals because more of them are available now. Most criminals target the yellow taxis because they have the permission to go anywhere in the state,” the source said.

Most abducted taxi-drivers are later killed because they become a witness to the crime. About a week ago, another taxi-driver, Surinder Das, 25, was kidnapped and killed in a similar fashion.

“The vehicle used by a criminal is generally the first lead for us. A taxi is always a safe option. These criminals generally change the number plate or abandon the vehicle after a day or two. We are still clueless about how we should tackle these cases,” the source added.

“About 150 taxi drivers have been killed in the last three years. If the administration does not provide compensation or arrange for the security of taxi-drivers in the city within 72 hours, we will have to take some drastic steps,” Mitra added.


Calcutta, April 21: 
A fisherman was killed and two others injured by unidentified people early on Saturday at Chintasheel Bheri in Salt Lake.

The killing occurs at a time when the Salt Lake area is witnessing a spurt in robberies.

The incident took place when Sumol Pramanik, 40, was patrolling the bheri along with Ramapada Mondal and Sreepada Mondal. Police officers reached the spot nearly three hours after the incident and found Pramanik dead.

Superintendent of police, north, Kuldip Singh said a search was on for the criminals involved in the incident.

According to residents, over the last month, fish was being regularly stolen from the bheri. The local fishermen planned to form a resistance party and intensify night patrols in the area.

When they noticed the criminals near the pond, Pramanik and his men confronted them. The goons threatened Pramanik with dire consequences if he did not make himself scarce. As Pramanik refused to oblige, they attacked members of the resistance group. The criminals soon overpowered Pramanik and strangled him to death. Two of his men, Sreepada and Ramapada, were also injured in the scuffle.

There was tension in the area throughout the day and a police picket was posted.

Residents are scared at the rise in crime. “I prefer to lock the gate by 7 pm,” said Sulogna Roy, a resident of AD block. “I even tell both my daughters not to step out after dark,” she added.

Earlier this month, armed miscreants had broken into the first floor of a house in BD block, while the residents were asleep on the second floor. Soon after, a domestic help, Sunita Biswas, 55, robbed an elderly couple in CG block over Rs 70,000 after lacing their tea with sleeping pills.

Last week, thieves cut open the window grill of a house in AE block. The owner of the house was in Assam during the incident. The miscreants escaped after a neighbour raised an alarm. In March, armed individuals had tried to break into a house in EC block. An elderly lady, who was alone at home, alerted neighbours and her son over phone. There was also an attempted burglary in AD block, at the office of Diaden Technologies.

Police claim lack of manpower as a major handicap for the force in the area.

Dead phones: Telephone services in Lake Town, Bangur and Ultadanga collapsed on Saturday following repairs undertaken by the department.

K.R. Ramanujam, chief general manager of Calcutta Telephones, said the services were affected as cables were being replaced in the locality. Nearly, 7,000 telephone lines did not work during the day.

“The repairs started early on Saturday. Three teams of officers were engaged throughout the day. The services will return to normal on Sunday morning,” Ramanujam said.


Calcutta, April 21: 
Four dacoits were arrested and a huge cache of arms and ammunition seized in Diamond Harbour early on Saturday by South 24-Parganas district police.

Mushtaquin Sheikh, Saukat Sheikh, Azim Khan and Khursid Alam, who were nabbed in a school in Diamond Harbour, confessed that they had planned to raid two buses and murder a local doctor.

A state government bus on the Calcutta-Namkhana route and a private bus containing a marriage party scheduled to return to Diamond Harbour from Usthi late on Friday night, were their target.

“The goons decided to raid the house of a doctor in Moshat. He had led a group of local people who lynched three dacoits belonging to this gang a year ago. The goons wanted to avenge themselves by murdering him,” said police superintendent Debkumar Ganguly.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team, led by Mukul Roy, officer-in-charge of Diamond Harbour police station, reached the spot where the dacoits had assembled. But they had already taken refuge in a local high school.

Early on Saturday morning, the police cordoned off the school compound and arrested four of them, while six of them escaped. Police seized four fire arms, 14 rounds of cartridges and 45 bombs from them. They were brought before the sub-divisional magistrate’s court in Diamond Harbour and remanded in police custody for 14 days.

A month ago, an arms-dealer was arrested in the Canning area. During interrogation, he confessed that he had supplied more than a hundred firearms like single-shooters, pipeguns and six-chambered revolvers. “The criminals collect the arms from Bhagalpur district of Bihar. They even go there to learn the technique of making arms,” Ganguly said.

Theft bid foiled

The police foiled a theft bid on Saturday in Central Avenue and arrested one of the miscreants. Around 12.15 pm, three armed youths stopped Nakmal Nagamia and Pankaj Sarauni, employees of a transport company, who were carrying Rs 2.5 lakh each in two jute bags.

“The goons tried to snatch our bags while hundreds of passersby looked on,” said Nagamia and Sarauni. When they screamed for help, the trio started running. Bowbazar policemen, who were patrolling the area, chased and caught one of them, identified as Prakash Das.

Man shot: Three youth shot a 60-year-old man after he refused to pay up at a construction site on Karaya Road in south Calcutta on Saturday afternoon. They threw bombs while escaping. Abul Hassan, the injured man, is the brother of a local promoter. He was taken to National Medical College and Hospital with serious splinter injuries.


Calcutta, April 21: 
Colleges under Calcutta University are gearing up for the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) course, slated to be introduced in the next academic session. An interactive workshop-seminar was held at the St Xavier’s College auditorium on Saturday, where the needs of both students and industry were discussed prior to the formulation of the course syllabus.

Organised jointly by the West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association and St Xavier’s College, the meet drew participation from the industry as well as principals, teachers and students from over 75 colleges.

The objective of the day-long meet was to “tailor a course relevant to the needs of both industry and students”. Ashish Banerjee, vice-chancellor, CU, Amitava Bose, director, IIM Calcutta, Bhaskar Banerjee of Duncans, R.S. Jhawar and Roshan Joseph of Eveready Industries were some of those who came to share their views.

While industry representatives voiced a need for a practical course, Amitava Bose stressed that a BBA programme, which takes into account the “great changes that have taken place in the last two decades”, is the need of the hour. R.S. Jhawar, director Eveready Industries, further said that management skills are important not only for the industry, but also for social, health and developmental sectors.

Students felt that emphasis should be laid on IT and communication skills modules. “We need an alternative to the MBA programme,” explained Aritro Chakroborty of St Xavier’s College. “It is important that our juniors are given the chance to avail of facilities that we did not have.”


Calcutta, April 21: 
Goons abducted Pranab Pal, an employee of a cotton mill, from Jamunalal Bajaj Street in the Hare Street police station area on Saturday evening and made off with Rs 2.55 lakh. They released him only after beating him up with the butt of a chopper.

Pal was on his way to his office with the cash, when four men dragged him into a Maruti van. He told the police that they tried to stab him in his stomach.

He said he was thrown out of the car in the middle of the second Hooghly bridge. Police, however, interrogated Pal as they found a number of discrepancies in his statement.


Imphal, April 21: 
United Naga Council (UNC) president K.S. Paul Leo was released by Kuki rebels late last night. He was abducted on Tuesday. His abductors — the Kuki National Front (Military Council) — freed him “unharmed.” The exact deal for the release was not spelt out.

A negotiating team led by Manipur tribal welfare minister Haokholet Kipgen camped at Keithelmanbi village in Kangpokpi subdivision last night to ensure Leo’s release.

Negotiators, including Church leaders, went inside the dense forest to strike a deal with the rebels at their hideout. Talks with the Kuki militants started at 9 pm and Leo was freed at 1.30 am.

Following mounting public pressure, the KNF(MC) scaled down its demand and settled for a clarification from the NSCN(I-M) on the issue.

With Leo’s release, tension in all the five hill districts have subsided. Leo was brought to the city by the tribal welfare minister at 4 am. They called upon chief minister Radhabinod Koijam later in the day. A joint prayer meeting by both the Kuki and the Naga leaders was held at Kipgen’s official residence following which Leo left for Senapati.

The UNC president expressed gratitude to all the public organisations for praying for his “safe” release. He said the Kuki militants had treated him properly and claimed that the KNF(MC) wanted peace. According to Leo, the outfit was not in favour of disrupting the fragile Naga-Kuki truce. He said his “understanding of KNF(MC)” has increased after spending five days with them.

“Around midnight, a militant asked me whether I wanted to leave now or tomorrow. I said I wanted to leave right away. They showed me the way and I met the negotiating team,” he said. Leo would now work for improving the strained Naga-Kuki relationship.

Addressing mediapersons, Kipgen said he along with sericulture minister L. Jonathan and other public leaders of both the tribes camped the entire night at Keithelmanbi village to encourage the negotiators. He said Leo was released after four rounds of talks with the KNF(MC) since Wednesday. “We waited for five hours and then heard about Leo’s release. The Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO), All-Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) and Manipur Baptist Church played a major role in Leo’s release,” he said.

Jonathan, a Naga minister from Senapati district, said Leo’s release has eased tension. He added that the KSO and the ANSAM would now work for the improvement of ties between the Nagas and the Kukis.

Jonathan said the chief minister will convene a meeting of all the communities on May 1 regarding Leo’s “abduction.” He said the state government has done everything “within its power” to prevent communal flare-up.

When asked why the security forces did not launch any operation to rescue the UNC president, both Kipgen and Jonathan said it was not required as they wanted to resolve the issue mutually. The “exact” agreement between the negotiators and the KNF(MC) leaders for Leo’s release has been kept under wraps.

Sources believe that the NSCN (I-M) has given a clarification on its alleged support to the KRA. The KNF (MC) reportedly agreed to release Leo “in respect of public sentiments and the clarification given by the NSCN(I-M)”, sources added.

Leo today admitted that he had failed to fulfil a commitment to the KNF(MC) while ensuring the release of four Nagas hostages from their custody in the first week of April. Leo was also a signatory to the understanding signed with the KNF(MC).


Bhubaneswar, April 21: 
Four passengers of a bus were reportedly burnt alive and over 40 injured when their vehicle overturned, leading to a fire in its oil tanker. The incident took place at Badakudar of Deogarh district late on Thursday night.

Unofficial reports put the death toll at six. The casualties include at least two children.

The bus OR-04A 7755), carrying 65 passengers, was on its way to Rajkanika from Rourkela. Police said the driver lost control of the vehicle at about 12.30 am. As soon as the vehicle overturned, a part of it broke off and collided with the road, sparking a small fire. At this point, fuel started leaking from the oil tanker and soon it was on fire. Subsequently, the blaze engulfed the entire bus.

Most of the passengers extricated themselves from the bus before the fire tenders and police officials reached the spot. Another passenger bus that passed by within a few minutes of the incident, helped the trapped passengers. The police and the fire tenders reached the spot later and sent the injured to hospital.

The driver of the ill-fated bus is still absconding.

NGOs decry Bill

Leading NGOs of the state have criticised the recent Orissa Assembly resolution binding operational framework for them, terming the move as “political”.

“Certainly, it’s political. We don’t know why the political class is threatened. The new resolution is surely aimed at harassing NGOs in the state,” a non-governmental activist said.

The resolution proposes subjecting voluntary organisations to an audit process as prescribed by the government to check alleged misappropriation of funds. The resolution, passed unanimously by the Legislature in the just-concluded Budget session, also sought to regulate NGO activities to ensure that they worked in a complementary manner vis-à-vis the government.

The resolution comes in the wake of accusations that the NGOs ran a parallel administration. During the winter session of the Assembly last year, most MLAs wanted a Bill to curb the burgeoning NGOs.

State planning and co-ordination minister Ramakrushna Patnaik had assured the MLAs that a Bill to this effect would be placed before the House.

An NGO team represented by Achyut Das of Agragami, Padmashree Tulasi Munda of Adivasi Vikas Samiti, Aditya Patnaik of Antoday Chetana Mandal and Jagadanand of the CYSD today met chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

“The proposed move will have adverse long-term implications for the civil society in our state,” they stated. The NGO leaders said the Kalinga award founded by late chief minister Biju Patnaik was given by a non-governmental organisation.

Refuting allegations that the NGOs were not accountable, Das said they received funds from international donors which were monitored as per the Foreign Currency Regulation Act.

“All NGOs are bound by the laws of the land and if they do any wrong, they would be punished as per the law. So where is the need for another Bill?” he asked.


Agartala, April 21: 
Stepping up its offensive against the National Liberation Front of Tripura, a combined team of police and Tripura State Rifles jawans shot dead an NLFT militant and arrested another in the Raisyabari police station area yesterday.

Police sources said the team raided the Kina Kishore Roaja Para area after receiving reports of militants’ movement there. The NLFT rebels, holed up in a hideout, sighted the advancing police team and opened fire.

A 15-minute gun-battle ensued before the rebels fled. Later, the bullet-riddled body of listed rebel Nehar Debbarma was found lying in a pool of blood. A countrymade gun, ammunition and some incriminating papers were also recovered from the spot.

Sources said the police and TSR jawans, who chased the fleeing rebels, managed to catch one of them, Arun Jamatya, in an injured condition.

Describing the operation as a “major success”, sources said the arrest of Jamatya would lead to “crucial disclosures” about the outfit since he was a top-ranking cadre.

On the other hand, according to delayed information made available to the police, four non-tribal Bengalis were kidnapped from the trouble-torn Takarjala police station area two months ago. The family of at least one of the kidnapped persons even paid ransom to the “abductors”.

Police sources said Kalpana Chakraborty, wife of kidnapped Mridul Chakraborty, filed an FIR yesterday at the Takarjala police station stating that four persons, including her husband, were kidnapped at gun-point from Itbhatta in February.

Chakraborty received a ransom note from the NLFT. The outfit had also warned her not to inform the police. She duly paid Rs 8,000 to “representatives” of the militants. She, however, approached the police yesterday as her husband was not released.

Bihar arrests: Three antisocials were today arrested for possessing rifles at Nawada’s Sonsiari village, reports PTI. The arrests were made when police conducted raids as part of an exercise to ensure peaceful fourth phase panchayat poll in the district on April 23, official sources said.


Berhampur, April 21: 
Malkangiri district of south Orissa continued to be tense following clashes between Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and local people of the state.

Some of the Tamil refugees, who fled that country after ethnic violence a decade ago, were resettled in the district. The refugees are now engaged in horticulture and business for a living.

According to Malkangiri police sources, tension soared on April 20 following a bandh. Local residents alleged that a section of the refugees attacked them.

All political parties in the district supported the bandh against the Tamil refugees. Residents also alleged that the refugees were involved in illegal activities.

Sources said a local youth Durjyo Prasad Das was attacked by Tamils after an altercation.

Thereafter, members of local organisations lodged a police complaint. They have demanded that the administration restrict the movement of the Tamils after dusk to prevent illegal activities.

A meeting was held on April 18 with the district police in this regard. A team of political leaders were allegedly assaulted by the refugees after the meeting. Those injured included BJP leader Babula Sahu and Congress leader China Rao. A bandh was then called to protest against the attack, sources said.

Most business establishments remained closed and vehicles kept off the road during the bandh.

The police are investigating the matter and have assured the people that the culprits would be brought to book.

A team comprising representatives of various political parties and youth associations also called on the Malkangiri district collector and apprised him on the prevailing situation.

The police foiled an attempt to attack one of the refugee camps by people of the area. As a precautionary measure, security and patrolling have been increased near the refugee camps in the district.


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