Mob butchers three over adulterous affair
Boy, woman killed in road accidents
Shot civic body chief dies in clinic
UK govt staff in fraud case
Cops plan cybercrime cell to net hackers
BJP keeps Koijam on tenterhooks
NLFT keen on peace talks with Centre
N-E urged to tap power potential
AGP open to support from all sans Cong
Disabled defies handicap to walk

Calcutta, May 12: 
Love fuelled mayhem and murder in Mandirtala in South 24-Parganas on Saturday.

The story began a few months ago when 35-year-old Bhadra Haldar had an affair with a neighbour’s wife. It ended early on Saturday, when a group of angry villagers decided to storm Haldar’s house and hack and shoot him to death.

Two others, Manoranjan Adhikary and Noor Rais Sardar, who had rushed to rescue Adhikari, suffered the same fate. They, too, were done to death with choppers and pistols.

According to the police, on Friday night a few villagers saw Haldar and the woman in a “compromising position” at the latter’s home while her husband, Mehboob Sheikh, lay in a drunken stupor some distance away.

This infuriated the villagers who felt that Haldar was taking “undue advantage” of the situation. “He is a drunk and not in his senses from early morning but this is no reason for someone to have an affair with his wife,” a villager told the police on Saturday.

On spotting the two together on Friday, the villagers raised a hue and cry. Haldar panicked and in the commotion managed to sneak out.

But early on Saturday, sometime past midnight, the angry villagers struck.

They kicked open the door of Haldar’s house and dragged him out. Then they relentlessly went about hitting him with a chopper, first on his arms and legs and then on his head. Finally, just to make sure that he was dead, they shot him in his chest several times.

On hearing the commotion, Haldar’s neighbours, Adhikari and Sardar, rushed out of their houses to Haldar’s rescue. But the villagers, sensing that they would identify the rest of them, decided not to take any chances. They killed the two on the spot.

Then, fearing that other neighbours would pursue them, they started throwing bombs at random to scare them away. The villagers got the message and stayed away.

On Saturday morning, when the police reached the spot, the killers had fled. Nonetheless, after extensive raids, they have arrested six persons who they feel would be able to identify the killers.

“It was a love story that took a gruesome turn”, said the additional superintendent of police (rural), Rajesh Kumar Singh. “The villagers here are not like city people and do not look the other way when people commit adultery under their very nose. So they carried out their own brand of rough justice. But we are on the lookout for the killers and they will be arrested very soon”.

Police said the affair took such a violent turn because the village is home to a number of criminals of the area.


Calcutta, May 12: 
A woman and a four-year-old boy, were killed and at least five others seriously injured in a string of road mishaps on Saturday. The mob smashed and set the killer vehicles ablaze.

Four-year-old Mohammad Shahbaj, of Gas Street, was knocked down by a Matador van around 9.30 am at the Gas Street-Raja Dinendra Chandra Street crossing. Shahbaj was taken to NRS Medical College and Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Hundreds of people gathered at the spot and gheraoed the traffic sergeant. They beat up the van driver and blocked the road for about half an hour. The vehicle was impounded and the driver arrested.

Kiran Soni, a 30-year-old homemaker, was run over by a government bus at the crossing of Madan Chatterjee Street and Central Avenue in the afternoon. The bus lost control and hit her while she was crossing the street. Soni was pronounced dead at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. Local people damaged the bus. The driver is absconding.

A bus was set ablaze in front of Jyoti Cinema on Lenin Sarani after it hit a rickshaw in the evening. Three fire tenders brought the blaze under control, said officials of Taltala police station. The vehicle was impounded.

About 100 Trinamul Congress supporters, led by Montu Sanyal and Paresh Pal, held a sit-in on Bagmari Road, in the Maniktala police station area, in the afternoon to protest police inaction in quelling poll violence. The road block was lifted after two hours.

later after police officers promised to look into the matter.


Calcutta, May 12: 
Budge Budge municipality chairman Sailendranath Ghosh, 53, who was shot by miscreants in April, died at a city nursing home on Saturday morning. Multiple organ failure was the cause of his death, said a doctor of the nursing home.

Ghosh, a CPM leader, and his associate Uttam Das were attacked on April 4 at New Alipore on their way to Alipore court. Two bullets caught Ghosh in the forehead and neck after the assailants fired at him from point-blank range. They threw bombs and fled from the spot.

A police probe has identified two persons, Nripen Giri and Haran Giri, as the attackers.

Detective department chief Banibrata Basu said Nripen and Haran were expelled from the the local CPM unit on charges of anti-social activities in Budge Budge and its adjoining areas. “Ghosh had played a key role in their expulsion. This might have led to the attack. Both Nripen and Haran are at large,” Basu said.

Teenager attacked

Three teenagers slashed the wrist of Ajoy Singh, 19, on Gobinda Khatik Road on Friday afternoon. The trio, Bachha, Anup and Borka, surrounded Ajoy in front of Purbanchal School. As they attacked him with a razor, Ajoy started screaming. At this, his attackers fled. Ajoy is now recuperating in a local nursing home. Police said the three are anti-socials of the Tangra-Tiljala area. The motive behind the attack is not known.


Calcutta, May 12: 
A two-member team, comprising city detective chief Banibrata Basu and sub-inspector Soumya Banerjee, will leave for London on Thursday to probe a Rs 41-lakh fraud case in which some British High Commission staff are involved.

Two employees of the British visa office, Ahana Ghosh and Monica Roy, were arrested in May last year after preliminary investigations. According to their statement, at least four other employees were involved. “The officials, who were posted here when the money was siphoned off, are now in London,” Basu said.


Calcutta, May 12: 
Has someone hacked your company website or clogged your personal mail-box with obscene e-mail? Help will soon be closer at hand to stop this cyber menace. The city police plans to launch a department to curb crime on the Net in the near future.

“Of late, the number of complaints about crimes on the Net has increased. So we have decided to equip ourselves to deal with it,” said deputy commissioner, detective department, Banibrata Basu, adding that the cyber cell will be a part of the detective department.

Police commissioner Dinesh Vajpai has instructed Basu to prepare the guidelines and the modus operandi for cyber sleuths. A grant of Rs 50 lakh has been set aside for the IT crime department.

“We have decided to hire IT professionals to conduct a six-month training course for officers who will be selected for the department,” Basu said.

The police have already written to Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) and have reportedly been promised co-operation.

However, there is hardly any room for the new department as Lalbazar faces a severe space crunch. “When we do not have adequate space for the existing departments, allocating space for such a sophisticated unit is not going to be easy,” a detective department officer said.

Doubts prevail about the efficacy of the new unit among the police ranks. The absence of sufficient legislation will come in the way of prosecuting the accused even if s/he gets caught, some officers said, adding that nabbing a criminal red-handed is a distant possibility.

Basu, however, is optimistic. “The IT laws passed in the Parliament recently have enough teeth. There are even provisions for life imprisonment,” Basu said.

The police have devised several ways to tackle cyber crime. “All Internet connections are provided by VSNL. So a phone number through which a particular mail was sent can be traced,” police said. Officers admitted that prosecuting operators of sites abroad is virtually impossible.

For starters, the sleuths have decided to concentrate on the most common complaints: Obscene e-mail from unknown senders, hacking of home pages and cyber cafés that are allowing kids access to pornographic sites. Keeping an eye on cyber cafés in the city is also on the cards.

“We are planning to buy some software to make our jobs easier,” Basu added.


Imphal, May 12: 
A sharply-divided Manipur BJP continued to keep chief minister Radhabinod Koijam on tenterhooks, with a section of the party preparing to pull down the Samata Party-led People’s Front government. The BJP is a part of the PF government.

Central Samata Party and BJP leaders, which met in New Delhi to diffuse the umpteenth political crisis to have hit the state in recent times, however failed to arrive at a consensus.

The crisis erupted after 31 dissident BJP MLAs led by party legislature wing leader R.K. Dorendra Singh revolted against Koijam’s leadership in a move to dislodge him and install a BJP-led government.

The core committee of the ruling People’s Front today decided not to admit the newly-formed Progressive Manipur State Congress Party in the front.

Today’s meeting appealed to Central leaders of both the BJP and the samata Party not to allow the 18 MLAs to join any of the partners of the People’s Front.

The meeting also authorised the chief minister to drop some ministers who have an alleged nexus with militants from the People’s Front ministry.

he People’s Front has strongly condemned the role of the Speaker for organising a political camp and misusing his official residence. The resolution of the meeting was issued to the Press by the People’s Front convenor and law minister O. Joy Singh.

Though the current strength of the BJP is only eight, Dorendra Singh hopes to increase it to 26 by roping in 18 MLAs of the Progressive Manipur State Congress party. The PMSCP, a breakaway faction of the Manipur State Congress Party, has indicated a pro-BJP tilt.

The dissidents, now 33, including five ministers, are staying in Speaker Sapam Dhananjoy’s official residence since Sunday.

Central leaders of the BJP today met to discuss the proposal to merge 18 MLAs of the PMSCP. If this happens, it would be a clincher of sorts, paving the way for ousting Koijam. However, the proposal to merge the 18-member PMSCP with the BJP has been opposed by several state BJP leaders. Nearly 15 state BJP leaders (who lost the last Assembly election) have sent a memorandum to BJP national president K. Jana Krishnamurthi, urging him not to allow the merger.

The state BJP unit yesterday held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. Sources said state BJP vice-president Tiken Singh had warned the leaders for sending the memorandum without informing the state BJP authorities.

The Manipur BJP has witnessed a sharp division of opinions following the revolt against the chief minister. Disciplinary action may be initiated against these 15 leaders, sources said.

State BJP chief Meinam Bhorot Singh (who lost to Koijam in the Thangmeiband seat in the last election) favoured a merger with the PMSCP, sources said.

However, a senior BJP leader, Col. (retd.) Haobam Bhubon Singh, also the higher education minister, is opposed to the idea. Bhubon Singh’s supporters argued that it would be unfortunate to pull down the People’s Front government at such an early stage. The toppling of the Samata Party-led government by the BJP would send a wrong signal to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), sources added.

Dorendra Singh yesterday met Governor Ved Marwah. Sources said he had already submitted a list of MLAs of the ruling People’s Front government who are supporting him. But he has not yet staked a claim to form a government.

Naga tourism: British High Commissioner to India Rob Young said Nagaland has potentials for tourism, but lacks adequate infrastructure. Addressing a media conference in Kohima yesterday, Young along with his deputy John Mitchner, said they had come to the Northeast for the first time to see if the British government could help develop the region.


Agartala, May 12: 
The official faction of the National Liberation Front of Tripura has expressed its willingness to lay down arms after modalities for peace talks are finalised and the outfit’s grievances are settled.

Senior Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) leader Bijay Kumar Hrangkhawal, Autonomous District Council’s former chief executive member Debabrata Koloi and Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga have held discussions with Prime Minister A.B.Vajpayee over the issue.

Though discussions have been held over the past one year, nothing has been disclosed about the Prime Minister’s reaction to the proposal for surrender and initiation of peace talks, sources said.

However, Koloi denied his involvement in chalking out a peace deal between the Centre and the NLFT. “I am totally unaware of all the developments. If the militants want to come overground and resume normal life, they are most welcome,” he said.

The recent issue of Choba, the All-Tripura Tiger Force mouthpiece, disclosed that the outfit is acting as representatives of NLFT leaders Biswa Mohan Debbarma and Mantu Koloi to hammer out a peace process in the state.

It said the IPFT leaders and the Mizo chief minister tried to persuade the Prime Minister and the Union home minister to initiate peace talks with the NLFT as the outfit is prepared to surrender as soon as the grievances of the tribals were addressed.

Dissident NLFT commander Nayanbasi Jamatya, who left the outfit because of disputes with the top brass over religious and ethnic issues, will support the peace talks, it said.

Jamatya fled the outfit’s headquarters in Thangnan in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh in March. Since then, there have been a series of clashes between the followers of Nayanbasi and the official NLFT group. Jamatya has recently circulated pamphlets, charging the NLFT leaders of betraying the tribal cause and alleging moves to clandestinely striking a deal with the Centre.

Sources said the NLFT has also circulated pamphlets denying Jamatya’s allegations. However, the outfit is silent on the alleged attempts to contact the Prime Minister. The NLFT, under strain because of internal bickering and factional clashes, have been seeking an honourable retreat from the “freedom struggle”.


Shillong, May 12: 
Union minister of state for power Jayawanti Mehta has asked the northeastern states to not depend only on the Centre for funding power projects, but to generate resources to improve the power sector.

Mehta, who was on a two-day visit to the city, said this on the second day of an all-India technical seminar on “Power for Sustainable Growth” organised by the Institute of Engineers, today.

She said the 34,000-MW power potential in the region should be tapped with technological back-up. She, however, cautioned that the law and order situation in the region was not very congenial for setting up ambitious projects.

Mehta, in her hourlong speech, dwelt at length on the problems faced by the power sector. She admitted that 85,000 villages are yet to be electrified in the region, but assured that with a revolution in the power sector that is taking place, “sustainable growth” would be achieved. She agreed with other speakers that a common agenda involving technocrats, bureaucrats, politicians and the people was the need of the hour.

“We have to think about new policies to bring about one lakh MW of power generation in the country,” she asserted.


Guwahati, May 12: 
The ruling Asom Gana Parishad today said it is ready to take in any political party’s support, barring the Congress, to form the next government.

Disclosing this to mediapersons in an informal chat here today, chief minister and AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, however, said the four-party alliance of the AGP, BJP, Absu and ASDC will get a clear mandate to form the next government.

The AGP put off a hurriedly-convened media conference this afternoon essentially called to counter the “propaganda” launched on the basis of the exit poll showing the Congress regaining power in the state.

Party general-secretary Birendra Prasad Baishya made the mediapersons wait for nearly an hour before announcing that the conference was called off as it would be a violation of the code of conduct in view of repolling in 131 polling stations tomorrow.

Baishya later said the AGP was confident of retaining power. The exit poll, which gave only 33 seats to the AGP-BJP combine against 60 seats to the Congress, was “misleading” and based on “incorrect data”, he added.

However, the All-Bodo Students’ Union (Absu) had said it might extend support to a Congress-led government in the state if the latter shows it is keen on finding an honourable solution to the Bodoland problem.

The Bodo student body president Rabi Ram Narzary, however, expressed confidence that the AGP-led four-party alliance would get a favourable mandate from the people. “If the Congress forms the next government, we might consider extending support to it provided the party is committed to hammer out a permanent and honourable solution to the Bodoland problem,” Narzary told The Telegraph over phone from Kokrajhar.

He said the Absu-BPAC combine joined hands with the AGP-BJP combine to defeat the Congress as the latter “betrayed” the Bodo people. “However, we have come across a positive statement issued by PCC president Tarun Gogoi,” he added.

Narzary said the Absu-BPAC combine want a permanent solution to the vexed problem. If the Congress admits its past mistakes and comes forward with an open mind, the struggling Bodo organisations would not mind extending support to it, he added.


Guwahati, May 12: 
Disability can hardly be stifling, far less the end of the road, for a person like Bishnu Saikia.

Saikia, a resident of Haibargaon in central Assam’s Nagaon town, lost both his legs in an accident a few years ago. Immediately after the mishap and when his legs were amputated, Saikia was horrified to find his life punctuated by so many “stops and falls.”

But he was not the one to take things lying down. Rather, he used his ingenuity to use one of the most common objects in an Assamese household to overcome his disability, the moodha (bamboo stool).

Saikia initially did not have access to any crisis-management facility. Neither did he get any specialists to help him overcome this kind of disability.

“He broke down after he lost his legs. He even lost his job as he could no longer move around,” superintendent of the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped K.K. Bhatt said.

Saikia used to see everybody using the traditional moodha for comfort and rest.

Made of bamboo strips, it is cheap and light to carry around. With the help of three such moodhas, Saikia found that he could walk again.

This was a strange arrangement: One of the bamboo stools was fitted to his waist, two others were tied to his hands for support. “And Saikia began to walk again,” Bhatt said.

The innovation helped him to walk, but was not durable. It was also uncomfortable to walk in this way for too long.

It was at this stage that the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped chipped in and donated a tricycle.

“It brought the second leap in the life of Saikia and he finally won over disability,” Bhatt added. The moodhas still enjoy a pride of place in Saikia’s tricycle. He placed the three moodhas between the two wheels for more support.

There are not many institutions in the Northeast which provide treatment to the disabled. The Disability Act also remains to be implemented in its entirety in the region.

However, it was with the aim to help the disabled that the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment recently established the composite regional centre.

Located in the Guwahati medical college campus, the centre now provides comprehensive rehabilitation facilities.

The centre recently held a training-cum-orientation programme attended by a large number of patients, including children. An on-the-spot case study of patients was also conducted.


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