Runover death triggers roadrage
Anil delivers morality sermon
Bandh battlelines drawn
Shops gutted in Burrabazar
Bridge blast plan out of bag
Research cells to pick IIT brains
Cops’ canal PR with villagers

 
 
RUNOVER DEATH TRIGGERS ROADRAGE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 5 : 
Violence erupted near National Medical College and Hospital in Park Circus on Saturday morning after a minibus knocked down an 18-year-old youth.

Police lathicharged and teargassed the mob that had gathered on CIT Road to protest the accident. Sixteen people were arrested in this connection, while nearly 30 people, including at least 20 policemen, sustained serious injuries, said joint police commissioner (armed police) Raj Kanojia.

Trouble started around 11 am when a Howrah-bound minibus ran over Aftab Alam while trying to overtake a private bus on the same route.

Alam was on his way to the nearby Ladies Park, where his friends were playing. Immediately after the accident, local residents stopped the two buses and set them on fire. They also started pelting stones at passing vehicles.

Shards of glass panes lay scattered all over the road and traffic in the area remained disrupted for several hours.

When the police arrived, the mob attacked them with sticks and stones. Two fire engines were also attacked. Some passing vehicles were damaged in course of the clash. Once reinforcements arrived, the police lathicharged and burst teargas.

Tension escalated as the mob followed the injured policemen to the hospital, ransacking the wards, including the emergency unit.

Later, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed at the site to control the situation.

Police pickets were also posted at different places till late on Saturday.

The injured police personnel included deputy commissioner, ESD, Sanjay Mukherjee, assistant commissioner (traffic), D.K. Ganguly, officer-in-charge (OC), east, traffic guard, Falguni Mishra and the OC of Beniapukur police station.

While all the others were released after being administered first-aid, Mishra is still recuperating.

Alam, who was the sole earning member of his family, worked as a helper in a local tannery. “He had 12 members to feed,” a neighbour said.

Later, when minorities development and welfare minister Mohammad Salim visited Alam’s house, his younger brother, Mohammed Arshad, complained that the police had come to their residence and beaten all of them up, sources said.

The minister has reportedly instructed Kanojia to round up the guilty as soon as possible.

   

 
 
ANIL DELIVERS MORALITY SERMON 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 5 : 
CPM state secretary Anil Biswas on Saturday charged a section of party functionaries of acting in vested interest.

“Perhaps, only one comrade among thousands can be said to be not guilty of self-aggrandisement and nepotism. The rest are least bothered about party ideals. This poses a great threat to our party,” Biswas said at a function organised by the party’s Calcutta District Committee (CDC) to mark the birth centenary of Probhat Chakra-borty, late freedom-fighter and CPM leader.

Biswas made it clear that the party would take “drastic steps” against such members. “We have expelled 27,000 party leaders since 1977 by introducing the rectification drive. The process is still on,” he added.

Biswas advised CDC leaders to avoid elections while re-organising the district committee. CPM Politburo member Jyoti Basu and CDC secretary Raghunath Kushari also addressed the gathering. A book on Chakra-borty’s life was released on the occasion.

IIT exhibition: Governor Viren J. Shah inaugurated an exhibition organised by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, at Science City on Saturday. The two-day programme is part of the institute’s year-long golden jubilee celebrations and will highlight the contributions of IIT, Kharagpur, and six other IITs.

   

 
 
BANDH BATTLELINES DRAWN 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 5 : 
The CPM on Saturday made clear its intention of foiling Thursday’s Bangla bandh, the first in chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s tenure, “at any cost”. The bandh has been called by the SUCI and some Naxalite factions, with “moral support” from Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, to protest the hike in hospital and electricity charges and the recent order banning rail and road blockades.

Speaking to reporters, Left Front chairman and CPM politburo member Biman Bose said: “If the bandh supporters consider it a democratic right to make the bandh a success by applying force, then we can also frustrate their move in the same manner.”

According to Bose, commuters have the right to reach their destinations by removing blockades by the bandh supporters. The chief minister is also expected to issue an appeal to the people to thwart the bandh.

On Saturday, Mamata reiterated that her party workers would “see to it” that the bandh was successful. “We are supporting the bandh only to highlight people’s day-to-day problems,” she said. While pointing out that her party was not opposed to development, Mamata added that it was unjust to rob people of their fundamental right of putting up blockades on roads and railway tracks to press for their demands.

Though the Front has adopted a unanimous resolution asking the government to foil the “ill-conceived bandh”, the CPM is uncertain about its partner, the RSP’s stand on the issues being raised by the bandh supporters. Though the RSP did not support the bandh, it has raised its voice against the government’s decisions.

Desperate to iron out differences among its partners, the CPM on Saturday morning convened an emergency meeting of the Left Front committee at the Alimuddin Street headquarters. Senior party functionaries, including Jyoti Basu, Biman Bose and Anil Biswas, attended the meeting, taking time off from the on-going central committee meet.

   

 
 
SHOPS GUTTED IN BURRABAZAR 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 5: 
Two shops were gutted at Manohardas Katra, in Burrabazar, on Saturday afternoon. Ten fire engines were pressed into service to douse the flames. However, no casualty has been reported.

According to fire brigade officials, shopowners noticed smoke billowing from a hardware store around 1.30 pm. They vacated their shops and informed the police and the fire personnel.

However, the cause of the fire and the total value of damaged goods are yet to be ascertained. “A short circuit might have led to the incident. But, we are probing all aspects,” said a fire brigade official.

Some years ago, a major fire had gutted a large part of the market, destroying a number of shops.

Car lifters arrested: In a pre-dawn swoop on Saturday, city police arrested 12 persons from the Muchipara area on charges of stealing vehicles. According to police, all the arrested are members of a inter-state gang of two-wheeler and car lifters.

   

 
 
BRIDGE BLAST PLAN OUT OF BAG 
 
 
FROM PROBIR PRAMANIK
 
Siliguri, Jan. 5: 
The arrest of an alleged ISI operative from Siliguri has blown the lid off a plan by the Pakistani intelligence agency to blow up some bridges in north Bengal, vital for troop movement, police here claimed.

Confessions by Mohammed Dilshad also helped the police arrest one of his linkman, Abdul Bhai Paanwalla, a paan-shop owner, from Delhi’s Jama Masjid area last night, Darjeeling superintendent of police Sanjay Chander said. Beside Paanwala, four of Dishad’s associates were arrested yesterday.

Dilshad and his four associates were produced at a Siliguri court today where an angry mob tried to manhandle them. The five were remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody.

Chander, however, claimed the arrests were only “the tip of an iceberg”. The ISI, he claimed, had bigger plans of destabilising the region, and many of Dilshad’s associates were still at large.

“During interrogations, Dilshad revealed that he was a direct ISI recruit. He was handling other agents in north Bengal and Assam,” Chander said.

He claimed Dilshad used to call his Pakistan contact to pass on information to one Major Ahamed, Bhai to his close associates. Getting the message, the Major would call Dilshad at his in-laws’ house at Allopatty here. Normally, two calls were made every week.

He claimed Dilshad had revealed that the ISI had plans to blow up the Coronation Bridge at Sevoke and the Teesta Bridge near Jalpaiguri connecting Siliguri with the north-eastern states and Sikkim.

“We have found an e-mail account through which we believe he used to pass on vital photos to his ISI bosses. A detailed account of troop movement from the New Jalpaiguri railway station since December 26 was seized from him. Another list of all senior and middle level army officials complete with their residential telephone and mobile numbers and even their room numbers was also found from him,” the police chief added.

   

 
 
RESEARCH CELLS TO PICK IIT BRAINS 
 
 
BY DEVADEEP PUROHIT
 
Calcutta, Jan. 5: 
The number of companies visiting the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, for campus recruitment may have gone down because of the recession, but firms are still bullish on the intellectual capital available in the country’s oldest IIT.

Brain-shopping has taken a new form as companies are queuing up to set up research and development (R&D) centres in collaboration with the premier institute.

Communications major Motorola India has tied up with the IIT to carry forward research in the field of digital signal processing. The company has entered into a five-year pact with the institute and set up a state-of-the-art digital signal processing laboratory and training centre at the G.S. Sanyal School of Telecommunications.

The collaboration is the second of its kind after the US-based Texas Instruments set up similar facilities in the telecommunications school last year.

“Importance of digital signal processing is increasing these days. Besides being cheap, the technology has varied applications. From computers and communication devices to image processing in space applications, digital signal processing is the technology to talk about,” said Prof Ramesh Garg, head of the department of electronics and electrical communications engineering.

To attune the research and development activities at the centre towards latest applications used in the industry, Motorola has installed digital signal processing packages like Onix and Starcore in the laboratory besides providing computers, work-stations and all other necessary hardware.

The company has also promised to sponsor further research initiatives by the centre in the field of digital signal processing technology. “The purpose of the tieup is to expose our students to various modern advancements made in this field. People from Motorola will also drop in frequently to conduct orientation programmes for both IIT and other institutes’ faculty,” said Debasish Dutta, chairman of the G.S. Sanyal School of Telecommunications.

Besides Motorola, public sector Bharat Electronics Ltd has contacted the institute to organise tailor-made training programmes for their engineers in the field of optical network.

   

 
 
COPS’ CANAL PR WITH VILLAGERS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Galsi (Burdwan), Jan. 5: 
In a move to improve police-people relations, nearly 500 uniformed officials, including women, today joined hands with the local people to excavate a 1.5- km irrigation canal at Galsi, about 20 km from Burdwan town.

District superintendent of police R.N. Ramesh, who supervised the digging, said forces from at least 10 police stations in addition to NVF jawans and homeguards participated in today’s excavation.

“I am happy to engage almost the entire force of the district in desilting the canal which was of no use to farmers for quite a long time. Now the canal will help farmers,” he said.

According to Ramesh, the irrigation department has given permission for desilting the canal. Besides policemen, members of panchayat bodies and mainline political parties participated in the desilting job.

Suktara Begum, pradhan of the CPM-controlled Simulia gram panchayat, was confident the desilting would be completed by next week. “Initially, we thought it would be an impossible task…. But after today we are confident of completing the job on time,” she said.

   
 

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