Disappointed Pakistan pins hope on PM
Hounded come home to carnage
Atal goes with letter, not spirit
Fear takes Uma to cockpit
Pak not soft on jihadis: Sattar
Cover off Khalistan trickery on Capitol Hill
Show of free spirit in a boxed-in store
Riots fracture labour unity
Man killed in Rishra
Calcutta Weather

Islamabad, May 5: 
Pakistan’s foreign minister Abdul Sattar, usually known for his hard-line position towards India, claimed that he was “deeply disappointed” that the relationship between the two countries remained tense.

He once again offered “to enter into a dialogue as soon as India thinks that the time has come for it to do so”.

Sattar said that Islamabad wanted normal relations with Delhi and that Pakistan “envied” those countries which were improving their relations with India. “We envy these countries because we would like to do what they are doing to improve relations with India. But evidently we are pre-empted in achieving that objective,” he claimed.

Commenting on the continuing eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the armies of the two countries on the border, Sattar said that “because of the intercession of the friends of the two countries a certain de-escalation had taken place both psychologically and politically but this has not been matched by a disengagement on the ground”.

Sattar said that he held Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the highest esteem and hoped that “the Prime Minister will use his tremendous influence in order to bring Pakistan-India relations to an even keel. I hope he agrees also that the July 16 summit in Agra could have ended better than it did”.

He said that Pakistan was not opposed to India improving its relations with China, Iran or with the US. “Pakistan itself wants to have warmer relations with India, so how can we oppose the growing warmth in its relationship with others? So we are perfectly at ease with India improving its relations with China as well as with other countries,” he argued.

About the growth of Pakistan-US relations since September 11 and the impact of the forthcoming general election on them, Sattar hoped that “the new government in power would decide in favour of continuity of policies”. In such a case, “there need be no apprehension about any break in the trends in Pakistan-US relations,” he felt.

Welcoming the process that has been set in motion to return Afghanistan to normality, Pakistan’s foreign minister said that his country would “scrupulously refrain from any act of interference in Afghanistan”.

Without naming anyone, Sattar said, “I think the other neighbouring countries should also recognise that peace, unity and reconstruction of Afghanistan is in the best interest of not only the Afghans but also of all the countries of the region”.

The foreign minister was candid enough to admit that during the Taliban period, Pakistan’s relationships with its neighbours took a dip. “We are very gratified that over the last few months, since the interim administration has taken over, our relationship with Iran and the Central Asian Republics has significantly improved. Our friends in the West also tell us that they are fully satisfied with Pakistan’s approach to Afghanistan,” he said.

About the Central Asian republics, Sattar said: “These are landlocked countries and they quite naturally seek access to the outside world. If Afghanistan returns to normality then these countries can hope for the opening of communications and routes for them to enter into trade and other exchanges via Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.”

This process, he said, would also benefit India greatly as it could import gas from Turkmenistan.

“In addition to the gas pipeline route from Iran, there could be gas pipelines from Central Asia through Afghanistan and Pakistan, extending up to India. I am not dismissive of the security concerns of India with regard to the pipelines passing through Pakistan. But whatever India and Iran decide will be acceptable to us in terms of ensuring the security of the pipelines and the continuity of gas supply in the event of tensions between India and Pakistan. I think these problems can be worked out,” Sattar said with confidence.

The foreign minister said that such risks should not be exaggerated. Pakistan, he said, would itself like to import gas from Iran and Central Asia.

“If we block these pipelines, it will be like cutting off our own nose to spite the face. We should find out how other countries are tackling these issues and follow their example. I think this can be done,” he argued.


Ahmedabad, May 5: 
Ending four days of deceptive calm, mobs today struck at selective areas with two objectives: halt the return of minorities to their homes and batter their economic backbone.

Eight people, including a four-year-old, were killed and 38 injured in the fresh outbreak even as new security adviser K.P.S. Gill called for dialogue between the two communities.

Those who summoned the courage to return home were reminded how unwelcome they were. An entire scrap metal market, dominated by the minorities, was set on fire, prompting clashes. The fire engulfed more than 50 shops at Kabadi market.

Violence also erupted at Behrampura, Danilimda, Maninagar and Shahpur areas.

A four-year-old was crushed to death in the melee at Danilimda. Two persons were burnt alive, two killed in police firing while three were stabbed to death.

Gill, who visited riot-torn Behrampura and other areas today, said: “It is important that leaders of both communities start dialogue with each other.”

Several minority members saw a sinister design behind the fresh riots. “The reason why some people today resorted to violence is that some Muslims living in the camp had agreed to return to their homes. Those willing to return were getting threats from the majority community in the locality as they did not want them to return,” said Mohsin Quadri, Shah-e-Alam relief camp in-charge.

Safibhai Memon, joint camp in-charge at Shah-e-Alam, claimed that two state ministers and a top VHP leader held a “secret meeting” at Kankaria Gymnasium this morning.

Memon added that after the meeting concluded at 10.30 am, the three leaders passed on instructions to a group of VHP workers at Gautamnagar, not far from Behrampura where violence erupted. The group was further divided into two, after which trouble began. The camp leader said the purpose was “to frighten those willing to resettle in their original homes”.

VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadia, however, said he was not aware of such a meeting. “At least I did not attend the meeting. I came today morning and I am still trying to find out what happened in Danilimda.”

One of the ministers who reportedly attended the meeting said over his cellphone: “I was in Limdi, approximately 100 km from Ahmedabad. So I have no idea what you are talking about.”


New Delhi, May 5: 
The Centre is likely to quietly dissociate itself “in spirit” from the Opposition-sponsored motion in the Rajya Sabha, which specifically sought its intervention in Gujarat under Article 355, while supporting it “in letter and word”.

The debate on the motion under Rule 170 will conclude tomorrow in the Upper House after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s intervention, home minister L.K. Advani’s reply and a wrap-up by Congress leader Arjun Singh, who moved the motion last Thursday.

An indication of the Centre’s stand was given by Vajpayee in Gwalior today. The Prime Minister was quoted as saying the government did not intend to give any direction to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi under 355 and “guidelines” were already given from time to time “on an informal basis”. He also said the chief minister was doing a “reasonably good job” a day after Advani declared in Port Blair that since 1947, no state government had come down so firmly on rioters as had the Modi government.

Sources close to Vajpayee said he would repeat the statement in his intervention tomorrow. But to “insulate” the government against the Opposition’s offensive, these sources said Vajpayee would stress on the government’s moves such as:

The appointment of K.P.S. Gill as the chief minister’s security adviser. This would be commended as a “positive step” towards instilling confidence in the victims of the communal violence and restoring normality;

The fact that medical relief was disbursed under the direct supervision of health minister C.P. Thakur;

The grants and relief packages that were released periodically, including the latest one announced in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Gujarat censure motion.

Sources said Vajpayee was expected to “clarify” that Article 355 did not call for Central intervention as was made out by the Opposition. “There is no provision in this Article for issuing directions to a state government,” argued BJP parliamentary party spokesman V.K. Malhotra. The Article states: “It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every state against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”

The government’s case, sources said, would rest on the contention that the violence was contained shortly after it broke out, the army was called in swiftly, and the police had made a “record” number of arrests. Hence, neither was there “internal disturbance” in Gujarat nor was there a breakdown of the constitutional machinery.

The government was in a bind since foreign minister Jaswant Singh, the leader of the Upper House, had said he was in full conformity with the “letter and spirit” of the Opposition’s motion.

The government’s “conciliatory” gesture — designed to catch the Opposition off-guard and take the sting off the debate — did not have the intended effect. Opposition MPs like Kapil Sibal and Laloo Yadav attacked it frontally for not doing anything substantial in Gujarat. Sibal alleged that the distinction the government ought to have maintained between itself and the BJP and the Sangh parivar had melted away and created a communal polarisation. Laloo insinuated that the Godhra carnage itself was instigated by the Sangh to pit the Hindus against the Muslims and divide the state.

BJP strategists were of the opinion that associating with the motion also meant endorsing such accusations. Singh was criticised by some for “bad articulation” although the decision to support the motion was taken collectively.


Bhopal, May 5: 
Who would have believed Uma Bharti does not like flying, high or low? Only the other day she led the counter-bombardment in Parliament during the discussion on Gujarat, raining missiles on gum-chewing Sonia Gandhi.

The spearhead of the BJP’s bomber squadron got into trouble as she headed towards the cockpit on a recent flight (IC7134) to Bhopal to chat up the crew and ease the tension of flying.

Tension flew off the handle in her fellow passengers, though.

“Why is she going towards the cockpit?” some asked. “This is illegal. She cannot go there. Anybody else heads for the cockpit is immediately termed a ‘terrorist’ and when Uma Bharti walks into the cockpit, then isn’t she breaking a law?”

She certainly was. But the crew usually does not mind. She walks up to them, opening a conversation: “I haven’t seen you in a long time. How are you?”

Even if they do mind, the knowledge that civil aviation minister Shahnawaz Hussain calls her ‘didi’ — and acknowledges that “whatever I am today is only because of my elder sister Uma Bharti” — does help to keep the lips sealed.

According to her supporters, ‘didi’ is terrified of flying and releases her tension by engaging the crew in small talk. “She has breathing problems, is scared of flying and now with her knee problem cannot sit at one place for a long time. If she chats with the crew, it eases her stress,” said her spokesman in Bhopal, Shailendra Sharma.

On April 20, Bharti was on the Indian Airlines evening flight from New Delhi to take part in a ceremony to change the name of Bhopal airport to Raja Bhoj Hawaii Adda, a suggestion made by ‘didi’ to brother Shahnawaz, which he had accepted.

Soon after the flight took off, she was up on her feet — with the help of a stick she is using because of a knee problem, which she shares with another high-flyer, the Prime Minister — and started walking up to the cockpit.

With a couple of angry passengers throwing the rulebook at them, worried air hostesses requested the minister: “Ma’am will you please go back to your seat.”

Bharti looked at the objecting passengers and said: “No.”

Nuclear scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, head of the Pokhran II team, was also on the same flight but decided not to get involved as a heated exchange began.

One passenger was more vocal than others. As the minister argued that she gets suffocated if she does not sit in a more spacious place, the passenger pointed a finger at Abdul Kalam. “If he can sit there, so can you.”

Bharti retorted: “No I can’t. He doesn’t have breathing problems. I do.” “Your getting out of your seat means a life threat to all of us, including Kalam,” the passenger said. The minister threw a half-smile and allegedly said: “Really. But I still have to sit in the cockpit.”

The commotion brought Captain Devraj, the chief pilot, out. Capt Devraj tried to make peace without success and had to escort Bharti into the cockpit.

While she was being led away, the furious passenger made a last attempt: “It’s a shame people like you rule the country.” Bharti allegedly turned around, nodded and said: “Thank you. But I’ll still sit in the cockpit.”

Bharti’s spokesman said: “Rubbish. Uma Bharti never enters the cockpit. Somebody vicious is feeding this story. It’s a lie that she even wanted to go into the cockpit. She talks to the crew in the permitted area. But has never entered the cockpit of a flying plane. Never.”

Indian Airlines officials at Bhopal airport said no formal complaint had been lodged. The passenger who objected to Bharti going into the cockpit is lying low for fear of drawing BJP ire.


Islamabad, May 5: 
Pakistan is not going soft on Islamic militants, Pakistan’s foreign minister Abdul Sattar claimed here in an interview.

He denied that the initial arrest and the subsequent release of those accused of being militants or their associates showed that the action against the jihadis was not a matter of conviction but of mere convenience for Pakistan.

They could not be kept under indefinite detention without sufficient evidence, as the law did not allow that, he said. “But please observe that none of these people at this time is engaged in activity of the type which they were pursuing in the past. Secondly, there are still a number of people under detention and the government is following up to bring their cases to trial,” Sattar argued.

The Indian fear that these organisations would now start functioning under new names has also been belied, he said. No new organisation had come up, and if they did with an agenda similar to that of the militant organisations, “then these organisations will also offend the law and would not be allowed to function”, the Pakistan foreign minister said.

Sattar also dismissed out of hand the suggestion that Pakistan was setting up special camps (khemas) in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) for the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaida members. Such people, he argued, would have to cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan border first and deal with the Pakistani and “coalition forces” monitoring the border and then pass through Pakistan’s territory undetected. He suggested that this was not an easy task.

The foreign minister was asked to comment on the sudden increase in infiltration across the Line of Control into Jammu and Kashmir in the last couple of months, after an initially declining trend. He replied saying that the Indian Prime Minister himself was on record saying that he was satisfied that the LoC was being respected.

When asked whether this was before March when the new trend in infiltration was detected or after, Sattar admitted that Vajpayee’s statement could have been of a slightly earlier period. However, he said that India had a tendency “to ascribe the activities of the people of India-held Kashmir to outside inspiration, instigation or interference”.

He described this “as a diversionary technique which does not contribute to a salutary policy towards the settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir question”.

Kashmir, Sattar said, had “cast a very dark shadow” on India-Pakistan relations. “It is time for the two countries to recognise the realities and find a solution so that we can get on with the task of developing our bilateral relations,” he felt.

Commenting on Pakistan’s view of contacts between Sardar Abdul Qayoom from the PoK and Abdul Ghani Lone and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference in Dubai, Sattar claimed that Islamabad had never objected to such contacts. Claiming that he was not fully aware of the discussions that took place, he said: “Quite clearly, one or two individuals cannot speak for the Kashmiri leadership as a whole.”

Pakistan patronises the Hurriyat, which is currently divided on using jihad as a method to achieve its goals and opting for reconciliation and dialogue with India. Which of the two positions does Islamabad support?

“Our central position is that the Kashmir issue has to be settled in conformity with the wishes of the people of the state. Until an appropriate method is found for ascertaining the opinion of the people of the state, the statements by one leader or another, while they are perfectly within their right to issue them, cannot be considered to reflect the opinion of the people of the state as a whole,” Sattar said.

In that case, why does not Pakistan advise the Hurriyat leaders to assess their real support among the people by participating in the coming election?

“The Kashmiri leadership is astute. It fully comprehends the wishes of the Kashmiri people. And we are sure that they will make decisions that will serve the interests of the Kashmiri people. We will not presume to advise one or the other leader. We will respect the considered opinion of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference,” the Pakistan foreign minister said.

But was Pakistan opposed to free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir? Sattar said while nobody could be opposed to free and fair elections anywhere “but we have to remember that elections in India-held Kashmir or on the Pakistan side do not mean a disposal of the Kashmir question in accordance with the principles (Security Council resolutions) which were accepted at one time by both India and Pakistan and are still accepted by Pakistan”.


Washington, May 5: 
After cremating the annual Congressional ritual of the “Burton Amendment” to cut US aid to India at the behest of separatists in Punjab last year, the Indian establishment here is moving in for the kill against the Khalistanis in America.

A highly damaging expose last week of deception and trickery by the proponents of Khalistan here in seeking Congressional support for the separatist movement may finally end the pretence on Capitol Hill that Punjab is waiting to ripen into another insurgency like Kashmir.

The expose in The Hill, a publication which chronicles events behind the scenes in the US Congress, details how Gurmit Singh Aulakh, the self-styled president of the Council of Khalistan, has been printing pro-Khalistani letters on Congressional letterheads and then obtaining signatures of US legislators under patently false pretenses.

Clearly visible behind the expose in the magazine, which is avidly read by Congressmen, their aides and all those who have dealings with the US Congress, are the hands of the Indian embassy here, Indian lobbyists and the Indian American community, though they are loath to acknowledge any role.

What has riled these elements of the Indian establishment here is a letter signed by 42 American Congressmen and submitted to President George W. Bush in March calling for the release of Sikh political prisoners in India.

The letter endorses a claim that there are 52,268 Sikh political prisoners in India and argues: “This is occurring while India proclaims itself the world’s largest democracy. Political prisoners are unacceptable in any country, but especially in one that proclaims democratic values”.

Indians in the US are also upset by statements by two Congressmen just before Baisakhi celebrations in Punjab last month accusing India of “occupation” of Punjab and other atrocities. The statements are now part of the US Congressional Record.

Responding to the allegations, Lalit Mansingh, the Indian ambassador here, wrote to Congressman Edolphus Towns that his statement on Capitol Hill “continues the pattern of false and hurtful statements that you have made in the past about my country in the pages of the Record”.

Towns, a New York Democrat who is serving his tenth term in the US Congress, is also a member of the Congressional Caucus on India.

In a similar letter to long-time India-basher Dan Burton, Mansingh said of the Congressman’s source of information for his statement last month: “The so-called ‘Council of Khalistan’ does not have any following within the state of Punjab or anywhere else in India. It is an organisation of self-serving people who are misusing US hospitality to indulge in false and baseless propaganda against a friendly country”.

Burton, an Indiana Republican, is also a member of the House International Relations sub-committee dealing with South Asia. He has been the most trenchant critic of India on Capitol Hill for years. His annual tactic of moving legislative amendments to cut or deny US aid to India for alleged human rights abuses was once viewed with trepidation by the Indian embassy and the Indian community here.

But over the years, they have fought off Burton with the help of the Congressional Caucus on India to the point where the Indiana Republican developed cold feet and did not move his amendment last year. In 2000, he tabled the amendment and withdrew it for lack of support.

With that success in hand, the Indian establishment is now targeting the Council of Khalistan, which claims to be the Sikh government-in-exile and its twin patrons, Burton and Towns.

The expose in The Hill will go a long way in achieving that goal. In its expose, the magazine says of Aulakh who went round collecting signatures from Congressmen on the letter sent to Bush last month. “He’s sort of grandfatherly,” the (Congressional) aide said.

“He says in a soft voice, ‘I’m here for the Congressman’s signature on this letter’. When we called up later, about a quarter of (foreign policy aides) genuinely did not have the foggiest clue they signed it,” the aide said, referring to one of Aulakh’s previous letters. “(But) they’re reluctant (to have the signatures removed) because they don’t want to be seen as flip-flopping.”


London, May 5: 
If the remarkable transformation of Selfridges into a giant Bollywood film set can be pinned down to one man, it has to be Vittorio Radice, who was headhunted six years ago to be chief executive of the Oxford Street store.

A 45-year-old Italian, who was born in Como but grew up in “Milano”, he is very different from, say, Sonia Gandhi. For a start, he is not wary of journalists. For another, he talks well.

He has spent a million pounds over the past 14 months, shuttling back and forth between London and Mumbai, making sure the Bollywood folk deliver what they have promised. He says the relationship has been “perfect”.

It has been Radice’s responsibility ultimately to ensure that the stars — everyone from Amitabh Bachchan to Dimple Kapadia and Hrithik Roshan as well as set designer Nitin Desai, fulfil their side of the bargain.

One advantage for Radice is that he is used to the Indian way of leaving things till the last minute. He has been travelling to India for 15 years and today sits on the board of a retail company called Shoppers Stop. “I have been from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” he says with pride.

Before he joined Selfridges, he was with Habitat, the furniture and furnishings store, and obtained many of his goods from India. It was the same when he worked in retail in Italy.

He finds there is much that is common between Indians and Italians. “A very strong entrepreneurial spirit, which is very, very strong in Indians and Italians,” he says.

When it is suggested to Radice the Italians are famed for their style, he responds: “So are the Indians. There is a great love for food, great love for life. Just enjoy the day as you are living it. It can be in the shape of a nice meal, a glass of wine, a pair of nice, well-tailored trousers or a nice pair of shoes. It is about loving what you have at a particular moment. There is a lot in common.”

The name of the festival at Selfridges is called 23½ Days of Bollywood, the half being a humorous reference to Federico Fellini’s 8½. He wants Selfridges, which was established in 1909, to have a distinct identity and not simply be merely another retailer.

His staff, 4,000 in London and another 700 in the sister store in Manchester, is caught up in the general excitement about Bollywood, about which he admits they previously knew nothing. His own collection of Bollywood DVDs has been growing.

After he saw K3G, he was able tell Hrithik, who happened to be filming at Selfridges last week, that crying so much during the course of watching the film was a draining process. “It is more exhausting for me to watch the film than for you to make it. Tears everywhere,” he told Hrithik.

More seriously, what he is now trying to sell at Selfridges during the Bollywood festival are not so much Indian products — those that prove popular and run out will be restocked, he promises — but the idea of a freer, less structured way of living. Bollywood, he believes, best represents that.

Everything in the West, he argues, is placed in a box. To him, Bollywood represents the opposite (though Indians might say he is in love with Indian anarchy, lack of discipline and unpunctuality and lack of professionalism).

He is introducing 20 of the best known fashion designers from India — from Geetanjali Kashyap to Monisha Jaising, Rina Dhaka, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Shahb Durazi and Manish Malhotra.

A prominent role has been given to Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.

“I think Indian fashion is fantastic,” Radice asserts. “The new Indian style blends the traditional way of doing things with modern silhouettes, shapes and cuts. That is what we need to project. We are introducing 20 new designer brands in fashion. This is the first time Indian designers have been exposed on such a scale in a commercial space like Selfridges.”

Over the next month, he expects a million people to wander through the store and admire everything from the mock-up of Dimple’s apartment to film posters and other memorabilia. The music of A.R. Rahman will be playing in the background.

“The million people will be exposed to the colours, music, dance, fashion, food, furnishings and the DVDs of Mumbai — which is the opposite of minimalist. Our main customer is not the Indian on holiday or the Indian living here,” he explains.

“The main customers are the rest.”

He also wants to encourage the conservative English away from traditional colours to something lot brighter, which may be asking a great deal of them.

“If you look at our fashion floors, there are a few dominant colours — black, white, dark grey and navy blue — which is quite boring. New Indian fashion is colourful, fresh, light — the turquoise, the pink, the light blue, the lilac.”

“I am finding a new market not so much for the goods of India but for that particular style.”


New Delhi, May 5: 
If economics united India’s labour force, Gujarat has divided it.

The Sangh Parivar’s trade union outfit, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which has been marching in step with the Left trade unions against liberalisation policies, is not willing to display the same unity when it comes to raising voice against the Narendra Modi government.

All major trade unions have decided to observe May 14 as the national day of protest against the genocide in Gujarat. The usually taciturn Congress-sponsored Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc) is a keen participant this time and the “loyal soldier” BMS is the odd one out.

“If it is a protest that will rise above politics and not target Narendra Modi, then we can consider the issue. But the trade unions should not present a one-sided picture. They should raise questions about Godhra too,” says BMS spokesperson Amarnath Dogra.

Wary of BMS’s response, Left trade unions have been avoiding the unpleasant task of sidelining the Sangh’s labour outfit on the Gujarat issue.

“We will talk to them when we meet them for the standing labour committee meeting,” says a Citu leader. But t he All India Trade Union Congress (Aituc) general secretary Gurudas Das Gupta rejects the idea of approaching the BMS on the Gujarat issue on the ground of the latter being the Sangh Parivar’s labour wing.

He says: “We will not approach the BMS because there is no common ground.”

“At the same time, we shall leave no stone unturned to achieve unity on the economic demands,” adds Das Gupta.

He has just been back along with other labour leaders from Ahmedabad and according to the Aituc chief, over 2 lakh workers, in Ahmedabad alone, have been stripped of their livelihood.

Dogra, however, has a different view of things. “Four lakh Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir. Did the trade unions talk about them? Their women were raped. Whatever happened to them was in no way less horrific than what happened to the women in Gujarat,” fumes Dogra.

But nonetheless he says that the BMS criticises, in the strongest terms, the atrocities on women and children in Gujarat.

“We will support a resolution on Gujarat if it is along the lines of the recent Rajya Sabha resolution backed by Union minister Jaswant Singh,” adds the BMS leader.

For the last one year, the BMS, more than Intuc, has been surprisingly moving in tandem with the Left trade unions against the Vajpayee government’s liberalisation policies. In fact, the BMS had been acidic in its comments about finance minister Yashwant Sinha.

It is, however, clear that when it comes to core issues of ideology and Hindutva , the BMS is not going to go against the Sangh parivar.

In case of the Gujarat impasse, all Sangh outfits have, for a change, been singing the same tune.

“How can the majority community keep suffering in this country?” asks Dogra. Now that’s a Sanghi speaking.


Chinsurah, May 5: 
A 32-year-old man, Shankar Paswan, was murdered and his associate, Gautam Das, seriously injured late tonight when a group of miscreants attacked them with sharp-edged weapons at Rishra in Hooghly district.

Police said the incident was the result of a long-standing rivalry between two groups.

Investigations show that four miscreants called on the duo and took them to an abandoned house near Rishra railway station, ostensibly for parleys.

As soon as the group climbed up to the terrace, where the discussions were to be held, the miscreants slit Paswan’s throat with a razor. Sensing trouble, Das jumped from the terrace and started calling for help. Residents of the area rushed to the spot on hearing the commotion, but the assailants had escaped.




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Minimum: 28.7°C (+3)



Relative humidity

Max: 85%
Min: 61%

Sunrise: 5.04 am

Sunset: 601 pm


Generally cloudy sky, with possibility of rain, accompanied by thunder, in some parts

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