The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Youth braves bullets and spectator fright

Burdwan, June 1: Mohanlal Murarka was waiting for a train at Memari station when three armed men zeroed in on him and tugged at his bag. When he tried to resist, they thrashed him in front of a petrified crowd till a local youth took them on, single-handed.

It was the goons’ turn to be surprised. Twenty-four-year-old Arindam Guha managed to do what seemed impossible to dozens of others at the station.

Murarka, 50, a trader in food grain and oil, was on his way home after collecting payments from local shopkeepers. Guha was passing by when he was being beaten up in front of a large rush-hour crowd. Realising what was happening, Guha pushed away one of the robbers and lunged at the other two.

The miscreants gave up on the beating and tried to escape, hurling bombs. When Guha chased, they shot at him. The bullets missed their target. The youth grabbed one of the goons and pinned him down. Only then did some other passengers join in and beat the thief.

The culprit was handed over to the Railway Protection Force.

Witnesses said the platform was teeming with people when the miscreants armed with country-made pistols and bombs approached Murarka. None of them mustered enough courage to come to his rescue. “I did not know what to do and was rooted to the ground, aware that if I moved they could shoot me. I would be dead. They appeared determined to snatch his bag,” said one of the witnesses.

The captured snatcher was identified as Sheikh Sanu, 38, a local criminal.

Guha called Murarka’s house after getting the telephone number from him. The trader’s brother, Rajesh Kumar, said they were “grateful to Arindam”.

Murarka suffered head injuries and has been advised complete rest for a week. The police said efforts were on to nab the other two.

Power in private hands

The government has taken initiatives to involve cooperatives and NGOs in the non-technical segment of the power sector, minister Mrinal Banerjee said today.

It is getting “increasingly difficult” for the electricity board to service a vast area because of spiralling costs, Banerjee said at a seminar in Burdwan. “We have planned to introduce cooperatives and NGOs to render services to customers and for maintenance work,” he said.

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