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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Threat letter to school panic authority, students

Malda, 16 March, 2015: Unsigned threat letters demanding huge money were found today in a state government-sponsored school approximately 12 km from here. It has been threatened that if the money is not paid, students would be kidnapped. The letter naturally created huge sensation at Nagharia high school with nearly 2,000 students at Fulbaria gram panchayat area in English Bazaar police station particularly at the back drop of similar letters recently found in the adjoined areas which had caused a sharp fall in students’ attendance. Panicked school authority approached to police demanding security for the students.
When the gate of Nagharia high school, a venue for higher secondary examinations was opened around 9 am this morning, the teachers found at least three letters demanding Rs 2 lakh from the school authority. The letters also claimed that at least ten students would be abducted if the demand was not met. The anonymous senders further threatened that disclosing the content would prove to be perilous for the school.

 Head Master Sunil Sarkar said, “We immediately informed police regarding this letter. This might be a hoax but it has certainly created a panic at the locality.” Mr Sarkar observed, “For last fortnight there was a sharp fall in the students’ turnout. Now such letters would worsen the situation, we fear.

School president Abdul Khaleque said, “I called on the mobile numbers mentioned in threat letters. Someone in a hoarse voice asked me to arrange the money or to be ready for abduction of students. As I asked to know their identity, they disconnected the phone.”

It may be recalled that for the last few days panic gripped Malda villages as the students keep away from the schools. Despite the efforts on the part of the teachers and management the fear from the students’ mind can hardly be wiped out. Even those who keep coming to schools are taken back home by the guardians in the middle of the school.

On 2 March a primary school in Manikchak got anonymous letters demanding money from the teachers. The senders too could not be identified but as a result panic engulfs large areas of Manikchak, Ratua and English Bazaar. The villagers began to keep vigil at their villages at night and the rumour is spreading out fast. 

Hariswami Das, Headmaster of Sovanagar High School had had the worst experience. On 2 March hundreds of guardians came to the school demanding their students back. “All of them were panicked and wanted their children back home. We could not console them.” The situation did not improve since then. At present hardly 200 students keep coming to our school out of 2500”, Mr Das said.

The experience of nearby Haripur High School, Pramila Bala High School of Ratua, Milki High School of English Bazaar is the same.

“The rumour is spreading that students especially the girls would be kidnapped on way to their school. This led the most of the students confined in their homes,” Mr Sarkar said. True to his claim it was seen that less than 30% of the students have turned up to schools in rural English Bazaar. If the effect is worse in the lower classes, the higher classes are no exception.

SP Prasun Bannerjee said, “We are trying to find out the source of the letters. But apparently it seems merely a prank made by some idle persons.”

Lock-gate of Farakka bridge collapses

Malda, 16 March, 2015: Large number of residents of Baishnabnagar block, who live at the vicinity of the Ganga, have been gripped by an untimely-flood scare after a lock-gate of Farrakka bridge collapsed around 9 am today. Though the Farakka Barrage Project (FBP) authorities assured that there was nothing to worry, the concerned panchayats have cautioned the residents and farmers against probable inundation.

It has been learnt from FBP sources that 49th lock-gate which was nearly 40 years old suddenly collapsed failing to withstand the pressure of water. General manager of FBP Mr Soumitra Roy said that work had already been started to install a new lock-gate replacing the collapsed one.

FBP officials rushed to inspect the damaged lock-gate this morning. Notably, there are 109 lock-gates under Farakka bridge out of which 1st to 54th lock-gates are in Baisshnabnagar police station and the remaining lock-gates are in Farakka police station in Murshidabad district.

20 to 25 villages under three gram panchayats – Laxmipur, Binnagar and Krishnapur in Baishnabnagar police station are at the vicinity of the Ganga. As many as 15,000 residents of those villages particularly Biharitola, Pipratola, Asartola and Polartola are now panic-stricken apprehending sudden inundation after the lock-gate collapsed.

Expressing her concern the head of Laxmipur GP Maskura Bibi said, “Residents of villages adjacent to the Ganga have been warned against sudden inundation. Many of them cultivated crops in the fertile land on the bank of the Ganga. They were alerted as those crops may be severely damaged if the water in large quantity gets into those areas.”

Mandira Das, former head of Binnagar GP too said that measures were taken to warn the residents of villages like Lalutola, Bhimatola, Mukundatola and Sarkartola.

However, FBP authorities find no imminent risk with collapse of only one lock-gate. “Now, 35,000 cusec water flows per second along the Ganga in Farakka which is much less compared to flow of 25 lakh cusec water per second in rainy season,” said the FBP GM Mr Roy.

“Initiative was already taken to replace the lock-gate. But as it has now collapsed, new lock-gate is being installed on war footing,” he added.  

APL ration cards may be invalid, says minister

Malda, 15 March, 2015: At least 37 percent of ration cards for citizens above poverty line (APL) would not be of much utility as the state government would take up only the BPL (below poverty line) ration cards for digitalization for the food security bill is implemented in the state. Informing this state food supply minister Jyotipriya Mullick said that Rs 120 crore would be spent for digitalization of ration cards to be distributed within October this year.

Mr Mullick was in Malda yesterday to hold a meeting with the district administration in old circuit house. “There are approximately 9.,13 crore ration card holders in the state. But it is often found that 3.12 crore APL ration card holders do not collect subsidized food and other items provided through fair price shops. Hence, according to food security bill those APL ration cards would virtually be cancelled. Though the state government believes that all ration card holder should have the right of collecting subsidized goods available through rationing system,” the minister said.

The distribution of digitalized ration cards would start in south Dinajpur district first. Thereafter digitalized ration cards would be distributed in Malda and other districts in North Bengal as learnt from the minister.

Mr Mullick claimed that West Bengal would be the first state to distribute digitalized ration cards in the country. “For digitalization of each card Rs 4.20 would be spent. Out of the total estimated digitalization cost of Rs 120 crore, the Union government is supposed to bear fifty percent. But the state has not yet received any amount from Delhi. We are pursuing the matter in Delhi,” he informed.

He added that 99 lakh fake ration cards were detected and cancelled. “There are still few thousands in the state. Vigilance would start drive against such fake ration cards soon,” the minister said.

The minister also met the rice mill owners of the district at the circuit house and assured them that their dues of Rs 24 crore would be shortly paid off. Blaming the Union government for the delay in releasing Rs 1200 crore, the food minister said that the state government could not purchase rice directly from the farmers as minimum assisted price was not offered by the Narendra Modi government yet.

Sports lovers, officials slam the suspension of women’s football match at cleric’s whims

Malda, 15 March, 2015: Block and district administrations have drawn huge flak from the sports lovers and sports officials of the district for having cancelled a football match for women allegedly by nodding to the demands of some clerics of minority community at Chandipur village of Rashiladaha gram panchayat in Harischandrapur I block yesterday.

District administration has however denied the claim of bowing before the demand of the cleric’s ‘fatwa’ (diktat) against women’s football and claimed that the permission for the football match between Kolkata XI women and North Bengal XI women was withdrawn as higher secondary examinations are being conducted.

It may be mentioned that the match was organized by Chandipur Progressive Youth Club as a part of its golden jubilee celebration. Women footballers of national repute like Krishna Das, Sujata Kar, Arjuna-awardee Santi Mallik, FIFA referee Anamika Sen, captain of national handball team Anita Roy were expected to grace the event. But they all had to return as the match was called off following the block administration’s order.

"But last week, some clerics from the minority community raised their objection to the women's football match. We had approached the block administration and the sub divisional officer for help. On 11 March a meeting was also held in the presence of BDO between us and those clerics who were against the match. The next day, many more clerics said a women's match would be against Islam. They also threatened to make a stronger agitation if the match was held. The BDO then ordered to stop the match,” said Reza Razi, the president of the organizing club.

Though the BDO, Harischandrapur block Biplab Roy remained reticent about the order issued by him prohibiting the football match, it has been learnt from some employees of his office that anticipating deterioration in law and order the order to cancel the match was issued by Mr Roy.

Secretary of district sports association (DSA) Subhendu Choudhury, however, termed the entire incident as an “undesirable” one today. “Especially when the chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been adopting numerous policies for empowerment of girls and women, such a decision of calling off the women’s football match is indeed pretty unfortunate,” Mr Choudhury said. Interestingly, DM Sharad Dwivedi is the president of DSA.

Former DSA secretary Subhasish Sarkar too was stern in his reaction. “We heard of such fundamental activities in countries like Iraq or Iran. But replication of such an activity in a progressive state like West Bengal was incredible for us. It is a pity when women our playing football in a country like Afghanistan, our women are still being hindered by some fundamentalists who are actually taking advantage of lawlessness prevailing in the state,” Mr Sarkar said. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Krishnendu Choudhury enjoys monopoly in finalizing TMC candidates for EBM poll

Malda, 13 March, 2015: Though severe discontent ventilated against him by the opponent factions on numerous occasions, the chairman of English Bazaar municipality (EBM) Krishnendu Choudhury has had the last laugh in selecting candidates for ensuing civic body poll. In tentative list of 29 candidates who are going to contest in EBM poll, as many as 18 candidates are known to be loyalists to Mr Choudhury.

While three or four candidates are close to the EBM vice chairman Dulal Sarkar, district youth Trinamul president Amlan Bhaduri has managed to get tickets for himself and his loyalists in at least five seats. Only two candidates in the tentative list are known to be associates of minister Sabitri Mitra. Interestingly, district Trinamul president Moazzem Hossain has no single follower in the list.

It may be mentioned a search committee was constituted by Trinamul state committee to finalize the candidates for EBM civic poll. Apart from Mr Choudhury, Mrs Mitra, Mr Hossain, Mr Sarkar, Mr Bhaduri, Mr Sarkar, district working president Mrs Singh were in the committee. Except Mrs Singh, the other members are known to have a “sour” relation with the EBM chairman and food processing minister Mr Choudhury.

Mrs Sandhya Das (ward no. 1), Mr Krishna Mandal (3), Mr Ashok Saha (4), Mrs Sumita Banerjee (5), Mr Debapriya Saha (6), Mr Subrata Sardar (7), Mrs Kakali Choudhury (8), Mrs Pratibha Singh (9), Mr Choudhury himself (10), Mr Prasenjit Das (12), Ms Anamika Das (16), Mr Ashish Kundu (18), Ms Sharmistha Mukherjee (23), Mr Rumpa Roy (24), Mr Kunal Singha (25), Ms Sumita Das (26), Mr Shyamprakash Gupta (27) and Mr Anup Das (28) belong to Mr Choudhury’s camp.

EBM vice chairman Mr Sarkar would contest from ward number 20 along with his wife Mrs Chaitali Sakar (21). Tentative candidate for ward no. 22 Jayanta Bose is also known to be an associate of Mr Sarkar.

Mr Bhaduri, who won on a BJP ticket and later defected to Trinamul, has succeeded in managing nomination for himself. Three other ex-BJP councilors who accompanied Mr Bhaduri have also got nominations either for themselves or for their relatives. Sumala Agarwalla, a close associate of Mr Bhaduri has retained her nomination from ward no. 2 this time.

Subhamay Basu (17) and Runu Das (19) only are known to be quite close to Mrs Mitra.

Though Mr Choudhury claimed that most suitable candidates were chosen unanimously, Dr Hossain conceded that Mr Choudhury played a crucial role in selecting candidates. “I am like ‘Dhal, Talwar bihin Nidhiram Sardar’ (I am like a lieutenant without any arms),” Mr Hossain said.

Political observers of the district are of the opinion that if Trinamul gets the absolute majority in EBM, Mr Choudhury would emerge as an uncrowned king of Trinamul in Malda. But if Trinamul loses the municipality this time, the other factions would emerge with sharp claws to tear Mr Choudhury into pieces politically. 

Chanchal administrations accused of violating sound regulations before HS exam

Malda, 12 March, 2015: Violation of sound restriction regulations by Chanchal sub division administrations 24 hours before the commencement of Higher Secondary (HS) examinations has drawn flak from academic circles. Though the sub divisional officer (SDO), Chanchal Mr Pallambalam S offered apologies as criticism from different ends poured in, additional district magistrate – general (ADM-G) Debatosh Mandal said that a report with regard to violation of sound restriction was sought from the sub divisional administrations today.

It may be mentioned that the HS examinations under old syllabus commenced from today in the state. The examinations under new syllabus would commence from Friday and continue till 31 March.

Restriction on the use of microphones and loudspeakers comes into effect from 24 hours before the commencement of such examinations. The restrictions continue till the last day of the written examinations.

But, loudspeakers were indiscriminately used on Wednesday from 4 pm to 10 pm as the district backward class welfare department organized a programme of local folk songs (Gambhira) in Chanchal with an eye to canvassing for the different schemes of the state government as alleged by the guardians of some HS examinees. The programme was kicked off by ADM (Zilla Parishad) Amalkanti Ray.

At least a dozen of microphones and large sound boxes were used in the programme allegedly to much woe of the examinees. The guardians alleged that the venue of the programme was located centrally which caused a further nuisance to the examinees.

Abdus Samad, uncle of an examinee said, “We were awestruck at the indiscriminate use of microphones only 24 hours before the crucial HS examination commences. SDO and SDPO Kaustuvdipta Acharjee enjoyed the programme for long. The examinees were helpless though.”

SDO Mr Pallambalam S however regretted the use of microphone before the HS examinations. “We are sorry for what happened,” he told the media today. However, the SDPO Mr Acharya preferred to remain reticent on his presence in the programme.

ADM – G Mr Mandal said, “The allegations raised against the Chanchal sub divisional administrations are being looked into. A report has been sought from SDO Chanchal in this regard.”

Meanwhile, it has been learnt from district education department sources that 39,456 candidates including 19,798 girls are taking HS examinations from Malda this year. The examinations would be conducted in 101 venues under 15 centers in the district.

District inspector of schools – secondary education (DIS-SE) Asish Choudhury said that CCTVs would be installed in 33 vulnerable centers where adoption of unfair means was allegedly rampant last year.

“Tight security arrangements around the examination venues have been ensured by district police department. Special measure would be taken in Kaliachak so that traffic congestion does not deter the examinees from reaching examination centers smoothly,” Mr Choudhury added. 

Assault of Indian lorry driver in Bangladesh stalls export

Malda, 9 March, 2015: Export to Bangladesh through Mahadipur international border was entirely stalled today after anti-government agitators in Bangladesh allegedly hurled cocktail bombs targeting a wheat laden lorry from India and severely roughed up the driver at Panama port area of Shibganj police station in Bangladesh last night around 11 pm.

After learning the horrid experience of Sariful Sheikh (37), the lorry driver who managed to flee back to India with the help of Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) personnel, other lorry drivers and helpers resolved to drive goods laden lorries to Bangladesh and started an indefinite agitation demanding redress.

As excitement mounted, senior administrative officials and officials of border forces of both India and Bangladesh sat for a meeting to resolve the issue around 11 am. Mr Raman Chand, company commandant of 125th BSF battalion, representatives of lorry drivers and officials on exporters’ association discussed the emergent situation with a BGB commandant Mr Lutfar Rahman, officer in charge of Shibganj police station Mr Masud Sheikh and importers of Bangladesh.

Expressing profound concern over the incident the exporters and lorry drivers of India warned that such uncalled for incidents should be strictly dealt with by Bangladesh officials to sustain smooth export from India.

Mr Samir Ghosh, joint secretary of Mahadipur exporters’ association informed that the lorry driver Sariful, a resident of Mangalbari area in Malda police station became a victim of miscreants’ attack in Bangladesh soon after he had entered Bangladesh with a wheat laden lorry last night.

“We have learnt from sources that those miscreants attacked the lorry as a part of its agitation against Bangladesh government. As they pelted petrol bombs on the lorry, a large quantity of wheat was scorched. Sariful with help from BGB personnel returned India with severe injuries. He was treated in Malda Medical College Hospital (MMCH),” Mr Ghosh said.

BGB official Mr Rahman regretted the attack on the Indian lorry and its driver. He assured that BGB would recommend to Bangladesh government to pay compensation to the lorry driver and the wasted crops.

As the meeting was concluded around 3 pm, no lorry from India went to Bangladesh today which incurred a huge loss as estimated by the exporters. 

Rani Mukherjee to work for Nirbhoy Gram project in Malda as brand ambassador

Malda, 6 March, 2015: Celebrity actress Rani Mukherji has become the sixth brand ambassador of Nirbhoy Gram campaign (NGC) which initiated the ambassador of Nirbhoy Gram programme in 2013 with an aim to promote the issues concerning Malda and focus it as a centre of activity in the national stage.

Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the former President of India, social activist Anna Hazare, musician Pandit Jasraj, Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and author Mahasweta Devi are the first five brand ambassador of NGC.

NGC founder and chairperson of National Institute for Gender Justice Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury awarded Rani Mukherjee the plaque as the NGC brand ambassador on 3 March and awarded the actress with “Pride in Uniform: Inspiring Change” award. The programme held at India habitat centre in New Delhi was attended by the senior officials of Delhi police, BSF, SSB, National disaster response force (NDRF) and eminent personalities from the civil society.

Ms Mukherjee said, “I am committed to the safety, security and protection of young girls.” She also promised to extensively campaign for Nirbhoy gram.

It may be mentioned that Mrs Mitra Chaudhury, being moved by the brutal ‘Nirbhaya incident in Delhi on 16 December, 2012, initiated the NGC in 3,000 villages in Malda which has been identified as one of the 272 most backward districts in the country by former planning commission of India.

Mrs Mitra Chaudhury said, “NGC primarily focuses on safety and security of women and children. Our motto is to organize a kind of people’s movement for safety, security and justice at the grass root.”

“The campaign aims at removing fear from the mind of villagers in Malda, a neighbouring district reportedly with high level of poverty, illiteracy, crime and communal violence. We want to be with the villagers in letting them voice out their demands for safety and security and elect fearless and truthful leaders as their political representatives for social, economic and infrastructural transformation of the villages,” she explained.

Mrs Mitra Chaudhury would be in Malda on 7 March to speak to the rural women in English Bazaar block. She would also donate an ambulance to the villagers in a programme at Nagharia high school on Saturday. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

One railway employee killed, another injured in road accident

Malda, 2 March, 2015: A railway employee was killed and another was seriously injured when a goods laden lorry hit a two-wheeler the duo was traveling by this evening at Jhaljhalia area in English Bazaar police station. Enraged by the accident the locals ransacked the lorry and nearly lynched the lorry driver. The injured lorry driver was admitted to Ghani Khan Choudhury railway hospital.

The dead railway employee was identified as Arabinda Sarkar, 26 from Habibpur while the injured was Pankaj Khan, 46 from Kanchrapara area in North 24 Paraganas and they were working as carriage staff at Malda railway division.

Agitated mob ransacking the lorry after the accident at Jhaljhalia on Monday evening (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)

It has been learnt from the eye-witnesses that the duo were going by a two-wheeler to get some papers photocopied. The lorry rushing towards Kotowali lost control in a bid to overtake the two-wheeler. As the lorry hit the motorcycle, Sarkar died on spot while Khan was injured in a serious condition.

Immediately the excited mob stopped the lorry and dragged out the driver. The lorry was ransacked and the driver was beaten heavily.

Injured Pankaj Khan at railway hospital (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)

Inspector in charge of English Bazaar police station Dilip Karmakar said that police hurriedly reached the spot and arrested the driver. The driver was sent to MMCH for treatment. The injured railway employee was admitted to railway hospital.

BJP workers injured, TMC accused

Malda, 2 March, 2015: A BJP activist Rajkumar Mandal, 40 was critically injured in attack allegedly by the Trinamul Congress workers last evening at Srinibaspur village of Akandabaria grampanchayat in Baishnabnagar police station. His elder brother Sukumar Mandal was injured too in a bid to save Rajkumar.

While Rajkumar is under treatment at Malda Medical College Hospital (MMCH), Sukumar was released after primary treatment. Later, he lodged police complaint against against three Trinamul Congress workers namely Krishna Mandal, Naresh Mandal and Putul Mandal today.

In his complaint Sukumar Mandal claimed that while his brother Rajkumar was returning from land, Nareh, Krishna and Putul attacked him with sharp weapons.

Injured BJP worker being treated at MMCH on Monday (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)

"As my brother yelled for rescue, I rushed out. They attacked me too," Sukumar added. He claimed that the accused were threatening him and his brother to quit the BJP and join the Trinamul. He said that he and his brother had been BJP activists for years.

District Trinamul president Moazzem Hossain denied the allegations and termed the incident as a feud beteeen two families.

SP Prasun Banerjee said, "Police received a complaint regarding a scuffle in Baishnabnagar. The accused are absconding. An enquiry has been started." 

Monday, March 2, 2015

College girl molested in running train, three youths arrested

Malda, 2 March, 2015: Molesting a college girl traveling with her mother in a reserved compartment of a running train landed three youths in prison. The incident occurred in Bangaluru bound Guwahati-Bangaluru Express last night. The youths identified as Biman Mandal, 22, Pratap Mandal, 21 and Debashish Mandal, 24 were forwarded to court by government railway police (GRP) today.

It has been learnt from GRP sources that the 20 years old girl, a student of second year of graduation course in Siliguri College was returning home at Mokdampur area in English Bazaar police station with her mother by the Bangaluru bound train.

The girl in a written complaint to the GRP alleged that after the train departed New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station Sunday at 16.55 hours, the trio started abusing her in front of her mother and other passengers. Even repeated warning by the girl and her mother could not discourage them from molesting her in public. As the girl to get of those youth changed her seat, the accused too followed her. They allegedly snapped photos of the girl too. Surprisingly, no co-passenger reportedly came to the rescues of the girl and her mother.

The accused trio from Chandipur village of Kahala gram panchayat in Ratua police station went to Siliguri to appear for an interview for recruitment in CRPF. They were supposed to get down at Samsi station.

Three accused youths on way of being produced in court on Monday (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)

But as they did not get down at Samsi and continued to follow and molest her, sensing a bigger peril, the complainant at a fit of desperation sought help from a GRP constable Mr B Burman who immediately nabbed one of the accused Biman Mandal. After the girl’s photo was found on Biman’s mobile, the girl’s complaint was primarily substantiated.

Meanwhile, as the train reached Malda around 7 pm, GRP personnel arrested the other two youths two and started grilling them.

The girl lamented that though the youths even pulled her hands in public, no co-passenger protested or came to her rescue.

Inspector in charge of GRP station in Malda Mr Krishna Gopal Dutta said, “Police started cases under sections 354 and 354A (Molestation and obscene behaviour) against the three youths who were arrested on the charge of molesting a college girl in a running train last night.” 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Death of newborn in private nursing home, doctor and nurse accused

Malda, 1 March, 2015: Death of a newborn baby girl caused excitement at a private nursing home as the parents ofthe baby claimed that the wrong treatment by the concerned pediatrician and the attending nurse resulted in the baby's death.

The aggrieved father with copy of police complaint (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)
Manoj Mitra, a primary school teacher and father of the deceased baby lodged a written police complaint against the pediatrician Dr Ziaul Hoque and the nurse Ms Vanu.

Mr Mitra alleged that his wife Soma Mitra, headmistress of a primary school delivered a 'healthy' baby girl (weighing 3.4kg) at the nursing home on 26 February. Mrs Mitra was ligated by the doctor.

The newborn was under care of Dr Z Hoque and kept well till last evening when Mr Mitra was reportely informed by his wife that the baby turned blue after pushing an injection by the nurse.

"I rushed to the nursing home and sought Dr Hoque's opinion as well. But even then he assured me that the baby was perfectly well," the bereaved father said.

He informed that eventually the baby died around 2 am today. The wrong treatment and negligence of the doctor and thr nurse took away my baby's life. I want exemplary punishment for them," he claimed.

Mrs Mitra too blamed the doctor and the nurse and claimed that the injection prescribed for her was infused into the baby which caused the neeborn's death.

The sick mother at nursing home (Photo: VoM)
Dr Z Hoque admitted that the baby was healthy. "I only prescribed an anti-biotic injection. But it is difficult to say if the same onjection was pushed, he defended.

Aggrieved relatives of the deceased baby demonstrated in front of the nursing home and the foctor's chamber.

The accused nurse fled after the incident. The nursing home authorities remained mute in this regard.

Police said that the complaint was being probed into. 

Robbers' attack kills one, injures five, road-blockade for seven hours

Malda, 1 March, 2015: The robbery scare that the villagers of English Bazaar and Manikchak were reeling under eventually came true violently as a vegetable vendor Ataur Sabji, 45 was killed and two others Mobarak Sabji, 25 and Sultan Sabji, 32 were severely injured in attack by the robbers at Damodarpur village of Enayetpur gram panchayat in English Bazaar police station early this morning.
Two villagers including a Madhyamik examinee, volunteers of night security team at a neighbouring village – Sujit Mandal, 30 and Labanya Mandal, 16 were injured when the suspected robbers pelted bombs targeting them from a running vehicle.

Two incidents were enough to agitate the villagers who hit the streets since this morning and blocked Malda-Manikchak state highway at several places. Large contingent of police had a tough luck in lifting the blockade. Even cops allegedly charged batons at Manikchak. Finally, the villagers agreed to suspend the blockade after police reportedly promised to lodge police camps at the vulnerable areas.

Police sources informed that while a team of three vendors after selling vegetables were returning home by a small van. Suddenly a gang of robbers in a bid to loot the vendors started pelting bombs on the van. Four persons including the driver were injured.

Meanwhile alleging police inaction and demanding arrest of the dacoits hundreds of villagers from areas along Malda – Manikchak state highway blocked the road at different areas by burning tires and leaving wooden logs on the road.

Ajimuddin Sheikh, a Trinamul Congress member of Enayetpur gram panchayat said that police were informed after the dacoits sent written advance threats to residents of Madia village. “But even then the robbers’ advent could not be thwarted. We demand to beef up security immediately at these areas,” he added.

SP Prasun Banerjee said, “Police have been looking into alleged robbery threat seriously. Three persons were arrested too. However, one person died and few others were injured in an attack by some miscreants. Villagers blocked the road and police had to resort to mild baton charge to lift the blockade.” “Police camps would be installed at those areas,” Mr Banerjee added.

Meanwhile, relief and rehabilitation minister Sabitri Mitra visited the injured at MMCH this evening. “Police were asked to take prompt action to assure the villagers who were threatened by the villagers,” Mrs Mitra said. 

Twin newborns rescued before being on sale by father

Malda, 1 March, 2015: Instead of being fed on the mother’s breast milk, two hapless newborns were waiting to be sold to unknown families. The repugnant trade was about to take place at Naldubi village of Mangalbari gram panchayat in Malda police station, merely 8 km from here. However, those newborns were rescued and admitted to Malda Medical Collewge Hospital, thanks to the timely intervention of a charitable organization.

After the matter was revealed, minister for women and child development and social welfare Dr Sashi Panja instantly asked the district social welfare department officials to submit a report without any delay.

Besides, police have also started an enquiry into the complaint received by the members of the charitable organization.

Secretary of the organization Akinul Rahman said, “We came to know that a poor couple from Naldubi area Ashok Pramanick and his second wife Dipali Pramanick planned to sell their four-day-old twin newborns against Rs 5,000 only. Even they handed over the babies to the midwifery nurse Lata Rabidas and asked her to sell the babies against a certain amount. Thankfully the gram panchayat pradhan Rekha Bibi on learning the plan of the underprivileged couple recovered the twin newborns from the midwifery nurse’s house and admitted them to MMCH.”

The midwife with the babies (Photo: VoM)

Mr Rahman further apprehended that a baby-selling racket might have involvement behind the prospective trade of the twins.

Dipali Pramanick (Photo: VoM)

The mother of the newborns Dipali Pramanick mentioning the family’s deplorable financial condition conceded, “My husband claimed that he had not fathered the twins and left them laid under open sky. Being mother it was hard to endure the babies’ plight. So, according to the husband’s plan I consented to sell the babies and kept them under the care of the midwifery nurse.”

Ashok Pramanick, the father and a barbar, in a seemingly indifferent tone said, “Firstly, I am too poor to rear up two babies. Moreover, those babies do not belong to me as Dipali had already been pregnant when I married her. Why should I take care of other’s offspring with my pitiable income?”

He admitted that a man from village initially offered him Rs 300 for feeding the babies and offered another Rs 5,000 later. “Accordingly, the babies were at the care of the midwifery nurse. I do not know anymore,” he added.

Lata Rabidas, the midwife said that as she could not bear the desertion of the newborns by their parents, she had brought them to her house at Sarada Colony, 4 km from the babies’ home.

The rescuer of the babies Rekha Bibi said that the babies as well as their mother were quite sick. “I admitted them to MMCH with help of the charitable organization. Police complaint was lodged too,” she added.

SP Prasun Banerjee said, “A complaint of attempting to sell twin newborns was received by police. An investigation is underway.” 

Smart phones with spl app to check ICDS activities

Malda, 27 February, 2015: Both the ministers from the district – Sabitri Mitra and Krishnendu Choudhury repeatedly questioned work culture of integrated child development scheme (ICDS) workers in the district. Now, the district administrations, accepting the ‘suggestions’ from the ministers, distributed smart phones with a special app among the ICDS workers from which they would have to send at least three photographs from each of the ICDS centres.

ADM (general) D Mandal explaining the utility of the new app on mobile (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)
It has been learnt from district administrative sources that all 114 supervisors of the ICDS would regularly send updates of all the ICDS centres by using the mobile app. The administration would thus monitor development of the children, availability of treatment facility, quality of food etc at the ICDS centres as learnt from administrative sources.

DM Sharad Dwivedi said that it was learnt from a survey conducted in December, 2014 70,000 children were identified in the district out of which 20,000 children suffered from mal-nutrition.

ICDS supervisors intently learning the use of the new app (Photo: VoM)

“Photographs of those children were taken. A special app has been designed which would be available on the mobile phone sets distributed among the IDCS supervisors. Rs 5 lakh has been spent to purchase the mobiles. Supervisors would be sending at least three photographs from their mobile phones. It would be thus easier for us to monitor how the ICDS centres in the district are functioning,” Mr Dwivedi added.

It has been learnt from administrative sources that monitoring the ICDS work through special mobile app is a pilot project. Minister Sashi Panja also kept vigil on the project. “The project would also help in curbing the alleged irregularities at the ICDS centres,” a senior official said.

Robbery notice haunts English Bazaar village

Malda, 27 February, 2015: Hundred years back gangs of notorious ‘Raghu Dakat’ or ‘Kalu Dakat’ used to plunder the houses of affluent targets serving notice well in advance. Families receiving such written forecasts used to reel under scare helplessly. But when technology advanced incredibly over the centuries and the robber-gangs too have invented newer methods to keep their targets remain clueless about the plan-of robbery, 27 families at Madia village of Sovanagar gram panchayat in English Bazaar police station are spending sleepless nights after receiving the dreadful notices from robbers like it happened centuries ago.

A scared family with robbery notice (Photo: VoM)
“Taiyar raho, hum arahe hain/ Ghar mein jitna kimti saman hain/ Rupiya, jaharat taiyar rakhna/ Jyada chalaki maat karma/ Kisiko bataneki koshish maat karna/ Warna…” (Get ready, we are coming/ Keep all valuable articles, money, jewels ready for us/ Do not be oversmart/ Otherwise…”) – thus read the letters from robbers which have been received by government employees to businessmen including a panchayat member of Trinamul Congress. The threat-letters have brought the recipients from Madia village approximately 25 km from here, under one roof. To combat the dacoits they have also formed groups to protect themselves.

A businessman Mohammed Mazharul Alam, one such recipient of notice from the dacoits has already lodged a written complaint with police on Friday morning. The worry of the probable victims of the robbery knocked the door of the relief and rehabilitation minister Sabitri Mitra too.

However, the villagers have not left the issue of security entirely to the police and the minister alone. The scare struck village has constituted teams of night-guards comprising the youths with stout physique. Temporary towers with bamboo, tin and jute have been erected at the turning of the village.

Mr Alam, the complainant on behalf of the other villagers said that the robbers however did not mention the time of their operation.

Railway employee Meer Wahab, ration dealer Mohammed Yasizuddin, mango trader Mozaffar Rahman, sweet-meat seller Tazmul Shrikh and other villagers like Manzur Sheikh, Velu Momin, Younus Momin and others said that to some of them the notice was sent in envelope and the notice was pasted on the doors of the some of their houses.

Helpless villagers looking for a saviour (Photo: VoM)
 Panchayat member of Trinamul Congress Azimuddin Sheikh, who too received the robbery-notice, however does not like to consider the threat seriously. “It may be a bad joke by some youths. But still it is difficult to assure the villagers,” Mr Sheikh said.

Minister Mrs Mitra said, “The area is under my assembly constituency. The scared villagers came to me. I urged the SP to look into the matter.”

SP Prasun Banerjee said, “The issue has come to my notice. English Bazaar police have been asked to probe into the matter. We are trying to identify the senders of the notice.” 

Bicycle thief suspect nearly lynched, admitted to MMCH

Malda, 27 February, 2015: Ramakrishnapally area in English Bazaar police station witnessed fury of public that left a youth Moti Mia (26) severely injured as the mob suspected that the youth had stolen a bicycle from the locality on Friday morning around 9.30 am.

Police had to rush to the spot to rescue the unconscious youth who was still being beaten black and blue. After he was admitted to Malda Medical College and Hospital (MMCH), the condition of the youth was stated to be critical.

It has been learnt from local and police sources that one Ratan Sarkar, a businessman living at Ramakrishnapally area suddenly found his bicycle missing which he had parked in front of his house and went inside to get his mobile phone.

After searching the bicycle at the locality, the businessman claimed to have found the youth with the bicycle. Mr Sarkar immediately grabbed him by his shirt and started thrashing him. Immediately the other locals gathered there and even before the suspected youth could defend himself, hundreds of people started beating him bamboo, iron rod and whatever was available at their finger tips.
The suspected youth being beaten by irate mob on Friday (Photo: Sudip Roy Choudhury)

He was tied with a rope and dragged to a nearby ground adjacent to NH-34. Even though the youth started bleeding profusely, the enraged mob showed no sign of mercy. Rather the torture was intensified further. The youth was slapped and beaten with slippers too.

After about half an hour police were informed and the youth was admitted to MMCH by police after being rescued.

Inspector in charge of English Bazaar police station Dilip Karmakar said, “The youth was beaten as a large mob suspected him to be a bicycle thief. The youth was identified as Moti Mia and under treatment in MMCH. A probe was initiated into the incident.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Minority Cong ZP board gets annual budget passed unanimously

Malda, 26 February, 2015: On the day the Union rail budget was tabled in the parliament, the minority Congress board in Malda Zilla Parishad (MZP) managed to get its annual budget without any hassle. Additional executive officer (AEO) of MZP Amalkanti Ray informed that with an increase of 10 percent compared to the previous year this year’s budget of Rs 319.47 crore was approved today.

It may be mentioned that out of 38 members in MZP the ruling Congress has only 16 members and Left Front also has the same number of member. Trinamul Congress has six members. Though Congress managed to get the support of two LF members while forming the board, the magic figure (20 members) could not be attained by the Congress run board.

Congress had to toil get the MZP budget passed in last financial year as the opposition parties raised several objections.

AEO Mr Ray said, “The budget of Rs 319,47,75,000 was unanimously passed this year. Indira Abas Yojana and Sachh Bharat Yojana have been emphasized in this year’s budget. Rs 7 cr received under Sachh Bharat Yojana has been completely utilized. Out of a target of 5, 08,660 toilets, 45,000 toilets have already been constructed.” 

BJP leader arrested on charge of raping minor girl

Malda, 26 February 2015: BJP president of Paschimpara booth committee at Laxmighat village of Narhatta gram panchayat in English Bazaar police station Emdadul Hoque (26) was arrested last night on the charge of raping a neighbouring minor girl alluring her with a toy yesterday.

It has been learnt from police sources that the youth allured the girl, a student of class II to his house tempting her with a toy. The girl reportedly fell sick and in face of questions asked by her parents the minor girl reportedly narrated her traumatic experience.

It was then her parents lodged a complaint with English Bazaar police station and police immediately sent the girl for medic al test and arrest the accused.

The minor girl being taken to court to record her confession on Thursday (Photo: VOM)

Trinamul Congress leader and panchayat member of Narhatta gram panchayat Nasimul Sheikh demanded that a mobile phone mechanic Emdadul should be given exemplary punishment.

On the other hand the district BJP president Sibendu Sekhar Roy claimed that Emdadul was a victim of conspiracy hatched by the Trinamul leaders. “His only fault is he actively works for the BJP. Police should hold an impartial probe into the matter,” Mr Roy said.

SP Prasun Banerjee said, “The youth was arrested on charge of raping a seven-year-old girl. Police have started a thorough investigation into the matter.”