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Author: Arshad Ali

Kolkata to get a floating market

What started off as a plan to rehabilitate shopowners ended up as a gift for Kolkata in the shape of the first market inside a water body, with walkways for customers from which they can shop.At Patuli, a neighbourhood in south Kolkata, an entire lake has been transformed into a floating market about 24,000 sq m in area.”When an adjoining bypass was being widened, the local market had to be removed and its 228 shopowners rehabilitated. Our Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, inspired by the floating market in Bangkok, wanted to set up a similar market here. I met him and gave him this proposal. A team of officials of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) came over for a feasibility study and okayed the place,” said Arup Chakraborty, councillor, Ward 110 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.He said it would be the first such market in the country and the third in Asia. “There is one at Dal Lake in Srinagar but that is not an organised one. People just sell their wares at a venture. Over here, we will have ramps for customers. The merchandise will be sold in clusters. For example, one area would be for vegetable sellers, another for fruits, another for flowers and so on,” Chakraborty said.It was found out that 114 boats have been made in Hooghly district. Each boat would have two shops each. They would be stationary beside the ramps. The market timings are yet to be decided by the KMDA, but tentatively been fixed at 5 am-1 pm and 3 pm-8 pm.”We will avoid using plastic. We will instal a purifier for cleaning the water. The expenditure is expected to be about Rs 10 crore,” Chakraborty said, adding that the market was expected to be ready by the end of January 2018 and would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her convenience.The market would include a cafe, a joggers’ track, seats, fountains and a light-and-sound show in the evening.

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Day after Sabang result, SP close to Mamata Banerjee transferred to less important post

A day after the results of Sabang Assembly constituency bypoll, the West Midnapore district superintendent of police, Bharati Ghosh, who was known for her proximity to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was transferred to a comparatively less important and more of an ornamental post.In a government notification on December 25, among other officers, Ghosh, has been posted to Barrackpore as the commandant of the third battalion of state armed police. She had been replaced by Alok Rajoria.Ghosh’s transfer after over five years of being the SP of West Midnapore and Jhargram districts has set speculations afoot especially after the convincing win of Gitarani Bhunia, wife of TMC Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhunia, as the party MLA from Sabang. There are two theories which are doing the rounds behind the transfer of this IPS officer who had at a recent function at Jhargram referred to Mamata as ‘mother of Junglemahal’. Political analysts said that Manas had engineered the transfer of Ghosh because she had not been in his good books since he was a Congress MLA. Manas, after winning as the Congress-CPI(M) alliance candidate from Sabang in 2016, from the area had been at loggerheads with Ghosh. He had also alleged at that time that Ghosh, on the behest of the ruling dispensation, had implicated him with rape and murder charges.Also readSabang bypoll: Seven-fold increase in vote-share for BJP augurs well for its future Sources also said that Ghosh has been transferred because it had been observed that after the former TMC second-in-command defected to BJP, many vital party information and strategies including those ahead of Sabang by-poll, were being leaked into the opposition camp and it was suspected that Ghosh was one of those responsible. Ghosh, has, however, opted to refrain from making any comment about the transfer. Several phone calls made to her went unanswered.

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Mamata Banerjee opposing Centre’s policies for the sake of opposing: Union Minister Meghwal

Replying to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegation that the Central government had dismissed Christmas as a national holiday without any logic, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, during his visit to Kolkata on Monday said the allegation was baseless.“Our government would not take any decision on the basis of religion. It functions according to the provisions of the constitution of the country. Mamata is opposing to every policy of the Centre just for the sake of opposition,” he said interacting with media persons.On December 22, while inaugurating the Christmas Festival on Park Street, Mamata had questioned the intention behind cancellation of December 25 as a national holiday. She had also said that on two occasions the tableaux proposals from West Bengal during the Republic Day had been rejected by the Centre. Replying to that Meghwal said that the Central government had no hands in it. “These are baseless allegations. There is a committee to look into it to accept or reject such proposals. The government didn’t interfere into these day to day activities. We don’t do politics with everything. Next we will see that an NCC person comes up saying that he had not been selected and it was a conspiracy. Mamata herself is doing politics with this issue,” he added.Also readMamata Banerjee attacks Centre over no national holiday on Dec 25Talking about Mamata’s allegations regarding Centre freezing funds for welfare schemes, he said that in a meeting with the Centre and Chief Ministers of the state it was decided that the Centre-state share in most funds would be 60:40 and the on-going schemes would be completed as usual. “She was in the meeting too. Her government had failed to produce utilisation certificate for the funds allocated already by the Centre,” Meghwal said.Referring to the on-going protests against the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, he said that under no circumstances would the depositors’ interests be hampered. “It is a good bill. We have to take care of the investors’ interest. The bill, at present is with the Select Committee which comprises members from all parties including hers. We are not against investors,” he said.Asked about the Triple Talaq issue he said that it was an attempt by the Centre to ensure equal rights for women. “Shouldn’t women’s rights be protected? The social security and right to equality of women is being looked into. We should welcome the move,” he said.

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TMC wrests seat from Congress

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal wrested the Sabang Assembly seat from the Congress on Sunday by defeating the nearest CPM contender by 64,192 votes, the results of which were announced on Sunday.TMC received 1,06,179 votes and CPM got 41,987 votes. BJP secured the third position with 37,476 votes while Congress who held the Sabang seat so far was pushed down to the fourth position with 18,060 votes.The bye-election had been necessitated after sitting Congress MLA Manas Bhunia who had won from there as the Congress-CPM alliance candidate in 2016 defected to TMC and had been made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP. His wife Gitarani Bhunia had been pitched as the TMC candidate and she bettered her husband’s winning margin by 15,025 votes. Manas had won in 2016 with a margin of 49,167 votes.TMC attributed the victory to the trust of people in Mamata Banerjee-led government. “People had brought in musclemen from outsiders to put a stumbling block for Mamata. But people have voted wholeheartedly for us. It shows that people have ignored all the canards that the Opposition spreads and have voted against the anti-people policies of the Central government,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee at a news conference in the evening.Manas said the contest of his wife was with him. “We were sure of the win. The TMC leadership only wanted to see if Gitarani could beat me in terms of the winning margin, which she has. I am enjoying my defeat,” he said.CPM candidate Rita Mondal Jana alleged a foul play. “It is the victory of terror, corruption and betrayers. They have not won with people’s votes but the bogus votes cast by a bunch of their cadres. At about 150 booths they had terrorised people and forced them to cast their votes in their favour,” Mondal said.BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said their result was satisfying. “There was hardly any existence of BJP there. We had secured 2.5 per cent vote in the last election. This time the vote share has increased by about 10 times,” he said.Congress leaders were content to put up a ‘brave fight’. “Our organisation was weak there. We did not expect to make any impact there but Congress had put up a brave fight in spite of the police atrocity as well as lawlessness and violence unleashed by the TMC,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former state party president Pradeep Bhattacharya.

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Mamata Banerjee attacks Centre over no national holiday on Dec 25

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday fired a fresh salvo against the Centre while inaugurating the Christmas Festival on Park Street.She began by questioning the intent of the BJP-run Central government behind the cancellation of December 25 as a national holiday. “It is still not clear to me why this kind of decision was taken. I would like to listen to the logic behind it, if there is any. We in Bengal, however, have declared it as a holiday. I still believe that Centre should roll back its decision,” she said.She then said that the tableaux from Bengal during the Republic Day parade had won first prizes on two occasions, but two recent proposals have been rejected by the Centre. “Last year, our proposed theme was Kanyashree, which had been appreciated worldwide, but was not accepted by the Centre. It is an insult to the people of Bengal. This year, we had proposed ‘Ekotai Sompriti’ (Unity is harmony) and we complied with all their suggestions, but it was rejected,” Mamata said.She said that she had always participated in all the festivals of different religions but in other states people are lynched because they follow other faiths. “What we are seeing is that leaders are out to divide people on the basis of religion.”

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West Bengal | To track big cats, Jaldapara National Park to put radio collars on 200 leopards

Authorities of Jaldapara National Park at Alipurduar district of West Bengal have decided to put radio collars on leopards to track their whereabouts. Frequent attacks of leopards who stray into human habitats have led them take such decision.There have been as many as 64 incidents of leopards entering villages this year, injuring 16 people. Forest officials said that there were about 200 leopards in Jaldapara National Park.As a pilot project, radio collars have been put on the leopard, which had entered Dalimpur village of Falakata area. It spread panic among villagers who were afraid of come out of their homes. Officials of the forest department were informed and once they arrived, they found the leopard, tranquilised it and put the collar on to it before setting it free in Jaldapara National Park.Such collars would also put on other leopards in phases. Officials said that it would be specially useful to locate these animals at night if they tried to enter villages stealthily.“It had been noticed that many leopards were entering human habitat at many villages of the vicinity and attacking people. We have put radio collars on these leopards to keep track on their movements so that other than studying these animals we can also take precautionary steps before they can cause any formidable damage,” said district forest officer Biman Biswas.

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West Bengal: 84% voter turnout recorded in Sabang Assembly by-poll

An estimated 84% voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm in today’s by-poll for Sabang Assembly constituency in West Bengal which ended with spats of violence at a number of booths. Opposition parties alleged that the violence was sponsored by the Trinamool Congress (TMC), while the ruling party leaders denied the allegations. Polling started at a very slow pace at 7 am with most of the 306 booths wearing a deserted look. It picked up as the day progressed with instances of violence being reportedfrom various polling booths. At booth numbers 161, 169 and 170 of Sabang block, BJP polling agents were reportedly chased away by TMC cadres. At Bishnupur Murarichowk area, people, belived to be from the TMC, were held and firearms were recovered from their possession.At Panpara Saliara School, it was alleged that Congress polling agents were not allowed to sit in the polling booth. The matter was resolved after Congress candidate Chiranjeeb Bhowmik intervened.At booth number 160 of Sindurda Primary School, it was alleged that TMC cadres had beaten up CPI(M) polling agent. BJP leader Ananda Maiti was allegedly abducted from Pingla’s Jolchowk. At Sabang III area’s booth 57, it was alleged that perfume was applied on the button corresponding to BJP symbol on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).Later in the evening, at booth 291 of Sabang’s Bishnupur Primary School it was alleged that attempt to loot EVMs was made. When the attempt was foiled, offenders allegedly pelted stones at the Central force guarding the polling station. At booth 44 of Sabang III Gram Panchayat area, a clash between TMC and BJP workers broke out.In the evening, BJP youth wing members put up a demonstration in front of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer in Central Kolkata, protesting against the violence allegedly unleashed by the TMC.Later, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that TMC had resorted to violence as they had lost confidence on democracy. “Central force was there but they were not used and had been kept at rest. At Pingla and other bordering areas, the state police had only played the part of an audience while violence broke out. It was a pre-planned thing with political leaders and district police. Members of TMC’s bike brigade had been going around in the area creating an atmosphere of terror,” Ghosh said.Senior TMC leader and state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, however, refuted allegations saying that BJP was making excuses for their imminent loss. “Going by the poll trends they know that they cannot win at Sabang and that is why they are getting excuses ready to defend their loss later,” he told DNA.

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West Bengal: Voting continues for Sabang bypoll amid tight security

Amidst heavy security arrangement, bypolls to Sabang Assembly constituency in West Midnapore district of West Bengal began at 7 am on Thursday.The voting process began in 306 booths where 2,45,259 electors will exercise their franchise. Of them, 2,01,142 are in Sabang block and 44,117 are in Pingla.Eight companies of Central force had already arrived in Sabang to take care of law and order situation. Sabang Assembly comprises 16 panchayats. Of these Sabang block has 13 and Pingla block has three.Officials at the office of Chief Electoral Official in Kolkata said that all the booths would be equipped with VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) which means voters would be able to verify that their votes have been cast for their choice of candidate.The by-poll has been necessitated owing to the defection of Congress MLA Manas Bhunia to TMC, who had been later made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP. Interestingly his wife, Gitarani Bhunia has been pitched as the TMC candidate where as Chiranjeeb Bhowmik of Congress, Rita Mondal of CPI(M), and BJP’s Antara Bhattacharya are also in the fray.Also readSabang bypoll | Four-cornered battle for this traditional Congress bastion in BengalManas, who had been the MLA from Sabang since 1982 is confident about his wife’s win from the place. In the last Assembly election in 2016, he was the Cong-CPI(M) alliance candidate and had secured 1,45,259 votes, registering a convincing victory against Nirmal Ghosh of TMC who received 77,820 votes. “TMC is the real Congress which had been formed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the real tension is whether Gitarani Bhunia would be able to defeat Manas Bhunia in terms of winning margin,” he said.Congress and CPI(M) candidates have, however, have been campaigning by referring to Manas as a ‘turncoat’ while BJP said that if there was a free and fair election, BJP would win.Also readLitmus test for Mukul Roy in West Midnapore’s Sabang seatThe result would be announced on December 24.

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WB Mahila Morcha leader slams Mamata Banerjee over record

National president of the BJP Mahila Morcha, Vijaya Rahatkar on Wednesday criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and stated that in spite of being a woman, her state tops the list in atrocities against women.”According to the recent report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), West Bengal is ahead in violence against women. Domestic violence is the highest here and it also leads in the number of acid attack cases. Of the 283 acid attacks last year, Bengal alone accounted for 76 cases and affected 83 victims. In spite of there being specific Supreme Court guidelines in terms of storage and sale of acids, it is flouted rampantly in West Bengal and the state government has failed to check it,” she said after a day-long meeting with the Bengal BJP women’s wing.She also said that Bengal heads the list of cases of human trafficking. “Bengal shares its border with countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan because of which human trafficking is very high here. Of the 8132 cases nationwide last year, Bengal registered 3579 cases. The state has a woman Chief Minister and we expect her to be sensitive but we find the government here is insensitive,” she said.She also said that her instruction to the Bengal chapter was to put up a movement against this government.

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Justice Karnan walks out of Presidency Jail after six months of imprisonment

Former Calcutta High Court judge, Justice CS Karnan was released from Presidency Correctional Home of Kolkata on Wednesday after serving his six months’ sentence for contempt of court.After his release on Wednesday morning, Karnan headed for his residence at Rajarhat, at the eastern fringes of the city. Justice Karnan was the first sitting judge to be jailed.Raj Kanojia, the IPS officer who was heading a team of police officers to hunt Justice Karnan down when he was on the run after Supreme Court sentenced him for six months is now the principal secretary, department of Correctional Administration, West Bengal. He told DNA that it was an interesting case. “It was an interesting case tracking down a sitting judge. We had to be careful with him at the same time we had to comply with the court order. We had to do a lot of planning and briefing. The team comprised senior officers only. Our prime objective was to pull it off without embarrassing the court or police,” he said. He also said that after he took over as the principal secretary, he used to occasionally enquire about Justice Karnan’s stay as an inmate out of his academic interest and found out that his stay at the Presidence Correctional Home was largely uneventful. “There was nothing untoward in the last six months but I was told that he had lost weight. I never heard of him complaining about the food and the stay,” Kanojia told DNA.Sources close to the judge said that Justice Karnan would not give up on his fight for the backward class and would continue to raise his voice against atrocities faced by Dalits. Justice Karnan had been hitting the headlines for several years now. He was the first judge of a High Court to write to the National Commission for SCs and STs in 2011, alleging harassment by other judges.In 2014, he had reportedly barged into a court at the Madras High Court where a hearing was in progress and hit out at the judiciary for being biased. It was then the Supreme Court had ordered his transfer to the Calcutta High Court.In 2017, he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in which he alleged that at least 20 sitting and retired judges had indulged in corrupt practices. In March 2017, a bailable warrant was issued against him which he had termed as an ‘attempt to ruin his life as a Dalit judge. The Supreme Court also requested him for a certificate of mental fitness. He refused to cooperate with the doctors who had come to his residence for his mental check-up which led the apex court to sentence him for six months on May 9. After that he kept on evading arrest by moving from one state to another for 42 days, before he was finally arrested on June 20 from Coimbatore and brought to Presidency Correctional Home.

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After Gujarat, Amit Shah turns focus on Bengal, to draw roadmap to strengthen BJP in state

After emerging victorious in the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections, Central leadership of BJP has instructed to go all out in strengthening the party organisation in West Bengal.Sources said that on December 19, BJP national president Amit Shan had given such instruction in a meeting with party national secretary from Bengal and former state president Rahul Sinha.Shah had reportedly said that that state leaders needed to pay attention towards completion of party’s booth committee formation.In the meeting which was conducted late in the evening Shah had first taken stock about the party’s activities in Bengal.Later he said that along with the campaigns, meetings and rallies it should also be ensured that booth committees were paid due attention. The first task would be to build at least a 10-member booth committee in all the booths and later work on increasing the number.Sinha had also been instructed to mobilise all the party state frontal organisations and different cells. Sinha has also been handed over the task of seeing that more and more defection from different parties to BJP takes place as well as eminent personalities and intellectuals should also join the party.It was also found out that Shah wants to make the Gujarat and HP victory as the turning point for the West Bengal BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections and he would conduct a meeting with the state BJP leadership in January 2018 and draw up a roadmap. Shah is also likely to visit West Bengal next month.Sinha said that from the importance the Central leadership was paying to West Bengal it is clear how serious and focussed our leaders in Delhi are about Bengal.

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After saffron sweep in Assembly polls, Mamata trying to appease Hindus, alleges Bengal BJP

After BJP’s victory in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, Bengal unit of the party believes CM Mamata Banerjee is looking for an image correction. After a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that Rs 17 crore has been allotted for the renovation of 74 ghats centred around Dakshineswar and Belur.“The decision has been taken in today’s cabinet meeting. It is a message to those who had been spreading canards about our party,” he said. He also said that a total of 1220 new posts have been created including 460 in the Home and Hill Affairs department, 82 in the Health and Family Planning department and 42 in the Finance department.With the panchayat election next year and BJP getting a shot in the arm in the shape of the defection of former TMC Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy to BJP, TMC leaders have been trying their best to give out the message that they are for inclusive development of the state, irrespective of the person’s faith. At the district level too it is being used as a tool. In Birbhum district of West Bengal, a Brahmin Sammelan will be conducted on January 8, 2018. District TMC president Anubrata Mondal told DNA that it was being done in accordance with a party circular. “About 15,000 brahmins across the district will gather. They will perform pujas and each of them will be given a Gita, a religious shawl and a photograph of Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Ma,” he said and denied that it had any political connotation. “We had done this earlier at a block level but going by the party’s instructions, this year I am doing it at a district level,” he said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsBJP leaders, however, said that the Mamata Banerjee-led government was doing those out of fear that the party and the government was growing unpopular among the members of the majority community. “They had taken appeasement of the minority to such a level that members of the majority community was disturbed and sensing it, they have now turned to do some damage control but I don’t think these will work. I have also heard that ahead of panchayat polls the TMC will donate cows to people in the rural areas. I have have seen Mamata chant mantras full of mistakes on stage to show people that she is a Hindu,” said Rahul Sinha, BJP national secretary and former party state president. He alleged that Mamata had started the politics of division in Bengal and had she done politics on the basis of developmental work in the state, there would have been no question of appeasing members of any religion.

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Mamata Banerjee: BJP has suffered a moral defeat

‘I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people,” she tweeted.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByArshad Ali <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 19 December 2017 2:43 ISTMust read’FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawalForget sharing your data with banks, in Goa you need to share Aadhaar for paid sex<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>After the Assembly election result for Gujarat was out on Monday, with BJP registering its sixth consecutive victory, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated the people of Gujarat for a ‘balanced verdict’ and at the same time termed it as a ‘temporary and face-saving victory.’<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>‘I congratulate Gujarat voters for their very balanced verdict at this hour. It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people,” she tweeted.

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BJP leaders meet in WB ahead of bypolls

A day after Trinamool Congress’ youth wing president Abhishek Banerjee lashed out at BJP at Sabang in West Midnapore, ahead of bypolls on December 21, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh and BJP MP and Union minister Babul Supriyo along with others conducted a meeting on Sunday at Sabang.At the meeting, Ghosh accused the Mamata Banerjee-led government of indulging in politics of appeasement and alleged that there had been no development at Sabang and that it had been given step-motherly treatment by the state.”The TMC government had not done any development here in spite of the Central government sanctioning Rs 678 crore to build canals to help prevent floods. It is just a huge scam. The canals have been dug haphazardly,” Ghosh said, adding that most of the money had been re-routed to the party fund.He also said that Sabang was famous for its mats but Mamata did nothing to ensure the development of that art. Referring to the role of Manas Bhuniya, who had been a Congress MLA since 1982 before defecting to the TMC, he accused him of being an opportunist who switched over for his own personal interest.”So far, there has only been politics of corruption, violence and opportunists who overlooked the interest of the common people by depriving them of basic facilities. There needs to be a change to be brought about here,” he said.Supriyo reiterated that Mamata had been claiming all the credits of providing rice at Rs 2 per kg to the common people but in effect Food Corporation of India (FCI) was buying the rice at Rs 33 per kg of which, the Centre was providing Rs 29.67 per kg, the state was paying Re 1 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for the rice. He also alleged that corruption galore in the TMC government in the implementation of the Centre’s Swachh Bharat mission.

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Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital for last 70 years, will remain so forever, says envoy to India

Israel’s ambassador to India Daniel Carmon on Sunday said that the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish nation was only a matter of fact which has been stated by the US President Donald Trump.“I don’t need to react to a matter of fact that had been stated by the President of the United States. It is a fact that Jerusalem has been the capital of Jewish people for 5000 years. It is the capital of the modern state of Israel for 70 years and the reaction is in the field. When you visit the place, you will see what it means for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Carmon said.”Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state of Israel and it will continue so for ever,” he added.Also read4 Palestinians killed, hundreds wounded in new wave of violence over US Jerusalem moveCarmon was speaking on the sidelines of the event of rededication of Beth El Synagogue in Kolkata. He said the event had been put up on a day when Jews across the world were celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights. Also readPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision ‘greatest crime’“This is a huge message by the Jewish community of Kolkata which has been and still is a bridge between Judaism and the other faiths, between Israel and India, between the Jews and India and it is part and parcel of the fabric of this wonderful city of Kolkata and the rededication sends a message that we remember the past, think about the present and we are looking to the future,” he added.Also readTrump’s Jerusalem move will double the unity of Muslims, says Iran defence ministerDanny Deutsch and Sheila Deutsch (DNA photo by Arshad Ali)Many had flown in from Israel to Kolkata just to attend the inauguration of the restored synagogue. Danny Deutsch and Sheila Deutsch was one such couple. Danny’s mother Hannah Joshua had been born in Kolkata and had left for Israel at the age of 22. Both of them are professors at the Hebrew University. “The job has been done beautifully. We are delighted and surprised to see the restoration work,” said Danny. Manasseh Meyer and his wife Michelle Meyer taking selfie (DNA photo by Arshad Ali)Another such couple was Manasseh Meyer and his wife Michelle Meyer, who were seen taking a selfie in front of the synagogue, were of similar opinion. “I was born in Kolkata at China Town and in 1969 when I was of 14 years, we went off to Israel. Since then I had been here for about five times, the last time being in 2005 after my father passed away. After looking at the restoration job I can say they have done a wonderful, professional job. If I can get work like these back in Israel, I’ll be happy,” Manasseh said.The restoration was done by Society for Heritage Conservation and Preservation over a period of more than two years with the help of more than 200 workers. “We had to bring in several specialists to work. Instead of using modern cement and sand we used the traditional limestone which was time consuming but had a better finish and would have more longevity. The basement was damp with water flooding in. We had to overhaul the drainage system. Most of the wood was eaten by termites. Ideally we should have used Burma Teak but considering the cost we had to use the nearest match,” said AG Krishna Menon, advisor of the society.

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Sabang bypoll | Four-cornered battle for this traditional Congress bastion in Bengal

When Sabang goes to polls on December 21, it would witness an intense four-cornered battle between Congress, BJP, CPM and ruling Trinamool Congress.The bypoll, which is being seen as the precursor to the panchayat polls next year, will also answer whether the Congress will be able to save its bastion or not.At heart of the bypoll is defection of Manas Bhunia to Mamata Banerjee’s party.Manas Bhunia had been the Congress MLA from Sabang since 1982. He had managed to hold fort even during the Left Front regime and had emerged victorious in 2016 as an alliance candidate of Congress and the Left Front.Referring to his leaving Congress he defended himself and said, “I had not left Congress. Adhir Chowdhury and Abdul Mannan had kicked me out of the party. They had suspended me and Mamata Banerjee had given me the respect I deserved.”Interestingly, the Trinamool has fielded Bhunia’s wife Gitarani Bhunia in the upcoming bypoll. Now, it has become a prestige fight for Manas Bhunia. He has left no stone unturned to campaign for his wife, roaming about the streets of Sabang in a car and sometimes even on a bike.On the other hand, the Congress and the CPM are fighting separately this time and the candidates have been highlighting Manas Bhunia as a turncoat.“People of Sabang know how Manas had been a turncoat and how the present government had done nothing here. They have only turned this place into blue and white in colour,” Congress candidate Chiranjeeb Bhowmik said.CPM candidate Rita Mondal Jana too echoed similar emotions. “Manas was the alliance candidate. Sabang people know how to teach a lesson to betrayers,” she said.Beyond Congress and its defector, the bypoll is also a litmus test for Mukul Roy, who joined BJP in November. Many feel that the bypoll will showcase Roy’s organisational skills.Roy is also making all efforts to help BJP make inroads in this West Midnapore town. On Saturday, Roy met poll observer at guest house of the IIT Kharagpur. While leaving, he told mediapersons that violence in poll process was the tradition of Sabang.“It has been a tradition of violence during the election process at Sabang. The ruling dispensation does not want a peaceful vote here. They want people to stay away from the democratic process of casting their vote. I have met the election observer and requested him to ensure that people can exercise their franchise freely,” he said.Sources said that he had also complained to the observer that the BJP was being prevented to put up campaign programmes and rallies.BJP candidate Antara Bhattacharya, however, is banking on a free and fair poll. “If there is a free and fair poll in Sabang, BJP will emerge victorious,” she said.

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Didi warns of nat’l movement against FRDI bill

TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, at the TMC core committee meeting on Friday, said that just like the way the party had started a national movement against demonetization, it would do a similar one against Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, uniting Congress and all anti-NDA regional parties against it.It was found out that the main point of opposition would be the bail-in clause in the FRDI Bill according to which the government would bail-out a bank trouble, which would, in turn, mean that other stakeholders, shareholders and even depositors would be saving the financial entity.”It involves the interest of crores of people. We have been told by the CM that the matter would be immediately raised within and outside the parliament. She had also said that TMC would play a pivotal role in bringing all the anti-NDA parties together just like she did in demonetization,” said a senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity. Mamata had earlier done this protesting against demonetization and GST.Another party source, who was present at the meeting, said that Mamta would be writing to the Central government to scrap the bill. “She asked party MPs to raise it at the parliament and other leaders to initiate movements in the shape of demonstration and rallies across the state. She said that if need be she would attend rallies of other political parties against the FRDI Bill,” the source said. To the leaders at the grassroots level, she had asked to spread the word against the bill on social media.WHAT WB CM SAIDCM asked party MPs to raise the issue at Parliament. She also asked other leaders to initiate movements in the shape of demonstration and rallies across the state. If need be, she would attend rallies of other political parties against the FRDI Bill,” a source said.

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Try to loot booth during Panchayat elections: Mukul Roy dares TMC

BJP leader Mukul Roy threw a challenge at TMC daring them to loot polling booths in the panchayat election next year.“Will you be able to loot votes during the panchayat election? We will see about it at the ground level,” Roy said speaking outside the office of the state chief electoral officer (CEO).He had been to the CEO office demanding free and fair polls and to ensure that all voters can reach the polling booths to cast their votes. Referring to the upcoming bye-election at Sabang Assembly constitution in West Midnapore district, he said that they are keeping a tab on state CEO Aariz Aftab. “You will have to stick to the election norms. There are 306 booths at Sabang. Each and every booth needs to be manned and managed by Central force. There should not be any bike rally 48 hours prior to the polls and there should be area domination to instil confidence among voters of the area,” he said. Roy alleged that the state CEO has been deviating from the spirit of the constitutional post owing to his allegiance to the ruling party. “We have your bio-data. We know how many posts of the state government you have held but that should not deter you. If you are unable, then you must remember this is not the last election which you would be conducting,” he said.Mukul Roy said that BJP would get good result in Sabang and later in all the elections leading up to assembly elections in 2021. “Bhunia had been the alliance candidate of Congress and CPI(M) and he had fought against the TMC. Now he has defected to the TMC and his wife is the TMC candidate. As a result, workers of both Congress and TMC are heartbroken. They will not vote for him. After the elections of 2019 and 2021, BJP will come to power in Bengal,” Roy said.In another development, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, on the sidelines of a meeting at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas said that the way people were defecting from TMC to BJP, before the panchayat polls, TMC organisation would be broken. Speaking about arrest of TMC leaders, he said, “CBI is investigating chit fund cases under the supervision of the court and those who need to be arrested would be arrested. BJP has nothing to do with it.”

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Trinamool Congress’ core meet today: Panchayat polls, BJP on Mamata Banerjee’s agenda

After touring three districts, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would return to Kolkata on Friday and would chair a core committee meeting at Trinamool Congress headquarters off EM Bypass.Besides the administrative stock taking in the three districts she visited, Banerjee is likely to draw a roadmap ahead of the panchayat elections next year.Party sources said that the Cheif Minister had also got the feelers from the grassroot-level after the former party second-in-command Mukul Roy defected to BJP and would now plan her gambit.The last core committee meeting took place on October 27, which makes this the first one after former TMC MP Mukul Roy joined BJP on November 3.It would be attended by the cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs and zila parishad sabhadipatis among others.The Winter Session of Parliament would begin on Friday as well and a condolence resolution would be adopted for the death of party MP Sultan Ahmed. Which is why at least one MP of both the Houses would skip the meeting and attend Parliament.Sources also said that after Mukul Roy’s defection, many Trinamool leaders are also mulling of switching over to BJP. How this probable attrition could be stopped, would also be discussed in the meeting.Banerjee would also stress on countering BJP on social media. Along with personal interaction, she would tell leaders right down to the grassroot-level to get in touch with the mass through Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp telling people how BJP was trying to polarise people here on the basis of religion.Leaders who are unable to cope with smartphone usage would be asked to upgrade their technical knowhow and get used to smartphones. She would cite her example of how, in spite of her busy schedule, she manages to upload her activities on social media.Banrejee would also stress on making benefits of social welfare schemes to as many people as possible so that the party is able to reap political benefits ahead of the panchayat polls.She is also expected to give out a stern warning against in-fighting within the party.

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Month after joining BJP, Mukul Roy to be state election committee chief, to look into panchayat polls

Former TMC leader Mukul Roy, who joined the BJP last month, is all set to become the BJP state election committee chief in West Bengal.Sources told DNA that the formalities were almost complete and national president Amit Shah would soon officially appoint Roy. “Mukul Roy had been engaged in looking into the TMC election process for years. BJP wants to use his experience in this field in wake of the ensuing panchayat polls that will take place in 2018,” said a senior party leader, who also added that state party president Dilip Ghosh sometimes takes suggestions from Roy regarding the Panchayat elections.At the same time, state BJP leaders are also of the opinion that people Roy, given his organisational skills should also coordinate and look into the defection of leaders from not only TMC to BJP, but also from other parties such as the CPI(M) and Congress. Roy is also believed to be in negotiation with such leaders to persuade them to switch to BJP.Also readWhy Mukul Roy is getting ‘Y-plus’ security? Trinamool leader files plea in Calcutta High Court “Roy is getting the framework ready with his network to pitch about 72,000 candidates across the state. He will play one an important role in the finalising the list of candidates for panchayat election,” a party insider said. He added that so far the party central leadership is satisfied with the way Roy had been functioning and if he could pull off the panchayat polls successfully he would be handling the election process of the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and the Assembly elections in 2021, in West Bengal.

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If Centre is not willing to pay for mid-day meals in school, we will provide money: Mamata Banerjee

A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Bengal-based labourers working outside the state were welcome to return if they were feeling insecure, at a public meeting on Wednesday at Indus village in Bankura district, she came down heavily upon the Centre saying that if they were not ready to give foodgrain for mid-day meal in schools, the state would pay for those.“They say that they don’t have enough foodgrain for mid-day meal and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) project. They have also frozen funds so that we cant supply foodgrains to the poor. We are not scared. I tell them that if they don’t want to give foodgrain for mid-day meals or funds, we will provide those ourselves but we will not stand your high-handedness” Mamata said.She alleged that members of certain political parties were spending a lot of money to create divide among people on the basis of religions. Mamata asked people to be alert and to inform police if any such person was spotted. If police fail to do their duty, she asked people to approach her directly. “We don’t burn people to death who have come here to work. We don’t divide people on the basis of religion. If you see any suspicious person, inform the police. I will ask district police authorities to suitably reward such informers. I would also say that if you see police are not taking any action, dial 100 and inform police helpline about it. If that also doesn’t work, come to my residence with the complaint letter,” she said.Also readMurder of Bengal workers: Electrician found dead in Kerala, Mamata Banerjee to address meeting in BankuraEarly this month, Md Afrazul Khan, a 47-year-old labourer from Malda district of West Bengal, who had gone to Rajasthan looking for employment, had been brutally hacked, doused with kerosene and then set ablaze. The incident had been captured on camera and the video was made viral by the offender himself.

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Murder of Bengal workers: Electrician found dead in Kerala, Mamata Banerjee to address meeting in Bankura

After the murder of Md Afrazul Khan, the labourer from Malda district of Bengal, in Rajasthan, another death of a worker from Bengal has surfaced. This time, 25-year-old Hemanta Roy, hailing from Bankura district was found with his throat slit, at Alappuzha district of Kerala on December 10.Incidentally, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is at Bankura and would be addressing a public meeting on Wednesday. She is likely to speak about the death. She had, on Tuesday, said that workers from Bengal who were working outside the state and were facing insecurity, could return to their native land and they would be given work for 200 days a year or would be given Rs 50,000 to set up business unit.Family members of Roy had claimed that he had been murdered. Senior police officials of Alappuzha district, however, said it could be a case of suicide.”Prima facie investigation showed that it was a self-inflicted wound but we would be able to tell something concrete after the post-mortem report arrives,” S Surendran, district police chief of Alappuzha district told DNA over the phone on Tuesday evening.Also readRajasthan hacking: Bengal Congress accuses Mamata Banerjee of trying to reap political dividend His family members alleged Roy had been murdered. They said that Roy had talked to them on December 9 and had said he was planning to return. “How come he would commit suicide the day next and that too by slitting his own throat which itself is highly suspicious,” said one of his family members. Bankura district police had contacted their Kerala counterpart and were probing into the matter.It was found out that about two years ago, Roy had got married and has a six-month-old daughter. He was not getting enough work as an electrician in Bankura so he, along with some others of the adjoining district had left for Kerala about three months ago. Also readMamata Banerjee to labourers wishing to return: Will give 200 days’ workState BJP secretary Deboshree Chowdhury would lead a candlelight march in north Kolkata on Wednesday in solidarity with Roy’s death.

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Mamata Banerjee to labourers wishing to return: Will give 200 days’ work

Following the incident in Rajasthan, wherein Mohammad Afrazul Khan, a labourer hailing from the Malda district of West Bengal, was killed by a youth, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said labourers who had migrated to other states, if feeling insecure, could return to Bengal, where the government will give them work for 200 days in a year.The CM was speaking at a public meeting in the Kotshila area of the Purulia district.”People of Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar work in Bengal. They have made this place their motherland and we have welcomed them as well. But if a person from West Bengal went to work in Rajasthan, why was he murdered? If these people want to return to Bengal, they can get their names enrolled at the respective district magistrate’s office. We will ensure that they get 200 days’ work in a year. The state can also provide for one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to people like these, to set up their own business unit,” Mamata said.She added that in BJP-ruled states, such as Gujarat and Rajasthan, not only Muslims but Christians and Dalits also were facing attacks, but it didn’t happen in Bengal, where all lived peacefully.Mamata claimed that Purulia, the district once dominated by Maoists, was a developed area at present, but the adjoining Jharkhand, which was also inhabited by tribals, failed to do so.”There is an abundance of natural mineral in Jharkhand but they could not make best use of it. The Had TMC been there, we would have reaped a golden harvest. In fact, the land of the tribal people was taken away forcefully, which we had protested against,” she said.Interestingly, another resident of Bankura district has reportedly been killed in Kerala. The youth, Hemanta Roy, had gone to Kerala to work as an electrician three months ago. His body with his throat slit was discovered on Sunday night. Talking to DNA over the phone, S Surendran, district police chief of Alappuzha district, Kerala, said Roy’s case looked like suicide. “Prima facie investigation showed that it was a self-inflicted wound but we would be able to tell something concrete after the post-mortem report arrives,” he said.

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Rajasthan hacking: Bengal Congress accuses Mamata Banerjee of trying to reap political dividend

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Tuesday alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was trying to reap political dividend after the ‘hate murder’ of Bengal-based labourer Md Afrazul Khan in Rajasthan.“In the wake of the brutal murder, Mamata had taken an unprecedented step by organising a political meeting right at the doorstep of the deceased, the very next day after his body arrived when the entire family of the victim, according to the rituals of condolence, was reciting the Holy Quran. I think Mamata herself is not acquainted with the established religious Muslim rituals after death. I found that Trinamool was over-enthusiastic in expressing their grief and sorrow while ignoring the rituals of the Muslim community,” he said talking to DNA . He further added, “While speaking in that political programme under the guise of condolence, even the ministers were simply harping on the magnanimity of Mamata Banerjee which does not have even scant relation with the murder. Certainly, it is garnering political dividend out of the brutal death. It was found that Mamata had virtually started campaigning for panchayat polls in that area.”Also readRajasthan hacking- If people want to return to Bengal, will provide assistance to set up business: Mamata BanerjeeAdhir said that while the Rajasthan government had paid Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim, the state government should have paid at least 10 lakh. Referring to the on-going Gujarat polls too Chowdhury dealt barbs at Mamata saying that there was no message from her to people of Bengal who worked in Gujarat. “Speaking at the Shahid Divas platform, she had said that it was necessary to strengthen Sonia Gandhi’s hand for fighting against the BJP’s communal force but active as she always is on social media, she could have sent a message via Facebook or Twitter to Bengalis who lived there to vote for secular partes,” Chowdhury said.

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Mamata Banerjee likely to talk about drinking water problem at Purulia today

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be addressing a public meeting at Purulia district on Tuesday. On Monday, she had conducted a meeting with district TMC leaders such as party MLA and Purulia district TMC president Shantiram Mahato, MLA Sandhyarani Tudu. Sources said that district leaders had expressed their concern over the paucity of drinking water in Purulia.In the meeting which had lasted over an hour, sources said that Mamata wanted to know about the prime concerns of the area and had been told about how some of the villages of the district had been reeling under severe drinking problem and in spite of many discussions and meetings in the past, there had been no solution to it.Ahead of the Panchayat elections next year, BJP has already started raking up the issue of dearth of drinking water here and that has been a major cause of concern for the TMC leadership in Purulia. BJP had been talking about the lack of infrastructural development in the district and TMC leaders know that the had been pushed at the back foot owing to the problem of potable water.Also readMamata Banerjee says will protect Muslims, Dalits in stateIt is expected that Mamata would be talking about the drinking water problem at the meeting on Monday and would assure people that a solution would be found soon.Works undertaken by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are on but so far have not produced any desired solution to people’s plight.Also readMamata banerjee mocks Swachh Bharat mission over Sri Lankan players wearing masksAt about 1 pm Mamata is scheduled to inaugurate several welfare projects and address a public meeting at Jaipur area of the district.Ahead of the meeting, on Sunday some leaders from CPI(M) and Congress had defected to TMC.

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Rajasthan hacking- If people want to return to Bengal, will provide assistance to set up business: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at state BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Monday for his comments regarding the hate murder of Md Afrazul Khan, a labourer from Malda district of Bengal who was killed in Rajasthan.“There are so many people who had come to West Bengal from UP and Bihar and made this their place to live and work. Can I ask all of them to leave Bengal? Does Dilip Ghosh know for how long this has been going on? Aren’t people like him ashamed to make such comments?” Mamata said speaking at a public meeting at Kanksa in West Burdwan district.She said that people from Bengal who had been working in other states, if they intended to come back to Bengal out of a feeling of insecurity, the state would give them a financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to set up a business. “Leaders who are mindless make such comments. People of Bengal will not forgive such persons. They will shoo them away from Bengal permanently,” she said.Also readRajasthan hacking: “We only know our father was a hero of the family, don’t know what love jihad is”Ghosh had yesterday said that if there were enough jobs in Bengal people would leave the state and such incidents would not happen at all.Mamata refuted Ghosh’s allegations of Muslim appeasement and said, “If there has been a murder I would not want to know what was the faith of the victim. Whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim. We believe it has been a death of a human being. When we carry out a welfare project we don’t cater to any particular person. All school goers get bicycles irrespective of their religion. Girls of all religion get Kanyashree benefits. It is the job of BJP to divide people on the basis of their religion,” she said.Also readRajasthan murder: Woman denies she was ‘rescued’ by accusedMamata also warned party district president from Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal for his remarks. “If the BJP is saying something foul, we don’t need to counter that by saying something worse. It is not our culture. We will fight them politically, democratically. I have given Keshta (Mondal) a final warning saying he should not repeat such things,” she added.Mondal, at a meeting yesterday said that if such thing had happened in Birbhum, he would have burnt the offender alive, whatever post of BJP he could be holding.

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Partha Roy Burman abduction case: Quantum of punishment to be pronounced today

The quantum of punishment for the abduction of Kolkata’s Khadim Shoes boss Partha Roy Burman will be pronounced on Monday. On December 8, Alipore Court held eight of them guilty in the abduction case. They are – Jalaluddin Mollah, Muzammil Sk, Md Ishad alias Dilshad, Tarique Mehmood, Noor Md, Arshad alias Aslam, Akhter and Mizanur Rahman.Of the eight convicted, three are Pakistan citizens. The second round of hearing in the case had been completed on November 27.In the first phase which was completed in 2009, five had been held guilty including Aftab Ansari. All had been sentenced to life. Later officials of West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducted raids in various parts of the country and arrested eight more accused and the second phase of the hearing was started. The case had been delayed owing to various reasons because of which the Supreme Court ordered its quick expedition after which it was taken up by a special court of Alipore Central Jail. Justice Arun Kiran Bandopadhyay had been hearing the case for about a month. In the second phase, there were 68 witnesses. All the accused were made to hear the statements of the witnesses and then the hearing of both sides continued.On July 25, 2001, Burman was on his way to the Bantala Leather Complex when he was abducted from Tiljala area in south Kolkata. Abductors demanded a ransom of Rs 20 crore and later it was negotiated to Rs 5 crore. Later, on August 3 that year, Burman was released and he returned to his family. On June 7, 2005 a charge sheet was filed.The investigation began and later the case was handed over to the CID.

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Afrazul death: Congress’ Adhir Chowdhury writes to Mamata, seeks liaison offices in other states

Following the brutal murder of Md Afrazul Khan in Rajasthan, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has written to Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee, seeking setting up of liaison offices in different states to protect the interests of people from Bengal working there. Talking about the plight and helplessness of people from Bengal who have to travel to other states for work, Chowdhury in his letter said, “In the prevailing circumstances, it is incumbent on your part to immediately set up (Bangla Sathi) liaison offices in different states to protect the interests of the people of Bengal who are based outside the states. This office needs to set up to take care of the imminent needs of persons who are staying and working outside Bengal.” Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress leaders have blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the death of the migrant labour er in Rajasthan. Also readMamata announces Rs 3 lakh and job for kin of labourer killed in Rajasthan, accused gets three-day police custody“It is an inhuman attack and it is all because of the macabre dance of death which the BJP has started,” West Bengal urban development minister Firhad Hakim said.In a more aggressive tone, TMC district president for Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal said, “Is it possible that such a heinous crime take place in Bengal? Had it been here I would have burnt the offender alive.”Also readRajasthan hacking horror: Victim’s family haunted by his screams; say animals are treated betterAfrazul, a native of Malda in West Bengal, was burnt alive in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district and video of the gruesome incident was uploaded on social media. Banerjee has announced Rs 3 lakh compensation and a government job to the family of Afrazul. Also readAfter labourer from Malda is murdered in Rajasthan, Mamata Banerjee condemns inhuman killingState BJP president Dilip Ghosh termed the monetary help as appeasement. “If their concern was for the death of a minority member, then there had been several minority deaths in Bengal. How many have the state paid compensation to? The idea is to appease Muslims here. Besides, why are people of Bengal going to other places looking for a job? If there were enough jobs here they would not have left the state and incidents like these would not have happened at all,” Ghosh said.Hakim, refuting allegations of Ghosh, said that it was the question of the death of a person, not any community. “There is no question of appeasement of any group. It is the BJP people who are busy dividing society into minority and majority. We are sensitive towards any death,” he said.

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Kolkata: Steps taken by government to prevent power pilferage ineffective, say officials

While the state government is trying to prevent power pilferage with the installation of Aerial Bundled Cable or AB Cable, officials at the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) said that it had been a tried and failed technology for them.Sources at the power department said that in the first phase about 15,000 km of bare overhead conductors would be replaced by AB Cable which will not only prevent tampering with but will also help in maintaining the quality of power. State power minister Sovandeb Chatterjee had said that MLAs of places with high aggregate technical and commercial losses have been alerted. “There are plans of making it underground. At the same time these AB Cables will help prevent many accidents which are caused by bare overhead conductors,” Chatterjee said. It was found that the state intends to spend about Rs 8000 crore in installing AB Cable.On the other hand officials of privately-owned Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) said that they had unsuccessfully tried the technology in 2005. “It is seemingly impregnable and worked for about two years after we installed those but pilferers found a way out to tamper with these. Either the insulator on the wire was slashed at or burnt to create an opening for hooking,” a senior CESC official said.He also said that at present CESC had resorted to a first-in-India technology to deal with power theft. “We are now using coaxial cable where the wires, instead of running side by side, run in a concentric circle which, if attempted to puncture for hooking will not be successful,” he said and added that the joints of the cable would have junction boxes which would be sealed with expandable PU sealant making it foolproof. “A pilot project at Tiljala area in south Kolkata had been successfully implemented. We are now in the process of installing it in along Avinash Chowdhury Lane also in south Kolkata and next would be at Narkeldanga area in north Kolkata. These are areas which are most vulnerable in terms of power theft,” the official said.Officials of Loss Control Cell (LCC) of CESC said that they had brought down power theft from 70 percent to 15 percent in about two years by taking various preventive steps along with awareness programmes and making electric meters easily available.

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After selfie with cow, it’s essay, poem on cow

After receiving overwhelming response for the ‘selfie with cow’ contest, members of an NGO, Goseva Parivar, who had organised the initiative, have now introduced, photographs, essays, paintings, and poem-writing competition on gau mata.”We were inundated with enquiries and phone calls. Many suggested that they had wonderful pictures of cows shot by them but those were not selfies. Some others said that they would want to write poems and essays on gau mata,” said Avishek Pratap Singh, a senior member of the NGO.He added, “After considering those suggestions, we have decided that as an extension of the competition we will allow photographs other than selfies, paintings, essays, and poems on gau mata for the competition, which can be uploaded through the smartphone app, Goseva Parivar.”In reply to questions on whether the creators of the competition had any saffron allegiance, organisers said they were not affiliated to any political party as such. “The idea is to spread the usefulness of cows. There are so many farmer deaths in the country as a result of poor yield. All these can be solved if we resort to organic farming by shunning pesticides and fertilizers laced with chemicals. And people should be educated that one of the chief requirement of organic farming is cow dung which will be available only if cows are preserved,” said another senior member of the organisation.He also said that the competition would conclude on December 31 this year and results would be declared on January 21. “There is a prize money involved, but we have not announced the amount because we don’t want that to be an incentive for participants. The love for cows should be the prodding factor. The prize money will be announced a day ahead of the results,” he said.COMPETITIONThe last date for submission of entries, be it a photo or a poem or an essay, is December 31. The name of the winners will be declared on January 21, 2018.

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Mamata Banerjee declares compensation, job for victim’s kin

"Very sad incident happened in Rajasthan. Afrajul Khan of Malda of our state was brutally killed. His family is totally helpless," she tweeted. She added that she is sending a team of ministers and MPs to visit the family in Kaliachak in Malda district on Saturday. A team of five comprising three MPs – Sudip Bandopadhyay, Sougata Roy and Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and two ministers – Suvendu Adhikari and Firhad Hakim, will reach Khan's residence at Kaliachak in West Bengal's Malda district on Saturday morning. Khan's body will be brought late on Friday evening to his residence for the last rites.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByArshad Ali <!–end of artlbotbor–>Saturday 9 December 2017 6:25 ISTMust readWhat’s wrong with Vande Mataram? If not mother, will you salute Afzal Guru, asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu India admits its drone lost contact and crossed into China<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh and a job for the family of Md Afrazul Khan, victim of alleged ‘love jihad’ in Rajasthan.”Very sad incident happened in Rajasthan. Afrajul Khan of Malda of our state was brutally killed. His family is totally helpless,” she tweeted. She added that she is sending a team of ministers and MPs to visit the family in Kaliachak in Malda district on Saturday. A team of five comprising three MPs – Sudip Bandopadhyay, Sougata Roy and Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and two ministers – Suvendu Adhikari and Firhad Hakim, will reach Khan’s residence at Kaliachak in West Bengal’s Malda district on Saturday morning. Khan’s body will be brought late on Friday evening to his residence for the last rites.

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After selfie contest, Bengal NGO starts essay and drawing competition on cows

Buoyed by the overwhelming response of ‘selfie with cow’ contest, members of the NGO, Goseva Parivar, have now introduced photographs, essays, paintings and poem-writing competition on ‘gaumata’.“We were inundated with enquiries and phone calls. Many suggested that they had wonderful pictures of cows shot by them but those were not selfies. Some others said that they would want to write poems and essays on ‘gaumata’. After considering those requests, we have decided to allow photographs other than selfies, paintings, essays and poems on ‘gaumata’ for the competition, which can be uploaded through the smartphone app, Goseva Parivar,” said Avishek Pratap Singh, a senior member of the NGO.Organisers claim that they are not affiliated to any political party. “The idea is to spread the usefulness of cows. There are so many farmer deaths in the country as a result of poor yield. All these can be solved if we resort to organic farming and shun pesticides and fertilizers laced with chemicals. People should be educated that one of the chief requirement of organic farming is cow dung which will be available only if the cow is preserved,” said another senior member of the organisation. He also said that the competition would conclude on December 31 this year and results would be declared on January 21. “There is a prize money involved but we have not announced the amount because we don’t want that to be an incentive for participants. The love for cows should be the prodding factor. The prize money will be announced a day ahead of the results,” he said.

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Abhishek Banerjee files defamation case against Babul Supriyo over coal smuggling comments

Trinamool MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee has filed a defamation suit against BJP MP and Union minister Babul Supriyo on Friday, saying that the singer-turned-politician had made defamatory statements against Abhishek on the basis of rumours and hearsay.The letter quotes Supriyo saying, ‘There is a horrible syndicate of coal smuggling running. Everyone knows what the impact this is’… ‘Small Banerjee means Abhishek Banerjee has been given Rs 17 crores to Rs 18 crores’ … I spoke to the Coal Minister, Coal Secretary and Chairman of Coal India to stop coal smuggling. But Centre cannot deploy armed forces! Local police-administrative has to be active to prevent coal smuggling’.It also said that Abhishek had sent him a notice to desist from making such comments and to apologise for the ones made but since Supriyo didn’t comply, a suit defamation and injunction had been filed at the City Civil Court.Also readWB CM’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee sends defamation notice to Mukul Roy for levelling graft charges Supriyo has also been ordered to refrain from making such comments.Supriyo, when asked on December 5 if he thought his comments would attract legal action from the other camp, had said, “We all have cases against us be it me, Kailashji (Vijayvargiya) or Dilipji (Ghosh). I would like it if the court orders any kind of probe by any investigating agency into the allegations made by me. It would be clearer in that case.”Also read ‘Maa Mati Manush’, Mamata Banerjee’s favourite slogan, is the name of a private company owned by her nephewToday, however, Supriyo was not available for a comment but sources in BJP said that it would be dealt by the legal cell of the party.

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Rajnath meets CMs of Bangladesh bordering states, looks to expedite setting up of additional outposts

Union Home minister Rajnath Singh, on Thursday after a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and representatives of other states which share their borders with Bangladesh, failed to provide any solution to the setting up of 89 additional border outposts (BOPs) of the Border Security Force (BSF). The work has been kept in abeyance owing to the unavailability of land.After a two-hour meeting at Nabanna, the state secretariat, which, Singh described as ‘very fruitful’ during interaction with mediapersons, the Union minister, when asked about the issue at hand, said, “West Bengal chief minister has assured me of all necessary cooperation on making land available both for setting up new BOPs as well as for raising barbed fence at the unfenced borders. I have requested the representatives of all the five states having borders with Bangladesh to take personal interest to expedite land acquisition in the interest of national security.”He admitted that of the 4096 km long Indo-Bangladesh border across the five states, only 3006 km had barbed fence, roads, floodlights and BOPs. “Work for the rest of 1,090 km is yet to be started. Of the 1,090 kilometre, 684 km will be secured with fence and related infrastructure, while 406 km will be covered by non-physicial barrier,” Singh said.Also readRajnath Singh to meet CMs of states bordering BangladeshNon-physical barrier would comprise technological intervention such as radar, day-night cameras and sensors. He added that a border protection grid consisting of both physical and non-physical barriers will be in place and will be manned together by state police as well as state and Central agencies. “The grid will be supervised by a state level standing committee which would function under the chairmanship of the government’s working chief secretary,” he said.Questioned about the Rohingya issue, he said that discussions regarding it had been done in detail during the meeting. “It has been agreed by all that we all will have to be careful of illegal immigration taking into consideration the security of the country,” he said.Also readNavy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba to visit Bangladesh for maritime cooperationOthers present at the meeting were Kiren Rijiju, Union minister of state for home affairs, Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam and Lal Thanwala, Chief Minister of Mizoram. Meghalaya was represented by its chief secretary and Tripura by its home secretary.

‘Want murderers to be hanged in public’: Rajasthan victim’s wife

The labourer, Md Afrazul Khan, who was accused of love jihad and brutally murdered in Rajasthan, hailed from a village at Kaliachak in Malda district of West Bengal and family members of the 47-year-old said he has been falsely implicated before being hacked to death.The rest of what remains of the family, Khan’s wife and three daughters, had been shell-shocked since the phone call they received at about 3 pm on Wednesday, informing them about his murder.“He was murdered because of his faith and they had spun a yarn around the murder to justify it. I want the murderers to be hanged in public,” said his wife Gul Bahar Bibi.Also readAfter labourer from Malda is murdered in Rajasthan, Mamata Banerjee condemns inhuman killingShe said that he used to work there as a labourer. He had had his last conversation with his family back in Malda, on December 5.He is survived by his wife and three daughters – Jyotsna Khatoon, Rejina Khatoon and Habiba Khatoon – of whom, Jyotsna and Regina are married and the youngest one is a student of Class IX of a local government school. He was supposed to fix the marriage the youngest one later this month.Also readThose who butchered my father should suffer in the same manner: Rajasthan victim’s daughter“It is part of a big conspiracy. The fact that his brutal murder was taped and circulated on social media is proof enough. The murderer butchered him while he kept on crying for mercy, doused him with kerosene and set him ablaze. Our relatives in Rajasthan are in touch with the police and we hope administration works towards unearthing the truth,” Rejina said.Khan had been working there intermittently for the last 12 years and as soon as he would gather some money he would return to his native place. He had returned about three months ago.Also readRajasthan: Man arrested for murdering Muslim, burning corpse in suspected love jihad caseSince early morning, friends, relatives and neighbours had been coming over to their place offering solidarity and enquiring about when the body would be brought over for the last rites. “He was the only earning member of the family. If the government doesn’t help them, soon the mother-daughter duo will have nothing to eat,” said a 50-plus neighbour.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too had condemned the act. ‘We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman? Sad’, she tweeted.District police authorities have alerted Kaliachak Police Station and they were trying to ensure that there is no flare up after Khan’s murder. “So far, the situation is under control, but we are extremely alert. It is a very sensitive issue,” said an official of Kaliachak PS.
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Mamata Banerjee says will protect Muslims, Dalits in state

An event billed as Communal Harmony Day organised by the youth wing of Trinamool Congress (TMC) ended up being a platform for BJP-bashing by top TMC leaders, led by party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”Intolerance is the biggest programme of the government at the Centre and a political party. I am also a Hindu but that doesn’t give me any right to hate Muslims or Christians. What one will eat or wear is one’s own choice and no one has the right to intervene in it. It is a bigger problem than an emergency situation,” Mamata said at the public meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.She said that on the one hand Dalits were being subjected to atrocities and on the other, when elections neared, BJP leaders went with to the houses of these Dalits and had food there which had been brought from five-star hotels.She also said that there were 31 per cent Muslims in West Bengal and 23 per cent Dalits who she would protect. “It is my duty to protect them and I will do that. If people say it is appeasement, so be it,” she said.She alleged that the Central government was setting central investigating agencies on people who dared to speak against them even as BJP leaders who had been accused of several cases had gone scot-free. “Our leaders had not taken any money…. In this case, they didn’t even want the money and were given forcefully,” she said. Mamata also claimed that she had been told that about 75,000 industrialists had settled abroad during the BJPs current tenure at the centre.Mamata’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee claimed that TMC would win all the Zila Parishads and would win all 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.He also challenged Mukul Roy, saying “If he contests in anyone and wins from there, I will quit politics,” he said.
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Kolkata child sexual assault: Soon schools need to declare infrastructure details

Amidst on-going protests against alleged sexual assault at two privately-run schools in Kolkata state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that the state government would issue a directive to all private schools for submitting a declaration stating their infrastructure, to the state education department.“They send it to the respective ICSE and CBSE boards. Along with that schools will also have to submit such declaration to the state government. Soon notifications would be sent to all the private schools in this regard,” Chatterjee said on Tuesday.The recent incidents at two private schools of the city – GD Birla Cente of Education and MP Birla Foundation HS School – had brought to the fore several loopholes in the infrastructure of schools and authorities of the state education department will soon convene a meeting with representatives of privately owned schools to discuss issues regarding required infrastructure within the school campus and would review specific cases if need be.Also readKolkata rape: GD Birla school faces legal action after abrupt shutdown, rights body says fate of 7,000 students at stakeIn the month of November, it was alleged that two teachers had allegedly sexually assaulted a four-year-old at GD Birla Centre of Education at Ranikuthi in south Kolkata and following protests from parents and guardians the two accused teachers had been arrested by Kolkata Police.Later it was also found out that on September 13 another child of MP Birla Foundation HS School at Thakurpukur in Behala area had been sexually abused and after a police complaint was filed on September 15, the three-and-a-half year old identified two non-teaching staff members but it has been alleged that even after that the school didn’t take any steps against the accused and only after parents of the victim along with other guardians started a protest since December 2 school authorities have suspended one of the accused on December 5.
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Centre stopped releasing minority funds for Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, speaking at an event organised by the Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department of the state government, said that the Centre did not want to release funds for minority welfare.”The Centre had stopped funding projects but they have especially done it for projects relating to development of minorities. Perhaps they don’t want me to work for the minority here. What they don’t understand that minority doesn’t comprise Muslims only. It has Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and others as well,” Mamata said.She said that those sitting in Delhi wont be able to dictate who she would talk to and what she would do. “You will sit in Delhi and tell me that I should talk to Ram and not Rahim or Felix or Satnam and you think I will listen to such instructions? Have you brought me up and fed me? We are proud of everyone here. I want to warn people of a handful who are going around with money to befriend you and to create a Hindu-Muslim divide resulting in a riot. Don’t pay heed to these people,” she said.Hitting out at the Centre she said that a country’s leader is such who would take everyone along with him irrespective of their religion. “Those who are trying to divide the country they are only leader for the love of the chair. I am a Hindu myself and Hinduism doesn’t ask to divide people on that basis of their religion. I will not allow that in Bengal as long as I am here. Those who want to divide the people are not Hindu themselves. They have a destructive attitude,” she added.Replying to the allegations levelled by BJP MP and Union minister Babul Supriyo on Monday regarding the misappropriation of funds to the state by the Centre she said that it was part of the state’s money itself which the Centre was paying. “I have heard some persons saying that the Centre was giving so much money to Bengal. As if it was their ‘zamindari’. The Centre takes away Rs 40,000 crore in terms of different taxes and gives in return Rs 15000 to 20000 crore. If they stop taking taxes from us we would have been self-sufficient. We don’t need any alms from them,” Mamata lashed out.Referring to the alleged sexual assault on the four-year-old student of GD Birla Centre for Education she said for a few teachers the entire teacher community should not be blamed and taking a dig at Roopa Ganguly who visited the school on Monday said that outsiders should not take advantage of the situation. “Teachers are our pride, guardians and guides. For one or two individuals, the entire community should not be blamed. Offenders should be isolated,” she added.‘Don’t blame all’Referring to the alleged sexual assault on the four-year-old student of GD Birla Centre for Education she said for a few teachers the entire teacher community should not be blamed
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Mamata banerjee mocks Swachh Bharat mission over Sri Lankan players wearing masks

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mocked the BJP-led Central government on Tuesday for its Swachh Bharat scheme pointing out the high pollution level in New Delhi which led to Sri Lankan cricketers wearing masks during the third Test against India at Feroze Shah Kotla.“What happened to Swachh Bharat Mission? We all know that charity begins at home. Players of the Sri Lanka cricket team were wearing masks on the field at the capital of the country. There is so much pollution at the capital. From political pollution to air pollution. People need masks for everything from eating to playing,” she said while addressing a gathering organised by the minority department of the state at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here in Central Kolkata.Negating the claims of BJP leaders that she had rechristened Swachh Bharat Mission as ‘Nirmal Bangla’ in West Bengal, Mamata maintains that Nirmal Bangla was launched a lot earlier than Swachh Bharat which was rolled out on October 2, 2014.Also readMask-gate: Angelo Mathews says conditions getting worse, Mohammed Shami plays it downOn Monday too, Mamata, interacting with mediapersons at Nabanna, the state secretariat, said, “Delhi should control pollution. I am saying this because I am ashamed of it. It was an international game and international players were playing with masks on. Pollution problem is getting bad to worse everyday.”
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Samhati Divas: TMC minority cell members rue clubbing of GST, intolerance issues with Babri demolition protest

As the ruling Trinamool Congress prepares to observe Samhati Divas or Communal Harmony Day on December 6 to mark 25 years of Babri Masjid demolition, members of the minority cell of Trinamool Congress expressed their dissatisfaction alleging that the responsibility to organise the event was initially given to them but later shifted to the youth wing of the party.“We were told that we would be organising the event on Mayo Road near Gandhiji’s statue and we had begun preparation about a month ago but recently we were told that it would be put up by the Youth TMC,” said a senior leader of the minority cell.He also said that a lot of sheen had been taken off the event as it had been merged with several issues. “This year it is especially important as it completes 25 years of the demolition of Babri Masjid. People had taken out marches with hoardings in order to spread awareness and urge people to assemble at the venue on the day but the hoarding which people carried said the issue had been clubbed with others such as implementation of GST and intolerance of the Central government,” he added.Also readBabri Masjid case: Supreme Court to commence final hearing from todayAnother minority cell leader said that there is hardly any picture of any minority leader in the hoardings. “The pictures are that of Mamata Banerjee and youth president Abhishek Banerjee who are not minority leaders. It is a big day and a day of mourning for members of the minority section and that is not represented in the hoardings. It will end up being another event of Modi-bashing by the TMC leadership,” he said preferring anonymity.TMC minority cell president and party MLA Haji Nurul Islam however, maintained that there was no problem in organising the event. “It depends upon the party supremo Mamata Banerjee who decides which cell would organise it and this time it is the Youth TMC which is doing it along with the minority cell,” he said talking to DNA. Asked about the photographs of Mamata and Abhishek, he said, “Mamata’s photos are always there on all hoardings according to protocol and Abhishek is the youth wing chief so what is wrong in it since the youth wing is organising the event. We have been working according to the instruction of the party,” he told.
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More than 13K crore due from Centre: Mamata Banerjee

With panchayat elections at sight early next year, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday an additional fund of Rs 12,000 crore for rural infrastructural development. The funds will be used primarily for improvement of roads in the rural areas, to be undertaken by the state Public Works Department, and for initiation of drinking water projects to be executed by the state Public Health Engineering department.At a close-door meeting of the state secretariat at Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took stock of the completion of work undertaken by different departments. “We have decided that an additional Rs 12,000 crore would be used for rural development. We have seen that much of funds often lying unused with different departments every year. We will ask for reports on unused funds from different departments on December 15 every year and dedicate 25 per cent of such funds for the development of rural roads and drinking water facilities in the rural areas of the state,” she said.She said that a committee under the district magistrate would identify the unused funds. The committee would also monitor the usage of the fund and progress of work.Mamata also alleged that the Centre was yet to release Rs 13,714.32 crore as on November 25, 2017 under various developmental projects. “Despite the legacy of loan which we have to repay and the Centre stopping funds, we have not stopped any of the welfare projects and relief in the state,” she said, citing the example that the Centre had not provided any relief during the flood but still the state had paid Rs 185 crore to farmers for crop loss. She said the state also allotted Rs 280 crore to provide pension for about 2.5 lakh people who were deprived of the benefits after the new socio-economic census by the Centre.Mamata announced that from January 2, 2018, there will be e-office in every government department. “The Centre only talks about digitisation. We had been doing this for a long time now. We already have e-tender and with e-office in place there will be more transparency, accountability and credibility,” she said.Referring to the problems which Sri Lankan cricketers faced in New Delhi on Sunday owing to pollution, Mamata said, “Delhi should control pollution. I am saying this because I am ashamed of it. It was an international game and international players were playing with masks on.”
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Bengal’s fund frozen as state has failed to give utilisation certificate for money given: Babul Supriyo

As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Monday afternoon that the Centre was yet to release Rs 13,714.32 crore to the state under several welfare projects, BJP MP and Union minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises Babul Supriyo said at a separate press conference in the evening that funds were frozen because the state had failed to give utilisation certificate (UC) for the money that had been allotted so far. “The state government should submit the UC first and then say these,” he said.He alleged that the state government had not only renamed Central government projects as its own but had also failed to submit an account of usage of those funds. “The Chief Minister has been touring the districts saying that she had been giving people rice at Rs 2 per kg but the truth is that Food Corporation of India (FCI) was buying the rice at Rs 33 per kg of which, the Centre was providing Rs 29.67 per kg, the state was paying Rs 1 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for the rice. In spite of the Centre paying 91 per cent subsidy for such foodgrain, the state government did not even mention the Centre’s contribution,” he said. Similarly, he said that wheat was procured by FCI at Rs 24 per kg of which the Centre was paying Rs 21.45 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for it. “The state government has no contribution to this but is trying to take all the credit,” he added.He also held some printed documents saying how much money was allotted in different housing, NREGA and Swachh Bharat, Amrut projects of the Central government. “We will raise the issue at the parliament,” Supriyo said.
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Kolkata rape: GD Birla school faces legal action after abrupt shutdown, rights body says fate of 7,000 students at stake

Days after the sexual assault of the 4-year-old at Kolkata’s prestigious GD Birla school sparked massive outrage, the West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights today said that the institution will face legal action over the abrupt shutdown.The development comes after the GD Birla Centre of Education on Sunday put up a notice outside its main entry that the school is going to be closed down for indefinite period.On Monday, Members of West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights visited the school even as the parents continued to protest for fourth consecutive day.Also readKolkata sexual assault case: School closed indefinitely, action demanded against Principal “Management can’t just shut the school like this. Child Rights’ commission is the nodal body for the implementation of Right to Education (RTE). There was a test which was supposed to start today. We will initiate legal action against them. We will talk to state education minister Partha Chatterjee as well,” said Ananya Chakraborty, chairperson of the commission.She also said that it was the question of 7,000 students of the school and it is the question of their future. She also said that the principal of the school should be arrested.Also read2 teachers held for assaulting 4-year-old in posh Kolkata school“We have written to the commissioner and joint commissioner of Kolkata Police saying that not only should the principal be arrested but she should be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,” she added.Chakraborty said that the commission which was like a civil court would sent summons to the school management and some of the guardians and would hear the case at the commission.Also readAfter Kolkata sexual assault of 4-year-old, Jharkhand principal booked for molesting seven-year-oldSoumitra Roy, another member of the commission who was also present there, said, “It is not about parents. Students should apprehending trouble, heavy police posting has been deployed in front of the school.Guardians too, said that they wanted school to reopen. “We never said that the school should be shut. There were examinations to begin today. Form filling for the board examinations was also on. Student should not suffer or be inconvenienced,” said mother of a Class IX student of the school.Victim’s father was also present at the school on Monday morning said that he was lucky to have his child back alive.“We have seen that in most of the cases, the victim is killed to eliminate evidence. We shudder to think what could have possibly happened. We are fortunate that at least my child is alive,” he said.
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Kolkata: Rohingya Human Rights Initiative founder calls for Centre to pressurise Myanmar to take back refugees

The founder of the Delhi-based organisation, the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative, visited Kolkata where he met several representatives from various human rights organizations. He added that the Myanmar government should take back the Rohingyas who have fled the nation after the country’s military allegedly organised an attack in what many have termed as ethnic cleansing.Sabber, who has been in India since 2005, told DNA that he visited two homes, where the children speak chaste Bengali and have forgotten their native tongue. “This will be tougher for authorities to prove that they are residents of Myanmar,” he said.He added that he had sought permission from the authorities to visit jails in West Bengals where Rohingyas have been kept. “The Indian government should put pressure on the Myanmar. I have also written a letter to the Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata thanking the Bangladesh government for the support they had extended to the Rohingyas who had crossed over from Myanmar to Bangladesh.”Also readRohingya crisis: Pope Francis faces tricky trip in Myanmar; to meet Suu Kyi, army chief He added that one of the most essential things that Rohingyas needed at present was education. “There are 30 lakh Rohingyas but they can hardly read or write. I have talked to JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) professors if they could start some small courses for Rohingyas here in India,” he told DNA.
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Kolkata minor sexual assault: Parents protest outside school; lament lack of security despite hefty fees

The father of the four-year-old child who was sexually assaulted, allegedly by two teachers, reached the gates of GD Birla Centre for Education at 6 am on Saturday, to protest against the authorities.The father told reporters that he and his wife were unable to sleep at night because of the pain their child was going through. He also urged other parents who had arrived to extend their cooperation and support.“We pay about Rs 5,000 per month as fees and there is no security available,” said a concerned parent.Earlier, parents had protested outside the school premises demanding the principal’s arrest. Amidst police protection, teachers and principal of the school left the campus and after midnight, the school had hurriedly installed a CCTV outside the gate.Also readRyan school murder: Juvenile accused to be defended by Rajesh and Nupur Talwars’ lawyerMeanwhile, the two accused physical education teachers Abhishek Roy and Md Mofizzuddin were arrested and placed in police custody at Jadavpur police station. They have been booked under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act.Earlier, it was reported that the girl was lured to the toilet with promise of getting chocolates. There she was shown pornography and was molested. The victim has identified the two individuals from pictures shown by the detectives.The child was constantly crying and complained of severe pain after returning from school on Wednesday when her mother spotted blood stains on her clothes, he said. On enquiring, the girl told her mother that the PT teacher had taken her to the washroom but could not narrate what happened thereafter. Her parents took her to a pediatrician who advised her to be taken to the police, the officer said.The child was admitted to the state-run SSKM Hospital late last night. Tests were performed to confirm the alleged sexual assault on her. The report is awaited, hospital sources told. Following the incident, parents of other students held protests in front of the school gate today demanding immediate suspension of the accused teacher.
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Stay alert and stop terror: Mamata Banerjee at rally

In the wake of terrorists being arrested in Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, during her rally at Gosaba in South 24 Parganas on Thursday, warned people to be alert about strangers seen in the area, trying to entice people into illegal activities.”They bring a lot of money with them and will try to lure you into doing all sorts of illegal activities. They will pretend to be your friends. This is a bordering area and you need to be alert. Your area will be fine,” she said addressing a public rally after an administrative meeting. At the same time, she was quick to add, “Don’t take law into your hands. If you find any stranger in the area, ask for his or her identity card and then if need be, inform the police. To the police officials I must ask to take prompt and necessary actions against any such complaints.”With an eye at the panchayat polls next year, she inaugurated a slew of welfare projects and warned her party leaders of the area not to indulge in faction clashes.Firing fresh salvos at BJP and the CPI (M), Mamata said that neither the BJP at the Centre nor the CPI(M) who were in power for 34 years, were bothered about the well-being of the people here. “The BJP had stopped senior citizen pension for about 2.5 lakh people but we have allotted Rs 268 crore from our state funds so that pension is not stopped,” she said.
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2 teachers held for assaulting 4-year-old in posh Kolkata school

After a day-long protest by parents and guardians on Friday, two teachers of a school in south Kolkata have been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a four-year-old child. The two accused were charged with Sections 2 and 4 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act.The father of the kindergarten student said that his daughter, after returning from school on Thursday, had been crying incessantly in pain and there was blood in her urine. “We took her to our family doctor. As soon as the doctor saw it she said she suspected a foul play, and advised us to take her to the police station and file a complaint,” he said. He added that later they were informed that two school teachers had lured the child with chocolate, and took her to the toilet and assaulted her. “I am surprised that we spend lakhs of rupees to get our children admitted to a school like this,” the father said adding that he would not send his daughter to that school again.After filing a police complaint, she was taken to the state-run SSKM hospital where she was kept under treatment overnight. A four-member medical team conducted two medical tests on the child.Since Friday morning, parents and guardians had put up a protest outside the school demanding action against the offenders. The parents alleged that school authorities were trying to hush up the affair.The school Principal said, “I will say that security of our students is our top priority, and we will take adequate measures to ensure that. We will install CCTV cameras inside the school.”BJP and Youth Congress members put up a protest outside Jadavpur Police Station in the evening demanding immediate action.State education minister Partha Chatterjee condemned the incident and said, “The accused would receive strictest punishment.”Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that police had taken required steps against offenders.Nabarun De, executive committee member of ICSE council said, “We condemn this strongly but I have heard that the incident had taken place at the Kindergarten section at an address which does not have an affiliation according to the records.” He also said that by the end of this month the council would come out with a safety manual which all the schools would have to abide by.Lawyer of the victim’s father, Priyanka Tibrewal said that they would file a case against the school alleging negligence. “We will file a writ petition to cancel the licence of the school and would also make the council a party because it is not possible that they didn’t know that a school was running without their affiliation,” she said.On November 3, 2014, a similar incident had happened at the same school when a six-year-old who was a participant in a cultural programme of the school was sexually assaulted by the driver and helper of a Volvo bus which was hired to ferry the students to the venue.Parents had put up an agitation at the school demanding installation of CCTV cameras within the school campus but it has still not been done.
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Cattle slaughter ban to go? Kolkata’s beef dealers welcome reports of rollback, question timing

Kolkata’s beef dealers and leather exporters have welcomed media reports of Centre initiating moves to roll back its decision of banning sale of cattle at livestock markets, for slaughter. However, they are apprehensive about the decision being motivated owing to ensuing polls.“We are happy that finally the Centre had realised its mistake but we are sceptic about the timing of the decision. Why now and why so late? We only hope that the decision has nothing to do with the ensuing Assembly election in Gujarat and civic polls in Uttar Pradesh,” said Md Ali, president, Calcutta Beef Dealers’ Association. He also said that other than the beef industry, milk and sweetmeat industry had also taken a beating after the Centre implemented the ban on May 23. He said that there were enough reasons for being apprehensive. “Earlier we had seen that looking at the polls they had banned buffalo slaughter in one state while in Northeastern states they said there would not be any such ban. Wasn’t that double standards?”Also readCentre refers cattle trade rules to Law Ministry for revisionLeather exporters too echoed similar emotions. “Earlier the Centre had issued a death certificate to the leather industry. Now they must have looked at the balance sheet and realised their mistake after receiving criticism not only nationally but internationally, but we have already suffered huge losses. Our buyer base has already turned to other countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and China. We hope this awakening is not owing to the forthcoming polls,” said Imran Ahmed Khan, general secretary, Calcutta Leather Complex Tanners’ Association. He also said that if, in future the government went back upon its words and assurances after elections, not only the people would take back their mandate but they, on behalf of leather exporters would ‘meet them at the court’. “The government at the Centre is a tubelight government and after their disastrous decisions, we believe they would not return post the 2019 polls. Which ever government succeeds them, these would be a warning alarm for them and they would think 100 time before taking any such decisions,” Khan said.
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Bengal BJP writes to HRD Ministry complaining about ‘anti-national’ maps in schools

In a letter written to the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) minister, the West Bengal state BJP has alleged that maps circulated recently during school examination in the state showed parts of Jammu and Kashmir as belonging to China. State BJP general secretary Raju Banerjee in his letter has alleged that the maps given to students of Class X not only showed parts J&K incorrectly, it also excluded Arunachal Pradesh from India. ‘The map has been authorized by West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), a board now run by members nominated by Government of West Bengal and works under Department of Education. The water mark of WBBSE is evidently present in the backdrop of this anti- national map. It is informed that this map has been supplied to the schools by Teachers Cell of Trinamool Congress’, the letter read.The letter further alleges that ‘anti-national’ map was not a clerical error. ‘We feel this is a quite planned action to spread divisive idea against the integrity of the country. The young school students can be the best target to teach them wrongly(sic) about the map of the country. We, therefore appeal to you, to take up the issue with the Government of West Bengal’, the letter read.State education minister Partha Chatterjee, however, refuted the allegations and said that BJP leaders were showing maps that had been tampered with. He showed a map of the WBBSE and said it did not have any such mistakes and added that other than the watermark, all WBBSE maps have a unique code.“I have asked WBBSE to initiate a probe into it. They would get in touch with the schools concerned where the allegedly distorted maps are being circulated. The person alleging such changes will also be under the scanner of the investigation,” he said.
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Mamata gifts President Kovind a painting, he promises to hang it in Rashtrapati Bhavan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his maiden visit to Kolkata after becoming the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at a civic reception programme hosted by the government of West Bengal, was presented with one of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s painting. He said it would be displayed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.“Chief Minister gifted me a painting of her own today. I was really amazed to see her painting. This will surely be displayed at Rashtrapati Bhavan. At the same time the it will always remain close to my heart,” he said while speaking at the reception.In pure Bengali, Kovind also said, ‘Amar sonar Bangla ami tomai bhalobashi’ (I love you my golden Bengal). He praised Bengal and said people of Bengal had a big heart and that he was overwhelmed with the kind of welcome he received.
ALSO READ Someone like Sushma or Advani should’ve been nominated: Mamata surprised by NDA’s presidential candidate In his speech, he also added that Bengal had a great history, but all should ensure that it also had a great future. “This state was an early industrial and manufacturing centre in our country. Its economy must sing again in this age of digital and robotic technologies. It’s green fields and hard-working farmers must be equipped with the latest agricultural knowledge to allow them to realise their potential,” he said.Stating the importance of being a border state, Kovind said, “Being a border state gives Bengal certain advantages. It also gives it certain responsibilities. Forces of radicalism and extremism, some of them with cross-border linkages, seek to take advantage of our democratic spaces. We must guard against this.”
ALSO READ Blast from the past: When Ram Nath Kovind opposed reservations for Christians and MuslimsMamata too, showered praises for Kovind. She said she was honoured that the President had accepted her invitation. “I never knew he was a Rajya Sabha member when I was a Lok Sabha member. He had always maintained a very low profile. Please be the simple person you are,” Mamata said. She was also quick to point out that the post of the President was above all politics and that he was like a guardian and guide for everyone.None of the MLAs of either Congress or Left Front were seen at the event. It was found out that Leader of Opposition, Abdul Mannan was personally invited but he could not make it to the reception owing to some personal engagements and a senior Left MLA said that he had received the invitation 10 minutes ahead of the event, thus would not be able to attend the reception.

Biswa Bangla row: Mukul Roy summoned by court after Abhishek Banerjee files defamation case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee on Tuesday filed a criminal defamation case against former TMC Rajya Sabha MP, now BJP leader, Mukul Roy.The case was filed at Bankshall Court in Kolkata. On the basis of Abhishek’s complaint and the documents submitted, Bankshall Court has issued a summon to Roy on December 20. Post filing the case, Abhishek said that he had been hurt by the allegations levelled by Roy. He also gave a challenge to Roy saying, “If I say something, people might choose to believe me or not. Similarly with Roy. Now it is up to the court to decide and pass a verdict. Then everyone will believe what the truth is. He has alleged that I am the owner of business entities named Biswa Bangla and Jago Bangla. If he cannot prove it, he should leave his seat and Bengal. If he can prove it fair and square, I will leave politics.”Roy, however, interacting to mediapersons maintained that he had not said anything without documents. “These papers are that of the corporate affairs ministry. If it is tried in any court of the country, I will be able to prove that what I had said is true,” he said. Reacting to Abhishek’s comments he said, “These are attempts to divert people’s attention from the issue. He is a young man and is immature that is why he throws these challenges.”
ALSO READ Mukul Roy moves Delhi HC against West Bengal govt over alleged tapping of his phoneHe added that earlier Alipurduar District Court had passed an injunction prohibiting Roy from making public statements against Abhishek following a petition by him but Roy repeated it again at a press conference on November 25. “Now I have filed a criminal case against him. I have my full faith on the judiciary. People are watching. We have shown how to win convincingly through ballot. We will do the same in this legal battle as well,” he added.Along with Abhishek, also present at the court was party MLA Smita Bakshi’s son Soumya Bakshi. Abhishek’s lawyer said that the defamation case has been filed under section 202 of the Indian Penal Code.
ALSO READ Why Mukul Roy is getting ‘Y-plus’ security? Trinamool leader files plea in Calcutta High CourtInterestingly, Roy too, had filed a similar case against Abhishek last week at Patiala House Court in New Delhi saying that the legal notice which was sent to him was defamatory. It will be heard on December 1. State BJP leadership refused to comment on the issue. “It is Roy who has alleged and the case is against him. The party is with him but he himself will have to prove the credibility of his allegations,” said a senior state BJP leader.In another development, the Biswa Bangla Biswabidyalay Bill (Biswa Bangla University Bill) was tabled by state education minister Partha Chatterjee at the West Bengal state Assembly while Opposition members opposed the title of the bill. Left Front and Congress members suggested that the bill should referred to the select committee which was turned down by speaker Biman Banerjee. Chatterjee said that the name had nothing to do with the Biswa Bangla logo. The proposed university would be located at Bolpur in Shantiniketan. Opposition members said that they opposed the use ‘Biswa Bangla’, which was a tainted phrase, in the name of a university at Shantiniketan because it amounted to an insult to Rabindranath Tagore.

Kolkata: Laptop, mobile phones recovered from Al-Qaeda suspects to be sent for forensic test

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials of the Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police have decided that the laptop and mobile phones recovered from the arrested alleged linkmen of Al-Qaeda, would be sent for a forensic test.Sources said that they expect a lot of interesting details would be recovered once those are decoded. “Mails and conversations on different messaging and calling apps would be scanned to get details of their plans and activities,” said a senior STF official.Since November 21, three persons, members of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) which has direct link with Al Qaeda, had been arrested by STF and one of them possessed a fake Aadhar card.Sources also said that the ABT arrested members were here to recruit more people for their groups and especially women, which is why each of them had married two or three women. It was also found out that in far-flung rural areas, they posed as members of different NGOs which would help women become socially and financially independent.STF sources said that the arrested accused had confessed that they faced problem carrying out operations in the absence of women members in their group.In another development, Samsad, one of the arrested has confessed that they had also been instructed to procure arms in Kolkata and to arrange for the money required they had intended to loot a nationalised bank.“Their main objective was to buy arms which is why they had gone to Kolkata Police Station to have a look at the sample arms and in the process, acting on a tip-off, STF officials arrested them red-handed.

We will see who cuts whose nose: TMC hits back at BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu over his comment against Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>We will see who cuts whose nose: TMC leader hits back at Suraj Pal Amu’s comment against MamataAfter Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the makers of controversial film Padmavati were welcome in West Bengal if they wanted to put up a premiere or even screening the film, Haryana BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu on Friday threatened Mamata saying that she would meet the same fate of Surpanakha, sister of Ravana in Ramayana. “Mamata Banerjee wants Padmavati to be released in West Bengal. Women with demonic nature should realise what happened to Surpanakha. He was taught a lesson by Lakshman,” he said.Senior TMC leaders in Bengal, naturally reacted to the comment.
ALSO READ Padmavati | Don’t forget Shurpnakaha’s fate, BJP leader threatens Mamata Banerjee for backing Deepika Padukone’s film“He should ask for forgiveness. If he doesn’t, he must realise that people of Bengal is watching everything and will give a fitting reply,” Partha Chatterjee, TMC national secretary general said on the sidelines of a public meeting at Canning in South 24 Parganas.State minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya at a rally in Kolkata said, “People are watching these provocative statements. We will see who cuts whose nose. Mamata had been elected twice convincingly in Bengal.”
ALSO READ Padmavati row: Sanjay Leela Bhansali is welcome to premiere his film in Bengal, says Mamata BanerjeeBirbhum TMC president Anubrata Mondal said that it was easier said in Haryana. “It will not be possible to say such things in Bengal,” he said at a meeting.

Why Mukul Roy is getting ‘Y-plus’ security? Trinamool leader files plea in Calcutta High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Trinamool councillor has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Calcutta High Court objecting against the Central government providing for ‘Y-plus’ security to former TMC leader Mukul Roy after his defection to BJP.Earlier the state government had written to the Union Home ministry about it but the Centre never replied to it. Following which councillor of Bidhannagar Municipality and leader of the party’s youth wing Debraj Chakraborty had filed the PIL.After quitting Trianmool Congress and stepping down from his membership to the Rajya Sabha, Roy had joined the BJP on November 3.
ALSO READ Litmus test for Mukul Roy in West Midnapore’s Sabang seatChakraborty, in his plea had stated that after he joined BJP there had been no incident which threatened the life of Roy and thus he wanted to know why was there a need to provide security by the Centre.Earlier in its letter to the Centre, the state government had said that law and order was a state subject and who in the state would get what kind of security, would be decided by the state as well. State also alleged that the Centre, bypassing the state had provided security to a particular individual which was not good for the state-Centre relationship.
ALSO READ Mukul Roy blasts Mamata’s nephew in first speech, claims company which sponsored U-17 WC run by nephew Abhishek Although the Centre had not replied to this letter of the state, officials said that the Centre was responsible for upholding the constitution which guarantees private security. Rajya Sabha MPs George Baker and Roopa Ganguly had not got any security from the state even after asking for it so the state had to arrange for it.After Roy’s defection senior TMC leaders had spoken in public about their lack of confidence on his son Subhrangshu Roy who is still a TMC MLA from Bijpur in North 24 Parganas district after which Subhrangshu had said that he had a feeling of insecurity. He had also written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee complaining about the deteriorating law and order situation in his constituency.
ALSO READ TMC to organise rally to counter Mukul Roy’s allegations; son Subhrangshu to be key speakerReferring to Mukul and his son Subhrangshu, state food supplies minister and TMC North 24 Parganas district president Jyotipriyo Mullick had said, “It is a game of hide and seek which will not go on for too long. We will soon come to know about the truth in the relationship between the father and son. We are not fools.”

Litmus test for Mukul Roy in West Midnapore’s Sabang seat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bye-election for Sabang Assembly constituency in West Midnapore on December 21 will be a litmus test for former TMC second-in-command Mukul Roy, who recently defected to BJP.While Roy was always known for his organisational skills at the grassroots level, he would now have to test it against the TMC supremo and chief of the ruling dispensation, Mamata Banerjee herself.Sources said Roy has already started making preparations for strengthening the BJP’s organisation at the lowest tier. Political analysts say that if Roy can prove his mettle it would instil a lot of confidence in both the state BJP leadership and workers at the lowest level.State BJP leaders are not ready to depend on Roy alone. “We are not depending on any one person to win election. Ours is not a one-man party. It is cadre-based, issue based and constitution-based,” said BJP national secretary and former state president Rahul Sinha. He also said Sabang had been a turf of Manas Bhunia, who was earlier with Congress and had defected to TMC. “I am not expecting a lot in this bye-election, but it is for sure that we will give TMC a strong fight,” he said.The election has been necessitated after the six-time MLA from Sabang and former state Congress president was nominated to the Upper House after his defection to TMC.Congress, too, is not very hopeful about winning the seat. “Let’s face it. Our organisational strength in Sabang is not very strong. Bhunia is not a mass leader. We had won the seat last time owing to the alliance with the Left. If that happens this time as well we can win. But if there is no alliance then we will have to fight alone and might only end up giving a fight,” said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.On the contrary, TMC leaders sounded a lot more confident of winning. “Hoi hoi kore jitbo amra. (We will win easily),” said state panchayat affairs and rural development minister Subrata Mukherjee.POLLS IN 5 SEATSBye-elections will be held in UP’s Sikandra, TN’s RK Nagar, West Bengal’s Sabang and Arunachal’s Pakke-Kasang and Likabali Assembly constituencies.
The notification for the bypoll would be issued on Nov 27 and the last date for filing papers is Dec 4.

Al-Qaeda terror suspect arrested in kolkata got fake Aadhaar card made in Karnataka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two days after the two alleged Al-Qaeda linkmen got arrested by officials of Kolkata Police’s Special Task Force, it was revealed that fake Aadhaar card recovered from one of them was not the only one which had been made. A total of three people were arrested by the STF team. STF sources said that upon interrogation they had revealed that the card was made in Karnataka. “There had been many such cards made there at the cost of Rs 10,000 each. Many cards have been distributed and some were under process. We are probing into how these cards with West Bengal’s address have been made from Karnataka,” said a senior STF official. He also said that Karnataka police have been alerted and together joint operations are underway to nab those behind the scam.Two of the three arrested on November 21 were members of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) also called Ansar Bangla which has direct links with Al-Qaeda network. STF officials said that one of the arrested, 26-year-old Samsad Mia possessed a fake Aadhaar card under the name of Tushar Biswas.It was also found out that Samsad was the head of the explosive making department of the group and used to train others about how to make explosives.On November 21, acting on a tip-off, Samsad, along with Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Manotosh Dey (46) had been arrested from Kolkata Railway Station in north Kolkata between 2.30 and 3 pm by the STF. While Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi citizens, Monotosh was found to be a resident of Basirhat in North 24 Parganas where he has two houses and married to two separate persons. To each one he had been living with a fake identity – one of a fish dealer and other of a BSF jawan.

Mamata Banerjee miffed with officers for failing to keep promises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, in an administrative review meeting at Siliguri gave a dressing down to MLAs and government officers of three districts — Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling.Taking stock of the progress of various welfare schemes at the three districts, Mamata was visibly perturbed and gave stern warnings to officials to pull up their socks and expedite the works at a faster pace.She was particularly miffed at the poor implementation of Kanyashree, Mamata’s pet project which has been lauded recently by the United Nations and also the slow progress of 100 days’ work scheme. She directed the district magistrates of the districts to submit a report at the CMO stating the exact position of implementation of the projects at the respective districts. “If there is someone who has come for work under the 100-days’ work scheme, he should not be refused,” she said. She also criticised the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) of Jalpaiguri for issuing showcause notice to 20 doctors. “We have to see to it that those doctors are able to perform their duties well,” she added.Referring to the irregularities of in the figure of deaths by elephant attacks, she said, “The exact number of families affected need to be identified so that they can be compensated.”She also advised administrative officials against making false promises. “It is not my nature to make false promises. Only after required funds are made available, new projects would be taken up. Till then, there should not be any promises about those projects,” she said.Talking about the arrest of the two suspected Al-Qaeda linkmen on Tuesday by Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police, she said that there was a need for better security at the border. She also advised that district administration should draw up a feasibility study for putting up additional watch towers at border areas.

Three Al-Qaeda terror suspects arrested in kolkata sent to police custody till Dec 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The three suspected Al-Qaeda linkmen arrested on Tuesday by Special Task Force (STF) officials of Kolkata Police have been sent to police custody till December 5.Sources said that they had put up at different places across the country such as Bihar, Telangana, Karnataka and Jharkhand but they had been most active from Hyderabad where they had spent the maximum time.Interrogation so far had revealed that the two Bangladeshi citizens had been part of a plan to kill a blogger belonging to Mokto Mona, an internet community for freethinkers, atheists, and rationalists.It was found out that Samsad Mia alias Tushar Biswas was the head of the explosives section of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which was earlier responsible for the murder of several bloggers in Bangladesh and has direct links with Al-Qaeda. After entering India illegally, they had been touring the country where they worked as masons and other daily labourers which they would use as a smokescreen and in the backdrop would network and meet people in connection to their plans and would work on computer hardware as well.STF has informed Central Intelligence Bureau about the developments and Bangladesh officials will also be contacted and updated on the latest findings. Police are also looking into the possibility of presence of others of the group in Kolkata or rest of Bengal.A team of STF, if need be, would also visit places where they had been allegedly staying, to corroborate the information the duo had given out to police.On Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner, STF, Murlidhar Sharma at a press conference said that the three – Samsad Mia (26) alias Tushar Biswas, Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Manotosh Dey (46) – had been arrested from Kolkata Railway Station in north Kolkata. Of them Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi citizens and Dey was an arms dealer hailing from Basirhat in North 24 Parganas.

Mamata Banerjee meets all parties, lauds restoration of peace at the hills

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after chairing an all-party meeting on Tuesday at Pintail village in Darjeeling thanked all political parties for their help in restoring peace at the hills. She also announced compensation packages for the dead and injured during the violence.”I was asked for compensation to those affected in the violence. Those who were not involved in spreading violence will be compensated. Families of each of the dead would get Rs 2 lakh and a member of the family would get an employment provided there is no pending cases against them. Those who suffered serious injury would get Rs 50,000. There is also a proposal of including Nepali language in West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) Examinations. We will consider it,” she said after the meeting.Eyeing a better foothold in the region, she also announced a slew of developmental projects including a 100-bed hospital, a bus stand at Mirik, a college at Kurseong, and several other projects. These projects are to be executed jointly by the state government and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).Other than Trinamool Congress, representatives of parties such as Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) were also present at the meeting. GNLF leaders said that about one dozen people were killed and dozens were injured in the 104-day long agitation at the hills in demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.The administration, however, refuted claims that the deaths were owing to police firing, saying that people died because of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) cadres.In another development, one day after Supreme Court ordered a stay on the arrest of GJM chief Bimal Gurung until the next hearing of the case, Gurung released an audio clipping from an undisclosed location.”I thank the Supreme Court for giving me a relief of 15 days. I have been implicated with false charges. I will go to Delhi and file petitions for others who have been similarly framed,” he said in the clip.He also said that conspirators such as Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa would try to instigate them but the people of the hills should not fall into the trap.COMPENSATIONThe CM announced compensation for the families of the victims of the unrest.
Family members of those who dies will get Rs 2 lakh and those injured will get Rs 50K.

Kolkata police arrest three with links to Al-Qaeda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons allegedly with links to Al Qaeda have been arrested by Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police, on Tuesday.Deputy Commissioner, STF, Murlidhar Sharma said that the three – Samsad Mia (26) alias Tushar Biswas, Riazul Islam (25) alias Riaz alias Suman and Manotosh Dey (46) had been arrested from Kolkata Railway Station in north Kolkata between 2.30 and 3 pm. One of them even possessed a fake Aadhaar card.It was found that Samsad and Riazul were Bangladeshi nationals and members of banned Bangladeshi group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) also called Ansar Bangla and had come to purchase arms and chemicals used for making explosives. “ABT is responsible for the murder of several bloggers in Bangladesh and has direct links with Al-Qaeda network in the Indian sub continent. Samsad occupy a a senior position in the ABT hierarchy. A fake Aadhaar card of Samsad has also been recovered where he is named himself Tushar Biswas. We are trying to find out where and how did he get the Aadhaar card done,” said Deputy Commissioner, STF. He said that there were specific inputs from Central Intelligence Bureau about their movements. “We were told by Central IB during the final phase of Durga puja here and while the U-17 FIFA World Cup was on, that 2-3 persons from Bangladesh have or will soon come to Bengal from some other part of the country. Acting on that input, in the last 20-25 days we started combing operation at various stations, bus stands and also intelligence network was engaged. We had come to know that they had come to purchase arms,” Sharma added.Sources said that they had come here to engage people to join their module and might have had plans for some terror activities here as well as since hand written papers with names such as ‘Esplanade Bus Stand’ and ‘Eden Gardens’ written on it have been found. Sharma said that other than a 7.32 mm pistol, a single shotter pistol, a laptop, a number of pen drives, several magazines were recovered related Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. “One of the magazines described how to make explosives while another said how to conduct a recce of a place. There was also literature on religious speeches,” he said.It was found out that they had been visiting various chemicals shops and were enquiring about chemicals specifically used to prepare explosives. Many visiting cards of such shops had been recovered from them. “We have come to know that the two have illegally entered India and had met Dey who is a resident of Basirhat and is an arms dealer. They met him today after deferring the meeting for the past few days with the intention of buying arms and Dey had come with two samples. The duo said that they had been staying in India for the last one and a half years. We will have to interrogate them thoroughly to find out what their intentions were and will have to verify all the statements which they had given so far. They have said that they had not been staying in any hotels but spent the nights at railway stations, passenger restrooms and other such places,” Sharma added.In September 2016, six suspected Jamaat-ul Mujahideen (JuM) members had been arrested from West Bengal and Assam for their involvement in several terror activities including the Burdwan blast in 2014.

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