QKolkata: Bengal Bandh Shows Impact In Some Places, Not In Others

Your daily lowdown of all things Kolkata.

4 min read
Police personnel detain BJP activists protesting during Bangla Bandh strike against the State Government.

1. Bandh Creates ‘Compliance’ Border In Kolkata

The BJP-called bandh on Wednesday appeared to split Kolkata down the middle, pockets of the old city in the north popping the strike sleeping pill even as the south went about its business with gusto.

Around 10 am, looking at the office crowd streaming into Tollygunge Metro station, it was hard to imagine another part of the city in slumber. Outside the station, buses, taxis and autorickshaws caused the usual traffic frenzy of a weekday morning.

At Ultadanga, around 18 km away, the scene was quite the opposite. Gone was the chaos that commuters have to navigate through every day. Fewer autorickshaws were parked on either flank and several shops around the railway station there were shut.

(Source: The Telegraph)


2. Bengal Bandh Supporters Attack Kolkata School Bus

Twenty-five children in a school bus were let down badly from two flanks on Wednesday. First, by alleged bandh supporters who threatened to burn the vehicle and then by a government that had ordered schools to stay open but could not ensure the safety of the students of an institution that heeded its call.

The school bus was stopped in the morning not too far from the airport by a group that broke its windshield as the children cowered inside.

Three teachers got off the bus and pleaded with the attackers with folded hands to be allowed to go. The mob let the driver turn back after 15 minutes, an FIR filed by the principal at Airport police station said.

(Source: The Telegraph)

3. Bengal Bandh: Low Turnout In Govt Schools

Several private schools reported near normal attendance on Wednesday despite the BJP-called bandh, but absentees far outnumbered students in classrooms across state-run and aided institutions.

Attendance was almost normal in the top private schools in Kolkata that had decided to stay open, including the two La Martiniere schools and Ram Mohan Mission School, where examinations were scheduled.

“All our girls were on time and we could start the examination without any delay.

We had normal attendance,” Rupkatha Sarkar, the principal of La Martiniere for Girls, said.

Attendance was like any other day at Modern High School for Girls. “We had an almost normal day of classes. In the primary section, a few children did not turn up,” Devi Kar, the director of Modern High, said.

(Source: The Telegraph)


4. Mamata Reminder: I Didn’t Link

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the Aadhaar scheme as a “victory of the people”.

“From day one we had said that giving Aadhaar details to banks and telecom service providers discloses vital information and goes against the right to life, right to property and economic rights. That our logic was infallible was proven by this verdict,” she told reporters in Milan, where she is scouting for investment for Bengal.

Asked about her vow not to link her phone to Aadhaar, she said: “I did not do it. I have not done it till date.”

Asked whether the court judgment was a victory for her, she said: “No, no, (it’s) not my victory; it’s a victory of the people. I simply did not do it (Aadhaar-link her phone) and asked everyone not to do it. That’s because I felt (it would be) a calamity (for citizens’) human rights.”

5. Work On New Behala Road Begins 5 Days Before Tender

In a state that is desperate to beat negative perceptions about its work culture and efficiency, contractors started work on the new road link between Behala and the rest of Kolkata a full five days before the state PWD awarded them the tender.

The PWD issued the “emergency” work tender for the new link, with a 15-day completion deadline, on Tuesday evening. But two firms started work on the ground last Friday, five days before the PWD issued the contract.

PWD officials say it is a norm to award contracts to enlisted contractors and later regularise them through a “postfacto approval” clause in case of projects that need emergency completion. “This practice was followed in emergencies earlier, too, particularly during floods. This road connection is one of Kolkata’s most urgent needs right now, particularly because Durga Puja is barely three weeks away,” a senior PWD official said, explaining the “situation”.

(Source: The Telegraph)


6. Parents In ‘Suicide Pact’ Slit 6-Year-Old’s Throat

In what is suspected to be a suicide pact, a 42-year-old man working with the travel desk at a top IT firm, his wife (39) and their six-year-old daughter were found with their throats slit and wrists slashed at their Moore Avenue home in Tollygunge early on Wednesday.

The police said all the three, Atish Dipankar Naskar, wife Dola Naskar and daughter Adwitya Naskar alias Aditi, were being treated at MR Bangur Hospital, the condition of the child being extremely critical. Though the police suspected it to be a suicide pact, they were investigating all the angles. “Atish seemed to have tried killing their daughter first. He then slashed Dola’s throat and wrist before trying to end his life,” said an officer from the Regent Park police station.

(Source: The Telegraph)

7. STF Terror Arrests Find Mention In US Report

Two decisive arrests by the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police last year have found a mention in the just-released country-wise report on terrorism prepared by the United States Department of State. The September 2018 publication talks of the arrest of Jammatul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operative Mohammad Idris in March 2017 from a central Kolkata hideout and that of two Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) members in November last year. The report has been tabled before the US Congress.

The observations were made under the India category that states that “parts of India most seriously impacted by terrorism in 2017 included Jammu & Kashmir, the northeast states, and parts of central India in which Maoist terrorists remain active”. The paragraph dealing with the STF arrests talks of “India’s state-level enforcement agencies played a significant role detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism”.

(Source: The Telegraph)

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