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Trinamool student leader arrested after he threatens to blow up police station

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Kolkata: A Trinamool Congress student union leader was arrested and sent to custody on Wednesday following allegations that he publicly threatened to blow up a police station and set afire the officer-in-charge’s car for sending policemen to a college when the principal was kept under siege by students.

Soumitra Banerjee, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) Block President of Raniganj in Burdwan district, on Tuesday allegedly threatened the officer-in-charge and even exhorted his loyalists not to be afraid of police “who are mere servants of the government run by us”.

Banerjee apparently lost his cool after officer-in-charge Arnab Guha sent police personnel for rescuing Tribeni Devi Bhalotia College principal Swadesh Majumdar, who was kept under siege by TMCP activists who demanded the deadline for online admissions be extended.

They also demanded that students from rural pockets be allowed to complete the admission process.

“How dare you send in police to the college without the principal having called you? I’m giving you five minutes. Ask the officer-in-charge to come. If he does not, I will bomb the police station and set his vehicles ablaze,” Banerjee allegedly told a policeman over his mobile phone.

That was not the end.

The leader next addressed the TMCP activists, telling them that police will not be able to do anything to them.

“Don’t be afraid. Police won’t be able to do anything. Police are mere servants of the government run by us,” he said.

As TV channels began airing the bytes of his explosive comments, opposition parties, educationists and the civil society lashed out against the state’s Trinamool government and demanded Banerjee’s immediate arrest.

“No wonder he is saying such things. He has learnt it from his seniors in the party. This is only symbolic of the all-round decadence we see in the state,” said former Vice Chancellor Anandadeb Mukhopadhyay, taking a dig at Birbhum district Trinamool President Anubrata Mondal, who is known for making controversial remarks like urging his loyalists to burn residences of dissidents and bomb police personnel.

Leaders of the CPI-M, BJP and the Congress condemned Banerjee’s comments.

As the issue seemed to be snowballing, TMCP state chief Ashok Rudra announced on Tuesday night that Banerjee has been suspended.

On Wednesday, Banerjee was arrested and presented in court, which sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.

Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee later told media persons that Banerjee has been expelled. “Administrative action is being taken against him,” he said. (IANS)

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Ensuing assembly polls, enclave exchange, Saradha scam ruled Bengal in 2015

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Kolkata: With assembly polls ensuing in West Bengal, the political scenario in the state witnessed a lot of developments. While, after a long wait, 64 files on legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were declassified, the CBI’s probe on Sarada scam grilled some Trinamool leaders but the party continued its dominance. Furthermore, around 51,000 enclave dweller’s painful stateless existence come to a happy end with the implementation of the accord on the exchange of enclaves.

In a bid to win the elections. Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wooed the Muslims, who comprise 27 percent of the state’s population, the CPI-M and the BJP effected a change of guard.

History was made on August 1 as India and Bangladesh implemented the 40-year-old Land Boundary Agreement by exchanging 162 adversely held enclaves, resulting in 14,000 residents of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in Cooch Behar district becoming Indian citizens.

About 37,000 people, inhabiting 111 Indian enclaves in four Bangladeshi districts got the country’s citizenship.

In another historic step, the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service was flagged off, reducing travel time between the two Indian cities to less than half.

In September, Banerjee declassified 64 files on Netaji Bose, stressing the need to solve the mystery surrounding his disappearance. Though there was a general feeling that the files made no startling disclosures, it helped Banerjee score some political brownie points and outsmart the BJP-led central government which also promised to make public hitherto secret files on Bose.

However, the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scandal being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the Supreme Court’s instructions, continued to embarrass the Trinamool.

While former minister and party bigwig Madan Mitra, arrested last December for his complicity in the scam, continues to languish in the jail, the CBI in January grilled Banerjee’s then right-hand man Mukul Roy, sparking cries of “vendetta” and “conspiracy” from the Trinamool.

But with Roy virtually going against the Trinamool line to announce he would “fully cooperate” with the CBI, there was much speculation that the ex-railway minister would either float a new party or join some other outfit.

As Roy started skipping Trinamool meetings, Banerjee stripped him of all his posts and relegated him to the Rajya Sabha back benches. But as the year reached its last lap, there were indications of their mending fences, ahead of the poll year.

The Saradha probe has apparently not dented the Trinamool’s electoral fortunes. The party decimated the opposition in the Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj assembly by-polls, easily retained the Kolkata Municipal Corporation board, and romped to victory in district civic body contests.

The BJP, which in 2014 seemed to be emerging as the second largest force, failed to maintain the momentum, with political circles pointing to the absence of a popular face in the state party to sway the masses.

At last in December, the BJP appointed an RSS man, Dilip Ghosh, as its state president, replacing Rahul Sinha, and embarked on a law violation campaign.

Nine months ago, Left Front spearhead CPI-M anointed the comparatively young Surjya Kanta Mishra (66) as its state secretary, in place of the 75-year-old Biman Bose and opted for new leaders in a majority of its committees from the local to the district level.

At the fag end of the year (December 27-31) the CPI-M is holding a plenum after 37 years to assess its organisational strength and decide on its future organisational and political roadmap.

However, though the top leadership is yet to spell out any clear-cut stand, sections in the CPI-M and other LF partners are seeking an electoral understanding with the Congress, arguing that the weakened LF on its own cannot combat the Trinamool.

The Congress is a house divided on the issue. While some leaders favour a tie-up with the Left, a faction wants to ally with the Trinamool – and then there are those who want the party to go it alone.

But Banerjee, apparently to nip in the bud any possibility of a Congress-LF tie-up, openly sided with the Congress when its chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi were summoned by a court on an alleged graft case related to the National Herald newspaper. The Left chose to keep a distance from the Congress on the issue.

Banerjee also announced goodies affecting a majority of the population. While the government would distribute nearly Rs 600 crore (nearly $91 million) to support 10,000 clubs, around 70 million out of the state’s 90 million population is to get rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg.

Several famed personalities died in 2015. They included former Missionaries of Charity superior general Sister Nirmala, legendary sports administrator and Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya, ex-assembly speaker H A Halim, double leg amputee swimmer and English channel conqueror Masudur Rahman Baidya and writer Suchitra Bhattacharya.

In a tragic incident, 20-year-old cricketer Ankit Keshri succumbed to injuries sustained in an on-field collision in April.

Over 30 lives were lost in landslides that wrecked the Darjeeling hills, the rape of a nun in a Nadia district church by bandits caused revulsion while the discovery that a man was living with the corpses of his sister and two dogs for over six months in the heart of the city triggered shock and disbelief.(IANS)

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Politics and campus mayhem in Kolkata varsities

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By Arka Mondal

Kolkata: West Bengal’s once-reputed educational institutions that once produced some of India’s best known faces, both leaders and scholars, are now plagued by frequent incidents of campus violence, mass copying, irregularities in admission procedures and student protests over trivial matters.

The state’s prestigious institution, Jadavpur varsity, remained the epicentre of a massive student agitation recently that led to the unprecedented step of its vice chancellor being asked to step down. The students’ movement, that had extensive reverberation with many of the Jadavpur University alumni expressing solidarity, had its roots in a demand by students for an independent probe into the alleged molestation of a female pupil. A subsequent “violent” police crackdown on the agitating students gradually snowballed, resulting in vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabrti stepping down in the face of what he called an “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” stir initiated by “politically-affiliated” students.

Academic circles attributed the present scenario to the political leaders who are politicising

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www.digitallearning.eletsonline.com

the educational system in the state to reap their personal gain. It has become a common phenomenon among people to point finger at the party in power. Same happened with the Jadavpur University fiasco with people, including educationists, blaming political interference, especially by the ruling Trinamool, for the “anarchy”. They further claimed that the students were acquiring a tendency to agitate for “anything and everything”. Instead of pointing fingers a section of teachers and students must bear the responsibility for the crisis that has engulfed the education system, said a former vice chancellor Pradip Narayan Ghosh.

Bengal students have always been politically active, but the restiveness now seems to be going beyond limits. The problem is not only with Jadavpur, where the best goes to study, but the phenomenon is fairly widespread. Reports of students sitting on fasts or confining teachers and authorities have become too frequent.

The iconic Presidency varsity witnessed similar scenes with students resorting to a fast-unto-death demanding revocation of the clause that barred students with less than 60 percent attendance.

www.collegedunia.com
www.collegedunia.compercent attendance from contesting or voting in the student’s body polls.

It is alarming that students have become habitual agitators and the varsity authorities have to concede to the illegitimate demands of the students.

The situation is a result of the former Leftist government’s theory of using the growing restiveness of the students for its “political ambition”s, engulfing the entire education system in anarchy. And the result – the rise of right wing politics in the campus. It surely is alarming to see the ABVP gaining ground in Bengal.

What was horrific was killing of a cop during campus elections. West Bengal’s education now boasts of regular mass copying, goons becoming part of the college administration and teachers and principals working at the mercy of students.

Violence in educational campus is not a new phenomenon and happens across the world. Rather, every country has its faction of students that indulge in agitations. However, the character, nature and dimensions of violent incidents in developed countries are completely different from the violence that we witness in our educational campuses. The prime reasons of these differences are, that our attitude, value and belief system to the academic institution are absolutely asymmetrical from the western culture and belief system. Our attitude and values to the academic institution and their sanctity in student and student-teacher relationship are different.

From the days of our national movement against the colonial power, students in India had played a very significant role and came forward to take active part in the liberation struggle. Such was the aura of the students that it compelled even our national leader to unhesitatingly declare that education could be suspended for a certain period of time but national movement for freedom should be never be stopped. Politics is in our tradition since the time of our national liberation struggle.

During late 60’s and early 70’s of the last century, student politics and campus violence became synonymous with the college life in West Bengal. But from late 70’s, the violence started to haunt the state and its politics. A new type of campus politics emerged. This new type of violence comes with only one motive – to take hold of the campus.

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TMC registers massive victory in civic polls, Opposition cries foul

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress juggernaut in West Bengal continued with the party registering a landslide victory in the civic polls on Saturday.

The Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool won overwhelmingly in all the three municipal bodies – Bidhannagar in North 24 Parganas district, Asansol in Burdwan district and Bally in Howrah district.

The Trinamool bagged 37 of the 41 wards in Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and annihilated the opposition in the 16 wards of the erstwhile Bally municipality where an election was necessitated after the civic body was amalgamated with the Howrah Municipal Corporation.

In the Asansol Municipal Corporation, the candidates from the ruling party have either won or are leading with wide margins in at least 70 of the 106 wards.

The Left Front managed just 16 while the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged eight wards. The Congress emerged victorious in just three.

At Bidhannagar, the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front and the Congress won two wards each. Among the heavyweights to lose from here was veteran Marxist and former state minister Asim Dasgupta.

“This is not a reflection of the people mandate rather an evidence of the electoral malpractices indulged in by the ruling party,” Dasgupta told reporters.

The opposition had alleged violence and rampant rigging in the municipal polls, and demanded re-elections in all the wards of the three civic bodies.

There was high drama as State Election Commissioner (SEC) SR Upadhyay deferred the vote count slated for October 7 and then put in his papers on Tuesday allegedly succumbing to pressure from political parties.

The state government appointed transport secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay as the interim commissioner, who ordered re-poll on October 9 in 11 booths; 9 in Bidhannagar and two in Asansol.

Angry opposition parties boycotted the re-polling.

A case was also filed challenging Bandopadhyay’s appointment, and the Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that all steps initiated by the SEC under the new interim commissioner would be subject to the court’s final verdict on the writ petition, but turned down a plea to give any interim stay.

Justice Dipankar Datta sought affidavits from the West Bengal government and the SEC backing their observations by November 17. The petitioner Amitava Majumdar was directed to file the affidavit in opposition by November 19.

November 23 has been fixed as the next day of hearing.

“Trinamool may have won the polls but it has been a moral defeat for them. It’s not humans, rather thousands of ghosts cast votes for the Trinamool. It’s a disgrace,” said Leader of Opposition and CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra.

(With inputs from IANS)