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17 Sep 2014

Two held in trader murder

TT, Alipurduar, Sept. 16: Two persons were arrested from Jaigaon last night in connection with the murder of a trader whose body was found with the throat slit on Sunday morning.
“Last night, we arrested Ayub Mia and Sayed Ali from their houses in Jharna Basti in connection with the murder. We have recovered a cellphone, a laptop charger and a wristwatch belonging to the deceased from the duo. We are yet to recover the laptop and the cash. We suspect that the trader was killed because the attackers wanted to take away his belongings. The arrested duo have confessed that they killed the trader,” said deputy inspector-general of police Jalpaiguri circle, C.S. Lepcha.
Both Ayub Mia and Sayed Ali are unemployed, police sources said.
The trader, Raj Kumar Pandey, 50, used to supply construction materials to traders in Bhutan. A bag with a laptop that he was carrying and Rs 8,000 was missing, police had said.
“Today, the duo were produced in the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate, Alipurduar,” Lepcha said. The duo were remanded in police custody for three days.
After the news of Pandey’s murder spread, a mob attacked Jaigaon police station alleging inaction. A car seized by the police was set on fire.
Four persons were picked up in connect with the arson attack. They have been remanded in jail custody for 14 days.
Yesterday, four more persons were arrested for the attack on the police station. They were also remanded in jail custody for 14 days.
This evening, R.S. Gupta, the secretary of Jaigaon Merchant’s Association, was picked up for his involvement in the arson attack. He will be produced in court tomorrow.

Brother wins minus CM aid

Nirmal Mangar, TT, Gangtok, Sept. 16: Rup Narayan Chamling, the younger brother of Pawan Chamling, won the lone Assembly bypoll in Sikkim today as an Independent, despite the visible lack of support from his chief minister elder sibling.
Pawan Chamling had said he was not happy with his brother in the fray as he did not want anyone from his family to join politics.
Rup Narayan won the Rangang-Yangang in South Sikkim, a seat vacated by Pawan Chamling as he had won another seat also in the Assembly elections.
Pawan Chamling had said that his party, the Sikkim Democratic Front, would not take in his brother even if he won the election.
“I have a family relationship with my brother but not a political relationship. I appeal to the people of Rangang- Yangang to not get misguided but to vote for the SDF candidate. My younger brother is going around saying that he has my blessings, which is completely wrong. He doesn’t enjoy my political patronage,” the chief minister had said at a SDF meeting on September 1.
Rup Narayan said today: “This is the victory of the people. I am thankful to the people who voted for me. I will work with the people of Rangang-Yangang for the development of the constituency. I will make sure that I do not let my people down and will respect the mandate given to me by my people.”
Rup Narayan won by a margin of 708 votes. The SDF had fielded Kumari Thapa who got 4,080 votes and the BJP’s candidate Bikash Basnet, who was backed by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), got 351 votes.
A senior SDF leader, said: “In a democracy people have the right to choose their leader and the people of Rangang-Yangang decided to elect R.N. Chamling. This should be welcomed because the people’s power reigns supreme in a democracy. As far as our party is concerned, every effort was made to make our candidate win. We welcome the decision of the people.”
The election was held on September 13.
The SDF has 21 seats in the Assembly, the SKM 10 and Rup Narayan, the lone Independent, one.
The total number of seats is 32.

‘Attend dharna’ order to hill teachers - Protests and meeting from December 18-20 in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar

Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling(Suman Tamang)
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Sept. 16: Bimal Gurung today told newly appointed primary and secondary schoolteachers to “compulsorily” attend the party’s dharna and public meeting planned in New Delhi in December.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha held an indoor meeting of the party’s frontal organisations at the Rangamanch Bhavan today where details of the Delhi agitation were announced.
“The 630 primary schoolteachers and 269 secondary teachers who got appointments after the GTA was formed, must compulsorily attend the dharna and public meeting in Delhi,” a source present the meeting quoted Gurung as saying.
The party has decided to organise a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on December 18 and 19 followed by a public meeting at Talkatora Stadium on December 20.
“Gurung has directed all the 47 GTA Sabha members to take two party supporters to Delhi each and bear the entire cost, including their travel, food and lodging expenses. The municipal commissioners have been directed to fund the expenses of one supporter each,” the source said.
There are 32 wards in the Darjeeling municipality, 23 in Kalimpong, 20 wards in Kurseong and nine in Mirik.
Today, Gurung also announced that the party would have to send at least 90 supporters from each of the 45 GTA constituencies.
“Apart from these supporters, the students’ front should also make arrangements to send at least 10 students from each constituency,” the source quoted Gurung as saying. “Our supporters from the Northeast and other places in India would also attend the public meeting.”
Trinamul today hit back at Gurung for allegedly “blackmailing” the teachers.
“You cannot blackmail government employees. If the teachers have got jobs, it is because of their ability. We appeal to the hill teachers not to cow down under the threat but instead, take Gurung to court for issuing such a diktat,” said Binny Sharma, the general secretary, Trinamul (Hills).
He alleged that Gurung was harassing his supporters for his own political survival.
“People are being harassed for his political survival. He is the one to say that the Prime Minister and the BJP knows everything about the demand (statehood) and we fail to understand the logic behind organising a dharna at Jantar Mantar where at any given time, more than a dozen demonstrations are taking place,” said Sharma.
“On the one hand, the Morcha is talking of development, and on the other hand, to hoodwink the hill people they are talking about a statehood agitation. These leaders are not being able to administer even three hill subdivisions properly,” said Sharma.

15 Sep 2014

Hindi Diwas observed

Mukesh Sharma, Kalimpong News Express & KalimNews, 14 September 2014: ' Darjeeling Hindi Bhasa Manch ' in association with one of the leading Hindi Daily Dainik Jagran today observed the Hindi Diwas at Kalimpong.The program was observed at Sapta Shri Gyanpith school hall where Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri was present as the chief guest.
Dr Shova Limbu the president of the Manch in her welcome address said that the condition of Hindi Language in Darjeeling Hills is very critical . She said the organistion has been formed recently to uplift our national language in our regions and let other know about the rich literature of it.
Hindi Diwas is observed throughout the nation on September 14, annually. This is done to commemorate recognition of Hindi as the language of the Constituent Assembly of India in 1949, on this very day. Hindi was recognized as an official language under Article 343 of the Indian Constitution in 1950.
A poem and Extempore competition was held on this occasion where a total of 11 school participated in Poem and 8 in Extempore Competition. Prateek Jain of St Augustine School and Shivani Gupta of Sapta Shri Gyanpeeth was chosen as the winner of Poem and Extempore Competition respectively. The certificates and token was sponsored by Dainik Jagran. Chiief Guest Dr.H.B.Chhetri, MLA addressing in Hindi told that he will help in all possible way to conquer the dream of the Organisation.

SDF seeks Oram mea culpa

SNS, Gangtok, 14 September 2014: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has hit back at union minister Jual Oram’s claims of toppling the Pawan Chamling government within six months of ‘winning’ the Yangang by-polls. The party said the minister has insulted the Sikkimese people by daring to bring down a democratically elected government.
Days after Mr Oram, the union tribal affairs minister, warned the SDF over corruption, the ruling party on Saturday called a press conference to counter his charges. Slamming Mr Oram’s remarks, SDF spokespersons Bhim Dahal and KT Gyaltsen said the BJP leader ought to have realized whom his party has partnered with in Sikkim (Opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha/SKM) before accusing the fifth term of the SDF.
“Oram has joined hands with a charge-sheeted person to spoil the centre-state relations,” said Mr Dahal, citing several “futile allegations” against the SDF government leveled by opposition forces in the state.
“It may be Oram’s personal statements because it was evidently contrary to his party’s stance,” Mr Dahal added.According to the SDF spokespersons, all allegations leveled by the union minister were politically motivated.
“He has insulted the Sikkimese people by bullying a democratically elected government against the BJP’s inclusive policy. Whom will he befriend after Golay is convicted on graft charges and his party candidate faces rout in the Yangang by-election. He should take back his statements,” Mr Dahal said. He was referring to SKM president PS Golay.Even as Mr Oram disowned the SDF as its ally at the centre, Mr Dahal maintained that his party still has good relations with the BJP.
Mr Dahal and Mr Gyaltsen also ridiculed Mr Golay for “bowing down before the BJP” within merely two-and-a-half years of floating the SKM.
On independent candidate RN Chamling in Yangang, the brother of chief minister Pawan Chamling, the duo said that he was misled by “exploiters and anti-people elements.”
Mr Dahal, however, admitted that the junior Chamling had posed a major challenge for the party’s candidate in the by-polls.

Book on Darjeeling society released

SNS, Siliguri, 14 September 2014: Salesian College Publications released a book written by Dr Nupur Das at the Salesian College auditorium in Siliguri on Saturday.
‘Darjeeling: Society, Economy and Polity’ is based on Dr Das’ research papers and vast study since a long period of time. The book reflects the historical and contemporary growth of Darjeeling and its people.
Chief guest Fr Mathew Pullingathil, the rector of Salesian College, and other guests inaugurated the book release event by lighting a lamp and finally unveiled the book after speeches delivered by the guests, including the principal of the college Fr George Thadathil.
“Everyone has played their own role in bringing out the book,” said Dr Thadathil, giving his valuable insights on the contents of the book. “This book unveils the history of the emergence of Darjeeling as a social entity backed by economic prospects and spearheaded by political aspirations with unique socio cultural features arising out of the unique combination of the inhabitants and their lifestyles,” said Dr Das, the under-graduate council secretary at North Bengal University.
Top officials from North Bengal University, teachers and students of the college attended the event.

PM to be sent missive on Top honour for Tenzing... Gautam deb felicitated nine Sherpas on Everester’s Birthday Centenary

SNS, Siliguri, 14 September : Family members of first Everester, Tenzing Norgay, and the United Sherpa Association have decided to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on taking initiatives to confer the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the late mountaineer. Mr Norgay was the first mountaineer to scale Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
"Sherpas living across the world have been demanding this for a long time. The name Tenzing Norgay is known in every part of the world. However, despite his achievements, it seems that he has been forgotten. The family members will write to Prime Minister Nardenra Modi soon and urged him to confer the award on Tenzing Norgay," said Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of Mr Norgay. He was speaking on the sidelines of a programme organised to commemorate the birth centenary of the mountaineer at the Siliguri Dinabandhu Mancha yesterday.
"Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia had promised that he would take initiatives in this regard. I am hopeful he will keep his word, while we have 100% faith in the government at the Centre," Jamling Norgay said.
Yesterday’s event was organised by the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation in collaboration with the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority. North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb felicitated nine Sherpas during the programme.
The association has decided to send the letter to Mr Modi through Mr Ahluwalia.
"During the Lok Sabha election rally at Matigara, Mr Modi had raised the issue, so we will send the letter through Mr Ahluwalia when he visits Darjeeling next," said the vice president of the association, PT Sherpa. Jamling Norgay also said that the state government had not taken any step to recommend his name for the award to the Centre.
Mr Ahluwalia, meanwhile, said Tenzing Norgay deserves the award. "On 23 March, on the eve of filing the nomination papers for the Lok Sabha election, I visited Mr Norgay’s house in Darjeeling and said all efforts would be made on my part so that he would be awarded the Bharat Ratna. I will visit Darjeeling on 28 September," he said over phone from Delhi.
However, Mr Deb said it was a matter of shame that such a demand is being raised when the centenary celebrations are taking place.
"It is a matter of shame that the demand for the award is being raised when we are observing the birth centenary of the legendary mountaineer. Why should anyone make a demand for the award for Tenzing Norgay? He deserves the award in the true sense of the term. The West Bengal government will take necessary steps in this regard," he said.
The mountaineer was awarded with the Padma Bhushan in 1959. He also received the George Medal from the British government in 1953, the highest award for a non- British, while the Nepal government honoured him with the Nepal Tara and the Nepal Pratap Vardak awards.
The mountaineer has also received the USSR Sports Special Medal, the Special Olympic Medal, the French Sports Special Medal, the Italian Sports Special Medal, the Coronation Medal of Queen Elizabeth II and many other honours.
The principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Colonel Gulshan Chadha, said the mountaineer continues to inspire other climbers. Mr Deb further said HMI, the premier mountaineering institute, had been reeling under a financial crisis.
"Some steps are being taken. I had a talk with the chief minister over the issue so that initiatives can be taken to talk to the Centre over the matter," he said.

Nepal’s domestic carriers affected by Spicejet’s low cost flights

PRASHANT ACHARYA, EOI, Siliguri, 14 Sep 2014: The launch of Kathmandu-Bagdogra flights on August 13 by India’s budget carrier SpiceJet has affected the occupancy of Nepal’s domestic carriers catering to the Kathmandu-Bhadrapur sector. Nepal-based Airlines sources said the promotional fare offered by SpiceJet on the sector had taken away at least 30 percent of their loyal customers.
Bagdogra Airport located in Darjeeling district serves as a base airport for tourists and other travellers visiting the Hills and Sikkim. As the new service has provided an easy hop for travellers from Nepal to Siliguri, Darjeeling or Sikkim, besides convenient connections to Kolkata, occupancy on domestic airlines has dropped significantly.
Airline officials said that 60-70 percent of the passengers on their Bhadrapur (Nepal) service are bound for Siliguri, Darjeeling or Sikkim. However, Rupesh Joshi, senior executive manager at Buddha Air, said that SpiceJet’s Bagdogra-Kathmandu flight has affected only 20 percent of the occupancy of domestic carriers and only on inbound flights. “As the flight time of SpiceJet is not convenient for outbound travellers, it has not affected the Kathmandu-Bhadrapur occupancy.”
The Spicejet flight departs at 4:05 pm from Kathmandu and reaches Bagdogra at 4:45 pm. The airline received more than 5,200 bookings within a week of the launch of its service.

Another chit fund operation exposed in Siliguri

PRASHANT ACHARYA, EOI, Siliguri, 13 Sep 2014: Even as raised temperatures regarding the Saradha and Basil chit fund scams are yet to cool down, another company named Suraksha Farming & Industry Ltd has found itself dragged into the raging controversy. Its office in Siliguri has been locked up since last month leaving nearly 4,000 agents and investors in the lurch.
Investors and the agents today called a press conference at the Siliguri Journalists’ Club where they revealed how the managing directors of the company had duped them. One agent cum investor named Archana Singh alleged Suraksha Farming & Industry Ltd CMD Bam Shankar Maharaj and his associates Nikhil Chakraborty and Amardeep Bhagat are roaming around freely in Siliguri and have not been arrested despite FIRs being lodged against the trio.
Archana said the company’s office at Burdawan Road was established in 2010 and its promoters had promised investors of seeing their deposits doubling in five years’ time apart from promising a host of lucrative offers.
Rajesh Sharma, the advocate for the agents, said an FIR was filed in November 2013 by an investor named Chitra Mondal and while another complaint was lodged with the Siliguri police station on Friday, September 12. Sharma said the police have failed to arrest the accused and have not seized their bank accounts either. According to the advocate, company agents from Siliguri and its environs alone have deposited Rs7 crore.
A distraught agent named Mallika Sarkar of Samar Nagar said she has collected and deposited Rs7 lakh from investors and now she is unable to stay in peace given the regular harassment by the frustrated investors.

Kurseong under special focus of GTA in terms of developing tourism

EOI, KURSEONG, 13 Sep 2014: Kurseong and its environs appear to have made a special appeal to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration as the council is focusing on introducing various development projects for the benefit of the region.
Kurseong GTA executive member Anit Thapa today told media personnel a 35-bed auditorium fitted with a swimming pool, a conference hall and a badminton court is coming up near the Tourist Lodge just above the Montiviet ground area at a cost of more than Rs20 crore.
Thapa said the fund for the project has already been released by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and once the Puja festivities are over, it will start on a war footing. He added besides the locals, tourists will also benefit greatly from the project.
Again, Thapa said the GTA has also planned to transform the Montiviet ground into a mini-stadium. The Darjeeling Polytechnic Institute, which owns the ground, now falls under the jurisdiction of the GTA, he further informed. Compared to Darjeeling and Kalimpong, there is neither a private nor a government guest house in Kurseong. Hence, the 35-bed auditorium can be considered a valuable present for both locals and tourists alike.
He added apart from these projects, several other development initiatives have been planned by the GTA targeting the Kurseong region. Despite Kurseong being blessed with a plethora of natural beauty, the region is yet to emerge as a tourism destination and is still considered underdeveloped in the field of tourism amid the world-famous tourism destination of the Darjeeling hills. 
Further, to boost the economy of Kurseong by means of garnering tourism revenue, construction work of a ropeway service by the GTA between Giddhay Pahar and Rohini is already on at a cost of crores of rupees, added Thapa.

Now, Gurungs want development board

EOI, Kurseong, 14 September 2014: The Gurung (Tamu) Youth Association of Kurseong today held a meeting at Bloomfield Library where it was unanimously agreed to demand for the formation of a Gurung Development Board.  
Talking to reporters, Gurung (Tamu) Youth Association (Kurseong) secretary Dipankar Gurung said representatives from different places of Darjeeling participated in the meeting and a unanimous agreement was reached to demand for a development board for the Gurung community for its overall development.
He said various communities in the hills have been making efforts to develop their respective communities’ culture and tradition, but the Gurung community is lagging far behind in this aspect. A development board for the Gurungs will give members access to various rights and facilities hitherto deprived.
It is inconsequential to mention here that the Lepcha and Tamang communities have already been accorded their respective development boards by the state government, which observers warn is a policy to divide the communities of the hills who have been living since generations as one single family.

Gorkha Jan Jagriti Yuva Manch to organise Phoolpati Mahotsav in Kalimpong

Pradip Lohagun, EOI, KALIMPONG, 14 Sep 2014: In order to continue promoting the traditional and cultural heritage of Gorkha community in Kalimpong, the Gorkha Jan Jagriti Yuva Manch will be organising this year’s Phoolpati Mahotsav. The GJJYM in collaboration with Gorkha Sanskritik Sangrakchan Samiti will hold the yearly Phoolpati yatra and other related programmes in the town this year.
Yuva Manch convenor and Sabhasad Nima Tamang , Sabhasads  Dr. RB Bhujel and Sanjay Thulung along with local artistes, representatives of various social organisations and educational institutes today attended a meeting at a private hotel here to discuss about the programme. Two promotional videos for the Mahotsav, directed by Subh Pradhan and written by dramatist Lalit Golay, was also screened during the meeting. Acting and the technical assistance in the two videos have been given by local artists.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Yuva Manch general secretary Balkrishna Thapa informed the Mahotsav will start from September 26 and will continue till Phoolpati on October 1. He further said that during the Phoolpati Yatra a total of 107 madal artist will perform madal vadan, while 107 dancers will perform the Maruni Dance. The rally will also feature Kukuri Dance along with street plays by dramatist Lalit Golay. The rally will culminate at the Mela Ground in the heart of Kalimpong, where various other traditional Phoolpati Mahotsav programmes will be held.
Meanwhile, Nema Tamang said the organising committee has begun the preparation for the Mahotsav, which represents the Hills’ cultural and traditional heritage. “The Phoolpati Mahotsav not only highlights the culture and tradition of Gorkha community, but also provides a great platform for the current generation to become aware about our tradition and culture,” Tamang stated.
He also urged the local people and businessmen to refrain from entertaining any people posing as organising committee members to collect funds for the Mahotsav. Suspecting anti-social elements to take advantage of the mega programme, Tamang said, “I would like to urge all the local businessmen to inform the organising committee if anyone come asking for funds for the Mahotsav.”

GNLF ups ante demanding revival of DGHC... Stresses on implementation of Sixth Schedule

EOI, Darjeeling, 14 Sep 2014: The Gorkha National Liberation Front has strongly taken up its demand of reviving the defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and placing the Darjeeling hills under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
Braving today’s heavy drizzle, GNLF supporters organised a rally in town and later held a street corner in Chowrastha to gain support for their demand. Speaking to the supporters gathered, GNLF Darjeeling sub-division convener MG Subba said, “We will continue to stage rallies and street corners every week until the state and central governments relents to our demand.”
Subash Ghisingh’s GNLF has been organising rallies and road meetings every Sunday since the past month in the three sub-divisions of the hills. Subba said, “The DGHC, which is a constitutionally guaranteed body, must be revived because the present Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is only a temporary arrangement. We are willing to go the distance and start agitations to compel the state and central governments consider our demand.”
According to the GNLF leader, implementation of the Sixth Schedule is the only correct and plausible solution for resolving the crises being faced by the hills. “Bringing the hills under the Sixth Schedule will not only unite the various communities residing here, but it will also prove beneficial for one and all. The Sixth Schedule Bill has already been placed in Parliament by our party president and we will take this issue up soon with the central government,” said Subba.
GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh had stoked up the issue of bringing the hills under the Sixth Schedule back in 2004. After lobbying with the UPA government, he had succeeded in getting an MoS signed in December 2005 wherein the concerned parties were the state government, the Centre and the GNLF. Subsequently in February of 2008, a bill to the effect was placed in Parliament.
However, riding on the anti-Sixth Schedule sentiments of the general public, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha strongly opposed its imposition and got the Bill stalled with the backing of the BJP.
Meanwhile, speaking to journalists today, the GNLF Darjeeling sub-divisional convener refused to comment much on why Ghisingh was keeping a low profile despite returning home back to Darjeeling in April of this year. Brushing aside such queries, Subba said, “All we want to say is we will continue holding rallies and street corners every week ahead of the public address by our party president.” However, he said such rallies and meetings would remain suspended during the puja festivities.
It may be mentioned that Ghisingh and other senior GNLF leaders were hounded out of the hills in 2008 after a GJM supporter was killed by a bullet reportedly fired from a GNLF leader’s house. Ghisingh started living in a rented house in Jalpaiguri following the exile, and though he came back to Darjeeling in 2011 he had to pack up and leave immediately after GNLF candidates lost heavily in the Assembly election to the GJM.
The quixotic leader climbed up the hills once again this April after lending his party’s support to the Trinamool Congress candidate in the Lok Sabha election, but is yet to make any public statement, leaving leaders and party supporters in a quandary.

Hill lad Parasmani Rai continues to impress with his voice

Pradip Lama, EOI, KALCHINI/KALIMPONG, 14 Sep 2014: Hill lad Parasmani Rai has continued to impress audience by his vocals in the reality show Saregamapa in Zee Bangla since the past few weeks. Hailing from Mulpala in Kalimpong, Rai has been giving back-to-back stellar performances in the programme, winning audiences across the region and also gaining laurels from the judges. Rai has reached the top nine in Saregamapa, one of the most renowned musical reality show in the history of Indian reality television.
Rai’s father Santoshmani Rai said his son has been giving great performances in the show and has continued to impress the esteemed panel of judges including reputed Bollywood singers Udit Narayan Jha, Alka Yagnik, Hariharan and Kumar Sanu. He said the people in the Hills have also started noticing his performances and have started forming Parasmani fan clubs. “He can win this competition as he is deserving and I urge all the people in the hills to tune in to the channel and watch the show,” Santoshmani Rai added.
In Dooars, the local social worker youths who follow the show have started making people aware of the show and Paramani’s progress. The youths said that as soon as the voting round starts, they will start an MMS campaign to urge the people to vote for Parasmani. Similarly, Bhatpara-based teacher and ardent fan of Rai, Dev Kumar Rai, said that if Parasmani reaches the voting round, he will form a fan club in Kalchini and help the upcoming singer grab more votes.

Love of dogs versus ire of neighbours

Krishna Chowdhuri with some of the dogs that frequent her home in Chakdah, Picture by Ranjit Sarkar
TT: In certain places it is wrong to love dogs.
Homemaker Krishna Chowdhuri, the 43-year-old wife of a high school teacher in Chakdaha, has been living in trauma since the last week of July when five of her pet dogs were beaten to death by hostile neighbours near her home at Durganagar in Chakdaha, Nadia.
She went to police, who have been dismissive at best, while the neighbours have not only ridiculed but also threatened her for her love for dogs, she said.
The police were compelled to start a probe but it has made life more difficult for her with neighbours becoming more hostile.
Krishna has been an animal lover since childhood, although she does not raise dogs in her home.
“I feel blessed that every day birds visit my house and I feed them grains. Dogs and cats come, too, and get fed. But I never keep them inside my house. I believe in freedom so I have never chained a dog for my security,” she said.
Last year when her house was under construction, two stray dogs took shelter under the roof. Two more dogs joined them. One of the dogs gave birth to five puppies in March.
Krishna looked after them.
Trouble began in June when the puppies grew up a little and started pouring into the adjacent lanes.
“My neighbours were afraid of being attacked by the dogs, even though the animals spent most part of the day in front of my house. When the dogs barked during the night, they said it was ominous. I tried to make them understand but they would be very angry,” she said.
In the last week of July, word spread that the dogs had gone “mad” and were dangerous.
“I visited Chakdaha municipality office to enquire about vaccination for street dogs. But Mithun Sarkar, an officer, said no such provision was available. Before I could make any other arrangement, neighbours started killing the dogs,” she said.
In four-five days, they killed four dogs, she said.
On July 30, when they killed the last one, a puppy, Krishna fell unconscious.
“It was a horrible sight. A mob of about 50 people brutally killed a puppy with bamboo poles, bricks and iron rods. I pleaded with them for the dog’s life but they refused to listen to me,” Krishna recounted, breaking down.
A neighbour who refused to be identified said: “The dogs became a threat to our children. They chased the children dangerously. One had bitten a boy. We suspected the dogs went mad. So they were killed.”
Three days after the puppy’s death, on August 3, Krishna walked into Chakdaha police station to lodge a complaint.
But the duty officer refused to take a complaint. He asked her to leave the police station as, he said, “there was no law for animals” — the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes such an offence punishable with fine and imprisonment.
“The officer advised me to chain the street dogs and take them in. ‘Kichu kortey parbo na, kukur ke prem dekhatey holey bendhe rekhe pushun (I cannot do anything, if you love the dogs, chain them and raise them)’ he said,” Krishna added.
Krishna got in touch with Trinamul Congress MLA and former actress Debasree Roy, who is an animal rights activist.
It was only after Roy’s intervention that the police visited Krishna’s home.
“But the officer appeared not at all concerned about the animals. He made a silent gesture and advised me to take the dogs inside the home from concern for the neighbours’ attitude,” Krishna said.
This officer, too, appeared ignorant of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
“He admonished me in front of the local people who were angry,” Krishna said.
The inspector in charge of Chakdaha police station, Tarakeshwar Mukherjee, claimed ignorance about his officer refusing to lodge a complaint but started a probe under Section 11(1)(A) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
“I am not aware of any such incident (of police apathy). But if any of my officers has done it, he has done a wrong thing,” he said.
Debasree Roy said: “It is because of the ignorance of police officers about the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, that the offenders are never punished. I am shocked to hear about the case.”
Members of Chakdaha Bigyan O Sanskriti Sangha have decided to start an awareness programme about animal rights in the area.
“We will campaign in the area so that the people can understand that their fear was unfounded but their act could land them in jail,” said the spokesperson of the body, Bibartan Bhattacharjee.
Krishna has requested the police to save the life of the four other dogs, who the neighbours have branded “mad”.

Twin murders of ladies at home

Relatives and neighbours at the deceased women’s house in Hili on Sunday. Picture by Mithun Roy
TT, Balurghat, Sept. 14: A young widow and her mother-in-law were found dead in their home, both suspectedly hit with the metal handle of a tubewell, in South Dinajpur’s Hili this morning.
The 70-year-old mother-in-law was found dead near the house tubewell. Her daughter-in-law, who was in her thirties and helped run the family’s grocery store, was found dead in a room in the house.
The younger lady’s 20-year-old son, who is being questioned, is suspected to be associated with betting syndicates, police in Hili said.
“Some of the articles from the house were missing,” Jawed Shamim, inspector-general, north Bengal, said. One of the relatives has mentioned in a police complaint that Rs 15,000 and some gold and silver jewellery was missing from the house.
Shamim said: “We are probing the robbery angle and trying to find out whether the miscreants killed the two after they faced resistance.”
The police said that barring the head injury on the two ladies, there were no other bruises.
“Her (the daughter-in-law’s) body was found in a semi-naked condition. We have asked doctors, who will conduct a post-mortem, to ascertain whether the victim was raped,” a police officer said.
The husband of the younger lady died about seven years ago.
Hili police said that after detaining the younger lady’s 20-year-old son, they found out he had lost money while betting recently.
“We have started an investigation on the basis of the complaint (filed by the relative). The motive behind the crime is not clear. Both the murders were committed with the handle of a tube well and the women were hit in the house,” said a police officer.
“We have come to know that he (the son) was involved in a betting syndicate and he had lost some money recently,” the officer said.
Hili is 25km from Balurghat town.
Neighbour Rupali Sarkar said this morning that she saw “mashima (the mother-in-law) lying on the concrete landing near their tube well. I thought she had fainted as she had high blood pressure. I called out to her. When she did not respond, I went near her and saw injury marks on her head.”
The family has a grocery shop near the police quarters in Hili and after his father Gopal Ghosh’s death, the youth used to run the stall to run the family.
His mother would help him in running the store.
The police have seized the handle of the tube well that was found near the house.
Sandip Subba, the officer in charge of Hili police station, said: “We have found two bodies in the house this morning. They were murdered with a heavy weapon, which has been seized. There were injury marks on the head of both the deceased. The bodies have been sent for post-mortems. We can comment on the cause of the deaths only after the reports reach us.”