Students beat up teachers, five injured
Prevented From Copying In Exam Hall, Students Attack Teachers At Berachampa
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Sabarmati Roy TNN
Sanjib Chakraborty TNN
Gaighata (North 24-Parganas): Hundreds of women, armed with brooms and bamboo sticks, attacked police, ransacked a police outpost and blocked a key road for 10 hours on Friday in Sutia, some 80km from Kolkata, to protest against the murder of a schoolteacher who had saved the area from a gang of rapists ten years ago. At least 40,000 people turned up for the funeral of ‘Mastermoshai’ Barun Biswas.
The spontaneous outburst of anger took the administration by surprise. Sutia residents are furious with police for not being able to protect Barun despite several earlier attempts on his life. The RAF was called in to lift the siege but the armourclad men did not know how to take on an army of women.
Locals believe Barun was murdered by the gangsters who were jailed or forced to go underground because of his crusade against the rapes. Their suspicion was deepened by the arrest of Bhim Biswas, a close aide of Susanta Chowdhury, one of the prime accused in the Sutia gang-rape case.
Between 2000 and 2003, Sutia was one of the worst badlands in the country. Gangrapes were a daily affair. Teenagers were raped in front of their mothers, wives in front of husbands and mothers in front of children in a horrific strategy to terrorize the population. If any woman protested, the gang would barge into the house and rape every female in the family. Women could not even step out of Sutia as the gang ran it like its personal fiefdom. Even the police didn’t dare interfere.
Then, Barun, a quiet 26-year-old schoolteacher, rose in protest and led a campaign that ended the reign of terror. Barun’s fightback is the stuff thatBollywood blockbusters are made of, but the blood, guts and bullets and bombs were all too real.
He was shot dead by three men on a bike as soon as he stepped out of Gobordanga railway station on Wednesday evening. The gang shot him in the back, as a hundred people watched in horror. Biswas turned around to face his killers and took the second bullet in the chest. If the killers had planned to silence the voice of protest, the result was just the opposite.
People streamed out of their homes at night and when daylight broke, the sleepy policemen in Sutia outpost found themselves surrounded by a huge crowd of women. The mob stormed in, drove out the cops and wrecked furniture. A police bike and a jeep were damaged. Then, the protesters moved to the streets. The blockade of Gobardanga-Berigopalpur Road started at 5am. Bombs and bullets fail to deter crusaders Apolice team from Gaighata tried to evict the women by force but was beaten back. SP Champak Bhattacharya rushed to the spot with a large police and RAF contingent but the mob refused to budge, demanding to know why 11 of the Sutia rape accused were still roaming free. It took hours of negotiation before the blockade was lifted at 3pm on the promise that the killers would be arrested.
Police records say that at least 30 women were repeatedly raped in Sutia between 2001 and 2003. The actual number could be even more. This is apart from 80 murder and robbery cases in the tiny hamlet, about 15 minutes from the Bangladesh border. With the mafia land out of police jurisdiction, the people were virtually enslaved until Barun Biswas, who lived in nearby Panchkuta village, gave them hope. He roped in locals to form the Pratibadi Manch. Hundreds flocked to him, from farmers to students and homemakers to doctors.
Eventually, news of his protest trickled out and made front-page headlines. The administration was forced to act and the kingpins of the gang — Susanta Chowdhury, Bireswar Dhali, Ramen Majumdar, Ripon Biswas, Anil Bala and Laxman Tarafdar — were arrested. In 2004, five of them were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Barun, as the prime witness in the case, was repeatedly attacked but refused to give in. Mancha president Nani Gopal Poddar, who too has escaped several attempts on his life, alleges that those absconding in the gang-rape accused and those jailed had plotted the murder. “On March 14 last year, two gunmen fired at me in Sutia Bazar. In 2003, goons hurled bombs at me. I somehow survived but was hospitalized for a long time,” said Poddar. “Barun’s murder was the handiwork of those who are operating from behind bars. Police should have been more active to arrest all the culprits,” he added.
Barun’s neighbour Arup Biswas also believes that the murder was plotted from behind bars to bring back the reign of terror in Sutia. “But the people will not bow to the criminals. The fight that Barun started, hundreds of people will continue,” he said.
Police say they are not yet sure what led to Barun’s murder. “The exact motive has not been ascertained. We are looking into all possible angles. We arrested a suspect on Thursday night and he is being interrogated. Raids are on to nab the others,” said the SP.
Food minister Jyotipriya Mullick condemned the murder and demanded a proper investigation. He said Barun was a Trinamool Congress activist.
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Mohammed Wajihuddin TNN
Mumbai: The increasing arrests of educated Muslim youth from Bihar on terror charges is a cause of concern for the Muslim intelligentsia. Muslim scholars have started airing their views both in private and in publicon the “frenzy” with which educated Muslim youth are being picked up for alleged terror activities.
The concern is also deep because most of the recent arrests have been made from north Bihar, especially Darbhanga, a backward district. In the last one year intelligence agencies have arrested 14 Muslim youth from Bihar, mostly from Darbhanga.
The detention of Fasih Mahmood, an engineer from Darbhanga, in Saudi Arabia, is the latest proof that IM has widened its trap and might have succeeded in radicalizing a section of the educated Muslim youth. “There is a trust deficit among Indian Muslims about what the agencies say regarding involvement of Muslim youth in terrorism. If Indian Mujahideen really exists and is radicalizing educated Muslim boys, they are the biggest enemy of Indian Muslims,” says Mohibul Haque, political scientist at Aligarh Muslim University.
Many are dismayed at the existence of a ‘Bihar module’. “The districts in Bihar from where these Muslim boys have been picked up are backward. Most of the arrested terror accused are educated. Their arrest will halt the stride Muslims had taken in education and employment post-Babri masjid demolition. The resurgence in Muslims’ educational advancement will be affected by these arrests,” said Urdu columnist Hasan Kamaal.
Fasih studied engineering at a college in Karnataka where is he said to have come in contact with IM members. “Muslims will have to be vigilant about terror ideologues looking for fresh recruits. There is no reason why youths should join terror organizations and become mercenaries of death as they have not faced any serious discrimination,” says Firoz Ahmed who teaches at Akbar Peerbhoy College.
Nitin Yeshwantrao TNN
Thane: Woman police constable Deepmala Nair’s presence of mind saved the Ansari family from Mumbra a lot of grief after she safely escorted their nine-year-old missing son Azaruddin back home on Saturday.
Nair is working with the Naupada police station here and commutes daily from her home in Pune to her workplace in Thane. Early on Saturday, as Nair was waiting for theSinhagadExpress atPune station she noticed a boy chatting with a tea vendor at the platform and sensed something amiss.
Nair summonedtheboy. “I tried to comfort him first and made discreet enquiries about him and his home. After some coaxing he said he was from Mumbra’s Amrut Nagar and that he had wandered away from home but now wants to get back to his parents. Immediately, I took him in the train with me and brought him to Thane,’’ she said. Later, the boy was reunited with his parents.