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Syndicates working overnight to crack new Rs 2,000 note: Sources

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The coming few weeks, it seems, will be crucial for the Rs 2,000 note. Intelligence sources reveal that Bangladesh-based criminal syndicates manufacturing Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) are studying “features” of this new note to create counterfeit currency.According to a senior BSF official, a number of copies of Rs 2,000 rupee notes have been seized across the country in Bangladesh, but so far he claims such replicas are mere scanned copies. These are made out of paper instead of rag which is used to make original currency. The same material has to be used to create a high quality counterfeit.”The recently seized Rs 2,000 notes are mere copies which have been scanned to make it look like a currency note. It will take time for FICN gangs to regroup and we are hoping to counter any such attempts of counterfeiting,” the official told DNA. He, however, added that syndicates would soon ramp up efforts to create and circulate fake currency.So far though, security officials say they are pleased with initiatives introduced by the RBI which has made counterfeiting currency more difficult. In 2015, the RBI had introduced modifications to the now defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 note that was especially difficult for FICN syndicates to crack.This year too, RBI modifications had sent FICN gangs operating in South Bengal, especially in Malda, into a tizzy. And now it remains to be seen how the recently issued Rs 2,000 note stands up against counterfeiting. In fact, security officials are already studying possible methods by which counterfeiters could look to copy and circulate fake currency.”There are 16 main features of an Indian currency note, four of which are invisible to the naked eye. Till 2014, the fake notes coming out of Bangladesh were increasing in quality. The 2015 modifications by RBI however marked an end to this and the result was that most notes seized by us were of 2014 make. Furthermore, more modifications introduced in the notes issued in January this year had made it more difficult for FICN to produce a good quality counterfeit,” said an intelligence official.The tough modifications introduced by the RBI, has ensured that security agencies so far are enjoying increased success in cracking down and seizing fake currency. According to government data, fake currency seized in South Bengal, including Malda, was a whopping Rs 1.7 crore in 2014, Rs 2.6 crore in 2015 and Rs 1.3 crore this year till October.”Most of the seizures made by the BSF or other probe agencies such as National Investigation Agency in 2015-16 were of 2014 make and most of seizures we made showed signs that the gangs were not able to crack the new modifications. The last big haul of the 2014 make fake currency was recovered on October 22 in Kaliachawk, (Malda district, West Bengal)” the official said.Officials also pointed out that the strict security measures introduced in the Rs 2,000 note ensures that copying and issuing such currency would require a huge network and major financial backing.”Indian currency is made out of pure rag which is only available with sovereign governments. To copy and circulate fake currency a vast international network would be required, which can only become possible with some state backing. For example, the security threads that exists in all our currency notes today can only be accessed by a sovereign government,” said a BSF official posted along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Congress loses all municipalities to TMC in Adhir Chowdhury’s bastion Murshidabad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Saturday lost control over Kandi municipality in Murshidabad, the last of the seven in the district, to ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.TMC now controls all the seven municipalities in the district, which along with Malda district are considered the strongholds of Congress and the former the backyard of WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury. Five Congress councillors of Kandi municipality switched over to TMC during the day. As a result the strength of TMC, which had 9 councillors since February this year after 6 Congress councillors defected to it, went up to 14 giving it the effective control over the 18-member civic body.Congress is now left with 2 councillors and the rest two belong to Left-supported independents. The independents had supported the Congress. “The Congress decision to align with CPI-M during the last assembly poll has proved to be a political harakiri as the rank and file of the party did not accept the alliance. “By the end of this year there will be no sign of political presence of Congress and CPI(M) in Bengal as people have rejected this unholy alliance,” claimed senior TMC leader and MP Abhishek Banerjee.”In future you will have only few leaders left in Congress but there will be no workers or activists in it … Those who are joining TMC want to be part of the developmental process started by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” he said. Congress and Left Front had received a blow recently when TMC took control of Malda and Jalpaiguri zilla parishads after several of their members switched over to TMC.

Deluge continues as two Congress MLAs, several party councillors join TMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a severe jolt to Congress, the party on Wednesday lost two of its MLAs and several councillors to TMC, which took effective control of two Congress-controlled municipalities.Congress MLA of Islampur in North Dinajpur district Kanailal Agarwal and Kaliaganj MLA in Nadia district Hasanuzzaman Sk today joined TMC in presence of senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee.With the joining of these two MLAs, the tally of the Congress MLAs in state assembly now stands at 39. In the last two months, three Congress MLAs including former PCC president and senior MLA Manas Bhunia had switched over to TMC.The TMC today also served a blow to state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury in his backyard by taking over Murshidabad Municipality with eleven Congress councillors switching over to TMC. The TMC which had only one councillor in the 15-member Murshidabad municipality, now has 12 councillors. In Murshidabad district, Congress now controls two municipalities whereas TMC has five municipalities in its fold.The TMC also took over Islampur municipality in Uttar Dinajpur district, with its chairman and MLA Kanailal Agarwal and several of its councillors joining the party.”The Congress’ decision to align with the CPI-M during the last Assembly poll had proved to be a “political harakiri” as the rank and file of the Congress did not accept the alliance. By the end of this year there would be no sign of political presence of Congress and CPI(M) in Bengal as people have rejected this unholy alliance. “Those who are joining TMC, want to be part of the developmental process started by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” Abhishek Banerjee told reporters. Malda and Murshidabad are considered as strongholds of Congress, with the latter being termed as the backyard of the state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury. Recently in a blow to Congress and Left Front, the TMC took control of Malda and Jalpaiguri Zillaparishad after several of its members switched over to TMC.Plagued by defections and infighting, the beleaguered Congress and CPI(M) are finding it difficult to keep their flock together in the face of Trinamool Congress juggernaut in West Bengal. In the last few months since the Assembly poll results were out delivering a thumping majority to the Trinamool Congress, the party managed to take over various opposition-controlled municipalities and panchayats in the state, with councillors and panchayat members shifting to the TMC fold from either Congress or Left Front constituents.

"Win these municipalities in elections if you have guts’: Congress to TMC in West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Trinamool Congress taking over control of opposition-ruled municipalities by way of defection of leaders to the party, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Sunday challenged the Mamata Banerjee-led party to win them in election.”Many people are saying that MLAs, councillors are leaving Congress. The TMC is taking over opposition-ruled municipalities one after another. I challenge them: win these municipalities in elections if they have guts,” Chowdhury told a party programme here. TMC has recently taken control of the Zilla Parishads of Malda and Jalpaiguri following defection of opposition members. The party also has taken Jangipur and Baharampur in Murshidabad district, considered to be Chowdhury’s stronghold, in the same way.The state Congress chief asked the party workers to conduct roadside meetings and inform the people about the ongoing defections in the party and TMC’s role in it. AICC General Secretary and Congress in-charge of West Bengal, C P Joshi, was scheduled to address the programme but he did not attend it.

West Bengal: Big blow to Congress, loses zilla parishad in its stronghold Malda to TMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress on Monday received a big jolt in its stronghold Malda as the party lost control of the zilla parishad with 14 members belonging to Congress and the Left defecting to Trinamool Congress.Today’s development is significant as TMC drew a blank in Malda in the last Assembly poll, held only about three months ago. The defection drew a sharp reaction from CPI(M) and the Left, which accused the TMC of trying to establish a one-party rule in the state and trying to distort the basics of Indian democracy and Constitution. State Transport minister and TMC’s in-charge of Malda district Suvendu Adhikari told reporters that in the 38-member Malda zilla parishad, eight Left and six Congress members, including ZP sabhadhipati Sarala Murmu, joined the party during the day, while two Samajwadi Party members extended support.The TMC has six members in the present zilla parishad. Dipali Biswas, who won on CPI(M) ticket in the Assembly poll, and a zilla parishad member had joined TMC last month. Adhikari said that those who joined TMC did not support the “unethical alliance” between Congress and Left during the last Assembly election.”They have also been inspired by the development works undertaken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” he said. Commenting on the development, Leader of opposition and state Congress leader Abdul Mannan told PTI: “The TMC is trying to establish a one party rule in the state and that is why they are constantly poaching on opposition MLAs and councillors and elected members.”They want to wipe off every sign of opposition from the state. They are afraid of the opposition and that is why even after winning so many seats, they have to poach on opposition party leaders and workers,” he said. CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim said TMC is trying to distort the basics of democracy and constitution of our country. “They are trying to distort the basics of Indian democracyand Constitution of our country. They don’t have an iota of respect for the basics of Indian democracy. That is why even after drawing blank in the assembly elections in Malda district they have the audacity to intimidate and poach on public representatives of the opposition parties,” Salim said.Adhikari had earlier claimed that within the next few months his party would take control of Murshidabad and Malda zilla parishads.”The Congress will politically cease to exist in days to come in the state. The party will virtually turn into a signboard in days to come,” a senior TMC leader said. In neighbouring Murshidabad, another Congress stronghold, the party faced a serious challenge to defend its zilla parishad as eight of its members, one of CPI(M) and another from AIFB had recently joined TMC taking the number of TMC zilla parishad members to 29 in the 70-member council.

WB: Cong, Left members defect; Congress loses Malda zilla parishad to TMC

In the 38-member Malda zilla parishad, eight Left and six Congress members, including ZP sabhadhipati Sarala Murmu, joined the party during the day, while two Samajwadi Party members extended support, said TMC. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a blow to Congress in its stronghold Malda, 14 Congress and Left members on Monday switched over to Trinamool Congress, giving the ruling party in West Bengal control of the district’s council.State Transport minister and TMC’s in-charge of Malda district Suvendu Adhikari told reporters that in the 38-member Malda zilla parishad, eight Left and six Congress members, including ZP sabhadhipati Sarala Murmu, joined the party during the day, while two Samajwadi Party members extended support.Dipali Biswas, who won on CPI(M) ticket in the Assembly poll, and a zilla parishad member had joined TMC last month. He said that those who joined TMC did not support the “unethical alliance” between Congress and Left during the last Assembly election.”They have also been inspired by the development works undertaken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” he said.Today’s development is significant as TMC drew a blank in Malda in the last Assembly poll, held only about three months ago. Congress also faced a serious challenge to defend its zilla parishad in neighbouring Murshidabad district as eight of its members, one of CPI(M) and another from AIFB had recently joined TMC taking the number of TMC zilla parishad members to 29 in the 70-member council.State Congress president and MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hailed from Murshidabad district. Adhikari had earlier claimed that within the next few months his party would take control of Murshidabad and Malda zilla parishads.

Two brothers, stated to be Congress supporters, shot at in West Bengal

Two brothers, stated to be Congress supporters, were on Thursday hacked with sharp weapon and shot at by unidentified men in Sujapur of Malda district with the opposition alleging involvement of Trinamool Congress in the incident.A senior police officer, however, maintained that the incident was due to property dispute and there was no political angle to it.Sirajul Islam was standing in front of his house when some unidentified motorcycle-borne men stopped nearby and attacked him with sharp weapon, the police officer said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On hearing Sirajul’s cry for help, his brother Monsur rushed out and he too was attacked by the assailants who then open fired on the duo.The brothers, who had reportedly worked for Congress during the Assembly poll in the area a few days back, were taken to Malda Medical College and their condition was stated to be stable.Local Congress and CPI(M) leaders claimed that “TMC carried out the attack to create fear psychosis among the opposition members in the area”.However, Trinamool Congress slammed the “two new friends” of “doing cheap politics over a village feud”.

West Bengal: Probe ordered into Malda blast that killed two CID personnel

Kolkata: Amid allegations that standard operating procedures were not followed while defusing bombs at an explosion site in West Bengal’s Malda district which killed two members of a bomb disposal squad, police on Tuesday said a probe has been ordered into the incident.

The explosion occurred on Sunday night inside a house where crude bombs were allegedly made and stored in Baishnabnagar area of the district, killing four people.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

On Monday, two CID personnel were killed and another was critically injured when a bomb exploded while they were trying to defuse it.

While police initially claimed only one officer was killed, they later confirmed the death of the second personnel.

Additional Director General (CID) Ram Phal Pawar visited the site on Tuesday and said a probe has been initiated.

Family members of Bishudanand Mishra and Subrata Chowdhury, the two CID personnel, blamed the district police top brass for the incident.

“They were not even given time to wear protective suits and forced to defuse the bombs without any kind of protection. My brother would have been alive had he been allowed to wear the protective suit,” said Chowdhury’s brother.

Meanwhile, the condition of the third officer, Manirulzaman, is said to be critical.

He was shifted to the city’s SSKM Hospital, where a doctor said the officer sustained injuries to his face including his eyes.

West Bengal elections 2016: Why Mamata Banerjee’s TMC could retain power despite the hiccups

While walking underneath the flyover in Kolkata’s Burrabazar market, the shade suddenly gives way to scorching sun. The flyover stops abruptly in the air and JCB machines are seen collecting debris on the other side of the road. Workers are busy atop the construction site, contributing to the resurrection of this collapsed flyover. Almost 20-25 shops in the vicinity are shut. Bystanders observe the proceedings behind barricades manned by the police to ensure they are at a safe distance. On March 31, a substantial chunk of this under-construction flyover gave way, killing 26 people.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Burrabazar, one of the largest wholesale markets in India which encapsulates old Calcutta, is fuming as the assembly elections are underway in West Bengal. “Mamata Banerjee stormed into power on the plank of Parivartan,” says Partho Banerjee, an engineer and a bystander at the site. “She speaks of transforming Kolkata into London. Is this how she plans to do it?”Yashwant Kumar, a cabbie parked at the corner of the market, says he interacts with his customers and most of them appear disillusioned with the TMC rule. “The flyover collapse, Narada sting and Saradha scam have transpired in quick successions,” he says. “It has put people off. Clearly, the government is plagued with corruption.”
ALSO READ West Bengal elections 2016: Ahead of phase five, 14 crude bombs recovered from Kolkata’s ChetlaDuring the initial days, when the campaigns first kicked off in West Bengal, it seemed Mamata Banerjee and TMC would run through the state. The Congress and Left had still been negotiating and Mamata’s political rhetoric largely went unchallenged. But the Left-Congress alliance has gained momentum as the elections have unfolded. This was palpable from Mamata’s softened tone at a recently held rally in Kolkata where she said she would have made amendments to her candidate list if the Narada sting had surfaced earlier. It was almost an admission of the authenticity of the tapes.
ALSO READ West Bengal elections 2016: Mamata Banerjee and other political heavyweights to contest in the fifth phase tomorrowYet, even after the disenchantment among urban voters, it should not come as a surprise if the TMC manages to win 7-8 seats out of 11 in the city of joy. The popularity of the Left among the aspirational urban middle class across the country is at an all-time low and the narrative is not dissimilar in Kolkata. The cities, say residents, were completely neglected under the Left rule, bringing in the TINA factor. “There is no major challenge to Mamata right now,” says Ali Haider, an exporter who has an office at Burrabazar. “We certainly do not want the Left to come back to power even though Mamata has not been too promising.”Experts believe the stings and scams may influence the fence sitters in urban areas, but not the core TMC supporters. In 2011, the TMC had comfortably bagged Kolkata constituencies with a vote share of 50%, or more. Thereby, the vote share would likely see a dip, but a dip in 50% is not enough to sway the number of seats.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections Phase 5: Will Narada sting TMC’s great South Bengal firewall around Kolkata? Mamata still enjoys a cinch over her Bhawanipur constituency which goes to polls on April 30 in fifth phase of the assembly election. As a 29-year old, Mamata began her political rise from here in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections, when she announced her arrival with a famous win over CPI(M) heavyweight Somnath Chatterjee. She continues to live in the Kalighat area of the constituency and not at the Chief Minister’s bungalow, perhaps an attempt to send out a message of being connected to the roots.In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which was stamped by the Modi wave, TMC enjoyed just over 39% of the vote share in Bengal. The Congress was down to 9% while CPI(M) managed 30%. With Left and Congress entering into a tactical alliance to stall the Mamata juggernaut, their added vote share is tied with TMC at 39%. The BJP got 17% in 2014, which, most say, would be down to 8-9%. Thereby, the swing of 8-9% of the vote share away from the BJP would be split between the alliance and TMC, seemingly deciding the outcome of the elections.In North Bengal’s districts of Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur, the alliance appears to be gaining and is way ahead of the TMC. An overwhelmingly Muslim-dominated district, Malda has been a den of the Congress for a long time. This is largely due to much-revered leader Ghani Khan Chowdhury who passed away eight years ago but whose legacy continues to wield influence over the electorate. The TMC has hitherto not been able to breach the loyal Congress vote, and with the Congress now tying up with the Left, Malda seems to be in their pocket. In 9-10 of the 12 constituencies of the district, the Congress-Left alliance appears to be enjoying the upper hand.The TMC government’s indifferent response towards the law and order situation in Malda is interpreted by journalists and observers here as an attempt to garner more votes through religious polarisation, since the move to go out of the way and coax Madrasas does not seem to be cutting any ice. But the polarisation is not working in TMC’s favor.Similar is the story in Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary’s Murshidabad district, where Congress appears to be holding on to its bastion firmly.There are more than 40 constituencies in these three districts of North Bengal, out of which the alliance should get 85-90% of the seats.Among other districts of North Bengal, three constituencies out of the six in Darjeeling would likely go to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is in alliance with the BJP. In Jalpaigudi and Cooch Behar, the fight between TMC and alliance is neck and neck.However, Mamata’s clout intensifies as one moves towards South Bengal. The tables turn in over 150 constituencies of districts like Hooghly, Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Medinipur, where the TMC is targeting 80% of the seats since their organisational strength has been robust here from the time of its inception.In rural areas especially, Mamata’s image does not seem to have been sullied by the stings and the flyover collapse. Villagers talk about the increased accessibility to their village due to widening and construction of roads, they refer to the Kanyashree program that provides scholarships to girls post class 10. Plus, Mamata has provided bicycles to school kids. A middle-aged man, sitting under a tree in a village south of Kolkata, says, “Electricity situation is better. Education avenues have increased. Many of the tribal and rural children have been encouraged and are first-generation students.”In spite of the momentum gained by the Left-Congress alliance, it seems the TMC could limp towards a majority. Independently, the Left and the Congress, both facing an existential crisis in West Bengal, would have languished around 20-25 seats each. Together, they should be able to cross the three-figure mark, which would be a significant step towards their revival.However, if indeed Mamata retains power, she has her task cut out in repairing the party’s image.The Left may be TMC’s biggest rival but they are united by accusations levelled against them. Threatening voters, rigging booths, extortion and corruption are only some of the charges the ruling government faces. Voters here often come up with guarded answers; many infer it as an outcome of the intimidation, making it tricky to judge which way the wind is blowing.Anubrata Mondal, TMC strongman in Birbhum, has been religiously violating the model code of conduct and has been served four show cause notices by the Election Commission. He is not the only one in the news for wrong reasons.With people who do not enjoy the trustworthiness of the electorate surrounding Mamata, the government is clouded by credibility crisis. This has ensured that the intellectuals are firmly in the anti-TMC corner. West Bengal’s most influential media group, Anand Bazar Patrika, has been vehemently anti-incumbency. The Telegraph’s headlines regularly mock and lambast the government. Mamata too has dragged ABP group into her political campaign rhetoric. At a recent rally, Mamata called ABP the “most destructive element in Bengal”.Rajat Roy, Kolkata-based senior journalist, who has been covering elections for decades, says no sane person can defend the kind of activities TMC politicians indulge in. “One must credit Mamata for ensuring the 34-year anti-incumbency of the Left is no longer that big a factor,” he says sarcastically. “Mamata has been indifferent about the security of women as well. There is lawlessness in Bengal.”In a nutshell, the West Bengal elections has been reduced to a contest between the anti-incumbency of five years versus that of 34 years. Even the editor of Maa Mati Manush, one of the mouthpieces of TMC, concedes this point. Debashish Bhattacharya, a veteran journalist now heading the mouthpiece, lists out the negative and positive features of the TMC government with relative objectivity. If the TMC comes to power despite the tactical alliance of two major parties, would it be because of Mamata’s aura or would it boil down to the anti-incumbency of the Left regime? Pat comes the reply, “Mainly the anti-incumbency of the Left.”

Mumbra to Malda: TMC’s promise to victims of Thane building collapse remains unfulfilled

When an under construction building collapsed in the Mumbra area of Thane district in Maharashtra back in April 2013, it’s tremors were felt more than 2000 kilometres away in West Bengal’ Malda district as well.Among the 74 people who lost their lives in the collapse, 11 workers at the site belonged to Malda’s Dulalganj, Lakshmipur and Jalalpur villages. All the 11 families of the deceased received compensation of Rs 2 lakh from the Maharashtra government, but the promises made by their own TMC government have remained unfulfilled three years down the line.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Krishnendu Chowdhary, a minister in Mamata Banerjee’s government, had met all the families and promised a job, compensation and concession in ration, say victims’ kin. But the assurances have had little to do with enforcement. “We were told the state government is firmly behind us,” complains MST Tulikhatun, a widow from Dulalganj in her mid 20s who lost her husband in the accident.Clad in a white burkha, standing alongside her frail father-in-law, Tulikhatun says the administration has been apathetic. “My in-laws are too old to work,” she says. “Since I have not been given any job as promised, I am learning tailoring skills right now.”She has two kids, Aziz, 8, and Parveen, 4. After the accident, her father has taken the responsibility of his grandkids’ education.When Malda went to polls on Sunday, this was one of the major election rhetoric in the Mothabari constituency in which the three villages fall. Congress candidate made a point to mention it repeatedly in her campaign against the TMC candidate, and it appears to be working.Sabina Yasmin, the Congress candidate, and an incumbent MLA in the district, says the party campaigned for the rights of those who lost their loved ones but the TMC government has been incompetent. “The ruling government has not even succeeded in creating jobs,” she says. “We hope for a change so the new front can revive industries, generate employment and stall the migration of locals to other cities.”Nujikul Sheikh, 25, who lost his kid brother Haiul in the Mumbra building collapse, agree with Yasmin. “The government has failed to create employment here, compelling villagers to migrate to big cities. Many of the villagers have moved out,” he says.One of them is 22-year old Zakir Sheikh, who has returned to his village temporarily for the polls, and was inside the building in Mumbra when it collapsed. “I was on the third floor and first two floors gave way,” he recollects. “I was badly injured.”TMC candidates and leaders have repeatedly said they stand by the villagers of Dulalganj but they perceive these lines as false hopes and are in no mood to rely on them.Thane, which is part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, has often been in the news for illegal constructions and this particular case was no different. It was reported the building did not have necessary clearances because standard practices were not adhered to for safe, lawful construction. Four floors had been built while four more remained. Living in the building were the site construction workers and their families, of whom 74 lost their lives, including 18 children and 23 women. 11 hailed from Malda.Three days after the accident, 11 wooden boxes were flown to Kolkata, and, later on, driven to their respective homes in three trucks. The relatives received the bodies in the presence of hundreds of other villagers. Dulalganj, a remote village located along a serene canal, with a muddy lane running through the village of 300 families living in houses made of bricks, witnessed the last rites of its young sons. “Families received the bodies promptly,” says Zakir. “It is the only thing the ruling TMC government has done for us.”

West Bengal Elections 2016: Clash in volatile Birbhum leaves eight injured

A clash between BJP and TMC workers on Sunday left eight persons injured in Dumrut village in Birbhum district where polling is underway, police said.Three workers from both sides were arrested, they said. BJP has claimed all the injured as their supporters. Tension also prevailed at Sian village under Nanoor constituency in Birbhum and at Kankartala village under Dubrajpur constituency with the Forward Bloc alleging that their agents were threatened by the Trinamool Congress.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reports from north Bengal, where polls are being held in six districts of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda besides Birbhum in South Bengal, said non-functioning EVMs caused delays in beginning the polling process as voters waited patiently in queue. The weather being cloudy however, provided the voters reprieve in north Bengal.Reports from Malda said seven EVMs failed to function at Englishbazar, Chanchol and Manikchak as polling began at 7 AM delaying voting by an hour.In Jalpaiguri, voting was stalled temporarily at a booth in Jalpaiguri Sadar as the VVPAT did not function, polling officials said. Four EVMs — two at Jalpaiguri Sadar constituency and two at Rajganj — did not function properly delaying polling.In Darjeeling district, a malfunctioning EVM resulted in a two hour delay as polling began in the morning at Matigara-Naxalbari (SC) assembly constituency, polling officials said.Birbhum district in South Bengal where elections are also being held today reported malfunctioning of EVMs in three booths at Karidhya under Suri Assembly constituency.

West Bengal Elections 2016 Phase 2: Strong performance expected from Cong-Left alliance, BJP may decide TMC’s fate

The second phase of polling (first phase was divided into two parts) for West Bengal Elections is being held today, 17 April. The days in the run-up to the poll has been awash by headlines of a clash between the ruling TMC and EC, with the poll panel even giving a show-cause notice to chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. But this phase comprising of 56 seats is rife with political significance for all the major players and may well become a gamechanger in this riveting election.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 56 seats are spread across the districts of Alipurduar, Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, parts of Malda and Birbhum. Except from Birbhum (which has its own dynamics, but more on that later), the other districts are in North Bengal, a traditional strong zone of the Left but more importantly of the Congress. Thus, the alliance if it really works on the ground can be most lethal here to dampen the spirits of the ruling Trinamool Congress. BJP too is another important factor in this phase, thanks to its dominating performance in the last Lok Sabha elections in many seats. So, a proper tripartite contest can be expected especially in some seats of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Malda, where BJP has significant presence.What happened before:In 2011, out of the 56 seats, Left had 15, Congress 18, TMC had 18, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) had 3 and independents won 2 seats. The Congress and TMC were in alliance in 2011.Cut to 2014. All parties fought independently except BJP, which got the support of GJM. Congress did pretty badly, except in its bastion of Malda and was ahead in only 10 assembly segments based on Lok Sabha results. TMC was ahead in 25, a significant leap from 2011 and Left in 11 seats. But the surprise factor was BJP, which was ahead in 10 assembly segments.Now if we add the votes of the Left and the Congress, it becomes a scary proposition for the ruling TMC. The alliance is ahead in 32 of the 56 seats. TMC, if it gets the same votes as 2014, may end up with only 16 seats. This upheal calculation kept the TMC leadership edgy in the run-up to the second phase.Smriti Irani in Malda (PTI)What are the major issues:Each district or rather constituency has its own set of issues where people are unhappy with the political disposition. Some of the burning topics like poor health of tea gardens and the associated labour problems are long legacy issues with very little hope of a quick-fix solution. The demand for a separate Gorkhaland continues to find resonance in Darjeeling, and Bimal Gurung’s GJM which champions the cause is likely to get a clean sweep there.There is a perception that TMC being a party predominantly strong in southern parts of the state hasn’t done enough for North Bengal. Although Mamata Banerjee has tried her outreach in those areas, often going for administrative reforms like carving out new districts for faster development, the feeling of being slightly deprived still lingers in some sections. The relative lack of development of some of the major towns and very less industrial investment has only festered that perception. And it may hurt TMC’s chances.The opposition is also highlighting the alleged poor condition of law and order in poll-bound districts especially Birbhum, where TMC strongman Anubrato Mondal has been often found to have given cryptic warning to the opposition. EC though has taken due cognizance and has ordered to virtually man mark him.Prospects of different parties:TMC:From being a virtual non-entity in North Bengal, the party has become a major player. Much of the credit goes to the supremo Mamata Banerjee, who apart from trying to reach out to the masses has given shelter to dissidents from other parties. Even in this election, Bimal Gurung’s bête noire Harka Bandur Chhetri is contesting with TMC support. The party will hope that the alliance dynamics doesn’t work too well on ground and they hold on to their vote share from 2014. A strong performance in Birbhum can offset some of the losses in the hilly region. Overall a tough phase for TMC, where it is expected to get less seats than the opposition.Congress- Left alliance:Congress will hope to improve significantly from their 2014 elections where they fared poorly even in some of their traditional fortresses in North Bengal. In Malda, the party did well and will hope to continue that momentum.Sonia Gandhi in Malda (PTI)The Left too didn’t perform too well in 2014 in the poll-bound districts, though Md Salim defeating Deepa Dasmunshi was one of the silver linings of their otherwise lacklustre outing. The RSP and Forward Bloc are a force to reckon with in Jalpaiguri and Aipurduar. Incidentally both the two parties were not exactly warm to the prospect of a tie-up with Congress, and there was considerable rancour during the seat-sharing process.How well the vote transfer happens will be a big factor in determining how dominant the alliance can be in phase 2. CPIM’s charge is led by former Minister Ashok Bhattacharya who is facing off against Baichung Bhutiya in Siliguri. Left and Congress are confident that they can give a strong challenge to TMC in this phase. It is likely they may even win more than 32 of the 56 seats in this phase, especially if BJP’s vote bank collapses.Baichung Bhutiya campaigning (AFP)BJP:The saffron party has the best chance to open its account in this phase of the election. It is a given that it will not be able to repeat its performance in Darjeeling, where GJP supported it in 2014. But BJP was significantly ahead in other constituencies too in other districts.It was ahead in Kalchini (by over 32k), Madarihata (around 24k) , English Bazar(around 32k) and also in Nagarihata constituency. The party is definitely looking to hold on to these seats and their chance of doing reasonably well in Malda is high especially after the Kaliachak incident.However, the party is expected to drop some percentage of its vote from 2014 as there is hardly any wave in its favour this time around. The Modi wave catapulted BJP to reckoning in the last elections which is absent now. So which party will benefit if some voters decide to shift allegiance? There is no easy way to guess this, but in general, the hypothesis is that in South Bengal, BJP’s poor performance is likely to help TMC and in North Bengal, it is likely to help Congress. If that theory holds true (no way of knowing before 19 May), BJP doing poorly in districts like Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar will help the Left-Congress alliance. Hence, Mamata Banerjee will be probably secretly rooting for a decent performance from the saffron outfit in North Bengal.The Birbhum puzzle:Mamata Banerjeee with Anubrata Mondal (PTI)What happens in Birbhum certainly doesn’t stay in Birbhum, especially with the EC keeping a close watch. TMC would like to sweep the 11 seats in Birbhum led by Anubrato Mondal, but the EC is trying to ensure that democratic process is not subverted in any way. It has shifted the Birbhum DM, kept a strict vigil on Mondal. Will that be enough to stop vote loot? The opposition fears it may not be, thanks to TMC’s well-oiled machinery. The ruling party though believes that it will do well thanks to immense support from the voters. Today, all eyes will be on Birbhum and a possibility of sporadic violence can’t be ruled out. In a way, it will be an acid test for the Election Commission.The first two phases were relatively peaceful, but this phase may well be different. The opposition is expected to get more seats than the ruling party. The challenge for the EC is to ensure that the poll process remains peaceful. A lot is at stake here. Hopefully, the best candidates will win and democracy will thrive.

Four bombs found in car meant to pick up poll personnel in Malda

Malda: Four bombs were found in a car on Saturday, which was supposed to pick up poll personnel, in Malda town just as a driver was about to start the vehicle.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The driver noticed a polythene bag containing some objects lying under his car seat. The vehicle was parked in the compound of the Central School which is serving as the DCRC office for the Assembly polls, slated for tomorrow.

The driver was about to start the car for picking up the polling personnel who had assembled at the DCRC office. He raised a hue and cry following which people rushed to the spot.

A bomb squad arrived and took away the polythene bag. Confirming the incident, ADM, General, Debotosh Dutta, said he was rushing to the spot.

Meanwhile, the assembled drivers of the vehicles have refused to drive demanding adequate security, leading to the suspension of movement of polling personnel.

Crime hotbed Malda sees heavy spurt in political violence, turf wars

A slight detour off the main road between Sujapur district’s Moazampur village and the main town, a narrow, broken mud-stone path leads to the Bakhorpur locality.On Thursday evening, scores of policemen assembled near one of the houses in the village; they had got a tip off about a bomb explosion of its rooftop. Navigating through two flights of dingy, dimly-lit staircases to reach the rooftop was not of much help to them. The site was was clean, women inside the house, carefully refusing to admit there was a blast at all.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They (the women) are trained to hide information,” a police official present at the spot said.Malda, a traditional hotbed of crime and political violence. Illegal immigrationWhile the police struggles to get a headway into the incident, the blast was not a one of its kind case in Malda, a traditional hotbed of crime and political violence. Illegal immigration, trafficking of women and smuggling of arms through the porous India-Bangladesh border is easy in Malda. As per a National Investigation Agency report, 90% of fake currencies is pumped into India from Malda. The illegal opium cultivation here is worth an estimated Rs 3,200 crore.PollsA Congress stronghold, Malda, going to polls on April 17, has been the seat of turf wars between the CPI(M), Congress and the Trinamool Congress.However, after TMC came to power in 2011, the party expanded itself in the Muslim-dominated Malda district. There were several deflections to the TMC, not only from base workers, but also high profile ones, mainly from the ruling Congress. An example is that of erstwhile Congressman Abu Naser Khan Choudhary, brother of the legendary ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury, who joined the TMC last year and is contesting the Sujapur seat against his nephew from Congress Isha Khan Choudhury.A senior TMC leader who refused to be identified, admitted that territorial battles within different factions of the TMC has doubled in the last few years, lending more violence to the district. But he was quick to defend the party.”More people aiming for a seat are bound to fight among each other. That happens everywhere,” the leader said.These fights, however, are not regular ones -in fact, they are violent enough to bring parts of the Malda district to a standstill for hours or even for days.About seven kilometers from the blast site, at the Moazampur village of Sujapur constituency, kids donning Congress caps enjoy their evening playtime.Ashiana Khatun, 14, a resident, said she stopped going to school three years ago, because stepping out of her home was dangerous.”While these fights have gone down to some extent, those days there were frequent exchange of fires. So I had to leave my studies midway,” Khatun said.Poll observers, however, say TMC expanding base here would not count in this election as Malda is still about the late Ghani Khan Choudhary. “If Congress is able to keep its bastion, it will be largely because of Ghani Khan Choudhury. People here are still in love with him, a reason which has helped the Congress years after his demise in 2006,” a political analyst said.The Khan Choudhury family has two MPs and have traditionally garnered the Muslim vote of Malda, where the community forms 60 per cent of the population.”Ghani khan Choudhury has been the Congress’ focal point, but sensing this, the TMC had carefully tried to split the Khan Choudhury family, by taking Abu Naser in its fold,” a poll observer said.Recent rally in MaldaIn a recent rally in Malda, Mamata Banerjee had hit on the Ghani Khan Choudhury point saying that the late leader would have never approved of the Congress-left alliance. The TMC had not won a single seat in Malda in the last state elections.Malda district BJP president Subrata Kundu reiterated that crime and violence in the district has increased manifold since the TMC came to power.”It became clear that many local TMC goons were involved recent mob violence at the Kaliachowk police station when chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) did not visit Malda post the incident. That would have given a stern message to her party workers,” she said.”Neither did she order an inquiry into the incident, nor had she allowed our team to visit Malda,” said Kundu.The BJP leader denied giving any communal colour to the incident. “How can a communal incident be possible without the support of locals, who have clearly said they do not want such incidents here? The idea was to gather a mass crowd, target the police station and destroy the files having criminal records of TMC workers involved in opium cultivation and fake currency circulation,” Kundu said.Another BJP leader from Malda asked,”Can Mamata Banerjee explain why her party’s candidate (Abu Naser) was campaigning with Asadullah Biswas?”Biswas is a local TMC muscleman who has several cases registered against him. He was also accused of being directly involved in the Kaliachowk mob violence.

West Bengal Elections: Mamata Banerjee leading a party of thieves, says Adhir Chowdhury

West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury on Thursday accused Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee of leading a party of “thieves” and urged people to reject her and the ruling dispensation in the ongoing Assembly elections in the state.Addressing a rally in support of Congress and Left Front alliance candidate Sabina Yasmin from Muthabari Assembly constituency, Chowdhury said voting for TMC would tantamount to humiliating the contributions of legendary Congress leader from Malda, late ABA Gani Khan Chowdhry. “The Chief Minister of Bengal and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee in a recent rally in Malda has called upon the people to vote for her party. We urge you all to reject that call. She has lost the right to seek votes from people as she is leading a party of thieves,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Voting for TMC will mean rejection and humiliation towards the contributions made by the legendary Barkat’da (Gani Khan Chowdhury),” the state Congress president said.The Congress Lok Sabha MP from Berhampore also claimed that Trinamool would fare badly in the first round of polls held in the Jungelmahal area of West Bengal.

Mamata slams Congress leaders, criticises CPM

Malda: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday came down heavily on the Congress leadership in state, accusing them of bowing their heads to CPM which had once used “abusive words” against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

MAMATA_SINGUR_PTIMAMATA_SINGUR_PTI“Two senior Congress leaders from Malda and one from Murshidabad have bowed their heads to the CPI(M) which had once used abusive words against Rajivji and coined a slogan in their rallies. Are they fit to be called Congress men anymore! These leaders seem to have literally sold the Congress flag to suit their own personal interest,” the TMC supremo told a public meeting at Sujapur in Malda district without taking any names.

Banerjee said Congress, which entered into a poll alliance with CPI(M), did not have the right to ask for vote cashing on the legacy of Malda satrap late A B A Ghani Khan Choudhury and claimed, “Remember Ghani Khan had threatened to dump the CPI(M) in the Bay of Bengal.”

“Those claiming to inherit his legacy are entering into alliance with the same CPI(M). Do they have any self respect! This shows their political bankruptcy. They will be dumped by the people of the state,” she said.

West-BengalWest-Bengal

Banerjee also hit out at CPI(M), accusing it of “leaving behind the ideology of Marx and Lenin for a few seats”.

The TMC was contesting from 12 seats in the district.

Govt needs to check anti-national elements: RSS

he RSS on Friday condemned the raising of anti-national slogans in JNU, saying “subversive” elements have made universities the centre of their activities for long and should be checked by governments, as its top brass on Friday began a three-day brainstorming session.Referring to Malda episode, the Sangh fountainhead also voiced concern over instances of violence and decried attempts to create “atmosphere of fear” as it asked political parties to give up their “policy of appeasement” and take such incidents seriously.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We expect the central and state governments to deal strictly with such anti-national and antisocial forces and ensure the sanctity and cultural atmosphere by not allowing our educational institutions to become centres of political activities,” RSS said in its annual report presented at the meeting of Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the top decision making body, that began here on Friday amid tight security.The RSS has said the meeting will focus on issues like education system, eradicating caste-based discrimination and social harmony, while deciding on steps like changing the uniform of its members “to keep up with the times”.The meet of BJP’s ideological mentor assumes importance in the backdrop of Narendra Modi government facing flak over handling of JNU row, dalit student’s suicide in Hyderabad, allegations of saffronisation of education and the debate over intolerance ahead of crucial assembly elections.Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat offered floral tributes at the portrait of ‘Bharat Mata’ in the presence of BJP President Amit Shah at the start of the three-day meet.”Reports about anti-national activities in certain universities have become a matter of concern for the patriotic people. In the name of freedom of expression, how can the slogans calling for breaking up and destruction of the nation be tolerated and how can the guilty, who had hatched the conspiracy to blow up Parliament, be honoured as martyr?” the RSS report presented by Sar-Karywah Suresh Joshi said.The RSS said that those who do such things have no faith in the Constitution, judiciary and Parliament and “such subversive elements have made these universities the centres of their activities for long”.”When they find certain political parties supporting such anti-national elements, the concern (of patriotic persons) grows further,” the report said. “Incidents of violence and terror attacks have become a matter of grave concern. Under the pretext of small and big issues, people armed with weapon take to the roads creating atmosphere of fear, as has happened in Malda, and it has become endemic nowadays. “Destruction of public and private properties, looting and burning business establishment specially those run by Hindus, has taken place. Political parties, giving up their policy of appeasement, should take such incidents seriously and cooperate to restore the law and order situation and peace,” the RSS said.The saffron outfit said it will be possible only when parties “shed their petty and parochial political interests”. “Political parties should make a combined effort in the right direction. No political party or person is more important than national security. “It is the responsibility of an efficient and strong government to instill confidence in the people about their security,” the report said. Krishna Gopal, Sah-Sar Karyawah of the RSS, on Friday said issues of education, medical and health, and social harmony were on top of the agenda, but reservations and construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya could be discussed if they are raised at the meeting. “We have three main issues on the agenda — education, medical and health, and social harmony. Beyond that, only if any such issue comes, we may look into that,” he told reporters when asked whether issues of Ram Temple and reservations will also be discussed.”Reservation has its own place. Constitution has given its nod. It is ‘sanvidhan-sammat’ and the country has accepted it. “If anything comes, we would discuss,” he said. He evaded questions on Ram temple construction and only said, “We will look into it if such a thing comes.” He said the body will issue a resolution on the issue of social harmony. “Caste based discrimination exist in the country and it should be ended,” he said.On the issue of change in uniform, he said that there were several proposals and will be discussed in the meeting. “Discussions are on. Any decision will be taken as per the requirement of the present time,” he said. The RSS is likely to replace khaki knickers with trousers and the colour may also see a change. Gopal said that improving the accessibility and affordability of quality education, medical and health facilities and abolishment of untouchability and improving social harmony are the key issues. “Education should be of good quality and every common man should have access to quality education,” Gopal said.Similarly, good medical and health facilities should be available to all. “Health facilities are getting costlier and the common man is suffering. What should be done to provide relief to people will be discussed in the meeting.”In the annual meeting, representatives discuss progress, new initiatives and other related issues,” he said. Close to 1,300 members are expected to participate in the meeting being held nearly 230 km from state capital Jaipur.

West Bengal Elections: ‘People’s alliance’ will defeat Congress-Left ‘rainbow coalition’, says Mamata Banerjee

Upping the ante against Congress and the Left, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday claimed both the parties have formed a “rainbow coalition” for the upcoming Assembly election in the state as they could not fight Trinamool Congress alone and said the “people’s alliance” would defeat them.”We had stated long back that some Congress leaders handed over Congress flags to CPI(M). What we had stated then has proved to be true now. Earlier both parties had covert alliance. Now it is open,” she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In some places Congress, CPI(M) and BJP formed “rainbow coalition to defeat TMC as they cannot fight us alone. All forces have come together to defeat us but they can’t do anything as the people’s alliance would defeat them,” Trinamool Congress chief said during an election meeting here.Referring to TMC’s alliance with Congress in 2011 Assembly poll, Banerjee said, “We had adjustments with Congress but it had fielded independent candidates in many places to defeat us”. Yesterday, Banerjee said in neighbouring Malda district whether the grass root level workers of both Congress and CPI(M) would support the “unprincipled alliance” by the two parties is yet to be seen.Stating that now time has come to strike back, she said, “We don’t believe in terror and violence. We have done lots of development work and the people across party lines have benefited. What Congress and CPI(M) which had all its MLAs and MPs in Murshidabad and Malda for all these years, have done for the people”, she asked.She claimed that Congress leader late A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhury had worked for Malda’s development and he would not have approved this alliance. Banerjee said that although TMC had ousted the Left in 2011 assembly election, the party did not do well in Murshidabad and Malda but now the situation has changed. “If people think that TMC will get less number of seats in North Bengal, they would be proven wrong”, she said.

Check out the list of RRBs to download admit card for RRB NTPC (Graduate) examination (CEN No. 03/2015)

Railway Recruitment Boards have issued admit cards for RRB Recruitment 2015/16 for 18252 Posts Exam (CEN No. 03/2015) – RRB-NTPC (Graduate) examination.Candidates can download their admit cards from the respective RRB websites.The participating Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) are Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Bilaspur, Channdigarh, Chennai, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Jammu-Srinagar, Kolkata, Malda, Mumbai, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Ranchi, Secunderabad, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Candidates are advised to visit the respective RRB websites and clik on the link that says – Click here to Download Call Letter for Online Examination – C.E.N. No. 03/2015. Give their user ID and passwords in order to download the admit card.List of the RRBs sites is as follows – 1. Ahmedabad2. Ajmer3. Allahabad4. Bangalore5. Bhopal6. Bhubaneswar 7. Bilaspur8. Channdigarh 9. Chennai10. Gorakhpur11. Guwahati12. Jammu-Srinagar13. Kolkata15. Malda16. Mumbai17. Muzaffarpur18. Patna19. Ranchi20. Secunderabad21. Siliguri23. Thiruvananthapuram.RRB had invited the applications via notice on December 26, 2015 and the forms were filled until January 25, 2016.

Why economic terror is PM Modi’s new worry

It’s not just the Pathankot attack. Terror in another format too is keeping the sleuths of the National Investigative Agency (NIA) on their toes.Ever since it assumed office in May 2014, the Modi government has taken up the threat of ‘economic terrorism’ in a serious manner. It has so far transferred nine cases of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) smuggling to the NIA.The UPA regime, in comparison, had handed over this many cases to NIA during a five-year period, ranging from 2009 to 2014.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is a growing threat of fake Indian currency flooding our market. The threat to monetary stability has grown exponentially over the last few years. The NIA has the talent, and it’s natural that the government ropes it in to tackle the menace.”Minister of state (finance) Jayant Sinha had informed Parliament last year that Rs 136 crore worth of fake currency was seized in a span of three years till 2014. In fact, so serious is the PMO about the threat of fake currency destabilising the Indian economy, that a FICN monitoring group has been constituted in the Home ministry to facilitate information sharing among various security agencies. It is however unclear how effective it has been.Even the figure – Rs 136 crore – might just be a tip of the iceberg. There are varying estimates of how much fake currency is circulating in the Indian economy. A study commissioned by the NIA last year pegged it at Rs 400 crore. However, a widely reported Intelligence Bureau (IB) report in 2011 estimated that Rs 2,500 crore worth fake currency is being pushed into market every year.In a written reply to dna, RBI spokesperson Rupambara Padhi said there had been an exponential growth in fake currency being reported at commercial banks as well as the RBI. The detection of fake Rs 100 notes grew by an astounding 53% in 2014-15 as compared to 2013-14. The detection of fake Rs 1,000 notes increased by 20% in the same period. These detections do not include the seizures made by security agencies or the police across India.Sources in the finance ministry reveal that they have asked the RBI to increase the frequency of design changes of the India rupee to deter cross-border counterfeiters. However, RBI officials feel that frequent tinkering with currency design is impractical and does little to weed out ‘dirty money’.What is worrying the government more is the impeccable quality of fake currency being seized by the NIA. The Home ministry official further reveals, “The quality of counterfeiting has gone up so radically that an untrained eye wouldn’t even spot the difference.” The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which examined the Rs 20 lakh fake currency, seized from some residents of Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal travelling on Farakka Express, in February last year, had found them to be of ‘high quality’.In its report to the NIA, CFSL said that notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations were printed on the same paper used to print Pakistani currency. The counterfeiters had even managed to defeat the security measures introduced by the RBI while re-designing the Rs 500 note in 2011. The newly introduced rupee symbol on the obverse and reverse of the note, adopted in the notes in 2011, was replicated. The Rs 1,000 fake notes also had the windowed demetalised magnetic security thread with the word ‘Bharat’, a security feature introduced by the RBI in 2005, with the colour of the thread changing from green to blue when viewed from different angles.The ability of counterfeiters to replicate Indian currency with such accurate detail has the government worried. In 2015, the RBI further changed the design of Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes wherein the number panels on these currencies would have numerals whose size would increase from left to right with the first three numerals remaining constant.But despite these changes, there has been no let down in seizures across India. In the first case for the NIA in 2016, Rs 5 lakh worth of ‘high quality’ fake currency was seized from a resident of Assam travelling on board Guwahati-Bangalore Superfast Express in January. In 2015 alone, the NIA in Delhi has been asked to probe five cases.In cases where the NIA has completed its probe, the conclusion is invariably the same – fake Indian currency printed in Pakistan is being smuggled through Bangladesh and handed over to residents of Malda in West Bengal for circulation across India. And it’s not just the Bangladesh border alone. One of the first cases handed over to NIA after the Modi government came to power involved Dawood Ibrahim’s syndicate in Dubai flying in fake currency at the Kochi airport in Kerala through human couriers.It is the sheer magnitude of the problem that has prompted the Modi government to increasingly involve the NIA to complement the RBI’s fight against fake currency, before it destabilising India’s recovering economy.

BJP accuses Mamata of vote bank politics, says CM thinks only of 28% of the population

Seeking to paint the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal as ‘pro-Muslim’, BJP on Friday alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee thinks only about 28 per cent voters and claimed that police were asked not to fire at a mob of the minority community in Malda.BJP on Friday came out with a list of 10 questions directed at the state government as it suggested that the TMC dispensation allowed the crowd in Malda to turn violent despite having prior intelligence. At a press conference, BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh, who is also Bengal co-incharge, said the TMC government deliberately deferred the date of immersion of Durga idols due to Moharram.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”One common thread in your government’s approach is of vote bank politics. Please confirm whether your state policy is of ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’ or ‘Ek ka saath ek ka vikas’? “You (Banerjee) think there are only 28 per cent of voters in Bengal. Isn’t it a state policy under the TMC govt that only 28 per cent voters exist in the state? If it is not true, then answer why the date of immersion for Durga idols was postponed for three days because Moharram was falling the next day?” he asked.Singh said state police and intelligence officials had on camera made various statements that “indict” the government. “Local intelligence officials on camera said that they had received report about such a gathering on communal line in Kaliachak and sent it to the administration. Why did you ignore it?”When a mob attacked them (cops), they took shelter in a police station. Police officers in Malda, on camera, say that instructions came from top that they should not fire at mob since they are from the minority community. Mamataji, isn’t this violation of India’s basic secular fabric?” he asked.”Additional SP of Malda on camera is found saying that there are areas which are ‘no go’ areas. They feel scared to go there. Mamataji, if your police is scared, then what about common citizen? Your ‘parivartan’ campaign against CPI(M) was to give security to 8 crore Bengalis. What has happened now?” Singh asked.He claimed that a mob burnt the police station on January 3 to destroy local crime records as the news of an impending NIA-led operation against fake currency racket was leaked. “Why from Khagragadh to Birbhum to Malda, those involved in bomb making, fake currency, rioting, and woman abuse are all TMC workers and supporters? “In November, three ISI agents were arrested. One of them, Ashfaque Ansari, happens to be TMC leader. Why was your administration compromising with national security?” he asked.

Mr Rajnath Singh, Malda violence is your creation: Derek O’Brien

Trinamool Congress on Thursday hitback Union Home minister Rajnath Singh for his attack on Mamata Banerjee government saying the Malda (violence) incident was his party’s creation and he should not be on a mission to stoke communal tension.”Mr Rajnath Singh, Malda is your creation. As the Home Minister of the country you should not be on a mission to stoke communal tension,” TMC national spokesperson Derek O’Brien said in a statement after Singh’s strong criticism of TMC government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh on Thursday attacked Trinamool Congress government on the issue of law and order saying that women, people and even policemen are not secure here.Also read: Whoever is responsible behind Malda incident will not be spared: Rajnath Singh”You are using a political meeting to threaten the state. Which home minister with a conscience would do that?” he said.”The country knows this is a well known tactic BJP uses when elections are at hand. And all this coming from a central government which is running the nation using ‘agencies’ to pursue its own cynical agenda,” he added.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra calls for a separate ministry to handle national security

Coming down heavily on security forces, particularly the BSF and Punjab Police, Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra, said Pathankot terror strike could have been prevented if lessons were learnt from previous terror strikes, especially Dina Nagar.He blamed BSF for unable to secure country’s international border with Pakistan because of its limited capacities and said that the country should implement well considered nationwide national security policy for effective security management that should clearly delineate the role of security agencies at the Centre and state and operating procedure of agencies.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vohra suggested carving out a separate Ministry from the Home Ministry to deal with national security and a separate cadre that is specially trained to handle terror incidents should be created.Delivering key note address on 7th National Investigation Agency (NIA) day, Vohra said the five-six terror attacks which took place from September 2013 onwards via Kathua through the IB, part of which falls in Jammu and Kashmir, should have been followed up as closely as the Pathankot attack.”If Dina Nagar would have been properly investigated, Pathankot, I am sure would have been almost impossible because we would have been able to know the routes taken by the terror groups to infiltrate the IB. I also hold very strongly that IB is not well guarded,” said Vohra, who also held the positions of the union home secretary and defence secretary and was part of the Kargil committee that gave extensive recommendations on how to guard the country.”I think there are issues…but we need to do much more. BSF, with its present capacities, cannot safeguard IB which is long stretch of over 200 to 250 kilometres almost including the border in Punjab. It is a difficult area and we need to look at that,” Vohra added.Posed a question by an NIA officer who claimed that the Malda riots in West Bengal were carried out by people with criminal intent who destroyed records of a police station so NIA cannot get any evidence to pursue the probe, Vohra said that he had seen such sabotage during his tenure in various capacities in Punjab, during post Blue Star period, and in Jammu and Kashmir.”The point that you made about certain elements in the state system, whether among the public or the criminal elements or elements within the state police who would subvert the NIA’s objectives–by burning records or doing things like that so that when it comes to prosecuting an offence, you don’t have the wherewithal, you don’t have the evidence.. this is bound to happen,” he said asking government to immediately hand over terror related cases to the NIA.

Amit Shah, 3 other top BJP leaders to take on Mamata Banerjee on her turf

The BJP has decided to raise its political pitch against West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in her turf with four senior BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah, all set to hold rallies in the poll-bound state over the next ten days.The Kaliachak violence in Malda is likely to echo in the rallies to be addressed by union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Smriti Irani besides Shah. BJP sources said the party was denied permission for Gadkari’s rally in Malda and that it would now be held in Dinajpur, a border area, on January 18.Shah will conclude the spate of four rallies at Howrah, the industrial district adjoining Kolkata, on January 25. Singh’s rally has been scheduled for January 21 in Barasat in North 24 Parganas district and Irani will address a rally on January 22 at Burdwan, in the heart of the state. The BJP had gone on the offensive against the state government following the Burdwan blasts last year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sensing that an aggressive Hindutva agenda could fail to strike a chord, the BJP has chosen four different parts of the state to hold rallies. The party is trying to tap sentiments on national security concerns by raising issues like refugees and cattle smuggling in a state with a porous border with Bangladesh.Party sources said the BJP’s being denied access to Malda had given it fuel to attack Banerjee, in a state with around a 30 per cent Muslim population.The BJP is also trying to focus on icons like Subhash Chandra Bose and Swami Vivekananda, as it tries to vie for space in a state where the TMC had wrested power from the CPM-led Left Front which had its sway for three decades.At the rallies, the BJP is likely to accuse the TMC of playing vote bank politics after the Kaliachak violence by not taking action against the Muslim protestors who attacked a police station. The TMC has charged the BJP with trying to communalise the situation.

Nitish Kumar supports Mamata Banerjee, describes her protagonist of harmony

With the BJP attacking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over Malda violence accusing her of playing communal politics, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday came in support of Trinamool Congress chief.”Mamata Banerjee has been a great ‘Himayati'(protagonist) of communal harmony,” Kumar said after coming out of a state Cabinet meeting. Kumar said he did not have details of the Malda violence as he was busy with his work in Bihar. But all efforts should be made to maintain social and communal amity in the country, he added.The Bihar CM’s support to his West Bengal counterpart came at a time when she is battling BJP’s blistering attack over Malda violence. Kumar has been enjoying a close relationship with Mamata Banerjee who had attended his swearing-in ceremony in November end last year in Patna.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Violence had broken out at Kaliachak in Malda district on December 3 over an alleged remark of a BJP leader. Protesters had set fire to a police station and damaged vehicles. The West Bengal CM had said there was no communal tension in the area and described the incident as a fallout of an issue between BSF and the local people.

Malda violence: BJP team meets Rajnath Singh,demands high-level probe

Accusing the Trinamool Congress government of protecting criminals involved in the incident of “anarchy and terror”, a three-member team led by general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is also its Bengal in-charge, met Singh, who “assured” them of appropriate action. Stepping up its attack on the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal over Malda violence, a BJP delegation on Tuesday met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and demanded a high-level probe into the matter, alleging it had links with fake currency and narcotics trade and infiltration.Accusing the Trinamool Congress government of protecting criminals involved in the incident of “anarchy and terror”, a three-member team led by general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is also its Bengal in-charge, met Singh, who “assured” them of appropriate action. “Leaders linked with TMC were also involved in it. It is not only a matter of state but that of national security. People who do illegal activities there were leading it,” Vijayvargiya told media after the meeting. He alleged that “pro-Pakistan” slogans were raised by the crowd which also targeted establishments of a particular community.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The delegation also included general secretary Bupender Yadav and Sidharth Nath Singh. Their meeting with Singh came a day after a ‘fact-finding’ team of the party was not allowed by the state administration to visit violence-hit Kaliachak which falls in Malda.In a memorandum submitted to the Home Minister, the delegation said “BJP demands that keeping in mind the region’s sensitivity, the Chief Minister’s allegation against a paramilitary force and infiltration and trade of narcotics and fake currency through it, an impartial action should be taken. The state government should be directed to take positive steps to restore people’s sense of security and confidence.” TMC has accused BJP of working to communalise the atmosphere in the state, which goes to the polls in a few months, and claimed that the violence was localised and due to the tiff between a section of the crowd and some BSF personnel.A member of the delegation said the Home Ministry is likely to send a team to the area.The memorandum also blames a Muslim organisation for illegally assembling a crowd of over 2 lakh people and targeting local police and administration facilities. BJP has alleged that a police station was torched so as to burn the records of local criminals involved in a host of unlawful activities.

Malda a ‘classic’ example of Mamata Banerjee government’s functioning: BJP

Continuing the assault on the West Bengal Government over the Malda incident, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday reiterated that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was using ‘extremist forces’ for their own benefit in the state and said that they will take the issue to President Pranab Mukherjee.”Mamata Banerjee is playing the dirtiest vote bank politics in Malda and in Bengal. In that she tries to communalise issues. There is a terror mechanism that is trying to be spread by her and there are extremist forces that are being used by Mamata?s administration for their own benefit,” BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All this is coming out in the open and Malda is a classic book example of how the government under Mamata is functioning,” he added.Sharpening his attack on Mamata, Singh further said that the ‘vote bank’ politics was affecting the national security, to which the BJP would fight against.”BJP will raise their voice when it comes to national security and therefore we have decided to go to the Home Minister and the President of India and will apprise them of the entire situation for an appropriate action,” Singh said.Earlier, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) had hit out at the BJP for trying to ‘communalise’ the Malda incident and maintained that the state government had handled the situation ‘tactfully’.”It’s a sensitive border town. 10 arrests have been made and there have been no injuries or deaths. They are trying to communalise a criminal incident and we are not surprised. This is the BJP RSS strategy of trying to change the narrative with 100 days to go to polls,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien told ANI.On Monday, a three-member fact-finding delegation of the BJP who went to Malda to take stock of the ground situation was forced to return as they were detained at the Railway station by the local administration.”The District Magistrate told us himself that Section 144 had been imposed due to the law and order situation in the area. We said that we have not come here to destabilise the situation but to help the people. We want to know the truth,” BJP MP (fact finding committee member) SS Ahluwalia told ANI.Stating that the delegation had arrived to find the truth about the situation in Kaliachak, the fact-finding team expressed disappointment at not being allowed to enter the violence-hit area.

PM’s statement on spiritualism ploy to cover up intolerance: Sitaram Yechury ?

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday termed as “peculiar” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that India imparted only spirituality to the world, stating that issuing such remarks was an attempt by the BJP-led NDA government to “cover up” acts of intolerance.Yechury also accused the Centre of pursuing a communal agenda and said that “communal polarisation have started again in the country ahead of the Assembly polls in some states”. He was replying to a query by reporters on Modi’s statement yesterday that “India has not given communalism to the world but only spirituality”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Prime Minister has now made a peculiar statement saying that India exports spiritualism to the world and not communalism. India’s spiritualism does not need any export. India’s spiritualism is so rich in its content that it has travelled all over the world and will continue to travel because of its content. “But what this government is trying to do is not India’s spiritualism. The country’s spiritualism teaches us (that) different rivers flow in different directions to merge with the same ocean and that precise difference is what this government cannot tolerate and that is the entire atmosphere of intolerance,” he said.Yechury said the BJP government was trying to “cover up their own actions of spreading intolerance by making such statements, which needs to be exposed”. In an apparent reference to the Malda violence in West Bengal, Yechury said, “Like the communal polarisation rose in the face of Bihar elections, now with four major (state) elections coming up this year, we fear once again that the communal polarisation have already started”.”You see in Ayodhya, the assertions that the temple will be built, stones have been taken there in violation of Supreme Court orders. Then at the same time there is assertion that the RSS and BJP will work for an ‘Akhand Bharat’. Now all these are big assertions,” he said. Yechury said the Centre was doing “flip flops” on its Pakistan policy “which is directed at sharpening communal polarisation in India”. “Now again on talks with Pakistan, it is being heard that these talks will not happen because of the Pathankot issue.”(Earlier), Indian government went (ahead) breaking its own statements that we will not talk anything but terrorism. You agreed to talk everything including Kashmir in Bangkok and subsequently Prime Minister goes to Pakistan to have lunch with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. “Now again you are saying you will break the talks. This flip-flop…it is nothing but directed at sharpening communal polarisation in India,” he alleged.The Left leader said the CPI(M) was appealing to all secular forces to protect India’s democratic character. “We are appealing to all secular forces saying that if you want to protect India’s secular democratic character, the need is to not allow such forces to continue,” he added.Yechury said his party wanted talks with Pakistan to continue. “According to us, talks with Pakistan must continue. We have always maintained it. It is only through medium of talks that these problems can be resolved and Pakistan can be pinned down,” he said. “It suits Pakistan the best if there are no talks because it is not answerable on its role in sponsoring terrorism against India from across the border. It must be made to answer in the international fora as well as across the table with India,” he added.

Why intelligentsia silent on Malda, Purnia violence: Kailash Vijaywargiya

Terming the violence in Malda and Purnia as a “matter of concern” for the country, senior BJP leader Kailash Vijaywargiya on Monday questioned “silence” of those who had returned their awards in protest against “growing intolerance” in the country.”The violent incidents that took place in Malda (West Bengal) and Purnia (Bihar) recently are a matter of concern for the country. Why those returning their government awards in the name of intolerance are silent on the issue now,” Vijaywargiya, BJP general secretary and in-charge of West Bengal, said while interacting with reporters here last night. In an apparent reference to Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan whose statements on intolerance had caused a flutter, Vijaywargiya asked, “Will the actors, who dance to earn money and comment on intolerance will speak against incidents in Malda and Purnia”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Violence had broken out at Kaliachak in Malda on December 3 over an alleged remark of a right wing leader, following which protesters had set fire to a police station and damaged vehicles.In Purnia district, a mob had ransacked a police station and torched several vehicles parked there during a protest against alleged blasphemous comments by a leader of a right-wing organisation last week. Vijaywargiya said the media has failed to give even 10 per cent of total coverage to these incidents compared to what it had given to the Dadri incident in which a Muslim man was lynched for storing beef.”We expect from the media to expose those faces who are roaming by keeping law into their own pockets,” he said. The BJP leader alleged that workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal along with the anti-social elements, facing serious charges of smuggling cows, opium and fake Indian currency, were involved in the Malda violence. “West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is stating that Malda incident was not a communal incident. Even for a second, if we agree to what she was stating, but will she answer questions on the involvement of her party workers in the Malda incident,” he said.When asked if the BJP will raise the Malda violence in upcoming Assembly election in West Bengal, Vijaywargiya replied in negative. “Though we will not raise the issue of Malda in coming assembly elections in West Bengal, but the people of that state should reflect if WB will become a ‘mini Bangladesh’ if their CM stands with those who were involved in the violence,” he said.

Malda violence: Yechury trashes Mamata Banerjee’s version as ‘lies’

Criticising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assertion that the recent violence in Malda district was not a communal strife, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday said that there is not even a grain of truth in her statement.”Will the communal forces ever say that the violence is communal. RSS and BJP that stoke communal violence will always say it’s not communal. Nor will the other side whichever is stoking. So, Bengal Chief Minister saying (it) is not communal violence has got not a grain of truth in it,” he told reporters here. The violence in Malda is clearly an attempt to polarise the voter in West Bengal, he said and claimed that the ruling Trinamool Congress is hoping that the polarisation will benefit with the minorities moving towards Trinamool Congress while BJP is hoping such polarisation will benefit it with the communal majority moving to them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is a cynical game being played and this is being played at the cost of the life of innocent people,” Yechury said. Mamata’s comments came against the backdrop of the violence that broke out at Kaliachak in Malda, which had prompted the Union Home Ministry to seek a report from the state government. Yechury alleged that the ground was laid deliberately for such a violence to take place. “That is the whole game and that is a very very dangerous game.
ALSO READ Malda violence: Is West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee a communal tinder box or a victim of false propaganda?Replying to a query if CPI(M) will have any tie-up with Congress for the ensuing Assembly election in West Bengal, Yechury said, “As far as CPI(M) is concerned there is no question of any front or any alliance with Congress which applies to the whole country. “Yes, there is a very strong feeling among people of Bengal that this Trinamool Congress government must be defeated so that democracy is restored in Bengal. Now, how that will shape up…let’s wait and see.”
ALSO READ Malda violence: BJP team not allowed to enter Kaliachak, party says Mamata Banerjee pursuing vote bank politics

Madras HC grants interim stay on imposing dress code for temple entry

According to the prescribed dress code, men were asked to wear ‘dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts’, women ‘sari or half sari or churidhar with upper cloth’ and children could come in ‘any fully-covered dress’.

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Mention Aadhaar for filing governance-related grievances: Government

About three lakhs grievances were filed in 2014, 2.35 lakh in 2013 and 2.01 lakh in 2012, according to government data.

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Give us 3 temples, keep 39,997 mosques: Subramanian Swamy to Muslims

The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) members yesterday staged a protest outside the Vice Chancellor’s office against the Delhi University’s decision to allow a seminar on Ram Janmabhoomi temple.

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Tobacco-chewing teachers to face dismissal from service: Maha govt

Out of the 5.42 lakh teachers in the state, 2.74 lakh teachers are in government and local body schools, 1.81 lakh in private aided schools, while others are in private unaided schools.

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