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Friday, July 16, 2010

Numb-hills threat to rivals’ return bid Enough proof for arrests: ABGL....Morcha protests GNLF security .......All local vernacular Newspapers carried GJMM involvement in Tamang murder Phone conversation story... Queens Baton arrived in Sikkim

Numb hills threat to rivals’ return bid Enough proof for arrests: ABGL
TT, Darjeeling, July 16: The ABGL has said there is enough proof to put behind bars those responsible for the assassination of its leader Madan Tamang.
Bharati Tamang, the president of the ABGL and the widow of the slain leader, said today: “There is now enough evidence to prove who killed my husband. I have written to the chief minister to immediately start arresting the culprits involved in the murder. I am confident that the chief minister will live up to the assurance he has given to me when I visited him in Calcutta recently.”
She said recent media reports were enough evidence to arrest the murderers.
Even though Bharati did not name any individual, she hinted that the top brass of the Morcha who had been named in the FIR should be rounded up immediately. “They should be made to undergo narco-analysis test to find out the truth,” she said.
The ABGL had named Morcha president Bimal Gurung, general secretary Roshan Giri and media and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri as conspirators in the FIR.
Tamang had been hacked to death by a khukuri-wielding mob at Clubside Motorstand in Darjeeling on May 21, hours before he was to address a public meeting in the town.
Supporters of the ABGL today demonstrated in front of Darjeeling Sadar police station to press for the arrest. “We will carry on with the protest until the police make arrests. I have faith in the chief minister but if justice is denied, we will even start an indefinite hunger strike and I, too, will participate in it,” said Bharati.
The ABGL is determined to keep the memory of Tamang alive and has started distributing CDs of his speeches. Madan was one of the best orators in the hills.
A statue of Tamang will also be installed at the site of the murder soon, said party sources. (Photo: Bharati Tamang with a leaflet released in Darjeeling on Friday. (Suman Tamang)
A recently formed Darjeeling Terai Dooars Gorkha-Adivasi Welfare Society, affiliated to the ABGL, has also decided to put up hoardings across Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong with images of the attack. One of the hoardings carry a picture — published in The Telegraph — showing a policeman fleeing the crime scene.
Pravin Gurung, general secretary of the society, said: “We have also come up with a pamphlet on the murder and it has a picture of Madan Tamang. This is part of our effort to make the people conscious of the loss we have incurred by his death and it is also a way to pay tribute to a leader like Tamang.”
SNS, DARJEELING, 16 JULY: Intensifying pressure on the state government, the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League today demanded that the eminent GJMM leaders against whom there are strong evidences should be promptly arrested in connection with the Madan Tamang murder case. The AIGL leader was murdered near the Clubside motor stand in Darjeeling on 21 May.
The party president, Mrs Bharati Tamang today said in Darjeeling that her party would not rest till justice was done.  “We have written to the chief minister, seeking justice at the earliest. Since, according to the state government claim, the murder mystery has now been solved and strong evidences have come up against some eminent Morcha leaders, the government should take prompt action,” she said.
She also threatened fasting agitation if the state government did not act fast on the matter. “We would continue blocking the police stations and, if necessary, would fast unto death if the state government keeps dithering regarding bringing the accused to justice. Kowtowing to the GJMM pressure would land the Darjeeling hills in far deeper chaos,” she warned. Meanwhile, the party organized a ‘Thana Gheraoe’ programme today in Darjeeling, demanding arrest of all the accused in the assassination case. The response to the programme in what is considered to be the GJMM redoubt has apparently enthused the AIGL activists.

KalimNews: M K Narayanan Governor will meet Ranveer Kumar IG Police North Bengal at Sukuna on 18th July. Senior Police Officers will also be present in the meeting which will focus on tackling the administrative and political  situation  considering the post Madan Tamang scenario of hills. Meanwhile GJMM has denied to accept the Phone conversation excerpt and claimed it as a ploy to destabilise the Gorkhaland agitation. In the other hand GJVM has threatened of hunger strike if any GJMM leaders are arrested.
Morcha protests GNLF security- madan murder justice cry outside police station
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 16: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today threatened to “paralyse” the hills if the district administration helped GNLF leaders accused in the Pramila Sharma murder case come back home.
The Morcha’s decision comes after three GNLF leaders — Aitaraj Dewan, Tika Khati and Jigme Sherpa — wrote to the district administration, expressing their desire to return to the hills. Barring Sherpa, the others had been arrested with 12 GNLF members on the charges of killing Sharma. They were later released on bail and the duo had been staying in Siliguri since then. Sherpa, too, had been forced to shift to the plains.
“As it is, we have announced bandhs from the end of this month, which we will intensify in August,” a Morcha leader said today. “But if these people are provided with security to enable them to come up to the hills, we will paralyse the entire place with more agitation.
“How can the district administration provide security to people arrested for the murder of Pramila Sharma? We will start a democratic agitation, involving only the Nari Morcha, if they return to the hills,” said a Morcha leader. “We will ensure that the hills are paralysed even on the days outside the purview of the bandhs already announced.”
A number of GNLF leaders, including Subash Ghisingh, had been hounded out of the hills after Sharma was killed on June 25, 2008, by a bullet allegedly fired from the house of the party’s Darjeeling branch committee president Deepak Gurung. Gurung, too, had been arrested but is now out on bail.
The three GNLF leaders wrote to the district administration expressing their desire to return to the hills after former GNLF branch president Dawa Pakhrin came back to his house in Kalimpong last week.
Pakhrin had approached the National Human Rights Commission, which had directed the state’s chief secretary and the director-general of police to ensure that “all the affected people could return home”.
Pakhrin, however, is not an accused in the Sharma murder case.
“Since the NHRC has issued a clear direction that all the affected people should be allowed to return home, we are duty bound to provide them with security as and when they decide to come back,” Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta had said after receiving the letter from the trio.
The Morcha leader also said: “We want all the accused in the Pramila Sharma case to return to the jails in Darjeeling. The people will not accept them roaming around free on the streets of Darjeeling.”
Given the Morcha’s stand, the hills could witness further uncertainty and chaos if the three GNLF leaders return to the hills. Morcha president Bimal Gurung has already threatened to call a series of strikes which are expected to culminate in a 40-day general strike from August 4, if the Centre fails to call a tripartite meeting by the month end.
Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri today lashed out at the state government for trying to derail the statehood movement.
“The state government is defaming the Morcha by alleging its involvement in the killing of Madan Tamang with the motive of derailing the Gorkhaland agitation. We will, however, not let this happen and the hill people are aware of the government’s motives,” said Chhetri. “If the state is sincere about investigating the death of Madan Tamang, why is it hesitating to hand over the case to the CBI as we have been demanding?”
Since Tamang’s murder in May, the party has been on the backfoot in the hills. Under the circumstances, the government is trying to gain its lost toehold by its carrot-and-stick policy. While it announced a stream of development measures for the hills, DGHC administrator B.L. Meena filed FIRs against Morcha’s lathi-wielding squad for occupying the council’s properties. Morcha bete noire and minister Asok Bhattacharya, too, visited the hills twice since Tamang’s murder. 
CPM Minister gets to enter Hills
Vernacular dailies splash Express story on Gurung’s phone talks with GJM men
Madan TamangENS, Kolkata: The demand for action against the killers of All India Gorkha League President Madan Tamang became stronger on Friday with West Bengal Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya and several other politicians making the demand. Speaking to The Indian Express from his Siliguri residence, Bhattacharya said, “The telephonic conversation between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri etc and the killers of Madan Tamang that was reported by The Indian Express clearly shows who are behind the heinous crime and I demand their arrest.”
During the day, Bhattacharya visited the CPM party offices in the hills, something unthinkable even six months ago. The minister went to Kurseong to attend a party meeting, which was attended by a good number of CPM activists. 
Meanwhile, AlI Bengal Gorkha League (ABGL) supporters gheraoed Darjeeling police station and later took out rallies demanding the arrest of Gurung and those of his associates involved in the Tamang murder. The ABGL is planing a bigger movement soon, said its Darjeeling Town Committee General Secretary Mohan Sharma.
On Friday several Bengali, Hindi and Nepali regional papers reprinted the story on the telephonic conversation that was first carried by The Indian Express on Thursday. “Your story has created a stir both in the plains and the hills. People have now understood who the real culprits are,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express.
The government, however, has chosen to tread cautiously on the issue. “The issue is very sensitive and any wrong move on our part will tilt the balance against the government. The Chief Minister is aware of the whole thing and is keeping a watch,” a senior state government official told The Indian Express. 
Meanwhile, AlI Bengal Gorkha League (ABGL) supporters gheraoed Darjeeling police station and later took out rallies demanding the arrest of Gurung and those of his associates involved in the Tamang murder. The ABGL is planing a bigger movement soon, said its Darjeeling Town Committee General Secretary Mohan Sharma.
On Friday several Bengali, Hindi and Nepali regional papers reprinted the story on the telephonic conversation that was first carried by The Indian Express on Thursday. “Your story has created a stir both in the plains and the hills. People have now understood who the real culprits are,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express.
The government, however, has chosen to tread cautiously on the issue. “The issue is very sentisitive and any wrong move on our part will tilt the balance against the government. The Chief Minister is aware of the whole thing and is keeping a watch,” a senior state government official told The Indian Express.
Asok warning on civic disruptions
TT, Siliguri, July 16: The four municipalities in the hills could not carry out their basic services because of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s agitation, the urban development minister today alleged while cautioning the hill party against disrupting civic activities.
Pahare 10 per cent manusher dadagiri aar cholbe na (the highhandedness of only 10 per cent of people in the hills will not be tolerated any more),” Asok Bhattacharya said. “It is not the CPM but the people in general in the hills who have been opposing the atrocities of the Morcha.”
Bhattacharya quoted the chief minister as saying in the Assembly yesterday that whoever was responsible or involved in the murder of Madan Tamang would not be spared. “Given the information available about the accused in the case, the Morcha leaders must take note of it and refrain from issuing threats or intimidating people.”
This morning, the minister held a meeting with officials of the Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and the Mirik municipalities in Kurseong.
“We have sanctioned a Rs 12-crore sewerage project for Kurseong, of which Rs 3 crore has been disbursed. But the money could not be spent because of the Morcha agitation. The officials are eager to implement the pending schemes but cannot do so because of the Morcha agitation,” the minister said. “Even basic civic services like collection of wastes and water supply have been affected. We have told the officials to ask the employees to join duty and do their jobs.”
After returning here from Kurseong, the minister reviewed the progress of different civic schemes in Siliguri with mayor Gangotri Datta and her deputy Nantu Paul.
During the meeting, about 100 residents of Ward 1 of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, demonstrated, alleging that more than 20 families, whose houses were demolished to build the approach road of the under-construction flyover in Siliguri Junction, were yet to receive any compensation.
CM meet sought
The state president of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, Birsa Tirkey, today sought an appointment with Bengal chief minister to discuss the demand for Sixth Schedule status for the Dooars and the Terai.
“When we raised the issue of Sixth Schedule on July 1, the chief secretary said it was beyond the purview of his authority. So, we sought a meeting with the chief minister,” Tirkey said over the phone from Calcutta.
Schoolgirl suicide whiff
TT, Kalimpong, July 16: A Class X student who had been missing since Wednesday evening is suspected to have committed suicide by jumping into the Teesta the same day.
A suicide note and the school cardigan that the 15-year-old girl was wearing were found on the riverbank yesterday, said a police officer.
“In the note she had written no one should be held responsible for her death,” said the officer adding that a search operation was on.
“We have launched a search operation along the river up to the 29th Mile. But our efforts have remained fruitless so far. The heavy current of the Teesta is making our job difficult.”
Abhilasha, a student of Saptashri Gyanpeeth, is suspected to have taken the fatal plunge at Tribeni, 18km from here. The place is in the Rongli-Rongliot area and comes under Darjeeling police station.
A resident of Mission Compound, Abhilasha had attended school on Wednesday. However, instead of returning home after classes she is suspected to have taken a vehicle to Teesta Bazar, 16km from here.
From there, she travelled to Tribeni two kilometres away, the police said.
“Her father Canute Rai had lodged a missing person’s diary with us at the Kalimpong police station on Wednesday night. We suspect that the girl committed suicide the same day,” the officer said. Rai is a teacher at St Augustine School.
“She was a very well-disciplined child and above average in her studies. She always used to participate in extra-curricular activities. Even on Wednesday when she was at school, she showed no signs of being disturbed in any way. We are still in a state of shock,” said Sanjasy Pradhan, a teacher of the school.
Baton reaches Himalayan state- sikkim culture show for games curtain-raiser
KalimNews: Queens Baton was received at Rangpo of Sikkim by P K Pradhan President of Sikkim Olympic Association. Present on the occasion were N K pradhan State Sports Minister and P D Rai Sikkim Lok Sabha MP  and others. A team of ace players of Sikkim led by former footballer Jerry Basi led the Queens Baton relay at Rangpo Sikkim. On the way to Gangtok Jaslal Pradhan Arjun Puraskar recipient , Phulamaya Tamang and Yangji Sherpa, Mt Everest Climbers of Sikkim  also participated in the baton rally. Later it was received by Governor of Sikkim B P Singh and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at Paljor Stadium Gangtok ( PIB Gangtok ). 
TT, Gangtok, July 16: Snow lion and yak dancers today welcomed the Queen’s Baton to the Himalayan state through the Rangpo check-post, accompanied by a full fledged naumauti bajaa team of nine who went all out with their Nepali folk instruments.
The baton for the 19th Commonwealth Games arrived from Siliguri at Rangpo at 12.35pm. It was received at the check-post by Sikkim Olympic Association president P.K. Pradhan in the presence of sports minister N.K. Pradhan, chief secretary T.T. Dorji and a host of government officials and representatives of various sports organisations.
At 1pm, Jerry Basi, a former football player and part of the bronze medal winning national team of the 6th Asian Games at Bangkok in 1970, started the relay. Scores of students had lined up on both sides of the road to welcome the baton at Rangpo, 41km from here.
The relay was for almost 1km. Archer Tarundeep Rai, Arjuna awardee boxer Jas Lal Pradhan and Everesters Yangde Sherpa and Phul Maya Tamang participated in the run for 12 minutes. The baton then proceeded to Singtam, the commercial hub of East Sikkim, in a convoy of vehicles, halting there for another short relay.
At 3.20pm, the baton reached Gangtok and was received at Guru Lakhang monastery, Deorali, by MLA Dorjee Namgyal Bhutia and mayor K.N. Topgay. After a brief welcome ceremony, the baton was taken along NH31A by Everesters Kunzang Bhutia and Yaduram Sharma to MG Marg.
Cultural dances of various communities of Sikkim were presented in front of the state tourism office at MG Marg before the baton was taken to a decorated Paljor Stadium at 5.25pm for the evening programme to be attended by governor B.P. Singh and chief minister Pawan Chamling.
“On July 17, the baton will visit the Nathu-la border, Kupup and Sherathang, all under the control of 17 Mountain Division of the Indian Army. The army will receive the baton at the circuit house and will return it at the same place the same day,” said state Queen’s Baton relay nodal officer and sports secretary H.K. Karki.
He added that a yak relay ride for the baton has been planned at Chhangu Lake after which it will again be transported to Nathu-la in a convoy. The cavalcade will stop at the parking lot, some 500 metres below the India-China border at Nathu-la, to be carried the rest of the way.
“It is up to the army to choose its baton bearers though we are ready to provide sports person from our side if they want,” said Karki.
After a photo session at Nathu- la at 14,000ft, the baton will proceed down in a convoy to Baba Mandir and then to the golf course at Kupup. The course is said to be the world’s highest at 13,025 ft.
On July 18, the last day of the baton’s stay in Sikkim, the state-level QBR committee, sports department, SOA members of various sports associations will assemble at the circuit house at 8am to give it a farewell.
Two hours later, the baton will be handed over to the Darjeeling district administration at Rangpo on the Bengal border by the SOA president around 10am.
The Bengal route of the baton will begin with Chittrey, 14km from Kalimpong town. It will then proceed to Teesta Bazar along NH31A before entering Darjeeling town.
The subdivisional officer of Kalimpong, Amyas Tshering, said traffic on the highway could be affected. He said passengers from Kalimpong on their way to New Jalpaiguri station or Bagdogra airport should start before 9am.
KalimNews: 345 Counterfeit notes of Rupees 1000 of the series 2AQ & 8AC were seized from 4 person of West Bengal. It is believed that about Rupees two crore of these series are in circulation. Banks are directed to take precaution in receiving currency notes of Rupees one thousand of 2AQ & 8AC series.(shared by Nanda Dewan)

Rupee symbol and its history- Evolution of the Indian Rupee

Manish Desai, PIB, July 15, 2010 turned out to be a historic day, as the Indian Rupee got the much awaited symbol, just like other leading currencies of the world viz – Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling and the Yen. The new symbol is an amalgamation of Devanagari –‘Ra’ and the Roman ‘R’ without the stem. Till now, the rupee was written in various abbreviated forms in different languages. 
The new symbol designed by IIT Bombay post-graduate Shri D.Udaya Kumar, was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 15. "It's a big statement on the Indian currency... The symbol would lend a distinctive character and identity to the currency and further highlight the strength and global face of the Indian economy," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Smt. Ambika Soni, while briefing the media on the Cabinet decision.
The new symbol will not be printed or embossed on currency notes or coins, but it would be included in the 'Unicode Standard' to ensure that it is easily displayed and printed in the electronic and print media. The encoding of the rupee symbol in the Indian Standards is estimated to take about six months while encoding in the Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 will take about 18 months to two years. It will also be incorporated in software packages and keyboards in use in India .
On March 5, 2009 the Government announced a contest to create a symbol for the Rupee, inviting entries for the symbol, which would reflect and capture the Indian ethos and culture. Over 3000 entries were received, which were evaluated by a Jury headed by the Deputy Governor, RBI, which also included experts from three reputed art and design institutes. The Jury selected five entries and also gave its evaluation of these five entries to the Government to take a final decision.
Shri Udaya Kumar's entry was the ‘Best of Five’. He will get an award of Rs. 2.5 lakh and more than that an incredible fame, as the designer of the Rupee symbol. " My design is a perfect blend of Indian and Roman letters — capital 'R' and Devanagri 'Ra' which represents rupaiah, to appeal to international and Indian audiences... It is based on the tricolour, with two lines at the top and white space in between," a visibly-happy Kumar said.
The genesis of the word ‘rupee’ is in the Sanskrit word ‘raupya’ which means silver. Indian Rupee is variously called ‘rupaya’ in Hindi, ‘rupiyo’ in Gujarati, ‘roopayi’ in Telugu and Kannada, ‘rubai’ in Tamil and ‘rupyakam’ in Sanskrit. However in Eastern India it is called ‘Taka/Toka’ in Bengali and Assamese and ‘Tanka’ in Oriya.
India was one of the earliest issuers of coin, and as a result it has seen a wide range of monetary units throughout its history. There is some historical evidence to show that the first coins may have been introduced somewhere between 2500 and 1750 BC. However, the first documented coins date from between the 7th/6th century BC to the 1st century AD. These coins are called 'punch-marked' coins because of their manufacturing technique.
Over the next few centuries, as traditions developed and empires rose and fell, the country's coinage designs reflected its progression and often depicted dynasties, socio-political events, deities, and nature. This included dynastic coins, representing Greek Gods of the Indo-Greek period followed by the Western Kshatrapa copper coins from between the 1st and the 4th Century AD.
In 712 AD, the Arabs conquered the Indian province of Sindh and brought in their influence. By the 12th Century, Turkish Sultans of Delhi replaced the longstanding Arab designs and replaced them with Islamic calligraphy. This currency was referred to as 'Tanka'. The Delhi Sultanate attempted to standardize this monetary system and coins were subsequently made in gold, silver and copper.
In 1526, the Mughal period commenced, bringing forth a unified and consolidated monetary system for the entire Empire. Afghan King Sher Shah Suri (1540 to 1545) introduced the silver Rupayya or the Rupee coin. The princely states of pre-colonial India minted their own coins, all which mainly resembled the silver Rupee, but held regional distinctions depending on where they were from.
During the late 18th Century, agency houses developed banks such as the Bank of Bengal, The Bank of Hindustan, Oriental Bank Corporation and The Bank of Western India. These banks also printed their own paper currency in Urdu, Bengali and Devnagari languages.
For 100 odd years, the issue of bank notes by the private and presidency banks continued but with the formation of The Paper Currency Act in 1861, the issue of notes was monopolized by the Government. The British Government initially appointed the presidency banks as their agents to help it with the circulation of bank notes as it was a tough job to promote the use of common note over a wide stretch of area. In 1867, the famous Victoria Portrait series of bank notes was issued in honour of Queen Victoria. The notes in the series were uni-faced and were issued in 5 denominations.
The Reserve Bank of India took over the authority to print and circulate banknotes from the Government in1935. The notes bearing the portrait of George V was replaced by the notes bearing the portrait of George VI in 1938. The notes with the portrait of George VI were in circulation till 1947 and were taken off the money market with the Independence of India . The Lion Capital at Sarnath replaced George VI.
Indian rupee did not use the decimal system and rather was subdivided into 16 annas till 1957. In 1957, the decimal monetary system was adopted and one unit of rupee was restructured equivalent to 100 equal paise. In 1996, the Mahatma Gandhi series of paper notes was introduced, which is currently in circulation.
In order to overcome the challenge of the counterfeit currency, several security features have been incorporated in the Indian Rupee. White side panel of notes has Mahatma Gandhi watermark. All notes have a silver security thread, with inscriptions ‘RBI’ in English and ‘Bharat’ in Hindi. These inscriptions are visible when held against the light. Notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 have their numerals printed in optically variable ink. Number appears green when note is held flat but changes to blue when viewed at an angle.
The language panel on Indian rupee banknotes display the denomination of the note in 15 of the 22 official languages of India . They are from top to bottom – Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.
Rupee is the name given to the official currency that is used in several countries including India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mauritius, Maldives and Indonesia. Among all the countries mentioned above, the Indian rupee is the most important with respect to value, preference and popularity.
Acquiring the new symbol, the Indian Rupee now finds a place with the world’s leading currencies – Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling and the Yen, which also have symbols. The new symbol, also heralds emergence of a new, confident India, with a special place in the world economic order.

Editorial, TT: What exactly are political murders? If they are what common sense suggests, does a total of 26 political murders seem likely for West Bengal for the period from January 1, 2009 to February 15, 2010? But official figures are at least an indicator of the general state of things. With 26 political murders, Bengal comes second to Andhra Pradesh, which has 36. There are no records for the other regions, but what figures there are, for other crimes and including other states, are alarming enough. They seem to have stirred the chief minister of West Bengal to an acknowledgment that there has been a rise in the crime rate. For criminals, that is a big achievement: the chief minister had always insisted that Calcutta, at least, was “an oasis of peace”. His trust in his police is unshakeable, untouched by the increasingly worrisome findings of non-governmental agencies or the atmosphere of lurking menace that now surrounds everyday life in the state.
But reality has a habit of catching up. West Bengal recorded 2,284 murders in a year and one-and-a-half months, just below Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. But murders, recorded or concealed, are just one, if extreme, manifestation of criminality. Even the governor is expressing anxiety now at the swelling flow of illegal arms and explosives into the state. Since the flow of arms is not a new phenomenon, it has to be asked what the state administration, with the police under the chief minister, was doing all this time. To acknowledge officially that political parties, including the chief minister’s own, are major buyers, would not do. There is no thin red line separating political workers and criminals in West Bengal; each side needs the other. No wonder the chief minister feels the urge to play things down. The situation in West Bengal is not truly alarming, he feels, since there has been an increase in crime throughout India. It is not as if West Bengal is an exception.
This imperturbability is especially telling in the context of crimes against women. Bengal is quite exceptional in its neglect of and violence towards women, but the chief minister’s soothing words suggest that what happens to them does not matter. The crime rates are simply a reflection of that attitude. West Bengal has recorded the highest number of rapes in the last year compared to Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Tortured women number 17,571, while Andhra Pradesh leads with 17,646. Rapes and sexual violence are not always reported; when they are, the police love looking the other way. So these figures are likely to be more optimistic than real. In trafficking and female foeticide too, West Bengal occupies an honourable position. Perhaps the chief minister thinks that noises of mild concern will make the unpleasantness go away. It would take too much to undo the deliberate indifference of so many years.

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