Few of the panic ridden and crying passengers were rescued by few boats around. Few others managed to swim ashore. Locals rescued three or four bodies before the BIWTC rescue team arrived. Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mannan along with the BIWTC divers from Bhairab reached the spot at about noon. The divers rescued the bodies, mostly stuck up inside the launch.
BIWTA salvage ship Rustom from Narayanganj is on way to the spot to pull up the sunken launch. Asked about inordinate delay in starting the rescue operation Deputy Commissioner said the divers were not immediately available.
Sarail Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Helaluddin said at total of 27 bodies were recovered till 4-30 pm (BDST). Identified bodies were taken away by their relatives for burial. District administration announced a grant of Tk 2,000 for burial of each unidentified body. န Photos : AP, AFP
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded the highest number of candidates, 50, followed by the CPI(M), 31, Trinamool Congress 29, Bahujan Samaj Party 27 and the Congress 21.
Meanwhile, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi held meetings with senior officials to take stock of the security preparedness for the second and third phase of West Bengal Assembly elections.
West Bengal will have elections in six phases. The first phase took place on 18 April. The second phase will take place on 23 April, the third phase on 27 April, the fourth phase on 3 May, the fifth phase on 7 May and the sixth phase on 10 May.
The total number of assembly constituencies in West Bengal is 294, of which 68 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 16 for Scheduled Tribes.
The tribunal however directed the investigators to inform counsels of the accused 48 hours before holding the interrogation so that they could advise their clients. The court on 13 April allowed interrogators to quiz the two Jamaat leaders with links to war crimes at a 'safe home' in the capital instead of Dhaka Central Jail.
After rejecting the review petition, the tribunal headed by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq started hearing a bail petition filed by Nizami, Mojahid and Jamaat assistant secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla in connection with war crime charges.
Earlier, the four leaders were produced in the tribunal after it started hearing the review petition. The court on Wednesday rejected the bail petition filed by Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee in connection with war crimes.
Ninth session fast track court judge Amit Chattopadhyay today directed that Todi, his relative Anil Saraogi and family friend Pappu should be tried under Section 306 (abetment to suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court also directed that IPS officer Ajay Kumar, who was the then deputy CP (detective dept) and 2 officers - sub-inspector Krishnendu Das and ACP Sukanti Chakraborty - will be tried under Section 506 and 120B.
The trial in the case will commence from 16 May.
PTI, Gangtok, 21 April : An Army helicopter, with two pilots and two soldiers, today went missing while flying over north Sikkim, triggering concerns over the fate of the machine and the personnel.
The Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv helicopter of the Army Aviation Corps had taken off from Sewak Road Base in Siliguri at 10.30 AM, army sources said. It lost radio contact at around 11.30 AM, the sources said adding efforts are on to locate it.
The Base is under the 33 Corps Headquarters based in Siliguri.
PTI, Shillong, 21 April : Tezpur and Chabua air bases in Assam will house two squadrons of Sukhoi30 warplanes each, a senior Indian Air Force officer said today.
"Both the bases will have two squadrons of the Sukhois. They already have one squadron each. The next squadrons would be coming within a few years' time," Eastern Air Command Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Air Marshal KK Nohwar said.
The first complement of the MKI variant of Su30 fighter jets arrived at Tezpur last June and the squadron is operational. The second squadron in the Northeast was deployed at Chabua in Upper Assam last month.
The abandoned factory shed, which stands a mute witness to the tumult that the place witnessed in 2006 marking the downhill journey of the Left Front, is the only talking point of the 2,05,434 voters, who are mostly rural, in this constituency going to the poll on 3 May.
Will any factory come up in the abandoned site, or unwilling farmers will get back the 400 acres of land they had parted with? The question is being thrown at CPI(M) candidate Asit Das and Trinamool Congress' Rabindra Nath Bhattacahrya, who is seeking re-election. န File Photo
Baharampur, 21 April : Three persons died while making bombs in Murshidabad district, police said today.
The three were making bombs in an open field under Damkal sub-division when the incident happened last night. Their bodies were found this morning, police said.
According to the leaders, at least five people, including a woman, from the ethnic Buddhist minority Chakma were killed following a land dispute in Khagrachari district Sunday.
‘Muslim settlers went to the mountainous regions Sunday and began planting banana saplings after clearing the tribal forest land,’ Northeast India Chakma Association (NICA) general secretary Sanjit Chakma told reporters.
According to him, more than 200 houses of tribals were burnt down by the attackers.
‘We have sent urgent letters to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Indian government to stop the attacks immediately and take action against the attackers,’ Chakma said. န File Photo : Demotix
Howrah, 21 April : Deputy Election Commissioner of West Bengal Vinod Zutshi today held a high-level meeting meeting here to assess the poll-preparedness in Howrah district where polling would be held on 3 May.
Official sources said Zutshi deliberated with the SP, DM and other government officials about the security measures. Polling for the fourth phase of the six-phase Assembly elections would be held in the state on 3 May for 63 seats in Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore and Burdwan districts.
Singh, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to Banerjee appealing to limit speed of trains running through elephant corridors and make use successfully tested speed-detection guns to monitor trains that run through forest areas.
"I was appalled when I learnt elephants are being hit and killed by trains on our railways. It is difficult to understand why elephants continue to die when there are ways to solve this problem. The speed limits must be significantly reduced in elephant corridors," he wrote in a letter toBanerjee. Allowing trains to move upto 50 kph in north Bengal elephant corridors guarantees that more deaths will occur because even fastest elephants won't stand a chance, he said.
Singh's plea comes in wake of recent deaths of seven elephants, which were killed in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, by a train that was travelling at an excessive speed of approximately 70 kilo metres per hour. "A speed-detection device, which PETA has procured and demonstrated, offers an effective way to slow down trains. Drivers going at dangerous speeds could be punished," he said.
According to data available with PETA, 150 elephants have been killed by trains since 1987. "I am confident that you will take steps to address this situation without delay. I look forward to hearing that the process is underway," Singh concluded.