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Vigilant women from Kolkata suburbs reunite woman with dementia with her family

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Kolkata, Feb 24 (IANS) Vigil mounted by women in a neighborhood in the northeast suburbs of Kolkata led to the miraculous rescue of a 64-year-old woman — a dementia patient — who had wandered nearly 7 km from her home in New Barrackpore.

The incident occurred at Khardah’s Railway Park on Friday. Khardah is about 17 km from the heart of Kolkata.

For quite some time now, the neighborhood has been plagued by thefts during daytime hours when men are away at work. The women have taken it upon themselves to maintain a lookout for suspicious characters from their balconies and windows. They have also formed a WhatsApp group to communicate with each other. Around noon on Friday, one of them spotted an elderly woman moving around, apparently searching for somebody’s house. The information was immediately passed on and others began to track her strange movements from one lane to another.

“It was as if she was going around in circles. Finally, she settled down outside a grocery store. This was when some of us approached her and offered water. She looked extremely tired. When we asked where she was headed to, she said that her daughter’s house is nearby. However, when we asked her name, she lost her temper and started walking away. She was muttering to herself. We immediately realised that there was something wrong with her health. After much persuasion, we succeeded in taking her to Sujata Acharya’s home. After a while, she had lunch and then took a long nap. When she woke up, she seemed quite friendly. We asked where she lives and she started uttering names of several places, including Khulna in Bangladesh,” said Rinku Nag Biswas who also happens to be an active member of the West Bengal Radio Club, an organisation of amateur radio operators that has reunited several such people with their families.

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Rinku, Sujata and the other women of the neighborhood soon realised that the elderly woman would never be able to reveal her address. They first got in touch with the Khardah and Ghola police stations to find out if anyone matching the woman’s description had been reported missing from home. The police replied in the negative. The women then resumed their conversation with their guest. Suddenly, the woman dropped a hint. She spoke of Satadal School near her home. Now, there was another problem. There are two Satadal Schools. One of them in Sukchar, close to their neighborhood and the other at New Barrackpore.

“On our request, the New Barrackpore Police started checking the neighborhood around the Satadal School under their jurisdiction. Before long, they had the woman’s identity and address. Her name is Sandya Rani Ray and she lives with her three sons and daughters-in-law. She also has three daughters who are married and live elsewhere. On receiving information, all three daughters-in-law rushed to our place to take her back. We handed her over after due verification,” Rinku said.

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Rinku and her friends Sujata, Jhumur Pal, Jhuma Saha and others are upbeat with the successful reunification of the helpless woman with her family. “We shall continue to maintain vigil, but henceforth, we shall also keep a lookout for people like Sandhya Rani Ray who may be in need for assistance,” said Sujata.

–IANS

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Mehbooba Mufti alleges J&K employees forced to be part of Yoga Day events; authorities refute

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Srinagar, June 20 (IANS) Former J&K Chief Minister and President of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, on Thursday accused the UT administration of causing ‘serious inconvenience’ to the people over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Srinagar for International Yoga Day (June 21).

In a post on X, Mehbooba Mufti said, “An occasion for celebration has become one that fills people with dread. A day before International Yoga Day, all government employees along with schoolchildren have been ordered to show up at different venues at ungodly hours. Even pregnant employees have not been spared. A pregnant employee was threatened to choose between her job or being present at the event.”

The visit by PM Modi, who reached here on Thursday evening, is his first trip to the Union Territory after being elected as the Prime Minister for the third consecutive term.

The authorities in J&K, meanwhile, strongly refuted Mehbooba Mufti’s allegations pertaining to PM Modi’s visit.

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In a statement, J&K Director Colleges said, “A misinformation is circulating on social media regarding Yoga Day celebrations, wherein it has been alleged that employees are being forced to participate in the event, female employees are made to change their clothes, and even pregnant women are forced to take part in celebrations.

“This misinformation is strongly refuted. Participants in the Yoga Day celebrations have volunteered to take part in the event, and no employee was compelled to join the event against his/her will. Employees are not required to change their clothing. They have been provided with long tunics to wear over their existing attire, ensuring their comfort and convenience.”

The statement added: “The employees’ well-being has been prioritised. Pregnant employees and those with medical conditions have not been asked to participate in the Yoga Day celebrations. People are urged to verify facts before spreading false narratives that can cause unnecessary concern and confusion.”

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–IANS

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Civic bodies poll in Nagaland after 20 years, 2.76 lakh voters to decide fate of 523 candidates

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Kohima, June 20 (IANS) Over 2.76 lakh voters would decide the fate of 523 candidates in the June 26 elections to three municipal councils and 36 town councils in Nagaland in civic polls being held after a gap of 20 years, officials said on Thursday.

State Election Commissioner (SEC) T. John Longkumer said that 670 nominations were submitted and subsequently 79 candidatures were withdrawn while 64 candidates were elected unopposed.

Four nomination papers were rejected during scrutiny.

He said that no candidate is contesting in the town councils in eastern Nagaland, where Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) gave a vote boycott call in support of their statehood demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’.

Longkumer, a former Director General of Police of Nagaland, said that a total of 2,76,229 voters, including 1,40,167 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the urban bodies poll.

Of the total of 418 wards in the urban civic bodies, 142 wards are reserved for women.

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The SEC said that many national and local parties are contesting the elections. These include the BJP, the Congress, the Janata Dal-United, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), the Naga People’s Front (NPF), the Rising People’s Party, the Republican Party of India-Athawale, and the Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas.

The SEC earlier served a show cause notice to the ENPO, the apex body of seven backward Naga tribes in eastern Nagaland who urged the people to abstain from participating in the civic polls to press for its statehood demand. People in the six districts, which have over four lakh voters, remained indoors on April 19 in polling to the state’s sole Lok Sabha constituency, responding to its call.

SEC officials said that 108 companies of state security forces would be deployed to maintain security while 8,100 personnel would be posted to conduct the civic polls.

–IANS

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Railways conduct trial run on world's highest rail bridge in J&K

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Srinagar, June 20 (IANS) Indian Railways on Thursday conducted a successful trial run of an eight-coach MEMU train on the newly electrified 46-km section between Sangaldan and Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir passing through the world’s highest Chenab Rail Bridge.

Sharing the news, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a post on X said: “Successful trial run of MEMU train between Sangaldan-Reasi section of USBRL project. Jammu & Kashmir.”

The trial run was conducted at a speed of 40 km per hour. The MEMU train started at 12:35 p.m. from Sangaldan and reached Reasi at 2:05 PM, passing through nine tunnels with a combined length of 40.78 km.

The USBRL project was inaugurated in multiple phases, starting with the 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section in October 2009, followed by the 18-km Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013, and the 25-kilometer Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014.

The latest phase, including the 48.1-km Banihal-Sangaldan section, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20, 2024.

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The successful trial run signifies the nearing of the completion of the USBRL project. This project after completion is expected to enhance social integration, facilitate easier movement of people and goods, and boost economic activities such as tourism and trade in the region.

–IANS

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Goa Forward Party ready to combat BJP in upcoming Assembly session

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Panaji, June 20 (IANS) Expecting the BJP government with its brute majority in Goa to try to bulldoze the opposition during the forthcoming Assembly session, Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said on Thursday that in a democracy, people are always in the majority.

“In a democracy, the people are always in the majority. A brute majority in the Assembly means nothing. I will force the government to focus on issues pertaining to the state,” Sardesai said after meeting people from various constituencies to discuss different issues.

In the 40-member Goa Assembly, BJP has 28 MLAs besides having the support of five other legislators.

“Many people came to meet me and discussed their issues. They are all victims of the brute majority of the BJP. I will raise their issues in the Assembly and try to draw the attention of the government to address them,” Sardesai said.

“As a regional political force, we are committed to raising issues that directly concern Goa, and this time too, we will hold the government accountable to the people of Goa. I have personally heard the grievances of people from across the state, and I will raise them in the House,” he added.

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The Monsoon Session of the Goa Assembly will have 18 sittings from July 15 to August 7.

–IANS

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Chidambaram calls on Mamata Banerjee at Bengal Secretariat, holds closed-door meeting

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Kolkata, June 20 (IANS) In an interesting development, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram dropped in at the West Bengal Secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on Thursday evening and had a 40-minute-long closed-door meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Although neither the Chief Minister nor the Congress leader spoke to media persons about the subjects of discussion at the meeting, Trinamool Congress insiders said that the two leaders probably discussed the strategy to be adopted by the opposition INDIA bloc in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.

Political observers feel that the meeting is significant in the way that it hints about the top leadership of the two parties coming closer again leaving behind the bitterness over the Lok Sabha elections between the state unit of Congress and the ruling Trinamool.

Now with the state Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who had always been known for his hardcore anti-Trinamool stand, having himself lost in the polls from Baharampur, the road has become smoother for both Congress and Trinamool for future floor coordination in the Lok Sabha.

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In fact, in the past too, the personal equation between Banerjee and Chidambaram had been extremely cordial, with the latter often holding the brief of the state government in important court cases both at the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court. Often, Chidambaram and his fellow Congressman and senior advocate Abhsihek Manu Singhvi had earned the ire of the state Congress leadership for holding briefs on behalf of the state government and a number of Trinamool leaders but remained unfazed.

–IANS

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