Sunday, January 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Labour unrest claims 3 lives
From Subhrangshu Gupta

KOLKATA, Jan 13 — In an unprecedented labour unrest at Baranagar jute mill about 7 kms from the state government’s headquarters at Writers Buildings two senior management personnel of the mill were burnt to death on the factory premises during office hours today.

They have been identified as Chief Executive, Jagadhamba Tewari and Chief Personnel Manager Gautam Bose. Another worker who received bullet injuries when the chief executive allegedly opened fire, died on way to hospital.

The State Transport Minister, Mr Subhas Chakraborty, who hails from the district, rushed to the factory along with senior police officials soon after the incident.

According to Mr Chakraborty, trouble started over the laying off of a worker, which the INTUC-led union protested. Workers staged a demonstration and gheraoed the chief executive and the personnel manager inside a room for six hours, demanding immediate reinstatement of the worker. Mr Tewari, however, refused to oblige.

The situation took an ugly turn when Mr Tewari got irritated and reportedly fired a shot to free themselves. The bullet however, hit a worker who died on way to hospital.

The workers got furious and started throwing stones and brickbats at Mr Tewari and Mr Bose. Some of them also hit them with iron rods and finally set them on fire. They raised the alarm and tried to escape but they were not allowed to come out of the chamber.

Tension prevailed in the entire locality. Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharyya, condemned the incident which was the result of the “militant trade unionism.” He said the culprits should be firmly dealt with. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

INTUC President, Subrata Mukherjee, the Mayor and leaders of CITU, AITUC etc. also condemned the incident.

Various Chamber of Commerce and several industrialists got panicky and demanded police protection. They also stressed the need for maintaining friendly relations between the management and the workers.


Hindus, Muslims hold talks

lucknow, Jan 13 (UNI) — The much talked about meeting here today between leaders of Hindus and Muslims to resolve the Ayodhya issue failed to achieve any breakthrough, but there was consensus that efforts should not be abandoned till the matter was settled.

The meeting, initiated by Bharatiya Janata Party mp and Bajrang Dal leader Vinay Katiyar, was of the opinion that Muslims would have to be convinced before Hindus decided on the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The emphasis was on peaceful talks between the two parties, but the satisfaction of Muslims was a pre-requisite.

“The next round of talks would take place in the first week of March after local Muslims have inspected the disputed site,” Mr Katiyar said soon after the meeting.

Briefing mediapersons about deliberations in the crucial gathering, Mr Katiyar who was the convener, said it was just a preliminary one with more negotiation to follow. There was consensus on continuing the efforts for an amicable solution to the vexed issue. The meeting assumed significance as the Dharam Sansad on January 19, 20 and 21 is likely to decide the Ram temple construction dates during the Mahakumbh now being held in Allahabad.

The meeting was attended by about 60 Muslims from Faizabad and Ayodhya, including Imam Hazi Iqbal of Bhagwa Bheet, Imam Syed Touhir Ashraf of Pure Kamgar, Sirajuddin and Mohammad Mir Pradhan. Baba Shankar Das and Aditya Narayan Misra represented the other party.

The gathering also resolved to entrust the residents of Faizabad and Ayodhya with creating a conducive atmosphere for a peaceful solution to the problem.

Haji Sagir, one of the participants, when asked about the Muslim issue, said a temple and mosque both should be built. He said the locals were against the politicisation of the issue and wanted all politicians out of this.

Mr Katiyar said some more people would be included in the next round of talks. However, only those would be preferred who had the intention of solving this problem.

Mohammad Hashim Ansari, one of the main litigants in the Ayodhya case and an invitee in the meeting, was the conspicuous absentee.

The participants later met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh at his residence and spent half-an-hour with him. Mr Rajnath Singh heard their views and assured he would give the issue serious thought. 

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