Pradip Dhar
On 27 December, Pradip Kumar Dhar, an immensely popular person of the Central Kolkata region passed away in his Kolkata residence at the age of 65 after a prolonged illness. Pradip Dhar, from his early youth, was known to the people of locality as an extremely courageous and level-headed fellow engaged in all sorts of activities touching the life of the people. To many, he was an embodiment of courage and coolness combined. Like most of the socially sensitive youths and students of his time, he was influenced by Naxalbari and dreamt of revolution. In 1970, he was arrested and tortured, and spent about five years in prison. Subsequently, he became associated with the PCC, CPI(M-L) as a whole-time activist. In 1980-81, he however partly withdrew from active politics, and built up a printing press. What is noteworthy is that all sorts of activists fighting for the cause of the people used to come to him for help and Dhar was always ready to put up with their demands. His power was nil, but his authority enormous as far as the people of the area was concerned. His human qualities drew around him a host of admirers from all walks of life; these friends and admirers included reputable academics as well as petty traders and workers. His prolonged illness was as unfortunate as was his relatively premature death. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Anirban Biswas, Birbhum

Children Wear Helmets
The building of a school in village Doodhli, 25 kilometers from Dehradun, is so dilapidated that students were constrained to wear helmets in their classes in order to protect themselves from the falling plaster from the roof. Reportedly, the parents provided helmets to their wards when many students were injured. The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Secretary, Department of Education, Government of Uttarakhand and District Magistrate, Dehradun calling for reports.

The District Magistrate has also been asked to submit a report in respect of the number of children who had suffered injuries in the school; details of medical treatment provided to them and any ex-gratia relief granted by the State Government. The Secretary, Department of Education, has been further directed to submit a report in respect of the various school buildings which were in a dilapidated condition and the corrective measures taken or proposed to be taken by the State Government.

Vol. 47, No. 29, Jan 25 - 31, 2015