Wednesday, June 23

Bookworms talk peace, politics at city’s fave fair

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The 44th International Kolkata Book Fair, which is being held at Salt Lake’s Central Park, has something for everyone. From bringing back memories of lost heritage to highlighting the current political issues, the fair has once again ticked all the boxes. And cops are keeping an eye out for troublemakers so that every guest at the fair has a good time.

Walking postbox

There was no mistaking the giant inflated postbox walking around at the book fair. At a stall put up by the postal department, officials said that efforts were on to popularize India Post through innovative schemes — including shaking hands with the postbox, posing for a photograph for a postage stamp and buying bottled gangajal. One can even buy silver pendants engraved with motifs. Officials were spotted trying to explain to visitors why it is “cool” to buy books at the fair and “speed post” them to friends and family living out of state. Even postal savings schemes were being advertised. “These are times of targets,” an official explained. On Monday, a special postal cover and cancellation, a special envelope cover and metal seal to commemorate the 44th book fair were released.

Books on current situation

The rhetoric against NRC and CAA was palpable at the little magazines pavilion where a large number of publishers had come out with special books and magazines on the citizenship issues. Two volumes published by the People’s Study Circle — ‘Nijer Deshe Refugee Hobo’ and ‘Ei Banglar Udbastu’ — have caught on with the public. Among the other stalls, Akinchan, Ayna Nagar and RB Enterprise drew a lot of visitors for their anti-CAA books and journals on Monday.

Push for peace

It was heart-warming to see camaraderie between people managing the stalls of Viswa Hindu Parishad and Ahmadiya Muslim Jamat — located opposite each other. Waqar, one of the managers at the Jamat stall, held up a Bhagvad Gita that he bought from the VHP stall. “We are trying to promote peace here. All religions teach the same thing and, to us, our Quran is just as important as the Geeta,” said Shahbaz Munim.

Kids try story-writing

On Monday, school children took up the open air arena set up by Janapriya Prakashani, a yesteryear kids’ publication, to read books and try their hand at writing stories. There was a quiz on books and other fun sessions too, along with prizes for the participants.

Two held for harassment

Two men were arrested from the book fair on Monday for misbehaving with women. The victims raised an alert, allowing cops to nab the accused immediately. Officers said they were keeping watch on the gathering every day and monitoring the area through CCTV cameras. Cops said they will deploy more woman personnel in plain clothes who will mingle with the crowd and be ready for any untoward incident.

Cuffs on pickpockets

Six pickpockets were arrested from inside and outside the book fair since Sunday. Two were arrested from the grounds while the rest were picked up from the bus stand nearby. The accused, cops said, usually targeted women who were carrying large bags. Cops said they suspect the accused could be part of a Mullickbazar-based gang that frequented fairs and functions. Officers said raids against such criminals would continue at the fair.


Source: Times of India

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