The residents of Wellesley 2nd Lane met police commissioner Sujoy Chakraborty on Tuesday, demanding “immediate action” against those involved in Monday evening’s attack on Feroze Wahid.
A gang of seven had attacked Wahid, an active member of the Wellesley Welfare and Social Organisation, with pistols and choppers. His shop behind New Market was ransacked and he was grievously injured. Wahid is now recovering in a city hospital.
“We want the police to arrest the culprits to ensure peace in the area. The assailants, who were travelling in a Tata Sumo, are hiding in the Beniapukur area and are being sheltered by some local CPM leaders,” said a member of the month-and-a-half-old peace committee.
Ever since the peace body was formed, Wellesley 2nd Lane has been on the road to normalcy. “Earlier, the locality would be deserted after dusk. But these days, the hustle and bustle goes on till well past midnight,” said a resident.
The peace movement, that had started slowly has now picked up steam, with around 400 residents and traders in the area signing up. Though they view the attack on Wahid as an attempt to destroy popular resistance against criminalisation, the members are determined to stand their ground and block the return of the goons to the area.
A delegation from the peace committee handed over to the police commissioner a list of goons, who they believe carried out Monday evening’s attack on Market Street.
“Everyone knows that Akhtar, Mehmood, Feroze, Aamir, Kana Arun, Jahangir, Kalua Raju, Nepala and Nadeem have plotted the attack. These people are associated with all the criminal activities in and around central Calcutta. They don’t want the peace committee to function as it has cut off their income flow through extortion, drug-peddling and trade in illegal arms,” said a resident of Wellesley 2nd Lane.
The goons, allege residents, used a school as their headquarters, which was frequented not only by ganglords, but also by some local CPM committee members.
“Their terror tactics caused havoc, besides sending real-estate prices in the area crashing. They used to broker all the real-estate deals in the area and charge a hefty commission,” residents alleged.
Every month, the toughs would go around extorting money from the traders under the garb of “donation for the school”. But after a police raid drove them out of the area, the peace committee formed a protective ring round the area.