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5 killed in land clash

Malda, Oct. 12: Five persons of two families were killed and several injured this morning in clashes over property rights in Kacharitola village about 40 km from Malda town.

Malda superintendent of police Pankaj Dutta said a high-level inquiry is being conducted to ascertain why the two families suddenly decided to take law in their own hands. “We suspect there were others who helped them with bombs and other weapons. We will go to the bottom of the case and arrest all those who are responsible,” said Dutta.

Trouble started after 45-year-old Kulesh Mondol, who won a case over property rights on three bighas of land, built a hut on the plot last evening, according to police. As soon as the news spread, 40-year-old Panchu Mondol, who has lost the case to Kulesh, razed the hut to the ground.

An infuriated Kulesh rushed to Panchu’s house around 5 am with armed supporters. When Panchu opened the door, the men hurled bombs at him and his 45-year-old sister, Jaloda Mondol, who was sleeping. Both died on the spot. Panchu’s wife Sagari Mondol, 35, seven-year-old daughter Srilekha and two others sustained serious injuries.

After some time, members of Panchu’s family and some friends rushed to Kulesh’s house, located nearby and broke open the door. The attackers singled out Kulesh’s wife, Nirmala (46), and her sons, Bhagawat (22) and Gajen (27). Kulesh’s friends hurled crude bombs at them, killing them on the spot.

The police were informed of the incident around 6 am, but they arrived at the spot only after two hours.

“We don’t know what caused the delay. They said they were unable to locate the houses. These we think are all lies,” alleged a group of villagers, who had not seen anything as gruesome.

By late evening, the police had rounded up 10 persons in connection with the five murders. A police picket was posted in the area and a massive combing operation was underway to search for other villagers linked to the attack. “We have got several names and we are looking for them,” said Dutta.

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