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‘Couriers’ swept away

Jalangi (Murshidabad), Jan. 2: Four cattle smugglers were swept away by the freezing waters of the Padma when they lost bearings in dense fog early on Tuesday morning.

The bloated body of Tahiul Islam, 22, was found later but three others are still missing. “Tahiul, Ramzan Sheikh, 45, Mithu Sheikh, 17, and Imrul Biswas, 24, were smuggling out cattle from Alinagar village into Bangladesh,” said Ranjan Sinha, officer in-charge of the police station here.

“My husband was taking two buffaloes to Talpatti, across the river in Bangladesh. He had to perish for a few hundred rupees..,” wailed Ramzan’s wife, Zebia. The villagers were paid about Rs 300 per pair of cattle “couriered” to Bangladesh, she said.

Rafiqul Islam, one of the “couriers”, said: “On Tuesday midnight, I took a pair of buffaloes and entered the waters, it was foggy and cold, I got separated from the rest and after floundering for some time, managed to clamber up on the bank.”

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