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Bravehearts fall to dacoits’ bullets

April 1: Fifteen-year-old Rintu Mondol and 18-year-old Rajtilak Banerjee: two students from different backgrounds and different districts, but united in their heroism.

Last night, robbers put an end to two promising young lives when they resisted the raiders as they set upon their families in two incidents in Murshidabad and Burdwan districts.

Rintu, who was taking his annual examination for Class VIII, was shot at point blank range when a gang, supposed to have come from Bangladesh, stormed his house at Kaliagunj village in Jalangi police station area.

“It was around midnight yesterday when the gang raided the house of Riazul Mondol. They broke open the door and began beating up Riazul and his wife, asking them to bring out their valuables. When Rintu rushed to his parents’ rescue, he was shot in his chest,” said Murshidabad police superintendent Virendra. The boy died on the spot.

“We woke up when the shot rang out in the middle of the night. We ran out, but they came towards our house, their guns raised. We had to retreat,” said Emdadul Mondol, a neighbour. He pointed out that despite a police picket barely a hundred metres away, nobody came to the Mondols’ rescue. Rintu was to have appeared for the last test of the annual examination today.

Emdadul said the dacoits took away three cows and gold ornaments after the 30-minute raid.

Around the same time as Rintu was battling the dacoits, Rajtilak, fondly called Joy, was countering a gang of about 20 armed men with a cricket bat in Burdwan’s Ranigunj.

The robbers, carrying swords and guns, scaled the walls of the single-storeyed Eastern Coalfields Limited quarters a little after Monday midnight and broke into a room where Rajtilak’s maternal uncle was sleeping.He raised an alarm, rousing the others.

Rajtilak confronted the dacoits with the bat when they went after his mother. Soon, the college student and his two uncles managed to corner a gang member while fighting off the others.

Before they could alert the police, the gang returned to rescue their colleague. The desperados pounced on Rajtilak and stabbed him repeatedly. But the brave youth refused to go down without and fight and kept resisting. They finally shot him and melted into the darkness.

Neighbours summoned the police and Rajtilak, who was taken to Ranigunj sub-divisional hospital, was pronounced dead. The young man, who lived with his widowed mother and maternal uncles, was an adept cricketer and a good student, neighbours said.

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