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Teacher shot after loudspeaker protest

Calcutta, Oct. 26: He spoke up against blaring loudspeakers. And paid the ultimate price.

Ranjit Naskar, a schoolteacher at Canning in South 24-Parganas, was gunned down by Kali puja organisers late last night. His wife Arpita and brother Biswanath were stabbed when they tried to resist.

Deputy inspector-general, headquarters, Narayan Ghosh said members of Milandeep, a club at Heeragarh village, killed the 54-year-old teacher of the local Gaurdaha Primary School. “It was 11 pm and the members of Milandeep were still playing loudspeakers at a very high volume. The residents requested the members to give it a break, but in vain,” said an official of Canning police station.

Around midnight, Biswanath found it difficult to bear the noise. With the pandal a little more than a hundred metres from their house, the noise was near its worst there. “He headed straight to the club where a group of 15 drunk members were sitting. He told them to either play the sound-system in low volume or stop it. They did not listen to him,” said an officer. Most members of Milandeep have criminal antecedents, he added.

“Biswanath returned home after saying he will inform the police if the system was not switched off.”

A while after Biswanath returned home, the club gang assembled in front of his house and dared him to come out. Hearing a commotion, Ranjit stepped out on the courtyard. “He told the club members to leave his premises immediately, or he would call the police. But they started dragging him out of the house. Sensing trouble, Biswanath and Ranjit’s wife rushed out,” said the Canning police station official.

As Biswanath and Arpita tried to free Ranjit from the clutches of the goons, a section of the gang whipped out daggers and stabbed them. A youth, later identified as Jagadish Naskar, fired at Ranjit from his revolver. But he missed.

“Another member, Tapas Mandal, fired from his pipegun. Ranjit slumped on the ground as the bullet pierced his abdomen. The other members of the family ran back into the house in fear. The club members walked out, nonchalant. None of the neighbours dared to come forward,” said the official.

When neighbours and relatives finally came out, Naskar and Biswanath were lying in pools of blood. The brothers were taken to the Canning hospital.

As the news spread, senior police officials came to the village. Nine persons were arrested, among them were Jagadish and known CPM workers. Naskar, too, was a CPM supporter.

The police said the club was backed by the CPM. “The culprits are all known CPM supporters but there was no political motive behind the murder,” said an official investigating the case.

Ranjit’s son Raju identified all the 15 attackers and lodged an FIR mentioning their names.

“A search is on to track down the other accused, including Tapas who fired at Naskar. The local hideouts are being raided. All adjoining police stations have been informed,” said Ghosh.

The hospital described Biswanath’s condition as critical.

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