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Bullet in child's neck

Calcutta, March 19: Extortionists barged into a home in south Calcutta tonight and shot at a woman, the bullet grazing her shoulder and getting itself lodged in the neck of her 10-year-old daughter.

The girl, Mou Pal, was operated upon at SSKM Hospital late tonight and the bullet has been removed. But doctors said her condition is critical.

The audacious raid was part of a random sweep by a gang through a residential neighbourhood in Thakurpukur.

Police said the incident began playing itself out around 9.30 pm when a group of four extortionists raided the house of a businessman, Krishna Shaw.

Asked to pay up at gunpoint, Shaw raised alarm. 'Sensing trouble, the goons walked out from his residence,' said H. K. Kusumakar, the additional superintendent of police (industrial), South 24-Parganas.

The gang entered the adjacent house owned by Suparna Pal. Her husband had gone out and only Mou was with Suparna when the four broke in.

They asked her to open the almirah and hand over cash and jewellery. 'Suparna, too, cried for help. The intruders first warned her and when it did not work, they opened fire,' Kusumakar said.

The bullet first hit Suparna's shoulder, bounced off and slammed into her daughter's neck. 'Both Suparna and her daughter slumped on the floor and started screaming. The four then ran way,' said an officer of Thakurpukur police station.

Neighbours rushed in to find Suparna and Mou lying on the floor with blood oozing out of their wounds. They were taken to the hospital.

'We will keep both the mother and daughter under observation for the next 24 hours,' said a doctor of the hospital.

Police suspect that the crime was committed by a gang known to be active in Behala and Thakurpukur. 'The gang has been operating in these areas for the past one year. The ringleader is known among his associates as Adhikary. Other than that, little information about him is available,' Kusumkar said.

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