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Murder ignites Raiganj rage

Raiganj, July 5: Residents of a Raiganj locality, who faced the brunt of threats and violence unleashed by rival extortion gangs, today burnt the home of a suspected killer and lynched his associate for shooting dead a youth in the area.

The Kargil and Mission Kashmir gangs have been terrorising residents of Bandar Bazar for several weeks now.

Last night, 30-year-old fish merchant Buddhiswar Sarkar was shot dead outside his home allegedly by a member of the Kargil gang.

Buddhiswar was popular in the locality as a decent boy and his killing is suspected to be the gang’s way of dealing with traders who do not pay extortion cash. Such killing have happened in the last few weeks also.

Buddhiswar’s mother Dipali said: “He was watching TV in his room last night when somebody called him from outside. He went out but within minutes he returned, blood oozing from his abdomen. He shouted that Mahendra Singh had shot him and fell unconscious.”

The youth died on the way to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri. The local hospital had advised his family that Buddhiswar be taken there.

At dawn today, police arrested Mahendra. “We have learnt that the miscreant had tried to extort money from the fish merchant. When he refused, he was shot,” a police officer said. “We have also come to know that Sanjib Ghosh, another member of the Kargil gang, got the gun for Mahendra.”

Residents said Buddhiswar was a “good boy”. “We have never heard or seen him doing anything wrong,” Biplab Das, a resident, said.

Shyamali Roy, also a Bandar resident, said the youth “took care of his aged parents. It is unfortunate that he had to die in the hands of these miscreants.”

Several people blamed the police for being lax about the criminal gangs operating in the town.

Around 7.30am today, a 150-strong mob, made up mostly of women of the Bandar area who had brooms and kitchen knives in hand, marched to Mahendra’s hut at Samshan Colony.

They found it deserted, ransacked it and set it on fire.

The mob allegedly wanted to set ablaze the homes of more Kargil gang members, according to witness accounts.

As mob moved further into the colony, Sanjib tried to stop them.

Some residents later alleged that he used abusive words and hit some of the men in the crowd.

The mob then circled Sanjib and beat him to death in front of his wife Siuli. They have a four-year-old son, called Sunny, locals said.

Alerted about the angry residents’ mob, Samir Pal, the inspector in charge of Raiganj police station, rushed to the spot with a team and RAF personnel.

Siuli, who said she was feeling ill, was shifted to the district hospital.

A fire brigade team doused the flames at Mahendra’s home.

Over the past few weeks, Bappa Sen, who led the Mission Kashmir gang, and Sanjoy Shil, head of the rival Kargil group, were arrested along with some of their cohorts.

Despite the arrest of the gang leaders, violence did not halt in the area.

“A case for lynching a person has been registered,” said Dipankar Bhattacharya, the superintendent of police of North Dinajpur.