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Mom hacked to death in heist
- Howrah lady struck with chopper while trying to protect husband

Howrah, July 16: A 35-year-old woman was hacked to death by robbers when she tried to save her husband from being assaulted at their Howrah home early today, the gruesome tragedy unfolding in front of the eyes of the couple’s four children.

The robbers entered the two-storey house of zari trader Asmat Ali Middey, 40, in Jagatballavpur around 3am by scaling the boundary wall.

“Three robbers scaled the boundary wall and broke the lock of the main gate to gain entrance into the house. They entered the ground-floor room in which Middey was sleeping. His wife Esmatara Begum, 35, was sleeping with the couple’s children in an adjoining room,” said Sukhendu Hira, the additional superintendent of police, Howrah (rural).

The robbers demanded the almirah keys from Middey, a resident of Dakshin Santoshpur, 70km from Calcutta. When he refused, the robbers beat him up with iron rods.

Hearing her husband’s cries for help, Esmatara rushed into the room and tried to rescue Middey. “One of the robbers hit her on the head with a chopper. She fell to the floor, blood oozing from a deep gash,” an officer said.

Middey panicked and handed the almirah keys to the robbers. “One of the gang members hit Middey on the head with a rod. Middey fell unconscious,” the officer said.

When nine-year-old Afsana screamed for help, one of the robbers told her: “Chyachale churi diye gala kete debo (if you shout, we will slit your throat with a knife).”

The Class IV student said: “I did not dare raise my voice again.”

The robbers took away jewellery and Rs 1.13 lakh in cash.

After they left, Afsana and her three siblings started shouting for help.

“We rushed to the house and found Esmatara and Asmat lying in a pool of blood. I alerted other neighbours. We took both of the to Jagatballavpur hospital. Esmatara was declared dead on arrival. Doctors said Middey’s condition is stable,” neighbour Habibullah Khan said.

An officer of Jagatballavpur police station said: “It appears that the robbers knew that Middey had kept in his house the money he had collected from wholesale sari traders recently.”

Factory loot

A group of 35 armed robbers broke into a private iron fabrication factory near Durgapur and fled with a truckload of iron goods, cash and mobile phones worth Rs 12 lakh after assaulting and locking up security guards and workers early today.

The looting continued for nearly two hours but no mobile police jeep was found patrolling the Budbud area.

The robbers escaped after loading around 20 tonnes of iron bars, pipes, plates and angles in a trailer truck.

A police team from Budbud police station, 26km away, reached the plant around 8.30am, three hours after being informed. The police blamed the distance and lack of adequate number of patrol jeeps for the delay.