Police gather on the bank of the pond where the body (circled) was found floating. Picture by Nantu Dey
Raiganj, Nov. 23: An 18-year-old youth’s body with throat slit and hands and feet tied up was found floating in a pond here this morning, triggering speculations that he was the first person to be murdered in a series of gang wars that rocked Raiganj this week.
The body of Chhotu Jamadar was found in the pond along NH34 at Uttar Collegepara around 6am. The relatives of the youth claimed that he was close to Tukai Pal, who had been shot at and thrashed mercilessly by a rival gang on Wednesday night.
Chhotu was a resident of the sweepers’ colony at the district hospital here. When the police received information that a body was floating in a pond, they went to the spot and recovered it. They said the hands and feet of the youth were bound tightly with ropes and the throat slit. Bloodstains were spotted on the edge of the pond.
The police said there were many cases of murder and theft against Chhotu. Sources at the Raiganj police station said they were trying to figure out whether this latest crime was linked to the incidents that had occurred here this week.
On Tuesday, Trinamul Congress leader and contractor, Bhola Pal, had engaged in a gun battle with a criminal gang in broad daylight near the municipal bus stand.
Pal was arrested the same day and remanded in jail custody for 14 days yesterday. The district Trinamul leadership declared Pal a persona non grata after Tuesday’s incident.
On Wednesday night, Pal’s nephew, Tukai, was shot on the back and brutally beaten up by a gang led by Naru. Tukai was attacked when he fired at Naru in revenge for the attack on Bhola Pal. Tukai is the nephew of Ainul Haq, with whose gang Bhola Pal had indulged in the gunfight on Tuesday.
“While probing Chhotu’s murder, we found out that he was a member of Tukai’s gang. We are trying to figure out whether Chhotu accompanied Tukai on Wednesday night and was eliminated by the rival gang,” said a police source.
The murdered youth’s brother, Vicky Jamadar, said Chhotu had left home yesterday afternoon and didn’t return.
“We became worried and we came to know this morning that my brother had been killed. Chhotu was close to Tukai. But I have no idea who killed him,” said Vicky.
The series of violent events has struck fear among the residents who are not venturing out after dark unless absolutely necessary. Sources at the Raiganj police station said they had received at least 60 phone calls last night from the residents about groups of youths huddling together in different localities.
The Congress vice-chairman of the Raiganj municipality, Ranoj Sen, said the people were panicked about the free run of criminals in town.
“The residents of Raiganj refuse to go out of their homes after sunset. We are surprised that no senior police officer is seen on the streets in the evening. The people would have felt reassured had the police patrolled the streets regularly,” he said.
Contacted over the phone, North Dinajpur police superintendent, Dipankar Bhattacharya, said he was in Jalpaiguri.
“I am in Jalpaiguri in connection with an official work and I am taking steps to increase the vigil in town,” he said.