The mob attack on Sukumar’s house. (Uma Majumdar)
Burdwan, Nov. 27: Over 500 Kalna residents today allegedly assaulted a trader, his wife and son accusing them of supplying drugs to schoolchildren and youths.
The mob alleged that Sukumar Das, who went around saying he supplied construction materials, had been peddling heroin and ganja from his house for the past year. Sukumar’s daughter today managed to flee seeing the crowd.
Burdwan superintendent of police S.M.H. Meerza said: “Residents alleged that Sukumar, his son and daughter were peddling all sorts of drugs which vitiated the local environment. Police rescued the persons from the mob. They have been detained.”
The police today seized several small packets of heroin from Sukumar’s house.
Residents said several youths, some of them in their teens, were caught smoking ganja in schools and colleges in the past few months. “The number of drug addicts have increased in Kalna. They often take recourse to petty crimes like thefts to buy heroin,” a trader said.
A college teacher in Kalna said: “We have caught students smoking ganja on the college campus. We tried to counsel them. But over the past six months, we came to know that some of them have even started taking heroin. We are thinking of informing their parents.”
According to a schoolteacher, parents were worried about their children. “We have had reports of students between Classes IX and XII becoming drug addicts. My colleagues in other schools in Kalna have identified some students and informed their parents. They are worried,” said Tapas Karfa, who teaches in a high school.
A police officer said Sukumar’s son and daughter were arrested thrice in the past year on the charges of attempt to robbery and possessing firearms. “Both of them are now out on bail,” the officer said.
“We were already investigating into allegations of drug peddling on Sukumar Das before today’s incident,” Burdwan SP Meerza said.
The increase in the number of drug addicts, residents said, had given rise to thefts.
“These youths often steal from shops and houses to buy drugs. The number of thefts in the town has increased. The boys look for bikes and bicycles. They are also stealing things as petty as utensils from kitchens. This morning, fruit sellers at Madhuban market found that over 20kg of apples, oranges and bananas were stolen. They blamed the drug addicts for breaking the boxes. This prompted us to attack Sukumar’s house,” said Mintu Malik, a fruitseller.
The fruitsellers, accompanied by residents, barged into Sukumar’s house armed with sticks and rods.
The police said the crowd broke windowpanes, a TV set, refrigerator and dining table. “Then they beat up Sukumar, his wife and son. His daughter, however, managed to escape from the back door,” an officer said.
Jagat Mondal, a local photographer, said a section of local youths frequented an abandoned cinema hall, where they took ganja and heroin.
“Sukumar Das and his family members are responsible for the increase in drug addicts in Kalna town,” said Mondal.
On November 26, around 370g of heroin worth Rs 35 lakh was seized from three youths in Bankura.
“We are yet to establish any connection between the two incidents,” a police officer said.