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Border clash

Balurghat, Jan. 2: One person was killed and 20 people, including three BSF jawans and a woman police constable, were injured during clashes with villagers at Hili today.

A police vehicle was also torched during the fight. Today, BSF jawans at Hili, 25km from here, were tipped off that a gang was smuggling cattle into Bangladesh through the border at Gossainpur and Laskarpur villages.

Rajen Sood, the commandant of the 96 battalion of the BSF at Hili, said as 10-12 jawans entered the villages, a group attacked them. They allegedly assaulted jawan Durgesh Pandey and took away his rifle. The jawans left the spot and informed the BSF headquarters and Hili police. Later, a joint team of the BSF and the police went to the area.

“When the team was returning (after recovering the rifle), the cattle smugglers provoked the villagers to attack us. They attacked us with bricks and stones and torched a police vehicle,” Sood said. Border guards Sangram Biswal and Amrish Kumar and police constable Mousumi Das were injured.

“We fired three rounds,” Sood said. Suleman Mondal, 30, of Laskarpur, suffered bullet injuries and was pronounced dead at the district hospital. The BSF officers said they have recovered 48 cattle heads. “We have also arrested 16 persons. Among them two are Bangladeshis,” said an officer. Congress district president Niranjan Roy said: “We will observe a 24-hour general strike in Hili block tomorrow.”