Residents of a south Calcutta neighbourhood off Rashbehari Avenue, that is now quite a realty hotspot, were jolted on Thursday night by a clash between two groups from a neighbouring slum that led to a death.
The clash on Panditiya Road, a stone’s throw from Triangular Park, has left residents fearing for their safety.
Police said the clash broke out around 9.30pm after three drunk youths from a slum next to Panditiya Bazar, allegedly armed with bamboo sticks, stormed Ananda Kanan Club at the crossing of Panditiya Road and Aswini Dutta Road.
Kamal Bardhan, 46, a resident of the locality, was standing close to the club and allegedly got hit by a stick. He was taken to SSKM Hospital where he was declared dead.
Two youths, Ashish Das and Bapi, have been arrested. The police said they were looking for a third suspect, identified as Aapel.
Thursday night’s clash was similar to one between two groups at a Gobindapur slum that resulted in nine cars in Jodhpur Park being vandalised last January.
“Youths in their 20s, armed with bamboo sticks, were running around.There was commotion all around and several chairs and tables lay overturned outside the roadside club. I watched it from my window and kept praying that the gangs did not invade our complex,” said a 45-year-old woman who lives at a newly-built apartment block on Panditiya Road, right opposite the club.
The residents, who woke up on Friday to unprecedented police deployment in the neighbourhood, said the area was not as peaceful as it used to be.
“I have been living here for 25 years but such brawls have been happening over the past two years. During this period we have also been noticing an unnerving trend — a gathering of a large number of outsiders at the neighbourhood clubs, all of which enjoy political patronage,” said a 71-year-old resident of Aswini Dutta Road.
Another resident said most of the clubs — there are four within a 100metre-radius — fly the Trinamul flag.
Ishita Chakravarty, a musician who lives on Panditiya Road, alleged that youths in groups sit by the roadside throughout the day or roam around on bikes, making young women like her fear for their safety. This locality has been known to be safe but I often hear shouts of people fighting on the road,” said the 25-year-old.