A Trinamul councillor from Uttarpara and three of his accomplices were arrested on Wednesday after they allegedly attacked houses of four families who “owned” land on a plot along the Hooghly where the government has proposed to build a film city.
Police said residents of the area caught Sandip Das alias Pintu, councillor of Ward No 2 of Uttarpara Kotrung municipality, along with Mrityunjoy Bhattacharya, Asit Sarkar and Sandip Roy after their pre-dawn raid.
The four were allegedly drunk. The residents alleged that the councillor and his men yelled abuses and threatened the families with dire consequences if they “fail to vacate the plot as soon as possible”.
One of the residents said he owned land in the plot identified for the film hub while two others said they have brick kilns on plots they took on lease inside the site.
“We went there after receiving calls from the residents. We thought robbers had raided some houses. When we reached there, the residents handed us a Trinamul councillor and his men,” said a police officer.
Das and his men had attacked the houses of Bablu Mondal in Baidikpara Lane, Sheikh Akhtar Mullick in Kotrung Dharmatala, Ashok Ghosh in Kotrung Ghoshpara and Bhanu Bose in Sukantanagar. Mondal said he owns 17 bighas in the plot marked for the film city.
Ghosh, who runs two brick kilns on a 24-bigha plot, said he had taken the land on lease from another person. “The sound of stones hitting the windows woke me up. Then I heard expletive hurled at me. The assault continued for nearly 30 minutes. My wife and children were very scared,” he said.
Their next target was Sheikh Akhtar Mullick. “They threw stones at the windows, smashing glasses. They were shouting that I should immediately vacate the land for the film city,” Mullick said.
The four were caught outside Bose’s house in Sukantanagar where neighbours confronted them. “About 10 others in the group managed to flee,” said an officer.
Tapan Dasgupta, the Hooghly district president of the Trinamul, said an inquiry has been ordered.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) is the owner of the land marked for the film city, but it has leased out the land to several people years ago. Most of the brick kiln owners on the 300-bigha plot took the land on lease from the CMC.
Sources in the CMC said the lease period has ended and the land now belongs to the civic body.