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Armed heist on road

Krishnagar, Jan. 29: Twenty armed robbers looted at least three vehicles, including a bus ferrying people from a wedding and a truck carrying some to a burning ghat, in Nadia late last night.

The robbers blocked Ranaghat-Krishnagar Road at Jhitkipota village on the outskirts of Krishnagar town, with logs and stopped the vehicles.

A police officer said the robbers, armed with pistols, axes and crowbars, looted the passengers for around an hour.

“Questioning the passengers we have come to know that the robbers allowed an ambulance to pass. We think the ambulance driver called up the local police station,” an officer said.

No arrests have been made so far.

The police said at 3am today, the robbers stopped the small truck carrying 17 people from Birnagar to the Nabadweep burning ghat.

“The robbers told us at gunpoint to hand over cash, rings, gold chains and other valuables. When some of us refused, they beat us up with sticks,” said Kamal Ghoshal, a member of the funeral party.

While the funeral party was being robbed, a bus carrying people returning from the wedding arrived.

“We had gone to Dum Dum from Tatla village of Dhubulia to attend the wedding reception of my daughter. Around 3am, our bus was stopped by the robbers. They forcibly boarded our bus and told the passengers, which included 20 women and seven children, to hand over cash, jewellery and other valuables,” said Tarun Sarkar, the father of the bride.

“They snatched Rs 11,000 from the driver. They also took away rings, earrings, gold chains and other jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh as well as cellphones. They beat up some women and threatened to kill the children when they refused to hand over their jewellery. Before leaving, the robbers threatened to blow up the bus if anybody tried to alert the police,” he added.

A senior police officer said: “We have started an investigation. So far, we have not made any breakthrough. However, we have identified a gang that might be involved in the robbery.”