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Cattle gang rivalry whiff in dawn killings

Ambari (Jalpaiguri), Feb. 2: Four suspected cattle smugglers were allegedly murdered at dawn today, two of them charred to death in the car carrying them, near the India-Bangladesh border.

Police suspect the four were cattle thieves as a cow was also charred to death in the Maruti van that was gutted.

None of the four has been identified.

After preliminary investigations, the police said the murders in Balaram village, about 20km from Siliguri town and about 10km from the international border, could be a fallout of rivalry between two gangs of cattle rustlers.

“Based on information gathered during preliminary investigation, we suspect that the attack was a fallout of fighting between two rival groups of cattle rustlers. Once the identities of the deceased are revealed, we would be able to obtain more details about the incident and find out about the attackers,” said the police commissioner of Siliguri Jag Mohan.

Two of the four persons were charred to death inside the car that was also carrying the cow. The other two bodies were found around 100-150m from the car. One was half-burnt and the other had a deep cut in the abdomen and left side of the face.

Cattle smuggling is not uncommon in Balaram village or in the larger Ambari area, which is under the Bhaktinagar police station.

Asked about how the attack happened, Jag Mohan said: “Today, around 3am, our officers in Ambari police outpost, came to know that a Maruti van had been set on fire at Balaram and that there were people inside the van.”

The commissioner said after fire engines doused the flames, “we found two charred bodies inside the car along with a cattle carcass”.

“We found two more bodies. One of the bodies was half-burnt and the other was found from a nearby drain with stab marks. The deceased are yet to be identified.”

An officer said: “We suspect that all of the deceased are residents of the locality or adjacent areas. The manner in which they have been killed, indicate that the attack was planned. The vehicle was intercepted, those inside it were attacked and then it was set on fire. There are chances that those died in the car were burnt alive.”