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Shot dead in fight for water

Police said the bullet from Sanjib Chowdhury’s gun hit the left rib cage of Manoj Yadav, a taxi driver.

A bleeding Manoj was taken to SSKM Hospital, where the 35-year-old was declared dead on arrival. Sanjib, also 35, is on the run.

An officer of Garden Reach police station said Sanjib and Manoj used to quarrel frequently over “trivial issues”.

On Sunday, trouble started after Sanjib had allegedly removed Manoj’s bucket, which was placed ahead of his in the queue for water.

“The two were initially abusing each other. But soon Sanjib’s brother and sister joined the fight. They hit Manoj with iron rods and dragged him away from the tap. When Manoj retaliated by throwing bricks at them, Sanjib rushed home, came back with his gun and shot Manoj,” said an officer of the police station.

As Manoj slumped to the ground, Sanjib fired in the air and fled the spot with brother Dipak and sister Jyoti.

“We couldn’t dare to stop them as Sanjib was brandishing his gun and the other two were carrying iron rods. Their father left a little later through the rear door, leaving the house unlocked,” said Ratan Singh, a neighbour.

“Manoj was shot on the left side of his body and was unconscious when we put him in a taxi and left for the hospital,” said Govind Shaw, a witness.

The police launched a hunt for Sanjib and his siblings but could not trace them till late on Sunday.

According to neighbours, the Chowdhurys had been living at the rented two-room tiled house in Garden Reach’s Banerjee Para Lane for 30 years.

The police said Sanjib worked for a security agency and was posted as a guard at a private firm. He had got the gun registered in his name while working for another security agency, which he quit around a year ago.

“Unlike cops — who have to return the arms to the department once the day’s duty is over — private guards are allowed to carry their arms home,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar.

“The guns used by cops are registered with the department. But in case of private guards, the arms are registered in their names. A private guard gets his arms licence on the basis of a certificate from the agency he works for, which states the nature of assignment given to him, among other things.”