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Faction bullet kills passer-by

Burdwan, June 2: A Burdwan homemaker died today after being hit by a stray bullet during a clash between rival factions of Trinamul in strife-torn Mangalkot.

Police said 38-year-old Nurjahan Bibi, a mother of two daughters and a son aged between nine and 15 years, was hit in the stomach when she was going to a nearby pond to wash utensils.

Nurjahan’s husband Hafizul Mullick works as a mason in Kerala.

The police said the clash between the rival factions was over turf control.

Asked about the incident, district superintendent of police S.M.H. Meerza said: “We have started an investigation and have got the names of five local youths. They had been arrested in April for possessing illegal arms and were released on bail on May 29. We have launched a search for them.”

According to another police officer, investigation had revealed that about 10 youths on motorcycles started firing at villagers with their improvised pistols around 7am.

“Villagers ran helter-skelter. Nurjahan Bibi was going to the pond when the bullet hit her. She was taken to Burdwan Medical College Hospital, where she died around 2pm,” the officer said.

Nurjahan’s brother-in-law Sharif Mullick said they were a family of Trinamul supporters and owed allegiance local party leader Jahiurul Sheikh.

“Those who attacked us were supporters of Sahabuddin Sheikh. They had come to intimidate us and gain control over the area. My brother’s wife became a victim of their attack,” said Sharif, a farmer.

Jahirul alleged that Sahabuddin had sent his loyalists to extort money from the villagers. “Sahabuddin’s followers have been creating panic in the village and extorting money from them over the past few days,” he added.

Sahabuddin’s cellphone was switched off.

Denying factional feud, former Trinamul block leader Apurba Chowdhury said: “Today’s attack had nothing to do with politics. It was the fallout of rivalry between two groups of villagers.”