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BSF jawan killed in Tripura

Villagers gather with Ismail Mia’s body in Agartala on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Agartala, June 7: The BSF shot dead a notorious smuggler responsible for the killing of BSF assistant commandant Jeevan Kumar in April 2005 along this town’s border with Bangladesh last night.

However, BSF jawan Sandip Kumar, 42, who shot dead Ismail Mia, 71, a retired government employee-turned-mafia don, was severely beaten up and shot dead at Kabarkhola in South Ramnagar.

A few other suspected smugglers, all residents of South Ramnagar village, Shahid Mia, 48, Hyder Ali, 25, Latif Mia, 50, Alamgir Mia, 18, Nunu Mia, 34, Abdul Mia, 20, Mohmmed Meerqasim, 18, Kabir Hossain, 15, sustained bullet injuries. The condition of three of the injured is said to be critical.

Police said a group of 10 to 12 people were sitting on a wooden plank, built by 121 BSF posted there, near a police outpost around 8.30 last night. Two BSF jawans on patrol asked them to disperse, suspecting an organised attempt at smuggling.

This led to a heated exchange of words and the two BSF jawans, Sandip Kumar and Roopesh Kumar, 41, tried to apply force but were attacked by 10 to 12 miscreants, all suspected smugglers.

The BSF duo, allegedly in an inebriated condition, returned to their camp located nearby and returned to the spot with a few other jawans. By this time people from nearby households, including women, had gathered there.

As the mob turned violent, Sandip and Roopesh opened fire, inflicting bullet wounds on about eight-ten people, but were soon overpowered.

Roopesh managed to escape but Sandip was severely beaten up and shot in the chest. He died on the spot. Ismail, a former panchayat chief of South Ramnagar, was found dead in a well into which he is believed to have jumped after being shot.

Senior police and BSF officials, led by superintendent of police (West) Bijay Nag, rushed to the spot last night to quell the tension. But the residents of South Ramnagar kept Ismail’s body at Fire Brigade, Chowmuhuni, demanding an assurance from the administration that such an incident will never recur.

“We know that Tripura State Rifles is not responsible for this. It is the central paramilitary force that committed the blunder. We are demanding an assurance that such things will never happen again,” said Ismail’s son Kanu Mia, 46.

South Ramnagar, west of Agartala town and bordering Bangladesh, has been a hotbed of smuggling between the two countries despite the setting up of barbed-wire fencing. The entire racket is controlled by Ismail and his two sons, Kanu and Benu.

CPM MLA of Ramnagar, Ratan Das, reached the spot and made arrangements to take the injured to GB Hospital here. Ismail and Sandip were pronounced dead at the hospital.

The state government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.