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Wife-beater snatches gun, kills homeguard

- Bystander hit by bullet that pierced chest of Calcutta cop trying to stop domestic violence

Calcutta, June 28: A Haridevpur resident pulled the revolver off a homeguard’s holster and shot him dead last night when the policeman tried to stop him assaulting his wife and son, the bullet piercing the young cop’s chest and lodging in a bystander’s jaw.

Raju Goala, the 33-year-old homeguard, died on the way to hospital. Vivek Yadav, 32, the neighbour of assailant Ashok Das who too was hit by the bullet, has been admitted to Chittaranjan National Medical College Hospital.

Ashok, 55, who paints cars at a garage, has also been hospitalised after being beaten up by neighbours.

Officers said Calcutta police homeguards and constables were allowed to carry arms on duty but weapons were not issued to them too often.

“We’ll find out under what circumstances the revolver was issued to the homeguard,” a senior officer at Lalbazar said.

Goala and Mohammed Wahid Alam, a constable attached to the local police station, had gone to Haridevpur’s Kishalay Park around 11pm after receiving calls from Ashok’s neighbours, alleging he was beating his wife and son.

“The policemen spoke to Ashok politely but he started abusing them. The policemen advised him not to resort to domestic violence and he calmed down,” said Dipika Das, a neighbour.

“When the policemen came out of his house, Ashok accompanied them. As they were walking, Ashok, who was to the left of Goala, reached out and grabbed the revolver (Goala was wearing the holster on his right) and shot him in the chest at point-blank range.”

The bullet went through Goala’s chest and hit Vicky. Constable Alam snatched the revolver from Ashok, who was beaten up by neighbours.

Goala, a native of Patna, has left behind his wife Baby, two-year-old daughter Ishika and father Kandru. The family lives in a thatched house near Sarsuna, Behala.

Doctors at Chittaranjan Hospital said the condition of Vicky, a rickshaw-puller, was stable. He will be operated on to remove the bullet. Doctors said Vicky had liquid food.

Ashok’s son, a Cass X student, said his father had beaten up his mother with an iron rod. Neighbours had managed to bring Ashok’s daughter, a Class IX student, out of the house when the quarrel started but could not rescue his wife and son as Ashok had picked up a knife.

The police said Ashok had been arrested. “He has been booked for murder, attempt to murder, assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty and illegal use of arms,” said deputy commissioner (southwest) Rashid Munir Khan. “Calcutta police have offered a job to Goala’s wife,” he added.

Ashok’s neighbours said they had never seen him beat his wife before. “Ten days ago, my father had to be hospitalised after he stopped speaking. Doctors said he was suffering from a neurological problem and it would be cured automatically,” Ashok’s son Raju said.

Goala’s family alleged the police did not tell them about the attack. “His cellphone kept ringing last night. Later, someone picked up the call and said he had met with a minor accident and had been admitted to MR Bangur hospital,” wife Baby said.

Goala’s neighbours learnt about his death when they visited the hospital around 1.30am today.