Fruit-seller Mohammad Khurshid’s murder in Burrabazar on Thursday evening was the result of an eight-year animosity between two families of a Bihar village over a spurned marriage proposal, investigators said.
Police officers on Friday said Khurshid was shot dead like his father and elder brother allegedly at the behest of three siblings from Begusarai in Bihar, more than 500km from Calcutta.
“Brothers Mohammad Basir Alam, Mohammad Sabbir and Sammi Alam were behind the crime. Their brother Zafar had expressed interest in marrying a girl from their village, Saidpur, in 2006. But her father had refused. The brothers, apparently furious over the refusal, started threatening the girl’s family members and forced them to seek help from neighbours for a solution,” an officer investigating the case said.
The neighbours apparently stood by the girl’s family and asked Zafar and his brothers to “behave”. This did not go down well with the four “unemployed youths”.
“They took up arms and started killing anybody they thought was against them. The girl’s father was the first victim. Khurshid’s family, like other families in the neighbourhood, are bearing the brunt of that rejection,” the officer added.
Zafar died some time later but his brothers continued the quest for “revenge”.
Khurshid’s father Mohammad Arif and brother Sohail have been murdered, apart from other people who were part of the decision against Zafar. The police said at least 10 persons, belonging to different families, have been killed in Bihar, Delhi and Gujarat. They were all from Begusarai.
The modus operandi had always been the same: shoot and scoot.
Two years ago, when Arif was killed at Pageya Patti, a few hundred metres from the spot where his 24-year-old son was killed on Thursday, the assailants had shot him from close range and vanished.
“It is a congested and dark area… the darkness blinds out the surveillance cameras,” said an officer with the homicide department.
Sources said police have not been able to get a clear picture of the murder or the assailants from the CCTV footage of Thursday’s crime.
Two years ago, pursuing leads from Khurshid’s brother Tasabur, a team had gone to Begusarai but drew a blank. The suspects had not gone home since 2006.
“There are several cases of extortion against these men. Zafar is dead but the other three brothers have refused to forget the perceived insult or humiliation,” said an officer.
The wife of a guard died after she fell off the balcony of New Garia Co-operative Housing Complex on Friday afternoon. Police said Kalpana Lama and her husband Bir Bahadur had been staying at an apartment of the complex since the flat owner Sudhir Mukherjee shifted to the US a few years ago.