| The petrol pump at Bokmagre. Picture by Saidul Khan |
Tura, Aug. 12: A petrol pump worker was today shot at point blank range by unidentified assailants at Bokmagre, about 7km from here.
The deceased, identified as Bittu Patel, 24, of Samastipur in Bihar, was an employee of Rachael petrol pump. He had been working at the fuel station for five years.
The incident took place around 8.30am this morning. “Gunmen shot at him from point blank range on his chest. We have registered a case based on an FIR. We have obtained the CCTV footage from the fuel station. It shows two bikers, one wearing a helmet. The footage is not clear but we are trying to figure it out,” said Mukesh Singh, superintendent of police, West Garo Hills.
“Two persons were riding on a new Pulsar bike, which had no number plate. Bittu went up to pour the fuel. He was trying to speak to the rider, who wore a full masked helmet, while the one riding pillion shot him. He died on the spot,” said the manager of the fuel station at Tura civil hospital.
Bittu’s death has sparked severe condemnation, with the Petrol Pump Association in Garo hills calling for an immediate shutdown.
The association members met the deputy commissioner of West Garo Hills, Pravin Bakshi, to apprise him about their decision for closure.
They also met superintendent of police Mukesh Singh seeking adequate action to book the culprits.
Bakshi has asked superintendent of police Mukesh Singh to immediately give a report on the incident. “Prima facie it looks like a case of militancy. After receiving the report from the police, I will immediately write to the political and home department for release of interim compensation for the bereaved family.”
Bakshi has requested the petrol pump association not to go ahead with their indefinite strike.
“They will hold a meeting and convey their decision to the district administration. I have asked them to at least open few stations in the town tomorrow,” he added.
He also said all assistance would be provided by the district administration to escort the victim’s body to his native town in Bihar.
At Bongaigaon oil refinery, workers have stopped their supply to the Garo hills in a mark of protest.
Police have launched an intensive operation in the district and is looking for the perpetrators of the crime.
Frisking and checking are on in different parts of Garo hills
The owner of the fuel station, who did not wish to be named, said, “Bittu was engaged recently and his marriage was due after two months. His father, who also lives in Tura, had gone to Bihar to fix the marriage date. It is a sorry state of affairs that this has happened. We will do whatever possible and lend support to his family at this time of grief.”
Police have recovered a 9mm bullet shell from the site. The post mortem was conducted at Tura civil hospital this afternoon.
The closure of petrol stations in Tura has brought the town to a complete standstill. Public transport in Garo hills has almost closed down. Few private vehicles were seen on the streets of Tura during the day.
“I have been waiting at the fuel station for about 40 minutes. They are yet to open. I have to travel back to Rongjeng in East Garo Hills,” said a customer at Hawakhana petrol pump.