Armed criminals chased a man down a busy street near the Lake Gardens railway station at peak hour on Friday and fired at him from close range. The wounded victim has been admitted to Chittaranjan Hospital, in Park Circus.
Identified as Manu Mandal, 28, the man ran into the crowded railway station and slumped on the platform. Bystanders rushed him to the hospital, where his condition is stated to be critical.
Gangeshwar Prasad Singh, superintendent of railway police (Sealdah), said: “The goons fired at Mandal in front of several commuters but no one stepped forward to protect him. His life was possibly saved because he managed to flee from his assailants.”
The railway police and the Lake police are conducting separate inquiries into Friday morning’s incident.
After preliminary investigation, the police said the incident was a sequel to a rivalry between two groups of anti-socials. “The groups had been waging a bitter turf war for the past year. A few days ago, they had fought a pitched battle, hurling bombs at each other. We even rounded up some of them, but they managed to get bail. Once they are out of custody, they revert to their old ways. Today’s incident is, however, shocking indeed,” said superintendent Singh.
Friday’s incident took place around 11.30 am, while Mandal was having tea at a roadside stall near a local market complex. Three youths, in their late 20s, came to the stall and called out to him. “We saw Mandal talking to the trio. Initially, the group was talking in hushed tones but gradually, they started shouting and soon, an altercation ensued,” said Ratan Patra, a bystander. “Two of the goons caught hold of Mandal, while the third whipped out a revolver. Sensing trouble, Mandal managed to extricate himself from the group’s clutches and started running towards the station. The trio ran after him and fired twice,” Patra added.
Singh said one of the bullets grazed Mandal’s shoulder, while another hit him in the abdomen. Clutching his stomach, Mandal ran towards the station. “We are also questioning the railway staff and the stall-owners, who were witnesses to the incident. We are waiting for information from the Lake police on the goons, who operate mostly in that area. We hope to round up the trio soon,” the superintendent added.