The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Several hurt in serial dacoity

A gang of armed men burgled about a dozen houses and injured a number of people, including women, in Baruipur’s Harda area, in the southern end of the city, early on Thursday. The injured were admitted to a local hospital and the condition of one was stated to be critical. The dacoits left with cash and jewellery worth more than Rs 1 lakh. No arrests have been made.

Barely 48 hours ago, three young men, suspected to be dacoits, were lynched by a Sonarpur mob. The others fled with the booty after storming a house early on Tuesday. No arrests have been made in that case either.

Prior to that, a dacoit died in a fall from the rooftop of a house in Sonarpur during a burglary attempt. In that case, too, the police have drawn a blank.

Early on Thursday, at about 3 am, 10 armed men raided the house of local businessman Salauddin. The inmates of the house were asleep and the dacoits broke open the front door. Two members of the gang stood guard outside, while the rest stormed in. Awoken by the din, Salauddin and his family tried to prevent the dacoits from emptying out their cupboards, but were beaten up. Even the women were not spared.

Some members of the gang left Salauddin’s house to enter the adjacent house of Monirul. They broke open his front door, too. The sequence was followed in house after house till daybreak. Then, the gang gathered together, burst bombs and fired from country-made revolvers to scare away resistance groups, and fled. Of the injured in hospital, Salauddin’s condition was stated to be critical.

Later, Monirul said the dacoits were between the ages of 22 and 25. They had covered their faces with cloth. “Even then, we recognised some of them and identified them to the police,” he said. The police were called as soon as the dacoits left the village, but they arrived much later, Monirul and his neighbours alleged. They added: “We keep requesting the local police station to step up patrolling in the area, but our requests have always fallen on deaf ears.”

The local police were quick to defend themselves. They claimed they rushed to the spot as soon as they were informed.

Additional superintendent of police (rural) S.S. Panda made light of the incident. It was the result of a family dispute, he said. “People are trying to impute that it had been a sequel dacoity. We are looking for the men involved,” Panda added.

Trinamul Congress leader Samir Chakraborty, who lives in the area, said the police of late had adopted a “very peculiar attitude” and were referring to dacoities as a rift between families. “In Baruipur and its adjacent areas, dacoities have become a common feature but the police have made no arrests,” he added.

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