Krishnagar, Oct. 4: About a thousand angry train passengers, residents and traders chased six dacoits, who fired from revolvers and hurled bombs, till they were trapped in a fishermen's net this morning.
At the end of the scene befitting the climax of a gory pot-boiler, all six were beaten and hacked to death at Payradanga in Nadia's Hanskhali, 90 km from Calcutta.
The chase continued for about 2 km, after which the dacoits dived into a lake.
Police have recovered their mutilated bodies. Three of the dead were identified as Jagabandhu Biswas, Manik Mukhia and Heera Mukhia. The police said Jagabandhu, a resident of Hanskhali, and Manik and Heera from Dhantola had a criminal past.
Nadia superintendent Benoy Chakraborty said people chased the gang with scythes, sticks, rods and whatever they could lay their hands on. 'The dacoits were continuously firing. When they ran out of bullets, they started hurling bombs. By sheer providence, none of those who chased was injured,' Chakraborty said.
According to the police, the dacoits boarded a Sealdah-bound passenger train at Gede around 6 am. When the train left Majdia, they whipped out revolvers and looted about Rs 1.5 lakh from around 30 passengers, among whom were traders heading to various destinations in Nadia and North 24-Parganas.
When the train reached Mayurhat at 6.40, the dacoits leapt out and began running.
The passengers raised an alarm and alerted shopkeepers near the station.
Matiur Rahaman, 27, a trader who was looted, said: 'We shouted at the top of our voices asking commuters, shopkeepers and traders near the station to stop the gang.'
Once the dacoits started firing, the mob turned violent. Its numbers swelled. About 2 km from Mayurhat station, the dacoits plunged into the lake. About 200 villagers followed them, scythes and knives between their teeth.
'The dacoits got trapped in the net and the more they tried to wriggle out, the more they were entangled,' Chakraborty said. The mob chopped their limbs, broke their teeth and gouged out their eyes. By the time the police reached, all six were dead.
The district police chief said: 'The villagers took law into their own hands. We will identify those who led the attack and arrest them.'
The superintendent of rail police in the Sealdah division, Nabarun Bhattacharjee, said 'dacoity in a morning train is alarming' but added that security could be lax because the focus is on night patrol.