A trader died after succumbing to bullet injuries on Friday afternoon in Regent Park off Tollygunge on the southern fringes of Kolkata, the firing allegedly triggered by rivalry between two groups over playing Holi.
Police said the deceased was identified as Dilip Singh, a resident of Regent Park.
Eyewitnesses have told investigators that bike-borne assassins opened fire on Singh, in his 40s, when he was standing at a spot in the Notun Pally area in Regent Park.
The attack was so sudden that even before some of the bystanders could realise what happened, they found Singh — sporting a T-shirt and trousers — slumped in a pool of blood. Bullets had pierced his chest, some of the residents told the cops.
Immediately after the attack, some of the residents took Singh to SSKM Hospital, where he later succumbed to the injuries.
The body has been sent for post-mortem. A preliminary report will reveal the kind of ammunition that was used.
“We have sketchy details about the assassins. Some of our officers are trying to retrieve the registration number of the two wheeler that the assassins rode to reach the spot,” said a police officer of the South suburban division of Kolkata police.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that trouble broke out over a resident of Notun Pally allegedly trying to smear colours on one of his friends’ wife. The friend had protested saying that his wife was apparently allergic to colours but the man had insisted on splashing colours saying it was Holi.
The man immediately went and informed some of his friends about the incident and this triggered a war of words between two groups.
The police are still not sure whether Singh was the one who had forcibly smeared colours.
“After a momentary lull between the groups, most of the residents had returned to their homes. Suddenly there were a few gunshots,” Rajesh Das, a resident reportedly told the police.
“We rushed out and found Singh lying. Blood was oozing out from his body,” he apparently told the cops.
The police have learnt that a sizeable number of the youths who were playing Holi in the area, were in an inebriated state. Some of them had threatened to take revenge after the man complained that his wife was a victim of forcible use of colours.
“It appears that a few of them had arms and ammunition. The retaliation was very fast. The bullets seem to have been fired from a country-made gun,” the police officer said.