A young man allegedly arrived at a crowded wholesale fish market in Sonarpur on Thursday evening in a car with a “Police” sticker on it, threatened some traders for not paying him and fired in the open before leaving, traders and police said.
Panic-stricken shopkeepers downed their shutters and customers ran away from the market, located in a congested area in Sonarpur, on the southern outskirts of Kolkata.
A team of officers from Sonarpur police station — a stone’s throw from the market — reached the spot around 10 minutes later and spoke to some of the eyewitnesses.
Initially, residents said, the police refused to believe that a bullet was fired. But purported CCTV footage that emerged showed a youth in a T-shirt and jeans walking down the market holding a gun in his bangled right hand.
Gopal Halder, who allegedly fired, was arrested on Friday along with four others. “The firearm has been seized,” said an officer of Sonarpur police station.
“It was evening and the market was full of customers. Some of them were having tea at my stall. He came in a car that had a ‘Police’ sticker on it, moved it back and forth a few times and started abusing and threatening some of the traders,” said the owner of the tea stall.
“We turned our faces away and tried to remain busy with our work. Suddenly he fired in the air.”
A few other traders said they knew the youth by face. He would often visit the market and at times demand money from some big shopkeepers, they alleged.
On Thursday evening, too, he demanded money from some of the shopkeepers.
The police said they had drawn up a case under the arms act against the five accused.
“We are trying to find out how Gopal got the country-made gun,” said the officer of Sonarpur police station.