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Villagers fight off goons in Malda

Villagers fight off goons in Malda

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: January 23, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Villagers_fight_off_goons_in_Malda/rssarticleshow/4019685.cms

Tension gripped a Ratua village on Thursday morning after locals fought off a gang of 18 criminals all blood brothers who had unleashed a reign of terror in the area.

As bombs and bullets flew at Nimtala village under Kahala gram panchayat, Ramesh Mondal, a fisherman, got shot. He has been admitted to Malda district hospital in a critical condition. Though doctors want him shifted to Kolkata, his family doesn't have the means to take him there.

By the time police reached the area, the criminals had fled. Angry villagers gheraoed Biswajit Ghosh, the officer-in-charge of Ratua police station. Circle inspector Satya Chakraborty rushed to the spot and rescued the police officer.

A police picket has been posted in the area, but no one has been arrested yet.

Sources said the gang of 18 brothers all of them the sons of villager Mahasin Sheikh had become a terror in recent months. Their names have been linked to snatchings, robberies and even murders. A few of them are also in jail.

Trouble broke out recently when the gang, led by Yasin Sheikh, tried to take over a local private madarsa. This would let them control the running of a powerful institution and its funds making them a bigger force in the locality.

Fearing the gang's increasing power, supporters of all parties decided to fight them and throw them out of the madarsa. Leading them were local CPM leader Susanta Singh, Altaj Hossain, Congress' purta karmadhyaksha of Ratua-I panchayat samiti, and Congress panchayat pradhan from Kahala, Tapas Sukul. All of them have said that police did not act against the gang despite repeated reminders.

On Wednesday, some members of the gang teased a local girl, which was the straw for the villagers. On Thursday morning, a group of locals confronted the gang and a fight broke out. The gang was finally forced to flee. All the brothers have gone into hiding.

Sujit Sarkar, the additional SP, said, "The family has a criminal background and the villagers were angry with them."

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