Mob attack on hooch kingpin house & liquor den
Diamond Harbour, Dec. 16: A 1,000-strong mob vandalised the house of Khonra Badsa in Diamond Harbour last night and demolished a liquor den owned by the hooch kingpin nearby.
The toll from spurious liquor today rose to 166.
The villagers barged into the empty house around 8pm and broke furniture in 10 rooms. They threw almirahs and furniture outside and set ablaze a portion of the one-storey house in Belondapur village. They shouted slogans like "arrest the murderer without delay".
The mob also ransacked an eatery owned by one of Badsa's two sons, Aziz, half a kilometre from the house and near Mograhat railway station.
Police said Badsa, 51, had fled with his wife and sons hours after people started dying from the spurious liquor on Wednesday night. Eyewitnesses said the personnel posted at the Kalikapur police outpost, a stone's throw from Badsa's house, "ran away" last night fearing an attack by the villagers.
The police said Noor Islam alias Badsa got the moniker Khonra (lame) because he had lost his right leg in a bomb duel with rivals in 1992.
"We want to avenge the deaths of so many people. Badsa is a murderer. We want the police to arrest him immediately," said Fatema Bibi, who was part of the mob. She alleged that Badsa had links with the CPM. "We were always suspicious of his activities. He used to return home riding pillion on the bike of one of his aides every evening. We could not say anything because of his links with the CPM," said Fatema, 35, who lives in a house opposite Badsa's.
Farmer Rahim Alam alleged that Badsa had sided with Trinamul after the Assembly elections. "He changed his political allegiance so that he could carry on with his shady business. We want to know why the police are not arresting him. We don't believe that the police are not aware of his whereabouts. They are in cahoots with him," Alam, 35, alleged.
A Trinamul general secretary denied the charge that Badsa had links with his party. "The CPM has launched a false campaign to malign us. We want Badsa to be arrested," he said.
L.N. Meena, the police chief of South 24-Parganas, said 12 people had been arrested so far. "But Badsa is still at large." Meena said the villagers had lodged an FIR against Badsa and five others with Mograhat police station this evening. "This is the first time we have got a specific complaint against Badsa," he added.
The excise department today suspended its officer in charge of Diamond Harbour sub-division, Radheshyam Pande, for "not carrying out regular raids on illicit liquor dens". He was replaced by Abhijit Halder, who was earlier posted in Kakdwip.
The police and excise officials today demolished nearly 80 liquor dens across five blocks in Diamond Harbour.
N.S. Nigam, the district magistrate of South 24-Parganas, said at Writers' Buildings that the viscera reports of the hooch victims had revealed a high level of methyl alcohol, a poisonous substance. "The methyl alcohol content was 60 per cent, far above the limit of 25 per cent," he said.
Post-mortem has been conducted on all 166 bodies, assistant chief medical officer of health Uma Prasanna Ghosal said. He said 76 people were still in hospital.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Mob attack on hooch kingpin house & liquor den - Toll rises to 166, Badsa flees DEBASISH CHATTOPADHYAY