Nearly a kilometre from the Duttapukur market area, where the body of 30-year-old Asadul Islam was found inside a local club, triggering communal clashes on New Year’s Eve in the town, his wife is trying to come to terms with his death.
“We are shattered. He was the only breadearner. I have to take care of my 13-year-old son. Those who killed him must be punished. I appeal to the state government for help. How will we live?” said Roushanara Bibi.
According to police, the club had organised a fair in Duttapukur where Islam had put up a stall. He was allegedly beaten up by members of the club after he had a fight with a woman buyer Tuesday. The woman had alleged that Islam assaulted her.
“For the past two years, he has been setting up stall at the fair… We got a call Tuesday afternoon that some people were beating him up. We rushed to the spot but could not find him at the ground. Later, someone opened the gates of the club and I saw his body, with a rope around his neck,” said Islam’s brother Masud Ahmed, who plies an autorickshaw.
After Islam’s body was found, his relatives reportedly vandalised shops in Hathkhola area and set vehicles on fire. They also blocked roads, alleging that he had been killed by the club members.
Three days later, as Duttapukur limps to normalcy, there is an uneasy calm amid huge deployment of security personnel. Prohibitory orders are in place and Internet services blocked.
“Patrolling is on. Police camps have been set up. Everything is under control. We have initiated a murder case in connection with Islam’s death. We are meeting residents and asking them not to pay heed to rumours,” said Addl SP Biswachand Thakur.
Residents in and around Duttapukur, including Palpara, Chaktaberia crossing, Ramkrishnapalli and Natun Rasta said the situation is tense. “Our family has not slept for three nights. We heard about clashes. Crude bombs were also hurled,” said Joydeb Roy, a resident of Palpara. Roy, who works at a private firm in Sealdah, said he had not gone to office since the clashes erupted. “There have been many rumours. We are living in fear. When we see policemen patrol, we feel safe. I pray everything normalises soon,” said Muhammed Abdullah, a resident of Chaltaberia Uttar.
Police said they have arrested 12 people in connection with the violence.
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