The state government’s projection of Sunderbans as one of the major tourist destinations in Bengal received a jolt on Sunday when a gang attacked a private resort with intention to rob it and left a person injured with bullet wounds. The police have arrested seven persons whom they are questioning to ascertain if more persons were involved.
The incident took place at Piyali Island Tourist lodge around 1.45 am when the gang scaled the boundary wall to enter the resort compound. At the time, four families, all from Kolkata, were staying at the resort.
According to the police, the robbers, who may have come through the riverway which is not protected by a boundary, attacked two of the familes in their sleep.
The ordeal lasted nearly an hour with the familes alleging that no one from the resort authorities were around or came for help.
Tanusree Mukherjee, who was there with her husband and daughter — one of two families that the robbers attacked — said, “They pushed me and forced themselves inside the room. Their faces were covered with towels and they were speaking in Hindi. One of them pointed a gun on my husband’s forehead while the other held a knife at my throat. I told them to take whatever they wanted and not to harm us. They took the mobile phones, Tablet, watches, camera, debit and credit cards, cash and some gold ornaments. While leaving they hit my husband on the head with the pistol butt, leaving him unconscious.”
Staying close by were the Basu’s who heard the commotion next door and switched off the lights anticipating trouble. Sanghamitra locked her 12-year-old daughter in the toilet when the gang forced even as the gang was attempting to break into the room.
“While my husband got hold of one of them, the other one kept on hitting him with an iron rod but unable to free the first one, he fired two shots. It was dark and I could only hear my husband’s shout and them heard him fall on the bed. After the gang jumped from the verandah to the ground floor, I switched on the light and saw my husband lying in a pool of blood. I shouted for help but no one came,” she said.
Sanghamitra added that there was no security guard outside the lodge after 11 pm.
State Tourism Minister Bratya Basu said the resort had been given on lease to a private firm. “It is an unfortunate incident. The lodge authorities should have taken care of the security system but I don’t think it (the incident) will affect the tourism sector,” the minister said.
State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim blamed “Bangladeshi criminals” and the central government.
“Criminals from the neighbouring country are entering India due to inadequate vigilance on the borders,” Hakim said, and added, “We have told the SP to arrest the culprits immediately. We’ will help the victim.”
After conducting a search, the police arrested four persons — Mutalib Mollah, Saukat Mollah, Hakim Lashkar and Subal Sardar. “We have recovered some of the robbed items such as the ATM cards, wrist watches and mobile phones. We will produce them before the court tomorrow and take them in remand to further interrogate on who else had been in the gang,” said Praveen Tripathi, Superintendent of Police, South 24 Parganas.