CRIME WATCH: Assault after rustler slur

CRIME WATCH: Assault after rustler slur – the only time potholes came to the rescue ?!!

One of the two charred vans on the Bhaktinagar police station premises on Monday - rustled animals rescued by a pothole ?!! (Kundan Yolmo)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Aug. 30: Three suspected cattle rustlers were beaten up early this morning by residents of Jaleswari More who also set their vehicles on fire.

“Around three in the morning, some private guards spotted a pick-up van loaded with cattle stuck on a potholed road near Jaleswari More on the outskirts of the town. The guards found a couple of people desperately trying to free its wheels,” said Shikha Chatterjee, the upa-pradhan of Dabgram II panchayat under Rajganj block. “As two guards walked towards the van, they saw another vehicle reach the spot. Two more men joined the ones who were struggling to get the first vehicle out of the pothole.”

When the guards and the local people, who came out from their houses in ones and twos hearing the noise, asked the strangers about their whereabouts and the cattle, they could not give satisfactory replies. “The crowd then started beating the people, suspecting them to be rustlers and torched their vehicles,” she said.

Local people alleged that a racket was active in the locality to lift cattle and to steal gas cylinders from houses. Police did not take any action despite repeated pleas. “This had prompted us to depute night guards,” Supen Roy, a resident said.

Around an hour later, officers from Bhaktinagar police station rescued the three injured men and sent them to the Siliguri District Hospital. A fire engine from Siliguri fire station doused the flames.

The injured were later shifted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. “We are aware of the criminal activities in Jaleswari, Shantinagar and Ashighar areas,” said Achintya Gupta, the circle inspector of Jalpaiguri Sadar. “Once the injured persons recover, we will interrogate them to find out the intentions.”

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