Various parts of South 24-Parganas witnessed sporadic violence on Tuesday following the murder of Maulana Ruhul Kuddus the night before. Unconfirmed reports suggest that more than 500 houses and shops were burnt down and damaged, leaving scores injured.
Kuddus, a resident of Dhoakata in Ghutiari Sharif, and Maulana Abdul Wahab, a resident of Maujpur in Joynagar, were reportedly attacked in Nodakhali late on Monday night while returning from a meet in Jamtala haat in Kultali. While Kuddus was shot at and his throat slit, Wahab received grievous injuries. Police sources said Kuddus was carrying Rs. 11,50,000 on him which the attackers looted.
Early on Tuesday morning, as news of the death spread, irate locals blocked trains at Ghutiari Sharif and indulged in largescale arson. The mob targeted the police when they tried to take away Kuddus’s body. Six policemen were reportedly injured and police jeeps vandalised. Around 300 houses were burnt and 250 houses looted.
Violence was reported from different areas of Canning, Basanti, Kultali and Joynagar. A number of vehicles were also torched and damaged. Section 144 was clamped in the affected areas on Tuesday evening.
“Train services were disrupted in the Sealdah-Canning section. Trains could be run only till Champahati station,” Eastern Railway spokesperson Samir Goswami said.
A huge police force led by district police superintendent Praveen Tripathi rushed to the spot. Reinforcements were called in from Bidhannagar police commissionerate under police commissioner Rajeev Kumar. RAF personnel and water cannons were also deployed.
Magrahat West MLA and minister of state for minority affairs Giasuddin Mollah blamed the opposition CPI(M) and Congress for fanning trouble prior to panchayat polls in the state.
“The chief minister has time and again warned the people of the state against sinister designs by a section of politicians to disrupt public life,” Mollah said.