In what could be termed as heinous murders, four men believed to be cattle smugglers were burnt to death in Jalpaiguri district in the wee hours on Sunday. Police suspect business rivalry to be the reason behind the killings.
T wo o f the men were charred to death along with a calf inside a car while two others’ burnt bodies were found within 100 ft.
The incident happened at Balaramjot village under Rajganj block in Jalpaiguri district. The village is near the India-Bangladesh border from where cattle smuggling to Bangladesh is rampant. Every day cattle are smuggled from the village. Bangladesh border is hardly 3 km from the village.
Early on Sunday, villagers noticed a car bur ning and informed the nearby Aambari police outpost.
A large number of policemen from the outpost and Bhaktinagar Police Station reached the spot. They found two men char red to death inside the car along with a calf. On searching, two more bodies were found nearby.
The bodies found inside the car were charred beyond recognition while the two other bodies also had severe injury marks. Police believed that two men were first tied inside the car and then the car was set on fire. Two others who were also inside the car must have managed to flee but the attackers overpowered them and they were attacked till they died, a police of ficer said. The two bodies also had burn injuries.
Jagmohan, the commissioner of Siliguri Police, who visited the spot along with other senior police officers, said prime f acie it seems that incident was the fallout of a rivalry between two factions of cattle smugglers. However, other angles cannot be ruled out.
Aambari villagers who regularly come under attack by cattle smugglers opined that those killed were involved in cattle smuggling to Bangladesh.
The four bodies have been sent for post mortem to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. Police have recovered a driving licence from the spot. A senior police officer said they would soon crack the case.
Though police are primarily focusing on the rivalry between the two factions of cattle smugglers, they are also not ruling out the possibility of attack by villagers.
A police officer posted in the locality said, “The villagers must have caught hold of the cattle smugglers and tied them inside the car along with the calf and set it on fire.” However no arrest was made till the time of filing this report.