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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Will Sangrampur be a no man's land?

Arpit Basu & Sukumar Debnath, Hindustan Times  Mograhat, December 16, 2011
First Published: 00:29 IST(16/12/2011) | Last Updated: 00:30 IST(16/12/2011)

The Sangrampur hooch tragedy has left a trail of 'widow villages'. Laskarpara village is one of those where not a single home has been left untouched by the tragedy.

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Altogether, 13 men have died and 22 are fighting for their lives in the hospitals of Kolkata and Diamond Harbour.

"It seems the catastrophe would kill nearly 50% of the people," said Mahajjel Halder, 35, a resident of the village. With only 72 residents, Laskarpara is a small village.

"Since the largest number of illegal stores are near Sangrampur, the locality is the worst affected," said a senior official from the Mograhat police station.

On Thursday afternoon, as the bodies of the 13 deceased reached, silence reigned in the village.

Suddenly it erupted in violence, as a mob began a rampage, setting around 25 illegal hooch dens of the area on fire. A team of women was also noticed among the mob. "These dens are a curse for us," said Sahajana Begum, one of the widows from Panditpara village.

"Altercations were regular at our home because of liquor. And now, it has killed my husband, the only earning member of my 12-member family."

Locals also ransacked the two police outposts in the area, forcing the 13 constables on duty to escape. The violence did not stop there. A group of CPM supporters who tried to hold a rally to condemn the incident were manhandled and driven away.

"When they were in power, these leaders used to promote these illegal activities," said Shakiluddin Ahmed. "Now the Trinamool Congress is following the trend. We won't allow any political leaders to enter our village," he added.

Others, however, demanded the presence of the chief minister. "Mamata Banerjee can visit the spot when 90 people die in a private hospital, but not when more than 120 die in a village. Poor people are always neglected," said Shakina Bibi, another widow.

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