Traumatised by the brutal rape and murder of the 20-year-old college student on June 7, Barasat locals are demanding that the police keep a strict vigil on fisheries that have become hubs of crime and criminals.
Most fisheries around Barasat are located in Sashan, Kharibari, Kirtipur I and II gram panchayat areas, Kenia Khamarpara and Tehata.
“Most of the fisheries are run in partnership mode. Businessmen from Kolkata run the trade in partnership with locals. There are so many fisheries that have no original proprietors. When the Left was in power, they would decide who would run these fisheries and now it is the Trinamool Congress that decides,” said Sheikh Mirazul, a resident of Kharibari.
Locals complain that in order to run these fisheries, proprietors have to depend on thugs adept in handling firearms. There is no ala (watchtower in a fishery) where firearms are not stocked.
“During the CPI(M)’s tenure, Majid Master would run all these fisheries and now, Trinamool leaders are running them. Thugs who were earlier with the CPI(M) have switched loyalties after the Trinamool came to power. And for running the business, proprietors of these fisheries have to depend on Trinamool henchmen like Ansar Ali, prime accused in the rape and murder of the college student,” said a resident of Kharibari requesting anonymity.
Apart from fisheries, there are numerous brickfields around Barasat. Residents allege proprietors have to make agreements with local hooligans and pay them an annual ‘protection money’.
Combined with it is the booming real estate business in Barasat and neighbouring areas that have attracted crime syndicates in the area. It is alleged despite chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s strong directive to party workers not to form any syndicate, local Trinamool activists have formed many syndicates for supplying building materials and often engage in scuffles among themselves.
Numerous bars that have sprung up in Barasat, Madhyamgram and Rajarhat are also frequented by antisocials and turn out to be meeting places for those indulging in illegal activities, said Barasat locals.