Unidentified goons mounted a vicious assault on the nephew of slain Trinamool Congress leader and environment activist Tapan Dutta and left him critically wounded in the Bali police station area of Howrah on late Thursday night.
The assailants reportedly went at Pintu Dhar (24) with a butcher’s knife and left him bleeding profusely from a head wound. He was later rushed to the Howrah district state general hospital and is reportedly fighting for life.
“The attack on Pintu was clearly meant to scare us off our pledge to pursue the ongoing case related to my husband’s death. It’s a warning for us to back off,” Pratima Dutta, widow of the slain campaigner, told HT.
Pintu, a medical representative, had been on way to his maternal uncle’s place late Thursday night, when the gang of assailants confronted him near the Bally level crossing.
“I was on a bike when the attackers confronted me and asked me to slow down. Just as I turned off the engine, they came at me and rained kicks and punches on me before striking my head with a butcher’s knife,” the 24-year-old is quoted as having told the police.
Even as he lay injured, the goons bolted. Some locals later spotted him writhing in pain and moved him to the Howrah district state general hospital.
“We could see this coming. Ever since our case went to trial, we’ve been getting anonymous phone calls, threatening us with dire consequences. Lately while I was out, some people on bicycles confronted me and warned me of serious consequences should I depose as a witness in court. And since Pintu has been with us through this trial, he too has been threatened on several occasions,” the widow told HT.
A Bali local, the Trinamool man had been leading a green campaign against the illegal filling up of water bodies in the Bally and Liluah area. His widow too is a known Trinamool activist and is a local panchayat member.
Dutta had been on his way back from the Bally police station on May 6, 2011, when assailants shot him dead. While the local police instituted a probe into the death, the CID later took charge of the case. The CID booked local Trinamool leader Sashthi Gayen among others in connection with the murder. His widow later moved an appeal with the Calcutta high court, seeking a CBI probe into the case. The hearing on the plea is currently on in court.