Bengal teenager shot dead for protesting against gambling, extortion

Kolkata: An 18-year-old boy was shot dead in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district early on Saturday, police said. Locals said the victim had protested against gambling and extortion.

The death led to panic and anger in Pujali area, with the opposition accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of having a hand in the incident. The Trinamool, however, rubbished the allegation.

Seikh Masidul was purported to have been fatally shot by some assailants who called him from his residence.

Earlier in the day, Masidul had protested against some people gambling and extorting money at a fair. His famly members alleged that the youth was shot by a Trinamool worker named Akram.

Police did not confirm the reason behind the killing.

"So far we have come to know that Masidul along with some of his friends visited the fair and got into a fight with the organisers. Then Akram, who was with Masidul, shot him," a police officer said.

He did not elaborate further.

Trinmaool district general secretary Gautam Dasgupta said there was no "political colour" in the murder and his party was not at all connected with it.

However, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member and Left Front state secretary Biman Bose said the "rule of law" was virtually absent in Bengal.

"The miscreants are having a field day as they are backed by the administration," he said.

Another CPI-M politburo member Brinda Karat alleged that under the Trinamool, lumpen elements were ruling the roost.

"Anybody criticising the state government or protesting against any anti-social act are becoming targets of attack," she said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state chief Rahul Sinha said his party would seek Governor K.N. Tripathi's intervention in the issue.

"Besides, we will send a report to the union home ministry. The miscreants with the support of the Trinamool are behind this murder," Sinha said, after a visit to Masidul's home at Pujali.

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