In a shocking incident, members of a club in Howrah in West Bengal set afire a B.Ed college and its women hostel on Wednesday morning, The Times of India reported. The attackers even allegedly laughed at the women as they screamed in fear.
According to the report, the 40 girls escaped alive only because the firemen arrived at the spot on time. However, the police only responded to the situation two hours later. They had a difficult time controlling the mob and even to resort to using their sidearms to disperse the crowd.
The incident took place at the Surendralal Das Teachers' Training College, and hostel, parts of which were badly damaged following the fire.
The TOI report further states, "Members of the club, Yuvak Sangha of Nischinda, are locked in a dispute with the owner of the college, CPM heavyweight Bishnupada Das, over a plot within the campus. Das says it belongs to a relative. The club doesn't dispute this but insists on being given access to it."
"Club members Sanjay Barui and Partha Banik demanded Rs 1 lakh from me before Durga Puja last year.When I refused to pay , they threatened to rape the women inmates of the hostel and burn them alive. On Monday, my vehicle was attacked. When they came to know that I had lodged a police complaint, they carried out the attack," Das told TOI as he alleged that the mob also manhandled the women.
Barui however said that it was a "spontaneous reaction" by locals after Das "incited members of two other clubs to attack Yuvak Sangha members", adds the report.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called for tough action again the culprits "irrespective of political affiliation".