At least eight people were killed in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal after clashes between local gangs fighting for control over sandpits, Sputnik reported citing local media.
According to the Hindustan Times newspaper, two rival groups clashed over control of dry river beds that are part of the illegal sand-mining industry in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. The death toll likely to rise as more bodies were seen lying in the surrounding area.
Following the incident, two of the main local parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress, accused each other of not being able to tackle criminal groups in the region.
Illegal sand-mining is one of the most thriving forms of criminal activities in the region, with at least 80 sandpits operating in the Birbhum district alone. The local authorities estimate the annual turnover of the industry at $10 million.