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Tonsured, paraded & found dead
- Torture charges follow deaths

Dec. 26: A 37-year-old woman was found dead in a paddy field yesterday, hours after being tonsured and paraded at Sabujpalli village in Taherpur, Nadia, for allegedly stealing paddy kept near a field belonging to an “influential person”.

The district police were yet to recover from the attack on a Christian congregation in Maliapota when they recovered Lakshmi Sarkar’s bullet-riddled body. The emerging details of the murder sent shock waves across the administration.

The police have arrested two persons, Lakshmi’s husband Montu Sarkar and Robin Majumdar, a villager, for alleged involvement in the “conspiracy”, sources said.

“Her husband had an illicit relationship with a woman in the village for a long time and had frequent quarrels with Lakshmi. He seized the opportunity to murder his wife,” said a senior officer of Ranaghat police station.

Nadia superintendent of police J.P. Singha Roy said he would inquire into the reasons why cases hadn’t been initiated against the “culprits” who tonsured and paraded Lakshmi. “I will take all the necessary action,” he said.

A mob of about 50, led by Nani Burman and wife Monju Burman — the land-owners — barged into the home of the Sarkars and accused Lakshmi of stealing paddy. “You will have to pay a huge price for this,” Burman shouted at her.

At Burman’s orders, villagers pulled Lakshmi out and a barber was asked to shave her head. Later, she was paraded around. After an hour, she was thrown in front of her house and warned of further “action”. “The villagers left the place after that and could not shed light on what happened next,” a senior official said.

In the evening, a villager cycling past a paddy field discovered the body in Mahishdanga.

A bullet was pumped into her temple and she bore strangulation marks.

Phulia panchayat samity chief Mrinal Kanti Ghosh demanded strong action against the residents of Sabujpalli for their “cowardly act”.

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