Howrah, Jan 31: The headmaster of a high school in Howrah’s Kulia had presided over a meeting to solve a couple’s marital problems. At the end of the hearing, Pradip Santra had asked the husband to stay away from his wife.
He was murdered in the middle of a teeming market in Shyampur last night.
Mohan Mandal, the husband, could not accept the headmaster’s “verdict”. He hit 50-year-old Santra with a heavy stick on the head and fled.
Onlookers rushed Santra to a hospital in Uluberia, where he succumbed to injuries. Police arrested Mandal early today.
An officer of the Shyampur police station said Santra had headed a salishi sabha (a meeting villagers convene to solve disputes) recently.
“Mandal had a grudge against Santra as the decision went against him,” the officer said.
A grocery shop-owner, Mandal used to beat up wife Sabita regularly, the police said. “Initially, neighbours tried to resolve their problems but the efforts were in vain. Mandal was not ready to pay any heed to their suggestions,” said the officer investigating the case.
Sabita approached the villagers and prayed for justice. They convened the sabha to sort out the problem.
After hearing the statements given by both Mandal and Sabita, the headmaster ordered the couple to live separately for the next few months.
“He directed Mandal to stay away from Sabita and not to misbehave,” said Howrah superintendent of police, Rajesh Kumar.
After Santra gave his verdict, Mandal left the place quietly.
The headmaster was on his way home when Mandal hit him. “As Santra was walking through the crowded Kulia market, Mandal saw him. He rushed out of his shop with the stick,” said the investigating officer.
Mandal hit Santra from behind. As Santra slumped on the street, Mandal fled. “The doctors at the Uluberia hospital tried for more than four hours to save his life but failed. He had suffered internal haemorrhage,” said an official of the Shyampur police station.
A search for Mandal started almost immediately.
“He was on the run and we had to carry out an overnight raid. We tracked him early this morning. He was found from a relative’s house in the area. He has been booked for murder,” said the police superintendent.