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Guilty walk free in girl’s suicide

Calcutta, May 26: Paramita Ray of Burdwan town had lots of suitors for a girl of 14. A group of boys was so besotted with her that they demanded she marry their leader.

The boys, all a few years older than her, kept harassing Paramita and she kept rejecting their advances. Finally, she decided it was time to put an end to the harassment.

Paramita answered the group’s insistent demands by hanging herself with a sari from a ceiling fan in her room.

Seventeen years later, 12 of her tormentors have been held responsible for provoking the suicide. All of them have also got interim bail from the court of the third additional sessions judge in Burdwan.

Paramita’s father, a doctor, and mother had gone to the police in December 1986, alleging that 12 boys had turned up at the Ray home — in the absence of the father — and “misbehaved” with “sindoor (vermilion)” in their hands minutes before she killed herself.

Her mother identified three of the boys, Pintu (Pijush) Banerjee, Sheikh Zakir, Gopinath Samanta, and their nine friends, and accused them of killing Paramita. The boys got bail the same year though their trial began at the Burdwan court.

This year, the court sentenced the accused to three years’ rigorous imprisonment but also granted them interim bail.

The 12, however, moved Calcutta High Court, seeking confirmation of the interim bail and challenging the Burdwan court’s order.

The high court granted the bail and admitted their challenge when Justice Pradip Biswas signed the orders on Friday.

The accused’s lawyer, Subroto Mookherjee, today said: “My clients, who have been proved innocent of the maliciously trumped up charge of murder, have lost 17 of the best years of their life. They could not go out of the state because of the continuing legal fracas. They could neither pursue higher studies outside Burdwan nor apply for jobs outside the state.”

The main accused is now an advocate in Calcutta High Court, two others are engaged in business and most of the others are employed.

A senior Judicial Services Association member defended the Burdwan verdict: “The judge there did not have any witness, except the dead girl’s mother, and he had to reach a conclusion based on that.”

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