Barely 48 hours after Ajoy Bhattacharya killed his three children and wife in Sodepur, before committing suicide, another person, this time in Howrah, killed his wife and only son in cold blood, before hanging himself from the ceiling on Tuesday night.
Raju Parui, 40, a small-time trader residing on the outskirts of Howrah, first poisoned wife Runu, 30, and son Rajesh, 7. Then, he strangled them and hung himself in the same room.
Police say that Parui, a dealer in iron grilles, had incurred a huge debt and was facing financial ruin. Like Bhattacharya, who was also in financial trouble, Parui was running away from money-lenders and other businessmen, who had lent him a substantial amount. “We did not realise that he would take his own life to get away from them,” says a neighbour.
Citing preliminary investigations, Howrah police explained that Parui, who of late had been a bit withdrawn, had planned the tragedy. First, he sent mother Bina and sister Mitali to a relative’s house, claiming that an uncle was ill. After they left, Parui bought a bottle of soft drink. He then mixed an insecticide in two separate glasses and offered his wife and son their “favourite” drink.
When the poison started working, Parui strangled his wife with a towel, after which he throttled his son, who was writhing in agony on the floor. Parui then used a sari as a noose to hang himself. Around 10 pm, Parui’s mother and sister returned to find no one answering the door. “We knocked for a while, but when nothing happened, we informed our neighbours,” said mother Bina.
Some local youths climbed onto the roof of an adjacent building, peeped through the second-floor window of Parui’s house and saw his body dangling. They informed the police, and broke open the door. “We have found deep wounds on both Runu and Rajesh’s throats, indicating strangulation,” said officer in-charge Nirmal Yash of Sankrail police station.
The police also found out that Parui had a strained relationship with his wife. Neighbours claim he was a “pleasant man”, but had taken to drinking and would keep to himself. Police said disputes on parental property could also be a reason. “We were so happy. Why did he have to do it'” Parui’s mother lamented.