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Family and unborn child slaughtered

Ausgram (Burdwan), Sept. 26: Goswami Khanda village woke up this morning like any other day and lumbered back to the chores. But unlike other days, Uttam Basuri’s grocery shop wasn’t open.

In half-an-hour, curious villagers pushed open the door to Uttam’s house and found him in a pool of blood, his wife Chandana and five-year-old daughter Rupa by his side.

Chandana, 24, was nine months pregnant. The murderers did not even spare her foetus. “After killing my daughter, they chopped it off and threw it away,” said a shocked Dukho Haran Pal, her father.

Police were clueless about the motive behind the gruesome murders, about 215 km from Calcutta. The miscreants did not get away with valuables or household articles. The murder, it seemed, was their only motive. No arrests have been made as yet.

The villagers alleged police inaction. The force was gheraoed when it arrived. Uttam’s angry neighbours lay siege to the bodies for hours and prevented the police from taking them away. Later, they blocked the Ausgram-Ilambazar road for more than five hours.

What angered the villagers more was the fact that Goswami Khanda was only a stone’s throw from the Chhora police outpost. “Were they (the policemen) sleeping when the family was slaughtered'” asked an elderly resident. The villagers, he admitted, did not sniff anything amiss last night.

Deputy superintendent of police, headquarters, Ambika Mukherjee said raids are being conducted in search of the miscreants. “We are still unaware of the motive,” he said, and added: “We are investigating if the murders were a sequel to a property dispute. We are also trying to know more about Chandana, who was carrying for nine months.” Mukherjee refused to clarify whether he was hinting at an extra-marital relation. Two sharp weapons and clothes, which were “possibly used by the killers”, have been recovered from a pond, he said.

District magistrate Subrata Guha had to rush to the spot to make the villagers lift the road block. A promise to round up the murderers within 48 hours finally cleared the road.

Uttam’s was the only grocery store in the village. When residents once again return to their chores, he will be missed.

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