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Hafta victim was target of seniors, local toughs

No one — student, teacher or local resident — had stepped in to protect Arijit Banerjee, third-year microbiology student who died in a south Calcutta nursing home on Wednesday one-and-a-half months after being beaten up for standing up to extortionists in his Bangalore college.

This was clear from preliminary investigations carried out by Lake police station officers on Thursday. “Arijit was targeted by his seniors from the day he joined the institution. Later, some local toughs also started extorting money from him,” said an officer of Lake thana.

A gang led by Kapil, a senior student, and Jadav, who is related to a local politician, beat up Arijit with hockey sticks on the night of August 29 after he refused to pay the hafta. He was admitted to a nursing home, from where he was released 24 hours later without a CT scan. It was only after he came back to Calcutta for the Puja holidays and complained of a headache that a scan was done and the brain haemorrhage detected. But, by then, it was too late to save Arijit.

Arijit’s father Amit told the police how his son had told them before his death that Kapil, Jadav and gang would extort money from him regularly and how they had beaten him brutally when he finally refused. But no complaint has been lodged with Lake police station. “Unless a complaint is lodged, we cannot initiate action against the accused. That is a decision the family will have to take,” said the officer.

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