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Parents bear brunt, police drag feet

Burdwan, Nov. 15: Six months and a few broken bones later, the Burdwan district administration has woken up to the growing number of sons torturing their parents.

In Kalna subdivision, about 170 km from Calcutta, at least three complaints were lodged since April, but no action was taken till the superintendent of police stepped in.

Four months ago, 65-year-old Shibnarayan Khan of Krishnadebpur gave each of his four sons five bighas of land and kept four bighas for himself. His sons promised to look after him. But only Mrityunjoy, the eldest, kept his word, while the others 'Dulal, Rabi and Rajkumar ' are out to extract the remaining land from their father.

The trio recently beat up Shibnarayan and left him with a broken back and a crack in the skull.

In nearby Purbasthali, another 65-year-old, Phanibhusan Debnath, and his wife approached the Lok Adalat in Kalna last month after fleeing from their drug addict son. The grocer is almost broke, having given all his money to son Surajit to buy drugs.

Surajit not only beats up his parents ' he gave his mother a bruise in the eye a few days ago ' he has sold off furniture and utensils as well.

'Sir, please save me and my wife from our son. We fear one day he might kill us,' Phanibhusan had told Lok Adalat judges with folded hands.

Asman Sheikh of Kalinagar, about 160 km from Calcutta, grabbed father Abdul Hamid's ration shop in April. But that was not enough. He now wants three bighas belonging to Abdul.

A plot of land is the bone of contention between Sukumar Shau, 74, and his son in Burdwan town as well.

Superintendent of police Niraj Singh today said he has issued an alert to all police stations in the district.

'We have asked the OCs (officers-in-charge) to treat such cases not only with priority but with sympathy towards the old. We have also asked the OCs to instruct duty officers to write down each and every complaint in detail and take prompt action. We will also seek explanation from the Kalna and Purbasthali police stations why they did not act promptly on the basis of the complaints. If we don't get satisfactory replies, we will take action against the officers responsible,' Singh said.

Kalna subdivisional officer Srikumar Chakraborty was one of the judges in the Lok Adalat where Phanibhusan had gone for help.

Chakraborty said the Purbasthali police were asked to arrest Surajit and get his parents admitted to the government hospital. 'They did not listen to us. We have asked him (Phanibhusan) to submit a detailed complaint to the court. We will take action,' he added.

Referring to Shibnarayan's case, the subdivisional officer said he was surprised how a son could be so cruel. 'I saw his injuries. They are grievous. I have asked the Kalna police to take immediate action.'

Psychiatrists say cruelty towards parents was reported only in Calcutta five to seven years ago, but now the districts are heading the same way. 'It could be due to a lot of exposure, thanks to cable TV, and an aspirational society,' said psychiatrist Prabir Pal.

In a recent case, reported to another psychiatrist, a 15-year-old regularly beat up his parents. The doctor said: 'The boy wanted to exact revenge for the way he was treated as a child. He cannot distinguish disciplining and cruelty.'

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