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Man lynched in child rape fury

Central Dooars Tea Estate, Dec. 29: A 23-year-old man was lynched last night in Central Dooars Tea Garden, 47 km from Alipurduar, in the Kalchini police station area.

Ajit Mahali had been accused of raping and murdering a five-year-old girl, who had been missing since Monday.

Sawna Mahali, Ajit's father, said the young man had got what he deserved. 'We had tried to reform him, but failed. We knew he would meet his end in this way. My heart goes out to the girl. I didn't want to receive his body either, but then my neighbours insisted. After all he was my son.'

Last evening, residents of the area had hunted down Ajit ' since the child was last seen with him'to ask him about the girl's whereabouts. Under intense grilling, Ajit broke down and confessed to raping and killing the girl. He said the body was lying in the Hatimara division of the garden. It was found there tied to a tea bush. Almost at once, more than 200 people pounced on Ajit and started beating him up. Ajit died almost instantly.

The police who later arrived at the spot brought both the bodies to Alipurduar hospital for post-mortem.

Bhashkar Mukherjee, the subdivisional police officer of Alipurduar, said his department was not aware that the girl had gone missing. 'Ajit was perhaps a maniac. We will start two separate cases,' he added.

Padam Biswakarma, the victim's father, said: 'It is unfortunate that I lost my daughter, but I am satisfied that the accused has been punished.'

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