|What the law says about silent spectators:`
|If the names figure in an FIR, they can be prosecuted under Sections 120 (b) and 34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). If found guilty by the court, punishments can
vary from three years to
|Section 120 (b) and 34 of the IPC deal with “common
intention and conspiracy”
in incidents of murder
and other crimes
Cooch Behar, Jan. 19: A five-year-old-girl and a crowd watched, as a man hacked to death her father on the outskirts of Dinhata town, 19 km from here, this afternoon.
An assistant sub-inspector of the Dinhata police station, Manibhusan Roy, who was driving back from Cooch Behar, got off his vehicle and arrested the assailant. He then took Samsul Haq, the victim, to the subdivisional hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Among the 50 or so people who had assembled to watch the horror unfold at 2.15 pm were children in school uniform. Thirty-year-old Haq had got off a bus with his daughter Sarina Khatun, when he was accosted by Rafiqul Islam, 28. The incident took place in front of Putimari High School on the main road linking Dinhata to Cooch Behar.
Police said the two men were partners in betel nut business and the murder was most probably a fallout of some disagreement related to the sharing of profits.
Cooch Behar police superintendent Anil Kumar said Islam was being interrogated.
At the hospital, a wailing Sarina said: “We had gone to visit my grandfather in Cooch Behar and had got off at Putimari when Rafiqul uncle approached my father. He first started abusing him. Then he took out a knife and stabbed him. I screamed for help, but no one came forward.”
The area where the incident took place has a number of motor repair shops, a small eatery—Suruchi— and, within hundred metres, the high school. There are also offices of the gram panchayat and the land revenue department.
“One man, however, had come out with an iron rod, but the attacker told him to stay put or he would be stabbed too. At that moment, the police arrived,” said Goutam Mondol, who runs the eatery.
But by then, Haq had been stabbed a number of times, the police said. Many of the “spectators” said “they had not come forward to help as they did not want to get caught in legal complications”.
Sourav Ganguly, an expert in criminal law based in Calcutta, however, said: “The court can questions as to why so many people remained silent spectators while a man single-handedly went on to hack another to death.”