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Whiff of foul play in river death
- Relatives point fingers at university hostel

Cooch Behar, April 2: Pallab Kumar Biswas’s family does not believe that his death was accidental.

The first-year BTech (agriculture) student of Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya, 10 km from here, was drowned in the Torsha yesterday afternoon.

Bibhas and Kuheli Biswas, Pallab’s parents, arrived here this morning to claim the body of their only son. The Biswases are residents of Calcutta’s Behala area. Biswas is an assistant sub-inspector with the Behala police station.

“Four days ago, Pallab had called his parents and said he was having problems at the hostel and wanted to return home,” said Prasen Biswas, Pallab’s uncle. He wondered how the 19-year-old youth could drown in the shallow waters of the Torsha. The family left for Calcutta by road with the body this afternoon.

According to police, Pallab and seven others, all students of the same class, had gone to the Madhupurdhan-Hanskhawa area, 8 km from the university campus, to bathe in the Torsha. His friends told the police that Pallab did not know how to swim. They took the help of locals — efforts to trace them today proved futile — to rescue him, but was pronounced dead at Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Hospital.

While the university authorities claimed that Pallab’s death was an accident, the police have registered a case of unnatural death.

Pallab’s parents have not lodged any complaint yet. They, however, met district police superintendent Anil Kumar and other senior officers. They even went to the spot where Pallab drowned.

“Yesterday was my son’s birthday and we still cannot believe that it was his last day,” said Biswas, who broke down at the district hospital morgue.

The police chief said: “We are going to have a full-fledged inquiry to ascertain the cause of death.”

The public relations officer of the university, Tapan Kumar Hat, said he was not aware that if Pallab was having any problems at the hostel. “The incident is very sad and unfortunate,” he said. Students at the university refused to speak to The Telegraph.

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