| Priyanka and Rizwanur
Calcutta, Sept. 30: Rizwanur Rahman would be much in demand at St Xavier’s College during exams, a classmate recalled.
At a candlelight vigil outside St Xavier’s for the youth, found dead on September 21, classmates remembered the “meticulous and soft-spoken” Roll No. 6 of the BA English Honours batch of 1999.
“He never cut classes, but he always used to sit on the last bench. He took down all class notes and that’s why he was in demand during the exams,” said Natalie Pote.
Meticulous is also how his first employer, Gaurav Kapoor, remembers him.
“He worked 18 months with me. What was remarkable about Rizwanur was that he was very meticulous,” said Kapoor of Studio Design on Central Avenue, where the lower middle-class boy had landed a job in 2000.
It is this quality that would be giving the Lalbazar top brass and his father-in-law Ashok Todi sleepless nights now.
Rizwanur had carefully documented evidence of harassment by the police and his in-laws since his August 18 marriage and handed it to an NGO. That will now be scanned by the CID, which is investigating his death.
After graduating from St Xavier’s, Rizwanur had completed a course in computer graphic designing. It was as a graphic design instructor at Arena Multimedia — his second job — that he met Priyanka Todi in the summer of 2004.
Witty and suave, Rizwanur was popular at the institute.
Priyanka kept a low profile as a student. “She never went beyond exchanging pleasantries. But she was well mannered,” says a faculty member at the Chowringhee institute.
“That they became good friends over a period of time was apparent. But nobody in the institute knew they were going around.... Priyanka would come in different cars every day. Rizwanur used to commute by bus.”
Priyanka’s father Ashok owns the Rs 200-crore-plus Lux Hosiery Industries. Rizwanur was a Tiljala boy who earned around Rs 10,000.
But Rehan Waris, a radio jockey who knew Rizwanur from his days at Studio Design, felt “they always came across as a perfect match”.
A mutual friend, who refused to be identified, agreed: “She was only concerned about Rizwanur and for him she could have done anything.”
Few people knew of their relationship as they were hardly seen together, he said. “They used to keep in touch over the phone.”
Her family did not even know of the marriage until Priyanka moved into the Rahmans’ 7B Tiljala Lane residence on August 31.
“She had visited our place before marriage. Once, she landed up when Rizwanur was ill and could not attend work for a prolonged period. She was introduced as just a friend,” said Akilur Rahman, Rizwanur’s uncle.
Waris remembers his last conversation with the couple. It was over the phone on September 8, the last day Rizwanur and Priyanka were together before she left for her Salt Lake home.
“They were in Lalbazar. It was a hurried conversation, but both sounded determined,” says Waris.
The Todis had been pressuring the couple to separate and had got senior police officials to threaten Rizwanur, a complaint he filed with an NGO said. Priyanka, in a statement to the CID, has corroborated this.
On September 8, she agreed to go home after the couple were summoned to Lalbazar and told Rizwanur could be arrested otherwise. Priyanka’s uncle gave it in writing to Rizwanur that she would return in a week.
Two weeks later, his body was found on the rail tracks near Dum Dum.
“He was very sweet-natured, well spoken and witty. Everyone he met would like him,” says Waris.
He was hardworking, too, trying to work his way up in life. “Rizwanur completed his college education by giving tuition,” says Akilur.
His family remembers how Father Thomas, then principal of St Lawrence School where Rizwanur studied, would come home to hand his report card to his parents — in recognition of his academic proficiency.
“He got direct admission to St Xavier’s after Class X,” a classmate said.