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Widow gets cash for food

Behrampore, Aug. 3: The Murshidabad district administration has asked the local panchayat to aid the woman whose husband was beheaded last month in Lakshmanpur village.

The woman, her infant son and elderly mother went without food for a few days after her brother, a farm labourer, left home in search of their father, who is an accused in the case.

“I visited the woman’s house yesterday and instructed the panchayat pradhan, Najimuddin Sheikh, to provide the family food, clothing and medicines,” said Utpal Bhadra, the sub-divisional officer (sadar), who gave the woman Rs 150 from his own pocket.

A CPM women’s wing team visited the house today and gave her Rs 500.

“SDO sahib came to our house yesterday and gave us Rs 150. The women also gave us Rs 500. With the money we purchased rice and vegetables and had a meal today. This money will see us through in the next few days,” the woman’s mother said.

The woman, who worked as a maid in Mumbai, had come to see her parents with her 10-month-old child and her construction-labourer husband when it was found out that he was from a different community. The couple had hidden the fact from the orthodox village and the woman’s family.

The district administration has assured the woman that if she felt threatened in Lakshmanpur she could move to Behrampore town and arrangements for her stay would be made.

But she said she would not leave Lakshmanpur though she feared a reprisal — 25 villagers have been arrested.

“I will not leave my father’s house as I will have to live here for the rest of my life. My mother is also not willing to leave,” she said.

The police said they would hold on to the body, now kept in the morgue of Behrampore General Hospital, for a few more days. The woman has said she was not in a position to take custody of the body.

“We will try for the last time to locate the man’s family. The woman was unable to give his address. She only knows that he was from Bihar. We got a Mumbai phone number from her. We contacted the person too, but he was unable to give the man’s address,” said Arun Das, inspector-in-charge of Behrampore police station.

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