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Boy killed in love suspicion

Tamluk, Oct. 25: A Class X student was beaten to death by goons allegedly hired by a neighbour who suspected that he was courting his daughter.

Subhendu Bera, 16, a resident of Chatra village in East Midnapore’s Tamluk, was returning home after taking private tuition around 9pm on Saturday when a group of people beat him up with sticks and rods 100 metres from his home.

“I rushed out of our home, alerted by my brother’s cries for help. The attackers escaped when they saw me. I took Subhendu, who was lying unconscious, to Tamluk district hospital from where he was taken to a private hospital in Alipore in Calcutta,” said Amalendu, Subhendu’s elder brother, a college student.

Subhendu died at the Alipore hospital last night.

Subhendu’s uncle Madhab Bera said the girl’s father, Nakul Singh, a tea stall owner, suspected the boy as he used to regularly pass by his house on his way to tuition classes.

“Subhendu used to sometimes talk to Nakul’s daughter whom he had known for a long time,” Madhab said.

He said Nakul had told him a fortnight back to ask Subhendu, the son of a garment shop owner, not to enter into a relationship with his daughter.

Amalendu said his brother, who was a student of KTPP High School in Kolaghat, used to be busy with studies most of the time. “But Nakul suspected my brother was trying to have an affair with his daughter. My brother had denied the charge but Nakul had threatened him several times,” Amalendu said.

As soon as the news of Subhendu’s death spread, Nakul, 45, fled home with his daughter this morning.

Nakul’s wife Champa denied that her husband was involved in the murder.

“He (Nakul) may have scolded Subhendu but the allegation that he had hired people to murder the boy is not true,” Champa told The Telegraph. A few hours after this correspondent spoke to her over the phone, Champa too fled her home.

Bimal Maity, a close friend of Subhendu, said Nakul suspected that he was trying to play Cupid between Subhendu and the girl.

Bimal, 19, who works at a jewellery shop in Mumbai and had come home to Chatra on a month’s leave before the Puja, said: “A week ago, Nakul slapped me on the road and asked me not to visit his house any more. I have known his daughter since she was a child. He ordered me to tell Subhendu that if he tried to contact his daughter, he would be beaten up.”

A police officer said preliminary investigations had revealed that Nakul’s daughter had been receiving crank calls for the past few days.

“These calls used to come from various phone booths in the locality. This led Nakul to suspect that his daughter was having an affair,” a police officer said.

Around 1,000 villagers surrounded Nakul’s house this evening and hurled stones, breaking windowpanes. The villagers demanded that Nakul be arrested immediately.

A police team that was rushed to the village was gheraoed. “A case has been registered at Alipore police station. We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” said Ashok Biswas, the district superintendent of police.

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