Midnapore, Sept. 23: A man hacked his wife to death today in a forest near his village when he learnt that his teenaged daughter had committed suicide after being scolded and denied food by her mother because she refused to collect firewood.
Deputy superintendent of police (Nayagram and Gopiballavpur) Kartik Mondal said they were looking for Rabi Bera, 40, who fled the village after killing his wife Kamini, 33.
Mondal said a murder case has been started against Rabi and the bodies of the 13-year-old girl and her mother have been sent to the district hospital.
Villagers at Nimainagar in the Nayagram area of West Midnapore said the Beras eked out their living by collecting firewood from a forest close to the village.
Nitai Bera, a neighbour of Rabi and a small farmer, alleged that Kamini was “lazy by nature” and always wanted the eldest of their three children, Bhabani, 13, to accompany her father to collect firewood.
Bhabani has two other younger brothers.
“This morning, too, Kamini insisted on her daughter accompanying her father to the forest. But Bhabani refused to go to the forest saying she was not too well. So Kamini had to go to the forest ,” said Nitai.
When Kamini left home with her husband for work, she not only refused to offer food to Bhabani, she also scolded Bhabani. The 13-year-old hanged herself when the parents left, the villager said.
As the news of the suicide reached the couple, an enraged Rabi chased his wife with an axe in his hand.
When Kamini reached the pucca road of the village, Rabi caught hold of her and struck her with the axe repeatedly.
“The attack was so severe that the woman’s intestines burst out. She died on the spot,” an investigating officer said. “Her head was hanging from her shoulder,” he said.
Ashok Panda, another neighbour, alleged that Kamini was “ill-tempered and used to pick up a quarrel with her husband and children often.”
“We have learnt that when Bhabani refused to go out to collect firewood this morning and Kamini had to accompany her husband, she denied her rice and scolded her. The girl hanged herself from the ceiling,” said Ashok.
According to him, when they heard the cries of two of Rabi’s children — one eight-year old and the other four-year-old — and went to their house they found Bhabani hanging from the ceiling. “We went to a quack who pronounced her dead. Some villagers went to the nearby forest to look for Rabi and Kamini. Rabi was so angry after hearing his daughter’s death that he tried to hit Kamini with an axe. Kamini ran for her life but he struck her with the axe,” Ashok said.