The mangled SUV at Nadia police station on Monday. Picture by Pranab Debnath
Dec. 10: Seven of her in-laws died in an accident caused by fog on a highway at dawn today but the blame fell on bride Seema Halder (name changed), who was called “inauspicious”.
The 24-year-old woman was not allowed to enter her husband Piramal Halder’s Mushidabad home today because mother in-law Mallika said she was “apaya (inauspicious)” as Seema had brought tragedy to the family just a day after marriage.
Seema stayed the morning at a neighbour’s house 100m away from Parimal’s home. When Metro spoke to her mother, Anjali, in Nadia late this evening, she confirmed that her daughter had stayed at a neighbour’s house in the morning but all was fine by evening.
Among the dead in the Tata Sumo-truck collision was Seema’s father-in-law Palan Chandra Halder. The SUV, carrying 12 people, was returning to Lalgola in Murshidabad from Nadia’s Bogula, where the wedding happened last night.
A car carrying Parimal and his bride left for Lalgola at dawn today, trailed by other cars. Around 70 guests were returning to Lalgola.
On a heavily foggy NH34, the SUV carrying Palan Chandra and several relatives collided with the truck at Ghateswar, around 15km from Krishnagar. Eight persons died. Four were injured.
When Parimal reached home with his new bride, mother Mallika said: “She is apaya (inauspicious). How is it that my husband and seven others were killed shortly after my son got married to her. We will not allow her to enter our house. Let her go anywhere she likes.”
One of the injured wedding guests, who was admitted to a hospital in Krishnagar, said the fog was to blame for the accident.
“There was dense fog. We could hardly see anything. I think the driver was also tired. I had dozed off and woke up to a deafening sound. Then I blacked out,” Ujjwal Halder said.
Ratan Ghosh, a neighbour, said what Mallika had done was a “superstition”. “This is all superstition. Such things still continue in villages. Tomorrow, Parimal’s relatives and friends will sit and discuss whether to send the bride back to her home. We hope nothing bad happens.”
The reception that was to take place at the Halders’ home today was cancelled.
Anjali said she was “speechless” when she heard about the accident.
“I arranged the wedding after a lot of hardship. My husband died a few years ago. I had to arrange everything.”
Besides Parimal’s father Palan Chandra, the other dead passengers were identified as Himadri Sekhar Das, 34, a constable with Calcutta police; Amit Halder, 30; Paresh Halder, 35; Someshwar Halder, 32; Mrinmoy Mandal, 19; Upen Halder, 31 and Minahaz Sheikh, 28, the driver.
Except for the driver, the seven who died were family members.
Nadia superintendent of police S.R. Mishra said: “We are trying to find out what caused today’s accident. The truck has been seized but its driver escaped. We will locate him.”