| Sumi (centre) at GMCH on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Feb. 25: Police today arrested Khagen Das whose domestic help, 14-year-old Bikram Surin, was lynched in the early hours on Saturday.
Das, a resident of Rukminigaon, was arrested after Bikram’s mother Sumi lodged an FIR at Dispur police station this afternoon, seeking legal action against him.
Sources at Dispur police station said Das has been charged under Section 23 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, for engaging a juvenile as domestic help.
Das was later released on bail. Section 23 of the act may invite punishment, which may lead to imprisonment for six months, or fine, or both.
In her FIR, Sumi charged that Bikram was not allowed to go home since Das brought him to the city on July 30, 2011.
“I repeatedly called up Das’s family to speak to Bikram but could do so only once. He wanted to go back home but they did not allow him and probably that is why he escaped from Das’s house on Thursday. Das did not inform me about Bikram going missing and called me only after his death,” Sumi told this correspondent as she got down from a police vehicle to receive her son’s body at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
Bikram’s father, Paskar Surin, works as a labourer in Kerala while his mother plucks tea in Fatemabad Tea Estate at Borbari in Barpeta district. He has a younger brother who lives with their mother.
Sumi said Das, a shopkeeper, had brought her son with the promise that he would be admitted to a school here. “We are poor people but did not send my son for money. I have admitted my younger son to an English-medium school but agreed to send Bikram to Guwahati as he was not studying seriously at home. But I did not know that Das will not allow him to return home.”
Das’s family, however, denied the charges saying they had informed his mother after Bikram went missing on Thursday after he left for school in Rukminigaon around 8.30am. He was lynched at 1am on Saturday when five men reportedly found him and two other boys trying to break into a paan shop.
Suspecting them to be thieves, the men hit Bikram on the head with a rod while his two friends escaped. Some people nearby called up the police. Bikram was declared dead after he was taken to a hospital. The police later found the eight-year-old boy who was with Bikram. The boy, from Bilasipara in Dhubri district, also works as a domestic help in the same locality.
The police have arrested the five persons on charges of killing Bikram.
The Das family came to know of Bikram’s death when a neighbour alerted them after the news was flashed on television.
A young leader of All Adivasi Students Association from Baksa district, Mansuk Sankharika, accompanied Bikram’s mother today to receive her son’s body.
“Three months ago, Das had brought a 9-year-old girl from the same village in Barpeta with the promise of providing education. But today we rescued her and handed her over to her mother Sukurmoni. The girl was doing all the household work and was never admitted to a school,” Sankharika said.