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Girl found dead in pond

The body of a Class X student of an English-medium school in north Calcutta was found floating in a pond near Nagerbazar on Tuesday morning, barely a kilometre from her home.

Sreyoshi Debnath, 15, a student at WWA Cossipore English School, had not returned home from school on Monday. Her body, clad in school uniform and with a school bag on her shoulders, was found floating around 8am on Tuesday.

Police sources said Sreyoshi’s cell phone was in her bag but the SIM card was missing.

Her father Sanjay Debnath, an engineer, was in Bhubaneswar on an official tour. Mother Papiya called Sreyoshi’s friends when her daughter failed to return from school but her queries apparently drew a blank. She lodged a missing diary with Dum Dum police station on Monday night.

The pond where the body was found is on the way from the Debnaths’ housing estate Plaza Tower, off Jessore Road, to Sreyoshi’s school.

A preliminary post-mor-tem suggests the death was caused by drowning, said a police officer. “There are no apparent external injury marks, except a small slash on her right cheek. The preliminary post-mortem, however, is not conclusive.”

From school Sreyoshi would usually take a bus till Nagerbazar, from where she would either board another bus or take an auto on the Nagerbazar-Lake Town route to reach home. “She would be home by 5.30pm everyday”, said an officer.

Statements of some of her friends who last saw her suggest that Sreyoshi had taken an auto from Nagerbazar for home on Monday. Sources familiar with the investigation said at least one witness had told the sleuths about having spotted a girl in school uniform and carrying a school bag near the pond on Monday evening.

“We have started a case of unnatural death. No specific complaint has yet been received,” said Debasis Bej, deputy commissioner, detective department, Barrackpore commissionerate.

The police are trying to find out whether she was under any pressure at home or school.

Sreyoshi’s uncle Subrata Debnath, a retired army officer, said: “This is not the time to point fingers. If need be, we will consider lodging a specific complaint. If anyone is responsible for her death, he or she should be punished.”

“We are shocked at her death. Sreyashi was a good student,” said Jhumur Bajpai, the principal of WWA Cossipore English School.