| Police personnel take the body of one of the six victims for post-mortem examination. Picture by Snehamoy Chakraborty |
A middle-aged couple from Patna’s Khemnichak committed suicide at a Tarapith guesthouse in Bengal’s Birbhum district after taking the lives of their four daughters aged between one and 10.
An investigating police officer said the couple, identified as Vijay Mishra (46) and Kalindi (37), had checked in at the Bharat Sevashram Sangha-run guesthouse on December 24, apparently to offer puja at the temple. Their four daughters are, however, yet to be identified.
In the guesthouse register, the couple mentioned hailing from Khemnichak but the two PAN cards recovered from their room showed them as residents of Daksheshvar Nagar, Pandesara, of Surat in Gujarat,” said Koteswar Rao, sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) of Rampurhat.
Rao said the Mishras’ relatives in Bihar were apprised of the deaths.
Sources said Mishras had checked in for three days. “Last night, they brought dinner from outside. They also went to Tarapith temple to offer puja,” a source said.
Police said preliminary investigations revealed that the couple might have laced their food with pesticides and took them together to end their lives. The utensils in which they took dinner were also sent for forensic test.
Dineshananda Swami, the head of the ashram and guesthouse, said: “They entered the room around 10pm. But this morning, we found their bodies lying in the room and summoned the police.”
He said the door of the room was not locked. “One of our employees knocked repeatedly on the door but no one answered. He found the door unlocked and peeped inside. Immediately, he informed us and the police were called in,” he added.
Police recovered a suicide note from the room, which was purportedly written by the couple. “In the suicide note, the couple said they no longer intended to live and had no money or resources,” said a police officer.
“Going through the suicide note purportedly written by the couple, it appears that they committed suicide because of financial problem,” said SDPO Rampurhat Koteswar Rao. An officer of the Margan police station, which covers Khemnichak locality, confirmed that Vijay, with his family, used to live in the locality.
“Vijay used to do odd jobs here and there according to the information with the police here. Some of his jobs included printing press work. In November this year, he left Patna for Hardwar with his family,” said a police officer at Ram Krishna Nagar police station.
According to him, two of Vijay’s brothers — Umashankar Mishra and Krishna Murari Mishra — reside in the Shiv Nagar area of Khemnichak. Also, his brother-in-law, identified as Jharkhandi Upadhaya, lives in the same place.
“We have come to know that Vijay was the fourth among five brothers. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the family was very religious and used to be engaged in worshipping and performing pujas,” the officer said.
Shiv Shankar Mishra, one of Vijay’s nephews, confirmed having received the information about the tragedy.
“He suddenly left Patna in November with his family. He was very secluded from the family always and we don’t know what made him take such a step. It is shocking for the family,” Mishra told The Telegraph.
Tarapith has a temple of Goddess Kali known as Ma Tara and is known to be one among the most important places of worship in Bengal. People from other states also visit the place frequently.