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Water torture on child

Durgapur, Jan. 10: An 11-year-old boy in Burdwan was allegedly beaten up, burnt with cigarettes and made to stand in the cold, waist-deep water of a pond for two hours on the charge of stealing a cellphone yesterday.

The cellphone was not found on the boy, a Class V student who lives in a Panagarh village where the temperature had dipped to six degrees Celsius yesterday. Police rescued the boy around 8.30 last night.

The boy’s father, a mason, said he did not lodge a police complaint because the youths who allegedly tortured the child had threatened him with dire consequences.

The 40-year-old said: “Yesterday afternoon, the youths came to our home and accused my son of stealing the mobile phone of the wife of one of them. They dragged him out and beat him up.

“They tied up my son with a rope and made him stand in waist-deep water in a pond for two hours. They also burnt him with cigarettes.”

The father denied the allegation that the boy had stolen the cellphone.

The boy, who has fever and body ache since the alleged torture, said: “I never stole any phone. I told the youths but they kept beating me,” he said.

Villagers informed the police. A team from Kanksa police station rescued the boy.

Kartik Singh, who accused the boy of stealing his wife’s phone, denied the allegation of torture. “We only slapped him once or twice. A month ago, the boy had stolen the cellphone of another resident. So we suspected that this time too, he had stolen the phone,” Singh said.

The boy’s father alleged that the youths had warned him twice against lodging an FIR.

“Those who assaulted my son came to my home last night and threatened me not to lodge a police complaint. They again came this morning and warned me against reporting the incident,” he said.

Asked why the police had not started a suo motu case, the officer in charge of Kanksa police station, Biswajit Mukherjee, said: “We cannot take any action unless we get a complaint.”