An 80-year-old morning walker’s limbs were broken and her head smashed with bricks near her Chinsurah home early on Wednesday.
Bindu Das was found lying dead in a 2ft gap between two buildings in Narkelbagan, around 50km from Calcutta, around 7am. A pair of earrings and four bangles made of gold and brass that Das had been wearing were missing.
Minutes earlier, another morning walker in the neighbourhood, Hemprabha Seal, 75, was attacked and her bangles — one gold and the other bronze — were snatched.
Police suspect that Das was attacked by more than one person. The nature of the assault suggests that the attackers wanted to kill her. “We have started a murder case, but we are probing all possible angles,” said the additional SP of Hooghly, Tathagata Basu.
Das had left home around 5am and when she did not return two hours later, her youngest son Laltu, with whom she lived, became anxious. “I heard that a woman had been found dead. My worst fear was confirmed when I saw the body,” said Laltu, an auto driver and the youngest of six siblings.
“My husband was the first to spot her lying lifeless in a narrow passage that separates our boundary wall from the Durga Mandap premises,” said Madhumita Bhattacharya, whose husband Ananda is a retired engineer. “There had been an attempt to steal our AC a few days ago, so my husband goes to the terrace every morning to check if everything is in place. He spotted the body from the terrace.”
Some neighbours said Das had been disturbed because of family problems. “I met her on the road on Monday. She was saying “monta bhalo nei, barite oshanti”. I did not probe further,” said a neighbour.
The predominantly residential neighbourhood— a mix of standalone houses with a few apartment blocks — has seen a spurt in crime recently, residents said.
“This area used to be so peaceful. But of late, there have been security problems. Snatching, especially from elderly women, has become common, be it in the morning or at night,” said Kalyani Sarkar, who has decided not to step out early in the morning.
An elderly woman was attacked with a sharp weapon and her bag snatched at Antarbagan, adjoining Narkelbagan, on Monday.
In another incident earlier this week, two women, Mita Seal and Shyamali Samanta, were forced to part with their bronze bangles by armed attackers at Narkelbagan.