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Man kills daughter’s classmate

- Caste aggravates minor issue in school

A 12-year-old boy was beaten up and strangled in the presence of his family on Thursday night for raising his voice after his classmate’s father bashed him up earlier in school.

The incident took place in Tiwary Matihania village under the jurisdiction of Bhishambharpur police station in Gopalganj district, 200km northwest of Patna. Rakesh Baitha’s family lodged an FIR against four persons, including his classmate’s father, in connection with the incident.

All the accused, including two named persons, are absconding. Bhishambharpur police station house officer (SHO) Ram Ayodhya Paswan said a small argument triggered the whole incident.

“Rakesh and Sumedha (11) are students of Class VI at the Tiwary Matihania Middle School. They live in the same village and their homes are around half-a-kilometre away from each other. On Thursday, the girl was playing with a classmate during recess. They were showing slippers at each other in a playful manner. Rakesh, who was roaming nearby, assumed the girl was pointing the slippers at him and took offence. He confronted Sumedha, who too retorted. Soon both of them entered into an argument after which Sumedha rushed home and complained to her father Pappu Tiwary,” Paswan told The Telegraph.

The officer denied any eve-teasing angle — the children are too young — but said there was definitely a caste angle.

“After the girl complained to her father, Pappu Tiwary, he rushed to the school and caught hold of Rakesh. Before Rakesh could say anything, Pappu began beating him up in front of the other students. But schoolteachers intervened and stopped Pappu. A discussion followed and the matter was sorted out. The school ended around 1pm after which the students left for their respective homes,” the officer said.

A humiliated Rakesh, instead of heading home, first stopped by at Sumedha’s place and asked the girl’s father what was his fault for which he had been beaten up. This angered Pappu but he did not say or do anything, as there were people around.

“It seems Pappu felt insulted that Rakesh, who comes from a lower caste, dared come to his house and question him. That Rakesh had fought with his daughter had equally irked him. But he waited for the right time to get back at Rakesh,” the officer told The Telegraph.

Rakesh’s father Birender Baitha is a washerman by profession and lives in Guwahati. The boy was the second of six brothers and lived with his mother, Kalavanti Devi, his brothers and an aunt.

“According to the FIR lodged by the boy’s mother on Friday, around 10pm on Thursday, Pappu came with three others, one of them identified as Golu Tiwary, to Rakesh’s house. The identity of the other two is not known. They barged into Rakesh’s house and began beating him up in front of his family members.

“The family was having dinner when Pappu and his men arrived. There was no adult male member in the household at that time. The four beat up Rakesh badly and then allegedly strangled him to death.

“Rakesh’s family members tried to stop the men but they too were roughed up. The men later fled,” the SHO told The Telegraph.

The boy’s mother was not in a condition to talk. Ranjan Baitha, a relative of theirs from another village, said the boy’s father had been informed about the tragedy.

“I live in a village around 3km from here. I came to know about the incident on Friday morning and reached the spot. The police had been informed on Thursday night itself and the post-mortem has been done. We want those involved in the incident to be arrested and punished immediately,” Ranjan told The Telegraph. The police said some villagers informed them about the incident around 11pm on Thursday.

“Continuous raids are on in a big way to nab the four people. The statement of the mother has been recorded. The boy died when he was being taken to hospital.

“The police reached the primary health centre of the village and the formalities were completed. Right now the police cannot say anything as we are concentrating on raids to nab those involved in the crime. The police would also visit the school to record the statements of the teachers regarding what had transpired betwen the two sides in school during recess on Thursday,” the SHO said.