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Suicide after village verdict

Behrampore, April 7: An 18-year-old girl in Murshidabad who had eloped with a married youth allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling after being told in a kangaroo court last night to accept Rs 10,000 from the man’s family and end the relationship.

The incident in Sagardighi comes days after a young mother, who had alleged a rape attempt, committed suicide by setting herself on fire after being taunted and humiliated in a Malda kangaroo court that had asked the accused to merely “seek forgiveness”.

A senior police officer in Murshidabad said the girl, daughter of a daily labourer, was in a relationship with her married neighbour for the past one year and had eloped with him on Thursday fearing that their families would not accept the affair.

Yesterday morning, villagers who spotted the duo roaming around in Behrampore took them to the local police station. The police detained the two and informed their family members, who came to Behrampore and took them back to their homes.

The girl’s father today alleged that yesterday evening, a kangaroo court was organised in the house of a local affluent farmer and CPM supporter, Nazrul Sheikh.

Local Congress leader and gram panchayat member Humayun Sheikh, former Congress panchayat functionary Miraz Sheikh and a few others were also present at the kangaroo court, he added.

According to the girl’s mother, when her daughter told the court that she wanted to marry the youth despite knowing that he was married, the leaders asked her to take Rs 10,000 from him and end the relationship.

The salishi also asked the girl’s family to give Rs 1,000 for “development” of the village.

“They asked my daughter to end the relationship with the youth after accepting Rs 10,000 from him. My daughter refused to accept the salishi verdict. But Humayun Sheikh forced her to take Rs 10,000 and he left the place. My daughter ran home and hanged herself from the ceiling,” the girl’s father said.

He added he would lodge an FIR against the members of the salishi for abetting the suicide. He said he would also lodge a police complaint against the youth on the charge of raping his daughter “by making false promises”.

Local Congress leader Humayun Sheikh denied he was present at the salishi sabha. “I was going down the road when I stopped there to see what was going on. I did not participate in the sabha.”

Nazrul Sheikh also denied his involvement in the shalishi.

District superintendent of police Humayun Kabir said he had “heard about the incident”.

“I have asked the officer in charge of the local police station to make a thorough inquiry and start a suo-motu case if no FIR is lodged by the family of the girl,” Kabir added.