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Row over bird claims one

An argument between two neighbours over the ownership of a pigeon led to the death of one in Howrah on Sunday night.

Navraj Singh, 59, found an injured pigeon and gave it food and shelter but neighbour Nageswar Das demanded that he hand it over to him. When he refused, the neighbour allegedly killed him in a drunken rage.

Singh, an employee of the Howrah Municipal Corporation, found the pigeon on Saturday evening at a park in Howrah’s Sarat Sadan area, where he went with his wife and daughter to take a stroll.

“The pigeon fell from a tree and landed near my father’s feet. He picked it up and gave it food,” recounted Singh’s daughter Lalita Kumari.

Singh brought the pigeon home to Round Tank Road, around 1km from the park, fearing that cats or eagles may kill it. He tied one of the legs of the bird to a chair with a thread.

On Sunday morning, however, the pigeon managed to free itself and hopped over to the room of Das, who immediately staked his claim to the bird.

“My husband requested Das to return the pigeon but he refused. He finally handed over the bird to my husband following persuasion by neighbours,” said Singh’s wife Soro Devi.

“However, Das returned drunk after half an hour and demanded the bird. When my husband refused, Das started punching and kicking him. He fell on the ground and passed out.”

Singh was rushed to Howrah District Hospital and admitted to the male medicine ward. He died late on Sunday.

Neighbours claimed that Das and his wife fled as soon as news of Singh’s death reached the locality.

“We raided several places in search of Nageswar Das but failed to trace him. We hope to arrest him soon,” said Nishat Pervez, the deputy commissioner of police (headquarters), Howrah commissionerate.