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Death after ignominy

Burdwan, June 8: A Burdwan woman was found hanging in her home hours after a kangaroo court allegedly advised her husband to hush up in exchange for money her allegation of sexual harassment against a retired police officer.

The woman’s husband, a Ketugram resident who is a farm labourer, alleged that a Trinamul Congress gram panchayat pradhan and some residents had organised the salishi yesterday morning after he complained to them against the retired sub-inspector.

The 41-year-old woman used to work as a domestic help in the house of the retired officer.

The panchayat pradhan, Nazmul Khuda Munshi, denied the charge against him and said he had told the police to register a case of unnatural death.

The husband of the woman who was found hanging said: “Trinamul leader Nazmul Khuda Munshi called a salishi last morning. Some residents were also present there. Munshi told me not to approach the police but settle the dispute by accepting Rs 1 lakh from the retired sub-inspector. He told me that I need not return the Rs 8.7 lakh I had borrowed from the former policeman last year to build a house.”

“I returned home and told my wife about the proposal. In the evening, she hanged herself from the ceiling. I did not dare to lodge a police complaint,” he said, adding that the former cop had been sexually harassing his wife for the past few months.

He said his wife had told him about the harassment three days ago, following which he and his relatives had beaten up the retired sub-inspector.

The retired policeman could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Panchayat pradhan Munshi said: “Neither the woman’s husband nor the retired police officer belongs to my party. Neither of them is my relative. Why should I intervene in such a controversial issue? But when I came to know about the suicide last evening, I called the local police station and instructed officers to register a case of unnatural death. I also requested them to ensure that the poor family was not harassed,” Munshi said.

Burdwan superintendent of police S.M.H. Meerza said a case of unnatural death had been started. He added that the woman’s husband lodged a complaint of sexual harassment today.