June 18: The reluctance of their adult children to accept their relationship allegedly drove a middle-aged pair to suicide last night.
Elua Roy, a 50-year-old widower and share-cropper, used to work on the 10 bighas owned by 45-year-old widow Brojobala Roy. Both were found hanging from the same tree this morning in Mainaguri, Jalpaiguri district. Brojobala’s sari had been made into a noose.
The two had met about seven months ago when Brojobala hired Elua to work on the land on which she grew paddy, jute and vegetables. He used to go to the fields at least five days a week to work.
The accounts given by Elua’s son Ajit, who is 25-year-old labourer, and some villagers suggest that the pair had faced opposition from their children and heated words were exchanged when their relationship became common knowledge in the two families. Ajit also claimed he had faced a taunt or two in his village, Dakshin Jharmatialli in Mainaguri. He said the relationship was an “unpleasant experience” for them. Did his father face any ridicule? Ajit said he “did not know of such an incident”.
The pair, police sources said, were suspected to be frustrated as their relationship was not going anywhere. Sukumar Mishra, the inspector in charge of Mainaguri police station, said that after a preliminary investigation, “we have come to know that they were in a relationship”.
He did not rule out suicide but said the post-mortem report would give the full picture. “They used her sari to make the noose,” he said.
One of Elua’s daughters is married and he used to live with son Ajit and younger daughter, also in her twenties. Elua’s wife died a year back. Brojobala’s elder daughter and son are married. Her younger daughter is around 18 years old, said neighbours. Her husband had died four years ago.
Ajit said: “My father, who worked on other people’s land, went to work on Brojobala’s plot. After they got introduced to each other, they developed a relationship. We came to know about it from other villagers who had seen them together.”
The son said Elua had on several occasions stayed at Brojobala’s home. “It was an unpleasant experience for us as people used to talk about him and the widow,” Ajit said. “We had urged him to end the relationship. He was adamant and quarrelled with us. We could never accept it,” Ajit said.
In Brojobala’s family, none of her children wanted to speak about what led to the suspected suicide. Her village, Changmari, is 5km from Elua’s village.
A resident of Changmari said: “Brojobala owned a good deal of land and was self-dependent. She stayed separately in a hutment where Elua would visit often,” the residents said.
Residents of Changmari said Brojobala’s children also tried to convince their mother to end the relationship. Ajit said the children of the pair also discussed the relationship among themselves and told the couple not to meet each other, but “that meeting ended in a quarrel”.
Jump from bridge
A 50-year-old woman tried to commit suicide in Balurghat on Wednesday morning by jumping off a bridge and was rescued by local people bathing in the Atreyee river below.
The woman has been admitted to the district hospital in a critical condition.
The lady was ill and was going to meet a quack in Chakvrigu, near here, with her husband in the morning. Around 11.30am when the couple reached the bridge over the Atreyee, the woman jumped off when her husband was walking ahead of her.
Local youths bathing on the banks of the river, dived in and rescued the woman from drowning.
The couple are from Haripur in Balurghat.
“My wife has been suffering from a stomach-related illness for a long time. We have gone to many doctors but no one has been able to help us. We heard about a quack in Chakvrigu and were going to him today. My wife and I were walking down the bridge. I was walking a little ahead when I heard people shouting that a woman had jumped into the river,” the husband said.