Puran Rai, who was arrested for his suspected involvement in the murder of the couple in Kalimpong on Thursday. Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha
Kalimpong, June 19: A 38-year-old man and his wife were hacked to death and their 12-year-old daughter escaped the attack with serious injuries at their home in a Kalimpong village last night.
The residents of Lower Beong were told about the incident by the couple’s eight-year-old daughter, who was spared by the attacker though she was at home.
Dominique Bhutia used to do odd jobs, while his wife Christina, 35, was a homemaker.
Kalimpong police detained a youth from Lower Beong, 30km from here, for his suspected involvement in the murders, though they were yet to find out the motive behind the attack.
“The villagers saw the body of Christina near the door of the house and that of Dominique on the bed. The elder daughter was found in an unconscious state inside the house,” said a teacher at the local Gitdabling High School.
Sources said Christina’s left hand had been severed from above the wrist.
The police said they had picked up Puran Rai, who is in his early 30s, in connection with the murders on the basis of information given by the injured girl.
“Rai was known to the Bhutia family. The injured daughter told the police that a certain Puran mama was the culprit. She also said he had his face covered at the time of the attack. The police are trying to unearth the motive. One theory is that Rai was upset with Dominique over a water tank project being implemented in the village under the rural employment guarantee scheme. We have brought Rai to Kalimpong and are interrogating him,” said a police source.
Rai, the local people said, did not have any steady job and had the reputation of being a bit of a toughie.
Villagers said Dominique used to do odd jobs in Lower Beong and neighbouring villages under Gitdabling gram panchayat and was liked by the local people.
“He used to work as labourer and collect money from subscribers for the local cable television operator as well. He was a very social person and we all liked him. We are still at a loss to understand how someone could kill such a gentle person like Dominique,” said Nigen Lepcha, who said he lived next to the house of the deceased.
Lepcha had accompanied the elder daughter of the Bhutias to the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital. The 12-year-old girl, who is a student of Class V, had received injuries on her head and body. “Her left eye and right hand are severely injured. She has been referred to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri,” said the police source.
Doctors at the NBMCH said the girl’s condition was critical and she was kept under observation. They said because of multiple injuries, there was a lot of bleeding.
The younger daughter of the Bhutias is with their relatives in the village.
Anjali Singh, the additional superintendent of police, Kalimpong, was not willing to reveal much on the detention of Rai.
“We will brief you all as and when we get sufficient information,” she told The Telegraph.