An altercation between two neighbours over feeding stray dogs led to the death of one in Howrah on Wednesday night.
Baneswar Shaw, 50, an employee of Howrah Jute Mill, was feeding the strays near his house at Howrah’s Baksara around 11pm when neighbour Sambhu Bag protested.
Shaw ignored him and continued to feed the dogs, which allegedly provoked Bag to hit the jute mill worker on the head with a bamboo stick repeatedly.
Bag, 47, a contract labourer who was arrested on Thursday, was allegedly drunk during the brawl.
Family members said Shaw used to feed strays every night after dinner.
“When my husband was feeding the dogs, Bag was sitting in a nearby Hanuman temple. He suddenly started abusing him and asked him to stop feeding the dogs,” said Bina, Shaw’s wife. She said Bag was enraged at being ignored by her husband and rushed towards him with a bamboo stick that was lying nearby and started hitting him on the head. “I tried to stop him but failed. My husband slumped to the ground. He was bleeding from the head, vomiting and writhing in pain. Within a few minutes he passed out,” said Bina.
Neighbours rushed to the spot hearing Bina’s cries and took Shaw to Howrah District Hospital, where he died the next morning.
“Bag is a drunkard. He often gets engaged in drunken brawl with neighbours. So when Bag started abusing my husband, he thought it best to ignore him. But it was beyond my imagination that he could kill my husband without any provocation,” said Bina.
Bag fled the spot and was arrested at his in-laws’ house at Naskarpara in Shibpur on Thursday following a complaint by Shaw’s wife with Botanic Garden police station.
“We have arrested the man and started a murder case,” said Nishat Pervez, deputy commissioner (headquarters), Howrah.
Family members and neighbours said Shaw was a dog lover and every day arranged extra food for feeding the dogs.
“My father was the family’s only bread earner. It was difficult to make both ends meet with his meagre income, yet he used to buy extra rice and dal for the dogs. There was not a single day when he did not feed the dogs. He treated the dogs as part of his family,” said Konkana, Shaw’s daughter.
Last month, an argument between two neighbours over the ownership of a pigeon led to one of them allegedly beating the other to death. The attacker was allegedly drunk.