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3 killed, finger at former farm help

Kalimpong, July 11: A couple and one of their neighbours were hacked to death at a village near Charkhol last night allegedly by a man who used to work as a farm hand for the family.

After the incident, the alleged attacker stayed in the couple’s house with their two minor daughters for over six hours before leaving early this morning.

The accused, Tej Bahadur Rai alias Pandey, who is in his mid 20s, is absconding.

Police said Krishna Bahadur Gurung, 52, his wife Anjana Gurung, 48, their two minor daughters and neighbour Manmaya Gurung, 58, were in the couple’s house at Sunargaon in Charkhol, 30km from here, when Rai allegedly barged in with an axe and started attacking them.

“The man (Krishna) had deep wounds in the stomach and head and his wife was struck on the left side of the head. The other woman (neighbour) had deep wounds in her head,” said a police source.

The suspect spared the two children, one 14 years old and the other eight.

“The girls told us that the man threatened to kill them if they made noise or cried. After killing the three, the man stayed inside the house with the children till early this morning before fleeing,” said Regina Gurung, Anjana’s sister.

Krishna was a farmer and Anjana worked as a temporary teacher at Sankar Day Primary School in Charkhol. Their neighbour Manmaya was a homemaker. Sources said she had gone to Gurung’s house for an evening chat.

Anjali Singh, the additional superintendent of police, Kalimpong, said preliminary investigation suggested that “personal rivalry” was the reason for the murders.

“The matter is being investigated. We have eyewitnesses. The suspect, we are told, used to work for the victims (couple). We are conducting raids to arrest him,” she said.

Last night’s incident took place barely three weeks after a couple was murdered near Gitdabling. On June 18, Dominique Bhutia and his wife Christina were hacked to death at Gitdabling, about 15km from Charkhol.

The couple’s minor daughter was injured in the attack. A father-son duo from the village had been arrested.

R.B. Bhujel, the GTA executive member from Relli-Samthar, under which Sunargaon is, said: “I appeal to the police to arrest the culprit immediately and give exemplary punishment.”

He demanded a police outpost in the remote villages in the area to check the growing incidents of crime.