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Child waits for dad to feed him

Asansol, Aug. 3: Arkapriya Mukherjee, three-and-a-half, has not eaten anything since last night and is frequently asking when his father will return home.

Arkapriya does not know that his father, an Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) contractor, died yesterday after being beaten up allegedly by a Trinamul trade union leader.

“We are yet to tell him that his father is no more. We did not show him the body, fearing he might not be able to bear the shock. He is repeatedly asking for his father and we have no answer. We have not been able to feed him since last night. His father used to feed him every evening after returning from work,” said Minati Mukherjee, contractor Ashim Mukherjee’s mother.

Minati appealed to the state government for help so that her daughter-in-law can sustain herself and bring up Arkapriya. “Who will look after my grandson and daughter-in-law now? He was not a government employee. Nonetheless, I urge the government to take care of his wife and son,” she said.

Labour minister and Asansol leader Malay Ghatak visited the Mukherjee home this evening and promised to convey Minati’s demand to the chief minister.

Ashim, 36, a private contractor who used to supply electrical goods and carry out maintenance work, died yesterday after being severely beaten up allegedly by INTTUC leader Kedar Pal at ECL’s Jambad opencast mine. Pal allegedly banged Ashim’s head repeatedly against a wall.

Ashim is survived by his wife Chinmoyee, 27, son Arkapriya, elderly parents and two brothers with whom he used to live in a two-storey house in Asansol town.

Ashim’s father Deepak, 70, a cardiac patient, has been frequently vomiting and could not sleep last night.

“My son was innocent. He never had any enmity with anybody. He had to pay with his life as he refused to accept the extortion demands of INTTUC leaders. How will I tell my little grandson that his father is no more?” said Deepak, a retired Asansol Municipal Corporation employee, breaking down in tears.

Neighbours and relatives have been coming to Ashim’s house since last night and trying to console Chinmoyee.

“She was inconsolable yesterday. Today, she did not cry so much. But she is not speaking to anyone. We cooked food for her and requested her to eat but she refused. They had planned a family tour during Puja this year,” said Santana Nandi, a neighbour.

People in the neighbourhood said Ashim was popular because of his politeness.

Ashim’s school friend Somnath Roy, who lives in the locality, said Ashim never quarrelled with anyone. “He never quarrelled with anybody. We used to chat on Sunday evenings. It is difficult to accept that he has left us,” Roy said.