One hand gone, the other still on, but minus four fingers. Kalicharan Mandal is now painfully aware of what eyeing — and pawing — his brother’s sister-in-law can bring, or take away.
Kalicharan’s elder brother, Gautam, married a neighbour’s daughter a year ago at Jinjira Bazaar, in Mahestala, on the southern fringes of the city. Neither brother has a regular income and there are allegations of both being involved in “shady activities”, but Gautam’s persistence led to his marriage to Jaba, police said.
Soon after the marriage, Kalicharan began to show an interest in Jaba’s sister. His advances, however, were rejected, police said. Kalicharan was wholly dependent on his father’s income and he, too, like his brother, was “notorious in the neighbourhood”, cops on the case added.
When Kalicharan persisted in his pursuit of his brother’s sister-in-law, she complained to Jaba. “Please do something... Kalicharan is crossing all limits of decency,” the police quoted the girl as telling sister Jaba.
After urging her sister to be patient — the problem would pass, Jaba comforted her — she alerted her husband about Kalicharan’s misdemeanours. An enraged Gautam warned his brother to steer clear.
That was a few months ago. The warning did nothing to rein Kalicharan in. Gautam continued to tell his brother not to harass his sister-in-law because it was causing a strain in his own marriage, but to no avail.
Early on Thursday, Gautam, after yet another tiff with Jaba over Kalicharan’s actions, decided to “resolve matters once and for all”. Storming into Kalicharan’s room, he pounced on him and started beating him up. Kalicharan fought back, even picking up a hockey stick to thrash Gautam.
The elder brother beat a retreat, only to return a few seconds later, this time armed with a sword. “Je haath diye or apaman korechhis, shei haath ami kete debo (I shall cut off the hands with which you’ve touched my sister-in-law),” he shouted, striking his brother with the sword. The first strike sliced the younger brother’s left arm into two. Kalicharan managed to evade the second blow partly, but in fending off the swing of the sword, he lost four fingers of his right hand.
The Mandals’ neighbours, alerted by the commotion, arrived moments after the bloody battle of the brothers. Mahestala circle inspector Chandrakanta Dasmahapatra said Gautam tried to flee but was caught by his neighbours and handed over to the police. Kalicharan was taken to a nursing home, where he is fighting for his life.
Both brothers will be interrogated for a clearer picture of what had triggered Thursday’s showdown, Dasmahapatra said.