The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Houses afire over ‘torture death’

Taherpur (Nadia), Aug. 21: A mob set ablaze a house of the in-laws of a 20-year-old woman who had jumped in front of a rushing train on Monday, allegedly unable to bear torture.

Last night’s incident followed a virtual riot between two groups of people in the town, about 70 km from Calcutta.

The mob directed its ire at the family following alleged police harassment of residents since the death. “For no reason, a team led by subdivisional police officer of Ranaghat Arnab Ghosh raided houses of innocent people and took many into custody after the incident. Those actually guilty have been allowed to abscond,” said Bablu Biswas, a local rights activist.

Around 10 last night, relatives and neighbours of Pampa Dutta, the housewife who killed herself, set upon the house of her husband Manotosh. During the attack, only his mother Pingola, 65, was at home.

The police said the mob burnt a scooter, a poultry house and set fire to the furniture. Some of Dutta’ neighbours called the police. A force from a nearby outpost rescued the mother.

Another mob, said to be comprising Dutta’s neighbours, then attacked Pampa’s father Satyanarayan Banik and his house. Flaming torches were hurled at the house and a riot-like situation prevailed. The police arrived with reinforcements and managed to stop the violence. Seven persons, including Satyanarayan and his son Tarak, were arrested.

Additional superintendent of police Pallab Kanti Ghosh said the superintendent of railway police, with whom the case was registered, informed the district police about it yesterday. “We have begun looking for Pampa’s husband, father-in-law and sisters-in-law,” Ghosh said.

Pampa’s aunt Anajana Banik said she was being tortured by in-laws ever since she refused to bring more money as dowry. “She was married just nine months ago and she took with her a hefty sum as dowry. They drove her to death,” she said.

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