Hogolberia (Nadia), March 20: Sanath Mandol wanted a son and little Priyanka had to pay with her month-old life for her father’s obsession.
The 22-year-old was arrested today from his Baliakandi residence in the Murutia police station area, about 175 km from Calcutta, after his father-in-law, Sachin Mandol, filed an FIR in Hogolberia police station accusing him of poisoning his one-month-old daughter.
“Mandol told us Sanath was the culprit as he had time and again expressed dissatisfaction at having a daughter. On the basis of the complaint, we arrested Sanath today from his house,” said Nirmal Bhattacharjee, circle inspector, Karimpur police station.
Yesterday, Sanath had come to his father-in-law’s house to visit his wife Sonali, 17, and daughter Priyanka.
“It was a hot day yesterday. Asking Sanath to look after the baby, Sonali went to bathe in a nearby pond.
“Sanath saw his opportunity. He took out a bottle of pesticide from his pocket and poured the contents into the mouth of the little baby while she was asleep,” Bhattacharjee said.
When Sonali returned, she found her baby gasping and vomiting blood. Sanath was nowhere to be seen. Sonali, accompanied by her parents, rushed with her daughter who was having convulsions to the neighbourhood doctor and then to the local hospital.
The hospital was not equipped to treat the baby and the tearful mother had to set off for the district hospital. Priyanka breathed her last on the way around 6 pm.
Later in the evening, Sachin Mandol filed the FIR against his son-in-law.
“When my daughter conceived in May last year, Sanath used to tell her it would be difficult for him to accept a girlchild. He had mentioned the same to me too, saying he could not arrange for the large amount of money required to marry her off when she comes of age.
“But we always brushed aside his remarks as jokes. I had not imagined that he would take such a step. He killed a baby just because it was a girlchild. There is no forgiveness for such a heinous crime,” he said.
Sonali was sent to her father’s house in the final stages of her pregnancy to have her baby there, police sources said.
Sanath, the only child of affluent parents, had told his family his wife would have a boy. Last month, Sonali gave birth to a girl.
When Sanath visited Sonali yesterday, she wanted to return to his house immediately, relatives said.
Sanath was eager to take Sonali home, but without his daughter, the police sources said.
“He had told his family that Sonali had had a miscarriage and she needed to rest and regain her health,” a police officer said.
Sanath and Sonali had got married after a whirlwind romance in January last year, the police sources said.
Though both came from affluent families dependent on agriculture in their respective villages, both had given proper education a miss.
“While Sanath was a school dropout, his wife quit school after reading up to Class VII,” an officer of Hogolberia police station said.