Krishnagar, Feb. 12: A 14-year-old girl was raped and murdered last night at a village in Nadia district, in a chilling reminder of the Hetal Parekh incident.
The body of Prabhati Roy, a Class IV student at the state-sponsored Goalbari Primary School in Bhatjangla, about 100 km from Calcutta, was fished out of a pond a stone's throw from her house this morning.
A group of children spotted her body and raised an alarm. Within half-an-hour, a large contingent from kotwali police station, led by inspector-in-charge Sunil Guha, arrived at the spot and recovered Prabhati's blood-stained body.
Nadia police superintendent Benoy Chakraborty said the girl had been raped and murdered. 'Our preliminary investigation reveals that the criminal had throttled her after raping her. He also hit her on the skull to make sure she was dead. In the end, she was thrown into the pond,' said Chakraborty.
In 1990, schoolgirl Hetal Parekh had been raped and murdered by a security guard at her apartment, who was hanged to death last year.
An officer of kotwali police station said: 'We don't rule out the possibility of the involvement of more than one person in the killing. Everything should be clear after the post-mortem report. However, from injury marks on the girl's body, there is no room for doubt that she had been raped.'
The district police chief said the finger of suspicion points at 20-year-old Nantu Roy, against whom Prabhati's father Bidhan Roy has lodged a complaint. He is absconding.
'Nantu told us that he was taking Prabhati to a neighbour's house where a Bengali movie, Jabab Chai, and a Hindi film, Officer, were to be shown,' said Bidhan, a brick kiln employee. He was told Prabhati would return late at night, he added.
'So we all went to sleep, keeping the door ajar. We thought Nantu could be trusted because we have known him for a long time. But my daughter didn't return at night'. Nantu has committed such a heinous crime.'
Mallika, Prabhati's aunt, said the girl's seven-year-old brother, Sujon, had gone to the neighbour's house last night to look for her.
'But Sujon said he could not find Prabhati. He called out to her several times, but nobody responded. They were all glued to the screen. Sujon returned alone about an hour later,' she added.
Police said Nantu's wife had given birth to a girl four days ago and has been staying at her parents' place in another village.
'Nantu had been targeting Prabhati for the past few months, but the girl used to love another local boy, Aneshwar Roy, and had even told her father that she wanted to marry him,' said Chakraborty.
D.B. Ghosh, the headmaster of Prabhati's school, said: 'The culture of video shows at night here is playing havoc on children of the village. Even parents don't know when their children get out at night and when they return, and Prabhati became a victim of this culture.'
Niru Thapa, a minor girl who went missing 12 days ago, was today rescued by police from a red-light area in Waria near Durgapur Steel Plant, 220 km from Calcutta. Two women, who had taken the girl to the red-light area, were arrested.