The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Class VII boy kills himself for Rs 5
- Grandmother holds herself guilty

Krishnagar, Oct. 14: A 13-year-old boy wanted Rs 5 from his grandmother to go to see the immersion of Durga idols last evening. She refused. He drank pesticide in protest.

Babu Malakar was found dead this morning in his house at Kuchiadanga village in Nadia's Hogolberia, about 180 km from Calcutta.

Babu's father had died four years ago and his maternal grandmother, who stayed with his mother, had been the sole bread earner since. 'She sold grocery items to shopkeepers and earned about Rs 1,000 a month,' an officer of the local police station said.

Ashoke Malakar was run over by a motorcycle. Susmita Ghosh, 55, had to work very hard to keep her son-in-law's business afloat.

'When Babu asked for the money, she thought it was a waste,' said the officer.

When Susmita refused to part with Rs 5, her grandson goaded her and then pushed her around. 'You run the family and you can't give me Rs 5 so that I can go out with friends' he asked.

The grandmother, angered by the Class VII student's insolence, complained to his mother Sujata, who beat him.

The student of Jamsherpur High School became quiet after that. He did not go out with his friends. He had dinner without uttering a word before going to bed, which he shared with his elder sister Bulu.

Last month, Sania Khatun, a Class V student, hanged herself at Paraspur village in Jalangi, Murshidabad, after her mother failed to provide her a rupee to buy tiffin. A domestic help, she did not even have a rupee at home.

Sania never took tiffin to school, but had felt tempted by the sight of her friends having muri-telebhaja the day before.

The police officer at Hogolberia said: 'Babu must have woken up very early in the morning and consumed a bottle of the pesticide.'

His family members were woken up by loud groans. They noticed Babu writhing in pain near a bush in the courtyard of their house. 'He was crying for help,' said a neighbour.

His mother and grand- mother raised an alarm and the neighbours rushed in. The gasping boy was taken to a Karimpur hospital where he died around 10 am.

Babu's grandmother blamed herself for the death. 'What have I done' I have lost my only grandson forever... for just Rs 5,' she wailed.

'When my son-in-law was killed in the mishap, I decided not to allow my daughter to go out to earn and shouldered the responsibility. I could not even get new clothes for Babu and Bulu this Puja as there were debts to repay. I thought it was education that was most important and sent them to school,' said Susmita.

Babu's mother was not in a position to talk as she frequently lost consciousness.

District superintendent of police R. Rajsekharan said though it was apparent that Babu's was a case of suicide, an unnatural death case has been started. 'The boy killed himself for not being given the money.'

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