| The grief-stricken relatives of Shah Roop Sheikh. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, April 9: The mutilated body of a 12-year-old boy missing since last Friday was discovered by police today inside a septic tank in a village, 25 km from here.
Following the discovery, more than a hundred villagers surrounded the police team and protested against its alleged delay in arresting the suspected culprit ' Siddique Sheikh, the maternal uncle of the murdered boy.
Around 10 am today, a large police team led by the inspector-in-charge of Kaliachak police station, Timir Banerjee, arrived at Bibigram and 'rescued' the gheraoed policemen.
Though the police claimed that they are clueless about the motive behind Shah Roop Sheikh's murder, his father Asadullah Sheikh alleged that the boy was killed since he had stumbled upon Siddique and his son Sheikhaul using hooks to steal power from the state electricity board's cables. The electricity was being used to run the pumps that help draw water from the ground for the irrigation of their fields.
'They (Siddique and his son) were the ones who had called the boy out of the house on Friday and since then he had been missing,' Asadullah claimed.
Confirming Siddique's relationship with the murdered boy, one of the investigating policemen said: 'He (Siddique) is Shah Roop's maternal uncle and the body was found in the septic tank in a house belonging to one of Siddique's brothers ' another of the boy's uncles. After the villagers got wind of the murder and suspected that the body had been thrown into the septic tank, the culprits fled the area.'
The boy's father also told the police that Siddique, along with Sheikhaul, had paid him a visit yesterday. He had apparently said Shah Roop had been killed and offered a bigha of land 'as compensation', provided the police were not informed.
The Kaliachak inspector-in-charge said an investigation was on and his men were looking for Shah Roop's killers.
'The veins in his ankles had been slashed and he was possibly given electric shocks, as his body has burn marks as well,' Banerjee said. The body has been sent for post-mortem.
Though a police team visited Bibigram ' the village is inhabited mainly by silkworm farmers who also own agricultural land ' last night, neither the body nor Siddique and his son could be traced.
This morning, the odour of the decomposed body made villagers hunt for it. After they traced the stench to a septic tank, the police were informed.
The villagers are firm in their conviction that the police had bought some time to allow the murderers to escape.
'We demand an inquiry into the role of the police for even when the boy's father related to them last night's incident ' about Siddique Sheikh's visit ' they did not take any action and allowed the culprits to escape,' one of the villagers claimed.