In what appears to be the fallout of a suicide pact by a mother-daughter duo, the body of a 76-year-old woman was found in her second-floor Belgachhia flat late on Monday. Her 45-year-old daughter lay barely breathing in a corner of another room.
Police said Lina Roy and daughter Dolly, a spinster, had confined themselves in the Belgachhia Villa Government Housing Estate flat, without food, a fortnight ago. Lina died of starvation. Dolly is fighting for life at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital.
'Lina, sister-in-law of former CPM legislator Rathin Ray, was mentally challenged. Dolly, who resigned in 2002 as librarian at Calcutta University, was immobile after the left side of her body was paralysed four months ago. Both were suffering from acute depression and had locked themselves in without food. This led to the death of Lina,' said deputy commissioner (eastern suburban division) P.S. Ghosh.
'Lina used to get a pension after the death of her husband, a government employee, in 1996. She and her daughter survived on that. But for the past three months, they did not even open the door to receive the pension money order,' added Ghosh.
Lina had moved into the flat in 1975, with husband Amal and daughter Dolly. About 10 days ago, Dolly had given Rs 10 to Kalpana, a maid who works in the estate, and asked her to fetch them muri (puffed rice) and biscuits. Kalpana complied. That was the last time the two opened the door of their flat, said a police officer.
'For the past few years, the two women never interacted with anyone in the housing estate,' said neighbour B.L. Sen, a former deputy magistrate.
Residents of the building had called Ultadanga police on Monday night after a foul smell started emanating from the flat. The cops broke down the main door to find Lina's body on a bed.
Dolly was writhing in a corner of the adjacent room. She was emaciated and while being taken to hospital, told police: 'Aami ektu bhaat khabo (I want a little rice).'
'I have not seen a relative visit them in the past few years. Dolly used to open the door in the morning to collect the newspaper. But even that had stopped over the past three days,' recounted next-door neighbour Sanchita Ray Pradhan, daughter-in-law of former Forward Bloc MLA Amar Ray Pradhan.
B.L. Sen, executive member of the association, said inquiries into the family's problems had always been stonewalled.