| Neighbours gather at the Keyatala Lane address. Picture by Amit Datta
A 32-year-old widow was found hanging in the stairwell of a two-storeyed Keyatala Lane house on Wednesday morning. On a cot in a room on the mezzanine floor lay the lifeless body of her 10-year-old daughter, in school uniform.
“Aami daiyee (I am responsible)” was scribbled on a piece of paper found in the room.
Investigations suggest that Archana Aich had first strangled daughter Sumitra with a black sari that she had cut into two with a new blade. She then wrote the note and hanged herself with the other half of the sari.
Archana used to share the room with her daughter Sumitra since her husband Dilip died of cancer four years ago. The house near Gol Park belongs to a relative.
Officers of Lake police station have started a case of suicide, but are awaiting the post-mortem reports to arrive at a conclusion. The bodies of the mother and daughter were taken to SSKM Hospital and then to Kantapukur morgue.
“We have not received any complaint of foul play. It appears that Archana was suffering from depression after undergoing treatment for tuberculosis last year. A few months ago, she wrote to her elder sister in Cooch Behar that she feared for her daughter’s fate if she died,” said an officer of the police station.
House-owner Sambhunath Dutta’s nephew Narayan Dutta discovered the bodies around 6 am. Archana was in a yellow sari. Sumitra, a Class IV student in Lake School for Girls, appeared to have been strangled to death. Narayan alerted Sambhunath’s daughter and her husband, who were visiting.
“Archana was always worrying about Sumitra and her education. When Sambhunath offered to provide them accommodation, she moved in from our house in Sodepur, only for the sake of her daughter’s studies,” stated Shikha Aich, Archana’s sister-in-law.
“Last year, Archana was admitted to NRS Hospital for 10 days and treated for pain in her leg. The pain had started to recur and could have added to her depression,” she added.