| A relative mourns for Tinkari and Maya. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
Singur, Dec. 28: Three murders in a span of 10 days — and for no apparent motive — have left police baffled and groping for clues.
On December 18, 18-year-old Tapasi Malik was strangled and then burnt to death near her home in Singur’s Bajemelia.
Tapasi was an active campaigner for the Trinamul Congress-backed Krishi Jami Bachao Committee, which is opposing the government’s land acquisition for the Tata Motors project. She had gone out in the morning to relieve herself when she was murdered.
Today, the deaths of Tinkari Dey and his wife Maya had Singur gasping in disbelief again.
“None of these is a murder for gain and there is no apparent reason for their killings,” said Arun Gupta, inspector-general of police, western range. “So why are these killings happening in Singur now'”
The police said the Deys’ house is in an isolated part of Gopalnagar (east) and killing them without raising suspicion was a “relatively simple task”. “So if anyone, or a group, is trying to create mischief in Singur, already in the midst of a major controversy, then the Deys were an easy target,” said the officer-in-charge of Singur police station, Priyabrata Bakshi.
The police, however, refrained from naming any group they might be suspecting. “We are keeping a close watch on the activities of several people here,” Bakshi said. “But it is strange that the killings are taking place without any apparent reason.”
A sniffer dog led the police to a country liquor den, 500 metres from the Deys’ house. “Many outsiders visit this place and it could well be that some of them were involved,” Bakshi said.
Tinkari’s mother Asha, who lives in nearby Singherbheri where he used to stay till six years ago, “can’t figure out” why anyone would want to kill her son and daughter-in-law.
“We had willingly handed over land for the Tata project,” the 80-year-old said. “There was no controversy over it and everybody was happy. No one in the area has ever made an issue out of it. So what could be the reason behind the murders'”
Mamata Karak, a neighbour, said she had visited the couple last evening and they seemed cheerful. “After I learnt of the murders, I was wondering whether they were aware that someone might try to harm them. But that did not seem to be the case.”
The day also saw 82 farmers, who say they have not given their consent for land acquisition, being arrested for violating prohibitory orders under Section 144, which is in force in Singur.