| Raju Prasad’s mother mourns his death. Picture by Amit Datta
Raju Prasad, 26, did not believe in turning a blind eye to wrongdoing. So, when he saw a gang of rowdies drinking on the pavement near his house off Gol Park, late on Wednesday, he ticked them off. Early on Friday, he paid with his life for protesting.
A hawker on Gariahat Road, Raju was badly beaten up by the goons and then, for 36 hours, put under virtual house arrest by his assailants, who threatened the family with dire consequences if a move was made to hospitalise him or approach police.
Early on Friday, when Raju’s condition suddenly deteriorated, his parents and some neighbours rushed him to Calcutta National Medical College, where he died.
“He started sinking, only muttering ‘Ma’... Soon after we reached hospital, he died... I have lost my only son,” mourned Murali Manohar Prasad.
After news reached the locality, near South City College, residents set up a roadblock demanding arrest of those involved in the “murder” of Raju. Later in the afternoon, senior officers from Lake police station came down and registered a case on the basis of his father’s complaint against four youths — all said to be ex-students of the college, who are absconding.
Around 10.45 pm on Wednesday, Raju, who makes a living selling vests at Gariahat, was returning home when he spotted a group of youths standing near a tea-stall and drinking. He stopped, walked up to the youths and told them to stop their regular practice of drinking in the open. The gang brushed him aside and told him to mind his own business. When Raju stood his ground, they attacked him.
“It was late at night and we were waiting for Raju to return when suddenly, a local youth came running to inform us that a gang was beating up my son. I rushed out to find some five-six youths hitting my son on his chest and back and also trying to throttle him,” said mother Sandhya.
When Raju’s family and friends managed to bring him back home, his assailants followed him and warned them to stay silent. The next morning, the youths were back — with Rs 100 to meet Raju’s medical expenses and another round of threats not to hospitalise him or tell police.
“We have started a case under Section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) based on the FIR lodged by the victim’s father and a hunt has been launched against the accused. They appear to be former students of the local college,” said a senior officer of Lake Police station.