Midnapore, April 12: Two women and a child of a family were killed when a relative attacked them over a claim on branches cut off a tree in West Midnapore.
Mongli Soren, 30, her one-and-half-year-old son Surya and her sister-in-law Chintamoni, 40, were hacked to death at their Binpur home, about 190 km from Calcutta, police said.
Chintamoni’s husband Sanatan and her sister-in-law Kuntimoni are in hospital.
The assailant, Tranksar Soren, who lived alone in a house across the road, is absconding.
A police officer investigating the case said several trees were felled and branches of others cut in the tribal-dominated Ranarani village to make way for electricity poles.
One of the trees trimmed stood within the boundary of the house of Sanatan, a daily-wage labourer.
His distant relative Tranksar, also a labourer, laid claim to the branches stacked in front of Sanatan’s house on the ground that their forefathers had lived as a joint family. He wanted the branches to use them as firewood. But Sanatan refused to part with them.
“Around 9.30 am, when Tranksar began carrying the branches home, Sanatan protested and stopped him,” said additional superintendent of police Varat Lal Meena.
Tranksar went back to his house and returned with a sword. He attacked Sanatan, injuring him grievously.
When Sanatan’s sister Kuntimoni rushed to her brother’s rescue, Tranksar attacked her, too.
Both Sanatan and Kuntimoni slumped to the ground, bleeding profusely.
When Mongli, the wife of Sanatan’s younger brother Babulal, who had been watching with her child Surya in her arms, started shouting for help, an enraged Tranksar pounced on them.
He then turned to Sanatan’s wife, Chintamoni, hacking her several times. Mongli, Chintamoni and Surya died on the spot.
Tranksar fled to the jungles of Lalgarh carrying the sword. “We have alerted all police outposts in the vicinity.”, ASP Meena said.
Neighbours took Sanatan and Kuntimoni to the Jhargram sub-divisional hospital.
“We were taken aback by the sudden turn of events. Most of the men were away on work but we managed to inform Babulal, who was sitting at a tea stall near his house. We were scared to confront Tranksar, who was mad with rage,” said Parbati Soren, a villager.