The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kids in well for flower theft justice

Siliguri, Sept. 21: Three 10-year-old boys were beaten up and dipped into a well with their limbs tied with nylon chords last night, two days after they were accused of stealing flowers by a family in South Bharatpur.

Around a week ago in Bihar, a mob of over 300 people had battered 10 thieves to death in another example of “instant justice”.

Shankar Dey, 45, was arrested from his residence this evening after the boys’ parents filed an FIR with the Siliguri police station. The others members of the Dey family are missing, including Shankar’s brothers Paritosh and Sanjay.

Indra Chakaraborty, the deputy superintendent of police, Siliguri, said three persons were also detained for ransacking the Dey residence.

Suman Saha, Raju Roy and Tapas Chakraborty were rescued by the people of adjacent Sahidnagar Colony, where the boys stay. The fathers of all three boys are daily wage labourers.

Tapas was hospitalised this morning and was later released. Pradip Sarkar, the superintendent of the Siliguri district hospital, said the nature of the wound on his body suggests that Tapas was struck repeatedly with something pointed. The three Dey brothers had allegedly pricked the boys with long needle-like objects before tying them up and lowering them inside a well. “The women helped them. We were also kept hanging inside the well, with our heads pointing downwards. Blood rushed into my head and I was feeling scared,” said a Suman.

This afternoon, a crowd of 200 people gheraoed the Dey residence. The family owns several businesses including a medicine shop and a PCO booth. Ganesh Das, a neighbour of the Deys, said the boys’ wails and a commotion had drawn their attention. “Some people had come from Sahidnagar to inquire about the boys. We soon realised that the three were locked inside the Dey residence.”

Earlier in the day, Shilpi, Shankar’s wife, had denied the allegations. “People are making a mountain out of a molehill. But why this ruckus now' We had come to an understanding with the boys last night,” she said.

Swapan Chakraborty, Tapas’s father, admitted that the boy had stolen the flowers. “But the punishment for that was too harsh.”

The Deys had complained to the parents first about the theft. “We thought they will scold the boys or give them a slap or two and the reprimand would do our boys good. So we let them go with the brothers. But we were wrong,” said Soma Roy, Raju’s mother.

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