The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Branded rapist, 15-yr-old kills self

Alipurduar, Nov. 13: Unable to bear the humiliation of being branded a rapist, a 15-year-old who had consumed poison a few days ago died in hospital last evening.

Hatishri Shaibo who, too, had consumed pesticide along with her son Bindu is still in Birpara General Hospital, 66km from here. Unaware of her son’s death, Hatishri said from her bed that the allegation had been levelled at a shalishi organised by the local panchayat member on November 6. “My son is innocent. They were pressuring him to marry a girl who claimed that she had an affair with Bindu. Her father said my son had raped her. They also beat up Bindu.”

According to Hatishri, she had been stopped by some panchayat members from going to the police station on November 7, the day after the shalishi. “They told me that they would see to it that I got justice. I had faith in them and went back home. The next day I came back at noon after selling vegetables and saw my son writhing in pain after consuming poison. The humiliation was too much for him. I too consumed poison and don’t remember anything more.”

K.B. Dorjee, the additional superintendent of police, Alipurduar, said his men were waiting for the post-mortem report. “I have a report of unnatural death from Birpara. After the autopsy, we will speak to the boy’s mother and start a case,” said Dorjee.

The villagers of Madhya Khayerbari, 50km from here, had accused the Class IX student of Rangalibazna School of having a physical relationship with Namshi, his next door neighbour. Namshi had come back to the village a month ago from Mumbai, where she worked as a cook. Her father Bishu Munda then approached Kalyan Shaibo, a CPM member of the RSP-controlled Madarihat gram panchayat for “justice”.

At the shalishi called to “sort out the matter”, panchayat pradhan Dungi Bir Chhetry was present. “I had called the shalishi to sort out the matter. But suddenly we could not control the mob of nearly 100 and suspended the meeting. I had not restricted Hatishri from going to the police station and never imagined the boy would die,” Shaibo said.

Bishu Munda confirmed that he had charged the boy with rape. “Since Bindu refused to marry Namsi, I lodged an FIR the day after the shalishi,” Munda said.

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