The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 17 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dad bares pact for suicide with children

Rishra, March 16: Forsaken by life as well as death, Kaushal Chowdhury today told the tale of how he steeled his four children before poisoning them and how two of his daughters died before his eyes but the other two siblings cheated death for so long that he tried strangling them.

“We six had agreed to consume poison as we only had Rs 800 left. I mixed three tablets of a chemical in soft drinks for my three younger children and gave my eldest daughter Vidya one-and-a-half tablets with water. I had kept aside five more tablets for myself and my wife,” Kaushal told The Telegraph from the lockup in Rishra police station.

Kaushal’s children — Vidya, 20, Prerna, 18, Govinda, 15, and Priya, 11 — died in their Rishra home between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Kaushal, 45, and his wife Preeti, 37, were arrested in Posta on Sunday night.

“Vidya, 20, and Prerna, 18, died around 3am but the other two were alive till 10am. We were not able to consume poison until they were dead.... The sight was killing us but we had no choice. But when Govinda and Priya were alive till 10am, I tried to throttle them. But my wife stopped me. She said it must be God’s will that they should live,” said Kaushal, wiping sweat off his face with his shirt sleeve.

“We left the house, took a train to Bally and called up my brother-in-law, Madanlal Lohia. We asked him to visit our house immediately. I thought my two kids would be saved and went to Dakshineswar to consume poison in a boat and then jump into the river,” Kaushal said. His wife Preeti sat a little away from him in the lockup, her head bowed.

At Dakshineswar, the couple hired a boat for a ride in the Hooghly but as they were about to board, they saw four policemen talking to the boatman. In panic they left the place.

“We should have jumped then only. But it was my wife’s foolish idea to go to Calcutta and board a bus to Digha and end our lives there. We went to Calcutta and met an acquaintance and told him the truth. He betrayed us and handed us over to the police,” Kaushal said. “We want to die. My children kept their word by drinking the poison but we could not keep our promise. My children are waiting in heaven for us. We want to die,” he said, tears rolling down his cheeks.

Kaushal started working in a sari store on Park Street two years ago. But he left the job last year and joined a Burrabazar shop. He lost this job in January. “I tried every way to get a job but failed. The schools struck off the names of three of my children because I could not pay the fees.

“Tomorrow, I will request the judge to give us death. I could not keep the promise made to my children and it is hurting me,” Kaushal said.

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