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Justice cry in AAU student murder

Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia visits the victim's family on Wednesday. Picture by Kongkon K. Bora

Sivasagar: The dreams of a family have been smashed to smithereens with the murder of Assam Agriculture University (AAU) student Radha Kumari on Tuesday morning.

Radha, a second-year student of the College of Agriculture, AAU, in neighbouring Jorhat district, was found murdered in the Dibrugarh-Rangia Express. She had boarded the train here to visit her uncle at Furkating in Golaghat district, about 153km from here.

Her mother Tara Devi, who lost her husband in 2005 when Radha was still in school and now works in a private school here as a caregiver, had pinned her hopes on her "sincere and academically-inclined" daughter for a better life for the family.

Since her husband's death, Tara Devi has raised her three children single-handedly with the meagre salary she gets from the school. The family hails from Bihar but has been staying here for decades. Tara resides in a rented single room in Sivasagar town in Upper Assam. She also has a younger daughter Priyanka, 19, a third-semester student at KC Das Commerce College in Guwahati, and son Udday Prasad, 13, who studies in the school where she works.

On Tuesday, Tara had accompanied Radha to the railway station to see her daughter off. "I had gone to see her off at the station around 8.30am. When my daughter went inside the coach, I saw it was deserted and had asked her to get into another one. But she did not listen to me. I saw a thin man, aged around 45 years, inside the coach from a distance but could not see his face clearly. I think that man must have killed my daughter," she said.

"I received the news of her death an hour after I came home. I could not believe my eyes when I saw her body. She was thrashed to death. I pray the killer suffers a fate worse than my daughter," Tara said, demanding severe punishment for the killer.

"I have been toiling to give a better life to my children. Radha was a sincere and intelligent girl. We hoped that once she passes out from AAU, she would get a job and help secure her siblings' future. I had told her not to travel alone but she said I was worrying too much," she said.

Police said the body of a semi-clad girl was spotted lying in a pool of blood inside the train toilet at the Simaluguri railway junction, 16km from here, leading to suspicion that she was raped before being murdered.

Students of AAU have written to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal demanding a CBI inquiry.

Additional reporting by Devajit Baruah in Jorhat

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