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Lynched for noise protest on exam eve

The murder came a day after the Supreme Court turned down a Bengal BJP plea to relax a ban on microphones, saying the “exams of children are more important”

By Alamgir Hossain in Khargram and Murshidabad
  • Published 13.02.19, 3:42 AM
  • Updated 13.02.19, 4:38 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Tarun Mal (left) and Rajkumar Mal at Kandi subdivisional hospital on Tuesday. Chayan Majumdar

A Madhyamik examinee’s 66-year-old uncle was beaten to death with rods and wickets when he protested with some neighbours against loud music being played at a Saraswati puja in Murshidabad’s Khargram on Monday night.

Haradhan Mal succumbed to his injuries at the Kandi subdivisional hospital, 22km from Ganful village where the puja was organised by a former army jawan. Doctors said he had suffered serious head injuries and fractured ribs.

Tarun Mal and Rajkumar Mal, two of Haradhan’s neighbours who were also thrashed when they joined him in the protest, are in hospital.

Ranjit Mal, 16, appeared for his Madhyamik, which began on Tuesday, despite the death in the family. His father is a security guard in Calcutta.

The murder came a day after the Supreme Court turned down a Bengal BJP plea to relax a ban on microphones, saying the “exams of children are more important”. It is illegal to use loudspeakers and microphones 72 hours before any board exam.

Four persons have been arrested so far in the Khargram case, including Runa Moulick, the wife of ex-jawan Aditya Moulick who is absconding, police said.

Tarun, a farmer in his thirties, said from his hospital bed that Ranjit and his mother Anita had requested Moulick and his friends on Sunday to reduce the volume of the loudspeakers as the boy was preparing for Madhyamik.

“Our homes are next to the pandal. Ranjit’s family first requested them. They were reluctant but later agreed to stop playing the music. When the music began blaring again from Monday, Haradhan and a few of us went to the pandal. They didn’t listen and an altercation followed,” said Tarun, who lodged an FIR against 10 persons, including Moulick and Runa.

Ranjit’s mother Anita said after the loudspeakers started booming again from Monday afternoon, she along with her relatives and neighbours went to the pandal around 9.30pm.

“Moulick and his associates attacked us with rods and wickets. Most of us fled, but Haradhan and the two neighbours could not. After the beating, Moulick and his friends escaped. The villagers took the injured to hospital. We lost a family member because he was trying to help my son study for exams,” Anita said.

District inspector of schools (secondary) Purabi Dey Biswas stressed the noise ban 72 hours before board exams. “Why were the loudspeakers blaring? A person had to die when he went to protest.”

Murshidabad superintendent of police Mukesh said a murder case had been started and a hunt was on for the other suspects.

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