A 15-year-old tribal boy died under mysterious circumstances from burn injuries suffered at a government-aided private shelter home here on Monday.
The mother of Mahadeb Mahato, 15, has filed a police complaint alleging other inmates poured kerosene on her son and set him on fire.
Sources said Mahadeb had been staying at the boys’ wing of the Nirashray Nari O Sishu Seva Bhawan on the outskirts of Cooch Behar town.
Mahadeb was one of 56 boys — all under 18 — who stay at the shelter home and study in schools in the neighbourhood.
According to Gita Mahato, Mahadeb’s mother, some employees of the home informed her on Monday afternoon that her son had suffered burn injuries and was admitted to the Cooch Behar Government Medical College and Hospital.
Mahadeb succumbed to his injuries on Monday night. “We suspect some other boys poured kerosene and set him on fire. We have come to know he had an altercation with them over some issue. I lost my husband when Mahadeb was a toddler. When he turned seven, I had put him in the home. He was to appear in Madhyamik next year,” Gita said.
Minati Bhowmik, who serves food to the boys, said she was on leave at the time of the incident. “We found Mahadeb with burn injuries. He was rushed to hospital. We can’t say whether he set himself on fire or anybody else is involved,” said Minati.
Prithwish Nandi, the in-charge of the home, could not be contacted.
The district magistrate of Cooch Behar, Kaushik Saha, described the incident as “unfortunate” and said a probe would be conducted.