A second-year ITI student died early Tuesday after he was allegedly beaten by a mob, who suspected him to be a cattle smuggler at Harindanga village of Diamond Harbour in South-24 Parganas district. He was taken to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata where he was declared dead on arrival. Later, one person was arrested in connection with the incident.
The incident occurred late Monday when Kaushik Purkait, a 24-year-old resident of Mandirbazar, who was visiting aunt, had gone out for a walk, police said. There, he was confronted by some locals who mistook him to be part of a gang involved in smuggling of cattle.
It was learnt that a buffalo meant for sacrifice had gone missing and on seeing Kaushik, a new face in the area, locals assumed he was one of the miscreants responsible for it.
According to the police complaint lodged by Kaushik’s aunt, he was dragged to a local club in Diamond Harbour where he was severely beaten up. When his family members came to rescue him, the mob demanded Rs 1.5 lakh to allow them to take Kaushik to the hospital.
“We heard he had been taken to a local club. We tried to call him but found his phone to be switched off. Later, when we went to the club, we were prevented from taking him to the hospital,” said Suman Halder, Kaushik’s cousin.
Kartik Purkait, the victim’s father, said: “He was beaten up badly and not allowed to make any call. When we reached the club, they said either you give in writing that you would pay Rs 1.5 lakh later or you pay Rs 70,000 now.”
The mob released Kaushik only after Kartik gave a them written assurance that the money would be paid.
Kaushik was taken to a local hospital, from where he was taken to SSKM Hospital at 1.30 am. There, he was declared brought dead on arrival.
The police complaint lodged by Kaushik’s aunt named 10 people, including Trinamool Congress Panchayat Upa-pradhan in the area, Tapas Mallick.
District police authorities said five persons have been detained in connection with the incident. Later, one of them was arrested. “I cannot comment on the political affiliation of anyone but we are investigating the matter and will make more arrests soon,” said a police officer.
CPM state secretariat member Sujon Chakrabarty visited SSKM Hospital and spoke to the victim’s relatives. “It is sad to see how a young boy was beaten up by Trinamool goons and the police failed to catch the main suspect,” he said.
Meanwhile, local Trinamool leader Deepak Halder said law would take its own course. “It is a sad and condemnable incident. Whoever is involved will be brought to books. The administration is working towards it,” he added.