Madhumita was seated on her bed in her flat in a condominium in Noida sector 61 through Monday, wondering if the bodies of her husband, her 7-year-old daughter, her sister, her niece, and mother-in-law would be brought back from Ranchi. The five died in a suspected suicide pact Sunday. Her father-in-law, retired army doctor, Dr Sukanto Sarkar, too attempted suicide, but survived. Dr Sarkar and his family had travelled from Noida to Ranchi a few days ago.
The flat in the next block where her in-laws and husband used to live was locked. Madhumita (29) admitted she had a fallout with them and had not been celebrating Durga Puja with them for a few years, but “never thought this Puja” will see them lost to her forever.
“I do not think I can go to Ranchi. The rest of the family hates me and they will attack me. I am waiting for my father to come from Kolkata. I fear my family members will be cremated without me getting a last glimpse of them,” said Madhumita. “My husband and in-laws had problems with me, but the problems could have been resolved. Who gave them the right to kill my child (Samita)?,” she added. A book titled ‘365 Bedtime Stories’ stood behind her on the headrest.
Dr Sarkar (63) was found bleeding from self-inflicted knife wounds, while his wife Anjana (62), son Sameer (35) and his daughter Samita (7), his nephew’s wife Momita (27) and her daughter Sumita (5), died of lethal doses of anaesthesia in a relative’s house. Madhumita said Momita was her younger sister and had been living with the Sarkars in Noida, as her husband, a banker, was posted in Bhopal.
Madhumita, a web designer, wondered what drove her father-in-law to “take such a drastic step”. She said the family and even Momita had turned against her over the last two years since they moved to Noida. “My in-laws wanted me to relinquish control over my daughter. When I protested, my husband, Sameer, got me this flat so that I could live close by but not in the same house as his parents. Sameer and my daughter used to live mostly with my in-laws,” she added.
She said she had married Sameer nine years ago in Kolkata and it was an arranged marriage. She said the family disliked her and isolated her. Madhumita said she “did not ask for divorce” and only wanted her daughter to live with her. As the relationship soured, Madhumita said she and her husband were on the brink of separation at one point.
She added that last week, she and Sameer had decided to amicably resolve their differences and start afresh. “We decided to put the bitterness behind us last Monday. But a few days later, Sameer told me that the entire family was going to Kolkata to discuss our divorce with my father. I got a call from a friend who read about their deaths this morning. That is when I realised they had actually travelled to Ranchi, where they killed themselves. Their phones were switched off for the last three days,” said Madhumita.
Police said the Sarkars entered into a suicide pact and Dr Sarkar administered an anaesthetic to the five family members before stabbing himself repeatedly. Police found ‘several suicide notes’ accusing Madhumita of “mentally harassing” the family with her insistence on separating from Sameer and taking custody of their daughter, besides threatening to file a case of harassment for dowry against the family.
Kaushal Kishore, SP City (Ranchi), said, “Dr Sarkar’s condition is improving, though he is still not out of danger. We are waiting for him to recover to record his statement. Our investigations will proceed on the basis of his statement. The post-mortem was conducted on the five members. We have not received the reports yet.”