Among the six accused arrested for the gangrape of the 16-year-old in Madhyamgram,in North 24 Parganas,is an alleged juvenile,a school dropout who is reportedly 17 years and eight months.
On October 25,when the victim was reportedly raped the first time,the alleged juvenile returned home in the evening to celebrate his sisters birthday. I remember that day as it was my birthday. My brother returned home and we celebrated. I cannot believe he did this, she said.
She said the accused dropped out of school when he was in Class VII and began working as a daily labourer. He lives with his mother and sister. My father does not live with us. My mother has a small tailoring unit. My brother used to help her with her finances, she said.
On October 26,Sanjib Talukdar (the prime accused) called my brother late at night and they went out. He did not return, she said.
The victim was allegedly gangraped by the same men again on October 26,while she was on her way from the police station after filing a complaint. She named Talukdar,alias Chottu,26,who was known to her,as the prime accused. On December 23,she was allegedly set on fire by two other youths,and succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday.
Talukdar,a fish vendor,is known as a local goon who has faced molestation charges earlier too. While his father,Gauranga,is a local CPM leader,Sanjib is reported to have switched to Trinamool Congress.
He befriended the girl. We did not see anything wrong in the friendship. But after he was arrested,we refused to visit him in jail, said his sister-in-law Sanchita Talukdar.
Palash Debnath,19,another accused,is a vegetable vendor. His father,Paritosh Debnath,has a grocery store in Madhyamgram. I have three daughters. How can I approve of this heinous crime? I never tried to protect my son from police. I forced him to surrender, said Paritosh.
My son used to move around with Sanjib and the other youths. They worked for the party at times,but are not supporters, he added.
Locals said Palash,a high school dropout,was a friend of Papai Roy,20,who has also been arrested. Roy is the nephew of local TMC leader Jayanta Roy,an associate of Babloo Ghosh,the former TMC councillor of the area. Papai lacks physical strength and cannot rape anyone. We produced the medical evidence to the police. But they told us he accompanied them in the crime,so he too is guilty, said his aunt.
Rajesh Mondal,20,another accused,is a driver. We handed over our son to the police. We did not visit him in jail. We have not hired a lawyer. We want him punished, said his mother,Mandirka Mondal.
The last accused,Antony,25,is reported to be an outsider who used to be often seen with Sanjib Talukdar. The victims father said Antony used to help Talukdar in his business.
Meanwhile,two others,Minta Shil and Ratan Shil,have been arrested for murder. The victim,in her dying statement,is reported to have said that the two set her on fire. While Ratan Shil was her landlord in Airport area,Minta Shil is his cousin and hails from Madhyamgram.