Among the six accused who have been arrested for the gangrape of the 16-year-old in Madhyamgram, in North 24 Parganas, barely 25 kilometres from Kolkata, 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 sister’s birthday. “I distinctly remember that day as it was my birthday. My brother returned home and we celebrated my birthday. I still cannot believe he did this,” said the sister.
According to her, 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 the finances while I am still studying,” she said.
“On October 26, Sanjib Talukdar (the prime accused) called my brother late at night and they both went out. He did not return after that,” said the sister.
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 faced molestation charges earlier too. While his father, Gauranga Talukdar, is a local CPI(M) leader, Sanjib Talukdar is reported to have switched to the Trinamool Congress. He was seen at TMC rallies and led the “bike brigades” during the municipal elections in Madhyamgram. Police said there is a case of extortion against him too.
“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 small grocery store in Madhyamgram. “I have three young daughters. How can I approve of this heinous crime? I never tried to protect my son from the police. I forced him to surrender,” said Paritosh Debnath.
“My son used to move around with Sanjib Talukdar and the other youths here. They used to work for