A day after the unnatural death of a 16-year-old school girl triggered clashes between police and local people in the Chopra area of North Dinajpur district in Bengal, the body of the suspect named in the police complaint by the girl’s family was found in a ditch on Monday morning.
He lived in the same village. The girl’s death had prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party to target the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), The girl’s death also sparked clashes between the locals and the police on Sunday.
The girl, who recently passed the class 10 state board exams, was raped and murdered as her family supports the BJP, the opposition party alleged on Sunday.
The girl’s father made the same allegation in his police complaint on Sunday night after the West Bengal Police said that preliminary report of the post mortem examination pointed at death caused by poisoning and there was no sign of sexual assault.
“The body of the youth named in the complaint has been found. An investigation is going on,” Binod Gazmer, inspector-in-charge of Chopra police station told HT on Monday afternoon.
Tension was palpable in the area since the girl and the youth belonged to different religious communities. Anticipating trouble, the police stopped a team of senior BJP state leaders and members of the Lok Sabha from visiting the village.
“The youth’s body was spotted submerged in water with his face jutting out of the water. It was seen not far from where the girl was found. Most of the youth’s face had turned red. Only post mortem examination can confirm the cause of death,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
TMC district president Kanaia Lal Agarwal claimed the girl and the youth died by suicide.
“The girl and the youth knew each other and went to the same private tutor. They probably committed suicide as they felt that their families might not accept their relationship,” Agarwal said.
The girl’s father dismissed Agarwal’s statement and stuck to what he said in his police complaint. He alleged that his daughter was regularly harassed by the youth and he raped and murdered her.
The BJP has alleged there was an attempt to cover up the girl’s death.
Surajit Sen, vice president of the BJP’s North Dinajpur unit, said, “The TMC and the police are trying to project the deaths as a tragic end to an affair.”
Members of the youth’s family did not speak to the media till Monday afternoon.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh alleged that the police engineered Sunday’s arson and set fire to their own vehicles to divert attention. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha alleged that the incident proved that law and order in the state has collapsed.
The West Bengal Police said on Twitter on Monday afternoon that the body of the youth had been sent for post mortem examination and the process would be videographed. The tweets made it apparent that the girl and the youth knew each other and might have been under pressure from their families to snap ties.
“Police is investigating both the cases and looking into all possible aspects of the incident including social ostracism, parental pressure and role played by some persons in hiding, misleading and diverting the attention from the actual incident,” the police said in one of the tweets.
Earlier in the day, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also waded into the incident before leaving for Delhi.
“Would be discussing with Union Home Minister at noon today West Bengal worrisome situation….,” he tweeted before leaving Kolkata.