New Delhi: A second year ITI student was beaten to death allegedly by a mob who mistook him as a cattle smuggler at Harindanga (WB) in South 24 Parganas district Tuesday night, triggering outrage in the area.
According to a complaint lodged by his relatives, Koushik Purkait was confined in a local club under Diamond Harbour sub-division and mercilessly beaten by a group of people who suspected he was a part of the gang involved in smuggling of cattle in the area, a senior police officer said.
Kausik Purkait, who came to his aunt's residence in the area, was roaming around when he was confronted by the club members and forcibly taken to a room. He was later rescued by his relatives, who rushed to the spot after hearing about the incident and took him to Diamond Harbour Hospital.
His mother Chandra, 43, said: "My son had gone out for a walk and was speaking on his mobile phone about 50 metres from the house when a group of local youths surrounded him and accused him of stealing a buffalo."
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 pay Rs 60,000 now.”
Kaushik's aunt Sandhya Haldar said she and Chandra had rushed out of the house hearing a commotion. "We saw Kaushik being beaten up in front of the club. We requested the attackers to spare him, but they accused Kaushik of stealing a buffalo and demanded Rs 1.5 lakh. When we pleaded with them, they agreed to release Kaushik against a payment of Rs 60,000. They let him go only after we paid the amount," Sandhya said.
Kausik succumbed to injuries early this morning at S S K M Hospital in Kolkata, prompting a police clampdown in the area.
Five persons were detained and one of them later arrested, the officer said, adding search is on for ten other accused, named in the FIR by the boy's aunt.
The opposition CPI(M), Congress alleged one of the 10 named in FIR was the TMC Panchayat Upa-pradhan in the area, Tapas Mallick who still remained at large. However, this was not confirmed by the police officer.
District Trinamul vice-chairman Shakti Mondal said: "It is an unfortunate incident. Whoever is involved should be punished. Let law take its own course."
(With inputs from The Telegraph, Calcutta)