A 40-year-old man committed suicide by consuming pesticide on Friday after he was forced to lick spit of the members of a panchayat court in a village in Bihar’s Samastipur.
Police revealed that Ranjit Mahto, a native of Gorai under Chak Mehsi police station of Samstipur district, 115 km north east of Patna, had a fisticuff with a priest, identified as Raj Kumar Jha of Ranitola village some days back. Mahto had informed his family that he lost his cool when he saw Jha harassing his 17-year old daughter, an intermediate arts student in a nearby college.
Mahto’s act infuriated the organisers of a Durga puja committee, which had contracted Jha to conduct the rituals, and they lodged a complaint with the panchayat court, which summoned Mahto to a public hearing.
The court heard the two parties, but chose to support the influential members of the committee and then imposed a fine of Rs. 21,000 on Mahto. Mahto did not agree to the quantum of fine and asked that it should be lessened, which was not allowed. Then someone suggested, that the court members spit and Mahto be asked to lick it off the ground.
Having been forced to do so, Mahto returned to his house and then consumed insecticide lying in a room. He was the sole bread earner in a family of seven.
“They forced my brother to lick the spit of people participating in the proceedings,” said Ajaneshwar Mahto, younger brother of the deceased.
“Feeling ashamed after the incident, my brother consumed ‘sulfas’, a poisonous insecticide. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead by the doctors,” said Ajaneshwar.
Chandrika Prasad, superintendent of police (SP), confirmed the incident and said that an FIR had been registered with Chak Mehsi police station against 12 named and six unnamed people in this connection.
“Raids are on to nab all the accused, who are absconding,” he said.
He added that a team, led by sub-divisional police officer Amir Javed has been set up to inquire into the whole matter.
“Speedy trial will be initiated for quicker disposal of the case after getting detailed report from the SDPO,” he added.