A district court sentenced eight persons to death on Tuesday morning for killing a youth two years ago in the North 24 district of Bengal.
Saurav Chowdhury, 21, a college student and a resident of the district was killed on July 5, 2014. His body was found beside the rail tracks between Duttapukur and Bamangachi rail stations. The incident triggered massive unrest among the residents of the area.
A resident of Prantik Palli of Bamangachi, the youth had to pay for the ‘crime’ of leading a protest against illicit liquor dens and gambling rackets in the area. The gruesome murder happened exactly two years after a 39-year old school teacher Barun Biswas was killed by criminals in Sutia in the same district for protesting against the increasing number of rapes in his neighbourhood.
The seventh additional district judge of Barasat, Daman Kumar Biswas, pronounced all the accused guilty last week.
Those given capital punishment were Shyamal Karmakar (prime accused), Amal Barui, Ratan Samaddar, Somnath Sardar, Tapash Biswas, Suman Das, Tarak Das and Suman Sarkar.
North 24 Parganas is perhaps the most crime-prone districts of the state. It shares a long border with Bangladesh, through which smuggling of a lot of items from cattle to human trafficking takes place and real estate promoters and narcotics trade spawn crime in this district.
With a population of more than a crore, this area is also known as one of the most populous districts in the country.
The ghastly rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman in Kamduni that shook the country was also in North 24 Parganas district.
Karmakar was a local tough and the rest were his associates. The judge described the crime as rarest among rare cases.
On April 15, when the judge pronounced the accused guilty, principal accused Karmakar threatened the family of the victim for pursuing the case.
The judge also sentenced one person (Rakesh Barman) to life imprisonment and three to five years behind bars.
“We are happy. Let me get the copy of the order, and then we will decide whether we will appeal for stiff sentences for those who escaped death penalty,” said Chowdhury’s mother at the Barasat court premises.
“A police outpost should be set up in Bamangachi. We are happy but there is no feeling of security yet,” said Sandip Chowdhury, the victim’s brother.
One was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.
The FIR had 14 names. One is still absconding.
Two of the accused – Karmakar’s sister Polly Maity and his childhood friend Sishir – were convicted for providing shelter to the murderers.