A woman stabbed a 17-year-old girl to death in Kolkata on Thursday evening after she allegedly spurned her marriage proposal, police said, bringing to focus the complex nature of same-sex relationships.
The 23-year old suspect was absconding after the murder inside the employees' quarters of South Eastern Railway at Garden Reach.
"It's a rare kind of murder where a lesbian lover killed another woman because her proposal was rejected. Investigations revealed that the assailant, Mandira, proposed marriage to Rinki Shaw," said Sudeep Sarkar, deputy commissioner of police (Port division).
But Rinki refused and her family members arranged her marriage with a youth from the neighbourhood, driving an infuriated Mandira to stab her multiple times with a sharp knife, he said.
Over the past two years, there have been at least three cases in Kolkata and its suburbs where same-sex couples committed suicide following opposition from their families.
The list includes a budding actress of Bengali television serials who committed suicide after her live-in partner, a fellow actress, abandoned her in February 2015.
On Thursday, residents found Rinki lying in a pool of blood on the first floor staircase of the quarter. Railway Protection Force (RPF) constables took her to BNR Hospital where doctors declared her dead on arrival.
Shaw used to stay at the BNR North Colony quarters with her two sisters, two brothers and mother. Her mother works as a domestic help for a few families in the colony.
Suspect Mandira used to stay in the same colony with her parents. Her father worked with an agency outsourced by the railways.
"Rinki's relatives told us they were good friends for years. But recently Mandira started to disturb her continuously asking to stay with her permanently. Rinki was not comfortable with that. After Mandira came to know about the marriage, she began threatening her with dire consequences," said an officer.
Her younger brother told police that he noticed Mandira strolling in front of their home in the evening.
"He rushed home and warned Rinki about Mandira before heading for his evening tuition. Prima facie it looks like Mandira called out Rinki and then stabbed her," the officer said.
A police search team will go to Mandira's village in South 24 Parganas district.