Nearly 15 months after Kolkata woke up to the horror of the Robinson Street skeletons case, it was the turn of a small, non-descript village in Nadia district in South Bengal to witness a rerun of sorts of that infamous episode on Sunday.
Two brothers, both over 50, were living under the same roof in Simhat village of Haringhata with their mother’s body for nearly nine months after her death. The tragedy came to light only after a group of villagers forcibly entered the house after growing suspicious about the whereabouts of the woman, a widow, whom they had not seen since the middle of January.
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She had been living in that house with her two bachelor sons, 65-year-old Arun Saha and 55-year-old Ajit Saha for many years after her husband’s death. After her death, her two sons, both in a state of acute depression over the loss, refused to cremate her, put her body on her bed, and kept the entire incident secret.
Villagers said the family had enough property and farmland as well as a steady income from agriculture — that was essentially taken care of by sharecroppers — to see the two brothers through for all these months without interacting much with other villagers.
Whenever anyone enquired about their mother and wanted to meet her, the brothers would say that she was good but not inclined to meet anyone. Then, over time, the locals noted that the two were becoming increasingly unsocial, and started doubting the duo’s state of mental health.
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Many villagers also started wondering whether the woman was alive. Their patience was growing thinner by the day and on Sunday some of the villagers confronted the two to know the truth.
Rupak Adhikari, a neighbour of the Sahas who barged into the house, told HT, “Today, we wanted to see the woman to check out whether she was alive in the first place and, if yes, than how well or ill she was. But her sons obstructed us. It was then that we forcibly entered the house, only to find her severely decomposed body… it was actually a skeleton lying on the bed.”
The horrified villagers informed the police who detained the two brothers for questioning, sent the remains of the body for forensic tests, and registered a case of unnatural death.
Meanwhile, curious villagers and even people from nearby villages and towns started to troop into the village to see the new ‘house of horrors’, rekindling memories of the Robinson Street case of Kolkata in June 2015.
Incidentally, Partha Dey, the person who lived in the house on Robinson Street in a plush area of south Kolkata with the skeletons of his sister and two pet dogs, was under intensive psychiatric treatment for several months before he was discharged from a mental hospital in the city.
Dey is a trained software engineer and used to work for a reputable IT firm.