Family alleges victim’s uncle died of injuries in a scuffle with the police

A key witness in the gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old college student in Kamduni village died at a State-run hospital here on Friday. Family members and Kamduni residents alleged that the 50-year-old uncle of the victim had died of injuries in a scuffle with the police after protesting outside a city court earlier this week. The body has been sent for post mortem.

“He was a key witness to the case. He had seen the victim returning from college, getting off a bus and going towards the village on June 7, the day the incident occurred,” Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, lawyer for the victim’s family, said.

The protests outside the city court on September 10, after which the victim was allegedly roughed up by the police, were in support of the demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe.

The victim’s brother, who was also injured in the incident, said: “While the police are protecting the accused, important witnesses in the case are dying.”

“My uncle was assaulted by the police before my own eyes,” he recalled.

Angry villagers from Kamduni and family members of the victim held protests outside the R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital demanding an explanation for the death of the man.

They alleged negligence on the part of the hospital authorities. Hailing the verdict in the Delhi gang-rape case, the protesters here demanded a similar punishment for the perpetrators of the crime in Kamduni.

“No only I but all the villagers of Kamduni hope that exemplary punishment would be given to those responsible for the rape and killing of the college student,” Pradip Mukherjee, a teacher leading the campaign for justice to the victim, told The Hindu over telephone.

“The Kamduni incident was as gruesome. But the crime in Delhi sparked public outcry while the West Bengal rape-murder has sadly been politicised.”