Police firing kills one; ‘no sacrificial angle’ in Kalaigaon incident

Police firing kills one; ‘no sacrificial angle’ in Kalaigaon incident


TANGLA/KALAIGAON: Speculations are rife over the sensational alleged sacrificial attempt of a family in which a Science teacher, Jadav Sahariah along with his family members allegedly attempted to sacrifice a child at Ganakpara village under Kalaigaon PS in Udalguri district on Saturday. The death of the only son of the family, Pulakesh Sahariah who succumbed to bullet injuries after the jawans of Assam Police relentlessly fired at the father-son duo after one of them allegedly threw an axe towards the jawans, has drawn criticism from conscious citizens over the police use of firearms to control the unruly family.

The neighbours and police, ending speculations of the sacrificial angle, have a different version to the entire narrative. The family members preferred a secluded life and were hardly visited by the neighbours, except a handful, owing to their petty disputes with every other household, were devout Hindus who used to perform at least two pujas every week on Monday and Thursday and one on the last Saturday of every month.

“Though we are next-door neighbours, we hardly visit them,” said 21-year old Bhrigu Sahariah, BA 3rd semester student of Burhinagar College. He further stated that though they were pious, there devotional activities grew manifold after their 22-year old daughter committed suicide in her hostel in Mangaldai four years back. Another neighbour, 38-year old Mahanand Sahariah who works at a food production unit in Ramhari of Darrang, said that Jadav Sahariah’s wife, Purna Kanti Sahariah (50) was of unsound mind but after the family came in touch with self-styled priest Ramesh Saharia who hails from Baneikuchi village of Darrang, the woman completely relied on his suggestions and stopped taking medicines.

According to a number of eye-witnesses, a total of seven persons, all naked, were performing puja at their residential temple at about 9.45 am on Saturday. These included four men - the head of the family, Jadav Sahariah (57), a Science teacher of Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial High School, Daipam near Rowta in Udalguri, Jadav’s son Pulakesh Sahariah (23), a BCA graduate, Jadav’s brother-in-law Rukma Deka and Juman Kalita. The three women who were performing the puja included Purna Kanti Sahariah (50), Purna’s sisters Chiita Deka (47) and Dalimi Deka (45). The three-year-old child is the son of Rukma Deka and Dalimi Deka.

Due to unusual smoke and sound of bells, one Deepak Sahariah went to the residence to enquire and there he saw the weird activities of the male family members who were naked and were breaking the household goods and burning down a Royal Enfield motorbike and damaging a Maruti Wagon-R car with an axe while the women were chanting hymns and performing rituals. The male family members warned the youth not to interfere in their personal matters and later the youth informed the villagers. The police and fire brigade were called.

Meanwhile, hundreds of locals gathered at the site where the furious male family members threw stones and were holding dao and axe to attack whoever attempted to enter into the premises. The fire tenders managed to douse the fire and then the cry of a child from the temple caught everyone’s attention.

The child was rescued by a youth named Madhurjya Sarma from the hands of Rukma Deka who brought his son outside the temple. The police team, after battling for hours, could not manage to get hold of the three other male members who threw an axe at the police jawans. On orders of Kalaigaon Revenue Circle Officer Biraj Baruah, the jawans blank fired and later shot at the father and son, injuring them in the legs and under the buttock.

Talking to this correspondent exclusively, Udalguri Superintendent of Police Longnit Terang refuted rumours of the incident to be that of a human sacrifice. “We are thoroughly investigating the case. Though the eye-witnesses claim it to be an attempt to sacrifice the child, the accused family members have denied any such thing. As of now, we do not want to draw any conclusion.”

On the question of death of Pulakesh Sahariah, the police officer said it was on the magistrate’s direction that the jawans fired at the father-son and a total of 17 rounds were fired as per report, including blank firings. “While the father Jadav Sahariah is being treated at GMCH, Kalaigaon Police have detained Rukma Deka for interrogation while the child has been handed over to his mother. The female members were handed over to their relatives,” he added.

He also said that police had not registered any case against the accused family. Bhergaon SDPO Nirmal Ghosh informed that efforts were on to nab the priest, Ramesh Sahariah.

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