Six teenaged girls of a Junglemahal village in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district consumed pesticide on Monday evening, police have said. While five of the girls died on the spot, a 14-year-old is struggling for life at the district hospital.
The girls, aged between 13 and 19 years and hailing from Oro village in Jamboni, reportedly consumed pesticide over bullying by villagers over their ‘abnormal togetherness’ and ‘unhealthy bonding’.
Police said it was the 14-year-old girl who informed villagers about the incident. She was the last to consume the poison and got little of it.
On feeling pain, she rushed to the villagers and told them about the incident. The villagers reached the spot and found the bodies, their hands tied with dupattas. While the 14-year-old girl was immediately rushed to the district hospital, the five others were declared brought dead. Of them, two were cousins.
Senior police officials confirmed that the teenagers had died of poisoning, but added that the motive behind their committing suicide is yet to be ascertained.
“We have recorded the statement of the 14-year-old. But she is not revealing why they consumed the poison. She only told us that they consumed pesticides,” said an officer of Jamboni police station.
Sources said families of two of the girls wanted to marry them off. Since then, all six were depressed.
The father of one of the victims told The Indian Express: “Our daughters were very close to each other. They went to the same school till my daughter dropped out last year. However, some villagers used to call them abnormal and termed the bonding as unhealthy.”
The father, a sharecropper in the village, added that his 19-year-old daughter, the eldest in the group, told her mother that she was going for nature’s call with her friends and left at 5.30 pm. “They went there every evening. So we did not doubt their intention,” he said, breaking down.
Sheikh Sobhan Ali, TMC Anchal Sabhapati of Jamboni block, said: “The villagers were telling us that the girls were different from others. And that is why, some young men in the area used to taunt them. But we are not sure about the cause. Police visited the families today and recorded their statements.”
Swati Dutta of a local NGO that works among tribal girls in Junglemahal area said that local residents said the girls shared an “unusal relationship”.