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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Court orders society death probe
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Calcutta High Court
The High Court is at loggerheads with the government over the case
The High Court in the Indian city of Calcutta has ordered federal police to investigate the death of a Muslim man within a month of his marriage.

The dead man had recently married the daughter of a rich Hindu businessman who allegedly opposed the union.

Analysts say the court order is a setback for the West Bengal government, which argued the death was due to the bridegroom's suicide.

Computer graphics designer Rizwanur Rehman was found dead on 21 September.

His body was found on a railway track near the city's airport area of Dumdum.

The discovery of the body prompted protests by angry crowds of friends and relatives who attacked police in central Calcutta, alleging foul play.

'Cold blooded murder'

Mr Rehman married Priyanka Todi, daughter of one of Calcutta's richest businessmen, Ashok Todi, in August.

This is a case of cold-blooded murder but the police are trying to show it as suicide
Rukbanur Rehman, brother

But the Todis refused to accept the marriage.

The dead man's family allege that senior Calcutta police officials, believed to be close to Mr Todi, threatened Mr Rehman to allow Priyanka to return to her parents.

They say that after Priyanka went back, Rizwanur was found dead on the train tracks.

"This is a case of cold-blooded murder but the police are trying to show it as suicide. That is preposterous," said the dead man's brother, Rukbanur Rehman.

The Rehmans have been joined by tens of thousands of sympathetic Calcuttans, cutting across religions and political affiliations, to demand justice.

They have organised silent rallies and candle-lit processions for Mr Rehman, praying for his soul and demanding punishment for the Todis and "his friends" in the police.

'Special protection'

The local media, particularly Bengali TV channels, have given huge coverage to the case.

Leading local personalities have appeared on the screen to lambast the Calcutta police and the West Bengal government for "interfering in the married life of two adults".

Former Chief Minister and top lawyer Siddhartha Shankar Ray alleged that West Bengal's Marxist government had not implemented Supreme Court guidelines to accord "special protection" to couples involved in inter-religious marriages.

Another former Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, has called for the removal of top police officials who had allegedly interfered on behalf of the Todis to break up the marriage.

The state government, under huge popular pressure to act against the Todis and alleged corruption surrounding the case within the police force, has ordered inquiries into the incident by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and by a retired judge of the Calcutta High Court.

The current Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharya, has visited the Rehmans in their house and assured them they will receive justice.

But he has so far refused to remove the five police officials accused of interfering on behalf of the Todis in the case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the death of Rizwanur Rehman should submit its report within two months.



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