Ganesh Murmu was shot from close range in the wee hours when he tried to stop four youths, who had forced their entry into Murmu's house in Nasipur village, from raping his two sisters aged 22 and 24 years old, the family said.
"The four had covered their faces. They attacked both of us. My brother kept pleading to them to let us go but they didn't pay any heed to him. Then one of them suddenly took out a gun and fired at Ganesh," said one of the girls.
The girls were in a room with Ganesh while their
parents were in the adjoining room.
On hearing the gunshot, some neighbours arrived and the assailants, sensing trouble, fled the scene. The villagers also alleged police apathy. "Police not only came in late but didn't even register a case of molestation and attempt to rape. The incident happened at 3 am and it was not until 8 pm that police brought in sniffer dogs to the scene," said a villager.
However, the police officials claimed that that there had been no complaint of molestation. "There had been a murder and we are looking into it. There has been no written complaint about the molestation or attempt to rape. If any such complaint is made, we will definitely look into it," said Tarun Halder, additional SP, Burdwan (rural).
No arrests have been made in the case so far.
Villagers alleged that there had been at least three cases of violence on women in the last three months but police failed to do anything concrete about it.
In February 2011, a youth Rajib Das, 16, died of multiple stab injuries after he was attacked by two youth in Barasat when he tried to save his sister, a call centre employee, who was on her way home from her office, from being raped.