Author Amit Chaudhuri clarifies events related to a boy's death in his apartment building
The Sahitya Akademi award winner said he felt the need to explain because of 'partly garbled and occasionally intrusive reportage' related to the incident.
Author Amit Chaudhuri has issued a statement explaining his side of the story in connection with the death of a 17-year-old boy who was reportedly stabbed to death in the parking lot of his Kolkata apartment. The Sahitya Akademi award winner criticised the media for its "partly garbled and occasionally intrusive reportage" of the events.
Negating reports that claimed the boy died after a party at the author's apartment, Chaudhuri said there was no party at his home to begin with. According to him a few of his daughter's friends had planned a surprise birthday party for his daughter, but he had asked them to go out for lunch because his family was mourning his mother's death.
The author also said neither he nor his daughter knew the boy who died on Saturday. The teenager had come with a friend who left when the boy was found bleeding in the parking lot of the building. Chaudhuri also said there was no alcohol made available to the people who had gathered for his daughter's birthday.
The full text of his statement is below:
A tragic incident occurred on 23rd July on the premises of the building in which my family and I live in Calcutta, with which our connection is entirely unfortunate, tangential and wholly unexpected. It has occurred during a time when we are grieving for my mother's death last week.
I feel I need to clarify the partly garbled and occasionally intrusive reportage that has appeared in some of the press. Some reports point out that a boy died from an injury in a parking lot in our building amidst a group of young people who had first congregated for a birthday in my flat. The reports also point out that I rushed the injured boy to a hospital in my car once I discovered him bleeding in a garage in the early evening.
A few crucial facts need to be added to the sequence. Firstly, the gathering, meant to celebrate my daughter's eighteenth birthday, had not been organised by us, but by two of her school friends, and was completely unknown to my daughter until she returned home on Saturday at 12.30 pm after her tuition.
It was a surprise, and our only condition was that, given the circumstances of mourning for her much-loved grandmother, we would prefer it if they had lunch outside.
Secondly, my daughter and, indeed, most of that group did not know the boy who later died of an injury. He had not been invited by those who'd put together the occasion and had come with one of the five boys in the group.
Thirdly, there was never any alcohol made available to anyone anywhere in our flat; my wife and I are anyway teetotallers.
Almost everyone returned to the building at around 4.30 pm after lunch. I was informed by my driver at 6.10 pm that a boy was bleeding downstairs.
The group had splintered before into different groups, and most of the young people there didn't see what happened to this boy, who was in the playground with his friend and possibly someone else.
When I arrived on the scene, I found that two in the group were attending to the boy in the garage. Others were trying to call an ambulance. They had also tried to hail a yellow cab to take him to a hospital, but the cab hadn't stopped. There were plenty of onlookers from the building, but no one except these young people was doing anything at all to help.
I tried to ascertain this boy's details in order to contact his parents, but couldn't, as no one had that information, and the friend who had brought him along had left suddenly in his car.
I called an ambulance immediately and then decided not to wait. I put him in my car with the two young people who had been trying to help and told my driver to take him to the emergency ward of a nearby hospital. I followed in another car with my wife and daughter, but reached emergency first. We told staff to prepare to attend to what seemed like a very serious injury.
The boy could not be saved. Nor could his parents' identity and contact details be discovered till later, as the boy who had brought him had vanished.
Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased, but it should be understood that it's a traumatic time for my family, given we've been thrown into this tragic situation during a time of grieving in a way that had little to do with us.
We tried to help a young man none of us knew and feel distressed not to have succeeded in doing this.