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Gruesome killing

Margaret Wise
Thursday, November 30, 2017

URMILA Devi was finding it extremely difficult to understand why her son, Rohan Amrit Lal, was removed from her life.

She had just lost his older brother, Anal Sanjeev a week ago, and when The Fiji Times visited her Bilalevu home in the Sigatoka Valley yesterday, the shed to accommodate funeral rites were still up.

The 58-year-old mother of six was also bewildered like the rest of the family because the man accused of hacking him to death with a cane knife was a relative and a very close friend of the deceased.

The accused, who is alleged to have attacked Mr Lal at about 9.30am yesterday as he tended to the family's eggplant farm, was also well liked by the family.

"They had been drinking grog together for the past eight days because we were going through the Hindu rituals for my older uncle," said Ravnesh Kumar, Mr Lal's 19-year-old nephew who witnessed the attack.

"Uncle Rohan and his cousin used to eat out of the same plate, they were very close and that's why we can't understand what happened."

Mr Kumar claimed he was walking towards Mr Lal when he saw the alleged attack.

"I saw my other uncle lift the knife and he struck uncle Rohan four or five times," he claimed.

"I tried to scream but nothing came out of my mouth. I tried to run to stop him but I couldn't move.

"My other uncle looked up and saw me and then he ran towards his house."

Mr Kumar said he ran towards his uncle and saw him struggling to breathe with deep knife wounds to his head and neck.

He raised the alarm and together with another uncle, Atish Kumar, rushed Mr Lal to the Sigatoka Hospital. Atish, who is Mr Lal's brother-in-law, said the whole Bilalevu community was in shock because both the victim and alleged perpetrator were well-liked and known.

"They were cousins but acted like brothers and even did share-farming together," he said.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said a suspect was in custody and investigations into the incident were continuing.

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