While the police are yet to come to a definite conclusion whether 17-year-old Aabesh Dasgupta was murdered or not, authorities at the Princeton Club are going to make presence of a guardian mandatory when their ‘minor’ children will organise parties in the club.
It is the same club, off Prince Anwar Shah Road, where the victim had spent around two hours from 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm on Saturday, with sixteen other friends while attending the birthday party of writer Amit Chowdhury’s daughter. The same evening, Aabesh found dead in the car park of Sunny Park Apartment at Ballygunge Phari under mysterious circumstances, after receiving injuries that ran from his armpit to chest.
Following the incident, the club authorities have convened a meeting which is scheduled to be held either on Tuesday or Wednesday, in which the top officials are going to propose changes in norms for visitors below 18 years in the club.
It may be mentioned that the 17 teenage boys and girls, including Aabesh, had secured entry into the club as two of their parents are its members. But none of the members, or guardians of any of the children, were accompanying them when the teens had organised a birthday party in the restaurant situated inside the club.
Unlike Princeton Club, other prominent clubs including The Bengal Club, Calcutta Club, Saturday Club and The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, did not allow entry of anyone below 18 years, until and unless he or she is accompanied by a member; besides, they get access to select places which are meant only for ‘minors.
Even dependent members – who are in the age group of 18-30 years and whose parents also have membership – cannot book a banquet hall or organise a party in the club. They can attend a party only if the booking is done by a member. At the same time, the adult member or a guardian of any of the dependent member has to be present during the party.
The norms are quite similar in Spring Club, situated off EM Bypass, where anyone below 18 years of age is not allowed if not accompanied by a member. “Thus, there was no question of letting them organising party,” said a spokesperson of the club.
According to the S Karmakar, Operational Manager of Princeton Club, the club is seriously considering making the presence of a guardian compulsory if their children will organise a party.
“Nowadays, even children aged around 13 to 14 years organise parties on their birthdays, or for any other reason, in the club. On many occasions, they were not accompanied by any adults. But, the tragic incident of Aabesh’s death is an eye-opener for us,” he said, adding that at least one guardian of any of the minor partygoers will be made mandatory.
“If they cannot turn up and instead send someone on their behalf, then they will have to write a letter to the club authorities authorising the person as their representative. The presence of a guardian is necessary, as it will not allow the children to indulge in any kind of mischief or make fun of each other, which could become a source of trouble,” Karmakar said.
Letters in this regard would be sent to all members of the club once it is discussed in the meeting of the management committee.
Though the victim and his 16 friends were not allowed to enter the bar in Princeton Club, as no one below 18 years is allowed, and they just had just taken food in the restaurant, the club authorities are going to take the steps as precautionary measures.