Karna Mondal was sleeping at the couple's home in Naldubi village in Malda district, about 300 km from Kolkata, when he heard his wife's screams. She was in the courtyard when two men -- Raju Mondol and Riju Mondal -- allegedly molested her.
He rushed to rescue his wife, but was reportedly attacked with bamboo sticks. The duo beat him till he fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. Mondal's neighbours took him to a local health centre and later to Malda Medical College and Hospital in a serious condition.
The attackers, who locals say are daily wagers and are often drunk, managed to escape. On Saturday, Mondal's wife lodged a complaint at the Malda police station against the attackers. But it was only after Mondal's death on Monday that the police swung into action and arrested the accused on Tuesday.
The incident has shocked locals. "They are habitual offenders, they often harassed women, everyone was aware but didn't dare protest," said Sidam Karmakar, Naldubi panchayat member.
"Karna protested and had to die," he added.