Odisha: Two custodial deaths in a day, opposition creates ruckus in assembly, DGP orders inquiry

Written by Aishwarya Mohanty
| Bhubaneshwar |

November 21, 2020 8:21:16 am

DGP Abhay ensured that both the cases will be investigated and all the guidelines of the NHRC will be strictly adhered to. (Twitter/@odisha_police)

Ruckus ensued on the first day of the winter session of Odisha Assembly after the opposition parties demanded strict action in two cases of alleged custodial deaths in the state. The two deaths which happened over the last two days in Puri and Sundargarh districts have also led to state wide protests by the BJP and Congress. The first day of the session was adjourned amidst the ruckus. An all party meeting was also called by the speaker to resolve the matter which Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik refused to attend.

“We demand a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Orissa High Court, transfer of SP, registration of murder case against the IIC of the police stations besides 1 crore compensation to the victim’s family,’ Naik said.

In Puri district, a history sheeter, K Ramesh (32), allegedly died within hours of arrest while in the second incident a youth detained by the police from Birmitrapur in Sundargarh district over allegations of abducting a businessman died on Thursday.

Following the deaths, tension prevailed in both districts as family and friends of the deceased demanded action and thorough investigation into the case.

“Ramesh was arrested after a tussle with the police while he was roaming around with a sharp weapon and our team tried to apprehend him. During the scuffle, three police personnel suffered injuries. He was shifted to the district headquarters hospital later where his condition deteriorated and he died during treatment,” said Puri SP Akhileshwar Singh. He further added that Ramesh was involved in five criminal cases across districts and was released on bail from a Talcher jail recently.

“We have registered a case of custodial death and all norms laid down by NHRC are being followed. An additional superintendent of police and a DSP are investigating the case,” Singh said.

The family however alleged that there was no tussle and he was arrested from his house and died due to custodial torture. “We were not informed about the death and the cremation took place under tight security,” Ramesh’s uncle K Ariya said.

In Birmitrapur, the victim, Tariq Salim was detained in connection with the kidnapping of a businessman, Pradeep Kundu. Tariq, a resident of Birmitrapur town, was reportedly taken into custody by the police from Simdega district of Jharkhand on Wednesday. He was rushed to the hospital after his health deteriorated and died while under treatment. His family however alleged that he was tortured in custody which led to his death. “The allegations are not true. He was already unwell when brought into custody and was shifted to the hospital as his condition deteriorated,” Sundargarh SP Sagarika Nath said. She further added that inquest of the body was done in presence of an executive magistrate and the autopsy was conducted in strict adherence to the NHRC guidelines by a team of doctors.

Meanwhile, DGP Abhay ensured that both the cases will be investigated and all the guidelines of the NHRC will be strictly adhered to. “Post mortems were carried out as per guidelines of the NHRC. The entire inquest has been videographed. A thorough investigation into the matter will be conducted,” he said.

A petition in this regard for a court monitored investigation, has also been filed in the Odisha High Court. The HC has sought a detailed report and has directed the state government to submit the post mortem report and other documents with all relevant facts pertaining to the case. The court will hear the matter on Monday.

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