New Delhi: Hundreds of farmers and dalit activists joined by Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders on Friday took to the streets condemning the alleged custodial torture death of a security guard at Pilkhuwa police station of Hapur district in Uttar Pradesh.
The custodial death of security guard Pradeep Tomar has triggered tension among the villagers. The district administration has registered an FIR against seven policemen, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and an inspector, in connection with the alleged custodial torture leading to the death.
The FIR comes a day after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took cognizance of the incident and issued notices to the chief secretary and DGP of the state. The commission has sought the status as well as action taken reports within four weeks.
According to the police, Pradeep had been summoned to Chijarsi outpost for interrogation in a murder case. A security guard in a private company in Ghaziabad, he died allegedly after being tortured at a police station in Hapur’s Pilkhuwa area on October 13. He was picked up by the Pilkhuwa police over the murder of his wife nearly one and half months ago.
The deceased guard’s brother, Kuldeep alias Tejpal, has in the FIR alleged torture at the hands of DSP Santosh Mishra, SHO Yogesh Baiyan, inspector Ajab Singh and four unidentified policemen.
The post-mortem report seems to have confirmed the charge of torture. “The cause of death had not been confirmed. The viscera sample has been preserved. There was blackening of the posterior and signs of contusion on arms and other body parts,” SP Yesh Veer Singh was quoted as saying by media. He said a departmental and magisterial inquiry had been ordered against the accused. While Baiyan and Singh have already been placed under suspension, Mishra has been transferred to Garhmukteshwar.
Pradeep’s son, who reportedly was with him when he was picked up, told Newsclick over the phone that "at least 7-8 policemen beat my father brutally during the interrogation due to which his health deteriorated badly. While beating my father in custody, they were also consuming alcohol and my father was denied water despite asking many times. My father kept begging for his life but the policemen did not stop beating him. They tortured him till my he defecated and urinated. He was repeatedly kicked, punched, hit with planks of wood, given electric shocks and pierced with a screwdriver".
He also accused the local hospital of not giving proper treatment to his father. "Even when he was taken to the local hospital, he was not given any treatment. He was just locked in a room,” the son alleged.
Tomar’s family has demanded that murder charges be brought against the accused policemen.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government over the alleged custodial death and accused the BJP dispensation of failing to stop crimes
‘UP TOP IN CUSTODIAL DEATHS’
According to Asian data released by the Centre for Human Rights, Uttar Pradesh has the worst record with respect to custodial deaths. The report, published on June 26, stated that a total of 1,674 cases custodial deaths had been reported in the state, including 1,530 deaths in judicial custody and 144 deaths in police custody, from April 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018. This means that on an average, there were about five custodial deaths per day in the aforementioned time period.
During January to August 2017, a total of 204 such deaths were reported in UP, and by February 2018 the numbers had almost doubled.