UP: Family Protests as Dalit Man Dies of Alleged ‘Torture’ in Police Custody in Mainpuri
Lucknow: A protest was held on Wednesday outside the Mainpuri police station in Uttar Pradesh, blocking the main road, after a 54-year-old dalit man, Bhure, died in police custody.
The protesters, comprising the victim’s family members, relatives and acquaintances, alleged Bhure died due to physical torture, but the police claimed he died in hospital of natural causes.
The protesters raised slogans against the police and demanded action against the cops posted at the said police station.
After being booked on a non-bailable warrant (NBW) from the court, Bhure was picked up by the police on Monday and on Wednesday, his family was informed that he had died.
Santosh Kumar, CO city Mainpuri said, “Bhure was arrested and sent to jail two days ago by the police after a warrant was issued. The person was definitely in police custody, but he died in a hospital. We sympathise with the family. We will seek a judicial probe to find out the reasons behind the death.”
Bhure, a resident of Gihar Colony of the Mainpuri Kotwali area, was a cobbler, and has left seven children behind.
"We do not know for what crime my father was picked up from home. He was healthy before he was taken into custody, but he was tortured in such a way that he died in two days," Payal, the deceased’s daughter, told NewsClick.
"On Monday night, my father returned from work and was having dinner with family and suddenly, a group of cops barged into my house and picked my father. When we resisted his illegal arrest, the police beat us and misbehaved with the females," she alleged.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Samajwadi Party has demanded a judicial probe.
Dimple Yadav, Lok Sabha MP from Mainpuri, accused the UP police of high-handedness, targeted the BJP government on the death of the prisoner in jail and called for strict punishment for the guilty police personnel.
"Murder in police custody is not stopping in UP! Bhure Gihar was murdered by the police in the Kotwali police station area of Mainpuri. Atrocities against the poor in the BJP government are condemnable. Strict punishment should be given to the accused policemen," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
Raju Yadav, former Samajwadi Party MLA from Mainpuri, who met the family members of the deceased told NewsClick, "it is unfortunate that Bhure’s brothers had also been killed in the same manner a few years ago and he too met a similar fate. There was a warrant for a 15-year-old assault case of property dispute. On Monday, police took Bhure into custody and two days later he was found dead."
The SP leader also demanded that the UP government should pay compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the deceased.
In a somewhat similar case, a 28-year-old dalit man, who was summoned for questioning by Fatehpur police in a forgery case, had allegedly died in police custody in November 2022.
Lavkesh Sharma was picked up by the police in Prayagraj after a woman filed a complaint against him over a parking issue. He died two days later in police custody.
Controversy erupted in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj district on November 8, 2021 after the death of a young Muslim allegedly in police custody.
The family of the deceased alleged that he was tortured by police in lockup, which led to his death. Police, however, claimed that the accused killed himself using the drawstring of his jacket’s hood when he went to the lockup washroom.
UP RECORDED HIGHEST CUSTODIAL DEATHS
The death of Bhure or Lavkesh in police custody is not an isolated case. Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest number of custodial deaths among all states and Union territories in the past few years.
In July 2022, Union Minister for State Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, told the Lok Sabha that in 2021-22, a total of 501 custodial deaths occurred in UP alone, which is one-fifth of the custodial deaths (2,544) in the country. Whereas earlier, i.e. in 2020-21, 451 cases of custodial deaths were registered.
In February, Nityanand Rai told Parliament that 41 persons had died in the custody of police in the state over five years. Of these, eight deaths were recorded in 2021-22, eight in 2020-21, five in 2019-20, 11 in 2018-19 and 10 in 2017-18.
However, human right activists claim custodial deaths in Uttar Pradesh are much higher than the data given by the government.
"The administration considers only those who die in police custody but those who succumb to injuries in hospitals are considered natural deaths. Deaths under police custody in UP are more than any other state. Two people (Atiq-Ashraf) were killed in police custody on April 15 in Prayagraj by three assailants in full media view, but the administration won't consider those as deaths in police custody. Prisoners are dying every day due to police torture but as usual police claims natural death. This is how they manipulate the data but the reality of the state is not hidden," Rishi, a human rights activist told NewsClick.
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