Kasganj: Allegations of Custodial Torture Surface After Dalit Youth's 'Attempted Suicide'
Image for representational purpose. Courtesy: The Telegraph
Lucknow: The critical condition of a dalit youth, who was called to Uttar Pradesh’s Amanpur Police Station of Kasganj district in connection with the kidnapping of a minor girl, has triggered allegations of custodial torture against the police. The girl had gone missing from near her house on February 2 and was found two days later. The youth reportedly attempted to take his own life.
The situation took an ugly turn on Saturday afternoon when family members and villagers came to know about the youth's alleged suicide. A mob reportedly resorted to pelting stones at the police station following the critical condition of the youth. Police lathi-charged to disperse the crowd after it allegedly went out of control, leaving several injured.
The situation was restored to normal when a senior police officer arrived at the spot, assuring stern action against the accused cops. Later, the Kasganj police on Saturday lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified policemen and two others in connection with the “attempted suicide” of the 24-year-old dalit youth.
"A youth tried to commit suicide in police custody. In the case, Inspector Yatindra Pratap and Gaya Prasad, who were investigating the case, were suspended, with immediate effect. The preliminary investigation of the case has been handed over to additional superintendent of police Jitendra Kumar Dubey for a comprehensive investigation into the entire incident," said Superintendent of Police, Kasganj, Aparna Rajat Kaushik, speaking to NewsClick.
An FIR accessed by NewsClick confirmed that a case has been made against unidentified policemen and two relatives of the girl, who are also dalit, citing Sections 343 (wrongful confinement for three or more days) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The complaint has been filed by the youth’s father.
On February 3, Gaurav (24), a native of Raslua Sulhapur village, was picked up by the police for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping case. However, he was kept at the police station for a week despite the missing girl being found two days later. Depressed Gaurav allegedly attempted to hang himself from the washroom at the police station on Saturday. Thereafter, he was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared his condition to be critical.
The youth’s family claimed that he had been held by the police since February 2 on dubious grounds and they did not release him even after the girl was found.
"My son was illegally kept in police custody for a week. The investigating officers tortured and tried to make him confess to a crime which he never committed. My son cannot attempt suicide," said Raghuraj Singh, father of Gaurav, adding that despite repeated requests, police did not let them meet Gaurav at the police station.
He further added, "We went to the police station every day to meet our son but were not allowed to have a glimpse of him. Why was he kept in police custody after the girl was found?”
Accusing the cops of torture, the deceased father said, "Like every other day, I along with my relatives went to the police station to meet my son. The cops informed me that Gaurav tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with a muffler. We saw him lying on a stretcher with eyes closed."
They said Gaurav has no criminal history. The youth and his father work as labourers.
Kasganj made national headlines in 2021 when a Muslim youth arrested by the state police on suspicion of eloping with a Hindu woman allegedly died in police custody.
The family of the deceased had alleged that he was tortured by police in the 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.
In 2022, Uttar Pradesh topped the charts across the country in cases of custodial murders. As per GoI data, Uttar Pradesh recorded 451 custodial deaths in 2020-21, the number accelerated to 501 in 2021-22.
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