In Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, anger is simmering as people have been protesting since the last two days, demanding justice and stern action against policemen in the alleged murder of two Muslim youths in police custody. Protesters have also demanded a high-level probe into it.
However, the district police in a ritualistic action has suspended eight police men including the Station House Office of Dumra police station (where the incident happened) and ordered a probe by police itself.
Mohammad Taslim, 35 and Mohammad Gufran, 30, residents of Ramdiha village under Chakia police station in East Champaran district were picked up by a police team from Sitamarhi on Tuesday night (March 5) for questioning in connection with their suspected involvement in a loot and murder case last month. After that, Taslim and Gufran were detained in Dumra police station, where they were allegedly tortured and mercilessly beaten by the police to accept their involvement in the loot and murder case, finally leading to their death. Taslim and Gufran died within 20 hours after being detained by the police, raising serious questions on the police and embarrassing the state government.
“Police on Wednesday beat Gufran and Taslim till they were half dead and lost consciousness. After that, they admitted the two of them to a hospital but soon after both succumbed to their internal injuries. It is a clear case of murder by police in police custody. How did the two of them, who were healthy a day before detaining, died in police custody?” Manawar Ali, Gufran’s father told NewsClick.
Manawar Ali said his son Gufran, who is survived by two minor children and his wife, was innocent and that there is no case lodge against him in any police station in the district. He said, “Gufran died in police custody after being beaten badly for not accepting his involvement in a case in which he was not at all involved.”
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Meanwhile, no local police officers are ready to say anything, most of them are not even receiving telephone calls. But they still maintained that two youths died in mysterious conditions in police custody. Sitamarhi Superintendent of Police D Amarkesh said, “A police team picked up both Taslim and Gufran on the basis of some inputs about their involvement in a loot and murder case.”
However, the post mortem report submitted to the district magistrate today, stated that the two victims were physically tortured, leading to their death. Dr Abdul Basit, who was present at the hospital said that there were several injuries on the bodies of Tasleem and Gufran. He added, “Both were unconscious and were probably in a coma when the police brought them to the hospital. They were brought at 4.24 pm and Gufran died at 5.05 pm and Tasleem died soon after.”
Gufran had returned to his native village just two months ago from an Arab country, where he was working for the last four years. He was about to leave for Mumbai after Holi to rejoin work in that country.
“Gufran was the only bread earner in our family. He was a gentle son. But police snatched my happiness and the future of his wife and children,” a crying Anwari Begum, Gufran’s mother, said.
His wife Shabnam told NewsClick in a voice choking with emotions, “He was neither a terrorist nor a criminal. He was a common man. Will government return my husband and the father of two small children? Who will look after them now?”
After the incident came to the limelight and protests by different social outfits and political parties, an FIR was lodged against the suspended policemen including Dumra police station SHO Chandrabhusan Kumar Singh on the basis of Manawar Ali’s statement.
Villagers admitted that there were criminal cases lodged against Taslim in the past.
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After Gufran and Tasleem’s body arrived in their native village on early Thursday morning, villagers started shouting slogans against the police and the state government. Angry villagers also blocked NH 28 for more than five hours. The protest ended only after Superintendent of Police Upender Kumar Sharma assured them that justice will be made in the case.
Ruling JD-U MLC Khalid Anwar, who visited the victims’ village, informed the villagers that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has taken cognizance of the case. He said, “No one who is guilty would be spared. If East Champaran policemen are found guilty in the case, action will be taken against them also.”
Faisal Rahman, RJD MLA from Dhaka seat in East Champaran, Akhtarul Islam Shaheen, RJD MLA from Samastipur district and party in charge of Sitamarhi, have demanded a judicial probe into the case.
Hundreds of RJD leaders and workers along with supporters took out a candle light march in Sitamarhi on Thursday night to protest against the murder of two youths in police custody. All India Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen activists also took out a candle light march and burnt the effigy of Nitish Kumar.
Sitamarhi Sangharsh Samiti president Sham Shahnawaz has demanded that the National Minority Commission conduct an impartial and a high-level investigation into it for ensuring justice to the families of the two victims.
All the accused police men including the SHO are absconding to avoid arrest. “All accused policemen will be arrested and raids are being carried for it,” Nilesh Kumar Azad, who was posted as Dumra SHO after the accused SHO was suspended.
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