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Sitamarhi Custodial Deaths of Muslim Youth: 8 Bihar Policemen Still Absconding

Six days later, Bihar Police claims raids are being conducted but are yet to arrest their accused colleagues as no arrest warrants have been issued.
Sitamarhi Custodial Deaths of Muslim Youth: 8 Bihar Policemen Still Absconding

PATNA: Six days after two Muslim youths died in police custody allegedly following physical torture, eight policemen accused in this case are still absconding. Police claimed that raids were being conducted to arrest them.

What has exposed the non-seriousness of the Bihar police is that no arrest warrant has been issued against the absconding policemen, who were suspended after there was a hue and cry demanding action against them.

”No arrest warrant has been issued against absconding policemen. But police have been trying to arrest them” Navlsh Kumar Azad, who was posted as Dumra SHO after the accused SHO was suspended along with seven other policemen last week, told Newsclick.

This official admitted that police was under pressure to act against the accused policemen in connection with the death of two youths in police custody. ”A new Sitamarhi superintendent of police is posted now and he will look into the matter “, he said.

Azad said till date the district police was pursuing the case under guidelines of the police headquarters.

As Opposition demand grows for the arrest of the accused policemen in Sitamarhi, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Left parties have demanded a judicial probe into alleged murder of two Muslim youths in police custody in Sitamarhi.

Family members of the two deceased youths have urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to direct top police officers to ensure action against the accused policemen. They have also expressed fear that some police officers may try to suppress the case.

It is official now that physical torture, brutality and laxity of police and incompetence of police officers were behind the murder of two youths.

None other than district magistrate of Sitamarhi, Ranjeet Kumar Singh, said that the autopsy report of the two youths who died in police custody confirmed that they were beaten and physically tortured by the police. Inspector General (IG) of Police Tirhut zone, N H Khan, in a strongly-worded confidential report to the state government on Friday recommended action against Sitamarhi superintendent of police D Amarkesh, who was transferred on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, SHO of Runnisaidpur police station Bhudev Das was suspended by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Ravindra Kumar Sing for negligence on duty that led to the escape of the eight suspended policemen, including SHO of Dumra police station.

The Case

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. Both were detained in Dumra police station, where they were allegedly tortured and mercilessly beaten by the police, who allegedly forced them to accept their involvement in the loot and murder case, finally leading to their death. Both died within 20 hours after being detained by the police, raising serious questions on the police’s approach and embarrassing the Nitish Kumar government.

In his report, Khan stated that Sitamarhi was a communally-sensitive place and a competent SP was required to bring the situation back to normalcy. He also mentioned that he has got a confidential report from the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Ravindra Kumar Singh that things might go out of control if the SP is not removed.

According to police officials, the DIG in his report to the IG directly blamed the SP for having no control over his subordinates and misleading his seniors about the incident, ”The DIG had asked to the SO to confine the erring policemen, including suspended SHO Chandra Bhushan Singh, into police custody, but the SP instead gave them enough time to escape.”

Sources in the police headquarters in Patna told Newsclick that in view of the Lok Sabha polls, there was pressure to arrest all eight accused policemen in the case. "Police teams have been carrying raids to arrest them and the accused policemen would be charge-sheeted and dismissed from service".

Another FIR was lodged against the suspended policemen in connection with their escape from Runnisaidpur police station.

The incident has spurred a political controversy ahead of the Lok Sabah polls with protests by different social outfits and political parties. On Saturday, an all-party meeting meeting in Sitamarhi demanded a high-level probe by a retired judge of Patna High Court into custodial death of Taslim and Gufran.

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