Two Men Tortured to Death in Bihar Police Custody, Probe Ordered
The custodial torture and death of the two men have led to widespread protests from Opposition parties in Bihar.
Two men, arrested in a case of robbery and murder, were allegedly tortured with nails hammered into their bodies, and they died in police custody in Sitamarhi on 7 March.
After their deaths, videos and photos of their bodies being washed before their burial revealed nail marks.
The families of the men have filed an FIR for their murder, and shared the pictures and videos as well, reported The Indian Express.
Sabbil Rooney, a college student, who is helping the families with the paperwork told The Indian Express, “We have filmed videos and have photographs of the injury marks caused by iron nails being hammered in. The nails were hammered into their thighs, soles and wrists. The legs of both victims were severely injured. We are waiting for the postmortem report for specific details.”
Five Policemen Suspended, No Arrests So Far
Five policemen have been suspended after the FIR was registered, although no policeman has been named in the FIR so far.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey confirmed the death and called it “unacceptable.”
“We suspended five policemen including Chandra Bhushan Singh, the officer-in-charge of Dumra police station, in Sitamarhi. They will also face departmental action. If they do not surrender, they can even face dismissal. We have issued a show-cause notice to Sitamarhi SP who has been transferred.”Gupteshwar Pandey
Alam and Ansari Die in Mysterious Circumstances
On 6 March, Gufran Alam (30) and Taslim Ansari (32) were reportedly picked up by the police from Ramdiha village, in connection with motorcycle theft and the murder of its owner Muzaffarpur resident Rakesh Kumar.
Ansari had a previous arrest record, and was out on bail after four criminal cases in East Champaran and Sitamarhi. However, it was Alam’s first arrest.
Alam is also the father of two children, Wakaf (5) and Neha Tarannum (3), reported The Indian Express.
“We were all asleep when five police jeeps from the local Chakiya police station stopped at our house and asked for Gufran. They said they wanted to question Gufran in connection with a case. Before we could ask anything, they took him away and later also picked up fellow villager Taslim Ansari.”Alam’s father Munnavar Ali told The Indian Express
Ansari’s father, Molazim Ansari added, “It was around 1:15 am when the police came. The policemen ransacked our house and took away Taslim who worked as a daily wager.”
“We have no ration card, no Indira Awas house. And even if my son faced a criminal case, it’s the court’s job to deliver the verdict. How can the police kill him like this? Is this the rule of law the chief minister has been talking about?”Molazim Ansari
Ali, his brother Sanawar Ali and other villagers reached the Chakiya police station around 3 am on 6 March, however they could not locate Alam or Ansari.
“We returned home and visited the police station again a few hours later. A local police informer told us that Gufran and Taslim were at Dumra police station. He got Sanawar Ali to speak with Gufran who could barely talk. He said that police had severely beaten him and broken his legs.”Munnavar Ali
The families of the two arrested men reached the police station on the evening of 6 March, and were told that the two men were dead and their postmortems were being processed.
“We saw only two women constables. When we asked about Gufran and Taslim, they sent us to Sadar Hospital. There, we were told that both were dead and their postmortem had been conducted. We were not allowed to see the bodies. The bodies were handed over to us the next day.”Gufran’s father-in-law Mohammed Ayub Alam
Custodial Death Leads to Widespread Protests
The deaths of the two men have led to protests ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Opposition parties in Bihar.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Left parties have demanded a judicial probe into the alleged murder of the two Muslim youths reported NewsClick.
Alam and Ansari’s family members have also asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ensure action and direct top police officers to handle the case against the accused policemen as they fear some police officers might suppress the case.
Incidentally, one of the prime accused in the case, Dumra police station's suspended SHO Chandra Bhushan Singh, escaped from police custody on Thursday, 7 March, reported The Times of India.
Sitamarhi SP D Amarkesh on Friday, 8 March, told The Times of India that Singh was arrested from Dumra police station area and was then kept in custody at Runnisaidpur police station.
“However, he managed to escape following which Runnisaidpur police station SHO Bhudev Das, an inspector rank officer, was also suspended.”D Amarkesh
Amarkesh added that Singh is now accused in another FIR lodged with Runnisaidpur police station for escaping from police custody.
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