Four Deaths in 10 Days: Who Were the Men Who Died in a Bengal Correctional Home?

The police have called this an unfortunate coincidence, but their kin allege that they were tortured in custody.

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Four Deaths in 10 Days: Who Were the Men Who Died in a Bengal Correctional Home?
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Four men, all arrested on similar charges but separate cases, remanded to judicial custody in the same correctional home, died in custody, with alleged torture marks all over their body – all within the span of 10 days.

The families of all four men allege foul play and that they were tortured while they were in custody. The police however have refuted the claims and called it an “unfortunate coincidence”.

A CID probe has been initiated to investigate the deaths. The four families have also been given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each and a government job to one family member by the District Magistrate of South 24 Parganas, after consulting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

On 8 August, The Wire reported that four Muslim men had died in the Baruipur correctional home in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas, within a span of 10 days. The report further stated that the families of all four men had alleged foul play in their deaths.



The Quint reached out to the Baruipur police for a comment on the allegations. A senior Baruipur police official on the condition of anonymity told The Quint that the four men who died were not tortured in any way, when they were at the Baruipur police station.

They said that they can’t comment on what happened at the correctional home as it is outside their jurisdiction. So far, no police official has come on the record to comment on this incident. This copy will be updated once the police issue a formal response.

Meanwhile on social media, Baruipur police have called the news of custodial deaths at the police station as 'fake'.

We cannot lay a hand on inmates these days. We are not allowed to.
Senior Baruipur Police Official

The Quint reached out to the kin of the deceased, the lawyers handling the case, the police and the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) who had sent a fact-finding mission to investigate the incident.

Here are some details on the four victims.

Abdul Rajjak Dewan

Abdul Rajjak, 34, was a chicken trader who used to trade in Jharkhand but had come back home because of the heat. He was slated to go back to Jharkhand when he was picked up from his residence in Kuruli by four-five cops on 24 July.

His family told The Quint, “He was arrested for buying a stolen phone many years ago but had gotten bail in the case. They picked him up citing that old case.”

They further alleged that this wasn’t the first time he was picked up by the Baruipur police. They tell The Quint that the police would often ask him to become an informer for them, which he refused, so the police would pick him up every now and then.


He was charged under sections 399 and 402 of the IPC (preparation and assembly to commit dacoity) and remanded to 14-days judicial custody. When his wife Suhana Bibi visited him on 27 July, he seemed healthy. Bibi had packed food from home and handed it over to Rajjak on that day.

Two days later, local police visited their residence to tell the family that he was unwell and needed to be admitted to the hospital. They found him dead upon visiting the hospital. Rajjak’s uncle Sirajul Rajjak Dewan claimed that one of the hospital staff told him that he was already dead when he was brought to the hospital.

Upon inspecting the body, Sirajul claims he saw several torture marks all over the body and blood in the mouth, and parts of his body were swollen.

The additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) had ordered for post-mortem of the body in the presence of two family members, along with videography, at the police morgue in Kolkata’s Muhammad Ali Park.


Sirajul claims that at the morgue, during the inquest, he was called in to identify the body in front of the camera and then asked to leave. He alleges that the postmortem was done in his absence. Baruipur police officials told The Quint that family members were present during the post-mortem video and that it is recorded on camera.

The body was handed over to them after the post-mortem. Sirajul confirmed that incision marks were found on the body which suggested that the post-mortem was done. He further claimed that the cops told him that the report can take anywhere between two weeks to three months.

Dewan leaves behind his wife, and two young daughters who are aged 10 and four respectively.

Jia-ul Laskar

Jia-ul Laskar, 36, was an auto-rickshaw driver from Subhas Palli, who would drive along the Baruipur-Canning route. On the evening of 25 July, he told his family that he was going to meet a friend. He didn’t come back home that night and didn’t answer calls from his family either.

When his wife Sabera Bibi visited the police station the next morning, she discovered that Laskar had been arrested along with two of his friends by Baruipur police on grounds of conspiring to commit dacoity. She further alleges that Laskar was beaten by the cops.

He was remanded to judicial custody for 28 days and taken to the Baruipur correctional home. The police have alleged that both Rajjak and Laskar were involved with drugs.

His wife claims that he was doing alright when she met him in custody on 27 July. The APDR fact-finding team claims that Laskar had called his wife through a smuggled phone from the jail and asked her to transfer Rs 3000 which would ensure that he can spend his time in custody comfortably and get good food. She had sent the money in two installments.

They too allegedly found the body with torture marks all over.


Laskar’s two friends who had been arrested along with them have been released on bail. Tonoy Bhattacharya, the advocate who is representing Sabera Bibi, the two friends told him that Laskar died in custody because of the torture inflicted upon him.

The ACJM served a show-cause notice to the jail superintendent of the Baruipur correctional home for not complying with a court order that had asked for a post-mortem in the presence of the family members and a magistrate. The notice further asked why the post-mortem report was not submitted to the ACJM.

The ACJM has asked for another post-mortem. The investigating officer was also sent a notice to explain why due diligence was not followed.

Akbar Khan

According to his family, Akbar Khan, 40, had not come back home for 10-12 days. His family alleges that they did not know that he was arrested. On August 2, local police informed them that he had passed away.


Advocate Asfak Ahmed tells The Quint that he too was arrested on suspicion of dacoity. The family alleges that they found his body with torture marks and that they haven’t been given a post-mortem report yet.

Saidul Munshi

Saidul Munshi, 34, was arrested on 25 July and remanded to judicial custody at the Baruipur correctional home. His family claims that he seemed healthy when they met him on 27 July.

His family further claims that he was admitted to a hospital without informing them, on 1 August. His kin found him lying on the bathroom floor of the hospital on 2 August, with torture marks all over his body. Despite asking for immediate treatment, the family claims that they were informed by hospital staff that there were no ICU beds available. They further allege that the police denied them permission to take him to a private hospital. He died at the hospital shortly after.

As of now, none of the families have received post-mortem reports. Advocate Ahmed has offered the families legal support and is preparing to submit a petition for an independent inquiry into the cases.

In an unrelated incident, Dipankar Saha, 34, a resident of South Kolkata has died after he was allegedly tortured in custody by Golf Green police. He was picked up by the police on 31 July and was released a few hours later. He passed away on August 4 at MR Bangur Hospital a day after he fell sick. This incident has caused public outrage and parties including CPI-M, BJP and Congress have taken to the streets to protest.

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Topics:  West Bengal   Custodial Deaths 

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