The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This PagePrint This Page
Custody deaths blame on police

Malda, Sept. 24: A voluminous inquiry report on the lock-up deaths, turned over to the human rights commission by the district magistrate, tells a sordid tale of police wrong-doing, including denial of water to the accused who had “quenched their thirst drinking their urine”.

The 112-page report, prepared by two magistrates on the basis of interviews they had conducted in the past one month, squarely blames the police for the deaths of the two accused in the Malda court lock-up on August 1.

It says that both men, arrested on charges of petty crime, had died three to four hours before they were taken to hospital. This belies the police claim that they had died on way to hospital.

The report containing copies of the post-mortem findings says 262 accused, picked up in a districtwide round-up, were packed like sardines into the windowless lock-up that had the capacity of holding up to 50. The men had been left baking inside the steamy enclosure.

Since the lock-up did not have toilets, the accused, kept waiting for hours, relieved themselves on the floor. The men gasped for fresh air and asked for water, but the policemen guarding the cell flatly refused, the report says.

The police came up with water only after they were offered money. But in some cases, the investigating magistrates found, they had not provided water even after pocketing the money.

The report recounts that some of the men had been so thirsty, they “even drank their urine to quench their thirst”. The magistrates stumbled upon the sordid information while interviewing the accused who had been in the cell.

The magistrates — Ajay Ghosh and Amitabha Sengupta — found hat many of the accused had had passed out but the policemen were unmoved.

Email This PagePrint This Page