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3 car-lifters die in custody

Nagaon, Aug. 22: Three of six suspected car thieves arrested by Nagaon police died in custody last night, but officials denied they were victims of torture.

The district administration today instituted a magisterial inquiry into the circumstances leading to the custody deaths. The victims’ alleged accomplices are in hospital with serious injuries.

The police claimed that the three died at Nagaon Civil Hospital of injuries suffered while trying to flee. They allegedly attempted to flee while being brought to Nagaon from Burhapahar.

Wary of the possibility of censure by rights organisations, the police strictly adhered to the guidelines laid down by the National Human Rights Commission while getting post-mortem conducted on the bodies.

Deputy inspector-general of police (central western range) Pallab Bhattacharya said here this evening that there had been no digression from norms. “As the deaths occurred in police custody, it has become a matter of human rights. All the directives of the National Human Rights Commission have been followed. Video recording of the post-mortem has been done and a preliminary report has been sent to the Assam Human Rights Commission,” he said.

Post-mortem on the bodies was conducted in the presence of magistrate Nabajyoti Ojha.

The six suspected car-lifters had been taken into custody yesterday afternoon. The three who died were identified as Abdul Salem, Habibur Rehman and Khalilur Rahman.

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