Balasore/Cuttack, Nov. 25: Two brothers allegedly set themselves on fire when police tried to arrest them early today. One of them has succumbed to his injuries.
The deceased, Sk Sadiq, 23, and his brother, Sk Sabir, 34, who is fighting for life at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, ran a gift shop in Balasore town. Police had come to arrest them following a complaint by their rival, Rahim Khan, who was also an agent for a chit fund company.
The incident took place around 4am when the cops barged into their Machchua Sahi residence in Balasore. On seeing the police, the brothers allegedly doused themselves in kerosene and struck a match.
Sadiq and Sabir were taken to Balasore Hospital with over 90 per cent burn injuries, from where they were referred to SCB Medical College. Sadiq died on the way to the hospital.
However, the victims’ father, Sk Goffar, said that it was the police who set his sons on fire.
But Tariq Ahmed, the inspector in-charge of Town police station, refuted this allegation. He said: “The two brothers sprinkled kerosene and set themselves on fire. When we saw them burning, we broke open the door of the house and rescued them.”
Ahmed said the police had gone to arrest the two brothers because they were accused of ransacking Rahim Khan’s shop and assaulting him and his employees.
The duo’s family members said the brothers had a long-standing quarrel with Rahim, who also owned a shop in the same locality. They had a fight with Rahim yesterday, following which the latter lodged a police complaint.
“Based on the complaint filed by Rahim, the cops had come to arrest my husband and brother-in-law. Though they were on fire, the cops dragged them into the police van without making any attempt to douse the flames,” said Arzu Biwi, wife of Sabir. She alleged that though her husband had also lodged a complaint against Rahim, no action was taken.
Another brother of Sabir, Sk Sahzad, said Sabir had lodged a complaint last year against a chit fund company called Mini India, of which Rahim was an agent. Sabir had invested nearly Rs 15,000 in the company but later discovered it to be a dubious set-up and lodged a complaint with the Balasore police.
“However, no action was taken either against the company or Rahim, through whom they had invested the money. On the other hand, at the instance of Rahim, the police registered cases against Sabir and Sadiq,” Sahzad said.
“We will meet higher officials of the police and human rights commission for a detailed investigation,” Sahzad said.
“We are probing the case from all angles and will take appropriate action,” said Balasore superintendent of police Amrita Dash.