The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Undertrial kin cry foul over hospital death

The death of 38-year-old detainee Ashoke Dey Sarkar at MR Bangur Hospital in Tollygunge, on Monday morning, sparked trouble as his relatives held the authorities of Presidency jail, where he was lodged, responsible for his death.

They alleged that Ashoke had either been beaten up by jail staff or by other inmates. Signs of internal haemorrhage were found in his head, which led to his death, doctors said.

As the news spread, angry relatives rushed to the hospital compound and raised a hue and cry, demanding punishment of the jail authorities and those responsible for the death.

Till Monday evening, they staged a demonstration at the hospital, shouting slogans all the while. Later, policemen went to the hospital and brought the situation under control.

Officers of Narkeldanga police station had arrested Ashoke on Dashami (October 5) at his Narkeldanga North Road residence in connection with a murder. “Initially, he was remanded in police custody and kept in the lock-up of Narkeldanga police station. Later, the court sent him to Presidency jail,” said an official of Narkeldanga police station.

When Ashoke was rushed to hospital on Saturday night, he was unconscious. Doctors soon admitted him. “He was kept under observation throughout Sunday. But his condition started deteriorating late last night. He was not responding to treatment. He died early this morning,” said a doctor at MR Bangur.

As news of Ashoke’s death reached the Narkeldanga area, people from his neighbourhood rushed to the hospital and started shouting at the hospital staff.

Later, however, their focus shifted to the jail authorities, who were squarely blamed for assaulting the undertrial. Panic-stricken staff of the hospital locked themselves inside wards and sent an SOS to the police to help them.

“It seems he was beaten up by the jail staff. Even if other inmates had beaten him up, the jail authorities cannot deny their responsibility. Whatever happened in jail is the result of negligence on the part of jail authorities,” said Papia Dey Sarkar, the victim’s wife, adding: “We have seen marks of injury on his body and head. He was, undoubtedly, beaten up ruthlessly.”

However, the Presidency jail authorities denied any responsibility for the death. “He slipped off the staircase and fell. He had to be hospitalised when he lost consciousness. There is no information about him either being beaten up or tortured,” said one of the jail staff.

Crossover arrests: Twenty Bangladeshi nationals and three Indian touts were arrested at Champadali, in Barasat, on Sunday night for attempting to cross the Indo-Bangladeshi border without valid documents. Police said all 23, mostly men, were travelling from Mumbai to Swarupnagar, in Basirhat.

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