Calcutta, Aug. 1: A young man who spent four days in police custody in mid-July after being picked up for an alleged theft died yesterday following a bout of severe stomach pain.
Residents of Jheel Road in north Calcutta, where 20-year-old Mohammad Roshan lived, said it was a result of brutal torture in the Cossipore police station lock-up.
Roshan was arrested on June 14 on charges of trying to sneak into a house. He was taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital 15 days later — on Saturday — when the pain, which he had been feeling since being released on bail, became excruciating.
Neighbours said that after being released on July 19, Roshan returned home with high fever and complained of burning pain in his stomach. He also apparently said that a sub-inspector beat him up throughout his custody period to extract a confession .
A local youth who did not want to be named fearing police harassment said: “Roshan told his father Mohammad Yusuf that he was unable to stand up and felt he would become unconscious because of the pain.”
“For the next few days, he remained confined to bed, barely managing to limp to toilet. The sub-inspector had kicked him in the stomach repeatedly, trying to force a confession of criminal links,” said the owner of a tea stall on Jheel Road.
The residents blocked Cossipore Road for about an hour this morning in protest. The blockade was called off only after senior police officers assured them of an inquiry.
“Roshan was severely tortured by the police in total disregard of human rights. The incident is a blot on Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s force,” said Trinamul Congress MLA Sadhan Pandey, who went to the locality during the agitation.
The principal of RG Kar Medical College Utpal Dutta said Roshan died of “acute renal failure and meningo-encephalitis”.
Meningo-encephalitis cannot result from injuries, said a city doctor. There is only a remote possibility of external injuries triggering renal failure.
Roshan’s body has been sent for post-mortem.
“Our records suggest, he was a thief with a criminal past. Neither the arrest memo nor documents produced before court reveal that Roshan had injuries on his body after arrest,” an assistant commissioner of police said.
Deputy commissioner (headquarters) P.K. Chatterjee added: “There was no complaint against the police after he was released on bail. Suddenly, we have an allegation that there was police excess. However, since there is an allegation we have started a probe.”