22-year-old dies in UP police custody, 5 cops suspended
A 22-year-old man called for questioning in a kidnapping case died at Kasganj police station in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, prompting his family to allege that he was killed by cops and the Opposition to call the death “very suspicious”.
The police, however, claimed that Altaf had strangled himself using the string of his jacket’s hood in the washroom of the police lockup. Five cops have been suspended for negligence.
The Opposition Samajwadi Party attacked the Yogi Adityanath government for “yet another custodial death”, alleging that criminals and the police were executing an “encounter” of law and order in Uttar Pradesh under the BJP.
Samajwadi president Akhilesh Yadav termed the death “suspicious” and demanded a judicial probe.
Akhilesh tagged a portion of a news report that claimed: “Bad script is written in UP.” The report claimed that while Altaf was 5ft 6in, the tap from which the police claimed he hung himself was only 2ft above the ground. The report carried a purported picture of the tap.
Last month, a Dalit youth named Arun Valmiki had died in police custody in Agra after his arrest on theft charges. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had said Arun’s family had told her that he had been mercilessly assaulted in custody and also administered electric shock. The police had said he died of a heart attack.
In Kasganj, police superintendent Rohan Pramod Botre said on Wednesday that Altaf, a resident of the Nagla Syed locality, had been called for questioning at the local police station the day before in connection with a case related to IPC Sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her marriage).
“During interrogation, he requested the policemen to let him go to the washroom and was allowed to use the one inside the lockup,” Botre said.
“He was wearing a black jacket. He tried to strangulate himself with the string of the hood that he had tied to the tap of the toilet. When he did not return for some time, the policemen went inside and found him unconscious. He was rushed to the community health centre at Ashok Nagar in Kasganj, where he died,” the SP added.
A post-mortem is being conducted, the officer said.
“The lax policemen will be punished. We have suspended five policemen,” Botre said.
Altaf’s family alleged that he was killed by the police.
Former chief minister Akhilesh said in a tweet in Hindi: “The death of the youth called for interrogation at the police station is very suspicious. In the name of laxity, suspension of some policemen is mere eyewash. In this case, a judicial probe should be conducted to generate confidence in the police in the BJP regime.”
He ended his tweet with the hashtag “BJPKHATAM (BJP is finished)”.
The Samajwadi Party also took to Twitter to attack the Adityanath government, calling the incident another misdeed of Uttar Pradesh’s “thoko (trigger-happy) police”.
“In UP, under the patronage of the chief minister, criminals and police are committing an encounter of law and order. The guilty policemen should face a murder case and must be punished,” the party tweeted in Hindi.