A 19-year-old Dalit woman, suspected to have murdered her uncle over illicit sexual relations a week ago, was found hanging inside the toilet of Rewa district’s Mahila Thana on Saturday morning.
At the time that the incident took place, only a single woman constable Sandhya Verma was present at the police station.
According to inspector general of police (IG Rewa Range) Asutosh Rai, investigations suggest that the woman hanged herself in the toilet. Circumstantial evidence suggests that she inverted a metal bucket to stand on it, before hanging herself with her dupatta, which was tied around the toilet’s ventilator rod.
“CCTV footage retrieved from the police station has established that she was alive till 9.15 am and was talking sans any stress with the on-duty constable. She later went to the toilet after taking the metal bucket,” Rai said.
“When she didn’t come out for around 10 minutes, the constable rushed to the toilet and was shocked to find the woman hanging inside,” he said.
Rai further said that three staff members of the police station —an assistant sub-inspector, a head constable and Verma — have been suspended with immediate effect. Also, in conformity with established norms, a magisterial probe has been ordered into the death. The body has been sent for autopsy. The deputy SP (women cell-Rewa) has been ordered to conduct a departmental probe into the episode.
Since the Mahila Thana in-charge Sheila Kisputta was on leave at the time of the incident, no action has been initiated against her.
Meanwhile, the woman’s mother and brother have refuted that she committed suicide and have alleged that she was killed by the policemen inside the police station.
Box: The crime
On November 13, the remains of a human skeleton were found in Naubasta area of Rewa. Subsequent investigations revealed that the remains were of a 40-year-old man, whose body was burnt before being dumped at a desolate place.
Subsequently, the woman — the murder victim’s niece — and her mother and brother were questioned in detail at the Chorhata police station on Friday. During the interrogation, which has been video-graphed, the woman admitted to killing the man as he had been blackmailing her and had forced her into a sexual relationship.
The mother and brother were allowed to leave the police station on Friday night, while the woman was brought to the Mahila Thana for her safe custody. She was to be questioned by Chorhata police on Saturday about how she burnt the remains of her uncle after murdering him a week ago.