A murder suspect was found hanging from a mango tree at Gangera village in Mandla district on Wednesday morning, even as his elder brother was hospitalised in a critical condition after consuming poison. The deceased and his brother were identified as Vijay Kumar (35) and Girish Kumar (45) respectively.
The incident created a flutter in the village, with residents alleging that the two took the extreme step after being harassed by police in connection with the murder of one Kamta Prasad on April 20.
“The police constantly harassed both my uncles in the name of investigating the murder. A few weeks ago, Anjaniya police personnel subjected them to electric shocks and forced them to sign on blank pages. The torture got so bad that suicide seemed like the only option for them,” alleged 20-year-old Abhilasha, Vijay and Girish’s niece.
Angry villagers blocked roads to demand action against cops
Angry villagers blocked roads to demand action against officers from the Anjaniya and Bamhani police stations, who allegedly drove the siblings to suicide. “Besides Vijay and Girish, dozens of other villagers have also been harassed by police in connection with the murder. Though villagers submitted memorandums against police harassment to the district collector and police superintendent in April and May, no action was taken,” Parul Pandey, a Janpad Panchayat member, said.
IG orders probe headed by ASP
Inspector general of police (Balaghat) DC Sagar has ordered a probe headed by the Mandla additional superintendent of police into the episode. “Both the siblings were suspects in Kamta Prasad’s murder, and their statements were recorded by Bamhani police a month ago. I have ordered this probe because the elder brother – who is currently hospitalised – has alleged police excesses against both of them,” he said.
Sagar said both Vijay and Girish had been at large ever since their statements were recorded in the murder case last month. “The matter is being investigated. A large number of police personnel have been deployed to prevent any disturbance in the village,” he added.
Villagers seek a judicial probe
The villagers, however, have refused to back down. They have sought a judicial probe into the matter, besides a guarantee that the hospitalised Girish will not be harassed anymore.
The protesters have also demanded that the police disclose the names of their informers in the village.