Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday rejected allegations that a 15-year-old Dalit boy died in police custody, saying available information showed he had committed suicide.
“The post mortem report will throw light on why the suicide took place and for what reasons,” he told reporters after the victim’s family alleged that the boy was beaten up by police and died in custody after being accused of stealing a pigeon.
“Whosoever is responsible will not be spared and strict action will be taken,” he said as his government came under attack over the incident and the recent killing of two Dalit children in Faridabad.
According to Sonepat superintendent of police (SP) Abhishek Garg, members of the ‘gadia lohar’ (ironsmiths) community had approached the Sonepat Police charging the boy with the theft of a pigeon and demanded appropriate action. When the family went to visit the boy at the station, they were told had he had broken free and was on the run, report said.
Khattar backed the police saying they merely resolved the dispute at the police station and that the minor was not questioned by the police.
“There was no questioning (of the minor boy). He himself went to the police station. One family went with the complaint where matter was resolved. After the matter was resolved, they went to their house and during night suicide took place, as per unofficial information,” he said.
Two policemen at the Gohana police station have been booked for murder and for allegedly committing atrocities on Dalits
The chief minister announced that one member of the victim’s family will be given a job, apart from the compensation. On Thursday, the boy’s family had clashed with the police in Gohana as they placed his body on the road, protesting and demanding action against the “erring cops”.
Sources, meanwhile, told Hindustan Times that the autopsy report indicated that the boy died due to hanging.
“We have submitted the report. He died due to hanging and there were no injury marks on the body,” a senior doctor, who conducted the post-mortem at Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Rohtak, said.
The incident comes at a time when the state government is facing flak over the incident in Faridkot earlier this week, when two Dalit children were burnt alive allegedly by upper caste men.
Asked about opposition charge of lawlessness in the state, Khattar asserted that there was no problem of law and order and that issues were being unnecessarily exaggerated
“There is no problem at all. The law and order situation is good and peace is maintained. But giving individual incidents a casteist colour is wrong,” he said.
The CM also said he has held Scheduled Caste Welfare committee meetings in all the districts after a gap of two years, to discuss more security for Dalits..
(With inputs from PTI)