Rajasthan lawyer, 47, dies by suicide; family accuses police of harassment
The family of the lawyer have refused to accept his body and are demanding action against the policemen and announcement of ₹1 crore compensation for the family
JAIPUR: A 47-year-old lawyer in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district died by suicide on Monday, prompting his family and the district’s lawyers to blame local police officers for the death. They said the police had been harassing the lawyer over a campaign that he launched this year against drug peddling in the area.
Ramesh Saraswat, president of the district’s bar association, said the deceased had started a campaign against drugs in view of the increasing number of cases. “But the police bashed him with sticks and lodged a case. Police have denied hitting him but I saw injury marks on him. Today our colleague is no longer with us because of the police,” he said.
Police have filed a first information report (FIR) for abetment to suicide against the police station in-charge on a complaint by his wife at the New Mandi police station in Ghadsana. His family has refused to cremate the lawyer till the government takes action against the policemen, announces a ₹1 crore compensation for the family and promises a government job to a family member. Lawyers in the district’s Anupgarh have also gone on strike to pressure the administration.
Sri Ganganagar superintendent of police (SP) Anand Sharma said the administration was in talks with the family to persuade them to conduct the last rites.
Asked about the allegations against the policemen, Sharma said the lawyer brought three boys to the police on April 17, alleging that they were selling drugs but nothing was found on them. The boys were released after keeping them overnight at the police station. The following day, the lawyer again caught hold of the three and created a ruckus at the police station that led the police to arrest eight people including the lawyer.
The boys also filed a complaint against the lawyer, accusing him of extorting money from them. Sharma said they submitted CCTV footage to back up their allegation of having been beaten by the lawyer and an online transfer of ₹8,000. The advocate approached a court where the evidence was presented. Meanwhile, two of his associates, who were there protesting with him, were caught in Punjab with drugs.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cited the suicide to attack the Ashok Gehlot government.
In a tweet, BJP state president Satish Poonia described drug addiction as one of the challenges before the Rajasthan government. The Gharsana lawyer was raising public awareness and fighting against this menace and has been forced to commit suicide.
BJP MLA from Anupgarh, Santosh Bawri said the police officers “were guilty”. “We are demanding that the entire police station be suspended, and the family be given compensation and a job. Till he is not given justice, our fight will continue,” Bawri said.
CPM leader and former Anupgarh legislator Pawan Duggal alleged that the police arrested him three months ago and thrashed him, leading the lawyer to file a case against the police on court orders. “Thereafter the police tortured and pressured him, because of which he committed suicide”, he said, backing the demand for compensation and a job for a family member in addition to arrest of the police officers concerned.