Youth dies in custody,Kasganj cops claim he hanged himself from pipe in washroom

The police claimed that Altaf, 22, who was accused of eloping with a minor girl, strangulated himself using a string from his jacket hood in the washroom of the police lock-up; five cops suspended
The post-mortem report cited asphyxia as the cause of death, claimed police. (Pic for representation)
The post-mortem report cited asphyxia as the cause of death, claimed police. (Pic for representation)
Updated on Nov 11, 2021 02:18 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A youth called for interrogation at the Kasganj police station in an abduction case died in custody on Tuesday evening, with his family members alleging that he was killed by police personnel.

The police claimed that Altaf, 22, who was accused of eloping with a minor Hindu girl, had strangulated himself using a string from his jacket hood in the washroom of the police lock-up and said five policemen had been suspended for negligence in the wake of the incident.

The post-mortem report cited asphyxia as the cause of death, claimed police.

Prashant Kumar, ADG (law and order), UP Police, said on Wednesday that five police personnel were suspended for their negligence in the custody death case. “Judicial inquiry will be conducted into the incident and further course of action will be decided based on the findings,” he said.

Altaf, a resident of Ahroli village in Kasganj district, was working as a tile fixer. He was accused of abduction and eloping with a minor girl and a complaint in this regard had been filed by the girl’s family.

“A case was registered at the Sadar Kotwali police station of Kasganj under Sections 363 and 366 (kidnapping, abduction) of the IPC against Altaf who was taken into police custody for interrogation on Tuesday morning. During interrogation, the accused went to the washroom at the police station, where he hanged himself to death from the tap,” stated AK Singh, ASP.

“The accused was wearing a jacket with a hood and used its string which he tied to the tap in the toilet and hanged himself,” stated Singh.

He said the body of the accused was sent for a post-mortem examination, which was conducted by a panel of three doctors. “Asphyxia because of hanging has been cited as the cause of death in the post-mortem report. The body was handed over to family members who conducted the last rites on Wednesday,” added the ASP.

The five policemen suspended for laxity included in-charge of the police station Virendra Singh Indolia, sub-inspector Chandresh Gautam, sub- inspector Vikas Kumar, head moharrir Dhanendra Singh and constable Saurabh Solanki.

Family members of the deceased alleged that policemen from Sadar Kotwali police station picked Altaf in a case related to a missing girl. “We were assured that Altaf would return soon, but news about his death came,” said Chand Mian, father of the youth who died in police custody.

DOUBT OVER COPS’ THEORY

Though police maintained that Altaf hanged himself to death, there were doubts on this theory as the tap was of plastic and was at a low level in the toilet.

OPPN ATTACKS UP GOVT

Samajwadi Party president of Akhilesh Yadav raised suspicion over the sequence of events narrated by the Kasganj police. “The death of the youth in police custody appears suspicious. Suspension of a few cops in the name of negligence is an act of cover-up,” he stated in his tweet.

“There needs to be a judicial probe so that family members of the deceased can get justice and trust could be re-established in police under the BJP regime,” he added.

The Samajwadi Party took to Twitter to attack the Yogi Adityanath government, calling the incident another misdeed of UP’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 Samajwadi Party said in a tweet in Hindi.

With different communities involved, police took no chances and heavy force was deployed when Altaf’s body was taken through the roads of Kasganj city for burial on Wednesday. Additional police force, including the PAC from nearby districts, was called in.

The incident comes close on the heels of a sanitation worker, who was accused of stealing 25 lakh from Jagdishpura police station in Agra, dying in police custody after his health deteriorated during interrogation.

AIMIM FOR JUDICIAL PROBE

The All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (UP) condemned the incident in Kasganj and asserted that the “custodial death must be viewed as an extension of the rampant police killings of innocent Muslims, Dalits and tribals in the name of police encounters,” read a press statement by the AIMIM.

“Making a mockery of constitutional procedures and police code of conducts, chief minister Yogi Adityanath gives calls for ‘thok denge’, thereby giving a free hand to the police to kill. Our national president Asaduddin Owaisi said in his speech in Balrampur - of all the people encountered by the UP Police, 37% were Muslims,” stated the press statement.

The silence of the self-claimed secular parties on these killings reveals their lack of conviction in challenging the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh government on issues concerning Muslims and other marginalised groups, alleged AIMIM leaders.

AIMIM also demanded a judicial probe into the matter under a sitting high court judge along with reasonable compensation and government job to the next of kin of the deceased.

‘My son was innocent, brutally murdered’

“My son was innocent but was brutally murdered by them (police). I want justice for him. I had served him food. When he was about to have it, the police arrived. They asked him to come with them, not allowing him to put a morsel in his mouth,” said an inconsolable Fatima, mother of Altaf, who wants justice for her son.

“The policemen told me that he will be sent back in half an hour. Two hours passed but he did not return. I went to the police station with the food for him but they did not allow me to give it to him,” she added.

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Monday, November 29, 2021