50-year-old woman in Bihar dies in police lockup, SHO, IO suspended
A senior Bihar Police officer has sought a detailed report on the mysterious custodial death of a 50-year-old woman at Piro police station in state’s Bhojpur district on Sunday amid allegations that she was physically tortured for four days in illegal detention.
The local police claimed that the woman was detained in a murder case and hung herself inside the toilet adjacent to the lock-up inside the police station. She was immediately rushed to Sadar Hospital but was declared brought dead by the doctors, a police officer said, requesting not to be named.
Deceased’s brother said his sister and her son were detained by Piro police on September 8 in connection with the murder of a rural medical practitioner Mantosh Kumar Arya and that his sister was illegally kept at a women constable’s quarter in the premises of Piro police station instead of the women lockup for four days. He alleged that she was physically tortured by policemen and demanded registration of an FIR against the Piro police station chief and investigation officer (IO) of the murder case.
Explaining the reasons for the woman’s arrest, a local cop said she was detained after Mantosh’s body was recovered on September 1 following a missing complaint lodged by his family on August 29. He said at least six persons including the woman, her son, three cousins of Mantosh and the chief accused Birendra Ram were detained in the murder case on September 8.
The deceased was a mother of five including a daughter. Two of her children worked in a private company at Rajkot in Gujarat, while her husband worked at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.
Shahabad range deputy inspector general (DIG) P Kanan told HT on Monday that he has directed Bhojpur superintendent of police (SP) to immediately suspend the station house officer (SHO) and the case investigation officer (IO). Earlier, the SP had suspended three women cops responsible for keeping an eye on the deceased for dereliction of duty.
DIG has also sought an action taken report from Bhojpur police detailing incidents leading to the death of the woman, time and place of occurrence as well as the reason for her arrest or detention.
On Sunday evening, Bhojpur SP Vinay Tiwari, along with a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team, reached the spot and gathered details about the incident. The SP said that an inquiry had been ordered into alleged lapses in the handling of the murder case. He added that the chief judicial magistrate had been informed and proceedings were being carried out as per the law.
Meanwhile, political parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M), the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) CPI (ML) said that Bhojpur police’s action to “illegally” detain a woman, who did not have any criminal antecedent, in the police station for four days and subjecting her to physical torture cannot be termed as discharge of public duty. The opposition parties have termed it a case of misuse of powers.
On Monday. More than 50 residents from Mothi and neighbouring villages shouted slogans outside Piro police station demanding judicial probe into the incident. The protests started at 10 am and continued till 3 pm.