Man dies in police custody on way to court in Bihar; family alleges torture

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A 50-year-old man, arrested in a 12-year-old case related to the assault of a neighbour, died in police custody in Sitamarhi district of Bihar on Sunday evening.

The victim has been identified as Nageshwar Rai, a resident of Ranjitpur village under Punaura police station. Alleging torture by the police, the victim’s family members and neighbours attacked the Sadar hospital and damaged half a dozen vehicles, including an ambulance.

The police, however, said he was ill and suddenly fell unconscious on the way to Dumra civil court. He was immediately rushed to the Dumra primary health centre where the doctor referred him to Sadar hospital. Rai was declared dead on his arrival.

Dinesh Ram, the SHO of the Punaura police station, said the court had issued an arrest warrant against Rai, which was pending for execution. The police arrested him at around 2pm as per the court order.

Late on Sunday, the villagers came to know that Rai died in police custody and his body was taken away somewhere. Soon hundreds of villagers gheraoed the police station for an hour, demanding to know the whereabouts of Rai.

Meanwhile, a police officer informed them that Rai was brought dead to the Sadar hospital which escalated the tension. The irate villagers and family members entered the hospital premises and started pelting stones.

As the situation worsened, Sadar SDO Rakesh and SDPO Ramakant Upadhyay with additional police force rushed to the spot and dispersed the irate mob.

Deceased’s brother Ajay Kumar has alleged that Rai died due to torture by policemen.

Sitamarhi SP Anil Kumar said that necessary action would be taken against the police official if they are found guilty. He said that Rai’s autopsy will be carried out by the medical board.

Civil surgeon Rakesh Chandra Sahay Verma said postmortem examination was done by a board of at least three doctors preferably from three different institutions. “The post mortem has also been videographed,” he added.

Earlier in March 2019, two persons from Chakia in East Champaran district died allegedly due to police torture in Dumra police station.