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Five policemen suspended for custodial death of farmer

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Jodhpur: Five policemen, including a Station House Officer, were suspended today after a 35-year-old farmer died allegedly in police custody.

A case has been registered against SHO of Bhopalgarh police station here and four others under various sections of the IPC, including 302 (punishment for murder), Superintendent of Police (Jodhpur Rural) Harendra Kumar.

Besides this, two separate inquiries have also been initiated against them by a judicial magistrate and CID-CB to ascertain the cause of death, he said.

According to Kumar, Omaram Khoja had gone to the village Grid Sub Station (GSS) on Wednesday night to register a complaint against incessant power cuts.

“He had a tiff with the GSS staff and following their complaint, Bhopalgarh police headed by the SHO Shivlahari Meena rushed to the spot and arrested him, he said, adding they took the farmer to the police station, where his condition deteriorated.

Thereafter, he was rushed to the hospital and was declared dead, the SP said.

Referring to the cause of death, Kumar said it could either be due to cardiac arrest or the injuries sustained during the scuffle with the GSS staff.

“The reason will be ascertained after the postmortem report and the two inquiries,” the official said.

Soon after the incident, the enraged villagers had assembled at the police station to demand compensation for the family of the deceased and appeal for action against the policemen.

The villagers had also refused to take Khoja’s body and entire market was shut till Wednesday evening.

District magistrate and the IGP (Jodhpur) tried to pacify the protesters and decided to suspend the five policemen and replace the entire staff of the police station.

He also assured a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased.

Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot condemned the incident and said the law and order situation in the state has been completely derailed in the BJP rule.

“Since the BJP government came to power, record incidents are happening, be it custodial death, rape with minors or rape of a woman in front of her husband. We did not hear such incidents in the state before,” Gehlot said.

He alleged that criminals are escaping from police custody but the the government is sitting idle.

“Former MLA Gurusharan Chhabra sat on a hunger strike in public interest but Raje never met him and he had to lose his life in the strike,” Gehlot said, terming the Raje government a shameless government.

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