A letter demanding to constitute a special investigation team in the custodial death of a 22-year old boy, Altaf in Uttar Pradesh (UP) was sent to the chief justice of Allahabad High Court on Wednesday. The letter, posted by the Bar & Bench, a media organisation that deals with legal matters, stated that it is a violation of article 21 of the constitution.
Earlier five policemen were placed under suspension after the 22-year-old man ”killed himself” by hanging himself from a string attached to his jacket in the police station washroom, according to the police statement on Tuesday night.
The man, Altaf, had been brought to the police station on Tuesday morning for questioning in a case filed last week in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a woman and forced marriage.
In a video statement released on Twitter on Wednesday, Kasganj superintendent of police Rohan Pramod Bothre claimed the man asked to use the toilet at the police station. When he did not return after a few minutes, the cops went inside the toilet.
“He was wearing a black jacket and it appears he hooked the string, attached to the hood of the jacket, to a tap in the washroom and tried to strangle himself. He was brought out unconscious and taken to the hospital. He died within 5-10 minutes,” Bothre said.
The five policemen suspended in the case have been accused of ‘negligence’, according to a statement.
“The police says that the deceased took out the drawstring from the hood of the jacket and hanged himself from the tap of the bathroom. Clearly, the drawstring which is used in the hood is very small in size and thickness and cannot bear the heavyweight, and that the tap of the bathroom is at a height of the waist,” the letter posted by Bar & Bench stated reacting to the police’s statement.
Meanwhile, Altaf’s father Chand Miyan, also said, “I handed over my son to the cops. But I feel that my son has been killed.”
It may be recalled that in December last year, the Supreme Court had ordered that all police stations in the country and investigation agencies — including the CBI, National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate — must install CCTV cameras with night vision and audio recording. The court said states have to install cameras with audio at all police stations.
The letter posted by the Bar and Bench stated that there are 1318 custodial deaths reported in the past three years. Furthermore, it alleged that the boy was killed within 24 hours of his detention.
(With inputs from IANS)