Two Men Tortured To Death In Bihar Police Custody, Marks Of Nails Hammered Found On Bodies
In a shocking incident, two men who were picked up by police in the early hours of March 6 were found dead. Both the families alleged that Gufran Alam (30) and Taslim Ansari (32) hailing from Ramdiha village, in Bihar were tortured to death in Dumra police station.
The families presented still photographs and videos of the victim’s bodies which exhibited marks of brutal torture and nail hammering to the police. An FIR has been lodged against eight police officers without listing their names. The whereabouts of these eight policemen are unknown.
Dumra police station officer in-charge Chandra Bhusan Singh who is one of the eight policemen managed to escape in connivance with the local cops. Search operations continue. No arrest warrant has been issued against the absconding policemen, raising questions on the seriousness with which the Bihar police is probing the case. Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey acknowledged the custodial death and told the Indian Express that they have suspended these eight policemen. He said, “They will also face departmental action. If they do not surrender, they can even face dismissal.” A show-cause notice has been sent to the Superintendent of Police of the district.
What led to the Arrest?
Police held Gufran Alam and Taslim Ansari in connection with the bike theft and murder of its owner Rakesh Kumar, a Muzaffarpur resident. The Indian Express reported that Gufran’s father said that in the early hours of March 6, five police jeeps from the local Chakiya police station stopped at their place and took Gufran away. Later on, Taslim too was picked by the police. At 3 AM when Gufran’s father along with other villagers went to Chakiya police station, both accused were missing from the station. A few hours later when the families went to the station again, the police informed them that both accused were in Dumra police station.
Gufran later spoke to his family over the phone and informed that he was severely beaten and his legs were broken. When both the families reached the Dumra police station at 5 pm on March 6, two female constables directed them to visit Sadar Hospital. By the time the families reached the hospital, both the accused were dead and the postmortems were conducted. The postmortem confirmed that the victims succumbed to fatal injuries. Both the families are set to approach the State Human Rights Commission and the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.
Horror of Custodial Deaths
While custodial death is a horror in itself, the country has witnessed several of them lately. In 2018, a report was presented in Rajya Sabha by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, titled ‘Torture Update India’. According to the report, 1,647 custodial deaths took place from April 2017 to February 2018. Based on this number, on an average, India registers 5 custodial death daily. Though India is a signatory of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) 1997, it is yet to ratify it. Efforts to bring a law against torture have failed. The government has been urged by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to recognise torture as a separate crime and codify the punishment in a separate penal law.
Giving credence to the need of the hour, Member of Parliament representing Arunachal East Ninong Ering had introduced the Prevention of Custodial Torture Bill to provide for punishment for torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment inflicted by public servants, or any person with the consent of any public servant, on those in custody.