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NHRC notice to UP govt over Dalit man's death in police custody; SC/ST panel orders probe

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Press Trust of India Lucknow
The NHRC Friday issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government over the death of a Dalit man allegedly in police custody in Amroha district, while the UP SC/ST Commission ordered a probe into the matter and action against those guilty.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) noted that the incident amounted to "gross violation of human rights" of the victim.
Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports that Balkishan, 30, died in police custody at the Dhanora Mandi Police Station on December 26, the human rights watchdog issued notices to the state's chief secretary and the director general of police, seeking a detailed report within four weeks.
It asked why the NHRC was not intimated about his death in police custody.
Balkishan was arrested by the police in connection with a case of theft on December 23. His family members have alleged that police personnel asked for a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to let him off, which they could not arrange and, therefore, he was "tortured".
Hours after the NHRC issued the notices, Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission Brij Lal directed the Amroha superintendent of police to conduct an inquiry and punish those guilty.
Taking suo motu notice of the news published in the media, the commission said in a release that its chairman has directed the SP to fax him the compliance report within three days.
The NHRC observed that the contents of media reports, if true, suggest "gross violation of human rights" of the victim.
It said the report from the UP government should also indicate whether any monetary and other relief was provided to the family in accordance with the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and Rules.
The family members of the deceased have alleged that he was picked up while they were returning home from a wedding. He was kept in the lock-up without any complaint and was subjected to atrocities.
As many as 11 police personnel, including the SHO of the police station concerned, have been placed under suspension, the NHRC said in an official release.
Six policemen, including an inspector and a sub-inspector, were booked Wednesday on charges of "killing" the Dalit in their custody, Amroha Superintendent of Police Brijesh Kumar Singh had said.
Those booked are in-charge Inspector Arvind Mohan Sharma, Sub-inspector Manoj Upadhyay, Head Constable Ravindra Rana and constables Vinit Chaudhary, Jitendra and Vivek.
The SP had said that on a complaint of the victim's relative, Jai Prakash, the six policemen were also booked on various charges under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The victim's wife Kunti, meanwhile, demanded damages for the killing of her husband and a job for herself from the Uttar Pradesh government.
The police registered a first information report (FIR) against the six police officials after hundreds of people from the victim's village held a day-long protest at the nearby national highway, disrupting traffic.
The crowd also damaged several vehicles during the protest, warranting police to deploy PAC personnel to contain the mob, sources said.
As per the complaint lodged with the police in the case, Balkishan, a resident of Basi Sherpur of Mandi Dhanaura in Amroha, was picked up by the police Sunday for questioning in a case of a stolen motorcycle's purchase and he was thrown behind bars.
On deterioration of his health on the night intervening Tuesday and Wednesday, he was rushed to a hospital where he was declared "brought dead". The victim's wife alleged her husband died due to thrashing by the police in custody.

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First Published: Dec 28 2018 | 7:15 PM IST

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