In the third incident in as many months in the state, a 30-year-old man died in police custody in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh on Monday night, causing a huge furor in the area.
Israel Khan was a resident of Cant locality of Guna town and had just returned from attending the three-day religious congregation, Ijtima, in Bhopal, when he was accosted by the police and was declared dead in the hospital where he was taken later, sources said.
Guna Superintendent of Police (SP) Pankaj Shrivastava confirmed to THE WEEK that the man was in custody of the local police for about 30 minutes before the declaration of his death at around 10.00pm in the hospital. “We have recommended a judicial probe, and action will be taken on the basis of the report of the judicial magistrate. As of now, we have sent three constables involved in the incident to the police lines,” the SP said. One home guard personnel was also involved in the incident, and action against him would be initiated by the district commandant, he said.
The death of Khan caused a huge uproar in the town with his relatives and community members reaching the hospital where Khan was taken in large numbers and accusing the cops of beating up Khan, leading to his death. A large police posse had to be posted at the hospital in view of the commotion. It was only after a delegation of community members met the district collector and SP in the wee hours on Tuesday that the family agreed to let the postmortem happen.
However, when the body was handed over to the family following the postmortem on Tuesday afternoon, they, along with community members, created a road blockage on the local highway by keeping his body there, demanding FIR against the cops involved. The situation was later brought under control and the SP announced a judicial probe in the matter.
Khan, a labourer, had reportedly been a part of a group that got into a confrontation with a local police team who had accosted some gamblers last month. The group was trying to save one of the gamblers who had fallen and got injured while trying to escape.
Khan was reportedly accosted by the police due to this reason while he was on his way home from the railway station on Monday night after returning from Bhopal. His father Munawwar Khan said his son was beaten up leading to his death. The cops reportedly claimed that he (Khan) had complained of feeling dizzy immediately after being taken into custody and was taken to hospital where he was declared dead.
On November 1, a 21-year-old youth died in the custody of Jaisinagar police in Sagar district. The deceased, Kritesh Patel, a resident of village Semra Gopalman, was accused of abducting a minor girl from a nearby village.
The parents of Kritesh have alleged custodial torture by the police at the behest of the family of the girl.
Earlier, on the intervening night of September 2 and 3, Arjun Singare, a 19-year-old tribal, accused of dacoity and other crimes, died in police custody in Manpur of Indore, after reportedly being beaten up. In both cases, the respective SPs had announced judicial probes.
According to the recently released report of the National Crime Records Bureau, Madhya Pradesh reported seven custodial deaths in 2021, of which one was of a person not in police remand while six were of persons in police remand. Only three custodial death cases were registered during the year but there was no arrest of any cop involved.