Jharkhand: Muslim Youth Dies in Police Lockup, Family Alleges Custodial Torture

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A viral video shows the mother pointing fingers at the cops standing nearby and saying that her son was beaten to death by them

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — A 22-year-old Muslim youth died in police custody on Tuesday, a day after he was held by the local police over suspicion of theft in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh.

While the police claimed that the deceased, Mohammed Ashfaq Khan, died by suicide, family members allege that he was tortured the whole night in police custody.

Following Khan’s death, his family members and some locals blocked the Hazaribagh-Jehanabad road and raised slogans against the administration. A viral video shows the wailing mother and sister of the deceased pleading before senior police officials demanding justice. The video also shows the mother pointing fingers at the cops standing nearby and saying that her son was beaten to death by them, reports reaching here said on Wednesday.

Talking to the local media, Khan’s father said: “The police administration killed my son. The man who killed my son should be given the death penalty”.

A relative of Khan said that on Monday a neighbour claimed that something was stolen from his house and suspected Khan’s involvement. The neighbour and some others dragged Khan to the Barhi police station. The police kept Khan in custody without informing his parents.

“The police kept him in custody the whole night. No one knows what they did to him. In the morning, I came to know about a dead body… I suspect that he was brutally beaten up in the custody. When they brought him to the hospital, he was declared as “dead”, reports quoted the relative as saying.

But, Hazaribagh Superintendent of Police, Manoj Ratan Chote, told Indian Express that Khan hanged himself in jail.

“Ashfaq Khan was caught red-handed by his neighbours and the police were called. On Tuesday, while he was in the lockup, he used a rope to strangle himself… He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead,” he said.

He further said that the postmortem has been video-recorded. Prima facie it is not a murder. However, if anything comes up in the CID investigation, the police will register a murder case.

Khan was the only earning member of his house and he worked as a car driver. His father suffers from paralysis.

Zahid Khan, an uncle of the deceased, refused to believe that his nephew hanged himself terming the police claim as “weird”.

“When Ashfaq was caught allegedly for stealing, I was told that police beat him up. Also, the whole theory that he strangled himself is very weird. We were told that he tore his trousers and hung himself. Now, I am listening to something new that he strangled himself. It is not possible, and I am assuming that he was beaten up in the lock-up,” Zahid was quoted by Indian Express as saying.

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