UP: Dalit Man Dies in Custody in Firozabad, Family Alleges Torture

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Akash Singh’s postmortem revealed an antemortem head injury 

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Protests erupted in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad District as reports emerged of the custodial death of a 28-year-old Dalit man.

Family members of Akash Singh have levelled serious charges against the police of torturing the young man to death. The incident led to the filing of two First Information Reports (FIRs) against the protesters, reports reaching here said on Monday.

Akash Singh, a father of two, was arrested last Tuesday over allegations of bike theft and died on Friday. His postmortem revealed an antemortem head injury, raising suspicions about the cause of his death.

Singh’s family has accused the police of beating him to death. His mother, Shakuntala told the media, “They took my son on Monday but are saying he was arrested only on Tuesday. The police beat him up brutally, leading to his death. He was arrested in a fake case. He already had a bike.”

Police sources, however, maintain that Singh was arrested on Tuesday evening and was sent to judicial custody the following day after a medical examination. According to the police, Singh fell ill on Thursday night and received medication, but his condition worsened, and he died on Friday at a hospital.

Superintendent of Police (City) Sarvesh Kumar Mishra confirmed the postmortem findings and stated, “The man died in judicial custody. A judicial inquiry will be conducted.” He added that two medical tests conducted before Singh was produced in court and prior to his lodging in the jail showed no external fresh injuries. “The accused can tell the court if he faces any violence in police custody — before the magistrate. However, he didn’t mention any such thing, according to our information,” media reports quoted Mishra as saying, 

Oddly, no FIR has been filed regarding Singh’s death.

Singh’s family insists he was returning home with a friend when police apprehended him. They were informed that he was ill and tried to arrange for medicines, unaware that he had allegedly been beaten.

Singh leaves behind his widow Preeti, two children and aged parents. Shakuntala, Singh’s mother, mentioned that Preeti fell sick and had to be taken to the hospital.

As soon as reports of Singh’s death appeared, protests erupted in Firozabad, with residents blocking the ambulance carrying his body for nearly 12 hours. The police accused the protesters of stone-pelting, blocking roads, and setting a motorcycle on fire.

Two FIRs have been filed against the protesters. One, lodged by the ambulance driver, names 11 people, while the other, filed by the police, names 32 people and includes 20 to 25 unidentified protesters. Charges include rioting, attempt to murder, intentionally provoking a breach of peace, and criminal intimidation. The SP stated, “No arrests have been made so far. We are analyzing all CCTV footage. Two men were detained earlier but have been released due to the lack of evidence.”

A police press release indicated that Akash Singh and Shivam Singh (19) were arrested on Tuesday, with a stolen motorcycle recovered from them. They were booked under IPC Sections 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and 414 (assisting in concealing stolen property). Additionally, a case under the Arms Act was filed against Singh, alleging possession of a 315-core pistol and live cartridges.

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