When angry students and residents from the Northeast gathered outside the Lajpat Nagar police station on Saturday to protest the death of 19-year-old Nido Taniam, the Delhi Police turned to one particular officer to calm the crowd.
Robin Hibu, Joint Commissioner (Training), who is also the coordinator of the North East Residents’ Cell, assured the crowd that steps have been taken to expedite the probe in the case.
“First of all, justice will be done… I know Nido from his childhood and he is my family friend. We have registered a case of murder under Section 302 of the IPC. We have added the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
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We are awaiting the viscera report and the DCP has spoken to the CBI CSFL lab and has requested that the report be ready within a week.
Three persons are being questioned and more arrests are likely soon… I also belong to the Northeast and I am your nodal officer… I have spoken to the family and student leaders. Please have faith in us. Action will be taken against police officers if they are found guilty,” Hibu said.
Nineteen-year-old Nido was assaulted allegedly by a shopkeeper in Lajpat Nagar over an alleged racial remark on Wednesday. He succumbed to injuries at a hospital on Thursday.
Nido’s family and friends on Saturday alleged that police were present when Nido was beaten up a second time, but police claimed otherwise.
Police said on Wednesday afternoon, Nido had picked up a fight with Farman, the owner of Rajasthan Paneer Bhandar in A-Block, Lajpat Nagar-1, after Farman allegedly made a racist comment about Nido.
Nido allegedly banged on the shop counter, shattering the glass and triggering a scuffle with Farman. However, police said the two sides reached a compromise after Nido reportedly agreed to pay Rs 7,500 as damages.
According to police, after the fight, Nido had two others join him. Police said Farman, fearing that he would be beaten up again, made a PCR call at 1.55 pm on Wednesday. A PCR van picked up Farman and Nido and brought them to the police station. This time, both parties gave written statements that they had reached a compromise and the matter need not be furthered.
Then, ASI Pritam Singh had asked Nido to show him the spot where the scuffle took place. When Nido reached there with Singh, he was beaten up again in front of the ASI, Nido’s friends alleged.
Police denied this saying they had a video clip to prove that Nido was fine while returning from the spot with ASI Singh.
Police said Nido was riding pillion with Singh on the way back. They have CCTV camera footage from the market to prove this.
Police also said Nido had made a video on his mobile phone where he was seen laughing and telling the ASI to wear his helmet. “Aage traffic mama khada hai, helmet pehen lo. Challan ho jayega (There is a traffic policeman standing there. Wear your helmet or else you will be issued a challan),” Nido is heard saying in the recording, police said.
At the police station later, Singh made Nido speak to his mother in Arunachal Pradesh. She told the ASI to call Nido’s two local guardians — Vinod Bansal and Varun — and ask them to come to the police station. The guardians too recorded their statements and left.
Nido left with his friends in an auto-rickshaw, police said. Police did not make Nido undergo a medical examination as is mandatory in such cases.
Police are still investigating what happened after he went to his friend’s house in Green Park.
Prima facie, police said, Nido was complaining of pain and had not eaten anything at his friend’s house. He had reportedly taken a tetanus shot. So far, three persons, including Farman, have been detained for questioning.
On Saturday, DCP (Southeast) P Karunakaran gave a written assurance to protesters that action will be taken against those found guilty.