It took police over 24 hours after 19-year-old Nido Taniam, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, was declared brought dead at AIIMS on Thursday to register an FIR in the case.
Taniam’s relatives and friends said they made several calls to DCP (Southeast) and Joint Commissioner (Southeast range) over the last two days, but there was no response.
On Friday afternoon, when news spread on social networking sites and television channels that Taniam’s death was suspected to be a hate crime, DCP P Karunakaran rushed to the Lajpat Nagar police station. It was only after he reached there that a case of murder was registered in the matter, sources said.
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Taniam’s friends and relatives said his death could have been averted had police registered a case on Wednesday itself, when Taniam and shopkeepers had got into a scuffle the first time. Instead, police let off both parties after making them reach a “compromise”.
“When shopkeepers assaulted my friend so mercilessly the first time, police should have known that they would attempt it again. Why did they not register a case then? When Nido was thrashed a second time, police again let off the shopkeepers after making them give a “written apology”. Were they waiting for my friend to die to register a case?” Taniam’s friend Vinay said.
Police in their defence said Taniam was asked to undergo a medical examination and to give a written complaint, but he refused saying he just wanted a compromise and not a case.
“Taniam refused to get a medical examination done. We asked him if he wanted to give a complaint in writing, but he refused. Both parties agreed to a compromise. Taniam was asked to pay an amount for the damages he caused. After the settlement, both parties went their way,” a police officer said.
Police said when Taniam was beaten up a second time, he still refused to lodge an official complaint. “This time, we asked the shopkeepers to give a written apology and state that they would not indulge in any such fight in future. Both parties were counselled and then let off,” the officer said.