2013 Punjab custodial death case: After HC verdict, victim’s family fears for safety

Raju (19) had died while in judicial custody soon after he was arrested by Amritsar police in a drug smuggling case in October 2013.

Written by KAMALDEEP SINGH BRAR | Amritsar | Published: December 19, 2015 8:46 am

The family of the undertrial, who died in custody, claim they fear backlash from the supporters of the 33 officials against whom the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered an FIR on Thursday.

Raju (19) had died while in judicial custody soon after he was arrested by Amritsar police in a drug smuggling case in October 2013.

He was a native of Maqboolpura area in Amritsar, which is infamous for the high death rate among drug addicts. Widows of such addicts have become subject of many documentaries.

Ever since Raju’s mother died, two of his brothers have been living in the family house with their families. Raju was the youngest among seven siblings, including three sisters. A small three-room dilapidated condition house is shared by 12 members of Raju’s family, including Jodha Singh, his wife and his children; Desa Singh and his three children.

“Raju’s death came as a shock to my mother. She initiated the legal battle seeking justice for Raju, but did not live long enough to hear the HC order on Thursday. My children have stopped going to school as my wife also died last year. My younger brother Jodha Singh has five children. They are also not going to school because we can not afford the education expenses. We are daily labourers,” Desa Singh, Raju’s brother, told The Indian Express.

Desa Singh was not aware about the High Court’s order passed yesterday. He said one of his relatives is pursuing the case in the High Court.

“I do not want to talk about it. It is a welcome step but still we have to travel a long way for justice. If I talk more, it would create more problems for me. Let the court announce the final verdict,” the relative told The Indian Express, on the condition of anonymity.

“All our neighbours had given it in writing that the police arrested Raju from our home, but nothing happened. Raju fell ill in the jail but no one informed us. We were informed only after he had died in jail” Desa Singh added.

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