A 35-year-old man jailed for rioting in Shamli in September last year died in judicial custody Monday, allegedly due to a heart attack.
The police said the deceased, Praveen Kumar, was a resident of Mohalla Kalandarshah and was accused of participating in communal violence in Shamli on September 3. “Kumar lived next to a Muslim neighborhood where, during last year’s riots, a man identified as Ehsaan died. Kumar was arrested in connection with Ehsaan’s death,” said A K Rai, superintendent of police, Shamli.
Rai said Kumar had surrendered on March 5 and had been in jail since. On Monday, Kumar, lodged in Muzaffarnagar jail’s barrack number six, said he was feeling unwell and his chest was aching. “The jail doctor attempted to treat him but it was subsequently decided to rush him to the district hospital. He died at 6 pm Monday,” said a senior police officer.
Police said Kumar was accused under various sections of the IPC pertaining to rioting (section 146), attempt to murder (section 307) and murder (section 302).
Kumar’s family protested outside the jail Monday, alleging that Kumar died after being beaten up by the police. Police convinced his family to go to the hospital to see Kumar’s body, but his brothers Manor and Vigyas maintained his body was riddled with injuries sustained recently.
Senior BJP leaders in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli said they sent party workers to visit the family of the deceased. “Kumar used to work as a cleaner for the nagar palika. After his arrest, his family has been going through a tough time. Things will be tougher now,” said Mohit Beniwal, a youth BJP leader part of Amit Shah’s core team.
The BJP also alleged Kumar’s death was suspicious and his arrest was an instance of the police bowing to the orders of the Samajwadi Party government. “He was innocent like so many others arrested by the police after the September 3 incident,” said Beniwal.