A move that has caused a lot of heartburn in the rank and file of the Haryana Police, an IPS officer and two other cops have been booked on abetment of suicide charges over death of a Panipat-based former BJP councillor, Harish Sharma.
Harish Sharma had jumped into a canal on Thursday after being allegedly harassed by police in connection with a case, his family had said. Police had earlier booked him, his daughter and eight others for some violations in selling firecrackers on Diwali night and allegedly misbehaving with cops.
On Monday, an FIR was filed based on a complaint by Harish’s daughter, Anjali, against the three cops, including former SP (Panipat) Manisha Choudhary. Choudhray is now posted as SSP (Traffic) in Chandigarh.
The FIR, registered at Model Town police station in Panipat, also names then police post incharge SI Baljit Malik and ASI Mahavir Singh. While Mahavir’s name is mentioned in the FIR at no.3, designations of the other two officers are mentioned in the column – accused’s name.
Haryana DGP Manoj Yadava said that the FIR was registered against three police officers under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of Indian Penal Code.
A large number of people attended the cremation Sharma in Panipat on Monday.
Resentment among police
The move, meanwhile, has led to resentment among the police cadre.
A senior state police officer that The Indian Express spoke to said: “This case comes as another blow to the police cadre. How can it be an abetment on part of the police? There was a criminal offence that was spotted by two officers who were allegedly manhandled by the accused and his supporters. When the two officers did their duty as per law, they were stopped from taking further action against the accused. Particularly, when the police did not arrest the accused, nor there were allegations of any custodial interrogation or torture allegations etc. How can it be called an abetment on part of the police?”
Despite repeated attempts, Choudhary was not available for comments.
Wrong to name IPS in FIR: Dy CM
Even Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala Monday called inclusion of the SP’s name in the FIR “wrong”.
Dushyant spoke to mediapersons in village Baans in Hisar district where he had gone to attend a private function.
While replying to queries by reporters on government action in Harish Sharma’s suicide case, Dushyant said, “I feel that including the name of Superintendent of Police in the FIR is wrong. If you are including district police captain’s name in the FIR, then include DGP’s name too. I feel it is wrong,” Dushyant said.
Earlier, Haryana’s Home Minister Anil Vij had also constituted a three-member committee headed by ADGP Sandeep Khirwar to probe into the circumstances and allegations on the police officials that led to Harish’s suicide.
The case file
On Thursday morning, Harish allegedly jumped into the canal in Panipat following which his friend, Rajesh Sharma, too jumped in a bid to save Harish. Both drowned and died.
Harish’s brother, Satish, and friend, Sonu Saluja, too had jumped into the canal to save Harish and Rajesh, but failed.
While Rajesh’s body was fished out from the canal earlier, a National Disaster Response Force team fished out Harish’s body from a parallel canal in Sonipat district, Sunday.
Harish’s family had alleged that he was upset for the past few days since the Panipat police had registered a criminal case against him, his daughter, Anjali Sharma (the incumbent councillor of Ward No. 3, Panipat), and eight others for selling crackers openly and misbehaving with police on Diwali night. The family had alleged that police was pressing for his arrest on Wednesday night.
According to the FIR, Anjali alleged that on Diwali night, SI Baljit Malik and ASI Mahavir Singh misbehaved with her father, Harish Sharma. She alleged that when she lodged a formal complaint seeking action against the two officers, their senior officers rather than acting on her complaint, lodged a criminal case against her, Harish and eight others at the behest of SP (Panipat) Manisha Choudhary. She added that she and her father were subjected to mental torture and mental harassment by registration of the fake criminal case due to which her father, Harish, committed suicide.
Protest by family, supporters
Agitated at Harish and his friend’s death, their families, friends and supporters had blocked Panipat-Delhi Highway last night. Police had to cane-charge the agitated protestors to clear the blockade that further led to commotion. Several protestors got injured in the act.
BJP MP (Rohtak) Arvind Sharma, BJP MLA Pramod Vij, former Transport Minister Krishan Panwar and various other BJP leaders reached Panipat and held several rounds of talks with the agitated family members who had kept Harish’s body on the highway and were demanding registration of criminal case against the police officers, including the then SP (Panipat) Manisha Choudhary.
Opposition slams state govt
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Hooda said the death of Harish Sharma was a clear example of rising crime graph in the state. Offering his condolences to Harish Sharma’s family, Hooda demanded that the state government provide a job to the family of Harish Sharma and take immediate action against the culprits.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala too had lashed out at the state government over the incident saying that “Sharma was forced to take the extreme step due to the alleged harassment by state authorities”.
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