A Sitapur police station house officer (SHO) was booked for murder on Friday evening in connection with the death of a Dalit man on September 11. The accused police officer, Ranjeet Singh Bhadouria was also removed as SHO and sent to the Reserve Police Lines.
According to senior sub-inspector Suresh Pal Singh, on September 11, police were informed that 30-year-old Govind was assaulting his wife Maya over a family dispute in his house at Sunar Kundari village.
“A police team rushed to the village and found Maya’s brother Raju and their father Raghubar assaulting Govind. Police rescued Govind and brought him to the station along with Maya and Raghubar,” said Suresh Pal. Maya refused to file an FIR against Govind and at around 2.00 pm left the police station along with her father Raghubar, he said. Later, Govind too was allowed to return home.
A few minutes later, a man informed police that someone was lying outside his shop, close to the police station. Police identified the man as Govind and rushed him to a primary health centre. “In the evening, Govind died during treatment. After coming to know about the death, a police team sent his body home. Since then there was no FIR, postmortem was not conducted,” said Additional Superintendent of Police, North (Sitapur) MP Chauhan.
The next day, Govind’s brother Raghunandan, a rickshaw-puller, lodged an FIR against Maya, Raju and Raghubar on murder charges at the Rampur Kala police station. No one has been arrested in the case. After the case was lodged, the police took custody of the body and sent it for autopsy. “The autopsy report stated that cause of death could not be ascertained and the viscera has been preserved for examination. The report stated there were minor injuries on the body,” said ASP Chauhan.
The body was then handed over to the family. Govind’s family and local residents, however, alleged that Govind died because of severe beating by police. Raghunandan also claimed that police had forced him to lodge FIR against Maya and her family members.
The protestors refused to conduct final rites unless an FIR was lodged against police.
On Friday evening, following directions from senior police officers in Lucknow, an FIR was lodged against SHO and other policemen on charges of murder at the Rampur Kala police station. Police also invoked SC/ST Act against policemen, said MP Chauhan. When asked how investigation would be done as two separate FIRs have been lodged in the murder case of one person, the ASP said, “Investigating officer has to decide how to proceed in the case. Accused in the both FIRs are different.”