March 28, 2021 3:05:03 am
A murder case has been registered against eight policemen, including the in-charge of Ambedkar Nagar SWAT team, after a 37-year-old man allegedly died in police custody. The man has been identified as Zia-ud-din and was a native of an Azamgarh village under the Powai police station limits, police said on Saturday.
Ambedkar Nagar SP Alok Priyadarshi on Saturday said all eight policemen accused in the case have been suspended.
Police said the incident is being investigated, while the district administration has ordered an inquiry by a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). The report of the post-mortem examination was inconclusive and could not ascertain the cause of death, police said.
Zia-ud-din was allegedly picked up by Ambedkar Nagar SWAT team between Wednesday and Thursday when he had gone to meet his relatives. The family of the deceased has alleged that he died due to police torture.
The FIR has been lodged at Akbarpur police station in Ambedkar Nagar under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 364 (Kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) against SWAT team in charge Devendra Pal Singh and seven other members, who are unidentified.
Brother of deceased Shahab-ud-din told The Indian Express that Zia-ud-din had left to meet some relatives on Wednesday. He was supposed to return on Thursday, but did not, he added.
“We tried to look for him, but to no avail. Around 3 am on Friday, his wife got a call from an unknown person saying her husband had been picked up for questioning by the Special Operations Group (SOG) team. We were told that he had suffered a heart attack and we should visit him. The call was then disconnected,” he said.
According to Shahab-ud-din, the family informed the village head in the morning. After making multiple calls to several police stations, they found out that Zia-ud-din was taken to Akbarpur police station. Around Thursday midnight, he fell ill after which police took him to the hospital.
“We then left for Ambedkar Nagar district hospital. The administration tried to hush up the issue,” said Shahab-ud-din.
The brother claimed that when he saw Zia-ud-din’s body, there were multiple injuries on it. “We asked the police that if he had died of heart attack, then how did his body have such injury marks. There were all types of injury marks on him – from burnt to marks of assault by belts and rods. Below the waist, the body had turned blue. My brother died as a result of police torture,” said Shahab-ud-din.
He claimed that police lodged the case only after the family and some other people from their village protested outside the Akbarpur police station on Friday night.
Talking about the brother’s background, Shahab-ud-din said, “My brother had just one case, which was lodged a couple of years ago when a fight had taken place in a village. He had been wrongly accused. No one can find anything else against my brother in police records.”
Zia-ud-din is survived by wife Fuzaila Bano (32), son Faizullah (10) and daughter Atoofa (7).
Inspector General (Ayodhya range) Sanjeev Gupta said the cause of death could not be ascertained from the post-mortem report, and the viscera has been preserved for further analysis.
“We are planning to shift the investigation from the Akbarpur police station for sake of transparency. We will be following NHRC guidelines,” said the IG. He added that Zia-ud-din was wanted in a case for assault and robbery in Ambedkar Nagar.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ambedkar Nagar District Magistrate Samuel Paul N said, “I had received a complaint from the family, after which I have ordered an inquiry by SDM (Tanda) Abhishek Pathak on Friday. A report submitted by Ambedkar Nagar Superintendent of Police to me said a person who was in custody of the SWAT team had died due to heart attack. The post-mortem was conducted late on Friday night under the district CMO’s supervision and it was videographed. I have been informed that the person died 30 minutes after he was admitted to the district hospital on Thursday night.”
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