The Gujjar community on Sunday threatened to hold state-wide protests at a mahapanchayat in Meerut’s Dorali village if the family of a 34-year-old man allegedly beaten to death in custody was not compensated. Police said a probe is on to ascertain the allegations.
Narendra Kumar had died on Tuesday, two days after he had been arrested along with three others — Honey, Rohit and Arvind — over cow slaughter charges. The four were arrested after police recovered two cows from Kumar’s pickup truck in Meerut’s Mawana.
“We are demanding action against policemen who booked my uncle (Narendra Kumar) in the false case, Rs 50 lakh compensation for our family, a government job and a house. The mahapanchayat was called at our village, where it was decided that if the district administration and police fail to fulfil our demands, then state-wide protests would be organised,’’ said Kumar’s nephew, Manish Nagar.
Around 400 people from Meerut and neighbouring districts attended the six-hour long mahapanchayat at Dorali. Community elders and Kumar’s family handed the list of demands to the officials, who rushed to Dorali to pacify the protesters.
The Mahapanchayat was called after Narendra Kumar’s family alleged that he was falsely implicated in the case and that he had died following severe beating at the hands of policemen.
Narendra Kumar’s mother, Munni Devi, 65, brother, Jitendra Kumar, had been on a dharna in Dorali since April 25 to press for their demands.
Meerut’s Additional District Magistrate Mukesh Chand said that they would write to the government about the compensation demands. Additional Superintendent of Police (Meerut Rural) Rajesh Kumar said that they were probing allegations of the custodial death.
Mawana Station House Officer Brijesh Kushwaha, Sub-Inspector Dharmendra and Constable Omkar Singh have been suspended over the death.
“Action against the three policemen was taken after it was found in a preliminary inquiry that Narendra Kumar and others were booked without verifying details. All the four arrested persons had criminal backgrounds,’’ said Rajesh Kumar. He denied the allegation that Narendra Kumar had died of a “severe beating”. “As per the autopsy report, he died of asphyxia… The report added there were no injury marks on his body.”
Sources said that the police have decided to drop cow slaughter charges against Honey, Rohit and Arvind and instead book them for cattle smuggling.