June 30, 2021 3:29:10 am
Three persons died allegedly by suicide in their one-room accommodation near MES College, Sancoale in South Goa on Tuesday. While their family members alleged that the three took the extreme step on account of harassment by the police in a theft case, the police denied that they were ever detained.
Brothers Ulgappa (30), Gangappa (25) and Ulgappa’s wife Devamma (23) were found hanging in their house by Devamma’s 17-year-old brother. “We have registered a case of unnatural death under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code and we are investigating… post-mortems have been conducted and the cause of death is suicide by hanging,” said South Goa SP Pankaj Kumar Singh.
Six days before the incident, a theft case was filed against Devamma by her employer at the Verna police station. Devamma was accused of stealing jewellery from the house where she worked as a domestic help. Singh said that the three were not kept in police custody since they were not placed under arrest. “They were only questioned. Not even detained.”
According to Arunendra Pandey, founder of NGO Anyay Rahit Zindagi, who was assisting the family of the deceased on Tuesday, they hailed from Bagalkot in Karnataka. Ulgappa and Gangappa worked as daily-wage workers, he said. “They were being called to the police station and kept there for hours without food, toilets and all SOPs were violated. A woman was kept at the police station at night.”
Lawyer Albertina Almeida, also assisting the family, said they are seeking another post-mortem before accepting the bodies. Singh said the allegations made against the police were being examined. “We are looking into that. SDPO Margao has been detained for inquiry,” said Singh.
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