Updated: February 28, 2020 5:36:33 am
A 26-year-old Dalit man from Barmer district of Rajasthan died in police custody on Thursday, with his family members accusing the police of murdering him.
The station house officer of the police station has been suspended and the staff of the entire police station has been sent to the lines by the police department, after the matter came to light, said officials.
Officials said that a case of murder under section 302 of the IPC has also been registered against the SHO and other police officials on the basis of a complaint submitted by the family of the deceased, who has been identified as Jitendra Khatik alias Jitu, a resident of Hamirpura in Barmer.
Khatik was rounded up by the police for questioning on Wednesday, said officials.
“We run a kabaadi (scrap) shop in the city. Yesterday afternoon, officials from the Barmer rural police station came to our shop and took my elder brother along with them, accusing him of possessing stolen goods. They also threatened to put my entire family in lockup. Later, when we went to the police station in the evening, Jitu told us to take him home otherwise the police would kill him,” Champalal, the younger brother of Khatik told The Indian Express on Thursday.
He added that on Thursday morning, when the family went to the police station, they were not allowed to meet Khatik.
“We were waiting outside the police station when suddenly the cops said that my brother has fallen ill. When we saw him he was already dead…But the police told us to take him to the hospital. When we took him there, the doctors declared him dead,” said Champalal.
Khatik’s family members accused the police of murdering him. The eldest among five brothers and sisters, Khatik is survived by his wife and son.
“The police murdered my nephew…He was beaten up so badly that he died in the police station itself…But the police made us take him to the hospital. He was held at the police station without any evidence or FIR against him. We want justice,” said Manglilal, Khatik’s uncle.
Following the death of Khatik, family members, Dalit rights groups and Khatik community members staged a dharna in Barmer, refusing to take the body or allow the post-mortem to be conducted.
“This is a clear case of murder by the police. We demand that a murder case be registered against the police, the accused be arrested immediately, a compensation of Rs 1 crore and a government job for his family members,” said Sharvan Kumar, who identified himself as the chief of the Khatik Samaj in Barmer and also the district president of the Congress SC cell in Barmer.
The police said that a murder case has been registered against Deep Singh, the SHO of the Barmer rural police station along with other police personnel. Singh has also been suspended.
“The judicial magistrate will conduct the post-mortem of the body. The SHO has been suspended and the entire police station staff has been sent to the lines as per NHRC guidelines. A case under section 302 (murder) of the IPC has been registered against SHO Singh and other police personnel. Khatik was accused of possessing stolen goods and the SHO had received information in this regard following which he was brought to the police station for questioning. No FIR was registered against him. He died today morning,” Barmer superintendent of police Sharad Chowdhary told The Indian Express on Thursday.
The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan has come under fire from the opposition over the incident with Nagaur MP and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party chief Hanuman Beniwal tweeting that the ‘entire system’ in the state has collapsed.
The Rajasthan government recently drew severe criticism over an incident in Nagaur district, wherein two Dalit youths were allegedly assaulted on suspicion of theft, and a screwdriver was allegedly inserted in the anus of one of them.
As per data from the Rajasthan police, the number of cases registered last year pertaining to atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) in Rajasthan was the highest in 10 years.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.