Activists have alleged that an RTI activist died in police custody in Barmer’s Balotra on Sunday. Following the death, all the staff of Pachpadra police station was shunted to district police lines.
Barmer SP Sharad Choudhary said that RTI activist Jagdish Goliyan, who was in his 40s, was picked up in preventive custody under Section 151 of the CrPC on Saturday, following an argument with two of his relatives over a land dispute. “He and his two cousins were picked up and were to be presented before the executive magistrate at the tehsil office on Sunday. While the other two were presented (at the tehsil office) and got bail, his condition worsened and he subsequently passed away,” the SP said.
Goliyan had received death threats from one Gopal, Om and others and on Saturday, several persons, including Gopal and Om, reached his farm between 12.30 pm and 1 pm and assaulted the activist, Goliyan’s mother alleged in her complaint “Sometime after the assault, Pachpadra SHO Saroj Choudhary reached the spot and took Jagdish to the police station, but did not get him treated for internal and external injuries, which led to the death of my son,” Devi alleged.
A case under IPC Section 302 (murder) has been filed at Balotra police station. The SP said that the cause of Goliyan’s death is part of investigation. “We have initiated an inquest by an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate under CrPC 176,” the SP said. Pachpadra SHO Saroj and ASI Amra Ram did not respond to calls.
Following the death, activists Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Kavita Srivastava and others raised the issue with state and local officials. “The magistrate, who was the local tehsildar, was informed by the police that he was suffering epileptic fits… (he) then ordered hospitalisation, where he died,” they said in a statement.
“We are in the process of setting up a fact finding team, which will go into all the aspects of this incident and its background,” the activists said