Updated: January 26, 2018 7:01:10 am
To most of those who knew him, police constable Genaram Meghwal appeared worried over the last few years. They remember how Meghwal, after greeting them, would almost always talk about a six-year-old case and about the alleged harassment he faced from his own force.
“Everyone in the village knew he was troubled. He always said that he was threatened. Meghwal told people that he was under a lot of stress because of the case,” says Lunaram Saran, a resident of village Bagrasar in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district.
On January 21, Meghwal committed suicide along with his wife, and two children, after writing a five-page suicide note and circulating it on social media. In the note, Meghwal named three people – an assistant sub-inspector and two retired policemen – whom he held responsible for harassing him and his son over a theft case dating back to 2012.
“It all started back in 2009, when my son bought 13 bighas land in Tausar village. Back then, he was friends with assistant sub-inspector Radha Kishan Mali; the two families were neighbours in the quarters at Nagaur police lines,” said Khumaram, 65, father of Meghwal.
Mali is among those now booked for abetment of suicide, as well as under sections of the SC/ST Act. Meghwal was a Dalit.
Meghwal’s father said that in 2012, Mali had registered an FIR against unknown persons for allegedly stealing jewellery from his quarter. “A few days later, Mali convinced my son to enter into a deal for the 13 bighas land with an acquaintance. But after my son transferred the title of the land, the other party who was known to Mali didn’t pay,” said Khumaram.
Family members said that when Meghwal asked the men to pay, Mali told the investigating officer in the theft case that he suspected Meghwal’s son Ganpatsingh, who was a minor then, as one of the suspects. “They took my grandson to the police station, detained him and beat him up. Mali was one of the men who assaulted him,” alleged Khumaram.
According to police, the officials submitted a final report in the theft case in 2014. “It was said in the final report of the theft case that it was a false case,” said constable Surja Ram of Surpaliya police station, Nagaur.
However, the case was reopened in the same year after Mali filed a protest petition in the court.
“Mali also beat up my brother and his son in Nagaur. He often threatened the family saying he will get them killed,” alleged Armaan, brother of Meghwal.
Meghwal was a constable-driver in Rajasthan police and met police officials for help; his family says they refused to help him. Eventually, he left his quarters and went home to his village.
“If he was an upper-caste person, they wouldn’t have been able to harass him until the end… Then, we might have had some approach…We are from a Scheduled Caste and have no standing in society,” said the father.
A notice that arrived at the Meghwals’ house last month, asking the constable’s son to appear before the police for questioning in the theft case, seemed to have hastened his decision.
“On January 21, I woke up to find some handwritten messages sent on WhatsApp by my cousin. I sensed something was wrong and after going near the room found that it was locked from inside. Later, we discovered all four of them, hanging,” said Purkha Ram, cousin of Meghwal.
The police have booked Mali, Bhavru Khan and Ratnaram under IPC section 306 (abetment to suicide) along with sections of the SC/ST Act. No arrests have been made yet. Mali has also been suspended.
“We have constituted special teams who are searching for Mali, who is currently absconding as of now. The investigation is under process,” said Nagaur superintendent of police Paris Deshmukh.
He added that a petition filed by Meghwal to quash the FIR in the theft case was rejected this month.
“The high court rejected an application filed by the deceased to quash the FIR on January 8. The court also said that if after investigation his son was found guilty, he should be treated seriously. Preliminary investigation suggests that he was under stress after that,” said Deshmukh.
He added that the investigation had indicated that the role of Meghwal and his family was “suspicious” but no concrete evidence was ever found.
“I am a retired government employee, my son worked in the police. Why would he need to steal? This is all because my son wanted the money that was never paid to him for the land deal. In recent times, Mali would demand Rs. 5 lakh from him along with threatening him,” alleged Khumaram.
📣 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.