Four Punjab cops booked for custodial death

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Old 29-Mar-2013
Ginni Singh
Four Punjab cops booked for custodial death

JALANDHAR/HOSHIARPUR: A case of murder was registered against four Punjab police personnel after a Dalit died in custody at Mehtiana police station in Hoshiarpur district during the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.

Acting on a complaint made by a father-son duo, the accused had taken 38-year-old Gurmel Chand to the police station without registering an FIR against him. The complainants, who alleged that Gurmel had not returned the money he had borrowed from them, have also been booked.

The case was only registered after people from Gurmel's village, Davidda Rihana, blocked traffic on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road for about five hours on Thursday. Hoshiarpur DC Manasvi Kumar also ordered a judicial probe into the alleged murder.

Krishan Chand, Gurmel's father, said a police party led by ASI Balkar Singh had come to his house at around 8 pm on Wednesday. They said Gurmel would have to accompany them to the police station since a complaint of "cheating" had been received against him.

"We told the police we would present Gurmel before them on Thursday," Krishan Chand said. "Some panchayat members too assured the police party about it. But the ASI did not budge and took Gurmel along. When we reached the police station in the morning, initially there was no clear answer, but then we were told Gurmel had died in the lock-up."

Gurmel's family and the villagers alleged that he was killed by the police.

After protests from the villagers, the police finally registered a case under section 302 of the IPC against Balkar Singh, three unidentified police personnel who had accompanied him to pick up Gurmel, and Madan Lal and his son Ravinder Kumar (the complainants from whom Gurmel had borrowed money).

Hoshiarpur SP (D) Jagmohan Singh said Krishan Chand had only named Balkar in his complaint and the other three policemen were yet to be identified.

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