Two custodial death case in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 19 (PTI) Two alleged custodial death cases were reported from separate places of Odisha on Thursday prompting the state police to conduct post-mortems under the NHRC guidelines.

The two alleged custodial deaths were reported in Puri and Biramitrapur area of Sundergarh district. The twin incidents sparked tension in both the localities as a large number of people protested both in Puri and Biramitrapur.

In both the cases, the victims were picked up by the police and they died on Thursday morning.

'Post-mortems are being carried out in both the places by teams of doctors as per the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The entire inquest is being videographed. The fact behind the incidents will come to the fore only after investigation,' DGP Abhay told reporters here.

In regard to the Puri incident, Superintendent of Police, Akhilesh Singh said that a 32 year old man identified as K Ramesh died at the hospital early on Thursday morning following a scuffle with police.

'A scuffle ensued when police attempted to catch Ramesh who was roaming along with a sharp weapon. Some police personnel have also sustained minor injuries during the scuffle,' Singh said, adding that the victim was a known criminal with a number of cases lodged against him in different police stations.

The SP said that Ramesh was released from jail in Angul district recently and was nabbed by police when he was going to commit a crime in Puri town.

The local people alleged that he was picked up by the police on Wednesday night and hacked to death at Baselisahi Police Station. There were injury marks on Ramesh's body, they claimed.

Though the SP admitted that there was a scuffle between police and Ramesh, he rejected allegations of police personnel hacking him to death.

'A DSP rank officer of Human Rights Protection Cell of Odisha Police is probing into the incident and a team of doctors performed an autopsy of the body. Puri ASP has been monitoring the case,' Singh said.

Meanwhile, tension mounted in Puri town as a large number of people collected near the District Headquarters Hospital where postmortem of Ramesh was being carried out. The angry people attempted to barge into the hospital which was prevented by the police.

A youth identified as Tarique Salim died at the Ispat General Hospital in Rourkela. He was arrested by the personnel of Biramitrapur police station on Wednesday.

Sundergarh SP Sagarika Nath, however, denied the charges of custodial death. 'The accused was unwell and was first admitted to the Kumarmunda hospital and then shifted to IGH as his condition deteriorated,' Nath said.

Following the death of the arrested person, some local people gathered in front of the police station and tried to barge into it.

In both the places, the local people demanded stringent action against the erring police personnel involved in the alleged custodial deaths. They demanded arrest of police personnel as Ramesh and Salim died in police custody.