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Custodial death in West Bengal: Suicide? Girl 'may have been tortured', NHRC told

By Our Representative 

Bringing to light the custodial death of a young girl belonging to the Other Backward Class community in the Hemtabad Police Station, a senior human rights activist has complained to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson that the incident "proves" that the police personnel "are enjoying full impunity after causing the death of the victim."
Basing on a preliminary fact-finding report over this custodial death, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, the girl, Sima Nasrin, daughter of Shah Alam, residing at village Bagidanga, PO Madhabpur, PS. Kaliaganj, was a student of class XI of the Bangalbari High School.
She was arrested by a team of police personnel of Hemtabad Police Station. Even after arresting the victim, no family members were informed. She was kept in police lock up. She later died in custody, said Roy, adding, the root of the incident was, she was in love with Safran Ali, 17, son of Talibul Ali, residing at Beltor village under Hemtabad Police Station.
According to Roy, family members of girl claim, Safran seduced the girl and ran away from the house on October 20. In the morning, the maternal uncle of Safran called the girl's family, threatening, if they would not take their daughter, she would be done to death.
Meanwhile, said Roy, family members of Safran informed the police personnel of Hemtabad Police Station. One woman police constable, three male civic volunteers and one male sub-inspector "apprehended" the girl and "took her to their custody by car." However, the police did not inform the girl's family about her arrest.
According to the police, at about 12 noon the girl committed suicide in the bathroom of the police lockup. After the incident at about 1 pm the police personnel took the injured girl to the Hemtabad Hospital where the on-duty doctor declared her brought dead.
"It is most interesting that the victim was declared dead at 1 pm but the family members of the victim were not informed. In the afternoon at about 4.30 pm Kaliaganj police informed the family members of the victim regarding her death", Roy said, adding, worse, "for more than 20 hours the family members of the victim were not permitted to see the body."
Calling it "custodial death", Roy said, the inquest report of the deceased, obtained from the Raiganj Government Medical College Hospital and Morgue suggested, there were "reddish injury marks all over the back and right hand and right leg", which shows the victim may have been "tortured before death".
Claimed Roy, "The victim girl's family is under serious threat now. Political leaders of ruling party, including MLA, Panchayat members and police of Kaliyaganj PS and senior officers are stationed at her house. Proposals of money and government service are being offered to stop complaint against police."



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