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Jangipur Custodial Death: Daud found dead on third day of Eid, wife alleges police torture

While police is claiming it to be a case of suicide, the victim's wife is alleging it to be murder as there was no reason for the undertrial prisoner to take his life, a case has been registered with the NHRC

Kolkata: Twenty-seven-year-old Daud Sk had not returned home since day 23 of Ramadan. Given the fact that Daud, a resident of Housenagar, worked as a daily wage labourer, who at times doubled up as a helper for truck drivers, his family was used to his long absence. Little did they know that Daud would be a victim of another custodial death in Bengal.

“He was with us in March. A week before Eid, he said he had some work and needed to go. We didn’t get worried when he didn’t return for weeks as we are used to Daud leaving our village in search of work,” recounted his wife Sabina Yeasmin.

In between sobs, Yeasmin, a mother of two kids said, “We were unaware of him being at Jangipur Sub-Correctional Home. It was only when we received an intimation from the police on April 13 that we needed to reach Jangipur to identify my husband and to be present when the post-mortem was conducted, that he had been arrested sometime back.”

When asked on what charges her husband was arrested, Daud’s widow maintained that she was unaware of the charges levied on her husband.

However, when eNewsroom India contacted sub-inspector Deepak Kr Das to understand why Daud had been arrested, he said, “Sub-inspector Abhijit Sarkar of Samserganj police station will be in a better position to answer this question. All that I can say is that I was present during the UTP’s autopsy. I can’t reveal more as the magistrate has initiated a judicial inquiry in this case.”

Sub inspector Abhijit Sarkar told eNewsroom, “Daud had been arrested in a Fake Indian Currency note case. Following which he was sent to Jangipur court which sent him to the Jangipur sub-correctional home.” On the question of why the family hadn’t been informed about his arrest, he claimed that Daud had been in custody since February and that the family was well aware of it.

However, again when it was asked that the family had claimed about him being with them till April 4, he quickly said, “I am not in office so, I can’t tell you about his actual day of arrest.”

Both Yeasmin and Khurshid Alam, state secretary of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) have reasons to believe that there are holes in the police theory.

Hinting at the possibility that Daud was tortured and killed, Alam questioned, “The event taking place from April 13 onwards deals with custodial death. Why does the notice from Jail to the Police state that Doud was sent to the hospital for better treatment when he had already committed suicide in jail?”

The victim’s neighbour Md Yusuf Hussain, an educator by profession, had accompanied the family to Jangipur for the identification of the deceased. He mentioned, “When we walked into the morgue, Daud’s lower portion of the body was covered with a gamcha and his torso had a t-shirt on. We were told that he hung himself by a gamcha at Jangipur’s correctional home.” 

The neighbour paused and pointed out, “However, the mark on his neck didn’t seem to have been caused by any clothes. I think it was caused by a wire or rope. But even if we go by the police version, which doesn’t seem to be authentic, one is left to wonder, how the undertrial got hold of gamcha in a correctional home to take his life.”

 Interestingly, the FIR copy of the FICN case (FIR 110/24 dated 24.02.2024) doesn’t have Daud’s name in the original copy and one Morsalim Sk had been arrested in connection with the case. But in another case (FIR 59/24 dated 3.02.2024) Daud had been accused of dacoity. He was granted bail on 22.02.24 only to be named in the FICN case. 

“I believe that he had been framed in the FICN case and was subjected to custodial torture which his body couldn’t bear,” added Yusuf.

A diary has been registered with the National Human Rights Commission {NHRC (5833/IN/2024)} on the wife’s complaint. 

 (eNewsroom has a copy of both the FIRs and court order)

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