Kasganj custodial death: Murder case registered against unidentified policemen

The police had earlier said that Altaf, 21, strangulated himself in the washroom. The FIR came after much outcry from opposition parties, independent media and civil society

Kasganj custodial death: Murder case registered against unidentified policemen

Aas Mohd Kaif

The Kasganj police on Saturday finally lodged an FIR for murder against unidentified policemen in the custodial death case of a Muslim youth named Altaf. The FIR was registered after much pressure from opposition parties, independent media and the civil society.

The FIR was lodged at Kasganj Kotwali on the basis of a complaint (tehreer) given by Altaf’s father Chand Miya.

The police had picked up Altaf for questioning on November 8 following a complaint by a Hindu neighbour whose girl was missing from home. Altaf, a mason and daily wage labourer, was charged with abduction.

He died in police custody in the intervening night of November 9 and Nov 10. Initially, the police said that the 21-year-old boy strangulated himself using a string from his jacket hood in the washroom of the lock-up. But it was hard to believe the police version as the tap from which the deceased allegedly hung himself was just 3-feet high.

Kasganj custodial death: Murder case registered against unidentified policemen

The victim’s family rejected the police theory of suicide and demanded justice and strict punishment for those responsible for his death.

The family said police are showing a letter purportedly signed by the victim's father, which gives a clean chit to the men in khaki, and alleged that it was obtained under pressure.

Abrar Ahmad, the paternal uncle of Altaf who died in police custody in Kasganj on Tuesday, told reporters here that the letter that carries Altaf's father's thumb impression "has been managed through police pressure".

Abrar said the Kasganj police has given a sum of Rs 5 lakh to one of the family members but he is not aware as to whom the money was handed over as his brother is in no condition to speak.

Speaking to National Herald, Chand Miya said that over the last four days leaders of various political parties including from Congress, Samajwadi Party, Lok Dal and others came to meet and console the family, but no one from the ruling party ever came. “Am I not a citizen of this country?” He asked.

Samajwadi Party spokesman Abdul Hafiz Gandhi, who has been with the bereaved family for the last four days, said that the FIR for murder is the first step in getting justice for Altaf, though the FIR still does not have the names of the policemen on duty that night.

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