Two Dalit undertrials found hanging in Sultanpur jail likely 'killed': probe

In the investigation report, the chief judicial magistrate says it is likely a case of 'forceful hanging'

Representative image (photo: National Herald)
Representative image (photo: National Herald)

NH Digital

A judicial inquiry into the deaths of two Dalit undertrial prisoners Kariya alias Vijay Pasi (20) and Manoj Raidas (19), who were found dead under mysterious circumstances in Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur prison on 21 June, concluded on Monday.

In the 24-page investigation report, chief judicial magistrate Swapna Tripathi said the deaths were likely a case of “forceful hanging”. According to the probe, both the inmates probably died a while before their body was recovered.

Though the prison officials had initially claimed that the inmates took their own lives owing to “depression”, the investigation report revealed that the deaths took place under mysterious circumstances and it was not established that the inmates were in any way depressed.

During the inquiry, jail authorities told officers that CCTV cameras installed near the spot were not functional at the time of the alleged suicides. The probe also ran into other hurdles when the CJM was reportedly not given the viscera report from the post-mortem despite asking for it.

Officials said the statements of 20 witnesses, including the victims' family members, fellow inmates, and the doctors who conducted the post-mortem were recorded during the investigation. The doctors in particular reportedly told the CJM that the deaths had occurred before 21 June, and indicated that some form of toxins may have been involved.

The post-mortem also reportedly found injury marks on the bodies, while other inmates claimed that the two men were not issued with bedsheets, and media reports state that prison officials could not explain how they had hanged themselves using bedclothes.

According to earlier reports, Raidas and Pasi were arrested for killing their 48-year-old neighbour Om Prakash on 26 May, who was fatally injured after being attacked with sharp weapons. Police said the duo had confessed to the crime during their interrogation.

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