Two men who were picked up by the police in cases of robbery and murder were reportedly tortured to death in custody in Bihar’s Sitamarhi last week, a report in The Indian Express said. The custodial death of the two triggered massive protests by the locals who are now demanding strict action against the police officials involved in the crime. The local administration, however, has ordered a magisterial probe.
The family of the deceased men who have been identified as Gufran Alam (30) and Taslim Ansari (32) came across photos and a video clip of their bodies. The photos and videos were captured when their bodies were given a wash just before burial. It shows marks of nails hammered into their skin.
Families of the duo have shared the video and photos with the police and an FIR was filed for murder. The administration has suspended five policemen.
Acknowledging the custodial deaths and terming it unacceptable, Gupteshwar Pandey, Bihar Director General of Police told The Indian Express, We suspended five policemen including Chandra Bhushan Singh who is the officer-in-charge of Dumra police station in Sitamarhi. The policemen will also face departmental action and if they do not surrender then they can even face dismissal from the duty. We have also issued a show-cause notice to Sitamarhi SP who has been transferred.
However, it is noteworthy that no policeman has been named in the FIR yet.
As per the records, Gufran Alam and Taslim Ansari, early on March 6, were picked up by the police from Ramdiha village in a case related to the theft of a motorcycle and murder of bike s owner Rakesh Kumar who is a Muzaffarpur resident.
Taslim Ansari had four criminal cases in East Champaran and Sitamarhi against him and was out on bail, The Indian Express reported, however Gufran Alam had no prior criminal record.
The village of Ramdiha falls under the Motihari Lok Sabha seat which is represented by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh who is a BJP leader.
Munnavar Ali, Gufran s father, told The Indian Express, We were all asleep when five police jeeps from the local Chakiya police station stopped at our house and asked for Gufran. They said they wanted to question Gufran in connection with a case. Before we could ask anything, they took him away and later also picked up fellow villager Taslim Ansari.
58-year-old Ali and his brother Sanawar Ali along with other villagers, went to Chakiya police station at around 3 am on March 6. However Gufran and Taslim were not there.
We returned home and visited the police station again a few hours later. A local police informer told us about Gufran and Taslim were at Dumra police station. He got Sanawar Ali to speak with Gufran who could barely talk. He said that police had severely beaten him and broken his legs, Ali said.
Gufran Alam has two children 5-year-old Wakaf and Neha Tarannum who is just three years old.
Both Taslim and Gufran s and families went to Dumra police station at 5 pm on March 6 where they say were only two women constables present.
When we asked about Taslim and Gufran, they sent us to Sadar Hospital. There, we were told that both were dead and their postmortem had been conducted. We were not allowed to see the bodies. The bodies were handed over to us the next day, said Gufran s father-in-law Mohammed Ayub Alam.
It was then they knew what happened they say. The bodies were being washed for the burial rituals and the relatives say they saw the wounds and the torture both men went through.
A college student, Sabbil Rooney is assisting both grieving families with the paperwork and told The Indian Express, We have filmed videos and have photographs of the injury marks caused by iron nails being hammered in. The nails were hammered into their thighs, wrists and soles. The legs of both victims were severely injured. We are waiting for the postmortem report for specific details.
Gufran Alam, earlier had worked as an electrician in Qatar and had returned a year ago. He was planning to return to Doha where his other two brothers also work in the same profession.
Munnavar Ali says, My son delayed his visit because he wanted to get his son admitted to a school this year. .
His family has asked for a job for Gufran s wife and a compensation of Rs 50 lakh.
Taslim Ansari s brother too works as an electrician in Saudi Arabia. Gufran s family lives in a pucca house and owns 14,000 square feet of agricultural land whereas Taslim s family resides in a 400 sq feet thatched house, reported The Indian Express.
65-year-old Molazim Ansari Taslim s father, said, It was around 1.15 am when the police came. The policemen ransacked our house and took away Taslim who worked as a daily wager.
We have no ration card, no Indira Awas house. And even if my son faced a criminal case, it s the court s job to deliver the verdict. How can police kill him like this? Is this rule of law the Chief Minister has been talking about? laments Ansari.