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Another Death in Custody, Justice in the Waiting

28 Nov 2020

PUDR raises questions about the death of a 24 year old man Mesar, in Mandoli jail, Delhi on 11th November, the contradictions that have emerged in the official version of the incident and the lackadaisical manner in which the post death inquiry is proceeding. Mesar alias Salman was a cab driver and had come from Badaun, UP and was living in Badarpur in Delhi. He was allegedly caught stealing a tempo and assaulted by its owner and the locals in Kabir Nagar on the night of 10th November around 2 am. The police was informed of the incident at the Welcome Nagar PS and on its arrival was handed over a brutally thrashed Mesar.

According to the statement given to the media by DCP (north-east), Mesar was first taken to the Jag Pravesh Chandra Hospital for his medical and subsequently an FIR under sections 379 (theft) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the IPC was registered against him. The next day on 11th November, he was produced before the court, in front of Metropolitan Magistrate Mayank Mittal and was sent to judicial custody to Mandoli. On the same day, late in the night, Mesar complained of pain and was taken to Hedgewar Hospital from Mandoli jail where he passed away.  A judicial inquiry has been initiated into the incident of death. On the other hand, Mesar’s family, speaking to the media, has said that he was tortured at Welcome PS. Mesar’s wife received a call from Welcome PS about his arrest where Mesar also spoke to his wife and his younger brother on 11th November forenoon.  Mesar had informed his relatives that he had been brutally assaulted though he did not specify by whom and where. They claimed to have visited the PS to meet Mesar on being informed of his arrest but were not allowed to meet. The DCP has denied the allegations levelled by the family suggesting that Mesar may have succumbed to injuries he sustained while being thrashed by the public. The police has not recovered any vehicle from the spot nor has any FIR been filed into the incident of public beating though the DCP has said, they are considering legal actions against the owner of the vehicle and the persons involved in the thrashing. No persons have been identified so far.

Even if the police’s version is to be believed that there was no custodial torture at the police station, there is no ground to justify why Mesar was sent to judicial custody if he had sustained severe injuries. The family has claimed that when they were called to the GTB hospital to see his dead body on 12th November, they could see a head injury, broken arms, bruises on the face and visible damages to the chest. It remains to be explained by the police and the medical officer that if a medical examination had been conducted before producing Mesar to the court, how come the injuries sustained of public beating, fatal in nature, were not spotted which resulted in his death only hours later, assuming that no torture took place in custody. If the injuries were physically visible, why were they not considered by the Magistrate before whom Mesar was produced? If Mesar’s medical report was clear before his production, and if no torture took place in the police station, did Mesar sustain injuries after being sent to the jail?

The self-contradictory official responses indicate that there was at the very least negligence in police custody with regard to his medical condition and dereliction on part of the Magistrate in ensuring treatment and protection during the production hearing, or assault in custody whether police or judicial. PUDR believes that the police, the medical officer, the Magistrate and the jail authorities are responsible for this unfortunate incident which has led to a person’s death.

We demand:

  • An FIR to be registered into the incident of death of Mesar in custody
  • An FIR be lodged against members of the vigilante mob.
  • Medical report of Mesar prepared before his production hearing as well his post-mortem report be given to the family
  • Compensation be awarded to the wife of the deceased.

 

Radhika Chitkara and Vikas Kumar

(Secretaries, PUDR)

[email protected]

 

 

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