National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi– 110001
We lodge this present complaint in the matter of the victim Jhantu Saha (deceased), son of- Mr. Biren Saha, aged about- 40 years, by faith- Hindu, address-village- Bishnupur Kalibari, Post Office+ Police Station- Berhampore, District- Murshidabad, West Bengal. The victim was arrested by the involved police personnel of Berhampore Police Station on 11.5.2013 at about 9 pm near Berhampore Court area reportedly under intoxicated condition. The perpetrator police personnel of the said police station illegally detained the victim and on 13.5.2013 he was produced before the concerned magistrate (the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Berhampore) thereby implicating him in a criminal case. The magistrate rejecting his bail application sent him to judicial custody at Berhampore central Correctional Home.
In the morning on 04.06.2013, the physical condition of the deceased started to collapse. He was taken to Berhampore General Hospital in very critical condition by the jail authority. The examining medical officer of the said hospital declared him dead upon examining him. The hospital informed the incident to Berhampore Police Station and the police personnel of the said police station registered one unnatural death case vide Berhampore Police Station Unnatural Death Case No. 355/2013 dated 04.06.2013. The Post Mortem examination of the victim was done at Berhampore General Hospital on 5.6.2013 vide P.M. examination no. 486. The inquest on the body of the victim was done by one executive magistrate namely Mr. Ashok Pain.
Our fact finding team talked with the family of the victim and the brother of the victim stated that the victim was tortured and subjected to custodial violence during his illegal detention at Berhampore Police Station. But the family of the victim is afraid to lodge complaint before the authorities in this matter apprehending police harassment. The incident of the victim’s death in jail custody has been reported in two daily Bengla newspapers namely ‘Sambad Protidin’ (issue dated 5.6.2013) and ‘Anandabazar Patrika’ http://www.anandabazar.com/
The facts and circumstances of the incident revealed that the victim suffered custodial death but there has been no enquiry by judicial magistrate in compliance of the provisions of Section 176(1-A) of criminal Procedure Code. Section 176(1-A) of Criminal Procedure Code mandates enquiry by judicial magistrate in case of custodial death.
We condemn the incident and seek your urgent intervention against the perpetrators involved in this case i.e. the Superintendent of Berhampore Central Correctional Home and the Officer-in-Charge and other involved police personnel of Berhampore Police Station.
We demand your urgent action in this matter in the following manner:-
- The whole matter must be investigated by one neutral investigating agency.
- The provisions of Section 176(1-A) of Criminal Procedure Code must be complied with immediately in this case and the enquiry by judicial magistrate shall immediately be conducted in this case.
- The perpetrator police personnel of Berhampore Police Station must be booked under the law immediately for committing custodial torture upon the victim and they must be punished in accordance with law.
- The role of the Superintendent of Berhampore Central Correctional Home must be neutrally investigated into and punished according if found guilty for acts leading to the custodial death of the victim.
- The victim’s family must be compensated adequately.
National Convener, PACTI