MORADABAD: A 20-year-old student of Class 12, a Dalit, was tortured, given electric shock in the police station, and hanged from a tree so his death could be passed off as suicide, villagers of Jalalpur in Moradabad have said. The youth was allegedly tortured at the police chowki in the village on Sunday. His body was discovered hanging from a tree later. Examining the wounds on the body, angry villagers said there was no doubt he had been tortured. Some residents of the village pelted stones at police personnel in protest. On Tuesday, the district commissioner ordered a probe into the matter by a magistrate.

On the complaint of the youth’s kin, police registered an FIR against sub-inspector Ratnesh Kumar of the police chowki. Police officials said that Hari Singh Jatav, a resident of Tumadia Kala village, has complained that his 20-year-old son Sonu was arrested for breach of peace on Friday, after a village woman complained against him. On Saturday, the youth was produced before the court of the Thakurdwara SDM, and granted bail in the afternoon.

Hari Singh said his son had only gone to fetch back the money that the woman’s husband had borrowed. Her husband lodged a trumped-up case against Sonu, he said.

“On Saturday, just he was returning after getting bail, chowki in-charge Ratnesh Kumar and other constables arrested Sonu again right outside the gate of the court, and slapped a case of sexual harassment on him,” Hari Singh said. The father of the boy said his body bore clear signs of torture, and was found just 500 metres from the chowki. There is cause to suspect, from marks on the feet, that the boy was given electric shock, his father said.

SP (rural) Prabal Pratap Singh said, “Sonu was arrested under 354A (sexual harassment) on the complaint of a village woman. He ran away from the chowki on Saturday, and was discovered hanging from a tree near the chowki.” The officer also denied that there were any signs of torture on the body, which has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

Sub-inspector Ratnesh Kumar, however, has been suspended for negligence since the death occurred while the youth was under police custody. An FIR has been registered against him.