Odisha PVTG health worker missing in custody

Seek inquiry into ‘custodial death’

Residents of remote Bhainsadani village in Odisha’s Nuapada district on Sunday walked 15 km carrying a human skeleton and other articles to the local police station, seeking an inquiry.

The skeleton, purported to be of Sukal Sai Paharia, a health worker posted in Bhainsadani panchayat, who was reportedly summoned by the police seven weeks ago, was traced to a forest on the outskirts of their village.


“My husband was summoned by the police on April 19 last. Since then he had not returned home. Four villagers had gone to the forest on Saturday when they discovered a skeleton. I don’t know whose skeleton it was. But the towel, bag, mobile phone and slipper found near the skeleton were of my husband,” said Saubhagya Paharia, Sukal’s wife.

Sukal’s family members alleged that the police had not disclosed his whereabouts ever since he was summoned by them on April 19. Villagers suspected that Sukal, the first post-graduate from the extremely backward Paharia community, died in police custody.

Moreover, the Boden police also refused to receive a complaint from Ms. Paharia about her missing husband. With no option left, she had written to higher-ups of the Odisha police and subsequently to the National Human Rights Commission, seeking a direction to the Boden police to accept her complaint