Amroha custodial death: Victim’s family sold jewellery for cops’ bribe

Family members of 30-year old dalit Balkishan Jatav, who died in police custody in Amroha district of west UP on Wednesday, alleged they had to sell their jewellery to pay the bribe demanded by policemen for Balkishan’s release.

“When I reached Dhanaura police station on Monday, I was asked to pay a bribe of ₹ 5 lakh and was threatened that if the money was not given, Balkishan would be charged under serious sections of the IPC and sent to prison. They also told me that they would release Balkishan with just a challan if the bribe was paid in time,” reads the FIR lodged in the matter by Jayprakash Jatav, Balkishan’s brother-in-law. The FIR further reads, “We sold the jewellery of my wife and gave ₹ 1 lakh to sub inspector Manoj Upadhyay on Tuesday night who assured us that Balkishan would be released the next day.”

However, when the relatives reached the police station on Wednesday, they were told that Balkishan had been taken to hospital. In the hospital, the doctors declared Balkishan dead.

“Balkishan was tortured by station house officer(SHO) of Dhanaura Arvind Mohan Sharma, SI Manoj Upadhyay and constables Vineet Chaudhary, Vivek Bainsla, Vivek Kakran and Ravindra Rana on Tuesday night that led to his death,” Jayprakash told HT on phone on Thursday.

He has also made the same allegation in the FIR.

Balkishan, who did not have a criminal record, was arrested on Sunday by Dhanaura police for investigation into a vehicle theft case.

The accused policemen have been charged under Section 302(murder) 342(wrongful confinement) and 384(extortion) of IPC, as well as relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“We have suspended six of the accused policemen along with three others who were on night duty at the police station on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. Investigation in the matter has also started,” said Amroha superintendent of police (SP) Vipin Tada.

The district administration has also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter.

Meanwhile, family members and relatives refused to cremate Balkishan’s body on Thursday and sat on protest, demanding compensation. “Balkishan used to drive school vans and was the only earning member of the family. We are all concerned about the survival of his wife and four children after his death,” said Kedar Jatav, a close relative of the family.

Following the protest, local administrative and police officials met the family. Additional SP(traffic) of Moradabad Satish Chandra was also called to speak to family members. “The family members agreed to end their protest after assurance that strict action would be taken against the accused cops and a financial aid of ₹8.5 lakh would be provided to Balkishan’s family,” informed Chandra.

BJP MLA of Dhanaura Rajeev Kumar also visited the family. “I met the family to assure them of our support. I have also promised them to discuss this matter with the chief minister and request him to give a government job to one member of the family,” Kumar said.

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