Custodial death sparks brawl between police and locals

India on 21 April 2014
Location : Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | Source : Times of India; image source: flickr user JD Hancock

Over a dozen people including a lady legislator and a DSP were injured after the suspicious death of a youth in judicial custody triggered violent clashes between police and local residents of Sriganganagar's Raisinghnagar area on Friday. The man was arrested on charges of smuggling liquor on Wednesday and was remanded in judicial custody. The jail administration rushed him to a hospital in Sriganganagar, where he died while undergoing treatment on Thursday night.

The family members and local residents alleged that he died due to police torture. The man, identified as Gurmeet Singh alias Meeta was a resident of Chak 44 PS village in Sameja police station area near Raisinghnagar. A court had issued an arrest warrant against him after he was booked for three different cases of liquor smuggling.

A police team from Sameja police station arrested Meeta on Wednesday and produced him in court on Thursday. He was remanded in judicial custody. Meeta allegedly fainted in the jail following which he was brought to the local government hospital. The doctors there referred him to the district government hospital in Sriganganagar. He died while undergoing treatment on Thursday night.

Meeta's family members gathered outside the police station on Friday. Local MLA Sonadevi Bawari also reached the police station. While people started hurling stones at the policemen, the cops resorted to lathicharge.

Eleven policemen and three local residents were injured in the clashes. DSP Mukesh Kumar Sankhala and MLA Sonadevi also got injured. Police said the allegations leveled by the family members are baseless as Meeta had been produced in a court before being remanded in judicial custody. The legislator, family members and locals, however, alleged that Meeta was tortured when he was in police custody for a day after his arrest. A judicial enquiry has been launched into the mysterious death of Gurmeet Singh.

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