A Dalit youth was found dead in custody on Thursday, triggering anger and protest among locals in Kanpur district. Twelve policemen were suspended following the incident.
“We were beaten as if we were footballs,” says Kamal’s younger brother Nirmal, who was also interrogated but allowed to go after his brother’s death. “They said to me – either confess or we will kill your brother,” he claims.
On Thursday morning, Kamal was found hanging in lock-up.
Valmiki, a resident of Shiv Katra village in Kanpur, was arrested along with another man named Raju Mistri in a case of loot. Mistri’s family was called to identify the body, following which Valmiki’s family claimed it.
Valmiki’s family filed an FIR against the station in charge and other police personnel for beating him to death. However, the police claimed that he had committed suicide. His body was then sent for post mortem.
“Twelve police personnel, including the station in charge Yogendra Singh, have been suspended and strict action will be taken against them if found guilty,” Mathura’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shalabh Mathur said.
“On basis of their complaint, we have registered a case of murder and the entire police chowki has been suspended. If other police personnel are involved we will act against them too,” he added.
The members of Valmiki community blocked the Kanpur-Lucknow highway and threw stones at the police station following which senior police officials reached there to control the situation. Meanwhile, Raju Mistri has been reported missing.