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Thursday, February 22, 2024

SC upholds Tripura HC decision, orders to pay Rs 10 lakh to victim’s family


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Agartala: Upholding the decision of the High Court of Tripura, the Supreme Court last week directed the state government to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the deceased family who died in police custody within a few hours of his arrest in Sept last year at Sonamura under Tripura’s Sepahijala district.

The victim’s sister Ajufa Khatun said a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mohanty and Justice S G Chattopadhyay on June this year had decided that the death of her brother Jamal Hussain was a result of torture in police custody and the state government cannot avoid the responsibility of his murder in any way.

The HC directed the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to the deceased family within four weeks. But the Tripura government moved to the Supreme Court without paying compensation for the decision.

After the initial hearing, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea of the Tripura government and upheld the direction of the High Court on Oct 21 last, she said.

According to the victim’s family, 32-years old Jamal Hossein of Kalapania village of Monarchak area was found dead in the police custody of Sonamura police station five hours after his arrest on Sept 15, 2021.

The police claimed that he suffered from sudden cardiac arrest, as he was taken to hospital following his complaint of chest pain and doctors sent him back to custody after medication.

However, the deceased family alleged that Jamal was murdered by police in custody because he didn’t have any medical history of such illness and he was quite okay when picked him up from the house at around 12.30 am.

Police had allegedly beaten him in the house itself while the family members declined Jamal’s late-night detention.

According to police, an hour after his arrest with a due medical check-up, Jamal was complaining of chest pain, and immediately he was taken to a local hospital.

Thereafter, he was referred to Melaghar sub-divisional hospital but doctors found nothing serious and released him after some time and police brought him again into custody.

In the morning, he was found lying on the floor of the lock-up and he was not responding to the police call.

Immediately, he was taken to the hospital and the doctors attending him declared him dead.

The family was immediately informed and forensic experts also visited the spot. Now, the body has been sent for postmortem, the officer-in-charge of Sonamura police station claimed.

According to Ajufa Khatun, her brother was killed in police custody as he refused to go to police station at night, and his parents also requested police let them bring him there early in the morning.

The policemen got angry and beat him in front of the family members and also, had uttered that he will be given a lesson in custody for arguing with the police.

“My brother worked in Dubai and two months ago he came home and on Sept 22 next he was scheduled to return back. The police suddenly stormed our house referring to a five-year-old case under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and assaulted us in front of us, and warned us to kill him. We were threatened not to go to the police station at night, otherwise, all our family will face the consequence,” Ajufa alleged.

The family of the deceased alleged after being killed by the police, the story of death by heart attack is arranged.

The destitute wife, mother, and minor children of the deceased filed a writ petition in the Tripura High Court seeking justice for murder and demanding compensation.

The opposition Congress welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court and demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting high court judge into the deaths of at least nine people in police custody during 55 months rule of BJP in Tripura.

The party president Birjit Sinha alleged that the Tripura government mobilized police against the people who criticized their dispensation and that all the custodial murders in police lock-ups have a political link.

“The BJP cadres have been attacking their oppositions including media houses and journalists openly in presence of police and when they are not able to commit an attack, the state government used police to detain their anti-people in a false case and torture them in the custody, which needs to be investigated by the Supreme Court with all seriousness,” Sinha added.

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