Two men allegedly died due to torture while in police custody in Bihar on March 7. Gufran Alam, 30, and Taslim Ansari, 32, were picked up by the police in Sitamarhi in a robbery and murder case.
After the police released their bodies, their families and relatives saw signs of torture. A few college students, who were helping the two families with paperwork, also recorded videos and took photos of the injury marks on the bodies.
The families shared the footage with the police who called the incident "unacceptable" and went on to arrest the five police officers involved. An FIR was filed, but the policemen's names were not mentioned in them.
"We suspended five policemen including Chandra Bhushan Singh, the officer-in-charge of Dumra police station, in Sitamarhi. They will also face departmental action. If they do not surrender, they can even face dismissal. We have issued a show-cause notice to Sitamarhi SP who has been transferred," Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
What exactly happened?
On March 6, Gufram and Taslim were picked up by the police from their houses in Ramdiha village. The police alleged that the two men had stolen a motorbike from Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Muzzafarpur, and killed him.
"We were all asleep when five police jeeps from the local Chakiya police station stopped at our house and asked for Gufran. They said they wanted to question Gufran in connection with a case. Before we could ask anything, they took him away and later also picked up fellow villager Taslim Ansari," Gufran's 58-year-old father Munnavar Ali told The Indian Express.
While Gufran has no criminal history, Taslim was out on bail and has four criminal cases against him in East Champaran and Sitamarhi.
Ali went on to say that he, along with his brother Sanawar Ali and other villagers, went to Chakiya police station at around 3 am on March 6but did find the men there. He said that they went back home for the night and visited the police station later when they were directed to the Dumra police station and found the boys in a terrible condition. Sanawar Ali tried speaking to Gufran and the latter, who could barely talk said that the police had beaten him up and even broke his legs.
Both, Gufran and Taslim's families went to the Dumra police station on the evening of March 6. "We saw only two women constables. When we asked about Gufran and Taslim, they sent us to Sadar Hospital. There, we were told that both were dead and their postmortem had been conducted. We were not allowed to see the bodies. The bodies were handed over to us the next day," Gufran's father-in-law Mohammed Ayub Alam told.
Sabbir Rooney, a college student helping the families with the paperwork, said, "We have filmed videos and have still photographs of the injury marks caused by iron nails being hammered in. The nails were hammered into their thighs, soles and wrists. The legs of both victims were severely injured. We are waiting for the postmortem report for specific details."
Will the government help the families?
Taslim was a daily wage worker and Gufran used to work as an electrician in Qatar. Gufran's family has asked for a Rs 50 lakh compensation and a job for Gufran's wife.
"We have no ration card, no Indira Awas house. And even if my son faced a criminal case, it's the court's job to deliver the verdict. How can police kill him like this? Is this rule of law the Chief Minister has been talking about?" said Molazim Ansari, Taslim's father.