Bolangir custodial death: NHRC asks govt to pay Rs 2 lakh more

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Bhubaneswar: Holding the Odisha government responsible for the custodial torture leading to the death of a youth in Bolangir two years back, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday directed it to pay an additional Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

The rights panel clarified that the amount will be over and above the compensation of Rs 3 lakh already paid by the Odisha government to the kin of Basanta Pradhan, who died in custody following torture by Bolangir police in 2014.

Hearing the case in June last year, the Commission had slapped a notice on the Odisha government asking why a compensation of Rs 5 lakh should not be recommended for the kin of Pradhan.

The Commission, in its notice, also stated the report submitted by Additional DGP of Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of State Police has found sufficient evidence to establish complicity of policemen in the incident.

The investigation found the allegation of custodial torture to be true against the then Inspector-In-Charge (IIC) of Bolangir town Tareuqe Ahmed, SIs Anant Kumar Pradhan and Malay Kumar Panda, ASI Dilip Kumar Dang, constable Brindavan Meher and home guard Saroj Kumar Naik under Sections 120B/341/342/343/323/330/348/302/34 of the IPC.

On June 10, 2014, Pradhan, a resident of Hatapada in Titlagarh, was detained by Titlagarh police in connection with a mobile phone theft case that had taken place in Bolangir. He was later handed over to Bolangir police, which released the youth from its custody five days later. However, Pradhan did not keep good health after the incident and died on June 28 prompting allegations of custodial torture.

The incident snowballed into a major law and order situation as angry locals ransacked the office of the SDPO holding police responsible for Pradhan’s death and demanded action.

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