Custodial death victim family to get Rs.4 lakh

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Cuttack: After more than four years of legal battle, parents of a custodial death victim got a major relief when High Court ordered the state government to pay a compensation of rupees four lakh to them.

Holding the state police responsible for the death one Bhaskar Behera of Athagarh in June 2007, a division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda directed the state government on Thursday to pay the compensation to the mother of the deceased, Bilasini Behera.

Not satisfied with the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recommendation of Rs one lakh compensation awarded way back in August 2008, Bilasini had approached the High Court for more compensation alleging that her 24-year-old son died due to severe police assault.

Directed by the High Court, the OHRC in 2008 had conducted an inquiry into the incident and observed that Bhaskar died due to shock and not due to police assault as alleged. The Commission had held the police guilty for unlawful entry into Bhaskar`s house in the dead hours of the night and had instructed the state government to initiate departmental proceedings against the erring policemen.

The OHRC had held that Athagarh police led by ASI N K Das had gone to Rajnagar village on that night to investigate one complaint of a minor girl being assaulted by one Kabu Behera.

Instead of pursuing that case, police entered Bhaskar`s house, who was sleeping at that time. ?Bhaskar died due to aspiration of stomach-contents into his air pipe as he was shocked and frightened at the sight of police at his doorstep late in the night,? the Commission had observed in its report based on medical evidence.

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