Ramakanta Biswas

Tension ran high near the district headquarters hospital in Bargarh on Saturday after a violent scuffle broke out between police personnel and a group of people during a protest over death of a youth due to alleged custodial torture.

The faceoff occurred when family members of the deceased along with other locals were marching towards the office of the superintendent of police (SP) with the body. The police personnel resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob. 

Visuals from the site show police chasing and baton charging the mob as they desperately ran helter-skelter for safety. 

According to sources, Gobinda Kumbhar, a resident of Tora village was picked up by police last night in connection with a quarrel case filed at the Town Police Station on July 20 this year. Today morning, Kumbhar was shifted to a hospital after his condition allegedly deteriorated. He was later shifted to the district headquarters hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The family members of the youth alleged that he was tortured in police custody throughout the night that led to his death.

“The policemen held my husband by his collar and dragged him into the van. The cops did not let us accompany him to the police station. They beat up him throughout the night following which his condition became serious and he died,” the deceased’s wife alleged.

Following the death, the bereaved family members and fellow villagers held protest and vandalised the property of the hospital.

One platoon of police force was deployed on the hospital campus to control the situation. 

Additional SP Dilip Kumar Bag said, “Today morning, the youth fell sick and was initially shifted to the old district headquarters hospital (DHH). Later, he was taken to the new DHH for better treatment. He was received dead at the hospital.”

“We are trying to make people understand that the police have no role in the death of the youth,” he added.

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