Vikash Sharma

Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday issued a notice to the Odisha government in connection with the death of a person allegedly in police custody at Puri on Wednesday. The Commission’s directives came shortly after BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra filed a petition over the alleged custodial death.

While issuing the notice, NHRC expressed its displeasure over the fact that such custodial deaths are still occurring despite the Supreme Court's guidelines on custodial treatment of accused/ suspects. "This is not acceptable in a country governed by the rule of law." the Commission pointed out while taking a veiled dig at the State government over its failures to adhere to the SC guidelines.

The Commission has directed the Odisha Chief Secretary and DGP to submit detailed reports on the matter within four weeks.

The NHRC has directed the State government to submit the copies of the FIR, arrest and inspection memos of the person who allegedly died in police custody.

The Commission has also asked the State government to notify whether the family members of the victim were informed about his arrest.

Apart from the medico-legal certificates concerning the deceased K. Ramesh,  video tapes of autopsy, viscera and the forensic reports on the exact cause of his death; the State authorities have also been asked to submit the magisterial inquiry report in the case.

Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national spokesperson Sambit Patra had moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over the death K. Ramesh allegedly in police custody at Puri.

In his petition, Patra had sought the intervention of rights watchdog for ensuring protection for the family members of the deceased, especially his parents who are allegedly missing after the incident.

It is shocking the way the 30-year-old youth K. Ramesh was picked up by police and later found dead. We have moved NHRC as the deceased youth’s body was not handed over to his family but cremated inhumanly by cops without observance of rituals pertaining to last rites,” alleged Patra.

The BJP leader further stressed that the whereabouts of deceased Ramesh’s parents and his other family members, who were picked by police, are still unknown.

"The way Ramesh was tortured by police personnel in custody is not justified. We have demanded punitive action against the officials involved in the brutal murder," said the BJP leader who had contested from Puri Lok Sabha seat in 2019.

“People have already come to know how Ramesh’s body was taken for cremation in a clandestine manner through the back gate of the police station to avoid any suspicion. The parents of the deceased are witness and they might be subjected to pressure by the State government,” Patra said.

Patra further said that the NHRC has assured them to conduct an on spot investigation and probe by a flying squad. “The Commission has also assured full protection of the family of the deceased. We are hopeful that truth will come out,” he added.

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