Madhya Pradesh: Judicial probe ordered into ‘custodial’ death of Muslim youth in Guna

Image used for representational purposes. | Image: Newsclick

After the news of the death surfaced, the police said that three constables have been attached to police lines.

Huneza Khan | 

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BHOPAL (MADHYA PRADESH) — A judicial probe has been ordered into the death of Muslim youth allegedly in police custody in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh.  

Israel Khan, 30, a resident of Guna district in Madhya Pradesh, was returning home from attending a 3-day religious congregation in the outskirts of the capital city Bhopal. Khan was a daily wage labourer. 

His uncle Aslam Khan informed that Israel had gone to attend the Bhopal Ijtima (religious congregation) and while on his way home to Guna on November 21, four policemen stopped his taxi and detained him at the Kushmuda police station. 

“On hearing about his detention, my brother and some of our neighbours went to the police station,” he said. 

Aslam Khan alleged that he heard shrieks in the police station, which he believes were that of his nephew Israel.  

“They were mercilessly beating him,” Aslam said. 

Aslam said that the policemen told them to reach the Cantt police station. “They were supposed to take Israel there. Later we received a call from police to reach the city hospital,” he said. 

Khan said the doctor had declared Isreal dead when they arrived at the hospital. “The body had severe injuries. We requested the administration to arrest the accused, including the four policemen, three police agents, and a station house officer but our pleas were ignored,” he said. 

Isreal Khan had reportedly been a part of a group that got into a confrontation with a local police team who had accosted some gamblers last month. The group was trying to save one of the gamblers who had fallen and got injured while trying to escape, a report in The Week said. “Khan was reportedly accosted by the police due to this reason while he was on his way home from the railway station on Monday night after returning from Bhopal,” the report said. 

Aslam Khan denied these allegations. 

“It (scuffle) happened a day before Israel’s departure for Bhopal Ijtima. He was not involved in it. His name was not mentioned in any of the FIRs,” Khan said.  

Aslam claimed that the District Magistrate assured them of a judicial probe into the incident when the family protested. 

“However, they haven’t even filed an FIR yet. The accused are freely roaming around in front of our eyes,” said Aslam Khan. 

Aggrieved by the death of his son, Israel’s father Munawwar Khan said that Israel didn’t have any criminal history. “They killed my son. I demand eight of them be put in jail. This will be justice for me,” he said. 

Israel, the father of four, was the sole breadwinner of the family. “Who will look after us?” questioned Munawwar Khan. He is survived by his wife, 3 daughters and an 8-month-old son. 

“We are in such a condition where we even have food to eat. The neighbours are providing us with food. I don’t even know who paid for the burial of my son,” said Munawwar Khan. 

Aslam Khan said that Israel had bought clothes for his children on his return from Bhopal. He said that Israel had 10 to 12,000 Rs cash on him and a cell phone that the police haven’t returned yet. “We demand justice from the government. We also appeal to the government to provide financial aid to the family for their survival,” said Aslam. 

The Week reported that the Guna Superintendent of Police (SP) Pankaj Shrivastava confirmed that the man was in the custody of the local police for about 30 minutes before the declaration of his death at around 10.00 pm in the hospital. “We have recommended a judicial probe, and action will be taken based on the report of the judicial magistrate. As of now, we have sent three constables involved in the incident to the police lines,” the SP is quoted as saying. 

One home guard personnel was also involved in the incident, and action against him would be initiated by the district commandant, the SP said.

Huneza Khan is a student and a budding journalist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She tweets @KhanHuneza