NHRC notice to DGP, Punjab over reported death of a youth in police custody due to torture in district Ludhiana (08.04.2019)

New Delhi, 8th April, 2019

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a 22-year-old youth arrested, in a vehicle theft case, died in the police custody at the Janakpuri post in district Ludhiana, Punjab on Sunday the 7th April, 2019.

The Commission has observed that the news reports, if true, amount to serious issue of violation of Right to Life of the victim. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Punjab calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Commission also directs the Director General of Police to explain as to why this case of custodial death has not been reported to the Commission, as per its guidelines.

According to the media reports carried today on the 8th April, 2019, the deceased has been identified as Karan, a resident of Prem Colony, Bhamia Khurd in Ludhiana district of Punjab. He along with his friend, Gautam was arrested by the police, on 06.04.2019 and a stolen motorcycle was recovered from them. A case was registered against both of them and they were lodged in the lock-up. At around 4:30 AM, Gautam noticed blood coming out from the mouth of Karan following which he raised alarm and the victim was shifted to the Civil Hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Reportedly, the deceased had a notorious past and was also facing a snatching case registered against him at the Model Town Police Station and proceedings against him for declaring him a proclaimed offender were also going on as he was not attending to the court.

According to another media reports, the family members of the victim have alleged that he was taken away by the police, without disclosing any reason and later he was framed in the vehicle lifting case. The family reportedly visited the police check post several times and requested a meeting with Karan but they were not allowed. The next day, the family members were informed that the victim has committed suicide by consuming poison. As alleged by the family of the deceased, he was tortured by the police to confess stealing of the vehicles. As per police version, a judicial probe has been ordered and on the basis of the autopsy report, action will be taken.