A judicial inquiry has been ordered into the death of a Muslim labourer who allegedly died in police custody on Monday night in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district.
Israil Khan, 30, was taken into custody on Monday evening near his village Gokul Singh Chak on his way back from a Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in Bhopal, his family told Scroll.in. The police have said that Khan had been accused in a case related to a local quarrel.
Superintendent of Police Pankaj Shrivasta said that a judicial magistrate will look into the circumstances that lead to Khan’s death, adding that a case has not yet been filed in the matter.
Srivastava told The Week that the three constables involved in the incident have been transferred to the police lines.
Imran Khan, the brother of the dead man, alleged that Israil Khan died after being beaten up ruthlessly by the police. He was picked up from an autorickshaw on his way home and taken to the Kushmod police post, the brother claimed.
“He [Israil Khan] has injury marks on his head and arms,” Imran Khan told Scroll.in. “There are also baton marks on his back.”
Meanwhile Shrivastava said that the police wanted Khan’s custody in a case filed under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code.
“On November 19 when police visited the village after receiving information about a quarrel between two groups, one side threw stones and damaged their vehicle,” the police official said. “He was [an] accused [person] in that case.”
However, Khan’s family has denied the allegations and said that he had no criminal record.
After Khan’s family came to know that he had been detained, his father and uncle went to the police post.
“They saw him crying and saying ‘papa I will die’ but the police did not release him,” Imran Khan told Scroll.in. “They went to the police station, but were told to go to a hospital...When they reached the hospital they found that he was already dead.”
On Tuesday, Khan’s family and other villagers held a demonstration by blocking the village road for several hours along with the dead body. They demanded that a first information report be filed on charges of custodial killing.
“The police want to pass it off as death by heart attack,” said a relative who did not want to be identified.
Policemen in riot gear were posted at the protest spot even as officials urged the family to stop the demonstration.
“In the afternoon, a magistrate came and promised us that action will be taken,” Mohammad Hizkeel, a family acquaintance, told Scroll.in. He added that the magistrate took five villagers with him as witnesses and asked the family to wait for his order for burying the body .
“He said that another postmortem of the body might be done,” said Hizkeel.
Khan is survived by his wife and four children.