Odisha’s Sambalpur city was tense on Friday after the death of a tribal youth in police custody on Thursday night led to a riot-like situation. A mob protesting his death set the Ainthapali police station and vehicles in its compound ablaze.
At least 30 people, including 10 police personnel, were injured in the protests, The Times of India reported. The protestors staged a blockade on the Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway-10. The situation has now been brought under control, Inspector General Sushant Nath told the English daily.
While the police claim 22-year-old Abhinash Munda, who was accused of theft, ended his life, the protestors said the police beat him to death. The human rights protection cell of the state police has been asked to investigate the cause of his death, Nath said.
Director General of Police RP Sharma suspended inspector in charge of Ainthapali police station and two other police personnel for dereliction of duty, according to The New Indian Express.
Munda’s body has been taken to the VSS Medical College and Hospital in Burla for post-mortem. “The post-mortem will be videographed as per the guidelines of National Human Rights Commission,” Sambalpur Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Arora told Hindustan Times.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh for Munda’s family. The Odisha Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Human Rights Protection Cell of Odisha Police, and asked for a report within three weeks. The panel will hear the case on March 6, local media reported.