Hundreds of people from the Gujjar community have threatened protests across Uttar Pradesh if authorities do not meet the demands of the family of a man who died in police custody last week in Meerut, The Indian Express reported on Monday. Meanwhile, a police inquiry found that the cow slaughter charge, for which the man was arrested with three others, was false.
The police arrested the four men on April 21 after finding carcasses of two cows in their vehicle. One of them, 35-year-old Narendra Singh, died in jail on April 24. An autopsy had found that Singh had died of asphyxia. The police said an investigation was under way.
His family has alleged that the police tortured him at the behest of a local gram pradhan (village head), The Times of India reported. Singh’s family has been on an indefinite hunger strike for four days. They have demanded action against the policemen involved, compensation of Rs 50 lakh, a government job and a house.
Meerut (Rural) Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar ordered a murder case be filed against three policemen of the Mawana police station. The policemen had already been suspended.
The cow slaughter charge has been dropped from the case against the three men who were arrested with Singh. They will instead be charged for cattle smuggling, unidentified officials told The Indian Express.
Around 400 members of the Gujjar community organised a mahapanchayat at Singh’s home on Sunday. Avtar Singh Bhadana, a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, said that an all-party delegation would meet Chief Minister Adityanath to discuss the family’s demands. A Samajwadi Party leader was also present at the meeting.
“The mahapanchayat was called at our village, where it was decided that if the district administration and police fail to fulfil our demands, state-wide protests would be organised,” Singh’s nephew Manish Nagar told The Indian Express.