A 35-year-old security guard allegedly died in police custody in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh on October 13, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. Three policemen, including the station house officer of Pilkhuwa town, have been suspended for allegedly torturing him.

Pradeep Tomar was called to the station for questioning on Sunday in connection with a murder case. He died hours later after the policemen allegedly assaulted him. His 11-year-old son, who accompanied him to the station, claimed that Tomar was repeatedly kicked, punched, hit with planks of wood, given electric shocks and pierced with a screwdriver.

“My father kept begging them not to beat him and asked them what he had done wrong but they kept hitting him,” the son told the newspaper. “They were drunk. He fell at their feet and asked them to leave him but they tortured him so much that he defecated and urinated. Even when he was taken to the local hospital, he was not given any treatment. He was just locked in a room.”

There were reportedly deep bruise marks on Tomar’s posterior and stab wounds all over his body.

The boy alleged that police threatened him to not narrate the incident to anyone, and allegedly put a gun in his mouth. “Later they gave me a packet of chips and told me not to tell anyone about what I had seen,” he added.

Meerut Zone’s Inspector General Alok Singh issued an order, asking the police to ensure the safety of people arrested and protect the image of the police force. “By rule, any death during custody is a violation of human rights and the accountability rests on the entire police force,” Singh said. “The unlawful beatings of accused in prisons display inhuman and aggressive nature of police and must be prevented. The policemen involved in such activities must be met with punishment.”

Tomar’s family expressed dissatisfaction with the action and demanded that murder charges be brought against the accused policemen. “He was the sole earning member of the family,” said Tomar’s wife. “What will happen to us now? I should be given employment, and my sons too, when they grow up.”

Hapur Superintendent of Police Yeshveer Singh said Tomar was called for questioning about the murder of his sister-in-law, which occurred in August. He was a suspect along with his brother-in-law Digamber. “Once identified, we found that her husband Digamber allegedly got her murdered with the help of a relative,” Singh said. “Two people were hired for Rs 1.5 lakh, and Pradeep Tomar was allegedly supposed to pay them.”

The police officer added that Tomar developed health complications during questioning and was taken to a local hospital in Meerut, where he died. “Three policemen have been suspended, and if they are found to be guilty of assault, further action will be taken,” Singh added. “The departmental enquiry report will come within seven days, and the postmortem report should also come in a day or two.”

One of Pradeep Tomar’s relatives accused the police of trying to defame the deceased security guard. “They say Pradeep was going to pay the hitmen Rs 1.5 lakh but he didn’t have so much money,” Jagdish Tomar added. “He only earned Rs 7,000 per month.”

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