Fact finding report on the custodial killing of Rohtas Singh,
New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today in its 8 page investigative report on the custodial death of Rohtas Singh of Banchari village of Hodal sub-division under Faridabad district of Haryana on 17 April 2007 stated that the victim died as a result of torture and his dead body was hanged from the top most cross bar of the ceiling of the lock up to make it a case of suicide. A two member team of ACHR consisting of Advocate Nitesh Kumar Singh and Advocate Rajesh Pandey visited Banchari village on 24 April 2007 and 10 May 2007 and interviewed the relatives of the victims, eye-witnesses and concerned police officials.
Rohtas Singh was arrested in the morning of 17 April 2007 following a scuffle after his car touched a girl on the roadside and was detained by the police under sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The police claimed that Rohtas Singh committed suicide with a quilt cover. However, Station House Officer, Krishan Kumar could not explain as to why a quilt was provided to the deceased in the summer season! The height of the ceiling was about 12 feet and there was no stair or chair on which the victim could have climbed up to reach the cross bar and hang him. As there is no space between the cross bar and the ceiling, a quilt cover could not have been used to commit suicide.
“The Post Mortem Report recorded ante-mortem injuries “caused by blunt force”. Though the post mortem reported “death by hanging”, it failed to indicate whether it was a case of suicide or homicide, thereby raising questions about the violations of the medical ethics.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
In addition, Constable Shankar Lal who was suspended for alleged dereliction of duty was actually posted at the PCR van with Assistant Sub-Inspector Jage Ram. Shankar Lal was called to the police station, put on the duty at the lock up, forced to sign on the duty register with duty hour as 9:00 P.M. to 9:00 A.M. though it was already 10:15 P.M. When Lal assumed duty as sentry of the lock up, the victim was already dead.
The police purposefully did not lodge an FIR in order to shield the culprits and the National Human Rights Commission has been urged to intervene in the matter.