Custodial death of one teen aged Muslim girl at Hemtabad West Bengal

Custodial death of one teen aged Muslim girl at Hemtabad West Bengal

Custodial death of one teen aged Muslim girl at Hemtabad | System of impunity persists in criminal justice system at West Bengal

Teenager dies by suicide at Bengal police station

An 18-year-old woman allegedly died by suicide at a toilet of a police station at Hemtabad in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district. She was brought to the station on Thursday for security reasons after she went to the house of a 17-year-old boy she was in a relationship with saying she wanted to marry him and sparked tensions.

“The incident sparked tension in the area and we had to bring the 18-year-old to the police station for security reasons. The girl wanted to go to the toilet. A lady police constable, who was accompanying her, was waiting outside. But the girl went inside the toilet and hanged herself with her stole,” said police superintendent Sana Akhtar.

She said the woman’s family lodged a police complaint accusing the boy of abetment to suicide. “We took the boy into custody on the basis of the complaint. As the boy is a minor, he would be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board on Friday.”

Hereunder the story as described by Kriti Roy, Conveyor, Mausum.

Here I want to draw your kind attention upon another incident of custodial death of one young girl belonging to the Other Backward Class community in the custody of the Hemtabad Police Station. This incident proves another time that the police personnel are enjoying full impunity after causing the death of the victim and irresponsible attitude towards the family members of the victim. This is our preliminary fact finding report over this custodial death.

Miss Sima Nasrin, daughter of Mr. Shah Alam, residing at village Bagidanga, P.O. Madhabpur, P.S. Kaliaganj who is a student of class XI of the Bangalbari High School was arrested by a team of police personnel of Hemtabad Police Station. Even after arresting the victim, no family members have been informed. The woman victim was kept in police lock up and later died in custody. The victim Miss Sima Nasrin had a love affair with Master Safran Ali, aged about 17 years, son of Mr. Talibul Ali, residing at Beltor village under Hemtabad Police Station.

It is alleged by the family members of the victim girl that on 20.10.2022 the minor boy Master Safran Ali seduced the victim girl and ran away from the house. In the morning, the maternal uncle of Master Safran Ali called to the house of the victim girl and threatened by saying if they would not take their daughter from the house of Safran Ali, he would kill the victim girl. In another version of the neighbours of Master Safran Ali it is revealed that the victim girl Miss Sima Nasrin put a picket in front of the house of Master Safran Ali demanding Master Ali to marry her. Family members of Master Safran Ali informed the police personnel of Hemtabad Police Station. One woman police constable, 3 male civic volunteers and one male Sub inspector came to the spot and apprehended the victim girl and took her to their custody by car.

During the time of arrest (Sec 46 of CrPC) the police personnel of Hemtabad Police Station did not inform the family members of the victim girl. It is alleged that no memo of arrest had been prepared by the police personnel of Hemtabad police station during the time of arrest of the victim girl. There is no ground of arrest if the victim girl peacefully pickets in front of the house of Master Safran Ali but the police personnel of Hemtabad police station arrested the victim girl and kept her in their custody as hoodlum as proactive community policing violating norms. It is also alleged that on the said date at about 12 noon the victim girl committed suicide in the bathroom of the police lockup. After the incident at about 1 pm police personnel took the injured victim to the Hemtabad Hospital where the on duty doctor declared her brought dead.  It is most interesting that the victim was declared dead at 1 pm but the family members of the victim were not informed. In the afternoon at about 4.30 pm Kaliaganj police informed the family members of the victim regarding the death of Miss Sima Nasrin.

When the family members of the victim girl went to the Hemtabad Police Station, Hemtabad BPHC and later on Raiganj Govt. Med. College & Hospital, the police personnel did not permit them to see the dead body of the victim. For more than 20 hours the family members of the victim was not permitted to see the dead body of the victim.

It is also alleged that the inquest was not done by any Judicial Magistrate which is completely violated of section 176 (1A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure where it is stated in case of custodial death, the inquest should be done by a Judicial Magistrate. It is also a mandatory rule that at the time of inquest, the family members, friends of the deceased are to be present. Why did the police and the district administration fail to comply with this?

It is to be noted that on 23.01.2020 Supreme Court of India issued notice to the Centre and States on implementation of section 176 (1A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. But the present position is still the same as in previous. The matter is a grave one which proves the collapse of the Criminal Justice System in the state of West Bengal.

We have received a page of the inquest report of the deceased. From the report it is revealed that the place of inquest was Raiganj Govt. Medical College Hospital & Morgue. In connection with this I want to mention that the inquest must be done at the place where the body was declared dead by the doctor. Here the victim was declared dead at Hemtabad Hospital and the inquest was done at the Raiganj Govt. Hospital & Morgue under Raiganj PS U/D Case No. 361/22. Why was the inquest not done in the Hemtabad Hospital after being declared dead by the doctor?

In the inquest report there found reddish injury marks all over the back and right hand and right leg. From this report one can assume that the victim lady was tortured before death. In this connection I wish that your Commission directed to the Hemtabad police to produce its whole CCTV footages and all connecting records of the PS dated 20.10.2022 for examining the fact whether the lady victim was victimized of police torture or not.    

On 21.10.2022 at about 3 pm Post Mortem Examination was done on the dead body of the victim in the Raiganj Hospital under PM No. 694/ 22. During the Post Mortem Examination the family members of the victim were informed. Since this fateful incident, all the family members of the master Safran Ali are absconding. It is also alleged that this family is now under police cover.

The victim girl's family is under serious threat now. Political leaders of ruling party including MLA, Panchayat members and police of Kaliyaganj PS and senior officers are stationed at her house. Proposals of money and government service are being offered to stop complaint against police.

Fact finding team found gross anomalies from the incidents; such as:-

Date and time of arrest of Miss Sima Nasrin

Arresting police violated Section 41 B of CrPC

On which complain Miss Sima Nasrin was arrested

Was arrest of Miss Sima Nasrin registered at Hemtabad PS

Is there Female lock-up at Hemtabad PS

When and how Miss Sima Nasrin committed suicide?

What were the roles and responsibilities of Hemtabad PS and the guards?

Hemtabad BPHC doctor declared Sima is dead; then why was the Inquest not done there?

Why was the inquest done by the Executive Magistrate in a case of custodial death?

The contradiction between inquest report and Post Mortem Examination Report should be sought out scientifically

Why was the police at the victim's house for cremation?

Who is Ruksana Parvin brought her dead body at RGMCH at 1.30 pm as recorded at Emergency registrar of RGMCH as 70057 suppressing the report of Hemtabad BPHC?

If there was no foul play, why were senior police officers of the district stationed at the victim's house to suppress the whole story?

Even the ruling political party leaders and hoodlums were placed at the victim's house and offered government job with money to the victim?

Ultimately one complaint was lodged at Hemtabad police station by one Mr. Saha Alam Ali of Kalidanga under the dictation and written by a trusted one of Hemtabad, simply to manufacture a different story.

Hemtabad police arrested Master Safran Ali. Arrested Master Safran Ali was not produced before any Magistrate till now.

The involved perpetrators violated basic premise of Article 21 of Indian Constitution as well as the international obligations stated in Article 6 (1) and 7 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal number 8 and 16 of Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by United Nations and in both these international instruments; the government of India is a party and have agreement

I am appending a brief account of the incident for your easy reference and demand for –

An urgent and independent judicial inquiry must be started over the incident.

The erring police officials to this case who try to hide the truth of the case must be booked under appropriate legal provisions and be tried in open court of law.

This case should be investigated by the investigation wing of NHRC.

NHRC immediately directed the Hemtabad police to produce its whole CCTV footage and all records dated 20.10.2022.

Disciplinary action should be taken against those police officials who know this case as a custodial death, not to inform any judicial magistrate.

Post Mortem Examination Report of the deceased victim should be examined by NHRC.

NHRC’s ‘Revised Guidelines/ Procedures to be followed in courses of deaths caused in police action’ must be adhered in letter and spirit.

The family must be provided with financial compensation and adequate safety and security of the family members and witnesses must be ensured.