MARDAN, Aug 24: A student of ninth grade died late on Thursday after Shergar police reportedly tortured him in custody.

Akhtar Ali was arrested last Wednesday after his neighbour, Abdullah Shah, formally charged him with robbery at his house.

During a visit to Shergar police station on Thursday evening, parents found the 14-year-old critically injured reportedly due to police torture, and shifted him to Mardan Medical Complex, where he died two hours later.

Shergar station house officer Akbar Khan and reader Mohammad Arif rejected the torture blame and insisted the boy committed suicide.

After Akhtar’s death, members of his family and other residents of Shergar blocked Mardan-Nowshera Road outside the hospital to protest the alleged police torture, suspending traffic for a long while.

They later left the place to gather in front of the Chief Minister’s House in Mardan and Shergar police station to seek strict action against the child’s alleged torturers.

Angry protesters shouted slogans against police and threw stones at the police station. Police fired bullets in the air and teargassed them before DCO Zakaullah Khattak and DPO Danishwar Khan showed up and ordered halt to the action.

They ordered suspension of SHO Fazal and reader Arif, and fresh autopsy of the body and said a judicial inquiry would be carried out to know the reason of the child’s death.

There followed peaceful dispersal of protesters.

DPO Danishwar told Dawn that he would ensure strict action against the accused if they’re found responsible for torturing the student.

He said the body would be autopsied again as the child’s family demanded it.

APP adds from Peshawar that senior provincial minister Rahimdad Khan has ordered an ‘impartial inquiry’ into the incident.

The minister sympathised with the student’s family and said the culpable people would be dealt with strictly in light of the findings of the inquiry.

He urged people to stay clam and wait for the inquiry to complete.

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