GUJRAT: A 20-year-old youth died of alleged torture by the local police, while the law enforcers claimed the youth was in their custody for 24 hours a couple of weeks ago over suspicions of a mobile phone theft.

The officials involved in the matter have been booked on kidnapping charges and two of them arrested.

Sharafat Ali, a resident of Malka village of Kharian, lodged a complaint with the Kakrali police on Tuesday that his 20-year-old son Sahawat Ali had been picked up by Assistant Sub-Inspector Iftikhar along with four nominated and as many unidentified policemen of Kakrali police on Oct 5. When he went to the police station, he was not provided any information about the arrest of his son.

However, he claimed, the next day he received a phone call from an unidentified person who asked him to come to the police station and take his son. When he got there, Station House Officer (SHO) Liaquat handed him over his son in critical condition and also threatened him to stay silent over the matter or face severe consequences. His son had told him that police subjected him to severe physical torture, and later died of his injuries, he alleged.

DPO suspends SHO, others involved in case and forms probe body

He demanded registration of a case against the police officials involved and autopsy of the deceased.

Kakrali police lodged a kidnapping case under Section 365 against the police officials involved and two of the suspects were reportedly arrested, and an investigation started.

The deceased was first shifted to Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital and later his autopsy conducted at Kharian THQ Hospital. His family and neighbours demonstrated against the police outside the THQ hospital and demanded registration of a case for custodial murder.

District Police Officer (DPO) Umar Farooq Salamat and other senior officials reached the spot and told the protesters that charges of murder and custodial killing could only be added to the case after the completion of the autopsy.

Meanwhile, taking notice of the issue, the DPO suspended the Kakrali SHO and all other officials involved in the issue and constituted a high-level inquiry team under Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Imran Razzaq with the Kharian and Sarai Alamgir deputy superintendents of police as its members. Inspector Malik Nazeer has been appointed as the new Kakrali SHO.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2020

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