SHRC establishes Banihal youth died of beating in police custody

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An investigation by the state human rights commission has revealed how four years earlier an incident of two children sneaking into a neighbour’s home to steal and eat ghee resulted in the death of a youth after he was beaten up in police custody.
Years later, the SHRC investigation wing established that 20-year-old Mohammad Ramzan Lone died “as a result of beating by the officials of police post Khadi during his (Lone’s) illegal confinement” in police lock up.
But Lone’s family continues to await justice.
On 16 May 2014, two children, Arshid and Bilal, aged six and five years respectively, sneaked into Lone’s home in Aramdaka Mangit village of Banihal and ate a pot of ghee.
A little while later, Lone found the neighbourhood children lying unconscious inside his home. The children were soon removed to the nearby Khadi hospital after their families were hurriedly informed by Lone in a Samaritan act.
The duo was finally taken to Srinagar without anyone knowing what had knocked them unconscious.
Police however summoned Lone and his father Abdul Gaffar for questioning after receiving a complaint “through reliable sources” that the children had fallen unconscious after consuming some substance at their house.
The father-son duo had revealed to police that the children had sneaked into their house through window and eaten a pot of ghee kept inside their home.
“Since both the children were under treatment and their statement could be known only after their recovery, till that date, no report of cognisable offence” could be registered against Lone and his father.
However, at the police post Lone was “thrashed and kicked in the stomach by constable Waheed Ahmad as a result of which, his head collided against the wall and for some time he lost his consciousness”, the SHRC investigation found.
Subsequently, sub-inspector Mohammad Younis directed his staff to take Lone to a separate room until his condition improved, where he was kept for six days despite his health condition not well.
“…(Lone) was beaten ruthlessly and after his health apparently deteriorated, he was denied any medical help,” the SHRC probe reveals.
Meanwhile, the two children, Arshid and Bilal recovered and told the police that they had sneaked into Lone’s house and eaten the ghee there, verifying Lone’s earlier statement.
Two days later Lone was released. A panchayat was convened in the village, where the parents of children and family of Lone agreed not to pursue the matter any further when it was brought to everyone’s notice that eating a lot of ghee at a time can lead to unconsciousness of children.
Lone too attended the panchayat.
But his health kept deteriorating and was taken to Banihal hospital by his family, where from he was shifted first to SMHS hospital and then to SKIMS hospital, where he finally died.
Post mortem conducted by doctors stated the cause of Lone’s death as “intracranial haemorrage”, a medical condition in which pressure of vital brain centres that control heart rate and breathing increases.
Doctors say this condition if not attended timely can lead to death.
Police instead of registering an FIR into Lone’s death initiated inquest proceedings under 174 CrPC (mysterious death) into the incident.

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