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8 cops booked for custodial death in UP

By The Assam Tribune
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Ambedkar Nagar, March 31: At least eight policemen, including the in-charge of Uttar Pradesh's Ambedkar Nagar SWAT team, have been booked for murder following the custodial death of a 37-year-old man.

Ambedkar Nagar SP Alok Priyadarshi said all the eight policemen accused in the case have been suspended.

Police said the incident is being investigated, while the district administration has ordered an inquiry by a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

The post-mortem report was inconclusive and could not ascertain the cause of death.

The deceased was identified as Ziauddin, a native of a village in Azamgarh.
He was allegedly picked up by Ambedkar Nagar SWAT team last week when he had gone to meet his relatives. The family of the deceased has, however, alleged that he died from police torture.

The FIR has been lodged at Akbarpur police station in Ambedkar Nagar under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 364 (Kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) against SWAT team in-charge Devendra Pal Singh and seven other members.
Brother of the deceased Shahabuddin told reporters that Ziauddin had left to meet some relatives on Wednesday. He was supposed to return on Thursday, but did not.

"We tried to look for him but could not find him. Around 3 am on Friday, his wife got a call from an unknown person saying her husband had been picked up for questioning by the Special Operations Group (SOG) team. We were told that he had suffered a heart attack and we should visit him. The call was then disconnected," he said.

According to Shahabuddin, the family informed the village head the same morning.

After calling up several police stations, they found out that Ziauddin was taken to Akbarpur police station.

The brother claimed that when he saw Ziauddin's body, there were multiple injuries on it.

"We asked the police that if he had died of heart attack, then how did his body have such injury marks. There were all types of injury marks on him - from burnt injuries to marks of assault by belts and rods. Below the waist, the body had turned blue. My brother died due to police torture," said Shahabuddin.

He claimed that police lodged the case only after the family and some other people from their village protested outside the Akbarpur police station.

Inspector General (Ayodhya range) Sanjeev Gupta said the cause of death could not be ascertained from the post-mortem report and the viscera has been preserved for further analysis.

"We are planning to shift the investigation from the Akbarpur police station to ensure transparency. We will be following the NHRC guidelines," said the IG.

Ambedkar Nagar District Magistrate Samuel Paul N said, "I ordered an inquiry by SDM (Tanda) Abhishek Pathak. A report submitted by the Ambedkar Nagar Superintendent of Police to me said a person who was in custody of the SWAT team, had died due to heart attack. The post-mortem, conducted under the district CMO's supervision, was video-graphed." - IANS

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