Woman allegedly tortured in custodyThe victim says officers physically abused her to extract confession.
Bharat Jargha Magar
A 33-year-old woman, who was detained for investigation into a murder case, was allegedly tortured in police custody in Siraha district. The incident came to light after the victim was taken to Mirchaiya Hospital for treatment on Monday.
The Area Police Office in Mirchaiya had on Saturday arrested Jibachhi Devi Sah, a resident of Rampurbirta in Mirchaiya Municipality-1, in connection with the ‘suspicious’ death of her sister-in-law Gubadi Devi Sah, who was found dead in a sugarcane field on September 30.
Jabachhi has said the security personnel tortured her severely in custody, forcing her to confess the involvement of herself and her family in the incident.
“A male officer severely thrashed me with a pipe and gave me an electric shock,” Jibachhi told human rights activists, media persons and relatives from the hospital on Tuesday. “A female officer hit me on my private parts, forcing me to say that my father-in-law murdered the wowan.”
The hospital said there were bruises on her body. Police said she was released on Sunday.
“The security personnel can investigate into the murder without any hurdle,” said Debaraj Pokharel, Madhesh Province chief of the Human Rights Alliance. “But the detainee should not be tortured during the investigation. Torturing is against the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.”
Pokharel demanded a fair probe and action against the guilty.
Asked about the incident, Superintendent of Police Arjun Prasad Timalsina was tight-lipped. “Our probe into the incident is ongoing. We can say what actually happened only when the investigation is over,” he said.
On Monday, Mirchaiya locals staged demonstrations, demanding stringent action against the guilty personnel. The protesters pelted stones at the Area Police Office and disrupted traffic along the East-West Highway. Security personnel lobbed six teargas canisters and fired two rubber bullets to contain the situation.
The protesters stopped their demonstrations after Chief District Officer Lalbabu Kawari and SP Timalsina met the victim’s relatives and assured them of a probe into the incident. A probe committee chaired by Hari Kishwor Chandrabanshi, administrative officer at the Siraha District Administration Office, was formed. The team will submit its report within five days, Kawari said.
Incidents of torture and death in custody are frequently reported in Nepal, especially in the Tarai. The incidents, however, are rarely investigated and the rate of conviction is dismal.