A death of a husband has been reported from Almora district in Uttarakhand. On June 4, a youtube video has been posted by a local channel Har Kala, narrating how an entire village is accusing the local police for being responsible for the death of migrant Sobhan Singh.
The district administration has taken action against revenue officer (patwari) after the suspected death of a migrant in his custody. The resentment of villagers against the police is self explanatory in the video where they are questioning the visible wounds on the body of Sobhan. The migrant had returned from Gujarat on May 12 and just couple of days before his death on May 30, he has completed his quarantine.
Sensing the seriousness of the case, the district officer suspended Patwari Rajesh Arya and issued a magisterial inquiry order in the matter. At the same time, suspicions have been raised on several others, besides local police.
Sobhan and his wife were undergoing marital problems in Kunkhet village of Bhainsiachana. His wife had alleged domestic violence by Sobhan and on May 30, five people including Patwari Greesh Joshi (Patwari of another region) reached Soban Singh’s house. The man’s family alleges that Patwari forcefully took Sobhan from his home to police station.
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The family further alleges that they received a call at 1am on the same night informing them that Sobhan’s health had deteriorated. After reaching the hospital at 3am, Soban passed away. The family also accuses the police of sharing no information with them prior to the post mortem of his body, and states how they were lured into bribe, instructing them not to question anything further in the matter. Sobhan’s brother also mentions that he was offered Rupees five lakh rupees to put an end to the case.
The villagers are angry with the local police citing serious injury marks on Sobhan’s body and are thus demanding justice. One of the villagers, Krishna Singh Rawal, who played a key role in bringing the entire case to the fore, has demanded a high-level inquiry into the death of his fellow resident.
The wife on the other hand states she just wanted the police to warn her husband and not murder him. The villagers are also raising demands of compensation for the victim’s family and punishing all the culprits.
SDM Sadar Seema Vishwakarma on camera has accepted that Patwari Rajesh Arya had been sending wrong and misleading information to them. Citing public outrage, the District Magistrate has suspended Rajesh Arya and issued directions for further inquiry.
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Activist KD Jha posted this case on May 4 via his twitter account saying,
Another Husband but this time its nt a suicide bt a cold blooded murder by @uttarakhandcops @almorapolicepicked Soban Singh on a domestic violence complaint by his wife nd killed him in their custody claiming it to be a natural death. We lodged the complain with @India_NHRC
Jha also had a word with local police and said,
Just had a word with @almorapolice nd they informed that the incident happened in a revenue area which does not come under their jurisdiction. Fair enough so @DMAlmora1 as we know the Patwari has been suspended but why not he and his other accomplishes get arrested till now?
The activist further said how time and again he has emphasised that marital discourse needs counselling and mediation, not Police Brutality.
He has also questioned how ethical it will be to reward the wife with employment, who has been indirectly responsible for her husband’s death.
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