Bhubaneswar. The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the state police to investigate the death of a person in police custody in the Maoist affected Malkangiri district. It has asked the deputy inspector general police of south-western range to submit a report in this regard within four weeks.

Taking cognizance on the issue, the acting chairperson of OHRC, Justice B.K. Misra, has also directed the police officer to submit reports of post-mortem, inquest and arrest memos. The OHRC also wants to know about the provision of magistrate inquiry into the incident according to CrPC 176(1A).

The OHRC’s direction came in response to two separate petitions filed by three human rights activists – Akhand, Biswapriya Kanungo and Bijay Kumar Panda.

The Malkangiri police had arrested 11 tribal persons including Soma Kabasi of Jhandraguda village on December 27 last year along for their alleged association with Maoists. But Kabasi was found dead in the premises of the office of the superintendent of police on the next day.

According to the police, Kabasi went to the bathroom after seeking permission but did not come out after a considerable time. Police personnel present there got suspicious and broke open the bathroom to find Kabasi attempting to hang himself from the roof with the help of a towel. He was rescued and rushed to the hospital where doctors declared him brought dead, police said.

Kanungo said that as it was a custodial death, the police was responsible for his death. Action must be taken against those found to have committed negligence and compensation should also be awarded to the victim’s family.
“It is duty of the state to provide security and safety and well being of an accused in custody. But here due to negligence of the police staff, the accused died,” said Akhand.