Torture-accused dies in judicial custody

Parents of Balsan Marak at Tura Civil Hospital on Tuesday (ST)

Our Bureau

State govt orders probe

TURA/SHILLONG: In a shocking turn of events, one of the male accused in the high profile case of illegal detention and torture of 12 young girls died on Tuesday morning while under judicial custody after being brought from the Tura district jail to the Civil Hospital for medical treatment.

The sudden death of the accused, Balsan S Marak, has raised many questions. Relatives of the victim and common people suspect foul play and have blamed the police. The relatives were denied access to the body of the victim and a look at it for some time.

West Garo Hills Superintendent of Police Mukesh Kr Singh claimed, however, that that was no question of the deceased being tortured by police as he was in judicial custody inside the district jail since the time of his arrest on May 13.

“The allegation that the accused was tortured by the police is baseless as he was in judicial custody since the time of his arrest. The injury is not a fresh one. He had a swelling on his left arm since one week before his arrest. Two medical reports, including one taken before he was produced in the court of the district sessions judge, clearly mention that,” informed the district police chief.

He said that the victim had complained of fever on Saturday and was thereafter referred to the Tura Civil Hospital where he was given medical attention and was sent back to the jail.

Superintendent of Tura Jail J J Sangma said that the doctor on duty had administered medicines to Balsan and thereafter he was sent back. The doctor stationed at the Tura Jail while speaking to reporters also claimed that Balsan had first come to the jail with an injury on his left elbow. He mentioned that the under-trial prisoner had white discharge coming out from his left ear, indicating an ear infection.

A post-mortem has since been conducted as required by law.

Inquiry ordered: Meanwhile, the state government has ordered an administrative inquiry into the incident of custodial death of Balsan Mark in Tura. Marak was arrested in connection with the case of torture of 12 women.

A statement issued by the State Government said that the inquiry would be conducted by P.W. Ingty, Divisional Commissioner, Garo Hills Division, to ascertain the circumstances of the death through medical and other related evidences, both factual and circumstantial, the role of the police, if any, which could have led to the death of Balsan S. Marak while in judicial custody, keeping in mind some allegations made, or any other matter connected with the enquiry.

The inquiry is to be completed within a period of 30 days.