The family of the deceased has accused the police of torture while the police have claimed that the detainee died due to prior illness.
People organised a sit-in in front of the police office and chanted slogans on Thursday afternoon.
Bijay, who was arrested on murder charge on August 16, was pronounced dead while undergoing treatment at the Birgunj-based National Medical College on Thursday morning.
The accused, along with six others, was being held at the Garuda-based Area Police Office for the alleged murder of 20-year-old Niranjan Ram of Jigadiya in Garuda Municipality Ward No. 8 on August 15. Ram was found dead in his village with his throat slit.
On Thursday, a large number of people organised a sit-in in front of the police office and chanted slogans. Police personnel were deployed in the area to bring the situation under control.
“My son died of torture at the hands of the police. We were not allowed to meet him since the day he was arrested. The police didn’t even let us meet him when he was taken to the hospital,” said Bijay’s father, Panilal Mahara. “His health condition was perfectly fine. He died because the police beat him ruthlessly.”
Similarly, Nathu Ram, a Dailt leader in Garuda, said, “Bijay was beaten to death while in police custody. There should be an investigation into the matter and the policemen who were involved in the beating should be punished.”
However, police have refuted the allegations.
“Bijay had kidney-related illnesses prior to his arrest. He was taken to Garuda-based Anamika Hospital after he complained of difficulty in urinating and obstructive bowel movement. He was later referred to the Birgunj-based hospital on August 20,” said DSP Gyan Kumar Mahato of the Area Police Office in Garuda. “He was not tortured in custody. He died of his illness.”
Dr RB Prasad of Anamika Hospital said that they found traces of blood in Bijay’s urine and stool sample.
“The patient’s haemoglobin levels were dropping and we found blood clots in his urine,” said Prasad. “When we asked Bijay if he had any problems, he said that he saw blood in his urine. We then asked the police to take him to another hospital with advanced health facilities.”
The relatives of the deceased have demanded that a separate police team be formed to investigate the incident and a post mortem be conducted in the presence of rights activists. They have also demanded the suspension of DSP Mahato from the Area Police Office in Garuda.
“Bijay is innocent in this incident. He was falsely accused of murder. This is police brutality,” said Shekh Karimullaha, a local political leader.
However, according to DSP Mahato, all of the accused have admitted their involvement in the crime.
“They also reenacted the murder incident in the police office,” said Mahato.
Bijay is survived by a wife and their seven-month-old daughter.