Two custodial deaths in Sept as one dies by suicide in Roing police station

[ Karyir Riba ]

ROING, 2 Oct: A person who had been detained at the police station (PS) here in Lower Dibang Valley district in connection with a theft case was found dead in his cell on the morning of 17 September.

Reportedly, 35-year-old Mibom Pertin, from Bomjir village in Dambuk subdivision, died by suicide in the lockup where he had been kept after being arrested on 16 September for stealing GI pipes from Meka Gangging (Donyi Polo place of worship).

As per police records, the Roing SP had received a call from the villagers of Meka in the late evening of 16 September, informing him about the theft, and that they had caught Pertin red-handed.

The villagers, headed by the Meka HGB, handed over the culprit to the police team that had reached Meka to take stock of the situation. Thereafter, Pertin was brought to the Roing PS for further action.

According to the police, on his arrival at the PS, Pertin told them that he had been manhandled by the villagers in Meka, and therefore he was taken to the district hospital (DH) here for medical examination.

After he was certified as being fit for custody by the attending doctor, he was brought back to the PS, and, after a thorough body search, he was put in the lockup.

The police informed, “During his body search, we found one small syringe, a tobacco container with a small quantity of drug, suspected to be heroin, a cigarette packet with two cigarettes, half a bundle of Janata bidi, a matchbox, an empty lime packet, and a cash amount of Rs 160 in his possession, which were confiscated by the police.”

Reportedly, Pertin was a habitual offender and a drug abuser.

On 17 September, at around 5:50 am, Head Constable Oge Pertin, who was in the night ready duty party, informed Inspector CR Chowlu of the occurrence, adding that he tried to revive Pertin without success.

The police informed: “The magisterial inquest was conducted by the executive magistrate, and the judicial inquiry by the CJM Roing is going on. A UD (unnatural death) case has been registered at the PS Roing, which is under investigation now. The National Human Rights Commission was given intimation on the same day of the incident. The PME of the deceased was conducted by a board of doctors at the DH Roing, under videography, as per guidelines of the NHRC, in the presence of a magistrate, and the body was handed over to his father for the last rites.

“The duty sentry was immediately put under suspension and departmental inquiry is also going on,” they added.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Pertin clan, Lombang Pertin, told this daily that, although the incident indeed looked like a suicide, the father of the deceased has expressed doubts over his son’s death.

He further informed, “The only resentment we have against the police is that the CCTV footage of the incident and 2-3 days prior was not available. They said it was a technical issue, but it was total negligence on their part. The CCTV footage available was from around 6:30 am of the fateful day, while the incident took place at around 5:50 am, as per the police. If the CCTV was working properly, which it should have, the doubts of the poor father would also have been cleared.”

This is the second known custodial death by suicide at the PS here, after the October 2018 custodial death, and the second case of custodial death in September.

Earlier, one Lutfur Husen Barbhuiya allegedly killed himself while in custody in the Jully jail, near Itanagar, on 29 September.