Sunday, August 29, 2010

One widow died in police custody in West Benagl :: demands impartial investigation

West Bengal

Name of the Victim(s): - 1.Mayarani Mondal (deceased) wife of Late Madhab Mondal aged about 47 years.

Address of the Victim(s):- Village- Gobindapur, Post- Hasanpur, Police Station- Murshidabad, District – Murshidabad, West Bengal.

Name of the Perpetrator(s): 1. Mr. Ranjan Sinha; Inspector-in-Charge of Murshidabad Police Station, 2. Mr. Swapan Biswas; Sub-Inspector of Murshidabad Police Station, 3. Sentry of the Police lock-up (Name not known) of Murshidabad Police Station, 4. The then duty officer of Murshidabad Police Station. 5. Doctor Sandip Chandra; attached with Lalbag S. D. Hospital, 6. Doctor Krishnendu Kumar Chakraborty 7. Doctor B.P. Shaw; Superintendent of Lalbagh Hospital, 8. Doctor Humayun Kabir; attached with Lalbag S. D. Hospital, Mr. Samar Kumar Ghosh. The Executive Magistrate, District – Murshidabad, West Bengal.

Place of incident: 1. Victim’s House Near Village- Gobindapur, Post- Hasanpur, Police Station- Murshidabad, 2. Murshidabad Police Station, District – Murshidabad, West Bengal

Date of the incident: - On 18th and 19th August 2010

Case Details: -

The background of that incident was, on 18th August at early morning Ms. Chumki Mondal was scolded by her mother in law; Mayarani Mondal (deceased) over some petty family matter. It heartened Chumki and she consumed poison. She was taken to Mr. Maharam Ali; a quack of that locality, by her in laws along with some villagers. He advised them to take her to Bahrampore Hospital immediately. According to the in laws of Chumki, she died on the way to the Hospital. They returned back home thereafter. Many of the villagers collaborated and narrated the whole episode alike.

Mr. Kartick Mondal; father of Chumki, residing at an adjoining village came to the spot and later lodged a written complaint at Murshidabad Police Station (PS). Police initiated a criminal case vide Murshidabad PS case No. 391/10 dated 18/08/2010 under sections 498A (subjecting a married woman to cruelty) / 304B (dowry death)/ 34 (criminal acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Mr. Monoj Mondal; Husband of Chumki, Mr. Prakash Mondal; Uncle in Law of Chumki and Ms. Mayarani Mondal; Mother in Law of Chumki.

Around 12.30 pm on 18th August 2010 a team of policemen comprising 5-6 police personnel along with Mr. Lakhai; a Dom (Dom: person from schedule cast community; carrying dead bodies), without any female police person from Murshidabad PS led by Sub Inspector Mr. Swapan Biswas of the said PS came to the house of Chumki’s in laws and arrested Ms. Mayarani Mondal. Police did not prepare any memo of arrest at the spot of arrest. She was then taken to the said PS by the police team. At the same time Lakhai took possession of Chumki’s body and started for mortuary. Police decided that Chumki was already “dead” without getting any opinion of any medical practitioner. The family members also informed our fact finding team that at the time of arrest while Mayarani told the police personnel that she was on fasting for last 24 hours and requested them to allow some times for getting food, they verbally abused her by using slang and filthy words and did not pay any heed on her request.

Next day, i.e. on 19th August 2010 around 5 am one police personnel; attached with Hasanpur A.D.P. (Anti Dacoity Police) Camp came to Mr. Prakash Mondal and informed him that Ms. Mayarani Mondal was hospitalized at Lalbag Sub-Divisional Hospital by the police. Soon Mr. Prakash Mondal, Mr. Monoj Mondal along with few of his relatives and some of his neighbors rushed to the hospital. They came to know that Mayarani already passed away at the female ward of the hospital. Thereafter they went to Murshidabad PS and talked to Sub Inspector Mr. Swapan Biswas. Mr. Biswas informed them that on 19th August 2010 around 2 am (last night) suddenly Mayarani became ill and she was hospitalized and after around half an hour she breathed her last at the hospital. Around 2 pm on the same day Mr. Samar Kumar Ghosh conducted the inquest of the dead body. Around 4.30 pm the dead body was taken to morgue of Lalbag Sub-Divisional hospital by police and around 5.30 pm Doctor Krishnendu Kumar Chakraborty performed the post mortem examination (PME) of the dead body. It was mentioned in the ‘Disposal Order of Dead Body’, prepared by Dr. Chakraborty, that the cause of death was ‘Cardio respiratory failure due to unknown poisoning’. Here one question is arising, if this finding is true then how poison reached to her while she was in police custody?

On 21st August 2010 our fact finding team talked to Mr. Monoj Mondal in presence of around 50 villagers, about the death of Mayarani Mondal and he informed our team that they noticed few injury marks at the cheek of the dead body of Mayarani. Monoj as well as some of the villagers namely Kalipada Mondal, Jiten Mondal, Bijan Mondal, Hirak Mondal, Amit Mondal, Adhir Mondal expressed their doubt before our team that Mayarani was physically tortured at the police custody and she was taken to the hospital by the police after her death. It was also alleged by some of the patients who were hospitalized at the female word of Lalbag Sub-Divisional Hospital namely Ms. Sarfunnesa Bewa wife of Late Hemaj Seikh of Habaspur Mathpara, PS- Bhagabangola, Ms. Joli Khatun daughter of Mr. Masum Mian of village Teka Raipur under PS- Islampur, District- Murshidabad, that Mayarani was brought dead to the hospital.

On 23rd August our team asked Mr. B.P.Shaw; the Superintendent of Lalbag Sub-Divisional Hospital, about the cause of death of Mayarani. He told our team to talk to Mr. Pradip Dutta; Ward Master of the said hospital. Mr. Dutta informed our FF team that Mayarani was examined at the hospital while Dr. Humayun Kabir was on duty at Emegency Ward and she was under treatment of Dr. Sandip Chandra. Mr. Dutta also showed the register maintained at emergency ward of the hospital where name of Mayarani was enrolled vide entry no 2231 (page 178). According to the register the she was admitted due to ‘Unconscious Pulse Feeble’.

Our team then again tried to talk with the aforesaid patients; with whom we talked previously. Astonishingly they denied providing any further information and it seemed that they were under some mental pressure and threat. Our team also came to know from the family members of Mayarani that they were also facing continuous pressure by the police for not to move forward about the death of Mayarani.

One specific complaint against the police officers was lodged before the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad on 24th August 2010 but no police case was registered neither any police investigation was initiated.

Report by:
Kirity Roy