Ailing Dalit youth dies in police custody

RAUTAHAT: A Dalit youth, who was undergoing treatment for kidney related ailment, passed away on Wednesday night while in police custody.

Bijaya Ram Chamar, 19, was under the custody of Garuda-based Area Police Office (APO) on the charge of murder. He was accused of killing another youth, 20-year-old Niranjan Ram of Garuda Municipality, on August 15.

Dalit rights activists and Chamar's family have accused that he died on going through police torture while in custody. Police, on the other hand, have stated that the youth -- who had kidney related ailment -- passed away during the course of treatment at National Medical College in Birgunj.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gyan Kumar Mahato at Garuda APO, the youth died under police care while undergoing treatment for this condition.

Meanwhile, the local Dalit community had been agitating for some days alleging that police had arrested an innocent person in the murder case. The situation has now worsened due to the passing of the said person while under custody.

Rights activists say that marks on the deceased's back prove that he had been tortured by the police.

On August 20, the APO had made seven people public in connection with the case.