Monday, June 20, 2011

In UP village, a grisly tale of 2 deaths, an alleged tantrik ritual and police brutality

New delhi.
Greetings from PVCHR.
Please find a news.

On behalf of PVCHR, I request you to intervene in the matter and direct the state government to speed up the investigation process and engage the local civil society groups to maintain law and order in the state.

With warm regards,

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi
Secretary General
Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
SA 4/2 A Daulatpur, varanasi -221002
Mobile No: +91-9935599333

A child is found murdered in an open field, her abdomen ripped open and one of her kidneys missing. Police say she has been a victim of a ghastly tantrik ritual carried out by her uncle and a family friend so that the uncle's wife bears him a child. A day after the police pick up the men, the family friend dies in custody. But the whole village, including the families of the child and the alleged tantrik, say the police are lying.

Over the past nearly two weeks, a bizarre tragedy has unfolded in this village in Barabanki district of central UP. The worst sufferer has been Om Prakash Maurya — who has lost his five-year-old daughter Savita and his friend Gaya Prasad Maurya. Police say Gaya killed Savita; Om Prakash says the police killed Gaya. All the politicians who have visited the families have promised them justice, but nothing has happened so far.

As he fights his own grief, Om Prakash has also been consoling his wife, and the wife of his brother Anil, whom police picked up and allegedly beat mercilessly. He has also been visiting the home of Gaya Prasad every day to console Gaya's septuagenarian father Chandrika Prasad.

The families have no faith in the police, and want an investigation by an independent agency. Chandrika Prasad has not allowed his son to be cremated; he has buried the body instead, so it can be exhumed later.

It all started on June 8, at the wedding of the daughter of Om Prakash's cousin Kamlesh. The family had gone from their home in Raingwa village to Bhitokar village, where Kamlesh lived. In the evening, as the ceremony was on, Om Prakash's wife Malti noticed that Savita was missing.

The family searched for her through the night, and the next day, informed the police.

On June 11, Savita's body was found in a field. The post mortem report said her throat had been slit, her stomach had been cut open, and her left kidney was missing.

The next day, the police picked up Gaya (35), and the girl's uncle — and Om Prakash's brother — Anil (22), for the murder. Barabanki SP Navneet Kumar Rana said Gaya was a tantrik who had killed the girl and eaten her kidney so that Anil's wife could have a child.

It was a theory no one in Bhitokar or Raingwa bought.

Om Prakash said Anil had got married in 2008, and his wife Sarita (19) had come to live with him in 2009. "Both are young, where was the question of Anil getting desperate for a child?" he asked.

Villagers said Gaya Prasad, who had a tailor's shop close to Anil's own tailoring shop, was a worshipper of Shiva and wore beads, but was not known to be a tantrik. They expressed scepticism that a grisly murder could have been carried out in the middle of a wedding in a small house.

Om Prakash said the police took away Anil at around 3 pm on June 12. Chandrika Prasad said his son was taken away from his shop at Babaganj market around the same time.

Members of the two families went to the police station but were allegedly shooed away. The next day, Gaya died in police custody. Faizabad Range DIG Ashok Jain said six policemen, including the Station Officer Hari Ram Kardam, were suspended the day after. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered, he said.

Om Prakash said that around 3 am on June 13, a police team had arrived at Chandrika Prasad's house. They had Gaya and Anil with them. They allegedly beat 75-year-old Chandrika, Anil and Gaya. They left taking Gaya's younger brother Ramesh with them.

Ramesh said, "They asked me to sit near the entrance of the police station as two constables took turns to beat Anil mercilessly. Next they beat Gaya until he was motionless."

He said that once Gaya's body turned limp, one of the constables called a local quack who gave Gaya an injection. When Gaya still did not respond, they put his limp form in a jeep along with Anil and drove away from the police station.

After daylong protests the next day, the police handed over Gaya's body to his family. They allegedly pressured them to cremate it immediately, but Chandrika Prasad refused.

This Thursday, a cheque of Rs 20,000 was handed over to Chandrika's family on behalf of the BSP gram pradhan. He was also promised three bighas of land.

Barabanki DM Vikas Gothliwal said,""The cash has been given under the National Family Benefit Scheme which is meant for every poor family in which the earning member dies. The land is being given by the gram panchayat."

Local BSP MLA Meeta Gautam, who visited Chandrika Prasad on June 14, said,""We are trying our best to help out Gaya's family and also the girl's father Om Prakash. I arranged a meeting of Om Prakash with the state party president Swami Prasad Maurya in Lucknow on June 15 and he has assured justice for them""

In the last few days, Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari and BJP vice-president Vinay Katiyar, have visited the two villages and supported the demand for an independent inquiry.


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