Odisha villagers rally to revoke suspension of ASI accused of custodial violence

The villagers further claimed when the ASI went to Rajesh’s house to confront him on the theft, the latter attempted to escape and sustained injuries during the process.
Representational image of custodial violence.
Representational image of custodial violence.(Express Illustrations)

SAMBALPUR : In an unexpected turn of events, residents of Sahaj Bahal village within Burla police limits on Monday urged Sambalpur SP to revoke suspension of an ASI, who was suspended over alleged torture of a local tribal man in custody.

In a memorandum submitted to SP Mukesh Kumar Bhamoo, the villagers stated Rajesh Mirdha who had alleged custodial violence is a habitual offender and he along with his mother had wrongly accused suspended ASI Gangadhar Sahu of torturing him. The villagers further claimed when the ASI went to Rajesh’s house to confront him on the theft, the latter attempted to escape and sustained injuries during the process.

Later, when he was summoned to the police station, the ASI tried to settle the matter amicably. The villagers requested the SP to reconsider the decision of suspending Sahu stating he is an upright police officer. Rajesh had alleged on July 3, police personnel came to his house and questioned him about theft of a tractor battery.

As Rajesh denied the allegation, he was taken to Chiplima outpost forcefully, where he was brutally beaten and forced to admit to the crime. As he did not relent, the personnel released him. Rajesh and his mother had moved the district welfare officer (DWO) and narrated the ordeal. Subsequently, an investigation was launched and Sahu placed under suspension.

Manoj Sahu, a local said, “Gangadhar Sahu is being falsely implicated in this case. During his tenure at the outpost, the locality has remained peaceful and he is an honest and vigilant cop. We have requested the SP to withdraw the suspension order and reinstate him at the outpost to restore peace and order in our area.”

ASP, Haresh Chandra Pandey said, “The ASI was suspended on the basis of the complaint and preliminary investigation that was conducted as per the order of the SP. However, a thorough investigation is still underway and further action will be taken on the basis of the report.”

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