SHO suspended after protests
From Lalit Mohan
ROPAR, Feb 8 — Following protests against the death of a Dalit of Saheri in police custody the SHO of Morinda, Mr Tarlochan Singh, was suspended today. He was transferred to Police Lines Ropar.
The SSP, Ropar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, as demanded by the parents of the deceased, Jaspal Singh, who allegedly died in the custody of the Morinda police yesterday, a case had been registered against the SHO under Section 302 of the IPC.
Other charges included victimisation of a Scheduled Caste person. Investigation into the case had been handed over to the SP (Detective), and the SHO, Kurali, Mr Pritam Singh, shifted to Morinda.
The accused SHO, Mr Tarlochan Singh, was honoured at the Republic Day celebrations at Ropar recently as the “best SHO of the district.”
The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, said the parents of the deceased youth had refused to cooperate with the SDM, Kharar, Mr Davinder Singh, who was earlier asked to inquire into the incident last evening. On their request, the inquiry had been entrusted with the SDM, Ropar, Mr Daljit Singh. A team of doctors under the Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Mr Rajinder Singh, had been formed to look into the cause of the death. The officials had been directed to expedite the inquiry so that the culprits could be brought to the book.
Residents of Saheri village and adjoining villages today blocked traffic on all roads leading to Morinda at 10.30 a.m. Several residents of the village thronged the Ropar Civil Hospital where the postmortem was to be conducted.
The impasse was resolved in the afternoon when they were informed that the district administration had agreed to their demands. The blockade from roads leading to Morinda continued till late in the evening. It was lifted only after the kin of the deceased brought his body there after postmortem.
A team of advocates from the Human Rights Commission led by Mr Arunjiv Walia, Mr Ravinder Singh Joli and Mr Kulbir Singh Bains visited the Civil Hospital today. On the request of the parents of the deceased, the Deputy Commissioner allowed two members of the team to oversee the postmortem. Mr Arunjiv Walia told the media that it was the third case of custodial death in Kharar tehsil.
The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Mr Rajinder Singh, said there were no external signs of fatal injuries on the body. However, the cause of the death could be ascertained only by the chemical analysis of the viscera. The viscera would be sent to Patiala or Chandigarh, he said.
Jaspal Singh of Saheri village, who was arrested by the Morinda police on a complaint by Mr Surjit of the same village, died under mysterious circumstances yesterday. The residents of the village led by Bibi Harbhajan Kaur of Gurdwara Rath Sahib and Congress leaders blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road, demanding registration of case against policemen suspected to have caused the death.
Though a case was registered against five accused, including Head Constable Shingara Singh and constable Manoj Kumar, the SSP had maintained that the SHO was not present in the police station when the incident had occurred