BJP Worker Dies in Jail Custody

A BJP activist from Howrah who was in judicial custody has died. His family demanded a CBI probe into the alleged beating of him by the police. The BJP has demanded an impartial inquiry too.

The deceased was identified as Srikanth Roy (39). His home is in Burikhali, west of Bauria. In protest of the BJP leader (now suspended) Nupur Sharma’s offensive remarks about the Prophet, various areas of rural Howrah were abuzz for two days, last Friday and Saturday. The Panchla-Bauria road was cordoned off on Saturday.

According to the police, the youth named Srikanth Roy (39) was involved in the blockade in Burikhali. Several people, including Srikanth, were arrested from the spot that day. The judge remanded the detainees in custody for 14 days after they were produced in the Uluberia sub-divisional court on Sunday. Srikanth was then sent to the Uluberia sub-correctional facility.

According to the correctional facility, Srikanth felt ill on Tuesday morning. He was admitted to Uluberia Sub-Divisional Hospital. He died there at 10:45 pm on the same day.

Reason for arrest

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Upon hearing the news of Srikanth’s death, his wife Anima lodged a complaint of assault against the police with the Howrah Rural District Superintendent of Police. The police did not accept the allegation of assault. Howrah District (Rural) Superintendent of Police Swati Bhangalia said, “Srikanth was arrested from the blockade. He was in judicial custody. He fell ill and later died at the hospital. The body has been sent for autopsy. An autopsy report will reveal the cause of death.”

Allegations of family members

Why is Anima making allegations of beating against the police? Anima went to the Uluberia sub-correctional facility to meet her husband last Monday. She said, “Last Saturday, Srikanth went to Burikhali to shop. The blockade was going on. Police chased the protesters to lift the blockade. Srikanth was caught running away in fear. Police caught him, beat him up and arrested him. Anima further claimed, “I went to the police station on Saturday afternoon after getting the news of Srikanth’s arrest. The police said he would leave. Late at night, they said, my husband would be taken to court on Sunday. You have to get bail from there. The bail could not be done.”

Anima and others learned from police on Tuesday that Srikanth had been ill and was admitted to Uluberia Sub-Divisional Hospital. Anima went to the hospital and found her husband dead. However, they did not identify the body until Wednesday afternoon.

Family sources said, a notice has been sent by the police for identification of the body, which was also asked to be signed. But as no one in the family signed it, the police put the notice on the door of the house.

“We want a CBI probe into Srikanth’s death and an autopsy at the command hospital,” Anima said. Srikanth’s elder brother Lalu said, “My brother was a BJP activist. So my brother was arrested and beaten to death on purpose.”