From Our Correspondent
JOWAI: Three custodial deaths of petty thieves in just two days have exposed the lack of safety of those who are lodged in police lock-ups in State.
After the death of one Noresh Koch inside a lock-up in Tura on Thursday, two more cases of custodial deaths were reported from the Jowai police station on Friday.
Two accused, who were arrested by Jowai police in connection with a motorbike theft case, were found hanging inside the police lock-up at Jowai police station in the wee hours of Friday.
The diseased have been identified as Kitbok Kasar (24) of Mynthong, Jowai and Daphahsalanmi Rupon (26) of Salaroh, Jowai.
While a magisterial inquiry was ordered into the incident, a police constable, who was on sentry duty, was suspended from service.
According to police, Kitbok used a rope pulled out from his own trouser while Rupon used a scarf. Both hanged themselves using the steel fabricated gate of the lock-up.
Police had arrested Kitbok and Rupon along with their third accomplice, Damechanki Kyndait of Mookyrdup, Jowai, in connection with a motorbike theft case.
It was on Monday night that the accused had allegedly stolen a motorcycle bearing registration number ML04A-3386 from Mynthong, Jowai.
On Tuesday last, the Sub Manager of the Northeast Region Fin Service lodged a complaint that the motorbike was stolen from their premises and on the same day, police detected the motorcycle from Phramer area while the trio was looking for a customer to sell the bike. Police arrested Kitbok from Phramer while his two accomplices, who had managed to escape at that time, were arrested on Tuesday evening.
The accused were booked under Section 448/379/34 of the Indian Penal Code and remanded in three-day police custody. The trio was to be produced in the court on Friday.
All the three accused were put in the same cell of the lockup. Police claimed that Kitbok and Rupon committed suicide when their third partner, Damechanki, was sleeping.
Damechanki was the first person to notice that his two partners had hanged themselves and raised an alarm at around 1:30 am.
Police conducted an inquest in the presence of a magistrate after which the bodies were sent to Jowai Civil Hospital for autopsy.
District Superintendent of Police, Herbert G Lyngdoh, informed that a constable who was on sentry duty was suspended, while the Officer in-charge of Jowai police station was called for a written explanation in this regard.
The West Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner has ordered a magisterial inquiry by Additional District Magistrate, DP Kharsati, who has been given seven days to complete the probe.