Another custodial death in GH

Pressure groups announce 12-hour shut down on June 2

TURA/SHILLONG: A suspected over ground worker of the banned GNLA identified as Witson M Sangma passed away inside the Chokpot police station lock up on Tuesday night allegedly for want of medical attention.

The situation could not have come at a worse time for the State government, particularly the security forces, battling the charges of torture in the recent custodial death of 20-year-old Balsan Marak at Tura district jail.

Meanwhile, the Garo Hills-based pressure groups have called a dawn-to-dusk shut down (non-co operation movement) on June 2 from 5 am to put pressure on the Government to order a CBI inquiry into the twin custodial deaths, one in Tura and another in Chokpot.

The South Garo Hills police arrested Witson M Sangma (35) from Chokpot on Tuesday for his alleged involvement with GNLA. He hailed from Warima Duragre village of Chokpot.

“He was arrested for his involvement with the GNLA in planting two pressure cooker IEDs on a road in Chokpot, recently,” said district police chief Lakador Syiem.

The suspect was reportedly taken for medical examination by police in Chokpot where a doctor was believed to have noted that he was suffering from hypertension.

Despite his medical condition the accused was sent to the lock up for the night where he ultimately passed away.

“At the time of his medical examination he did not show any signs of a major illness and so he was taken back to his cell since he was suppose to lead police the next day to the spot where the IEDs had been placed recently,” Syiem said.

Police claim that the night duty sentry called and alerted the officer in-charge that the accused was having a serious medical condition.

“As soon as the IC was informed a doctor was brought in to examine him but unfortunately he had already passed away,” said Syiem.

Meanwhile, the family and clan of the deceased have accused the police of torture and being directly involved in his death. They refused to allow the body to be taken to Baghmara for a post-mortem.

A magistrate deputed to carry out the inquest on the body was last heard trying to reason with the family on the need for a post-mortem as per human rights guidelines.

SHUT DOWN: While calling for a 12-hour shut down, the Garo Hills-based pressure groups including GSU and FKJGP in a memorandum to Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the custodial deaths of both Balsan Sangma and Witson M. Sangma.

The pressure groups also demanded an independent autopsy report as they know that manipulations could happen like in the case of Balsan.

“We have decided to call a non-cooperation movement for 12 hours from 5 am to 5 pm on June 2 and we will be forced to go for further agitation if our demands are not considered,” the pressure groups said.

They also demanded that government should pay Rs 50 lakh as an ex-gratia to the families of both the deceased.

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