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Naga tribal’s ‘custodial death’ in Assam triggers widespread protests, NHRC seeks report, The New Indian Express, 29.08.2022

By Prasanta Mazumdar, Express News Service

GUWAHATI: A man from Nagaland died in judicial custody in Assam’s Sivasagar. Following this, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an action taken report from the district police within four weeks.-ADVERTISEMENT-Ads by 

The Indigenous Lawyers’ Association of India alleged E Henveih Phom (35) died on August 21 due to alleged torture by the police at the Geleky police station.

The issue was first raised by Nagaland Rajya Sabha member S Phangnon Konyak.

“I strongly condemn the custodial death of a Naga youth, E Henveih Phom, in Sivasagar. The manner in which this incident occurred must be thoroughly investigated. The guilty should not be spared. A life has been lost!” she had tweeted.

Tejang Chakma, who is the programmes coordinator of the lawyers’ association, said a complaint was lodged with the NHRC on August 25 and it intervened in the case considering its seriousness.

“Phom, a resident of Anaki-C village in Nagaland’s Mokokchung district, was arrested along with a woman on August 16 while they were travelling to Geleky. He was sent to judicial custody but he died under suspicious circumstances five days later,” the lawyers’ body said.

The family of the deceased alleged he was subjected to torture during police custody which led to his death. The family also claimed that he was physically fit at the time of his arrest.

Sivasagar Superintendent of Police Subhrajyoti Bora said, “The deceased was admitted to the jail hospital for two days before his death. He was found to be violent.”

He dismissed the charge of torture in police custody.

The lawyers’ association urged the NHRC to direct the Assam government to conduct a judicial inquiry into the incident under Section 176(1A) of the CrPC, submit a detailed report and CCTV footage of the police station.

Further, it demanded the suspension of the guilty police personnel, appropriate legal action against them and an interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

On Friday, thousands of students held public rallies across eastern Nagaland areas in protest against the incident.

In a memorandum submitted to Nagaland chief secretary J Alam, the Eastern Naga Students’ Federation demanded a probe by a special investigation team and action against the guilty police personnel.

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