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National Human Rights Commission asks Assam to submit report on custodial death of Nagaland man, The Hindu, 29.08.2022

The Hindu Bureau

UPDATED: AUGUST 29, 2022 15:44 IST
NHRC logo. File | Photo Credit: Photo: Twitter/@India_NHRC

E. Henveih Phom died in Sivasagar district’s Gelekey allegedly due to torture by the police on August 21.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an action taken report from the police in eastern Assam’s Sivasagar district regarding the custodial death of a Naga tribal man on August 21.

The directive to the Superintendent of Police of the district followed a complaint lodged by Amal Kanti Chakma, a Delhi-based member of Indigenous Lawyers’ Association of India (ILAI) on August 25.

E. Henveih Phom, a 35-year-old resident of Anaki-C village in Nagaland’s Mokokchung district, was arrested along with a woman on August 16 by the Assam police while they were travelling to Gelekey in Sivasagar district.

According to the complainant, he died under suspicious circumstances five days after he was sent to judicial custody.

The members of the deceased’s family alleged that he was subjected to torture during police custody at the Gelekey police station, which led to his death. The family also claimed he was physically fit and sound at the time of his arrest.

Phom’s death triggered protests across Nagaland. The State’s lone Rajya Sabha member, S. Phangnon Konyak condemned his custodial death and demanded action against the guilty.

Both the district police and the Assam police headquarters in Guwahati chose not to comment on the incident.

The ILAI urged the NHRC to direct the Assam government to conduct a judicial inquiry into the custodial death under Section 176(1A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prescribes mandatory judicial inquiries in cases of death, rape and disappearance in custody.

The ILAI also sought an order to the Assam government to submit a detailed report including the post-mortem report and CCTV footage of the police station, suspend all the accused personnel of the Gelekey police station, take appropriate legal action under relevant laws, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the police, and provide interim compensation of ₹10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

The NHRC asked the Sivasagar district police to submit its action taken report in four weeks from August 26.

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