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Dalits and Adivasis

Protests Erupt in Firozabad After Dalit Man Dies in Police Custody, Family Alleges Torture

The custodial death of a 28-year-old Dalit man, Akash Singh, in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad, has ignited unrest in the district amid allegations of police torture. The incident led to the filing of two First Information Reports (FIRs) against the protesters.

Akash Singh, a father of two, was arrested last Tuesday over allegations of bike theft and died on Friday. His postmortem revealed an antemortem head injury, raising suspicions about the cause of his death. Singh’s family has accused the police of beating him to death. His mother, Shakuntala told the media, “They took my son on Monday but are saying he was arrested only on Tuesday. The police beat him up brutally, leading to his death. He was arrested in a fake case. He already had a bike.”

Police sources, however, maintain that Singh was arrested at 6:50 PM on Tuesday and was sent to judicial custody the following day after a medical examination at 9:21 AM. According to the police, Singh fell ill on Thursday night and received medication, but his condition worsened, and he died on Friday at a hospital.

Superintendent of Police (City) Sarvesh Kumar Mishra confirmed the postmortem findings and stated, “The man died in judicial custody. A judicial inquiry will be conducted.” He added that two medical tests conducted before Singh was produced in court and before he was lodged in jail showed no external fresh injuries. Mishra said, “The accused can tell the court if he faces any violence in police custody — before the magistrate. However, he didn’t mention any such thing, according to our information.”

Despite these statements, no FIR has been lodged regarding Singh’s death. Singh’s family insists he was returning home with a friend when police apprehended him. They were informed that he was ill and tried to arrange for medicines, unaware that he had allegedly been beaten.

The death has left behind Singh’s wife, Preeti, his five-year-old son, one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and his parents. Shakuntala, Singh’s mother, mentioned that Preeti fell sick and had to be taken to the hospital.

Protests erupted in Firozabad following Singh’s death, with residents blocking the ambulance carrying his body for nearly 12 hours. The police accused the protesters of stone-pelting, blocking roads, and setting a motorcycle on fire.

Two FIRs have been filed against the protesters. One, lodged by the ambulance driver, names 11 people, while the other, filed by the police, names 32 people and includes 20 to 25 unidentified protesters. Charges include rioting, attempt to murder, intentionally provoking a breach of peace, and criminal intimidation. The SP stated, “No arrests have been made so far. We are analyzing all CCTV footage. Two men were detained earlier but have been released due to the lack of evidence.”

A police press release indicated that Akash Singh and Shivam Singh (19) were arrested on Tuesday, with a stolen motorcycle recovered from them. They were booked under IPC sections 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and 414 (assisting in concealing stolen property). Additionally, a case under the Arms Act was filed against Singh, alleging possession of a 315-core pistol and live cartridges.

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