SAMBALPUR: The alleged custodial death of a 22-year-old theft accused, Abinash Munda of Bhalupali, turned the Ainthapali police station in the city into a war zone on Friday morning. High alert has been sounded in Sambalpur city in the wake of the riot-like situation.
Though police claimed that Abinash hung himself in the custody, the people of Bhalupali area alleged that the youth was beaten to death by the police. The irate mob ransacked the Ainthapali police station before setting it on fire following the news of the death spread this morning. The mob also set the seized vehicles, which were there on the premises of the police station, on fire. Sources said important official documents and furniture of the police station got damaged in the incident.
The berserk mob pelted stone at the police station injuring five cops and blocked the Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway-10. The road blockade is still on and hundreds of vehicles have been stranded on either side of busy highway.
Reports said that Abinash Munda was detained by the police in connection with a theft case from a Kalyan Mandap under the Ainthapali police station area in the city on Thursday. However, he was found hanging with bed sheet in the custody on the wee hour on Friday.
DGP RP Sharma suspended Ainthapali police station’s inspector-in-charge. Two other cops of the police station were also suspended.
nspector general Sushant Nath said the human rights protection cell of Odisha Police will find out the cause of custodial death — whether theft suspect Abhinas Munda committed suicide in custody or was beaten to death.
Hours after the violence broke out, IG Sushant Nath has claimed that the situation was under control. Police said action would be taken against those who wrecked havoc and vandalised the police station.
Additional director general of police (human rights protection cell), Mahendra Pratap, said a team would rush to Ainthapali to probe the alleged custodial death.
A rights campaigner has filed a petition before the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) seeking stringent action against officials of the Ainthapali police station involved in the alleged custodial death and compensation for the kin of the deceased.Meanwhile, DGP RP Sharma has ordered a departmental inquiry against three suspended cops, whose alleged negligence led to the custodial death.