Cuttack: The National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) has taken serious note on coustodial death of a villager in Odisha’s Cuttack district and directed Collector-cum-District Magistrate of Cuttack and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest to submit their reports on the matter within four weeks time.

One Dhaneswar Behera (59) of Satagocchia village under Badamba PS of Cuttack District subjected brutal torture and died in the coustody of forest officials. It was alleged that Dhaneswar was picked up by forest department officials of Athagarh area on 5 Feb 2023 on charge of poaching a tusker and he was hacked to death in the custody. The forest department officials also picked three person including Dhaneswar.  They first took them to Huguda forest and then to Khuntuni forest. There the DFO, the ACF, five to six foresters and Badamba ranger thrashed them black and blue. They were beaten up so mercilessly that Dhaneswar Behera died on the spot. They warned other two against telling what had happened before anyone. They asked them to tell the villagers that an elephant trampled Dhaneswar to death.

Human Rights Activist Akhand moved NHRC over this matter on 7 Feb 2023 and sough an impartial inquiry in to matter with exemplary punishment to the guilty officials. He also pleaded for compensation of Rupees 10 lakh to the deceased’s family. Akhand said, physical torture in police custody is not at all accepted in a civilized and democratic society. Many times, apex court and NHRC has taken serious view about the custodial torture. But it is going on the regular basis and most of them are not reported in Odisha, he alleged.

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