Man dies in police custody after torture in Lalmonirhat: Family alleges

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Relatives allege that 25-year-old Robiul Islam Khan died as a result of police brutality.

But Lalmonirhat’s Additional Superintendent of Police Rabiul Islam said the ‘real cause of death’ will only be known after an autopsy.

A fair was organised in Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila’s Hiraminik as part of the Bangla New Year celebrations on Thursday. According to police, however, a gambling den had been set up next to the fair.

Tipped-off, officers from Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station went to the spot around 11 pm and arrested two people.

But Robiul was taken directly to the Lalmonirhat Sadar Hospital instead of the police station as he “fell ill”.

Upon arriving at the hospital, the doctor recommended that he be sent to Rangpur after administering first aid, according to Islam. But he subsequently died around 11:30 pm amid preparations to take him to Rangpur, he said.

A pall of grief soon descended on the Sadar Hospital as Robiul’s loved ones rushed in to see him.

“My son never gambles. He went to the fair to see me,” said Robiul’s mother Safia Begum. “He was beaten to death by the police. I want justice.”

As word of Robiul’s death spread, angry locals and relatives blocked the Rangpur-Lalmonirhat highway in the Mahendranagar Battala area by torching tyres and throwing logs on the road.

The protesters also vandalised a police van parked nearby. The blockade brought traffic in the area to a halt for about four hours, leaving hundreds of goods-laden trucks and passenger vehicles stranded on both sides of the road.

Traffic eventually returned to normal after police removed the protestors from the highway around 4 am.

On the allegations of torture, ASP Islam said, “He did not die from torture or anything like that. The matter will be investigated. A post-mortem will be conducted and the truth will be revealed after that.”