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Situation tense in Matigara over death of man in police custody

Situation tense in Matigara over death of man in police custody

Darjeeling: Situation remained tense in Matigara, Siliguri, since Wednesday night over the death of a person in police custody.

Demonstrations, thana gherao and roadblocks were staged after the incident and continued throughout Thursday.

On Wednesday afternoon, police had arrested one Bechan Rai (50) from Thakkar area of Matigara for selling illicit liquor. He was subsequently taken to Matigara police station. Later in the evening, his family members received information from the police station that Rai was sick and had been taken to Matigara Block Hospital, where he was declared dead. With news of his death, his family members and local residents staged demonstrations outside the Matigara police station. Late at night, after several rounds of talk, police managed to pacify the protesters and the gherao was lifted.

On Thursday morning, the situation turned tense again. "My father was beaten and tortured. We demand a high-level inquiry. The police personnel involved have to be punished," demanded Rahul Rai, son of the deceased. An inquiry was initiated under a magistrate who ordered that the body be sent for post-mortem from the Matigara Block Hospital to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.

However, the ambulance in which the body was being taken for post-mortem was stopped by the agitators in front of the police station. Local residents also joined in and squatted on the road, setting up roadblocks.

A large police contingent along with RAF was deployed soon. Police top brass also arrived at the Matigara police station. Police later managed to convince the agitators and the body was sent for post-mortem.

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