Suspected 'custodial death' in Hunsur

Incident triggers tension at Ratnapuri Colony village in the taluk

Suspected 'custodial death' in Hunsur

A 42-year-old man was found dead in a suspicious manner in police custody at the Hunsur rural police station on Thursday night.

The incident triggered tension at Ratnapuri Colony village, the native place of the deceased on Friday with villagers observing a voluntary bandh and staging protests by burning tyres, condemning the high-handedness by police.

Devaraj alias Suresh, a native of Ratnapuri, is the deceased. He was found dead at Hunsur rural police station, after he and his mother Chikkamma were taken to the station for allegedly assaulting two policemen attached to station.

Devaraj and his mother had been served a non-bailable arrest warrant by a JMFC judge in the town in connection with a maintenance suit filed by his estranged wife Pankaja. The couple, married 20 years ago, had been living separately since 13 years.

They have two daughters. Pankaja had moved court seeking maintenance from her husband. The court had ordered Devaraj to pay maintenance amount to his wife. But Devaraj did not follow the court order. Hence, the court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant to both Devaraj and his mother. However, the two were evading warrant.

On Thursday, two police constables — Anand and Sathish — went to Ratnapuri to serve the arrest warrant. Devaraj, who was bare chested at that time, obliged and sought time to dress up.

Unaware of the fate to befall, the police personnel obliged.  To their shock, Devaraj came out with a sharp weapon in his hand, followed by his mother with a sickle. They attacked the policemen. While Sathish suffered a cut on his shirt, another escaped unhurt, leaving behind their motorbike.

While the policemen took to their heels, enraged Devaraj set the motorbike on fire in the presence of fellow villagers. The policemen, with the help of passersby, rushed to the station and informed about the incident to Sub-Inspector Lokesh.

Lokesh, along with a posse of policemen, went to the village and took the mother and son into custody.

While Devaraj was being interrogated, the arrest procedure of his mother was completed and produced before a court. 

She was remanded in judicial custody. Around 8 pm, Devaraj breathed his last in the station, forcing Superintendent of Police Abhinav Khare to rush to Hunsur.

Postmortem
On Friday, postmortem was conducted at the mortuary attached to the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC&RI), Mysuru.

The postmortem procedure was videographed in the presence of the SP, relatives of the deceased and other officials.

The body was handed over to the relatives only after the deceased’s mother Chikkamma, presently in judicial custody, was brought to the mortuary.

The body was later taken in an ambulance to his native place, with police officials escorting it in different vehicles, a source told Deccan Herald.

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