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Veteran Naxal leader dies in police custody in Bihar

GAYA: Veteran Naxal leader Nathun Kahar, one of the prime accused in 19 different cases of Naxal-related violence including mass murder, died in police custody on Thursday morning. Kahar was earlier arrested from Khaira village under the Konch police station in Gaya district of Bihar on Tuesday.

Although Gaya SP Amit Jain confirmed Kahar's death in police custody, he did not spell out the actual cause of death saying that the autopsy report is awaited.
Magadh Range DIG Umesh Singh, however, said the Naxal leader suffered from asthma. He denied rumours making the rounds that Kahar died following "third-degree" method used by police during his interrogation. Specifically asked if Kahar was physically assaulted while in police custody, the DIG did not rule out the possibility of the Naxal leader having received "some blows" during the execution of his arrest by personnel of Central forces.

Meanwhile, Zonal IG Rajvardhan Sharma has directed the Gaya SP to get a criminal case instituted against the Konch officer in-charge and other policemen concerned in connection with Kahar's custodial death.

The IG has also directed the SP to ensure strict observance of custodial death norms as stipulated by the Supreme Court and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) including inquest by a judicial officer and videography of the autopsy process.
"A DSP-rank officer will be made the IO of the case against the OC and other policemen," Sharma said. Police sources said Kahar was involved in several Naxal operations.

These include the January 1996 attack on the Tekari police station in which four policemen were killed and the armoury looted; the Bara and Senari massacres in which altogether 70 upper caste male adults were butchered in two separate operations conducted in February 1992 and March 1999.
In 2003 the state government announced a hefty cash reward for the ultra's arrest.

Kahar's death put the district police in a spot given that it failed to comply with section 57 of the criminal procedure code which strictly prohibits detention in police custody for more than 24 hours and makes it obligatory for the police to produce the arrested person before the court.Asked why the police failed to produce Nathun in court within the stipulated period, the SP said he is trying to find out the reason.

In Kahar's death the police have also lost the opportunity to get important information about the banned outfit such as its strategy, future programmes, chain of command, armoury, 'tax' collection etc.

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posted by Resistance 3/09/2007 02:09:00 AM,

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