India: Muslim man dies after alleged police brutality in West Bengal

Rakib Sheikh

According to local reports, a Muslim has died under suspicious circumstances in India’s Murshidabad district, West Bengal, amid family allegations that he was tortured in police custody. 

Rakib Sheikh, 36, was arrested on Friday and following his shock death his family have spoken out, claiming that he was beaten and tortured by Indian police and that this caused his death.

Speaking to 5Pillars, Rakib’s father, Zakir Sheikh, said that the police “barged into their home” and took his son away “without any explanation.”

“Rakib was ill and resting at home when the police came to nab him. His mother pleaded with the police to leave her son alone, but all her pleas fell on deaf ears… The police said they would release him in a few hours in the evening, but they tortured him instead.”

Zakir added that the police did not show any complaint papers or explain any charges brought against Rakib during the home invasion on Friday.

The Observer Post reported that Rakib was arrested by two Indian police officers who the family claims may have “beaten him mercilessly.”

According to Zakir, when Rakib was presented in court later on Friday, he “looked very sick” before he was sentenced to jail, where his condition allegedly deteriorated further.

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Rakib was later admitted to Jangipur Hospital on Sunday where he was reportedly diagnosed with internal injuries.

Later, he was shifted to Murshidabad Medical College, where he succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday night.

The devastated family remains convinced that Rakib’s death was a result of beatings he endured whilst in police custody.

“The night he died, I was informed to visit the hospital, and when I went there, I saw my child was dead,” his father said. “He was killed by the police. This was confirmed at Jangipur where it was stated that my son was killed.”

Local Indian police authorities have refuted the family’s allegations and asserted that Rakib was known to be involved in various illicit drug activities.

The authorities additionally claim that Rakib was arrested as part of a crackdown on drug peddlers and that he had a history of criminal cases against him.

According to the police, Rakib died of natural causes after he experienced chest pain and was taken to the hospital.

The police stated that a post-mortem examination was ordered to confirm the exact cause of death and that any misconduct would be dealt with accordingly.

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