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Family of engineering student who died in Hyderabad jail demands justice

Family of engineering student who died in Hyderabad jail demands justice

HYDERABAD: The family of an engineering student who died under controversial circumstances in the Hyderabad central prison believe that they are being denied justice.

Tauqeer Mashoori, a final year student at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology’s electrical department, was arrested along with two friends — Sohail Mari and Saif Katpar — on June 26 in a liquor case by the GOR police. Later, he and his friends were sent to prison on 14-day judicial remand.

Three days later, Mashoori was brought dead to the Liaquat University Hospital from the Hyderabad prison.

Mashoori’s friend Mari, who along with Katpar was granted bail after their friend’s death, revealed shocking details about how they were treated in jail by convicted inmates and prison staff. He told Dawn over the phone that prison staff and convicted inmates had been demanding bribes from them to exempt them from doing work.

“We were beaten on arrival at the gate by prison staff and then by barracks-in-charge Safdar and Shaukat on June 27,” he said.

Despite the fact that they were on judicial remand, he said that convicts Khaleeq Bhatti, Munsib Pathan and Azam Kaimkhani, on behalf of the prison administration, forced them to work or pay money to get relief.

“On June 27 we were forced to work and the convicts kept telling us to arrange the money to avoid work as it is to be paid to the prison administration.

They demanded Rs100,000 and then agreed to get Rs80,000,” Mari said.

He said that a group of inmates attacked and beat them at the gate number-2 without any reason and forced them to work till noon.

He said that Tauqeer fell sick on June 28 and he asked the prison personnel not to force him to work.

He said that Tauqeer’s cousin was directly approached by the inmate Pathan who asked him to arrange money when he came to see Tauqeer in prison.

“Tauqeer’s condition deteriorated further and he was rushed to the prison hospital, where the doctor told me that he has died. Then he was shifted to the Liaquat University Hospital,” he said.

Mashoori’s cousin Altaf Hussain said: “Tauqeer was on judicial remand, which means the prison administration cannot force him to work. He was there for 14 days yet he was not only subjected to torture by the prison staff but was asked to do different chores.”

He alleged that jailer Ghazanfar Shah indirectly demanded a bribe from his family in the name of providing relief to him in prison.

He believed that justice was not being done in his cousin’s case and demanded that the jail staff and inmates responsible be tried in court.

Mashoori brought dead to LUH: doctors

While the Hyderabad jail superintendent claimed that the engineering student died at the LUH during treatment, an external examination report said that he died at least 12 to 24 hours before he was brought to hospital.

Police Surgeon Dr Abdul Waheed Piracha told Dawn that the duration between his death and the autopsy was 12 to 24 hours.

“He was received expired. A post-mortem examination was conducted by a team of doctors,” Dr Piracha said. “The body was in a state of rigor mortis that shows he died at least 12 hours to 24 hours before.”

He said that viscera of the deceased were sent for a chemical and histopathology examination.

Prof Waheed Nahiyoon of the forensic science department of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences said that the external examination of the body did not support the heirs’ complaint that he died from torture.

“But we will have to wait for chemical examination report which can reveal anything regarding toxicity or poisoning,” he said.

He added: “There were signs of shock which are seen both in natural and unnatural deaths.”

This was in contrast to the July 1 statement of the jail superintendent in which he claimed that “before his death the UTP was adequately treated and after provision of first aid the jail hospital’s chief medical officer proposed his shifting to LUH for treatment where he was treated but he breathed his last”.

An inquiry is being conducted by Hyderabad DIG Khadim Rind and Prisons DIG Ashraf Nizamani, but no one has so far been suspended by the jail administration.

Jailer Ziaur Rehman confirmed that there was no suspension. “Why should there be a suspension in the first place?” he asked and said that an inquiry was under way.

He evaded a question about the status of Munsib Pathan and Azam Kaimkhani.

Hyderabad DIG Rind said that the inquiry had almost been completed as statements of co-accused of the deceased were recorded. Besides, the prison staff was also heard.

He said that the external examination of the body showed that he was not subjected to violence but chemical examination findings were awaited.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2015

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