The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and its Punjab counterpart will probe the death of a Dalit man, who was allegedly thrashed and forced to drink urine in a village in Sangrur district of Punjab.
As the two commissions stepped in on Tuesday, Punjab’s health minister too ordered an inquiry to determine if there was any negligence when when Jagmel Singh was first brought to a government hospital.
Jagmel Singh, 37, succumbed to injuries on Saturday at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.
His legs had to be amputated there because of an infection, doctors said.
He was cremated on Tuesday at Changaliwala village, where a large number of people, including local political leaders, assembled to pay their respects.
An official statement said the state’s scheduled castes commission has formed a two-member team to look into the death.
The team will conduct the investigation “jointly” with the national scheduled castes body, the statement said, quoting Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes chairperson Tejinder Kaur.
The panel also sought a comprehensive report from Sangrur’s senior superintendent of police.
In Chandigarh, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu asked Principal Secretary (Health) Anurag Aggarwal to probe whether there was any delay in providing medical treatment to the victim.
He has been asked to submit a report in three days, a press statement said.
A health department spokesperson quoted media reports that Jagmel Singh was initially taken to a government hospital where the medical officer allegedly did not discharge his duty properly.
He also did not file the medico-legal report, according to some reports said. The doctor’s role will now be probed, the department said.
Jagmel Singh was allegedly thrashed by four men over a previous altercation. He was tied to a pillar and then beaten with an iron rod and a stick, he had told police.
He said he was forced to drink urine when he asked for water. The four men have been arrested.
The victim’s family, which had earlier refused to allow the post-mortem, ended their protest on Monday after the Punjab government offered Rs 20 lakh as compensation, a government job to his wife and free education to his three children.
The state government also announced a probe by an additional director general of police-rank officer.
Punjab minister Vijay Inder Singla and senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal attended the funeral.
The pyre was lit by Jagmel Singh’s minor son.