Rohini: 13-year-old dies, locals say he was beaten by a cop

The juvenile, who lived with his parents and three siblings in the Rajapur area of Rohini Sector 9, was a class 8 student of a government school and used to help his sick father sell vegetables and fruits on a trolley.

A 13-year-old juvenile died in Rohini’s Prashant Vihar on Wednesday, following which neighborhood homeowners accused a policeman of hitting him with a stick while he was waiting outside a shop to photocopy an Aadhaar card to obtain ration. The police refused the accusations, saying it was an accidental death caused by a fall in a public park.

The police have asked the constitution of a panel of specialists to oversee an examination of the body.

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“I have experienced paralysis twice in the past and have bad health. My son was an intelligent boy and would help me negotiate with consumers and receive cash,” the boy’s father said.

The family used to also run a tea stall, which has been closed since the lockdown.

The boy’s mother said, “On Tuesday afternoon, we heard that ration would be given to the poor (in our neighborhood) who could give a copy of their Aadhaar card. Since we were short of cash, we also decided to seek ration.”

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She said her son, followed by some neighbors, had gone to get a photocopy of her husband’s Aadhaar card.

A youth, who claimed to be an eyewitness, said that the boy was playing a game on his smartphone while waiting outside the photocopy store when two policemen on a motorcycle surrounded them. “They began hitting us with a stick. One hit was aimed at another man, but it missed its target and landed on the boy’s neck. He collapsed right away,” the eyewitness said.

Residents requested CCTV footage from the market to be checked to discover the truth.

However, the police had an entirely different version of the stories leading to death.

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Pramod Kumar Mishra, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Rohini, said that as per the initial interrogation, the boy and a few others were seated inside a park, defying the lockdown orders and social distancing patterns.

“Two beat constables were patrolling the area on a motorbike and noticed them. From outside the park side, the policemen asked them to leave. The youngsters began running away. It was during that time that the boy fell and fainted. The others succeeded to escape,” said DCP Mishra.

The officer said that while one policeman quickly brought water for the motionless boy, the other rushed to bring a jeep from the police station in the neighborhood. “He was taken to Ambedkar Hospital, from where be was referred to Safdarjung Hospital. He died on Wednesday morning,” the DCP said.

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Mishra said that while there were no external injuries on the boy’s body, a request has been made to form a panel of doctors to carry out his examination. “We have not given a clean chit to anyone and will probe the case impartially,” said the DCP, adding that a first information report (FIR) will be filed only if there is evidence of foul play.