Heisnam Saratkumar, 48, had been detained by Keibul police and Manipur forest department personnel on February 14 on charges of killing a wild boar, protected under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, inside the national park.
“Saratkumar, a resident of Khodrak Mayai Leikai committed suicide by hanging himself with a torn bedsheet inside lockup on Sunday night,” Keibul police said.
Locals, however, did not buy this explanation. Upon hearing of Saratkumar’s death, they stormed the police station and attempted to pull down the gate. Police then fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd.
“have been inside the lockup, where police say he hanged himself, with forensic experts. There was no torn bedsheet there … We will form a joint action committee on the incident and won’t take away his body until requisite steps are taken to punish the guilty cops,” a local said.
Another local said Saratkumar “may have been tortured to death by police”. Local MLA T Robindro got to the spot, appealed for calm and said an inquiry will be initiated soon. In December last, five Manipur Police personnel were suspended for the death of a 37-year-old auto driver, Abdul Gaffar, in police custody.