INDIA: Immediate investigation is required into suspicious death at the Barrackpore police station in West Bengal 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-301-2006
[NOTICE: The AHRC have developed a new automatic letter-sending system using the “button” below. However, in this appeal, we could not include e-mail addresses of some of the Indian authorities. We encourage you to send your appeal letters via fax or post to those people. Fax numbers and postal addresses of the Indian authorities are attached below with this appeal. Thank you.]

INDIA: Alleged death in custody; lack of transparency; collapse of rule of law

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from MASUM, our local network in West Bengal, regarding the discovery of a dead body inside the garage of the Barrackpore police station, North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, India. The body was identified as Mr. Amardip Balmiki, a former part-time sweeper working at the same police station. While the police officers have failed to provide any credible explanation regarding the incident, it is alleged that Amardip was arrested by the police on 17 August 2006 and died in custody under suspicious circumstances.

On 18 August 2006, MASUM was informed of the discovery of a dead body in the garage at the compound of the Barrackpore police station, which is located in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, India. MASUM was also informed that upon hearing the news the local people surrounded the police station alleging that the deceased, Mr. Amardip Balmiki alias Pappu died in custody due to torture. Amardip is survived by his wife Sabita and two children aged five and three years.

While there are various versions regarding the cause of death, the Barrackpore police claim that they had nothing to do with the death of the person and has registered a case as unnatural death case number 20/17 August 2006. However, the police officers at the Barrackpore police station have failed to explain why and how a former part-time sweeper’s body was found inside the garage within the police station compound. The compound is guarded by sentries to prevent unauthorised access into the compound.

Amardip was employed at the Barrackpore Cantonment Board and also worked as a part-time sweeper at the Barrackpore police station. On 16 August 2006 Amardip was supposed to be working from 2pm to 10pm at the Cantonment Board.

In one version, at about 9.30pm, he allegedly came out from his office to go shopping along with one of his colleagues on a bicycle. While Amardip was shopping, the officers from Barrackpore police station raided the locality and took Amardip into custody. Amardip was then allegedly released when the police officers found out he was employed at the Cantonment Board. However, when Amardip returned to the place from which he was arrested to collect his bicycle, it was missing. Amardip then went back to the Barrackpore police station to lodge a complaint regarding his missing bicycle and since then nobody knows what happened to him. On the morning of the next day his body was found inside the garage in the police station compound.

However, there is also yet another version where it is alleged that Amardip was arrested by the police on his way back from a local bicycle repair shop near the Barrackpore police station. Even though there are differences of opinion regarding what Amardip was engaged in immediately prior to his arrest, Amardip’s colleagues confirms that he was taken into custody by the police officers from Barrackpore police station on 16 August 2006.

Strangely, once Amardip’s body was discovered, it was not examined by a magisterial inquest, which is mandatory under law. Such an inquest, if conducted properly, could reveal the circumstances in which the body was found, with marks on the body if any, and the exact condition by appearance regarding the body. In Amardip’s case, the police for some unknown reason did not comply with this requirement to send the body for a postmortem. This raises a reasonable suspicion in the manner in which the police handled the case. When questioned about the circumstances in which Amardip’s body was found an officer attached to the Barrackpore police station Mr. Khudiram Mondal, avoided answering by claming that he had been on leave on the 16th August 2006.

As of now there is evidence to believe that Amardip was arrested by the police on 16 August 2006. However, there is no evidence to show that he was released as is claimed by the police. Who discovered the body in the garage and why have the police failed to conduct a magisterial inquest at the police station are questions left unanswered and they raise suspicion against the Barrackpore police regarding the death. There is allegation that the police officers are responsible for Amardip’s death and that Amardip died while in police custody. An immediate and thorough investigation by an independent body (not by the Barrackpore police) should be conducted into this suspicious death in order to ascertain the actual circumstances of Amardip’s death. If it is proven that the Barrackpore police are responsible for the death, they must be brought to justice as soon as possible.


The Indian state of West Bengal is infamous for its deteriorated rule of law situation, particularly regarding aspects of policing. In the recent past, the AHRC has received several hundred cases where the police officers have violated procedural mandates and are in fact engaged in many corrupt practices. For further information please see visit the Urgent Appeals database of the AHRC.  The AHRC is aware that the police officers in India, West Bengal in particular, often fail to comply with any procedural formalities while arresting, questioning and investigating. The AHRC has also raised concerns on several previous occasions regarding the procedures followed by the West Bengal police in cases of custodial death.

In all crimes the primary investigation is dealt with by the local police in such a manner that all the evidence regarding the crime is lost at the very early stages of police intervention.  In cases where the police are accused of being involved in custodial death, the procedures are intentionally breached so that no evidence regarding the crime is recovered or recorded. Often the autopsy procedures are managed in such haphazard manner that any evidence regarding the crime is lost permanently. For further information please see UA-206-2006. The state government authorities have never paid attention to these aspects of criminal investigation and the police officers are left to exploit the situation according to their whims and fancies. This case is yet another example of how the police can walk away free even after a death is allegedly reported in police custody and when the body is found within the police station compound.

India is now planning to ratify the United Nations International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). However even if the Convention is ratified, the implementation of the Convention and the specificities regarding improvement of policing depends much upon how far the basic requirements regarding policing, like adherence to rules and procedures, are followed by the officers.

Please send a letter to the relevant authorities mentioned below urging for an immediate and thorough investigation into this case so that disciplinary actions are taken against the police officers if they are found responsible.

To support this appeal, please click:


To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear _____________,

INDIA: Immediate investigation is required into the circumstances under which a dead body was discovered inside the Barrackpore police station garage in North district 24 Parganas, West Bengal

Name of the victim:   Mr. Amardip Balmiki alias Pappu, aged 34 years, son of late Shital Balmiki, 61 Pipeline Road, 24 North Parganas district, West Bengal
Alleged perpetrators: Officers attached with the Barrakpore police station, 24 North Parganas district, West Bengal
Date of the incident: 16 August 2006
Place of Incident: Barrackpore police station, 24 North Parganas district, West Bengal

I am writing to you to express my concern about the alleged case of custodial death reported from the Barrackpore police station, in 24 North Parganas of West Bengal. I am informed that the victim was allegedly arrested by the officers from the Barrackpore police station on 16 August 2006. The victim’s body was later discovered from the garage inside the police station on the next day. It is alleged that the local police did not conduct a magisterial inquest before the body was sent for the postmortem examination. It is also alleged that though there are several persons who have witnessed the victim been taken into custody by the police, nobody had seen him being released by the police, though the officers allege that he was released soon after the arrest.

I am also informed that the public had protested against the local police calling for explanation from them regarding the circumstances of the death. I am also aware that the place from where the body was found is within the police station compound, which is under the protection of armed sentries. In any case the police are under obligation to explain how a person taken into custody is found dead the next day inside the police station compound. There is even an allegation that the victim might have died from custodial torture.

I therefore urge you to take all necessary action to ensure that this case is thoroughly investigated. I urge you to make the findings of the inquiry public and also make appropriate arrangements to ensure that the postmortem report is not tampered with by the police. If the police officers are found responsible for the victim’s death they must be punished.

I am informed that the deceased has left behind his wife and two young children aged five and three years. I request you to provide all possible help to the family of the deceased by awarding an interim compensation to the family.

Sincerely yours,



1. Mr. Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister's Office
Room number 152, South Block
New Delhi
Fax: +91 11 23016857

2. Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
Chief Minister/ Minister of Home Department
Government of West Bengal
Writer's Building
Kolkata - 700 001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 2214 5480/ 2214 1341

3. Justice Mr. Y. K. Sabharwal
The Chief Justice of India
Through the Office of the Registrar General
Supreme Court of India
1 Tilak Marg, New Delhi
Fax: 91 11 23383792

4. Mr. Justice A. S. Anand
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg 
New Delhi-110001
Fax: +91 11 2334 0016

5. The Home Secretary
Government of West Bengal
Writers' Buildings, Kolkata - 700001
West Bengal
Fax: +91 33 22143001

6. Mr. Philip Alston
Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions
Attn: Lydie Ventre
Room 3-016
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9155

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-301-2006
Countries : India,