Incident Reports

In-custody death of a Musahar man sparks protests in Janakpur


Province 2, Dhanusha, Janakpur

The in-custody death of a Musahar man in Janakpur has prompted protests against police.

Shambhu Sada, 23, was found dead of an apparent suicide inside the toilet of his cell in the Sabaila Area Police Office on June 10. He had turned himself in to the police after his tractor killed 42-year-old Sumindra Devi Sah and injured another person at Dhanusadham on May 25.

While police say that Sada committed suicide, his friends and family have contested the police's claim. Siyali Devi, Sada's mother, has alleged that the police murdered her son and staged his death as a suicide.

Following Sada's death, his friends and family have been organising protest rallies in Janakpur demanding a fair and impartial investigation into the case.

On Thursday, the day after Sada's death, protesters vandalised the Area Police Office.

Sada's body remains at the morgue in the Janakpur Provincial Hospital. His family is demanding that the police lodge a First Information Report (FIR) before family members agree to an autopsy.

Sada's family has also cast doubt on the postmortem to be carried out by pathologists at the provincial hospital.

Although the police had agreed to employ a pathologist from Sada's community as per the family’s demand, the hospital had refused.

Nagendra Prasad Yadav, medical superintendent at the hospital, said that the hospital’s protocol doesn’t allow outsiders to perform a postmortem on a body registered at the hospital.

Superintendent Ramesh Banset, chief of the Dhanusa District Police Office, said there was no foul play involved in Sada's death and that his friends and relatives were protesting at someone else’s behest.

“He killed himself on his 15th day in custody. He had hung himself from the bathroom ceiling with a shirt while security personnel were asleep,” Basnet said.

Sada was the only person in custody on the night of the incident. His family was informed about his death immediately after his body was discovered and police had also called in an assistant health worker to check on Sada, said Basnet.

“Shambhu’s family had even signed a written statement on the morning after the incident where the cause of death has been stated as a suicide,” Basnet said.

Siyali Devi, however, said that police had pressured her into signing the document.

Sada's family has filed a complaint addressing Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut at the provincial office of the National Human Rights Commission, demanding an impartial investigation into his death.

Details and Impacts
Violent / Non-violent Nonviolent
Primary Form Demonstration
Primary Cause Issues related to legal action and access to justice
Actor 1 - Number of people 100
Actor 1 - Affiliations Citizen/Individuals
Actor 1 - Youth na
Actor 2 - Number of people n/a
Actor 2 - Affiliation (Target) Police
Actor 2 - Youth na
National/Online Media