PATIALA: Family members of a missing man, who was cremated by police without any intimation, are running from pillar to post for the last three years in quest of justice.
On May 27, 2015, a resident of Bhattiwal Khurd village in Bhawanigarh, Balbir Singh, 45, went missing after his colleagues and neighbours allegedly took him along with them. On the same day, the family lodged a missing report after Balbir did not return home.

After two days, police found a body, which they kept in a mortuary for over 72 hours as per the norms and then allegedly cremated it without informing the family members.

On year later, in July 2016, after a number of unsuccessful visits to Bhawanigarh police station, the family finally approached senior police officials. Following this, the family was shown the photographs of a body, which was cremated as an unidentified body in June 2015 by the police.

The family members identified Balbir and lodged a complaint with higher authorities against the erring cops. They alleged that the police officials were involved with Balbir‘s murderers.

Just when the family of the deceased thought that their struggle was over and the accused would finally pay for their deeds, a case under Sections 304-A (causing death by negligence) and 279 () was registered.

It was, however, learned that the deceased died by drowning. The accused in their statement told cops that they had gone to canal with Balbir to take a dip. It was then that the drunk Balbir drowned in the water and died.

Although the postmortem report revealed drowning a cause of death, no alcohol content was detected from the found from the deceased‘s body.

The irrigation department replying to an RTI filed by the president of a Patiala-based NGO, Zabar Zulam Virodhi Front, revealed that the water of the canal was curtailed from May 24 to May 31, 2015. This also means that there wasn‘t enough water in the canal.

“At the time when police say Balbir died after drowning that to in a canal which according to the irrigation department did not have enough water, a case under rash driving and causing death by negligence has been registered,” said Gurmel Kaur, mother of the deceased.

“Not only this, the police have booked the accused under bailable offence. We have filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana High Court to book the accused under relevant sections,” she added.

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