A tribal man from Karnataka’s Mysuru district who was detained by the forest department on October 10 on the charges of hunting a deer and selling its meat, died Wednesday, October 12, the police has said. The family members of Kariyappa, 49, a resident of Hosahalli hamlet in N Beguru panchayat, suspect that he died of torture while in custody at the Range Forest Office in N Beguru. Forest officials, however, said the man was severely ill and rushed to a hospital two days later
Denying the allegations, forest officials have said the victim was severely ill and rushed to a hospital two days later. “We have detained him on October 10 in connection with the case of hunting of deer and selling its meat. He was not harmed by us. On Wednesday, he complained of uneasiness and was rushed to KR Hospital. He was declared dead in the hospital. There is no question of torture,” said a forest officer on condition of anonymity.
Family members, on the other hand, firmly reiterate that Kariyappa was subjected to custodial torture pointing to the injury marks on the body, reports The Indian Express. Last December, a tribal man suffered serious injuries after the forest department personnel opened fire at him in the Hunsur wildlife range of Nagarahole in Periyapatna, Mysuru.
“The injury marks on his body prove that he was tortured by the forest staff. Even in a case when an animal dies its natural death, the forest department accuses us of hunting and books false cases against us. On several occasions they have tortured us,” a relative said. Superintendent of Police R Chethan said, “I have not received any complaint, but will look into the matter.”