LAHORE    -   A crime suspect was found hanged inside the lockup of Akbari Gate police station on Wednesday. Dozens of locals staged a demonstration outside the police station to condemn what they said “death is custody.”

The deceased, identified as Zeeshan, was arrested by police allegedly for sexually assaulting a child a couple of days ago. The police claimed that the accused committed suicide by hanging himself in the lockup late Tuesday.

Relatives of the deceased rejected the police claims, claiming  the police staged the “suicide drama” after killing the man in cold blood. The protesters also demanded the government to register a murder case against the policemen who tortured the accused to death.

Also, the protesters blocked the Circular Road by setting tyres of fire. Later, heavy police contingents managed to disperse the protesters after holding negotiations with them. The police assured the protesters of bringing to book the policemen responsible for the killing.

A police spokesman claimed that Zeeshan was taken into custody after the local police registered a rape case against him on the complaint of father of the victim. The complainant, named by police as Qazafi, alleged that Zeeshan had raped his son and nephew.

An official said the body was sent to the morgue for autopsy to determine the cause of death. He said the police would take any further action in the light of the postmortem report.

Punjab Police Inspector General Arif Nawaz took notice of the death in custody and ordered the Lahore police to thoroughly investigate the incident and send back a detailed report to the central police office.

Deaths in custody are not rare in this Punjab province where police routinely apply third-degree methods to investigate the crime suspects.