Police extortion pushed a 45-year-old woman to immolate herself in Rewa’s Tillaiya village.
Officers from the Hanumana police station allegedly threatened to implicate her son in a false case if she failed to pay a Rs 50,000 bribe. Under pressure, Prabha Devi Shukla, a mid-day meal cook, set herself ablaze near her house on Sunday evening.
Her family members accused assistant sub-inspector Devraj Singh and Hata outpost head constable Ram Das Saket of harassment and blackmail. They refused to accept Prabha’s body, demanding action against the two.
Mauganj additional superintendent of police SK Singh placated the family by ordering a probe into the matter. “Strict action will be taken against the cops if they are found guilty,” he told HT on Monday.
Shiv Muni Shukla, Prabha’s brother-in-law, said the two police officers demanded Rs 50,000 to release the victim’s son, Anil, in a rash driving case. Anil was entangled in the case after he hit a child while driving in February.
Prabha had paid Rs 10,000 with a promise to pay the remaining amount, said Shiv Muni.
On April 5, however, the head constable called Prabha on her cellphone and demanded the outstanding amount. She paid Rs 5,000 and requested them to waive off the remaining Rs 35,000, he said, but her pleas were ignored.
Saket threatened to frame Anil in a false case if she failed to pay the remaining amount before they left for Simhastha duty in Ujjain. The persistent harassment, he said, drove her to take her own life.
This incident adds to the woes of the Madhya Pradesh police, which are facing allegations of power abuse and exploitation. Just a day earlier, three police officers were suspended in connection with the custodial death of a 19-year-old in Bhind.