Andhra cop suspended for ‘torturing’ Dalit woman in custody
Earlier, a video of the Dalit woman, a resident of Lakshminagar Colony in Chittoor town, went viral on social media.
A police constable was suspended on Monday for allegedly torturing a Dalit woman in custody in connection with a theft in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor town five days ago.
The constable, V Suresh Babu of Chittoor Town-1 police station, has been suspended on charges of manhandling a woman in the theft case, pending further inquiry, S Senthil Kumar, deputy inspector general of police, said in a statement.
Giving details about the case, Kumar said the Chittoor Town-1 police registered a case against a 34-year-old woman, M Uma Maheshwari, following a complaint from Chittoor district superintendent of prisons Venugopal Reddy on January 19. The woman, who was a domestic worker at the residence of Reddy, was booked under Section 381 (theft in the house of the employer) of the Indian Penal Code.
On January 22, the woman told reporters that she was tortured in custody. Kumar ordered a probe soon after the allegation.
“Based on the complaint, the constable has been suspended. We have asked additional superintendent of police (admin) DN Mahesh to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the incident,” Kumar said, adding that further action will be taken after obtaining the report.
Earlier, a video of the Dalit woman, a resident of Lakshminagar Colony in Chittoor town, went viral on social media. In the video, the woman, showing injuries on her body, alleged that she was beaten up while in custody. The woman can be seen sitting on steps, unable to walk to an auto-rickshaw. A man and a woman take her towards the vehicle. HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
She told reporters that the superintendent of prisons had alleged that she had stolen ₹2 lakh from his house and handed her and her husband to police. “Police beat me indiscriminately and brought pressure on me to admit the theft. They abused me in filthy language. They did not allow me to return home till late in the night,” she said.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) politburo member Varla Ramaiah on Monday lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to probe into the alleged custodial torture of the Dalit woman.
Ramaiah also urged the chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) to investigate and take deterrent action against the persons responsible for the illegal detention of Maheshwari.
In separate letters to the chairpersons of NHRC and NCSC, Ramaiah claimed Andhra Pradesh has been witnessing illegal detentions, house arrests, false cases, midnight arrests, custodial torture, and police harassment.
He further claimed that somebody known to the superintendent of prisons had taken the amount but the case was booked against the Dalit woman. “The police have completely ignored not only the principles of human rights, but also went against the judgments of the Supreme Court with regard to arrests and custodial torture,” he alleged.