Farmer beaten by police for violating curbs dies in MP
A 50-year-old farmer on Monday succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur three days after a group of policemen allegedly thrashed him for violating the lockdown imposed to check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Banshi Kushwaha’s family said he was returning home after feeding his cattle on Friday at Tilhari village when policemen attached to the Gaura Bazar police station intercepted him and beat him for breaking the lockdown.
Assistant sub-inspector Alok Singh, head constable Mukesh Patariya and constables Rakesh Singh, Guddu Singh, Brijesh and Ashutosh have been suspended for allegedly assaulting the farmer.
In a statement before he was removed from his post, Jabalpur police superintendent Amit Singh said the policemen thrashed the farmer after they had gone to Tilhari following information regarding some gambling there. He added Kushwaha was unnecessarily beaten despite “my repeated instructions in the past that nobody be subjected to beating and only legal action should be taken”. He added their act “sullied the image of the police department. Hence, they are hearby suspended forthwith”.
In a video made available by his family, Kushwaha is purportedly heard saying the policemen asked him about the gambling. “They asked me if I knew anyone [involved in gambling]. I said no. Then they got down... and started beating me badly. I fell unconscious and was carried home by some people.”
The farmer’s brother, Dharmu Kushwaha, said it is a case of murder and the policemen must be booked for killing his sibling.
A doctor at Jabalpur’s City Hospital, where the farmer was admitted, who did not want to be named, said there were injury marks on his body. “There appeared to be internal injuries too.”
Jabalpur collector Bharat Yadav said he has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. “A sub-divisional magistrate has been deputed to conduct the inquiry into the incident,” he said.
The probe is expected to be completed within 30 days
No arrests had been made in the case as police were yet to register a first information report. Madhya Pradesh police chief Vivek Johri said prima facie the policemen have been found guilty. “Any further action against them will be based on the inquiry report.”
Siddharth Bahuguna will replace Amit Singh as the Jabalpur police superintendent. Amit Singh has been shifted to police headquarters in Bhopal as assistant inspector general of police.