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Telangana: Alleged torture of Dalits, OBCs in police custody kicks up row

Telangana: The families of those arrested raised a hue and cry over the alleged inhuman treatment meted out to them by the police in the custody.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2017 11:46 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Siricilla, Telangana
Telangana,Dalits attacks,OBCs attacked
Families of the victims protest in Nerella against alleged torture by police officials.(HT PHOTO)

The alleged torture of eight people belonging to the weaker sections, including three Dalits, in police custody in Rajanna Siricilla district of Telangana is snowballing into a major political controversy.

Penta Banaiah, Gandham Gopal, Chepyala Bala Raju, Kola Harish, Pasula Eshwar Kumar, Cheekoti Srinivas, Korukanti Ganesh, and Bathula Mahesh were arrested on the charges of burning sand-laden trucks at Nerella village late on July 3.

They were produced in a court on July 8 and were released on conditional bail on August 2.

Though the incident was initially passed off as a routine crime, it attracted media attention only after the families of the arrested raised a hue and cry over the alleged inhuman treatment meted out to them by the police in the custody.

Since all the victims belonged to weaker sections, including Scheduled Caste, the issue gained political colour with opposition parties making a beeline to Nerella to call on the families of victims.

On July 31, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar visited Nerella and met some of the arrested lodged in Karimnagar jail to get first-hand information. She demanded that all guilty policemen must be booked under Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The Telugu Desam Party called for a Chalo Nerella rally on Friday to protest against the brutal attacks on Dalits and OBCs.

The villagers have alleged that a strong lobby of sand mafia operating in the area is behind the incident.

“Though the Telangana government had given permission for restricted sand mining in the Mid-Manair project area, illegal sand mining has been going on in the area. Every day, hundreds of sand-laden trucks pass by our village located on Siricilla-Hyderabad road at a very high speed causing accidents,” Chandraiah, an agricultural labourer, told this correspondent, who visited Nerella on Wednesday.

“Three of our villagers were crushed to death by these trucks in a span of 15 days,” he added.

A sand-laden lorry rammed into a two-wheeler killing a person called Bhumaiah on the spot on the outskirts of Nerella village late on July 2. Hundreds of enraged people from Nerella and neighbouring Jillella and Ramachandrapuram villages gathered at the accident site, stopped three trucks, and set them on fire. They also clashed with the police, who tried to control the mob.

Madhavi said her husband Balaraju and seven others were picked up from the village by some policemen in plain clothes late on July 3.

“For the next four days, nobody knew where they were. It was only after they were produced in the court did we realise that they were arrested in connection with the lorry burning incident,” she added.

The condition of the accused was so horrible that they were not in a position even to walk or sit for some time, the arrested men and the villagers alleged.

“The police subjected to us with third-degree torture – beating us indiscriminately, pouring hot water on our private parts, gave us electric shocks and administered sedatives. They threatened to kill us in encounters,” Kola Harish, a Dalit, told the media after his release from jail.

“My husband was not in a position to lift his hand or look straight. He was writhing in pain when he was being produced in the court. When we questioned the police as to why they tortured him so much, they threatened that they would frame me in a prostitution case,” Renuka, wife of Ganesh, said.

The police, however, have denied of torturing the arrested men.

“We went only as per the rules. We did not violate any law,” Siricilla superintendent of police Vishwajit Kampati told National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) member K Ramulu, who visited the village last week.

First Published: Aug 04, 2017 10:50 IST