Rajesh G, an IT trainer, who is lying in Fortis Hospital after a surgery in the leg, still shivers with horror each time he is reminded of the brutality he claims the Bannerghatta police heaped on him.
The slaps and thrashing with a cricket bat that broke his ankle bone is still fresh in his mind. However, the incident did not deter him from fighting for justice.
“All this because I asked the policemen not to beat up two people who were fighting in public. I was forced into an auto, and when I told the policemen not to treat me like an animal, they beat me more, saying they are animals,” Rajesh recounts.
“No one should undergo such trauma. Police do not have the right to take law into their hands. People should not fear the police. But I have decided to fight them,” Rajesh explains in a determined voice.
With the help of his friends, Rajesh lodged a complaint with the Karnataka Police Complaints Authority on Tuesday.
However, Bannerghatta police inspector Kumaraswamy has denied all the allegations. The police said that on the day of the incident Rajesh was quarreling with two others, and he had even misbehaved with a woman. On seeing the police approach, he fled and fell into a ditch, and fractured his leg.
On October 16, after lunch, Rajesh headed to a petty shop, adjacent to a petrol bunk near Federal Bank near Bannerghatta, to buy cigarettes. When he reached, he saw two strangers fighting each other.
Suddenly, policemen arrived at the spot and began beating one of the men.
“Seeing this, I told a policeman not to beat them in public and instead take them to the station for interrogation. This angered the policemen and he slapped me,” he recounted.
Rajesh was then taken to the police station in an auto along with the men. At the station, another officer, without enquiring what transpired, started hitting Rajesh with a cricket bat.
“On the third hit with the bat, my right leg broke. My phone was seized then and I had no way to contact my lawyer, friends or family. As the pain was severe, I started screaming. At this point, some constables consoled me and said I will be fine in two hours,” Rajesh narrated.
The police allegedly told Rajesh that he would be taken to the magistrate the same night and he was to tell the magistrate that he fell from his bike while being chased by the police and thus broke his leg.
Before being taken to the magistrate, Rajesh was taken to a government hospital in Anekal and had to sign a paper written in Kannada.
“I don’t know how to read Kannada but was forced to sign without knowing its content. The doctors in the hospital told the policemen to take me to a better hospital and get my X-ray done. Instead, they took me to the Central Jail around 3 am on October 17,” Rajesh said.
“At the central jail, I was asked what happened to my leg. I said what I instructed to tell by the Bannerghatta police. They shifted me to the prison hospital room number 17. On October 19, I was given bail. I was admitted to Fortis Hospital the next day where I was diagnosed with multiple bone fractures in my right leg,” Rajesh explained.
“I had to undergo a surgery which lasted for three- and-a-half hours. The medical expenses are more than `1 lakh and it will take me approximately two moths to get back to work. I am an IT trainer and will loose all the income during this time,” Rajesh rued.
However, Bannerghatta police maintained that Rajesh was quarrelling with two others the day he was picked up. They said a woman complained that he had misbehaved with her. The officers claimed that Rajesh fractured his leg when he fell into a ditch while trying to flee from the police.
Bannerghatta police station inspector Kumaraswamy denied the allegations and refused to comment on the incident. When Bangalore Rural SP V Ramesh was notified, he maintained that if the officers are found guilty, they will face punishment.
“If the complaint was lodged at my office, I would have initiated action. I do not know the facts. However, there is no doubt that the guilty will be brought to book,” he added.