CHENNAI: A Dalit youth from Kancheepuram, studying law in Tirupati, was arrested and assaulted by the police there on Sunday night, when he had gone to see off his relatives at the bus stand. The Tirupati police allegedly mistook him to be a part of the red sander smuggling network.
During the 18-hour long detention, the police allegedly assaulted him with canes and boots, despite the youngster repeatedly asking them to enquire with the college authorities.
M Stalin (26) has now approached the Tamil Nadu government and the National Human Rights Commission seeking action.
Meanwhile, Sub-Inspector of Police Pradeep Kumar Reddy has been shifted to vacancy reserve. The authorities are also preparing to initiate action against three constables — Venkatesh, Shanmuga Sundaram and Murali — for using third degree against Stalin.
Studying at Dr BR Ambedkar Law College in Tirupati, Stalin from Thiruporur in Kancheepuram had gone to the main bus stand there to see off his relatives around midnight on Sunday. Some personnel approached him asking what he was doing there at that time. The first trouble was communication itself — not knowing Telugu or Hindi, he spoke to them in Tamil.
“I told them I was a student, and was there to drop my relatives, but they said they don’t believe me.”
Stalin asked them to enquire with his relatives who had got inside a bus by then, his local guardian in Tirupati, or with the college authorities to verify his claims. But it did not cut ice with the personnel at Tirupati, an important transit point for red sander smugglers and the woodcutters they employ.
Accusing him of being a daily wage labourer working for the red sanders smuggling network, the police took Stalin to the Tirupati East Police Station and confiscated his mobile phone, making it impossible for him contact his family members or the college where he studied.
“I was locked up at the police station for 18 hours. All the while I repeatedly said I was a student who came to drop my relatives. But instead of paying attention to what I was saying, the police accused me of talking too much and locked me up with the other accused,” he recalled.
Stalin alleged that he was hit with lathi and boots and was subjected to a barrage of abuse. “They hit me on my head, hip and hand, resulting in injuries,” he alleged.
Finally, around 10 pm the next day, he was allowed to make a call to his family. Stalin, a member of the CPM’s youth wing DYFI, called his fellow comrades and informed them about the matter.
“The police realised their mistake and were also ready to pay for the injury they caused. But I refused the money. They should have cross-checked my claims. Instead, they ignored everything I said and did not even give me a chance to speak,” fumed Stalin.
“We have described the incident in detail to Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi, who assured to look into the matter,” said a friend of Stalin.
Meanwhile in Tirupati, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Special Branch) P Ravi Manoharachari told Express that his inquiry has confirmed that Stalin was picked up at Tirupati bus station on Sunday and beat up mercilessly. The sub inspector of the police station too kicked him the next day.
The DSP said the beat constable at the bus station suspected that something was fishy when Stalin arrived on a bike, accompanying four women who were in an autorickshaw. They were DYFI activists and he went to the bus station to see them off to Kurnool, where a conference of the All India Democratic Women’s Association was on. The beat constable confronted Stalin and told him that he should go to the police station since he looked like a thief who was on the run. He even claimed that the thief was seen last wearing a red shirt. As Stalin was also wearing a red shirt, the policeman said he need to be questioned at the police station.
After taking him to the police station, the police constables began interrogating him. As Stalin spoke in Tamil, they had a doubt that he could be red sanders smuggler. They then beat him up mercilessly and kept in him the cell. The next day too, he was thrashed and was not given food. After the sub-inspector came, he was also very rude and kicked him, the DSP said.
Additional Superintendent of Police Muralikrishna told Express that he was inquiring into the role of the three police constables in the issue. “Necessary action will be taken after completing the inquiry,” he said.
‘Cops offered money on realising their mistake’
The 26-year-old said he was locked up at the police station for 18 hours. “They hit me on my head, hip and hand, resulting in injuries... On realising their mistake, they were ready to pay for the injuries they caused, but I refused to take any money,” Stalin added.