PATNA: Two police officers in Bihar’s Khagaria district were placed under suspension on Friday for thrashing a class-12 student and keeping him in the lock-up for three days just because he spoke with police officers in English.
Admitted at a hospital with wounds on his back and legs, Abhishek Kumar said he was still shocked that speaking in English with the cops could turn so tragic for him. He had left his home in Patna to visit his maternal uncle in Khagaria, but he languished in the lock-up of Chautham police station for no fault of his.
“I learnt that the cops had taken my uncle in custody in a bike theft case. The officers were enraged with me when I merely asked in English: ‘What is the reason behind his detention?’” said Abhishek.
Minutes after learning that his uncle was taken in custody, Abhishek had reached Chautham police station with the owner’s book of his uncle’s bike. “The officers looked at the documents, but did not release him. When I asked them the question, they caught hold of me and started beating me up,” he said.
“The police officers apparently did not understand my question in English. More than that, they saw my speaking in English as a display of arrogance,” he added. The cops also made him an accused in the bike theft case bail. Abhishek lodged a complaint with Khagaria SP Meenu Kumari after being released on bail.
With an inquiry conducted by DSP Ramanand Sagar finding the personnel of Chautham police station guilty of excesses, the SP ordered the suspension of station house officer (SHO) Mukesh Kumar and ASI Shyam Sunder Singh.
Most of the police personnel posted at Bihar’s police stations suffer from a lack of basic proficiency in English. They often discourage people from writing complaints in English and insist on Hindi.
This open secret became a topic of discussion in Bihar in November last when a police inspector in Munger district informed a local court that a particular case cannot be probed because the FIR was written in English.
“No one at my police station knows English,” the inspector had told the Munger chief judicial magistrate (CJM). The shocked CJM had then directed the Munger DIG to take action against the inspector.