BHOPAL: Just a day after a huge controversy erupted over the viral pictures of protesting theatre artists and a scribe being kept inside a police station lock-up in their undergarments in MP's Sidhi district, the state's DGP Sudhir Kumar Saxena tasked a senior IPS officer to probe the entire episode.
The 2009 batch MP cadre IPS officer, hailing from adjoining UP, is presently posted as the senior police superintendent (SSP) of the Radio division of the state police in Bhopal.
Meanwhile, a senior IPS officer posted at the state PHQ admitted to The New Indian Express that the Sidhi episode has done serious damage to the police's public image.
"Particularly, a senior ADG level officer somehow justifying on camera the stripping act by saying that such things are done in night lock-ups to prevent any possibility of suicide by those in detention has further hit the MP police's image badly. I too agree that such things may be happening in night detention, but that is generally the case when the person in police custody is alone. How can anyone justify the stripping act with not one, but eight men, including a scribe, in custody? Further, the clicking of pictures of those men inside the lock-up is also a serious matter," the senior police officer posted at the PHQ said.
Till now, two cops, including the Sidhi Kotwali police station in-charge Mukesh Soni and sub-inspector Abhishek Singh, have been sent to district police lines post the incident.
The controversy erupted when a group of theatre artists, protesting the arrest of local theatre personality Neeraj Kunder on the evening of April 2 for an alleged abusive social media post about local BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla and son Gurudutt, were detained by Sidhi Kotwali police along with local scribe Kanishk Tiwari, who was covering the protest.
Kanishk Tiwari, who claimed he was targeted for his stories against the BJP MLA in the past, alleged that he and the protestors were beaten by cops and then forced to strip and remain in their underclothing in the police lock-up from April 2 till the night of April 3, before being released after furnishing personal surety bonds on April 3.
The episode has not only exposed the inhuman face of MP police, but also proved that the state police is yet to learn from its past mistakes.
Back in October 2017. a group of farmers, violently protesting in Tikamgarh district as part of opposition Congress' Khet Bachao-Kisan Bachao Andolan, were rounded up, thrashed mercilessly and then stripped in custody at the Tikamgarh Dehat police station.