HYDERABAD: Even as the alleged lockup death of SC woman A Mariyamma is still fresh in public memory, a similar incident of custodial torture took place in Suryapet district on Wednesday night.Veerashekar, a 25-year-old tribal farmer from Ramoji Tanda, was picked up on suspicion of theft and was allegedly beaten up mercilessly by Atmakur (S) police. Unable to bear the pain and overcome by exhaustion, the farmer lost consciousness.
Though a theft was reported at Eluru village a few days ago, Atmakur police registered a case on November 5 and later picked up Veerashekar in connection with the case. According to his family members, Veerashekar was at his field on Wednesday afternoon when three persons came looking for him and took him to the police station. His elder brother and another relative also followed them.
“They neither informed us why they were taking him nor they showed us any papers. We waited there till late in the night. But the police said that the details will be provided later and asked us to leave the place. With no option left, we returned home,” Veerashekar’s brother told the media.
However, past midnight, one of Veerashekar’s neighbours received a call from the police station asking them to take him home. The worried family members rushed to the police station only to find Veerashekar in an unconscious state and saliva flowing from the corner of his mouth. “When we reached the police station, he was unconscious. The police said he was sick. But after seeing him, we understood that he was tortured,” a family member said.
Though they took him home, they later carried him back to the police station. By then many residents of Tanda turned up at the station and staged a protest at the police station. After recovering consciousness, Veerashekar said that police did not give him any reasons for taking him to the police station and beat him up severely. “They stretched my hands and legs after pinning me against a wall in the station and beat me with belts and sticks. Though I kept asking them for the reason, they did not care to answer and continued beating me,” he said.
His family members also alleged that to silence them, police took the responsibility of shifting Veerashekar to Suryapet district hospital on Thursday. “We demand a thorough inquiry and strict action against the SI and his team. They will be responsible if anything happens to him,” they said.
No third-degree methods
Meanwhile, police denied the use of third-degree methods but failed to give any satisfactory reply when asked why he was picked up in the first place and sent him back in the middle of the night. Police also said that based on clues from the CC cameras, Naveen from Ramoji tanda was picked up and during questioning, he revealed the role of Veerashekar and two others in the theft, following which Veerashekar was also picked up for questioning. “Since he was not well and physically weak, he was sent home on Wednesday night,” they said.
Police said that Veerashekar and others were also suspects in five property offences reported in the recent past, including theft of 10 agricultural motors from fields in the area. The case is under investigation, and the suspects would be soon arrested and produced before the court, they informed. SP Suryapet S Rajendra Prasad directed the Suryapet DSP to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report at the earliest.