Telangana High Court on Thursday ordered a judicial first class magistrate of Alair town to conduct a probe into the death of a Dalit woman in police custody allegedly due to brutal torture. An inspector and two constables have been suspended so far.
The division bench of Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Justice T Vinod Kumar has noted that a second post-mortem should be done if necessary under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has also ordered an immediate probe into the custodial death of Mariyamma and Director-General of Police (DGP) Mahender Reddy has been instructed to conduct the inquiry.
Custodial Death of Ambadipudi Mariyamma
40-year-old Ambadipudi Mariyamma, a resident of Chintakani in Khammam district died in police custody following an alleged brutal assault. She was accused of a robbery.
Mariyamma used to work as a cook for a priest. The priest lodged a complaint accusing her of stealing Rs 2 lakh. Addaguduru police arrested her son Uday Kiran and his friend Shanker who were also accused of the theft on June 15. Two days later, the police arrested Mariyamma too. As per the interrogation, Uday Kiran and Shanker had confessed their guilt. After the alleged police brutality, Mariyamma succumbed to her injuries and died on June 18. Uday Kiran is also availing treatment for serious torture injuries.
PUCL Plea Seeking Judicial Probe, Rs 5 Crore Compensation
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties had moved the Telangana High Court on Wednesday. The human rights body demanded a judicial inquiry into the custodial death of a Dalit woman and also Rs 5 crore compensation to the kin of the deceased.
NCSC Issued Notice to Telangana Govt
National Commission for Scheduled Caste chairman Vijay Sampla condemned the incident and issued a notice to Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police District Bhongir, Chief Secretary and Director General of Police Telangana asking them to submit within seven days, the facts and information on the action taken on the allegations/matter.
No CCTV Installed: A Lackadaisical Approach to Implement SC Guidelines
When asked about CCTV footage, Advocate-general BS Prasad informed the court that there are no CCTV cameras installed in the police station. Justice Rao considered it to be a violation of the Supreme Court 2020 Guidelines.
Supreme Court in December 2020 issued directions to all states and Union Territories to ensure that closed-circuit television, or CCTV cameras, with night vision and audio recording, are installed in every police station of the country. CCTV cameras and recording equipment should also be installed in offices of central agencies, including the CBI, NIA, NCB, and ED. Human Rights Commission and courts of the country can ask for CCTV footage from police stations in case of custodial torture or deaths
Farmer Died after Beaten By Police, Brutality Caught on Camera
47-year-old Murugesan, a farmer from Edayapatti succumbed to his injuries after being brutally beaten by police in Tamil Nadu. Salem police have detained Special Sub Inspector (SSI) Periyasamy under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC.
As per the sources, Murugesan along with his two friends had gone to consume liquor from a nearby district on a two-wheeler. They were stopped at a check post after which an argument took place. He fell down on the road after the alleged assault. His friends took him to nearby primary health centre and then to Salem government hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on June 23.
A father-son duo, P. Jayraj (58) and his son Bennix (38) from Tamil Nadu were arrested on June 19 for violating the Covid norms by keeping their phone shop open a few minutes after the curfew hours start. Two days after the arrest, they succumbed to their injuries on 22 and 23 January 2020 respectively. The matter got media attention from all over the world and led to massive outrage.
The matter is still under trial at a district court at Madurai. Madurai bench of Madras High Court had denied bail to four police officers in March 2021 who had filed a bail plea.
No Lockdown Violation, Brutal Sexual Assault And Torture: CBI Submitted
The horror of police brutality came before the world after the CBI filed a chargesheet in the matter. In the chargesheet, CBI accused police officers of criminal conspiracy and extreme brutality. They were sexually assaulted, beaten naked, and were forced to wipe the stains of their own blood from lockup walls and floor. The duo’s lawyer Maniraman alleged that they have to change as many as six lungis on June 20 due to the profuse bleeding from their rectums.
Police arrested Jayraj first and then his son Bennix rushed to the police station. After he requested to stop torturing his father, he was also wrongly confined. They were tortured brutally for 8 hours straight during several rounds of beating and whenever beating stopped, inspector Sridhar prodded the staff by asking them why the police station is silent. CBI refuted the claims of lockdown violation and has named 9 police personnel.
Need to End Privilege of Impunity to Police
According to the India Annual Report on Torture 2019, there were a total of 1,731 custodial deaths in India. Out of those, 1,606 people died under judicial custody and 125 people died under police custody.