A day after Apparao’s death in Eluru district, a Circle Inspector and a Sub-Inspector were placed under suspension.

Madipalli Apparao: Andhra man dies in police custody, activists seek judicial probeMadipalli Apparao: YouTube/BBC News Telugu
news Custodial Death Friday, May 06, 2022 - 16:50

A day after the custodial death of a man named Apparao in Andhra Pradesh’s Eluru district, two police officers – a Circle Inspector and a Sub-Inspector – were placed under suspension on Thursday, May 5. While the district administration has ordered a probe by the RDO (Revenue Divisional Officer) into the incident, activists have alleged that the police are trying to distort facts, and that there have been inconsistencies over the exact duration for which Apparao had been detained at the Bhimadole police station before he was found dead. After a fact-finding team spoke to Appa Rao’s family members and police officials, the Human Rights Forum (HRF) has demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident, independent of the local police. 

Thirty-six-year-old Madipalli Apparao, who belonged to the Rajaka community and worked as a farmhand, hailed from Pothunuru village in Bhimadole mandal. He had been detained by the Bhimadole police in connection with a chain-snatching incident. According to HRF’s fact-finding team, he was picked up by the police on April 29 and allegedly beaten up while in custody, and  suffered head injuries.

The police claimed that Apparao was found hanging in the washroom of the police station on Wednesday, May 4. Eluru district SP (Superintendent of Police) Rahul Dev Sharma reportedly said that Apparao had his breakfast on Wednesday morning, went for a shower and used a curtain to hang himself. He said the police personnel broke down the bathroom door and shifted Apparao to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The Bhimadole police have also registered a case of custodial death in the incident, Hindustan Times reported.  

Eluru Range DIG (Deputy Inspector General of Police) G Pala Raju issued orders suspending SI Veerabhadra Rao and CI Subba Rao on Thursday. 

Apparao’s relatives have alleged that he died as a result of being tortured by the police and staged protests demanding an impartial probe into the incident. According to the HRF, while the police have claimed that Apparao was a habitual offender and was arrested on the night of May 3, his family members have said that he was picked up on April 29. His parents said they were informed on May 4 that he was taken to the Eluru government hospital where he was declared brought dead. 

HRF alleged that there were many inconsistencies and contradictions in the narrative of the police, and demanded an independent probe by an agency independent of the district police, where responsible police personnel are duly prosecuted and not merely suspended. The activists demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident. 

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