The atmosphere around the West Marredpally police station in Hyderabad was tense on Tuesday morning. Police cars were lined along the street as personnel of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) stood on either side of the 138-year-old building.
It had hardly been a few hours since the place was attacked and ransacked. Hundreds of people had gathered at the police station on Monday night following the death of a man allegedly due to custodial torture.
A resident of Gandhinagar Colony, Bonappa (35) was a contract employee with the state electricity department. "He used to drive the auto that would carry the equipment to fix electric poles and wires," his neighbour says.
The mob violence that followed Bonappa's death at around 8:30 pmon Monday saw commuters stranded as traffic was blocked on the main road. The mob broke furniture and computers and set all documents from the station on fire.
Reinforcements were called, but the Rapid Action Force personnel who arrived did not have much to do. "They barged in, dragged everything out and set it on fire. When we came, they were already running. We went and looked at their locality also. The police couldn't identify anyone though (as it was dark)," an RAF official says.
(Security was stepped up around the station)
Police claim that Bonappa was inebriated as it was Bonalu festival and was dancing with a procession. They claim that they picked him up on Sunday evening after he picked a fight with a home guard.
"The police was around for security and he intimidated and tried to hit a home guard because he was drunk. That's why we took him into custody," a constable from the police station says.
The police claim they kept him in the station overnight and released him the next morning. However, Bonappa's family has alleged that the police had brutally beaten him up on Sunday night, leaving him with internal injuries.
â€śWhen we took him home, he was not able to eat or drink. He was exhausted and appeared uneasy. We took him to the police station and asked them what had happened. They responded very rudely and abused us. Later, they sent constables with us to take him to hospital. He died on the way,â€ť Bonnappaâ€™s cousin told Deccan Chronicle.
Leaders of Bonappaâ€™s locality in Gandhinagar colony held talks with resident on Tuesday morning to pacify the residents.
Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy said a team from Central Crime Station (CCS) will conduct an inquiry into both the incidents. "We will take appropriate action against whosoever is found guilty," he told reporters.