The Bengaluru police have booked an inspector and four of his colleagues for allegedly torturing a woman in custody for eleven days. The Inspector of Kempapura Agrahara Police Station Shiva Prasad, an unidentified Sub-Inspector and crime staff members Srinivas, Arjun Gomle and Harshita were booked for alleged custodial violence on December 10.
Jabeen Taj, a 56-year-old resident of Bengaluruâ€™s Phillaganahalli near Bannerghatta Road, woke up to loud knocks on her door on the night of October 24. Jabeen says that the Kempapura (KP) Agrahara Police had come to her house to arrest her son Iqbal, who had allegedly stolen gold.
The police allegedly searched her house and beat her and Iqbal, while demanding where the gold was hidden. The KP Agrahara Police allegedly dragged Jabeen and Iqbal to the police station at around 3 am on October 24 for questioning, soon after the search was completed.
â€śI know my son is involved in criminal activities. I told the police to punish him but I am the only one who earns in my family and I have no idea what they were talking about. They kept insisting that my son had hidden the gold in my house and that I knew where it was,â€ť Jabeen says.
The police allegedly began beating her and her son Iqbal at the KP Agrahara Station with lathis. On the morning of October 25, Srinivas, Arjun and Harshita allegedly dragged her into Inspector Shiva Prasadâ€™s chamber. Jabeen alleged that Shiva Prasad allegedly ordered the three crime staff members to take her to the holding room located on the third floor and beat her until she confessed to the crime. She also alleged that Inspector Shiva Prasad allegedly pointed a gun at her and threatened to shoot her if she did not confess to the crime.
â€śHe said that he has orders and all documents that give him the right to shoot me. I was scared. He then told his staff members to beat me up and do whatever was necessary to extract a confession. I was wearing a saree. So Harshita gave me a pair of leggings and made me change in front of my son. They put a rod between my shoulders and suspended me upside down. They began beating on the soles of my feet. They beat me so badly that day that I had no strength to get up,â€ť Jabeen alleged.
The KP Agrahara Police allegedly kept Jabeen in the holding room for 11 days and kept beating her in a bid to extract a confession. However, the police let her go as she did not confess that the gold was in her possession.
â€śThey took the mixer grinder, water cans and even the Rs 60,000 I had saved up for my daughterâ€™s baby shower. They took the anklets that I was wearing. They didnâ€™t leave household items in my house. What more do they want from me? My lifeâ€™s savings are all gone. Now they are threatening to book false cases against me if I donâ€™t take back the case against them,â€ť Jabeen says.
After she was released, Jabeenâ€™s neighbours took her to the Jayanagar General Hospital located next to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Health Sciences, where the doctors asked her to file a complaint as it was a medico-legal case.
â€śFinally, a lawyer named Sirajuddin, who is known to one of my neighbours, helped to get the MLC filed. The doctors said that my bones were not broken but gave me medicines for the blood clots and ointments for the bruises. Now my lawyer is also telling me to drop the case and he is not giving me my medical reports,â€ť Jabeen says.
In November this year, Jabeen filed a personal criminal complaint with the 30th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate alleging custodial violence and intimidation from the KP Agrahara police. On December 10, the court ordered the Vijayanagar ACP to register an FIR and investigate the matter.
Speaking to TNM, Vijaynagar ACP Dharmendra said that an FIR has been registered against Inspector Shiva Prasad and four others, including one Sub-Inspector, under Sections 326 (assault with dangerous weapon), 331 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extract a confession), 354 (wrongful confinement), 330 (assault to extract confession or to compel restoration of property), 340 (wrongful confinement) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
ACP Dharmendra has, however, alleged that Jabeen filed a false case against the police as she was to be arrested in connection with multiple burglaries.
â€śHer son Iqbal has 35 cases of theft and burglary registered against him in many police stations. He told us that he had given some of the gold to his mother. We wanted to arrest her but she absconded and the next thing we know, she has filed a false case. This is being done to escape arrest,â€ť he said.
Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has summoned the accused police officers for questioning on December 26. Jabeen says that she has all the documents and photographs of her injuries to prove that the police were lying about not hurting her. â€śEven now, I am not able to walk properly. The police are trying to scare me. I know my son is a criminal. That does not make me one. I only want justice,â€ť Jabeen says.