In a video that has emerged from Chennai, traffic police officials were found assaulting a woman and her son in broad daylight in a crowded place in the heart of the city.
There has been much public outrage after the short clip emerged on social media. Since then, three clips of the same altercation have surfaced.
The longest video of the incident- 2.48 minutes of CCTV footage- shows three traffic police officials dragging a man named Prakash (21) from Saligramam on to the side of T Nagar’s North Usman Road. Even as the altercation begins, passers-by scurry away from the spot, while Prakash’s mother attempts to intervene with the traffic officials. Three police officers are seen dragging Prakash's mother outside an ATM and holding her hands back. While she is struggling to free herself from their grasp, and begins to question a police officer, a female traffic police officer pulls her away forcefully. One male cop is then seen dragging her violently and pushing and shoving her in every direction multiple times. Prakash, who is held back by one policeman, charges forward on seeing his mother being assaulted, and holds on to a police officer’s collar. The police officers then take control of him.
The second video clip that appears to have been taken soon after the first clip by a bystander shows the three traffic police officials, assaulting Prakash. One police officer is holding him from behind a lamp post while another is twisting his arm and beats him repeatedly on his forcibly stretched out arm. Throughout the video, Prakash is holding on to a policeman's collar and not letting go despite the policeman resisting. The policeman twists the man's arm, lunges forward and twists his arm and wrist a second time.
Even as the man is dangling on one leg with his shirt torn open, trying to duck blows to his face, his mother is seen running forward to save him. In the background, a female traffic cop is holding his mother and his sister back.
The incident reportedly occurred on Monday on North Usman Road. The family had gone to shop at a store nearby. The traffic police had apprehended the family of three for travelling together on a bike. The man was reportedly not wearing a helmet.
Police sources, however, allege that Prakash had become violent when apprehended and had attacked the policemen. "A wireless set was damaged and the man tore the flap of the officer's uniform. This is when they had to act."
In the third video that the police gave TNM, Prakash can be seen questioning the police and justifying his act claiming that his sister was still a minor. He tells the policeman to keep recording and questions why the policeman told him to take an auto.
"This video shows the police side," said a senior officer.
According to the officer, Prakash assaulted the cops soon after the video stopped. However, no senior officer was willing to comment on whether the punishment meted out to Prakash in public was justifiable.
The traffic police officials later approached the Mambalam R1 police station. Speaking to TNM, one police official from the station said, “The policemen have given a petition saying they have been assaulted.”
A case has been registered against Prakash under Section 294 (b) (uttering obscene words in public), 427 (causing mischief) and 332 (causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty).