A Dalit man in Telangana has accused the Nalgonda police of siding with the family of his wife who belongs to a dominant caste and allowing them to forcefully take the adult woman away. The incident happened at Gurrampode police station in Nalgonda district of Telangana where the couple were taken in the guise of getting their statements.
Thirty-year-old Anumulapuri Nagarjun and 19-year-old Mamatha Reddy got married on May 24 at a temple in Suryapet district. The marriage was against the wishes of Mamathaâ€™s family, who Nagarjun alleges, influenced the police officials to let them take their daughter away.
Nagarjun, a research scholar at Osmania University, has petitioned the Telangana High Court accusing two police officers of brutality and attempting to separate him from his wife because of his caste. The State Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the Nalgonda Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) on the incident. Mamatha, who is still in the custody of her parents, was taken against her wishes, Nagarjun says.
On May 27, while returning home after buying vegetables in Anajipuram village the couple were warned by Nagarjunâ€™s relatives not to come home. â€śHer family members were spotted in a car near our home. We thought they had come to kill us, so we both immediately left to the Suryapet DSP office for protection, but they referred us to the SHE team office,â€ť says Nagarjun.
Nagarjun told TNM that the officials at the SHE team office in Nalgonda reached out to Mamathaâ€™s family and asked them to visit the office. â€śI still donâ€™t know why they did that,â€ť Nagarjun adds.
Mamathaâ€™s family members were accompanied by two police officers, Sub Inspector Saidulu and constable Chinna Babu, both from Gurrampode police station. The policemen allegedly told the couple that they were both majors and that there was nothing illegal about their marriage. Nagarjun says the two officers informed the SHE team and the Suryapet DSP office that he and Mamatha need to go with them to the Gurrampode police station, barely 80 km away, to record their statements as her parents had given a missing persons complaint.
â€śThe two police officers said that after recording our statements, they will let us live our lives. We believed it and got in a car with them, but it was all a lie,â€ť says Nagarjun.
â€śHer relative in the car and a police man taunted us, telling her to leave me because Iâ€™m a low caste man who will never earn much money. They asked her to divorce me. They stopped the car to procure some alcohol and her brother-in-law tried to force me to drink. When I refused, he began abusing me and also kept asking me to leave her,â€ť he adds.
The car reached Gurrampode police station past 1 pm and the couple was allegedly thrashed by the police for close to three hours.
â€śThey even threatened to end our marriage at the police station itself. When we resisted their demands, the SI allowed Mamathaâ€™s family to take her away with them. All this while my family had no clue where I was, I didnâ€™t have my phone with me as we had just stepped out to buy vegetables. The police only informed my family about my location at 4.30 pm, by the time they came to get me it was past 10 pm,â€ť says Nagarjun.
It has been 12 days since Nagarjun heard from Mamatha. â€śI fear for my life. I left my village and Iâ€™m staying with friends,â€ť Nagarjun alleges.
When contacted, Nalgonda DSP Anand Reddy said, â€śI came to know about the human rights issue today morning. Weâ€™re yet to receive the petition. As per the statement of the woman, we will take action.â€ť The official did not comment on the alleged actions of the two officers from the Gurrampode police station.