A case of alleged custodial violence has come to light in Chikkamagaluru where a 15-year-old boy was brutally beaten up by the police with iron rods, the family says.
The victim, Fiaz*, who used to work as a part-time newspaper delivery boy, had quit in February to study for his final exams.
His employer, Sridhar Mohan, filed a complaint with the Basavanahalli Police on Sunday, alleging that Rs 1.5 lakh was missing from his house. Sridha accused Fiaz of stealing money.
“It was around 9pm on Sunday when the police came to our house. They said that a complaint has been filed against my son for stealing Rs 1.5 lakh. They entered the house and started searching all the boxes and the cupboard. They did not find anything and yet they took Fiaz away. We did not even know which station the police were from,” the boy’s mother, Bhanu said.
On Monday, Bhanu set out looking for her son. She went to multiple police stations but could not find him. After three visits to the Superintendent of Police’s office on the same day, she was able to contact SP Annamalai, who informed her that Fiaz was in the Basavanahalli Police Station.
“When the police came to our house, I told him that he is a hardworking boy and had quit his job in February. I also told them that he had even visited his employer’s house since. I pleaded with the SP, after which he was released. I took my son to the government hospital as his legs were bruised due to the beatings,” Bhanu said.
According to Fiaz, the police initially made him sweep the police station floor, mop it and clean the bathrooms.
“They stripped me naked and made me sit on a bench and told me to confess to the crime. I kept telling them that I did not know what they were talking about and that I did not steal the money. The beat me with iron rods and did not stop even when I began crying,” Fiaz said.
When TNM tried to contact SP Annamalai for his version of the story, the senior officer declined to comment on the issue and said, “Fiaz was arrested because he committed the crime.”
“The police are not supposed to arrest minors. They are to be produced before a Magistrate. They brutally beat him up and later made him clean the floors and bathrooms. This is inhumane. The concerned authorities must probe the incident and the offenders must be punished,” said Radha Sundaresh, member of the Karnataka Anti-Child Labour Forum.