The Telangana State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on June 23, Wednesday, took cognisance of an alleged custodial torture, leading to the death of Ambadipudi Mariyamma, a Dalit woman, who was accused in a robbery case. The commission has called for a detailed inquiry into the incident from Rachakonda Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat. Forty-year-old Mariyamma, belonging to Mala caste, categorised as Scheduled Caste, a resident of Chintakani in Khammam district allegedly died of custodial torture by the Addagudur police station on June 18. Mariyamma, who was working as a cook in the house of a priest identified as Balashouri in Govindapuram village of Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri district, was accused of stealing Rs 2 lakh from his house.
Subsequently, the priest lodged a complaint with the Addaguduru police earlier this month. On June 15, the police arrested Mariyammaâ€™s son Uday Kiran and his friend Shanker, alleged accomplices in the crime. Uday Kiran, who is presently availing treatment for injuries at the Khammam general hospital, alleged that they both were tortured in Chintakani police station. Two days later, Mariyamma was also arrested in the case.
Uday Kiran, in an interview to Andhrajyothy, said that the police while shifting them from Chintakani police station to Addagudur on June 18, at around 4 pm, assaulted them throughout the journey. According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Addagudur police station, the three accused were brought to the station at 7 am on June 18. Following interrogation, Uday Kumar and Shanker â€śvoluntarily confessedâ€ť their guilt, the report stated. Subsequently, the Sub-Inspector in the presence of two mediators recorded their confession.
â€śAfter completion of the panchanama, the SI handed over three persons to Rasheed (Police Constable) and Janaiah (Police Constable) and went home to freshen up. After few time Mariyamma all of sudden fell down on the ground and went unconscious (sic),â€ť the FIR stated. As per the report, at 10 am, Mariyamma was shifted to Bhuvanagiri district hospital. The duty doctor who examined her, declared her dead at about 11.30 am.
Uday Kiran however alleged that his mother succumbed to the grievous injuries inflicted by the police during the interrogation. He said that in the Addagudur police station, his mother and him were detained together in a cell and severely beaten, while Shanker was interrogated in a different cell. â€śThey kicked my motherâ€™s stomach with shoes. Unable to bear the pain, she urinated there itself. She then fell severely ill. At 9.30 am, when they tried to resuscitate her, she died in my lap,â€ť Uday alleged.
Besides the inquiry of the SHRC, a complaint regarding this has been registered with the National Human Rights Commission by a Dalit lawyer on June 23. Jaya Vindhyala, a member of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, who conducted a fact-finding exercise, demanded a magisterial inquiry be launched into the death under a sitting High Court judge. She alleged that the police are trying to cover up the incident. â€śPolice are saying that Uday is in Khammam to attend his motherâ€™s funeral, but our members have found him availing treatment in Khammam as he has suffered serious injuries. All files relating to the case should be seized and a magisterial probe should be initiated immediately,â€ť she said, demanding a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the victimâ€™s family.
Meanwhile, three police personnel â€” Sub-Inspector V Maheshwar, constable Rasheed and constable Janaiah â€” have been suspended until the inquiry is completed. While Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Uttam Kumar Reddy has demanded that the accused police personnel be booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka criticised Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for overlooking the incident.
Vikramarka said that the government remained indifferent to the plight of Dalits and stated that there was no response from the government or the local MLA or the local Minister regarding the alleged torture against the deceased Dalit woman. He alleged that atrocities against Dalits had increased under the TRS government.