Laxmi, a Lambada (Scheduled Tribe, ST) woman who was subjected to custodial torture by the LB Nagar police on the night of Wednesday, August 16, said that four police officers were involved in assaulting her. Speaking to TNM on Saturday, Laxmi said that two male officers who were patrolling the area first beat her. She was then taken to the police station where two other male officers beat her further. According to Laxmi’s medical reports, she has suffered severe contusions (bruises) to her thighs, back, forearms, and hands.
“The police abused me in foul language. The female police officials did not beat me but they didn’t stop it either,” she said.
Deepthi Rathod, a lawyer and state president of the Gorsi tribal body who has been involved in the case, said that considering the fact that Laxmi lost consciousness at different points through the night of the torture, the number of officers who were involved in inflicting violence is unclear.
Laxmi, a labourer residing in Nandi Hills had on Wednesday night come to LB Nagar to meet her maternal uncle Chandru. While waiting to hail an auto on her way back, she was questioned and picked up by the police at 11:30 pm. Accusing her of being involved in soliciting, the police detained her at the LB Nagar police station until the following morning. In her complaint to the police, Laxmi’s daughter Pooja (19) stated that the Rs 3 lakh and a pair of gold earrings that her mother had on her at the time of detainment are currently missing.
While Laxmi’s brother-in-law Vadyta Srinivas and other family members suspect sexual assault, doctors at the Jeevan Hospital in Karmanghat, where Laxmi is currently admitted, stated otherwise. Gynaecologist Dr Durga Rani and orthopedist Dr C Venkatesh both clarified to TNM that neither is there any indication of sexual assault, nor is there any damage to Laxmi’s bones. They added that the ultrasound report of the abdomen also showed no injury to organs like the liver or kidneys.
Members of Laxmi’s family, along with leaders from Bahujan Samaj Party, activists from Chaitanya Mahila Sabha, and several other groups staged a protest outside the hospital. The protesters stopped vehicles on the road outside the hospital. Political leaders including Dubbak BJP MLA Raghunandan Rao also visited Laxmi.
In the aftermath of the torture, carious ST organisations have come forward to demand that a member of Laxmi’s family be given a job. Other demands include a two-bedroom house and monetary compensation, in addition to the dismissal of the police officers involved. Advocate Srinath Reddy will file a writ petition in the matter before the Telangana High Court in the coming week.
Following the complaint, a First Information Report was registered under sections 354 (assaults or uses criminal force to any woman), 324 (causing hurt), and 379 (punishment for theft) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Rachakonda Commissioner of Police DS Chauhan initiated an inquiry and issued suspension orders against sub inspectors Shiva Shanker and Sumalatha.