‘Cloth stuffed in mouth, beaten and kicked’: ST woman tortured by police in Hyderabad

The victim Laxmi, who belongs to the Lambada community, was allegedly whipped and kicked repeatedly by police officials at the LB Nagar police station, who also hurled casteist abuses at her.
ST Sangham groups protest against police brutality in Hyderabad's LB Nagar
ST Sangham groups protest against police brutality in Hyderabad's LB Nagar
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A woman belonging to the Lambada community (Scheduled Tribe) was allegedly subjected to physical torture on the night of Wednesday, August 16, after she was detained by the LB Nagar police in Hyderabad. The police claimed that the woman, identified as Laxmi Vadyta, was a sex worker and they took her into custody because she was soliciting customers.

Laxmi, a resident of Nandi Hills, had come to meet her maternal uncle Chandru in LB Nagar. On her way back, she was questioned by the police around 11.30 pm while waiting on the road for an autorickshaw.

Laxmi told local media that when the police questioned her, she informed them she had come to meet her uncle to borrow money for her daughter’s wedding, and said that she had shown them photos related to the wedding as proof. She alleged that the police were unwilling to listen and that they whipped her in custody with a “black strap” and sticks, and kicked her repeatedly as she lay on the floor in pain.

“They kept her in custody through the night and beat her repeatedly, and stuffed her mouth with a cloth. They also hurled casteist and sexist abuses against her,” Laxmi’s brother-in-law Ravinder Naik told TNM.

On Thursday, Laxmi’s daughter Pooja filed a complaint with the LB Nagar police station upon noticing the bruises on Laxmi’s thighs, knees, and other parts of the body for which she sought treatment at the Osmania General Hospital (OGH). Pooja also stated in her complaint that her mother had Rs 3 lakh and a pair of gold earrings with her, which are now missing.

Several ST Sagham groups protested outside the LB Nagar police station on Thursday, demanding the suspension of the police officials involved in the brutality. A case was booked and an FIR 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 (IPC), and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Ravinder Naik further alleged that while the police department has registered a case against head constable Shiva Shanker and woman constable Sumalatha, a Sub-Inspector from the LB Nagar police station was actually responsible for the brutality.

In response to the allegations, Rachakonda Commissioner of Police DS Chauhan has initiated an inquiry and issued suspension orders against Shiva Shanker and Sumalatha.

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