A week ago, video of a police officer thrashing some boys in a police station was circulated on the social media.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that the video was of Nanded police station in Maharashtra, where Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Raghunath Shewale beat up some volunteers of the VHP for complaining against Shewale for siding with cow smugglers and beef traders some days earlier.
Nanded police have released a press note confirming the allegation of thrashing and suspended the officer. However, they have dismissed the accusation that the thrashing was over the beef case, and offered an explanation that the boys were found involved in a petty quarrel with another group of boys. The VHP has maintained that the officer beat up their workers for the grudge he had against them for complaining about him.
The matter came to light when a Twitter account named Legal Rights Observatory posted a video of the thrashing on 11 February.
Watch the video here:
A VHP worker from the area, Kiran Bichewar, spoke to Rashtra Jyoti about the incident. This is what he said:
On 2 February, ‘gau rakshaks’ associated with the VHP received a tipoff from their sources about a vehicle smuggling cows. They immediately informed the Islampur police. ASI Shewale also learnt about it. As per their information, eight smugglers were transporting three cows in two vehicles the same night.
However, despite having information beforehand, police arrived late on the spot. Till the police arrived, gau rakshaks had managed to stop the smugglers from escaping. As soon as Shewale arrived with his team, the gau rakshaks began telling him about previous cases against the smugglers. Instead of nabbing the smugglers, Shewale set them free.
The gau rakshaks then contacted Shewale’s senior officers and got a case registered against the smugglers. Shewale developed a grudge against the VHP volunteers.
On 4 February, there was a religious fair held in the area. Shewale held four VHP volunteers and brought them to the police station, saying they were found involved in a scuffle at the fair.
At the police station, Shewale beat them up with his belt, without a case against them.
Shewale did not stop there. After the video of the incident went viral, he tracked down the person who uploaded it. He asked him to delete the video. The man who uploaded the video is absconding for now.
Nanded police released a press note the same day, saying they had started probe into the incident.
The caption, as translated by Rashtra Jyoti, says: “Until the completion of the investigation in the video case at Police Station Islapur, the police officer Shewale has been attached to Police Control Room Nanded.”
A day later, the Nanded police issued another notice saying officer Shewale had been suspended till further orders.
The notice can be seen here:
It reads (as translated):
“Shewale was on duty at the Islapur police station. He went to Tallari Fatak area near Shivni Road where he found two pick-up vans carrying three cows. After the recovery of the cattle, Shewale registered a police case but he let the smugglers go. Shewale also took no action against the accused involved in the fight that took place in the Shivni area on 3 February. He can be seen beating youth in a viral video.
Due to his careless behaviour, an inquiry has been instituted against Shewale and he has been suspended with immediate effect”.
Read this report in Hindi here.
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