Eight-year-old thrashed in police station, police chief says sorry (Second Lead)

February 3rd, 2009 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 3 (IANS) Deaf to both her cries for mercy and pleas of innocence, police in an Uttar Pradesh village mercilessly thrashed an eight-year-old child for allegedly stealing Rs.280 — but the cameras were rolling and as an outraged nation watched it all on TV, a “depressed” state police chief said he apologised for the “shameful incident”. In the shocking display of brutality that unfolded on TV screens across India, police in Etawah district’s Kailokhar village, about 300 km from here, pulled Komal up by her hair, twisted her ears and rained blows inside the police station Monday.

Unfortunately for them, it was all caught on TV cameras.

As TV viewers all over the country watched the thin Dalit child dressed in bedraggled clothes being beaten up, police was forced into quick action.

Etawah’s district police chief K.S. Singh told IANS: “We have already placed the Jaswantnagar SHO (station house officer) Chandrapal Singh under suspension. Another inspector involved in the incident has been dismissed.”

State police chief Vikram Singh said he was personally “depressed” and sad about the incident and told reporters in Kanpur: “On my behalf, the Etawah SP (superintendent of police) must visit the girl’s family and apologise to them for the shameful act.”

Komal’s mother blamed the police of wrongly detaining and beating her.

She said she had given Komal Rs.15 to go to the market. But Komal returned home only late Monday with injury marks on her face and arms.

“Her hair had been plucked out from a number of places on her head,” Raj Kali claimed.

Giving his version of the events, SHO Chandrapal Singh said: “We were sitting in the police station when a young girl, aged 17 to 18, entered the police station with Komal.”

The girl, Anju, alleged that Komal had slipped away with her purse that had been hanging on her cycle.

“Anju caught hold of her in front of our police station,” Chandrapal Singh said over the phone.

“We frisked both Komal and Anju but did not find the purse,” he clarified, adding that Anju said in her complaint that the purse had been handed over to a boy who had escaped.

With the incident creating ripples all over the country, there is likely to be more action against the police officials involved.

Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Brij Lal said: “Action will be taken against all the cops involved in the incident.”

A criminal case, including sections of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Act, have been lodged against the two cops.

“Anju’s allegations will also be probed. If found guilty, she will also face legal action,” Brij Lal added.

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