CHENNAI: The alleged incident occurred between June 7 and June 12, when 10 Tamil Kuravan individuals, including five women and two children, were detained by the Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh police.
It was reported that five women from the Kuravan community, recognized as Scheduled Caste in Tamil Nadu, have raised allegations of sexual harassment and torture against police officers at Andhra Pradesh’s Puthalapattu police station in Chittoor.
Immediately after the incident, the victims complained to Tamil Nadu police, but no action was taken, and their pleas went unanswered.
On Friday, July 21, the Tamil Pazhangudi Kuravan Sangam, along with the survivors of the alleged torture, held a meeting with Shankar Jiwal, the Director-General of Police (DGP) of Tamil Nadu. During the meeting, they urged him to take immediate action against the accused police personnel and also requested the transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Their appeal stemmed from the belief that the police from both states had failed in their duty to protect them
According to the complaint, the men and women were beaten with PVC pipes and tied to tables in the godowns located at the back end of the Puthalapattu police station and at the godown in the district police training centre in Chittoor.
The survivors also alleged the use of casteist slurs by the police. The complaint submitted by the Tamil Pazhangudi Kuravan Sangam to the DGP states, “Among them, three persons’ hands were tied with their legs, two of them being women. The police put chili powder on their noses, ears, mouths, and genitals. The women were raped by the police.”
Ramesh, the state president of Tamizh Pazhangudi Kuravan Sangam, told the media that it was not easy for the women to seek medical assistance as they were released late at night. However, they went to the Krishnagiri Government Medical College Hospital for treatment. He expressed disappointment in the government’s lack of action against the perpetrators despite waiting for a month since filing a First Information Report. Therefore, they decided to approach the DGP to seek justice.
According to the complaint, the detainees were arrested in connection with a suspected case of theft involving 4 kgs of gold. The complainants allege that the police brought them to various medium-level gold jewelry shops in Uthangarai, Kallavi of Tamil Nadu, and Jigani in Karnataka’s Bengaluru, and forced them to accept that they sold the looted gold to these shops. Subsequently, the police negotiated with the shop owners to extort 100 to 200 sovereigns of gold from each shop. The complaint also mentions that the shop owners were brought to the godowns where the complainants were kept, and they were forced to hand over gold and money to the police.
Regarding the local police’s involvement in this matter, the Kuravan association alleged that Parthiban, Uthangarai Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), and Balamurugan, police inspector of the Mathur station, deliberately delayed the process of filing a complaint against the Chittoor police officers in an attempt to support them.
The incident came to light on the night of June 16, after the detainees left the police station around 11 pm to return to their village Puliyandipatti. Upon reaching their village, the adults revealed that they were subjected to brutal custodial torture by the Andhra Pradesh police. Based on their statements, a case has been registered on June 19 under Sections 343 (wrongful confinement for three or more days), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 376 (2) (rape by a police officer) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 3(2)(va) of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.