'Lost Right Arm Due to Injury Caused by Police Torture for Battery Theft,' Says Bengaluru Man

The 22-year-old was detained and tortured by Varthur police station officials for three days, Indian Express has reported.

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New Delhi: A 22-year-old man has alleged that he has lost his right arm as a result of police brutality during an illegal detention in Bengaluru’s Varthur police station, Indian Express has reported.

Salman, who lives in the Varthur neighbourhood of east Bengaluru alleged that he was picked up by police over the theft of a car battery in late October this year. He used to work in a chicken shop but lost his job amidst the pandemic.

Police who came to pick him up late in the evening were allegedly in plain clothes. Salman told the newspaper that he was “assaulted mercilessly” by three people at the Varthur police station. In addition to taking him to the people to whom Salman had sold the battery, police also pressured him to confess to crimes he did not commit, he said.

Salman’s family have said that he was one of the breadwinners of the family and also that Varthur police denied having taken anyone called ‘Salman’ when they went to ask after him after spotting his slipper on the road.

Also read: Custodial Torture Continues Unabated in India Amidst Culture of Impunity: Report

“I was tied upside down and beaten badly. Three cops assaulted me for three days. They targeted one body part at a time. They beat my right hand and also kicked in their legs one after the other,” he told Express.

He was released after three days and in a while began experiencing loss of strength on his right arm and a worsening of this injury. His family took him to three hospitals, all of whom told them that amputation was crucial for his survival.

On November 8, the surgery for the amputation took place.

Salman’s family have said that he was one of the breadwinners of the family and also that they did not know that he had been taken to a police station initially.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Whitefield) D. Devaraj told Indian Express that he has sought a report from the Assistant Commissioner of Police in the Varthur jurisdiction regarding the incident.

A report by the National Campaign Against Torture – a platform for NGOs working on torture in India – has found that every day, an average of five people die in custody in India, with some of them succumbing to torture in police or judicial custody.

The report also highlighted how while probing non-heinous crimes, like the theft in Salman’s case, police personnel in several states went to the extent of torturing the suspects to death.

There has not been a single conviction in the deaths of 500 persons allegedly due to torture in police custody between 2005 and 2018.

In 2020, the custodial deaths of a father and son sparked protests across Tamil Nadu and India, with many taking to the streets to demand justice. Jayaraj, 59, and his son Bennix, 31, were allegedly brutalised by the Sathankulam police for reportedly keeping their mobile shop open for a few minutes after the time permitted by COVID-19 guidelines.

India has failed to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture for almost a quarter century.