Behind ‘assault for disrespect’

A resident of Lingarajapuram, Satish, says he was pulled up for keeping his hands in his pockets while speaking to the police, and then mercilessly assaulted. The case made it to the headlines last week. Metrolife spoke to eyewitnesses and the police to find out what really happened.

What happened

The incident came to light on July 28. According to the reports, Banaswadi police officers assaulted Satish, claiming he was disrespectful because of the way he kept his hands in his pockets while talking to them.

Who was there

Apart from the victim and the police officers, some members of the Dalit Sangharsha Samithi(DSS) say they witnessed the incident.

What they are saying

Mohan Raj, DSS head:

“This is a clear case of police misconduct and questions the basic human rights of a man. I recently met with Priyank M Kharge, minister for social welfare, regarding the same. The common man cannot be ill-treated in public by a police officer; this makes people scared to go to the police station even for genuine grievances. Police and the government should view this matter seriously and take necessary action.” 

The flip side

Accused sub-inspector Murali told Metrolife the incident has been portrayed wrongly.

“We were on a special drive checking number plates and altered vehicles. We came across Satish’s vehicle during this drive. It didn’t have the number plate and mudguard. When we asked for the documents, he said the papers were at home. He started shouting at our officers when we asked him to get the papers and both he and his son started the fight.”

What the law says

Section 323 -- Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt

Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 334, voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

 

K B K Swamy, advocate

“This is a disobedience to the command of the Constitution. Anyone voluntarily causing harm to the public, like in this case, can be booked under Section 323.”

Mathews Philip, executive director of SICHREM, a civil society initiative working for the protection, promotion and restoration of human rights, offered his perspective:

“This is a case of arrogance and misbehaviour on the part of the police. The police have no authority to ill-treat or manhandle people. A person can write a complaint to the State Human Rights Commission if subjected to any violation of Section 323. There is no need even for a legal notice to be served to anyone assaulting a citizen.”

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Behind ‘assault for disrespect’

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