The Tamil Nadu police is now facing fresh allegations of custodial violence against minors after angry parents and activists claimed that eight boys from the Semmenchery colony in Chennai were detained and physically assaulted on Monday, during an investigation into a robbery that took place at a mobile shop on Saturday night.
Social activist Nityanand Jayaraman, an eyewitness to the incident, narrated what he saw on Facebook in a detailed post, “I reached the police station at 7 30 a.m. J10 Sholinganallur police station is a small station at Sholinganallur Junction. It is untidy. From the entrance, one can see the dark enquiry room. 4 boys were lined up against the southern wall, crying. I could only see three of them as one was behind the door. A few others were on the other side. Three policemen were inside, smiling, talking casually. One held a thick yellow polypropylene pipe — about 4 feet long. Every few minutes, he would flick it and rap the palm or the knuckles of one or the other kids standing there. This was visible even from the entrance.”
Speaking to The News Minute, Mary, aunt of 15-year-old Mahesh (name changed) who was among the detained, said, “Mahesh was detained from his house around 5am and was taken to Semmenchery police station. He was beaten up by the police. Now, he is not in the station as they have taken him in the car. The children who were released told me that he was badly beaten up,” she said.
She added that six boys have been released by the police, only her sister’s son was not released by the police. Another boy has been arrested.
Sivakumar, an inspector at the Semmenchery police station, denied detaining eight boys. “After the robbery, we had interrogated about 40 boys from the area and we had brought five-six of them to the police station. We did not beat them. They are minors, why will we beat them up? We are allowed to interrogate them at the police station,” he said.
Semmechery police arrested a 16-year-old boy, Vikram (name changed), for the robbery. “We have CCTV footage of the robbery and it can be clearly seen that Vikram was involved in the robbery with another boy. The second accused is absconding and we are in search of him. We have also found seven mobile phones from Vikram, which went missing from the shop,” said Sivakumar.
The News Minute was shown the CCTV footage and it could be seen that two boys broke into the shop and took out mobile phones. Police said that the boys had stolen 15 mobile phones from the shop.
Police also said that Vikram had been warned last month by the police in another robbery case. “Last month, he had broken into someone’s house for robbery. We had warned him and now this case,” said Sivakumar. He has been remanded to a juvenile home in Chengalpet.
Parveen, (60), grandmother of Vikram, said that police detained him around 3am on Monday. “Two policemen came on a two-wheeler and detained him. They asked us to come to the police station,” she said.
“He was not studying well in Class 10 and was not interested to go to school. He got into bad company. His father also left the family and went away one year ago. I used to keep advising Vikram to study well or get a job,” she said, tears rolling down her cheeks, as she stood outside the police station waiting to see her grandson.
Police say that they are now aware of Mahesh’s whereabouts.
Source: The News Minute