Is Telangana Police much-touted ‘friendly policing’ slogans are limited to mere speeches and in some cases, white-collar criminals who steal crores and celebrities who commit crimes and not for the poor, Dalits and tribals?

While the answer may be an emphatic ‘no’, considering the fact that by and large the police department plays fair, three recent incidents have triggered a heated debate on policing in Telangana.

There was definitely no friendly policing for the victims, who either died or were injured seriously. Surprisingly, the CCTV cameras in police stations connected to all these incidents were “not working” at the time of the atrocity.

Not surprisingly, the friends and family of these victims say that friendly policing is limited only to press meets and in the speeches of top police officials.

They say that white collar criminals involved in scams worth crores, or celebrities caught committing a crime, will first get notices as per procedure and then manage to get bail immediately as per the legal Sections registered against them by the police. But, a Dalit woman or an innocent tribal farmer will be arrested without any notice and they can be interrogated at the station without any FIR even if the charge is a theft of a few thousands. This is the state of affairs in Telangana.

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“Only suspensions, what about criminal procedures against the police personnel who killed Mariamma,” the High Court had asked the Advocate General two days back. Mariamma, a 44-year-old poor Dalit woman, died due to alleged torture by the Addagudur police in Yadadri district.

The police had brought Mariamma, her son Uday Kiran and a friend to the police station on June 15 in connection with a complaint by a pastor regarding a theft at his home. On June 18, she collapsed at the police station and died.

The police said that she had died due to a heart stroke because of ill health. After a judicial probe, a second post-mortem was done and it was found that there were wounds on the body of Mariamma, a clear attempt to hide the truth.

Someday back, a tribal farmer named Veera Sekhar was brought to the Atmakur Police Station in Suryapet District. A complaint had been given that motors were stolen from the fields.

The Atmakur police handed him over to the family recently. While handing over, he was unconscious, and there was froth in his mouth, his family said.

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Veera Sekhar of Ramoji Thanda informed his family that he was beaten up and forced to drink urine by the police. He was later taken to hospital.

The police say that his name was mentioned by another accused Banothu Naveen during the inquiry. Many property offences were registered, in which Veera Sekhar’s involvement was suspected, they stated. His family members believe that the police are trying to name the victim in multiple theft cases to cover up their crime. In another case, one Odanti Bhimaboya, was brought to the police station after arresting him for playing cards by the Kamareddy police recently.

He was allegedly beaten severely by the police. He was shifted to the hospital and later to Hyderabad where he died while undergoing treatment. He is also a tribal of Bichkund village. His wife alleged that doctors reported that blood clots had formed in his body due to severe injuries. In contrast, the accused were treated with kid’s gloves by the police for the same crime at Begumpet.

In all the three incidents, there are allegations that the police violated rules and procedures while questioning the victims. Nor was any procedure followed when they were arrested or questioned.

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Not surprisingly, wherever the police are accused of dealing with the poor and violating rules, CCTV footage is not available and the CCTV cameras never seem to function. In the Mariamma case, the CCTV cameras were not functioning. In the case of Atmakuru of Suryapet, where a tribal farmer was beaten brutally by the police, only two CCTV cameras were in working condition, but the two were not functioning.

The external cameras were working but the video of Veera Sekhar was recorded during the night. So the footage is not clear. The cameras inside the station were not functioning. In the case of the Disha encounter also, the footage of the accused being questioned is not available.

Just before they were taken from that place to the crime spot to recreate the scene, where they were killed in an encounter, no CCTV footage was available and the commission led by Sirpurkar was surprised by the police answer on non-availability of the CCTV footage. #KhabarLive #hydnews