A group of men in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelvelli district have alleged custodial torture by an IPS officer. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered and the officer in question has been put on "compulsory wait, pending inquiry".
The alleged torture is said to have taken place 10 days ago at the Ambasamudram police station. The men -- five shop keepers and an auto driver who have been accused in an assault case -- are now out on bail.
The men alleged that Assistant Superintendent of Police Balveer Singh "crushed the testicles" of a man, despite knowing he is newly married. Five of the men say they had their teeth broken. The officer, they allege, had filled their mouth with gravel and then punched them on the cheek.
One of them, Mariappan, is "bed-ridden and in a critical condition" said Chellappan, another man in the group. One of them showed a half-healed scar on his shoulder, claiming it to be a relic of the torture.
The officer had changed into t-shirt, shorts and gloves before administering the third degree, the men allege. "He tortured us even as two cops, including a gunman, held our hands," Chellappan added.
The allegations were widely circulated on social media. Speaking to NDTV, Tirunelveli Collector KP Karthikeyan said, "I got the complaint first from the District Superintendent of Police. I have ordered a magisterial inquiry".
The whistle blowers say the police had intimidated them, directing them to maintain silence about the torture. Saying they fear for their lives, they have sought government intervention.
The officer concerned and the ruling DMK are yet to comment on the allegations.
The incident brings back memories of the death of a father and son (Jayaraj and Benicks) after alleged torture by cops at the Sathankukam police station in 2020, when the AIADMK was in power. The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the case.