- Commando on leave, was allegedly beaten up and handcuffed
- "Karnataka police should have informed CRPF hierarchy": CRPF
- Paramilitary force considering "counter FIR against atrocious action"
A commando of the anti-Maoist CoBRA unit was allegedly chained at a police station in Karnataka after he was caught without a mask in violation of coronavirus precautions. The commando, who was in civilian clothes and on leave at his hometown Belagavi, alleges he was beaten up, handcuffed and made to sit on the floor.
The CoBRA or Commando Battalion for Resolute Action unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is skilled in guerilla warfare and is usually involved in anti-Maoist operations.
Images of the commando chained and squatting at what is supposed to be a police station are in circulation on social media.
The CRPF has written to the Karnataka Police chief, Praveen Sood, that the "unpleasant situation could have been avoided had the state police taken the CRPF hierarchy into confidence" before arresting commando Sachin Savant on April 23.
According to a senior officer quoted by the Press Trust of India, the CRPF is considering "a counter FIR against the atrocious action of the police".
In its letter, the CRPF said the commando was "manhandled, ill-treated, paraded to the police station barefooted, kept in chains and handcuffs" by policemen enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown.
The police have written to the CoBRA unit that Sachin Savant was "on the road without a mask" when two beat constables found him.
"Suddenly Sachin argued with the beat constables in filthy language and said, I am also a policeman of the CRPF. You don't ask me I will never follow your rules," the police have written.
The letter claimed that when the constables "requested" the commando, he assaulted both of them "with his arms and legs" and obstructed those on government duty. He was arrested and is in judicial custody, said the police in the letter, along with the FIR.
The CRPF says the jawan had told the policemen he was not wearing a mask as he was just outside his home.
"We have taken up the case with state police chief of Karnataka. His (Savant) bail plea is coming before the court on Tuesday and the CRPF too shall be in court through its local officers. A case investigation shall be followed up to take it to the logical conclusion," CRPF spokesperson Moses Dhinakaran told PTI.
The CRPF says that in the video, "it is apparent that the conduct of police personnel was not citizen centric." The letter requests the police chief to "provide justice to the jawan keeping the gravity of the incident and its impact on the relationship between the two forces."