A video showing police personnel dragging a Sikh man by his hair in Madhya Pradesh's Barwani district has triggered public outrage.
In the 50-second-long video, the man, identified as Prem Singh, the caretaker of a gurudwara, can be seen at the feet of the policeman, who then pulls him by his hair. The recorded footage also shows another policeman pushing a turbaned man, who comes to save Singh.
Singh can be seen cowering at the feet of the policeman and shouting in Hindi, "They are beating us, they are killing us, the police are pulling us by our hair. They are not allowing us to set up our stall."
The incident allegedly took place after an argument between Prem Singh's family and the police over setting up a stall in the Rajpur Tehsil area of Barwani district reported The Scroll.
Singh ran a small business of old rock and keys close to the police station and alleged that the officials assaulted him after he refused to pay the bribe, according to NDTV.
State Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja tweeted the video and criticised the police. "The concerned man Prem Singh Granthi has long been running a lock-keys shop near the Pulsood police outpost. He was beaten, his turban desecrated and then he was pulled through the hair on the road in full public view by cops. This amounts to desecrating religious sentiments of the Sikh community," Mr Saluja tweeted.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the two police officers, Assistant Sub Inspector Sitaram Yadav and Head Constable Mohan Jamre, had been suspended with immediate effect for assaulting the men. He added an inquiry will be initiated by the Indore Deputy Inspector General of Police.
"I am pained to learn about the barbaric incident of Barwani," he tweeted. "Such barbarism and erratic behaviour won't be tolerated at any cost. The guilty will be punished for the misdeeds."
However, Barwani district Superintendent of Police Nimish Agrawal, while maintaining that a probe by sub-divisional officer police has been ordered into the incident, said Mr Singh is an accused in three cases of theft in Jabalpur district and was in an inebriated state.
"Our policemen were on vehicle-checking duty when they stopped two men, including Prem Singh, riding a motorcycle. While the riders didn't have driving licence, one of them was drunk. When the policemen tried to bring them to the outpost, one of them created a ruckus there," said Mr Agrawal.
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