An alleged case of police brutality has to come to light in Chennai where a 22-year-old was allegedly beaten up by a sub-inspector. The victim, Muhammad Haroon Sait claimed that he, along with his friend was beaten up for refusing to pay a bribe for not having all documents of the scooty he was driving. Sait claimed that he was slapped by the inspector and was beaten up by a stick. The accused inspector has been suspended from his duty. Haroon narrated the incident in a Facebook post:
“My name is Muhammad Haroon Sait. I am a 22-year-old undergraduate student. The previous night, on the 19th of July, around 11.30 pm, my two friends and I were returning from a marriage reception of another close friend, and some police officers stopped us as part of their routine checking on Spurtank Road, Chetpet, Chennai. My two friends were riding one Activa scooter, and I was alone on my Activa scooter. My friend who was riding his scooter did not have his license with him and was demanded a bribe of 300 rupees, which he very respectfully paid to a constable as instructed by sub-inspector M.H Ilayaraja of Chetpet police station, who was heading the checking process there.
When my license and copy of RC book were checked, the sub-inspector demanded me to produce the original RC book, which I obviously did not have at the moment and only had a copy. The sub-inspector insisted on me producing the original copy, by which he was indirectly harassing me and compelling me to pay a bribe as my friends did. I was firm that I would not pay a bribe. By now it was around 12 am, I called my parents, and informed them about the incident.
Posted by Haroon Sait on Sunday, July 22, 2018
I told the sub-inspector M.H. Ilayaraja that it is very late for me and I need to get back home. I gave him my scooter key and told him to take my scooter to the police station, on the condition that he gives me a receipt in reference to taking my scooter.
I told the inspector that I would come with my original documents in the morning and take back my scooter. This infuriated him, and he slapped me so hard that my spectacles flew on the ground, and he started whacking me with a beat stick (lathi) continuously.
I cried out in pain, there were other inspectors present there, but they did not stop him. They stood there as mute spectators to this entire event. The inspector kept swinging the wooden stick till I apologised to him around ten times and he finally stopped.
By this time, my left wrist had severely swollen, and I took out my phone to call my parents and inform them of the situation. He snatched my phone on the excuse of taking me to the police station for medical aid, and he told me that I was not allowed to call anyone. Later, he also snatched the mobile phones of my two friends, so that they would not call anyone either. He then told one of the constables to take me and my bike to the Chetpet police station, and by the time I reached the police station, he had informed the officer in the station to make me sit on a bench and not to allow me to make any calls.
On reaching the station, I was persistent that I want to make a call home since my hands are swollen. There was a little bleeding as well, and there were bruise-pains all over my body.
Two other officers came up to me and started harassing me, accusing me of speaking rudely with the sub-inspector and would not allow me to make a call. By now it was past 1 am, and my father called one of my uncles, who stays nearby Spurtank road. He came hurriedly to the police checking spot and took cognisance of the situation.
He took my friends, who were meanwhile being held up in-spite of paying the bribe, and finally reached the Chetpet police station. Shortly later, my father along with some of my cousins reached the police station. By now it was around 1.30 am, and I was being harassed without being given any medical aid until my family showed up.
I never saw sub-inspector Ilayaraja after that. I was taken to the nearest Dr.Mehta’s hospital, where I was admitted.
The doctor told me to stay strong and informed me that this was the second incident of police brutality in the recent past. He further said to me that the previous case was silenced and ended in a compromise. I was still at the hospital the next morning when several police officers came to visit me in my hospital room, trying to be friendly and asking me to drop the issue.
Simultaneously, without our knowledge, they were pressurising the hospital management to discharge me from the hospital. Around 11 am in the morning, the hospital staff started telling us that my health is fine and the wounds will soon recover, and were convincing us to discharge from the hospital.
We stood firm and told the staff that we will not leave unless the complaint is registered and that we would give a written complaint after the Friday congregational prayer. At around 3 pm, we handed over a written complaint to the police officers, who were roaming around my room the entire time.
After giving them the written complaint, not even a single police officer met us, and there were no police officers around our room ever since. We are also suspecting that the hospital is manipulating my diagnosis documentation, under the pressure of the Chetpet police department.
We have decided that we will leave the hospital only if they give us the correct diagnosis documentation, covering all the aspects of the injury, and after receiving an acknowledgement of the written complaint from the police department. We have also decided to pursue this issue legally to make sure that not only M H Ilayaraja is punished, but also to make sure that this does not happen with anyone else.
As a victim of the corrupt police system and as a victim of police brutality, I leave you with the responsibility of sharing this news as much as possible using your media platforms, so that we can together, at a longer run, achieve a society which is anti-corrupt, and is based on justice, equality and accountability of every citizen”.
The Logical Indian spoke to Haroon to know more about the incident. He says that the scooty he was driving was of someone else and police initially thought that it might be a stolen one that is when he said that they can keep the vehicle and he can bring the original documents in the morning.
The police reaction to the incident
Soon after the incident, Sub Inspector M H Ilayaraja was suspended from his duty. The Logical Indian spoke to the Greater Chennai Commissioner of Police, A K Viswanathan, who took cognisance of the case. The Police Commissioner of Chennai, on Monday, went to 22-year-old Muhammad Haroon Sait’s house to examine the boy’s condition.
“I went to meet the boy and his family to check if they need some other help, I did condemn the entire act and had insured them my full support,” said Commissioner A K Viswanathan. When we asked him about the case, he said, “the inquiry in the case is going on, and we will be able to make any statement once the enquiry is done.”