The illegal custody and torture of a Dalit teenager hailing from Chennai’s Kannagi Nagar locality was a case of mistaken identity, the victim’s family as well as sources in the police have said. V Mukesh (17), a Class VII dropout from the Scheduled Caste Adi Dravidar community, is now left with severe injuries and loss of hearing in one ear. City police commissioner T K Rajendran has, meanwhile, announced the suspension of a constable attached to Taramani police station.
The victim’s father P Vincent said at around 10.30 pm on Friday, six people claiming to be policemen barged into their house in Kannagi Nagar, a suburban locality populated by slum-dwellers who were relocated from the city.
“They were in plain clothes and came on two motor bikes and a white police van. They took my son into custody and told us that they were taking him to Mylapore police station in connection with a case of cellphone theft,” said Vincent. He added that Mukesh had told them that he was not taken to a police station, but a spot near the railway tracks. He was allegedly blindfolded and thrashed for almost two hours before the men realised that they had caught the wrong person.
Despite repeated requests, Rajendran and DGP Ashok Kumar did not respond to queries. A senior officer in his office said one constable has been suspended and two home guards have been arrested in connection with the incident.