A video of a Tamil Nadu traffic police officer beating up an agent of online food delivery service Zomato in full public view at Srivilliputhur in Virudhunagar district has gone viral on social media.
The policeman has been identified as Dharmaraj, a special sub-inspector with the traffic division in the Srivilliputhur region and the delivery agent as Venkatesh.
The incident happened on Sunday and in the video, Dharmaraj is seen getting up from his bike and holding the delivery agent by his collar. Dharmaraj goes on to slap Venkatesh several times before taking him to the police station.
Even though Dharmaraj’s actions invited wrath online, the police said that the delivery agent had been booked in a lot of petty cases earlier and on the day, he attempted to attack the officer. It was in self-defence that the policeman used force to arrest the man, they said.
Srivilliputhur deputy superintendent of police (DSP) M Sabarinathan told indianexpress.com: “The police had registered a lot of petty cases against that person (Venkatesh). If you look at the video, you can see the person attacking the police officer who was sitting on his bike. The delivery agent used a small blade-like weapon and attempted to attack the officer and so in an act of self-defence, the policeman used force to arrest the person. In the video, there was another sub-inspector. He did not beat the person and took care to not allow the public to get involved,” the officer said.
Local reports, meanwhile, claimed that Venkatesh had earlier evaded from the police when they asked him to stop his vehicle. Later, they stopped him and imposed a penalty of Rs 600 for violating traffic rules and this triggered Venkatesh to attack the police, said reports.
The DSP said Venkatesh has been booked under IPC Section 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (obstructing public servant from discharging duty).