An FIR was lodged against a police constable under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in Amraiwadi in Ahmedabad on Tuesday after a Dalit man complained that he was beaten up and told to lick the shoes of a police officer in the lock-up. The Crime Branch has been asked to probe the allegations. The FIR was filed after members of Dalit community held protests outside the police station since Monday.
Harshad Jadav, 38, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police constable, said that the FIR did not name DCP Himkar Singh who had allegedly asked him to lick the shoes, and instead constable Vinod was named.
“On December 29 morning, I had gone outside my house after hearing noise. There were many policemen and a crowd had gathered. I saw a man standing near me and asked about the matter. He suddenly slapped me. I also pushed him. He then took a stick and started beating me up, saying that he is a policeman. My wife, who came to help me, was also beaten,” Jadav told The Indian Express over phone.
“I was then taken to Amraiwadi police station and kept in the lock-up for a few hours. Sometime in the afternoon DCP Himkar Singh arrived and called me. He said how dare I hit a policeman, and then asked my ‘jaat’ (caste). A police officer from behind said that I was a Dalit, and that made the DCP angry. He asked me to fall at the feet of the constable whom I had pushed, and apologise. I did that. After that he asked me to lick the constable’s shoes and apologise,” said Jadav, who is a English Literature graduate and runs an electronic repair shop in Amraiwadi.
“I was humiliated and wanted to commit suicide. I was not sure if I should talk about this to anyone. The same evening, I was taken to a court and was told by the police not to say anything. I was released on bail the same day. Later, I told my father who approached the community leaders and then I filed a complaint with the police,” he added.
Convener of Gujarat Dalit Sangathan Ashok Samrat said, “Police have not named the DCP in the FIR, and wrote only the name of the constable. We met Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A K Singh and asked him to look into the matter.”
DCP Himkar Singh, however, refuted the allegations. “I had not asked anyone to do any such thing. Harshad was kept at Amraiwadi police station as he had assaulted a police officer. The incident took place on December 29. He was taken to court and then released on the same day. I do not know what happened between December 30 and January 1… We filed an FIR on December 2 to maintain law and order as a lot of people had surrounded the police station. In the FIR, the complaint is against constable Vinod and a senior officer. There is no other name mentioned,” added Singh.
When asked about the issue, Police Commissioner Singh said, “Certain allegations have been made and we have taken cognizance of it. The matter is under investigation. To be fair to all, the case will be investigated by the Crime Branch so that there is no chance of any bias.”