Three sisters have accused the Assam police of custodial torture, including being stripped, kicked and beaten with lathis, inside a police outpost in Darrang district. The women were picked up after a case was registered against their brother, a Muslim, for allegedly abducting a Hindu woman.
Assam DGP Kuladhar Saikia told The Indian Express the outpost in-charge sub-inspector Mahendra Sarma and a woman constable Binita Boro were suspended Tuesday and criminal cases registered against them. He has also asked for an inquiry into their allegations within a week.
The cases were registered days after one sister, on September 10, wrote a detailed account of the incident in a complaint to police saying Sarma and Boro “stripped us naked, assaulted us and touched our private parts”.
The three sisters, aged 28, 30 and 18, were picked up at around 1.30 am on September 9 during a raid led by SI Sarma. Police claim the women were detained for questioning because a case was registered against their brother for allegedly abducting a Hindu woman.
The 28-year-old sister, who filed the complaint, said the assault continued until they were able to contact their brother, who, she said, was in Shillong with the Hindu woman. “He arrived with the girl at 6.30 am at the outpost. He asked them why we were tortured for a case against him. They beat him too. We believe the two of them (her brother and the woman) were involved in a full-fledged affair,” she said, adding that her brother is married but estranged from his wife.
Darrang SP Amrit Bhuyan said, “A case of kidnapping was registered by the family of the woman on September 6. The brother is now under arrest.” According to the 28-year-old sister, the Hindu woman and her brother were involved in a “love affair” for almost two years.
Another sister said the family had “all the proof of the relationship and there was no kidnapping”. A Darrang district police officer said that after the Hindu woman returned, “she told police that she was taken forcibly”.
According to the women, at the police outpost, Sarma, aided by Bodo, stripped and assaulted them, while their brother was jailed. The women also have photographs showing injuries all over their bodies.
The 28-year-old woman, pointing to dark red patches on her cheeks, said they were caused by slaps from police. She told The Indian Express, “When we asked Sarma, why are you taking us, he pointed a pistol and said don’t ask too much. At the outpost, my husband was locked up and my sister was stripped and hit by a lathi first.”
“She has a problem in her left leg but they hit her on that leg as well. They hit her on the left leg. My elder sister was also assaulted. We told him she was pregnant, OC (Sarma) said, ‘don’t do acting’. After assaulting both of them, he targeted me and hit me.”
“We want justice. Sarma and Binita and the other 4-5 police personnel present at the outpost should be punished for what they did to us,” said the 28-year-old.
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