Vijayawada: The recent suicide of four members of a family in Kurnool's Nandyal due to police torture and harassment has once again highlighted lack of sensitisation of police personnel and absence of accountability.
This, however, is not the first such incident of police atrocities in Andhra Pradesh in 2020. A slew of incidents in the state have led to massive protests.
In August this year, police inspector Venu Gopal in AP's Srikakulam district kicked a Dalit man when the latter approached the police station at Palasa. The high-handed behaviour of the police officer went viral on social media and he was placed under suspension. The Dalit man had approached the police following a dispute with his neighbor. When he was explaining the same to the officer, Venu Gopal suddenly attacked him.
In another incident, sub-inspector Shaik Feroze Shah and a police constable beat up and tonsured a Dalit youth I. Vara Prasad at the Seethanagaram police station in East Godavari in July. Prasad had allegedly challenged a local YSR Congress Party leader that led to the incident. Both the sub-inspector and the constable were suspended.
On 18 July, a Dalit youth died after he was beaten up by the police for travelling without a mask at Chirala Town in Prakasam district. The youth, identified as Y. Kiran Kumar, and his friend were stopped for drunk driving and violating COVID-19 guidelines. The Andhra Pradesh police arrested the Chirala Two-Town police station sub-inspector K. Vijay Kumar for alleged negligence.
According to the NCRB 2019 data, the AP police have the highest number of cases registered against police personnel in the country. However, the state police claimed that the data was inaccurate and asked the NCRB to revise the figures. It said the report had put the number of cases registered against police personnel at 1,681 while the actual number was 111.
Expressing deep concern over the Nandyal incident, state home minister Mekatoti Sucharita and DGP Gautam Sawang said they have initiated criminal action against the police officers responsible for the mass suicide. They also said they won't tolerate the highhandedness of police personnel in the state and will continue to act tough against such officers.