Telangana HC orders judicial probe into Dalit woman’s custodial death

The Telangana High Court on Thursday ordered judicial probe into the alleged custodial death of a Dalit woman in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district on June 18.

The court directed Aler magistrate to conduct the probe and submit the report to the court in a sealed cover. The magistrate was also directed to exhume the body of the deceased and conduct re-postmortem, if necessary.

A bench of Justice M. S. Ramachandra Rao and justice T. Vinod Kumar ordered the probe while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking inquiry into death of the Dalit woman Mariamma in Addaguduru police station under Rachakonda police commissionerate.

The court also wanted to know why no CCTV cameras were installed in the police stations despite the directions of the Supreme Court.

Mariamma, who was working as a maid at a pastor’s house in Addagudur and faced robbery charges, died in the police station on June 18 station because of alleged police torture.

Jaya Vindhyala, General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, filed the PIL seeking judicial probe. She alleged that Mariamma’s son Uday Kiran was also tortured by police and he was admitted to a private hospital.

The petitioner also sought orders to the state government to pay Rs.5 crore compensation to the victim’s family.

Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat had on Tuesday ordered suspension of three police officers at Addagudur for negligence in handling investigation allegedly leading to the ‘custodial death’.

Station sub-inspector V. Maheshwar, constables Rasheed and Janaiah were suspended.

A delegation of Telangana Congress leaders led by its president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy Wednesday met the DGP M. Mahender Reddy and sought further action against the policemen involved in the alleged custodial death.

They alleged that the police was trying to project the death as a case of heart attack in the Addaguduru police station and demanded a fair inquiry into it.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said Mariamma and her son were whisked away from their home in Komatlagudem in Khammam district by policemen in plain clothes on June 15 in connection with a theft case. They were brought to Addaguduru police station, where they were tortured.

Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka urged Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to ensure action against those responsible for the custodial death.