Man loses arm, claims police brutality

City Crime Law

A fact-finding report by human rights organizations says that he was illegally detained.

By Souptik Datta, Mrunmayee Kulkarni and Supriya Mehta

Bengaluru: Salman Khan, a resident of Varthur, had to have his arm amputated because of alleged police brutality, according to a fact-finding report compiled by the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, the All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice, the Campaign Against Hate Speech, and independent advocates.

According to the fact-finding report, “Unknown police personnel visited him and forcibly took his thumb impression on a blank sheet of paper, and seized all medical records from the family and doctors. The police also coerced the parents to sign a paper stating that the incident was on account of ‘self-fall’.”

Somasekhar, Inspector of Varthur police station said, “He admitted himself to Hosmat hospital. He admitted ‘self-fall’ to the doctors and also gave a statement stating the same. He got some infection and his arm had to be amputated. People are making false allegations against the police officials.”

However, Salman said the police are saying he fell while performing stunts on his bike. He said he had to give false testimony stating the same. 

“I don’t even have a bike,” said Salman in an exclusive interview with the Softcopy. He said he was ambushed by two police vehicles on Oct. 27 at 10:30 p.m. He had stolen four batteries and a camera. “I admitted that I even took the police to the place where I had stashed the batteries. They said those weren’t good enough. A lot of batteries had been stolen from a school nearby—they wanted me to confess to stealing those as well,” he said.

According to Salman, he was beaten for hours while in custody with lathis and hockey sticks. His wrists still have rope marks of where they had tied him up. They crushed his right arm under their shoes, causing it to swell up he said. “It got so bad that they had to take me to the city hospital in Varthur twice,” he added.

He said he was taken into custody without any arrest warrant or First Information Report and was in jail for five days. 

The report said he was kept in Varthur Police Station without proper food or water. His family was not informed of the arrest and he was not produced before a magistrate even after 24 hours of his arrest.

Article 21 of the constitution, the right to life, includes a guarantee against torture and assault, even against persons in custody.

Salman Khan was illegally detained without compliance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, including Sections 41-A to 41-D and 55-A regarding arrest and detention, and in violation of Article 22(2) as he was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, the report mentioned. 

His mother came to pick him up five days later. “We went to many hospitals to treat his arm. They sent us to Hosmat Hospital, where the doctors had to cut off his arm to stop the infection from spreading. My son no longer has a right arm,” she said.

The surgery has been expensive, which the family cannot afford. “The police came here last night to get my brother to sign a testimony. No one even mentioned how we were to pay for all this,” said Seema, Salman’s sister.

According to the doctors who operated on him, no bones were broken. “There was severe bruising and an infected blister—it is common in cases of repeated trauma,” they said.

According to Anagha Kulkarni, an advocate in Bombay High Court – Aurangabad Bench, custodial death has been universally held as one of the cruelest forms of human rights abuse. 

“Article 20 of the Indian constitution lays down certain safeguards to a person against excess legislation. Article 22 of the Indian constitution provides four basic fundamental rights with respect to conviction. Just because a person is in police custody or detained or under arrest, does not deprive him of his basic fundamental rights,” she said.