I am Lakshmi, mother of a tenth grade boy Vijay* (name changed).
On 12 February, when I had gone for work, my son had gone with his friend Prakash (name changed) to another friend Rajesh's* (name changed) place in Sarojini Nagar, Kolathur, Chennai to study. The two got off the bus and started walking to their friend's house. They probably didn't notice two men, in plain clothes, following them.
The cops came to Rajesh and asked him for a glass of water. And suddenly they held Dinesh's collar. They took a picture of Vijay and Prakash, sent his friend home, and took my son away in a bike. At the police station, the cops accused him of stealing a geared cycle. My son said no and said he had just come to his friend's place to study. The cops then showed CCTV footage to the boy. The location shown in the footage was very different from where we live. The cycle was stolen in Sarojini Nagar and they had picked him up from Ganga Theatre. My boy doesn't even know these areas.
If they are taking my boy, shouldn’t they call me?
‘What If He Had Done Something to Himself?’
My son has told them to call me but they never did.
When my son was missing for three hours, I was frantically looking for him everywhere. He would occasionally go to my sister's house but will always inform.
At around 10 pm that night, my mother-in-law called me to say Vijay had come to their house. When I rushed there, I saw that his back was swollen and there were marks of beatings. His grandmother was applying medicine and my son was crying. Even I have never hit my own child! Because he is my only son and a good child.
I am a single mother, his father passed away long back. It is with a lot of difficulty that I have educated him till tenth grade. I thought if he studied in a Tamil medium school he could be wrongly influenced by classmates. So I am working hard to make him study in an English medium school so as to secure his future.
I am borrowing money to pay his tuition fees. A trust has given him money to study; so only if he is a good boy will he get that money right?
How can the police just take a minor and not even inform me?
The police had even asked him if he stole the bicycle for its tyres.
The Inspector and two other cops had slapped him. Then after a while, they put him in a share auto and sent him to my in-laws’ house.
What if, in that depression, he had gone away somewhere and done something to himself? What would I have done then?
If he was a rogue I understand. How shameful would it be if the school found out he was taken to the police station? I haven't been able to eat for two days because it hurts to see him wounded. Even if someone is scolding him, he doesn't shout or lose his temper. He is a very calm boy, by nature.
We went to the police station and gave a complaint. But the Inspector wasn't there and the cops said they will get back to us.
‘They Are Not Even Allowed to Hit a Minor!’
How can they hit him? And you are not even allowed to! And even if they pick up a minor on suspicion shouldn’t they inform the mother?
Vijay is my life. I am living just for him. If he were a bad person, no one will support him. Even I will not support him.
Every day when he leaves to school, I advise him not to roam around with friends unnecessarily, not to get caught for anything so that there is no black mark on him ever. I have been teaching him good values.
“Why should an innocent boy take beatings? He is scared, traumatised.”
Let me tell you, just that morning he had asked me for Rs 10 and because I had only Rs 50, I gave him that. He had bought a bus ticket and kept the change of Rs 40 safely in his pocket to return to me. Doesn't that show how good he is? Instead of spending it recklessly, he understood his mother's financial problems and was being a good boy.
Even after two days, I still haven't got a call from them. A few cops had come to my in-laws house and said they are getting a lot of pressure and asked who was supporting us. The family whose house I am working at had come with me to file the complaint. The cops had then told them to ask me to call the station and said that they will compromise by apologising.
‘I Want No Trouble for My Boy in the Future’
I want the police to give me a direct answer.
In the future, they should not harass him again. I want him to do his diploma and get a good job. Tomorrow the police shouldn't slap cases against him and cause him trouble. They have taken photographs of him which should be deleted. They need to give it to us in writing that they will not bother him ever again. That is all I need.
I am not seeking for revenge or even want these police officers suspended. I just want my boy to be safe and be able to lead a good life and never get hurt.
(As told to Smitha TK.)
When The Quint reached out to the inspector Prakash Kumar, he denied that the cops assaulted the boy. We have sent a questionnaire to the Kolathur police station and haven’t received a response.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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