Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday, June 25, directed Director General of Police (DGP) Mahender Reddy to launch a probe immediately into the custodial death of Ambadipudi Mariyamma, a Dalit woman, who was arrested in Chintakani on charges of robbery. This came following the visit of Congress Legislative Party leader Bhatti Vikramarka. Condemning the actions of the police, the Chief Minister instructed the DGP to remove the erring police personnel from services if found guilty.
According to release by the Chief Minister’s Office, the CM instructed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to ensure that Mariyamma’s son Uday Kiran, who was also arrested in the case and allegedly tortured by police, to be given a government job, a house and Rs 15 lakh as ex-gratia. Further, Mariyamma’s two daughters will be given Rs 10 lakh each. The CM asked the DGP to visit Chintakani to find out the facts and details about the lockup death and console the members of the victim’s family.
Responding to Mariyamma’s death, KCR said, “There is a need for the society to change its attitude towards Dalits. Especially the attitude and behaviour of the police towards the Dalits should be in favour of them and support them. It is unfortunate that when the police machinery is making a qualitative change in maintaining the law-and-order situation, such an incident took place. We will not pardon such incidents.”
The statement added that the government “will not keep quiet if anyone does harm to Dalits”.
“There will be swift action on the matter. There should not be any delay in inquiring about the culprits of lockup death and taking stern action against them. If need be, dismiss them from the service,” the CM instructed DGP Mahender Reddy.
Mariyamma, a resident of Komatlagudem in Chintakani in Khammam district was arrested on June 17 on charges of robbing Rs 2 lakh from the house of her employer in Govindapuram in Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri district. She died under suspicious circumstances on June 18, while in custody of the Addagudur police. According to Uday Kiran, police allegedly severely tortured them, leading to his mother’s death. Uday Kiran, who is presently being treated at Khammam Government General Hospital alleged that Mariyamma was kicked and beaten, following which she collapsed and died.
Three police personnel — Sub-Inspector V Maheshwar, constable Rasheed and constable Janaiah — accused in the death, are presently under suspension until the completion of the internal inquiry.
The Congress alleged that the TRS government remained indifferent to the atrocities against Dalits, and sought an appointment with the Chief Minister on Friday.
Interestingly, the Chief Minister welcomed the Congress delegation for the first time in seven years of the TRS government and assured justice. On the same day, alleging that atrocities against Dalits increased under the TRS government, Bhatti Vikramarka gave a representation to the Governor seeking their protection.
On June 24, the Telangana High Court had ordered a judicial probe into the death following a plea by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
The Telangana State Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes also responded to the incident and demanded a detailed report from the Telangana government.