Under scanner for detaining children, police denies wrongdoing, inquiry ordered

[ Karyir Riba ]

ROING, 27 Feb: The Shantipur police station (PS) in Lower Dibang Valley (LDV) district has come under the scanner after a report of two minors being detained at the PS overnight surfaced recently.

According to the father of the children, the family is in grief after the death of his wife and the mother of his children.

“My wife died on 6 February, and so our friends and relatives come by alternately to spend nights with us. On the intervening night of 22 and 23 February, at around 1:30 am, some policemen arrived at my place in Jia village and asked for this person. I pointed out the wanted person and the police got hold of him. Somehow, this person freed himself and ran out of the house. The policemen followed suit to chase him. Then again, at around 2 am, the policemen returned to my house and asked me about that person. They started hitting me and also handcuffed me. My children woke up by then and started crying when they saw me getting beaten by the police. They wanted to take me to the Shantipur PS. When I tried to call my mother-in-law to take care of my children while I was being held, the police snatched my mobile phone as well as my older son’s phone. And when I wanted to call out to my neighbour to keep my children with them, too, I wasn’t allowed to do so, and so I was left with nothing but to take them with me to the PS.

“Once at the PS, I was thrown into a cell and locked up, while my children were asked to sit on the floor next to my cell. They were given a piece of carton and nothing else. Later on, when my five-year-old son said that he was cold, I asked my older son (14 and mentally challenged) to ask the policemen for a blanket. However, our request for a blanket for my little boy was denied. I spent the rest of the time until morning by talking to my children through my cell to keep them comfortable in that situation,” he said.

On the other hand, the police are denying the series of occurrences as narrated by the father. According to the police, he had been harbouring a wanted rapist since sometime and on a tipoff they raided his house at around 1:30-2:00 am of said night.

“After the rape accused made a run, we wanted to take the owner of the house for interrogation to know about the whereabouts of the accused. When the children started crying, we were told that since the death of their mother, the children had become too clingy towards their father, and so we had to take them along if we wanted to take him with us. Just for the sake of emotions, we allowed him to take the children to the PS. At the PS, when we took the father for interrogation into the cell, we sent the children to the house of our WT operator, which is right next to the PS, to keep them comfortable until morning. This was at around 3:30 am. In the morning, the children went to see their father and by 7:30 am or so, some of their relatives had arrived and the children were handed over,” the police said.

While the father alleged that his mentally challenged child was asked to water the plants by the police, the police said that the WT operator “is keen about gardening and waters the plants every morning. While he was doing his usual morning ritual, the boy came to him and voluntarily took the mug and watered some plants. The policemen did not stop him as it did not seem harmful,” the police said.

Speaking on the matter, LDV SP JK Lego informed that a show cause notice has been issued to Shantipur OC M Mili. “I have written to the DC to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the matter, and a departmental inquiry has also been put in place and DSP Ringu Ngupok has been appointed as the inquiry officer to conduct preliminary inquiry into the matter,” said Lego.

The SP said that he would not be able to say anything until the inquiry is completed.