A young woman and her relative were detained on the suspicion of theft and allegedly beaten up in police custody in the steel city in the small hours of Monday.
East Singhbhum SSP Akhilesh Kumar Jha has denied police torture and instead claimed that the two instigated a mob to attack a police team that were probing a theft case.
Around 12.30am, Madho Murmu (26) went to relieve herself near Domuhani escorted by her brother-in-law Mangal Baske (25) when a police patrol picked them up.
The two, both residents of Balaram bustee, were taken to Sonari police station, where grievous injuries were allegedly inflicted upon them. They were released around 4am.
Later in the morning, bustee residents, led by JMM supporters, demonstrated in front of the police station and demanded action against policemen who allegedly assaulted the two. Madho and Mangal were admitted to MGM Medical College and Hospital around 10am.
A doctor on duty said the patients had complained of pain in the chest, shoulder and abdomen. “We are trying to find out the exact nature of injuries,” he added.
Mohan Karmakar, a senior JMM member who visited the two at the hospital, accused police of barbarism. “The matter must be probed and the guilty punished,” he said.
Sonari OC Sanjeev Kumar admitted detention of a youth at night because he was spotted roaming in an area from where complaints of thefts had been lodged.
“We just picked up the youth for interrogation. A woman came with him to the police station. We released the youth early in the morning once we were convinced he was innocent. But, in the morning, the woman claimed assault in custody, which is not correct,” the officer said.
SSP Jha claimed the woman and her relative had gone to steal from a godown at a construction site in Sonari, but were picked up by police.
Around 9am, a group of bustee dwellers attacked a police party that went there for further investigations. A policeman was injured in stone-pelting, Jha said.
“ASI Gauri Shankar Sinha has been admitted to Tata Main Hospital. Mangal and Madho got themselves admitted to MGM to save themselves from being implicated in the assault on a police officer,” he said, adding two cases would be lodged.