Patna/Motihari, March 2: Five persons, including three juveniles, were paraded with partially tonsured heads and blackened faces at Panchpakri in East Champaran district today for indulging in gambling in the village last night.
All the five were picked up by police from a gambling den in Ranipokar, around 160km northeast of Patna, following a complaint by local mukhiya Renu Thakur. However, they were released this morning as parents of the juveniles protested against alleged torture in police custody.
The gross negligence of human rights came on a day when senior police officers of Muzaffarpur zone, including East Champaran superintendent of police Ganesh Kumar, were attending a seminar organised by the state human rights commission to sensitise the men in uniform.
As the mukhiya was not satisfied with the release of the victims in the age group of 14-20 years, she convened a meeting with her supporters, including senior citizens and took a decision to punish the victims as they were “habitual offenders”.
All the five alleged offenders were summoned by Renu at her house and their heads were tonsured. Their faces were also blackened and later they were paraded on the streets of Panchpakri market.
Additional superintendent of police (Sikrahna) S.K. Pokira said he had visited the police outpost after being informed by some residents that ill-treatment was meted out to some juveniles in police custody. “I talked to three of the victims, who complained of ill-treatment meted out to them by a group of local residents and not by any policeman,” he said.
Pokira said as the victims were subjected to humiliation at the instance of the local mukhiya, legal action would be initiated against her.
However, East Champaran SP Ganesh Kumar had a different view on the issue. “To the best of my knowledge, the local police had no role to play in the episode,” he said.
Panchpakri police outpost station house officer Naseem Ansari admitted that a police team had taken the five persons into custody for interrogation. “We have received numerous complaints about the gambling centre at Ranipokar village. Though raids were conducted earlier, they had managed to escape. But this time whey were caught red-handed,” he said.
Renu’s husband Sanjay said his wife had been dragged into controversy by her political opponents.