TIRUNELVELI: At least 10 young men from the Ambasamudram police division in Tamil Nadu have come forward alleging that Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Balveer Singh IPS had tortured them by removing their teeth with cutting pliers and, in the case of two men, crushed their testicles.
Tirunelveli Collector KP Karthikeyan said he had passed an order for an inquiry to be conducted by the sub-divisional magistrate-cum-sub-collector of Cheranmahadevi, as per police standing order.
Singh is a 2020-batch IPS officer with a BE degree from IIT-Bombay. He was posted to Ambasamudram as ASP on October 15, 2022. The 10 men, who faced the alleged custodial torture, were arrested for offences such as a clash over a love affair, money lending, breaking CCTV cameras and a marital dispute.
One police personnel told TNIE he had been present during the alleged torture. “The police officials in the intelligence unit have known about Singh’s behaviour from the start. If they had brought this matter to the attention of higher officials, some of these youngsters would have been saved,” he rued. TNIE spoke to two of the victims.
In a video shared with TNIE, a youngster named Chellappa claimed that Singh changed into shorts and donned gloves before damaging his teeth using blue metal and beating him and his two brothers at the Ambasamudram police station earlier this month. Chellappa and his brothers run a mutton stall at Sivanthipuram.
‘ASP damaged my teeth as cops held me down’
“My brothers, three relatives and I had a dispute with another group over a love affair. We handed over members of that group, with their weapons to the police. The police brought six of us as well as three of our opponents to the Ambasamudram police station. Two police personnel, including the ASP’s gunman, held me down while Singh damaged my teeth with blue metal and injured my lips. He filled my mouth with stones and beat my face,” he alleged.
“Then the ASP asked me to sit while he called my brothers and relatives. They were also beaten and their teeth were removed with cutting pliers. One of my brothers lost three teeth. Our mouths were oozing blood,” he claimed.
“When he started beating my brother Mariappan, we begged him not to as he is newly married. But once we said that, he crushed my brother’s testicles with his left hand and kicked him on his chest,” he claimed, adding that Mariappan was so traumatised by the attack, he has been unable to leave his bed.
“He only has some juice once a day as he is unable to eat. Singh broke the teeth of six persons from our side and two persons from the other group. We were made to sit in our underwear as we were thrashed with a lathi. He threatened us to tell the judicial magistrate that we were injured when we fell off our bike or from a coconut tree,” he said, adding that they complied fearing the safety of their female relatives.
Chellappa’s brother Esakkimuthu told TNIE, “Singh asked us who our gang leader is, assuming that we are rowdies. We explained that we are the complainants. But he said something in Hindi and started beating us,” he said.
Another victim told TNIE, “He beat me as I did not cooperate while he removed my teeth. Teeth of my two friends were also removed,” he said.
Political outfits, including Nethaji Subash Sena and Puratchi Bharatham, initiated protests demanding action against the ASP.
Advocate Maharajan of Nethaji Subash Sena charged that Singh removed the teeth of about 40 persons in his division so far. TNIE has not been able to independently verify this claim. “I have collected details of 17 persons so far. Singh should be dismissed and arrested,” he demanded. Tirunelveli SP P Saravanan said an official probe had been ordered by the Collector. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)