A 22-year-old man in Bengaluru on Wednesday alleged that his right arm had to be amputated because the police had tortured him in custody when he said he was illegally detained in connection with a theft case, The Indian Express reported.

On October 27, Salman said he was picked up by the police for investigation related to stolen car batteries. The police, he claimed, were in plain clothes and their private vehicle had a Kerala state registration number.

“I was taken to the Varthur police station where I was assaulted mercilessly by three men,” he told The Indian Express. “I confessed to stealing three car batteries. They took me to the people to whom I had sold the batteries. I was again brought to the police station and asked to confess to other thefts which I had not committed.”

After he refused to take responsibility for other crimes, Salman alleged that he was tied upside down and “beaten badly” by the police.

“Three cops assaulted me for three days,” he told The Indian Express. “They targeted one body part at a time. They beat my right hand and also kicked in their legs one after the other. My pleadings went unheard.”

Salman, who used to work in a shop selling chicken, had lost his job during the coronavirus pandemic. He said that his arm was infected after the alleged assault.

Once he was released from the police custody on October 31, Salman said that he started taking painkillers, but the injury worsened, according to The Indian Express.

His family took him to three hospitals, where doctors said that Salman’s arm had to be amputated.

“A surgery was crucial to save his life as the infection was grievous in nature,” his cousin brother Waseem said. “We had no choice but to go ahead with the operation on November 8.”

The 22-year-old is currently in hospital and recovering. Dr K Venkatesh, the orthopaedic surgeon who is treating him, said that the infection in Salman’s arm could have been life-threatening, reported The Indian Express.

“We had no other option but to amputate his arm till the shoulder,” the doctor added.

Salman’s mother Shabina said the family was not even aware that he was picked up by the police in October-end, The Indian Express reported. She added, “I only found one of his slippers on the road. We rushed to the Varthur police station and they said they had not detained anyone by the name of Salman.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Whitefield) D Devaraj said he has asked for report about the incident from the assistant commissioner of police in the Varthur jurisdiction, according to The Indian Express.

India sees a high number of custodial deaths. In 2019, approximately five people died in custody every day, according to a report by the National Campaign Against Torture.