The Saharanpur Police have ordered an inquiry into a video in which a police officer can be seen beating up a group of men, reported The Indian Express on Thursday.
The men were allegedly involved in protests that broke out on June 10 across the country against the remarks made by Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal about Prophet Muhammad.
The video of the men being beaten up was widely shared on social media.
“We have ordered an inquiry to ascertain details of the video,” Saharanpur Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Tomar said. “The SP [superintendent of police] will conduct the investigation, and action will be taken based on the facts determined during the probe.”
The police, however, have denied that the video was shot at the police station. Officials said they were waiting for a digital examination of the video to determine the location in the video, according to The Indian Express.
Scroll.in had met the families of three of the men seen in the video – 20-year-old Subhaan Khan, 19-year-old Mohammad Asif and 19-year-old Mohammad Ali. Their families said that the men had been detained and beaten up at Kotwali Nagar police station on June 10, and are currently in jail.
In the video that went viral on social media on June 11, the men could be seen lined up and screaming in pain as they are beaten by a police official armed with a stick.
The video was shared on Twitter by BJP MLA Shalabh Tripathi with the caption, “balvaiyo ka return gift” – return gift for rioters. The post was later deleted.
The police claim that the three men were picked up either from the protest sites or based on videos of the protests on June 10. Saharanpur Superintendent of Police (City) Rajesh Kumar claimed that during routine medical examinations before their arrest, there were no signs to suggest that they had been beaten up.
Before the inquiry was ordered, Kumar had said that the families spoke to the media about their allegations but not the police. “If they come to us, we will verify the matter, we will look into it,” he had said.
The families, all of them Muslim, told Scroll.in that they were scared to go to the police. They believe that the police were picking up innocent people to meet their “targets” to show that they were cracking down on those who had protested on June 10.
All three men have been charged under 11 sections of the Indian Penal Code, including for attempt to murder, rioting, rioting while armed with deadly weapon and criminal intimidation. They have also been booked under provisions of the the Criminal Law (amendment) Act and the Public Property Damage Prevention Act.