Six Madhya Pradesh police officers, including a sub-inspector, were on Thursday suspended in connection with the alleged police brutality against a farmer and his wife, after which the Dalit couple had attempted suicide, The Indian Express reported. A magisterial inquiry has been initiated in the matter.
The suspended officers – Sub-Inspector Ashok Singh Kushwah and constables Rajendra Sharma, Pawan Yadav and Narendra Rawat, Neetu Yadav and Rani Raghuvanshi – have been told not to leave the headquarters without permission. This came a day after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the Guna collector and superintendent of police have been removed from their posts.
On Thursday, Inspector General (Gwalior Range) Rajababu Singh was also transferred. However, there was no word from the government if the transfer had anything to do with the Guna incident.
The couple on Tuesday drank poison after the police allegedly tried to destroy their crop during an anti-encroachment drive. The police and the district administration claimed that the couple were cultivating their crop on government-owned land. The Guna district administration wanted to vacate the land to build a college.
A video of the incident, shot by onlookers, showed policemen brutally beating up some residents with sticks. A woman was seen pleading with the police to stop and trying to shield a man from the blows. A child was seen following the couple. Some other pictures showed the farmer couple’s children holding them and crying as they fell unconscious after consuming poison.
The police on Thursday recorded the statements of the couple who are still in hospital. While Rajkumar Ahirwar is said to be in stable condition, his wife Savitri is still in a critical condition.
Ahirwar’s mother Gita Bai alleged that doctors at the government hospital attempted to get the thumb impressions of the couple and their kin on blank paper, reported The New Indian Express. “We had requested the government team and cops to give us just two months to cut the standing crop, but instead of listening to our requests they ran the JCB on the standing crop, forcing my son and daughter-in-law to consume pesticide,” she added.
The Guna incident triggered widespread outrage. The Opposition Congress criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, and said the incident was proof of “jungle raj” in the state. The Congress announced it would send a seven-member team to Guna on Friday. A team from the party met the couple at the district hospital on Thursday and handed them a cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh.