Two constables from the Sampigehahalli police station in northeastern Bengaluru were suspended for harassing and extorting Rs 1,000 from a married couple over their late-night walk on the road in Bengaluru on December 9.
Prompt action by city police
However, the police took prompt action in the matter and suspended the accused policemen. Taking to its official Twitter handle, the city police wrote, “Two police personnel from Sampigehalli police station responsible for the incident have been identified and suspended and departmental action has been initiated. Will not tolerate deviant behaviour from its staff.”
Two police personnel from @sampigehallips responsible for the incident have been identified, suspended and departmental action initiated. @BlrCityPolice will not tolerate deviant behaviour from its staff. @DCPNEBCP @Karthik_Patri
— ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ನಗರ ಪೊಲೀಸ್ BengaluruCityPolice (@BlrCityPolice) December 11, 2022
The response from the cops was based on a Twitter thread where Bengaluru resident Karthik Patri shared the incident he faced with his wife.
According to the Twitter post, this incident occurred when Patri and his wife walked back home after attending a friend’s cake-cutting ceremony at 12:30 am.
I would like to share a traumatic incident my wife and I encountered the night before. It was around 12:30 midnight. My wife and I were walking back home after attending a friend’s cake-cutting ceremony (We live in a society behind Manyata Tech park). (1/15)
— Karthik Patri (@Karthik_Patri) December 9, 2022
Couple was asked to show ID cards
A pink Hoysala patrol van stopped them while they were a few metres away from the entrance gate of their society behind the Manyata Tech park entrance gate, he added.
He said two men in police uniforms asked them to show ID cards. “Why should an adult couple walking on the street on a normal day be asked to show their ID cards?” Patri raised his concerns in the tweet.
“Anyway, we had nothing on us except our phones and a box of cake. Luckily, we had photos of our Aadhar cards. We promptly showed them to them. To our surprise, they took our phones away and started quizzing us about our relationship, place of work, parental details, etc,” he stated.
“Though a bit shaken, we answered their questions politely. At this point, one of them took out what looked like a challan book and started noting down our names and Aadhaar numbers. Sensing trouble, we asked why we were being issued a challan,” he further stated.
“You are not allowed to roam on the road after 11 pm,” one of them retorted. Struck by the absurdity of the reason, we persisted: “Is there such a rule? We are unaware about it.” “Literate people like you should know about such rules.” he shot back,” Patri stated.
Cops demanded Rs 3000 penalty
Patri further tweeted that although not convinced, we decided to back down. It was late in the night; our phones had been confiscated; there was no help in sight, and the least we wanted was a confrontation with two policemen.
“We apologised for being ignorant about the rule and assured them of not venturing out at night again. We thought we were over it, but it was as if the two men were waiting for this moment. They refused to let us go and demanded ₹ 3,000 as penalty. Our hearts sunk,” he further stated.
Patri stated that it was evident that the two men (tragic if they were indeed policemen) were out to con unsuspecting civilians.
“We literally begged them to let us go, but they wouldn’t budge,” he stated.
“The more we pleaded, the harsher they became, even threatening to arrest us. It was as if we were stuck in quicksand – the more we struggled, the deeper we sunk. This continued for a long time, until the harassment became unbearable,” he said.
Couple threatened with dire consequences
“They showed us pictures of convicts and threatened us of dire consequences if we didn’t pay up. I could barely hold my nerve, while my wife was in tears. Perhaps realizing that they had pushed a woman too far and fearing the legal consequences, they changed tack,” he added.
“They said only I would be penalized. The man in the driving seat took me aside and advised that I pay a minimum amount to avoid further trouble. By now I was mentally drained and exhausted, my wife was terribly distressed, and I didn’t want the ordeal to prolong even more,” he further added.
“I agreed to pay ₹ 1,000 and get done with it. The man immediately held up a PayTM QR code, waited for me to scan it and make the payment, and let us go with a stern warning: “If I and my wife are ever seen walking on the road at midnight, they would register a strong case…… against us and ensure that we keep circling around the court.” We couldn’t sleep that night or focus on work the next day. The whole incident has left a deep scar on our minds. It has shaken our faith in law-enforcement agencies,” he further said.
Patri asked the Bengaluru City Police: Is this not terrorism, is this not legalized torture? Is this how honest, law-abiding citizens of this land are meant to be treated?
“If the protectors of the law themselves break the law and prey on hapless citizens, who do we turn to?” Patri said in his concluding tweet.
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