Karnataka: Dalit Youth Forced to Drink Urine in Police Custody

Many progressive and anti-caste organizations and individuals have condemned the act and demanded that Punith be served justice.

PSI Arjun and Punith

Yet another inhumane incident has come to light as a shock to the state of Karnataka amidst the Covid-19 pandemic-hit times. Sub-Inspector Arjun of Gonibeedu Police Station in Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru district forced the in-custody Dalit youth Punith KL to drink and lick urine from the ground.

The police had taken custody of Punith KL, known to be from Kiragunda on May 10th at around 11 AM after the villagers gave an oral complaint that he was the cause for the trouble between a couple in the village. The woman and her neighbor had recently gone missing. Punith had called the woman who went missing around 6 months ago. After learning about the same, the woman’s family had met with Punith and advised him that it did not look good that he called a married woman.

In this connection, the family members of the woman suspecting that Punith would be involved in the same went to his house and picked up a fight. At this time, Punith reiterated that he did not know anything about the incident. However, nobody seemed to listen to him. After being scared at this point, he called up the Police on 112 and requested them to ensure his safety. The police decided to take him to the police station.

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The police had taken Punit to custody forcefully. The Hindu has reported that Punit accused of police excesses and custodial torture for more than a couple of hours while at the police station. When thirsty and asked for water, Arjun not just refused to provide water but also forced Chethan, a person who was in the custody of police on a case of theft to urinate on Punith’s face. “Chethan refused to do it initially. But he was forced to urinate on me as he was threatened that he would also be subjected to severe torture. Later, the officers made me lick the urine drops on the floor”, Punith is said to have informed the Kannada Media outlets.

Punith was released the same day at around 10.30 PM after severe beatings in the station. Punith’s family was also not allowed to meet him when they had come looking out for him to the Police Station at around 6.00 PM. Owing to the custodial tortures, Punith was left with no other way but to take blames that he had committed the crime.

In this regard, Punith has lodged a complaint only yesterday at the Police Station demanding that he be served justice. He has also demanded that the concerned officials initiate actions against PSI Arjun.

Tweeting about the issue, well-known Kannada Actor Chetan demanded that justice be served to Punith and PSI Arjun be arrested.

In the last couple of years, Karnataka has witnessed widespread pushback on human rights violations especially pertaining to atrocities on Dalits including incidents in Upupi, Tumkur, and Gudibande. On February 10th, on the call of Nelamangala Chalo, Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekar Azad had visited Nelamangala, a town on the outskirts of Bengaluru to extend solidarity to Dalit Activist and Writer BR Bhaskar Prasad. Despite large-scale mobilizations and protests against such inhumane acts, atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis continue unabated in Karnataka.

After the issue saw light just yesterday through Kannada Daily ‘Bheema Vijaya’, many progressive and anti-caste organizations and individuals have condemned the act and demanded that Punith be served justice. There has been a large-scale outrage against the incident on social media.

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May 2024


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