Karnataka lawyer faces custodial torture by police for not wearing helmet, later hospitalised; 6 cops suspended

police sub-inspector, an assistant sub-inspector, a head constable and three constables attached to the town police station here were suspended on Friday for allegedly assaulting an advocate for riding a motorcycle without a helmet on Thursday.

A constable in plain clothes stopped advocate Preetam for riding his motorcycle without a helmet around 8 pm on Market Road in front of the police station. The constable snatched the motorcycle keys though Preetam stated that he will pay fine for helmetless riding.

An argument broke out between them and other cops rushed to the spot and took Preetam to the station and allegedly assaulted him with lathis and hockey sticks, according to local Bar council president HM Sudhakar. Preetam sustained injuries on his chest and back and is being treated at a private hospital here.

As the news spread, members of the district advocates’ association staged a dharna in front of the police station after the incident on Thursday night till 3 am on Friday, demanding that the policemen who had assaulted Preetam be arrested.

Superintendent of Police Dr Vikram Amte rushed to the station and tried to pacify the agitating lawyers saying an inquiry will be conducted into the incident. The advocates intensified their protest when one of the accused policemen was sent to the hospital to record the statements of Preetam.

They relented when Amte announced the suspension of six policemen and an inquiry by a deputy superintendent of police. In the morning, the advocates took out a protest march from the court premises to Azad Park seeking stringent punishment for the accused policemen. Over 300 lawyers boycotted the court proceedings.

Meanwhile, the High Court of Karnataka initiated suo motu proceedings in connection with the attack on the advocate. Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit expressed concern over the attack stating what will be the fate of a common man if a lawyer is assaulted by policemen for the reason of not wearing a helmet? The Hight Court directed the state government to furnish information on the action taken in connection with the attack on the advocate.

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