‘The police officer pulled out my teeth, crushed my testicles’

An IIT graduate IPS officer is accused of torturing 5 people in custody.
The Tamil Nadu government has suspended him and a probe is underway.

While memories still linger of the Sathankulam police brutality, where a father and son were beaten to death by the Tamil Nadu police in custody for keeping their shop open late during Covid, still lingers, another case of alleged police torture has come to light in Ambasamudram in southern Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.

While the Sathankulam horror was committed by ordinary policemen, the Ambasamudram torture was carried out by an Indian Police Service officer of the 2020 batch, Balveer Singh, assistant superintendent of police of Ambasamudram.

The victims of the torture are Esakimuthu, Mariappan, Chellappa, Antony and Suresh.

The torture happened on March 10, with another on March 23, showing that it is a regular affair for the IPS officer.

That it was pre-meditated comes to light from the fact that Balveer Singh carried his civilian clothes with him to the police station and also carried gloves with him. He changed from his police uniform into civilian dress, wore gloves and then allegedly tortured the victims.

Balveer Singh, who passed out from IIT-Bombay before joining the IPS, has since been suspended by the Tamil Nadu government, but no action has been taken against the other policemen who held the victims down while the ASP allegedly tortured them.

The Tirunelveli collector has ordered an enquiry into the incident, and the state Human Rights commission has asked for a report.

To recall in the anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin, 15 people were shot dead by the police. Till today no action has been taken against the policemen who opened fire.

The Sathankulam police custody death of a father and son, the case is still going on.

A Ganesh Nadar/ spoke to three of the victims to pencil down what happened at the Ambasamudram police station.

E Mariappan, 33

I have studied up to the 10th standard. I work as a mason. I was arrested on March 10 for getting into a fight with another group. They did not ask us any questions, but told us to wait for their superior officer.

After the ASP came we were taken individually to another room. The policemen held us down while the ASP pulled out my teeth with a pair of calipers. I was stripped of my clothes and I pleaded that I was recently married. He crushed my testicles with the calipers.

E Esakimuthu

I am Mariappan’s elder brother. I take him to hospital as he is in severe pain even now. Six of us were arrested for brawling. We were taken to the Ambasamudram police station. The cops did not ask us any questions.

After the ASP came they took me to a separate room. It was Friday afternoon. It was 2 pm when we were arrested. They closed the doors of the room and four policemen held me down. The ASP pulled out my teeth with calipers (Esakimuthu starts crying on the phone reliving his horror). Then they hit me with lathis till I was bleeding heavily.

Vetha Narayanan, 49

I am an autorickshaw driver. I was arrested as I had a fight with my wife and she had complained to the police. They arrested me on March 23, Thursday morning, at 9.30 am.

The cops did not question me; they said their officer wants to talk to me. I know a little Hindi so I thought I would be able to converse with the officer.

When the ASP arrived I was taken to the terrace. Six cops held my hands and feet. He pulled out my teeth with cutting pliers. I started bleeding heavily. He also pulled my ears with the cutting pliers.

After that I waited for two hours till my wife came. I did not get any medical attention. They told my wife, ‘Now he will not fight with you, take him home.’

I am not a rowdy or a criminal. I don’t know why I was treated like this.

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