HOURS AFTER a video which purportedly shows a woman police sub-inspector (PSI) beating a woman street-vendor in Babra town of Amreli district went viral on Wednesday, the PSI was suspended even as no offence was registered in this connection till late evening.
In the video, which was also aired by local news channel, the PSI, identified as Dipika Chuahan, is purportedly seen beating a woman with a baton even as the woman hurries into a temple for cover.
The incident took place during the weekly Wednesday market which takes place on a bridge across Kalubhar river and in hawkers’ zone in Babra town.
DV Prasad, police inspector of Babra, said that he had dispatched a team to the weekly market to ensure that social distancing is maintained and that people wear mask due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The street-vendors were sitting too close to one another and were not maintaining social distance. As they were sitting close buy, customers were also forming crowds. To ensure that social distancing is maintained and people wear face masks, our team ordered them to remove their goods from the place. The vendors obliged but then our team heard them talking about pelting stones on police personnel there. In order to disperse the crowd, our team used mild force but someone shot video and circulated it later on,” Prasad told The Indian Express.
However, hours later, Nirlipt Rai, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Amreli, suspended PSI Chaudhary.
“Based on what I have seen in the video, we have suspended her on two grounds. Firstly, she was on public duty but she’s not wearing her uniform. If she is not wearing the uniform, how the public would differentiate if she is a police officer or a public person? Secondly, the mob, what I could see is unruly (but) unarmed and there was no possibility of harming the police or creating law and order situation and still she was beating the lady,” Rai told The Indian Express.
Prasad said that lots of women hawkers from other villages and towns come to Babra every Wednesday to sell used garments and other items. “But it has been difficult to ensure that they maintain social distancing and wear face masks. The local chamber of commerce and industry has also been supporting us in the drive,” added the PI.
However, the PI said that no offence was registered in connection with the incident till late Wednesday evening.