Shocked over the brutal display of raw power by the men in khaki (uniform), Karnataka ordered an inquiry into the alleged thrashing and chaining of a CRPF elite commando by the local police for reportedly not wearing a mask amid the lockdown in the state's northwest region last week, an official said on Monday.
"State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai ordered an inquiry into the incident as sought by CRPF Additional Director General of Police, Sanjay Arora, and book the constables who arrested, bashed and chained its CoBRA unit cadet Sachin Savant at Sadalga in Chikkodi taluk in Belagavi district," the official told IANS on phone.
Sadalga is about 590km northwest of Bengaluru.
Though the incident occurred on April 23, it came to light on Monday when a video clip of it went viral on social media and caught the attention of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPFP) headquarters in New Delhi.
"Savant was thrashed, handcuffed and dragged in chains barefoot to the local police station for not wearing a mask while washing his motorbike outside his home in the village in violation of the lockdown norms and for allegedly assaulting the constables on duty," said Arora in a letter to state Director General of Police Pravind Sood.
Sawant was at home on extended leave from the 207 Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), one of the 10 elite units of the CRPF formed for guerilla tactics and jungle warfare.
"The unpleasant situation could have been avoided if the local police had taken the CRPF hierarchy into confidence before arresting Savant. CRPF is a reputed force with high standards of discipline and has the institutionalised mechanism for taking care of such situations.
"Keeping in view the gravity of the incident and its impact on relationship between two police forces, we request you to get the matter inquired and provide justice," Arora said in the letter.
According to Belagavi Superintendent of Police Laxman Nimbargi, the scuffle broke out when Savant asked the constables who they were to question him, as he was also a jawan in the CRPF and was at home on leave.
"When the constables informed Savant that the lockdown norms were same for all and he too had to follow them, he lost his cool and assaulted the constable duo. He was arrested under various sections of the IPC," Nimbargi recalled.
Terming the incident unfortunate and seems to have occurred in the heat of the moment under testing times, Bommai told reporters in Bengaluru that action would be taken if the constables are proved guilty.
State Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi also condemned Savant's arrest and sought action against the accused police personnel.
"Such treatment cannot be meted to a solider and he should be released from custody forthwith," said Jarkiholi.