A group of autorickshaw drivers went in a procession from Tiger Circle to Manipal Police Station in protest against, what they termed as, harassment by the police during nights in the name of investigation in the Manipal gang-rape case, here on Tuesday.

A medical student of Manipal University was kidnapped and gang-raped in Manipal on Thursday night. The student, who fractured her leg in the assault, had been admitted to the Kasturba Hospital here, and she is recovering. Raghavendra, an autorickshaw driver, said that the drivers had extended their full cooperation to the police in the investigation of the gang-rape case. But what was irritating the drivers was that they were being picked late in the night from their houses for questioning.

The police were picking up at least three autorickshaw drivers during the nights for questioning.

The family members got frightened when the police came late in the night to their houses. “Instead of picking up during the nights, the police could ask us to come to the police station during the daytime. We will willingly go there,” Mr. Raghavendra said.

‘Doing our job’

Sadananda Thippannanavar, Inspector at Manipal police station, said that the police were only doing their job by questioning the autorickshaw drivers. The investigation process could not be stopped and they wanted to nab the culprits in the gang-rape case. The police had no personal grudge against the drivers.

“We are not harassing, ill-treating or beating anyone. We have picked up only those autorickshaw drivers who were on duty on the night of June 20. We are doing our best to collect information related to the incident,” Mr. Thippannanavar said.

Later, at a press conference, Pratap Reddy, IGP (Western Range) said that there was no question of the police harassing the autorickshaw drivers.

“We have not detained any autorickshaw driver for a long time. Many autorickshaw unions and autorickshaw drivers are cooperating with us. Their cooperation is essential to identify the autorickshaw (used in the crime). We want more of their cooperation,” he said.

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