Allegations of police atrocities were made at a meeting organised by the Karnataka State Minorities Commission on Thursday to create awareness about government schemes for minority communities.
District in-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar attended the meeting.
Anitha, a participant, told the commission that on December 30 officers from the District Crime Intelligence Bureau (DCIB) barged into her house in Bantwal at 2 a.m. and arrested her husband, Roshan Mane.
According to her, the policemen assaulted her aged father-in-law during the raid, leading to his death. The police allegedly pushed Ms. Anitha, who was pregnant, to the floor.
Ms. Anitha claimed that her husband was the victim of personal vendetta on the part of a DCIB Inspector. “For a few days before the raid, he used to call and threaten my husband that he would kill him in a fake encounter,” she said.
When the commission asked Additional Superintendent of Police R. Ramesh to respond to these allegations, he initially said that the arrest had been made as per procedure and that there were more than 10 cases against Mr. Mane. When the commission members asked Mr. Ramesh to name the cases, he failed to do so. However, he retracted his statement after the public expressed strong dissatisfaction over his response. Several participants said that this was not the first time that the DCIB officers had targeted the minority community. Finally, Mr. Ramesh said, “We will not defend any police officer found to be guilty.”
Participants said that the inter-community peace committees had become the hegemony of a group of politically aligned and influential persons.
“These committees, which meet to sort out communal disputes, have not been re-constituted for several years,” said a participant. The participants alleged that they were being harassed by the police whenever they applied for passports and by officials at the employment exchange. Many students alleged that some officers in a few nationalised banks harassed them when they sought education loans. Participants demanded that the income limit for granting loans to start small businesses be increased to at least Rs. 1 lakh.
A participant said that there was no transparency in awarding scholarships to meritorious students from minority communities. “I have sent scholarship applications of 16 boys and girls on July 12, 2009. They have all scored above 80 per cent marks. But none of them have received the scholarship yet,” he said.
A nun from a missionary-run school demanded that the minority government-aided institutions be given same maintenance grants as government schools. The present teacher-student ratio in minority aided institutions be improved.
“The present norm is one teacher for every 40 students. This should be changed to 1:25,” she said.