Policeman suspended for beating up hotel staff, customers

A hotel worker who was injured after being beaten up by the sub-inspector   | Photo Credit: Siva Saravanan S

A Sub-Inspector (SI) attached to the Kattoor police station in Coimbatore was on Monday evening placed under suspension after he was caught on camera beating up the staff and customers of a hotel at Gandhipuram late on Sunday.

The Coimbatore City Police had earlier in the day transferred the SI, Muthu, to the Armed Reserve and initiated an inquiry against him. The State Human Rights Commission had asked the City Police Commissioner to furnish a detailed report within two weeks.

The incident took place at Sri Raja Hotel on the premises of the Gandhipuram central bus stand. A surveillance camera visual from the hotel showed the SI coming in at 10.21 p.m. and beating up the hotel staff and a few customers. Jayalakshmi from Hosur, who was eating along with four other women, was hit on her temple as the SI swung his lathi at the hotel staff and male customers.

As per the complaint given by the hotel’s owner B. Mohanraj, a police constable came to the hotel at 10 p.m. and demanded the hotel down its shutter stating that Kattoor Inspector (Law and Order) S. Latha was expected to come there for night rounds.

Following this, the shutter was half downed and food was served to the few remaining customers including five women from Hosur. At 10.21 p.m., SI Muthu came to the hotel and started beating up the staff and male customers without provocation, alleged Mr. Mohanraj in the complaint given to Coimbatore City Police Commissioner S. Davidson Devasirvatham.

The complainant said restaurants, food courts and tea stalls were permitted to operate till 11 p.m. with 50% of occupancy as per the latest COVID-19 safety directions from the government. He also claimed that traders in the area have been witnessing high-handedness of the police after Ms. Latha took charge as Kattoor Inspector.

Based on directions from Mr. Devasirvatham, the SI was transferred to the control room on Monday morning and later to the Armed Reserve, before being placed under suspension.

An Assistant Commissioner of Police has been tasked with conducting an inquiry into the incident and submit a report to the Commissioner.

Coimbatore MP P.R. Natarajan strongly condemned the incident and wanted a case to be registered against the policeman. According to him, even if a shop or hotel is involved in a violation, action can be taken as per law, not with lathi.

Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan, also a contestant from the Coimbatore South Assembly constituency, asked on Twitter whether the incident was reminiscent of Sattankulam custodial deaths. “It is the duty of the government to answer,” he tweeted.

Demanding Government to take departmental action against the officer, Coimbatore District Hoteliers Association sought the district administration to take necessary steps to protect the hoteliers from such incidents.

On Monday, a video of another policeman beating up a bakery worker at Kuniamuthur at 10.24 p.m. on March 29 this year surfaced online.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 2:13:43 AM |

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