A CRPF jawan alleged he was assaulted by the police at Baramati police station in Pune on Sunday after he was stopped for riding a bike with two other people. The police said there was no incident of assault took place and instead, the CRPF soldier had vandalised police property in anger, all of which has been recorded in CCTV.
The 28-year-old CRPF jawan alleged that he was "assaulted" and "handcuffed" by the policemen without any provocation when he went to invite them for a condolence meet for the 40 CRPF soldiers who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack. Refuting the allegations levelled by the jawan, Ashok Ingawale, a resident of Songaon village, who is currently on leave, a police officer that it was Ingawale who got into a brawl with the policemen. The incident took place at Pune's Baramati rural police station.
Talking to news agency PTI, Ingawale, who claims to be posted in Jammu and Kashmir, said he was part of a small 'mandal' (community group) in his village and it was decided to hold a condolence meeting for the slain CRPF soldiers during a Shiv Jayanti programme on Tuesday. "On Sunday afternoon, I, along with my cousin, who recently retired from the Indian Army, and one more youth, went to invite the senior officers of the Baramati police station for the February 19 programme," he said.
"However, we were stopped by a couple of police personnel who used intimidating and arrogant language," he added. Ingawale, who went to the police station with the other two on a two wheeler and in his uniform, claimed he showed his identity card to the police personnel and offered to pay the fine for triple riding, but they did not listen to him.
"They further alleged I was drunk. The police personnel then took me to a room where there was no CCTV camera. There I was beaten up by 10 to 15 police personnel, my uniform was torn and I was handcuffed," he alleged, adding that the policemen even abused him.
Ingawale also denied that he was drunk. "There is no question of me being drunk because I have been working for the cause of alcohol de-addiction in the area. So the allegations levelled by police are baseless and need to be investigated," he said.
The CRPF jawan added that he had lodged a complaint against the "high-handedness" of police at the Baramati police station. Additional Superintendent of Police Sandip Pakhale refuted Ingawale's allegations.
He said Ingawale indulged in triple riding and when the personnel at the police station stopped him, he started using intimidating language. "When he was taken inside the police station, he got into a brawl with the policemen and damaged chairs," Pakhale said.
He claimed Ingawale himself went into the lockup to show that he had been arrested. However, when he realised that the ruckus may cost him his job, he changed tack and accused the policemen of assaulting him, Pakhale said.
"We have CCTV footage which shows he himself tore his clothes," he said. The police also sought to know from Ingawale why he was wearing the official uniform while he was on leave, the officer said.
"Nevertheless, we are trying to find out what exactly happened," said Pakhale. Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar strongly condemned the incident and said it showed the condition of law and order in the BJP-ruled state.
Addressing a rally in the district, he said, "If there is truth in this, I condemn the police action. If soldiers, who are protecting us, are being beaten up in this way, it shows the condition of law and order in the state." The former deputy chief minister said the guilty should be punished.
"I will meet Pune district's superintendent of police tomorrow and if need be, I will also meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and ask him about his control over the police department," Pawar said.
"If police want to take action, they should take action against those involved in criminal activities and those committing atrocities against women and girls," he said.
Incidentally, Ingawale said he had met Pawar on Sunday morning and invited him for the programme.
(With PTI inputs)