Tiruchirappalli/Chennai: In a worst example of police brutality, a young pregnant woman was killed and her husband injured when the two-wheeler they were riding was allegedly kicked by a traffic inspector for not stopping during a helmet-check drive near Tiruchirappalli.
The incident that happened Wednesday evening led to an outrage with locals staging a protest and clashing with police, following which inspector Kamaraj was arrested and suspended.
Chief minister K Palaniswami on Thursday condoled the death of the woman, Usha, who was four months pregnant, and ordered a solatium of Rs 7 lakh to her kin and assured appropriate action after a probe.
According to eyewitnesses, the inspector tried to stop the two-wheeler at Tuvakudi Toll plaza as Raja, riding the bike, for not wearing helmet.
However, as the man did not stop, Kamaraj took another two-wheeler and chased the couple and allegedly kicked it with his leg. The couple fell down near a roundabout on Tiruchirappalli-Thanjavur highway.
Usha, in her 30s, was rushed to a hospital but declared brought dead, police said. Her husband had been hospitalised with serious injuries.
An FIR was registered in connection with the incident, Inspector Kamaraj was produced before a court and remanded to judicial custody today.
He, however, denied kicking the two-wheeler.
Enraged over the incident, local people staged a protest on the road last night, prompting police to make a lathicharge to disperse them.
A section of the crowd resisted the police action and attacked them.
They said around 20 protesters and six police personnel were injured in the lathicharge and melee.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognisance of the incident and sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government.
The NHRC in its notice said it had observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to worst example of police brutality and issued notices to the chief secretary and the director general of police, Tamil Nadu calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.
The incident also echoed in the Madras High Court where social activist Traffic Ramaswamy made a mention and wanted the court to take suo motu notice of it.
However, the HC refused to initiate suo motu proceedings and asked Ramaswamy to file a petition.
The government pleader submitted that an FIR had been registered in connection with the death of the woman.
The advocate alleged that police personnel were extracting money and misbehaving with the vehicle riders despite them having valid documents.
To this, the chief justice orally observed that no doubt that atrocities should be curbed and stopped, but wondered how the high court can take suo motu action and direct Police or others not to take money without any evidence.
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