Shortchanging of passengers has often led to frayed tempers on buses. But a visually impaired man hailing from Thoothukudi who staged a protest after a bus conductor shortchanged him by a rupee, ended up being thrashed by half-a-dozen policemen in Madurai on Monday.
The police and bus crew however have accused the victim E Sankarapandi (28) of causing public nuisance in a drunken state. According to Sankarapandi, he had boarded a bus to Tirunelveli from Madurai on Monday evening. “The conductor issued me a concessional ticket for `28 instead of `27.
When I insisted that he should have given me a ticket for `27, the conductor ignored my plea and started quarreling. Unwilling to be cowed down, when the bus reached Thirumangalam (in Madurai), I got down and sat in front of the bus demanding that one rupee should be returned to me,” Sankarapandi told Express on Tuesday.
The crew members also lodged a complaint alleging that he was drunk. “The policemen who arrived there took me to the Thirumangalam police station where two of them held my hand against a wall and started attacking me on the lower part of my body. The policemen also stamped me all over and punched me on my face,” alleged Sankarapandi.
The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) has condemned the assault on a visually impaired bus commuter. Showing contusions on parts of his body, Sankarapandi said that after he was assaulted by policemen he was put on board a Nagercoil-bound bus late on Monday night. “I couldn’t travel on the bus due to the pain and contacted members of the TARATDAC and got down at Virudhunagar. They took to me to the Government Hospital in Virudhunagar for treatment,” he said.
Sankarapandi said that though the amount involved in the dispute was marginal, “I was just fighting for my rights.” TARATDAC secretary S Namburajan pointed out that if the police officers wanted to discharge their duty, they should have registered a case and arrested Sankarapandi for staging a protest instead of beating him up. “We will submit a petition to the Thirumangalam Deputy Superintendent of Police D Arasu seeking against seven policemen,” he said.
However when Express contacted Arasu, he denied that the police had beaten up Sankarapandi.
Source: The New Indian Express