MARCH 25, 2021

THE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Thursday issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over the reported arrest of ten people in a false case after they asked two policemen to pay for the food they had consumed at an eatery in Etah District.

The notice followed after the Commission took suo motu cognizance of a media report about the two policemen who were involved in a squabble at a ‘dhaba’ (eatery) over the payment of their bill. The policemen are said to have falsely implicated and arrested ten people including the brother of the owner of the eatery and eight customers in an alleged encounter with them.

The persons reportedly arrested by the police are presently lodged in judicial custody.

The Commission has now asked for a report on the matter within six weeks. It also asked the Member Secretary, Uttar Pradesh State Legal Aid Services Authority to ensure free legal aid to the arrested people, if not provided.

It observed that if the contents of the media report were true, then it raised a serious issues of human rights violations.

“The incident, apparently, is a classic example of failure of entire system of checks and balances. Hence, fair investigation is required to be conducted to know as to from where the policemen could manage to procure these items”, the NHRC said.

According to media reports, the owner of the eatery alleged that on 04.02.2021, two policemen, who were on duty, came and had food at his dhaba and later refused to pay the bill of Rs.400/-. The policemen reportedly offered only Rs.80/- and the brother of the owner asked them to pay at least Rs.200/-. Some of the customers, present at that time, also asked the policemen to pay the bill. An argument reportedly ensued and the policemen started beating up the brother of the owner of the eatery. After this, the policemen are said to have left the place.

After a while, 15 policemen reportedly arrived in three vehicles, pointed guns and took away the brother and the cousin of the eatery owner as well as eight customers with them to the Kotwali (Rural) Police Station and registered an FIR against them.

As per reports, the concerned SHO has been placed under suspension and the District Magistrate has also ordered a time-bound probe into the incident.