A police officer in Madhya Pradesh's Betul district was suspended on Wednesday after he allegedly told a lawyer, a victim of police thrashing, that he had been mistaken for a Muslim.
The action against police sub-inspector B S Patel followed media reports about his alleged comment which suggested that the lawyer faced thrashing because he was thought to be belonging to the minority community.
Deepak Bundele, the complainant, had alleged that he was stopped by police when he was going to Betul district hospital on March 23, when restrictions on movement had been imposed in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
He told the police that he was going to hospital for treatment, but he was beaten up mercilessly, he alleged.
He managed to reach hospital somehow. Later, he filed complaints with several authorities, seeking registration of an FIR against the policemen who had assaulted him.
Bundele told media that local police were now presssurising him to withdraw the complaint and he was denied CCTV footage of the area where the incident took place under the Right to Information.
Investigating officer B S Patel visited his house on May 17 to record his statement, the lawyer said, claiming that Patel told him that "the cops (who allegedly thrashed him) mistook you as a member of the minority community due to your beard."
Bundele shared an audio clip of the purported conversation with Patel with the media.
After the audio clip came out, Superintendent of Police D S Bhadoriya suspended Patel.
Confirming the action, Additional Superintendent of Police Shraddha Joshi said, "He allegedly made a comment which should not have been part of the police investigation.