Days after The Indian Express published pictures of police breaking open and looting a stall during the Dhule riots of January 6, six local policemen have been arrested for the crime.
Four State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel and two police constables were arrested Friday and charged with theft and dishonestly breaking open property under IPC sections 380 and 461.
The day after the publication of the report and pictures on January 26, CM Prithviraj Chavan had acknowledged the presence of “communal elements” in police. The Indian Express subsequently published (January 30) pictures of policemen firing above the waist in contravention of police manual, and posted the video on www.indianexpress. com.
The SRP personnel have been identified as Liladhar Sonawane, Ganesh Patil, Chabulal Vende and DS Sonawane; the police constables are Jawahar Pawar and Yogesh Shinde. Dhule police have also arrested two others — Vijay Shankar and Mahesh Khairnar — who are believed to be employees of local news channels. One accused seen in the clip is yet to be indentified.
Six Muslim men were killed in police firing after a small quarrel at a roadside eatery escalated into rioting in the north Maharashtra town.
The director-general of Maharashtra Police told The Indian Express Friday police would not shield their own if they were found to have participated in the Dhule riots.
“We don’t want to shield anyone if a wrong has been committed. We have identified the accused and taken action,” Dayal said.
He said his force was largely professional, but “when there are aberrations, action is taken”.
The Indian Express had on January 26 published stills from video showing policemen in uniform breaking open and looting a stall in Machhi Bazar during the riots, and wantonly pounding parked vehicles and water drums.
IGP (Law and Order) Deven Bharti said, “The six (arrested) men are from the tape which shows the cart being broken and policemen stealing items. We are ascertaining the identity of the policemen in the other clips.”