Lawyer Deepak Bundele claimed that police had beaten him up after mistaking his religion. Allegedly, this occurred when he was visiting the Betul district hospital for treatment during the lockdown. Bundele, a diabetic, had gone to the hospital for treatment. He alleges that the police started beating him because they thought he was a Muslim. They did not stop until he told them he was a lawyer.
Notably, Bundele had filed an RTI to obtain a video recording of the area. However, the application was rejected by the Public Information Officer. The given explanation was that he had not tendered the reason for demanding the information. The appeal before the Superintendent of Police remains pending.
After Deepak filed a complaint, two officers visited him on 17th May. They had formally come to record his statement. However, in the conversation recorded by Bundele, they could be heard apologizing. The officers went as far as requesting him not to pursue the matter.
“Whenever there are Hindu-Muslim riots, one always sides with the Hindus, even Muslims know about it. But this happened, it was a mistake,” the officer was heard saying. When Bundele explicitly enquired if he was beaten because he looked like a Muslim, the cop agreed. He claimed his long beard had confused them.
After this incident, Deepak Bundele wrote a complaint to the Inspector General of Police, Hoshangabad. Additionally, he also complained to the Chief Minister. Accordingly, a police official claimed that the officer who had made these objectionable statements had been suspended. However, Bundele claims that no FIR has yet been registered against the policemen who assaulted him. This incident had occurred on 23rd March. The area in question had been under prohibitory lockdown orders at the time. This was a result of the prevailing novel coronavirus situation in the area. The police were deployed to enforce this lockdown.