UP Police had announced ₹12,000 reward on #BheemArmy chief #VinayRatan's head. Vinay Ratan (in red) standing next to police officers while they were sticking his WANTED notice on wall. Local police said they had never seen Vinay Ratan and hence did not recognise them. pic.twitter.com/eRVUG3iBLa— LDF Kerala (@LDF4Kerala) April 24, 2018
In a major cause of embarrassment, Indian police went to Bheem Army national president Vinay Ratan’s residence in order to arrest him. At his home, they spoke with his mother and brother, Sachin, and pasted court orders about the absconding Dalit leader on his property. Then they went back to the police station.
But there was just one problem.
A video surfacing on local media later revealed the team of police officers was actually speaking with Ratan himself, thinking it was his brother. They were pasting posters in search of a man – without even realizing he was standing right next to them all along.
The 35-year-old was booked in a case of violence in connection with a caste clash that took place in May, 2017. In the clashes, a man belonging to the Thakur community was killed and 25 houses of Dalits were set on fire after they objected to loud music being played in a procession that was honoring a Rajput ruler.
Police had announced a reward of Rs 12,000 for Ratan’s arrest.
However, after this major gaffe, the local police said in their defense, they had not recognized him because none of the team members had ever seen Ratan. “A few hours after the team returned, we came to know through media and locals that the man was, in fact, Vinay Ratan. A police team rushed to arrest him, but he had already left by then,” said Fatehpur police station house officer Bhanu Pratap Singh.
Meanwhile, Additional Superintendent of Police Vidya Sagar Mishra, who was leading the inquiry said, “Inquiry ordered by the SSP would continue to find out the truth as seen in the video.”
Two days after the video went viral, Ratan voluntarily surrendered.
“Police may label me as an absconder but I had obtained proper stay on my arrest from HC. After the stay was vacated I would have myself surrendered the way I am doing now. Regarding my presence at home, police officers who had come there did not recognise me and went away. This property attachment procedure is nothing but a witch hunt as the state government has unleashed police on peace-loving citizens of India and this is wrong,” he said.
An inquiry is being carried out about the Indian police’s mistake.
“We have ordered an inquiry into the matter and whosoever is responsible for this mistake will be brought to book,” said Saharanpur senior superintendent of police Babloo Kumar.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri