Lying on a stretcher with his head wrapped in layers of bandage and blood still oozing out of his wounds, 22-year-old Siddique wailed as he looked at the man pushing his stretcher into an ambulance. He clutched on to his belongings: a wallet and a mobile phone, while a saline bag lay over his body. His right foot too was bandaged, an indicator that the accident he had survived was harrowing.
On Thursday, when he left home on his two-wheeler, little did he know that he would end up being admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College with severe head injuries.
The reason for his misery? An angry cop in Kollam, Kerala.
Civil Police Officer Chandramohan was on duty and was inspecting vehicles. He asked Siddique to stop, but he reportedly carried on. Call it a fit of rage or an attempt to stop Siddique, the police officer decided to hurl his lathi (wooden baton) at him.
Hit by the lathi, Siddique lost balance, rammed his motorcycle into a car coming from the opposite direction and suffered severe head injuries.
Siddique's father told reporters that the police took his son to a nearby taluk hospital and left him there. "The hospital authorities informed me about the accident," he said.
Soon, locals staged a protest, disrupted traffic and demanded action against the callous police officer.
Meanwhile, Kerala DGP Loknath Behra has instructed Kollam superintendent of police to register a criminal case against the police officer who threw the lathi at Siddique.
"I have instructed the district police chief to register a criminal case against the accused. If any such case comes up, the district police chiefs will be held responsible," DGP Behra said.
Kollam Superintendent of Police (rural) Harishankar said the erring cop has been suspended pending enquiry. "A detailed enquiry has been ordered. It is being carried out by two DSP-rank officers. We are also collecting the CCTV visuals to know sequence of events. As per the eyewitness accounts, the bike rider lost balance after a lathi was thrown at him," he said.
Besides Chandramohan's suspension, two other officers who were part of the vehicle checking drive were transferred on Thursday.
The Kerala High Court recently came down heavily on the manner in which the police resorted to checking vehicles on busy roads.