A Dalit Christian woman in the southern Indian state of Telangana has died in custody after allegedly being tortured by police.
Maid Ambadipudi Mariyamma of Yadadri-Bhongir district was booked along with her minor son Udaykiran on June 17 by Addagudur police after a complaint of theft by her employers, according to media reports.
Her relatives and daughter Swapna alleged that she was tortured by police while in detention.
Mariyamma, 44, was found collapsed early on June 18 at the police station and was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared her dead.
“When people in America protested after a black man was killed and started a campaign — Black Lives Matter — some people here voiced Dalit Lives Matter. The time has come to intensify it,” Father Z. Devasagaya Raj, former secretary of the Indian bishops’ office of Dalits and backward classes, told.
“Dalits and minorities community are always at the receiving end at the hands of people of so-called high society, elite groups, administration and government, hence police brutality upon them is nothing new. Anyone who speaks up for Dalits and the downtrodden is subject to attacks or branded anti-national.”
Pastor Sudarsan Masih of the Apostolic Christian Assembly Church in Khammam told UCA News that members were shocked to learn about the incident.
“Our prayers are with the family of the woman and we pray that there will be a fair and unbiased investigation and the culprit will be booked,” he said.
“The government should do justice to poor and underprivileged people, otherwise it will give them the wrong message and cause insecurity among them.”