After a video of a Dalit family being stripped naked allegedly by the Uttar Pradesh police in Greater Noida went viral on the social media, the state's Akhilesh Yadav government has branded the purported victims as "habitual blackmailers".
Even as the incident seems to expose the police brutality and highlights poor law and order situation in the state, the men in khaki were strongly backed by the government despite the serious allegation of stripping the couple, which was also caught on the camera.
Hitting out at the couple, the police top brass said that the Dalit couple -- Sunil Gautam and his wife -- themselves took off their clothes as a mark of protest.
A senior police official told The Hindu that Gautam was a habitual "blackmailer". He "misuses the provisions of SC/ST Atrocities Act to blackmail people and settle personal scores," the officer told The Hindu.
"We received several complaints against Sunil Gautam by Dankaur's business community that he has been blackmailing them for a long time," he said.
The SP government also stood by the police in spite of the video evidence of the incident. The government made a statement on the incident on the official Twitter handle.
The government of UP, quoting the superintendent of police of Gautam Budh Nagar, said: "Noida police is in possession of the alleged video of the alleged stripping."
"...It clearly seen the accused disrobes/others.The witnesses present at the incident also corroborate the same; the video is circulated to undermine the efforts of the police."
On Thursday, local Hindi daily Haribhoomi had reported that the Dalit couple were stripped and paraded naked by the police in Greater Noida. According to it, Sunil Gautam had gone to the Dankaur police station along with his family to file a robbery case. However, when the police refused to register a complaint, the family staged a protest outside the station.
The couple have alleged that the in-charge of police station got furious after seeing the crowd outside the station and manhandled them. He and other policemen allegedly stripped the family members to chase them away from the scene. [Watch video here]