Assistance provided to Indian man roughed up in US, says MEA

New Delhi: Reacting strongly to reports of excessive force used by police in the US state of Alabama against an Indian that left him partially paralysed, the external affairs ministry Thursday said it was providing all consular assistance to the victim.

"The consulate general in Atlanta (is) in touch with the Madison police chief and providing all necessary consular assistance," ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

The Madison police chief has ordered an inquiry and the ministry will share the outcome in a transparent manner, he said.

Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was partially paralysed and hospitalised with fused vertebrae after police in Alabama roughed him up last week when he was walking on the sidewalk outside his son's home.

"He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time," the victim's son Chirag Patel said Tuesday. "They put him to the ground."

The man, who came from a small town in Gujarat to visit his son, committed no crime, his son said.

Madison Police Monday issued a statement saying the department had suspended the officer and were investigating the use of force in the case.

The statement said police received a call Friday about a man looking into garages among the brick homes just south of the city's new high school.

"The caller, who lives in the neighbourhood, did not recognise the subject and thought him to be suspicious," the statement said.

Hank Sherrod, attorney for the family, Tuesday said the man was not walking on other people's property nor looking in garages.

"This is broad daylight, walking down the street. There is nothing suspicious about Patel other than he has brown skin," said Sherrod.

But Sureshbhai Patel does not speak English, this being only his second trip to the US. He had arrived less than two weeks ago.

The statement by Madison police refers to a "communication barrier". Chirag Patel said his father speaks only Gujarati, and some Hindi.

Sherrod said Sureshbhai Patel told the police officers "no English" and repeated his son's house number.

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