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Home > India > News > PTI

Revealed: The dark side of Kerala cops

April 04, 2008 13:34 IST

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A social organisation scrutinising allegations of police excesses in Kerala has said that it came across several instances of custodial torture and violation of guidelines for arrests.

A 'People's Tribunal' organised in Thiruvananthapuram by an NGO -- Peoples Watch -- alleged that police stripped persons in custody and in some cases hurled caste abuses on the victims.

The five member tribunal, chaired by Justice H Suresh, a retired judge of Mumbai High Court, said torture in police stations often had tacit approval of higher officials.

The NGO had documented 500 cases of alleged police torture in four districts of the state in the last 18 months, of which 36 cases were examined by the tribunal.

Its observations, released to the media, said arrests were done in a routine manner without recording valid reasons in writing. It also said police torture, the 'worst form of human rights abuse', is widespread in India.

It also criticised state Human Rights Commission for failing to deliver justice to the victims of police torture.

The three-day sitting of the tribunal in Thiruvananthapuram was the first of such nine state-level sessions planned for this year ahead of holding a National Tribunal on police torture as part of the National Project on Preventing Torture in India.

The tribunal, in its interim report, said a disturbing trend was that police in Kerala often did not follow safeguards against arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of those arrested.

It said functioning of the State Human Right Commission in handling complaints of human rights violations was also quite discouraging though it was obligatory on its part to encourage efforts of NGO's working in the field of human rights.

The report recommended that state must be prepared to provide compensation, medical care and rehabilitation to the victims of police torture or ill treatment.

It said citizens were feared when they were in interface with police. Experience of ordinary peoples, especially from most vulnerable sections of the society, validates this point, the report said.

The interim report was released on Thursday. Its members included S Balaraman, former acting chairman of Kerala State Human Rights Commission, N A Karim, former pro-vice chancellor of the state university among others.

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