SOS e - Clarion Of Dalit

IT IS A FORUM TOWARDS PROTECTING THE CIVIL , HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE OPPRESSED - DALITS , MINORITIES & TRIBALS.The Criminal - Police - Politician - Judge - Criminals Nexus is trying to silence me in many ways. If anything untoward happens to me or to my dependents CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA together with jurisdictional police & District Magistrate will be responsible for it. Secure Mail : Naag@torbox3uiot6wchz.onion

Saturday, July 11, 2009


S.O.S - e - Clarion Of Dalit - Weekly Newspaper On Web

Working For The Rights & Survival Of The Oppressed

Editor: NAGARAJ.M.R VOL.3 issue. 29 22 / 07 / 2009

Editorial : TORTURE CHAMBERS OF INDIA - 3RD DEGREE TORTURE PERPETRATED BY POLICE IN INDIA - Gross violations of human rights by police

At the outset , e - Voice salutes the few honest police personnel who are silently doing their duties inspite of pressures , harassment by political bosses & corrupt superiors , inspite of frequent transfers , promotion holdups , etc. overcoming the lure of bribe ,those few are silently doing their duties without any publicity or fanfare. we salute them & pay our respects to them and hereby appeal to those few honest to catch their corrupt colleagues.

The police are trained , to crack open the cases of crimes by just holding onto a thread of clue. Based on that clue they investigate like "Sherlock holmes" and apprehend the real criminals. nowadays , when police are under various pressures , stresses - they are frequently using 3rd degree torture methods on innocents. Mainly there are 3 reasons for this : 1) when the investigating officer (I.O) lacks the brains of Sherlock holmes , to cover-up his own inefficiency he uses 3rd degree torture on innocents. 2) When the I.O is biased towards rich , powerful crooks , to frame innocents & to extract false confessions from them , 3rd degree torture is used on innocents. 3) When the I.O is properly doing the investigations , but the higher-ups need very quick results - under work stress I.O uses 3rd degree torture on innocents.

Nowhere in statuette books , police are legally authorized to punish let alone torture the detainees / arrested / accussed / suspects. Only the judiciary has the right to punish the guilty not the police. Even the judiciary doesn't have the right to punish the accussed / suspects , then how come police are using 3rd degree torture unabetted. Even during encounters , police only have the legal right , authority to immobilize the opponents so as to arrest them but not to kill them.

There is a reasoning among some sections of society & police that use of 3RD DEGREE TORTURE by police is a detterent of crimes. It is false & biased. Take for instance there are numerous scams involving 100's of crores of public money - like stock scam , fodder scam , etc involving rich businessmen , VVIP crooks. Why don't police use 3rd degree torture against such rich crooks and recover crores of public money where as the police use 3rd degree torture against a pick-pocketer to recover hundred rupees stolen ? double standards by police.

In media we have seen numerous cases of corrupt police officials in league with criminals. For the sake of bribe , such police officials bury cases , destroy evidences , go slow , frame innocents , murder innocents in the name of encounter , etc. why don't police use 3rd degree torture against their corrupt colleagues who are aiding criminals , anti nationals ? double standards by police.

All the bravery of police is shown before poor , innocents , tribals , dalits , before them police give the pose of heroes. Whereas , before rich , VVIP crooks , they are zeroes. They are simply like scarecrows before rich crooks.

Torture in any form by anybody is inhuman & illegal. For the purpose of investigations police have scientific investigative tools like polygraph, brain mapping , lie detector , etc. these scientific tools must be used against rich crooks & petty criminals without bias.

Hereby we urge the GOI & all state governments : 1) to book cases of murder against police personnel who use 3rd degree torture on detainees and kill detainees in the name of encounter killings. 2) To dismiss such inhuman , cruel personnel from police service and to forfeit all monetary benefits due to them like gratuity , pension , etc. 3) To pay such forfeited amount together with matching government contribution as compensation to family of the victim's of 3rd degree torture & encounter killings. 4) To review , all cases where false confessions were extracted from innocents by 3rd degree torture. 5) To make liable the executive magistrate of the area , in whose jurisdiction torture is perpetrated by police on innocents. 6) To make it incumbent on all judicial magistrates ,to provide a torture free climate to all parties , witnesses in cases before his court. 7) To make public the amount & source of ransom money paid to forest brigand veerappan to secure the release of matinee idol mr. raj kumar. 8) To make public justice A.J.Sadashiva's report on "torture of tribals , human rights violations by Karnataka police in M.M.HILLS , KARNATAKA". 9) To make it mandatory for police to use scientific tools of investigations like brain mapping , polygraph , etc without bias against suspects rich or poor. 10) To include human rights education in preliminary & refresher training of police personnel. 11) To recruit persons on merit to police force who have aptitude & knack for investigations. 12) To insulate police from interference from politicians & superiors. 13) To make police force answerable to a neutral apex body instead of political bosses. Such body must be empowered to deal with all service matters of police. 14) The political bosses & the society must treat police in a humane manner and must know that they too have practical limitations. Then on a reciprocal basis , police will also treat others humanely. 15) The police must be relieved fully from the sentry duties of biggies & must be put on detective , investigative works.

Nowadays , we are seeing reports of corruption by police & judges in the media and are also seeing reports of raids by vigilance authorities seizing crores of wealth from such corrupt police. Some Judges have also amassed crores of wealth. Who gives them money ? it is rich criminals , anti-nationals . By taking bribe & hiding the crimes of criminals , the corrupt police & judges are themselves becoming active parties in the crimes , anti-national activities. Those shameless , corrupt police & judges are nothing but traitors & anti – nationals themselves. When an innocent is subjected to 3rd degree torture to extract truth with justification by investigating agencies that all for the sake of national security , what degree of torture these corrupt , anti-national police & judges qualify for ? what type of aeroplane or helicopter the corrupt police / judges must ride ? ofcourse , for protection of national security. Here also police & judges have double standards , what a shame.

We at e – voice are for “Rule of Law” & abhor all type of violence. Truly these police & judges are not building a Ram Rajya of our Mahatma Gandhi’s dream.

Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.

Your’s sincerely,


CRIMINALS IN POLICE UNIFORM - An appeal to union home minister & Karnataka state home minister

The ABC of police force in India is apathy , brutality & corruption . in India, police are not impartially enforcing law instead are working as hand maidens of rich & mighty. The corrupt police officers are collecting protection money from criminals , collecting money to go slow on investigations , to file B- reports , to fix innocents in fake cases , to murder innocents in lock-up / encounters . they are hand in league with land mafia , today C.M of Karnataka himself issued a warning to police officials about this. Even in lock-ups , jails, the rich inmates bribe officials get better food from outside , mobile phones , drugs , drinks , cigareetes , etc. they get spacious cells & get best private medical care . where as the poor inmates are even denied food , health care , living space as per the provisions of law. The corrupt jail officials instigate rowdy elements in the jails to assault poor inmates & to toe their line. More corrupt the police more wealthier he is. Even CBI officials are no different. The only beacon of hope is still there are few honest people left in the police force. Hereby , e-voice urges you to make public the following information in the interest of justice. many CBI officials & Karnataka state police officials are facing charges of corruption , 3rd degree torture , lock-up/encounter deaths , rapes , fake cases , etc ? you are monitoring the ever increasing wealth of corrupt police officials? many officials from the ranks of constable to DGP have amassed illegal wealth?

4.what action you have taken in these cases ? have you got reinvestigated all the cases handled by tainted police? many policemen have been awarded death penalty & hanged till death , for cold blooded murders in the form of lock-up deaths / encounter deaths ?

6.why DGP of Karnataka is not registering my complaint dt 10/12/2004 , subsequent police complaints ? is it because rich & mighty are involved ?

7.e - voice is ready to bring to book corrupt police officials subject to conditions, are you ready ? many police personnel are charged with violations of people's human rights & fundamental rights ? many STF police deployed to nab veerappan were themselves charged with theft of forest wealth? you are ensuring the safety , health , food , living space of inmates in jails? you are ensuring the medical care , health of prisoners in hospitals & mental asylums?

12.How you are ensuring the safety , health , food , living space of inmates in juvenile homes ?


They are our own Gitmos. Where, far away from the eyes of the law, 'enemies of the state' are made to 'sing'. THE WEEK investigates By Syed Nazakat Little Terrorist, as the intelligence sleuths came to call him, turned out to be a hard nut to crack. No amount of torture would work on 20-year-old Mohammed Issa, who was picked up from Delhi on February 5, 2006. The Delhi Police believed that he had a hotline to Lashkar-e-Toiba deputy chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhwi, who later masterminded the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. At a secret detention centre in Delhi, the police and intelligence officers tried every single torture method in their arsenal-from electric shock to sleep deprivation-to make Issa sing. He stuck to his original line: that he had come from Nepal to visit a relative in Delhi. Only, they refused believe him. According to the police, the youth from Uttar Pradesh, who had moved to Nepal in 2000 along with his family after his father, Irfan Ahmed, was accused in a terrorism case, returned to India to set up Lashkar modules in the national capital. More than six months after he was picked up, the police announced his arrest on August 14. He has since been shifted to the Tihar jail. His lawyer N.D. Pancholi said Issa was kept in illegal custody for months. If not, let the police say where he was between February 5 and August 15, he challenged. Issa could have been detained in any of Delhi's joint interrogation centres, used by the police and intelligence agencies to extract precious information from the detainees using methods frowned upon by the law. As one top police officer told THE WEEK in the course of our investigation, these torture chambers spread across the country are our "precious assets". They are our own little Guantanamo Bays or Gitmos (where the US tortures terror suspects from Afghanistan and elsewhere for information). Not many admit their existence, because doing so could result in human rights activists knocking at their doors and bad press for the smartly dressed intelligence men. It is a murky and dangerous world, according to K.S. Subramanian, Tripura's former director-general of police, who has also served in the Intelligence Bureau. "Such sites exist and are being used to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists and it has been going on for a long time," he told THE WEEK. "Even senior police officers are reluctant to talk about the system." So are people who have been to these virtual hells that officially do not exist. THE WEEK has identified 15 such secret interrogation centres-three each in Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, two in Kolkata and one in Assam. (One detention centre that is shared by all security and law enforcement agencies is in Palanpur, Gujarat.) Their locations have been arrived at after speaking to serving and retired top officers who had helped set up some of these facilities. Those who have spent time in these places had no idea where they are. They were taken blindfolded and were allowed no visitors. The only faces they got to see were those of the interrogators, day in and day out. The biggest of the three detention centres in Mumbai, the Aarey Colony facility in Goregaon, has four rooms. The Anti-Terrorism Squad questioned Saeed Khan (name changed), one of the accused in the Malegaon blasts of September 2006, here. He was served food at irregular intervals (led to temporary disorientation) and was denied sleep. Another secret detention centre maintained in the city by the ATS at Kalachowky has a sound-proof room. Sohail Shaikh, accused in the July 2006 train bombings, was held here for close to two months. "He was kept in isolation for days together," said an officer. "He crumbled after being subjected to hostile sessions. Intentional infliction of suffering does not always yield immediate results. Sometimes you have to wait for many days for the detainee to break. It is a tedious process." The smallest of the three facilities at Chembur has just two rooms. Parvez Ahmed Radoo, 30, of Baramulla district in Kashmir, was illegally detained in Delhi for over a month for allegedly trying to plot mass murder in the national capital on behalf of the Jaish-e-Mohammed. The Delhi Police's chargesheet says he was arrested from the Azadpur fruit market in Delhi on October 14, 2006. But according to Parvez's flight itinerary, he travelled from Srinagar to Delhi on September 12 on SpiceJet flight 850. The flight landed at Delhi airport at 12.10 p.m. He had to catch another flight at 1.30 p.m. (SpiceJet flight 217) to Pune, where, according to his parents, he was going to pursue his Ph.D. But he never boarded the Pune flight as he disappeared from the Delhi airport. Parvez wrote an open letter from the Tihar jail, where he is currently held, in which he said he was arrested from the airport on September 12 and kept in custody for a month. Apparently, he was first taken to the Lodhi Colony police station and then to an apartment in Dwarka, where electrodes were attached to his genitals and power was switched on. (Delhi's secret detention centres are located at Dwarka in south-west Delhi, the Inter-state Cell of the Crime Branch in Chanakyapuri in central Delhi, and the Lodhi Colony police station in south Delhi.) "After my arrest on September 12, I was taken to Pune, where I was shown pictures of many Kashmiri boys," Parvez said in the letter. "They wanted me to identify them. As I didn't know any one of them, they brought me to Delhi again and threw me into the torture chamber of Lodhi Road [sic] police station. They took off my clothes and started beating me like an animal, so ruthlessly that my feet and fingers started bleeding. I was later forced to clean the blood-stained floor with my underwear. They gave me electric shocks and stretched my legs to extreme limits, resulting in internal haemorrhage. I started passing blood with my urine and stool. Later I was shifted to one flat near Delhi airport [he later identified the place as Dwarka]. From the adjacent flats, voices of crying and screaming had been coming, indicating presence of other persons being tortured." Throughout his detention, wrote Parvez, he was asked to lie to his parents that everything was fine. In the letter he also gave the mobile number from which the calls were made-9960565152. His family is trying to collect the call site details of the number to prove his illegal detention. Delhi-based journalist Iftikhar Geelani, who spent nine days in the Lodhi Colony police station after his arrest in 2002 on spying charges, is yet to get over the traumatic experience. "There are lock-ups with such low ceilings that a person will not be able to stand," he said. "There is an interrogation centre within the police station where people are brutally tortured with cables, and some are completely undressed and abused. They also have a facility to raise the temperature of the cell to a point where it is unbearable and then suddenly bring it down to freezing cold." Assistant Commissioner Rajan Bhagat, spokesman for the Delhi Police, denied the existence of such facilities. "Nobody ever asked me the question [about secret detention centres]," he said. "We don't operate any such facility in our police stations." But Maloy Krishna Dhar, former joint director of the IB, confirmed the existence of secret detention centres in Delhi and other parts of the country. He was convinced that detention outside the police station and torture are an inevitable part of the war on terrorism. "Now I would never dream of doing the things I did when I was in charge," said Dhar. "But security agencies need such facilities." Interrogating suspected terrorists at secret detention centres, he said, is the most effective way to gather intelligence. "If you produce a suspect before court, he will never give you anything after that," he said. In other words, once you record the arrest you are within the realm of the law and you have to acknowledge the rights of the accused-arrested and contend with his lawyer. An officer who worked in one of the detention centres admitted that extreme physical and psychological torture, based loosely on the regime in Guantanamo Bay, is used to extract information from the detainees. It includes assault on the senses (pounding the ear with loud and disturbing music) and sleep deprivation, keeping prisoners naked to degrade and humiliate them, and forcibly administering drugs through the rectum to further break down their dignity. "The interrogators isolate key operatives so that the interrogator is the only person they see each day," he said. "In extreme cases we use pethidine injections. It will make a person crazy." Molvi Iqbal from Uttar Pradesh, a suspected member of the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami who is currently lodged in Tihar, was held at a secret detention centre for two months according to his relatives. They alleged that during interrogation a chip was implanted under his skin so that his movements could be tracked if he tried to escape. "He fears that the chip is still inside his skin," said one of his relatives. "That has shattered him." Kolkata has its own Gitmos in Bhabani Bhawan, now the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department, and the Alipore Retreat in Tollygunj, a bungalow that is said to have 20 rooms. They were bursting at the seams at the height of the Naxalite movement, but are more or less quiet now. "A large number of innocent people, as well as suspected terrorists, have disappeared after being taken to such secret detention centres," said Kirity Roy, a Kolkata-based human rights lawyer. "Their bodies would later be found, if at all, in the fields." That was how militancy was tackled, first in Punjab and then in Kashmir. Today no secret prison exists in Kashmir officially after the notorious Papa-2 interrogation centre was closed down. But secret torture cells thrive across the state. The most notorious ones are the Cargo Special Operation Group (SOG) camp in Haftchinar area in Srinagar and Humhama in Budgam district. Then there are the joint interrogation centres in Khanabal area of Anantnag district and Talab Tillo and Poonch areas in Jammu region. Detentions at JICs could last months. Lawyers in Kashmir have filed 15,000 petitions since 1990 seeking the whereabouts of the detainees and the charges against them without avail. The most recent victim of the torture regime was Manzoor Ahmed Beigh, 40, who was picked by the SOG from Alucha Bagh area in Srinagar on May 18. His family alleged that he was chained up, hung upside down from the ceiling and ruthlessly beaten up. He died the same night. Following public outrage, the officer in charge of the camp was dismissed from the service in June. Maqbool Sahil, a Srinagar-based photojournalist who was held at Hariniwas interrogation centre for 15 days, says it is a miracle that he is alive today. "If you tell them [interrogators] you are innocent, they will torture you so ruthlessly that you will break down and confess to anything," he says. Human rights organisations are understandably concerned. Navaz Kotwal, coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said that there should be an open debate on the illegal detention centres. "The US had a debate on the Gitmos. Our government should come forward and respond to these allegations," she said. No one wants to compromise the nation's safety, but the torture becomes unbearable, and questionable, when innocent people like the 14-year-old boy Irfan suffer (see box on page 30). The security of the country and its people is important and terrorism should be crushed at all cost. But the largest democracy in the world should also ensure that human rights are not violated. Dhar defended the secret prison system, arguing that the successful defence of the country required that the security establishment be empowered to hold and interrogate suspected terrorists for as long as necessary and without restrictions imposed by the legal system. "The primary mission of the agencies is to save the nation both by overt and covert means from any terrorist threat," he said. "But to keep the programme secret is a horrible burden." with Anupam Dasgupta

Forty secret interrogation cells unveil real face of India [The Nation] 05 Jul, 2009

Worlds oldest democracy United States may have been forced to close Guantanamo Bay detention centre, but the largest democracy India runs 40 such secret chambers across the country, where suspects are subjected to extreme interrogation for months and years. A leading news magazine The Week in its forthcoming issue, accessed by KT News Service (KTNS), revealed the horror of torture chambers, far from the eyes of law. The investigating team of the magazine identified 15 secret interrogation centres-three each in Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, two in Kolkatta and one in Assam. Officials admit that there could be more and roughly put their numbers at 40. In Palanpur region of Gujarat all security agencies share one detention centre, the magazine report said. It maintained that mostly suspects were brought blindfolded so they could hardly pinpoint the place, adding, the only faces they got to see were those of the interrogators. The magazine quoted Parvez Ahmed Radoo, 30, of Baramulla district, a student in Pune University, who was illegally detained in Delhi, as saying that he, in his open letter, from notorious Tihar jail, wrote that electrodes were attached to his genitals and power was switched on during interrogation in the centre. A large number of innocent people, as well as suspected terrorists, have disappeared after being taken to such secret detention centres, said Kirity Roy, a Kolkata-based human rights lawyer. The report further said that in Kashmir, there were many interrogation centres like the Cargo Special Operation Group (SOG) camp in Haftchinar area in Srinagar and Humhama in Budgam district. There are the joint interrogation centres in Khanabal area of Islamabad district and Talab Tillo in Jammu and one in Poonch. It said that the lawyers in Kashmir had filed 15,000 petitions since 1990 seeking the whereabouts of the detainees and the charges against them without avail. The most recent victim of the torture regime was Manzoor Ahmed Beigh, 40, who was picked by the SOG from Aloochi Bagh area in Srinagar on May 18. His family said that he was chained up, hung upside down from the ceiling and ruthlessly beaten up. He died the same night. Quoting KS Subramanian, former Director General of Indian police who had also served in the Intelligence Bureau, the report said that these sites existed and were being used to detain and interrogate suspects and it had been going on for a long time. An officer, who worked in one of the detention centres admitted that extreme physical and psychological torture, based loosely on the regime in Guantanamo Bay, was used to extract information from the detainees. It included assault on the senses like sleep deprivation, keeping prisoners naked to degrade and humiliate them, and forcibly administering drugs through the rectum to further break down their dignity.

In India, Torture by Police Is Frequent and Often Deadly

By Rama Lakshmi

MEERUT, India -- Rajeev Sharma, a young electrician, was sleeping when police barged into his house a month ago and dragged him out of bed on suspicion of a burglary in the neighborhood, his family recalled.

When his young wife and brother protested, the police, who did not show them an arrest warrant, said they were taking Sharma to the police station for "routine questioning."

"Little did we know that we would lose him forever," said Sunil Sharma, Rajeev's brother, recounting how he died while in police custody. "Their routine questioning proved fatal," he added, sitting beside his brother's grieving widow.

Rajeev Sharma, 28, died at the police station within a day of his detention. Police said he committed suicide, but his family charges that he was beaten and killed.

The case highlights the frequent use of torture and deadly force at local police stations in India, a practice decried by human rights activists and the Indian Supreme Court. A little more than a decade after Parliament established the National Human Rights Commission to deal with such abuses, police torture continues unabated, according to human rights groups and the Supreme Court. According to the latest available government data, there were 1,307 reported deaths in police and judicial custody in India in 2002.

"India has the highest number of cases of police torture and custodial deaths among the world's democracies and the weakest law against torture," said Ravi Nair, who heads the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Center. "The police often operate in a climate of impunity, where torture is seen as routine police behavior to extract confessions from small pickpockets to political suspects." He said that laws governing police functions were framed under British colonial rule in 1861 "as an oppressive force designed to keep the population under control."

Police records show that, two weeks before his detention, Rajeev Sharma made a electrician's service call at the home of a wealthy businessman. On that day, the man reported that $500 worth of gold jewelry and about $100 in cash were missing, police said.

After Sharma's detention, his brother called the police station and was told that Sharma had confessed to the theft, he said. The brother said he and other family members rushed to the station and were able to see Sharma briefly.

"His eyes were red, his mouth was bleeding and he could hardly walk. They had beaten him very badly. That was the last glimpse we had," said Sunil Sharma, 35. "By the evening, the police informed us that he had committed suicide in the lockup by hanging himself with a blanket. The suicide story is a coverup; my brother died of police torture."

The death in police custody sparked two days of rioting and protests in Meerut, about 45 miles from New Delhi, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Angry residents surrounded and threw stones at the police station, burned police vehicles and blocked traffic.

Thousands participated in Sharma's funeral procession; protesters demanded an open inquest by a panel of physicians and the immediate arrests of those responsible.

Police conducted an autopsy in private, lawyers close to the case said. But authorities did issue arrest warrants for the man who said he had been robbed and for six police officers, an apparent reaction to the unusual popular outcry, family members and lawyers said. The merchant is in jail, alleged to have participated in beating Sharma, but the police officers apparently have fled, authorities said.

Although the Indian government signed the international Convention Against Torture in 1997, it has not ratified the document. Some members of Parliament have argued against ratification, saying they oppose international scrutiny and asserting that Indian laws have adequate provisions to prevent torture. Human rights advocates said Uttar Pradesh ranks highest among Indian states in the incidence of police torture and custodial deaths.

Some police officers justify the use of torture to extract confessions and instill fear.

"The police in India are under tremendous pressure, as people need quick results. So we have to pick up and interrogate a lot of people. Sometimes things get out of control," said Raghuraj Singh Chauhan, a newly assigned officer at the station where Rajeev Sharma died. "After all, confessions cannot be extracted with love. The fear of the police has to be kept alive -- how else would you reduce crime?" he added, fanning himself with a police file folder.

A senior police officer in Meerut, on condition of anonymity, openly discussed torture methods with a visiting reporter. One technique, he said, involves a two-foot-long rubber belt attached to a wooden handle.

"We call this thing samaj sudharak," the officer said, smiling, using the Hindi phrase for social reformer. "When we hit with this, there are no fractures, no blood, no major peeling of the skin. It is safe for us, as nothing shows up in the postmortem report. But the pain is such that the person can only appeal to God. He will confess to anything."

Last September, in a written ruling in a case of police misconduct, the Supreme Court criticized the use of torture. "The dehumanizing torture, assault and death in custody which have assumed alarming proportions raise serious questions about the credibility of the rule of law and administration of the criminal justice system," the court said. "The cry for justice becomes louder and warrants immediate remedial measure."

In addition, the severity of the torture problem is probably worse than statistics indicate, because victims, fearing reprisals, rarely report cases against the police, human rights advocates said.

"About 40 percent of custodial torture cases are not even reported. They are just grateful for God's mercy that they are alive and free," said Pradeep Kumar, a human rights lawyer who has represented police torture victims in Uttar Pradesh. "Torture sometimes leads to permanent disability, psychological trauma, loss of faculties."

The National Human Rights Commission, led by a retired Supreme Court justice, has faced criticism that it is too dependent on the government and lacks enforcement power.

"We have not been able to build a human rights culture in the police force," said Shankar Sen, a former police officer and an ex-member of the commission. "It is not only individual aberration but a matter of systemic failure."

The commission has ordered that cameras be installed in police stations to monitor and deter police brutality.

"In the past year we have spent about $600,000 to equip most of the police stations in New Delhi with a camera. This will make police functioning transparent and have a big impact on torture," said Maxwell Pereira, a senior police official in the capital.

But critics and families of victims said they had not seen changes. In a much-publicized case in New Delhi last fall, five policemen were charged with beating and killing Sushil Kumar Nama at a police station.

Nama had been detained on suspicion that he was working with neighborhood gamblers. Four of the police officers were arrested in April, but one remains at large, authorities said. Police officials denied that Nama was tortured, saying he died of a heart attack after he was released from custody.

"My two children are so traumatized that now they run home scared every time they see a policeman on the street," said Nama's wife, Rekha, 29. "They know that danger lurks behind that uniform. They are not policemen, they are wolves."

On the wrong side of law

By Geeta Pandey BBC News, Delhi

Chunchun Kumar

Chunchun Kumar's wound is still raw

For Chunchun Kumar of Bihar's Nawada district, it was just another evening as he lounged around at a tea stall in his village along with a friend.

But, then something happened that changed his life.

"It was 17 March of this year. There were six of them. When we first saw them, they were beating up the temple priest. He was lying on the ground, they were kicking and punching him," Kumar says.

"Then they started hitting two other men. Then they came into the tea shop and they beat us black and blue. Then they fired at us."

Kumar lifts up his shirt to show a bullet mark on his abdomen. The wound is still oozing.

The perpetrators were no ordinary criminals.

Says Kumar, "They were all policemen. I don't know why they were angry. They were all drunk, they were like drunk elephants, they went on a rampage."

The shocked villagers complained to the police authorities, and the offending policemen were suspended from duty and arrested.

'Very serious'

Additional director general of police in Bihar Anil Sinha confirmed the incident.

"Two of the policemen who were inebriated vandalised the tea shop and began firing despite protests from their other colleagues. They were arrested and, although they have been released on bail, they are facing criminal charges."

Kumar's fight for justice recently brought him to the Indian capital, Delhi, where he narrated his story at India's first National People's Tribunal on Torture.

Activists say torture by police is rampant in India.

"The problem of torture is very serious. Today we have around 1.8 million cases of police torture each year in India," says Henri Tiphagne of People's Watch, an NGO.

Policemen in India

The police are often a law unto themselves, say campaigners

Mr Tiphagne says the victims mostly are from the poorer sections of society.

"They are generally the (low-caste) Dalits, the tribals and the Muslims. And torture is used by those who are in power, those who possess, the landlords and the companies who put pressure on the police to carry out torture," Mr Tiphagne says.

Mr Anil Sinha says cases of human rights violations involving the police are "exaggerated" by activists.

"It's a kind of stereotype being dished out by the NGOs and activists. And because police have a bad reputation, so people take such allegations to be correct.

"We do not condone any human rights violations by police in any manner, and such cases are rare. We have a mechanism in place to deal with such cases and penalise the guilty," Mr Sinha says.

Shankar Sen, a retired police officer and former member of the human rights commission, says: "The policeman's work is very complex, there are pressure on him to deliver results, the police are exposed to extraneous influences and pressures."

But, he says, that does not condone torture. "It's illegal, and as a policeman I know it doesn't work."

Mr Sen admits that police torture is prevalent. "Torture does take place, it's very common, but it's unacceptable. Some allegations against the police are shocking."

Meenakshi Ganguly of Human Rights Watch says nearly every police station in India can be held guilty of torture.

'Arbiter of justice'

In many parts of the country, she says, the situation is so bad that people will not got to a police station to file a case fearing prosecution and retribution.

"There is this pattern of impunity. The fact that police believe they can get away with it has added to the problem," Ms Ganguly says.

"The greater problem is that an average policeman believes himself to be the arbiter of justice. Instead of going to the court, he himself is delivering justice.

Arun Kumar with parents PP Raju and Lakshmi

Arun Kumar's mental age has been reduced to one year

"The policeman is not supposed to punish the criminal, he is supposed to catch the criminal," she says.

For the victims of torture and their families, it is a long haul.

Arun Kumar of the southern city of Bangalore was picked up by the police after his employer suspected him of having an affair with his wife.

Kumar's parents, PP Raju and Lakshmi, say their family home was ransacked, Kumar was taken to the police station where he was beaten up and tortured for days.

Unable to bear the pain and the trauma, Kumar drank pesticides in an attempt to kill himself.

He survived, but his parents say their son's mental age has been reduced to one year - he is on medication and requires constant care.

The guilty policeman was suspended for a week, but reinstated later. The family has a long fight ahead of them.


Says Mr Tiphagne, "A case I initiated in 1981 ended in 2007 with the dismissal of the officer. So I have hope in Arun Kumar's case too."

But, he says, this long wait can be a huge deterrence for even the most determined.

Henri Tiphagne of People's Watch.

Mr Tiphagne says nearly 2 million cases of torture take place in India every year

"The torture at the police station ends, but the torture of institutions continues. It's more of a psychological and mental nature, it is very challenging. Most people don't have the courage to withstand that, very few survive that," Mr Tiphagne says.

So while the victims continue to live with the trauma, most of the perpetrators get away.

They are also emboldened by the fact that India has no clear law on torture.

The country signed the UN Convention on Torture in 1997, but even 10 years later, it has not ratified it.

"We have to change our culture. We have to create awareness that torture is illegal. The civil society will have to get involved," says Meenakshi Ganguly.

"People will have to get past the fact that torture happens only to other people. And once that happens, it will change," she says.

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INDIA: No to torture, establish rule of law! The first Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru said "Police is standing on a quadrilateral from where they can protect and also violate human rights?" But it seems that his words are of no use in India today since there is an enormous increase in the incidents of police torture during past few decades. It is apparent that police is the largest agency constituted with the purpose of establishing the rule of law and human rights. One can read into the Indian Penal Code, with certain difficulty, the prohibition against torture. Statements recorded from witnesses under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code are not blindly admissible in a criminal trial. If the law is so, the next obvious question is then why do the police resort to torture? The main reasons are feudal and colonial structure of police, scarcity of resources in the police department, political intervention and the lack of an independent agency to investigate the crimes committed by the police themselves. Modern investigation is unheard of within the police department. In addition, India's feudal society condones the use of torture. The definition of torture as envisaged in the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment defines torture as an "act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity." Section 176 (A) of Cr.P.C. have provisions for the investigation in the each case of custodial death. However, this section is not used in any case in the entire Uttar Pradesh state. Neither have any Magistrates issued search warrants under Section 97 of Cr.P.C. when persons were taken into illegal custody. The Supreme Court of India had issued guidelines to be followed by law-enforcement officers at the time of arrest and questioning in the case D.K Basu vs. West Bengal. It is mandatory for the law-enforcement agencies to follow, but is been negated in the state. Regarding encounter killings, the National Human Rights Commission has directed the country's police to register cases in every case of reported encounter killings. The Commission has also directed to send it a video of the post-mortem examination in each case of custodial death. This also is not followed in the state and to the information of the PVCHR anywhere in the country. The question than is what is the value of the Supreme Court and the NHRC in the country? There is a provision for interim relief to be awarded as compensation under Section 19 of Human Right Act. Article 21 of Indian Constitution guarantees the right to life with dignity, which is also against torture. But torture continues unabated in the state. Do laws in the country have any meaning then? If we look at the statistics, it is mostly the poor, the marginalised, the Dalits and the members of the minority and backward communities are subjected to torture. Those who have mafia gangs and known antisocial elements are not victims of this, cruel practice other than some rare occasions. Only the ordinary people are afraid of the police and the torture they practice. So does India have two types of citizens -- the one with rights and those who do not have them? Police along with the criminals have established the rule of the lords. Corruption and discrimination are no more mere practices, but the second nature of the police. Rule of law can be established without preventing police torture. Let us come together to enlighten ourselves and fight against torture to stop it and thus establish rule of law. What you can do? 1) Protest on 26th June against the practice of torture by street plays, organising discussions and sending letters to the Prime Minister, and through press releases in newspapers condemning torture and inform us what you did; 2) Indian Government has signed the UN Convention in 1997 but has failed to ratify it. Send letters to the Prime Minister and the President of India asking them to require the government to accede the convention; 3) In protest of the cases of torture happening right under the nose of the National Human Rights Commission, organise a protest in front of the Commission; 4) Write letters to the editor of publications condemning torture; 5) To sensitize the people about torture and its forms, take down cases that you come across and send it to us so that we could follow it up on your behalf; 6) Write to the Supreme Court asking why its orders and guidelines are not followed; 7) Write to the government urging the government to provide resources to the police to function properly. Thank you Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi Convener - PVCHR SA 4/2 A, Daulatpur 221002Varanasi INDIA Telephone: +91-9935599333 E-mail:

Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib... Bagram?

INVESTIGATION: US detention centre under suspicion as eerily familiar claims OF torture and rendition flights surface from the airbase on the outskirts of Kabul.

by Ian Pannell, BBC Afghanistan Correspondent

NOOR HABIB'S hands shake as he draws a picture of how he says he was abused. He claims that he was taken to a small, darkened cell where his arms were tied to the ceiling and he was made to stand in waist-deep water for six hours at a time.

[Mohammad Nasim says he was asked if he knew Osama Bin laden.]Mohammad Nasim says he was asked if he knew Osama Bin laden.

He says he was beaten, threatened with dogs, and deprived of sleep. He also claims there was nothing unusual about his treatment, "everyone else has the same story".

Habib was an inmate at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility, an American military detention center outside Kabul. Now, for the first time, detailed allegations of widespread abuse and neglect have been made about this top-secret camp.

"I didn't think a prison like Bagram ever existed on earth. It is a place that has no rules or law," says Sabrullah, another ex-inmate.

Over a period of more than two months, we tracked down 27 former detainees. There were others, but they were afraid to speak or had been warned not to. Just two said they had been treated well. Many allegations of ill-treatment appear repeatedly in the interviews; physical abuse, the use of stress positions, excessive heat or cold, unbearably loud noise, being forced to remove clothes in front of female soldiers and in four cases, being threatened with death at gunpoint.

The account of an inmate known as Dr Khandan is one of the most harrowing. He says he was kept in isolation for months and treated worse than an animal: "They deprived us of sleep, they put us in a cold room and turned the air conditioning on and would take away the blanket. They poured cold water on you in winter and hot water in summer. They used dogs against us. They put a pistol to your head and threatened you with death. They put some kind of medicine in the water to make you sleepless and then they would interrogate you."

All the men who spoke to us were interviewed in isolation and they were all asked the same questions. They were held at times between 2002 and 2008 and they were all accused of belonging to or helping al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

None of the inmates were charged with any offense or put on trial; some even received apologies when they were released. While none of the allegations can be independently verified, the ill-treatment they describe also appears in an inquiry by US Senators into the handling of detainees in US custody, and they match the findings of interviews with ex-inmates conducted by human-rights organizations and legal groups. They are very similar to the methods that were used at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

"The conditions at Bagram were harder than Guantanamo," says Taj Mohammed. The camp has held thousands of people over the last eight years and a new multi-million dollar detention center is currently under construction.

Most of the inmates are Afghans but some were captured abroad and brought here under a process known as "extraordinary rendition", including at least two Britons. The Obama administration says they are dangerous men and it classifies them as "terrorist suspects" and "enemy combatants" rather than "prisoners of war".

It is a legal classification that critics say deliberately denies inmates access to lawyers or the right to appeal or even complain about their treatment.

The Pentagon has denied the charges and it insists that all inmates are treated humanely. We were not allowed to visit Bagram, nor was anyone made available for an interview. Instead, a spokesman for the US Secretary of Defense responded to written questions. Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wright insisted that conditions at Bagram meet international standards for care and custody. In a statement, he said: "Department of Defense policy is and always has been to treat detainees humanely. There have been well-documented instances where that policy was not followed, and service members have been held accountable for their actions."

The US military said it would investigate any serious claims of abuse, but none of the men interviewed had been made aware of any formal complaints procedure.

But another former inmate, known as Mirwais, said: "They have no respect for human beings. They blame others for violating human rights. You just go and see how they violate human rights."

Since coming to office, president Barack Obama has banned the use of torture and ordered a review of its policy on detainees, which is expected to report next month. But unlike Guantanamo Bay, the prisoners at Bagram have no access to lawyers and they cannot challenge their detention.

Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, a legal support group which is bringing a test case in the States to try to win representation for four detainees, says the inmates at Bagram are being kept in "a legal black hole, without access to lawyers or courts".

She is pursuing legal action that, if successful, would grant detainees the same rights as those still being held at Guantanamo Bay, but the Obama administration is trying to block the move.

Last summer, the US Supreme Court ruled that detainees at Guantanamo should be given legal rights. Speaking on the campaign trail, Obama applauded the ruling: "The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo. This is an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus."

Foster accuses Obama of abandoning that position and "using the same arguments as the Bush White House".

In its legal submissions, the US Justice Department argues that because Afghanistan is an active combat zone it is not possible to conduct rigorous inquiries into individual cases and that it would divert precious military resources at a crucial time. Pentagon spokesman Wright says: "Detention during wartime is not criminal punishment and therefore does not require that individuals be charged or tried in a court of law."

Obama has also ruled against an earlier decision to release photos that show abuse of prisoners in US custody in Afghanistan.

Ex-inmate Esmatullah says he has trouble breathing when he thinks about Bagram, he gets nervous at the very mention of its name. Like many others, he also claims that he was beaten and threatened during interrogation: "The Afghan translator told me he has orders to take out my eyes, break my legs and hands. I said I am not afraid of dying. Then he hit me with a stick so hard that I had severe pains in my back for a month and a half."

Unlike Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, Bagram has received scant attention so far. The men would like an official apology, recognition of the abuse they say they have suffered and compensation.

These revelations come at a time when president Obama is trying to re-set America's relationship with the Muslim world and he is redoubling US efforts to win the war in Afghanistan. It is a controversy that has already attracted much attention in the Afghan and Pakistan media and seriously threatens to tarnish the image of the new Obama administration on both sides of this troubled border.

INDIA: Structural breakdown of the justice system must be addressed

The reports that appeared yesterday in the Indian media quoting 'informed sources' that the Tamil Nadu state police has decided not to produce detainees in courts exposes the extent to which the justice institutions have broken down in India. According to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 it is the statutory duty of the state police to assist the courts in the country for its day-to-day functioning. It is also mandatory for the police to produce the detainees remanded to judicial custody before the courts, as and when required by the courts. Any decision by the police, express or implied, against this official duty must not go unpunished. The decision of the Tamil Nadu state police is a wilful dereliction of official responsibility, negation of judicial supremacy and the very function of the police in maintaining law and order. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) and its sister concern the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) have been continuously reporting instances suggesting the systematic breakdown of rule of law in India, particularly concerning the police. The decision by the state police of Tamil Nadu to disregard the provisions of law, substantiates ALRC's position that there are apparent and deep-rooted problems affecting the rule of law in India. Lawyers engaged in professional misconduct, judges failing to perform duties and police officers committing crimes, assaulting persons and destroying property have become the defining characters of the justice dispensation system in the country. The structural breakdown is apparent. Yet, instead of gearing up to repair the ruptures, it appears that the government is forcing the people to get used to the reality. The approval by the Government of India for recruiting, training and deploying Salwa Judum, in Chhattisgarh state, in the excuse of countering Naxalite activities in that state is an example. Salwa Judum is nothing but an armed mercenary group operating with impunity in Chhattisgarh. The Chhattisgarh state administration finds it convenient to arm a faction of organised civilians to fight anti-state movements like the Naxalites. By promoting Salwa Judum, the state is trying to absolve from its responsibility of maintaining law and order in its territory. The Government of India, instead of preventing the Chhattisgarh state administration from continuing with the deployment of Salwa Judum, insisted yet another state administration, the Manipur state government, to resort to similar tactics in 2008. The same practice was implemented years ago in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the time of rightwing BJP led government in India. Neither in Jammu and Kashmir, nor in Chhattisgarh or in Manipur, has the situation improved since then. In the past two years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of extra-judicial executions reported from India. In the Indian context, such murders are referred to as 'encounter killings'. As of now, there is no legal framework in the country by which an impartial enquiry and investigation is possible in a case of encounter killing. The practice is, a superior officer and later the court, accepts a report sent in by the police involved in the murder and no further action is initiated. The murder is often rewarded by the administration, so much so, there are more than three dozen 'encounter specialists' serving as police officers in various parts of the country. Impunity for the police to murder and the lack of punishment trivialises the practice of custodial torture in the country. The practice of torture is widespread and is accepted as an essential requirement for law enforcement. On June 15 this year, the Speaker of the Kerala State Legislative Assembly, Mr. K. Radhakrishnan, declared at the annual conference of police officers of the state, that the use of third-degree methods by the state police cannot be condemned. The Speaker during his keynote address argued that it is ridiculous to insist that the police officers in India respect human rights. According to him, it is difficult to do policing and respect human rights at the same time. He made it clear that when the police investigate a crime, it is natural and often required for the investigating officer to use torture to prove the case. Among those listening to these remarks were the Director of the State Police Training College and the Director General of Police. Breach of law by the law enforcement agencies in the country meets no bounds. Corruption, nepotism and the disregard to the law flourish within state agencies, particularly in the police. The society quiver under the writ of fear when the law enforcement agents commit crimes with impunity. In spite of repeated and legitimate requests from national and international human rights groups and the thematic mandates holders of the UN like the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, the Government of India has failed to criminalise the practice of torture or to ratify the Convention against Torture. In fact, the government has failed in implementing the directives of its own Supreme Court. The directives of the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case are yet to be implemented in the country. The implementation of the Court's directives is important for improving the state of policing in India, since half of the issues concerning the police, including the practice of torture and participation in crimes by the police officers, are carried out at the behest of corrupt politicians in the country. Having a law against torture while the ultimate writ above the police entrusted with a corrupt politician will not improve policing in India. It is in this context that the protest called in by the Tamil Nadu state police becomes relevant in exposing and addressing the situation of rule of law in India. The very fact that the police can intentionally negate the supremacy of law shows the vacuum of authority in the country. The incident illuminates the impunity that the police have enjoyed so far that they have now dared to openly challenge judicial supremacy. Instead of actively engaging in the situation, the Tamil Nadu state government has allowed the police to continue with their follies. The police action on February 19 inside the compound of Madras High Court that injured police officers, lawyers, judges, court staff and ordinary persons is not of such triviality that it could be resolved by a fast declared by the state Chief Minister. The police-lawyer confrontation and the subsequent sequels of non-cooperation between three important limbs of the justice dispensation system of the country is not an issue that can be camouflaged with political gimmicks and ignored. The February 19 incident is the clarion call for intervention by a system, which is left to breakdown and disintegrate. The subsequent protest orchestrated by the state police refusing cooperation to the functioning of the judiciary is a failure of the constitutional machinery that require a legitimate intervention by the Government under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution. The failure of the Government of India to take affirmative actions to correct and revitalise its criminal justice system poses legitimate challenges to India's democracy and the country's position in the UN Human Rights Council.

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