AHRC Voices Concern Over Case of Police Brutality in India

Hong Kong based rights group the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has expressed concern over case of illegal arrest, detention and police brutality against Mr Golam Kibria from Murshidabad district, West Bengal, India. Calling it case senseless brutality the AHRC said in statement released today that this is yet another incident in a seemingly infinite number of cases wherein law enforcement agencies due to ingrained malpractices and callous attitudes have committed criminal acts against helpless individuals under their jurisdiction.

The AHRC wrote to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest and Detention and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment calling for their intervention in this case.

Referring to an inquiry undertaken by MASUM, a West Bengal based human rights organisation,the AHRC says that the victim of illegal arrest, detention and torture is 30-year-old Mr Golam Kibria from the Murshidabad district, who endured physical assault and injury from police officers from Jalangi Police Station led by Mr Manas Maity, the Officer-in-Charge of Jalangi Police Station and the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Domkal, Murshidabad.

The police encircled the house of Mr Samsul Huda (Golam Kibria’s father and a retired school teacher) at 1.30am on 4 May 2012 and began to strike the front door repeatedly, demanding entry. The police then forcibly entered the house and violently laid hands on Mr Golam Kibria, whose hands were tied with a rope and held above his head while the police brutally beat him. The victim was then taken to Jalangi Police Station.

Reports were soon heard that the police had completely removed his clothes and assaulted him again in his naked condition while in their custody. The severely injured victim was released from Jalangi Police Station on 5 May 2012 without any explanation as to his arrest the previous day or for the barbarism that was visited upon him during his unlawful detention.

Medical reports demonstrate the gravity of the assault upon Mr Golam Kibria, who is still being treated. The victim is himself still in shock and greatly traumatised by this unwarranted violence against his person. The victim’s family members and some other locals witnessed the incident, but they are unable to seek justice because the police they have to report the case to would be the very same group of men who had themselves tortured the victim. Although these heinous criminal acts against Mr Golam Kibria are in themselves despicable, the criminality of the entire law enforcement agency is equally undeniable and even more troubling. The law has failed to provide back-up avenues through which the individual who was not in the first instance protected, could seek justice and compensation, and through which the perpetrators could be punished.

Mincing no words the rights body says something is terribly wrong with the justice system in India. When individuals and entire communities live in fear of their own safety because of the arbitrariness and senselessness of violence; when agencies that were designed specifically to protect and uphold rule of law are themselves perpetrators of these acts; when police personnel, logically the moral exemplars for the societies they administer, are able to behave with complete impunity and are not subjected to intense scrutiny from the centre – it is a broken, dysfunctional system, a failure of humanism, a mockery of ideals.

Without intervention by the central government, the people of Murshidabad and all over India face, for the foreseeable future, continued abuse of their freedoms and physical person and no likelihood for justice to be served to those acting with complete impunity.

Along with the UN entities the AHRC also wrote to the Indian authorities demanding impartial and credible investigation into the case and compensation to the victim.

More importantly the body called on to the Central authorities to take steps to circumscribe such acts of violence and impunity but instituting safeguards (such as external observers or auditors appointed by the centre) at the provincial level to monitor and enforce adherence to the legal procedures stipulated by the state government and the Central authorities take steps toward revising their stance toward Article 9 of the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights and toward acceding to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment in order to become even more credible in the commitment to international norms and shared ideals since the Indian state, particularly the central government, undertakes to protect the life, liberty, dignity and personal security of every single person residing in the Indian state under all circumstances through all means possible.