The State Human Rights Commission will probe the alleged torture of a young man in illegal custody at the Palakkad Town South police station on Friday-Saturday.

Commission chairman J.B. Koshy told The Hindu on Monday that a suo motu case would be registered on Tuesday. Reports would be called for from the police and the Palakkad district administration, if necessary, he said.

The 21-year-old Sajeevan of Chandranagar in Palakkad, an engineering course dropout, was allegedly tortured by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy.SP) and a couple of other policemen in the police station for two days. He had been picked up by the police from his house on Friday, said to be on a complaint by the father of a girl for frequently calling her on the mobile. He was not officially arrested and had hence been in illegal police custody.

Mr. Sajeevan, who had suffered injuries on his neck, ear, and leg, was taken in an ambulance from the Dy.SP's office to the government district hospital on Saturday evening. After his condition worsened and he fell unconscious, Mr. Sajeevan's family moved him to the medical college hospital in Thrissur. He is said to be in a serious condition.

Guidelines on arrest

Youth organisations and human rights bodies have condemned the alleged illegal custody and torture of Mr. Sajeevan. D.B. Binu, general secretary, Human Rights Defence Forum, pointed out that from media reports it was clear that the Palakkad police had not followed the 11 guidelines on arrest issued by the Supreme Court (which were later incorporated into the Criminal Procedure Code) in Mr. Sajeevan's case. Nor had the police followed the National Human Rights Commission's guidelines on arrest.

Mr. Binu pointed out that one of the guidelines was: “The police officer carrying out the arrest shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo shall be attested by at least one witness, who may be either a member of the family of the arrestee or a respectable person of the locality from where the arrest is made. It shall also be countersigned by the arrestee and shall contain the time and date of arrest.”

Another guideline was that “A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock-up, shall be entitled to have one friend or relative or other person known to him or having interests in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable, that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular place, unless the attesting witness of the memo of arrest is himself such a friend or a relative of the arrestee.”

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