K.P.M. Basheer

One volunteer in each police station area in three years

Confederation’s initiative to check rights violation

10 volunteers from each district trained

KOCHI: With a view to checking human rights violations by the police, the Confederation of Human Rights Organisations has launched a volunteer-based human rights watch group.

“We plan to have at least one volunteer around to monitor each police station and intervene in case of abuses of individual’s human rights by the police personnel in the next three years,” V.T. Iqramul Haq, secretary general of the CHRO, told The Hindu on Sunday.

Already, 10 volunteers from each district have been trained to take care of two or three police stations in their respective areas. At a function held here on Sunday, former Bombay High Court judge and president of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), H. Suresh, handed over the CHRO identification card to the volunteers. The cards would be handy while dealing with police officials.

CHRO functionaries feel that constant vigil by the public is essential for checking abuses of power, framing of innocents and torture by the police. The volunteer in charge of a police station would constantly monitor the way the arrested persons and the remand prisoners are handled by the police, politely inform the police officer in charge of the rights of the arrested and educate the arrested of his/her rights, Mohammed Ashraf, lawyer and national secretary of the NCHRO, said. In cases of the excesses, senior police officers, politicians and human rights activists would be alerted. If necessary, legal aid would be provided.

Mr. Haq said the vigilante group would operate broadly in tune with the guidelines of Amnesty International. A manual and handbook would soon be supplied to the 150 volunteers. He pointed out that the idea of ‘one vigilante group volunteer in each police station limits’ was of the late Mukundan C. Menon, journalist and secretary of the CHRO.

Sensitive handling

S.D. Singh, psychiatrist and convener, Torture Prevention Centre India, said the watch group was an excellent initiative, which could help in reducing human rights abuses by the police. However, it should be handled sensitively. D.B. Binu, lawyer and human rights activist, hopes the group could make a difference to the grim reality of police excesses in the State. He said the group could do a lot by invoking the Right to Information Act.