Balveer Singh needs to be dismissed from service, says People’s Watch

February 02, 2024 11:05 pm | Updated 11:05 pm IST - MADURAI

Human rights NGO People’s Watch on Friday urged the Tamil Nadu government to come out with the final report on the inquiry into the Ambasamudram custodial torture. A group of men was tortured in custody by a police team, led by the then Ambasamudram Assistant Superintendent of Police, Balveer Singh.

Addressing mediapersons in Madurai, People’s Watch executive director Henri Tiphagne said the mother of one of the victims got a copy of the interim inquiry report, pursuant to the direction of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. IAS Officer P. Amudha, who had conducted an inquiry, submitted the interim report to the Chief Secretary in April 2023.

Mr. Tiphagne said the State should come out with the final report and other reports. He alleged the CB-CID had added the names of Scheduled Caste police personnel and removed those who did not belong to the Scheduled Caste to avoid invoking the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. He said Mr. Balveer Singh should be dismissed from service.

In the interim report, the inquiry officer recommended a full-fledged investigation to unearth the complete truth about the incidents of assault allegedly committed by Mr. Balveer Singh and other police personnel. She also recommended appropriate action against Public Prosecutor Tirumalaikumar for aiding the police officers in covering up the alleged incident of police torture at the Kallidaikurichi station.

The inquiry officer said Jaishankar, medical officer of the Ambasamudram Government Hospital, had not recorded the injuries in the medical memo proforma and stated “nil injury” on the persons brought to the hospital from the Ambasamudram police station. The medical officer had not maintained the casualty register.

The injuries , like blood clot in thighs and back and swollen face and lips, were clearly mentioned in the Palayamkottai prison health screening memo, as submitted by the prison authorities before the Sub-Collector, Cheranmahadevi. The inquiry officer said this showed negligence on the part of the medical officer and recommended action against him. Further, the inquiry officer said the victims had suffered grievous injuries, lifetime health compilations due to the physical torture, loss of teeth and psychological trauma. They needed high quality treatment and psychological counselling, she said, recommending safety, protection, free legal aid and lawyer support for them.

The inquiry officer said that based on the analysis of the limited CCTV footage provided, statements given, prison records and other records collected by the Sub-Collector, it prima facie appeared that the incident of assault and torture by the Assistant Superintendent of Police and other police personnel at the Ambasamudram station was true.

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