Experts in Karnataka blame political establishment for custodial deaths, fake encounters

Jayaraj and his son Benicks.

Jayaraj and his son Benicks.  

Karnataka’s former police officers, intellectuals and a former Supreme Court judge have condemned the custodial deaths of P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks at Sathankulam town in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu and blamed the political establishment for custodial deaths and fake encounters.

“Every single act of omission or commission in the functioning of the police in India, including custodial deaths and fake encounters, can be traced to failure on the part of the political establishment to embrace and implement comprehensive police reforms,” said N. Santosh Hegde, former SC judge and former Karnataka Lokayukta; R. Sri Kumar, S.T. Ramesh, and R.K. Dutta, all former DG and IGPs, Karnataka, and B.K. Chandrashekar, former chairman of the Legislative Council and member, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), in a letter to the press.

“According to the Human Rights Watch (Dec. 2016), 1,727 people died in custody during 2001-2018 in India. Of the 97 custody deaths in 2015 alone, only six according to the police died of assault by police, 34 listed as suicides, 11 due to illness, 12 during hospitalisation,” they said in the letter. They said the police have been covering up custodial deaths across the country, but in the case of Jayaraj and Benicks, they could not hide their crime.

Noting that the Centre and States had failed to implement police reforms in any substantive manner, they said stringent punishment should be given to police officers found guilty after their crime is established. “Political masters should refrain from attempts to protect such police officers on any ground,” the letter stated.

Prof. Chandrashekar said, “It is most essential for Parliament to consider enacting anti-torture legislation, as persuasively advocated by the CHRI. Such a measure signifies India’s commitment to the United Nations Convention against Torture.”

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 9:20:20 AM |

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