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Custodial death of Muslim youth: Govt of India told to ratify UN convention on torture

Counterview Desk 

Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, West Bengal, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has drawn to the custodial death of a Muslim youth following his torture in police custody after registering a "false case" based on manufactured records.
Seeking "proper investigation" the whole incident, Roy in his plea insists, the incident legitimizes his organisations' long-standing demand "for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment."

Text:

Here I want to draw your kind attention to one incident of custodial torture by the Deganga police personnel and the subsequent custodial death of one Muslim man from the Other Backward Class community in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home.
The name of the victim is Kutubuddin Mondal, son of late Ahamed Mondal, resided at Kharua Chandpur village under the jurisdiction of Deganga Police Station in the district of North 24 Parganas. This incident again proves how the perpetrator's police and jail authority is enjoying full impunity even after being responsible for the custodial death of a victim and irresponsible attitude toward the family members of the victim.
In this incident, the victim was allegedly falsely charged in a case of the Arms Act. He was arrested on April 5, 2022 at about 12.30 am from his own house by police personnel of Deganga Police Station. No memo of arrest was prepared during the time of arrest of Kutubuddin.
In the police custody at Deganga Police station, the victim was brutally tortured and mercilessly beaten by the perpetrator police personnel. From police custody, he was transferred to Dum Dum Central Correctional Home on April 5, 2022 following the direction of the court.
His health condition deteriorated and for this reason, he was sent to the SSKM Hospital. The victim died on April 11, 2022 at about 4.10 pm in the SSKM hospital. In the following fact finding, I'll narrate the details of the incident in this respect.
The family members of the victim were not informed when his health condition deteriorated and even after his death. On April 12, 2022 at about 10 am one civic volunteer of Deganga Police Station came to the house of the victim and informed Kutubuddin died on April 11, 2022 at about 4.10 pm at SSKM Hospital. That means the family members were informed after 18 hours of the death of the victim.
Bhawanipur Police Station initiated an unnatural death case (case number 436/22 dated April 13, 2022). After two days of the victim’s death, an unnatural death case was registered. The process of the inquest was not done in the right way. After two days after the victim’s death, the inquest was done by one magistrate.
The family members of the victim were not sure of the actual designation of the magistrate but they informed that the said magistrate did not examine the deceased, just took note of the details of the victim and went away. This is a violation of section 174/176(1)(A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
There is a confusion regarding the date of death of the victim. Our fact finding member talked with Bhawanipur Police Station. Bhawanipur police informed that on April 12, 2022 at about 4.10 pm Kutubuddin Mondal died in SSKM Hospital.
If we take this information as true, then how the civic volunteer of Deganga police station came and informed the family members of the victim about the death of Kutubuddin on April 12, 2022 at 10 am? If Kutubuddin died on April 12, 2022 at about 4.10 pm, then why the unnatural death case (Bhawanipur PS U/D case number 436/22 dated April 13, 2022) was registered on the next day i.e, on April 13, 2022?
On April 14, 2022 Ruma Bibi, wife of the victim lodged one written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Barasat Police District regarding the above-stated incident but till date, no action has been taken against the perpetrators. Even the complainant is unaware whether her complaint was treated as FIR or not.
This again violates section 154 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure where it is mandated for mandatory registration of FIR after receiving any information of cognizable offences and without any cost provides one copy of FIR to the complainant.
The incident proves how police and jail authorities enjoy full impunity even after being responsible for the custodial death of a victim
The involved perpetrators violated the basic premise of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as well as Articles 3, 5 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international obligations stated in Article 6 (1) and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal number 16 of Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by United Nations and in both these international instruments; the government of India is a party and have an agreement.
The incident and subsequent impunity legitimize our long-standing demand for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
I demand:
  • This case should be investigated by the investigation wing of NHRC or state CID.
  • The erring police personnel of Deganga Police station and other police personnel related to this case who tortured the victim mercilessly in the police custody and tried to hide the truth of the case must be booked under appropriate legal provisions and be tried in an open court of law.
  • The Unnatural Death case initiated by Bhawanipur Police Station on April 13, 2022 must be investigated properly under the appropriate penal provision.
  • CCTV footage of police custody of Deganga Police Station on April 5, 2022 from 12.00 to 10.00 am should be checked by your Commission.
  • Jail hospital records, SSKM Hospital records and Inspection Memo and Memo of Arrest should be scrutinized properly.
  • Disciplinary action should be taken against the concerned magistrate who without examining the body of the deceased just note down the details of the victim.
  • Written complaint of Ruma Bibi, wife of the victim, dated April 14, 2022 must be treated as an FIR and the perpetrators should be arrested for the sake of proper investigation of the case.
  • As this case is in nature of systematic violation of criminal justice administration of West Bengal, the role performed by them should be checked thoroughly.
  • NHRC’s ‘Revised Guidelines/ Procedures to be followed in courses of deaths caused in police action’ must be adhered to in letter and spirit.
  • The family must be provided with financial compensation and adequate safety and security of the family members and witnesses must be ensured.

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