Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 05 March 2021 10.39 AM IST

Lesson and warning for thugs within police force


The decision of the state cabinet to dismiss police officers who are found responsible for custodial deaths without trial is certainly a lesson to police thugs and a strong warning. Actions against the accused in custodial death cases will only be taken if the trial court convicts them. That, too, was generally regarded as a matter of government discretion. However, the state cabinet has decided to remove the police officers from service without waiting for the trial if they are found to be responsible for the custodial death. Article 311 (2) of the Constitution empowers the government to take such drastic action. This will be a happy decision for all those who are interested in human rights and the welfare of the people. To some extent, this will help in putting an end to the third degree used in police stations. The police have no right to prosecute and kill the accused, no matter how serious the case. Such atrocities are completely against the law. As custodial deaths continue to rise across the country, the judiciary, judicial commissions and human rights groups are unanimously speaking out against police brutality. It also reminds us that the government has an obligation to protect the rights of defendants. However, the primitive practice of proving "guilt" by trying all forms of torture on the accused continues today.

In 2019, Rajkumar, a moneylender from Idukki, was kept in custody and brutally tortured for three days by the policemen.
After being brutally beaten and tortured, the young man was wounded all over his body and died. The decision was taken to dismiss SI Sabu, ASI Roy, driver Nias, CPOs Jibin, Regimon and Homeguard James, who were on duty at Nedumkandam station at the time involved in the incident. The government will forward the proposal to the police headquarters.

Rajkumar's death in custody had caused a great deal of controversy. Police said he died of pneumonia while in custody. They also succeeded in getting a favourable report from the government doctor who performed the postmortem. But as the public outcry intensified, the government appointed Justice Narayana Kurup as the Judicial Commission to investigate the death in detail.
When the commission exhumed Rajkumar's body and re-examined it, it was found that the cause of death was not pneumonia but brutal torture. The wounds and bruises found all over the body and the broken kidney were proofs of the police's cruelty.
The important decision taken by the government is also an answer to the big question of where justice can be obtained if the police themselves, who are supposed to ensure the safety of the detainees, start torturing them in various ways. Through this decision, the government has shown that hoodlums in the police force are not fit to continue their service. The need to find such people and purify the police force has been raised from the beginning. Strict punitive measures, including dismissal, should not be limited to custodial deaths. Lockup harassment and third-degree torture should be eliminated as much as possible. The reality is that in any case, ordinary people will have to face the iron fists of the police. Those defendants who are influential and have people to support them can definitely expect decent behaviour from the police. For those who do not have any, police stations become centres of torture. The investigation had found that Rajkumar was kept in custody for three consecutive days and beaten by the police under the influence of the plaintiff. In such cases, the police use various tactics to escape the clutches of the law. There are also stations where the miracle of hanging the culprit even on the strings of underwear has taken place. The cabinet's decision will ensure that the police will be compelled to treat the accused with caution only. They will voluntarily try to control excessive questioning and harassment. The situation where the accused is subjected to torture cannot be ruled out until he still has a little soul left. Appropriate action should be taken to give exemplary punishment to such persons as well.

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