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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

'Goonda drive' in Indore invites the ire of human rights body

Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times  Indore, August 13, 2014
First Published: 18:48 IST(13/8/2014) | Last Updated: 23:50 IST(13/8/2014)

The practice of parading criminals and miscreants on city roads by Indore police has invited the ire of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The act has been christened as 'Goonde ka Juloos' by Indore police. 

The NHRC issued a notice to DGP and SP (West) of Indore police on Tuesday for parading the accused of several crimes despite the commission's earlier order. The commission has given four weeks to senior police officers to respond.

Criminals asked to do sit-ups at Race Course Road in Indore in March, 2014. (Amit K Jaiswal/HT file photo)

Incidentally, when the commission notice landed on Tuesday, Indore police was patting itself for parading some criminals under Chhatripura police station area. On Wednesday too, police paraded one criminal, Deva Kanjar, in the same area and made him perform sit-ups on the road.

The NHRC also 'expressed its displeasure' regarding the non-compliance of its earlier order which was passed in August, 2013 and December, 2013. At last, on Tuesday, the NHRC issued a final reminder to both the Indore police and DGP and sought answers within four weeks. The complaints were filed by human rights activist Subhash Mohapatra.

The practice of parading criminals and beating them up in public had been going on for the last couple of years in the name of 'Goonda drive'.

In order to put a check on criminals and their activities, Indore police had launched 'Goonda drive' in 2011-12. Cops of every police station along with newly-recruited constables would make surprise raids in different localities, catch hold of listed criminals and miscreants and beat them up in front of their families, their neighbours and on roads in full public glare.

The local media had even gone gaga over the drive and had started comparing them with 'Singham'.

"No one has the right to torture anyone. Parading and torture of accused in public view by Indore police shows its whims and monopoly that leads to crimes in society. It is unfortunate and illegal, the law-keepers are committing crime in full public view and they themselves break law. Public authorities are required to perform under the law and procedure. No one is permitted to break law. The Indore police's parading sets its mirror as the feudal spectrum of their mindsets," said Subhash Mohapatra.

India has signed many international human rights treaties by respecting universal value for "no torture", and Indore police's inhuman acts are contrary to India's human rights pledge, Mohapatra added.

Case 1

The complaint submitted to NHRC says that on December 16, 2013, Nilesh Parihar and two of his friends (who had criminal records) were chained with iron and paraded on the street covering 1.5kms for two hours. During the street parade, they were asked to perform sit-ups. While doing so, they were asked to raise slogans such as 'Gundagardi paap hai, police humari baap hai'.

If anyone stopped on the street or committed any mistake during these punishments, the three victims were kicked on the back or slapped. They were also beaten with lathis. The heinous crimes and inhuman torture were committed by the Chhatripura police station authorities under the leadership of Umrao Singh, OIC. He was assisted by eight other police officers. 

"We are concerned that Umarao Singh (Town inspector Chhatripura police station) and his colleagues committed criminal act. Yet, the SP (West), Indore did not take any action and shielded his colleagues. The act is infringement of article 21 and 22 of the Indian constitution and non-compliance to United Nations Convention against Torture and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which India is a signatory," Mohapatra said. "Unfortunately, they have not been brought yet to court of justice," added Mohapatra. 

Case 2

In another case of police brutality in the guise of moral custodian of society, the Indore police crossed its limit by torturing several young girls and boys at a public place on July 18, 2013. The boys and girls were spending time at Indore's Regional Park and lady constables roughed up some couples — she slapped the young boys and girls publicly. Lady constables kept slapping girls despite knowing that they were being filmed.

Indore police tortured several young girls and boys at Regional Park on July 18, 2013. (Amit K Jaiswal/HT file photo)

The complaint claims that Indore police is barbaric, inhuman and autocratic. The victim claimed that they were doing nothing wrong and to sit in a public place is not a crime in India and we condemn the act. It is contrary to the basic human rights principles and laws that "no one has right to torture any one" and to several human rights instruments to which India ratified and guidelines issued by the apex court of India. It is also unfortunate that a male police officer was encouraging the lady constable to slap the girls by standing and whispering there.

The commission had directed on August 7, 2013 to city SP to take such action as deemed appropriate. However, the city police remained silent on the issue. They neither took any action against the errant officer nor did they report the matter to the NHRC.

Action demanded by complainant

Direct the state government of Madhya Pradesh to investigate the matter by an independent authority and report to NHRC within two weeks.

Direct the state government of Madhya Pradesh to immediately suspend the police officers to prevent further malpractice.

Direct the state government of Madhya Pradesh to bring culprit police officers to court.

Direct the state government of Madhya Pradesh to pay interim compensation of Rs. 7 lakh to each victim

Direct the Central government to ratify the United Convention against Torture and take any other measures that NHRC deems fit.


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