AN ACTION group formed under the European Union supported national project on preventing torture in India has decided to closely monitor police torture cases in Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra from now on.
“We will monitor every single case of police torture in these five districts and report them to the National and State Commission of Human Rights, Mahila Ayog, SC/ST Commission, UN,” said Lenin, state director of the European Union supported National Project on ‘Preventing Torture in India’, at a seminar organised here on Monday. The EU project seeks to raise public awareness and make the state accountable for every case of police brutality/torture.
At the seminar attended by retired judges, lawyers, social activists, NGO representatives among others, it was felt that though the Union Government had signed the UN convention against torture, it was still to ratify it.
“This was among the main reasons for the State not being concerned about its responsibility to put an end to increasing cases of torture,” Lenin said.
Participants at the seminar also felt the need to amend the archaic Police Act of 1861.
“Besides, people should also realise the need to question as and when they come across cases of police torture,” the speakers felt.
Justice (retd) Achal Bihari Srivastava shared his experiences in UP and said that particularly eastern UP was worst when it came to torture cases.
Lenin, who is also a senior office-bearer of the People’s Vigilance Commission on Human Rights, said that the superintendent of police never visited Mirzapur’s Damhi village despite scores of torture related incidents.
“When we built pressure, the SP’s office received 2.5 lakh applications. He was then forced to visit the village. This is not an isolated incident,” Lenin added.
An advisory board was also formed on the occasion. It has been decided to organise workshops to sensitise people in this regard. “We are going to request the Chief Justice of High Court to nominate people. Besides, people from the police set up, media etc too are going to be included in it,” he said.
Prominent among those who attended the workshop were Justice (retd) KN Sharma, Azmal Khan, advocate, Maheshanand Bhai, a gram samaj samiti member from Sonebhadra, Henri, national director of the EU project against torture, former LU vice-chancellor Prof RR Verma, Neelam Chaturvedi, coordinator, Mahila Manch. KK Rai, conducted the workshop.