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Police brutality led to 12 deaths: NGO

ByMurali Krishnan
May 26, 2020 11:59 PM IST

Public police beatings for alleged violations of restrictions caused the deaths of 12 people in various parts of the country in the first five weeks of the national lockdown, according to a report by the non-government organisation (NGO) Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) released on Tuesday.

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Three of the 12 deaths were suicides committed by the victims because they couldn’t stand the humiliation of the public beatings,said the study, which tracked such deaths from March 25 to April 30, based on media reports.

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Out of the 12 deaths, three each were reported from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh reported two deaths ; One death each took place in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Punjab.

CHRI identified the 12 people as Luvkush, Mohammad Rizwan, Roshan Lal (UP), Bansi Kushwaha and Tibu Meda (MP), Shaikh Mohammed Ghouse, Veerabhadraiah, Peddada Srinivas Rao (AP), Sagir Jamil Khan (Maharashtra), A Abdul Rahim (TN), Lal Swami (WB) and Bhupinder Singh (Punjab).

Bhupinder Singh, Peddada Srinivasa Rao and Roshan Lal committed suicide.

Three persons who were arrested-- two of them on charges unrelated to the violation of lockdown restrictions -- also died in police custody during the lockdown. The three were from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

CHRI has sent a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRI) to investigate these 15 deaths.

CHRI called for an independent inquiry into the deaths so that the police are held accountable for use of excessive force in enforcing the lockdown. CHRI believes the NHRC will investigate the alleged fairly and effectively to fix accountability, Devika Prasad, program head of police reforms at CHR,said.

“The police in India continues to function with the colonial outlook of protecting the state/ regime in power from the people. Hence, constitution and rule of law take the backseat and the police wield their lathi at the slightest provocation. Moreover, the police is viewing the lockdown and its implementation as a law and order problem and not as a public health necessity,” said senior resident fellow at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Alok Prasanna Kumar. .

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