Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta, Victim of the system, Frontline, Volume 25 - Issue 24, Nov. 22-Dec. 05, 2008.

[Torture is the high-profile tip of the iceberg in this Indian project. Should the police investigate complaints against themselves? How does it come to pass that gender and, more to the point, sexual violence comes to be woven into the same fabric? In case this sounds familiar, it should. Check out last night's episode (#10) of "The Border" in which the elite Immigration and Customs Security (ICS) Squad uses a subcontracted threat of dismemberment by chainsaw to get its man. This show frequently constructs elaborate (and sexy) justifications for questionable police procedures such as torture and tasering. -jlt]

  “In the name of investigating crimes, extracting confessions and punishing perpetrators, torture is inflicted not only upon the accused, but also upon bona fide petitioners, complainants and informants. Torture in the form of custodial death; custodial rape; threats; psychological humiliation; and deprivation of food, water, sleep and medical attention is rampant in our country.”
Henri Tiphagne
Executive Director, People's Watch

ARUN KUMAR, 20, simply hugged his father, Thankachen, who was in tears while describing his son’s ordeal. He could not speak a word, not because he was choked with emotion, but because he was on an artificial ventilator system with which he moved around. Arun lost his power of speech after he consumed poison in desperation at the harassment, illegal detentions and torture by the police since February. Now he cannot even stand properly; the torture has damaged his spinal cord.

Thankachen told a 14-member jury at the National People’s Tribunal on Torture in New Delhi on October 17: “I am only a taxi driver and have spent more than Rs.9 lakh for my son’s treatment. I could get him out on a conditional bail three days after he was arrested only by selling off my wife’s gold chain.”

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