Unanswered Questions Abound in Shahul Hameed’s In-Custody Death – NCHRO Fact Finding.
Coimbatore Press Club
Alleging police brutality in the death of 19-year-old Shahul Hameed, who had died while in police custody in Mettupalayam police station, The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) has sought an investigation into the death and demanded that Sub Inspector Ponraj, who was responsible for this brutal killing should be suspended and ensure that the culprits were brought to justice.
NCHRO members led by Pon. Chandran, joint secretary of PUCL, added that a case should be filed under IPC section 176 (1A) for custodial death and there should be a magisterial inquiry. The State Government should also explore the possibility of ordering a Crime Branch CID or Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry, ensure completion of the inquiry within six months so as to ensure justice, provide compensation of Shahul Hameed’s family and also offer a government job.
Following Shahul Hameed’s death in police custody, a NCHRO fact finding team of nine members, visited the station and collected details.Meanwhile, sources said that police had not registered a case against Shahul Hameed and did not inform the higher officials about his condition. They also failed to submit the medical report.
Ibrahim Badusha, Vice President NCHRO Tamil Nadu, A Kaja Moideen, Lawyers M. Rahmathullah, Mohammad Nowfal, and S. Jamesha were also present at the press meeting.
Deaths in police custody continue despite our country has strict laws and procedures in place, including directions from the Supreme Court and guidelines by the National Human Rights Commission, to protect against police torture as well as to ensure accountability in case of violations. But the police still often tortures suspects to punish them, gather information, or coerce confessions. The Supreme Court has repeatedly noted that with custodial crimes, producing evidence against the police is very difficult. . In both police custody and in jails, the accused are afraid to report ill-treatment because of reprisals. Families of custodial death victims, who choose to pursue criminal complaints, often face intimidation.
The police is rarely held accountable for custodial deaths and enjoy almost complete impunity in these cases. Instead of denial, the government should start ensuring implementation of safeguards, prosecute perpetrators, and establish effective oversight over police stations and prisons. Now is time to step up the police reform process, and ensure that all cases of police abuse are thoroughly and impartially investigated, and victims receive justice and reparations. When the state takes away a person’s liberty, it assumes full responsibility for protecting their human rights. The most fundamental of these is the right to life.