New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that in Pilkhua, Uttar Pradesh, a man died in police custody on the 13th October, 2019 after he was brutally assaulted during interrogation in connection with a murder case. He was allegedly kicked, punched, hit with planks of wood, given electric shocks and pierced with a screwdriver. A purported video of the victim’s dead body, shows deep bruise marks on his posterior and left arm and stab wounds all over the body.

The Commission has observed that going by the contents of the media reports, it appears to be a glaring instance of violation of human rights of an individual in police custody for which accountability rests on the police force of the State. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter. He has also been directed to mention in the report action taken against the erring police officials and the steps taken to prevent such incident in future by the State police.

A notice has also been issued to the UP chief secretary to ensure the safety and security of the victim’s family, mainly the minor boy of the deceased, who has undergone a huge traumatic time during alleged torture and death of his father in the police custody. The detailed reports from both the authorities are expected within four weeks.

The Commission has further observed that it is beyond comprehension as to how the men in uniform have perpetrated such heinous torture and barbaric atrocious act on a helpless man in their custody, whereas it is incumbent upon them to protect life and limbs of the individual detained or arrested. On the contrary, unwarranted violence by the police personnel inflicting enormous torture resulted in death of the victim.

The Commission has also observed that it has repeatedly cautioned the men in uniform not to indulge in unlawful actions including atrocities against accused persons, much less an innocent, while such person is in their custody. It has, time and again, sensitized the police force to engage with detainee with proper human behaviour while in public duty and aggressive nature of the police must be avoided, otherwise right to life and liberty, which is fundamental edifice of the rule of law, will be trampled down.

Therefore, the Commission has said that it is of the view that there is a need for thorough probe into the matter to identify and punish the guilty as the precious human life has come to a tragic end. Moreover, the traumatic condition of the minor boy of the victim is also a cause of concern who has suffered a huge physiological, physical and mental agony which needs to be taken care of by the State.

According to the media reports, the victim Pradeep Tomar left home in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilkhua telling his wife that his younger brother’s motorcycle had a tyre puncture, and that he would be home soon after helping out. The victim took his 11-year-old son along. He was picked up on the way by the police for questioning.

Reportedly, victim’s son said that the policemen first abused him and then started beating him. The victim kept begging them not to beat him and asked them what he had done wrong but they kept hitting him. The 11 year old son of the victim was also slapped by the police too and even put a gun in his mouth before warning him not to speak to anyone else about what he had seen.

The policemen were, reportedly, drunk and the son of the victim fell at their feet and asked them to leave his father but they tortured him so much that he defecated and urinated. Even when he was taken to the local hospital, he was not given any treatment as he was locked in a room. The news reports also state that the policemen including SHO of Pilkhua were subsequently suspended and in a set of directives to Hapur police, order was passed ensuring safety of those arrested in connection with alleged crime.