Backward undertrials ill-treated at police stations and jails, says study

The latest report by National Dalit Movement for Justice, a coalition of Dalit rights organisations, was collated on the basis of interviews with 21 former prisoners.

Published: 17th December 2018 02:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2018 05:06 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Dalit and adivasi prisoners face discriminatory treatment at police stations and jails, according to a recently released study.

Titled Criminal Justice — In the Shadow of Caste, the study says the practices point to discrimination in giving free legal aid, informing prisoners of their basic rights during arrest and afterwards, meeting their need-specific dietary requirements and treating them on a par with undertrials.

The latest report by National Dalit Movement for Justice, a coalition of Dalit rights organisations, was collated on the basis of interviews with 21 former prisoners who had served terms in the jails of Alwar and Dausa in Rajasthan, Cuddolore and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu, and Washim and Yerawada in Maharashtra. The interviewees were either in their post-acquittal stage or on bail.

The interviews were conducted in 2017.

The report was released during a three-day training programme, from Friday to Sunday, for Dalits and Adivasi special public prosecutors to provide them with the knowledge on how to provide legal aid to these communities.

A small survey in the report indicates the ‘systemic discriminatory practices’ that Dalits and adivasis are routinely subjected to in the criminal justice system.

Of the 21 male undertrials interviewed, 12 were informed of the reason for their arrest and eight were allowed to inform their relatives or friends of their arrest, the study says.

In nine cases, police produced those arrested with memos issued at the time of their arrest.

In 11 cases, they were given information about free legal aid, while five respondents said they were tortured at police stations. Five other respondents said their family members faced harassment when they came to visit them, the report states.

The report is also inclusive of facts pointing to biased treatment of undertrials by prison authorities in terms of their rights to medical examination and access to bedding. It states that their rights inside jails were largely ignored.

Beed’s ex-DSP a living example of brutal mindset

MUMBAI: Controversial woman IPS officer, who was seen boasting about false cases filed against Dalit activists in a video clip that went viral over social media, was transferred recently.

The officer, Bhagyashree Navtake, was Deputy Superintendent of Police in Beed district of Marathwada region.

She was transferred to Aurangabad on Monday. In a video that had been doing the rounds of the social media, she is seen boasting about how she implicated 21 Dalit activists, who were threatening the use of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (POA act), under false cases.

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