Human rights panel finds 91 prisoners with broken bones in Chennai prison

National human rights commission has ordered Rs 3 lakh compensation to one such victim and initiate criminal action on responsible officers.
Puzhal prison
Puzhal prison

CHENNAI: A total of 91 prisoners had broken bones when the National Human Rights Commission had conducted a spot inquiry at Puzhal Jail.

Jyotika Kalra, a member of the NHRC, said this when she was heading a bench of the commission in an open hearing camp in Chennai on Thursday on atrocities against Schedule Castes and Schedules Tribes.

Majority of them had grievous injuries resulting from custodial torture. Kalra said that such violation of human rights by police is equal to "State-funded terrorism." The time period during which the inquiry was conducted is however unclear.

She was hearing a case filed by one S Sundaravelu of Thiruvallur district, who alleged that the police, in 2017, had broken his legs, asked him to drink urine and eat human excreta. According to the proceedings, the complainant had to spend Rs 1 lakh for his treatment after coming out of jail.

A spot inquiry conducted by the commission, however, did not corroborate the police's defence which denied these allegations.

At the time of arrest, no injuries were found on Sundaravelu, the bench observed adding that a later medical examination revealed fractures on both knees.

What shocked the commission members was that 91 prisoners were found to have suffered similar fracture injuries.

The commission has directed the police to offer a compensation of Rs 3 lakhs to Sundaravelu and asked them to initiate criminal action on police officials responsible for the atrocity.

In response, a senior police official had asked the bench if it would recommend departmental action alone, for which the judge said that causing any grievous injury should be treated as a crime.

Kalra said that police had similarly brutalised many among the 91, simply to incapacitate them from committing any future crime, as opposed to reforming them. The justice has directed the Tamil Nadu police to conduct a State-wide inquiry across all jails and submit a report to the commission in two months.

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The New Indian Express