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We won’t tolerate custodial torture: Kerala Police chief Loknath Behera

Even though the department had a launched a series of training programmes to improve the soft skills of police personnel, there had been certain aberrations, Behera told Express on Wednesday.

Published: 12th April 2018 03:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2018 06:31 AM   |  A+A-

Soumyadip Sinha

Express News Service

 KOCHI: Kerala Police chief Loknath Behera has been harping about the need for the department personnel to change the way they behave with the public and shed the use of third-degree methods while interrogating accused and suspects in cases. But his words seem to be falling on deaf ears as police personnel continue to unleash terror and misuse their official powers to target the common man.

Even though the department had a launched a series of training programmes to improve the soft skills of police personnel, there had been certain aberrations, Behera told Express on Wednesday.

“A few people in the force continue to behave erratically, bringing shame to the entire force. It’s time to analyse whether our training programme have started to yield results or not,” he said, adding that the process of reforming the personnel was a continuous process that needs to be done with the active support of the people.

“Generally, police personnel are doing a good job, but a few deviations like in the case of Sreejith tarnish the image of the force. In no way will we tolerate custodial abuse of the accused. Strict action will be taken against those who violate rules and resort to physical torture of accused and suspects,” he said.

‘Wrong notion’
Former state police chief Jacob Punnoose said there is a wrong notion among many that the accused will confess to the crime only if they are harmed.

Right from the sensational 1970 Naxal Varghese case and 1976 Rajan case to the latest Sreejith case, police personnel have been brutal in dealing with suspects, murdering and destroying the lives of their families.

Though the Kerala State Human Right Commission (KSHRC) and the Police Complaints Authority have repeatedly come out with statements condemning the police and the manner in which custodial deaths are probed, no concrete efforts have been made to fix the system.

According to former state police chief Jacob Punnoose, the police continue to follow third-degree methods because there is a wrong notion among many that the accused will confess to the crime only if they are harmed.

“In any crime, people expect immediate justice and action. This puts police personnel under tremendous pressure. In fact, the police should be able to resist societal pressure while probing cases. On the other hand, police personnel feel that human rights have become a stumbling block in probing cases. Human rights for criminals is a new concept and the police personnel are yet to come to terms with this concept,” he said.

Former KSHRC chairman Justice J B Koshy puts the blame on people with a criminal mindset joining the force.

“People with criminal behaviour are getting into the police force and they influence others. Police stations are torture chambers and all police personnel join in to assault a person if one starts. We can bring an end to police brutality only if the department stops supporting the accused personnel.

It has become a common practice for police officers probing complaints against policemen to cook up fake evidence to help them get off the hook. An independent agency is required to probe complaints against the police. Otherwise, this brutality will continue,” he said.

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