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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 3, January 7, 2023

Detention and brutal torture of labour rights activist, Shiv Kumar in Haryana | PUDR statement

Saturday 7 January 2023



Condemn Torture, Demand Action

29 Dec 2022

People’s Union for Democratic Rights welcomes the findings of the report submitted by the District and Sessions Judge, Faridabad into the illegal detention and brutal torture of labour rights activist, Shiv Kumar in January 2021 by the Haryana Police.

Part of the findings ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the petition filed by Shiv Kumar’s father in February 2021, the report substantiates what the MS of the Govt Hospital Chandigarh had found when Shiv Kumar was medically examined on February 19, 2021 under the orders of the High Court. The conclusions amply showed that Shiv Kumar had suffered grievous injuries including multiple fractures, broken nail beds, and severe psychiatric symptoms arising out of post traumatic stress disorder. The findings nailed the lie that had been prepared by the five medico-legal examinations which were conducted on multiple occasions, i.e., 24th, 27th, 31st of January and 2nd of February 2021 and which concluded that Shiv Kumar was of sound mind and health, without any complaint of pain or abuse.

This present judicial inquiry report substantiates how the brutal injuries were inflicted on Shiv Kumar by the police and it indicts a veritable chain of command as various levels of police personnel were involved in perpetrating a series of brutal torture on Shiv Kumar. This included intense brutal beating, and torture routines such as stripping, waterboarding, roller treatment, sleep deprivation etc, and deliberate humiliation through caste abuse. The report clearly shows the pre-planned nature of police lawlessness. Further, the report indicts the doctors who connived with the police as well as the JMIC who abdicated his duty as a responsible judicial magistrate.

The report shows the way in which torture is part of the police institutional mechanism, operating within the confines of the law as well as outside the law. The structural reality of custodial torture, its systemic and routinized part in interrogation, is institutionally protected by doctors and magistrates who are supposed to act as checks on the police powers. Consequently, the report testifies to the way in which due process is flouted; or when it is observed, how the checks and balances can be hollowed out. Since the report candidly shows the institutional connivance and complicities, this impunity needs to be castigated and just punishment must be asked for all those involved:

1. SHO Ravi Kumar who directed the kidnap operation on January 16 when Shiv Kumar was ‘lifted up’ by him and his men from Kundli Industrial area. Notably, while none of policemen were in uniform, Shiv Kumar was kidnapped at gunpoint.
2. SI Shamsher Singh, the Additional SHO of Kundli PS and the IO in the three cases lodged against Shiv Kumar. As interrogator turned torturer, SI Shamsher Singh abdicated his duty to ensure that no harm was done to Shiv Kumar. Instead, he perpetrated the brutal torture for 8 days illegally.
3. SI Ravindra, the in-charge of CIA Sonipat under whose jurisdiction the illegal detention and torture were carried out. Why Shiv Kumar was illegally detained in the CIA premises and not in Kundli thana is obvious and the report rightly observes that it would not have been possible to detain him in Kundli PS “where people keep on visiting”.
4. The five doctors who conducted medical examinations, including the jail doctor, for actively conniving with the police version.
5. The JMIC, Vinay Kakran who lied when he stated that Shiv Kumar was produced before him at 1 in the morning of 23/24 January 2021 and that he never complained of any torture. Shiv Kumar was never produced before him.
6. Apart from these people, others such as ASI Jai Bhagwan, Ramesh Khatri, Mandeep, Pawan, Parveen, and peon Parvesh of CIA, police official Suresh, Ct. Sunil of Babail Chowk police station, and a private person Ramphal were also involved in Shiv Kumar’s torture.
7 PUDR demands that adequate compensation for Shiv Kumar as he has lost vision in one eye permanently; suffered tremendous bodily debility, orthopaedically and neurologically; and has been subjected to psychiatric disorders emanating from torture.

Joseph Mathai and Paramjeet Singh


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