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INDIA: Torture, sexual abuse and humiliation carried out by Police officers in Vittukatti, India

July 7, 2003

URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM

Forwarded Appeal 07 July 2003

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FA-24-2003: INDIA: Torture, illegal detention, impunity

INDIA: Torture, sexual abuse and humiliation carried out by Police officers in Vittukatti, India
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Dear Friends

Please act on the information below, forwarded from OMCT, and write to the authorities in India, urging them to investigate, and take action against, those members of the Police in Vittukatti who carried out the inhuman acts of humiliation, sexual abuse, and torture.



Case IND 040703

Arbitrary detention/Torture/Impunity

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT
intervention in the following situation in India.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the
People's Watch Tamil Nadu, a member of the OMCT network, of the
humiliation and torture of people in the name of a police inquiry in
Vittukatti, India.

According to the information received, on May 5th, 2003, residents in
the Tiruthuraipoondi Taluk area noticed a foul smell emanating from a
neighbour's home. When, on the following day, the smell became
overpowering and a boy sent to the home noticed blood, residents
called the police and the Panchayat president. The police discovered
the bloated body of Padmavathy in the kitchen. The next day relatives
came to clean the house and discovered another foul smell from the
wooden structure where the grain was stored, they found the dead body
of Padmavathy's 2 1/2 year old grandson. They also found Padmavathy's
daughter's corpse under the wooden structure. The police were
immediately informed, but did not arrive until later. During this
time angry residents staged a "Road-Roko" on the Thiruthuraipoondi-
Mannargudi road protesting the indifference of the policeman
regarding the situation. The protestors dispersed peacefully.

On May 10th, 2003, the police began questioning residents in the
area. Neighbours and relatives of Padmavathy were brought to the
police station where they were detained, interrogated, humiliated,
and tortured. Mr. Kandi Rajendran and Ms. Tamilselvi, a husband and
wife who live in the house behind Padmavathy's; Mr. K. Baskaran (35),
a relative of Padmavathy; Mrs. Jayalakshmi, a neighbour; and Mr. D.
Sasikumar Swaminathan, Mr. P. S. Mohan (38), Mr. Natarajan (29), Mr.
T. Ravi (38), Mr. S. Vedanayagam (27), Mr. K. Saravanan (27) and Mr.
Set Selvaraj (44), all of whom who are residents in the area, were
among the individuals detained and tortured by officials of the
Tiruthuraipoondi Police Station.

The treatment that these victims were subjected to included various
forms of physical and mental torture. Mrs. Jayalakshmi was reportedly
beaten in the presence of her child. Many of the individuals brought
in for questioning were forced to strip naked. They were punched,
kicked, and slapped by police officers. Police officers stamped on
the victims' bodies with boot-clad feet. The victims were beaten with
lathis and nearly strangled. They were threatened at gunpoint. Some
victims were handcuffed and gagged. One victim, Mr. S. Vedanayagam,
was suspended from a tree by a long chain and beaten. Officers
urinated on the faces of some of the detainees when they requested
water, and forced them to drink the urine. The officers forced some
of the men to fondle or suck the penis of the other detainees or
officers. The detainees were verbally abused and their families
threatened. They were told not to report their treatment to any human
rights organisation and some were told not to seek medical treatment
at a hospital. Many of the released detainees are being forced to
return to the police station to sign their names every day. The
victims have been left with numerous physical and psychological
injuries as the result of their torture.

The police officers who participated in the torture and whose names
are known include: DSP Murthy, DSP Abdud Razzak, SI Prabhu, SI
Kanakarajan, Head Constable Iqbal, Inspector Jayaraman, Gopi, Head
Constable Bakkiri, Radha, and Ms. Mary (at the women's police
station). Many other officers were involved in the ill-treatment and
torture whose names are unknown, but can reportedly be identified by
the victims. Most of the torture appears to have been aimed at
getting the individuals being questioned to admit to committing, or
participating in the murders.

According to the information receives, all of the persons that were
arrested in relation with these events have now been released, but
there has been no investigation launched into these serious
allegations of torture and none of the victims have received any kind
of reparation for the treatment that they were subjected to. It is
reported that the person who is believed to have been responsible for
the murders (whose identity and condition are not currently known)
was finally apprehended following a tip-off, but was not part of the
series of arrests mentioned above. The person in question reportedly
immediately confessed to having committed the murders during an
attempted burglary when the police came to question him. OMCT urges
the authorities to ensure that he receives a prompt and fair trial
before an impartial court and that his procedural rights are
guaranteed at all times.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the
physical and psychological integrity of the aforementioned torture
victims and their families, given the
threats that they have received, and calls upon the Indian government
to take all measures necessary to guarantee their personal integrity
and that of their families. OMCT
calls on the Indian government to order a thorough and impartial
investigation into the circumstances of these events, notably the
serious allegations of torture and ill-
treatment, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to
trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided
by law. OMCT urges the authorities to
ensure that the victims receive adequate reparation, including access
to medical assistance, where required.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in India urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and
psychological integrity of the aforementioned persons;
ii. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the
circumstances of these events, both the murders and the grave
allegations of arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment and
torture, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial
and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by
law;
iii. guarantee adequate reparation to all injured persons, including
access to adequate medical assistance where required;
iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental
freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and
international human rights standards.

Addresses:

· Shri. A.P.J. Abdul kalam, President of India, Rashtrapathi Bhavan,
New Delhi - 110001 India, Fax: + 91 112 23017290,
E-mail:Pressecy@sansad.nic.in

· Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India, South Block,
Raisina Hill, New Delhi - 110001, India, Fax: + 91 112 23019545 or
23016857,
E-mail: vajpayee@sansad.nic.in

· Justice A.S.Anand, Hon'ble Chairperson, National Human Rights
Commission, Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi - 110001
India, Fax: 011-3340016 /3366537,
E-mail : nhrc@ren.nic.in

· Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Fort St.
George, Chennai Tamilnadu, India, Fax no:- 044- 8258101,
E-Mail :cmcell@sec.tn.gov.

· Mr. Sayed Munir Hoda, IAS, Home Secretary, State Government of
Tamilnadu, Fort St. George, Chennai, Tamilnadu, Fax: 044 - 256 70 596

· Ambassador Puri, Hardeep Singh, Rue du Valais 9 (6ème), CH-1202,
Genève, Suisse,
e-mail : mission.india@ties.itu.int,
fax: +41 22 90686 96

Please also write to the embassies of India in your respective
country.

Geneva, July 4th, 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this
appeal in your reply.

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)
8 rue du Vieux-Billard
Case postale 21
CH-1211 Geneve 8
Suisse/Switzerland
Tel. : 0041 22 809 49 39
Fax : 0041 22 809 49 29
E-mail : omct@omct.org
http://www.omct.org

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Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type :
Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID :
FA-24-2003
Countries :
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