A video showing a farmer being beaten up by cops in Tamil Nadu over non-payment of loans has gone viral, prompting the National Human Rights Commission to take suo motu cognisance of the incident. The video shows a few policemen attacking the farmer, identified as Balan of Thanjavur district.
"NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that officials of a private bank with the assistance of police came to seize the tractor of a farmer and brutally attacked him and forcibly took him to a police vehicle, as they wanted to recover the money he had borrowed," the Commission said in a statement.
It observed that such a form of "forcible recovery" itself amounts to human rights violation.
While it approved of the realisation of debt through lawful means, the Commission said, it "totally disapproves of forcible recovery by torturing farmers."
Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Government of Tamil Nadu seeking reports within two weeks on the matter, NHRC said.
"It is common knowledge that private sector banks and financial institutions, in order to recover the loan advanced to individuals, particularly farmers, use police to brutalise the defaulters," Justice D Murugesan, Member, NHRC said.
"The intemperate attitude of the bank officials and the involvement of the police in such forcible recovery by torturing farmers and their servants is largely prevalent in different states of the country," he said.
Quoting reports, NHRC said that "at least three police personnel were beating one Balan, a farmer."
He had availed a loan of Rs 3.80 lakh from a private bank in 2011 to buy a tractor. He had paid Rs 4,38,880 so far but the bank demanded a further payment of Rs 1.34 lakh and served a notice to him but Balan could not pay the remaining amount.
Balan was engaged in work on his land on the day of the incident when he was forcibly pulled down from the tractor and brutally beaten by the police.
Meanwhile, farmers' bodies protested against the incident and petitioned the district collector seeking action on the matter.