The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to Tamil Nadu government for alleged physical torture meted out to a juvenile boy and his two family members, belonging to a tribal community, during their illegal detention by police in connection with a burglary case.
The Commission has issued the notice to state's Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, calling for a detailed report, including the action if any, taken against the erring police personnel, within four weeks.
The NHRC in a statement today said "They were subjected to unbearable torture and inhuman treatment by the police during their detention at the police station for three days."
"The victims were made partially naked, beaten up with a wooden log and were being forced to name someone from their community for his involvement in the theft," it claimed.
"Badly injured, they had to drink the water, fetched from the lock-up toilet, as the drinking water was not available to them," it said.
The 17-year-old boy and his family belonged to Kurava ethnic community and action against them was taken by the police purportedly on the ground that they belonged to the tribe dubbed by the British as criminals under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, the NHRC said.
The Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report carried on the August 7. The story makes reference to Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi's tweet that "Ex-Criminal Tribes are known to be very cruel. They are hardcore professionals in committing crimes. Rarely caught and/or convicted."
The incident, alleging illegal detention of a young boy, physical torture of the family members and atrocities committed by the police personnel, indicates towards violation of human right to life, liberty and dignity of the victims," it said.
The NHRC has observed that no human being should be subjected to discrimination merely on the fact that he belongs to a particular caste, creed or community.
On July 31, some police personnel from the Ambattur Police Station, in Chennai, picked them up from his hut in Cholavandipuram, Villupuram district for questioning about an incident of burglary about which he had no idea, the statement said.
Reportedly, the family has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Madras High Court for the two relatives of the boy who were detained by police along with him.
The Joint Commissioner of Police (West), Chennai, reportedly stated that they were arrested for burglary and 18 sovereigns of jewellery had been recovered from one of them.
He, however, also said that he was not aware of detention of any juvenile by the police.