'Won’t tolerate custodial torture, strict action will be taken': Kerala Police chief

This statement comes in the wake of 26-year-old Sreejith's death following alleged custodial torture by Varappuzha police.
'Won’t tolerate custodial torture, strict action will be taken': Kerala Police chief
'Won’t tolerate custodial torture, strict action will be taken': Kerala Police chief
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In the wake of the Sreejith episode which has created a furore in the state, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behera said on Wednesday that it was an aberration, while the department had embarked on a series of training programmes to improve the soft skills of police personnel, as per a report by Ajay Kanth in the New Indian Express

“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.

This statement comes after 26-year-old Sreejith died following alleged custodial torture by Varappuzha police and there are strong suspicions that it was a case of mistaken identity and the police had picked up the wrong man for interrogation. 

Sreejith was arrested on Saturday after 56-year-old Vasudevan hanged to death soon after a gang entered his house and allegedly threatened him. 

Police had booked Sreejith and several others on charges of abetment to suicide and rioting. Sreejith however, died on Monday night, a day after he was admitted to hospital with abdominal injury.

Former state police chief Jacob Punnoose said that there is a misconception among the police force that the accused will confess if subjected to third degree torture. 

“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 Kerala State Human Rights Commission chairman Justice JB Koshy feels that people with a criminal mindset joining the force are bringing a bad name to it. He said that the police brutality will end only if the department stops supporting the accused personnel. 

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