Human Rights

Police Atrocities And Excesses


1) Gang Rape by Police in Hoshiarpur

On 1.10.97 Jasbir Kaur, from Village Atal Garh, Hoshiarpur, was raped by 3 police officers in front of her husband, Gurmukh Singh, in a police cell where he had been taken for questioning. She was also raped by the DSP of the police station on 2.10.97.

On 30.9.97 Mr Singh was taken into custody, and released without questioning on the condition that he returned the next day. He returned at 8am on 1.10.97 and was questioned by 4 police officers, including DSP Sushil Kumar. He was chained up and given electric shocks. His wife was brought to the police station later and raped in front of him. On 3.10.97 Gurmukh Singh was taken to CIA Staff Hoshiarpur were he received further torture. The couple were released on 5.10.97 after the intervention of relatives and members of the panchayat. They were forced to sign blank papers before being released.

2) Villages Abused By Kotkapura DSP

Villagers of Roori Kapura village, 20 km from Faridkot, were rounded up and on 16.5.97 by DSP Kashmira Singh Bhinder. The DSP forced shopkeepers, shoppers, commuters and 2 children to lie on the floor at the bus stand. He then proceeded to hit them. DSP Kashmira Singh is renowned for his brutality. Days before he beat 5 youths in the courtyard of his official residence. An enquiry found him guilty, but he remains on duty. The DIG of Faridkot has stated that action will be taken.

3) Man Beaten To Death By Bilaspur Police

Jagsir Singh, aged 25, was dragged from his house and beaten unconscious in the street, in front of 10 people, on 28.5.97 by 4 police officers from Bilaspur police post under the control of Nihal Singwala police station. His body was then dumped in a pond in Bilaspur village. Jagsir's mother, Nasib Kaur, had her thigh fractured as she tried to stop the police. His father, Major Singh, who is believed to have made a small complaint to the police earlier in the day, was forced to sign blank pages.

DSP Sarbjit Singh, from Police Station Nihal Singwala, claims that Jagsir Singh jumped in the pond to escape the police and avoid questioning. The Officer-in-charge of police post Bilaspur denied that his officers had harmed the deceased. A post-mortem conducted at, Faridkot Medical College showed multiple contusions to the thighs and back, consistent with the account of the witnesses.

4) Inspector General Of Crime Abused Villagers

On 14.5.97 Kulwant Singh Heer (IG) is alleged to have lead a large group of police officers to the home of his niece, Parminder Kaur in Ludhiana, and attacked several members of her in-laws family, on suspicion that they were maltreating Ms Kaur. Residents of the area intervened after Mr Heer forced the family to apologise at gunpoint, and rub their noses in the dirt outside their house. Members of the family has already spent some time in the illegal custody of the IG. The district Congress chief and BJP legislator joined the residents in demanding an apology and action against the police. The Chief Minister also ordered an enquiry. IG Heer is on 'leave'.

5) Death Of Balbir Singh At Nabha Police Station

On the afternoon of 28.7.97 residents of Village Thandi then saw a police vehicle standing on the bridge of Sirhind canal and a body thrown into the canal. Balbir Singh's body was recovered the next morning after an extensive search by the villagers. The post-mortem revealed multiple injuries, including burn marks and a fractured neck. Witnesses saw police from CIA Staff Nabha dragging him into a police van on of 27.7.97. Modan Singh and a member of the village panchayat later saw him being tortured at the police station.

Punjab State has alleged that Mr Balbir Singh has escaped from the police vehicle and had jumped into the canal, where he drowned. They made no attempt to explain the burn injuries. The CBI have been ordered by Justice V.S.Aggarwal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to investigate Balbir Singh's death. However, such enquiries take many months, and often come to no conclusion.

6) Dalit Man Tortured To Death In Goraya, Jalandhar

On 1.9.97 a Dalit known as Jagnoo died in custody in Goraya police station after police torture. The body was cremated by the police. A post-mortem report cited various injuries. He had been picked up by the police on August 31 after making a complaint to the police. On 1.10.97 his cousin Sant Ram was called to the police station, where he saw Jagnoo lying unconscious. He tried to follow the police van that took him away, and was later told that Jagnoo had died in hospital.

The Superintendent of Police of Jalandhar, Sharad Chohan, has been asked to investigate the matter, and a Sub-Divisional Magistrate from Phillaur has been ordered to hold an inquiry. Press reports suggest that Assistant Sub-Inspector Kulwant Singh of Goraya police station has been charged under sections 302 (murder) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code, but these have not been confirmed. There is no indication that the police officer has been remanded in custody or suspended.

7) Custodial Death In Moga

A public enquiry is being held over the death of a 15 year old in police custody in Moga. Dimple, also known as Raj, reportedly died after consuming kerosene oil while in custody. The girl detained with Malkiat Singh, a boy from her village, Dhalake, after they absconded to Uttar Pradesh. The police refused to allow a post-mortem on her body but after demonstrations her body was returned to her grandmother. The police placed responsible for the girl's death on the women constables who were supervising the girl.

8) Minor Tortured In Kotwali Police Station

A 16 year old called Bhupinder Singh was admitted to Dayanand Medical College in Ludhiana with kidney damage and other severe injuries after being tortured in Kotwali police station on 24.5.97. The torture came to light after an investigation by the People's Union for Civil Liberties. It appears that Bhupinder Singh was taken into custody after a fight with some boys while waiting for his matriculation results. The parents of one of the boys knew a policeman and got the boy and his father taken into custody. The district police officer Mr Barinder Kumar Uppal has attacked the report as 'misleading and baseless', denying that a minor could be tortured in a police station. The case has been reported to the DGP, the Chief Minister and the National Human Rights Commission.

9) Custodial Death In Malerkotla

2 police officers from Ahmedgarh police station in Malerkotla were arrested over the suspicious death of Baru Ram, son of Gian Chand, in police custody. He was arrested by the police on 29.8.97 and declared dead on arrival at the Civil Hospital in Malerkotla on 12.9.97. A First Instance Report was registered against SHO Harinderpaul Singh and SPO Shamsher Singh for murder (s.302 IPC).

Investigations Into Police Actions

1) CBI To Investigate Death Of Amrik Singh In Custody

Amrik Singh died in police custody on 9.5.95. The police stated that he committed suicide while in custody. The Punjab and Haryana High Court issued 8 police with arrest Warrants, but these will not be executed until the CBI have completed their report.

2) CBI To Investigate Killing Of Sukhpal Singh Palli

The CBI will investigate the murder of news editor Sukhpal Singh Palli in July 1994. Sangrur SSP Jaswinder Singh is a chief suspect.

3) NHRC Investigate Illegal Detention In Bathinda

A two-member delegation from the National Human Rights Commission visited Bathinda on 10.11.97 to investigate the kidnapping of Ms Neena Rani on 18.8.97. She was kept in illegal detention by CIA Staff Bathinda until 30.8.97. She suffered severe torture during her detention. She also complained that the police officers involved, named as Inspector Budh Singh, Deputy Superintendent Brij Mohan Sharma, Sub-Inspector Mr Hardev Singh and others, stole a number of items from her house, including gold and cash. The police had suspected Ms Rani's brother and husband to be involved in a murder case.

The District Police Chief vehemently denied that Ms Rani had ever been detained illegally. However, Mr Budh Singh, one of the accused, has now been suspended in connection with another infamous case, involving the stripping of a widow.

Charges Against Police

1) SHO Harvinder Singh, For Death Of Narinder Singh In Police Custody

SHO Harvinder Singh, of police station C in Amritsar, and 2 other officers, have been charged with the death of Narinder Singh on the night of 30.6.97. Narinder Singh was declared dead on arrival at hospital. An investigation by SSP P.S.Gili revealed that Mr Singh was taken into custody that day at the request of local residents who complained that he was having an affair with the wife of a local man.

2) Daljit Singh Bhullar, Punjab's Additional Director General Of Police, Charged With Murder By The CBI.

Bhullar surrendered to the Patiala courts on 10.5.97, and was remanded in judicial custody, for involvement in the murder of a scientist, Paramjeet Singh Sahota, and his 2 associates in September 1996. Their bodies were found in a burnt out car near Khanna. An Assistant Sub-Inspector and 3 other men have also been remanded in custody in connection with the murders.

3) 5 Patiala Police Charged, Over 3 Killings

5 policemen from Patiala have been charged by the CBI with killing 3 people, including a 3 year old boy. Jaswinder Singh, his son Arvinder Singh and his brother-in-law Jasvir Singh were shot by the police in July 1992. The police alleged that the men 'resembled' armed Punjab separatists (even though one was only 3 years old). The case gives further credence to tile belief that the police operated a shoot-to-kill policy in the region for many years. The charges from the CBI are a result of a private complaint filed in the Sessions Court by a relative of the deceased. The CBI found that the bullets had been fired from police guns - AK-47s and 56s.

4) 3 Police Officers Arrested Over Death Of Kashmir Singh

A Sub-Inspector and 2 Sub-Inspectors have been arrested in connection with the murder of Kashmir Singh on March14. The investigation is still continuing, and further arrests are possible.

5) Mansa Policeman Charged Over Torture

An Assistant Sub-Inspector has been charged with torture and extortion, as a result of an enquiry into the torture of Hardev Singh, a farmer from Kulana village, who was tortured at a friend's house when he refused to hand over money on loan from the Fisheries Department. The ASI forced him to fill in a withdrawal form from the bank where the money was deposited and took Rs 557 and a watch. The ASI's plan was almost stopped by vigilant bank staff, who complained that the signature did not match their specimen signature. However, the AS! fetched Hardev Singh and forced him to sign the withdrawal form in the bank. Rs 1300 was then taken from his account. Hardev Singh was threatened with 'dire consequences' if he complained.

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