NEW DELHI— The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Commission for Women (NCW) have separately issued notices to the Assam government over the custodial torture of three sisters in Darrang district of the state and sought detailed reports within four weeks.
NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a woman and her two sisters were allegedly stripped and tortured inside a police station in Darrang district of Assam. Reportedly, the incident happened while they were being interrogated by the police in connection with a case of their brother, who had, allegedly, eloped with the girl of a different religion. “It is mentioned in the news report that the woman was carrying pregnancy of more than two months and due to injuries, she allegedly sustained at the police station, the pregnancy had to be terminated,” said NHRC in a press statement on Wednesday.
“The contents of the media reports, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights. Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and the DGP, Assam calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks including medical treatment record of the victim and present status of her health condition,” said the rights panel.
“The report must speak whether prior permission of the Judicial Magistrate was taken by the police team to arrest the women victims during night of 08.09.2019. The Commission would also like to know whether any steps have been taken by the state authorities to provide any kind of relief and counseling to the victims.”
The Commission has also observed that apparently, as reported in the media, the police authorities have violated Section 46 (4) of the Cr.P.C. by picking up the women victims, after the sunset. The brother of the victims is reportedly wanted in a criminal case and not the victims. The police authorities had taken the victims in their custody, in an illegal manner. The reported medical condition of one of the sisters is indicative of the fact that they were tortured by the police.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the three sisters aged 18, 28 and 30 were picked from their house at 1:30 am on September 9, three days after a police complaint by a Hindu family that their daughter was kidnapped by the brother of the sisters. The police took the sisters to the local police outpost and allegedly stripped and beat them with lathis. They were released after 6:30 am when their brother came to the police outpost. The police also beat him and arrested him in the kidnapping case registered against him on September 6. On September 10, one of the sisters wrote a complaint to the police detailing their custodial torture. Consequently, two cops were suspended and an enquiry was ordered into the incident.
Meanwhile, taking the incident seriously, the National Commission of Women (NCW) has also issued a notice to the Assam government.
“The Commission has condemned the treatment meted out to the women at the outset and has taken suo-motu cognizance of this issue. The Commission is anguished with such alleged misconduct on part of the police officials, who have ill-treated women not involved in any crime but suspected to know the whereabouts of an alleged criminal,” said NCW in a statement.
The Commission has demanded that the guilty officials “should be dealt with very strongly so that they do not repeat such an act in future.”
The Commission has “directed DGP Assam and asked him to take up the matter urgently and ensure that the miscreants are given stern punishment.”