Police in torture of Ashok Kumar must be held to account; CHRI

November 25, 2017

New Delhi, India

Condemning the severe torture allegedly perpetuated by the Haryana Police on Ashok Kumar, earlier the prime suspect in the death of school student Pradyuman Thakur, CHRI demands that the Haryana Government demonstrate swift and effective accountability in the case.

Upon his release on bail, Mr. Kumar told the media, “They took me to the thana and kept beating me, hanged me upside down, strung me up with my hands and feet, until I passed out…  I can’t even move my legs, back and neck, I don’t know how I will feed my family”. The list of illegal acts does not end here.

According to Mr. Kumar, the police forced him to falsely confess to murdering Pradyuman, a Class II student of Ryan International School, in full media glare, constantly threatening him when he resisted.

“Instead of protecting citizens, Mr. Kumar’s story lays bare the nature of policing that flagrantly violates the prohibition of torture,” said Devika Prasad, Police Reforms Coordinator at CHRI. Ms. Prasad said that such violations, with supervising officers involved, revealed the impunity in the Haryana Police that allowed such acts to take place in the premises of police stations.

The only fitting response is swift and immediate accountability, beginning with criminal investigation of all the police personnel involved,” she added.

It is no surprise that the investigation into Pradyuman’s murder by the Haryana Police was quickly discredited and transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. This case is an indictment of not only the Haryana Police, but the entire criminal justice system in Haryana. It is the judicial magistrate’s responsibility to ensure the safety and security of arrested people in custody, as well as access to legal representation and medical examination. It is clear none of these safeguards were made available to Ashok Kumar.

CHRI urges:

  • The Haryana State Human Rights Commission to immediately initiate a time-bound inquiry, suo moto, into Mr. Kumar’s allegations of torture, with a view to pinpointing accountability of all police personnel involved
  •  The immediate registration of a First Information Report against the known police officials involved and the initiation of criminal investigation   
  • The state government to ensure the security of Mr. Kumar and immediate compensation to meet costs for his medical treatment