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Kerala police pulled up for stripping business
BY ASHRAF PADANNA November 11, 2012
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TRIVANDRUM: Kerala’s Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the police on the reported stripping of suspected criminals locked up in police stations.

The commission’s chairman, Justice JB Koshy, called for a clarification from state police chief KS Balasubrahmanian following reports that two youths suspected of illegal sand mining were stripped and thrown into the police lockup at Valapattanam police station in the northern district of Kannur on Nov.5.

The sub inspector at the police station, BK Siju, who was accused of inhuman behaviour to the suspects, was since shunted out of the station following a departmental inquiry.

However, no action was taken so far against lawmaker K. Sudhakaran who forcibly released a local Congress leader from custody.

The local leader was also detained in the police station after he went there to secure release of the two suspects.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had promised to curb politicians taking law into their own hands.

The Commission notice on Friday cited a report appeared in Deccan Chronicle on Nov.6, exposing the flagrant violation of rights and dignity involved in stripping suspects and throwing them in lockup, a common practice here.

The Commission also directed the sub inspector to file an affidavit at the panel’s next sitting.

Balasubramanian and former chief KJ Joseph had justified the stripping saying the safety of suspects in the lockup was paramount to the police than keeping them in their “usual dress.”

Their stance has been cited as being repugnant to Section 46 (3) of Kerala Police: “Where any person is arrested and kept in the custody of the police, he shall be permitted to wear the dress which is decent and appropriate under the circumstances and which he is used to wear.”

According to reports, vast majority of the constabulary subscribes to the view that it’s extremely impractical to follow the law in letter and spirit because some of the suspects are suicide-prone and might resort to the extreme step in lockup.

However, courts, rights commissions and judicial commissions had directed governments to build suicide-proof custodial chambers in all district headquarters to detain suspects in accordance with law.

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